No. 471.
Mr. Hunt to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 55.]

Sir: The ceremonies of the coronation of His Imperial Majesty, Alexander III, autocrat of Russia, are over. The diplomatic corps left Moscow on Wednesday. The flags of all the nations of the globe were furled the day before, and at midnight on Sunday the Emperor and his family left for Peterhof, where they are to remain in seclusion until October. The troops were sent home, and as our train came traveling back to this city we missed the soldiers who had stood sentinel over every hundred yards of the whole way when we had gone on.

The ceremonies lasted a week or ten days longer than had been expected. In point of pomp and gorgeousness they have certainly equaled if not excelled such displays on former occasions. The press has fully described them, and I deem it unnecessary to do so now.

I presented the President’s letter announcing that he had “made choice of me to represent the Government of the United States on the occasion of the coronation,” and expressing his “confidence that I would prove acceptable to his Majesty” in “the distinguished duty of representing the Government,” with which he had “invested” me. The Emperor received me with much consideration, inquired after the health of the President, and expressed great satisfaction at the mark of sympathy-and regard which the President had shown him in sending a special mission to participate in the ceremonies of the coronation. He charged me to receive and to convey to the President his thanks for doing so, and his great satisfaction at the friendly relations which had at all times existed between the United States and Russia. I presented to him Admiral Baldwin and his staff, and he was especially gracious to the [Page 744] admiral. The Empress soon after approached the legation, and with much courtesy addressed a few words to me and to each of the others.

Afterwards, on the eve of the coronation, much surmise prevailed as to who were to be invited to witness the ceremony in the church. It had been generally said that only the chiefs of the missions of the diplomatic corps were to be invited inside the building, and spacious am-pitheaters were erected outside for the accommodation of others. After 1 o’clock at night, having received cards of admission to the church for myself and wife and daughter, but none for the admiral and Mrs Baldwin, I was afraid they had been accidentally overlooked. I therefore requested Mr. Wurtz, with my son, to ride to the office of the master of ceremonies. They went and were there told that tickets had been issued to Admiral Baldwin and had probably reached him by that time; that the tickets might, perhaps, be for places in the ampitheater, but if the admiral would come to the church in the morning any such mistake would be promptly rectified, and he and Mrs Baldwin be admitted in the church. This information, Mr. Wurtz, on returning that night, informed me, he had communicated to the admiral. The admiral, however, declined to go. The omission was made the subject of a letter of remonstrance from me to Mr. de Giers. I received a reply filled with apologies at the apparent slight. Mr. de Giers wrote also to the same effect to the admiral, and the Emperor the next day repeated these regrets, first to me and then to Admiral Baldwin.

The distances to be traveled in conveying messages in Moscow are enormously long; the addresses of the different legations were often unknown and often incorrectly given; the precise times for the different ceremonies were appointed generally by the Emperor in a few hours’ notice; the duties of the officers detailed for such matters were arduous, and many of these officers were novices in such duties, unacquainted with our language and official titles. Under such circumstances omissions such as that spoken of, though annoying, were, in my opinion, not inexcusable.

I inclose a copy of my letter to Mr. de Giers on the subject and of his reply.

The Emperor, before leaving Moscow, sent to the admiral a beautiful snuff-box of wrought gold. The cover contains a medallion likeness of the Emperor, set round with large and costly diamonds. He also sent him a large gold medal. He sent to me a similer medal in gold and one in silver. For these tokens I returned him my thanks in terms of politeness, saying that I would accept the medals if permitted by Congress to do so.

* * * * * * *

I will content myself with saying in this dispatch that, to my judgment, the public mind appears to be tranquilized, if not exultant, at the coronation of the Emperor.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in No. 55.—Translation.]

Mr. de Giers to Mr. Hunt.

Mr. Envoy: His Majesty the Emperor has transmitted to Mr. Chester Arthur his thanks for his courtesy in specially accrediting you as the representative of the United States at the ceremony of the coronation.

[Page 745]

My august master has no less appreciated Admiral Baldwin’s having been specially sent on board of an American frigate in order to be present at this great solemnity,-when it was particularly agreeable to His Majesty to see this delegate of a nation united to Russia by the bonds of a traditional friendship.

In the meanwhile, that Mr. Willamov has been instructed to convey to the President the sentiment of lively gratitude 01 His Majesty the Emperor for this proof of sympathy, I beg you, Mr. Minister, to have the kindness to transmit to him these expressions, and to receive, &c.,

[Inclosure 2 in No. 55.]

Mr. Hunt to Mr. de Giers.

Sir: Rear-Admiral Baldwin, in command of the European squadron of the United States Navy, has been ordered by my Government to bring his flag-ship to Russia and to participate with his staff in the ceremonies of the coronation of his imperial majesty. After coming a distance of some 5,000 miles, he anchored his ship at Cron-stadt, and with his wife arrived in Moscow a week ago.

The admiral and his staff at once formed part of the special mission sent by the United States for this interesting occasion. The orders from my Government on the subject had been promptly communicated by me in an official form to your excellency. The arrival of the party was duly announced. The sole object of the Government in creating such a mission and in constituting these officers a part of it, was to emphasize in a significant manner, unusual in our intercourse with other countries, the cordial sympathy which it is believed has always bound together your nation and mine in the bonds of peace and good-will. No other nation, I am informed, has sent a naval representation to participate in the coronation.

Admiral Baldwin and his staff were presented to your excellency by me with a full statement of their rank in our service, and a just commendation of their undoubted claims to consideration. They had the honor also to be received by the Emperor and Empress, and to be most graciously welcomed by them. The attention of the officers of ceremonies was drawn on several occasions to their claims to witness the coronation, and requests were made by this legation for cards necessary to enable them to do so.

It seems, however, that only this morning at 7 o’clock was any answer given to these requests. The admiral then received tickets to the outside galleries of the kremlin, and the object of my Government in sending him with his fleet to Russia to take part in the coronation was thus frustrated.

I cannot believe that your excellency or the other officials of Russia intended a slight so unprovoked and so marked. Other delegates from other countries, not always friendly to Russia, as the United States have been, delegates of lower rank than that of Admiral Baldwin and his staff, were in many instances permitted to attend the ceremonies from which my countrymen were excluded.

I feel myself constrained to bring this matter to your excellency’s attention, and to ask that such steps may be taken as may, to some extent, repair the wrong that has been done to the feelings of this distinguished gentleman and explain this seemingly invidious slight to my country.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 3 in No. 55.—Translation.]

Mr. de Giers to Mr. Hunt.

Mr. Minister: I regret exceedingly the misunderstanding which prevented Admiral Baldwin from being present yesterday at the ceremony of the coronation in the church. I am sure of this, that the invitation ought to have reached him. I am waiting for the explanation that I have asked for of the minister of the court, in order to reply more in detail to your letter.

Meanwhile, and so as to gain time, I have requested Mr. Struve to carry a letter of excuses from me to the admiral and to invite him to come to day at mid-day, with all his suite, to the kremlin, to offer his congratulations to their majesties.

Accept, &c.,