to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Stockholm , November 8, 1883. (Received Nov. 27th.)
Sir: I have the honor to state that the 6th of November was celebrated in Sweden as a festival.
The day is the anniversary of the victory and death of the great Gustavus Adolphus at Lützen, and the Swedes love to do honor to the memory of their great King, “the Lion of the North,” whose “sword was mighty as the pen of Luther.”
On the evening of the 6th at Stockholm, the entire space around Ridderholms church, the Westminster of Sweden, was filled with a vast multitude of people, a selected choir of two hundred voices marched with banners to the outer walls of the church, and halting just outside the mausoleum of Gustavus sang paeans to his memory.
Other choirs sang around the bronze equestrian statue of the heroic King, which rises from the center of the square that bears his name.
“Long live the memory of Gustavus Adolphus!” cried the choir as the song died away on the evening air, and the great throng of many thousands responded with four royal cheers.
On the morning of the 6th of November the American flag was run up at this legation in honor of the great Gustavus of Sweden. This is the first time I have hoisted our flag in Scandinavia. I did this with some little hesitation, for foreign ministers at this capital have not been accustomed to display the flag of their country. Indeed, I have failed to learn that they have ever done so. I believed, however, that this was “a custom more honored in the breach than the observance,” and that the flag of a free people might well be flung to the breeze in honor of the greatest warrior in the cause of religious freedom; that the flag of America might well wave at the festival in commemoration of the Swedish King who founded the first Swedish colony within the limits of the United States. And so the beautiful new flag, just sent me by the Department, was run out from the American legation over the spacious King’s Park, where it was seen from every part of the great promenade of Stockholm, across the harbor to the palace, and from beyond North bridge and Wasa bridge far out on the Mælar Lake. It was the Only flag displayed by the representative of any foreign country at Stockholm.
This American tribute to Sweden is deeply appreciated by the Swedes, and was received by them with touching expressions of gratitude. The Swedish newspapers very generally speak of this tribute and always in thankful recognition thereof.’ The Nya Dagligt Allehanda and the Aftonbladet, the two evening papers of Stockholm, and the Handels Sidning, the chief newspaper of Gothenburg, make this hoisting of the American flag the subject of special editorials.
The following is a translation of the editorial in the Nya Dagligt Allehanda, the evening paper of the largest circulation in Stockholm:
The death of Gustavus Adolphus will be commemorated here to-day in the time-honored manner, with singing at the Gustavian mausoleum at Ridderholms church, and at the statue of the hero King on the square of Gustavus Adolphus. An especial tribute, beautiful but simple, and unostentatious, as becomes that land, the United [Page 523] States of America, by whose minister this tribute has to-day been paid, deserves a grateful mention. Minister Thomas has to-day, from the balcony of his residence on the King’s Park, hoisted the starry banner of America.
This Swedish-loving American, who, during a long sojourn in Sweden as consul for his native land, has learned to know and to appreciate our land and its people, has today, for the first time, hoisted the American flag, not to celebrate any holiday of his own country, but to do honor to the memory of the greatest among warriors for religious liberty. By this act Mr. Thomas also honors the founder of the first New Sweden in America, the Swedish colony on the Delaware, which, as is well known, was settled under King Gustav us Adolphus.
I forward herewith inclosed a copy of this editorial in Swedish, clipped from the newspaper itself.
I shall continue to fly the American flag from this legation, unless otherwise instructed, on the national holidays of the United States and of Sweden and Norway.
I have, &c.,