No. 25.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Keiley .

No. 2.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th instant, which contains your resignation of the position of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Austria-Hungary.

The statement of the facts attending your appointment in May last, and your voyage to and from Europe in pursuance of your mission, which accompanies your letter, is entirely accurate, and the reasons you assign for no longer retaining the commission intrusted to you are consonant with your own dignity and personal character as an upright citizen and honest public servant.

The President and those who are associated in his council are completely satisfied with your attitude and action throughout this remarkable episode in our diplomatic history, and all deeply regret that the country has been prevented by the unprecedented and intolerable action of the Austro-Hungarian Government from having the advantage of your personal presence at Vienna and of your services there as a competent and worthy representative of the interests and honor of the American people and their Government.

I am thoroughly aware of, and exceedingly deplore, the serious personal inconvenience and pecuniary loss which have been entailed upon [Page 46] you by the wholly unexpected course of the Government to which you were accredited. And whilst I might, for some reasons, hare deprecated your refusal to accept the other official positions of honor and emolument of which the option was tendered to you, yet your action in declining to place yourself in the attitude of an indiscriminating seeker or recipient of public salary and position is so in keeping with the estimate formed of your character that I am sure it will receive the hearty and enviable acclaim and approbation of your fellow countrymen.

The proprieties attaching to diplomatic communications have necessarily caused the correspondence in this case between the Governments of the United States and Austria Hungary to be withheld from publication, and much honest misunderstanding, and, I regret to say, no little malevolent misstatement, have been allowed to pass uncorrected, but the incident of the declination by the Government of Austria-Hungary to receive you as the envoy of the United States, upon the grounds alleged, is destined, I believe, to have important consequences.

I will not believe that the people of the United States will ever consent to the creation or enforcement of such tests as have been insisted upon by the Government of Austria-Hungary as conditions precedent and qualifications for the selection of their representatives in foreign courts by the United States. Such action must naturally awaken widespread amazement, coupled with indignation and resentment, when the history of the case is made public, nor do I believe that these sentiments will be confined to our own country, but that, wherever religious liberty is valued and respected, a common judgment will be formed.

In closing this communication, I reiterate my expressions of disappointment that you have disconnected yourself temporarily from the public service. Whilst the immediate cause for this voluntary act of severance is to be regretted, yet I congratulate you that your name is honorably associated with the maintenance and vindication of principles which constitute the very soul of personal liberty, and which lie at the foundation of our Government. To be allied with such principles is honor at all times, with success as a certain finality.

I am, &c.,