No. 514.

Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard .

No. 38.]

Sir: Among the Russian officers and subjects who rendered eminent services in the rescue and succor of the survivors of the ill-fated Jean nette expedition was Maj. Gen. Georgey Fevdorwitch Tchernaieff, governor at Yakutsk. In recognition of these services the President caused to be prepared a handsome gold-mounted sword, suitably inscribed and embossed, for presentation to him.

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When Lieutenant Schuetze, of the United States. Navy, reached St. Petersburg last summer, on his way to Eastern Siberia to deliver this sword with other presents, he learned that General Tchernaieff had died, leaving neither wife nor children. Under these circumstances Lieutenant Schuetze thought best to leave the sword in the charge of this legation and to submit the question of its disposition to the President.

Your dispatch No. 16, of August 27 last, informed me that this course was approved, and that the President had directed that, if it was agreeable to the Emperor, the sword should be placed at His Majesty’s disposal.

After waiting to verify the information previously received, on October 1 last I addressed a note to M. de Giers, imperial minister of foreign affairs, in which, after briefly reciting the facts, I added:

That the purpose of this gift may not wholly fail, it has seemed to the President most fit that the sword should still remain in Russia as a slight token of the gratitude and admiration of the American people for the noble services to humanity of this distinguished Russian soldier. If, therefore, it shall be agreeable to His Imperial Majesty, I am instructed by the President of the United States to place the sword at His Majesty’s disposal.

In a few days his excellency replied that it would be agreeable to His Majesty to receive the sword as proposed.

Accordingly on November 1, by special appointment, I waited on the imperial minister, and delivered to him the sword, which he received with many kind expressions, assuring me that he should promptly deliver it into the hands of the Emperor. At the same time I placed in the hands of his excellency a note in which 1 explained that the President, in proposing to place the sword at the imperial disposal, had regard not to “any special intrinsic value of the sword, but because it was intended to express the sincere appreciation of the American people of the eminent and disinterested services of a brave Russian soldier to their distressed countrymen, and also because it might serve as a testimonial of the friendly relations which have always existed between the great Empire of Russia and the Republic of the United States of America.”

A few days later M. de Giers transmitted to me the cordial response of the Emperor, which I send herewith and also a translation thereof.

I think it will give satisfaction that a gift designed to honor the noble conduct of a distinguished soldier has been accepted by his Government as an historical memento, to be preserved as a pledge of friendship between, two great nations.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 38.—Translation.]

M. de Giers to Mr. Lothrop .

Mr. Minister: I made it my duty to transmit to His Majesty the Emperor the letter which your excellency addressed to me, together with the sword designed by the President of the United States for the late Major-General Tchernaieff.

My august master cannot but congratulate himself that a Russian soldier in fulfilling a duty commanded by humanity, had, at the same time, the opportunity of testifying those sentiments of sympathy which animate all Russian officials toward American citizens. His Majesty has been profoundly touched by this mark of gratitude which the President of the United States had intended to give to the deceased.

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As General Tchernaieff left no heirs, it gives the Emperor pleasure to assent to the wish of the President that this souvenir shall he considered as a testimony of the American people.

His Majesty has therefore ordered that it shall he placed in the imperial arsenal, where are collected the historical souvenirs of special interest. It will there remain as a new pledge of the friendly relations which exist between the two nations, and to which my august master attaches the greatest value.

Receive, Mr. Minister, the assurance, &c.,