Mr. Smith to Mr. Blaine.

No. 164.]

Sir: In view of my approaching departure for the United States, I had the honor of an audience yesterday with His Majesty the Emperor, at the palace of Gatchina. After some personal inquiries and conversation, the Emperor turned to the subject of the American ships laden with flour and other food for those people of Russia who are in want of bread, and the successive arrivals of which are making a deep impression on all classes. He first asked me to convey a message to the President of the United States which I can more fitly communicate in person on my return. Then, speaking with great deliberation, gravity and emphasis, His Majesty said: “I am very much touched by the interest and kindness which the people of the United States are showing in sending ships of flour to my suffering people; these offerings pre great and generous; they indicate a sympathy and friendship for which we are deeply grateful; and I desire that you will convey to the American people my sincere thanks for this manifestation of their friendly and humane sentiments.”

I responded that it would be an honor and pleasure to be the bearer of His Majesty’s message to my countrymen, and I added that while the people of the United States were anxious to offer succor to the distressed, and glad to send some evidence both in money and in food, of their sympathy, they well understood that their contributions were little more than an expression of good will. To this the Emperor replied that the offerings, both of money and of flour, were very liberal; that the sending of several ships was a grand and generous proceeding, and that he was fully sensible of the kind spirit which actuated the American people. The Emperor then directed the conversation in a more particular manner towards the individual steamers, the Indiana, [Page 378] the Missouri, the Conemaugh, with the probability of a fourth, and made various inquiries as to the sources and localities from which the respective cargoes came, and other points of interest connected with the movement. After conversing on some other topics, His Majesty, in saying adieu, again asked me to make known his thanks to the American people. His words and manner alike indicated his earnest feeling on the subject.

I have, etc.,

Charles Emory Smith.