Mr. Yeaman to Mr. Seward

No. 2.]

Sir: I have the honor to state that I arrived here on the 12th instant, and, as soon as practicable, (on the 15th,) announced my arrival and mission to Count E. Juel Wind Frys, minister for foreign affairs, enclosing to him a copy [Page 182] of the President’s letter to his Majesty Christian IX, accrediting me as minister resident here, and asking for an audience with the King to present the original as early as convenient. On the 18th I was advised by a note from the grand marshal that his Majesty would give me a special audience at half past one o’clock to-day, at the Christianburg palace. At the appointed time I repaired to the palace designated and was received and presented by the grand marshal. The King’s deportment and conversation manifested the most marked friendship and regard for our government, inquiring with earnestness for the President’s health and the peace of the country. In presenting the President’s letter I addressed to the King a few observations about the friendly relations subsisting between the two governments, and also the conclusion and results of our late civil war, the substance of which and of the King’s remarks in response will be found in the annexed paper marked A. The interview was eminently satisfactory and agreeable.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.


Mr. Yeaman’s remarks.

I have the pleasure and the distinguished honor of presenting to your Majesty the letter of your friend, the President of the United States of America, accrediting me as minister resident of that government to reside near the government of your Majesty. In doing this, I beg to assure your Majesty that to me it is cause of extreme self-gratulation to have been designated as the representative of my government to a power which has always manifested so much friendship towards the American republic, and which has especially tendered so many proofs of that regard entirely through the terrible ordeal to which the union of the States was exposed for four years. I am happy to say that that contest has been decided in favor of the government, and its success has not been merely a triumph of arms. That success and its consequences are valuable in other and more important lights. It has demonstrated and secured in matter of fact and practice what was always true in law, that the Constitution of the United States is the framework of a government, a political nationality, invested with the most important attributes of sovereignty erected by citizens, and to which the citizen in turn owes allegiance and obedience, and that the Union is not merely a league or confederation of separate and independent sovereignties, from which any State or local government may retire at its own discretion or caprice. Happy it. is, in this sense of our nationality, that all parties with us, even the lately insurgent forces and people, now accept the solution of the issue submitted by them to the arbitrament of the sword. The States which assumed to go out are rapidly and voluntarily resuming their places in the Union and under the Constitution; and those who were brave soldiers against the republic are promptly returning to their allegiance and to the walks and pursuits of private life, becoming loyal citizens under the wise policy adopted by the President. Your Majesty will excuse me for dwelling so long on these points, when you reflect that they are matters about which there has been so much misunderstanding in Europe.

Another result of that contest, and in which both parties to it seem to concur as a fact, is, that a race of some four millions of people recently held in slavery have been freed from bondage. The system of unpaid coerced labor is come to an end with us, and this change, in fact, will probably soon be incorporated as a declaration in the Constitution, the supreme law of the Union, so that the relation of master and slave may never again exist within the jurisdiction of the republic. In this particular, I am persuaded, we will secure the congratulations of nearly all governments, since there is no point of political economy and the morals of natural right upon which Christian people and the lessons of modern civilization are more nearly agreed than that it is not well that any man should be a slave and his labor the property of another.

With profound wishes for the continued health and happiness of your Majesty, and for the success and prosperity of your government, and with the hope, well assured, that no circumstance may ever occur to mar the very cordial relations subsisting between your government and my own, I thank you for the polite and friendly attention bestowed on me, a personal stranger, in consideration of the power which I am deputed to represent in your presence.

[Page 183]


To the observations upon the friendly relations subsisting between the two governments, and the hope that they may be perpetuated, the King responded at that moment with the most earnest and kindly reciprocation. Of the views expressed as to the result of the war, in establishing our nationality and bestowing freedom on a race, he manifested a clear appreciation and approval, and further remarked that the contest had been very deplorable, and, for so great a one, very protracted; that it had cost us innumerable and very valuable lives, and he hoped we would now forever remain one people and one nation. He expressed the surprise and horror he felt on hearing of the assassination of President Lincoln, and spoke of him as a very great and a very kind man. He spoke of the agreeable and satisfactory relations that had existed between himself and my predecessor, Mr. Wood, and wished me an equally agreeable residence. He then asked in a most friendly way about my family, if we were comfortably situated, hoped we could stand this northern climate, and concluded by asking me to express his thanks to the President.