Mr. Fogg to Mr. Seward
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that, in conformity with the Swiss federal constitution, which forbids that the same member of the federal council serve as president of the confederation two terms in succession, the national assembly, at its late session, made choice of Mr. Charles Schenk as president of the confederation, and of Mr. Martin Knüsel as vice-president, for the year ensuing.
Mr. Schenk served as vice-president during the past year, and Mr. Knüsel has been several times president—the last time in 1861. Yesterday the new president was inaugurated, and entered upon the duties of his office, remaining at the Palais Fédéral the greatest portion of the day to receive the New Year’s greetings of the diplomatic corps, and such other officers or citizens as saw fit to call on him.
During my call the president expressed very earnestly and enthusiastically the deep interest which himself, personally, and the great body of the Swiss people feel in the contest going on in the United States. In common with the rest of Europe, Switzerland was suffering in her material interests by the long continuance of the war. But she was not blind nor indifferent to the great issues and principles involved in that war. Much as the struggle had cost in men and [Page 213] money, the United States and the world would he, in his judgment, amply compensated, if the result should be the extinction of slavery.
On parting, the president desired me to present his felicitations and those of the federal council to President Lincoln, on the result of the recent national election in the United States, and on the still more recent results of the Union military operations in Georgia and Tennessee. He expressed the hope that the next New Year’s day might see the people and States of America once more united, happy, and free.
Joining heartily in this hope, and earnestly wishing the president and yourself a happy New Year, I am, with the highest respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States of America.