Mr. Seward to Mr. Harrington

No. 3.]

Sir: On the 20th of June last your predecessor, Mr. Fogg, transmitted to this department a despatch, No. 93, which was accompanied by two large folio volumes. The contents were in manuscript. These consisted of addresses and other communications from the government of Switzerland, the governments of its several cantons, the municipalities and corporations and the citizens of Switzerland, to the government and people of the United States. All of these had been elicited by some one or more of the great events which occurred in this country on or about the middle of April last, namely, the surrender of the insurrectionary armies, the realization of the abolition of slavery, the close of our civil war, the assassination of the late President, Abraham Lincoln, with combined conspiracies and assaults against the Vice-President and other persons connected with the government, the inauguration of the present Chief Magistrate, and the auspicious beginning of his administration.

These papers were from time to time delivered to and acknowledged by Mr. Fogg, and on their being received at this department they were immediately laid before the President of the United States, by whom they were read with feelings of profound and affectionate gratitude to the government and people of Switzerland. He remarked with especial satisfaction the unanimity of that people, the benevolent and fraternal character of their sympathies with the government and people of the United States, and the hopefulness of their sentiments concerning the prosperity and advancement of the free institutions of self-government. He was deeply affected also by the generosity of their tributes which the precious volumes contained to the memory of his predecessor, who had given up his life a sacrifice for the principles of this government, now so intimately connected with the great cause of humanity throughout the world.

It was the President’s direction that the papers should be deposited as a perpetual memorial in the archives of the government, and that the sentiments they contained should be communicated in due season to the Congress of the United States. It was further his direction that an acknowledgment of the precious tributes should be promptly made. It devolves upon this department to execute this last direction. Casualties which occurred early in the year arrested the efficiency of the department, and caused the delay which I have now to excuse. You will read this despatch to the minister of foreign affairs of the republic of Switzerland, and give him a copy of it, if he will consent to receive the same and you will at the same time inform the minister that it will be deemed a favor if you shall be permitted to promulgate the despatch, and thus to make known in the most effectual way possible the grateful sentiments which have been awakened in the government and people of the United States towards the government and people of Switzerland, by the manifestations they have thus given us of their sympathies and friendship.

I subjoin a list of the addresses and other papers received from Mr. Fogg, and venture to ask that it may be published together with this despatch, with a desire that the various parties therein named will be pleased to regard that publication as an acknowledgment made to themselves. It is confessed that in adopting this summary form of acknowledgment, I am unable to give full and discriminate expression of the sentiment of the United States; but proceedings on the part of the government of Switzerland vary so much, and so generously, from customary forms of national intercourse, that I have not been able to bring my response to them within any measure of acknowledgments heretofore adopted in international correspondence.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


George Harrington, Esq., &c., &c., Berne.