Mr. Wright to Mr. Seward
Sir: In answer to the request of Mr. Judd, the minister of foreign affairs, Baron Yon Bismarck replied the King would receive Mr. Judd and myself in audience at Baden Baden on the 3d instant at 11 o’clock a. m. The day previous I met the King with his brother, Prince Carl; they both greeted me with words of compliment; his Majesty remarking in English, “I am most happy to welcome you again to Prussia.” At the appointed hour Mr. Judd and myself were presented by the minister of foreign affairs, (Mr. Judd preceding me.) The interview was brief. The King spoke highly complimentary of Mr. Judd’s course at Berlin, and bade him an affectionate adieu. His Majesty said, among other things, he was rejoiced at the termination of our war, and the prospect of the restoration of law and order. I had remarked on this subject, that during the last four months we had discharged eight hundred thousand soldiers, and paid out more than two hundred millions of dollars; yet, amid all this, there was no perceptible change in society except the labor of the soldier being transferred to his ordinary avocations of life. I assured the King of the sentiments of friendship and esteem entertained for him and his subjects by the President, and the ardent desire of the President and people of the United States that the two nations might become more and more closely united in the bonds of friendship. To this his Majesty warmly responded, most fully reciprocating the sentiment, and closed by saying to me personally, [Page 62] “I trust your future residence at Berlin will be as happy and productive of good feeling as the past.” The day before this interview with the King I was introduced to the minister of foreign affairs. In the course of our conversation he alluded, with some feeling, to the subject of military duty of Prussian citizens, and to the position of the Prussian government. I hear every few days of cases of arrest throughout Prussia. Some of these purchase their way out of the country; others leave in a manner not very creditable to an American. The consul general at Frankfort (Mr. Murphy) writes me as follows: “I have before me four new cases in Cassel and Nassau. One of the parties is too old to serve in the military; he has no money to procure a substitute or pay a fine, and he lies in jail now. He emigrated to America when he was seven years old, and has lived there twenty-one years, and now for the first time visits his old home.” There is a great increase in the number of our German adopted citizens returning this year, many of whom have been soldiers of our army. In this connexion the views of our government on this subject, as expressed from time to time, are well known to Prussia, and hence I have no doubt the subject is now attracting the attention of the Prussian government. I have no evidence of any change in the police of the government. Yet I do believe good will result from a direct and firm issue on this subject. Prussia desires our friendship and good will; her ministers fully comprehend what is to be the condition of things resulting from the past, present, and future emigration to our country. I am not mistaken in saying some of them are anxious to settle this vexed question. A despatch from you at this hour may be of incalculable benefit.
I enclose copies of correspondence with P. F. Von Rhein, of San Francisco, California, on the subject of his return to Prussia. I deem it my duty to call the attention of the government to the probable demand for our agricultural productions on this side of the Atlantic. In some portions of the country the drought has entirely destroyed the grass crop, and farmers are shipping their stock away or making hurried sale. Already there have been some heavy importations of American rye into Hamburg at a good profit. I believe this is only the commencement of large importations from our side to supply the wants of many portions of the country on this side of the Atlantic. It should be known also that during the past year a considerable business was done in importing corn to Hamburg, (called here the white horse tooth-corn,) for seed. They cut the plant green and use it for fodder, so that every year the demand for the seed is renewed, and constantly increased.
Emigration to our country is on the increase; every berth on steam or sailing vessel from Hamburg (and I hear the same is true of Bremen) is taken up to the last of October, and the companies are sending out extra vessels.
We have some German papers which are willing to publish articles giving acorrect condition of things at home. I shall not fail to furnish such papers and pamphlets, or items sent from the department or may come to my notice, whichare adapted to the German mind.* * * * * *
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.