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Berlin, May 29, 1871. (Received June 14.) SIR: To the inquiry when diplomatic relations with France will be resumed, the Foreign Office still answers that the time is not yet definitively known. I shall telegraph to you, according to your directions, as soon as it can be done. I have written to Mr. Washburne, but as yet have received from him no answer.
The German estimate of the number of lives lost in the city of Paris, since the beginning of the French bombardment, including men, women, and children, is fifty thousand. Bodies lie unburied in the streets, and there is no orderly provision for the wounded.
The finances of France occupy public attention. By the treaty of peace Germany is to receive, thirty days after the restoration of order in Paris, five hundred millions of francs, and in the course of the year a milliard more. I am told that an association of European bankers, is disposed to provide for the first payment, receiving French 3 per cent. rentes at 50. per cent., and a commission of 4 per cent. Subscriptions to the loan, at the rate of 50 per cent., are to be opened in all parts of France, and the bankers are to make good the deficiency in the subscription, but to receive the commission of 4 per cent. on the whole; and they are further to have a six months' option of taking the milliard on the same conditions.
The debt of France before the war was about thirteen milliards; add to this the debt incurred by Napoleon in the early part of the war; the debt incurred by Gambetta; the debt incurred by the Versailles government in subduing the insurrection in Paris, and now the five milliards that are promised to Germany, and the aggregate seems more than even a state so wealthy as France can bear. Moreover, the cities and departments of France have large debts of their own. The prospect is very sad for a people whiclı in habits of order and powers of generalization and analysis excelled all others in Europe. I hear from the most intelligent men of Germany ardent wishes for the recovery of France, and the acknowledgment that its peculiar office in the civilization of Europe cannot be made good by any other nation. I remain, &c., &c.,
Bir. Bancroft to Mr. Fish.
Berlin, May 30, 1871. (Received June 14.) SIR: I received from you, last evening, an official copy of the treaty of Washington, as published by order of the Senate. The treaty, in whole or in copious abstracts, had already gone through the European papers, and the decision of the Senate was made known by cable as soon as the vote was declared. Justice is everywhere done to the ability and moderation of the American negotiators, and the result is considered in the highest degree, I might almost say in an unexampled degree, honorable to them; and this opinion is held most strongly by those who understand international relations best.
In efficiency and dignity the conference at Washington contrasts most favorably with the late conference at London on the Pontus question.
Of course I do not as yet officially present the treaty to this government, but await your instructions. I remain, &c., &c.,
Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Fish.
Berlin, June 5, 1871. (Received June 21.) SIR: The answer to my informal inquiries when diplomatic relations will be resumed with France is still indefinite. I annex a copy of a note which I have received from Mr. Washburne, who, at my request, made corresponding inquiries at Paris. I think the question will be settled within a few days. The great subject of political interest for the last week has been the bill for establishing a government in the new province of Alsace and Lorraine. Under the old German Empire the free cities, with their domain, stood directly under the protection of the Emperor. In theory, Alsace and Lorraine form a district belonging neither to Prussia nor to any other of the German states, standing directly, not under the King of Prussia, but under the Emperor of Germany. An exact conformity to the old precedents would make of them a republic under the protectorate of the Emperor. Prince Bismarck declared his wish to establish in the new territory self-government in the fullest extent compatible with their forming an integral part of Germany. Especially he was anxious to secure to the new provinces their own legislature, with control over their own internal affairs. In particular he desired to protect them against the interference of the German Parliament in affairs that belonged exclusively to themselves. In the course of the debate incidents in American history were repeatedly introduced as authorities, and our system of concentrating general affairs in the hands of the General Government, and distributing affairs of local interest among the several States, is working itself more and more into German institutions. During the debates there was at one time a fear of some serious difference between the chancellor and the diet; but, while the diet maintained with dignity all its rights as a deliberative body, it mani. fested, in a remarkable degree, the strength of its attachment to Prince Bismarck, and confidence in his wisdom. Indeed, the relation between the prince and the diet is unique. He has neither a party nor a majority at his bidding, but carries his measures by appeals to the judgment and sentiment of the house. His support comes sometimes from one side, sometimes from another; but on every side he is looked upon as the only possible chief minister for Germany at the present time. He has not only no rival, but nobody is thought of as eventually able to
take his place.
I remain, &c., &c.,
Mr. Washburne to Mr. Bancroft.
Paris, May 31, 1871. MY DEAR COLLEAGUE: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 22d instant. I thank you for the copy of the dispatch. I had Colonel Hoffman see Mr. Jules Favro on last Monday, and Mr. F. informed him that France was now ready to resume diplomatic relations with the German Empire, and that they were only waiting to find the right man to send to Berlin as minister. He thought that would be in the course of a week or two. While I should be very glad to be relieved of my charge, yet I shall take pleasure in acting for the German government until their minister shall come to my relief. Some few Germans, and a large number of Alsacians, have been arrested in these latter days, and I am occupied in getting them discharged. By good fortune the Prussian embassy has escaped all damage, and I 80 telegraphed Prince de Bismarck the other day.
I remained here during the whole period of the infernal insurrection, and I saw it go out in fire and blood, and amid scenes which have no parallel in the history of civilization. No consideration on earth, except one of the highest, that of the discharge of a sacred public duty, could ever induce me to go through what I have passed through for the last nine months, and more particularly the last ten weeks. But it is a pleasure for me to know that I have been able to protect the lives and property of all the Americans, and I believe all the Germans, in Paris, but it has been at a fearful risk. The greater part of my labor and responsibility has been in regard to the Germans and Alsacians, and which will, in due time, be made by me the subject of an official dispatch.
The suppression of the insurrection brings with it a military rule (perhaps necessary) of terrible severity. No persons are permitted to leave Paris at present, and I do not know how long people are to be shut in.
As soon as things get quieted down here, and as soon as I am relieved of my German charge, I propose going to Carlsbad for six weeks to recruit my health. Believe me, &c.,
E. B. WASHBURNE.
Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Fish.
Berlin, June 12, 1871. (Received June 29.) SIR: All Berlin is alive with preparations for the triumphal entry of the Emperor into the capital of Germany on Friday next, and between two and three hundred thousand people from abroad are expected here on the occasion. The most interesting business before the Diet relates to indemnity for losses during the war, and the indemnification is to be carried further than ever before.
Ship-owners whose ships were detained in foreign ports are to receive relief for the extraordinary expenses to which they were exposed. Everything destroyed in Alsace and the German part of Lorraine is to be paid for or rebuilt.
Four millions of thalers are to be set apart for distribution among the generals who have most distinguished themselves in the late war, and this appropriation will be voted by parliament out of the moneys to be received from France. The chancellor of the empire, lately raised to the rank of a prince, will receive a forest in the duchy of Lauenburg, esteemed to be worth one million of thalers. This donation will be made by the King of Prussia as duke of Lauenburg; and the property is so situated that no act of parliament will be needed to confirm the grant.
The diplomatic relations of the new empire are receiving some extension in the east and in the west.
A chargé d'affaires from Japan appeared here not long ago, and fifty
five young Japanese, as he informs me, are now distributed through Germany, diligently engaged in making themselves masters of the German language and culture. The chargé manifested a particular wish to place himself on the best terms with the American legation here. He brought me, however, nothing from your department. The republic of Colombia has sent here Mr. Santa Maria as consul general, with a contingent appointment as chargé. He came immediately to me before presenting himself to the government, declaring that he was instructed to do so by his own government, and appeared to take very great pleasure in representing the close analogy between the constitution of the United States of Colombia and our own. But he brought me no letter whatever from any one, and I have no instruction respecting him from you. His manner implied a very hearty sympathy with our government, and a disposition to lean upon it for moral support.
I have already written you that diplomatic relations between Berlin and Versailles will soon be opened by the mutual appointment of chargés d'affaires. Viscount Gabriac-not he whose wife is an American lady, formerly of New York—is expected before many days. This government has appointed for Versailles Count Waldersee, who was formerly military attaché to the Prussian embassy at Paris. Very few days will elapse before this arrangement will go into effect. So soon as Count Waldersee enters upon his duties, Mr. Washburne can give up his duty of protecting Germans in France. I keep him informed of what passes here on the subject. Count Waldersee leaves for France to-morrow.
I remain, &c.,
. GEO. BANCROFT.
Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Fish.
Berlin, June 20, 1871. (Received July 15.) SIR : Four days of sunshine intervening between periods of incessant rain gave brilliancy to the military entry of the Emperor of Germany into his capital.
The via triumphalis was about three miles long, through streets as wide and in some places thrice as wide as Broadway. Lines of cannon captured from the French were ranged in close order on each side of the way, and the whole line of march was through an allée of flag-staffs garlanded and festooned with oak-leaves and evergreens. The flags, as they represented Germany and its several States, were of all colors, and all harmoniously contrasted and blended. The best talent of the sculptors and painters of Berlin was called into requisition, and, under the hands of men of genius, the coarsest linen, stuffed with straw and covered with gypsum, produced in the distance the effect of marble, and, near at hand, that of casts of beautiful statues. At the starting point of the march, a gigantic image, representing the city of Berlin, gave the welcome to the returning troops. Midway on the line of march a colossal victory, having on her right hand and left statues of Strasburg and Metz, in sitting posture, was much admired. At the end, a Germania receiving back into her arms Alsace and Lorraine, on a pedes
tal encircled by bas-reliefs, was generally thought a design worthy of being perpetuated in bronze or marble. In the street Unter den Linden skillfully executed historical and allegorical pictures, of enormous dimensions, hung across the avenue along which the army was to pass. The Academy of Arts was conspicuous by well-executed full-length portraits of the Emperor, Bismarck, and the generals. Altogether the decorations were never paltry or common-place, but the designs showed, on the part of the artists, felicity and fertility of invention. The Emperor, now in his seventy-fifth year, rode out to his troops at 10 o'clock, returned at the head of forty thousand men, and, in the scorching sun, received the salutations of all the regiments as they passed by him, and then superintended the unveiling of the statue of his father, remaining on horseback more than six hours, and in all that time showing no sign of fatigue. The spectacle was not inferior to the Roman tric aphs of old, except, indeed, that prisoners did not form a part of the proces. sion, and that no other spoils were exhibited beyond captured eagles and banners, and trophies gained in battle. The pageant had for its spectators, besides the citizens of Berlin, three or four hundred thousand strangers, gathered from Germany and almost every part of the civilized world.
The United States were much more largely represented than any other foreign country. In this latitude, where twilight lingers late into the night, the illumination was necessarily short, but very brilliant and universal. No inhabited hut was so poor as not to join in it. At the gala performance in the opera on Saturday evening, the Emperor and Empress appeared, surrounded by their children and the various branches of their family, and by many members of the regal and princely houses of Germany; pit, balcony, and boxes were filled, chiefly with the most distinguished generals who have taken part in the war, high officials of the kingdom and empire, and members of their families. Those of our sex glittered each in what Shakespeare calls 6a mine of gold,” those of the other sparkled in clusters and rivers of diamonds and precious stones. Of the two pieces that were performed, the first represented Justice as having done its work in the late war, and now introducing Peace attended by all the Seasons and all the Arts. The second showed Barbarossa spellbound in his cave, dreaming on till the empire should be restored, and seeing in his visions what the spectators saw in tableaux vivants, the epoch-making incidents of German history, from the crusades, and early humble fortunes of the younger branch of the Hohenzollerns, to the moinent when its chief was upborne at Versailles as Emperor by the arms of the princes of Germany. Suuday was the day of thanksgiving. Two or three months ago a good deal was spoken of a fast in commemoration of those who had fallen in the war, but the feeling of joy could not be restrained; men thought the union and peace of Germany not too dearly bought by the loss of many of the best, and that it should therefore be cel. ebrated not by mourning, but by a festival. The days of triumph being past, Berlin, after almost a full year of intensest excitement, falls back into its normal quietude in midsummer, only with a feeling of security such as it never had before. On the other hand, France still remains in an unsettled state, in danger of being torn by dynastic factions. As a republic, if its government were well established, it woulil again recover its influence. But almost the only French institution which has passed through the war unscathed is the organized Catholic church. The archbishops, bishops, priests, and inferior clergy are all there as before. The archbishop of Paris, who had fallen under suspicion, is venerated as an orthodox martyr. The liberal Père Hyacinthe pleads for hours together