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Berlin, March 21, ’71.
With today’s opening of the first German Reichstag after the reestablishment of a German Empire, the first public activity of the same begins. Prussia’s history and destiny have for a long time pointed to an event which is now accomplished by its being summoned to the head of the newly founded Empire. Prussia owes this less to her extent of territory and her power, though both have equally increased, than to her intellectual development and the organization of her army. The brilliant position now occupied by my country has been attained through an unexpectedly rapid sequence of great events during the past six years. The work to which I called you ten years ago falls within this time. How you have justified the confidence with which I then summoned you lies open to the world. It is to your counsel, your circumspection, your unwearying activity that Prussia and Germany owe the world-historical occurrence which is embodied in my capital today.
Although the reward for such deeds is felt within you, I am nevertheless urged and bound to express to you publicly and permanently the thanks of the Fatherland and mine. I elevate you, therefore, to the rank of a Prussian Prince (Fuerst), which is to be inherited always by the eldest male member of your family.
May you see in this distinction the undying gratitude of Your Emperor and King
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Coblenz, July 26, ’72.
You will celebrate, on the 28th, a delightful family festival which the Almighty in His mercy has accorded you. I, therefore, may and can not remain behind with my sympathy on this occasion, so will you, and the Princess, your wife, accept my most cordial and warmest congratulations on this great occasion. That both of you always gave the first place, among the blessings showered on you by Providence, to domestic happiness is something for which your prayers of thanksgiving should ascend to heaven. Our and my prayers of thanksgiving, however, go further, as they include thanks to God for having placed you at my side at a decisive moment, and thus opened up a career for my Government far exceeding thought and comprehension. You also will send up your feelings of thankfulness that God graciously permitted you to accomplish such great things. Both in and after all your labors you always found comfort and peace in your home, and that gives you strength in your difficult vocation. To preserve and strengthen you for this is my constant solicitude, and I am glad to learn from your letter through Count Lehndorff and also from the latter himself that you will now think more of yourself than of the documents.