I thank your Majesty in deep respect for the gracious letter of the 23d inst., and for the gracious present of the picture of the palace in which for so many years I have had the honor to make my reports to your Majesty, and to take your Majesty’s orders. The day received especial consecration for me through the greeting in your Majesty’s name with which their royal Highnesses Prince William and Prince Henry honored me. Even without this fresh proof of favor, the feeling with which I greeted the twenty-fifth anniversary of my appointment as a Minister was one of most cordial and respectful gratitude to your Majesty. Every sovereign appoints ministers, but it is a rare occurrence in modern times for a monarch to retain a Prime Minister and to uphold him for twenty-five years, in troublous times when everything does not succeed, against all animosity and intrigues. During this period I have seen many a former friend become an opponent, but your Majesty’s favor and confidence have remained unwaveringly with me. The thought of this is a rich reward to me for all my work, and a consolation in illness and solitude. I love my Fatherland, the German as well as the Prussian, but I should not have served it with gladness if it had not been granted to me to serve to the satisfaction of my King. The high position which I owe to your Majesty’s favor is based on, and has as its indestructible core, your Majesty’s Brandenburg liegeman and Prussian officer, and therefore I am rendered happy by your Majesty’s satisfaction, without which every popularity would be valueless to me. * * * Besides many telegrams and addresses from home and abroad, I received very gracious greetings and congratulations on the twenty-third from their Majesties of Saxony and Wurtemburg, from his Royal Highness the Regent of Bavaria, the Grand-Dukes of Weimar, Baden, and Mecklenburg, and other rulers, and from his Majesty the King of Italy and Minister Crispi. The two latter touched politics, and were difficult to answer; as the text of their letters may perhaps interest your Majesty, I have instructed the Foreign Office to forward them.
I pray God that He may still longer grant me the pleasure of serving your Majesty to your Majesty’s satisfaction.
VOL. X-9 V. BISMARCK.
[Footnote 21: Permission: Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York.]
[Footnote 22: Admiral Irminger was charged with the task of notifying in Berlin and Vienna Christian IX.’s accession to the throne; he was granted no audience in Berlin, and left that city on the 5th for Vienna as, in Bismarck’s opinion, the Emperor would more easily receive him than the King of Prussia could.]
[Footnote 23: About L60,000.]
[Footnote 24: Silver wedding.]
[Footnote 25: Minister for the Interior, and Vice President of the Ministry of State.]
* * * * *