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Emperor Napoleon; “I- a- have made an offer to my friend here, and –“
The Man in Possession; “No, have you, though? – I rather think I was the party to apply to.”
Emperor Napoleon; “Oh, indeed! Ah! Then in that case I’ll- But it’s of no consequence.”
His Majesty writes to me “Count Benedetti spoke to me on the promenade, in order to demand from me, finally in a very importunate manner, that I should authorize him to telegraph at once that I bound myself for all future time never again to give my consent if the Hohenzollerns should renew their candidature. I refused at last somewhat sternly, as it is neither right nor possible to undertake engagements of this kind a tout jamais. Naturally I told him that I had as yet received no news, and as he was earlier informed about Paris and Madrid he could clearly see that my government once more had no hand in the matter.” His Majesty has since received a letter from the Prince. His Majesty having told Count Benedetti that he was awaiting news from the Prince, has decided, with reference to the above demand, not to receive Count Benedetti again, but only to let him be informed, through an aide-de-camp; That His Majesty has now received from the Prince confirmation of the news which Benedetti
already received from Paris, and has nothing further to say to the ambassador. His Majesty leaves it to your excellency whether Benedetti’s fresh demand and its rejection should be at once communicated both to ambassadors and to the press.
After the news of the renunciation of the hereditary Prince of Hohenzollern had been officially communicated to the imperial government of France by the royal government of Spain, the French ambassador at Ems further demanded of his Majesty the King that he would further authorise him to telegraph to Paris that his Majesty the King bound himself for all future time never again to give his consent if the Hohenzollerns should renew their candidature. The Majesty the King thereupon decided not to receive the French ambassador again, and sent to tell him through the aide-de-camp on duty that his Majesty had nothing further to say to the ambassador.
M. Benedetti, a diplomatist of the first rank, aware doubtless of the Imperial wishes, on the 14th inst., without asking for an audience, assailed the King with this demand on the public promenade of Ems. King William accepted this act as it was meant, as a breach of etiquette intended to imply inferiority, and turning to his aide-de-camp, Count Lehndorff, ordered him to inform M. Benedetti that his Majesty had no communication to make, and would give him no audience. M. Benedetti thereupon quitted Ems.
To make sure of a repulse, the French Ambassador, M. Benedetti, received instructions which induced him to assail the King on the public promenade of Ems with this demand, an affront which, even in the history of French diplomacy, always able, but so often arrogant, is almost without a parallel. It was met with haughty dignity, the King, looking steadily at M. Benedetti, ordered the aide-de-camp by his side to inform him that he declined to receive him, having no further communication to make,—and the Emperor had at last succeeded. He had aroused the German heart at last. It was, then, insult that he meant, to be accepted under penalty of war…
This is, we believe, the only true, as it is certainly the only intelligible, explanation of the astounding incidents of the week.