“Madam: I have the honor to present to your Majesty the letter of the President of the United States of America, accrediting me as minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary near your Majesty’s government. . . Feeling myself a lively interest in all that concerns the government and nation of Spain, . . . it may be proper for me to say that the duty that has devolved upon me to maintain the mutual friendship between the two governments and nations, affords me personally very great pleasure.”Gustave Koerner to Queen Isabella of Spain, 04 November 1862.


Gustave Koerner – Minister to Spain

About Koerner | Koerner’s Youth | Emigration | Travel in U.S. | Politics and Lincoln | Civil War | Spain | Publications By or About | Family

Abraham Lincoln nominated Gustave Koerner Minister to Spain on 06 June 1862 with the United States in the midst of the War of the Rebellion, or Civil War. The Senate confirmed the nomination on 12 June 1862. [Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America. Variant Title on Library of Congress Web site, American Memories: Senate executive journal.]

Foreign Relations of the United States: Spain

The quote above was published in United States Department of State, Message of the President of the United States, and accompanying documents, to the two houses of Congress, at the commencement of the second session of the thirty-eighth Congress, Part II (1863/1864); Foreign Relations of the United States: Spain; U.S. Serial Set, microfiche no. 1181:964.

Read the published diplomatic correspondence to and from Koerner as Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary to Spain in Foreign Relations of the United States, electronic facsimile provided by the Libraries of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Simply enter the name – Gustave Koerner – in the search box on that Web site.


Koerner’s Original Handwritten Dispatches from Spain

Koerner’s original dispatches and correspondence while Minister to Spain are available on microfilm from the National Archives, Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State, Microcopy 31, roll 44, vol. 45, 25 June 1862 – 28 December 1863, Washington, D.C., 1957.

The microfilm (roll 44) contains communications, with their enclosures, addressed to the Department of State by the following diplomatic representatives of the United States to Spain:

  • Gustavus Koerner, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary: unnumbered communications dated at Belleville, Illinois (25 June 1862), and Madrid (16 November 1862 – 04 October 1863) and despatches 1–51 (Madrid, 13 October 1862 – 14 June 1863), 52 (Bern, Switzerland, 14 August 1863), and 53–70 (Madrid, 18 September – 28 December 1863).
  • Horatio J. Perry, Secretary of Legation and Charge’ d’Affaires ad interim: unnumbered communications dated at Madrid (04 April – 21 November 1863) and despatches 93–101 (Madrid, 05–19 July 1863), 102–108 (La Granja [San Ildefonso], 25 July–11 August 1863), 109–111 (Valencia, 24-27 August 1863), and 112–114 (Madrid, 12-18 September 1863).

Koerner’s letter dated 25 June 1862 from Belleville to Hon. Wm. H. Seward, accepts the appointment as Minister to Spain. Koerner writes he plans to visit Washington D.C. before sailing from New York in August, and that he is a native of the city of Frankfurt o/M [on the Main], Germany.On 13 October 1862 Koerner again writes Seward, this time from Madrid. Koerner mentions his arrival at Paris on the 8th of September. Here he learned by the newspapers that the Queen of Spain was setting out to visit her southern provinces for four to six weeks.Since Koerner could not be presented before her return, he took his time reaching Madrid with a detour by Berne, Frankfurt, Cologne, and finally Marseilles on the 5th of October. Subsequently he took a steamer via Barcelona and Valencia, then rail to Madrid, arriving on the 12th of October.

Koerner interviewed officials in Germany and Switzerland, principal bankers in Cologne, merchants and businessmen during this journey to “ascertain the public feeling” with regard to American Affairs in light of the War of the Rebellion currently raging.

A transcription of this letter will appear on this Web site in the near future.

The Gustave Koerner House

200 Abend
Belleville, IL 62220

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