A Royal Visitor

Saturday, December 30, 1871

Chicago’s year of trial closes with much excitement, as Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, son of Czar Alexander II, arrives in the city.  He is on a goodwill and sightseeing tour of the United States.  Mayor Medill heads the reception committee.  He begs the royal visitor to forgive “any deficiency of entertainment,” explaining, “We have been reduced almost to a pioneer condition by a blast of flame.”  He reminds Alexis that Moscow had suffered a similar fate some sixty years earlier when Napoleon invaded.  The Grand Duke acknowledges that Chicago has “passed through a conflagration without parallel in the world’s history,” and he then predicts that “the energy which raised you to the height of your former prosperity still abides in your citizens, and will help to make your future greater than your past.”