Mr. Motley to Mr. Hunter
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your circular, of date April 17, giving official intelligence of the horrible crimes committed at Washington on the night of the 14th April, and of the great national bereavement in the death of our wise, courageous, and virtuous President.
As I have already, both in official despatches and private letters, expressed my emotions upon this awful calamity, and alluded to the intense and universal sympathy which it has excited throughout this country and the civilized world, I confine myself to-day simply to acknowledge your despatch.
You further inform me that Andrew Johnson has formally entered upon the duties of President, and I beg through you to offer my most respectful good wishes to the new Chief Magistrate of the nation, together with an expression of entire confidence in the zeal, patriotism, and great ability with which he seems assuredly destined to carry out the great work of the national redemption from the horrors of treason and slavery.
Already there is a general feeling of respect, not unmixed with astonishment, felt throughout Europe for the steadiness and tranquillity with which this change in the executive head of the government has been effected in the midst of a tragedy almost unparalleled in history, and of a popular emotion hardly ever known before.
The world’s faith in the stability and beneficence of democratic institutions is not likely to be diminished by so noble a spectacle of national anguish, tempered by national self-reliance.
You likewise notify me that you have been authorized temporarily to act as Secretary of State, and I shall accordingly have the honor to address my despatches to you in that capacity.
I have the honor to remain, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William Hunter, Acting Secretary of State.