Mr. Morris to Mr. Hunter
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of despatch No. 87, and the circular containing the official announcement of the assassination of President Lincoln. In a previous despatch I referred at large to the universal feeling of horror and indignation which such a monstrous crime had produced among all classes of the population of this capital. No human event, it seems to me, could inspire a deeper and more widespread sense of sorrow and abhorrence than such a crime against such a man. President Lincoln’s course of action, during his four years’ term of office, had been so honorable to himself and so useful to his country, that he had won even the respect of the enemies of the noble cause he championed. He lived long enough to refute the calumnies of his foreign assailants, and to confound the wicked schemes of domestic traitors. His steady perseverance in the course of right, his unshaken faith in ultimate success, and the stern loyalty he exhibited to the Constitution, astonished the European world, and enforced its admiration of one of the grandest exhibitions of moral courage and of the conscientious discharge of duty to be found in ancient or modern history. He has descended to the tomb with an untarnished fame, and honored alike by the kings and people of Europe, and the citizens of republican America.
Since my last despatch a deputation has called on me on the part of the [Page 291] American church and nationality to express their condolence, and their hopes that slavery, the cause of all our woes, will be forever eradicated in the United States. This delegation consisted of three of the highest ecclesiastical dignitaries of the American church.
Enclosed will be found copies of despatches to the United States consuls at Bey rout and Smyrna, to which I respectfully call attention, Their main object is to disabuse the public mind of any erroneous impressions as to the character and qualifications of President Johnson. I am pleased to say that the elevated and rare traits of character which distinguished President Johnson, and his eminent capacity for the high trusts devolved upon him, are now beginning to be appreciated, and the European public are conscious that the destinies of the United States are guided by a firm and vigorous mind, which cannot be intimidated by any array of difficulties, and which is equal to any emergency. Energy, force of will, inflexible patriotism, and high moral courage, are the characteristics now ascribed to President Johnson, and they are producing a most salutary feeling of respect and regard for the nation over which he presides. Among Americans unlimited confidence is entertained in President Johnson, and the assurance is cherished that his administration will be a fitting sequel to that of his illustrious predecessor.
I respectfully suggest the propriety of giving publicity, through the press,to the addresses of felicitation and of sympathy made to me on the part of theHelenic Greeks of Constantinople. That of sympathy is full of eloquentfeeling, and does such honor to the generous people for whom it speaks, that Iventure to express the opinion that it ought be spread before the American republic.* * * * *
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William Hunter, Acting Secretary of State.
(For enclosure see Appendix, separate volume.)