Hellenic Greeks of Constantinople
An address of sympathy of the Hellenic Greeks of Constantinople to Hon. E. Joy Morris, United States minister, April 30, 1865.
[Translation from the Greek.]
Honored Minister of the American People:
Amidst our rejoicing for the triumph of the sacred cause of human rights in the United States, our hearts have been afflicted by the sad news of the assassination of President Lincoln, and of the attempt on the life of the Secretary of State, William H. Seward.
Overcast with clouds of war are the faces of sorrowing millions! Universal humanity weeps in sympathizing sorrow with bereaved America! The champion of the people, the friend of man, the savior of his country, the illustrious President Lincoln has fallen a victim to the malignity of a hireling assassin! The demoniac passions of slavery, which in vain vented their fury against the solid structure of the American Union, have exhausted their revengeful malevolence in the murder of the best of men and the wisest of rulers! Accursed be the arm that struck the fatal blow! Enemies of God and man must be they who planned and they who executed such a terrible deed! In immortal infamy will their names live, side by side with the imperishable glory of him they slew! Posterity will never forget the hideousness of the barbarous cause of which they were the mercenary instruments, nor the world-wide services of their noble-hearted victim! Another martyr to liberty and right has been sacrificed to the hatred of the enemies of the people, but the great republic, of which he was the head, and which they sought to kill also, lives in spite of their malicious rage—it yet lives, thanks to God, a terror to despots and a pillar of hope to oppressed millions!
The race of great men is not yet exhausted in your country, respected sir; liberty is prolific in statesman genius, but despotism casts a withering blight on society, and dries up the springs of national greatness. In this hour of need the intellectual might of the republic will exhibit itself in all its strength. The hour of peril for a free country is the hour of glorious achievements. Despond not, America. Mighty and inexhaustible are your resources in men, such men as freedom alone can create. Honored sir, convey this Grecian wail of sorrow to your fellow-countrymen, and tell them the name of Lincoln is endeared to the heart of every Greek, that we regard him as our friend and benefactor as well as theirs, and that his name and actions will never be effaced from our grateful memory. Deign to accept, sir, this laurel-crowned portrait of the illustrious man, whose cruel death we mourn in common with you. The laurel is interwoven with the sable emblem of mortal woe. It is typical of the blended feelings with which [Page 617] we have this day approached you—joy for deeds of unfading renown, and sorrow that so glorious a career has been so suddenly arrested. Cherish, sir, this humble gift of the Greeks of Constantinople as a testimony of the good will we bear to the nation you represent, and of our appreciation of the character and services of its great citizen, whom the genius of history will crown with a wreath of unfading glory as the mighty liberator who broke the shackles of four millions of slaves, and forever effaced from the national escutcheon the reproachful stain of human thraldom.