[From El Tiempo de Bogota of May 24, 1865.]
an american calamity! assassination of president lincoln!
The most horrible and frightful crime, without example in republican America, has just been perpetrated in Washington; a crime without defence, excuse, or extenuation; a crime coldly premeditated and coldly executed, as a consequence of the dark political plottings of the leaders of a ferocious party; of that party which opposes throughout the world every principle of liberty, every aspiration of independence, all progress in the life of humanity. The crime committed in Washington is not an isolated crime engendered by spirit of the slavery fanatic to the point of putting the pistol and dagger in the hands of New Ravaillacs. No; the crime committed in Washington, being futile for the return of things to the state in which they were before the proclamation of emancipation, the law abolishing slavery and the surrender of Richmond, could have had no other than vengeance for its object. But in republics, where the killing of men does not kill ideas, the death of Mr. Lincoln could have had no ulterior object connected with the war or the re-establishment of slavery in the southern States. These were and are still dead questions. The object of removing Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward from the political scenes of the world was more distant, of greater dimensions, and of more transcendent consequences to republican America. We may be mistaken in our fears, but we catch a glimmering from the dark councils of the despots of every lineage on the other side of the Atlantic, of the exterminating thought which armed the assassins of the night of the 14th of April.
Lincoln was a man of iron, of firm will, irresistible; he was the personification of the liberal idea in its genuine acceptation; he was beloved by his fellow-citizens, and sustained by the statesmen and generals of the greatest and most merited renown in his country; he was terrible, in fine, but not a terror to the conquered confederates, to whom, in his magnanimity, he had opened his arms for reconciliation; but he was a terror to others—to the unwelcome invaders of Mexico, to the enemies of republics, of the world of Columbus.
There may be temerity in our conjectures, but the idea, the fear, the suspicion, are not exclusively ours. Not a single friend who has casually fallen in our way that does not harbor them. There is a secret instinct in men which tells them from whence come the dangers that threaten them, and rarely are they mistaken in listening to it.
Mr. Seward was, and may continue to be, as he still lives, the second person, the second thought of Lincoln—the incarnation with him of the liberal opinion and progress of his country; of that country the most enlightened, the richest, the most indomitable, the most powerful of the earth now and henceforward. Seward has been able to do much for the republican liberty of the continent, and he was a terror also.
But they are sadly mistaken who think of checking in the United States of the north the inevitable course of events long since marked out by opinion, for opinion is the true despotic queen of the American Union. It wills and does everything in spite of those who govern. There the people command, the people give impulse and make themselves obeyed by their chiefs and leaders.
*. *. *.*. *. *
We cannot but feel deeply pained and an indefinable indignation at the sorrowful event. Sympathizing for four years past with Mr. Lincoln and his Secretary, admiring their ability and patriotism, we are overwhelmed with grief at the immense loss, which is a loss so great to the cause of America. Our brothers of the north receive our deepest and most sincere condolence.
If Lincoln and Seward have died, their glory, their splendid glory, survives them; and that glory is and will be the glory of a gigantic people.