[From the Constitutionnel, April 29, 1865.]
The horrible outrages committed in the United States have excited in France and throughout Europe a unanimous feeling of sorrow and indignation. All differences of political opinion vanish before assassination, and all honorable [Page 114] people, however they may be divided upon the questions of the day, feel the same horror. The death of Mr. Lincoln is a cause of mourning for all civilization.
Mr. Lincoln owed solely to himself, to his labor and his merit, his gradual elevation to political honors, and to the highest post in the country, that of Chief Magistrate. Whatever opinion may be entertained as to the conduct of the federal government, people are generally agreed, in America and in Europe, to render homage to the excellent and distinguished qualities of the President. Everybody recognized in him an upright character, honest intentions, and practical shrewdness, which was often his safest guide in that crisis in the midst of which he had been called to power, and which was one of the most terrible crises that a nation had ever had to go through.
But what will reflect most honor, perhaps, upon the memory of Mr. Lin coin is moderation. Such were the kindly dispositions, the equitable and conciliatory views, which he manifested at the moment when victory declared itself in favor of the federal cause, and a few days before the commission of the crime which so suddenly and so cruelly terminated his career, Mr. Lincoln was evidently inclined to treat the confederates less as a conquered people than as brothers and fellow-citizens whom it was necessary by all means to appease and bring back within the Union. He was wiser in that respect than certain sections of the Unionist party, whose impetuosities he had some difficulty in restraining.
The last speech of Mr. Lincoln is a summary of these generous sentiments; and his last thoughts were probably more patriotic and humane than any that he had expressed. Mr. Lincoln believed conciliation to be possible, and he indulged “the hope of a just peace.” A just peace! That expression, which embodies an entire policy, might be engraved upon his tomb.