[From La France, May 3, 1865.]
moderation in victory.
The great bodies of the state have nobly associated themselves with the profound emotion with which the views of the tragic death of Mr. Lincoln has been everywhere received. Everybody will applaud the elegant language in which the minister of state yesterday branded with infamy the political assassin, and glorified the eminent man whom North America has just lost.
President Troplong, in the senate, and Vice-President Schneider, in the legislative chamber, expressed in the best manner what were the unanimous sentiments of the two chambers; in the same way M. Drouyn de Lhuys, in the important despatch addressed by him to our chargé d’affaires at Washington, represented with great fidelity the sympathetic regrets of the Emperor and the feeling of the public mind.
These official manifestations will convey to the American people the loyal expression of our sympathy for the friendly nation whose independence the arms of France assisted to achieve, and whose grandeur is dear to us; but these manifestations carry with them at the same time advice, and hopes and wishes of a just and legitimate character.
In the universal emotion which the assassination of Mr. Lincoln gives rise to, there is no doubt a natural feeling at an act of savage fanaticism which excites the indignation of every honest conscience; but there is also much grief at the disappearance from the scene of events, at the moment when his presence appeared to be most needed, of the man who could best maintain the policy of the United States in the line of moderation and justice, which is much more desirable after victory than when hostilities are pending.
Mr. Lincoln showed himself sincerely animated, during the last few days of his life, with a spirit of wise conciliation, which was the best augury for the definitive pacification of the Union.
Well, the words of condolence which the representatives of France are sending at this moment to the United States are a special encouragement to persevere in the policy of peace and clemency upon which President Lincoln had so visibly entered.
That language tells the American people that the best way to honor the memory of him whom they now lament, is to immolate upon the altar of the [Page 119] common country hatred, passion, and useless revenge, and to hold out to the beaten South a fraternal hand.
Will this appeal be heard? Everything urges it upon the good sense and patriotism of the United States. Four years of civil war have left sufficient ruin to repair, sufficient disasters to make good, sufficient wounds to heal—that all good citizens should courageously apply themselves to the work, in order to return to the American republic the material prosperity and moral greatness which she formerly possessed.
That is a policy worthy of a great nation; it is the only one that can be advised by the generous and civilized voice of France.
We could have wished that, on the part of the friends of the North, as among the friends of the South, this advice of concord and humanity should come in every variety of form from beyond the Atlantic.
Up to the present time, let us say it with regret, we have not found the expression of it in the addresses which the organs of advanced democracy, and even many Paris journals, have signed and sent to Washington.
Certainly we approve the sentiments which the members and journals of the opposition manifest with so much warmth; but if they joined with us in urging moderation in victory, forgetfulness of the past, and the re-establishment of peace on the basis of justice and right, would they not do something worthy of the civilization of the nineteenth century, and of the great policy of our time.