[From the Opinion Nationale, April 28, 1865.]
It is with profound grief that we yesterday received the news of the abominable crime which has so suddenly extinguished in the United States a noble and precious life.
President Lincoln was one of those men who do honor to their country, to the age in which they live, and to all humanity. The American republic never produced a better, a greater citizen.
Mr. Lincoln was the embodiment of duty. He knew but one road—the right line—and to admirable perseverance he joined a loftiness of view, a correctness of judgment, a moderation, a generosity of sentiment which inspired respect, commanded admiration, and elicited sympathy.
Mr. Seward, whose life we still hope will be preserved, is himself a man of integrity—a remarkable politician—a diplomatist of skill and tact, altogether exceptionable, which he has proved under circumstances peculiarly difficult, in warding off from his country the constantly threatening danger of foreign complications.
One thing only can console us in this heavy misfortune: the crime will remain an abortive one. The Union, re-established by President Lincoln, will be free from all attacks after the last and decisive victories of Grant and his generals. We will say more. It is in the nature of these frightful outrages against moral and social order to recall men to the wholesome appreciation of things, to the necessity of concord, and the importance of fraternity; and the assassination of Mr. Lincoln will lead to the more speedy return to the Union of the defenders of the secessionists’ cause, who are in a state of alarm and consternation at a crime of which they are innocent, but which was none the less committed in the name of their cause.
It is true that on the 6th of April Mr. Jefferson Davis published a proclamation in which he declared his intention to carry on the war; but this manifest was previous to the surrender of Lee and his army, and the valiant general who laid down his arms in order to avoid a perfectly useless shedding of blood, morally obliged Mr. Davis to give up a struggle which henceforward could hold out no possible hope of success.
If he persisted it would prove that passion had the mastery of his reason, and that pride goes for much in that ill-understood patriotism which has done nothing but heap disasters upon disasters and ruin upon ruin.
If, besides, the conduct of General Lee had not enlightened Mr. Jefferson Davis, the blood which has just flowed at Washington under the steel of assassins, would, no doubt, bring him to his senses, if it were only to ward off an accusation which would not fail to be made, that of having seen in the crime of the assassins an unexpected piece of good fortune, and having sought to turn it to account in resuscitating a ruined cause.
In another column will be found some circumstantial details of the great assassination, and we devote a special article to the policy of President Lincoln.
The emotion caused by the death of Mr. Lincoln has been immense in England, and the London journals manifest with energy the horror with which this frightful outrage has inspired them.
An address of condolence has been presented to the American minister by the members of the house of commons. Business has been suspended at the exchange and in the markets; and the most enthusiastic partisans of the secessionist cause have themselves expressed the most intense indignation.—Editorial.