Mr. Webb to Mr. Seward .
Rio de Janeiro, May 23, 1865.
Sir: I have no heart to dwell upon the horrible and distressing news brought by an arrival from the West Indies and confirmed on the following day by telegraphic despatches received at Lisbon on the 29th of April, and which were brought to this city by the French steamer from Bordeaux on the 24th.
I was at Petropolis. The Emperor kindly telegraphed the distressing intelligence to the Duke of Saxe, who at once sent his secretary and principal chamberlain to impart it to me, and on the following morning I came to town.
I will not attempt any description of the universal horror and dismay which this melancholy news caused among all classes in this city.
Every member of the diplomatic corps has made a visit of condolence, and the ministers of Peru and the Argentine republic have addressed to me letters expressive of their sorrow and sympathy. * * * *
I have received a very friendly letter from the government, to which I shall reply to-day, and forward by the next steamer. Also a letter of a similar character from the Marquis d’Abrantes, late minister of foreign affairs, whose friendship for our country and personal feelings towards myself are known to the department.
The Rev. Mr. Simonton, a missionary of the Presbyterian church in the United States, preached, at my request, on Sunday, the 21st, an appropriate sermon, and nearly every United States citizen resident in Rio, except a few well-known traitors, were present. At the close of the services, Mr. Simonton announced that the government officials would wear crape on the left arm for the space of thirty days, and that all our citizens were requested to do the same. Also, that the legation and consulate flags would be at half-mast during the same period; and that American vessels in port during the next thirty days would be expected to exhibit the same manifestation of mourning.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State.