Translation of letter from the Union Americana, of Santiago.
Sir: The atrocious crime which has plunged your noble country in the most profound and just affliction cannot fail to draw forth expressions of grief from all who learn the mournful news, and such we come to utter to you in the name of the Union Americana of Santiago.
We, who have rejoiced in the triumphs obtained by the soldiers of the law and the apostles of humanity in the titanic war against slavery, uniting our hopes and prayers to those of the people and government of the United States—we, who were preparing to join in their songs of victory and to applaud, as heretofore, their heroism in battle, their clemency in the hour of triumph—today accompany in their grief that people and government, who have lost in Mr, Lincoln one of their best and most illustrious representatives.
The deplorable system which during four years has been aiming at the life of your country, and which had for its base and object the most horrible and [Page 33] unjustifiable iniquity, slavery, has concluded by summing up and declaring itself in the most iniquitous and inexcusable of crimes, the assassination of President Lincoln, thus confirming, as a sentence without appeal, the anathema which all free men and free nations have launched against it.
Those of your fellow-citizens who, misled, have allowed themselves to be dragged by party passions or by interests of caste into a fratricidal war, may read to-day, in the ashes of their cities, how powerless and direful, and, in the death of Mr. Lincoln, how sterile and perverse, were the designs and instruments which have served the most odious of causes; and may God grant that, horrified by results so lamentable, they may turn to the aggrandizement of the country all the means and all the abilities employed during four years to destroy it. The blood of the President martyr thus counsels them, and thus also the hand of the assassin, from an ignominious solidarity with whom they ought to justify themselves, protesting by deeds, not of a blind party, but such as are worthy a great and enlightened people.
Amid the painful emotions excited by this atrocious deed, it is at the same time a consolation and a lesson to perceive that the victim and the slayer were each faithful to the principles and the flag which each defended—in the name of which one dies, noble and magnanimous, as he had lived, serving his country and humanity; and the other, a brutal assassin, strikes, serving the monstrous requirements of an oligarchy or the instigations of a shameful speculation.
The death of the honored and patriotic President is, for your country, and even for the entire world, a just cause for immense grief; but it is not and cannot be a motive for doubting the triumph and final consolidation of the work begun a hundred years ago by Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin, converting three millions of weak colonists into as many proud citizens, and which, to-day, is crowned by Lincoln, Grant, and Seward, converting four millions of poor slaves into as many free men, who will consolidate with their efforts the most just and prolific of governments.
Amid the bitter grief which the death of Mr. Lincoln has caused us, and which has crowned with the aureola of martyrdom the defender of the Union, and has placed the stigma of infamy upon the brow of the dying rebellion, we do not cease to feel the most abiding confidence that the situation of your country must continue developing itself in the most prosperous and secure manner; that the bloody hand of an assassin will not be permitted to retard the chariot of civilization, nor to impede the triumphantly progressive march of democracy.
The atrocious deed of the parricide Booth has proven that the cause of law, of Union, and of true republican government is not bound to the inspiration and energy of a single individual, even though that individual be great of soul as Lincoln, but to the decision, the prudence, the self-denial of a nation, which, after teaching to the world that the practice of liberty is the most fruitful condition of prosperity, has taught it that in that practice are to be found the elements of war and victory, and will yet teach it that therein alone are rooted and flourishing the germs of concord and true fraternity.
And thus will be belied one by one the doleful auguries which badly informed or evil-intentioned statesmen have not ceased to utter, ever since the shadows of civil war came to eclipse the splendor of the stars of your country, which by its course, in defeat and victory, in peace or war, has once again proved that the only and indispensable conditions for the stability of a government are liberty in all its forms, and justice in all its applications.
In expressing to you, sir, our grief for the death of President Lincoln, and also our confidence in the proximate and lasting re-establishment of the Union, we believe ourselves to be not only the organ of our society, but that of our entire country, which has always found in the events of your prosperity motives for cordial rejoicing, and in those of your adversity even more powerful ones to sympathize, as to-day, in a grief the most profound and just.[Page 34]
Be pleased, sir, to receive the considerations of high esteem with which we have the honor to subscribe ourselves your obedient servants.
- MANUEL BLANCO ENCALADA.
- M. A. MATTA.
- PEDRO MONCAYO.
- JUAN AUGUSTIN PALAZUELOS.
- DEMETRIO RODRIGUES PEÑA.
Hon. Thos. H. Nelson, &c., &c., &c.