Democratic Republican Association of Florence.
Sir: As soon as it became known that the southern rebels had been defeated by the federal armies, the Societa Democratica Republicana of Florence commissioned the undersigned to present to you a congratulatory address, and to assist in a public demonstration of satisfaction, which the liberals of Florence had decided to give to you, as the representative of the republic of the United States, when unexpectedly the intelligence of the murder of Mr. Lincoln changed their hymn into elegy, their joy into sorrow.
The society which sends us to you as interpreters of its sorrow is composed of men who, loving and hoping, followed the various fortunes of the mighty war that your people have sustained, not for their own liberty, but for that of others; not for an idea, or an interest circumscribed by the boundaries of a nation, but for the great principles of morality and justice.
If upon the death of Mr. Lincoln your people for a moment trembled before the dangers that seemed to threaten your republic, they soon reassured themselves, knowing that he but reflected the character, will, and soul of his countrymen.
Mr. Lincoln has been assassinated, but the nation is immortal. It will acquire new strength and vigor from this great misfortune, and will know how to crown the work which was brought almost to an end by its chief, because the ancient race and virtues of the Puritan Pilgrims, who first landed in New England, have been transmitted, unchanged, from generation to generation to their present descendants.
A people in whom energy is nature, liberty an instinct, equality a belief, law a religion, of which republican institutions are the necessary expression, may suffer great affliction from the tragical and unexpected death of a man like Lincoln, yet it must be but a passing and surmountable misfortune.
Sir, the democracy of Europe owe to your people an eternal debt of gratitude for preserving, intact and pure, their great republic, from the model of which the nations of the old world may yet be formed anew.
Receive, sir, the assurances of our profound respect,
- A. DE GUBERNATI,
- G. DOLFI,
- A. MARIO,
- B. ODICINI,
Delegates of the Democratic Republican Association.
The Consul General of the United States, Florence.