Democratic Association of Florence
May 8, 1865.
To the free people of the United States of America.
Brothers of the American Union: A few days have passed since your people prepared themselves to celebrate, in the decisive victory of Richmond, the proximate, infallible triumph of liberty and of the Union over servitude and disunion, when sad intelligence troubled the sincere joy of all the friends of liberty, and stopped on our lips the festive expressions of triumph and our glad wishes for the future.
Lincoln, the honest, the magnanimous citizen, the most worthy Chief Magistrate of your glorious federation, a victim of an execrable treason, is no more.
The furies of despotism and of servitude, deceived in their infamous hopes, [Page 445] incapable of sustaining any longer their combat against liberty, before falling into the abyss which threatened them, strengthened the arm of a murderer, and as they opened the fratricidal war with the gibbet of the martyr of the cause of abolition, John Brown, so they ended it, worthy of themselves, in the most ferocious and stupid of all crimes, the murder of a great citizen.
Now liberty, in stigmatizing the cause of her enemies, will have only to show to the world this gibbet and this murderer, and the people looking upon them cannot do otherwise than recollect that despots have had a share in this; that in some courts of Europe, Mason, Slidell, and the ferocious pirates of the Alabama, found protection, encouragement, and applause, and finally the wicked instigator of the civil war, Jefferson Davis, obtained consolation, praises and hopes, even in the paternal benediction of the Pope.
Brothers of the American Union, courage! The great cause for which you have supported four years of Titanic combat is the cause of humanity; its triumph can never more be doubted, and has been delayed only for a moment by the worst of actions committed by an abject murderer.
Tyranny, it is true, could sometimes be destroyed by the murder of the tyrant, because it has life only in him; but liberty, which lives in the people, has, like the people, an immortal origin and destiny.
Democratic Association of Florence, May, 8, 1865.
For the committee: