American Residents of Florence
American meeting in Florence on account of the death of Abraham Lincoln.
Pursuant to a call of the consul general, the citizens of the United States resident or temporarily staying at Florence met at the consulate on Tuesday, May 2, to take such measures consequent on the death of President Lincoln as might seem appropriate. The meeting, numbering nearly one hundred American gentlemen, was called to order by Hiram Powers, esq, and, on his motion, Col. Lawrence, the consul general, was appointed chairman, and Dr. B. B. Appleton, of Boston, chosen secretary.
Col. Lawrence, on taking the chair, addressed the meeting as follows:
Fellow-countrymen: We have met here to-day, united as mourners and companions in a common sorrow, to take counsel together in a national calamity, [Page 447] in an unspeakable and overwhelming grief, which bows our heads and fills our hearts. One of the best of Presidents, one of the purest of statesmen, one of the truest of men is no more, and the lamentation which arises from every part of our land finds a responsive echo in our own bosoms. The appalling tragedy which has removed our Chief Magistrate is absolutely without parallel or precedent in history. Cæsar found a Brutus because he had trampled upon the liberties of his country; Henri Quatre fell by the hand of an insane fanatic; but it has remained for the nineteenth century, for a period when civilization and Christianity are supposed to exert greater influence than ever before, to produce a cold-blooded and cowardly assassin to strike down a President acknowledged, even by his enemies, to be possessor of the highest virtues, and to have been actuated throughout his public career solely by a single-hearted and unselfish patriotism.
It is not my belief that this fearful deed is either indorsed or approved by the people of the south; I believe at home and abroad that they are sincere in ignoring the infamous crime. But the broad fact nevertheless exists, that with the institution of slavery the pistol and bowie-knife have gone hand in hand, and that under its dominion personal revenge has avowedly been permitted to take precedence of established law. As a result of slavery, therefore, we owe this awful deed, and let us thank the Almighty that, as an institution, it has perished forever.
Gentlemen, it is unnecessary for me to pronounce a eulogy upon President Lincoln—he needs none; there is his record—the world knows it by heart. His memory will gain new lustre as time rolls on, and history will accord him a niche in the temple of fame second only to that occupied by our immortal Washington.
At the conclusion of Colonel Lawrence’s remarks the following resolutions were draughted by a committee appointed for the purpose and adopted unanimously:
The American residents and visitors in Florence, desiring to give expression to their profound horror and grief on account of the atrocious crime by which our beloved country has been deprived of its honored and revered Chief Magistrate, hereby resolve—
That while we see in the assassination of President Lincoln an act of barbarity unparalleled in the annals of crime, yet we are constrained to regard and denounce it as naturally and logically related to the grand conspiracy which has aimed at the overthrow of our republican institutions.
That while we recognize the hand of Providence in this great calamity which has plunged the nation into mourning, we yet feel that the Divine power and goodness will so overrule it as to give stability and prosperity to our people, and to render lastingly triumphant the cause of freedom.
That while we appreciate the great and patriotic work accomplished by our late President, which will secure for him an undying place in history, we believe that his violent death will but lend additional lustre to the noble and manly virtues of this worthy successor of Washington.
That, in common with all loyal Americans at home and abroad, we hereby express our heartfelt sympathy with the bereaved family of the President in this hour of desolating affliction.
That in token of our respect and sorrow we will wear a badge of mourning for thirty days.
It was voted that a copy of these resolutions be transmitted to his Excellency the President of the United States.
The chairman stated that deputations from various public associations existing in Florence had waited upon him to express their sympathy in the dire calamity which had befallen the United States, and that addresses to the same effect had been received by him from other cities of Italy.[Page 448]
After a vote of thanks to the chairman for his opening remarks, and for his acceptable manner of presiding, the meeting was dissolved.
- T. BIGELOW LAWRENCE, Chairman,
- B. B. APPLETON, Secretary.