[Translated from the Moniteur of May 2, 1865.]
Corps Legislatif—Sitting of Monday, May 1.
President Schneider. M. the minister of state has the floor to transmit a communication from the government. [The assembly becomes very attentive and silent.]
His Excellency M. Rouher, Minister of State. Gentlemen: An odious crime has plunged in mourning a people composed of our allies and friends. The news of that odious act has produced throughout the civilized world a sentiment of indignation and horror. [Assent.]
Mr. Abraham Lincoln has displayed in the afflicting struggle which convulses his country that calm firmness and that invincible energy which belong to strong minds, and are a necessary condition for the accomplishment of great duties. [Repeated assent.]
After the victory he had shown himself generous, moderate, and conciliatory. [Page 52] [Hear, hear.] He was anxious to at once terminate the civil war and restore to America, by means of peace, her splendor and prosperity. [Hear, hear.]
The first chastisement that Providence inflicts on crime is to render it powerless to retard the march of good. [Repeated assent.] The deep emotion and elevated sympathies which are being displayed in Europe will be received by the American people as a consolation and an encouragement. The work of appeasement commenced by a great citizen will be completed by the national will. [Hear, hear.] The Emperor’s government has sent to Washington the expression of a legitimate homage to the memory of an illustrious statesman torn from the government of the States by an execrable assassination.
By his Majesty’s order I have the honor to communicate to the legislative body the despatch addressed by the minister of foreign affairs to our represenative at Washington. It is thus worded: [For the despatch see note from Mr. Drouyn de Lhuys to Mr. de Geofroy. The reading was frequently interrupted by expressions of approbation and by applause.]
This despatch, gentlemen, does not call for any comment. The Emperor, the public bodies, and France, from one end to the other, are unanimous in their sentiments of reprobation for a detestable crime, in their homage to a great political character, victim of the most criminal passions, and in their ardent wishes for the re-establishment of harmony and concord among the great and patriotic American nation. [Unanimous assent.]
President Schneider. Gentlemen: I wish to be the interpreter of your thought in publicly expressing the grief and indignation which we have all felt on learning the news of the bloody death of President Lincoln. That execrable crime has revolted all that is noble in the heart of France. Nowhere has more profound or more universal emotion been felt than in our country. We therefore heartily join in the sentiments and sympathies which have been manifested by the government. [Yes, yes.]
Having been called to the direction of public affairs at an ever-memorable crisis, Mr. Abraham Lincoln has always proved himself fully equal to his difficult mission. After having shown his immovable firmness in the struggle, he seemed by the wisdom of his language and of his views destined to bring about a fruitful and durable reconciliation between the sons of America. [Hear, hear.]
His last acts worthily crown the life of an honest man and a good citizen. Let us hope that his spirit and his sentiments may survive him, and inspire the American people with pacific and generous resolutions. [Approbation.]
France has deplored the bloody struggles which have afflicted humanity and civilization. She ardently desires the re-establishment of peace in the midst of that great nation, her ally and her friend. [Hear, hear.]
May our prayers be heard, and may Providence put an end to these painful trials. [Unanimous approbation.]
The legislative body acknowledges the receipt of the communication just made to it by the government, and demands that an extract of the minutes of the sitting shall be officially addressed to the minister of state. [General marks of assent.]