M. de Lhuys to M. de Geofroy .
[Translation—Communicated by the French legation.]
Paris, April 28, 1865.
Sir: The news of the crime of which President Lincoln has recently become the victim has caused to the imperial government a profound sentiment of indignation.
His Majesty immediately charged one of his aides-de-camp to repair to the residence of the minister of the United States, to ask him to transmit at once the expression of his indignation to Mr. Johnson, who is now invested with the presidency. I also desired, myself, by the despatch which I addressed to you of yesterday’s date, to apprise you, without delay, of the sorrowful emotion we have felt, and I have to-day, in conformity with the will of the Emperor, to render merited homage to the great citizen whose loss the United States deplore.
Elevated to the chief magistration of the republic by the suffrage of his countrymen, Abraham Lincoln had brought to the exercise of the powers placed in his hands the most substantial qualifications. Force of character was allied in him with loftiness of principle. Therefore, his vigorous spirit never quailed before the terrible trials reserved for his government. At the moment when an atrocious crime snatched him from the mission which he filled with the sense of religious duty, he enjoyed the consciousness that the triumph of his policy was definitively assured.
His recent proclamations are traces of the thoughts of prudence which inspired him in undertaking resolutely the task of reorganizing the Union, and of consolidating peace. The supreme satisfaction of accomplishing this work has not been accorded to him. But, in gathering up these last testimonials of his high wisdom, as well as the examples of good sense, of courage, and of patriotism, which he has given, history will not hesitate to place him in the rank of citizens who have done most honor to their country.
By order of the Emperor, I transmit this despatch to the minister of state, who is charged to communicate it to the senate and legislative body. France will unanimously take share in this thought of the Emperor.
Mr. L. de Geofroy,
Chargé d’Affaires of France, Washington.
P. S.—You will please remit a copy of this despatch to the Secretary of State of the United States.