Mr. Dickenson to Mr. Hunter.


No. 101.]

Sir: Your despatch No. 69, dated April 17, conveying the painful intelligence of the assassination of President Lincoln and the murderous assault upon the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of State, has been received and read with a mixture of indignation, horror, and grief, altogether beyond the power of words to express.

That even the rebellion itself, black and terrible as are its crimes, could be guilty of murdering our honored President, who was well known to harbor the kindliest feelings and the most forgiving spirit, even towards his enemies, and so cowardly assaulting with murderous intent his chief adviser and supporter, while in a helpless state on a sick-bed, for the purpose of robbing the nation of two of its ablest defenders, was beyond belief, until the fiendish acts themselves, with their surroundings, proved to be a part of its atrocious work.

It would seem also that the avenging arm of the storn patriot who is now our President was justly feared by the infamous traitors, and that he also was to be stricken down with the other strong pillars of the state, in order that the whole national fabric might thus be pulled down, Samson-like, and crushed together with the rebellion.

But even while we mourn for the long list of illustrious dead, headed by our honored chief, we can still thank God that our country survives their loss, to be held only the more precious and sacred hereafter because of the blood which has been shed in its defence.

Since the receipt of the melancholy news I have had the flags kept at half mast and the legation draped in mourning. I also take due note of the order to wear crape on the left arm.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


W. Hunter, Esq.,
Acting Secretary of State.