Mr. Judd to Mr. Seward .
Berlin, May 2, 1865.
Sir: In my despatch No. 95, you were informed that I had named Monday, the first day of May, as the time to receive from the members of the Prussian House of Deputies, their address of condolence on account of the death of President Lincoln, and the attempt to assassinate yourself. A note received in the morning of that day appointed five o’clock p. m. as the hour at which the deputation would be at the legation for that purpose.
I had concluded, from some casual remark of a member, that the deputation would be composed of some six or eight members; but, to my pleasurable surprise on its arrival, I found it numbered twenty-six of the most talented, celebrated and influential men of the Chamber, headed by the venerable President Grabow, first vice-president, Herr von Unruh, and second vice-president Herr von Backum Dolffs. The additional names of the members of the committee were as follows:
Dr. William Loewe; Prof. Dr. Virchow; Baron von Vaerst, Stavenhagen; Dr. Jur. Waldeck; Parrisius; Von Bonin, (ex-minister;) Bassenge; Schrœder; Dr. Ziegert; Duncker; Lent; Baron von Zedlitz and Kurzbach; Riebold; Schneider; Dr. Johann Jacoby; Raffauf; Von Saucken, Tarputschen; Dr. Siemens; Dahlmaun; Dr. Krebs; Dr. Von Bunsen.
The title of doctor repeatedly recurring indicates a university degree, and not that of a physician as used in our country. Dr. Loewe, who had the honor of your personal acquaintance when he resided in New York, (the political troubles of 1848 and 1849 having caused his temporary absence from Prussia,) as stated in a former despatch, presented the address, with a few remarks in German expressive of the deep feeling in all Germany at the death of Mr. Lincoln, and your narrow escape from the same fate at the hand of an assassin, which he followed by reciting the address in full. After apologizing in German for my imperfect use of that language, and asking to be allowed to respond in English, I expressed the thanks of the government and the people of the United States for this sympathetic manifestation of interest in our affliction, [Page 496] assuring them that the latest advices happily stated your improving condition, although the danger had not yet fully passed. That they might rest under the certain conviction that the object sought to be accomplished by the conspirators in these horrible and murderous attacks would not succeed. The government would not be paralyzed, but move stoutly and firmly forward in the political and social regeneration of the communities in rebellion. That the experience of the last four years had demonstrated, beyond question, the power of a people, under a republican form of government, to resist and overcome interior commotion and rebellion That the administration of public affairs has passed to a new President, habituated to public life and to deal with national questions, and whose talents and firmness of purpose would speedily bring into submission what little remained of the rebellious spirit. That revenge was no part of our national character, but security for the future was the essential element that would control and guide the conduct of public affairs. That the people of the United States appreciated the sympathy of the German people during this terrible rebellion, and that the soldiers of German birth, many of whom not even citizens, would be held in lasting remembrance by a grateful people, and that their memory would be bound with the laurel common to all who had fought this battle of freedom, without distinction as to nativity or color. One member of the committee, Mr. Schneider Sagan, was then in mourning for an only son killed at Petersburg, Virginia, and another, Deputy Raffauf, has now a son serving in the army of the United States. The German heart has been more moved by these awful occurrences than by any event in their own history since the year 1813. In the minds of the great mass of German readers, Mr. Lincoln had come to symbolize the republic in all its attributes of the liberty and equality of all men, and their aspirations and hopes turned to him with admiration and affection. They feel that in him all humanity has lost a pure and noble champion.
After the close of my remarks some time was spent in friendly conversation with the various members of the committee, and I parted with them at last, deeply gratified and consoled by this mark of generous and noble sympathy with our people and our cause.
I enclose herewith the original address, with an English translation thereof by the secretary of this legation, Mr. Kreismann, who was present during the interview. It is signed by two hundred and thirty-eight members of the Chamber, and I feel persuaded that a fit place will be assigned by you for this interesting document in the archives of the State Department.
Your old acquaintance and friend, Professor Telikampf, a member of the upper house, sought and obtained leave to add his signature. You will readily find his, to you, familiar hand writing.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State, Washington.