Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward.
Lisbon, April 28, 1865.
Sir: Mr. Adams telegraphed me last night from London the terrible news of the assassination of President Lincoln, and of an atrocious attempt upon the [Page 510] life of Mr. Seward on the same evening, the result of which is not yet known here, by the hand of another assassin. These events have excited the profoundest emotion in all the circles of Lisbon, and have called out general and particular expressions of sympathy and respect from the government, the diplomatic body, and the community.
I do not trust myself to speak of this great crime at a moment of mingled sorrow and prostration; but I may be allowed to say, that after the grief natural to such an occasion the sense of humiliation at the thought that an atrocity so awful could by possibility be perpetrated in a country like ours is that which most masters and overwhelms me.
Christian charity may, with the blessing of God, teach us to bow down before this stern trial, but the stain which it inflicts cannot soon be wiped out from a name heretofore untarnished by any such act of infamy.
If there was anything wanting to complete the fame of Mr. Lincoln, it may be found in the crown of martyrdom with which an eventful career, in a most eventful epoch, has been closed, to the regret of a whole people, who shared his convictions, honored his virtues, and lament his “taking off.”
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State.