Mr. Harvey to Mr. Seward .
Lisbon, May 11, 1865.
Sir: The papers will bring to your view the proceedings of the Cortes in regard to the recent melancholy event which has so much shocked the civilized world.
The note of the minister of foreign affairs only communicates the action of the Chamber of Deputies, because the motion in that body specially required it to be done, while that in the Peers did not do so. I have thought it best, however, to send a translated copy of the full proceedings in both branches of the Cortes, in order that their spirit may be the better appreciated. The tardy publication of the official journal does not permit at this time (on the eve of the departure of the mails) such a translation as I desired to furnish, but the general tone of the speeches is fairly reported. That of Mr. Rebello da Silva, in the Peers, was remarkably eloquent and touching, and has received very imperfect justice at the hands of the translator. In the pressure of the moment it has been found impracticable to translate one of the addresses, which is communicated in the original.
It seemed to me only becoming to make an acknowledgment of the note of the Chamber of Deputies.
Every manifestation of respect to the memory of the late President Lincoln which could be expected or desired has been made by this government and people, both in an official and in a private manner. His Majesty the King, immediately upon being informed of the sad event, sent me the kindest words of sympathy and regret. Every member of the government called in person to express similar sentiments, and when our ships-of-war, the Niagara and Kearsarge, exhibited the customary signs of mourning, on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday last, the Portuguese national ships not only united in a similar observance, but Castle Belem also responded to all the salutes, by order of the authorities, and without any notice or request on our part.
While upon this subject I may be permitted to remark, as quite worthy of [Page 511]notice, that the popular legislative bodies of the different states of Europe have taken the initiative in nearly all the expressions of public sympathy. Such a tribute was not only fitting in itself towards our lamented President, but the fact is significant of a mighty change and progress in ideas and usages, as it is of a coming time, in the near future, when the peoples of Europe will claim the right to assert those great principles of political and personal liberty which Abraham Lincoln illustrated so well, and for which he may be said to have even made a sacrifice of his life.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State.