Working Class Improvement Association
Sir: All the civilized countries, all the liberal men, are at present under the most affecting impression. The crime that struck with horror an illustrious people, worthy of universal consideration, was condemned by all those for whom the word liberty is the strongest chain that can unite them. From all quarters eloquent words were heard condemning the monstrous attempt by which the United States of America were deprived of the most useful citizen that in modern times has been elevated by that country to the high dignity of President of the United States. To these eloquent words of empires and nations, of people and states, are joined the humble homage of the Centro Promotor dos Methoramentos das Classes Laboriosas de Lisboa, that under the deepest grief shows his feelings when acquainted that Lincoln, the emancipator of the slaves, fell a victim to the stroke of a cowardly assassin.
The Centro Promotor could not do otherwise than to partake the general feelings, for his ideas were offended with the crime by which America was [Page 512] deprived of such an illustrious man, mankind of a devotional friend, and the noble and magnanimous enterprise of the emancipation of the slaves of a strong and generous arm. The endeavor in which Lincoln was engaged as a representative of his people’s ideas, which he sustained for so long a time with the most heroic deeds, meant the extinction of the most reluctant stain with which the banners of some states are yet overshadowed; it means the abolishment of slavery, the emancipation of the black race, the transformation of the slave labor into free labor. To this sacred idea the Centro should render his most respectful homage, because in peaceful struggles he incessantly works to destroy the few vestiges of slavery that may yet press upon the laborious classes. The Centro, resolute defender of those who labor, does not see in the black race but men who ought to be protected by free labor, and elevated to that rank which cannot be contested before God by any race. Abraham Lincoln was the representative of these ideas. Providence designed him as a brilliant light for guiding the noble American people to the conquest of this victory of civilization. It was he that as an instrument of divine justice made the utmost efforts to extinguish upon earth the last traces which divide men from men, and which do not permit that its fruits may be only the share of work, and not of a privileged race. How could the Centro forget this unlucky event that covered with mourning a whole people, with whom the world condole in such painful suffering? The conquest was made. The slave was free. It was not without blood that this holocaust was consummated. But never liberty nor social rights were acquired without a great and immense martyrdom. The Roman slave deserved the most precious blood that has been spread upon earth. This is the history of all the conquests of liberty. It approached the time when, under the protection of peace, should be proved the value that has for the propriety and advancement of nations the liberty of labor upon the work of the slave. Lincoln could not enjoy the result of his efforts, and show to his country where his enterprising character could arrive. Those who suffered with America this irreparable loss must have resignation, and let it be a lenitive to our grief; the well-founded hope that Lincoln’s work does not stop, and that among that free people shall appear as many statesmen as are required for this noble cause to complete its triumph.
These are, sir, the vows of the Centro; this is the manifestation of his feelings, by the fatal death of Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, the devoted friend to his people, the faithful follower of the honorable and liberal traditions of the country where Washington and Franklin lived.
ALFREDO AUGUSTO CORREA.