Mr. Talbot to Mr. Bigelow .
Sir: At the first news of the assassination of President Lincoln we had circulated the address which we send you so late to-day.
This address was covered with the signatures of the most prominent persons of our city, and names collected from all classes of society.
Wishing to add to the number, one of our friends took the address and caused it to pass from hand to hand, and finally it was mislaid for several months.
It was impossible to think of asking for so many signatures over again, but happily we succeeded in finding the paper, and now hasten to send it to you.
We think indeed that it is never too late to testify once more the sympathy of the French people for the American people, and to add our felicitations to your President Johnson upon the re-establishment of the Union in a manner at once so conciliating and so energetic, so firm and so lawful.
Thus America gives to the Old World a grand and noble lesson. Among us, a powerful general, commanding nearly a million soldiers, would have profited by that crime to proclaim that it was necessary to save the republic by a dictatorship, and he would at last have destroyed it for the profit of personal ambition.
With you the Constitution has been respected with a sublime simplicity. Grant, Sherman, and all your generals remain simple citizens but great citizens.
We thank them, we thank your President, and your noble American people for giving to us at this day the spectacle of the manly virtues of the bright days of the Roman republic—to us people of the Latin race, who have now before our eyes only Octaviuses, without vigor, tottering in their buskins while trying to play the part of worn out Caesars, amid the suppressed jeers of Europe.
Hail, then, to Johnson, to Grant, to Sherman! Hail to all your citizens, and Heaven grant that they may send back to France with the winds of the ocean—with its tempests if need be—those powerful blasts of liberty which it sent to them a century ago, at its first awaking.
We salute you fraternally.
Mr. Bigelow, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the United States, at Paris.