Mr. Clay to Mr. Seward.
St. Petersburg, Russia, May 4, 1865.
Sir: I know not how to express my grief for the loss of our great and good President Lincoln, and my indignation at the crime of which he is a victim.
I thank God that you are spared to us, and I trust that our country and the nations will still continue to reap the fruit of your patriotic labors and pacific sentiments. The ambassadors of France and England called in person, and those who did not do so wrote letters full of admiration for the virtues of the late President, and horror at the crime of his assassination. His Imperial Highness the Grand Duke Constantine sent his aid-de-camp, General Greigg; her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Helen sent Baron Rosen, and his Imperial Highness the Prince d’Oldenburg called in person, all to utter sentiments of sorrow and sympathy with the American government and people. A great many distinguished Russians also expressed their grief at our loss in words and through the press. Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Helen, who is well versed in the politics and history of our country, has invited me to call upon her, informally, on Saturday, with a view of giving us further evidence of her kind feelings for our nation and its progressive cause, of which she is an admirer.
These sentiments of esteem and sadness are gratifying to me, and such as lead me to the hope that the martyrdom of our noble friend will, at home and abroad, consecrate in the hearts of all men the principles of liberty and self-government for which Lincoln lived and died.
President Johnson enters upon the duties of his office under great difficulties [Page 525] I like the words of humility and calm devotion which characterize the partial revelation of his views at his accession to office.
That which won for Mr. Lincoln most admiration in Europe was his moderation in expression and firmness in action.
The new President, we are told, proposes to retain the old cabinet, and we trust the old policy of peace with foreign nations, and magnanimity in all things at home consistent with the destruction of slavery and the restoration of the Union.
The prayers of the good of all the world follow him in his responsible task.
I beg you will lay this paper before the President.
Hoping to hear of you and your son Frederick Seward’s speedy recovery, I remain your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.