Debate in the Senate

[Translated from the original as it stands on the official journal of the Senate.]

debate in the spanish senate, may 3, 1865.

The Count of Vistahermosa said:

Senators: The circumstance that this body has not been in session till today since the unwelcome news reached Madrid of the infamous assassination committed on the person of the worthy President of the United States, Mr. Lincoln, has prevented me from addressing the Senate as I do at this moment, in the persuasion that it will know how to associate its sentiments of grief and indignation to those produced in the whole civilized world by the crime which has snatched from life a person so illustrious and so distinguished for his eminent services.

When all peoples in both hemispheres rise with one voice to condemn the cowardly assassins who have blackened the brilliant pages of that wonderful war just when the country already saw peace on the horizon, and when, undoubtedly, that peace is owing to the efforts, the constancy, and the skill with which the lamented Mr. Lincoln has directed those events, it seems just that the Senate should manifest expressly and spontaneously its profound sorrow and regret at an event so terrible as it has been unexpected; an event which has left on the minds of senators, as upon those of all the civilized world, a deep furrow of execration.

If I shall not have interpreted the sentiments of the Senate in a manner worthy of its elevated character, let it supply my shortcomings, and address to the government of that republic a manifestation such as our president considers fit, informing the Queen’s government of this manifestation, and making it [Page 533] extensive to the illustrious widow who has seen snatched away so prematurely the companion of her life, so that the world may know that if the Spanish Senate cares for the rights and immunities of people, it watches no less carefully over the rights of the kings and heads of government who rule the destinies of other nations.

I therefore call upon the government of her Majesty to give the proper explanation of what has been done in this important question.

The president of the cabinet of ministers (the Duke of Valencia) said: The government of her Majesty records with much pleasure the motion made by the senator, Count of Vistahermosa. As soon as the government learned officially the horrible crime committed in the United States, we went to her Majesty’s presence to inform her of it, so that she might give me such orders as she thought fit. Her Majesty ordered me to go and visit the representative of the United States at Madrid, and to express to him the grief and the indignation which her Majesty had felt at a crime so horrible, as well as all the interest which her Majesty felt for the leaders of the republic and for the people of the United States.

In fulfilment of the royal precept, I went to the house of the representative of the United States, and made to him, in the name of her Majesty and of the government, that manifestation, which he gratefully acknowledged; and I requested him to transmit the same to his government, so that the latter—with which Spain maintains and seeks to maintain such good relations, and he also labors to maintain them for the good of both nations—should be made aware of the sentiments which animate the Queen and her government.

At the same time, an official communication, signed by the minister of state, was sent to Senor Tassara, her Majesty’s minister plenipotentiary at Washington, making known to him the same manifestation. This is what her Majesty’s government can say in reply to the senator.

The Count of Vistahermosa said: I thought I was already aware, from what had been said in the Congress of Deputies, that this had been the course of her Majesty’s ministers. I thought it right to make this motion, so that the whole Senate, in whose sentiments I trust I am not mistaken, might have an opportunity to join in this profound sorrow for the unmerited misfortune which has fallen upon the people of the United States, and I request the Chair, for this purpose, to consult the opinion of this House.

The president of the Senate (the Marquis of Duero) then said from the chair: I am certain that the Senate authorizes me at this moment, and with the Senate all Spaniards of the provinces beyond seas and of the peninsula, to declare that the impression produced by the horrible crime committed against the President of the republic of the United States has been unanimous, and that we join ourselves to the manifestations which the civilized world is now making on account of this sad event, desiring solemnly to make known the sincere wishes of Spain for the prosperity and peace of the American republic.

The question will now be put whether the Senate approves this declaration.

The secretary of the Senate, Sevilla, having put the question, it was resolved affirmatively by a unanimous vote.