Mr. Fogg to Mr. Hunter .
Berne, May 3, 1865.
Sir: Your despatch of April 17, apprising me of the assassination of President Lincoln, is just received. The shocking intelligence had already been flashed by telegraph all over Europe, several days earlier, as had also the scarcely less astounding news of the probable fatal attempt upon the lives of Secretary and Assistant Secretary Seward.
No words can convey any sort of idea of the excitement produced among all classes, rulers and people, on this side of the Atlantic. At first no one was willing to believe it. The news was too terrible for belief. But soon a despatch from Mr. Adams in London put an end to all doubts. The deed, terrible as it was, had been done, and the “foremost man of all the world” in the hearts of millions [Page 557] on both sides of the Atlantic lay stretched in death by the dastardly hand of an assassin.
The millions in America who loved Mr. Lincoln as a father and revered him as the purest and greatest of patriotic statesmen could scarcely have mourned him more profoundly than did the masses in Europe. Especially dear was he to the citizens of this little republic of Switzerland, where, from the beginning of our great struggle, his firm, true hand has ever been upheld by the warm sympathies and prayers of a free and gallant people, who had themselves, not long since, been called to strangle a somewhat similar though far less iniquitous and sanguinary conspiracy against their nation’s life
You will have seen how all Europe is moved. I am able to do nothing but receive visits and letters of condolence from citizens, foreign ministers, and members of the government. These last—some of them at least—I will send you with my next despatch.
Of my own personal grief over this great calamity this is, perhaps, not the place to speak, but I cannot forbear. Few men, out of his own family and neighborhood, were so circumstanced as to know Mr. Lincoln better than myself, up to the time of my leaving for my present post. He was kind to me, and I loved him as a father. I mourn him now as my dearest earthly friend.
I pray God that the blow of the assassin may not have proved fatal to Mr Seward and his son.
Asking you to express to them, if living, my most profound and heartfelt sympathy in their and our countries’ great suffering, I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Hon. W. Hunter,
Acting Secretary of State of the United States of America.