Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.
Sir: The news of the execution of the Archduke Maximilian, at Queretaro, has excited a general feeling of indignation. Those opposed to his vain attempt to overthrow republican institutions in Mexico speak of the act as unnecessary, cruel, and impolitic, in striking contrast to our course towards those lately in arms against the Union. The news, although communicated to the King on the 30th ultimo, from Vienna, was considered till yesterday doubtful, but has now been confirmed, and the Moniteur of this morning announces that, “on the occasion of the death of his Majesty the Emperor of Mexico, the court will go into mourning from the 5th instant to 4th September, inclusive.” The usual notification [Page 638]to the diplomatic corps from the minister of foreign affairs has just been received by me and in the same terms as given in the Moniteur.
While I would not appear to be wanting in any mark of respect to the King in his grief for the death of his brother-in-law, with which I profoundly sympathize, I do not feel that it would be proper for me to go into mourning for “ his Majesty the Emperor of Mexico,” and, unless otherwise instructed by you, propose not to follow, in this case, the usage of the diplomatic corps, with respect to court mourning.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.