Mr. Hoffman to Mr. Evarts.
St. Petersburg, April 14, 1879. (Received May 5.)
Sir: As the Emperor was taking his accustomed walk this morning, at about nine o’clock, an attempt was made upon his life. The assassin discharged the five chambers of his revolver at him, happily without effect.
The circumstances, as near as I can gather them at this hour, are as follows:
The Emperor has the habit of walking on the quai or in the streets near the palace every morning and unattended. Of course the police, in and out of uniform, are on the watch for his safety. This morning, a man in the uniform of an employé of a government office was observed to be near him, but as he was in a government civil uniform, and the neighborhood is filled with government offices, no particular attention was paid to him. Suddenly he drew a revolver and fired at the Emperor. The distance was considerable, and after the first discharge the Emperor, I am told, walked in a zigzag course, so as effectually to derange the aim of the assassin, who was at once seized by the passers by and by the police. The Emperor was unhurt. A policeman was slightly wounded.
Immediately after his arrest the assassin lost consciousness, and at the hour I write it is unknown whether he received a severe blow upon the head at the time of his arrest, or whether he has poisoned himself. The city is, of course, much agitated. A large crowd assembled round the palace, sang the national hymn, and cheered the Emperor. He drove out almost immediately in an open carriage, accompanied by one of his sons, and followed by the Empress in a close carriage. Flags were at once displayed upon the public buildings and upon most of the private houses, and I see preparations for an illumination this evening.
As no book is kept at the palace in which visitors may inscribe themselves for the Emperor, I called upon Prince Gortchakoff and left my card. I called also and inscribed myself on the members of the imperial family, which is customary at Easter.
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I sent you this morning a telegram in the following words:
“Attempt made on life of Emperor this morning while walking near palace. Assassin fired five shots from revolver. Emperor unhurt. Assassin arrested.”
I have the honor, &c.,