to Mr. Blaine.
Berne , March 15, 1881. (Received March 29.)
Sir: The news of the atrocious and fatal attempt on the life of the Emperor of Russia was first made known here yesterday morning. I called at once on the Russian envoy to express to him my feelings of regret and sympathy at the loss which his country had sustained. I felt that I was but executing your wishes and those of the President in so doing and in conveying to him the assurance of the regret at the success and the horror at the perpetration of the crime.
Afterwards I wrote a letter to Mr. de Hamburger to the same effect. I inclose a copy thereof. I report my action to you as required by the regulations, in the confident assurance that it will meet your commendation. There is no people on the face of the globe that more thoroughly condemns the cowardly assassination of rulers, and none that is better able to appreciate the enormity of such an offense than ours. I did not, therefore, hesitate to exhibit every mark of respect to the memory of a man who had set his name to the edict of freedom of the serfs in his own country, and who, of all the crowned heads of Europe, had exhibited the moss sympathy for us in our struggle for the Union and the emancipation of the slaves.
This morning, the President and Vice-President of the Confederation and the entire diplomatic body attended a funeral service at the Russian legation. It was attended with all the solemnity and grandeur of the rites of the Russian church. The black drapings of the chapel, the dim light of the tapers, and the deep mourning of the ladies served to set in bold relief the uniforms of the military representatives, and all, with the chanting of the funeral service, combined to render it one of the most impressive and solemn occasions at which I have assisted.
Fortunately there has been as yet no attempt made to connect the assassins of the Emperor of Russia with Swiss antecedents.
I have, &c.,