Mr. King to Mr. Hunter

No. 37.]

Sir: The appalling intelligence of the assassination of President Lincoln and the attempt upon the lives of the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of State, which reached Rome on the morning of the 27th instant, excited the most profound and universal sentiment of horror and indignation among men of every class, condition, and nation. The first account represented that the Assistant Secretary of State had also fallen a victim to the assassin’s knife, and that the life of the Secretary was despaired of, but we are at least spared this aggravation of horrors, the latest despatch reporting that “Secretary Seward is out of danger,” and that his son, though in imminent peril, is still alive. As the tidings spread the Americans in Rome gathered together at the rooms of the United States legation, and held a meeting to give utterance to the feelings which the news had excited in every loyal breast. I transmit herewith, as requested, a copy of the resolutions adopted. They but feebly express the intense emotions which the dastardly crime of the southern conspirators has everywhere aroused. Nor is this confined only to our own countrymen. From the cardinal secretary of state, the ambassadors of France, Spain and Austria, the representatives of Russia, and Brazil, and others, members of the diplomatic corps, and from some of the principal Roman nobility and citizens, I have received assurances of the utter detestation with which they regard the crime, and of their profound sympathy with the government and people of the United States in the hour of terrible trial and affliction. May Almighty God safely guard and guide our country through the surging waves of trouble into the calm sunshine of peace and public order.

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In token of respect for the memory of the great and good man, who died as he had lived, faithful to his trust and at the post of duty, I have caused the rooms of the United States legation to be draped in mourning. The loyal Americans in Rome have all assumed the usual badges of mourning as a slight manifestation of their sorrow for the lamented death of our President, and of regard for his memory.

I need scarcely add that we await with trembling anxiety further news from America, and that it is the devout prayer of all true-hearted Americans in Rome that the lives of the Secretary and Assistant Secretary may be spared to their country.

I am, sir, with great respect your obedient servant,


Hon. W. Hunter, Acting Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.

(For enclosure see Appendix, separate volume.)