Mr. Fogg to Mr. Seward

No. 86]

Sir: By request of the writer and as an indication of the feelings and expectations produced by the recent successes of the Union arms, I send you a copy of the Bund, containing an elaborate editorial written directly on the reception of the first news of the capture of Richmond.

The Bund is the leading political journal of Switzerland, and the semi-official organ of the Swiss government, and is largely the exponent of the liberal sentiment of southern Germany.

Accompanying the Bund I send a translation of the article in question, which, as you will perceive, the editor wishes should be laid before the President. I will add that, in my judgment, the article does not overestimate the results likely to follow in Europe the re-establishment of the American Union, purified from the great evil which came so near destroying our national life.

Congratulating you with my whole heart on the capitulation of General Lee and his army, and the approaching return of peace, with liberty and union, I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States of America.


Sir: As a token of sympathy for the cause for which the Union has fought and achieved with so brilliant success in the interest of democracy and humanity, the undersigned takes the liberty to send you the accompanying article on the fall of Richmond. According to the conviction at which I have arrived from the voice of the Swiss press, that article is the expression of the predominant public sentiment of Switzerland.

May the Union extend her military triumph to a complete civil regeneration of the United States and secure republican freedom upon firm ground forever.

With the most distinguished consideration, your obedient servant,

F. GEUGEL, Editor of the Bund.

His Excellency Andrew Johnson, President of the United States of America.

The Fall of Richmond.

Richmond has fallen, after three days’ bloody fighting and the almost complete annihilation of Lee’s army; under circumstances, therefore, which, in the main point, are equal to the termination of the American war! This is the news which Easter day has brought us—a bloody news, but grand and of the most auspicious portent in the history of the world.

Four years have already elapsed since the outbreak of the war. When it began, there stood the slave empire full of arrogance and confidence. It possessed an already formed army, nearly all the schooled officers having sworn allegiance to its star. Statesmen of reckless energy promised to lead it to victory. Upon its banner stood the motto of national independence and free trade, and it boldly denied, in Europe at least, that it was the slavery of the black race for which it had drawn the sword. All the mighty and rich men on its side, all the monarchs and aristocrats, all the material interests of Europe and their hosts of dependents, sympathized with it and made its cause their own. To its side at first inclined the fortune of war and victory, and with it the admiration of all who worshipped success. For a while, indeed, it seemed as if really the young glorious republic on the other side of the ocean must crumble into dust as a proof of the impracticability of popular self-government and see itself trampled upon by slave aristocrats, and soon, like the Roman republic, by absolute Cæsars.

Opposite to it stood, rich in resources, but hesitating and undetermined, indisposed to war, and without military organization, the democratic government of free labor. Unsuccessful [Page 218] as it was at first, the monarchists and materialists of Europe derided it, ridiculed its people as slaves of the dollar, just as if the dollar were not most almighty with the mockers themselves; they laughed satirically at the pretended abolitionism of the north; they desired and hoped from the bottom of their hearts that it would succumb, and that every hope of maintaining practical republican freedom would forever be destroyed for mankind. Even in our country (Switzerland) there were plenty of deluded people who would not see that the cause for which the Union fought was neither more nor less than the vital principle of their own existence.

And nevertheless there was a secret voice which whispered in all those hearts who love freedom that the people of the north were stronger than the slave-aristocrats of the south; and even when the wails of the defeats of Chickahominy, of Fredericksburg, and Chickamauga came across to us, the final triumph of the north was nevertheless considered certain.

How are matters standing now? Even in the worst epoch, when no military successes smiled on the north, when no able commanders had yet appeared, the enemy were never able to enter the soil of the Union without punishment. Mr. Lincoln, the head of the republic, plain, but of thoroughly balanced mind, remained firm. Even if he did not perform any brilliant exploits, so much the surer did he adopt the right, and, in truth, the grander and more successful policy, in which a genuine republican statesman is always superior to over-wise diplomatic demagogues. He declared the black race free, and the people of the north said amen. When the leaders in the south called, in the agony of despair, for arming the slaves, the slaveholders’ congress struggled against it even in the last extremity, confessing openly that it was slavery for which the war had been waged. At the same time it was in the north that the most significant right was conferred upon a black man, to plead as an attorney before the highest courts of the nation.

The moral victory over the plague spot of slavery was followed at last by military success. Two years ago Vicksburg was conquered and the confederacy cut in two halves. There were two men who achieved this great feat by which the tide of victory was turned, namely, Grant and Sherman. The same men are now finishing the war. While Grant was approaching the rebel capital nearer than any one ever before him, and holding with iron grasp the principal army of the south, Sherman, by his march through Georgia, cut the eastern half of the rebel States again in two halves, exposing thereby the internal impotency of the rebel league. And at last, after Sherman had captured Charleston, the very cradle of the rebellion, and took his way northward towards Grant, Grant, at the right moment, grasped the rebel capital, already pressed from every side, and now crushed with one blow the organized power of the south.

The war is at an end. Even if Lee should escape from the hands of Grant and Sheridan and not run into the arms of Thomas, no more battles on a great scale need be expected. No more southern armies exist, but only bodies of from twenty to thirty thousand men, which, being without connexions between themselves, can, at the most, only carry on a guerilla war. The probability is that the moral power of the victory will prevent even this, and that the south will see that nothing is left it but submission.

Since October 19, 1781, when Cornwallis surrendered himself to the champions of liberty in North America, and by which event the existence of the Union was sealed, no day is more memorable than that on which Eichmond fell. Eight years had not elapsed after the day of Yorktown when Europe witnessed the French revolution. As the victory of the American republic called forth then in Europe the greatest event which our continent has witnessed since the reformation, so will the present victory of the American republic send the surging waves over to Europe. We very much deceive ourselves if all the potentates of Europe have not felt a peculiar chill at the fall of Richmond. The people, on the contrary, feel in their hearts the exultation of beaming hope.

Of all the nations, however, the Swiss are the first to congratulate the Uuion on her victory—they, the only old republicans of Europe, surrounded on all sides by monarchies, and trusting their future only in the future of the democratic spirit of all the nations. Switzerland alone would be too weak to be the rock and champion of republicanism. Across the ocean, however, there stands now a great, firm republic, powerful enough to cope with any enemy and to maintain her position on the page of history. In the self-reliant power with which she has herself healed the cancer on her heart; in the fear which prevented even the mightiest monarchies of Europe, notwithstanding their most sincere desire, from troubling her convalescence, we draw the assurance of safety and the pledge that our republic will also not perish, but may, perhaps, at some future day, even take deeper root in Europe.

May the Union, noble and magnanimous towards the succumbed, but firm as a rock in her principles, follow up her victory, and as a fruit of it re-establish her national life, thoroughly healed from the former evil, in order that it may become and always remain true that “The cause of democracy and freedom must triumph!’”