Mr. Judd to Mr. Seward
Sir: Late events at home, beginning with Mr. Lincoln’s re-election, followed by the opening of Congress and the President’s firm and unflinching message regarding the war and the question of slavery, together with the glorious success of General Sherman’s wonderful campaign, and the brilliant victories of General Thomas, have not failed to affect most powerfully public opinion throughout Germany and Europe, and it affords me satisfaction to lay before you some editorial extracts from articles that have lately appeared in the German press. I have selected the three foremost German papers, the “Berlin National Zeitung,” the “Kolnische Zeitung,” and the “Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung.” The ability with which they are edited, no less than the numbers and class of their readers, put them widely ahead of all other papers in Germany. Their views, as expressed in the articles from which I have selected the following extracts, cannot fail to exercise a wholesome influence. I now proceed to quote as follows:
‘There are two features running through this year’s message of Mr. Lincoln, which raise it far above the average value of his former state papers. It is full of the consciousness that a tribunal, even higher than Congress, has approved of his administration, and that the people have accepted and sanctioned the principles which will impart to the statesmen of the north unity of purpose, and stamp the war with the sanctity of high aims worthy of the greatest sacrifices. The chosen leader of the people may well discard, as he has done, the petty arts which subserve to represent events and expectations in a more pleasing light than a faithful record of the actual state of affairs would show them in. During the election campaign, all the deeds and shortcomings, successes and failures, causes and effects, on the part of the administration, have been sifted through, and been painted in the most varying colors. The President need not add his version to the manifold and widely differing representations of the great political parties. He does not court the favor of Congress, nor approbation from abroad. In his re-election he has received a testimonial, that in his person he far more embodies the will and the views and aims of the people, than the present Congress assembled in its last session.
‘In the message, the unmistakable voice of the American people speaks to us, and that people has nothing to conceal, and need not soften a line of the stern picture of the present aspect of affairs. The north of the Union has searchingly surveyed all the events since the breaking out of the rebellion, and has arrived at the conviction that slavery has ceased to be legitimate in that civilized portion of the globe which in the future is destined to perpetuate the name of the United States of America. This is the great stream of light, the rays of which reach us across the Atlantic. From that source the whole picture rolled up before us receives its wonderful light, and over all the surrounding groups that were heretofore wrapt in dark and gloomy shade is poured the clear light of day.
‘Now the goal is found, which no possible measure of sacrifice can purchase at too great cost, and success is assured. The reign of human slavery has [Page 43] ceased in the United States; therein lay the real significance of Mr. Lincoln’s re election, and from this consciousness flow the noble and simple words of his message.’
Another article contains the following:
“The American people can contemplate the close of the year with satisfaction. With that practical instinct that has always characterized that nation, they have re-elected Abraham Lincoln as President; and as at the ballot-box, so on the field of battle they have won a great victory. General Sherman has accomplished his march through the very heart of the rebellious States, from Atlanta to the Atlantic ocean, a march which in conception, spirit, and execution recalls Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps. The south, it is true, is still possessed of a valiant army and able generals, but Sherman has proved that the southern colossus rests on feet of clay, and that the rebels have no power to place against the warriors and free laborers advancing from the west.”
The following was penned on receipt of the news of the capture of Savannah:
“Every day the Union comes out more powerfully, more giant-like, from this dreadful civil war. She has no need to plead for friendships; her own citizens are the pillars of her free States. A few more months and Davis with his friends and rebel companions will seek an asylum at the shores of the British lion. There triumphal arches will be built for them, addresses made, and dinners given to them, until, a few months later, they, like so many others before them, will be handed down to obscurity.”
I might add many others equally strong and expressive, but I content myself for the present, and have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.