Mr. McMath to Mr. Hunter
Sir: The lamentable news of the assassination of his excellency Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, reached this consulate by telegraph, via Madrid, on the 28th ultimo. This intelligence has produced the most intense feeling of sorrow in the minds of all our populations, native and foreign. The event is so astounding that it is with difficulty I can bring myself to realize its occurrence, or estimate its consequences. The blow is sudden, horrible, and irretrievable. Never has a murder been committed more momentous in its bearing upon the time. A nation mourns the inestimable loss of one of the greatest and purest statesmen that ever lived. He dies surrounded with the brightest halo of glory that has ever crowned the labor of a statesman, and his work will survive him, and the greatest victory of liberty and humanity will not have been won in vain. I am, as yet, without details which can give me [Page 352] the slightest idea of the cause of so grave an event. However, it seems difficult to suppose that a crime committed on the President had not been dictated by a political motive; and I may say this crime is not only odious but useless, for Providence will not fail to raise up worthy successors of him who has fallen a martyr to liberty, humanity, and constitutional government. To my bleeding and grief-stricken country I offer my sincere sympathy and condolence.
This consulate has gone into mourning for thirty days.
Immediately upon the receipt of this distressing news I informed my colleagues that, as a mark of respect to the illustrious and unfortunate deceased, President Lincoln, the flag of the United States would be displayed at half mast for a period of three days at this consulate, and stated that on this mournful occasion I would be pleased to see my flag accompanied with those of their respective nations. To this each of my colleagues assented; and at the same time expressed their sincere sympathy and condolence for the great national loss sustained in the untimely death of his excellency President Lincoln. I have also communicated this sad intelligence to my vice-consuls on the coast, and have requested them to display their flags at half mast for three days, and request their colleagues to accompany it with those of their respective nations.
The melancholy news of the attempted assassination of the honorable Secretary of State, and his son, the Assistant Secretary, reached me one day later than the former. Since then I have been advised by the latest news from London that there is a probability that both may recover from the wounds inflicted upon them. I sincerely hope and pray to Almighty God that both may be speedily restored to our common country, and to each my sincere sympathy is offered.
In profound grief for the events which have taken place, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William Hunter, Acting Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.