Mr. Judd to Mr. Seward
Sir: Intelligence of the assassination of President Lincoln, and of the murderous attack upon yourself and many members of your household, reached Berlin at about two p. m. yesterday. The statement had such an aspect of horror that I did not believe it. At the exchange, where it was first received, it was pronounced a stock jobbing report. I telegraphed immediately to Mr. Adams, and his reply was a confirmation of the dreadful tidings. Your condition, as reported, gives occasion for the most intense anxiety, and no words can express the feelings with which I await further despatches. The report states that your son, Frederick W. Seward, was killed in defending the life of his invalid father. A noble death of one so young and promising, though sad and mournful to surviving relatives and friends to know that he died by the hand of an assassin. The terrible and tragic death of Mr. Lincoln, and the calamities that befell your household in that fearful night, are heavy blows for one enfeebled by previous illness. May He who saved your life amidst all its horrors give healing to your wounds, and restore you again to health and usefulness.
I cannot realize that Mr. Lincoln has been assassinated. He was saved from the Baltimore demons, when on his way to Washington, to be slain now in the midst of friends, and just at the moment when public affairs have assumed their brightest aspect, and peace and order are about to return to the country he loved so well.[Page 50]
All the afternoon and evening yesterday the legation was thronged with anxious and inquiring friends, and many tears fell from the eyes of strong men. Berlin talks of nothing else to-day. Expressions of horror and indignation at the foul murder of our great and good President, and of deep sympathy and condolence for our stricken people, mingled with fervent wishes that you may recover and survive this terrible affliction, are on the lips of all—on the lips of foreigners and strangers, who see in you the trusted friend and counsellor of Our martyr President, and the man who, for four years so fraught with dangers and trials, has preserved peace with Europe.
The legation is draped in black, and the passing world beholds that this is a house of mourning.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.