Mr. Judd to Mr. Seward

No. 97.]

Sir: In my despatch No. 95, you were informed, that I had named Monday, the first day of May, as the time to receive from the members of the Prussian House of Deputies then address of condolence on account of the death of President Lincoln, and the attempt to assassinate yourself. A note, received in the morning of that day, appointed fiveo’clock p. m. as the hour at which the deputation would be at the legation for that purpose.

I had concluded, from some casual remark of a member, that the deputation would be composed of some six or eight members. But to my pleasurable surprise on its arrival, I found it numbered twenty-six of the most talented, celebrated and influential men of the Chamber, headed by the venerable President Grabow, First Vice-President Herr von Unruh, and Second Vice-President Herr von BackumDolffs. The additional names of the members of the committee were as follows: Deputy Dr. William Loewe, deputy Prof. Dr. Virchow, deputy Baron von Vaerst, deputy Stavenhagen, deputy Dr. jurWaldeck, deputy Parrisius, deputy von Bonin, (ex-minister,) deputy Bassenge, deputy Schroeder, deputy Dr. Ziegert, deputy Duncker, deputy Lent, deputy Baron von Zedlitg and Kurzbach, deputy Riebold, deputy Schneider, deputy Dr. Johann Jacoby, deputy Raffauf, deputy von Saucken-Tarputschen, deputy Dr. Liemens, deputy Dahlmann, deputy Dr. Krebs, deputy Dr. Von Bunsen.

The title of doctor repeatedly recurring indicates a university degree, and not that of a physician, as used in our country. Dr. Loewe, who had the honor of [Page 53] your personal acquaintance when he resided in New York, the political troubles of 1848 and 1849 having caused his temporary absence from Prussia, as stated in a former despatch, presented the address with a few remarks in German expressive of the deep feeling in all Germany at the death of Mr. Lincoln, and your narrow escape from the same fate, at the hand of an assassin, which he followed by reciting the address in full. After apologizing in German for my imperfect use of that language, and asking to be allowed to respond in English, I expressed the thanks of the government and the people of the United States for this sympathetic manifestation of interest in our affliction, assuring them that the latest advices happily stated your improving condition, although the danger had not yet fully passed. That they might rest under the certain conviction that the object sought to be accomplished by the conspirators in these horrible and murderous attacks would not succeed. The government would not be paralyzed, but move stoutly and firmly forward in the political and social regeneration of the communities in rebellion. That the experience of the last four years had demonstrated beyond question the power of a people under a republican form of government to resist and overcome interior commotion and rebellion. That the administration of public affairs had passed to a new President, habituated to public life and to deal with national questions, and whose talents and firmness of purpose would speedily bring into submission what little remained of the rebellious spirit. That revenge was no part of our national character, but security for the future was the essential element that would control and guide the conduct of public affairs. That the people of the United States appreciated the sympathy of the German people during this terrible rebellion, and that the soldiers of German birth, many of whom not even citizens, would be held in lasting remembrance by a grateful people, and that their memory would be bound with the laurel common to all who had fought this battle of freedom, without distinction as to nativity or color. One member of the committee, Mr. Schneider Sagan, was then in mourning for an only son, killed at Petersburg, Virginia, and another, Deputy Raffauf, has now a son serving in the army of the United States. The German heart has been more moved by these awful occurrences than by any event in their own history since the year 1813. In the minds of the great mass of German readers Mr. Lincoln had come to symbolize the republic in all its attributes of the liberty and equality of all men, and their aspirations and hopes turned to him with admiration and affection. They feel that in him all humanity has lost a pure and noble champion.

After the close of my remarks, some time was spent in friendly conversation with the various members of the committee, and I parted with them at last, deeply gratified and consoled by this mark of generous and noble sympathy with our people and our cause.

I enclose herewith the original address, with an English translation thereof, by the secretary of this legation, Mr. Kreismann, who was present during the interview. It is signed by two hundred and thirty-eight members of the chamber, and I feel persuaded that a fit place will be assigned by you for this interesting document in the archives of the State Department.

Your old acquaintance and friend, Professor Tellkampf, a member of the upper house, sought and obtained leave to add his signature. You will readily find his to you familiar handwriting.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington.

[Page 54]

Address of the members of the Prussian House of Deputies.

Sir: We, the undersigned, members of the Prussian House of Deputies, beg you to accept the expression of our profoundest sympathy in the severe loss the government and the people of the United States have suffered in the death of President Lincoln, and alike the expression of our deepest horror at the shocking crime to which he fell a victim. We are the more deeply moved by this public calamity, inasmuch as it occurred at a moment when we were rejoicing at the triumph of the United States, and as the simultaneous attempt upon the life of the faithful partner of the President, Mr. Seward, who, with the wisdom and resolution of true statesmanship, supported him in the fulfilment of his arduous task, betrays the object of the horrible crime to have been, by the death of these great and good men, to deprive the people of the United States of the fruits of their protracted struggle and patriotic self-sacrificing devotion at the very moment when the triumph of right and law promises to bring back the blessings of a long desired peace.

Sir, living among us, you are a witness of the heartfelt sympathy which the people have ever preserved for the people of the United States during this long and severe conflict. You are aware that Germany has looked with pride and joy on the thousands of her sons who in this struggle have placed themselves so resolutely on the side of law and right. You have seen with what joy the victories of the Union have been hailed, and how confident the faith in the final triumph of the great cause, and the restoration of the Union in all its greatness, has ever been, even in the midst of adversity.

This great work of the restoration of the Union will, we confidently hope, not be hindered or interrupted by this terrible crime. The blood of the great and wise chieftain will only cement the more firmly the Union for which he has died. This the inviolable respect for law and love of liberty, which the people of the United States have ever evinced in the very midst of the prodigious struggles of their great war, abundantly guarantees.

We request your good offices for giving expression with your government to our sincere condolences, and our sympathies with the people and government of the United States, and proffer to yourself, sir, the assurance of our distinguished consideration.

(Follow two hundred and thirty-eight signatures.)

Remarks of Deputy Dr. William Loewe in the Prussian House of Deputies.

Gentlemen: I have ventured to request the president to permit me to make a communication, for which I claim your sympathy. That which I wish to request of you does not indeed belong to the immediate field of our labors, but it goes so far beyond the narrow circle of private life that, in union with a number of our colleagues, I have ventured to call your attention to it. A considerable number of our colleagues feel the need, under the dismay produced by the shocking news of the unhappy death of President Lincoln, to give expression to their feelings in regard to his fate, and their sympathy with the nation from whom he has been snatched away. Abraham Lincoln has fallen by the hand of an assassin in the moment of triumph of the cause which he had conducted, and while he was in hopes of being able to give to his people the peace so long desired.

Our colleagues wish, in an address, to express the sympathy, not of this house—this I say in order to remove all apprehension of a violation of the rules of the house—but the sympathy of the individual members of the house in this great and unhappy event. This address we desire to present to the minister of the United States. Gentlemen, I will lay the address on the table, and I beg those of my colleagues who share with me the feelings of warm and heartfelt sympathy in the lot of a nation which is united by so many bonds with our own people to give expression to these feelings by appending their signatures to the address. These sympathies I regard as all the more justified, as the United States have won a new and splendid triumph for mankind, through the great struggle which they have been carrying on for the cause of true humanity, and which, as I confidently hope, in spite of this murder of their chief, they will conduct to a successful termination. In expressing our feelings of pain, we desire at the same time to prove our hearty sympathy with the American nation, and those of our brothers who have taken part in the struggle for their cause. The man, gentlemen, who has fallen by the murderous hand, and whom I seem to see with his simple, honest countenance—the man who accomplished such great deeds from the simple desire conscientiously to perform his duty—the man who never wished to be more or less than the most conscientious and most faithful servant of his people—this man will find his own glorious place in the pages of history. In the deepest reverence I bow my head before this modest greatness, and I think it is especially agreeable to the spirit of our own nation, with its deep inner life, and admiration of self-sacrificing devotion, and effort after the ideal, to pay the tribute of veneration to such greatness, exalted as it is by its simplicity and modesty. I beg you, gentlemen, accordingly, to join in this expression of veneration for the great dead, which, without distinction of party, we offer to him as a true servant of his state and of the cause of pure humanity.