Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward
Sir: The tragic tidings from Washington of the assassination of the President, and murderous assault upon the Secretary of State, has caused a deep impression here of horror and indignation at the cowardice and cruelty of the confederate plotters. Following so rapidly upon the excitement created by our late victories, and the public demonstrations on account of them, the announcement has aroused unusual agitation in this city, and through the country.
The King, from his sick bed, sent to me one of his aides-decamp, Major General Boarman, to express in his name his deep feeling at this tragic event, and for the great loss we have sustained. The minister of foreign affairs and the other members of the cabinet, the president of the House of Representatives, the high dignitaries of the court, most of the foreign legations, and a very large number of persons of every rank and station, have come personally to offer their condolence, and to express their horror at this crowning atrocity of the rebellion.
M. Rogier informed me he had sent a despatch to the Belgian chargé d’affaires at Washington to offer directly to the government the expression of their sympathy at the sad event. Immediately on receipt of Mr. Adams’s telegram I addressed a circular to our consuls, of which I annex a copy.
The shock caused by this news is too great to permit me to appreciate calmly its influence on public sentiment touching our affairs abroad. It cannot fail, I think, to cause a far-reaching reaction in the sympathies heretofore entertained by the so-called “better classes” in Europe for the rebels and their cause, and to stimulate, on the other hand, a more friendly feeling toward us and the cause of the Union.
The fact that the confederate loan at the London exchange yesterday rose 3 per cent. upon the news is a significant indication of the effect which the instigators of this dreadful crime imagined it would have upon their cause.
The calm transition of the executive power to other hands at Washington, contrasted with what would be likely to occur on a similar occasion in most European states, cannot but help to strengthen the conviction already becoming general by the influence of the success which has crowned this trial under the strain of the rebellion of the power, fitness, and durability of our system of government.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.