Mr. Burton to Mr. Seward.
Bogota, July 31, 1865.
Sir: Intelligence of the assassination of President Lincoln, and the attempt to murder the Secretary of State, reached this city on the 23d of May last. The news created a general and profound sensation of horror and indignation. His Excellency President Murillo sent immediately to his secretary of foreign relations to express the deep grief experienced by the Colombian government and people at this frightful and melancholy event, requesting me to convey the same to the President of the United States, with his sincere sympathy and condolence. The spontaneous manifestations of sympathy offered by the diplomatic and consular bodies in this capital, and by the citizens, were of the most touching nature.[Page 628]
I set apart the 21st of June as a day of mourning for our great misfortune which was responded to in an impressive manner, as will be learned from the accompanying papers. On consulting the foreign secretary as to the most appropriate day for this purpose, wishing to avoid any conflict with the numerous days dedicated to religious ceremonies, his Excellency the President tendered me a public audience to announce the death of our lamented President, which I accepted out of respect to his earnest desire to pay the most expressive honors to our late Chief Magistrate. After making the announcement I repaired to the office for foreign affairs, and announced to the secretary the attempt on Mr. Secretary Seward and his son. He expressed his deep sympathy for them in their misfortune and sufferings, and the consequent misfortune to my country, and requested me to make the same known to them, with his sincere hope that they would be restored to health, and to the great cause of which he regarded Secretary Seward as the worthy representative.
In consequence of our affliction I did not intend to open the legation to the usual ceremonial rejoicings on our national anniversary. I learned, however, on the evening of the 3d of July, that the Colombian government, foreign representatives and citizens, had arranged to pay their respects in a solemn manner, and I received them accordingly. The occasion was one of melancholy satisfaction. At six o’clock p. m. the whole military of the city passed in mourning in front of the legation, and through the evening the presidential bands, numbering sixty musicians, saluted it with solemn dirges.
In common with our afflicted people I mourn our sad bereavement. In common with them I render devout thanks to God for the delivery of the Secretary of State, his sons, and faithful attendants.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward,
Secretary of State, Washington.