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Meeting of Americans in London

The Illustrated London News, vol. 46, no. 1313, p. 438.

May 6, 1865


A meeting of Americans in London was held at St. James's Hall, on Monday evening. The decorations of the hall were the same as those displayed on Saturday, with the addition of an immortelle which hung below the American flag. The chair was taken by his Excellency the Hon. Charles Francis Adams, the Minister of the United States at the Court of Great Britain; and amongst those present, besides Lord Houghton; Alderman Salomons, M.P.; Mr. T. B. Potter, M.P., and other members of the British Parliament, were the following gentlemen from America or connected with America:--Mr. Cyrus Field, Judge Winter, Dr. Black, Mr. Fuller; Mr. E. C. Fisher, of the United States Sanitary Commission; Rev. Crammond Kennedy; Mr. Morse, Consul of the United States; Mr. Nunn, Deputy Consul of the United States; Mr. B. Howard, New York, late United States army; Mr. Henry Bergh, late Secretaire de la Legislation des Etats Unis d'Amerique St. Petersburg; Dr. Coffin, Mr. Henry Thornton, Mr. John B. Stephenson, Mr. C. M. Lampson, Dr. Ludlow; Mr. E. G. Tinker and Mr. Ward, New York; Mr. H. Stevens and Mr. B. F. Stevens, Vermont; Dr. Storrs, Mr. Peach, and Mr. Massey, New York; Mr. Phillips, Wisconsin; Mr. G. J. Abbott, Consul of the United States for Sheffield and Bradford; Rev. J. Shaw, Boston; Mr. J. Holmes Goodenow, United States Consul at Constantinople; Mr. G. Grant, Mr. Gerard Ralston, Philadelphia, Consul-General of Liberia; Captain Richardson, San Francisco; Mr. C. Stratton (General Tom Thumb) and Mrs. Stratton, Mr. J. M'Henry, Captain Tomkins, and Mr. H. Brough.

Mr. Adams, the chairman, in opening the proceedings, remarked that it was because Abraham Lincoln was a faithful exponent of the sentiments of a whole people that he was stricken down. The blow that was aimed at him was meant to fall upon the Northern supporters of the Union. It was a supposed short way of paralysing the Government which they had striven so hard to maintain. It was, then, for their cause that Abraham Lincoln had died. If he was called a tyrant who was elevated to his high post by the spontaneous voices of a greater number of men than had ever been given in republic before, it was only because he was obeying the wishes of those who elected him. Mr. Adams expressed his confidence in the new President. "He, too," said his Excellency, "has been susceptible to the influence of the national opinion. He, too, has gradually been brought to the conviction that slavery, which he once defended, has been our bane and the cause of all our woe. And he, too, will follow his predecessor in making the recognition of the principle of human liberty the chief pathway to restoration. Maybe that he will colour his policy with a little more of the sternness gathered from the severity of his own trials. He may give a greater prominence to the image of Justice than to that of Mercy in dealing with notorious offenders. But if he do, to whom is this change to be imputed? Lincoln leaned to mercy, and he was taken off. Johnson has not promoted himself. The magician who worked this change is the enemy himself. It would seem almost as if it were the will of Heaven which has interposed the possibility of this marvellous retribution."

Mr. Morse, the American Consul in London, spoke of President Johnson from his personal knowledge. Twenty-one years ago, he said, he entered the Congress of the United States with Andrew Johnson, who was then the representative of the State of Tennessee. He was on a committee with him, and sat three or four times a week with him, perhaps, for the space of two years, and he said there, that throughout the whole of that period, and for three or four years subsequently, during which time his acquaintance with Andrew Johnson continued, he never heard one word whispered against his fair fame. He never heard the reproach of intemperance cast upon him. He had seen him daily, and knew him well, and he knew that to charge him with habitual intemperance was one of the vilest slanders that could be brought against him.

Dr. Black moved a resolution expressing confidence that Mr. Johnson would "faithfully prosecute to final success the wise, the humane, and statesman-like domestic and foreign policy of the late President Lincoln." Remarking that Mr. Lincoln, who was so vilified when living, had no vilifiers now, Dr. Black said Andrew Johnson was now the man at whom attacks would be directed; but it would not be many years, he apprehended, before his vilifiers would also hang down their heads.

The various resolutions were carried unanimously, and one was added in recognition of the sympathy extended to the United States by the people of this country.

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