Carl Nikolaus Riotte -> Carl Nikolaus Riotte in Costa Rica -> May-June 1865 Costa Rica’s Reacting about Death of Lincoln


United States Department of State / Executive documents printed by order of the House of Representatives, during the first session of the thirty-ninth Congress, 1865-'66

(1865-1866), page 37ff


   J. VOLIO to   Hon. Senor C. N. RIOTTE


                                [Translation.]               PALACTO NATIONAL, SAN JOSE', May 16, 1865.

The President of the republic has, with profound grief, in the despatch you were pleased to send me from Punt Arenas, found the confirmation of the sad intelligence of the murder committed on the person of the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, which occurred the 14th of last month, at Ford's theatre, in the city of Washington.

  You have also been pleased to inform me of the criminal attempt to assassinate in their own house the Messrs. Seward, Secretary and Assistant Secretary ofState, an attempt which, though fortunately frustrated, caused to these gentlemen several wounds and blows endangering their lives.

  My government would wish, in honor of humanity, that this savage act should appear isolated, and- solely chargeable to the wretched assassin who attacked the life of the unfortunate President. And it must be so. Whatever ferocity may be ascribed to the anti-national party, it is inconceivable how, even in a state of desperation, it should go to the extreme of defiling its cause with the most horrible of all crimes, without any other political result but that of calling down upon it the indignation of the whole world.

  Costa Rica deploret as her own the loss sustained by the United States in the death of the eminent man who for four years governed, with such justice,firmness, and loyalty, the great republic of the north, in the midst of the troubles and anxieties of an intestine war. She laments the violence of passions called into existence by political fanaticism, and condemns now, more than ever,the cause of those who attempted to destroy the American Union.

  In mark of mourning the President ordered the national flag on all public buildings to be raised half-mast during the 14th instant.    Rejoicing in the restoration of the momentous health of the honorable Mr. Seward, and in the inauguration of Mr. Andrew Johnson in his character as President,

I have the honor to reiterate, &c.,


   [Translation.]   PALACIO NATIONAL, SAN JOSE', May 30, 1865.

   I have the honor, in reply to your esteemed note of the 26th instant,to communicate to you that the government and the people of Costa Rica join, with the greatest spontaneity and alacrity, in the public demonstration of mourning and grief which the republic of the north, our sister and ally, is making in memory of the good man that left the earth.

   Proper orders have been issued that on the 1st of June next the national flag will be hoisted half-mast.

   Repeating, J. VOLIT.



   [Translation.]   NATIONAL PALACE, SAN JosE, May 25, 1865.

   SIR: The assassination perpetrated in the person of Abraham Lincoln,.President of the United States, and the criminal attempt made against the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, which you communicate in your despatch No. 186, has caused the profoundest regret to the members of this government, and generally to the Costa Rican people, who understand and appreciate the merit of the illustrious victims of such a horrible event.

   This government has read with esteem the communications, copies of which you enclosed, exchanged between the secretaryship of state and that legation,in relation to said events, and it is highly pleased that it fell to you the honor to be one of the commission charged with the manifestation to the family of the ill-fated Mr. Lincoln of the share of the diplomatic body in the general mourning, and with the expression to Mr. Seward and his family of its sympathies and prayers for their recovery.

   As soon as the dismal intelligence reached this capital, his excellency the President directed the national flag to be hoisted at half-mast on all the public buildings.

   I am also informed of the inauguration of the new President, Mr. Andrew

Johnson, and of the speeches on that solemn occasion.

   While the enormities to which, political fanaticism may lead are lamented,it is a source of consolation that the attitude preserved at so very critical moments by.the nation so cruelly wounded, remaining immovably true to its institutions,and exhibiting sentiments of horror and bereavement, is equally worthy ofa great and generous people as of the illustrious personages to whom they were devoted.

   Hailing the miraculous preservation of the Hon. Mr. Seward, and offering prayers for the restoration of himself, his worthy son, and all other persons ofhis estimable family, I close this, recommending you to communicate its contents in the usual form, which might be more acceptable.

       I am, sir, your obedient servant,       JULIAN VOLI0.


   His Excelleney DON Luis MOLINA,

   Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary

   from Costa Rica, Washington, D. C.



   Washington, April 15, 1865.

   SIR: Sincerely sharing in the feelings of the people of the United States,the persons connected with the government, and yourself, on the occasion of the melancholy evelits which you communicate to me in your note of this date,I do not venture anything in at once assuring you that the governments and the peoples I have the honor to represent near the United States will receive with due appreciation the sad intelligence of the national calamity referred to, fully sympathizing with the national sorrow.

  At the same time you have the kindness to inform me that, according to the Constitution of the United States, the Vice-President has formally assumed the functions of President, and that you have been by him authorized to perform the duties of Secretary of State.

  The uninterrupted existence ofthe constitutional government of the United States will doubtless be looked upon in the republics of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras as the surest guarantee of the friendly relations they so much desire to cultivate with this country, and will now be a relief accompanied with the hope that the administration of President Johnson may advance those relations as well as that of his lamented predecessor.

   Let me offer my personal condolence with the family of the late President in their bereavement, and my earnest wishes for the recovery of Mr. Seward,his son, and family.

   I have the honor to offer to you the assurances of my high consideration.



   Mr. Riotte to WILLIAM HUNTER,Acting Secretary of State      [Extract.]

 No. 123.]     LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, San Josi, May 22, 1865.

   SIR: I had the honor of receiving on the 13th instant at Punta Arenas, whither I had gone.for the purposes indicated in my despatch No. 122, your  despatches Nos. 100 and 101 and your order of 17th April last.

   The terrible tragedy recited in your despatch No. 100 has created a degree of painful sensation in this country altogether unexpected and heretofore evinced  on no occasion. The President immediately upon the arrival of the mail raised  the flag on his mansion half-mast, and the same was done by his order on all  public buildings. The foreign diplomatic and consular representatives followed, and most of them wrote me letters or paid me visits of condolence. And the  grief was not"merely an official one, as to my sincere satisfaction I had abund ant proof to convince myself. A real gloom was spread over the whole com munity.

   It would not be proper in this place to speak of my personal feelings,but IL  hope I will be pardoned for saying that the great debt of gratitude I owed Mr.  Lincoln made me feel his loss like that of a brother. In the miraculous salvation  of the venerable chief of our department I rejoice most heartily, with every true  friend of the great *cause of our country, which, I am persuaded, in the hands  of Mr. Johnson will be sustained ably and energetically.

   I have the honor, sir, to be your obedient servant,                C. N. RIOTTE.


   Riotte to Hunter.              [Extract.]

 No. 125.] LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, San Jose, June 4, 1865.

    SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of despatches Nos. 102   and 103, and enclose copy of a note addressed to this government, and a copy   and translation of the reply tbereto ; also a copy of the circular note directed   by me to the diplomatic and consular representatives of foreign nations,calling   upon them to join in the celebration of the day set aside by the President as a   day of mourning in memory of our lamented late President. On that mournful day I was made the recipient of a number of letters ofcondolence and of visits from many distinguished citizens and the charges ofPeru and Spain. Without one single exception all flags in this capital were at halfmast, some draped in crape. The legation and its flagstaff I had draped in black and white, while long black streamers hung down from the flag.   Most Americans wore black, and two of them volunteered to put up the drapery on the legation.

 I have the honor, sir, to be your obedient servant,   C. N. RIOTTE.


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