News of the Assassination Reaches London

News of Lincoln’s assassination took eleven days to reach London. This letter, by British actress and author Fanny Kemble, was written the day after she was told of Lincoln’s death. Through her marriage to Pierce Butler (1807–1867), heir to vast plantations in the Carolinas and Georgia, Kemble had witnessed the atrocity of slavery firsthand. Her account was published in 1863 as Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838–1839, and has been described as “a small masterpiece of generous outrage.” Kemble’s letter records the immediacy of her overwhelming shock and grief, and her anxiety about the future: “I cannot write I feel too incoherently all the horror & misery of this abominable crime—it is a southern deed—it represents the spirit of slaveholding.”