« AnteriorContinuar »
has drawn his weapon against the life of the President; and what is more cowardly, more ferocious, more abominable, if there is a grade of crime in assassination, was the attempt on the life of the Secretary of State, who was lying almost upon his dying bed. Itrequired the spirit of the rebellion; it required slavery in its last struggling death throes, to do this. This thing—I but repeat what 1 said long ago—is to be hunted out like a savage beast. And if there is any one thing in my human experience that I thank God more devoutly for than any other, it is that I have not anywhere winked at any thing, but have been in favor of hewing them down from beginning to end. It is not merely the death of Abraham Lincoln—great, good, patient, faithful, sincere as he was—but it is this great nation that has been wounded in her Chief Magistrate, that she had, with great and unusual eclat, continued in the position, and said, 'Well done, good and faithful servant/ Let our humanity extend to the humbler misguided men of the rebellion; but let us march on together to take out the roots and pull up the seed of it. I tell you that I will never slumber or sleep till every thing belonging to the rebellion, in number, person, and case, is abolished. I spent the best years of my life in endeavoring to reconcile differences between North and South. I saw in this rebellion a determination on the part of the rebel murderers, thieves, and conspirators, not to be conciliated. I say now that they must be hunted from the abodes of men. I care not whether this was the act of one man or the act of a hundred; it results from a sentiment which has been inculcated to destroy this great nation. It is acting practically upon the sentiment; and whether one conspirator's arm were nerved or whether a million had been brought forward, that is not the question—it was a determination to destroy this nation in the person of the President of the United States, and of the Secretary of State, whose prudent policy has prevented them from embarrassing us with a war with foreign nations. They come forward now and then and whet their knives for the destruction of individuals. Like the sending of Joseph into Egypt, they meant it for evil, but God means it for our good. He lias torn the veil from the face of this infernal rebellion, and it is perfectly revealed in all its hideousness. Who will follow it now except to slay it between the porch and the altar? I had hoped that its dying days would be calm and tranquil; that it would go down to the grave unhonored and unsung, but in peace. I am for calling upon every man with a loyal heart, be he north or south, east or west, be he old or young, be he of one political organization or another, to now say, whatever his previous opinions have been, that there has come a time when the people must take this thing into their own hand, in all their power, in all their majesty, until the last of the rebellion shall be numbered with the things that were.
At Nashville processions postponed from the previous day were just forming when the news was received. Instantly joy gave place to sorrow, the strains of exultation changed to funeral marches, and the military, with arms reversed, returned to their camps.
At Cincinnati, Columbus, Wheeling, Louisville, St. Louis, and even at San Francisco and the cities of California, the same scenes were repeated. Everywhere, spontaneous cessation of business, the closing of courts, the draping of the towns in niouning.
Even in the British Provinces marks of respect were shown. In Nova Scotia, the Governor was about to visit the Legislative Council, to give assent to the laws with the usual ceremonies, but on hearing of the sad news sent the following message to the Council:
"GOVEENMENT HOUSE, HALIFAX, N. S.,
"Saturday, April 15,1865. "My Dear Sir—Very shocking intelligence which has just reached me of the murder of President Lincoln by the hand of an assassin, and my sense of the loss which the cause of order has sustained by the death of a man whom I have always regarded as eminently upright in his intentions, indisposes me to make any publie ceremony such as I had contemplated in my intended visit to the Legislative Council to-day. I beg, therefore, to notify to you the postponement of that visit, and, perhaps, under the circumstances, men of all parties may feel that the suspension of further public business for the day would be a mark of sympathy not unbecoming the Legislature to offer, one which none could misconstrue. Believe me to be, very dear sir, your obedient servant,
"richard Groves Mcdowell.
"To Edward Kinney, "President of the Legislative Council."
At Toronto, the flags on the Custom House, and the shipping were displayed at half-mast, and Canadians shared in the expressions manifested by resident Americans.
At Concord, 1ST. H., on the evening after the reception of the news of the President's death a very large crowd of people called at the house of ex-President Franklin Pierce, and they were addressed by him as follows.
Speech Of Ex-president Pierce.
Fellow-townsmen—I come to ascertain the motives of this call. What is your desire?
[Some person in the crowd replied, "We wish to hear some words from you on this sad occasion." General Pierce proceeded.]
I wish I could address you words of solace. But that can hardly be done. The magnitude of the calamity, in all aspects, is overwhelming. If your hearts are oppressed by events more calculated to awaken profound sorrow and regret than any which have hitherto occurred in our history, mine mingles its deepest regrets and sorrows with yours.
It is to be hoped that the great wickedness and atrocity was confined, morally and actually, to the heads and hearts of but two individuals of all those who still survive on this continent; and that they may speedily, and in obedience to law, meet the punishment due to their unparalleled crimes. It is well that you—it is well that I—well that all men worthy to be called citizens of the United States, make manifest in all suitable forms the emotions incident to the bereavement and distress which have been brought to the hearths and homes of the two most conspicuous families of the Republic. I give them my warm, outgushing sympathy, as I am sure all persons within the hearing of my voice must do.
But beyond personal grief and loss, there will abide with us inevitably the most painful memories. Because, as citizens obedient to law, revering the Constitution, holding fast to the Union, thankful for the period of history which succeeded the Revolution in so many years of peaceful growth and prosperity, and loving with the devotion of true and faithful children all that belongs to the advancement and glory of the nation, we can never forget or cease to deplore the great crime and deep stain.
[A voice from the crowd—" Where is your flag ?"]
It is not necessary for me to show my devotion for the stars and stripes by any special exhibition, or upon the demand of any man or body of men. My ancestors followed it through the Revolution —one of them, at least, never having seen his mother's roof from the beginning to the close of that protracted struggle. My brothers followed it in the war of 1812, and I left my family in the spring of 1847, among you, to follow its fortunes and maintain it upon a foreign soil.
But this you all know. If the period during which I have served our State and country in various situations, commencing more than thirty-five years ago, have left the question of my devotion to the flag, the Constitution and Union, in doubt, it is too late now to remove it by any such exhibition as the inquiry suggests. Besides, to remove such doubts from minds where they may have been cultivated by a spirit of domination and partisan *ancor, if such a thing were possible, would be of no consequence to you, and it is certainly of none to me. The malicious questionings would return to re-assert their supremacy and pursue the work of injustice.
Conscious of the infirmities of temperament which, to a greater or less extent, beset us all, I have never felt or found that violence or passion was ultimately productive of beneficent results. It is gratifying to perceive that your observation, briefer than mine, has led your minds to the same conclusion. What a priceless commentary upon this general thought is the final reported conversation between the late President and his Cabinet! and with that dispatch comes news to warrant the cheering hope, that in spite of the knife of the assassin, the life and-intellect of the Secretary of State may, through Providence, be spared to us in this appalling emergency.
I thank you for the silent attention with which you have listened to me, and for the manifestations of your approval as my neighbors, and will not detain you in this storm longer than to add my best wishes for you all, and for what, individually and collectively, we ought to hold most dear—our country—our whole country Good night.
The bishops of the Catholic and Episcopal Churches, the heads of other denominations, all came forward to join in the public grief, and appoint services for Wednesday, which was set apart for the funeral.
In many of the synagogues, on the day of his death, prayers were offered for Mr. Lincoln, according to Jewish usage.
Among the discourses pronounced on the following day, Sunday, we select that delivered at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, by the Rev. Dr. Gurley. This church, which was the one attended by Mr. Lincoln, his chosen place of worship, was well filled by a congregation among which w^ere many high officials of the Government. Treasurer Spinner, Governor Oglesby, General Eaton, and many other gentlemen no less eminent, were present.
The church was hung with crape, and the mute, heart-rending eloquence of the empty pew was not decreased by the black drapery that told the reason of the absence of its august owner.
After the singing of the 103d Hymn, which was preceded by the reading of the 103d Psalm, Dr. Gurley remarked that it was with his congregation a sacramental Sabbath, and that the services of the morning would have reference to that fact; but he added that, before uniting in prayer, he would say a few words regarding the great bereavement which had so suddenly come upon us as a nation.
He then said :—
"This is such a Sabbath as our nation never saw before. It is a day of mourning, of great and bitter lamentation. Our beloved Chief Magistrate is dead! The man whom the people had learned to trust with a confiding and a loving confidence, and upon whom, more than upon any other, were centred, under God, our best hopes for the true and speedy pacification of the country, the restoration of the Union, and the return of harmony and love—that great and honored man has passed away. Just as the prospect of peace was brightly opening upon us, and he was hoping to enjoy with the people the blessed fruit and reward of his and their toil, and care, and patience, and self-sacrificing devotion to the interests of liberty and the Union—just then he fell and passed away. That such a life should be sacrificed at such a time by such an agency! Oh it is a dark, a mysterious, a most afflicting visitation. But, while we mourn we must not murmur; while we weep we must not complain. Above the foul, and cruel, and bloody hand of the assassin—far, far above it—we must see another hand—the chastening hand of a wise and faithful God. We know that his judgments are right, and that in faithfulness he has afflicted us. In the midst of our rejoicings we needed this stroke, this dealing, this discipline, and therefore he has sent it. Let us remember our affliction has not come forth of the dust, and our trouble has not sprung out of the ground. Through and beyond all second causes we must look, and see the sovereign, permissive agency of the great First Cause. And while we bow and worship, let us also be still and know that He is God. "Clouds and darkness are round about Him; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne." It is his prerogative to bring light out of darkness, and good out of evil. Surely the wrath of man