Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sanguine heart has only helped to keep up the faith of the people, but has not driven him into any errors of folly or rashness. He, too, whether he live or die, will have an honorable record, — honorable, not only in the story of long, various, and distinguished services in so many public charges, for more than a generation; not only in the ability of his statesmanship, and the success of his diplomacy: but honorable as he has lived down calumnies, vindicated his prophecies, and won to himself the applause of enemies. This man, too, the country cannot afford to spare. Who shall stand in his place?

A great sorrow indeed has come upon us in these outrages; and it almost seems that these bright skies, this cheerful sunshine, these songs of birds to-day, insult our grief. We would have the heavens hung with black, as we have draped the doors of our houses and the walls of our churches. But, after all, is it not better to take the omen of the sunshine than to brood upon our grief and its emblems? We may be glad, that, heavy as our loss is, it is no worse; that, successful as this great crime has been, it was not more successful. Other victims were aimed at; and, if all the work had been done, we should have been left without a head for our armies, and almost without a Government. The crime has defeated its own ends. It will recoil upon those who have expected to profit by it. This crowning wickedness is only the last of that series of follies by which Providence has blinded insane men here to their destruction. It cannot hinder the triumph of the righteous cause. Not falsely was the vision given to our martyr, — the vision of freedom established, and a country saved. Not in vain has been his service. Not too early did the good man die, for the fruition of his hopes and his labors. Our illumination has been changed to cloud, our thanksgiving to lamenting; and the voice of wailing is heard in the land. But there is no voice of despair: the blackness is not that of a cavern or of night, but

as

vern O

only of a cloud in the sky: the lament is not a wail,—not the threnody of those who see no future; but is rather a requiem for the dead, the minor chord which goes in the funeral march before the full note of triumph. The land is safe, for God is its ruler. He leads us to deliverance. We will not trust in any arm of flesh, which may be broken; but we will trust in the living God, who hath led us hitherto. We will go on in the strength of this conviction, that, if we are constant in his righteousness, he will give the answer to our prayer, — will give peace, prosperity, plenty, a goodlier union, and a more glorious future.

[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE MURDER OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN:

AN ADDRESS SPOKEN AT A MEMORIAL SERVICE IN THE CHURCH OF THE

MESSIAH, MONTREAL, ON SUNDAY EVENING, APRIL 23, 1865;

BY REV. JOHN CORDNER.

THE lessons we have read this evening are those of the ser

1 vice for the burial of the dead. Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.” — "Lord, thou hast been my dwelling-place in all generations.” The solemn strain of these grand old psalms has swept the chord of human hearts throughout the Hebrew and Christian ages. And they are fresh and strong to-day as when Moses wrote and David sang. "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. . . . As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. ... Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the jubilant utterance of the great apostle, with mind illuminated by the new light which Christ brought from on high. And when the darkest shadows of death are projected upon our path, this light gives consolation, hope, joy.

Our present memorial service is but a single refrain of the wide-spread expression of grief which the past week witnessed on

C

[ocr errors]

this continent. On Wednesday last, a funeral took place in Washington, which closed the law-courts, banks, and places of business in this chief city of British America; invested our streets with subdued silence; called out visible tokens of mourning; and opened halls and churches, where words of sorrow and sympathy might find utterance. All this was spontaneous. It was the spontaneous " tribute of respect (I quote here from our mayor's proclamation) to the memory of the late President of the United States, and of sympathy with the bereaved members of his family; and an expression of the deep sorrow and horror felt by the citizens of Montreal, at the atrocious crime by which the President came to an untimely death.” A great crime had been committed, which moved the common human heart of this continent to great horror, and great sorrow and great sympathy for those more immediately afflicted.

On the evening of Good-Friday, — the anniversary of our Lord's crucifixion, — Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America, was mortally shot by the hand of an assassin. This deed will stand throughout historic time as one of the dark and tragic events of history; signal and memorable as indicating to what enormity of crime defeated hate and rage will drive men. The mode of the murder was deliberate and characteristic. All in front of the private box where the President was seated with his wife and friends, — all in front was light and publicity. A large concourse of people was there, drawn by the expectation of seeing their beloved Chief Magistrate, who, on his part, went at personal inconvenience, lest the people should be disappointed by his absence. The flaming jets of gas shed the brilliancy of their light upon the assemblage. In contrast with this, the passage in rear of the box was all darkness and secrecy. There prowled the assassin marking his victim. Lock and door had been previously tampered with, to facilitate the horrid purpose on hand.

[ocr errors]

And when the moment came for the dreadful deed to be done, - standing in the darkness behind his victim, — the murderer fired the fatal shot. The bullet lodged in the President's brain, and instantly deprived him of conscious existence. The physical mechanism of the strong frame maintained its action some hours longer; but, before eight o'clock next morning, heart and lungs had ceased all function. The earthly life of Abraham Lincoln had closed for ever.

This murder, in the method of its accomplishment, is somewhat symbolic of the attempt made four years ago on the life of the nation. That attempt broke the peace and disturbed the order of this hitherto peaceful, industrious, and prosperous continent. The same evil influence which moved to that attempt, pulled the trigger behind President Lincoln's head, and lodged the bullet in his brain. If the head of Queen Victoria stood in the way of the accomplishment of its purposes, it would share a like fate, if a like opportunity offered. The spirit of the slave power brooks no opposition. Habituated to the exercise of arbitrary rule, it chafes at the moral and constitutional restraints of a free, political, and social order. Hence its armed revolt against the pre-existing peaceful political order four years ago, as soon as the result of the election declared that it should no longer dominate the national affairs with a view to its own extension. The Constitution guaranteed its sway within existing limits, unmolested by interference from without. Dissatisfied with this, it sought extension into territories hitherto free, and untainted by slaveholding institutions. The slave power, be it still borne in mind, revolted against the result of an election in which itself took active part. In the prescribed constitutional way, the nation decided against the territorial extension of slavery by the election of Mr. Lincoln; and, from the hour. this decision was first made known, the slave power conspired against the national existence.

er

we

« AnteriorContinuar »