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holds good, be it spoken with due reverence; for the truest and best, most thorough and most powerful, friend to the madmen who, in their frenzy and fanaticism, have laid him low, was Abraham Lincoln, late President of these United States.
Let me then, here, to-day, in the first place, recognize the deep detestation and horror which should fill every heart, wherever it is, under whatever sun, at the atrocity and enormity of the horror which has darkened this country with grief. We meet here for the purpose of paying some fit and feeble tribute to the memory of the great man who has led our country through these last four years of agony and sorrow. We meet here as citizens of a common Union, as children of the same soil, by birth or by voluntary adoption. And it may be there are those here who come under neither of these descriptions, but are the denizens of these United States, remaining under their national flag, while quietly dwelling under the broad protection of our banner; and to all of these classes of men this day is momentous.
I do not propose to speak at length here, and on this occasion, of the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln. I dare not trust myself with the task. I but little thought, years ago, before he was elevated to the presidency of the United States, - before war had spread her blood-stained wing over our country, when I used to meet him in the ordinary course of civil life in my own adopted State,- I little thought, that, after four years of service under our flag in suppressing a rebellion, I should stand in this central park of New Orleans, in the service of my country, to speak words of eulogy upon the death of him, the President of these United States. But of the past we are secure. Glory, honor, the praise of all good men, have crowned his eventful career; and when in the providence of Almighty God, to whose inscrutable decrees we must all bow, — just as the ruby dawn of peace was breaking upon our distracted country; just as the arms of the Confederacy, fairly beaten, were being laid down; just when that gentle heart, that true, affectionate, honest man, seemed most required to throw the impulse and pressure of his power upon the question of reconstruction, — just then it pleased God that a cowardly and brutal murderer should strike down this great man by a blow, dastard-like, from behind, and in the very presence of his wife.
These things make it my duty, fellow-citizens, to say frankly and broadly to you here to-day, that however the investigation of this matter may turn out, it is written in the destinies of all men, that no man can commence upon a career of crime, and know at what enormity he will stop; and this is, whether the result of a wide-spread conspiracy or not, the natural and inevitable result of the great crime attempted four years ago against the nation. From being traitors, it is the easiest gradation downwards to be murderers and assassins. And let me say to you another thing: I trust in God, that the investigations that are now going on may not fix the guilt of this enormous offence upon any persons who may be considered as representatives of the Southern people; for, if that thing does come, no power but the Almighty can stay the just vengeance of an outraged nation. I hope, as a man anxious to see bloodshed, ruin, and devastation cease, I hope that this great crime may be proven to have been the offshoot of some individual baseness,- some single criminal. Yes, I hope it.
Fellow-citizens,— The record of President Lincoln is before the nation and the world. I affirm, that in the whole history of the world, not excluding him who, by common consent, is known as the Father of his Country, was there ever presented so spotless, so pure, so generous, so simple, so truthful, so energetic a character. Politics have ceased: there are no politics in these United States; there are no parties in these United States. Elected originally as the representative of a party, this great man became the representative of every loyal heart in the nation! No one, but some old hack, whose back is like that of an old horse in a bark-mill, adheres to politics now. There is nothing now but a nation; nothing that divides us but the national quarrel. How widely and how entirely did he spread his inviting arms to call in all these wanderers! What has he not done for this place and this people? It is to him that you owe your existence as a State and a city; and thus it is that this occasion is so momentous.
Whatever you have of civil order, of civil law, is the free gift of Abraham Lincoln, the tendernesses and charities of whom were as inevitable to his nature as light to the sun. They came from him as water boils from a spring; the deep fountains of his nature yielded uncounted supplies of all kindness and benevolence: such a man, so clothed in graceful form; such a man, so surrounded by all pleasant influences; such a man, in the very pride and dignity of his great office, — has fallen by the hand of a cut-throat and a bravo; and the American nation, which has held its head high for its civilization and its courage, is disgraced by the knowledge that the crimes of all the old worn-out barbarism of Europe are to be repeated and renewed among us.
We, the officers of the army, and the soldiers here, revered him as our comrade. A man wholly unused to military affairs, he has yet taken so deep an interest that probably no man in the Cabinet at Washington could more closely follow, and more thoroughly understand, the movements and combinations of our great leaders. A man who never had mingled much in the craft of statesmanship, he yet, having assumed those duties, recognized at once that the true policy for a bold and brave people was to follow the righteous instincts of a just heart and an enlightened intellect. He has educated this people up to the position they now
hold; and, at last, crowned with honor, having reached the very topmost round of the ladder of human ambition, he has stepped from that to heaven, there to receive that which will be his reward, — the plaudits of " Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Let me remind you of one thing more, and I am done. The President may die; the nation lives! Individuals perish; the superstructure of our Government stands! Stands, and will stand; and the gates of Death and Hell shall not prevail against it. We are now rebuilding the shattered portions of that glorious fabric, and it stands based upon the throbbing, pulsating joy of the brave hearts of millions upon millions of freemen; and while God's mercy continues, and while God's law continues, this American Republic, founded on universal right and universal freedom, will challenge the admiration, the applause, and if need be the fear, of the world.
Thus, then, we are led to the fact that our duties are still as incumbent upon us as ever. The great gap that has been made in the ostensible leaders of Government will be filled. The glorious memory of the President will remain to us; but the solemn, assured, onward, determined, inevitable march of this great people to the consummation of her destiny shall not and will not be stopped. While, then, we mourn the lost man, brother, and ruler, we know that the blow that struck him cannot strike the vitals of the nation. Here we are, here we are ready to be, each man in his place, - officers, soldiers, citizens, workmen, — all, everywhere, of all complexions and castes, working for the one straightforward object, — the perpetuation of human freedom, the progress of human destiny, through God's great agent, the American Union.
New-Orleans Times, April 23, 1865.
CRIENDS, — The President of the United States has recomI mended this day to be set apart throughout the land as one of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, commemorative of the mournful death of our late Chief Magistrate, Abraham Lincoln, on the fifteenth day of April last; and at this moment its millions of people are assembled around the altar of their God, with saddened spirits and chastened hearts, uniting in solemn supplication and prayer, - a mournful, a noble, and imposing spectacle.
Although on this holy festival of Pentecost the scattered followers of Israel's faith are commanded by their holy law to repair to the house of prayer to rejoice before the Lord, and to lay upon his altar the offerings of grateful hearts for numberless blessings enjoyed; although they are not permitted to make it a day of fasting or public mourning, —yet it cannot be improper or inappropriate to recall and reflect upon the great event which sits so heavily upon the nation, thereby evincing to the world that our hearts beat in unison with our fellow-citizens of other denominations; that, although a peculiar people in many respects, we feel ourselves a component part of this great community of States, exulting in their triumphs, deploring their defeats, rejoicing in their joys, and partaking of their sorrows.
* Mr. Jones is of the Jewish persuasion, and has always been an active political opponent of Mr. Lincoln.