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What a universal jubilee prevailed throughout the loyal States! Joy sat enthroned on every countenance; each glance shone with expectation bright; friend greeted friend with heartfelt warmth; political opponents, with united hands, joined in the universal exultation; women wept for joy, and children shouted in exuberant delight. Where'er the eye could reach, the beloved banner of the free floated gaily in the breeze; the bells chimed forth their merry peals, and the blaze of joyous lights, enlivening night's darkened shades, attested a grateful people's joy. Victory, bloodless and complete, bright harbinger of sweet and gentle Peace, announced her welcome coming.
Thus was it when the sun sank to rest on the eve of the fourteenth day of April; but on the advent of the following morn how changed the scene! What rumors, gathering sound, fall on the ear! O'er the electric wire, from shore to shore, sped the dread tidings,- our ruler slain! Hushed were the sounds of revelry and mirth; mute was each voice, and tearful every eye; mournfully waved the gay flags in the bright light of day, decked in the sombre emblems of grief; stilled were the pealing chimes, while in their stead the solemn requiem knell fell heavily on the heart.
Fell messenger of death! could no presaging sign, no warning voice, announce thy coming? Swift and unforeseen, like the lightning's flash, thou camest when least expected, and threw thy lengthened shade over years to come. Doubtless you all can recollect your own sensation at hearing the sad intelligence; but never, while memory retains her seat, can I forgot my own. Little beings that I love ran into my room, their eyes beaming with consternation and concern, exclaiming, "Mr. Lincoln has been killed!” I grasped the paper that they bore, glanced at the fatal words, and, opponent as I was, the unbidden tear would start. I wept to think of the kind-hearted ruler so inhumanly murdered; wept, that beneath the sacred banner of our country
wretches so vile as these assassins had been born and nurtured; wept when I reflected on the unparalleled crime, and the ineffaceable stain inflicted on our nation's fair escutcheon.
And, as the day sped on, the multitudes, with awe-struck hearts, thronged the busy streets with saddened mien, as if within each home the destroying angel had set his stamp of woe. Why was his loss thus mourned? Other precious lives have fallen victims to insatiate war: he was but one of the people, temporarily intrusted with power and authority. True. Many a bright existence has been quenched in the glow and fulness of its prime. We have lost heroes upon the field of battle; we have mourned when soaring genius died in mid career: but, in the humble spirit that had fled, the hopes of millions were centred.
The destinies of the nation were in his keeping: powers never before conferred had been invested in him; and, at the moment of his death, he held within his grasp the mightiest destinies man ever controlled. Upon the utterance of his thoughts and will the Republic's future rested. On him was riveted the nation's gaze as on a radiant and worshipped shrine, watching with fearful anxiety the close of the great work of pacification so auspiciously commenced.
He was the typical Father of the Republic, the great head of the nation; and for him, as such, we mourned.
No event of this nature that ever occurred on earth has created such intense and wide-spread regret. While our own great nation mourned its illustrious Chief, and ere his remains had reached the sepulchre, all Europe was electrified with the sad intelligence. Wonderful and unaffected were the evidences of sympathy and grief wherever Civilization has her home. The masses, the nobles, the monarchs of the world, paid homage to the memory of that honest, humble man. Americans may well be gratified, and feel an honest pride in this great tribute to his
sterling worth and unpretending virtues, as well as to the important position our Republic holds among the powers of the earth.
No funeral pageant that the world has ever witnessed approached in grandeur that which attended the coffined body of the illustrious dead. Never were such heartfelt honors paid to any potentate. Slowly and sadly was he borne through the heart of this great nation to his final resting-place in the mighty West, amid the silent, tearful homage of millions of his fellow-citizens.
Marbled monuments, with grateful inscriptions, may arise; statues of bronze may attest the love of his people to future ages: but the memory of his acts, the triumph of his policy, and his cruel death, will raise a monument within the hearts of the present generation that will endure while life or memory shall last.
Springing from the people, and raised by his exertions from the humblest station to the proudest rank on earth, he was a noble representative of true American character. To his career every American youth should point with admiration. It is our duty to extol the virtues of our great men, and strive to emulate their good deeds."
The clamors of war have ceased: that fell destroying power, to which the lives of thousands have been sacrificed, which has raged over many a verdant plain, and desolated many a happy hearth, has been at length allayed.
And now, hail, blessed Peace! Once more unclouded will she shine upon us, as bright and cheering in her rays as the fair orb of day: man will no longer seek to destroy his brother man; nor shall the tender eye of Pity shrink from Victory's crimsoned banners. No longer shall the streets of beleagured cities echo with the cries of pursuers and pursued, nor the azure vault of heaven be illuminated with the glare of peaceful homes fired by the relentless torch. No longer shall rich harvests, Heaven's noble bounty to ungrateful man, be trampled and destroyed by invading hosts,
SS WAS O
while gaunt famine and pale distress follow their desolating steps. Hail, blessed Peace! Again will the busy hum of industry be heard over our wide domain; again will the plough of the husbandman glide tranquilly over fields now blasted with the fires of war, while a bright and glorious future dawns upon us.
Doubtless within the breast of our martyred President arose many a bright anticipation of tranquil and happy times approaching. Guided in all his acts with malice toward none, with charity to all,” no undue exultation over vanquished foes pervaded his kind and noble heart; but it glowed with a quiet joy and Heaven-directed gratitude that his work had nearly ended, and that, beneath his guidance, quiet and happiness was once more about to bless his country.
In my address to you, I have confined myself solely to eulogizing the memory of Mr. Lincoln. The moral and religious instruction to be gleaned from the various circumstances attending his cruel death have been eloquently dwelt upon on former occasions by our respected minister, far more ably, and by fitter lips than mine.
According to the will of the everlasting King, our President has been taken from this earth. May the great God of Israel have mercy on his soul! may he pardon his iniquities, and keep his good deeds ever in his sight! In the language of our beautiful ritual, " May his soul enter the resting-place of the patriarchs! may our God guide him to the cherubim; and may he be decreed the happiness of paradise! May the repose established in the celestial abode, a forgiveness of trespasses, favor from Him that throneth on high, and a goodly portion in the life to come, be the resting-place and the reward” of Abraham Lincoln!
Philadelphia Inquirer, June 2, 1865.
AFFLICTED PEOPLE!— In pathetic imagination we have
taken up our march, following the dead corpse of our great leader, till at length we are come beneath this protecting canopy, reared like a sky above the arts and industries of a great people. Little did we think, when from the vigor of abundant life we extemporized this edifice, and in very play of childhood lifted this dome toward the sky, that it was to give us such shelter, and receive such consecration. Sweeter than the odor of all pleasant fruits, more precious than the wine of the vintage, more beautiful than the work of the cunning artificer, this tender and reverent respect, this aroma of a people's tears. Oh temple of peace, in a land of war! open wide thy gates, that the men of the city may weep at thine altars for the sorrow of the land!
Our great leader still leads us well; for we keep time, in our march, with the throbs of that precious heart which, though it has ceased to beat in the breast which bore it, still sways the tides within us as the sea sways beneath the stars. It is the quality of all lofty virtue, and distinguished excellence of public administration, to be embodied in principles, sentiments, and convictions, which appeal to all men on the broad ground of reason and truth.