By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Abraham Lincoln - A Memorial Discourse
Author: Eddy, Thomas Mears, 1823-1874
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Abraham Lincoln - A Memorial Discourse" ***

online book collection (http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/moa/).




By Rev. T. M. Eddy, D. D.,

Delivered at a

Union Meeting, held in the Presbyterian Church,

Waukegan Illinois,

Wednesday, April 19, 1865,

The day upon which the funeral services of the president were
conducted in Washington, and observed throughout the loyal states as
one of mourning.

Published by request.


Printed at the Methodist Book Depository.

Charles Philbrick, Printer.



Waukegan, April 19, 1865.

Rev. T. M. Eddy, D. D.:

The undersigned having listened with much interest and profit to
your eloquent eulogy this day spoken before the citizens of this
town, upon the Life and Death of President Lincoln, unite in
requesting a copy for publication. We feel that much good would come
to the community from a calm perusal of the thoughts so fitly uttered
on the occasion.

H. W. Blodgett,
D. Brewster,
C. W. Upton,
W. H. P. Wright,
W. J. Lucas,
C. L. Wright,
C. G. Buell,
M. M. Biddlecew,
P. W. Edwards,
A. P. Yard,
B. S. Kennicott,
Wm. C. Tiffany,
S. S. Greenleaf,
R. Douglas,
Joseph Mallon,
James Y. Cory.

Editorial Rooms, Northwestern Christian Advocate, 66 Washington
Street, Chicago, April 24, 1865.

Messrs. Blodgett, Upton and Others:

    Gentlemen--Your note is before me. You know the time for the
preparation of that discourse was very brief. You are also aware,
doubtless, that though spoken from copious notes, much of it was
extemporized, and that I cannot reproduce those passages. But such as
it is, I place it in your hands, as my humble tribute to the name and
the virtues of our murdered President.

    With much respect, gentlemen,

          Yours truly,

          T. M. Eddy.


"In the day of adversity consider."

It _is_ the day of adversity. A great grief throws its shadow over
heart and hearth and home. There is such a sorrow as this land never
knew before; agony such as never until now wrung the heart of the
nation. In mansion and cottage, alike, do the people bow themselves.

We have been through the Red Sea of war, and across the weary,
desert marches of griefs and bereavements, but heretofore we have
felt that _our leader_ was with us, and believed that surely as Moses
was led by the pillar of cloud and of fire, so did God lead him.

But now that leader is not. Slain, slain by the hand of the
assassin, murdered beside his wife! The costliest blood has been
shed, the clearest eye is closed, the strongest arm is nerveless--the
Chief Magistrate is no more. "The mighty man cries bitterly; the day
is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness
and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and
thick darkness."

It is no mere official mourning which hangs its sad drapery
everywhere. It is not alone that a President of the Republic is, for
the first time, assassinated. No; there is a tender grief that
characterizes the bereavement of a loved friend, which shows there
was something in this man which grappled him to men's hearts as with
hooks of steel.

But mourning the death of the Chief Magistrate, it becomes us to
review the elements of his career as a ruler, which have so endeared
him to loyal hearts.

If I were to sketch the model statesman, I would say he must have
mental breadth and clearness, incorruptible integrity, strength of
will, tireless patience, humanity, preserved from demoralizing
weakness by conscientious reverence for law, ardent love of country,
and, regulating all, a commanding sense of responsibility to God, the
Judge of all. These, though wrapped in seeming rustic garb, were
found in Abraham Lincoln. He had mental breadth and clearness. In
spite of a defective early education, he became a self-taught
thinker, and later in life he read widely and meditated profoundly,
until he acquired a thorough mental discipline. He possessed the
power to comprehend a subject at once in the aggregate and in its
details. His eye swept a wide horizon and descried clearly all within
its circumference. He was a keen logician, whose apt manner of
"putting things" made him more than a match for practiced
diplomatists and wily marplots. These were men of might about his
council-board, scholars and statesmen, but none arose to his
altitude, much less was either his master.

That very facetiousness sometimes critcised, kept him from becoming
morbid, and gave healthfulness to his opinions, free alike from fever
and paralysis. That his was incorruptible integrity, no man dare
question. He was not merely above reproach, but eminently above
suspicion. Purity is receptive. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall _see God_," is as profound in philosophy as comprehensive
in theology. Purity in the realm of moral decision and motive, is a
skylight to the soul, through which truth comes direct. Abraham
Lincoln was so pure in motive and purpose, looked so intensely after
the right that he might pursue it, that he saw clearly where many
walked in mist.

Without developing the characteristics of the ideal statesman
analytically, let us see how they were manifest in his administration.

It began amid the rockings of rebellion. A servile predecessor,
deplorably weak, if not criminal, had permitted treason to be freely
mouthed in the national capitol, treasonable action to be taken by
State authorities, and armed treason to resist and defy federal
authority, and environ with bristling works the forts and flag of the
Union. At such a juncture, Mr. Lincoln, then barely escaping
assassination, was inaugurated. As was right, he made all proper
efforts for conciliation, tendered the olive-branch, proposed such
changes as existing laws, and even of the Constitution, as should
secure Southern rights from the adverse legislation of a sectional
majority. All was refused, and traitors said, "We will not live with
you. Though you sign a blank sheet and leave us to fill it with our
own conditions, we will not abide with you."

Refusing peace, war was commenced, not by the President, but by
secessionists. War has been waged on a scale of astounding vastness
for four years, and Mr. Lincoln falls as the day of victory dawns.

His claim to the character of a great statesman is to be estimated
in view of the fiery ordeal which tried him, and not by the gauge of
peaceful days. In addition to the most powerful armed rebellion ever
organized, he was confronted by a skillful, able, persistent, well
compacted partisan opposition. He was to harmonize sectional feelings
as antagonistic as Massachusetts and Kentucky, and to rally to one
flag generals as widely apart in sentiment and policy as Phelps and
Fitz John Porter. That under such difficulties he sometimes erred in
judgment and occasionally failed in execution, is not strange, for he
was a man, but that he erred so seldom, and that he so admirably
retrieved his mistakes, shows that he was more by far than an
ordinary man; more by far than an average statesman. Standing where
we do today, we feel that he was divinely appointed for the crisis;
that he was chosen to be the Moses of our pilgrimage, albeit, he was
to die at Pisgah and be buried against Beth-Peor, while a Joshua
should be commissioned to lead us into the land of promise.

In studying the administration of these four eventful years, it
seems to me there were four grand landmarks of principle governing
him, ever visible to the eye of the President, by which he steadily
made his way.


In his first Inaugural, he said: "I hold that in contemplation of
universal law and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is
perpetual." In his reply to Fernando Wood, then Mayor of New York, he
said, "There is nothing that could ever bring me willingly to consent
to the destruction of the Union." By this rule he walked. The Union
was one for all time, and there was no authority for its division
lodged anywhere. He would use no force, would exercise no authority
not needed for this purpose. But what force _was_ needed, whether
moral or physical, should be employed. Hence the call for troops.
Hence the marching armies of the Republic, and the thunder of cannon
at the gates of Vicksburg, Charleston and Richmond. Hence the
suspension of the _habeas corpus_, the seizure and occasional
imprisonment of treason-shriekers and sympathizers, for which he has
been denounced as a tyrant by journals, which, slandering him while
living, have the effrontery to put on the semblance of grief and
throw lying emblems of mourning to the wind! For the exercise of that
authority, he went for trial to the American people, and they
triumphantly sustained him.

II.  The second grand regulating idea of his administration may be
best stated in his own words: "GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE BY THE
PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE." He conceded the people _to be the
Government_. Their will was above the opinion of secretaries and
generals. He recognized their right to dictate the policy of the
administration. Their majesty was ever before him as an actual
presence. On the 11th of February, 1861, he said, in Indianapolis,
"Of the people when they rise in mass in behalf of the Union and the
liberties of their country, it may be said, 'The gates of hell shall
not prevail against them,'" and again, "I appeal to you to constantly
bear in mind that with you, and not with politicians, not with the
President, not with office-seekers, but _with you_ rests the
question, Shall the Union and shall the liberties of this country be
preserved to the latest generation?" Again, on that memorable journey
to Washington, he said, "It is with you, the people, to advance the
great cause of the Union and the Constitution." "I am sure I bring a
true heart to the work. For the ability to perform it, I must trust
in that Supreme Being who has never foresaken this favored land,
through the instrumentality of this great and intelligent people." In
his first Inaugural he said: "This country, with its institutions,
belongs to the people who inhabit it." "The Chief Magistrate derives
all his authority from the people." "Why should there not be a
patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there
any better or any equal hope in the world?"

These sentences were utterances of a faith within him. In the people
he had faith. He saw them only lower than the King of kings, and they
were to be trusted and obeyed.

Yet this man who thus trusted and honored the people, who so
reverenced their authority, and bowed before their majesty, has been
called "tyrant," "usurper," by men who now would make the world
forget their infamy by putting on badges of woe, and who seek to wash
out the record of their slander by such tears as crocodiles shed! Out
upon the miserable dissemblers!

When the people had spoken, he bowed to their mandate. When it
became necessary to anticipate their decision, he did so, calmly
trusting their integrity and intelligence. He considered their wishes
in the constitution of his cabinet, in the choice of military
commanders, in the appointment of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of the United States, and in the measures he recommended to Congress.

The people proved worthy of the trust. They promptly took every loan
asked for the relief of the treasury and sustained the national
credit. They answered all his calls for men. They sprang into the
ranks, shouting

    "We are coming, Father Abraham."

They cheerfully laid down life at his word. So far from this
conflict proving a republic unfit to make war, or that for its
prosecution there must be intensely centralized authority, it has
demonstrated that a democracy trusted, is mightier than a

III.  His third towering landmark was THE RIGHT OF ALL MEN TO
FREEDOM. And here with his practical sense and acute vision he rose
to a higher, and I think a healthier, elevation than that of many
heroic antislavery leaders. They _were_ anti-slavery. Their lives
were spent in attack. They sought to destroy a system; they told its
wrongs and categoried its iniquities.

He knew that light, let in, will cast out darkness, and that kindled
warmth will drive out cold. He knew that freedom was better than
slavery, and that when men see that it is so, they will decree
freedom instead of slavery. He therefore entered the lists FOR
FREEDOM. He spoke of its inestimable blessings, and then unrolling
the immortal Declaration of Independence claimed that, with all its
dignity and all its endowments, liberty is the birthright of ALL MEN.
He taught the American people that the inalienable right of all men
to liberty was the first utterance of the young Republic, and that
her voice must be stifled so long as slavery lives. In his Ottawa
speech he said: "Henry Clay--my beau-ideal of a statesman--the man
for whom I fought all my humble life, once said of a class of men who
would repress all tendencies to liberty and ultimate emancipation,
that they must, if they would do this, go back to the era of our
independence and muzzle the cannon which thunders its annual joyous
return; they must blow out the moral lights around us, they must
penetrate the human soul and eradicate there the love of liberty, and
then, and not till then, could they perpetuate slavery in this

He laid his spear in rest and went forth with armor on, the champion
of freedom. He claimed she should walk the world everywhere,
untrammeled and free to bless the lowest as well as the highest. It
was not right and never could be made right, to forbid working
lawfully that all men might be free. Slavery debased--freedom lifted
up. Slavery corrupted, freedom purified. Freedom might be abused, but
slavery was itself a colossal abuse.

He was no dreaming visionary, but stated with commanding clearness
the doctrine of equality before the law, or political equality,
distinguishing it from social equality. In old Independence Hall, in
1861, he said of the Colonies: "I have often enquired of myself what
great principle or idea it was that kept this confederacy so long
together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the
Colonies from the mother land, but the sentiment in the Declaration
of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this
country, but I hope to the world for all future time. It was that
which gave promise that in due time the weight should be lifted from
the shoulders of all men." He held that instrument to teach that
"nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the
world to be trodden on, degraded and imbruted by its fellows."

We search vainly for a clearer and terser statement of the true
theory of equality than he gave last autumn in an address to a
Western regiment. "We have, as all will agree, a free government,
where _every man has a right to be equal with every other man_." Has
a _right to be!_ Take the fetters from his limbs, take the load of
disability from his shoulders, give him room in the arena, and then
if he cannot succeed with others, the failure is his. _But he has the
right_ TO TRY. You have no right to forbid the trial. If he will try
for wealth, fame, political position, he has the right. Let him
exercise it and enjoy what he lawfully wins.

With such views he came to the presidency. Here he was an executive
officer, bound by the Constitution, and charged with its maintenance
and defense. He was to take the nation as the people placed it in his
hands, rule it under the Constitution and surrender it unbroken to
his successor. Accordingly he made to the Southern States all
conceivable propositions for peace. Slavery should be left without
federal interference. They madly rejected all. War came. He saw at
the outset that slavery was our bane. It confronted each regiment,
perplexed each commander. It was the Southern commisariat, dug
Southern trenches and piled Southern breastworks.

But certain Border States maintained a quasi loyalty and clung to
slavery. They were in sympathy with rebellion, but wore the semblance
of allegiance and with consequential airs assumed to dictate the
policy of the President. He was greatly embarrassed. He made them
every kind and conciliatory offer, but all was refused. Slavery on
the gulf and on the border, in Charleston and in Louisville, was the
same intolerant, incurable enemy of the Union. He struck it at last.
The Proclamation of Emancipation came, followed in due time by the
recommendation that the Constitution be so amended as forever to
render slavery impossible in State or Territory. For these acts, he
was arraigned before the American people on the 8th of last November,
and received their emphatic approval.

In a letter written to a citizen of Kentucky, the President gave an
exposition of his policy so transparent, that I reproduce it in this
place. It is his sufficient explanation and vindication.

Executive Mansion, Washington,
April 4, 1864.

A. G. Hodges, Esq., Frankfort, Ky.

    "My Dear Sir:--You ask me to put in writing the substance of what
I verbally stated the other day, in your presence, to Governor
Bramlette and Senator Dixon. It was about as follows:

    "I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong nothing is
wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think and feel; and yet I
have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an
unrestricted right to act officially in this judgment and feeling. It
was in the oath I took that I would to the best of my ability
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I
could not take the office without taking the oath. Nor was it in my
view that I might take the oath to get power, and break the oath in
using the power. I understood, too, that in ordinary civil
administration this oath even forbade me to practically indulge my
primary abstract judgment on the moral question of slavery. I had
publicly declared this many times and in many ways; and I aver that,
to this day I have done no official act in mere deference to my
abstract judgment and feeling on slavery. I did understand, however,
that my oath to preserve the Constitution to the best of my ability
imposed upon me the duty of preserving, by every indispensable means,
that government, that nation, of which that Constitution was the
organic law. Was it possible to lose the nation, and yet preserve the
Constitution? By general law, life and limb must be protected; yet
often a limb must be amputated to save a life, but a life is never
wisely given to save a limb. I felt that measures, otherwise
unconstitutional, might become lawful by becoming indispensable to
the preservation of the Constitution through the preservation of the
nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground, and now avow it. I
could not feel that to the best of my ability I had even tried to
preserve the Constitution, if, to save slavery, or any minor matter,
I should permit the wreck of government, country, and Constitution
altogether. When, early in the war, General Fremont attempted
military emancipation, I forbade it, because I did not then think it
an indispensable necessity. When, a little later, General Cameron,
then Secretary of War, suggested the arming of the blacks, I
objected, because I did not yet think it an indispensable necessity.
When, still later, General Hunter attempted military emancipation, I
forbade it, because I did not yet think the indispensable necessity
had come. When, in March and May and July, 1862, I made earnest and
successive appeals to the Border States to favor compensated
emancipation, I believed the indispensable necessity for military
emancipation and arming the blacks would come, unless averted by that
measure. They declined the proposition; and I was, in my best
judgment, driven to the alternative of either surrendering the Union,
and with it the Constitution, or of laying strong hand upon the
colored element. I chose the latter. In choosing it, I hoped for
greater gain than loss; but of this I was not entirely confident.
More than a year of trial now shows no loss by it in our foreign
relations, none in our home popular sentiment, none in our white
military force--no loss by it anyhow or anywhere. On the contrary, it
shows a gain of quite a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers, seamen,
and laborers. These are palpable facts, about which, as facts, there
can be no caviling. We have the men; and we could not have had them
without the measure.

  "And now let any Union man who complains of the measure test
himself by writing down in one line that he is for subduing the
rebellion by force of arms; and in the next, that he is for taking
three [one?] hundred and thirty thousand men from the Union side, and
placing them where they would be but for the measure he condemns. If
he cannot face his case so stated, it is only because he cannot face
the truth.

  "I add a word which was not in the verbal conversation. In telling
this tale, I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to
have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have
controlled me. Now, at the end of three years' struggle, the nation's
condition is not what either party or any man desired or expected.
God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now
wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the
North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our
complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new
causes to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.

      "Yours truly,

            A. Lincoln."

He struck slavery because slavery had clutched the throat of the
Republic, and one of the twain must die! Mr. Lincoln said, LET IT BE

Christianity, declaring the brotherhood of race, redemption and
retribution answered, _So be it!_ The Bible, sealed by slave-codes to
four millions for whom its truths were designed, answered _Amen!_ The
gospel long fettered by the slave-master's will, and instead of an
evangel of freedom made to proclaim a message of bondage, lifted up
its voice in thanksgiving. Marriage, long dishonored, put on its
robes of purity, and its ring of perpetual covenant, and answered
_Amen,_ and from above, God's strong angels and six-winged cherubim,
bending earthward, shouted their response to the edict of the Great

IV.  The next controlling idea was


As a public man, he set God before his eyes, and did reverence to
the Most High. It was deeply a touching scene as he stood upon the
platform of the car which was to carry him from his Springfield home,
and tearfully asked his neighbors and old friends that they should
remember him in their prayers. Amid tears and sobs they answered "We
will pray for you." Again and again has he publicly invoked Divine
aid, and asked to be remembered in the prayers of the people. His
second Inaugural seems rather the tender pastoral of a white-haired
bishop than a political manifesto.

What were his person relations to his God, I know not. We are not in
all things able to judge him by our personal standard. How much
etiquette may be demanded, how much may have been yielded to the
tyranny of custom we cannot tell. In public life he was spotless in
integrity and dependent upon Divine aid. He had made no public
consecration to God in church covenant, but we may not enter the
sanctuary of his inner life. He constantly read the holy oracles, and
recognized their claim to be the inspired Scriptures.

He felt that religious responsibility when he set forth the
Proclamation of Emancipation closing with the sublime sentence: "And
upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted
by the Constitution, on military necessity, I invoke the considerable
judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God."

In one of the gloomy hours of the struggle he said to a delegation
of clergymen: "My hope of success in this great and terrible struggle
rests on that immutable foundation, the justice and goodness of God.
And when events are very threatening, and prospects very dark, I
still hope, in some way which men cannot see, all will be well in the
end, because our cause is just and God is on our side."

If, as the executive officer of the nation he erred, it was in
excessive tenderness in dealing with criminals. Unsuspecting and
pure, he could not credit unmixed guilt in others, and with
difficulty could he bring himself to suffer condign punishment to be
inflicted. There were times when he was inflexible. In vain did
wealth and position plead for Gardner, the slave-captain. As vainly
did they for Beall and Johnson. If he was lenient it was the error of

In reviewing the administration of Abraham Lincoln, we see in him
another of those Providentially called and directed leaders who have
been raised up in great crises. His name stands on the roll with
those of Moses and Joshua, and William of Orange, and Washington. Not
only did Providence raise him up, but it divinely vindicated his
dealings with slavery. As emancipation was honored, did the pillar of
flame light our hosts on to victory!

In the dawning morn of peace and Union has this leader been slain.
When the nation thought it most needed him, has he been basely
butchered! As the ship which had been rocking in the waves and bowing
before the storm was reaching the harbor, a pirate, who sailed with
the passengers, basely stole on deck and shot the pilot at the wheel!

The assassin has been held in abhorrence among all people and in all
ages. Here was a foul plot to destroy at one swoop the President, the
officers eligible to the succession, the Cabinet, the Lieutenant-
General, and no doubt the loyal Governors of the States. That the
scheme was successful only in part, God be praised. Never has an
assassination produced so terrible a shock. For--

    "He had borne his faculties so meek, had been
     So clear in his great office, that his virtues
     Do plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
     The deep damnation of his taking off."

He fell, and the whole land mourns. Secession smote him in her
impotent death-rage, but the State lives on! The reins which dropped
from his nerveless hand another grasped, and the nation lives. No
revolution comes. No war of rival dynasties! The constitutional
successor is in the chief seat of power, and how much secession has
taken by this new crime remains to be seen.

Fellow-citizens, there are some duties which press upon us in this

  1.  We must anew commit ourselves to the work of suppressing
rebellion and re-enthroning the majesty of the Union and
Constitution. Mr. Lincoln lived until the nation's flag had waved in
triumph over every important Southern city; until the proud Southern
aristocracy had thrown itself at the feet of its slaves, and with
frantic outcries implored salvation at their hands; had lived to walk
through Richmond, and be hailed by its dusky freedmen as their
deliverer; had lived until he received the report of the surrender of
Lee's grand army, and then he was slain. We must complete the work.
Onward, until it be wrought. We believe it will be soon, but were it
a hundred years it must be accomplished!

  2.  We must complete the destruction of slavery. Added to its long
catalogue of crimes, it has now slain the Lord's Anointed, the man
whom he made strong! Now as THE ETERNAL liveth, it must die! By the
agonies it has caused, by the uncoffined graves it has filled, by the
tears it has wrung from pure women and little children, by our sons
and brothers starved to death in its mined prisons, by our beloved
Chief Magistrate murdered, by all these do we this day swear unto the
LORD that slavery SHALL DIE and that he would save it shall
politically die with it!

  3.  This day, as funeral rites are being said, and sobs are coming
up from a smitten household and bereaved people, before the Lord do
we solemnly demand that justice be done in the land upon evil-doers,
that blood-guiltiness may be taken away, and that men shall not dare
repeat such crimes.

_When treason slew Abraham Lincoln, it slew the pardoning power,_
and by its own act placed authority in the hands of one of sterner
mold and fiery soul--one deeply wronged by its atrocities. Now let it
receive the reward of its own hands! This is the demand of mercy as
well as justice, that after generations may see the expiation of
treason is too costly for its commission. Mercy to the many demands
the punishment of the guilty.

The assassin of the Chief Magistrate must be found. Though all seas
must be crossed, all mountains ascended, all valleys traversed, he
_must_ be found! If he hide him under the mane of the British lion,
beneath the paw of the Russian bear or among the lilies of France, he
must be found and plucked thence for punishment! If there be no
extradition treaty, then the strong hands of our power must make one.
He was a tragedian. Had he never read--

    "If the assassination
     Could trammel up the consequences and catch
     With this surcease, success; that but this blow
     Might be the be-all and the end-all _here,_

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

    "We'd jump the life to come.  But in these cases
     _We still have judgment here._  We but teach
     Bloody inventions, which, being taught, return
     To plague the inventors.  Thus even-handed justice
     Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
     To our own lips."

We are told that he excelled in the part of Richard III. Did he not
remember the tent scene--

    "My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
     And every tongue brings in a several tale,
     And every tale condemns me for a villain--
     Perjury, perjury, in the highest degree,
     Murder, stern murder, in the darkest degree;
     All several sins, all used in each degree,
     Throng to the bar, crying all--Guilty! guilty!
     I shall despair.  There is no creature loves me;
     And, if I die, no soul will pity me."

He has murdered the Lord's Anointed, and vengeance shall pursue him.
Tell me not, in deprecation of this sentiment "Vengeance is mine, I
will repay saith the Lord." Human justice has its work and must
follow the assassin, if need be, to the very gates of hell! It is
God's edict that he who causelessly takes any human life, "By men
shall his blood be shed"--how much more when it is such a life! [FN#1]

  [FN#1]  Since the MS. of this discourse was given the printer, the
assassin has met his retribution. Hunted like a wild beast to his
lair, he was surrounded by his pursuers, forsaken by his accomplice,
the barn to which he had fled fired, then shot to death, lingering
several hours in intense suffering and his remains consigned to
impenetrable obscurity. Retribution came to him before his victim was
buried. So be it ever! His accomplices are known and _must be_

A morning journal, which has been somehow retained in the interest
of wrong, of home-traitors, of misrule, has already impliedly put in
the plea of insanity for the assassin. The same journal runs a
parallel between him and John Brown. Well, Virginia executed John
Brown--its own precedent is fatal to its own client!

Let justice be done on the leaders of rebellion. Have done with the
miserable cant of curing those perjured conspirators with kindness.
Libby Prison mined under Federal captives, the starved skeletons of
our slowly murdered kinsmen, the grave of Lincoln, and the gaping
wounds of Seward are your answer. It must be taught men for all time
that treason is, in this life, unpardonable! It is all crimes in one.
In this case it is without the glitter of seeming chivalry for its
relief. It has had nothing knightly. It has conspired to starve
prisoners, has plotted conflagrations which were to consume, in one
dread holocaust, the venerable matron, the gray-haired sire and the
mother with her babe; has resorted to poison, the knife of the cut-
throat and the pistol of the assassin. No treason was ever so
repulsively foul, so reekingly corrupt. For its great leaders, the
block and the halter; for its chieftains, military and civic, of the
second class, perpetual banishment with confiscation of their goods,
for all who have volunteered to fight against the Union perpetual
disfranchisement--these are the demands of a long-suffering people.

The case of treason-sympathizers among us is one of grave moment. It
is hard to bear their sneers and patiently to listen to their covert
treason. It is a question whether the limit of toleration has not
been passed. The era of assassination has been commenced. Be sure
that any man who will excuse an assassin, will himself do foul murder
when he can shoot from behind a hedge, or strike a victim in the
back. It is matter of self-defence to cast such from our midst. Let
us have no violence, no lawlessness, _but such persons must be
persuaded to depart from us._ "They are gentlemen." Booth was courtly
in speech and mien. Have they been State officers? So was Walsh,
whose house was a disunion arsenal. The time has come when we cannot
permit men in sympathy with armed rebellion, which employs the
assassin, to dwell in our midst.

Abraham Lincoln is no more. His work is done. We may not comprehend
the mystery which permitted his removal at such an hour, in such a
way. God hideth himself wondrously, and sometimes seems to stand afar
from His truth and His cause when most needed.

Our leader is gone. His work is finished, and it may be that his
Providential mission was fully accomplished. His memory is
imperishably fragrant. WASHINGTON--LINCOLN! Who shall say which name
shall shine brighter in the firmament of the historic future!

He is dead! In the Presidential Mansion are being said words of
solemn admonition and godly counsel. In a few hours his remains will
be on their way to sleep in their Illinois grave!

Dead! "How is the strong staff broken and the beautiful rod!"

Pray devoutly for the smitten widow and fatherless children of our
Chief Magistrate. They are sorely stricken and God alone can heal
them. To them it is not the loss of the Chief Magistrate that makes
this hour so sad, but that they have no more a husband or a father!

And now that there has been sorrow in all the land, and the death-
angel in all its homes, from the humblest to the highest, is not our
expiation well-nigh wrought, and will not our Father have compassion
upon us?

Let us devoutly pray the King of nations to guide _our nation_
through its remaining struggle! It may be He means to show us that He
alone is the Savior!

Let us implore Divine guidance upon Mr. Lincoln's successor, Andrew
Johnson, President of the United States. He was faithful amid the
faithless. He was true to the Union when few in his section had for
it aught but curses. Pray for him. He comes to power at a critical
time and needs wisdom from above. Confide in him. He will surely rise
above the one error which temporarily drew him down. He is only hated
by traitors, and when they hate, it is safe for loyal men to trust.

By and by we may understand all this. Now it passes comprehension,
but we have seen so many manifestations of God's supervising agency
when we least looked for it, that we may safely trust Him. He means
to save us. Nay, blessed be His name, He _has_ saved us!

His grand purposes will go forward. The wrath of man shall praise
Him, and the remainder of wrath will He restrain. Remember, and take
heart as you remember, the ringing line of Whittier.

    "God's errands never fail."

He who rides upon the whirlwind and directs the storm, is neither
dead nor sleeping, and He is a God who never compromises with wrong,
and never abdicates His throne.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Abraham Lincoln - A Memorial Discourse" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.