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but it is no less just to sigh and carry cypress in memory of those whom the flames consumed.
In the entrenchments, along the banks of the James, on the field before Richmond our heroes have fallen, while bullets whistled, blood gushed, hearts broke, the heavens blackened, and the earth shook with the wrestle of mad armies thundering and clashing together in deadly combat. Not a hero suffered there for naught, not a precious breath fluttered out from its frail tenement in vain, for thus were our great but costly victories won. But he, the pride, the hope, and the glory of the nation; in the midst of an assembly radiant with beauty, glorious in intellect, and fullhearted with happiness, without an instant's warning, saw the unstable earth melt and vanish away, and the golden portals of eternity open before the dissolving pageantry of life. With laurels nobly won yet green on his brow, at a moment when the angel of peace was spreading her white wings over the land, and it seemed that the last victim had been sacrificed on the altar of liberty, God in his infinite wisdom saw fit to remove from among us, him who for four weary years of war and desolation had been our buckler and our shield, our fortress and our strong defence.
Alas that I can say nothing of Abraham Lincoln, which will not be far better said many times, ere the shudder of this sad calamity will have passed from our hearts ! But it is no less a blessed privilege to me than to others, to be permitted to offer my simple tribute of love and sorrow to the memory of departed greatness; and while the anguish of my soul refuses to be allayed in silence, it would be hard indeed, were I forced to crush back the rising tears, or repress the lamentations crowding to my lips. Who that loves his country, but will weep in this, her hour of deep distress? What heart so insensible to the claims of unaffected greatness, or so unmoved by the example of a patriotism so exalted as his, that it will refuse to mourn that a cruel and violent death has taken from the nation he served so faithfully, the greatest and best man of the age ?
Never withịn the memory of living man has a President been so loved. Despite the ridicule of little minds, in the face of every injurious device that malignity could conceive, and tried by every test that constant, harrassing hatred could invent or apply, surrounded by enemies at home, and menaced by foes from abroad, he conquered every prejudice, surmounted every obstacle and enshrined himself in the very hearts of the people. The respect he won the first year became admiration the second, warmed into confidence the third, and finally culminated in something almost sinfully allied to adoration the fourth and last. Not only did he compel those who thought ill of him to think well, and those who thought well to think better; but, in many a notable instance, his bitterest opponents he converted into staunch supporters.
Every candid mind acknowledged his worth, every loyal tongue spoke his praise. He lived to see the day dawn when the wisdom of the course he had unwaveringly pursued was becoming apparent to the world; but it is reserved for the light of the future to illuminate the mighty intellect which was just beginning to make its latent strength felt when its great plans were suddenly arrested, and its giant working stilled forever.
It is no discredit to his memory to say that four years ago many an anxious heart trembled for the strength of the untried arm that was to pilot the ship of state in her perilous course against the head winds already whistling through her, canvass, and over the breakers even then angrily hurling themselves athwart her pathway. The farmer boy, the rail splitter, the flat boatman, the humble western lawyer, would he stand unaffrighted when the shock of war should come and he should know not friend from foe, and his enemies should be they of his own household ? How needless were our fears! Of just such rugged material are heroes made. When the storm burst in all its fury, when the heavens hurled their doom in thunderbolts and lightning flashes, which fell, not harmless, as thousands of known and unknown graves and the countless host of broken lives and mourning hearthstones will attest, but impotent to work the evil they sought, he for whom our fears were marshalled in dread array stood undaunted amid the smoking ruins. From that hour to this, our trust has never for a single moment faltered nor sought any other source of support.
How wise and conciliatory were the offers of pardon he tendered to the rebellious states during the first year of the war, yet how firmly again and again was the determination repeated to forcibly subdue them if they would not peacefully return to their allegiance. The hand held out to the penitent proffered the gentle clasp of a friend, but the finger tightening around the heart of the traitor had the hardness of steel. Futile was each generous appeal, and futile he doubtless felt they would be, but they were the fitting expressions of that thoughtful care for friends, and boundless magnanimity to foes, which would have provided for the safety of the loyal by the same humane measure which would instigate the punishment of the disloyal. It was this broad humanity more than anything else except the purity of his motives, and the rare simplicity of his nature, which endeared him to the hearts of his countrymen. The same clemency that marked the first acts of his official life characterized them until the day of his death. Even when the fatal bullet was being made ready for its unconscious victim, his noble heart was busy planning and providing for the future welfare of his enemies. Even when the brutal plot that terminated his existence was in process of completion, he was seeking the guidance of heaven, and the assistance of the best counsels of the nation to enable him
to decide how far consistently with his duty as the dispenser of righteous punishment, he could exercise the power of restoring to their olden privileges the misguided foes of the country their madness so nearly destroyed.
Oh, when shall we see his like again? There has no good thing ever been spoken of any man living or dead which may not truly be said of him. What if the casket were plain and unpolished ? The jewel it enclosed was as pure as the Mountain of Light. Firm, yet gentle; severe, yet just; inflexible in the right, yet never obstinate in the wrong; pure minded, unselfish; grateful to his friends; magnanimous to his foes; true to himself and true to his country; so might we go on enumerating his virtues, and still leave some grace of spirit unmentioned though the catalogue were never so long. “Honest Abe,” homely though the title may be, there was never a truer one bestowed upon man, or one more surely destined to immortality. When they who have spoken ill of him are the dust of the earth; when his maligners are mouldering in their forgotten graves; when oblivion rests upon the memory of those who heaped sorrow upon his head; when they who wrought his destruction are remembered only with loathing, and their names uttered with a shudder, then side by side with that of George Washington will the unsullied name of Abraham Lincoln be written, and while the one remains the great and good Father of his Country,