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The tokens of grief and indignation so generally shown, when it was made certain that Abraham Lincoln was dead, gave at once the clearest proof, not only of the deep detestation with which his foul assassination was regarded, but also of the warm esteem in which he, who for four years had guided the affairs of the nation, was held as a ruler and as
In many countries an event of this nature, happening at such a juncture of affairs, would have been followed by an uprising of the people, resulting in scenes of indiscriminate and passionate vengeance. Here, however, a different result was witnessed. In a few instances, men of virulent nature and seemingly lost to human sensibility, who had expressed a modified approval of the dreadful deed, received unmistakable warning of the danger of indulging a sentiment so brutal. But the indignation of loyal men found vent, for the most part, in efforts to arrest the murderer and his abettors, whoever they might be, and in demands for their condign punishment.
The spontaneousness and depth of the sorrow evinced on this occasion, bring to remembrance the account given of the occurrences consequent upon the death of Sir Philip Sidney in the year 1586. The grief of the people of England at his loss, say his biographers, was wide-spread and sincere. His body was brought to London and there interred, although the subjects of his late government in the Netherlands begged that it might be suffered to remain among them, and offered, should their request be granted, “to erect for him as fair a monument as any prince had in Christendom, yea, though the same should cost half a ton of gold the building." His funeral was performed with great circumstance and pomp, “the seven United Provinces sending each a representative to testify respect for his memory by their vicarious presence at his obsequies.” The universities of Cambridge and Oxford, also, “poured forth three volumes of learned lamentation, on account of the loss of him whom they considered as being their brightest ornament; and indeed so far was the public regret, on this occasion, carried, that, for the first time in the case of a private individual, the whole kingdom went into mourning, and no gentleman of quality, during several months, ventured to appear in a light colored or gaudy dress, either in the resorts of business or of fashion.”
Of a similar nature, but wider in extent and more varied in expression, was the mourning for Abraham Lincoln. In truth, history does not present another instance, in which the grief of the civilized world has been unitedly expressed with such real earnestness, at the loss of any man, be he public ruler or private citizen. Throughout the north the manifestations of sorrow were well nigh universal. The funereal tolling of bells; the booming of minute guns; the sable draperies that shrouded the fronts of buildings both public and private, and garbed the interiors of places of public worship and the chambers of legislation and the halls of various organizations ; the flags at half mast or furled and festooned with crape; the emblematic decorations expressive of grief; the noble sentences that fell from the lips of the departed, set forth in grand lettering on the extended canvas; the craped arm of private citizen as well as of soldier and
government official; the black rose of sorrow or the features of the dead in miniature, worn like a decoration of honor on the garment; the mourning border which edged the sheet of paper on which man wrote to his fellow; the black lines dividing the columns of the daily and weekly journals; the multitudinous representations of those honest features in every home and office and counting-room and shop window; the varied delineations that filled the pictorial papers to repletion; the solemn dirges sung; the prayers uttered, instinct with the earnest inspiration of the soul; the churches thronged with mourning worshippers ; the impassioned utterances of those who minister at God's altars; the eyes of the strong man filled with unaccustomed tears; the weeping of women, the