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treason, that we do not yet recognize it, even when it comes to us without pretence of disguise ? Do we realize the murder and outrage and desolation that have followed in its track ? and are we to stand here to-day and clasp their bloodstained hands in ours, and welcome back to fellowship those who only want the opportunity to renew their devilish work ? For one, I say no ! In simple justice no! We have been all along discussing this question on the basis of the right or wrong of retaliation, forgetting that that question does not enter into the consideration at all. The question is simply whether we will put in force the laws against treason which we have made for our own protection. We forget that, in the words of our present Executive, lenity to the few may be injustice to the many. By an indiscriminate lenity we shall only be setting so many vipers loose to sting and to poison. It was the spirit of the conquered South that smote down the President. The hatred of free institutions, and the spirit of revenge and malice have not died out with the military power of the rebellion. They are as strong to-day in the crushed and humbled South as on the morning when its bastard Palmetto first waved over Sumter. The snake is
scotched, but not killed. We owe something to justice as well as to mercy. Something to selfprotection as well as to forgiveness; and in the name of this bleeding country, in the name of our maimed and starved soldiers, in the name of our blighted hearts and homes, I call upon government to put in force against these leading traitors the penalty of the law. And I would their gibbet were so high that every man North and South might see it from his housetop, and learn as he looks that treason is not safe for the perpetrator: high enough for the despots of Europe, and its statesmen who have longed for the fall of the Republic, to learn that the Republic has yet strength enough and self-respect enough to punish terribly those who strike at her vitals. Citizens of this community, gathered here to-day, let this be our last experience in the toleration of treason. It has been allowed too much liberty heretofore. It is time its mouth was stopped. If we cannot stop it at the South, we can at least stop it here. Nothing less than this is our duty; and let us go forth from this place resolved to foster a public sentiment that shall from this time forth sternly silence the press or the man, no matter what his position, that dares to lift up a voice in favor of extenuation of treason.
As another lesson, we are taught to respect our own government more; to cherish it more fondly than ever.
What has it done for us in the present crisis? There are nations where such an event would have blocked the wheels of legislation, and thrown all things into direst confusion. To-day government moves on without a break or jar. Ere the nation's ruler is scarce cold in death, his successor steps quietly into his vacant place, without a movement or a remonstrance from the great nation. And the nation itself but falls back a pace to let the retiring leader's bier pass out, to look for one moment on his beloved face, to exchange a word on his many virtues, and then closes up fast and firm round his successor, with a sterner determination to push its great work to its completion.
Again we are reminded “Little children keep yourselves from idols." As much as any other people we are hero-worshipers. With all our vaunted independence, popular leaders sway us mightily. All through this conflict God's voice has been saying to us, as one after another of our trusted champions bit the dust, “Put not your trust in princes.” I tremble when I hear men
“Grant is left. Sherman is left. Sheridan and Thomas are left.” God wants this nation to trust in Him, and in Him only. He comes to us to-day in our heart-sickness, and asks us if we think any man or body of men is indispensable, and dictates to us our lesson again, “ The Lord reigneth! Let the earth rejoice.” And when our leaders fall, he bids us not to be looking back to the ranks, anxiously and tearfully asking: “What shall we do now ?” but forward to where his pillar of fire moves steadily on through the night in solemn and mysterious majesty, and saying to our faint: ing hearts, “ God is left! and in the name of the Lord will we set up our banners.'
And this event draws us more closely together. Around the coffin of our beloved dead we clasp hands, and feel shoulder touch shoulder, and even amid the bitterness of this bereavement it is a blessed thing to know that we are more nearly one than ever. If the South had striven to select the act which of all others should concentrate the sentiment of the North against her, which should commit the whole people irrevocably to the completion of the work they have taken in hand, they could not have made a happier choice. If anything were needed to teach a certain class
of Northern men the true nature and tendencies of the cause they have been secretly favoring, this deed has supplied the want. Henceforth, brothers, we go forth more unitedly to our work. Henceforth the lines are more sharply drawn. Henceforth we know but two classes — loyal men and traitors. Northern men with Southern principles, I tell you your skirts are not clear of the President's blood. You have fostered the spirit which struck the blow. You have apologized for it. You have fretted and been angry at those who would insist that slavery was at the root of that carelessness of human right and human life, that mad ambition, that aristocratic folly which precipitated the country into war. And now the result has justified them. This last deed has crowned the catalogue which has been running up so rapidly for four years past; and I do most of you the credit to believe that from this, its last work, you shrink aghast. I do you the justice to believe that your hearts equally with mine condemn this deed. I could not believe otherwise and believe you men.
And now, by the open grave of the nation's President, amid the tears of the people, by every consideration of national honor and self-respect, I entreat you to