Page images

tearful submission to this inscrutable dispensation of Divine Provi dence, let us all unite in pouring forth our prayers and supplications with renewed earnestness for our beloved country in this mournful and perilous crisis.

Given at New York, this 15th day of April, 1865.

☀ JOHN, Archbishop of New York.

New York, April 17, 1865.

REVEREND AND DEAR SIR-AS the funeral obsequies of the late lamented President of the United States will take place in Washington City on Wednesday next, the 19th inst., the Most Reverend Archbishop directs that, in sympathy with the national sorrow, the various churches of the city and Diocese be open on that day for public service at 101⁄2 o'clock, a. M., and that at the several Masses the collect, "Pro quacumque tribulatione," be recited in addition to the usual collects of the day.

It is likewise recommended that at the end of Mass the psalm Miserere should be read or chanted, supplicating God's mercy for ourselves and all the people.

By order of the Most Reverend Archbishop.

FRS. MCNEIRNY, Secretary.

To the Reverend Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of Philadelphia: REVEREND BRETHREN AND BELOVED CHILDREN-It is not necessary for us to announce to you the sad calamity which has befallen the nation. It is already known in every city, village, and hamlet of our widely extended country. Everywhere it has sent a thrill of horror through the hearts of all true and law-abiding citizens. We desire thus publicly to declare both for ourselves and you our utter abhorrence and execration of the atrocious deed, and at the same time, our sympathy and condolence with all our fellow-citizens, and especially with those most nearly interested in this sad and afflicting bereavement. We desire to enter fully and cordially into the universal expression of the national grief and into the public demonstrations by which it is appropriately manifested. In times of

peril and danger, it is the duty of all to recur by most earnest prayer to the Divine Disposer of all events, and with due resignation to our existing afflictions and calamities, to pour forth our supplications to God that we may be saved from future and impending evils. We prescribe to the clergy the recitation, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of the prayer “Pro quacumque tribulatione,” for the space of one month, and enjoin on the faithful the sacred duty of im

ploring in their daily prayers and devotions the aid of Almighty God to our afflicted nation in its necessities.

Dominus sit semper vobiscum.

Easter Monday, 1865.

JAMES FREDERIC, Bishop of Philadelphia.

The prayers prescribed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop, and which may with great propriety be used by the faithful, are as follows:


Turn not away Thine eyes, O most merciful God, from Thy people crying out to Thee in their affliction; but for the glory of Thine own name relieve us in our necessities, through Christ our Lord.


Mercifully receive, O Lord, the offerings by which Thou vouchsafest to be appeased; and by Thy great goodness restore us to safety, through Christ our Lord.


Look down mercifully, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in our tribulation, and turn away the wrath of Thy indignation, which we justly deserve, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Father. Hail Mary.

Wednesday was accordingly, by common consent, devoted to mourning. Public authorities, the heads of religious denominations, all as by a common instinct called upon the nation to unite in prayer before their several altars; while at the capital of the nation the last solemn rites were offered in the home of the lost Ruler ere he was borne from the residence of American Presidents to that greater than Rome's capitol, where he was to lie in state till the convoy began its march of miles to be told by hundreds before the body reached the city of the West identified with his career in manhood.

Throughout the loyal States there was a universal suspension of ordinary avocations and a closing of places of business, out of respect to the departed. In nearly every city, town, and village the streets were hung in black, while the solemn tolling of the bells and the booming of the minute-guns added to the general solemnity. The stores and offices being closed and the noise of traffic and amusement hushed, a Sabbath repose rested on the land. The churches were crowded with worshippers, and the clergy in fitting discourses paid their


homage to departed greatness, their testimony of affection to a bereaved country, their words of sympathy to her who felt more keenly even than the nation her sudden loss.

Never before was such a general sadness; never again, we trust, will there be such a cause. It was no lip service; the grief was deep and heartfelt. The people were bereaved, and they knew it. They felt the blow that slew their President, and saw that it was not aimed at him individually, but that it was the concentration of that hate which made his election a pretext for rebellion.

In New England, where the funeral procession would not pass on its way to Springfield, this day contained the highest expression of civic grief. At Roxbury, a procession, the largest and most imposing seen for many years, moved from the City Hall to Dr. Putnam's church, where appropriate services were held. At Chelsea, the city government in a body attended the services at the Chestnut Street Congregational Church. In Pepperell also a procession moved to the church, where impressive services were held. At Providence a procession escorted the Governor to the Public Hall, where a enlogy was pronounced. At Concord, Ralph W. Emerson delivered the following address:

We meet under the gloom of a calamity which darkens down over the minds of good men in all civilized society, as the fearful tidings travel over sea, over land, from country to country, like the shadow of an uncalculated eclipse over the planet. Old as history is, and manifold as are its tragedies, I doubt if any death has caused so much pain to mankind as this has caused, or will cause, on its announcement; and this not so much because nations are, by modern arts, brought so closely together, as because of the mysterious hopes and fears which, in the present day, are connected with the name and institutions of America.

In this country, on Saturday, every one was struck dumb, and saw, at first, only deep below deep, as he meditated on the ghastly blow. And, perhaps, at this hour, when the coffin which contains the dust of the President sets forward on its long march through mourning States, on its way to its home in Illinois, we might well be silent, and suffer the awful voices of the time to thunder to us Yes, but that first despair was brief; the man was not so to be mourned. He was the most active and hopeful of men, and his work had not perished; but acclamations of praise for the task he

had accomplished burst out into a song of triumph, which even tears for his death cannot keep down.

The President stood before us a man of the people. He was thoroughly American, had never crossed the sea, had never been spoiled by English insularity or French dissipation; a quiet native, aboriginal man, as an acorn from the oak; no aping of foreigners, no frivolous accomplishments, Kentuckian born, working on a farm, a flatboatman, a captain in the Blackhawk war, a country lawyer, a representative in the rural Legislature of Illinois-on such modest foundations the broad structure of his fame was laid. How slowly, and yet by happily prepared steps, he came to his place!

All of us remember-it is only a history of five or six years-the surprise and disappointment of the country at his first nomination at Chicago. Mr. Seward, then in the culmination of his good fame, was the favorite of the Eastern States. And when the new and comparatively unknown name of Lincoln was announced (notwithstanding the report of the acclamations of that Convention) we heard the result coldly and sadly.

It seemed too rash, on a purely local reputation, to build so grave a trust, in such anxious times; and men naturally talked of the chances in politics as incalculable. But it turned out not to be chance. The profound good opinion which the people of Illinois and of the West had conceived of him, and which they had imparted to their colleagues, that they also might justify themselves to their constituents at home, was not rash, though they did not begin to know the richness of his worth.

A plain man of the people, an extraordinary fortune attended him. Lord Bacon says: "Manifest virtues procure reputation; occult ones, fortune." He offered no shining qualities at the first encounter: he did not offend by superiority. He had a face and manner which disarmed suspicion, which inspired confidence, which confirmed good-will. He was a man without vices. He had a strong sense of duty, which it was very easy for him to obey. Then he had what farmers call a long head; was excellent in working out the sum for himself, in arguing his case, and convincing you fairly and firmly.

Then it turned out that he was a great worker; had prodigious faculty of performance; worked easily. A good worker is so rare; everybody has some disabling quality. In a host of young men that start together, and promise so many brilliant leaders for the next age, each fails on trial: one by bad health, one by conceit or by love of pleasure, or by lethargy, or by a hasty temper—each has some disqualifying fault that throws him out of the career But

this man was sound to the core, cheerful, persistent, all right for labor, and liked nothing so well.

Then he had a vast good-nature, which made him tolerant and accessible to all; fair-minded, leaning to the claim of the petitioner; affable, and not sensible to the affliction which the innumerable visits paid to him, when President, would have brought to any one else. And how this good-nature became a noble humanity, in many a tragic case which the events of the war brought to him, every one will remember; and with what increasing tenderness he dealt, when a whole race was thrown on his compassion. The poor negro said of him, on an impressive occasion, "Massa Linkum am eberywhere."

Then his broad good-humor, running easily into jocular talk, in which he delighted and in which he excelled, was a rich gift to this wise man. It enabled him to keep his secret; to meet every kind of man, and every rank in society; to take off the edge of the severest decisions; to mask his own purpose and sound his companion, and to catch with true instinct the temper of every company he addressed. And, more than all, it is to a man of severe labor, in anxious and exhausting crises, the natural restorative, good as sleep, and is the protection of the overdriven brain against rancor and insanity.

He is the author of a multitude of good sayings, so disguised as pleasantries that it is certain they had no reputation at first but as jests; and only later, by the very acceptance and adoption they find in the mouths of millions, turn out to be the wisdom of the hour. I am sure if this man had ruled in a period of less facility of printing, he would have become mythological in a very few years, like Æsop or Pilpay, or one of the Seven Wise Masters, by his fables and proverbs.

But the weight and penetration of many passages in his letters, messages, and speeches, hidden now by the very closeness of their application to the moment, are destined hereafter to a wide fame. What pregnant definitions; what unerring common sense; what foresight; and, on great occasions, what lofty, and more than national, what humane tone! His brief speech at Gettyshurg will not easily be surpassed by words on any recorded occasion. This, and one other American speech, that of John Brown to the court that tried him, and a part of Kossuth's speech at Birmingham, can only be compared with each other, and with no fourth.

His occupying the chair of State was a triumph of the good sense of mankind, and of the public conscience. This middle-class country had got a middle-class President at last. Yes, in manners, sym

« PreviousContinue »