Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][subsumed]

MONUMENT TO ABRAHAM LINCOLN, OAK RIDGE CEMETERY, SPRINGFIELD, ILL.

(From a photograph taken by the author in 1890.)

all the world. The working-men of London sent these words to the people of the United States :

"Abraham Lincoln has endeared himself to his country and mankind, especially to the toiling millions of the civilized world. The loss of such a man is ours as well as yours. He is enshrined in the hearts

of the laborers of all countries as one of the few uncrowned monarchs of the world."

"A man,” reads the tribute of the Working-men's International Association, “neither to be browbeaten by adversity nor intoxicated by success, slowly maturing his steps, never retracing them; carried away by no surge of popular favor, disheartened by no slacking of the popular pulse ; illuminating scenes dark with passion by the smile of humor; doing his Titanic work as humbly and truly as heaven-born rulers do little things; who succeeded in becoming great without ceasing to be good. The world only discovered him a hero after he had fallen a martyr.” Robert Leighton, poet, wrote:

* Rest to the uncrowned king, who, toiling, brought

His bleeding country through a dreadful reign;
Who, living, earned a world's revering thought,

And dying, leaves his name without a stain."

Said the “ Bradford Review :” “The great, pure, single-hearted man, who, with unequalled moral courage and absolute perseverance, had steered the vessel of State through such a time of trial as the world never before witnessed."

“ We doubt," said the "Dublin Freemen's Journal," "whether modern history contains a grander character than the humble lawyer of Illinois. His public virtues shone as brightly as his private worth, and both made him the best beloved man in the United States."

“History,” said the “ London Daily News,” “will respect him as actuated by an abiding sense of duty, as striving to be faithful in his service of God and of man, as possessed with deep moral earnestness, and as endowed with vigorous common-sense and faculty for dealing with affairs."

Said the “ London Star:" “ With a firm faith in his God, his country, and his principles of freedom for all men, whatever their color and condition, he has stood unmoved amid the shock of armies and the clamors of factions. He quailed not when defeat in the field seemed to herald the triumph of the foe. He boasted not of victory, nor sought to arrogate to himself the honors of the great deeds which have resounded through the world; but, gentle and modest as he was great and good, he took the chaplet from his own brow to place it on the lowly graves of the soldiers, whose blood has been so liberally poured forth to consecrate the soil of America to freedom. He dies and makes no sign, but the impress of his noble character and aims will be borne by his country while time endures. He dies, but his country lives ; freedom has triumphed; the broken chains at the feet of the slaves are the mute witnesses of his victory."

Graceful the tribute of England's jester, “ London Punch :"

"You lay a wreath on murdered Lincoln's bier,

You, who with mocking pencil wont to trace,
Broad for the self-complacent British sneer,

His length of shambling limb, his furrowed face,

" His gaunt, gnarled hands, his unkempt, bristling hair,

Ilis garb upcouth, his bearing ill at ease,
His lack of all we prize as debonair,

Of power or will to shine, of art to please;

You, whose smart pen backed up the pencil's laugh,

Judging each step as though the way were plain ;
Reckless, so it could point its paragraph,

Of chief's perplexities or people's pain;

“Beside this corse, that bears for winding sheet

The Stars and Stripes he lived to rear anew,
Between the mourners at his head and feet,

Say, scurrile jester, is there room for you?

“Yes; he had lived to shame me from my sneer,

To lame my pencil, and confute my pen ;
To make me own this hind of princes peer,

This rail-splitter true-born king of men.

“My shallow judgment I had learned to rue,

Noting how to occasion's height he rose;
How his quaint wit made home-truth seem more true;

How, iron-like, his temper grew by blows;

“How humble yet how hopeful he could be;

How, in good - fortune and in ill, the same;
Nor bitter in success, nor boastful he,

Thirsty for gold, nor feverish for fame.

“He went about his work--such work as few

Ever had laid on head and heart and hand-
As one who knows, where there's a task to do,

Man's honest will must Heaven's good grace command;

“The Old World and the New, from sea to sea,

Utter one voice of sympathy and shame;
Sore heart, so stopped when it at last beat high ;

Sad life, cut short just as its triumph came!"

“He conquered," said the “Paris Époque," “ without ever departing from republican forms, without one single infraction of the laws of his country. When every temptation was offered him, when certain violent measures were demanded by the situation, he still thought he could do without them. He took his stand upon legality, and never lent himself to an exceptional or arbitrary act. He was the living law.”

Said Leopold Gaillard : “No funeral oration can attain to the simple and religious eloquence of the second inaugural, which will remain as the political bequest of Abraham Lincoln. He enters into that body of the elite of the historic army which M. Guizot once called the battalion of Plutarch."

“He was an honest man, giving the word its full meaning," wrote Prevost Paradol.

“ The idea of doing more or anything else than his duty never entered his plain, upright mind. He has not lived alone for his country, since he leaves to every one in the world to whom liberty and justice are dear a great remembrance and a pure example.”

“ Death has revealed to all eyes,” said the “Revue des Deux Mondes," “the worth of this honest man. Opinion has done Mr. Lincoln wrong while living. It is now making solemn efforts to repair that wrong when he is no more."

“ Abraham Lincoln," said Emilio Castelar in the Spanish Cortes, “ was the humblest of the humble before his own conscience, the greatest of the great before history."

From the people of England, the peasantry of France, Germany, Italy, and all European countries, from the republics of South America, from India and China, came heartfelt tributes. In the chalets of the Alps, in the peasant homes along the Danube, and on the vine-clad banks of the Rhine, the portrait most frequently seen was that of Abraham Lincoln. Throughout the United States, pulpit and platform voiced the universal grief. Those who had denounced him as “tyrant” and “usurper" bowed their heads in shame as all people laid unfading flowers on his bier.

In the world's Valhalla are the statues of those who have done great things for their fellow-men. Pericles, builder of the Parthenon, was willing to pay for its construction if but his name alone could be sculptured upon the enduring marble. Abraham Lincoln's Parthenon was his country. Not his own name, but the Constitution and the Union was the only legend he desired to see inscribed upon the edifice. Cincinnatus-patrician, dictator—though holding the plough and using the spade on his glebe, had little in common with the people. Abraham Lincoln-boatman, ploughman, President-gave his sympathies to all men, irrespective of race or condition. Where shall be found his compeer in the battalion of the Christian era? Not Alfred the Great, nor Richard the Lion-hearted—none of England's kings; neither Marlborough, Cromwell, nor Wellington; not Frederick the Great of Germany; neither Gustavus Adolphus, William the Silent, Henry of Na

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »