Edward SJohnson.

Abraham Lincoln and his last resting place : a leaflet published for distribution at the National Lincoln monument in the city of Springfield, Illinois ; under the supervision of the Division of public works and buildings online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryEdward SJohnsonAbraham Lincoln and his last resting place : a leaflet published for distribution at the National Lincoln monument in the city of Springfield, Illinois ; under the supervision of the Division of public works and buildings → online text (page 1 of 3)
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ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Photo by Hesler, taken at Springfield, 111., soon

after the nomination



Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

The Institute of Museum and Library Services through an Indiana State Library LSTA Grant



http://www.archive.org/details/abrahamlincolnhi4059john



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Abraham Lincoln

And His Last Resting Place

A Leaflet Published for ,
Distribution at the National
Lincoln Monument in the
City of Springfield, Illinois




UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE DIVISION OF
PUBLIC WORKS AND BUILDINGS

HON. LEN SMALL, Governor

CORNELIUS R. MILLER, Director

DON GARRISON, Assistant Director

JOHN G. BOYLE, Supt. of Parks

H. W. FAY, Custodian



The life of Abraham Lincoln has been written by
many men in many tongues. The resources of rhetoric
and eloquence have been exhausted in their portrayal of
this character that however viewed holds a lesson for all
mankind. In this brief space and for the purpose which
this leaflet is designed to serve, the simple homely details
of the martyred President's early life could not be better
told than in his own words. No polished recital could
be so prized by the great multitude who hold his memory
dear as this transcript of a letter written in 1859 to his
friend, the Hon. Jesse W. Fell, of Bloomington, Illinois :



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ABRAHAM L


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9



ABRAHAM LINCOLN little thought as he penned the words,
"What I have done since then is pretty well known," that a
world would one day listen enthralled to the tale of what he
had done and should do in the decade from 1855 to 1865.

In 1854, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 opened
a new political era, and an agitation of the slavery question was
begun which was destined to grow until the shackles were struck
forever from the hands of the slave.

By this repeal slavey claimed protection everywhere ; it sought
to nationalize itself. At this time the question of "popular
sovereignty" arose, the right of the people of a territory to choose
their own institutions, and upon this question Mr. Lincoln and Mr.
Douglas fought the "battle of the giants," and Mr. Lincoln's signal
ability as an orator was forever established. He became at once the
leader of his party in the West and the foremost champion of the
liberties of the oppressed.

In a private letter, written at this time, Mr. Lincoln defines his
position on the great question of the day as follows :

I acknowledge your rights and my obligations under the Constitution in
regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down
and caught and carried back to their stripes and unrequited toil, but I keep
quiet. You ought to appreciate how much the great body of the people of the
North crucify their feelings in order to maintain their loyalty to the Constitu-
tion and the Union. I do oppose the extension of slavery because my judg-
ment and feelings so prompt me, and I am under no obligations to the con-
trary. As a nation we began by declaring, "all men are created equal." We
now practically read it, "all men are created equal except negroes." When it
comes to making wholesale exceptions I should prefer emigrating to some
country where they make no pretense of loving liberty, where despotism can
be taken pure without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

Your friend, A. Lincoln.

May 29, 1856, the Republican party of Illinois was organized,
and he was now the leader of a party whose avowed purpose it was
to resist the extension of slavery. At the national convention his
name was presented as a candidate for vice president. He did not
receive the required number of votes, but the action was compli-
mentary and served as Mr. Lincoln 's formal introduction to the nation.

The senatorial campaign of 1858 in Illinois was memorable for
the questions involved and for the debates between Douglas and
Lincoln upon the great issues that were even then distracting the
nation. When these two met in intellectual combat the nation paused
to listen. "The eyes of all the Eastern states were turned to the
West where young republicanism and old democracy were establishing
the dividing lines and preparing for the great struggle soon to begin. ' '

To say that Mr. Lincoln was the victor in the contest morally
and intellectually is simply to record the judgment of the world.

His speeches were clear, logical, powerful and exhaustive. On
these his reputation as an orator and debater rests. They defined



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the difference between the power of slavery and the policy of freedom
which ended, after expenditures of uncounted treasure and unmeas-
ured blood, in the final overthrow of the institution of slavery.

Mr. Lincoln was defeated in this campaign and Mr. Douglas
was returned to the Senate, but Mr. Lincoln was now thoroughly
committed to politics. In 1859 and 1860 he journeyed in the Eastern
states, making speeches that thrilled and electrified the audiences
which he had expected to find cold and critical.

The mutterings of secession already filled the land. The spirit
of unrest and rebellion was gaining ground; but wherever the voice
of Lincoln was heard it was pleading for union, for peace, for the
Constitution, deprecating the evils of slavery as it existed, and pro-
testing against its extension into the free states and territories.

His voice was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, warning
the men of the North and the South that a house divided against itself
cannot stand. On the 18th day of May, 1860, Mr. Lincoln received
the nomination of the republican convention held at Chicago for
President of the United States. How this plain, comparatively
unknown Illinois lawyer was chosen in this critical hour before a
man like Seward, with his wide experience and acquaintance, his
large influence and surpassing ability, his name and fame of thirty
years standing, must be regarded as the guiding of that Providence
that had brooded over the life of the republic since it declared itself
to be the home of the free, the refuge of the oppressed. On the 6th
of November Mr. Lincoln was elected, by a handsome plurality, Presi-
dent of the United States.

At eight o'clock Monday morning, Februar}^ 11, 1861, Mr. Lincoln
left Springfield for the National Capitol to enter upon his duties as
President. With these simple words he took leave of his friends and
neighbors :

My friends: No one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel
at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived more
than a quarter of a century; here my children were born, and here one of
them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. A duty
devolves upon me which is perhaps greater than that which has devolved
upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have
succeeded except by the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all
times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which
sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for
support, and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that
Divine assistance without which I cannot succeed, but with which success
is certain. Again I bid you an affectionate farewell.

These proved to be his last words to Springfield auditors.

The result of his election pleased and united the North while
it angered the South. To the more thoughtful men of both parties
a crisis seemed imminent. The Southern* states immediately seceded;
the Southern Confederacy was formed with Jefferson Davis as Presi-
dent ; forts and arsenals were seized and the war of the rebellion fairly



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LINCOLN MONUMENT



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inaugurated. It was this disrupted union, this all but shattered
government, which waited for the man who upon the fourth day of
March, 1861, took the oath of office and became the President of the
United States.

The closing words of his memorable inaugural address must have
convinced his listeners of the wisdom, the strength, the gentleness of
this new incumbent of the chair of State :

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the
momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can
have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath
registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most
solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it. I am loath to close. We are
not enemies, but friends. The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every
battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over
this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched,
as they surely will be, by the better angels of our nature.




PUBLIC VAULT AT OAK RIDGE

The remains of President Lincoln and his son, Willie, who died in
Washington, were placed in this vault May 4, 1865.

With infinite patience and unequaled forbearance and sagacity,
Mr. Lincoln strove to avert war, but when, on April 12, 1861, the
rebel batteries were opened upon Fort Sumter, forbearance was no
longer possible, and, on the 15th day of April, the pen that had only
been used to counsel moderation, to urge loyalty, penned a proclama-
tion calling for seventy-five thousand men, and the Civil "War was
begun. The popular government had been called an experiment. Two
points of the experiment had already been settled. The government
had been established and it had been administered. One point re-
mained to be established : Its successful maintenance against a formi-
dable internal attempt to overthrow it. Congress ably supported



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and HIS LAST RESTING PLACE



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19



Mr. Lincoln. It placed at his disposal five hundred million dollars
and gave him liberty to call out half a million men. During all the
years of that long, sad war there were loyal hearts among his admirers
that held up the hands of their president, but the crowning personality,
the strong, pervading, directing, controlling spirit was that of Abra-
ham Lincoln, whether watching the progress of events from his almost
beleaguered capital or while visiting and mingling with his army at
the front.

Never for a moment did he lay aside his personal responsibility.
Never did he swerve from his resolve, expressed in the words of
his memorable speech at the dedication of the soldiers' graves at
Gettysburg :

We have come to dedicate a portion of this field as a final resting place
for those who here gave their lives that the nation might live. But, in a
larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this
ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have conse-
crated it far beyond our power to add or detract. The world will little note
nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they
did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfin-
ished work which they who fought here have so nobly advanced. It is rather
for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from
these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they
gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these
dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a
new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for
the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The story of the war and the life of Lincoln are inseparable.
The recital of all those years of marching, camping, fighting; of
wounds, privations, victory, defeat and death, cannot be made without
the story of Lincoln interwoven into its warp and woof. In intimate
connection with his life as President, many beautiful letters remain,
written during this period of storm and stress, and they attest to his
quick and unfailing sympathy with those in trouble. Such is the
line written in haste carrying pardon to the worn-out lad sentenced
to be shot for sleeping at his post.

The letter sent to the gentle Quaker, Eliza P. Gurney, who, on
behalf of her people, the Friends, protested against what seemed to
them the great sin of war. To her he writes :

Surely, He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion,
which no mortal could make, and no mortal stay. Your people, the Friends,
have had, and are having, a very great trial. On principle and faith, opposed
to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by
war. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and
shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience, under my oath to
the law. That you believe this I doubt not; and believing it, I shall still
receive, for our country and myself, your earnest prayers to our. Father in
Heaven.

Only a few months before his death he heard the pathetic story
of Mrs. Bixby of Boston, Mass., who had given up five sons who had
died in their country's service. Mr. Lincoln wrote her this beautiful



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letter of condolence which is said to rank next to his Gettysburg
address in depth of feeling, beauty and simplicity of diction :

Executive Mansion,
Washington, November 21, 1864.
To Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Mass.:

I have been shown in the file of the "War Department a statement to the
Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who
have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless
must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the
grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you
the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to
save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your
bereavement and leave only the cherished memory of the loved and lost and
the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the
altar of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully, A. Lincoln.

The days fraught with the grave issues of the war went by,
victory alternating with defeat until, in the judgment of the com-
mander-in-chief, the time had come to emancipate the colored race.

Early in August of 1862, President Lincoln called a meeting of
his Cabinet and submitted for their consideration the original draft
of his Emancipation Proclamation. On the first day of January,
1863, Mr. Lincoln issued the final Proclamation of Emancipation,
bringing freedom to four million slaves and removing forever from
the land he loved the blot of slavery.

It seemed fitting that to this man who had blazed the way through
the wilderness for this cause, who had brooded and smarted under
the sense of the sin of slavery from his early untaught youth, who in
clarion tones, had declared, at the outset of his career, that he "would
speak for freedom against slavery until everywhere in all this broad
land the sun shall shine, the rain shall fall and the wind shall blow
upon no man who goes forth to unrequited toil." It was meet that
from his lips should fall the words that made four million men free,
and it is in consonance with the character of the great Emancipator
that in this supreme moment of his life he reverently invoked upon
the act ' ' the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor
of Almighty God."

The latter part of the year 1863 was marked by the success of
the Union armies. The Republican National Convention assembled
in Baltimore June 8, 1864, unanimously nominating Mr. Lincoln
as their candidate for President. His words accepting this nomina-
tion were characteristic :

Having served four years in the depths of a great and yet unended
national peril, I can view this call to a second term in no wise more flattering
to myself than as an expression of the public judgment that I may better
finish a difficult work than could any one less severely schooled to the task.
In this view, and with assured reliance on that Almighty Ruler who has so
graciously sustained us thus far, and with increased gratitude to the generous
people for their continued confidence, I accept the renewed trust with its yet
onerous and perplexing duties and responsibilities.



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During- the height of the canvass, President Lincoln issued a call
for five hundred thousand men ; also making provisions for a draft if
necessary. His friends feared that this measure might cost him his
election, but he waived that aside as he always did personal considera-
tion that might conflict with duty.

November came, and with it Mr. Lincoln's re-election. His second
election proved the death blow to the rebellion. From that time the
Southern armies never gained a substantial victory. When the Thirty-
eighth Congress assembled December 6, 1864, President Lincoln
recommended an amendment to the Constitution making human
slavery forever impossible in the United States.

The joint resolution for the extinction of slavery passed Congress
and received the signature of the President January 31, 1865. The
legislature in Illinois, being then in session, took up the question at
once and in less than twenty-four hours after its passage by Congress
Mr. Lincoln had the satisfaction of receiving a telegram from his old
home announcing the fact that the constitutional amendment had been
ratified by both houses of the legislature of his own state February 1,
1865. The action of the legislatures of other states soon followed, and
thus was completed and confirmed the work of the Proclamation of
Emancipation.

Upon the 4th of March, 1865, Mr. Lincoln was for the second time
inaugurated President of the United States. His inaugural address
upon that occasion has become a classic. Its closing words have been
quoted wherever the foot of an American has strayed beneath the sun :

Fondly do we hope, reverently do we pray that this mighty scourge of
war may speedily pass away, yet, if God wills that it continue until all the
wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited
toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be
paid by another drawn by the sword, as was said three thousand years ago,
so still it must be said, the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous
altogether. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in
the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we
are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne
the battle, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace
among ourselves and with all nations.

The closing scenes of the war were being enacted in quick suc-
cession. Richmond had fallen, and on the 4th day of April, just one
month after his second inauguration, President Lincoln, leading his
little son by the hand, entered the vanquished city on foot. Never
has the world seen a more modest conqueror, a more characteristic
triumphal procession. No army with banners and drums, only a few
of those who have been slaves escorting the victorious chief with
benedictions and tears into the capital of the fallen foe.

A few more days brought the surrender of Lee's army and peace
was assured. Everywhere festive guns were booming, bells pealing,
churches ringing with thanksgiving.



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The 14th of April was the anniversary of the fall of Sumter.
President Lincoln had ordered that day to be signalized by restoring
the old flag to its place on the shattered ramparts of Fort Sumter.
■He ordered the same faithful hands that pulled it down to raise it —
every battery that fired upon it should salute it. Said the Rev. Henry
Ward Beecher upon that occasion : ' ' From this pulpit of broken
stone we send to the President of the United States our solemn con-
gratulations that God has sustained his life and health under the
unparalleled hardships and suffering of four bloody years and per-
mitted him to behold this auspicious consummation of that national
unity for which he has labored with/such disinterested wisdom."

But, before the kindly words had flashed over the telegraph wires
to the ears of the patient man in whose honor they were spoken, the
bullet of the assassin had done its work. The sad words, "I feel a
presentment that I shall not outlast the rebellion ; when it is over my
work will be done," were verified, and all civilized mankind stood
mourning around the bier of the dead President. Then began that
unparalleled funeral procession, a mournful pageant, passing country
and village and city, winding along the territories of vast states, along
a track of fifteen hundred miles, carrying the revered dead back to
his own people, to the scenes of his early life, back to the prairies of
Illinois. Said Beecher in his eloquent and touching funeral oration:

Four years ago, Oh, Illinois! we took from your midst an untried man
from among the people. Behold! we return to you a mighty conqueror, not
ours any more, but the nation's. Not ours but the world's. Give him place,
Oh, ye prairies! In the midst of this great continent his dust shall rest, a
sacred treasure to the myriads who shall come as pilgrims to that shrine to
kindle anew their zeal and patriotism. Humble child of the backwoods,
boatman, hired laborer, clerk, surveyor, captain, legislator, lawyer, debater,
politician, orator, statesman, president, savior of the republic, true Christian,
true man. We receive thy life and its immeasurably great results as the
choicest gifts that have ever been bestowed upon us; grateful to thee for thy
truth to thyself, to us and to God; and grateful to that ministry of Providence
which endowed thee so richly and bestowed thee upon the nation and mankind.

THE MONUMENT

The body of Abraham Lincoln was deposited in the receiving
vault at Oak Ridge Cemetery May 4, 1865.

Upon the 11th day of May, 1865, the National Lincoln Monument
Association was formed, its object being to construct a monument to
the memory of Abraham Lincoln in the City of Springfield, Illinois.


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Online LibraryEdward SJohnsonAbraham Lincoln and his last resting place : a leaflet published for distribution at the National Lincoln monument in the city of Springfield, Illinois ; under the supervision of the Division of public works and buildings → online text (page 1 of 3)