B. F. (Benjamin Franklin) Morris.

Memorial record of the nation's tribute to Abraham Lincoln .. online

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the Class of 1901

founded by




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IN EVERY CLIME ARE HIS MOURNERS." — Bancroft on Prest. Lincoln.


W. H. & 0. H. MORRISON.


Bntered according to Act of Congress, by TV. H. 4 0. H. MoRRiseif, in the Clerk's OfBcs of tha
District Court of the U. S. for the Dietrict of Columbia.
















The scenes recorded in this memorial volume form the most wonderful and
instructive chapter in human history. They vibrated mournfully through
the sensibilities of every American heart, and through all the civilized and
Christian nations of the world. It is, therefore, of the highest importance that
their permanent record should possess the dignity and value of historic truth and
accuracy. Such is this volume.

In its preparation the design was to reproduce, in a condensed and connected
form, from the public journals of Washington and of the cities through which
the illustrious dead was conveyed to his burial place, the graphic pen-pictures
painted by the accomplished reporters of the public press. Those who may
recognize their special part in the scenes of the solemn drama will feel a grate-
ful pleasure that they have assisted to weave a perennial wreath to lay upon
the tomb of the honored dead, which will live forever in fragrant freshness,
to bless the memory and exalt the virtues of ABEAnAM Lincoln, the martyred
President of the United States.

The record of the official action of the National Government, civil and mili-
tary, and the tributes of the States, civic bodies, and foreign nations, form an
interesting part of the volume.

The labor of the compiler has been performed with much care, and it is
a gratification to him to insert the following from eminent gentlemen, intimate
friends of the late President, who examined the advance sheets :

" Your work is accurate and complete. You have given to the American
people a souvenir which, I am sure, they will fondly cherish. Your beautiful
T3IBUTE will no doubt be highly appreciated by the national authorities, and
especially by the Secretary of War, under whose immediate direction the fune-
ral honors were paid to the illustrious deceased, and by whom nothing was
omitted that could add to the dignity and solemnity of the memorable pa-
geant." Another adds: "I regard the record as valuable and interesting for
present and future ages." One of the private secretaries of the late President,
who examined its pages in the Executive Mansion, wrote: " I am glad that
this compilation has been made, and doubt not the above commendations are
well deserved."

The compiler has been a resident at the capital of the nation for more than
three years past, witnessed the public acts and scenes of President Lincoln's
administration, had several interesting interviews with him, and mingled in
the solemn ceremonies of his funeral.

■Washington, D. C, June, 1865.


Abraham Lincoln closed and crowned his illustrious life by
a martyr's death, on the morning of the 15th of April, 1865.
Preceding the tragical scene in which he passed from the
highest seat of human power and grandeur to the grave, memo-
rable events had transpired in tlie history of the country. The
national Government, after four years of stern and fearful con-
flict, was triumphant over a gigantic rebellion, and the nation
was in the midst of scenes of universal rejoicings, when the
sudden and startling death of President Lincoln spread like
appalling darkness over all the land. The nation was bowed
into the profoundest grief, and tears, like showers of rain, were
the symbols of its sorrow. The Republic loved him as its
father, and honored and revered him as its preserver and

His integrity, sagacity, unselfish patriotism, love of universal
liberty, impartial justice, his honesty and fidelity, his magna-
nimity and prudence, his moderation and sublime perseverance,
his private virtues and eminent public services, his lofty courage
and loftier faith in God and in the final triumph of right, and
his wise and successful administration of the government, in
the most critical and eventful period of its history, had secured
to him the abiding confidence and affection of the American
people. He was re-elected to the Presidency in November,
1864, by a popular vote, and in the Electoral College by ma-
jorities unprecedented in the political history of the country,
since the days of Washington. No man imagined what a hold

he had npon the national heart until that election. The reve-
lation of popular feeling was sublime and wonderful. It was
a grand and spontaneous tribute to character, without a
parallel in human history,


Transpired on the Fourth of March, 1865. He stood on the
eastern portico of the Capitol, and in the presence of many
thousands of his fellow-citizens took the oath of office. At the
request of Chief Justice Chase, who administered the oath, D.
W. Middleton, Clerk of the Supreme Court of the United
States, handed an open Bible to the President, who laid both
his hands upon it, and slowly and solemnly repeated the words
of the oath, first pronounced by the Chief Justice, viz : " I,
Abraham Lincoln, do solemnly sivear that I loill faithfully exe-
cute the office of President of the United States, and icill to the
test of my ability pi^eserve, protect, and defend the Constitidion
of the United States." " So help me God."

The President then reverently pressed his lips upon the sacred
pages, and handed the Bible back to Mr. Middleton, who
instantly marked the verses touched by the President's lips.
On examination, he found them to be the 26th and 27th verses
of the fifth chapter of Isaiah, commencing " And he will lift up an
ensign to the nations," &c. The chapter has a peculiar fitness
to the times, and contains in many of its declarations a pro-
phetic description and doom of the leaders of the great rebel-
lion, who have, verily, *' called evil good and good evil," and
" put darkness for light, and light for darkness."

The Bible thus opened and used for the inauguration was
handed to the wife of the President, who will doubtless pre-
serve it as a sacred family memorial of that most solemn and
impressive scene.

The morning of the day on which he was inaugurated was
overcast with leaden clouds, and nature wore a sombre hue.
But at the moment the President began to pronounce his ad-
dress the clouds dispersed, and the sun came brightly out, as
if to symbolize a peaceful and prosperous future to the Presi-
dent and tlie Republic.

In a calm and impressive manner he delivered his address,
which was listened to with profound attention. It is his last
official State paper addressed to his countrymen, and will now
be read and admired with new interest by the American people
and the christian nations of the earth. It is as follows :


Fellow-Countbtmen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the
presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was
at first. Then, a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued,
seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during
which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and
phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the
energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of
our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as
to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all.
"With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anx-
iously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it — all sought to avert
it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted
altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city
seeking to destroy it without war — seeking to dissolve the Union and divide
effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war ; but one of them would
make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war
rather than let it perish. And the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed gene-
rally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves
constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest
was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend
this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union,
even by war ; while the government claimed no right to do more than to re-
strict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war
the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither an-
ticipated that the caitse of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the con-
flict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fun-
damental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same
God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that
any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread
from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not
judged. The prayers of both could not be answered — that of neither has been
answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the worFd
because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come ; but woe to that
man by whom the offence cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery
is one of those offences which, in the Providence of God, must needs come, but
which, having continued through His appointed lime, He now wills to remove,


and that He gives to both north and south this terrible war as the woe due to
those by whom the offence came , shall we discern therein any departure from those
divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?
Fondly do we hope— fervently 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 bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil
shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid
by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still
it must be said, " The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous alto-

With malice toward none ; with charity for all ; with firmness in the right,
as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in ;
to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the bat-
tle, and for his widow and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and
cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.

This address made a deep impression on the hearts of the
American people and of England. The British Standard
speaks of it as " the most remarkable thing of the sort ever
pronounced by any President of the United States, from the first
day until now. Its Alpha and its Omega is Almighty God, the
God of justice and the Father of mercies, who is working out
the purposes of his love. It is invested with a dignity and
pathos which lift it high above everything of the kind, whether
in the Old World or the New. The whole thing puts us in
mind of the best men of the English commonwealth ; there is
in fact much of the old prophet about it."

Mr. Gladstone, the ablest and most eloquent of living Eng-
lish statesmen, said that Mr. Lincoln's address on his inaugura-
tion showed a moral elevation which commanded the respect of
every right feeling man. " I am taken captive by so striking
an utterance as this. I see in it the effect of sharp trial, when
rightly borne, to raise men to a higher level of thought and
feeling than they could otherwise reach. It is by cruel suffer-
ing that nations are born to a better life ; and to individuals,
of course, a like experience produces a like result."

In this country two leading journals, one political and the
Other religious, spoke of the inaugural address as follows :

It is such a speech to the world as a Christian statesman would gladly hava
his last — earnest, humane, truly but not technically religious, filled with forgive-
ness and good will.

When generations have passed away, and the unhappy ■wounds of this war
are healed, and the whole nation is united on a basis of universal liberty, our
posterity will read the dying words of the great Emancipator and leader of the
people with new sympathy and reverence, thanking God that so honest and so
pure a man, so true a friend of the oppressed, and so genuine a patriot, guided
the nation in the time of its trial, and prepared the final triumph which he was
never allowed to see.

It is the most truthful, penitential, and Christian that a ruler ever addressed
to his people. There is the clearest recognition of the divine will, the humblest
prostration before his offended goodness, the amplest confession of the righteous-
ness of his punishments, the largest beneficence to our malicious foes.

That dying speech from the national throne will be read with wet eyes by
our children's children. As the farewell address of Washington is still cherished
by the nation, so will this pathetic confession of national sin and resolute purpose
to labor for its extinction be admiringly perused by our latest generations. It
lacks no element of perfection. So short that he that runs may read it ; so
simple that the most childish can understand it; so statesmanlike in its enuncia-
tion of principles that the rulers of the world can profitably study it; so
religious that the most pious hearts can find in it holiest nutriment ; so philan-
thropic that largest souls may grow larger in its inspiring air ; so clement that
the hardest heart cannot but melt in its perusal — it is the consummate flower
of Executive orations.

In the evening of the inauguration day the President held
the customary public reception. No President ever received a
more popular and affectionate tribute of respect than did
President Lincoln on that night. Foreign ministers, members
of the Cabinet, members of Congress, Governors of States, and
vast multitudes of his fellow-citizens, including representatives
from the race he had emancipated, were present to pay their
congratulations. The scenes of the day and evening had a
cheering influence upon him, and girded him anew for the great
work before him. They were as borders of light to a dark
and sudden night of sorrow to himself and the nation.



During the last week of March, 1865, President Lincoln
made a visit to the Potomac Army, then before Richmond. It
was on the eve of those successful movements which resulted
in the fall of Richmond and the surrender of the rebel army
under Lee. He held an important conference with Lieutenant
General Grant, and Generals Sherman and Meade and other
distinguished ofiBcers, and so hopeful was the military situa-
tion that, on the 2d of April, he telegraphed to the Secretary
of War that " all noio looks highly favorable f and again, on
the same day, " oR seems well with us." On the evening of
the 3d of April the President communicated to the War De-
partment and the country that Petersburg and Richmond had

On Monday, the 4th of April, he passed into the city of
Richmond without any parade of triumph, attended only by a
small guard, and received an enthusiastic welcome from the
army and from a large portion of the citizens. While in Rich-
mond he was waited upon by Judge Campbell, one of the lead-
ers of the rebellion, and formerly a Judge of the Supreme Court
of the United States, who said to the President :

I had an interview with Jefferson Davis, Benjamin, and Breckinridge just be-
fore they left, and said to them: " The military power of the Confederacy is
broken. Its independence is hopeless. It only remains for us to make the
best terms we can. The trouble is, the President of the United States cannot
enter into negotiations with you ; but he does recognize the States, and can
confer with their regular authorities. Under tho doctrine of State rights, so



tiniversally held in the South, the troops from Virginia — the Confederate Gov-
ernment being a fugitive — will recognize the right of the Virginia Legislature
to control them." If you, Mr. Lincoln, will permit that body to convene, it
will doubtless recall them from the field.

Campbell's arguments for this course "were many and specious.
The President was actuated by his absorbing desire for peace
to listen attentively; but he said :

"Judge Campbell, let us have no misunderstanding. I will give you once
more, in black and white, my only terms."

And he immediately wrote the same propositions which Mr.
Seward took from him to the Hampton Roads Conference :

I. The territorial integrity of the Republic.

II. No retraction of Executive or Congressional action on the subject of

III. No armistice.

To these he added a fourth condition, that if leading Con-
federates still persisted in the war, now it had become so utterly
hopeless, their property should be relentlessly confiscated.

Campbell prayed for a modification of the third article, but
the President was immovable.

" We will not negotiate with men as long as they are fighting against us.
The last election established this as the deliberate determination of the coun-

Remaining a day and night in Richmond, the President re-
turned to City Point on Saturday, the 8th of April, and visited
the hospitals, where he was received with joy and enthusiasm
by the brave and invalid soldiers. On the evening of the same
day he embarked for Washington, and arrived in excellent
health and spirits, on the evening of the 9th of April.

Among those significant things which often look like inspira-
tions, that frequently attend the latter days of noted men, is
an affecting fact, as is said, connected with the deceased Presi-
dent. While on liis recent trip to Richmond he amused him-
self with reading Shakspcare, and often to the friends about
him. It is a little strange that Mr. Lincoln, on one such occa-
sion, should have twice read aloud and called the marked atten-


tion of those about him to the well-known lines which Macbeth,
in his remorse, utters about the traitorously murdered Duncan :

"Duncan is in his grave ;
After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well ;
Treason has done its worst; nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
Can touch him further."

" The very day after his return from Richmond," says Secre-
tary Stanton, " I passed with him some of the happiest moments
of my life ; our hearts beat with exultation at the victories,
because we believed they would bring the speedy return of an
honorable peace, and the re-establishment of the authority of
the Constitution and the laws over the whole United States."

The five days preceding the President's death were memo-
rable in the history of the nation. The successive, brilliant
victories of the year in all parts of the country culminated in
the fall of Richmond, and the surrender of the rebel army,
with General Lee and ofiQcers, to Lieutenant General Grant.
The joy of the people at these grand results was bound-
less. In all the fulness and freshness of grateful, enthusiastic
hearts, the people manifested their joy that the rebellion was
at an end, and that peace and fraternal relations would soon
be re-established among all the States.

In commemoration of these great events, the cities, towns,
and villages throughout the country were brilliantly illumin-
ated, as symbols of the universal joy. Among the grandest of
these scenes was the one at the Capital. Most of the private
residences and all of the public buildings were beautifully illu-
minated. Over the western portico of the magnificent Capitol
was inscribed the motto, over which waved a beautiful banner,
" This is the Lord's doing ; it is marvellous in our eyes ;'' and
over the door of the State Department was read the following:
" The Union saved by faith in the Constitution, faith in the
people, and trust in God."

After the President's return from Richmond a large assem-
blage of citizens, desiring to congratulate him on these decisive
and important results, met at the President's mansion on the


evening of the 11th of April, and from an upper window, now
historic, he made the following:


We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart. The evacna-
tion of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent
army, gave hope of a righteous and speedy peace, whose joyous expression
cannot be restrained. In the midst of this, however. He from whom all bless-
ings flow must not be forgotten. A call for a national thanksgiving is being
prepared, and will be duly promulgated. Nor must those whose harder part
gives us the cause of rejoicing be overlooked. Their honors must not be par-
celled out with others. I myself was near the front, and had the high pleasure
of transmitting much of the good news to you ; but no part of the honor, for
plan or execution, is mine. To General Grant, his skilful officers, and brave
men, all belongs. The gallant navy stood ready, but was not in reach to take
active part.

By these recent successes the rein augur ation of the national authority — recon-
struction — which has had a large share of thought from the first, is pressed
much more closely upon our attention. It is fraught with great difficulty.
Unlike the case of a war between independent nations, there is no authorized
organ for us to treat with. No one man has authority to give up the rebellion
for any other man. "We simply must begin with, and mould from, disorganized
and discordant elements. Nor is it a small additional embarrassment that we,
the loyal people, differ among ourselves as to the mode, manner, and measure
of reconstruction.

As a general rule, I abstain from reading the reports of attacks upon myself,
wishing not to be provoked by that to which I cannot properly offer an answer.
In spite of this precaution, however, it comes to my knowledge that I am much
censured from some supposed agency in setting up and seeking to sustain the
new State government of Louisiana. In this I have done just so much and no
more than the public knows.

In the annual message of December, 1863, and accompanying proclamation,
I presented a plan of reconstruction, (as the phrase goes,) which I promised, if
adopted by any State, should be acceptable to and sustained by the Executive
Government of the nation. I distinctly stated that this was not the only plan
which might possibly be acceptable; and I also distinctly protested that the
Executive claimed no right to say when or whether members should be admitted
to seats in Congress from such States. This plan was, in advance, submitted
to the then Cabinet, and distinctly approved by every member of it. One of them
suggested that I should then and in that connection apply the Emancipation
Proclamation to the heretofore excepted parts of Virginia and Louisiana ; that
I should drop the suggestion about apprenticeship for freed people, and that I
should omit the protest against my own power in regard to the admission of
members of Congress ; but even he approved every part and parcel of the plan
which has since been employed or touched by the action of Louisiana. The
new constitution of Louisiana, declaring emancipation for the whole State,


practically applies the proclamation to the part previously excepted. It does
not adopt apprenticeship for freed people, and it is silent, as it could not well
be otherwise, about the admission of members to Congress. So that, as it ap-
plies to Louisiana, every member of the Cabinet fully approved the plan. The

Online LibraryB. F. (Benjamin Franklin) MorrisMemorial record of the nation's tribute to Abraham Lincoln .. → online text (page 1 of 27)