Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) online

. (page 31 of 41)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 41)
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prayer by Dr. Gurley, the train, embracing seven carriages,
all in mourning, and drawn by a locomotive also draped with
black, slowly moved, amid a vast crowd of silent and sad
spectators, out of the depot towards Baltimore. Under the
direction of the War Department, a schedule of times of ar-
rival at and departure from every place along the route for
the whole distance, had been marked out with great precision,
and was rigidly adhered to. The rate of speed was restricted,
a pilot engine was sent in advance to observe the road, and
every possible precaution was adopted for the prevention of
accidents. As the train moved out of the depot, the great
multitude reverently uncovered their heads, and stood fixed
in their grief some moments after it had passed away.

The passage of this great funeral procession, a distance of
more than a thousand miles, through the largest and most
populous States and towns of the Union, was one of the most
remarkable spectacles ever seen on the face of the earth. At
every point, for all that great distance, vast gatherings of the
people assembled to catch a glimpse of the passing train;
and at every place where it stopped, and the remains were
exposed to view, great crowds, such as no other occasion had
ever brought together before, came to look upon the features
of their murdered chief. The great cities poured forth theif
population in uncounted masses. In town and country every
house was hung with mourning — flags drooped at half-mast,
and inscriptions, filled with touching expressions of the na-
tion's sorrow, or glowing with eulogy of the departed leader,
greeted the eye, and renewed the sorrow, of the spectator

At ten o'clock the train entered the depot at Baltimore,
where, in spite of inclement weather, it was met by an im-
mense procession of all ages and classes of people : — the cof-
fin was borne through the vast crowd, who stood with un-
covered heads, to the funeral-car, elegantly draped, and its
sides composed of plate-glass, which awaited its reception in
Camden Street. A large and imposing military display, un-
der command of Brigadier-General H. H. Lockwood, es-
corted the remains to the Exchange, which had been pre-


pared to receive them, and where they were placed upon a
raised dais, covered by a canopy of black and strewn with
rare and choice flowers, as a fit resting-place for the illus-
trious dead. An immense crowd surrounded the building,
only a small portion of whom could possibly gain admittance
to look upon the corpse. At half-past two the coffin was
closed, and removed, a large procession following it to the
depot of the Northern Central Railroad Company, from
which the funeral train departed at three for Harrisburg, the
capital of Pennsylvania, the Governor of that State being
one of the attendant mourners.

Arriving at Harrisburg at eight o'clock in the evening, the
streets were thronged, in sp'ite of a heavy rain, with great
crowds of people, who followed the remains to the Capitol,
where the body lay in. state, upon a catafalque surmounted by
a wreath of flowering almonds. It was exposed to public
view from nine o'clock to midnight, when the coffin was
closed until seven in the morning. It was then again opened,
and thousands of citizens passed in to view the body. At
nine o'clock, amid the thunder of artillery, a long column
of soldiers entered the hall for the same purpose. At eleven
o'clock the coffin was replaced upon the funeral-car, and the
train departed.

All along the route, in the villages, and along the roadside
in the country districts, the people gathered in large numbers,!
merely to view the passing train. At Lancaster not less
than twenty thousand were thus assembled. On either side of
the road stood benevolent, religious, and working associa-
tions, dressed in mourning, standing in long lines, and rev-)
erently uncovering their heads as the funeral-car passed by.
As the train approached Philadelphia, these demonstrations
of respect increased. Private residences were draped in
mourning, and flags drooped from every eminence. At half- 1
past four the train reached the depot in Broad Street, and atfc
six the majestic procession formed to escort the remains toJ
Independence Hall, commenced its march through streets !
densely filled with people who had gathered from every part
of the surrounding country ; and at half-past nine, before the!
rear of the procession had left the depot, the body of the!
President was deposited in the hall, which first echoed the]
Declaration of Independence, and which was now prepared,


with exquisite taste, to receive to its sanctuary the great
martyr of the Liberty which was then proclaimed. In the
morning the doors were opened for the public, and before
daylight lines were formed, extending from the Delaware to
the Schuylkill, at least three miles, of persons awaiting their
chance to see the corpse. This continued all through the
day, and deep into the succeeding night. Scenes the most
touching and impressive marked this farewell visit. The
wounded soldiers limping in to look at their late commander
— negroes, old and young, flocking in to see him whom they
deemed the great deliverer of their race — citizens of every
class, of every political partv, of every variety of opinion on
every subject, gathered by a common impulse of love and
pity, to look upon him whom God had made the great leader
of the nation in the most perilous crisis of its fate.

At four o'clock, on the morning of the 24th of April, the
funeral train took its departure for New York. Marching in
solemn state through the crowds of people, which seemed to
line the track all along the route, it reached Jersey City, op-
posite New York, and passed into the spacious depot, which
had been clad in mourning, to the music of a funeral dirge,
executed by a choir of seventy singers, and under the roar of
heavy and loud artillery. The coffin was lifted from the car
and borne on the shoulders of ten stalwart veterans, followed
by a procession of conspicuous officials, marching to the
music of "Rest in the Grave," sung by the choral societies, to
the hearse prepared for its reception. Passing then to the
ferry-boat, which at once crossed the river, the hearse, drawn
by six gray horses, heavily draped in black, took its place in
the procession, headed by General Dix and other officers,
escorted by the Seventh Regiment, and the whole cortege
moved, through densely-crowded streets and amidst the most
impressive display of public and private grief, to the City
Hall. At half-past eleven the head of the procession en-
tered the Park, and while cannon thundered from every fort
in and around the harbor, while church-bells from every spire
pealed out the nation's sorrow, and while eight hundred
choristers chanted the "Chorus of the Spirits" and filled the
charmed air with its sadly enchanting melody, the coffin was
borne up the steps of the City Hall, and placed under the
dome, draped, decorated, and dimly lighted, upon the plane


prepared for its reception. The troops then retired; guards
were stationed at the head of every stairway and sentries at
every door. From this time five officers, relieved every two
hours, kept immediate watch over the body, day and night.
Soon the doors were opened, and entering, one by one, in
proper order, the citizens of the great metropolis came to
look upon the illustrious dead. All through that day and
the succeeding night the endless stream poured in, while out-
side the Park, Broadway, and the entire area of Printing-
House Square, reaching up Chatham Street and East Broad-
way as far as the eye could see, a vast throng of people stood
silent and hopeless, but still expectant, of a chance to enter
and see the body of the murdered President. Not less than
one hundred and fifty thousand persons obtained admission,
and not less than twice that number had waited for it in vain.
At twenty minutes to twelve on the 25th, the doors were
closed. The appointed pall-bearers took their place beside
the coffin, which at one o'clock was lifted and carried, to the |
tolling of the bell and the tap of the drum, out through the
double line of the Seventh Regiment, and placed upon the
funeral-car. Escorted by the. finest military display ever seen
in New York, and followed in procession by great numbers
of her citizens, the car moved through the principal streets,
in view of a vast concourse of people, to the depot of the
Hudson River Railroad, at the corner of Thirtieth Street and
Tenth Avenue. When the head of the procession reached the
depot the column halted and faced to the west; and as the
car bearing the body came up, the solemn strains of the mili-
tary bands broke forth, the troops presented arms, the vast
crowd kept the most profound and impressive silence, the
coffin, with due ceremonies, was placed upon the railway-car,
and at four o'clock, to the sound of a funeral dirge, the train
took its departure.

It is scarcely worth while to note in detail the demonstra-
tions and observances which followed the President's remains
to their final resting-place. At every point there was sub-
stantially the same spectacle. Everywhere the people gath-
ered in vast numbers to greet the sad procession. Everywhere
the same sorrow, seeming to be almost the expression
of a personal and household grief, was shown by drooping
flags, by houses draped in mourning, by touching inscrip-


tions and memorials of the nobleness, the integrity, the
purity of the departed chief.

At Albany not less than fifty thousand people visited the
capitol to view the remains, which were escorted by an im-
posing procession of soldiers and civilians at the depot of the
Central Railroad. At four o'clock on the evening of the 26th
the train left for the West. At Utica, at Syracuse, at Roches-
ter, at Buffalo, and at every village along the route, crowds
of people were assembled. At seven o'clock on the evening of
the 27th the train reached Cleveland, where a procession was
formed, religious services were held, and the remains were
exposed to public view. Similar ceremonies attended the
arrival at Columbus, and at every point of the route, through
Indiana, the same great demonstrations of popular interest
and sorrow were observed. At Chicago the most extensive
preparations had been made for the reception of the remains.
On the 1st of May, as the train approached, minute-guns and
the tolling of bells signalized the event. The great multitude
stood with uncovered heads as the coffin was borne, between
the open ranks of the military, under the magnificent Gothic
arch, which had been erected across Park Place, and placed
upon the funeral-car. Thence it was escorted, by thousands
of those who in life had known Mr. Lincoln best, marching
in procession to the Court-House, where the remains lay in
state, and were exposed to public view. Thousands upon
thousands flocked from the surrounding country to look upon
them. Fresh flowers, the sweet offerings of woman's love,
from time to time were strewn upon the coffin. Sad strains
of music gave voice to the public woe. Addresses were made,
eulogies pronounced, and in every way and by every form
the great city of his own State sought to tell the world how
much she loved and revered the memory of Her illustrious son.

On the 3d of May the President's remains reached Spring-
field, which, for so many of his active years and before the
nation claimed him, had been his home. They were trans-
ported to the State House, borne into the hall of the House
of Representatives, which had been appropriately decorated
for the occasion, and placed upon a catafalque prepared for
its reception. All day and all night long the streets of that
quiet town resounded with the footsteps of the thousands who
came to look upon the corpse of him they loved as a neighbor
and friend, and whom they now revered as foremost among


the mighty martyrs of the earth. In the morning minute-
guns were fired — and, as a choir of two hundred and fifty
voices sang "Peace, troubled soul," at ten o'clock the coffin
was closed forever. The remains were then placed in the
hearse, the procession moved, under command of Major-
General Hooker, to Oak Ridge Cemetery, and there, while
the choir sang "Unveil thy bosom, faithful tomb," the sepul-
chre received to its final rest all that was mortal of Abraham
Lincoln. Religious exercises were then held, Bishop Simp-
son pronouncing an eloquent and appropriate, funeral oration,
and Rev. Dr. Gurley, of Washington, making a closing

Thus closed the life and public services of Abraham Lin-
coln. As the condition of the country during his Adminis-
tration made him the most conspicuous figure in American
history, so did the circumstances of his death give him a sad
and terrible isolation. It was the first time that assassination
had sought to aid, or avenge, a political cause in the United
States, and nothing but the terrible fever of civil war could
have engendered a crime so abhorrent to the American char-
acter and the genius of republican institutions. The investi-
gation which the Government at once set on foot, and prose-
cuted with the utmost vigor, proved that the abduction and
assassination of Mr. Lincoln had been the topic of speculative 1
conversation, in various portions of the rebel States, for some
months previous to its execution. It did not appear, how-
ever, that the deed was done by direct procurement of the
rebel authorities, though it was made more than probable
that the agents whom they kept in Canada, and supplied with
large sums of money, for what they styled "detached service"!]
— meaning by that phrase enterprises of robbery, murder,]
and arson, over which they vainly sought to throw the pro-
tection of the laws of war — were at least acquainted with the |
horrible plot, and lent it their sanction, if not their aid. But |
it seems to have originated mainly, if not exclusively, with j
the man who played the leading part in its execution. Booth j
was a son of the most distinguished actor of that name, and
inherited something of his passionate and peculiar nature. He
had been, from the outbreak of the rebellion, one of its most j
fanatical devotees; and, as its strength and prospects of sue-,
cess began to grow less and less, his mind was absorbed in]


desperate schemes for reviving its fortunes and securing its
triumph. Papers which he left behind him show that he had
deliberately dedicated himself to this service long before the
surrender of Lee and the virtual overthrow of the rebel
cause; and what was then a desire to aid the rebellion, be-
came, after this was hopeless, a desperate determination to
avenge its down fall. He plotted the murder of Mr. Lin-
coln, and of the leading members of the Government, with
the utmost care and deliberation, selecting for his assistants
men better fitted to be tools than confederates, and assuming
himself entire charge of the enterprise. The meetings of the
conspirators were held at the house of one Mrs. Surratt, in
Washington ; and detailed arrangements had been made,
with her assistance, for effecting an escape. Booth accord-
ingly, after shooting the President, and escaping across the
eastern branch of the Potomac River, found temporary shel-
ter and aid among the rebel sympathizers of Lower Mary-
land. His movements, however, were greatly embarrassed
and retarded by the fracture of his leg, caused by his fall as
he leaped upon the stage after committing the murder; and
the agents whom the Governnr it had sent in pursuit soon
came upon his track, and on the night of the 26th of April
found him, with one of his accomplices, a lad named Harold,
who had also been the companion of his flight, in the barn of
a farmer named Garrett, near Port Royal, on the south side
of the Rappahannock, and about ninety miles from Washing-
ton. Harold surrendered. Booth refusing to do so, and men-
acing his captors with fire-arms, was shot by a sergeant of
:he troop, named Corbett. Several persons, implicated more
or less directly in the plot, were afterwards apprehended, and
:ried before a military commission in the City of Washing-
on. Mrs. Surratt, Harold, a man named Atzerott, who was
o have killed Vice-President Johnson, and Payne, the as-
sailant of Secretary Seward, were executed on the 6th of July,
md several others were sentenced to imprisonment for life
>r a term of years, for their share in the conspiracy. As
hese events had nothing to do with the Administration of
Vfr. Lincoln, it does not fall within the scope of this work
o narrate them in greater detail.

As might naturally be expected, the horrid crime aroused
he most intense indignation throughout the country. No
nan, in either section, ventured to become its apologist ; and


public sentiment, overlooking everything that was irregular
and inconclusive in the proceedings of the military commis-
sion by whose sentence the parties accused of complicity in
the murder were convicted and hung, applauded the execu-
tion, and gave it the sanction of a general and emphatic ap-

The murder of the President gave still another evidence of
the stability of our institutions, and of the capacity of our
people to meet any possible emergency in the conduct of
their affairs. It occasioned not the slightest pause in the
stately march of the Government. The Constitution had pro-
vided that, in the event of the President's death, the functions
of his office should devolve upon the Vice-President. Ac-
cordingly, at ten o'clock on the morning of President Lin-
coln's decease, Andrew Johnson took the oath of office, and
entered upon the discharge of his duties as President of the
United States. Not a word was uttered, nor a hand lifted,
against his accession; and thus, with the silent and cordial
acquiescence of the great body of the people, a crisis was
passed which, in other countries and in other times, would
have shaken governments to their foundation; and the world
saw with astonishment and admiration, that, in war as in
peace, in the most trying crises of a nation's fate as well as
in the ordinary course of public affairs, a Government "of the
people, and for the people," was the strongest and the safest
the world had ever known.

It forms no part of the object of this work to deal in eulogy
of President Lincoln and his Administration. Its purpose
will have been attained if it places his acts and words in such
a form, that those who read them may judge for themselves
of the merits and defects of the policy he pursued. It was
his destiny to guide the nation through the stormiest period
of its existence. No one of his predecessors, not even Wash-
ington, encountered difficulties of equal magnitude, or was
called to perform duties of equal responsibility. He was first
elected by a minority of the popular vote, and his election
was regarded by a majority of the people as the immediate
occasion, if not the cause, of civil war; yet upon him devolved
the necessity of carrying on that war, and of combining and
wielding the energies of the nation for its successful prosecu-i
tion. The task, under all the circumstances of the case, was
one of the most gigantic that ever fell to the lot of the head


of any nation; — the success by which it was crowned vindi-
cates triumphantly the manner in which it was performed.

From the outset, Mr. Lincoln's reliance was upon the spirit
and patriotism of the people. He had no overweening esti-
mate of his own sagacity; he was quite sensible of his lack
of that practical knowledge of men and affairs which experi-
ence of both alone can give ; but he had faith in the devotion
of the people to the principles of Republican government, in
their attachment to the Constitution and the Union, and in
that intuitive sagacity of a great community which always
transcends the most cunning devices of individual men, and,
in a great and perilous crisis, more nearly resembles inspira-
tion than the mere deductions of the human intellect. At the
very outset of his Administration, President Lincoln cast
himself, without reserve and without fear, upon this reliance.
It has been urged against him as a reproach that he did not
assume to lead and control public sentiment, but was content
to be the exponent and the executor of its will. Possibly an
opposite course might have succeeded, but possibly, also, it
might have ended in disastrous and fatal failure. One thing
is certain : the policy which he did pursue did not fail. The
rebellion did not succeed; the authority of the Government
was not overthrown ; no new government, resting on slavery
as its corner-stone, has been established upon this continent,
nor has any foreign nation been provoked or permitted to
throw its sword into the scale against us. On the contrary,
the policy pursued by Mr. Lincoln has been completely and
permanently successful — and that fact is conclusive as to its
substantial wisdom.

in one respect President Lincoln achieved a wonderful suc-
cess. He maintained, through terrible trials of his Adminis-
tration, a reputation, with the great body of the people, for
unsullied integrity of purpose and of conduct, which even
Washington did not surpass, and which no President since
Washington has equalled. He had command of an army
greater than that of any living monarch ; he wielded authority
less restricted than that conferred by any other constitutional
government; he disbursed sums of money equal to the ex-
chequer of any nation in the world; yet no man, of any party,
believes him in any instance to have aimed at his own aggran-
dizement, to have been actuated by personal ambition, or to
have consulted any other interest than the welfare of his


country, and the perpetuity of its Republican form of govern-
ment. This of itself is a success which may well challenge
universal admiration, for it is one which is the indispensable
condition of all other forms of success. No man whose pub-
lic integrity was open to suspicion, no matter what might
have been his abilities or his experience, could possibly have
retained enough of public confidence to carry the country
through such a contest as that from which we have just
emerged. No President, suspected of seeking his own ag-
grandizement at the expense of his country's liberties, could
ever have received such enormous grants of power as were
essential to a successful prosecution of the war against the
rebellion. They were lavishly and eagerly conferred upon
Mr. Lincoln, because it was known and felt everywhere that
he would not abuse them. Faction has had in him no mark
for its assaults. The weapons of party spirit have recoiled
harmlessly from the shield of his unspotted character.

It was this unanimous confidence in the disinterested pur-
ity of his character, and in the perfect integrity of his public
purposes, far more than any commanding intellectual ability,,
that enabled Washington to hold the faith and confidence of
the American people steadfast for seven years, while they
waged the unequal war required to achieve their independ-
ence. And it certainly is something more than a casual coin-
cidence that this same element, as rare in experience as it is
transcendent in importance, should have characterized the
President upon whom devolved the duty of carrying the
country through our second and far more important and
sanguinary struggle.

No one can read Mr. Lincoln's State papers without per-
ceiving in them a most remarkable faculty of "putting things"
so as to command the attention and assent of the common
people. His style of thought, as well as of expression, was
thoroughly in harmony with their habitual modes of thinking
and speaking. His intellect was keen, emphatically logical
in its action, and capable of the closest and most subtle an-
alysis; and he used language for the sole purpose of stating,
in the clearest and simplest possible form, the precise idea
he wished to convey. He had no pride of intellect — not the
slightest desire for display — no thought or purpose but that
of making everybody understand precisely what he believed
and meant to utter. And while this habit may sacrifice the-


Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 41)