John McClintock.

Discourse delivered on the day of the funeral of President Lincoln, Wednesday, April 19, 1865 : in St. Paul's Church, New York (Volume 2) online

. (page 2 of 2)
Online LibraryJohn McClintockDiscourse delivered on the day of the funeral of President Lincoln, Wednesday, April 19, 1865 : in St. Paul's Church, New York (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 2)
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enough, these men mistook the mighty import of
passing events, and bought gold for a rise. On Mon-
day gold was ten per cent, lower than on Saturday.

Another lesson we have learned is this : that in our
government no one man is essential. The Harpers
have just published a book by Louis Napoleon Bo-
naparte on the Life of Julius Caesar. Its object is to
teach the world that it must be governed by its great
men ; that they make epochs and not merely mark
them. How suddenly that book has been refuted,
and what a blow has been given to this gospel of
Napoleon, by the assassination of Lincoln and its
issues. Here is one greater than Caesar struck
down as Caesar was, and yet the pillars of the Re-
public are unshaken. What a pitiful anachronism
does the Imperial plea for Caesarism appear, in
presence of the dead Lincoln, and the mourning,
yet living and triumphant Republic!

Let us now gather one or two practical lessons
for ourselves and our children. Hatred of assassin-
ation is one of these lessons, if, indeed, we needed
to learn it. The work that Brutus did to Caesar
was just as bad a work as that of Booth to Lincoln.
It was centuries before humanity recovered from


the poisoned wound it received from the stroke of
the dagger that pierced the breast of Caesar. Teach
your children, moreover, not only to hate assassina-
tion, but treason as well ; for treason breeds assas-
sins, as it breeds all other forms of crime and wrong.
You cannot be too severe upon it in your thoughts
or in your talk; you are severe upon the robber and
the assassin; shall you be lenient toward the treason
which has begotten both robbery and assassination ?
Remember, too, that as treason is the parent of
assassination, so slavery has been the parent of
treason. Is it necessary for me to exhort you to
teach your children to hate slavery too? In this one
thing I ask you to join with me this day. Let us
bow ourselves before Almighty God, and vow that
so far as in us lies, none of us will ever agree to
any pacification of this land, until slavery be utterly
extirpated. Watch your editors, then ; watch your
clergy ; watch your generals and soldiers, your ad-
mirals and sailors ; watch even Andrew Johnson,
though of that I apprehend there will be no need.
Watch them all, if need be, and see to it that this
sprout of hell never shoots up again in the Ameri-
can soil.


One more lesson, and not the least. If anything
I have said, or anything that you read or hear in
these sad days, breeds within you a single revenge- I
ful feeling, even towards the leaders of this rebellion,
then think of Abraham Lincoln, and pray God to
make you merciful. Think of the prayer of
Christ, which the President said, after his Saviour,
" Father, forgive them, they know not what they
do." Let there be no place for revenge in our
souls; justice we may and must demand, but re-
venge, never. " Vengeance is mine, I will repay,
saith the Lord." I counsel you also to discounte-
nance all disorder, all attempts by private persons
to avenge the publie wrong, or even to punish sym-
pathizers with treason. I have been sorry to hear
from the lips of generous young men, under the
pangs of the President's assassination, sentiments
of bitterness and indignation, amounting almost to
fierceness. It is natural, no doubt, but what is
natural is not always right. Indulge this spirit,
and you may hear next that this man's house or
that man's should be mobbed. Mobs are alien to
our northern soil ; they belong to another atmos-
phere than that of free schools and free men. The


region of slavery was their natural home ; let us
have none of them. And soon, when the last
shackles shall have fallen, and throughout our land,
from sea to sea, there shall be no master and no
slave, the blessed Peace shall come, for which we
have looked, and prayed, and fought so long, when
the Republic shall be established upon the eternal
foundations of Freedom and Justice, to stand, we
trust, by the blessing of God, down to the last
syllable of recorded Time.



" Fellow Countrymen :

At this second appearing to take the oath of the
Presidential office, there is less occasion for an
extended address than there was at the first. Then
a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be
pursued seemed very 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 ener-
gies of the nation, little that is new could be pre-

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 hopes for the
future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years
ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an im-
pending civil war. All dreaded it ; all sought to
avoid 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 the ef-
fects 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 generally 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 gov-
ernment claimed no right to do more than to restrict
the territorial enlargement of it.

Neither party expected for the war the magni-
tude or the duration which it has already attained.
Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict
might cease with, or even before the conflict itself
should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph,
and a result less fundamental and astounding.

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same


Godj and each invokes His aid against the other.
It may seem strange than 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 world because of of-
fences, 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 these offences, which in the providence of God
must needs come, but which having continued
through His appointed time. 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 soon 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 lasn
shall be paid with 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 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 on to finish the work, we are
in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him
who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow
and his orphans, to do all which may achieve and
cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves
and with all nations."




" Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers
brought forth upon this continent a new nation,
conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposi-
tion that all men are created equal. Now we are en-
gaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation,
or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long
endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that
war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that
field as a final resting-place for those who here gave
their lives that that nation might live. It is alto-
gether fitting and proper that we should do this.
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 consecrated it far above our power to add or
detract. The world will little note, nor long re-
member, 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 unfinished work which
they who fought here have thus far so nobly ad-
vanced. 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 refolve that thefe
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, and
for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

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Online LibraryJohn McClintockDiscourse delivered on the day of the funeral of President Lincoln, Wednesday, April 19, 1865 : in St. Paul's Church, New York (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 2)