Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Looking back at Lincoln: On April 19, 1865



On this day in 1865, Lincoln's funeral procession was held in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners lined the streets in an eerie silence as the presidents body was carried in a procession led by African American soldiers (and followed by many freed slaves,) on a hearse pulled by six white horses, from the White House to the Capitol building.

The funeral was held shortly after noon on Wednesday, April 19, 1865. About 600 guests entered the same way the public had the day before - through the crepe-covered South Portico and the Green Room and into the candle-lit East Room. There was a cross of lilies near Mr. Lincoln's head; General Ulysses S. Grant was seated on this side. At the opposite end of the coffin was seated Robert and Tad Lincoln and some of their mother's relatives. The cabinet stood on one side of the room behind President Andrew Johnson and former Vice President Hannibal Hamlin. An Episcopalian priest, Rev. Charles Hall, began the service with the words: "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord." He read from Corinthians 15:20: "But now is Christ risen from the dead." Dr. Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, delivered the eulogy:


"I have said that the people confided in the late lamented President with a full and loving confidence. Probably no man since the days of Washington was ever so deeply and firmly imbedded and enshrined in the very hearts of the people as Abraham Lincoln. Nor was it a mistaken confidence and love. He deserved it - deserved it well - deserved it all. He merited it by his character, by his acts, and by the whole tenor, and tone, and spirit of his life. He was simple and sincere, plain and honest, truthful and just, benevolent and kind. His perceptions were quick and clear, his judgments were calm and accurate, and his purposes were good and pure beyond a question. Always and everywhere he aimed and endeavored to be right and to do right. His integrity was thorough, all-pervading, all-controlling, and incorruptible. It was the same in every place and relation, in the consideration and the control of matters great or small, the same firm and steady principle of power and beauty that shed a clear and crowning luster upon all his other excellences of mind and heart, and recommended him to his fellow citizens as the man, who, in a time of unexampled peril, when the very life of the nation was at stake, should be chosen to occupy, in the country and for the country, its highest post of power and responsibility."


Among the five dozen ministers present were Bishop Matthew Simpson of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Dr. E. H. Gray, the Baptist chaplain of the Senate and pastor of the E. Street Baptist church.. Bishop Simpson gave the opening and Dr. Gray gave the closing prayer. (Simpson subsequently performed the marriage of Robert Todd Lincoln.)



After the guests departed, 12 army sergeants carried the coffin out to the waiting funeral hearse drawn by six white horses that brought the coffin to the Capitol. Thousands of Union soldiers, including many who left hospital beds to participate, filed in behind the funeral procession -- which was led by French and a contingent of black soldiers who arrived late and turned around in time to lead the parade. At the end of the parade behind the dignitaries and the soldiers were 40,000 newly-freed blacks, holding hands. Over 100,000 more Americans lined the streets. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper reported: "Every window, housetop, balcony and every inch of the sidewalks on either side was densely crowded with a mournful throng to pay homage to departed worth. Despite the enormous crowd the silence was profound. It seemed akin to death it commemorated. If any conversation was indulged in, it was in suppressed tones, and only audible to the one spoken to. A solemn sadness reigned everywhere. Presently the monotonous thump of the funeral drum sounded in the street, and the military escort of the funeral car began to march past with solemn tread, muffled drum and arms reversed."

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