Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

LAMENTATIONS V: 15, 16, 17, 19.

THE JOY OF OUR HEART IS CEASED ; OUR DANCE IS TURNED INTO MOURNING. The CROWN IS FALLEN FROM OUR HEAD. WOE UNTO US, THAT WE HAVE SINNED. FOR THIS our HEART IS FAINT. FOR THESE THINGS OUR EYES ARE DIN. THOU, O LORD! REMAINEST FOREVER! THY THRONE FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.

This bright Easter morning is one of the saddest, and, at the same time, one of the most hopeful mornings that ever dawned upon the American people.

In the vigor of his days, in the ripeness of his experience as a ruler, in the midst of duties which no man knew or was better qualified to discharge than he, the foremost man of this nation has been struck down by the hand of an assassin.

Abraham Lincoln, our President, whose mental and moral vision was as clear and true as a sunbeam, and whose great heart was as tender and loving as a woman’s, a man who possessed such a genial and generous nature that he had scarcely a personal enemy in the world, - having guided the republic safely through the darkest night of trial that ever gathered about any

men.

people since the foundation of the world, — just when the morning light begins to dawn upon us, giving promise of a long and glorious day, – this wise and just and merciful ruler lies murdered in the capital !

What language can express our horror of the blow which struck him down ? And what shall we say of the hellish power which prompted and aimed the blow?

We thought we had already seen the utmost reach of barbarism and savagery of which the slave-power is capable. We had seen it trample on the rights of four millions of people, using them solely for its own infernal lusts. We had seen it make war on the most beneficent and kindly government that was ever devised among

We had seen it take the slain victims of that war, and of their bones make toys and playthings and personal adornments for its wives and children. We had seen it take the living victims of that war, and transform sixty thousand of them into idiotic skeletons or ghastly corpses by the torturing process of starvation. Ay, in a land teeming with abundance, in the very heart of Georgia, tens of thousands of Federal soldiers, under the direction of Jefferson Davis, and with the consent of Robert E. Lee, were literally and deliberately and vindictively starved to death, or into hopeless idiocy; and the last breath of many a brave man was spent in offering a pitiful but unanswered cry for bread!

And now, to fill the measure of its wickedness, slavery has done WHAT? How shall we characterize its latest deed ? What lexicon contains the word by which to fitly call it ? What shall we name the act

a

of one who comes behind an unarmed, unsuspecting man, - surrounded by his family, enjoying an hour's respite from the weightiest burden of responsibility and care that ever rested upon a single mind, and deliberately shoots him down? What shall we call the act of one who goes to the darkened chamber of an almost dying man, man whose bones have just been so shattered by accident as to make it doubtful if he ever moves again, and, leaping upon the bed, with the fury of a fiend, plunges a dagger, again and again, into his helpless and almost lifeless form ? And these nameless deeds slavery has just done to increase and perpetuate its previous record of infamy!

Marc Antony, standing above the body of the murdered Cæsar, is represented by the great dramatist as saying what we might say to-day above the scarred remains of the late wise and generous President of this republic:

“ Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times !
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!”

Ay, woe to Slavery ! woe to its perjured, bloodyhanded champion, Jefferson Davis ! woe to its adherents and defenders, its advocates and apologists, whether in Carolina or Massachusetts ! Behold, the hour of its destruction is at hand! Nay, this very Easter Sunday is the day of its resurrection ! its resurrection to everlasting shame and contempt!—its resurrection to complete and eternal damnation! Its doom is sealed! To-day, for one, I would rather be the murdered

President, or the wounded Secretary, than to be the man, wbo, in this hour of the nation's sorrow, has no prayer to offer for the final and utter extermination of that system which has lifted itself so long against our peace.

When Slavery did this last and most brutal of all its deeds, it doubtless thought to intimidate the future rulers of this land from meting out to traitors the punishment which their crimes deserve. But it made a fearful mistake. In dealing with traitors, Andrew Johnson's little finger will be thicker than Abraham Lincoln's loins. If the old president chastised them with whips, the NEW president will chastise them with scorpions. Here is what he said only last week in a public address on the occasion of the fall of Richmond :

“ Treason is the highest crime known in the catalogue of crimes ; and for him that is guilty of it,- for him that is willing to lift his impious hand against the authority of the nation,— I would say death is too easy a punishment. My notion is that treason must be made odious; that traitors must be punished and impoverished: their social power

broken. You, my friends, have traitors in your very midst, and treason needs rebuke and punishment here as well as elsewhere. It is not the men in the field who are the greatest traitors. It is the men who have encouraged them to imperil their lives, while they themselves have remained at home, expending their means, and exerting all their power, to overthrow the government. Hence I say this : “tbe halter to intelligent, influential traitors.' But to the honest boy, to the deluded man, who have been deceived into the rebel ranks, I would extend

« ПредишнаНапред »