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PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S FORMER HOME
AT SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S OLD HOME.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S remains have
been tenderly laid to rest at Springfield, his former home. The route, which
little more than four years ago the then newly-elected President took from
Washington, has been retraced, under circumstances how different
! Different as regards the terrible national drama of the last four years by
what degrees of joy ! Different as regards the personal drama in which our great
leader has played, by what degrees of sacred sadness!
It was on the 11th of February,
President LINCOLN took leave of his fellow-citizens of Springfield,
among whom he had resided for a quarter of a century. As he stepped upon the
platform which was to bear him away he said : " I must now
leave you—for how long I know
not....I go to assume a task more difficult than that which devolved upon
WASHINGTON. ...I ask your prayers." How the people hung upon every word which
that man uttered on that memorable march to the front ! Only the historian, who
shall record the loose and ill-weighed utterances of other prominent men at that
critical period of our history, can properly estimate to what degree
Mr. LINCOLN moulded and almost created the national sentiment which from that moment
prevailed. His statements were made not with Jacksonian ardor, but with all the
firmness of a JACKSON, though couched in that argumentative style so peculiar to
MR. LINCOLN. His insight into the great problem of the time did for him, though
after a quieter fashion, what the attack on Sumter only could do for the masses.
He did not, like
JACKSON in 1833, say to the South
: " Submit peaceably or I'll make you feel what virtue there is in harsher
methods of procuring submission !" He carefully guarded against menace, but he
said quietly and firmly: " I hold that the Union of these States is
perpetual....I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins
upon me, that the laws of the Union shall be faithfully executed in all the
States. . . .The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess
the property of the Government... An your hands, may dissatisfied
fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The
Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict with-out being
yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the
Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to
preserve, protect, and defend'
it. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies!" Nothing Jacksonian
in all that; but something of more than Jacksonian stability !
Four years have passed. LINCOLN
has fulfilled his solemn pledge "to preserve, protect, and defend." Aggressive
treason has been punished and crushed ; and as the martyred President's remains
moved homeward from the scene of his anxious but glorious career to the haven of
his final rest, the people that erected arches of triumph at every stage of his
last march did not forget, even in their sadness, that they had triumphed
through him, their slain leader ; and the very manner of his death disclosed to
them the bitter malice of the treason over which they had gained the victory.
They did not forget the anxiety with which they followed his (See
EXPLOSION OF THE STEAMER
"SULTANA," APRIL 28, 1865.