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on the memory of posterity than the murder of the Ame. rican President. What Mr. Lincoln might have been, and what he might have accomplished, must always remain matters of speculation; but that he should have been arrested midway in his career, and that the wishes of a great nation should be frustrated by the will of a rabid fanatic, points de moral of the futility of all human projects, which, however trite, is not uninstructive. At the very time when most persons would have concurred in approving the policy of the Northern States in again electing Mr. Lincoln to the Presidential office, and would have gladly seen him endeavour to reconstruct the edifice which has been so cruelly shaken, he is suddenly carried from the scene. The king is dead. God save the king. As it is in monarchies, so it is in republics.”
THE FRENCH PRESS ON MR. LINCOLN'S
From the PATRIE. “Horrible is this war which began in 1861 by the double suicide of Jackson and Ellsworth, accusing each other reciprocally of tyranny, and which, on the point of terminating, arms the brothers Booth! This crime is a double misfortune for America! It will arouse sanguinary passions, prepare perhaps terrible measures of retaliation, and that will take place at the very moment when Mr. Lincoln, endeavouring to repair the past, desired to become the instrument of tranquillity and peace! His death does nothing, and can do nothing, for the South, but it creates the risk of weakening the North by the division of parties. It is now an open struggle between the majority who applauded Mr. Lincoln's spirit of conciliation, and that ardent minority who exclaimed against the conditions imposed on the vanquished. The blow which has struck Messrs. Lincoln and Seward seems to have threatened General Grant. Is it intended to make the Federal General pay for the honour of Lee's capitulation? The minority, whose violence is to be feared, has now, it must be said, by the regular working of the Constitution, one of its partisans in power. Let us bear in mind that six months ago, at the time of the election, the moderate journals themselves exclaimed :—What would become of the Republic if, in
case Mr. Lincoln should die, Mr. Johnson should exercise supreme authority p It would almost seem that those journals had a presentiment of the new afflictions which were to fall upon America.”
From the MONITEUR. “The news of the double assassination of Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward has excited in France a movement of general indignation. Public opinion is unanimous in branding with reprobation a crime so odious, and in paying a tribute of regret to the memory of the President of the United States."
From the DEBATS. “People, it observes, now ask themselves what are likely to be the political consequences of the death of President Lincoln. We do not think that this catastrophe will sensibly modify the situation. Without doubt, we are far from rendering the Southern cause responsible for the crime of a few fanatics, but the fact is not the less true that the horror inspired by an act so atrocious can only have the effect of diminishing the sympathies which the Separatists might still meet with in Europe; already vanquished materially, or nearly so, they are now undergoing a moral defeat also. All that is to be feared is that the North in its exasperation may allow itself to be hurried into taking reprisals, or at least that the feelings of conciliation towards the Secessionists, of which it was beginning to afford proofs, may give place to sentiments of quite a different nature, and that it may profit by its victory to impose rigorous conditions on the South. We have, however, too much confidence in the good sense of the North to conceive serious apprehensions on that subject. Its legitimate indignation will not make it deviate from the line of moderation and prudence which it has so far followed; it will understand that the best way of honouring the memory of Mr. Lincoln is not to depart from the political traditions of that statesman.”
The eminent French historian, M. Henri Martin, writes as follows to the Siècle, upon the assassination of Mr. Lincoln :
“Slavery, before expiring, has gathered up the remnants of its strength and rage to strike a coward blow at its conqueror. The Satanic pride of that perverted society could not resign itself to defeat; it did not care to fall with honour, as all causes fall which are destined to rise again; it dies as it has lived, violating all laws, divine and human. In this we have the spirit, and perhaps the work of that famous secret association, the Golden Circle, which after preparing the great rebellion for twenty years, and spreading its accomplices throughout the West and North, around the seat of the Presidency, gave the signal for this impious war on the day when the public conscience finally snatched from the slaveholders the government of the United States. The day on which the excellent man whom they have just made a martyr was raised to power, they appealed to force, to realize what treason had prepared. They have failed. They did not succeed in overthrowing Lincoln from power by war; they have done so by assassination. The plot appears to have been well arranged By striking down with the President his two principal ministers, one of whom they reached, and the General-in-Chief, who was saved by an accidental occurrence, the murderers expected to disorganize the Government of the Republic and give fresh life to the rebellion. Their hopes will be frustrated. These sanguinary fanatics, whose cause has fallen not so much by the material superiority as the moral power of democracy have become incapable of understanding the effects of the free institutions which their fathers gloriously aided in establishing. A fresh illustration will be seen of what those institutions can produce. The indignation of the people will not exhaust itself in a momentary outburst; it will concentrate and embody itself in the unanimous, persevering, invincible action of the universal will ; whoever may be the agents, the instruments of the work, that work, we may rest assured, will be finished. The event will show that it did not depend upon the life of one man or of several men. The work will be completed after Lincoln as if finished by him ; but Lincoln will remain the austere and sacred personification of a great epoch, the most faithful expression of democracy. This simple and upright man, prudent and strong, elevated step by step from the artizan's bench to the command of a great nation, and always without parade and without effort at the height of his position, executing without precipitation, without flourish, and with invincible good sense, the most colossal acts, giving to the world this decisive example of the civil power in a republic, directing a gigantic war, without free institutions being for an instant compromised or threatened by military usurpation, dying finally at the moment in which, after conquering, he was intent on pacification-and may God grant that the atrocious madmen who killed him have not killed clemency with him, and determined instead of the peace he wished, pacification by force—this man will stand out in the traditions of his country and the world as an incarnation of the people and of modern democracy itself. The great work of emancipation had to be sealed, therefore, with the blood of the just, even as it was inaugurated with the blood of the just. The tragic history of the abolition of slavery which opened with the gibbet of John Brown, will close with the assassination of Lincoln. And now let him rest by the side of Washington, as the second founder of the great republic. European democracy is present in spirit at his funeral, as it voted in its heart for his re-election, and applauded the victory in the midst of which he passes away. It will wish with one accord to associate itself with the monument that America will raise to him upon the capital of prostrate slavery.”
M. Peyrat writes as follows in the Avenir National:
“ Abraham Lincoln receives his reward, the only one he would have longed for if ambition of any kind could have entered the heart of that great citizen; the two worlds are mourning his death. What is especially striking and note. worthy in the effect produced here by this unexpected news, is the universal conviction that the death of one man, however great he may be, can neither disturb the affairs nor shake the institutions of the American Republic. Among a really free people there are neither necessary nor provi. dential men, there are citizens. All the better for that nation if those citizens are great, devoted, and honest, like Lincoln; but, as it is the institutions there which make the men, the greatness of a citizen is never detrimental to the welfare of the nation. With the theory of providential men we commence with Washington, but we never know with whom to finish. With the theory which subordinates men to institutions, and which makes them, especially the greatest, the servants of the right, we commence with Washington and finish with Lincoln, or rather do not finish; we go from honest man to honest man, from good citizen to good citizen. We see Andrew Johnson, when installed as President twelve hours after the death of Lincoln, bow
before the national representation, speak not of his rights, but of his duties, and declare that he will faithfully fulfil them. The United States have the freest, the gentlest, and at the same time the strongest government on earth. What distinguishes them above all is not so much the courage with which they have conquered their independence as the wisdom with which they have constituted their liberty. That a nation driven to desperation should overthrow its oppressors is one of the commonest facts of history; what is more rare is that a nation, energetic enough to gain its rights, should be vigilant and firm enough to retain them. To conquer liberty merely to lose it, to possess and not know how to make use of it, that is to say, not know how to be free, such has been the sight afforded more than once by European democracy. But to strengthen liberty after having conquered it, to guarantee it by vigorous institutions, to form around it by good laws an impenetrable rampart, and preserve it thus from its own errors, is a secret which antiquity never possessed, which Europe is but little acquainted with, and which the New World has revealed to the Old. The guarantee of liberty is fidelity to principles; they are the compass which in great political crises should serve as guides to the men who rule the destinies of nations. And it is because he was devoted to liberty, even to martyrdom, that Lincoln is mourned in the two worlds, and that he has, as we said three days ago, his place marked out by the side of Washington. He was not, we admit, what is called a man of genius, and, far from regretting this, we ought to rejoice at it, for he has shown what may be done, even without great talents, by elevation and firmness of character, political honesty, and devotion to the cause of justice and liberty."
The following beautiful lines are from Punch :You lay a wreath on murdered Lincoln's bier,
You, who with mocking pencil wont to trace,
His length of shambling limb, his furrowed face.
His garb uncouth, his bearing ill at ease,
Of power or will to shine, of art to please.