Our Fallen Leader
The circumstances surrounding the
fall of our third martyred President were such as to command the
sympathy of the civilized world, so generously expressed. Had the
assassin had a heart that could be touched with pity the thought
of his victim’s invalid wife would have stayed his murderous hand.
To any reasonable being his gentle life would have sufficed to protect
him against violence. He was a friend among friends, freely exchanging
the greetings of a good and great people. With full trust in the
people, he extended a hand of cordial greeting, only to receive
the deadly assault of a treacherous monster. Men could not believe
it possible for such villainy and depravity to exist among a Christian
and happy people. They were at first so shocked as not to believe
their senses. When the real nature of the deed began to reveal itself
they recoiled at the thought of a crime so monstrous, then raged
with indignation at the foul deed, whose treachery and guilt are
equaled only by the foul act of Judas Iscariot.
A great leader has fallen. He was
great in life and proved himself great in death. His last public
words were those of peace and good-will among the nations. His last
words to his private friends were those of faith and Christian submission.
His private life and his public career stand out as pure examples
of American manhood and high statesmanship. The historian, in writing
his story, need conceal from the world no stain of character nor
breach of public trust. The wisdom of his national policies is not
yet clearly revealed, but there is little fear that the future will
not prove him the equal of any statesman of his times. He was good
as well as great, and his life will stand a monument to American
citizenship and an example and inspiration to generations yet unborn.