Funeral Ceremonies

Preparation for Funeral—Action of Congress—Lying in State—The City in Black—Funeral in East Room—Dr. Gurley's Eloquent Tribute—Ceremonies at the Capitol—Vast Multitude—Ceremonies throughout the Land—Floral Tributes—Funeral Train to Springfield—Scene in Baltimore—Sorrow in every Village—Philadelphia in Tears—Prophetic Words—Tribute of New York—Mottoes—Other Cities—The Scene at Midnight—Funeral at Chicago and Springfield—Closing Tributes

Immediate preparations were made for the obsequies. The dead body of the President was removed to the White House, where it was embalmed and placed in a costly casket resting upon an elaborate catafalque.

On Monday, a meeting of Congressmen, with other notable persons in Washington, was held in the Capitol, when Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was appointed Chairman of a Committee to arrange for the funeral ceremonies. At four o’clock in the afternoon this Committee reported Wednesday for the time of the funeral, and the names of six Senators and six Representatives for pall-bearers, and one gentleman from each State and Territory as a National Committee to attend the remains to Springfield, Illinois.

On Tuesday morning the White House was thrown open to the tens of thousands anxious to behold once more the face of their beloved ruler. All day, until far into the evening, a steady stream of visitors, of all ages and classes, passed into the presence of the dead. Thousands were unable to gain admittance to the Executive Mansion during the day, on account of the multitude, and they turned away in disappointment.

When the hour of the funeral arrived on Wednesday the city, with all its public buildings, was elaborately draped in black. The symbols of mourning were of the most varied and expensive character. Decorative art was taxed to its utmost to express the sentiment of grief that pervaded the city. A public man, looking at the sable drapery, remarked,—

“As it should be. The nation would have it so. It tells the real sorrow of the people.”

The funeral services were conducted in the East Room, where the family and relatives of the President, with many distinguished men, were seated. Mrs. Lincoln was too much prostrated to attend the funeral service. Many governors, senators, judges, representatives, and other men of note were present from different parts of the Union. Governors Fenton of New York, Andrew of Massachusetts, Brough of Ohio, Parker of New Jersey, Oglesby of Illinois, and Buckingham of Connecticut, were there. The ceremonies were simple and touching, very appropriate for the truly Republican statesman for whom the nation mourned. Rev. Dr. Gurley paid a just and eloquent tribute to the dead. He said:—

“Probably no man since the days of Washington was ever so deeply and firmly embedded and enshrined in the 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 tenor and tone and spirit of his life. … He rose to the dignity and momentousness of the occasion; saw his duty as the magistrate of a great and imperilled people, and he determined to do his duty and his whole duty, seeking the guidance and leaning upon the arm of Him of whom it is written, ‘He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.’ … Never shall I forget the emphasis and the deep emotion with which he said, in this very room, to a company of clergymen and others, who called to pay him their respects in the darkest days of our civil conflict: ‘Gentlemen, my hope of success in the great and terrible struggle rests on that immovable foundation, the justice and goodness of God. And when events are very threatening, and prospects very dark, I still hope that, in some way which man cannot see, all will be well in the end, because our cause is just, and God is on our side.’ Such was his sublime and holy faith; and it was an anchor to his soul both sure and steadfast. It made him firm and strong. It emboldened him in the pathway of duty, however rugged and perilous it might be. It made him valiant for the right, for the cause of God and humanity, and it held him steady and unswerving to a policy of administration which he thought, and which all now think, both God and man required him to adopt.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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