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WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN.
[Taken from Mr. Bryan's eulogy on a friend and colleague in the Fifty-third Congress.]
I SHALL not believe that even now his light is extinguished. If the Father deigns to touch with divine power the cold and pulseless heart of the buried acorn, and make it burst forth from its prison walls, will He leave neglected in the earth the soul of man, who was made in the image of his Creator? If He stoops to give to the rose-bush, whose withered blossoms float upon the breeze, the sweet assurance of another springtime, will He withhold the words of hope from the sons of men when the frosts of winter come? If matter, mute and inanimate, though changed by the forces of Nature into a multitude of forms, can never die, will the imperial spirit of man suffer annihilation after it has paid a brief visit, like a royal guest, to this tenement of clay?
Rather let us believe that He, who in His
apparent prodigality, wastes not the rain drop, the blade of grass, or the evening's sighing zephyr, but makes them all to carry out His eternal plans, has given immortality to the mortal, and gathered to Himself the generous spirit of our friend.
Instead of mourning, let us look up and address him in the words of the poet:
"Thy day has come, not gone ;
Thy sun has risen, not set;
Thy life is now beyond
The reach of death or change,
Not ended-but begun.
O, noble soul! O, gentle heart! Hail, and
HENRY WARD BEECHER.
EXTRACT FROM BEECHER'S SERMON ON THE DEATH OF LINCOLN.
THE joy of the nation came upon us suddenly, with such a surge as no words can describe. Men laughed, embraced one another, sang and prayed, and many could only weep for gladness.
In one short hour joy had no pulse. The sorrow was so terrible that it stunned sensibility. The first feeling was the least, and men wanted to get strength to feel. Other griefs belong always to some one in chief, but this belonged to all. Men walked for hours as though a corpse lay in their houses. The city forgot to roar. Never did so many hearts in so brief a time touch two such boundless feelings. It was the uttermost of joy and the uttermost of sorrow-noon and midnight without a space between. We should not mourn, however, because the departure of the President was so sudden. When one is prepared to die, the suddenness of death is a blessing. They that are taken awake and watching, as the bride
groom dressed for the wedding, and not those who die in pain and stupor, are blessed. Neither should we mourn the manner of his death. The soldier prays that he may die by the shot of the enemy in the hour of victory, and it was meet that he should be joined in a common experience in death with the brave men to whom he had been joined in all his sympathy and life. This blow was but the expiring rebellion. Epitomized in this foul act we find the whole nature and disposition of slavery. It is fit that its expiring blow should be such as to take away from men the last forbearance, the last pity, and fire the soul with invincible determination that the breeding system of such mischiefs and monsters shall be forever and utterly destroyed. We needed not that he should put on paper that he believed in slavery, who, with treason, with murder, with cruelty infernal, hovered round that majestic man to destroy his life. He was himself the life-long sting with which Slavery struck at Liberty, and he carried the poison that belonged to slavery; and as long as this Nation lasts it will never be forgotten that we have had one martyr President-never, never, while time lasts, while heaven lasts, while
hell rocks and groans, will it be forgotten that slavery by its minions slew him, and in slaying him made manifest its whole nature and tendency. This blow was aimed at the life of the Government. Some murders there have been that admitted shades of palliation, but not such a one as this-without provocation, without reason, without temptation-sprung from the fury of a heart cankered to all that pure and just.
The blow has failed of its object. The Government stands more solid to-day than any pyramid of Egypt. Men love liberty and hate slavery to-day more than ever before. How naturally, how easily, the Government passed into the hands of the new President, and I avow my belief that he will be found a man true to every instinct of liberty, true to the whole trust that is imposed in him, vigilant of the Constitution, careful of the laws, wise for liberty; in that he himself for his life long has known what it is to suffer from the stings of slavery, and to prize liberty from the bitter experience of his own life. Even he that sleeps has by this event been clothed with new influence. His simple and weighty words will