The National Calamity.

1

Springfield, Saturday Evening, April 15, 1865.

To-day, the nation mourns the loss of our Chief Magistrate. President Lincoln is no more.

Just in the hour when the crowning triumph of his life awaited him; when the result for which he had labored and prayed for four years with incessant toil, stood almost accomplished; when he could begin clearly to see the promised land of his longings — the restored Union — even as Moses, from the top of Pisgah, looked forth upon the Canaan he had, for forty years, been striving to attain, the assassin's hand at once puts a rude period to his life and to his hopes. As Moses of old, who had led God's people though the gloom and danger of the wilderness, died when on the eve of realizing all that his hopes had pictured, so Lincoln is cut off just as the white wing of peace begins to reflect its silvery radiance over the red billows of war. It is hard for a great man to die, but doubly cruel that he should be cut off after such a career as that of him we to-day mourn.

Under the frown of the death-angel all evil passions, and all party strife disappear. It is the president of the United States that is suddenly cut down; it is the whole people of the nation who are now bereaved. We forget the points of difference of the four years past, and think only of Abraham Lincoln, the kindly and indulgent man, beloved of his neighbors, and of the chief magistrate who has honestly followed the path that seemed to him best for the welfare of the people. We seek in vain the motives which actuated the perpetrator of this hideous crime. If a rebel, where will rebels look for a man who will judge them with more leniency, whose treatment will be more kindly, or who will receive them with a more catholic and forgiving spirit? Where, now, will the man be found, able to grasp the reins of government, just fallen from those stiff and nerveless hands? What living brain so thoroughly comprehends the present state of affairs, and is so well prepared for future exigencies, as that which the bullet of the murderer has forever stilled? Conjecture is vain for motives to prompt this monstrous deed. It seems to us they can only be found in private, personal revenge.

Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, on the 12th of February, 1809; he was accordingly in his 57th year at the time of his assassination. He removed, with his father, to Indiana in 1816, where he received a limited education; he spent two years at school in Stafford County, Va.; taught school and studied law for a time in Culpepper county, of that state, and removed to Illinois in 1830. He served as a captain of volunteers in the Black Hawk war; was at one time post master of a small country village in this state; served four years in the Illinois legislature, during which time he again turned his attention to the study of law, and settled in this city in its practice. He was a member of the whig national convention in 1840, that nominated Gen. Taylor for the presidency; was a representative in congress from 1847 to 1849, and his career, since the renowned canvass of Illinois by himself and Mr. Douglas, is fresh in the minds of everyone.

The effect of this terrible blow cannot, now, be estimated. Just when the nation seemed about to emerge from the gloom and disorder which have encompassed it for four dreadful years — on the very anniversary of the day which commence the civil war, we are suddenly plunged into chaos again. We need not inquire whether another hand may at once be found to grasp the helm, and steer the ship of state steadily and safely through the dangers that again thicken about her prow; we all know that to no eye save his was the chart he had mapped out in his own mind so clear, to no hands, however tried and skillful, can the management of our national vessel be thus suddenly entrusted with undoubting confidence. Lincoln had piloted her through the fiercest fury of the storm; no new pilot can now guide the ark of our hopes so clearly, even through the smooth waters of approaching peace.

No national calamity so serious as his death could have befallen us. The bitterest and most radical opponent of his administration cannot fail to recognize, in the mere political bearing of the event, the terrible solemnity of the blow we have received. While we mourn the loss of the genial and kindly neighbor we once knew so well, and mingle our tears and sympathies with those of his bereaved family, we all feel alike keenly the fresh perils to which the nation is subjected.

But tears and regrets are alike unavailing, and the crushing sense of this great sorrow is all that we can now distinctly feel. We realize that the great Douglas has now a companion in immortality, and that when the roll of statesmen whose genius has left its impress upon the destiny of the country shall be complete, no names will stand higher, or shine with purer lustre, than the two which blaze upon the escutcheon of Illinois.