Our Dead President in Philadelphia
Philadelphia, the birth-place of American Independence, has no day in her history like that of Saturday. At half-past four in the afternoon, the remains of Abraham Lincoln, the gentle and humane President, whom she loved as she loved Washington in other days, arrived within her limits. Half a million of sorrow stricken people were upon the streets. To do honor to all that was left of the man whom they respected, revered and loved with an affection never before bestowed on any other, save the Father of his Country. Universal grief was depicted on the faces of all. Hearts beat quick and fast with the throb of a sorrow which they had never experienced. Young and old alike bowed in solemn reverence before the draped chariot which bore the body of our deceased, assassinated President. The feeling was too deep for expression. The wet cheeks of a strong man, the tearful eyes of the maiden and matron, the hush which pervaded the atmosphere and made it oppressive, the steady measured tread of the military and the civic procession, the mournful dirges of the bands, the dismal tolling of the bells and the boom of the minute guns, told more than it is possible for language to express. Slowly and sadly the funeral cortege moved over the designated route. Everywhere were the emblems of mourning. The flags were all at half-mast and heavily draped, and not a house along the line of procession, indeed, not a house in all this vast city, but exhibited the signs of grief, the weeds of woe. Rome never paid such honors to her dead heroes. Greece never lavished such expressions of sorrow and regret over the remains of her departed great. The day was a day of mourning in Philadelphia. It was a day devoted solely as a mighty tribute of regard to the illustrious dead, and as the funeral car bearing casket which inclosed the precious dust passed along the crowded streets, all felt too much respect could not be given to the dead President, whose every thought, whose every pulsation of his generous heart, and whose only ambition were for the welfare of his poor bleeding country.
The mourning throngs at last realized, what it was so difficult to realize just one week previous, that the noble ruler, who for four years has been striving to secure the perpetuity of our institutions, and preserve the untarnished the luster of our old flag, had passed from life unto death.
Citation: Philadelphia Inquirer. 24 April 1865. Gift of Steven and Susan Raab. AN .P5546