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Who was Turner anyway?

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The Nation’s Loss.


March-April 1865

From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, April 17, 1865.


In ordinary times, the death of a successful and popular Chief Magistrate of the Republic would be felt as a dire calamity, and his sudden taking off by the hand of violence would add the shock of horror to the bitterness of grief. But such a removal of such a President in this crisis of the Nation is among the most startling and impressive events of this fateful period. The public mind is stunned by the rudeness and magnitude of the blow, and emotions of sorrow for the victim, indignation for the murderer, horror for the crime and anxiety for the stricken country are struggling for adequate utterance.

Of all the occurrences within the range of possibility, the assassination of our President in Washington, at this triumphant stage of the war, and while he was devoting himself in the most liberal spirit to an adjustment with the rebels, was perhaps the one event never thought of, still less looked for. The intelligence of it came with a force the more astounding and appalling because the land was just then decking herself in the richest regalia of joy—a joy in which gratitude and esteem towards the President were largely mingled. The intense and universal expression of profoundest mourning testifies how deeply, in the hour of our country’s deliverance, the personal and official worth of ABRAHAM LINCOLN have enshrined him in the hearts of his countrymen.

He is dead. It is now a poor satisfaction to pour curses on the head of the wretch who perpetrated the strange crime. The severest punishment would avail little to repair the immense mischief wrought, and nothing to assuage the Nation’s sorrow. The assassin may well be left to calm investigation of the motives which influenced him, and to dispassionate justice. There is too much deep grief for rage. The heroic statesman to whom has been twice confided the ark of our political salvation, on whom all eyes have been fixed, whose form and lineaments and character have become indelibly engraven upon the popular mind, and endeared to the popular heart, is suddenly cut down at the helm of affairs. Worthy honors are to be paid to his high merit and historic name. This is a great work, but it is one which the hearts of the people and the genius of the nation will well perform. His patriotic influence will continue and become invested with a moral power which it never before possessed. The holy cause of the Union will only be the holier and dearer because Mr. Lincoln has crowned his labors for it with his blood. The popular devotion to liberty and nationality was never lessened and never will be, by the martyrdom of their champions. From his official and personal influence over his countrymen, he has passed to a grander and loftier sphere, from which, with Washington and Jackson, he will wield a more potent scepter through all coming time. If doomed rebellion could have added a final seal to its infamy and damnation, it has affixed that seal in the assassination of the Nation’s twice chosen ruler.

The safety of the Republic passes into new hands. With solicitude the people now turn to Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, in whom they have heretofore confided as in a true and thoroughly tried patriot. No man ever received an important nomination with more unanimity and enthusiasm than marked his in the National Convention. His selection was endorsed by the acclamation of the Union men of the whole land, to whom his services in the United States Senate, and in Tennessee, had most highly commended him. There is no ground for belief that he will not most amply justify the partiality of his fellow citizens. A long official record gives the fullest attestation of his masterly capacity, of his steadfast adherence to principle, of his executive wisdom, and of his sterling devotion to the cause of Union and Freedom. The calamity of the President’s death, imposes upon all loyal citizens the duty of promptly rallying around his successor, and of giving him their best support. Especially should the patriotic press everywhere exert its influence against the baneful distrust which the unwise or malicious may now seek to create against the new President. Let his hands be in every respect so strengthened that he may the more surely and triumphantly conduct the bereaved nation to permanent Union and Peace.