The End of a Great Life
At the close of Mr. Lincoln's first term,
he was again elected President
of the United States. The war was still going on, but the Union
were now everywhere victorious.
His second inaugural address was very short. He did not boast
of any of
his achievements - he did not rejoice over the defeat of his
"With malice toward none - with
charity for all - with firmness in the
right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to
work we are in - to bind up the nation's wounds - to care for
shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to
which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among
and with all nations."
Five weeks after that, on the 9th of April, 1865, the Confederate
Army surrendered, and the war was at an end.
Abraham Lincoln's work was done.
The 14th of April was Good Friday. On the evening of that
Lincoln, with Mrs. Lincoln and two or three friends, visited
Theatre in Washington.
At a few minutes past 10 o'clock, an actor whose name was
Booth, came into the box where Mr. Lincoln sat. No one saw
him enter. He
pointed a pistol at the President's head, and fired. He leaped
the stage, shouting "Sic semper tyrannis! The South
is avenged!" Then
he ran behind the scenes and out by the stage door.
The President fell forward. His eyes closed. He neither saw,
nor felt anything that was taking place. Kind arms carried
him to a
private house not far away.
At twenty minutes past seven o'clock the next morning, those
beside him gave out the mournful news that Abraham Lincoln
He was fifty-six years old.
The whole nation wept for him. In the South as well as in
the North, the
people bowed themselves in grief. Heartfelt tributes of sorrow
other lands in all parts of the world. Never, before nor since,
there been such universal mourning.
Such is the story of Abraham Lincoln. In the history of the
is no story more full of lessons of perseverance, of patience,
of true nobility of purpose. Among the great men of all time,
been no one more truly great than he.