Diary from Apr. 23, 1865

Diary Entry: Lincoln Lying in State at Independence Hall

  • Full Title

    Thomas Stewardson, Jr. Diary Entry: Lincoln Lying in State at Independence Hall

  • Description

    This photocopy displays two pages from the diary of Thomas Stewardson, Jr. Stewardson, a member of The Union League of Philadelphia, recorded his experience viewing President Lincoln's body while lying in state at Independence Hall.

  • Transcription

    Sunday April 23rd – The Union League was appointed to receive the body of our good President last Eve’g, at Independence Square. As a member of the League I was in a manner obliged to look for a moment upon the face of the honoured dead. I say obliged, because I [should not?], otherwise have made any effort to do so, my impressions of the Man being so pleasant that I feared to disturb my memory with any possible disappointment. But it turned out well. Homely in feature he was, as all the world knows, but a better face and a face which more clearly told of a good man. I never looked upon, even as it lay there lifeless. Gentle and tender, honest, open, pure. I feel, as nearly every man, woman, and child does feel, a personal and warm love for the man as well as an exalted respect for the ruler, [never?] saw him living, though I have had several opportunities to do so – Such universal sorrow never followed any one to his grave in this country, since the days of Washington, and there was another deep feeling (which happily Washington’s death did not demand) which made most intense the emotions of the mourners of Abraham Lincoln. The good and now murdered, martyred Lincoln! Well, so it had to be, but if that stab has not struck Slavery the death blow, through the body of the Great Emancipator, then possibly Lincoln had died in vain, which [it were?] treason against God’s Providence to believe.



    He is now lying in Independence Hall, near the famous old Bell with its motto made to speak again “Proclaim Liberty throughout the land, and to all the Inhabitants thereof.”

  • Source

    The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia (Object ID: XI.2.1973.2)

  • Rights

    Use of this item for research, teaching and private study is permitted with proper citation and attribution, as “Courtesy of The Abraham Lincoln Foundation of The Union League of Philadelphia.” Reproduction of this item for publication, broadcast or commercial use requires written permission. For permission, please contact The Abraham Lincoln Foundation.

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  • Cite this Item

    Thomas Stewardson, Jr.. "Thomas Stewardson, Jr. Diary Entry: Lincoln Lying in State at Independence Hall". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed July 19, 2019. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/1013