Newspaper from Apr. 29, 1865

"The Sad Rites of Yesterday"

  • Full Title

    The Sad Rites of Yesterday

  • Description

    The Cleveland Morning Leader newspaper issued this editorial in its April 29, 1865 edition, the day after Lincoln's funeral train had stopped in the city and the body of the slain President was on display for the citizens of the city and surrounding towns to view the President and pay their respect. The editorial paints a clear picture of the mood of the citizenry of one of the Northern states after losing the man who guided the nation through the trauma of the Civil War. Lincoln had won the Presidency with the strong support of Cleveland and the State of Ohio both in 1860 and again in 1864. Cleveland was the largest city in the old Western Reserve area of Ohio, with strong abolitionist feelings dating back to the ordinances of the old Northwest Territory that prohibited slavery. The new Republican Party was especially strong in Cleveland.

  • Transcription

    The Sad Rites of Yesterday

    Friday, Feb. 15th, 1861, the newly elected President, Abraham Lincoln, passed through Cleveland, on his way from his modest home in Springfield, Illinois, to assume control of the national government. Friday, April 28th, 1865, his dead body is brought back to us, over the same route which he traversed in his former journey, followed by mourners to the home which he left four years ago. What a chasm lies between two days! What volumes of history are embraced in the years which seperate them! What convulsions, what changes, what growth, what enlightenment have they wrought in the heart of the nation! A most striking illustration is found in the contrast which exists between this funeral procession and the triumphal progress. When Abraham Lincoln first visited Cleveland he was personally a stranger to us. We had known him only briefly and imperfectly, and though the sanctity of the great office to which he had been elected invested him with dignity and interest, he was still looked upon as a party candidate, place in the Presidential chair by a singular succession of chances, and possessing no remarkable ability or attainments. Now his murdered corpse comes back to us, followed by a nation of mourners, and city after city, along the line of the grand funeral procession, join, with a unanimity as remarkable as it is unprecedented, in demonstrations of affection and grief for the dead. After four years of toil and suffering and sacrifice in the cause of the nation, he had earned so fully the confidence and esteem of the entire people that they mourn for him with one accord as for a father murdered. He has fallen in the summit and culmination of his glory. But one thing was wanting to make his memory something hallowed and immortal. That was martyrdom, and the bullet of the assassin has rounded and perfected his career, while apparently leaving it incomplete and blank.

    The grand funeral pageant, of whose progress through the East we have read with a sad interest, has passed through Cleveland. In another column we give a full description of the ceremonies of the day. We merely desire in this place to call attention to the general - the universal-display of sympathy with the character of the day. The whole city, aye and the whole people of Northern Ohio, united in this our last and most palpable demonstration of mourning. This fact was legible everywhere, not more in crape-shrouded blocks, the draped and decorated catafalque, and the imposing procession, than in the quiet sadness and solemnity of every face, the good-order and decorum everywhere prevalent, and the unanimous suspension of other pursuits to join more fully in the general mourning. The day will live to the end of life in the memory of the people who witnessed it, and fifty years from now the children of today will tell their grandchildren how they looked upon the dead face of the Good President, and how they saw him borne upon his funeral way amid the tears of sorrowing millions, while the world looked on in reverent awe!

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  • Rights

    Permission for personal or research use; publication or reproduction requires written permission from the Western Reserve Historical Society.

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  • Cite this Item

    Cleveland Morning Leader. "The Sad Rites of Yesterday". Cleveland Morning Leader. Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed April 1, 2023.