Traverse City Record-Eagle

Record-Eagle 150th Anniversary

April 3, 2009

Murder was 'most horrid wickedness'

Here are excerpts of an April 28, 1865, editorial in the Grand Traverse Herald, penned by retired abolitionist minister Merritt Bates, brother of the publisher.

"The murder of the President ... will give a shock to the whole civilized world. If it was instigated by the Rebels of the South, it was the most short-sighted madness and folly, as well as the more horrid wickedness, of which they could have been guilty. If it was the result of a plot formed by Northern traitors, as we strongly suspect it was, it will recoil upon them with a force which will crush them to pumice. History does not record a fouler, meaner act. Our grief is so profound and our indignation so intense, that we hardly dare to write upon the subject ... .

"But the Government cannot thus be overthrown, the people cannot by such means be conquered. They may for the moment be paralyzed, but they will soon rally, and, if need be, will leap to arms, a million strong, and strike as outraged and indignant men never struck before. To all who have shared in the infernal plot, whether Southern Rebels or Northern traitors, we would say, in the name of every loyal man, beware! If you are discovered, a fearful retribution awaits you. Ye slimy monsters, crawl with fear and shame, into your dark dens, and pray that rocks and mountains may hide you from the wrath of God and man. But you will pray in vain. Henceforth there will be no peace for you who have in any way favored this great wickedness. You are marked and doomed. Blood cries to heaven against us. Blood stains your names, your garments and your memory. Posterity will rise up and call you cursed. You will be forever 'an abhorring unto all flesh.'

" ... (L)incoln and Seward led another Israel through the sea than the desert, but were allowed to see the coming glory only from a distance. But their names shall live forever ... In the glorious ages to come their names will be household words on the lips of millions, to whom shall be told the story of the Slaveholder Rebellions and of the present Proclamation of Freedom to the enslaved."

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