The following editorial was first published in the April 30, 1865 issue of The Suffolk Times following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It was republished following the death of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago today. “Today we are repeating the editorial in keeping with the cowardly assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy,” we wrote:
THE HOUR OF AGONY
Abraham Lincoln is dead! The fatal bullet of a fiendish assassin has done its dreadful work, and millions of sorrowed hearts are bowed down in the deepest agony. The nation whose hopes were bright and jubilant over the recent glorious victories, which were the acknowledged harbingers of a speedy Peace, in one brief moment, is plunged into the most heartfelt gloom and sadness. The time of universal rejoicing brings with it the Hour of intense agony.
Abraham Lincoln, the father of our country, the Nation’s Deliverer, is no more.
But yesterday he was the chief magistrate of the Republic, and the people delighted to know him. He was hopeful and patient in the hour of peril, and the people trusted him. He was firm in his convictions that our country would outride the fearful tempest of treason, and the people gave implicit faith to all his utterances. He was kind and tender hearted and the people loved him. He had no enemies but the foes to our country and they murdered him. He was ambitious only to restore the country to peace and unity and his ambition and labor were crowned with complete success.
Mr. Lincoln was a patriot of the noblest type. Every official act was performed in obedience to the dictates of that pure devotion to country which discards all selfish interests and looks only to the welfare of humanity. He knew that he had a responsible work to do and, forgetting personal ambition and the peculiar tenets of his own political party, he applied himself honestly and faithfully to the great purpose in view.
President Lincoln was a pure patriot, a sagacious statesman, a devoted servant of the people, a logical debater, a Christian gentleman, and an Honest man.
How the people loved him can only be foreshadowed in the countless manifestations of affection that show themselves at every loyal fireside in the land! there are sad homes all over the land, weeping for some dear one who has fallen in this country’s defense; but today the great heart of the people is shedding sad tears over the grave of Father Abraham. Like affectionate children they weep bitter tears of bereavement.
But the work he had to do is done — and well done. The rebellion is crushed and slavery no longer exists. The nation is not only saved, but purified as by fire. In the hands of Providence, President Lincoln was the agent to accomplish these two results, the grandest the world ever saw.
In sorrow and faith do we say: in God is our trust. We must bow submissively to the decrees of our Heavenly Father. His hand has thus far guided us — and will He forsake us? Not if we prove ourselves worthy of the great trust committed to our charge — the maintenance of true Republican Institutions.
Let us all work faithfully, each in his own right sphere and all will be well. Let us emulate the acts of the spirit of him who has so suddenly fallen. Let us heed the immortal words, to which he gave utterance in his last inaugural address, “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds. To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all that may achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”