Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Assassination of President Lincoln
The people are once more called upon to reflect upon the natural results of this accursed rebellion against freedom and liberty. The assassination of President Lincoln is nothing but the natural spasm (or convulsion) of a wicked rebellion, which is determined to destroy itself, like an insane man - and all the evils arising are the natural result of the disease.
The murder of the President is the working of this evil that has taken possession of man and has deluded the higher intelligence of his soul, and now the people are called to their several places of worship to pour out their grief in behalf of the country’s loss of one whom they loved and respected. But how stand those who are under the cloud of suspicion? Do they feel the sting of reproach that they, through their aid, have given countenance to the wicked act?
No. They drop a hypocritical tear and say, “Well the party is not responsible for the act.” But wisdom will hold them responsible, and sooner or later they will reap their reward. When the principle of freedom bursts forth, they will see that individual acts are nothing but the natural result of principle; and that the principle is responsible for the individual acts - whether right or wrong.
God is responsible for his acts, and no man can point to any one act of wisdom and say it is wrong. It is not for error to erect the standard as to what is right or wrong, for wisdom proves itself. I will take the case in question - the death of the President. In regard to Mr. Lincoln or Booth, as men, I have nothing to say; both were mediums of a principle, and each placed himself where he belonged. Mr. Lincoln was the medium of the great principle of freedom and liberty, and this cloud (or influence) has been carried along through darkness of slavery and the sea of blood, till he has reached the land of liberty.
Here was where the cloud stopped, and the cloud of error formed round the different parties and began to burst forth and there collect its sundered fragments and cry for peace and compromise. In this vacuum of hesitation, slavery is never easy, because its life is its destruction, and it always does the very thing it ought not to do, for its own defense; yet it does the very thing it ought, in order to destroy its life. As the President - being the medium of the people - had no motive to destroy individuals, it hesitated to carry into the effect the law of error. But slavery does not reason; it goes for “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” so it must do something - and the worst thing it could do. So as all the elements were resting, as it were, on their arms - this cursed serpent crawled up from its den and struck the deadly blow at the President, just at the time when he was the most popular with all the world.
What was killed by the murderers’ blow - liberty or slavery? Let some give the response, “President Lincoln's body was not the body of the principle, and although slavery may kill the body; yet when it has done that, it has done all it can. But truth and liberty cannot only kill the body (or party of error) - but its very soul - and can cast it into hell.
God holds man, as well as nations and parties, responsible for their acts, and the Democratic Party will be held responsible for the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, and the Liberal Party will hold them responsible; not as individuals, but as a party - for Booth is nothing. Execute him, and what do you destroy? Not the evil, for another may do the same. Now make the principle responsible, and then see who will back it up. As long as the principle can strut around, it fears no danger - but strike at the principle, and then you will see signs of mincing and uneasiness in the party. In this way, you destroy the evil, and the effect will cease. This is what is now on trial - whether the principle shall have an identity in this country or whether it shall be destroyed.
Slavery cannot find fault to be tried by its own laws. It has defined treason and how it shall be punished. Now as they have, through their wicked acts, laid themselves liable to the law - let President Johnson say to this rebellion, as Jesus said to the Jews, “I come not to destroy the law but to fulfill it, and not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass, till slavery and all its party shall be destroyed; for their souls are all against the law of God and man - and cast this wicked generation of ideas into outer darkness. There will be a new heaven (or principle) wherein all can worship at the altar of liberty; where one shall not say to another, “You shall not be free,” but all shall have the privilege of freedom and the right to worship God, according to their own conscience.