of the District of Columbia, who was probably his closest and most confidential friend and adviser during his whole official life, says immediately after his assassination, "there was the fiercest rivalry as to who should canonize him in the most solemn words, who should compare him to the most sacred character in all history. He was prophet, priest and king. He was Washington. He was Moses. He was likened to Christ the Redeemer. He was likened to God." (Facts and Falsehoods, p. 9; Lamon, 312.)
Again says Lamon:
"Lincoln's apotheosis was not only planned but executed by men who were unfriendly to him while he lived, and that the deification took place with showy magnificence some time after the great man's lips were sealed in death. Men who had exhausted the resources of their skill and ingenuity in venomous detraction of the living Lincoln, especially during the last years of his life, were the first when the assassin's bullet had closed the career of the great-hearted statesman to undertake the self-imposed task of guarding his memory—not as a human being endowed with mighty intellect and extraordinary virtues, but as a god." (Lamon's Recollections of Lincoln, p. 169.)
And again he says:
For days and nights after his asassination "it was considered treason to be seen in public with a smile on the face. Men who spoke evil of the fallen chief, or ventured a doubt concerning the ineffable purity and saintliness of his life, were pursued by mobs, were beaten to death with paving stones, or strung up by the neck to lamp posts." (Lamon, 312.)
We shall attempt to show you that this whole apotheosis business not only took place, as Lamon says, after Mr. Lincoln's assassination, and because of the manner of his death, but why it was begun then, and has continued until this day.
We have already said that Mr. Lincoln was the first President of the Republican party. He was the official head of that party through the most terrible and trying conflict recorded in history. The leaders of that party were, and are still, in need of a real hero. They knew that they and their conduct would be judged by the character and conduct of their official head. The country was stunned and dazed by the assassination of this leader—the first assassination of the kind in its history. The South was prostrate