The Plot to Murder Mr. Lincoln
An excerpt from
"Fifty Years in the Church of Rome"
very time I met President Lincoln I wondered
how such elevation of thought and such childish simplicity could be found in the
same man. After my interviews with him many times, I said to myself: "How can
this rail-splitter have so easily raised himself to the highest range of human thought
The secret of this was, that Lincoln had spent a great part of his life at the school of Christ, and that he meditated his sublime teachings to an extent unsuspected by the world. I found in him the most perfect type of Christianity I ever met. Professedly, he was neither a strict Presbyterian, nor a Baptist, nor a Methodist; but he was the embodiment of all which is more perfect and Christian in them. His religion was the very essence of what God wants in man. It was from Christ Himself he had learned to love God and his neighbour, as it was from Christ he had learned the dignity and the value of man. "Ye are all brethren, the children of God," was his great motto.
It was written in the decrees of God
that honest Abraham Lincoln should be proclaimed
President of the United States, the 4th of March 1861.
At the end of August, having known from a Roman Catholic priest, whom, by the mercy of God, I had persuaded to leave the errors of Popery, that there was a plot among them to assassinate the President, I thought it was my duty to go and tell him what I knew, at the same time giving him a new assurance of gratitude for what he had done for me.
nowing that I was among those who were
waiting in the ante-chamber, he sent immediately for me, and received me with greater
cordiality and marks of kindness than I could expect.
"I am so glad to meet you again," he said: "you see that your friends, the Jesuits, have not yet killed me. But they would have surely done it when I passed through their most devoted city, Baltimore, had I not defeated their plans, by passing incognito a few hours before they expected me. We have the proof that the company which has been selected and organized to murder me was led by a rabid Roman Catholic, called Byrne; it was almost entirely composed of Roman Catholics; more than that, there were two disguised priests among them, to lead and encourage them. I am sorry to have so little time to see you: but I will not let you go before telling you that, a few days ago, I saw Mr. Morse, the learned inventor of electric telegraphy: he told me that when he was in Rome, not long ago, he found out the proofs of a most formidable conspiracy against this country and all its institutions. It is evident that it is to the intrigues and emissaries of the Pope that we owe, in great part, the horrible evil war which is threatening to cover the country with blood and ruins.
"I am sorry that Professor Morse had to leave Rome before he could know more about the secret plans of the Jesuits against the liberties and the very existence of this country. But do you know that I want you to take his place and continue that investigation? My plan is to attach you to my ambassador of France, as one of the secretaries. In that honourable position you would go from Paris to Rome, where you might find, through the directions of Mr. Morse, an opportunity of re-uniting the broken threads of his researches. 'It takes a Greek to fight a Greek.' As you have been twenty-five years a priest of Rome, I do not know any man in the United States so well acquainted as you are with the tricks of the Jesuits, and on the devotedness of whom I could better rely. And when, once on the staff of my ambassador, even as one of the secretaries, might you not soon yourself become the ambassador? I am in need of Christian men in every department of the public service, but more in those high positions. What do you think of that?"
"My dear President," I answered, "I feel overwhelmed by your kindness. Surely nothing could be more pleasant to me than to grant our request. The honour you want to confer upon me is much above my merit: but my conscience tells me that I cannot give up the preaching of the Gospel to my poor French Canadian countrymen, who are still in the errors of Popery. For I am about the only one who, by the Providence of God, has any real influence over them. I am, surely, the only one the bishops and priests seem to fear in that work. The many attempts they have made to take away my life are a proof of it. Besides that, though I consider the present President of the Unites States much above the Emperors of France, Russia, and Austria, much above the greatest kings of the world, I feel that I am the servant, the ambassador of One who is as much above even the good and great President of the United States as the heavens are above the earth. I appeal to your own Christian and honourable feelings to know if I can forsake the one for the other."
The President became very solemn, and replied: "You are right! you are right! There is nothing so great under heaven as to be the ambassador of Christ."
But then, coming back to himself, with one of his fine jokes, which he had always ready, he added: "Yes! yes! You are the ambassador of a greater Prince than I am: but He does not pay you with so good cash as I would do." He then added: "I am exceedingly pleased to see you. However, I am so pressed just now, by most important affairs, that you must excuse me if I ask you to give your place to one of my generals who is there, waiting for me. Please come again to-morrow at ten o'clock; I have a very important question to ask you on a matter which has been constantly before my mind these last few weeks."
The next day I was, at the appointed hour, with my noble friend, who said: "I could not give you more than ten minutes yesterday, but I will give you twenty today. I want your views about a thing which is exceedingly puzzling to me, and you are the only one to whom I like to speak on that subject. A great number of Democratic papers have been sent to me lately, evidently written by Roman Catholics, publishing that I was born a Roman Catholic, and baptized by a priest. They call me a renegade, an apostate, on account of that; and they heap upon my head mountains of abuses. At first I laughed at that, for it is a lie. Thanks be to God, I have never been a Roman Catholic. No priest of Rome has ever laid his hand on my head. But the persistency of the Romish press to present this falsehood to their readers as a gospel truth, must have a meaning. Please tell me, as briefly as possible, what you think about that."
"My dear President," I answered, "it was just this strange story published about you, which brought me here yesterday. I wanted to say a word about it; but you were too busy. Let me tell you that I wept as a child when I read that story for the first time. For, not only my impression is that it is your sentence of death; but I have from the lips of a converted priest, that it is in order to excite the fanaticism of the Roman Catholic murderers, whom they hope to find sooner or later, to strike you down; they have invented that false story of your being born in the Church of Rome, and of your being baptized by a priest. They want, by that, to brand your face with the ignominious mark of apostasy. Do not forget that, in the Church of Rome, an apostate is an outcast, who has no place in society, and who has no right to live.
"The Jesuits want the Roman Catholics to believe that you are a monster, an open enemy of God and of His Church, that you are an excommunicated man. For every apostate is, ipso facto (by that very fact) excommunicated. I have brought to you the theology of one of the most learned and approved of the Jesuits of his time, Busembaum, who, with many others, say that the man who will kill you will do a good and holy work. More than that, here is a copy of a decree of Gregory VII., proclaiming that the killing of an apostate, or an heretic and an excommunicated man, as you are declared to be, is not murder; nay, that it is a good, a Christian action. That decree is incorporated in the canon law, which every priest must study, and which every good Catholic must follow.
"My dear President, I must repeat to you here what I said when at Urbana in 1856. My fear is that you will fall under the blows of a Jesuit assassin if you do not pay more attention than you have done, till now, to protect yourself. Remember that because Coligny was an heretic, as you are, he was brutally murdered in the St. Bartholomew night; that Henry IV. was stabbed by the Jesuit assassin, Revaillac, the 14th of May, 1610, for having given liberty of conscience to his people; and that William the Taciturn was shot dead by another Jesuit murderer, called Girard, for having broken the yoke of the Pope. The Church of Rome is absolutely the same today as she was then; she does believe and teach today, as then, that she has the right and that it is her duty to punish by death any heretic who is in her way as an obstacle to her designs. The unanimity with which the Catholic hierarchy of the United States is on the side of the rebels is an incontrovertible evidence that Rome wants to destroy this republic, and as you are, by your personal virtues, your popularity, your love for liberty, your position, the greatest obstacle to the diabolical schemes, their hatred is concentrated upon you; you are the daily object of their maledictions; it is at your breast they will direct their blows. My blood chills in my veins when I contemplate the day which may come, sooner or later, when Rome will add to all her other iniquities the murder of Abraham Lincoln."
When saying these things to the President, I was exceedingly moved, my voice was as choked, and I could hardly retain my tears. But the President was perfectly calm. When I had finished speaking, he took the volume of Busembaum from my hand, read the lines which I had marked with red ink, and I helped him to translate them into English. He then gave me back the book, and said:
"I will repeat to you what I said at Urbana, when for the first time you told me your fears lest I would be assassinated by the Jesuits: 'Man must not care where and when he will die, provided he dies at the post of honour and duty.' But I may add, today, that I have a presentiment that God will call me to Him through the hand of an assassin. Let His will, and, not mine be done!" He then looked at his watch and said, "I am sorry, that the twenty minutes I had consecrated to our interview have almost passed away; I will be for ever grateful for the warning words you have addressed to me about the dangers ahead of my life, from Rome. I know that they are not imaginary dangers. If I were fighting against a Protestant South, as a nation, there would be no danger of assassination. The nations who read the Bible, fight bravely on the battle-fields, but they do not assassinate their enemies. The Pope and the Jesuits, with their infernal Inquisition, are the only organized powers in the world which have recourse to the dagger of the assassin to murder those whom they cannot convince with their arguments or conquer with the sword.
"Unfortunately, I feel more and more, every day, that it is not against the Americans of the South, alone, I am fighting, it is more against the Pope of Rome, his perfidious Jesuits and their blind and blood-thirsty slaves, than against the real American Protestants, that we have to defend ourselves. Here is the real danger of our position. So long as they will hope to conquer the North, they will spare me; but the day we will rout their armies (and that day will surely come, with the help of God), take their cities, and force them to submit, then, it is my impression that the Jesuits, who are the principal rulers of the South, will do what they have almost invariably done in the past. The dagger, or the pistol of one of their adepts, will do what the strong hands of the warriors could not achieve. This civil war seems to be nothing but a political affair to those who do not see, as I do, the secret springs of that terrible drama. But it is more a religious than a civil war. It is Rome who wants to rule and degrade the North, as she has ruled and degraded the South, from the very day of its discovery. There are only very few of the Southern leaders who are not more or less under the influence of the Jesuits, through their wives, family relations, and their friends. Several members of the family of Jeff Davis belong to the Church of Rome. Even the Protestant ministers are under the influence of the Jesuits without suspecting it. To keep her ascendancy in the North, as she does in the South, Rome is doing here what she has done in Mexico, and in all the South American Republics; she is paralyzing, by a civil war, the arms of the soldiers of Liberty. She divides our nation, in order to weaken, subdue and rule it.
"Surely we have some brave and reliable Roman Catholic officers and soldiers in our armies, but they form an insignificant minority when compared with the Roman Catholic traitors against whom we have to guard ourselves, day and night. The fact is, that the immense majority of Roman Catholic bishops, priests and laymen, are rebels in heart, when they cannot be in fact; with very few exceptions, they are publicly in favour of slavery. I understand, now, why the patriots of France, who determined to see the colours of Liberty floating over their great and beautiful country, were forced to hand or shoot almost all the priests and the monks as the irreconcilable enemies of Liberty. For it is a fact, which is now evident to me, that, with very few exceptions, every priest and every true Roman Catholic is a determined enemy of Liberty. Their extermination in France, was one of those terrible necessities which no human wisdom could avoid; it looks to me now as an order from heaven to save France. May God grant that the same terrible necessity be never felt in the United States! But there is a thing which is very certain; it is, that if the American people could learn what I know of the fierce hatred of the generality of the priests of Rome against our institutions, our schools, our most sacred rights, and our so dearly bought liberties, they would drive them away, to-morrow, from among us, or they would shoot them as traitors. But I keep those sad secrets in my heart; you are the only one to whom I reveal them, for I know that you learned them before me. The history of these last thousand years tells us that wherever the Church of Rome is not a dagger to pierce the bosom of a free nation, she is a stone to her neck, and a ball to her feet, to paralyze her, and prevent her advance in the ways of civilization, science, intelligence, happiness and liberty. But I forget that my twenty minutes are gone long ago.
"Please accept my sincere thanks for the new lights you have given me on the dangers of my position, and come again. I will always see you with a new pleasure."
My second visit to Abraham Lincoln was at the beginning of June, 1862. The grand victory of the "Monitor" over the "Merrimac," and the conquest of New Orleans, by the brave and Christian Farragut had filled every heart with joy; I wanted to unite my feeble voice to that of the whole country to tell him how I blessed God for that glorious success. But I found him so busy that I could only shake hands with him.
The third and last time I went to pay my respects to the doomed President, and warn him against the impending dangers which I knew were threatening him, was on the morning of June 8th, 1864, when he was absolutely besieged by people who wanted to see him. After a kind and warm shaking of hands, he said:
"I am much pleased to see you again. But it is impossible, today, to say anything more than this: To-morrow afternoon, I will receive the delegation of the deputies of all the loyal states, sent to officially announce the desire of the country that I should remain the President four years more. I invite you to be present with them at that interesting meeting. You will see some of the most prominent men of our Republic, and I will be glad to introduce you to them. You will not present yourself as a delegate of the people, but only as the guest of the President; and that there may be no trouble, I will give you this card, with a permit to enter with the delegation. But do not leave Washington before I see you again; I have some important matters on which I want to know your mind."
The next day, it was my privilege to have the greatest honour ever received by me. The good President wanted me to stand at his right hand, when he received the delegation, and hear the address presented by Governor Dennison, the President of the Convention, to which he replied in his own admirable simplicity and eloquence; finishing by one of his most witty anecdotes. "I am reminded in this convention of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion, wisely, 'That it was not best to swap horses when crossing a stream.'"
The next day, he kindly took me with him in his carriage, when visiting the thirty thousand wounded soldiers picked up on the battle-fields of the seven days' battle of the Wilderness, and the thirty days' battle around Richmond, where Grant was just breaking the backbone of the rebellion. On the way to and from the hospitals, I could not talk much. The noise of the carriage rapidly drawn on the pavement was too great. Besides that, my soul was so much distressed, and my heart so much broken by the sight of the horrors of that fratricidal war, that my voice was as stifled. The only thought which seemed to occupy the mind of the President was the part which Rome had in that horrible struggle. Many times he repeated:
"This war would never have been possible without the sinister influence of the Jesuits. We owe it to Popery that we now see our land reddened with the blood of her noblest sons. Though there were great differences of opinion between the South and the North, on the question of slavery, neither Jeff Davis nor any one of the leading men of the Confederacy would have dared to attack the North, had they not relied on the promises of the Jesuits, that under the mask of Democracy, the money and the arms of the Roman Catholic, even the arms of France, were at their disposal, if they would attack us. I pity the priests, the bishops and the monks of Rome in the United States, when the people realize that they are, in great part, responsible for the tears and the blood shed in this war; the later the more terrible will the retribution be. I conceal what I know, on that subject, from the knowledge of the nation; for if the people knew the whole truth, this war would turn into a religious war, and it would, at once, take a tenfold more savage and bloody character, it would become merciless as all religious wars are. It would become a war of extermination on both sides. The Protestants of both the North and the South would surely unite to exterminate the priests and the Jesuits, if they could hear what Professor Morse has said to me of the plots made in the very city of Rome to destroy this Republic, and if they could learn how the priests, the nuns, and the monks, which daily land on our shores, under the pretext of preaching their religion, instructing the people in their schools, taking care of the sick in the hospitals, are nothing else but the emissaries of the Pope, of Napoleon, and the other despots of Europe, to undermine our institutions, alienate the hearts of our people from our constitution, and our laws, destroy our schools, and prepare a reign of anarchy here as they have done in Ireland, in Mexico, in Spain, and wherever there are any people who want to be free, ect."
When the President was speaking thus, we arrived at the door of his mansion. He invited me to go with him to his study, and said:
"Thought I am very busy, I must rest an hour with you. I am in need of that rest. My head is aching, I feel as crushed under the burden on affairs which are on my shoulders. There are many important things about the plots of the Jesuits that I can learn only from you. Please wait just a moment, I have just received some dispatches from General Grant, to which I must give an answer. My secretary is waiting for me. I go to him. Please amuse yourself with those books, during my short absence."
Twenty-five minutes later, the President had returned, with his face flushed with joy. "Glorious news! General Grant has again beaten Lee, and forced him to retreat towards Richmond, when he will have to surrender before long. Grant is a real hero. But let us come to the question I want to put to you. Have you read the letter of the Pope to Jeff Davis, and what do you think of it?"
"My dear President," I answered, "it is just that letter which brought me to your presence again, the day before yesterday. I wanted to come and see you, from the very day I read it. But I knew you were so overwhelmed with the affairs of your government, that I would not be able to see you. However, the anxieties of my mind were so, that I determined to go over every barrier to warn you again against the new dangers and plots which I knew would come out from that perfidious letter, against your life.
"That letter is a poisoned arrow thrown by the Pope, at you personally; and it will be more than a miracle if it be not your irrevocable warrant of death. Before reading it, it is true that every Catholic could see by the unanimity of the bishops siding with the rebel cause, that their church as a whole, was against this free Republican government. However, a good number of liberty-loving Irish, German and French Catholics, following more the instincts of their noble nature, than the degrading principles of their church, enrolled themselves under the banners of Liberty, and they have fought like heroes. To detach these men from the rank and file of the Northern armies, and force them to help the cause of the rebellion, because the object of the intrigues of the Jesuits. Secret and pressing letters were addressed from Rome to the bishops, ordering them to weaken your armies by detaching those men from you. The bishops answered, that they could not do that without exposing themselves to be shot. But they advised the Pope to acknowledge, at once, the legitimacy of the Southern Republic, and to take Jeff Davis under his supreme protection, by a letter, which would be read everywhere.
"That letter, then, tells logically the Roman Catholics that you are a blood-thirsty tyrant! a most execrable being when fighting against a government which the infallible and holy Pope of Rome recognizes as legitimate. The Pope, by this letter, tells his blind slaves that you are an infamous usurper, when considering yourself the President of the Southern States; that you are outraging the God of heaven and earth, by continuing such a sanguinary war to subdue a nation over whom God Almighty has declared, through His infallible pontiff, the Pope, that you have not the least right: that letter means that you will give an account to God and man for the blood and tears you cause to flow in order to satisfy your ambition.
"By this letter of the Pope to Jeff Davis you are not only an apostate, as you were thought before, whom every man had the right to kill, according to the canonical laws of Rome; but you are more vile, criminal and cruel than the horse thief, the public banditti, and the lawless brigand, robber and murderer, whom it is a duty to stop and kill, when we take them in their acts of blood, and that there is no other way to put an end to their plunders and murders.
"And, my dear President, the meaning I give you of this perfidious letter of the Pope to Jeff Davis, is not a fancy imagination on my part, it is the unanimous explanation given me by a great number of the priests of Rome, with whom I have had occasion to speak on that subject. In the name of God, and in the name of our dear country, which is in so much need of your services, I conjure you to pay more attention to protect your precious life, and not continue to expose it as you have done till now."
The President listened to my words with breathless attention. He replied;
"You confirm me in the views I had taken of the letter of the Pope. Professor Morse is of the same mind with you. It is, indeed, the most perfidious act which could occur under present circumstances. You are perfectly correct when you say that it was to detach the Roman Catholics who had enrolled themselves in our armies. Since the publication of that letter, a great number of them have deserted their banners and turned traitors; very few, comparatively, have remained true to their oath of fidelity. It is, however, very lucky that one of those few, Sheridan, is worth a whole army by his ability, his patriotism and his heroic courage. It is true, also, that Meade has remained with us, and gained the bloody battle of Gettysburg. But how could he lose it, when he was surrounded by such heroes as Howard, Reynolds, Buford, Wadsworth, Cutler, Slocum, Sickes, Hancock, Barnes, ect. But it is evident that his Romanism superseded his patriotism after the battle. He let the army of Lee escape, when it was so easy to cut his retreat and force him to surrender, after having lost nearly the half of his soldiers in the last three days' carnage.
"When Meade was to order the pursuit, after the battle, a stranger came, in haste, to the headquarters, and that stranger was a disguised Jesuit. After a ten minutes' conversation with him, Meade made such arrangements for the pursuit of the enemy, that he escaped almost untouched, with the loss of only two guns!
"You re right," continued the President, "when you say that this letter of the Pope has entirely changed the nature and the ground of the war. Before they read it, the Roman Catholics could see that I was fighting against Jeff Davis and his Southern Confederacy. But now, they must believe that it is against Christ and His holy vicar, the Pope, that I am raising my sacrilegious hands; we have the daily proofs that their indignation, their hatred, their malice, against me, are a hundredfold intensified. New projects of assassination are detected almost every day, accompanied with such savage circumstances, that they bring to my memory the massacre of the St. Bartholomew and the Gunpowder Plot. We feel, at their investigation, that they come from the same masters in the art of murder, the Jesuits.
"The New York riots were evidently a Romish plot from beginning to end. We have the proofs in hand that they were the work of Bishop Hughes and his emissaries. No doubt can remain in the minds of the most incredulous about the bloody attempts of Rome to destroy New York, when we know the easy way it was stopped. I wrote to Bishop Hughes, telling him that the whole country would hold him responsible for it if he would not stop it at once. He then gathered the rioters around his palace, called them his 'dear friends,' invited them to go back home peacefully, and all was finished! so Jupiter of old used to raise a storm and stop it with a nod of his head!
"From the beginning of our civil war, there has been, not a secret, but a public alliance, between the Pope of Rome and Jeff Davis, and that alliance has followed the common laws of this world affairs. The greater has led the smaller, the stronger has guided the weaker. The Pope and his Jesuits have advised, supported, and directed Jeff Davis on the land, from the first gun shot at Fort Sumter, by the rabid Roman Catholic Beauregard. They are helping him on the sea by guiding and supporting the other rabid Roman Catholic pirate, Semmes, on the ocean. And they will help the rebellion when firing their last gun to shed the blood of the last soldier of Liberty, who will fall in this fratricidal war. In my interview with Bishop Hughes, I told him, 'that every stranger who had sworn allegiance to our government by becoming a United States citizen, as himself, was liable to be shot or hung as a perjured traitor and an armed spy, as the sentence of the court-martial may direct. And he will be so shot and hanged accordingly, as there will be no exchange of such prisoners'. After I had put this flea in the ears of the Romish bishop, I requested him to go and report my words to the Pope. Seeing the dangerous position of his bishops and priests when siding with the rebels, my hope was that he would advise them, for their own interests, to become loyal and true to their allegiance and help us through the remaining part of the war. But he result has been the very contrary. The Pope has thrown away the mask, and shown himself the public partisan and the protector of the rebellion, by taking Jeff Davis by the hand, and impudently recognizing the Southern States as a legitimate government. Now, I have the proof in hand that that very Bishop Hughes, whom I had sent to Rome that he might induce the Pope to urge the Roman Catholics of the North at least, to be true to their oath of allegiance, and whom I thanked publicly, when, under the impression that he had acted honestly, according to the promise he had given me, is the very man who advised the Pope to recognize the legitimacy of the Southern Republic, and put the whole weight of his tiara in the balance against us in favour of our enemies! Such is the perfidy of those Jesuits. Two cankers are biting the very entrails of the United States today: the Romish and the Mormon priests. Both are equally at work to form a people of the most abject, ignorant and fanatical slaves, who will recognize no other authority but their supreme pontiffs. Both are aiming at the destruction of our schools, to raise themselves upon our ruins. Both shelter themselves under our grand and holy principles of liberty of conscience, to destroy that very liberty of conscience, and bind the world before their heavy and ignominious yoke. The Mormon and the Jesuit priests are equally the uncompromising enemies of our constitution and our laws; but the more dangerous of the two is the Jesuits the Romish priest, for he knows better now to conceal his hatred under the mask of friendship and public good: he is better trained to commit the most cruel and diabolical deeds for the glory of God. "Till lately, I was in favour of the unlimited liberty of conscience as our constitution gives it to the Roman Catholics. But now, it seems to me that, sooner or later, the people will be forced to put a restriction to that clause towards the Papists. Is it not an act of folly to give absolute liberty of conscience to a set of men who are publicly sworn to cut our throats the very day they have their opportunity for doing it? It is right to give the privilege of citizenship to men who are the sworn and public enemies of our constitution, our laws, our liberties, and our lives?
"The very moment that Popery assumed the right of life and death on a citizen of France, Spain, Germany, England, or the United States, it assumed to be the power, the government of France, Spain, England, Germany, and the United States. Those States then committed a suicidal act by allowing Popery to put a foot on their territory with the privilege of citizenship. The power of life and death is the supreme power, and two supreme powers cannot exist on the same territory without anarchy, riots, bloodshed, and civil wars without end. When Popery will give up the power of life and death which it proclaims on its own divine power, in all its theological books and canon laws, then, and then alone, it can be tolerated and can receive the privileges of citizenship in a free country.
"Is it not an absurdity to give to a man a thing which he is sworn to hate, curse, and destroy? And does not the Church of Rome hate, curse, and destroy liberty of conscience whenever she can do it safely? I am for liberty of conscience in its noblest, broadest, highest sense. But I cannot give liberty of conscience to the Pope and to his followers, the Papists, so long as they tell me, through all their councils, theologians, and canon laws, that their conscience orders them to burn my wife, strangle my children, and cut my throat when they find their opportunity! This does not seem to be understood by the people today. But sooner or later, the light of common sense will make it clear to every one that no liberty of conscience can be granted to men who are sworn to obey a Pope, who pretends to have the right to put to death those who differ from him religion.
"You are not the first to warn me against the dangers of assassination. My ambassadors in Italy, France, and England, as well as Professor Morse, have many times warned me against the plots of the murderers which they have detected in those different countries. But I see no other safeguard against those murderers but to be always ready to die, as Christ advises it. As we must all die sooner or later, it makes very little difference to me whether I die from a dagger plunged through the heart or from an inflammation of the lungs. Let me tell you that I have lately read a passage in the Old Testament which has made a profound, and, I hope, a salutary impression on me. Here is that passage."
The President took his Bible, opened it at the third chapter of Deuteronomy, and read from the 22nd to the 28th verse:-
"Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God He shall fight for you. And I besought the Lord at that time, saying, O Lord God, Thou hast begun to shew Thy servant Thy greatness and Thy mighty hand; for what God is there, in heaven or in earth, that can do according to Thy works, and according to Thy might! I pray Thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee: speak no more unto Me of this matter. Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan."
After the President had read these words with great solemnity, he added: "My dear Father Chiniquy, let me tell you that I have read these strange and beautiful verses several times these last five or six weeks. The more I read them, the more it seems to me that God has written them for me as well as for Moses. Has He not taken me from my poor log cabin by the hand, as He did of Moses in the reeds of the Nile, to put me at the head of the greatest and the most blessed of modern nations, just as He put that prophet at the head of the most blessed nation of ancient times? Has not God granted me a privilege which was not granted to any living man, when I broke the fetters of 4,000,000 of men and made them free? Has not our God given me the most glorious victories over our enemies? Are not the armies of the Confederacy so reduced to a handful of men when compared to what they were two years ago, that the day is fast approaching when they will have to surrender?
"Now, I see the end of this terrible conflict, with the same joy of Moses, when, at the end of his trying forty years in the wilderness; and I pray my God to grant me to see the days of peace, and untold prosperity, which will follow this cruel war, as Moses asked God to see the other side of Jordan and enter the Promised Land. But do you know that I hear in my soul, as the voice of God, giving me the rebuke which was given to Moses?
"Yes! every time that my soul goes to God to ask the favour of seeing the other side of Jordan, and eating the fruits of that peace, after which I am longing with such an unspeakable desire, do you know that there is a still, but solemn voice, which tells me that I will see those things, only from a long distance, and that I will be among the dead, when the nation which God granted me to lead through those awful trials, will cross the Jordan, and dwell in that Land of Promise, where peace, industry, happiness, and liberty, will make every one happy; and why so? Because He has already given me favours which He never gave, I dare say, to any man, in these latter days.
"Why did God Almighty refuse to Moses the favour of crossing the Jordan, and entering the Promised Land? It was on account of his own nations's sins! That law of divine retribution and justice, by which one must suffer for another, is surely a terrible mystery. But it is a fact which no man who has any intelligence and knowledge can deny. Moses, who knew that law, though he probably did not understand it better than we do, calmly says to his people, 'God was wroth with me for your sakes.'
"But though we do not understand that mysterious and terrible law, we find it written in letters of tears and blood wherever we go. We do not read a single page of history, without finding undeniable traces of its existence.
"Where is the mother who has not shed tears and suffered real tortures, for her children's sake?
"Who is the good king, the worthy emperor, the gifted chieftain, who have not suffered unspeakable mental agonies, or even death, for their people's sake?
"Is not our Christian religion the highest expression of the wisdom, mercy, and love of God! But what is Christianity if not the very incarnation of that eternal law of divine justice in our humanity?
"When I look on Moses, alone, silently dying on the Mount Pisgah, I see that law, in one of its most sublime human manifestations, and I am filled with admiration and awe.
"But when I consider that law of justice, and expiation in the death of the Just, the divine Son of Mary, on the mountain of Calvary, I remain mute in my adoration. The spectacle of that crucified one which is before my eyes, is more than sublime, it is divine! Moses died for his people's sake, but Christ died for the whole world's sake! Both died to fulfill the same eternal law of the divine justice, though in a different measure.
"Now would it not be the greatest of honours and privileges bestowed upon me, if God, in His infinite love, mercy and wisdom, would put me between His faithful servant, Moses, and His eternal Son, Jesus, that I might die as they did, for my nation's sake!
"My God alone knows what I have already suffered for my dear country's sake. But my fear is that the justice of God is not yet paid. When I look upon the rivers of tears and blood drawn by the lashes of the merciless masters from the veins of the very heart of those millions of defenseless slaves, these two hundred years. When I remember the agonies, the cries, the unspeakable tortures of those unfortunate people, at which I have, to some extent, connived with so many others, a part of my life, I feel that we are still far from the complete expiation. For the judgments of God are true and righteous.
"It seems to me that the Lord wants, today, as He wanted in the days of Moses, another victim a victim which he has himself chosen, anointed and prepared for the sacrifice, by raising it above the rest of His people. I cannot conceal from you that my impression is that I am that victim. So many plots have already been made against my life, that it is a real miracle that they have all failed, when we consider that the great majority of them were in the hands of skillful Roman Catholic murderers, evidently trained by Jesuits. But can we expect that God will make a perpetual miracle to save my life? I believe not. The Jesuits are so expert in those deeds of blood, that Henry IV. said that it was impossible to escape them, and he became their victim, though he did all that could be done to protect himself. My escape from their hands, since the letter of the Pope to Jeff Davis has sharpened a million of daggers to pierce my breast, would be more than a miracle.
"But just as the Lord heard no murmur from the lips of Moses when He told him that he had to die, before crossing the Jordan, for the sins of his people; so I hope and pray that He will hear no murmur from me when I fall for my nations's sake.
"The only two favours I ask of the Lord are, first, that I may die for the sacred cause in which I am engaged, and when I am the standard bearer of the rights and liberties of my country.
"The second favour I ask of God is, that my dear son, Robert, when I am gone, will be one of those who lift us that flag of Liberty which will cover my tomb, and carry it with honour and fidelity, to the end of his life, as his father did, surrounded by the millions who will be called with him to fight and die for the defense and honour of our country."
Never had I heard such sublime words: Never had I seen a human face so solemn and so prophet-like as the face of the President, when uttering these things. Every sentence had come to me as a hymn from heaven, reverberated by the echoes of the mountains of Pisgah and Calvary. I was beside myself. Bathed in tears, I tried to say something, but I could not utter a word.
This engraving of President Lincoln was made one year before his assassination.
from the Memoirs of Mr. Bateman, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Illinois.
r. Lincoln paused: for long minutes, his features surcharged with emotion. Then he rose and walked up and down the reception room, in the effort to retain or regain his self-possession. Stopping at last, he said, with a trembling voice and his cheeks wet with tears: I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me, and I think He has, I believe I am ready! I am nothing, but truth is everything! I know I am right, because I know that liberty is right: for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and Christ and reason say the same thing, and they will find it so. Douglas does not care whether slavery is voted up or down. But God cares, and humanity cares, and I care. And with God's help, I will not fail. I may not see the end, but it will come, and I shall be vindicated; and those men will see that they have not read their Bible right! Does it not appear strange that men can ignore the moral aspect of this contest? A revelation could not make it plainer to me that slavery, or the Government, must be destroyed. The future would be something awful, as I look at it, but for this ROCK on which I stand (alluding to the Gospel book he still held in his hand). It seems as if God had borne with slavery until the very teachers of religion had come to defend it from the Bible, and to claim for it a Divine character and sanction. And now the cup of iniquity is full, and the vials of wrath will be poured out.'"
Read more about Pastor Chiniquy and his dear friend, President Abraham Lincoln in
"Fifty Years in the Church of Rome" ---New Window
An Earnest Appeal to Roman Catholics ---New Window
Or, Roman Catholicism Examined in Light of the Scriptures
by Tom Stewart
"We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her"
The Conversion of Abraham Lincoln ---New Window
Lincoln's Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day ---New Window
Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation ---New Window
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