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[540]

XI.

It were vain to attempt any adequate description of the tokens of respect and sorrow which were displayed throughout the country. The funeral bells went tolling with the sun in its circuit, from noon-day on the Atlantic to the noon-day of the Pacific, the two oceans' boundaries of a continent stricken by a common grief.

Memorial meetings were held in every State and Territory of the Union; everywhere, Morse's lightning had made it a funeral-day in America.

A hundred thousand flags drooped to his memory:— he was the theme of eulogy in ten thousand Universities, and schools of learning:—his praises were uttered over countless work-benches, and among diversified scenes of honest toil:—the plough halted in the furrow of a million upturning fields:—the incense of prayer for the repose of his gentle spirit, witnessed only by guardian angels, went up from myriads of closets:—his pictures were wreathed in mourning in the humble cabins of innumerable homes of his dusky worshippers:—young mothers pressed his name on the foreheads of new-born babes: —the news of his death cast a shadow over many a bridal morning, and folded the wings of love around many a scene of enchantment: the old sank tremblingly into their easy-chairs, as they heaved one of their latest sighs to his cherished memory; and the dying, with the last praises of earth, thanked the God of Liberty that its great champion had lived. And so, from the frozen gates of our Republic on the North, where the brooks had not yet begun to murmur, down to meet the blushing spring in its coming, till it reached the orange-groves of Florida, one wave of sorrow swept its gentle way:— [541] while under the oceans, the sad news was flashing to distant nations. There was not a clime where the tribute of tears was not paid to him. It was one of those few funeral days in which the obsequies of a great philanthropist were held within twenty-four hours, all round the globe. He was the friend of Humanity, and Humanity wept when he was no more.

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