Death of Senator Douglas.
With emotions of sorrow which we cannot adequately describe, we announce to our readers that STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS died, at the Tremont House, in Chicago, on Monday morning, the 3d of June instant. The public has been in a manner prepared for the sad event, yet we can hardly realize that he has been cut off in the full prime of vigor, and that his manly form, around which lingers so many fond and glorious recollections, is to be committed to the dust.
Judge Douglas was born at Brandon, Vermont, on the 23d of April, 1813, and had just completed his forty-eighth year. His history is familiar to almost every man in the land, and his brilliant public life will be the theme of eloquence and praise when we are dead and forgotten. He died at eleven minutes past 9 o'clock, on Monday morning, June 3d. He has been confined to his room since the night of Wednesday, May 1, when he made his last speech in National hall, on his return to Chicago. For the last two weeks his life was despaired of by those who best knew his symptoms. For the last week he has been only semi-conscious, at times recognizing his friends, and giving out confused fragments of the great thoughts with which his giant mind was wont to grapple. The last week has been one of the most anxious hopes and fears for his life. His physicians, men of experience and skill, used every resource of their profession to take advantage of occasional favorable symptoms, but in vain. At twelve o'clock Sunday night he failed to recognize his most intimate friends and became totally unconscious; at three o'clock he commenced rapidly to fail, and his unwilling physicians pronounced him beyond hope. He gradually failed, without pain, until eleven minutes past nine, on Monday morning, when the lamp of life was extinguished without a sigh or a struggle, and the morning watchers were alone with all that was earthly of STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS. Those in attendance at the time were Mrs. Douglas, Dr. Miller, Mrs. Cutts, J. Madison Cutts, Jr., of Washington, D. P. Rhodes, Cleveland, Dr. McVicker, Spencer O. Benham, Dr. Hay, Chicago. His death is said to have been peaceful and tranquil as the melting away of a summer cloud at evening.
Among our people, Judge Douglas was almost idolized, and yet we presume it is the same everywhere. But here the news of his death was received by everybody with inexpressible sorrow. It was sad to witness the feelings of his old and familiar personal friends. Strong men, who rarely show their grief, were stricken down with sorrow, and their feelings found relief only in tears.
It is hard to be reconciled to the fact that his clarion voice and thrilling eloquence are never again to be heard in the United States senate, where he towered as the most conspicuous figure, and upon the public rostrum, where he had no living superior, if, indeed, he had an equal.
A few short months ago he came to our city, welcomed by a magnificent outpouring of freemen, and amidst a most brilliant illumination of houses and the glare of thousands of torches, his clear voice rang through our streets, giving life, animation and hope to the thousands of people who listened to him. Then, the stars and stripes were proudly floating from our flag-staff, and five hundred candles, in our office windows, burned in brilliant joy in his honor. Now, our country's flag, at half-mast, and draped in black, hangs mournfully from the same staff where it then welcomed him, and the same windows where brilliant lights then danced for joy, are clad in the habiliments of grief.
The death of no other public man would have cast so dark a shade of sorrow as the nation now experiences. We can ill afford to spare, in this terrible crisis of our national history, a political star of the brightness and magnitude of Judge Douglas, who, after a most eventful and remarkable life, after years of long and weary labors for his country, has outlived reproach, and occupying a high place in the affections of the whole American people, sinks into the grave amid the sorrow and tears of the whole people, without any distinction of party or sect.
Thousands have hoped that his strong constitution and iron will, which have carried him unscathed through previous attacks of dread disease, would be potent enough in this instance to keep the great destroyer in the dim distance, among the spectres of the future. But this was not permitted, and he on whose words thousands have hung in rapturous admiration, has now passed to his home in the world above. One of the greatest American statesmen and patriots had been torn from the embraces of his friends, and the nation deprived of his wisdom sad his counsels just at the time when they seemed most precious and inestimable.
The people of this state for whom he has labored so long and with such remarkable success, loved him as their darling child. He has, by his astonishing efforts, given them fame and wealth, and the state a name which can never die. To them he was something more than a patriot and a statesman — he was their friend, and in his death they experience a sense of painful and overwhelming loss.
Henceforth his great name belongs to his country. The bitter and unscrupulous party warfare waged against the giant statesman thorough all his public life, is now hushed in silence, and those who were once foremost in denouncing him, are now strewing fresh flowers on his new grave, and vieing with each other in doing honor to one of the greatest statesmen America has ever produced. This is well why history will do justice to his fervent patriotism and his great abilities as a statesman, whom future generations, admiring the brilliance of his remarkable career, will gain wisdom from his life, and strive to imitate his heroic virtues.