Detroit Free Press, June 4, 1861
A great calamity is upon the nation. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS is dead. The silence of death enters our heart as we write these lines,—for who shall fill his place? We admired, loved him, as we admired and loved no other great man of our generation. A large party clustered around his giant intellect as their brain and their heart. He was opposed as no other American statesman has been opposed—he was sustained with an intensity of confidence and devotion none other awakened save CLAY. His name, his acts, are now before the world forever. The inexorable destiny of genius is now his. Civilized man will forever gaze upon and criticise him. No recall, no expedients, no new fields—all is past for him. He lives forever as he died. We have no fears as to the result. The great rebellion which distracts the country evinces that he knew American institutions as no other statesman has ever known them, and, above all, it has united the testimony of the nation to his devoted patriotism. We mourn for the country—not for him. The excitements of such a life as his make even three score years and ten drift to the past with terrible rapidity. He lived long enough to be glorious—not long enough for the nation. Yet we are proud, and feel that it is one of the bonds which will strengthen the patriotic unity of the people that even his political opponents mourn his departure, and, in this hour of national convulsion, weep as bitterly over his grave as they would over the greatest and best of their own.
We confess that there is something terrible in the idea that he is gone—that his massive frame, his iron will, were not powerful to defy even Death. The common lot of man seems more certain now that it is his lot—the King of Terrors more resistless, since he has conquered him. So great was the man—so marked by all the intense energies of life and will—that his end will fall upon every ear as a wonder—a violation of nature.
"We ne'er shall see his like again."