Stephen Arnold Douglas
Portland Daily Advertiser, June 4, 1861
Although we have been in hourly expectation for many days, of having the news which thrilled the heart of the country yesterday, we find it difficult fully to realize the fact that one of the great leaders of the people, one with whose personal appearance and whose public career we have been so long familiar, lies forever silent in the sleep of death,—so much strength and energy forever laid low,—so bright an intellectual flame forever extinguished for all the uses of this world.
Senator Douglas is dead. His last battle has been fought, his last enemy has been vanquished. His ambition asks no gratification now. We are not inclined in this hour to dwell upon the eventful career of the untiring and fearless advocate, the enemy to be feared, the friend to be loved, the man above all others of his day, who found his power in his own stout heart and strong head. We have never believed in the peculiar policy of Judge Douglas, or of the party which he represented, and have not been converted by his death. Yet, had it been God's will, we would have had him live, that he might have devoted the wonderful powers with which he was endowed, to the service of his country in this the hour of her greatest peril. His heart beat warm with patriotic devotion, and when, in the midst of disaster, the utter defeat and disintegration of his party, still smarting from wounds inflicted by the hands of those who had styled themselves his friends, he heard his country call upon her true and loyal sons to rally to her defence, nobly and generously he responded to that call, and in feeble health, with a frame exhausted by long continued and arduous labor, he again took the field, and called upon his old party friends, if they loved him, to forget him and his cause, and become the right hand of that President he had done his utmost to defeat. It is true that other men have done the same, but the work of Douglas was larger and nobler, as his influence was more extensive.
One half of the people of the North-West believed in Douglas as they believed in no other man, and they responded with true Western enthusiasm to his appeal, making the entire northern valley of the Mississippi a unit in support of the Government of the Republic, the Union and the Constitution. The death of the great leader was hastened by his patriotic labor; but before he closed his eyes in their last sleep, he was conscious that his labors had not been in vain; that the work in which he was engaged was sure to be accomplished.
A death amid the smoke and turmoil of the stricken field, with the thunder of the cannon, the rattle of musketry resounding on every side, may be more glorious in the world's eye; yet when this same world grows older and better, greener laurels will be bound about the marble brows of statutes erected in honor of those who in peaceful walks, wore their lives out in the service of their country.
Whatever differences of opinion may hereafter prevail concerning the past career of the great leader of the North-West, the country will ever remember the closing chapter of his life with gratitude. He did his country service, and he died. May the grass grow green above him.