President and Mrs. Lincoln Attend Services at New York Presbyterian Church

November 30, 1862

With Mary Todd Lincoln home from an extended trip to New England and New York, the family attended worship services at New York Presbyterian Church, a few blocks from the White House.  Journalist Noah Brooks, a Lincoln friend newly arrived in the capital, wrote a dispatch for his California Newspaper:

Last Sunday [November 30] I saw the President and his wife at church at Dr. Gurley’s (Presbyterian),where they habitually attend.  The building was crowded, as usual, with dignitaries of various grades, besides sinners of lesser note and rank.  Conspicuous among them all, as the crowd pour out of the aisles, was the tall form of the Father of the Faithful, who is instantly recognized by his likeness to the variety of his published likenesses.  The President and his wife are both in deep mourning for their son, who died last Spring, and his Excellency has grievously altered from the happy-faced Springfield lawyer of 1856, whom I then met on the stump in Illinois for Fremont. His hair is grizzled, his gait more stooping, his countenance sallow, and there is a sunken, deathly look about the large, cavernous eyes, which is saddening to those who see there the marks of care and anxiety, such as no President of the United States has ever before known.  It is a lesson for human ambition to look upon that anxious and careworn face, prematurely aged by public labors and private griefs, and to remember that with the fleetingly glory of his term of office have come responsibilities which make his life one long series of harassing care, and, while compelling him to save himself and his country from disgrace and reprobation, mark him with the daily scars of mental anxiety and struggle.  Whatever may be said of Abraham Lincoln by friend or foe, no one can ever question the pure patriots and the unblenching honesty of the man.  He inspires that feeling by his personal presence as much as by his acts, and as he moves down the church aisle, recognizing, with a cheerful nod, his friends on either side, his homely face lighted with a smile, there is an involuntary expression of respect on every face, and men, who would scorn to ‘toady’ to any President, look with commisserating admiration on that tall, mourning figure which embodies Abraham Lincoln, whom may God bless.”

Published in: on November 30, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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