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1865 April 29: Proclamations of Mourning for President Lincoln

May 1, 2015

Both U.S. President Andrew Johnson and Wisconsin Governor James T. Lewis issued proclamations of mourning for assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.  Johnson’s proclamation appeared in the April 29, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press; Lewis’ proclamation appeared in the April 29, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.

 From The Polk County Press:


Proclamation by the President —
The 25th of May to be observed throughout the Country
as a Day of Humiliation and Mourning for the Death of Abraham Lincoln. 

Washington, April 24th, 1864. }

WHEREAS, By my direction the Acting Secretary of State, in a notice to the public on the 17th of April, requested the various religious denominations to assemble on the 19th of April on the occasion of the obsequies of Abraham Lincoln, late President of the United States, and to observe the same with appropriate ceremonies ;  and

WHEREAS, Our country has become one great house of mourning where the head of the house has been taken away, and believing that a special period should be assigned for again humiliating ourselves before Almighty God in order that the bereavement may be sanctified to the nation ;  now

THEREFORE, In order to mitigate the grief on earth with can only be assuaged by communion with the Father in Heaven, and in compliance with the wishes of Senators and Representatives in Congress, communicated to me by a resolution adopted at the national Capitol, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby appoint THURSDAY, MAY 25th, 1865, to be observed wherever in the United States the flag of the country may be respected, as a day of humiliation and mourning, and recommend fellow citizens there, to assemble in their respective places of worship, there to unite in solemn service to Almighty God, in memory of the good man who has been removed, so that we may be occupied at the same time in the contemplation of his virtues, and sorrow for his sudden and violent end.

In witness whereof I have hereunto to set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at Washington, April 24th, A. D., 1865, and of the Independence of the United States of America the 89th.


.   .By the President,
W. HUNTER, Act’g Sec’y of State.

From The Prescott Journal:

Governor Lewis’ Proclamation.

Although the day of fasting and prayer appointed therein, passed before the Governor’s Proclamation dated the 17th, could reach our readers, we give the essential parts of it as follows :

A Day of Fasting and Prayer: Governor Lewis' Proclamation

A Day of Fasting and Prayer: A Proclamation¹

It becomes my painful duty to announce to the people of this State the mournful and terrible intelligence of the death by assassination at Washington on the 15th instant, of Abraham Lincoln, late Chief Magistrate of the nation.

No event could have plunged the nation into more profound sorrow.

A great and good man has fallen a victim to the wickedest rebellion the world has ever seen.  The friend of the poor, the down-trodden and the lowly, the pride of the nation is no more.  As a statesman his power was felt and acknowledged.  His patriotism was unquestioned.  His goodness of heart was proverbial.  Because he was kind and good and loved his fellow men, because the people loved and delighted to honor him, hath the wicked slain him.  Oh, Justice, why didst thou sleep !

May this sad event, this terrible wrong, this great crime, arouse the nation to a true sense of the wickedness of those men who are seeking its destruction ;  arouse every true lover of his country to do or die for the Republic.  Have we great and good men, look to see them die by the assassin’s knife.  Have we the poor and feeble, look to see them made the slaves of wicked and inhuman masters, or prepare to defend and maintain the Union and assert the power and authority of the Government. In behalf of this State, I do hereby tender to the bereaved family, the heartfelt sympathy of its people.  And I do recommend, as a mark of respect to the deceased, that for one hundred days from this date, all public offices, court houses and other public buildings be clad in mourning, and that during that time the people of this State wear the usual badges of mourning ;  and in view of this sad and unforeseen event, I do hereby modify and change my Proclamation of the 12th instant, and recommend that Wednesday, the 19th instant, be observed as a day of Fasting and Prayer, and in commemorating, by suitable ceremonies and demonstrations, the memory of our late Chief Magistrate.

It is ordered that appropriate military honors be paid to the memory of the deceased.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin to be affixed.  Done at the Capitol, in the city of Madison, this 17th day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five.


By the Governor,

1.  This digital image comes from the Brown Digital Repository at Brown University Librarry (accessed April 27, 2015).

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