Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
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Eulogy on Benjamin Ferguson [1]

February 8, 1842

Mr. PRESIDENT:---The solemn duty has been assigned to me, of announcing to this Society, [2] the sudden and melancholy death of its much respected member, BENJAMIN FERGUSON.

After an illness of only six days, he closed his mortal existence, at a quarter past seven on the evening of the 3d inst., in the bosom of his family at his residence in this city.

Mr. FERGUSON was one who became a member of this society without any prospect of advantage to himself. He was, though not totally abstinent, strictly temperate before; and he espoused the cause solely with the hope and benevolent design of being able, by his efforts and example, to benefit others. Would to God, he hadPage  269 been longer spared to the humane work upon which he had so disinterestedly entered.

In his intercourse with his fellow men, he possessed that rare uprightness of character, which was evidenced by his having no disputes or bickerings of his own, while he was ever the chosen arbiter to settle those of his neighbors.

In very truth he was, the noblest work of God---an honest man.

The grateful task commonly vouchsafed to the mournful living, of casting the mantle of charitable forgetfulness over the faults of the lamented dead, is denied to us: for although it is much to say, for any of the erring family of man, we believe we may say, that he whom we deplore was faultless.

To Almighty God we commend him; and, in his name, implore the aid and protection, of his omnipotent right arm, for his bereaved and disconsolate family.


[1]   Sangamo Journal, February 11, 1842.

[2]   The eulogy was delivered before the Washington Temperance Society, the same before which Lincoln was to deliver his ``Temperance Address'' two weeks later.

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