Burrows Discourse and Sermon Excerpt

Publication Year: 1865

Burrows, John Lansing. Palliative and Prejudiced Judgements Condemned: A Discourse Delivered in the First Baptist Church, Richmond, Va., June 1, 1865, the Day  Appointed by the United States for Humiliation and Mourning on Account of the  Assassination of President Lincoln. Richmond, Va.: Office of Commercial Bulletin, 1865. 
PHS Call number: PAM E 457.8 .B97 1865 

Source note

John Lansing Burrows (1814-1893) was born into a prominent Dutch  American family in Albany, NY. Ordained as a Baptist minister in 1835, Burrows led congregations in Kentucky and Pennsylvania before arriving in Richmond, Virginia to  lead a church there just as the Civil War was beginning. In this document, the first  source is Burrows’s Palliative and Prejudiced Judgements Condemned, a discourse he  delivered more than a month after Lincoln’s assassination, on June 1, 1865, which was  designated a national day of mourning by the current president, Andrew Johnson.  Following the discourse is an excerpt of the sermon that Burrows delivered on April  23rd, 1865, about a week after Lincoln’s assassination.  

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Reading questions

1.    Who is the author of this source? When was it written and delivered? Who is the  intended audience?

2.    How does this source differ from the previous sources on this topic?

3.    Why does Burrows begin his discourse by condemning people who try to justify  an evil act (pages 3, 4)? How does this opening help frame the rest of the speech?

4.    Why does Burrows say that he and other southerners should not put themselves  out there as “special eulogists” of President Lincoln (page 4)?

5.    How does the crime of “condemning the innocent” relate to the assassination of  Abraham Lincoln and its aftermath, according to Burrows (pages 5-7)?

6.    How does Burrows refute the accusation that the entire South, and the institution  of slavery, are responsible for Lincoln’s assassination (pages 7, 8)?

7.    What titles or labels does Burrows use to describe Lincoln?

Reading questions for the sermon excerpt:

1.    What are the “sentiments of the Southern people,” regarding Lincoln’s  assassination (page 10)? Why might Burrows feel the need to speak for all  southern people at this time?

2.    How does the tone of Burrows’s sermon differ from that of his discourse more  than a month later? What might explain this difference?

3.    Why is Lincoln’s assassination particularly damaging to the South, according to  Burrows (page 11)?

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Source type
History Topics
Abolition and Anti-slavery
American Religious History
Civil War
Time Period
Civil War and Reconstruction (1861-1877)