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
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.
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)?