[Abraham Lincoln] “A Crime Without a Name.” April 14, 1865.
A powerful tribute to Abraham Lincoln
Undoubtedly composed and printed within days of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, this sorrowful tribute takes its name from the April 15, 1865 newspaper headline published by the Philadelphia Public Ledger.
President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded in Washington, D.C. on the evening of April 14, 1865. He died early the next morning, which shocking news was immediately published by the Public Ledger. Among the newspaper’s startling headlines on April 15—“Assassination of the President of the U.S.”; “No Hope for the President’s Life”; “Escape of the Assassins”—was an editorial entitled “A Crime Without a Name,” about Lincoln’s death and the related criminal conspiracy.
On the following day, April 16, as an immediate reaction to that newspaper editorial, Philadelphia poet Eugene H. Munday composed a seven stanza poem using the editorial’s title as a mournful refrain:
Long years of teaching yield a fruit
That well the demon’s brow may shame;
And nations stand aghast and mute
Before a crime without a name!
Munday’s fresh grief is palpable—“How will our heroes bear the blow?”—and he seeks vengeance. He portrays “Mercy” as prostrated and dumbfounded and urges “Justice” to “advance—to save!” He concludes:
To save the weak, the driven foe,
Yet smite as with Thy sword of flame,
The fiends—o’ermatching fiends below—
Who taught A CRIME WITHOUT A NAME!
Philadelphia poet Eugene H. Munday was also the author of other Civil War-themed poems, music lyrics, the poetry volume Cabinet Poems (1879), and an Historical Sketch of the Public Ledger of Philadelphia (1870).
A powerful tribute to Abraham Lincoln —of the moment— amidst the turmoil caused by his assassination. A rare survival.
Description: [Abraham Lincoln] “A Crime Without a Name.” April 14, 1865.
[Philadelphia, April 16, 1865]. p. Bifolium. 7 x 4½ inches. Laid paper. Printed black mourning border. Pencil annotation on verso of second leaf: “A Crime without a name.” Folds; near fine.
OCLC: 2 copies under two accession numbers: BU; Huntington.