Tribute to John Peter Altgeld, March 14, 1902 (excerpt)



Services at House, with Tributes by Miss Jane Addams and C. S. Darrow.


Funeral Procession Leaves Public Library at 11 O'Clock Tomorrow.


Private funeral services for the late John P. Altgeld took place at the residence, 3225 Malden Avenue, yesterday afternoon, as the first in a series of demonstrations of respect which will end tomorrow with a public procession from the City Library to Graceland. The body will lie in state in the north corridor of the library building today from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The services at the residence were brief and simple, and marked by eloquent tributes from Miss Jane Addams of Hull House and Clarence S. Darrow, one of Mr. Altgeld's law partners and most intimate friends.

Dr. Frank Crane presided over the services, which took place in the parlors. Judges of the Appellate, Circuit, and Superior Courts, members of the Chicago Bar Association, prominent politicians, and leaders in reform movements crowded the residence, and many persons were obliged to remain on the sidewalk during the services.

"Great as well as trivial causes have had their martyrs," said Miss Addams in the course of her brief address. "What we need in this hour of national confusion is the memory of a man who never allowed himself to see the little things in life, but turned his attention at all times to the greater things. As time recedes the world will finally agree that our friend saw life as few see it, in its greater and grander form."

Soldier for Human Liberty.

Mr. Darrow spoke with an emotion that threatened to overcome him at times. He referred to his dead friend as a soldier in the everlasting struggle of the human race for liberty and justice on the earth.

"Today we pay our last sad homage," said Mr. Darrow, "to the most devoted lover, the most abject slave, the fondest, wildest, dreamiest victim that ever gave his life to liberty's immortal, hopeless cause. No purer patriot ever lived than the friend we lay to rest today. His patriotism was not paraded in the public marts, nor bartered in the stalls for gold; his patriotism was of that ideal mold that places the love of man above the love of self.

"John P. Altgeld was always and at all times a lover of his fellow-men. Those who reviled him have tried to teach the world that he was bitter and relentless; that he hated more than he loved. In the days now past John P. Altgeld, in scorn and derision, was called John Pardon Altgeld by those who would destroy his power. We who stand today around his bier and mourn the brave and loving friend are glad to adopt this name. If in the infinite economy of nature there shall be another land where crooked paths shall be made straight, where heaven's justice shall review the judgments of the earth -- if there shall be a great, wise, humane Judge before whom the sons of men shall come -- we can hope nothing better for ourselves than to pass that infinite Presence as the comrades and friends of John Pardon Altgeld, who opened the prison doors and set the captive free."

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