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Last Days of Mr. Lincoln.—His Assassination.—Attack on Mr. Seward.—Remains of Mr. Lincoln lying in State.—Obsequies at Washington.—Removal of the Remains to Springfield, Illinois.—Demonstration along the route.—Obsequies at Springfield.—The Great Crime, its authors and abettors.—The Assassin's End.—The Conspiracy.—Complicity of Jefferson Davis.—How assassins wero trained to their work.—Tributes and Testimonials.—Mr. Lincoln as a Lawyer.—Incidents and Reminiscences.—Additional Speeches.— Letter to Gov. Hithn, on Negro Suffrage.—Letter to Mrs. Gurncy.— Letter to a Widow who had lost fivo Sons in the War.—Letter to s> Centenarian.—A letter written in early life.—A speech made in 1839.—Letter to Mr. Choate, on the Pilgrim Fathers.—Letter to Dr. Maclean, on receiving the Degree of LL. D.—Letter to Gov. Fletcher, of Missouri, on the restoration of order.—A message to the Miners.—Speech at Independence Hall in 1861.—Concluding remarks.
After years of weary toil, Mr. Lincoln seemed now to be entering on a period of comparative repose. The first step Lad been taken for putting the army on a peace footing. A policy had been matured for the re-establishment of loyal local governments in the insurgent States. Forbearance, clemency, charity were to control the executive action in dealing with the difficult problems still awaiting practical solution. After the Cabinet meeting on the 14th of April,* the President was in unusually buoyant spirits. His remaining tasks evidently seemed lighter than ever before. His gladsome humor was noticed by his friends.
As ho went on an afternoon drive with Mrs. Lincoln, she could not forbear an expression of slight foreboding, suggested
•At a Cabinet meeting at which General Grant was present to-day, the subject of the state of the country and the prospects of speedy pence was discussed. The President was very cheerful and hopeful, spoke very kindly of General Lee, and others of the Confederacy, and the establishment of Government in Virginia—Secretary Stanton'* Dispatch, April 14th.
by this change of manner: "It was thus with you," she said, "just before our dear Willie's death." The allusion to this event, the depressing effects of which, during more than three years, had never been effaced, cast a shadow on his heart. But in a moment he replied, speaking of the impossibility of accounting for such transitions of mood. The passing thought was quickly gone, to be recalled only by subsequent realities. Mr. Lincoln talked of the future, and of the hopes he indulged of happier hours during his second term than he had been permitted to enjoy during that which was passed—an expectation reasonably founded on the altered condition of national affairs, and on the assured confidence and love of the people, which would lighten the burdens undertaken on their behalf.
Gen. Grant had arrived in Washington in time to witness the grand illumination of the previous evening. There was a general desire to see the great commander, to whom, during the war, three Rebel armies had successively surrendered, and whose leadership had at length brought the military power of the rebellion to utter ruin. This desire had not been gratified. On the evening of the 14th, the places of public amusement were to be specially decorated in honor of the great victories achieved, and of the raising over Fort Sumter of the identical flag pulled down on that day four years before, at the opening of the war. Mr. Lincoln, who had been wont occasionally, though seldom, to seek a brief respite from his heavy cares by attending on a play, or an opera, thought proper to engage a private box at Ford's Theater, for this evening, intending that Gen. Grant should accompany him on the occasion. A messenger was accordingly sent on Friday morning to secure the upper double box, on the right hand side of the audience, before occupied by him, and the announcement was made in the evening papers, by the business manager of the theater, that the President and Gen. Grant would be present to witness the performance of " The American Cousin." Gen. Grant, however, had felt compelled to leave the city that evening, going north with his family, and he was accordingly excused.
There were visitors at the White House that night as usual, and it was somewhat late when Mr. Lincoln was ready to leavo. Mrs. Lincoln, as if some persentiment restrained her, seemed reluctant to go, but the President was unwilling that those who had seen the announcement should be totally disappointed by seeing neither himself nor tho Lieutenant-General. Speaker Colfax, who was the last person received by Mr. Lincoln, walked with him and Mrs. Lincoln from the parlor to the carriage. Mr. Ashmun, who had nearly five years before presided over tho National Convention, which first nominated Mr. Lincoln for the Presidency, came up at this moment, having hoped to obtain an interview. After salutations, a card was handed to Mr. Ashmun, written by the President as he sat in his carriage, directing tho usher to admit that gentleman to the Executive room on the following morning. The carriage drove away, stopping to take up two young friends on the way—Maj. llathbone and Miss Harris. It was not yet past nine when the party reached the theater, which was densely thronged. As President Lincoln entered and passed to his box he was greeted with enthusiastic cheering.
'Mr. Lincoln occupied a chair on the side of the box nearest the audience, Mrs. Lincoln sitting next him. Their guests were seated beyond, in a portion of the box usually separated by a partition, which had been removed for this occasion. Each part was ordinarily entered by its own door, opening from a narrow passage, to which, near the outer wall, a door gives access from the dress circle. The last named door and the further one inside were closed, the other, through which the whole party passed, remaining open. Any intrusion upon this privacy, in the presence of so many spectators, was hardly to be thought of as possible. Every day of his life in Washington, the President had been in positions far more inviting to murderous malice or Rebel conspiracy.
During the hour that followed Mr. Lincoln's entrance into the theater, his attention seemed to be unusually absorbed in the scenes before him. His countenance indicated an appreciation of the lively caricature in which the good-humored audience manifested a high degree of delight. Yet it may safely bo affirmed that there was, in his mind, a strong undercurrent of quite other thoughts and emotions than those which had to do with this mock presentation of human lifo and man