Shot of the Assassin
Threats of AssassinationHis RemarksObjected to GuardsColonel Halpine's AppealPlot to Abduct himRobert Lincoln's ReturnFord's TheatreAshmun and ColfaxThe Fatal ShotThe AssassinFearful ExcitementSeward WoundedDeathbed SceneTerrible NightThe AssassinAssassin CaughtA Fact about BoothLincoln and William of OrangeDescription of the Nation's SorrowThe SabbathVengeance in New YorkGarfield's WordsGrief of Coloured PeopleLetter from Charleston, S.C.A Friend's Story down SouthForeign SympathyVictoriaEugenieFranceItalyBelgium, etc.Tributes of Bancroft and Speaker Colfax
From the time of Mr. Lincolns nomination for the Presidency, as we have seen, fears of his assassination prevailed among his friends. The President himself had reason to believe that he was in danger of being shot, for he had a package of threatening letters, which he had appropriately labelled, Assassination Letters, and laid away. His attention was often called to the subject by anxious friends. On being remonstrated with for unnecessarily exposing himself, he replied, without denying his danger:
Soon after I was nominated at Chicago, I began to receive letters threatening my life. The first one or two made me a little uncomfortable, but I came at length to look for a regular instalment of this kind of correspondence in every weeks mail, and up to Inauguration Day I was in constant receipt of such letters. It is no uncommon thing to receive them now; but they have ceased to give me apprehension.
Surprise was expressed that he could be indifferent to a peril that his friends considered imminent, and he answered,
Oh, there is nothing like getting used to things!
A cavalry guard was once placed at the gates of the White House, but was removed at his request. I worried until I got rid of it, he said to a friend.
He once remarked to Colonel Halpine, It will never do for a President to have guards with drawn sabres at his door, as if he fancied he were, or were trying to be, or were assuming to be, an emperor.
Once he went to General Hallecks private quarters and protested against a detachment of cavalry, detailed, without his request, by General Wadsworth, to guard his carriage going to and from the Soldiers Home. He remarked, facetiously, yet earnestly,
Why, Mrs. Lincoln and I cannot hear ourselves talk for the clatter of their sabres and spurs; and some of them appear to be new hands and very awkward, so that I am more afraid of being shot by the accidental discharge of a carbine or revolver, than of any attempt upon my life by a roving squad of Stewarts cavalry.
Very much in the same vein he replied to Colonel Halpine, who was trying to show him his exposure even in the White House, saying,
There are two dangers, the danger of deliberate political assassination, and the mere brute violence of insanity.
The President replied, as related by Mr. Carpenter,
Now as to political assassination, do you think the Richmond people would like to have Hannibal Hamlin here any better than myself? In that one alternative, I have an insurance on my life worth half the prairie land of Illinois. And besides,this more gravely,if there were such a plot, and they wanted to get at me, no vigilance could keep them out. We are so mixed up in our affairs, thatno matter what the system establisheda conspiracy to assassinate, if such there were, could easily obtain a pass to see me for any one or more of its instruments.
To betray fear of this, by placing guards or so forth, would only be to put the idea into their heads, and, perhaps, lead to the very result it was intended to prevent. As to the crazy folks, Major, why I must only
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