take my chances,the most crazy people at present, I fear, being some of my own too zealous adherents. That there may be such dangers as you and many others have suggested to me, is quite possible; but I guess it wouldnt improve things any to publish that we were afraid of them in advance.
At one time there was undoubted proof of a rebel plot to abduct Mr. Lincoln, or kill him in the attempt, as there was at one time to capture or kill George Washington; and when the facts were laid before him he replied,
Well, even if true, I do not see what the rebels would gain by either killing or getting possession of me. I am but a single individual, and it would not help their cause, or make the least difference in the progress of the war.
On the morning of April 14th, 1865, the Presidents son, Captain Robert T. Lincoln, returned from the army, and spent an hour in giving his father a detailed account of Lees surrender. At the same time, also, he received a letter from General Owen Allen, of New York, entreating him not to expose his life again, as he did by going to Richmond, to which he replied,
I intend to adopt the advice of my friends, and use due precaution.
The 14th of April was a holiday for the loyal people; for it was the anniversary of the evacuation of Fort Sumter, just four years before; and the day had been set apart for the restoration of the old flag to its former place over the fort. The ceremony, with speeches, music, cannon, and other demonstrations of joy, at Charleston, S. C., was witnessed by a great concourse of loyal men from every part of the land.
A special programme for the evening of that day was announced at Fords Theatre, and President Lincoln, General Grant, and other public men in the city were invited; and it was announced in the public journals that these dignitaries would be present.
Mr. Ashmun and Mr. Colfax were with him when his carriage was driven to the gate. The latter gentleman was to leave in the morning for California, Mr. Ashmun had important business to lay before the President; and, before entering his carriage, the latter wrote upon a card:
Allow Mr. Ashmun and friend to come in at nine a.m. tomorrow.
These were the last words he wrote. Passing out to his carriage, he said to Mr. Colfax,
Do not forget to tell the people of the mining regions what I told you this morning about the development when peace comes.
After being seated in his carriage, and the horses started, he added, I will telegraph you, Colfax, at San Francisco.
It was twenty minutes to nine oclock when he entered the theatre, accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln, Miss. Harris, and Major Rathbone. General Grant had been called to Philadelphia.
The vast audience rose to their feet, and made such a demonstration in honour of their chief as was possible only by those who appreciated the end of the war and the reign of peace.
An hour afterwards the crack of a pistol startled the audience, although, at first, many thought it was a part of the entertainment. A shriek from Mrs. Lincoln, and the leap of the assassin from the Presidents private box to the stage, however, assured them that a real tragedy had been enacted. The murderer exclaimed, as he leaped to the stage:
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|