Page images

instead of crushing a "tyrant” he had murdered a lenient friend. Instead of his name upon the scroll of fame, he was to be ranked with Cain and Judas and the outcasts of all time--accursed of God and man.

Booth and Harold made their way from place to place, finding shelter at last in the barn of Mr. Garrett, near Bowling Green, on the Rappa

hannock. At midnight a company of soldiers surrounded the April 25, building. When called upon to surrender Harold complied;

Booth refused, and the barn was set on fire. The flames revealed his position to Sergeant Corbett, who sent a bullet through the assassin's brain. The final scene of the tragedy was in the yard of the Old Capitol Prison — the execution of Payne, Harold, Atzerodt, and Mrs. Surratt. Arnold, McLaughlin, Dr. Mudd, and lesser accomplices were imprisoned at Key West. Quick had been Nemesis. John H. Surratt alone escaped. He went to Canada, from thence to Europe, enlisted as a soldier in the service of the Pope, deserted, and fled to Egypt. Vigilant eyes followed him. He was arrested, brought to the United States, and tried; but the jury disagreed.

It was suspected, but could not be definitely proven, that Jacob Thompson, in Canada, agent of the Confederacy, supplied Booth with money. Neither could it be certainly demonstrated that Jefferson Davis or Secretary Benjamin were acquainted with or gave countenance to Booth's intentions. But the historic facts will ever remain that the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was contemplated before his first inauguration; that it was never lost sight of during the war by persons hostile to him; that he received many letters containing threats against his life. It was no sudden impulse on the part of Booth, but a crime deliberately planned and executed.


(1) The persons present at the death of President Lincolu were Mrs. Lincoln, Robert Lincoln, Secretaries Stanton, Welles, McCullough, Usher, Dennison, and Speed ; Generals Halleck, Meigs, Farnsworth, Auger, and Todd ; Senator Sumner, Rev. Mr. Gurley, Schuyler Colfax, Governor Farwell, Judges Cartter and Otto, Surgeon-general Barnes, Drs. Stone, Crane, and Teale; Major John Hay, and Maunsell B. Field.

(°) Jacob Thompson to Secretary Benjamin. Letter dated at Toronto, C. W., December 8, 1864. Unpublished Confederate Archives.

(°) Senator W. I. Oldham to Jefferson Davis, February 11, 1865. Unpublished Confederate Archives.

(*) Pitman, “Report of Conspiracy Trials," p. 51.

(5) Mrs. Surratt resided at 541 H Street. She also owned an estate at Surrattsville, on the road leading to Port Tobacco.





THE world stood aghast at the tragic death of Abraham Lincoln.

Church bells tolled, business ceased, workmen left their occupations. The marts of trade were deserted. Strong men were overcome by their emotions. Rulers had been assassinated in other lands, but never before in the New World.

Easter Sunday dawned upon a people stricken with grief. The day April 16, was not given to joy and gladness commemorating the rising of

1865. the worid's Redeemer from the tomb, but to lamentations for the martyred redeemer of the republic.

Everywhere the great sorrow of the people was manifested by emblems of mourning. There was touching pathos in the attempts of the poorest to express their grief by draping their homes.

A regiment of colored soldiers, freed from slavery and made citizens by the Emancipation Proclamation, formed the escort of the funeral procession from the White House to the church where Mr. Lincoln had worshipped, and from thence, after appropriate religious service, to the Capitol. In its rotunda thousands looked once more upon the peaceful face. Illinois claimed that the last resting-place of her greatest citizen should be at Springfield. The route thither was the one travelled by Mr. Lincoln on his journey to Washington when about to assume the duties of the Presidential office. Generals of the Army, admirals of the Navy, deputations from the Senate and House of Representatives formed a guard of honor. Far different the reception in Baltimore from that of 1861. Then, conspirators planning his death; now, the highest possible honor.

The State of Pennsylvania officially expressed its bereavement in the Capitol at Harrisburg. At Philadelphia, Mr. Lincoln had said in Independence Hall he would rather be assassinated than surrender the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Speechless now his lips, yet never before had they been so eloquent. Then, uncer


tainty; now, the country saved. Then, readiness to give his life; now, the life given.

In New York half a million people gazed upon the inanimate form. In the Capitol at Albany, at Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo thousands manifested their sorrow. People congregated at intermediate towns to catch a glimpse of the passing train. No edifice at Cleveland could contain the multitude. The States of Ohio and Indiana rendered homage to the greatness of Abraham Lincoln in the Capitols at Columbus and Indianapolis. At Chicago a countless throng passed through the corridors of the Court - house, where his body lay in state. In the Capitol at Springfield his old friends and acquaintances beheld in the benignity of his countenance the benediction, “ With malice toward none, with charity for all.”

At last the coffin-lid was closed. Simple the ceremonies at the tomb May 14, in Oak Ridge Cemetery: a hymn, a prayer, a brief address, and

the reading of the second inaugural of the departed President. No words could be more appropriate.

All the world laid wreaths upon the bier of Abraham Lincoln-Sovereign and subject, crowned and uncrowned, emperor, king, czar, sultan, pasha ; monarchy, republic, commonwealth, city, and town; people of every race and clime. No other ruler ever had such apotheosis. Statesman, orator, journalist, and poet came with their immortelles.

Through the war the aristocracy of England and the mercantile interests of that country, for commercial gain, sided with the South; but lords and commoners, rising in their seats, expressed their horror at the crime, and gave condolence to the republic.

“If any one was able to relieve the pain and animosities which prevailed it was Abraham Lincoln," the words of Lord John Russell.

"In the character of this victim," said Disraeli, “in the accessories of his last moments, there is something so homely and innocent that it takes the question out of all the pomp of history and the ceremonial of diplomacy; it touches the heart of nations and appeals to the domestic sentiment of mankind.”

From the outbreak of the Rebellion the sympathies of the workingmen of England had been with the North. When the throbbing engines of the Lancashire manufacturers became motionless for want of cotton, when half a million men and women were seeking employment, when hunger was keenest and children crying for bread, they prayed for the success of the North. By a heaven-born instinct they comprehended that the men upholding the flag of the Union were fighting a battle for



[From a photograph taken by the author in 1890.)

all the world. The working-men of London sent these words to the people of the United States :

“Abraham Lincoln has endeared himself to his country and mankind, especially to the toiling millions of the civilized world. The loss of such a man is ours as well as yours. He is enshrined in the hearts of the laborers of all countries as one of the few uncrowned monarchs of the world."

“A man," reads the tribute of the Working-men's International Association, “neither to be brow beaten by adversity nor intoxicated by success, slowly maturing his steps, never retracing them; carried away by no surge of popular favor, disheartened by no slacking of the popular pulse ; illuminating scenes dark with passion by the smile of humor; doing his Titanic work as humbly and truly as heaven-born rulers do little things; who succeeded in becoming great without ceasing to be good. The world only discovered him a hero after he had fallen a martyr.” Robert Leighton, poet, wrote:

“Rest to the uncrowned king, who, toiling, brought

His bleeding country through a dreadful reign ;
Wbo, living, earned a world's revering thought,

And dying, leaves his name without a stain."

Said the “ Bradford Review:” “The great, pure, single-hearted man, who, with unequalled moral courage and absolute perseverance, had steered the vessel of State through such a time of trial as the world never before witnessed."

“ We doubt," said the “Dublin Freemen's Journal," " whether modern history contains a grander character than the humble lawyer of Illinois. His public virtues shone as brightly as his private worth, and both made him the best beloved man in the United States."

“History,” said the “ London Daily News," “ will respect him as actuated by an abiding sense of duty, as striving to be faithful in his service of God and of man, as possessed with deep moral earnestness, and as endowed with vigorous common sense and faculty for dealing with affairs."

Said the “ London Star:” “ With a firm faith in his God, his country, and his principles of freedom for all men, whatever their color and condition, he has stood unmoved amid the shock of armies and the clamors of factions. Ile quailed not when defeat in the field seemed to herald the triumph of the foe. He boasted not of victory, nor sought to arrogate to himself the honors of the great deeds which have resounded through the world; but, gentle and modest as he was great and good, he took the chaplet from his own brow to place it on the lowly graves of the soldiers, whose blood has been so liberally poured forth to consecrate the soil of America to freedom. He dies and makes no sign, but the impress of his noble character and aims will be borne by his country

« PreviousContinue »