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Cabinet Meeting Held.
Interview with Mr. Colfax,
sentatives, was in the Executive Mansion, invited the latter to a chat in the reception-room, and during the following hour the talk turned upon his future policy toward the rebellion-a matter which he was about to submit to his Cabinet.
After an interview with John P. Hale, then recently appointed Minister to Spain, as well as with several Senators and Representatives, a Cabinet meeting was held, at eleven o'clock, General Grant being present, which proved to be one of the most satisfactory and important consultations held since his first inauguration. The future policy of the Administration was harmoniously and unanimously agreed upon, and upon the adjournment of the meeting the Secretary of War remarked that the Government was then stronger than at any period since the commencement of the rebellion.
It was afterwards remembered that at this meeting the President turned to General Grant and asked him if he had heard from General Sherman. General Grant replied that he had not, but was in hourly expectation of receiving dispatches from him, announcing the surrender of Johnston.
“Well,” said the President, “you will bear very soon now, and the news will be important."
"Why do you think so ?" said the General..
“Because," said Mr. Lincoln, “I had a dream last night, and ever since the war began I have invariably had the same dream before any very important military event has occurred.” He then instanced Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, etc., and "said that before each of these events he had had the same dream, and turning to Secretary Welles, said:
“It is in your line, too, Mr. Welles. The dream is that I saw a ship sailing very rapidly, and I am sure that it portends some important national event.”
In the afternoon, a long and pleasant conversation was held with eminent citizens from Illinois
In the evening, during a talk with Messrs. Colfax and Asbman-the latter of whom presided at the Chicago Con
Possibility of Assassination.
Kindness of Heart.
Messrs. Ashman and Cclfax.
vention, in 1860-speaking about his trip to Richmond, when the suggestion was made that there was much uneasiness at the North wbile he was at what had been the rebel capital, for fear that some traitor might shoot him, Mr. Lincoln portively replied, that he would have been alarmed himself, other
person had been President and gone there, but that, as for himself, he did not feel in any danger whatever.
This possibility of an assassination had been presented before to the President's mind, but it had not occasioned him a moment's uneasiness. A member of bis Cabinet one day said to him, “Mr. Lincoln, you are not sufficiently careful of yourself. There are bad men in Washington. Did it never occur to you that there are rebels among us who are bad enough to attempt your life ?” The President stepped to a desk and drew from a pigeon-hole a package of letters. “There,” said he, “every one of these contains a threat to assassinate me. I might be nervous, if I were to dwell upon the subject, but I have come to this conclusion: there are opportunities to kill me every day of my life, if there are persons disposed to do it. It is not possible to avoid exposure to such a fate, and I shall not trouble myself about it."
Upon the evening alluded to, while conversing upon a matter of business with Mr. Ashman, he saw that the latter was surprised at a remark which he had made, when, prompted by his well-known desire to avoid any thing offensive, he immediately said, “You did not understand me, Ashman : I did not mean what you inferred, and I will take it all back, and apologize for it.” He afterward gave Mr. A. a card, admitting himself and friend for a further conversation early in the morning.
Turning to Mr. Colfax, he said, “ You are going with Mrs. Lincoln and me to the theatre, I hope." The President and General Grant had previously accepted an invitation to be present that evening at Ford's Theatre, but the General had
Messrs. Ashman and Colfax.
Goes to the Theatre.
The Assassin's Precautions.
been obliged to leave for the North. Mr. Lincoln did not like to entirely disappoint the audience, as the announcement had been publicly made, and had determined to fulfil his acceptance.
Mr. Colfax, however, declining on account of other engagements, Mr. Lincoln said to him, “Mr. Sumner has the gavel of the Confederate Congress, which he got at Richmond to hand to the Secretary of War. But I insisted then that be must give it to you; and you tell him for me to hand it over.” Mr. Ashman alluded to the gavel, still in his possession, which he bad used at Chicago; and about half an hour after the time they had intended to leave for the theatre, the President and Mrs. Lincoln rose to depart, the former reluctant and speaking about remaining at home a half hour longer.
At the door he stopped and said, “Colfax, do not forget to tell the people in the mining regions, as you pass through them, what I told you this morning about the development when peace comes, and I will telegraph you at San Francisco." Having shaken bands with both gentlemen and bidden them a pleasant good-bye, the President with his party left for the theatre.
The box occupied by them was on the second tier above the stage, at the right of the audience, the entrance to it being by a door from the adjoining gallery. One, who had planned Mr. Lincoln's assassination with extraordinary precautions against any failure, having effected an entrance by deceiving the guard, found himself in a dark corridor, of wbich tbe wall made an acute angle with the door. The assassin had previously gouged a channel from the plaster and piaced near by a stout piece of board, which he next inserted between the wall and the panel of the door.
Ingress then being rendered impossible, he next turned toward the entrances to the President's box, two in number, as the box by a sliding partition could, at pleasure, be converted into two. The door at the bottom of the passage was
The Assassin's Precantions,
The Pistol Shot.
open; that nearer the assassin was closed. Both had springlocks, but their screws had been carefully loosened so as to yield to a slight pressure, if necessary.
Resort was had to the hither door, in which a small hole had been bored, for the purpose of securing a view of the interior of the box, the door first described having first been fastened, and the discovery made that the occupants had taken seats as follows: the President in the arm-chair nearest the audience, Mrs. Lincoln next, then, after a considerable space, a Miss Clara Harris in the corner nearest the stage, and a Major H. R. Rathbone on a lounge along the further wall.
The play was, “Our American Cousin." While all were intent upon its representation, the report of a pistol first announced the presence of the assassin, who uttered the word “Freedom !” and advanced toward the front. The Major having discerned the murderer through the smoke, and grappled with him, the latter dropped his pistol and aimed with a knife at the breast of his antagonist, who caught the blow in the upper part of his left arm, but was unable to detain the desperado, though he immediately seized him again. The villain, however, leaped some twelve feet down upon the open stage, tangling his spur in the draped flag below the box and stumbling in his fall.
Recovering himself immediately, he flourished his dagger, shouted "Sic semper tyrannis" and "The South is avenged," retreated successfully ubrough the labyrinth of the theatreperfectly familiar to him—to his horse in waiting below. Between the deed of blood and the escape there was not the lapse of a minute. The hour was about half-past ten. There was but one pursuer, and he from the audience, but he was outstripped.
The meaning of the pistol-shot was soon ascertained. Mr. Lincoln bad been shot in the back of the head, bebind che left ear, the ball traversing an oblique line to the right
Death of the President.
Grief of his Family.
ear. He was rendered instantly unconscious, and never knew friends or pain again. Having been conveyed as soon as possible to a house opposite the theatre, be expired there the next morning, April fifteenth, 1865, at twenty-two minutes past seven o'clock, attended by the principal members of his Cabinet and other friends, from all of whom the heartrending spectacle drew copious tears of sorrow. Mrs. Lincoln and her son Robert were in an adjoining apartmentthe former bowed down with anguish, the latter strong enough to sustain and console her. A disconsolate widow and two sons now constituted the entire family. Soon after nine o'clock, the body was removed to the White House under military escort.
Thus ended the earthly career of Abrabam Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, on the threshold of his fifty-seventh year and second Presidential term.
"Sic semper tyrannis !” And this the justification for the murder of a ruler who had
-borne his faculties so meek, had been
The deep damnation of his taking-off.” “The South avenged !" And by the cold-blooded murder of the best friend that repentant rebels ever had—of one who bad long withstood the pressing appeals of his warmest personal and political friends for less lenity and more rigor in dealing with traitors.
It was written in the decrees of the Immutable that he should fall by the bullet-not, indeed, on the battle-field, whose sad suggestings he had so often, and so tenderly, lovingly heeded—but in the midst of his family, while seek ing relief from the cares of state—and by a murderer's hand ! -the first President to meet such a fate—thenceforth our martyr-chief!
But sorrow was tempered with mercy. He did not fall