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“ Have you engaged this man to dig a drain for you ?” the question put to Mrs. Surratt.
“Before God, I do not know him—never saw him before. I have not hired him,” Mrs. Surratt replied, lifting her right hand that the officer might know she was swearing a solemn oath. Little did she mistrust that her words and acts would lead to the conviction of both herself and Payne as conspirators in the terrible crime.
The military authorities had little difficulty in getting upon the track of Booth and Harold. The trail began at the bridge across the Eastern Branch. The besotted tavern - keeper of Surrattsville, fearing he might be implicated, voluntarily came and told all he knew. The trail led to Port Tobacco. Soldiers were searching houses and scouring the woods. Gunboats were passing up and down the Potomac. Several times Jones had attempted to ferry them to the Virginia shore in the night and had turned back, but at last succeeded. In Maryland, Booth found those who gave hearty hospitality. He was greatly disappointed at not receiving a like welcome across the Potomac. He had struck the blow to avenge the South, and was chagrined and angered by the coldness of his reception.
[0. Dark corridor leading from the dress-circle to box.-H. Entrance to corridor.-I. The bar used by Booth
to prevent entrance from without.–J. Dress-circle.-K. The parquette.-L. The foot-lights. —M. The stage.-F. Open door to the President's box.-G. Closed door.-N. Place where Booth vaulted over to the stage below.]
“Friday, April 21.-After being hunted like a dog through swamps and woods, and last night chased by gunboats till I was forced to return, wet, cold, and starving, with every man's hand against me, I am here in despair! And why? For doing what Brutus was honored for-what made Tell a hero. ... I struck for my country and that alone-a country ground beneath his tyranny. And yet now behold the cold hand they extend to me."
From those who gave him food he obtained newspapers, and learned that his fellow-actor, Mathews, bad burned the article which had been
[From a photograph taken at the time.)
intended for publication. So, then, the world would never read his vindication of himself. During the days while hiding in the thickets, his ear open to every sound, his intellect alert, conscience arraigned him. He stood before the Great White Throne, the Judgment- seat of the Universe.
“I am abandoned, with the curse of Cain upon me,” the entry in his diary.
Vanity put in its specious plea for self-justification.
“If the world knew my heart, that one blow would make me great, he wrote.
By no such pleading could he set aside the universal verdict that
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.
NOTES TO CHAPTER XXVIII.
(?) The persons present at the death of President Lincoln were Mrs. Lincoln, Robert Lincoln, Secretaries Stanton, Welles, McCullough, Usher, Dennison, and Speed ; Generals Halleck, Meigs, Farnsworth, Anger, 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.
(2) 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.
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 world'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 hom. age 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-sorereign 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