Biographies & Memoirs

Appendix

RE-CREATION OF HARPER’S WEEKLY

The April 29, 1865, edition of Harper’s Weekly was entirely devoted to the assassination and death of Abraham Lincoln. The edition went to the printers just hours after word reached Washington that John Wilkes Booth had been located and shot dead. This gives the writers’ words an urgency and heartfelt emotion that allow modern readers to gain a very real sense of how the nation was reacting to Lincoln’s death. On the day that it came out, Lincoln’s funeral train was traveling from Cleveland to Columbus, Ohio, and the trial of the conspirators had not yet begun. The nation was still very much at a loss over how to deal with this national tragedy. Here we reprint the entire text of the article “The Murder of the President” as it appeared in that edition.

e9781429996877_i0038.jpg

THE MURDER OF THE PRESIDENT.

The Fourteenth of April is a dark day in our country’s calendar. On that day four years ago the national flag was for the first time lowered at the bidding of traitors. Upon that day, after a desperate conflict with treason for four long, weary years—a conflict in which the nation had so far triumphed that she breathed again in the joyous prospect of coming peace—her chosen leader was stricken down by the foul hand of the cowardly assassin. Exultation that had known no bounds was exchanged for boundless grief. The record upon which had been inscribed all sorts of violence possible to the most malignant treason that ever sought to poison a nation’s heart had been almost written full. But not quite full. Murder had run out its category of possible degrees against helpless loyalists in the South, against women and children whose houses had been burned down over their heads, and against our unfortunate prisoners, who had been tortured and literally starved to death. But there still remained one victim for its last rude stroke—one victim for whom, it was whispered in rebel journals South and North, there was still reserved the dagger of a BRUTUS. Beaten on every field of recognized warfare, treason outdid its very self, and killed our President.

e9781429996877_i0039.jpg

The man who lent himself to traitors for this vile purpose was JOHN WILKES BOOTH, who sold himself, it may be, partly for the pieces of silver, but chiefly for the infamous notoriety attaching to such an act. There was an ancient villain who deliberately purposed to perpetuate the memory of his name among men by an act of awful sacrilege—a sacrilege so striking as never to be forgotten—and he burned the temple of the Ephesian Diana. EROSTRATUS gained his end, and has been remembered accordingly. A memory far more detestable is in store for JOHN WILKES BOOTH, who dared, by the commission of an infinitely greater sacrilege, to bring a whole people to tears.

He was the third son born in America of the eminent English tragedian JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH. There were three brothers, JUNIUS BRUTUS, Jun., EDWIN, and JOHN WILKES, all of whom inherited a predilection for the stage. EDWIN, however, is the only one of these who has attained a very eminent position as an actor, and he is probably surpassed by no living man. In justice to him it is proper here to state that he is true and loyal, and exacts our sincerest sympathy. The elder BOOTH, father of these three actors, died thirteen years ago. He passed the quieter portion of his life upon his farm, in Harford County, some thirty miles from Baltimore. JOHN WILKES BOOTH, the murderer, was born in 1839, and is now only twenty-six years of age. He went upon the stage at the early age of seventeen, simply as JOHN WILKES. As stock actor he gained a fair reputation, and afterward assuming his full name, he began a more ambitious career. But, partly on account of his dissolute habits, he never achieved a marked success. He performed chiefly in the South and West. He has appeared but few times before a New York audience. In person he bears considerable resemblance to his father. His eyes are dark and large; his hair of the same color, inclined to curl; his features finely molded; his form tall, and his address pleasing. He abandoned his profession recently on account of a bronchial affection. It is said that he has frequently threatened to kill President LINCOLN. His companions have been violent Secessionists, and there are doubtless many others involved to a greater or less degree in his crime. The attempt to assassinate Secretary SEWARD was made probably by an accomplice. It is supposed that Secretary STANTON and ANDREW JOHNSON were to have been added to the list of victims. The latter, at least, received on Friday a card from BOOTH, but was not at home.

Those who were acquainted with BOOTH’S movements on the fatal Friday say that his manner was restless. He knew that the President and his party intended to be present at Ford’s Theatre in the evening. He asked an acquaintance if he should attend the performance, remarking that if he did he would see some unusually fine acting. It was the general expectation that General GRANT would form one of the President’s party, and there are many who suppose that a blow was intended for him as well as the President. The latter had passed the day in the usual manner. In the morning his son, Capt. ROBERT LINCOLN, breakfasted with him.—The Captain had just returned from the capitulation of ROBERT E. LEE, and the President listened with great interest to his narration of the detailed circumstances. After breakfast he conversed for an hour with Speaker COLFAX about his future policy as to the rebellion which he was about to submit to his Cabinet. At 11 o‘clock the Cabinet met. Both the President and General GRANT were present. Having spent the afternoon with Governor OGLESBY, Senator YATES, and other leading citizens of his State, he went to the theatre in the evening with Mrs. LINCOLN, in order to unite in the general expression of popular joy for our late victories. The party consisted of Mrs. Senator HARRIS and daughter, and Major HENRY RATHBONE, Of Albany. They arrived at ten minutes before nine o’clock, and occupied a private box over-looking the stage. The play for the evening was The American Cousin.

BOOTH came upon his errand at about 10 o’clock. He left his horse in charge at the rear of the theatre, and made his way to the President’s box. This box is a double one, in the second tier at the left of the stage. When occupied by the Presidential party the separating partition is removed, and the two boxes are thus thrown into one. We give an accurate plan of the box on page 259.—According to Major RATHBONE’S statement, the assassin must have made his preparations in the most deliberate manner beforehand. Of this fact there are at least four proofs, as we shall see: Stealthily approaching the dark passageway leading to the box, BOOTH, after having effected an entrance, closed the hall door, and then, taking a piece of board which he had prepared for the occasion, placed one end of it in an indentation excavated in the wall, about four feet from the floor, and the other against the moulding of the door-panel a few inches higher. He thus made it impossible for any one to enter from without; and securing himself against intrusion in that direction, he proceeded to the doors of the box. There were two of those. Here also the villain had carefully provided before hand the means by which he might, unnoticed himself, observe the position of the parties inside. With a gimlet, or small bit, he had bored a hole in the door-panel, which he afterward reamed out with his knife, so as to leave it a little larger than a buck-shot on the inside, while on the other side it was sufficiently large to give his eye a wide range. To secure against the doors being locked (they both had spring-locks), he had loosened the screws with which the bolt-hasps were fastened. In regard to the next stage of BOOTH’S movements there is some degree of uncertainty. He had been noticed as he passed through the dress-circle by a Mr. FERGUSON, who was sitting on the opposite side of the theatre. This man knew BOOTH, and recognized him. He had been talking with him a short time before. FERGUSON states that when BOOTH reached the door of the corridor leading from the dress-circle to the boxes he halted, “took off his hat, and, holding it in his left hand, leaned against the wall behind him.” After remaining thus for the space of half a minute, “he stepped down one step, put his hand on the door of the little corridor leading to the box, bent his knee against it,” when the door opened and BOOTH entered. After his entrance to the corridor he was of course invisible to FERGUSON, and, before the fatal shot, was probably seen by no one but the sentry at the door of the corridor. The latter he is said to have passed on the plea that the President had sent for him. What passed before the shot is only conjecturable. He made his observations, doubtless, through the aperture in the door provided for that purpose. And here we come upon another proof of a deliberately-prepared plan. The very seats in the box had been arranged to suit his purpose, either by himself or, as is more likely, by some attache of the theatre in complicity with him. The President sat in the left-hand corner of the box, nearest the audience, in an easy armchair. Next to him, on the right, sat Mrs. LINCOLN, Some distance to the right of both Miss HARRIS was seated, with Major RATHBONE at her left and a little in the rear of Mrs. LINCOLN. BOOTH rapidly surveyed the situation. The play had reached the second scene of the third act. Mrs. LINCOLN, intent on the play, was leaning forward, with one hand resting on her husband’s knee. The President was leaning upon one hand, and with the other was adjusting a portion of the drapery, his face wearing a pleasant smile as it was partially turned to the audience. As to the act of assassination, there are two conflicting statements. According to one, BOOTH fired through the door at the left, which was closed. But this seems to have been unnecessary; and it is far more probable that he entered rapidly through the door at the right, and the next moment fired. The ball entered just behind the President’s left ear, and though not producing instantaneous death completely obliterated all consciousness.

Major RATHBONE hearing the report, saw the assassin about six feet distant from the President, and encountered him; but BOOTH shook off his grasp. The latter had dropped his weapon—an ordinary pocket-pistol—and had drawn a long glittering knife, with which he inflicted a wound upon the Major; and then, resting his left hand upon the railing, vaulted over easily to the stage, eight or nine feet below. As he passed between the folds of the flag decorating the box, his spur, which he wore on the right heel, caught the drapery and brought it down. He crouched as he fell, falling upon one knee, but quickly gained an up-right position, and staggered in a theatrical manner across the stage, brandishing his knife, and shouting, “Sic semper tyrannis!” He made his exit by the “tormentor” on the opposite side of the stage, passing MISS KEENE as he went out. The villain succeeded in making his escape without arrest. In this he was probably assisted by accomplices and by MOSBY’S guerillas.

The President was immediately removed to the house of Mr. PETER-SON, opposite the theatre, where he died at twenty-two minutes past seven the next morning, never having recovered his consciousness since the fatal shot. In his last hours he was attended by his wife and his son ROBERT, and prominent members of his Cabinet. His death has plunged the nation into deepest mourning, but his spirit still animates the people for whom he died.

A DIRGE.

LOWER the starry flag Amid a sovereign people’s lamentation For him the honored ruler of the nation;

Lower the starry flag!

Let the great bells be toll’d Slowly and mournfully in every steeple, Let them make known the sorrow of the people;

Let the great bells be toll’d!

Lower the starry flag, And let the solemn, sorrowing anthem, pealing, Sound from the carven choir to fretted ceiling; Lower the starry flag!

Let the great bells be toll’d,

And let the mournful organ music, rolling, Tune with the bells in every steeple tolling;

Let the great bells be toll’d!

Lower the starry flag;

The nation’s honored chief in death is sleeping, And for our loss our eyes are wet with weeping; Lower the starry flag!

Let the great bells be toll’d;

His honest, manly heart has ceased its beating, His lips no more shall speak the kindly greeting;

Let the great bells be toll’d!

Lower the starry flag;

No more shall sound his voice ‘in scorn of error, Filling the traitor’s heart with fear and terror; Lower the starry flag!

Let the great bells be toll’d;

He reverenced the gift which God has given, Freedom to all, the priceless boon of Heaven, Let the great bells be toll’d!

Lower the starry flag;

Hit dearest hopes were wedded with’ the nation, He valued more than all the land’s salvation;

Lower the starry flag!

Let the great bells be toll’d;

His name shall live on History’s brightest pages, His voice shall sound through Time’s remotest ages; Let the great bells be toll’d!

A NATION’S GRIEF.

AH! Grief doth follow fast on Victory! The victors’ shout is lost in silence, deep—Too deep for our poor human utterance. The jubilant flags that only yesterday Were the bright heralds of a nation’s gain, Now droop at half-mast for her woeful loss. Our foremost Hero fallen, sore at heart we lie Prostrate, in tears, at our dear Lincoln’s grave!

The dust of our great Leader, kissed to rest, And folded to our hearts, is there inurned, Beyond the breath of scandal, in sweet peace. Wounded with his wound, our hearts receive The mantle of his spirit as it flies.

His words remain to us our sacred Law: Do we not hear them from the Capitol?—

“Malice toward none, with charity for all!”

The blow at Sumter touched us not so much With grief, or awe of treason, as this last—This cruelest thrust of all at his dear head, Which with spent rage the baffled serpent aimed. It is the world’s old story, told again,

That they who bruise the serpent’s venomed head Must bear, even as Christ did, its last foul sting, Taking the Savior’s Passion with His Crown!

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans; to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.“—Last Words of President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural.

HARPER’S WEEKLY. 

SATURDAY, 

APRIL 29,1865. 

Abraham Lincoln.

GREATER love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ABRAHAM LINCOLN has done that. He has sealed his service to his country by the last sacrifice. On the day that commemorates the great sorrow which Christendom reveres, the man who had no thought, no wish, no hope but the salvation of his country, laid down his life. Yet how many and many a heart that throbbed with inexpressible grief as the tragedy was told would gladly have been stilled forever if his might have beat on. So wise and good, so loved and trusted, his death is a personal blow to every faithful American household; nor will any life be a more cherished tradition, nor any name be longer and more tenderly beloved by this nation, than those of ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

On the 22d of February, 1861, as he raised the American flag over Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, he spoke of the sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty not only to this country, but, “I hope,” he said, “to the world for all future time.” Then, with a solemnity which the menacing future justified, and with a significance which subsequent events revealed, he added, “But if this country can not be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be assassinated upon this spot than surrender it.” The country has been saved by cleaving to that principle, and he has been assassinated for not surrendering it.

Called to the chief conduct of public affairs at a time of the greatest peril, he came almost unknown, but he brought to his great office a finer comprehension of the condition of the country than the most noted statesmen of all parties, and that sure instinct of the wiser popular will which made him the best of all leaders for a people about to maintain their own government in a civil war. Himself a child of the people, he lived and died their friend. His heart beat responsive to theirs. He knew their wants, their character, their powers, and knowing their will often better than they knew it themselves, he executed it with the certainty of their speedy approval. No American statesman ever believed more heartily than he the necessary truth of the fundamental American principle of absolute equality before the laws, or trusted with ampler confidence the American system of government. But he loved liberty too sincerely for passion or declamation. It was the strong, sturdy, Anglo-Saxon affection, not the Celtic frenzy.

With an infinite patience, and a dauntless tenacity, he was a man of profound principles but of no theories. This, with his insight and intuitive appreciation of the possibilities of every case, made him a consummate practical statesman. He saw farther and deeper than others because he saw that in the troubled time upon which he was cast little could be wholly seen. Experience so vindicated his patriotic sagacity that he acquired a curious ascendency in the public confidence; so that if good men differed from his opinion they were inclined to doubt their own. Principle was fixed as a star, hut policy must be swayed by the current. While many would have dared the fierce fury of the gale and have sunk the ship at once, he knew that there was a time to stretch every inch of canvas and a time to lay to. He was not afraid of “drifting.” In statesmanship prudence counts for more than daring. Thus it happened that some who urged him at the beginning of the war to the boldest measures, and excused what they called his practical faithlessness by his probable weakness, lived to feel the marrow of their bones melt with fear, and to beg him to solicit terms that would have destroyed the nation. But wiser than passion, more faithful than fury, serene in his devotion to the equal rights of men without which he knew there could hence-forth be no peace in this country, he tranquilly persisted, enduring the impatience of what seemed to some his painful delays and to others his lawless haste; and so, trusting God and his own true heart, he fulfilled his great task so well that he died more tenderly lamented than any ruler in history.

His political career, from his entrance into the Illinois Legislature to his last speech upon the Louisiana plan of reconstruction, is calmly consistent both in the lofty humanity of its aim and the good sense of its method, and our condition is the justification of his life. For the most malignant party opposition in our history crumbled before his spotless fidelity; and in his death it is not a party that loses a head, but a country that deplores a father. The good sense, the good humor, the good heart of ABRAHAM LINCOLNgradually united the Democracy that despised the “sentimentality of abolitionism,” and the abolitionism that abhorred the sneering inhumanity of “Democracy,” in a practical patriotism that has saved the country.

No one who personally knew him but will now feel that the deep, furrowed sadness of his face seemed to forecast his fate. The genial gentleness of his manner, his homely simplicity, the cheerful humor that never failed are now seen to have been but the tender light that played around the rugged heights of his strong and noble nature. It is small consolation that he dies at the moment of the war when he could best be spared, for no nation is ever ready for the loss of such a friend. But it is something to remember that he lived to see the slow day breaking. Like Moses he had marched with us through the wilderness. From the height of patriotic vision he beheld the golden fields of the future waving in peace and plenty out of sight. He beheld and blessed God, but was not to enter in. And we with bowed heads and aching hearts move forward to the promised land.

President Johnson.

No President has entered upon the duties of his office under circumstances so painful as those which surround ANDREW JOHNSON. The pause between the death of Mr. LINCOLN and the indication of the probable course of his successor is profoundly solemn. But there can be but one emotion in every true American heart, and that is, the most inflexible determination to support President JOHNSON, who is now the lawful head of a great nation emerging from terrible civil war, and entering upon the solemn duty of pacification.

ANDREW JOHNSON, like his predecessor, is emphatically a man of the people. He has been for many years in public life, and when the war began he was universally hailed as one of the truest and sturdiest of patriots. His former political association with the leaders of the Southern policy, his position as a Senator from a most important border State, indicated him to the conspirators as an invaluable ally, if he could be seduced to treason. If we are not misinformed, JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE under-took this task; and how he failed—how ANDREW JOHNSON upon the floor of the Senate denounced treason and traitors—is already historical. From that moment he was one of the firmest friends of the Government, and most ardent supporters of the late Administration. His relations with Mr. LINCOLN were peculiarly friendly; and when the news of ROSECRANS’s victory at Mill Spring reached the President at midnight, he immediately sent his secretary to tell the good news to Mr. JOHNSON.

He was appointed Military Governor of Tennessee upon the national occupation of that State, and for three years he has stood in that exposed point at the front, a faithful sentry. Formerly a slaveholder, and familiar with the public opinion of the border, he early saw the necessity of the emancipation war policy; and although in his addresses at the beginning of the war he spoke of it as still uncertain and prospective, his views ripened with those of the country, and when the policy was declared he supported it with the sincerity of earnest conviction.

His provisional administration of government in Tennessee, which was for some time debatable ground, was firm and faithful. By the necessity of the case he was the object of the envenomed hostility of the rebels and the bitterest opposition of the enemies of the Administration. The most serious charge of his exercise of arbitrary power was the severe oath as a qualification for voting which Governor JOHNSON approved before the Presidential election. When the remonstrants appealed to President LINCOLN, he replied that he was very sure Governor JOHNSON would do what was necessary and right. And while the opposition at the North was still loudly denouncing, JEFFERSON DAVIS, in one of his furious speeches in Georgia, after the fall of Atlanta, declared that there were thirty thousand men in Tennessee eager to take up arms the moment the rebel army appeared in the State. It was to prevent those thirty thousand from doing by their votes what they were ready to do by their arms that the oath was imposed. JEFFERSON DAVIS furnished the amplest justification for the action of Governor JOHNSON. President LINCOLN was reproached for the too conciliatory character of his “Border State policy.” Let it not be for-gotten that at the time when he was thought to be too much influenced by it he appointed Mr. JOHNSON Governor of Tennessee. That Governor JOHNSON’S course in the State was ape proved by the unconditional loyal men there is shown by the adoption of the new free constitution and the opening of the new era under the administration of Governor BROWNLOW.

Of a more ardent temperament than Mr. LINCOLN, whose passionless patience was sublime, Mr. JOHNSON has had a much sharper personal experience of the atrocious spirit of this rebellion. He has seen and felt the horrors of which we have only heard. The great guilt of treason is vividly present to his mind and memory, and his feeling toward the leaders who are morally responsible for this wasting war is one of stern hostility.

But the Governor of Tennessee in a most critical period of civil war is now President of the United States at a time when the war in the field is ending and the peace of a whole country is to be secured. What is the great truth that confronts him at the opening of his new career? It is that the policy of his predecessor had been so approved by the mind and heart of the country, had so disarmed hostility and melted prejudice, that the spirit of that policy has almost the sanctity of prescription.

That President JOHNSON will so regard it we have the fullest confidence. That what every loyal man sees, so strong and devoted a patriot as he will fail to see, is not credible. That the successor of ABRAHAM LINCOLN will adopt a policy of vengeance is impossible. Of the leading traitors, as he said a fortnight since, he holds that the punishment should be that which the Constitution imposes. “And on the other hand,” he added, “to the people who have been deluded and misled I would extend leniency and humanity, and an invitation to return to the allegiance they owe to the country.” These are not the words of passion, but of humanity and justice. They express what is doubtless the conviction of the great multitude of loyal citizens of the country. With a modest appeal for the counsel and assistance of the gentlemen who were the advisers of Mr. LINCOLN, and with calm reliance upon God and the people, he addresses himself to his vast responsibilities amidst the hopes and prayers and confidence of his country.

Mr. Seward.

THE bloody assault upon Secretary SEWARD, a “chivalric” blow struck at a man of sixty-five lying in his bed with a broken arm, has shown the country how precious to it is the life of a man who has been bitterly traduced by many of his former political friends since the war began. Before the shot was fired at Sumter, Mr SEWARD tried by some form of negotiation to prevent the outbreak of civil war. He was then—does Mr. HORACE GREELEY remember?—as-sailed with insinuations of treachery. Will Mr. HORACE GREELEY inform us how it was treacherous to try to prevent the war by negotiation with intending rebels, if, while the war was raging, it was patriotic to urge negotiation with rebels in arms? Will he also tell us whether it was more disloyal to the Union to recognize American citizens not yet in rebellion, or after they had slain thousands and thousands of brave men in blood and torture to call them “eminent Confederates?” Will he teach us why Mr. SEWARD was to be held up to public suspicion because he communicated with Judge CAMPBELL and recommended Mr. HAR-VEY as Minister to Portugal, while Mr. GREELEY calls one of the basest panders to this scourging war, a man who does his fighting by sending criminals from Canada to burn down theatres and hotels in New York full of women and children, “a distinguished American” of the other party in our civil war?

For four years Mr. SEWARD, as Secretary of State, has defended this country from one of the most constantly threatening perils, that of foreign war. His name in England is not beloved. But seconded by his faithful lieutenant, MrADAMS, he has maintained there the honor of the American name, and persistently asserted the undiminished sovereignty of the Government of the United States. In France, with the cool, clear, upright man who so fitly represented the simplicity and honesty of a popular Government, he has managed our relations with a skill that has protected us from most serious complications in Mexico. Engaged with the most unscrupulous and secret of modern diplomatists, Louis NAPOLEON, he has with admirable delicacy of skill prevented his interference in our domestic affairs. His dispatches have been free from bluster or timidity. They all show, what his life illustrates, a perfect serenity of faith in the final success of free institutions and the strength of a popular Government.

Like every man in the country, Mr. SEWARD has been taught by the war. None of us are the same. The views of every man have been modified. The course of some organs of public opinion-of the New York Tribune, for instance—is wonderful and incredible to contemplate. There have been times when Mr. SEWARD was thought by some to be a positive hindrance to the war, a nightmare in the Cabinet. The Senate, with questionable friendship to the country, upon one occasion is understood to have asked his removal. But the President could ill spare so calm a counselor and so adroit a statesman. That they often differed is beyond dispute, but the President knew the sagacity and experience of the Secretary, and the Secretary said the President was the best man he ever knew.

Such was the confidence and mutual respect of the relation between them that the country will regard Mr. SEWARD’S continuance in the Cabinet as a sign of the perpetuity of the spirit of President LINCOLN’S policy. Meanwhile, that he and his son, the able and courteous Assistant Secretary, lie grievously smitten by the blow that wrings the heart of the nation, a tender solicitude will wait upon their recovery. WILLIAM HENRY SEWARD has too faithfully and conspicuously served human liberty not to have earned a blow from the assassin hand of slavery. The younger generation of American citizens who, in their first manhood, followed his bugle-call into the ranks of those who strove against the infamous power whose dying throes have struck life from the President and joy from a triumphing nation, will not forget how valiant and beneficent his service has been, nor suffer the name so identified with the truest political instruction of this country to be long obscured by the clouds of calumny.

GREAT PAN IS DEAD.

THE New York Tribune, in a late issue, after reprinting the infamous rebel offer of a reward of a million of dollars for the assassination of Mr. LINCOLN, Mr. JOHNSON, and Mr. SEWARD, says: “such facts and the corresponding editorials of the rebel journals countenance the popular presumption that the late murderous outrages in Washington were incidents of a comprehensive plot whereto the rebel leaders were privy. The burglarious raid on St. Albans, the attempts simultaneously to fire our great hotels, and other acts wholly out of the pale of civilized warfare, tend to strengthen this conviction.”

In the next column the Editor speaks of the men who plotted the raid and the arson as “certain distinguished Americans” of the other “party to our civil war.”

Does not the editor of the Tribune see that nothing can more profoundly demoralize the public mind than to call the men who plot arson and massacre “distinguished Americans?” ABRAHAM LINCOLN and GEORGE WASHINGTON were distinguished Americans. Has the editor no other epithets for GEORGE N. SANDERS and JACOB THOMPSON and CLEMENT C. CLAY? Is there no such thing as crime? Are there no criminals? Is the assassin of the President a man impelled by “the conflict of ideas” to a mistaken act? Is there no treason? Are there no traitors? Does the editor of the Tribune really suppose that because it is not the wish nor the duty of the American people to visit the penalty of treason upon every man at the South who has been in rebellion, it is therefore the duty of wise and honest men to invite JEFFERSON DAVIS and WIGFALL into the Senate of the United States, or ROBERT E. LEE, BEAUREGARD, and JOE JOHNSTON into the army?

The Editor of the Tribune may bow down to the ground and grovel before “eminent Confederates;” but it is not from them that the pacification of the South is to proceed. The first step in peace is to emancipate the people of the South from their servile dependence upon the class of “gentlemen” which has first deluded and then ruined them. How can it be done if we affect that respect which no honest man can feel? If there is one suffering Union man in Alabama who has been outlawed and hunted and starved, who has lain all day cowering in swamps and woods, and at night has stolen out and crept for food to the faithful slaves upon the plantations—who has seen his house destroyed, his children murdered, his wife dishonored—who has endured every extremity of suffering, and still believed in God and the flag of his country—and who now, following WILSON ’s liberating march, has come safely to our lines at Mobile—if there be one such man, who knows that his cruel agony and the waste and desolation of his land have come from “the leaders” of his section, and sees that when they are worsted in battle it is the Editor of the New York Tribune who hastens to fall prostrate before the meanest of them and salute them as “distinguished Americans” and “eminent Confederates,” it is easy to believe that such a man should be overwhelmed with dismay as he contemplates the hopeless postponement of pacification which such a spectacle reveals.

Exactly that base subservience to the arrogance of a slaveholding class which has enabled that class to seduce and betray the people of their States is reproduced in the tone of the editor of the Tribune when speaking of it. Is JEFFERSON DAVIS a distinguished American?”

Is he any more so than AARON BURR and BENEDICT ARNOLD?

No men despise such fawning more than those it is intended to propitiate. It is not by such men as JACOB THOMPSON and CLEMENT C. CLAY and HUNTER and BENJAMIN and SEMMES, it is by men unknown and poor, by men who have seen what comes of following the counsels of the “leaders,” by men who have been tried by blood and fire in this sharp war that peace is to come out of the South. The men whom the editor of the Tribune calls by names that justly belong only to our best and dearest are the assassins of the nation and of human liberty. They would have wrought upon the nation the same crime that was done upon the President. They would have murdered the country in its own innocent blood. Not from them conies regeneration and peace. Let them fly.

But from the longabused, the blinded, the down-trodden, the forgotten, the despised—from the real people of the South, whom riches and ease and luxury and cultivation and idleness and, all worldly gifts and graces sitting in high places, drugged with sophistries, and seduced with blandishments, and threatened with terrors, and besotted with prejudice, and degraded with ignorance, and ground into slavery—these, all of them, white and black as God made them, are the seed of the new South, long pressed into the ground, and now about to sprout and grow and blossom jubilantly with peace and prosperity. Old things have passed away. The Editor of the Tribune is still flattering the priests whose power has gone. Great Pan is dead. Why should one of the earliest Christians swing incense before him?

THE FLAG ON SUMTER.

THE old flag floats again on Sumter! Four years ago it was the hope, the prayer, the vow of the American people. Today the vow is fulfilled. The hand of him who defended it against the assault of treason, of him who saluted it sadly as he marched his little band away, now, with all the strength of an aroused and regenerated nation supporting him, raises it once more to its place, and the stars that have still shone on undimmed in our hearts now shine tranquilly in triumph, and salute the earth and sky with the benediction of peace.

To be called to be the orator of a nation upon such a day was an honor which might have oppressed any man. To have spoken for the nation at such a moment, worthily, adequately, grandly, is the glory of one man. It will not be questioned that Mr. BEECHER did so. His oration is of the noblest spirit and the loftiest eloquence. It is in the highest degree picturesque and powerful. Certainly it was peculiarly fit that a man, fully inspired by the eternal truth that has achieved the victory, should hail, in the name of equal liberty, the opening of the era which is to secure it.

Even amidst the wail of our sorrow its voice will be heard and its tone will satisfy. Even in our heart’s grief we can feel the solemn thrill of triumph that the flag which fell in weakness is raised in glory and power.

THE FOLLY OF CRIME.

EVERY stupendous crime is an enormous blunder. The blow that has shocked the nation exasperates it, and in killing ABRAHAM LINCOLN the rebels have murdered their best friend. His death can not change the event of the war. It has only united the loyal people of the country more closely than ever, and disposed them to a less lenient policy toward the rebellion. Whatever the intention or hope of the murder, whether it were the result of a matured plot or the act of a band of ruffians, whether it were dictated by the rebel chiefs or offered to their cause as a voluntary assistance by the hand that struck the blow, the effect is the same—a more intense and inflexible vow of the nation that the rebellion shall be suppressed and its cause exterminated.

There is no crime so abhorrent to the world as the assassination of a public man. Even when he is unworthy, the method of his death at once ameliorates the impression of his life. But when he is a good and wise man, when he is spotless and beloved, the infamy is too monstrous for words. There is but one assassin whom history mentions with toleration and even applause, and that is CHARLOTTE CORDAY. But her act was a mistake. It ended the life of a monster, but it did not help the people, and she who might have lived to succor and save some victim of MARAT, became, after his death, MARAT’S victim. All other assassins, too, have more harmed their cause than helped it. Their pleas of justification are always confounded by the event. That plea, where it has any dignity whatever, is the riddance of the world of a bad or dangerous man whose life can not be legally taken. It is to punish a despot—to bring low a tyrant. But the heart recoils whatever the excuse, the instinct of mankind curses the assassin.

In our own grievous affliction there is one lesson which those who directly address public opinion would do well to consider. Party malignity in the Free States during the war has not scrupled to defame the character of Mr. LINCOLN. He has been denounced as a despot, as a usurper, as a man who arbitrarily annulled the Constitution, as a magistrate under whose administration all the securities of liberty, property, and even life, were deliberately disregarded and imperiled. Political hostility has been inflamed into hate by the assertion that he was responsible for the war, and that he had opened all the yawning graves and tumbled the bloody victims in. This has been done directly and indirectly, openly and cunningly. In a time of necessarily profound and painful excitement, to carry a party point, the political opponents of Mr. LINCOLN have said or insinuated or implied that he had superseded the laws and had made himself an autocrat. If any dangerous plot has been exposed, these organs of public opinion had sneered at it as an invention of the Administration. If theatres and hotels full of men, women, and children were to be wantonly fired, the friends of the Administration were accused of cooking up an excitement. If bloody riots and massacres occurred, they were extenuated, and called “risings of the people,” as if in justifiable vengeance, and as if the oppression of the Government had brought them upon itself.

This appeal has been made in various ways and in different degrees. A great convention intimated that there was danger that the elections would be overborne by Administration bayonets. Judge COM-STOCK, formerly of the Court of Appeals in this State, addressing a crowd in Union Square, declared that if a candidate for the Presidency should be defrauded of his election by military interference he would be borne into the White House by the hands of the people. Of the Administration thus accused of the basest conceivable crimes ABRAHAM LINCOLN was the head. If there were a military despotism in the country, as was declared, he was the despot. If there were a tyranny, he was the tyrant.

Is it surprising that somebody should have believed all this, that somebody should have said, if there is a tyranny it can not be very criminal to slay the tyrant, and that working himself up to the due frenzy he should strike the blow? When it was struck, when those kind eyes that never looked sternly upon a human being closed forever, and the assassin sprang forward and cried, Sic semper tyrannis, was it not a ghastly commentary upon those who had not scrupled to teach that he was a tyrant who had annulled the law?

The lesson is terrible. Let us hope that even party-spirit may be tempered by this result of its natural consequence.

A SUGGESTION FOR A MONUMENT.

IT is very possible that the great affection of the people of the United States for their late President will lead to a general desire to erect some national monument to his memory. Should this be so, there is one suggestion which will doubtless occur to many besides ourselves. It is that no mere marble column or memorial pile shall be reared, but that the heart-offerings of the people shall be devoted to the erection of a military hospital, to be called the LINCOLN HOSPITAL, for soldiers and sailors—a a retreat for the wounded and permanently invalid veterans of the war.

When, in the happier days that are coming, the wards shall be relieved of the lingering monuments of the contest, the foundation would remain for the public benefit. The soldiers and sailors had no more tender and faithful friend than ABRAHAM LINCOLN. He never forgot them; nor did he fail always to pay to them in his public addresses the homage which his heart constantly cherished. To a man of his broad and generous humanity no monument could be so appropriate as a Hospital.

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE. OUR SUCCESSES IN NORTH CAROLINA.

GENERAL STONE-MAN captured Salisbury, North Carolina, on the 12th inst., securing 1165 prisoners, 19 pieces of artillery, 1000 smallarms, and eight Stands of colors. The plunder found there was enormous, embracing 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition, 1000 shells, 60,000 pounds of powder, 75,000 suits of clothing, 35,000 army blankets, with large quantities of bacon, salt, sugar, rice, wheat, and 7000 bales of cotton. All that was not immediately available was destroyed. Stoneman’s raid in East Tennessee and North Carolina has been one of the most important and destructive of the war. He has burned half a hundred important bridges, destroyed about 100 miles of track, captured trains, burned depots, and played the mischief generally with secesh property.

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

e9781429996877_i0040.jpg

PLAN OF THE BOX OCCUPIED BY PRESIDENT LINCOLN AT FORD’S THEATER, APRIL 14, 1865

The next day after the capture of Salisbury, Sherman occupied Raleigh, with but little resistance. Governor Vance was taken by our cavalry on the same day. It is said that he was deputed by Johnston to surrender the State, but the power was afterward withdrawn. It is reported that Jeff Davis had joined Johnston at Hillsborough, and was still with him,

CAPTURE OF MOBILE.

Mobile was captured by the national forces on the 12th of April.

On the 20th of March the Sixteenth Corps, under General A. J. Smith, left Dauphin on twenty transports, accompanied by gun-boats, and proceeded up an arm of Mobile Bay to the mouth of Fish River, where the troops were landed at Dauley’s Mills. The Thirteenth Corps, under General Granger, left Fort Morgan, and on the 21st of March went into camp on the left of Smith, resting its left wing on Mobile Bay. Three days afterward this corps was followed by General Knipe with 6000 cavalry. On the 25th the Federal line was pushed forward so as to extend from Alabama City on the bay to Deer Park. The first point of attack was Spanish Fort, which is directly opposite Mobile, and is the latest built and strongest of the defenses of that city. It guards the eastern channel of the bay. On the 27th the bombardment commenced. In the mean time the Monitors and gunboats were laboring hard to overcome the obstructions. They had succeeded so far that the Monitors Milwaukee, Winnebago, Kickapoo, and the Monitor ram Osage moved in line to attack at 3 P.M. An hour afterward a torpedo exploded. under the Milwaukee, and she immediately filled and sunk in eleven feet of water. There were no casualties. There was steady firing all night and the next day. At about 2 o’clock P.M. on the 29th a torpedo struck the port bow of the Osage and exploded, tearing away the plating and timbers, killing two men and wounding several others.

We give on page 268 an engraving illustrating the nature of the torpedoes found in the Bay. Those given in the sketch are those with the mushroomshaped anchor. The slightest pressure causes explosion.

On the 8th of April an extraordinary force was brought to bear upon Spanish Fort. Twenty-two Parrott guns were got within half a mile of the work, while other powerful batteries were still nearer. Two gunboats joined in the tremendous cannonade. The result was that the fort surrendered a little after midnight. Fort Alexandria followed, and the guns of these two were turned against Forts Tracy and Huger, in the harbor, at the mouth of the Blakely and Appalachee rivers. But these had already been abandoned. The Monitors then went busily to work removing torpedoes, and ran up to within shelling distance of the city.

Shortly after the capture of Spanish Fort, intelligence of the capture and the fall of Richmond was read to the troops, in connection with orders to attack Fort Blakely. Several batteries of artillery, and large quantities of ammunition were taken with the fort, besides 2400 prisoners. Our loss in the whole affair was much less than 2000 killed and wounded, and none missing.

Seven hundred prisoners were taken with Spanish Fort. Mobile was occupied by the national forces on the 12th. In the mean time General Wilson, with a formidable force of cavalry, had swept through the State of Alabama. He left Eastport about the 20th of March, and advanced in two columns, each of which, at about the same time, fought Forrest’s cavalry, one at Marion and the other at Plantersville, which were respectively situated about 20 miles northwest and northeast of Selma. On the afternoon of April 2 Selma was captured, with 22 guns, and all the immense Government works, arsenals, rolling-mills, and foundries at that place were destroyed. It is probable that Montgomery was also captured, but later than the capture of Selma we have no details.

MOURNING IN RICHMOND.

Roger A. Pryor stated in Petersburg that he believed Mr. Lincoln indispensable to the restoration of peace, and regretted his death more than any military mishap of the south. He and the Mayor placed themselves at the head of a movement for a town meeting to deplore the loss on both private and public grounds. General Robert E. Lee at first refused to hear the details of the murder. A Mr. Suite and another gentleman waited upon him on Sunday night with the particulars. He said that when he dispossessed himself of the command of the rebel forces he kept in mind President Lincoln’s benignity, and surrendered as much to the latter’s goodness as to Grant’s artillery.

The General said that he regretted Mr. Lincoln’s death as much as any man in the North, and believed him to be the epitome of magnanimity and good faith.

ARREST OF SEWARD’S ASSASSIN.

A man was arrested on the 18th in Baltimore who is supposed to have been the assassin of Secretary Seward. He was recognized as such by the negro servant and Miss Fanny Seward.

FOREIGN NEWS. THE REBEL RAM “STONEWALL.”

The rebel ram Stonewall left Lisbon, Portugal, on the 28th of March, having been ordered away by the Portuguese authorities. The national steamers Niagara and Sacramento were forbidden to leave until twenty-four hours should have elapsed. These two vessels, about four hours after the Stonewall left, weighed anchor and moved toward the bar. The commander of the Belem Tower then fired upon them, considerably injuring the Niagara. The captains stated that they were only changing their anchorageground, and our consul at Lisbon has demanded that the Governor of Belem Tower should be removed, which demand has been conceded.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!