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The assassination.

Mr. Edwvad Everett, in his eloquent and patriotic address before the Mercantile Library Association in Boston last Wednesday evening, admitted that in his opinion there was a plot to assassinate Mr. Lincoln before his inauguration, but with characteristic amiability, Mr. Everett added: “wholly without the privity, I cheerfully believe, of the leaders of the Secession movement.” One is loth, in these days of mental depression, to interfere with the “cheerful belief” of any man; but is there a person of clear perceptions who does not also, if not cheerfully, at least certainly, believe that intelligence of the taking-off of the President would to-day be received with rapture by “the leaders of the Secession movement” in Richmond? We must estimate men as they are. Would there be [182] anything more shocking to the moral sensibilities in the assassination of a President than in the assassination of a Senator? Does Mr. Everett, or any other gentleman, remember to have read in any Southern newspaper, or to have heard from any Southern statesman, a disavowal of the championship of Preston Brooks? If so, he has been more fortunate than we have been. We know, from our own observation, that the perpetration of that crime, concerning which Mr. Everett improved many occasions to speak eloquently and properly, gave sincere pleasure to more than one Southern “leader.” That Brooks meant murder, we have never doubted — the manner and the persistency of the assault would have proved so much in any police court this side of the Potomac. That Brooks, if he had accomplished murder, would have been indicted, tried, convicted and executed, he may think who pleases. The judicial record shows that the penalty imposed upon the culprit was shamefully disproportionate to the crime of which he was found guilty. Many a man has gone to prison for life for precisely the same offense, and many, we suspect, for a lesser one. Mr. Brooks died in his bed, and outside the jail; and his mourning friends have erected to his green and fragrant memory a sky-pointing pyramid. For what? Why, for attempting an assassination. Would they have done less for its accomplishment?

There is hardly “a leader” --that is, a man who plays at being a leader of this crazy Confederacy — who has not fought duels, or engaged in bar-room brawls, or headed a lynching of some luckless Abolitionist. [183] Does Mr. Everett find it in his kindly nature even to believe, if these notable guides had been informed of the projected murder of the President, that they would have lifted a finger for its prevention? If not, then they were at any rate morally assassins, and did in theory aid and abet. Would lewd and unknown fellows have undertaken such a momentous enterprise without the sanction, tacit or implied, of their superiors in social position? This is a question which the thinking reader can answer for himself.

October 21, 1861.

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