It came to my knowledge in the early part of 1861, first by rumors and then from evidence which I could not doubt, that there was a deep-laid conspiracy to capture Washington, destroy all the avenues leading to it from the North, East, and West, and thus prevent the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln in the capital of the country; and, if this plot did not succeed, then to murder him while on his way to the capital, and thus inaugurate a revolution, which should end in establishing a Southern Confederacy, uniting all the Slave States, while it was imagined that the North would be divided into separate cliques, each striving for the destruction of the other. Early in the year 1861, Miss Dix, the philanthropist, came into my office on a Saturday afternoon. I had known her for some years as one engaged in alleviating the sufferings of the afflicted. Her occupation had brought her in contact with the prominent men South. In visiting hospitals, she had become familiar with the structure of Southern society, and also with the working of its political machinery. She stated that she had an important communication to make to me personally; and, after closing my door, I listened attentively to what she had to say for more than an hour. She put in a tangible and reliable shape, by the facts she related, what before I had heard in numerous and detached parcels. The sum of it all was, that there was then an extensive and organized conspiracy throughout the South to seize upon Washington, with its archives and records, and then declare the Southern conspirators de facto the Government of the United States. The whole was to be a coup daetat. At the same time, they were to cut off all modes of communication between Washington and the North, East, or West, and thus prevent the transportation of troops to wrest the capital from the hands of the insurgents. Mr. Lincoln's inauguration was thus to be prevented, or his life was to fall a sacrifice to the attempt at inauguration. In fact, troops were then drilling on the line of our own road, and the Washington and Annapolis line, and other lines; and they were sworn to obey the commands of their leaders, and the leaders were banded together to capture Washington. As soon as the interview
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