In Richmond, Va.
, we boarded at the same house, ate at the same table and we learned to appreciate his sterling worth.
He possessed traits similar to those which, during the Spanish-American
war, made Richard Pearson Hobson
the idol of the American
people, and when in the fall of 1864 a man was wanted to lead a hazardous enterprise and make a diversion on Lake Erie
, he promptly responded to the call of his government.
With a handful of brave seamen he seized a boat on Lake Erie
, made its crew prisoners, converted it into a war vessel, captured or sank one or more other boats, terrorized the commerce of the Great Lakes
, produced a panic in Buffalo
and the cities on the lakes, and thoroughly alarmed the Northern
In due time he was captured.
He was tried by a court-martial and sentenced to death as a pirate.
John Wilkes Booth
interested himself in his behalf; obtained from the Confederate government at Richmond, Va.
, the evidence that he was a commissioned officer of the Confederate navy; he obtained, also, evidence that his acts were only those of legitimate warfare, and that he was acting under instructions from the Confederate government.
went to Washington
armed with these documents and secured from President Lincoln
the promise that Captain Beall
should not to be put to death, but should be treated as a prisoner of war. This promise of Mr. Lincoln
's gave offense to Secretary Seward
, who persuaded him, in the face of it, to sanction Beall
's execution, and Captain Beall
was hanged at Governor's Island, N. Y.
, on Feb. 24, 1865.
John Wilkes Booth
was not a well-balanced man at his best.
Doubtless he inherited a streak of the insanity with which his father, though a great actor, was from time to time afflicted.
Be that as it may, he was fearfully wrought up by the death of his friend in such circumstances.
He denounced the killing in cold blood of a prisoner of war after he had surrendered as “murder,” and the doing it after the president had given his word that it should not be done as “falsehood” and “treachery,” and vowed vengeance against the author of this wrong.
At once he organized a conspiracy for the assassination of President Lincoln
and Secretary Seward
, and on the night of April 14, only seven weeks after Captain Beall
was hanged, the plot was executed.
shot Mr. Lincoln
's theatre, Washington
, exclaiming: “ Sic semper tyrannis!”
and on the same night Paine