Mr. Lincoln had returned to Washington, refreshed by his visit to City Point, and cheered by the unmistakable signs that the war was almost over. With that ever-present sense of responsibility which distinguished him, he gave his thoughts to the momentous question of the restoration of the Union and of harmony between the lately warring sections. His whole heart was now enlisted in the work of “binding up the nation's wounds,” and of doing all which might “achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace.” April 14 was a day of deep and tranquil happiness throughout the United States. It was Good Friday, observed by a portion of the people as an occasion of fasting and religious meditation; though even among the most devout the great tidings of the preceding week exerted their joyous influence, and changed this period of traditional mourning into an occasion of general thanksgiving. But though the Misereres turned of themselves to Te Deums, the date was not to lose its awful significance in the calendar: at night it was claimed once more by a world-wide sorrow. The thanksgiving of the nation found its principal expression at Charleston Harbor, where the flag of the Union received that day a conspicuous reparation on  the spot where it had first been outraged. At noon General Robert Anderson raised over Fort Sumter the indentical flag lowered and saluted by him four years before; the surrender of Lee giving a more transcendent importance to this ceremony, made stately with orations, music, and military display. In Washington it was a day of deep peace and thankfulness. Grant had arrived that morning, and, going to the Executive Mansion, had met the cabinet, Friday being their regular day for assembling. He expressed some anxiety as to the news from Sherman which he was expecting hourly. The President answered him in that singular vein of poetic mysticism which, though constantly held in check by his strong common sense, formed such a remarkable element in his character. He assured Grant that the news would come soon and come favorably, for he had last night had his usual dream which preceded great events. He seemed to be, he said, in a singular and indescribable vessel, but always the same, moving with great rapidity toward a dark and indefinite shore; he had had this dream before Antietam, Murfreesboro, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg. The cabinet were greatly impressed by this story; but Grant, most matter-of-fact of created beings, made the characteristic response that “Murfreesboro was no victory, and had no important results.” The President did not argue this point with him, but repeated that Sherman would beat or had beaten Johnston; that his dream must relate to that, since he knew of no other important event likely at present to occur. Questions of trade between the States, and of various phases of reconstruction, occupied the cabinet on this last day of Lincoln's firm and tolerant rule. The President spoke at some length, disclosing his hope that much could be done to reanimate the States  and get their governments in successful operation before Congress came together. He was anxious to close the period of strife without over-much discussion. Particularly did he desire to avoid the shedding of blood, or any vindictiveness of punishment. “No one need expect that he would take any part in hanging or killing these men, even the worst of them.” “Enough lives have been sacrificed,” he exclaimed; “we must extinguish our resentments if we expect harmony and union.” He did not wish the autonomy nor the individuality of the States disturbed; and he closed the session by commending the whole subject to the most careful consideration of his advisers. It was, he said, the great question pending — they must now begin to act in the interest of peace. Such were the last words that Lincoln spoke to his cabinet. They dispersed with these sentences of clemency and good will in their ears, never again to meet under his wise and benignant chairmanship. He had told them that morning a strange story, which made some demand upon their faith, but the circumstances under which they were next to come together were beyond the scope of the wildest fancy. The day was one of unusual enjoyment to Mr. Lincoln. His son Robert had returned from the field with General Grant, and the President spent an hour with the young captain in delighted conversation over the campaign. He denied himself generally to the throng of visitors, admitting only a few friends. In the afternoon he went for a long drive with Mrs. Lincoln. His mood, as it had been all day, was singularly happy and tender. He talked much of the past and future; after four years of trouble and tumult he looked forward to four years of comparative quiet and normal work; after that he expected to go back to Illinois and  practise law again. He was never simpler or gentler than on this day of unprecedented triumph; his heart overflowed with sentiments of gratitude to Heaven, which took the shape, usual to generous natures, of love and kindness to all men. From the very beginning of his presidency, Mr. Lincoln had been constantly subject to the threats of his enemies. His mail was infested with brutal and vulgar menace, and warnings of all sorts came to him from zealous or nervous friends. Most of these communications received no notice. In cases where there seemed a ground for inquiry, it was made, as carefully as possible, by the President's private secretary, or by the War Department; but always without substantial result. Warnings that appeared most definite, when examined, proved too vague and confused for further attention. The President was too intelligent not to know that he was in some danger. Madmen frequently made their way to the very door of the executive office, and sometimes into Mr. Lincoln's presence. But he had himself so sane a mind, and a heart so kindly, even to his enemies, that it was hard for him to believe in political hatred so deadly as to lead to murder. He knew, indeed, that incitements to murder him were not uncommon in the South, but as is the habit of men constitutionally brave, he considered the possibilities of danger remote, and positively refused to torment himself with precautions for his own safety; summing the matter up by saying that both friends and strangers must have daily access to him; that his life was therefore in reach of any one, sane or mad, who was ready to murder and be hanged for it; and that he could not possibly guard against all danger unless he shut himself up in an iron box, in which condition he could scarcely perform the duties of a President. He  therefore went in and out before the people, always unarmed, generally unattended. He received hundreds of visitors in a day, his breast bare to pistol or knife. He walked at midnight, with a single secretary, or alone, from the Executive Mansion to the War Department and back. He rode through the lonely roads of an uninhabited suburb from the White House to the Soldiers' Home in the dusk of the evening, and returned to his work in the morning before the town was astir. He was greatly annoyed when it was decided that there must be a guard at the Executive Mansion, and that a squad of cavalry must accompany him on his daily drive; but he was always reasonable, and yielded to the best judgment of others. Four years of threats and boastings that were unfounded, and of plots that came to nothing, thus passed away; but precisely at the time when the triumph of the nation seemed assured, and a feeling of peace and security was diffused over the country, one of the conspiracies, apparently, no more important than the others, ripened in the sudden heat of hatred and despair. A little band of malignant secessionists, consisting of John Wilkes Booth, an actor of a family of famous players; Lewis Powell, alias Payne, a disbanded rebel soldier from Florida; George Atzerodt, formerly a coachmaker, but more recently a spy and blockaderunner of the Potomac; David E. Herold, a young druggist's clerk; Samuel Arnold and Michael O'Laughlin, Maryland secessionists and Confederate soldiers; and John H. Surratt, had their ordinary rendezvous at the house of Mrs. Mary E. Surratt, the widowed mother of the last named, formerly a woman of some property in Maryland, but reduced by reverses to keeping a small boarding-house in Washington. Booth was the leader of the little coterie. He was a  young man of twenty-six, strikingly handsome, with that ease and grace of manner which came to him of right from his theatrical ancestors. He had played for several seasons with only indifferent success, his value as an actor lying rather in his romantic beauty of person than in any talent or industry he possessed. He was a fanatical secessionist, and had imbibed at Richmond and other Southern cities where he played a furious spirit of partizanship against Lincoln and the Union party. After the reelection of Mr. Lincoln, he visited Canada, consorted with the rebel emissaries there, and-whether or not at their instigation cannot certainly be said-conceived a scheme to capture the President and take him to Richmond. He passed a great part of the autumn and winter pursuing this fantastic enterprise, seeming to be always well supplied with money; but the winter wore away, and nothing was accomplished. On March 4 he was at the Capitol, and created a disturbance by trying to force his way through the line of policemen who guarded the passage through which the President walked to the east front of the building. His intentions at this time are not known; he afterward said he lost an excellent chance of killing the President that day. His ascendancy over his fellow-conspirators seems to have been complete. After the surrender of Lee, in an access of malice and rage akin to madness he called them together and assigned each his part in the new crime which had risen in his mind out of the abandoned abduction scheme. This plan was as brief and simple as it was horrible. Powell, alias Payne, the stalwart, brutal, simple-minded boy from Florida, was to murder Seward; Atzerodt, the comic villain of the drama, was assigned to remove Andrew Johnson; Booth reserved for himself the most conspicuous role of the tragedy.  It was Herold's duty to attend him as page and aid him in his escape. Minor parts were given to stage-carpenters and other hangers-on, who probably did not understand what it all meant. Herold, Atzerodt, and Surratt had previously deposited at a tavern at Surrattsville, Maryland, owned by Mrs. Surratt, but kept by a man named Lloyd, a quantity of arms and materials to be used in the abduction scheme. Mrs. Surratt, being at the tavern on the eleventh, warned Lloyd to have the “shooting-irons” in readiness, and, visiting the place again on the fourteenth, told him they would probably be called for that night. The preparations for the final blow were made with feverish haste. It was only about noon of the fourteenth that Booth learned that the President was to go to Ford's Theater that night to see the play “Our American Cousin.” It has always been a matter of surprise in Europe that he should have been at a place of amusement on Good Friday; but the day was not kept sacred in America, except by the members of certain churches. The President was fond of the theater. It was one of his few means of recreation. Besides, the town was thronged with soldiers and officers, all eager to see him; by appearing in public he would gratify many people whom he could not otherwise meet. Mrs. Lincoln had asked General and Mrs. Grant to accompany her; they had accepted, and the announcement that they would be present had been made in the evening papers; but they changed their plans, and went north by an afternoon train. Mrs. Lincoln then invited in their stead Miss Harris and Major Rathbone, the daughter and the stepson of Senator Ira Harris. Being detained by visitors, the play had made some progress when the President appeared. The band struck up “Hail to the chief,” the actors ceased playing,  the audience rose, cheering tumultuously, the President bowed in acknowledgment, and the play went on. From the moment he learned of the President's intention, Booth's every action was alert and energetic. He and his confederates were seen on horseback in every part of the city. He had a hurried conference with Mrs. Surratt before she started for Lloyd's tavern. He intrusted to an actor named Matthews a carefully prepared statement of his reasons for committing the murder, which he charged him to give to the publisher of the “National Intelligencer,” but which Matthews, in the terror and dismay of the night, burned without showing to any one. Booth was perfectly at home in Ford's Theater. Either by himself, or with the aid of friends, he arranged his whole plan of attack and escape during the afternoon. He counted upon address and audacity to gain access to the small passage behind the President's box. Once there, he guarded against interference by an arrangement of a wooden bar to be fastened by a simple mortise in the angle of the wall and the door by which he had entered, so that the door could not be opened from without. He even provided for the contingency of not gaining entrance to the box by boring a hole in its door, through which he might either observe the occupants, or take aim and shoot. He hired at a livery-stable a small, fleet horse. A few minutes before ten o'clock, leaving his horse at the rear of the theater in charge of a call-boy, he went into a neighboring saloon, took a drink of brandy, and, entering the theater, passed rapidly to the little hallway leading to the President's box. Showing a card to the servant in attendance, he was allowed to enter, closed the door noiselessly, and secured it with the wooden bar he had previously made ready, without  disturbing any of the occupants of the box, between whom and himself yet remained the partition and the door through which he had made the hole. No one, not even the comedian who uttered them, could ever remember the last words of the piece that were spoken that night — the last Abraham Lincoln heard upon earth. The tragedy in the box turned play and players to the most unsubstantial of phantoms. Here were five human beings in a narrow space --the greatest man of his time, in the glory of the most stupendous success of our history; his wife, proud and happy; a pair of betrothed lovers, with all the promise of felicity that youth, social position, and wealth could give them; and this handsome young actor, the pet of his little world. The glitter of fame, happiness, and ease was upon the entire group; yet in an instant everything was to be changed. Quick death was to come to the central figure — the central figure of the century's great and famous men. Over the rest hovered fates from which a mother might pray kindly death to save her children in their infancy. One was to wander with the stain of murder upon his soul, in frightful physical pain, with a price upon his head and the curse of a world upon his name, until he died a dog's death in a burning barn; the wife was to pass the rest of her days in melancholy and madness; and one of the lovers was to slay the other, and end his life a raving maniac. The murderer seemed to himself to be taking part in a play. Hate and brandy had for weeks kept his brain in a morbid state. Holding a pistol in one hand and a knife in the other, he opened the box door, put the pistol to the President's head, and fired. Major Rathbone sprang to grapple with him, and received a savage knife wound in the arm. Then, rushing forward,  Booth placed his hand on the railing of the box and vaulted to the stage. It was a high leap, but nothing to such an athlete. He would have got safely away but for his spur catching in the flag that draped the front of the box. He fell, the torn flag trailing on his spur; but, though the fall had broken his leg, he rose instantly, and brandishing his knife and shouting, “Sic Semper Tyrannis!” fled rapidly across the stage and out of sight. Major Rathbone called, “Stop him!” The cry rang out, “He has shot the President!” and from the audience, stupid at first with surprise, and wild afterward with excitement and horror, two or three men jumped upon the stage in pursuit of the assassin. But he ran through the familiar passages, leaped upon his horse, rewarding with a kick and a curse the boy who held him, and escaped into the night. The President scarcely moved; his head drooped forward slightly, his eyes closed. Major Rathbone, not regarding his own grievous hurt, rushed to the door of the box to summon aid. He found it barred, and some one on the outside beating and clamoring for admittance. It was at once seen that the President's wound was mortal. A large derringer bullet had entered the back of the head, on the left side, and, passing through the brain, lodged just behind the left eye. He was carried to a house across the street, and laid upon a bed in a small room at the rear of the hall on the ground floor. Mrs. Lincoln followed, tenderly cared for by Miss Harris. Rathbone, exhausted by loss of blood, fainted, and was taken home. Messengers were sent for the cabinet, for the surgeon-general, for Dr. Stone, Mr. Lincoln's family physician, and for others whose official or private relations to the President gave them the right to be there. A crowd of people rushed instinctively to the White House, and, bursting  through the doors, shouted the dreadful news to Robert Lincoln and Major Hay, who sat together in an upper room. They ran down-stairs, and as they were entering a carriage to drive to Tenth Street, a friend came up and told them that Mr. Seward and most of the cabinet had been murdered. The news seemed so improbable that they hoped it was all untrue; but, on reaching Tenth Street, the excitement and the gathering crowds prepared them for the worst. In a few moments those who had been sent for and many others were assembled in the little chamber where the chief of the state lay in his agony. His son was met at the door by Dr. Stone, who with grave tenderness informed him that there was no hope. The President had been shot a few minutes after ten. The wound would have brought instant death to most men, but his vital tenacity was remarkable. He was, of course, unconscious from the first moment; but he breathed with slow and regular respiration throughout the night. As the dawn came and the lamplight grew pale, his pulse began to fail; but his face, even then, was scarcely more haggard than those of the sorrowing men around him. His automatic moaning ceased, a look of unspeakable peace came upon his worn features, and at twenty-two minutes after seven he died. Stanton broke the silence by saying:
Now he belongs to the ages.Booth had done his work efficiently. His principal subordinate, Payne, had acted with equal audacity and cruelty, but not with equally fatal result. Going to the home of the Secretary of State, who lay ill in bed, he had forced his way to Mr. Seward's room, on the pretext of being a messenger from the physician with a packet of medicine to deliver. The servant at the door tried to prevent him from going up-stairs; the  Secretary's son, Frederick W. Seward, hearing the noise, stepped out into the hall to check the intruders. Payne rushed upon him with a pistol which missed fire, then rained blows with it upon his head, and, grappling and struggling, the two came to the Secretary's room and fell together through the door. Frederick Seward soon became unconscious, and remained so for several weeks, being, perhaps, the last man in the civilized world to learn the strange story of the night. The Secretary's daughter and a soldier nurse were in the room. Payne struck them right and left, wounding the nurse with his knife, and then, rushing to the bed, began striking at the throat of the crippled statesman, inflicting three terrible wounds on his neck and cheek. The nurse recovered himself and seized the assassin from behind, while another son, roused by his sister's screams, came into the room and managed at last to force him outside the door-not, however, until he and the nurse had been stabbed repeatedly. Payne broke away at last, and ran down-stairs, seriously wounding an attendant on the way, reached the door unhurt, sprang upon his horse, and rode leisurely away. When surgical aid arrived, the Secretary's house looked like a field hospital. Five of its inmates were bleeding from ghastly wounds, and two of them, among the highest officials of the nation, it was thought might never see the light of another day; though all providentially recovered. The assassin left behind him his hat, which apparently trivial loss cost him and one of his fellow conspirators their lives. Fearing that the lack of it would arouse suspicion, he abandoned his horse, instead of making good his escape, and hid himself in the woods east of Washington for two days. Driven at last by hunger, he returned to the city and presented himself at  Mrs. Surratt's house at the very moment when all its inmates had been arrested and were about to be taken to the office of the provost-marshal. Payne thus fell into the hands of justice, and the utterance of half a dozen words by him and the unhappy woman whose shelter he sought proved the death-warrant of them both. Booth had been recognized by dozens of people as he stood before the footlights and brandished his dagger; but his swift horse quickly carried him beyond any haphazard pursuit. He crossed the Navy-Yard bridge and rode into Maryland, being joined very soon by Herold. The assassin and his wretched acolyte came at midnight to Mrs. Surratt's tavern, and afterward pushed on through the moonlight to the house of an acquaintance of Booth, a surgeon named Mudd, who set Booth's leg and gave him a room, where he rested until evening, when Mudd sent them on their desolate way south. After parting with him they went to the residence of Samuel Cox near Port Tobacco, and were by him given into the charge of Thomas Jones, a contraband trader between Maryland and Richmond, a man so devoted to the interests of the Confederacy that treason and murder seemed every-day incidents to be accepted as natural and necessary. He kept Booth and Herold in hiding at the peril of his life for a week, feeding and caring for them in the woods near his house, watching for an opportunity to ferry them across the Potomac; doing this while every wood-path was haunted by government detectives, well knowing that death would promptly follow his detection, and that a reward was offered for the capture of his helpless charge that would make a rich man of any one who gave him up. With such devoted aid Booth might have wandered  a long way; but there is no final escape but suicide for an assassin with a broken leg. At each painful move the chances of discovery increased. Jones was able, after repeated failures, to row his fated guests across the Potomac. Arriving on the Virginia side, they lived the lives of hunted animals for two or three days longer, finding to their horror that they were received by the strongest Confederates with more of annoyance than enthusiasm, though none, indeed, offered to betray them. Booth had by this time seen the comments of the newspapers on his work, and bitterer than death or bodily suffering was the blow to his vanity. He confided his feelings of wrong to his diary, comparing himself favorably with Brutus and Tell, and complaining: “I am abandoned, with the curse of Cain upon me, when, if the world knew my heart, that one blow would have made me great.” On the night of April 25, he and Herold were surrounded by a party under Lieutenant E. P. Doherty, as they lay sleeping in a barn belonging to one Garrett, in Caroline County, Virginia, on the road to Bowling Green. When called upon to surrender, Booth refused. A parley took place, after which Doherty told him he would fire the barn. At this Herold came out and surrendered. The barn was fired, ,and while it was burning, Booth, clearly visible through the cracks in the building, was shot by Boston Corbett, a sergeant of cavalry. He was hit in the back of the neck, not far from the place where he had shot the President, lingered about three hours in great pain, and died at seven in the morning. The surviving conspirators, with the exception of John H. Surratt, were tried by military commission sitting in Washington in the months of May and June. The charges against them specified that they were  “incited and encouraged” to treason and murder by Jefferson Davis and the Confederate emissaries in Canada. This was not proved on the trial; though the evidence bearing on the case showed frequent communications between Canada and Richmond and the Booth coterie in Washington, and some transactions in drafts at the Montreal Bank, where Jacob Thompson and Booth both kept accounts. Mrs. Surratt, Payne, Herold, and Atzerodt were hanged on July 7; Mudd, Arnold, and O'Laughlin were imprisoned for life at the Tortugas, the term being afterward shortened; and Spangler, the scene-shifter at the theater, was sentenced to six years in jail. John H. Surratt escaped to Canada, and from there to England. He wandered over Europe, and finally was detected in Egypt and brought back to Washington in 1867, where his trial lasted two months, and ended in a disagreement of the jury. Upon the hearts of a people glowing with the joy of victory, the news of the President's assassination fell as a great shock. It was the first time the telegraph had been called upon to spread over the world tidings of such deep and mournful significance. In the stunning effect of the unspeakable calamity the country lost sight of the national success of the past week, and it thus came to pass that there was never any organized expression of the general exultation or rejoicing in the North over the downfall of the rebellion. It was unquestionably best that it should be so; and Lincoln himself would not have had it otherwise. He hated the arrogance of triumph; and even in his cruel death he would have been glad to know that his passage to eternity would prevent too loud an exultation over the vanquished. As it was, the South could take no umbrage at a grief so genuine and so legitimate; the  people of that section even shared, to a certain degree, in the lamentations over the bier of one whom in their inmost hearts they knew to have wished them well. There was one exception to the general grief too remarkable to be passed over in silence. Among the extreme radicals in Congress, Mr. Lincoln's determined clemency and liberality toward the Southern people had made an impression so unfavorable that, though they were naturally shocked at his murder, they did not, among themselves, conceal their gratification that he was no longer in the way. In a political caucus, held a few hours after the President's death, “the feeling was nearly universal,” to quote the language of one of their most prominent representatives, “that the accession of Johnson to the presidency would prove a godsend to the country.” In Washington, with this singular exception, the manifestation of public grief was immediate and demonstrative. Within an hour after the body was taken to the White House, the town was shrouded in black. Not only the public buildings, the shops, and the better residences were draped in funeral decorations, but still more touching proof of affection was seen in the poorest class of houses, where laboring men of both colors found means in their penury to afford some scanty show of mourning. The interest and veneration of the people still centered in the White House, where, under a tall catafalque in the East Room, the late chief lay in the majesty of death, and not at the modest tavern on Pennsylvania Avenue, where the new President had his lodging, and where Chief-Justice Chase administered the oath of office to him at eleven o'clock on the morning of April 15. It was determined that the funeral ceremonies in Washington should be celebrated on Wednesday, April  19, and all the churches throughout the country were invited to join at the same time in appropriate observances. The ceremonies in the East Room were brief and simple — the burial service, a prayer, and a short address; while all the pomp and circumstance which the government could command was employed to give a fitting escort from the White House to the Capitol, where the body of the President was to lie in state. The vast procession moved amid the booming of minute-guns, and the tolling of all the bells in Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria; and to associate the pomp of the day with the greatest work of Lincoln's life, a detachment of colored troops marched at the head of the line. As soon as it was announced that Mr. Lincoln was to be buried at Springfield, Illinois, every town and city on the route begged that the train might halt within its limits and give its people the opportunity of testifying their grief and reverence. It was finally arranged that the funeral cortege should follow substantially the same route over which he had come in 1861 to take possession of the office to which he had given a new dignity and value for all time. On April 21, accompanied by a guard of honor, and in a train decked with somber trappings, the journey was begun. At Baltimore, through which, four years before, it was a question whether the President-elect could pass with safety to his life, the coffin was taken with reverent care to the great dome of the Exchange, where, surrounded with evergreens and lilies, it lay for several hours, the people passing by in mournful throngs. The same demonstration was repeated, gaining continually in intensity of feeling and solemn splendor of display, in every city through which the procession passed. The reception in New York was worthy alike  of the great city and of the memory of the man they honored. The body lay in state in the City Hall, and a half-million people passed in deep silence before it. Here General Scott came, pale and feeble, but resolute, to pay his tribute of respect to his departed friend and commander. The train went up the Hudson River by night, and at every town and village on the way vast waiting crowds were revealed by the fitful glare of torches, and dirges and hymns were sung. As the train passed into Ohio, --the crowds increased in density, and the public grief seemed intensified at every step westward. The people of the great central basin were claiming their own. The day spent at Cleveland was unexampled in the depth of emotion it brought to life. Some of the guard of honor have said that it was at this point they began to appreciate the place which Lincoln was to hold in history. The last stage of this extraordinary progress was completed, and Springfield reached at nine o'clock on the morning of May 3. Nothing had been done or thought of for two weeks in Springfield but the preparations for this day, and they had been made with a thoroughness which surprised the visitors from the East. The body lay in state in the Capitol, which was richly draped from roof to basement in black velvet and silver fringe. Within it was a bower of bloom and fragrance. For twenty-four hours an unbroken stream of people passed through, bidding their friend and neighbor welcome home and farewell; and at ten o'clock on May 4, the coffin lid was closed, and a vast procession moved out to Oak Ridge, where the town had set apart a lovely spot for his grave, and where the dead President was committed to the soil of the State which had so loved and honored him. The ceremonies  at the grave were simple and touching. Bishop Simpson delivered a pathetic oration; prayers were offered and hymns were sung; but the weightiest aid most eloquent words uttered anywhere that day were those of the second inaugural, which the committee had wisely ordained to be read over his grave, as the friends of Raphael chose the incomparable canvas of the Transfiguration to be the chief ornament of his funeral.