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on steamboats, he told me at one time he had left the boat and gone out into the State of Mississippi, where he had remained some time; that whilst there he had heard a plan discussed by a number of young and warlike gentlemen? as to how the President of the United States might be disposed of. He got in, so to speak, with these young fellows; he was anxious to find out more about it, and was one of them for a number of days. The plan agreed upon was to obtain a box about six or seven inches. square, containing an explosive material, and which on being opened would explode, and most probably destroy the person who held it in his hand. He told me he had

seen this box, and held it in his own hands; that the purpose and design was to send it to Washington directed to Mr. Lincoln, and place it in the Presidential Mansion, where he would most likely get and open it. To me this was a most extraordinary and infamous disclosure; it arrested my serious thought and attention. I could hardly credit it, and yet could see no motive for such a fabrication. I asked Colonel Lane if he was serious in what he said. He said he was, and had only related to me what he had witnessed with his own eyes. I said to him at once: "Colonel Lane, if the facts you relate to me are true you should not lose a moment in communicating the facts to the President. Will you go up with me, call upon the President, and make the same statement to him?" Certainly, he said, he would go up, as he wished to tell President Lincoln precisely what he had told me. I then said to him: "Come to my room in the morning, in Twelfth street, when I will have a hack ready, when we will drive up to the White House." He was a little late putting in

an appearance next morning, but I waited for him, and as soon as he arrived we mounted into the hack, and drove off to the President's office. It so happened there were great numbers of visitors who had preceded us, and were occupying the reception-room. I sent in my card, but so many others were in advance of me, I failed to obtain an audience that morning. We remained until one o'clock, when the messenger announced that the President would see no more visitors that day, and those present were dismissed. Colonel Lane and myself drove back to my room, intending to ask an audience at another time. This, I think, was on Saturday, and, as near as I can now remember, in the month of December or January in the year 1864-65. When I parted with Colonel Lane it was not his intention to leave Washington for several days; but he received a telegram that evening, as he informed me in a letter, calling him to Wheeling, West Va., and which compelled him to leave in the evening train. I did not see him again during that session of Congress, which terminated on the 4th of March, 1865, the day of the second inauguration of Mr. Lincoln as President, A few days thereafter, having business at the White House, I called upon Mr. Lincoln again, when I happened to find him alone, and seemingly in a very cheerful humor. He received me very cordially, as was his habit, and after dispatching the business which called me to see him, I ventured to tell him precisely what I had learned from Lane, and as I have stated it above. I observed he listened to what I had to say very attentively, and when I had finished my story, I said in an apologetic tone: “Mr. President, nothing but a sense of



duty and the interest I feel in you and the country would have prompted me to have mentioned a matter of this kind to you. I have simply told you the tale as it was told to me." He thanked me kindly for what I had told him, and said he appreciated the good feeling and friendship which prompted it; but, treating the whole matter jocularly, he said: "I don't pay much attention to such things. I have received quite a number of threatening letters since I have been President, and nobody has killed me yet, and the truth is, I give very little consideration to such things." I told him the little I knew of Lane, and said to him: "Now, I hardly see why a man should get up a story of this sort unless there was some foundation for it. I believe he has witnessed what he relates." Upon rising to take leave I said, pleasantly: "Mr. President, I feel relieved in having unburdened myself in telling you what I have. I have acted from a sense of duty; and now, let me add, if you should come into your office one of those mornings and find sitting upon your table a wooden box about six inches square, I beg of you not to open it; let some one else attend to that; but if you attempt to open it, and the nation lose its President, I want it understood I have cleared my skirts." He again thanked me and laughed very heartily, and said, “Now, I will tell you—I promise you if I find any boxes on my table directed to me, I won't open them." Pausing a moment just as I was taking my leave of him, the smile which had just lighted up his face departed, and a certain melancholy expression, which I had often seen him wear, took its place, and he said seriously, and in language he evidently felt, "Rollins, I don't see

what on God's earth any man would wish to kill me for, for there is not a human being living to whom I would not extend a favor, and make them happy if it was in my power to do so." It occurred to me, on leaving him, the conversation I had had with him had left quite an impression on his mind. This occurred, according to my best recollection, in January, 1865.

Before the close of the session of Congress, I was several times in the office of the President, to see him on business, and on one occasion, when I was about leaving the room, he said to me, in a jocular manner: "Well, Rollins, I have not received my box yet." I responded, "I am gratified to hear it," but again warned him not to open any box of the kind left upon his table, and I left the room.

At the close of the Thirty-eighth Congress, I was present at the second inauguration of President Lincoln, and remained in Washington several days thereafter. My second term in Congress having ended with the expiration of the Thirty-eighth Congress, before leaving for Missouri I called at the White House, to pay my respects to the President and take my leave of him. I found him in his office in a very genial humor, and I had a pleasant conversation with him. He seemed to be hopeful that the war troubles would soon be over, which greatly rejoiced him. When I rose to bid him good-bye, he gave me a cordial shake of the hand, and said: "Rollins, the box has not come to hand yet." I responded: "That is well, Mr. President, I am glad to hear


I hope it may never come; but if it does, I charge



you not to open it." This is the last time I ever saw, and this was my last interview with, Abraham Lincoln.

About six weeks afterwards, when I was in the city of Chillicothe, Livingston county, Missouri, away up on Grand River, on the 15th day of April, 1865, I was most deeply shocked and grieved to hear that President Lincoln and several members of his Cabinet had been assassinated.

James S. Rollin's


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