letter from Davis to the effect that he would approve of whatever measures they might take to accomplish the object desired; but this does not seem to have been regarded as sufficiently formal and explicit. Jacob Thompson, indeed, said to a Government witness about this time that he was in favor of the proposition, but had deferred giving his answer until he had consulted his Government at Richmond, and that he was only waiting their approval. In view of all the circumstances of peril which surrounded this crime, and of the fact that it was to be perpetrated solely in advancement of the cause of the rebellion, the solicitude and apprehensions of the conspirators thus entertained were natural enough. As a result of this state of feeling on their part, John H. Surrant was deputed by them to Richmond to obtain that direct authority which they all felt was necessary to their own safety. It is upon the arrival of Surratt at Richmond that the narrative of the important testimony, not heretofore given to the public, but now to be fully set forth, commences. Upon reaching his destination in the latter part of March last, he fell in with his two former friends, the witnesses whose depositions are about to be presented, to whom he frankly disclosed the business in which he was engaged. At the same time he urged them to unite with him in the prosecution of the plot, and indulging the hope that they would do so, invited them to be present with him at the private interviews which he presently had with Davis, and a high official of his Government to whom Surratt had borne a letter from one of his co-conspirators in Canada. The first of these interviews is thus described by one of the witnesses, whose deposition was taken by me at this Bureau on 4th November last:
After the instoduction Davis and --- (naming the official referred to) withdrew into another room and had a long private conference, as we supposed, together. Mr. --- (the official named) then called us into the room where Mr. Davis was seated. On entering the room Davis said, "Surratt, there is no necessity for your coming here for any special authority, for the soldiers in the North and in Canada are expected to carry the war to the knife, and they require no more authority to kill Lincoln than they do to kill any Union soldier. Such killing," he said, "would be a legitimate act of warfare; for," said he, "if a couple of Yankees were to some into my house and kill me they would be lauded for it and rewarded as hereoes." Surratt answered that the boys in the North were somewhat dissatisfied; that in certain things which they had done, although promised protection by the authorities, yet they felt they had not received it as fully as they were entitled to claim if, and they therefore insisted on having authority for their action directly from the Government itself. Mr. Davis said, "Although there is no necessity for it yet if you wish in the proper papers shall be prepared, and if you will call on -- (a high official) to-morrow you will receive the papers from him."
The witness then describes the second interview in the following words:
We (meaning Surratt, himself, and the other witness, who no also accompanied them) accordingly called the next day on --- (naming again the official above alluded to), but found that the papers were not yet ready. Mr. --- (the official named) proposed that we should go to Mr. Davis' office, which we did. Mr. Davis welcomed us and alleged indisposition as a reason why the papers were not ready, but said if we would sit a few moments they would be brought to us. He retired from the room and in a short time returned with a packet addressed to Colonel Thompson (meaning Jacob Thompson) and handed it to Surratt, telling him to deliver it to Colonel Thompson, then in Canada, and saying that it conferred all the authority he had asked for. At the same time Mr.--- (the official named) delivered a small package of papers to Surratt. As we were about to leave Mr. Davis shook our hands kindly and said he hopes we would all act bravely and succeed, but added that there had been so many attempts at this thing which had failed that he had not much confidence in them. Mr. --- (the other witness) then remarked, "We must be brave and succeed or we wll all dance on nothing." --- (the official named) answered. "No; if you should fail and are captured, and threatened with punishment, we will notify the Yankee Government that or every one they hang a dozen shall swing the next day." "Besides," he continued, "it is legitimate