Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Vol. 1

By Andrew Dickson White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
SENATORSHIP AT ALBANY -- 1864-1867

D URING my second year in the State Senate, 1865, came the struggle for the charter of Cornell University, the details of which will be given in another chapter.

Two things during this session are forever stamped into my memory. The first was the news of Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865: though it had been daily expected, it came as a vast relief.

It was succeeded by a great sorrow. On the morning of April 15, 1865, coming down from my rooms in the Delavan House at Albany, I met on the stairway a very dear old friend, the late Charles Sedgwick, of Syracuse, one of the earliest and most devoted of Republicans, who had served with distinction in the House of Representatives, and had more than once been widely spoken of for the United States Senate. Coming toward me with tears in his eyes and voice, hardly able to speak, he grasped me by the hand and gasped the words, " Lincoln is murdered." I could hardly believe myself awake: the thing seemed impossible; -- too wicked, too monstrous, too cruel to be true; but alas! confirmation of the news came speedily and the Presidency was in the hands of Andrew Johnson.

Shortly afterward the body of the murdered President, borne homeward to Illinois, rested overnight in the State Capitol, and preparations were made for its reception. I was one of the bearers chosen by the Senate and was also

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