Fascinating Conspiracies (Episode 1) – The Lincoln Conspirators…

October 21, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes it is difficult to determine if a person really is a philosopher. So it is with the author of the profound statement, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”. Philosophical or lyrical, it is the perfect jumping off point for a short series on more obscure conspiracies in American History.  Sure, we have all heard of John Wilks Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald.  Perhaps we have even heard of George Atzerodt, who conspired with Booth to assassinate Lincoln and Johnson however, there are others that will most defiantly leave you a bit slack-jawed if not curious. To begin our series, let’s start with our 16th President and those who colluded to bring about his demise. Booth’s main conspirators, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Lewis Powell and Mary Surratt had their own press coverage, even if they were not quite as infamous as the malicious actor Booth, but reading their confessions and stories can bring this horrific event into clearer focus.  So, hopefully you will enjoy reading these Lincoln Conspiracy issues… and, until next time, remember the wise words of Kurt Cobain and keep looking over your shoulder.

History’s Hidden Gems… President Lincoln, July 4th, 1861…

June 7, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana or, as we history buffs like to say, “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it”.

Lately, I have developed a bit of an obsession with Abraham Lincoln. I am sure there are many who would chuckle and say, “what took her so long?” Granted, I knew all the Lincoln Basics. I have helped my 6 children memorize the Gettysburg Address. I have stood more than once, for more time than my companions were comfortable, gazing in awe at each word on the Lincoln Memorial. But most recently I’ve been struck with wonder when I come across the more obscure, hidden treasures of our 16th President. . . overcome with a sense that his insights into his times may be equally applicable to mine. This last week I heard someone mention a portion of President Lincoln’s speech before Congress on July 4th, 1861. I have shared a portion of it below so you can make your determination as to whether his call to see beyond the surface events, to the heart of the matter, is as relevant today as it was then. If you agree, then we should be a people who remembers our past so we do not repeat it and for those fellow Lincoln lovers out there, let’s keep digging for his more obscure hidden gems.

“It might seem at first thought to be of little difference whether the present movement at the South be called “secession” or “rebellion.” The movers, however, well understand the difference. At the beginning they knew they could never raise their treason to any respectable magnitude by any name which implies violation of law. They knew their people possessed as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and order, and as much pride in and reverence for the history and Government of their common country as any other civilized and patriotic people. They knew they could make no advancement directly in the teeth of these strong and noble sentiments. Accordingly, they commenced by an insidious debauching of the public mind. They invented an ingenious sophism, which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps through all the incidents to the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism itself is that any State of the Union may consistently with the National Constitution, and therefore lawfully and peacefully , withdraw from the Union without the consent of the Union or of any other State. The little disguise that the supposed right is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice.
With rebellion thus sugar coated they have been drugging the public mind of their section for more than thirty years, and until at length they have brought many good men to a willingness to take up arms against the Government the day after some assemblage of men have enacted the farcical pretense of taking their State out of the Union who could have been brought to no such thing the day before .” ~ Abraham Lincoln, July 4th, 1861

 

Political bias no stranger to today’s newspapers…

October 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It seems the polarizing of day’s media is greater than ever, but it is certainly nothing new under the sun. Practically since the creation of the first newspaper political opinion was a focus the publisher, supporting or opposing the efforts of those in power. And as popular as we view Abraham Lincoln today (he consistently ranks among the top three in scholarly polls) he was not liked by all during his time in office.

The World” newspaper from New York City was the leading democratic organ at the time, while Lincoln was a Republican. In their issue of March 6, 1865 which reported his inauguration & inaugural address the editorial page contained at least two biting commentaries.  One includes in part: “It is with a blush of shame and wounded price, as American citizens, that we lay before our readers to-day the inaugural address of President Lincoln…But we cannot hide the dishonor done to the country we love by withholding these documents from publication…The pity of it…that the life of this Chief Magistrate should be made precious to us by the thought that he at least excludes from the most august station in the land the person who defiled our chief council chamber on Saturday with the spewings of a drunken boor…”.

The other can be seen in the photos.

Fake Lincoln Proclamation… An attempt to profit in the gold market…

July 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Boston Daily Courier” of May 19, 1864, contains a fascinating sidebar in American history, the printing of a “fake” Lincoln Proclamation which appeared in two New York newspapers but was ultimately determined to be bogus. The “proclamation” is prefaced with a cautioning statement: “The document which made its appearance yesterday, purporting to be a proclamation of President Lincoln, is copied for the information of our readers:”, then the full text (see below).
This was a scheme by Joseph Howard, a newspaper journalist and a bit of a prankster throughout his career. Howard and an acquaintance had hoped to make a profit on declining gold prices if news from the front was bad. They acquired the stationery and other items necessary to make it look as if a story had come in on the wires to the headquarters of the Associated Press of New York, the clearing house for official wire stories coming from Washington. They forged the Proclamation from the president, which called for the drafting of an additional 400,000 soldiers, obvious evidence the war wasn’t going well. It was delivered to the offices of various New Your newspapers. Only two actually published the story but it caused such that Howard was arrested two days after the story appeared and placed in Prison. He was released on Lincoln’s personal order on August 24, 1864.

I’m thankful for… Abraham Lincoln…

November 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, one is compelled by the overwhelming blessings so many of us experience on a daily basis to consider things for which we are thankful, but often overlook. One such gratitude-producing individual for me is Abraham Lincoln. Was he a perfect man? No. Have many of his flaws been white-washed from history? Yes (I’m counting on the same treatment). However, this does not negate the truth that in my eyes, he was a man for “such a time” as his was. I’ve always appreciated his writing (whether it be from his own pen or another’s makes no difference to me). One of my favorites is:

“I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten Angles swearing I was right would make no difference at all.” Abraham Lincoln

We should all have such strength of conviction in regards to our actions under fire.

A short time ago I came across a letter from him which was printed in a National Intelligencer dated January 27, 1865 that may rival the above. It is his response to a letter received from him from Eliza Gurney, the wife of a recently departed friend. The full text is viewable via the image shown below, with the transcribed text to follow.Blog-11-26-2014-Abraham-Lincoln-Letter

Executive Mansion,
Washington, September 4, 1864.

Eliza P. Gurney.
My esteemed friend.

I have not forgotten–probably never shall forget–the very impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years ago. Nor has your kind letter, written nearly a year later, ever been forgotten. In all, it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance on God. I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.

Your people–the Friends–have had, and are having, a very great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war. In this hard dilemma, some have chosen one horn, and some the other. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience, under my oath to the law. That you believe this I doubt not; and believing it, I shall still receive, for our country and myself, your earnest prayers to our Father in heaven.

Your sincere friend,

A. Lincoln.

So, what are you thankful for?

The Traveler… “spite” hermetically sealed… President Lincoln’s draft order…

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

I traveled today to New York City by way of The New York Times dated February 1, 1864. There I found that President Lincoln had just “Ordered, that a draft for five hundred thousand men, to serve for three years or during the war, be made on the 10th day of March next, for the military service of the Untied States, crediting and deducting therefrom so many as may have been enlisted or drafted into the service prior to the 1st day of March, and not heretofore credited.” This is signed in type: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Also in the issue is an article with the heading “The Death Bandage of Gen. Walker”. “…Lieutenant Drennon… brings with him, hermetically inclosed in glass, the bandage which covered the eye of Gen. William Walker, when he was shot at Truxillo, Honduras…. ‘Remnant of the bandage which encircled the brow of Gen. William Walker, who having honorably capitulated to Norvell Salmon, Commander of H.B.M. steamship of war Icarus, was treacherously surrendered to the Honduras authorities, and by the executed on the 12th September, 1860, in the town of Truxillo. Posterity will do justice to their memories. The victim will be deplored while the traitor will be execrated.’  The bandage is thick with gore, full of bullet holes, and is partially burned — the file of executioners standing so close that the discharges set fire to it…” This was to be presented to General Walker’s father who resided in Nashville, Tennessee. What an item to be presented with to remember your son…

~The Traveler

The Gettysburg Address… What did he actually say?

November 19, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

“Four score and seven years ago…”

150 years ago this month, President Abraham Lincoln delivered what we now consider to be one of the greatest speeches of all time. Interestingly enough, since 5 different manuscripts exist, there is some disagreement amongst historians concerning what he actually said. Might original newspapers of the day with eye witness accounts provide the answer? If the speech had been long we probably wouldn’t have a high degree of confidence in the newspaper reporters’ accounts, but the brevity of the speech certainly increases the probability of an accurate transcription. Original reports may not have the definitive answer to this question, but they certainly provide reasonable evidence regarding what was actually spoken. Once again, “History is never more fascinating than when it is read from the day it was first reported.

View Authentic Newspapers with Gettysburg Address Coverage

Lincoln’s famous letter to Lydia Bixby…

October 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The photo shows the report in the December 2, 1864 issue of “The Liberator” of Lincoln’s very famous & heart-felt letter to a woman who lost five sons in the Civil War. A very sobering report which gives one a small sense of the horror of war not just on the battlefield, but at home as well. This letter has been praised by many as among Lincoln’s best works of writing, along with the Gettysburg Address and second inaugural address.

How often does a President admit he is wrong?

September 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The character of Abraham Lincoln, which has made him arguably the best President of the United States, has been the subject of many books. One bit of evidence can be found in the September 5, 1863 issue of the “Army & Navy Journal” which contains a famous letter to General U.S. Grant (see below).

In this remarkable letter, President Abraham Lincoln congratulates General Grant for an important victory — the capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, 1863. Lincoln differed with Grant about how to handle the campaign, but when Grant pursued his own strategy successfully, Lincoln frankly admitted that Grant was right.

Some back-handed compliments for Abe Lincoln…

August 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The June 5, 1860 issue of the “New York Tribune”  has two testimonials as to the character of Abraham Lincoln, to be the Republican nomination for President in the up-coming election. The second report is by the Honorable George Ashmun and offers some interesting comments. Also, “The Daily Delta” from New Orleans, issue of Feb. 27, 1861 has an equally back-handed “compliment” on the appearance of Lincoln (see below), noting he: “…is not handsome by a great many degrees,but he has not that hideous, ugly look which his portraits give him…”:

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