The Trail of the Arch Conspirator
John H. Surratt
Now, we will take up
the trail of the arch-conspirator and assassin, John Harrison Surratt, the
man who called the time in front of Ford's Theatre the night of the murder
of President Lincoln, and track him, step by step, to the very shadow of
the Vatican, whose protection he sought and received, until a formal
demand was made by the United States government for his return to this
country for trial for the murder of Abraham Lincoln.
In order to nail the
Roman church to the cross in this great treason plot, the writer asks your
patience and careful reading of this subject which has lain for over a
half century buried in the oblivion where the Jesuits placed it and from
which we have resurrected it and pieced it together, in what we hope may
prove a readable shape, to be understood and the information passed on.
It is safe to say
that the escape of this tool of the Roman priesthood was one of the most
spectacular in all history. It began the very night after the tragic scene
in Ford's Theatre.
It will probably
never be known positively by what means Surratt made good his escape from
Washington that night, or early the next morning, for he has passed to his
eternal accounting and did so, so far as is known, without having revealed
it. But this is certain; he succeeded in making his escape safely to
Montreal, Canada, and was lodged securely in the house of the parents of
the Roman priest, La Pierre, who was waiting and ready to receive him,
close by the papal palace of the Archbishop to whom he was
Then began in the
United States what was one of the most extraordinary man hunts for Surratt
that ever occurred, before or since, in the history of this country. The
rewards by the government amounted to twenty-five thousand dollars, and
every detective in the government secret service, every detective of the
private agencies, and every amateur sleuth engaged in this drive to
recover this nineteen year old boy, leader of the gang of laymen who were
instigated, aided, urged and abetted by the priests of the church of Rome,
to complete the destruction of this Republic, which had recently been
recovered from the awful cataclysm which our foreign enemies had
precipitated four years previous.
The government secret
service, under the direction of the War Department, sent out the following
Department of Washington,
Washington, D.C., April 16th, 1865.
Special Orders, No.
James A. McDevitt, George Holohan, and Louis J. Weichmann, are hereby
ordered to New York on important government business, and, after executing
their private orders, to return to this city and report at these
headquarters. The Quartermaster's Department will furnish the necessary
By command of
Major-General Augur, T. Ingraham
Colonel and Provost-Marshall-General.
Defenses North of Potomac."
These officers, after
leaving Washington, arrived in Montreal on April 20th, and registered at
the St. James Hotel. They searched the registers of the hotels in that
city, and found that Surratt had arrived at the St. Lawrence Hall Hotel on
April 6th, and checked out on the 12th of that month; that he had returned
on the 18th and left a few hours later. They learned on investigation that
he had stayed at the home of a man by the name of Porterfield, a
Secessionist from Tennessee, who was one of the agents for the Confederacy
in that city, and that Surratt had left that house with another man
dressed exactly like himself, each taking a carriage and being driven in
different directions. At this point the trail ended until the government
learned of his sailing on the Peruvian, an English steamer, plying between
Quebec and Liverpool, according to the Congressional Record of that year,
see Ames' Report.
The Secretary of
State received the following code telegram from our Consul in Montreal, J.
(Mr. Potter to Mr.
U.S. Consul, B. N. A. F.
Montreal, October 27, 1865.
Sir: Have just had a
personal interview with Dr. L. J. McMillan. He informs me that just before
the Steamer Peruvian sailed, a person with whom he was acquainted, asked
him if he was willing that a gentleman who had been somewhat compromised
by the recent troubles in the United States, should pass as his friend on
board on the passage out. The Doctor refused to acknowledge the person as
his friend, until he should know who he was. Subsequently, the same
person, accompanied by a party came on board before the ship left port,
whom he introduced to the surgeon as Mr. McCarthy. During the voyage
McCarthy made himself known to the Doctor as John H. Surratt, and related
to him many of the particulars of the conspiracy. He said he had been
secreted in Montreal most of the time, with the exception of a few weeks,
when he was with a Catholic priest down the river. He also states that
Porterfield of this city, formerly of Tennessee, assisted in secreting
him. The Doctor also informed same that Surratt had dyed his hair,
eyebrows and mustache, blackstained his face, and wore glasses. He landed
in Londonberry, Ireland, fearing he might be watched and detected in
He told him he was
obliged to remain until he could receive money from Montreal. He requested
the Doctor to see his friend in this city, and bring him funds. After the
return of the Peruvian, the Doctor was transferred to the Nova Scotian.
When I saw him he had just had an interview with his friend who had
introduced him to Surratt, as McCarthy, who told him he was expecting
funds from Washington, D.C., but that they had not come yet.
The Doctor says that
Surratt manifests no signs of penitence, but justifies his action, and was
bold and defiant, when he speaks of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
To illustrate this: He told me that Surratt remarked repeatedly, that he
only desired to live two years longer, in which time he would serve
President Johnson as Booth served Lincoln. The Doctor said he felt it his
duty to give me this information for he regarded Surratt a desperate
wretch, and an enemy to society, who should be apprehended and brought to
(Signed) John F.
To this important
information, our Consul received no reply from the War Department, as he
had expected and the next day he followed it with a telegram, also in
code, printed below:
(Mr. Potter to Mr.
U.S. Consul General,
Montreal, Can., October 25th, 1865.
Sir:—I send you a
telegram in cipher with information to the Department that John H. Surratt
left Three Rivers, in September, for Liverpool, where he now is, awaiting
the arrival of the Nova Scotian, which sails on Saturday, next, by which
he expects to receive money from parties in this city by hand of Ship
Surgeon—I have information from Dr. McMillan, Surratt intends to go to
Rome. He was secreted at Three Rivers by a Catholic priest, with whom he
lived. I have requested instruction in my telegram, but hearing nothing
yet, I scarcely know what course to take.
If an officer could
proceed to England on this ship, no doubt, Surratt's arrest might be
effected, and this, the last of the conspirators against the lives of the
President and Secretary of State be brought to justice. If I hear nothing
from Washington tomorrow, I shall go to Quebec to see further on the
And now a most
peculiar phase of this remarkable case presents itself to us. The U.S. War
Department with the full knowledge of the exact whereabouts of that
arch-criminal, who not only assisted, but led in, and actually directed
the murder of the President of the United States and Secretary of State,
William H. Seward, refused to make the least attempt to arrest the said
John H. Surratt, which the following cable to our Consul in Liverpool
"(Mr. Hunter to Mr.
Dept. of State, October 13th, 1865.
Sir: Your dispatches
541-43 inclusive have been received.
In reply to your No.
538. I have to inform you, that upon consultation with the Secretary of
War and Judge Advocate General, it is thought advisable that no action be
taken in regard to the arrest of the supposed John H. Surratt, at present.
W. H. Hunter.
Then in only a few
weeks from that date, the following order was sent to the War Department
from Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, and successor to
"(General Order No.
Adj. General's Office,
Washington, November 24, 1865.
All persons claiming
reward in the apprehension of John Wilkes Booth, Lewis Payne, G. A.
Atzerodt, David E. Herold, and Jefferson Davis, or either of them, are
notified to file their claims and their proofs with the Adj. General for
final adjudication by the special commission appointed, to award and
determine upon the validity of such claims before the first day of January
next, after which no claims will be received.
The reward for the
arrest of Jacob Thompson, Beverly Tucker, George W. Sander, Wm. G. Cleary,
and John H. Surratt, are hereby revoked.
By order of the
President of the United States.
E. D. Townsend,
Asst. Adj. General."
Naturally, with the
revoking of the reward for the arrest of Surratt, his chances for his
safety from expiating his crime were multiplied many fold.
On September 30th,
1865, our Consulate at Liverpool, sent the following cable in Code to the
Secretary of State at Washington:
"(Mr. Wilding to
U.S. Consulate, Liverpool,
September 30, 1865.
Sir: Since my
dispatch No. 538, the supposed Surratt has arrived in Liverpool and is now
staying at the Oratory of the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Cross. His
appearance indicates him to be about 21 years of age, rather tall and
tolerably good looking. According to the reports Mrs. Surratt was a very
devout Roman Catholic, and I know clergymen of that persuasion on their
way to and from America, have frequently lodged, while in Liverpool at the
same Oratory, so that the fact of this young man going there, somewhat
favors the belief, that he is the real Surratt. I cannot, of course, do
anything further in the matter without Mr. Adams' instructions, and a
warrant. If it be Surratt, such a wretch ought not to escape.
Your obedient servant.
The Oratory of the
Holy Cross was the Roman Catholic Clearing House through which the
ecclesiastical agents passed between this country and the Vatican, during
their activities through the Civil war.
And now, with the
official correspondence to show us Surratt's moves let me chink up the
When Surratt left the
home of Porterfield, he was taken under the wings of the French priests
from under which he never departed until they had seen the ship surgeon on
the Peruvian and arranged for his safe passage as we have seen. The facts
brought out at the two trials of Surratt, after he had finally been
returned to the United States, showed that the fugitive had gone to the
little village of St. Liboire, some sixty miles out of Montreal, skirting
the pine woods, and an ideal place for the purpose. The parish priest's
name was Boucher. Here he secreted Surratt for several weeks, when the
hunt got too hot in Montreal which was being combed thoroughly for him.
St. Liboire was out of the way of the general traffic, and the
inhabitants, French Catholics, who worked for the most part in the lumber
camps, and were by their location, as well as their lack of education, cut
off from the rest of the world and its doings, as if they were people of
another planet. They were subservient to their priest, so much so, that
they would no more have thought of criticizing his acts, than they would
of God Himself. Consequently, when a strange young man appeared at the
parish house nothing was thought of it, or if, perchance, some one with
just a drop of rebellious blood in him, might have asked himself, "Is this
another mouth to feed?" he would whisper it so softly that even his
guardian angel could not hear it, and would quickly bless himself,
for daring to criticize or find fault with what his Bon Pere should
take it into his head to do.
After several weeks
of this life in the Canadian village, Surratt became restless, no doubt,
and anxious to hear from the States, for we must remember that all his
mail and the newspapers were censored by his priestly guardians, as he
afterwards told in his Rockville lecture. Each time the Holy Mother
Church would step in and allay his anxiety and he received almost
weekly visits from the other Valued and trusted friend, Priest La
Pierre of Montreal. Once when he insisted, Priest La Pierre took him back
to Montreal, himself, in citizen's clothes, and Surratt disguised as a
You will note the
solicitude of these French priests concerning this American youth who had
a price of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars on his head, dead or alive.
It is not an eloquent fact of, not only their personal guilt, but the
guilt of their church, that they never thought of surrendering him and
receiving the reward, notwithstanding the inordinate love of money which
characterizes Rome's priests?
Do you think for one
moment that these priests in Canada, or the priests in Washington, would
have dared to have become parties in this conspiracy, thereby involving
their church, without the full knowledge of the Roman hierarchy? Priests
receive all their orders from the pope through their Bishops.
Would this obscure,
native born American boy have been so carefully protected and cared for as
he was by these priests, without the command of the Vatican?
You must remember
that this government had sent broadcast the warning that anyone who would
be found aiding, abetting, protecting, comforting, or in any way
assisting any of the conspirators, would be held as co-partners in the
crime with them, and dealt with accordingly.
There is not a record
that I have been able to find, wherein there is one word of criticism, one
word of disapproval, one word of regret officially, or otherwise, on the
part of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy for the participation of the
Romanists connected with this conspiracy, which consummated in the murder
of Abraham Lincoln!
THERE IS NOT IN THE
LARGE COLLECTION OF OFFICIAL CONDOLENCES RECEIVED BY THIS GOVERNMENT UPON
THE DEATH OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, COMING FROM EVERY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IN THE
WORLD, ONE WORD FROM THE POPE OF ROME, AND THIS IN VIEW, MARK YOU, OF THE
FACT THAT THE POPE WAS KING OF THE PAPAL STATES AND HAD MORE SUBJECTS IN
THIS COUNTRY THAN ANY OTHER RULER IN EUROPE!
Pius IXth by his
silence at this time, made a confession of his guilt written in letters of
fire—unquenchable fire—which brands him and his Jesuits with the brand of
Cain in the heart and minds of the AMERICAN PEOPLE, when they shall have
been given a full knowledge of their (the Jesuits) responsibility in the
CONSPIRACY OF DESTRUCTION OF THIS POPULAR GOVERNMENT ON THAT GOOD FRIDAY
NIGHT IN FORD'S THEATRE, APRIL 14th, 1865:
Who among the
government detectives from this country would have thought to search the
houses of the priests for their fugitive? How much chance would they have
had to secure a search warrant for such search in French Canada if they
had? The Roman Catholic SYSTEM operates in safety through its institutions
in this country and Canada. It is only in Catholic Mexico where the people
who have been burdened by the Papal yoke, have been progressive enough to
make laws and operate them that a search warrant can be obtained with
which these hell-holes of the Pope of Rome in their country can be
Do you realize that
in Mexico, a Roman priest or nun has not the right of suffrage? That they
cannot vote or enjoy any of the rights or privileges which accompanies the
ballot box? And yet we supposedly intelligent Americans, not only permit
them to vote, but they are today the dominating force in politics of every
large city in the United States. THINK OF IT!
All the powerful
machinery of the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church was set in motion
from the moment after the murder of Mr. Lincoln to shield Surratt and
defeat justice for his awful crime, and we have public documents with
which to brand these ecclesiastical plotters. Notwithstanding the fact
that the U.S. War Department knew exactly every step taken by the young
fugitive, from the day he sailed for Europe, no effort was made to arrest
him. The startling knowledge, however, came to the attention of certain
members of Congress, and the matter was brought up in that body, and a
committee appointed to investigate same. I herewith give the report of
this committee in full:
ON JOHN H. SURRATT ISSUED BY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
39th Congress, House
of Representatives. Report 33, 2nd Session, March 2, 1867.
That John H. Surratt,
sailed from Canada about September 15th, 1865, for Liverpool; that
information was received by Secretary of State, Wm. H. Seward, from Mr.
Wilding, Vice-Consul at Liverpool, by communication, dated September 27th,
1865; that Surratt was at that time in Liverpool, or expected in a day or
By dispatch, from
Wilding September 30th, 1865, the supposed Surratt had arrived and was
staying at the Oratory of the Roman Catholic church of the Holy Cross, and
that he, Wilding, could do nothing in the matter without instructions from
our Minister in England, Mr. Adams, and a warrant.
The Secretary of
State, received a dispatch from Mr. Potter, our Consul General at
Montreal, Canada, October 25th, 1865, informing him that Surratt left
Canada for Liverpool, the September previous, and was there waiting the
arrival of a steamer by which he expected money, which steamer had not yet
left Canada, and that he was intending to go to Rome.
Upon November 11th,
1865, Mr. Potter received a dispatch from the Department of State, that
the information in his dispatch had been properly availed of, and that on
the 13th day of November, the Secretary of State requested the Attorney
General of the United States to procure indictment against Surratt, as
soon as convenient, with a view to demand his surrender.
Our Minister, Mr.
Rufus King, at Rome, commenced as early as April 23rd, 1866, stated in his
dispatch, that information of Surratt, under the name of Watson had
enlisted in the Papal Zouaves, then stationed at Sezzes.
In a dispatch, August
8th, 1865, said he repeated information communicated to him, to Cardinal
Antonelli, in regard to Surratt; that his Eminence was greatly interested
by it and intimated that if the American government desired the surrender
of the criminal, there would probably be no difficulty in the way.
REPORT OF THE
1st. That the
Executive did not send any detective or agent to Liverpool to identify
Surratt, or trace his movements, notwithstanding there was ample
opportunity, for doing so, as appears in the communication from Potter.
2nd. That the
Executive did not cause notice to be given to our Minister at Rome; that
Surratt intended going there, when the government had every reason to
believe, such was his intention.
3rd. That on November
24th, 1865, an order was issued from the War Department, revoking the
reward offered for the arrest of John H. Surratt.
4th. That from the
reception of the communications of Mr. King, August 8th, 1866, to October
16th, 1866, no steps were taken, either to identify or procure the arrest
of Surratt, then known to be in the Military service of the Pope.
The testimony of the
Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and others which is herewith
submitted, tending to justify acts of the government in the premises, does
not, in the opinion of your committee, excuse the great delay in arresting
a person charged with complicity in the assassination of the late
President Abraham Lincoln.
They are constrained
from testimony to report that, in their opinion, due diligence in the
arrest of John H. Surratt, was not exercised by the Executive Department
of the government.
(Signed) F. E. Woodbridge,
So ends the report of
that splendid, fearless group of men, chosen by the House of
Representatives to look into the matter.
It seems almost
incredible that the memory of Abraham Lincoln, could have been so soon
forgotten. That the virus of which he had such a clear knowledge should
have been making its deadly inroads in the veins of his successor and the
Secretary of State, William H. Seward, whose life hung in the balance for
days, caused by the hand of one of the assassins under the personal
direction of this same Surratt!
I now call attention
to the communication from our American Consul at Rome, at the time,
General Rufus King:
(Gen. Rufus King to Mr. Seward)
Legation U.S. Rome
April 23rd, 1866
On Saturday last, the
21st, Henry de Sainte-Marie, called upon me for the purpose, as he said,
of communicating the information that John H. Surratt, who is charged with
complicity in the murder of President Lincoln, but made his escape at the
time, from the United States, had recently enlisted in the Papal Zouaves,
under the name of "John Watson." and is now stationed with his company at
My informant said
that he had known Surratt in America; that he recognized him as soon as he
saw him at Sezzes; that he called him by his proper name, and that Surratt
acknowledged that he participated in the plot against Lincoln's life . . .
. He further said that Surratt seemed to be well supplied with money, and
appealed to him, Sainte Marie, not to reveal his secret. Sainte Marie
expressed an earnest desire, that if any steps were taken toward
reclaiming Surratt as a criminal, that he (Sainte Marie) should not be
known in the matter.
He spoke positively,
in answer to my questions as to his acquaintance with Surratt, and he
certainly thinks this was the man, and there seemed such an entire absence
of motive for any false statements on the subject, that I could not very
well doubt the truth of what he said.
I deemed it my duty,
therefore, to present the circumstances to the Department and ask
(Signed) RUFUS KING"
ENGLISH PAPAL COLLEGE AT ROME
An affidavit from an
Irish Romanist, Edward O'Connor, a book dealer there, gives this
illumination upon that young criminal's movement:
"About twelve months
ago Mr. Surratt came to Rome under the name of Watson. In Canada he
procured letters from several priests to friends in England. Having left
England for Rome, he got letters for some people here, among others for
the Reverend Dr. Neane, Rector of the English College. Being detained some
days in Cevita Vecchia, and having no money to pay his expenses, he wrote
the Reverend Dr. Neane, from whom he received fifty francs. On his arrival
here, he went to the English College, where he lived for some time; after
that he entered the papal service.
Rome, November 26th,
O'Connor also turned
over to our Minister, which is included in the other official papers in
the archives of this government, a letter received by him from Surratt as
"Edw. O'Connor, Esq.,
Will you be so kind
as to send me a French and English grammar, the best method you have. I
think Ollendorf's is the most in use. When I come to Rome I will settle
with you. Shall be in, in the course of two or three weeks. If you should
have time time to reply to me, please give me all the news you can. By so
doing, you will greatly oblige,
John Watson, Co. 3."
was identified in this letter. It is perceptible that O'Connor knew the
nature of the "news" wanted by his friend Watson. The statement of
O'Connor shows that Surratt had evidently related to him about his letters
of reference, and his pecuniary embarrassment would indicate some
confidence in that gentleman.
I wonder if the
non-Romanist reader gets the full import of a Roman priest in the City of
Rome, at that, advancing a sum of money to a foreign youth, as the
Reverend Dr. Neane did? This, itself, without any of the other tremendous
facts showing the aid that this young traitor received from the priests in
Washington, Canada, England and Italy, was sufficient to have held them as
the actual conspirators and to have brought them to justice by hanging
them on the same scaffold with their dupes. Had this been done, it might
have saved the assassination of the other Presidents of this Republic,
Garfield and McKinley!
To those of us who
know the coldness of the charity of the priests of Rome, the conduct of
the Reverend Dr. Neane speaks volumes.
I now produce another
communication in this government correspondence, which speaks for itself:
Mr. Seward to Mr.
Department of State.
Washington, October 16, 1866
Mr. King's private
letter written from Hamburg has just been received. It is accompanied by a
letter from Sainte Marie of the 12th of September, to Mr. Hooker. I think
it expedient that you do the following things:
1st. Employ a
confidential person to visit Velletri, and ascertain by comparison with
the photo sent whether the person indicated by Sainte Marie, is really
2nd. Pay Sainte Marie
to get his release in consideration of the information he has already
communicated on the subject.
3rd. Seek an
interview with Cardinal Antonelli and referring to an intimation made by
him to Mr. King's letter No. 62 . . . . Ask Cardinal whether his Holiness
would now be willing in an absence of an extradition treaty, to deliver
John H. Surratt upon an authentic indictment, and at the request of the
Department, for complicity in the assassination of the late President
Lincoln, or whether, in the event of this request being declined, his
Holiness would enter into an extradition treaty with us, which would
enable us to reach the surrender of Surratt.
4th. Ask as a favor
of this government, that neither Sainte Marie nor Surratt be discharged
from the papal army, until we have had time to communicate concerning
them, after receiving a prompt reply from you to this communication.
Sainte Marie should
be told confidentially, that the subject of his communication to Mr.
Hooker is under consideration here.
(Signed) W.H. Seward."
The following from
General King gives further light:
(Mr. King to Mr.
Legation U.S., Rome
July 14, 1866.
Henri de Sainte
Marie's deposition. In compliance with instructions heretofore received, I
have obtained and herewith transmit, an additional statement, sworn and
subscribed to, by Sainte Marie, touching John H. Surratt's acknowledged
complicity in the assassination of the late President Lincoln.
Sainte Marie again
expressed to me his great desire to return to America and give his
evidence in person. He thinks his life would be in danger here, if it
would be known . . . that he betrayed Surratt's secret
I have the honor to
be with great respect.
Again we hear from
General King after a visit to Cardinal Antonelli. That cunning old fox,
who was the real pope, saw that to attempt to refuse to surrender their
protégé would have been a dangerous move. There was, for instance, more
than a billion dollars worth of church property in the United States, and
the temper of the great masses of red-blooded American people was not to
be trifled with. There were thousands of priests and nuns here, and a
refusal, or further protection to this young monster might precipitate
such a revulsion of feeling, if the inner facts were to become known, as
to jeopardize not only the property, but start a religious war, to which
there was no question as to the outcome.
I deem this a proper
place to quote again from that valuable little book, The Roman
Question. the description of Antonelli's personal appearance:
"In this year of
grace, 1859, he is fifty-three years of age. He presents the appearance of
a well preserved man; his frame is slight but robust; his constitution
that of a mountaineer. The breadth of his forehead, the brilliance of his
eyes, his beak-like nose, and all the upper part of his face, inspire a
certain awe. His countenance, of almost Moorish hue, is at times lit up by
flashes of intellect. But his heavy jaw, his long fang-like teeth, and his
thick lips express the grossest appetites. He gives you the idea of a
minister grafted on a savage. When he assists the Pope in the ceremonies
of Holy Week, he is magnificently disdainful and impertinent. He turns
from time to time in the direction of the diplomatic tribune, and looks
without a smile at the poor ambassadors, whom he cajoles from morning to
night. You admire the actor who bullies his public. But when at an evening
party he engages in close conversation with a handsome woman, the play of
his countenance shows the direction of his thoughts, and those of the
imaginative observer are imperceptibly carried to a roadside in a lonely
forest, in which the principal objects are prostrate postilions, an
overturned carriage, trembling females, and a select party of the
inhabitants of Sonnino!
"He lives in the
Vatican, immediately over the Pope. The Romans ask punningly, which is the
uppermost, the Pope or Antonelli? All the classes of society hate him
equally. He is the only living man concerning whom an entire people is
agreed . . . He wishes to restore the absolute power of the Pope, in order
that he may dispose of it at his ease . . . He returns to Rome and for ten
years continues to reign over a timid old man and an enslaved people,
opposing a passive resistance to all the counsels of diplomacy, and all
the demands of Europe.
Antonelli, Secretary of the Papal States was the mouthpiece of the
Black Pope—the General of the Society of Jesus. On death of
Cardinal Antonelli his two attractive daughters, by a court decision, were
awarded his vast fortune to the amazement and scandal of Europe."
Mr. King to Mr.
Legation U.S. Rome,
August 8th, 1866.
I availed myself of
the opportunity to repeat to the Cardinal the information communicated by
Henri Sainte Marie in regard to Surratt. His Eminence was greatly
interested and intimated that if the American government desired the
surrender of the criminal, there would probably be no difficulty in the
(Mr. King to Mr.
". . . He added, that
there was indeed no extradition treaty between the two countries, and that
to surrender a criminal, where capital punishment was likely to ensue, was
not exactly in accordance with the spirit of the papal government, but,
that in so grave and so exceptional a case, and with the understanding
that the United States under parallel conditions would do as they desired
to be done by, and that he thought that the request of the United States
department for Surratt's surrender would be granted."
Do you get the
entering wedge there to make Surratt's surrender on condition that would
save his neck? Since when did the spirit of the papal government
become so compassionate? The massacre of St. Bartholemew, the burning at
the stake of Bruno, Savanarola, John Huss, Joan D'Arc, and thousands of
others who dared to oppose the papacy, still cries to Heaven for
vengeance, but with this young criminal who was perinde ac cadaver
in the hands of Pius IXth and his Jesuits, how very solicitious they are,
going just as far as they dare, to save him!
What cowardly and
reprehensible conduct the men at the head of the United States government
were guilty of in the case of Henri de Sainte Marie, who took his life in
his hands when he informed General King of John Surratt's identity. They
dilly-dallied along for months and kept him sweating while he awaited some
action, and then it took a Congressional investigation and a stinging
rebuke and order from Congress before the proper steps were taken to bring
this young scoundrel, Surratt, to time.
We have here the
sequel of the communication from Mr. King from Hamburg, which the
Secretary of War, Seward, referred to in the letter above:
Hamburg, September 23rd, 1866.
My dear Governor:
I enclose a letter
forwarded from Rome a few days since, in which Sainte Marie related his
griefs to Mr. Hooker. He thinks, of course, that too little notice has
been taken to his statements about Surratt; but would be satisfied, I have
no doubt, if his discharge from the Pontifical Zouaves were procured, and
the means furnished him to pay his passage home to Canada, where his old
mother is still living. His discharge, I could obtain without difficulty,
(Signed) Rufus King."
The telegraph lines
and mail service in the pontifical states, were of course, entirely in the
hands of the prelates of the Pope, and under the strictest censorship.
It goes without
saying that no state papers passed through the mails in the pontifical
states from our consuls to their government, that were not read by the
priestly spies and reported to His Eminence, copied and filed away
for future reference, if they so desired. The following letter gives us an
interesting high light on the Jesuit system, and the credulity of a
Protestant American's psychology.
Rome, July 14, 1866.
My dear Governor:
As you will learn
from the accompanying dispatch, the missing documents from the State
Department arrived all right today. I cannot imagine how, or where they
have been delayed.
I will act forthwith
upon the instructions in regard to Sainte Marie. He is willing and anxious
to return to the United States, and can get his release from the Pope's
army, by paying fifty dollars, or so. I should judge his parole evidence
would be much more desirable than any certified statement. He would expect
to have his expenses paid and some compensation for his time.
The reader will
recall that Sainte Marie was cut off from any reward which the government
had offered by a revocation which President Johnson ordered.
Sainte Marie, however
was voted a gift of ten thousand dollars for his services, by Congress.
President Johnson was
a drunkard. He came from a disloyal State. His revocation of a reward for
the arrest of John H. Surratt is conclusive proof to the mind of the
writer, to say the least he was playing politics, which under the gravity
of the circumstances would make his conduct criminal. Andrew Johnson, the
drunkard, had nothing in common with Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's pure,
sober, honorable life was a rebuke to such a man as Johnson. At the first
opportunity, the latter dared to take advantage of, to show his dislike,
which amounted to downright disrespect to the memory of Lincoln. It was
President Johnson that paralyzed the arm of the Department of State in
regard to Surratt's arrest. The whole official inertness amounting to
treason it would seem, should be laid at Johnson's door.
That the Roman
Catholic spirit may be truly demonstrated in the pontifical army, a
perusal of the following document will be enlightening:
Mr. King to Mr.
Seward, Legation U.S., Rome. December 17, 1866.
I hasten to
acknowledge receipt of the dispatches Nos. 44-45-46-47, of the State
Department . . . relative to the affair of John H. Surratt . . . . It will
give me pleasure to convey to Cardinal Antonelli, the assurance of the
President's sincere satisfaction with the prompt and friendly actions of
the papal court . . . . Sainte Marie, who first informed me of Surratt
being in the corps of Zouaves, has been discharged from the papal service,
at my request.
Threats had been made
against him by some of his comrades, and thinking that his life might not
be altogether safe, and that he might be wanted at Alexandria as a witness
to identify Surratt, I put him in charge of Captain Jeffers, and he sailed
on the Swatara on Friday last. His great desire seems to be to return to
America, and aid in bringing Surratt to justice. I have seen, as yet, no
reason to doubt his good faith, or question the truth of his statements.
Surratt, one of the
murderers of our great Lincoln, was the hero and Sainte Marie, the
traitor! The difference in sentiment of the papal troops and the PEOPLE of
Italy, the Revolutionists, who were struggling for a free and united
Italy, under Geribaldi, and Victor Emmanuel, can be appreciated if the
reader will peruse the letters of condolence which were received by the
government after they learned of the assassination of Mr. Lincoln. Every
workingmen's organization of Italy sent the most beautiful messages, and
their intimate knowledge of the life of Lincoln astonished the writer. The
bold frankness in many of them in placing the blame on the Jesuits was
most edifying. I know of nothing that will give the reader the mental
attitude of the difference of sentiment, and show up the venom of the
Pope's silence on President Lincoln's murder, than a perusal of these
After an extended
diplomatic dickering which covered several months after its initiation,
the order for Surratt's arrest was given by the Secretary of State,
Cardinal Antonelli. The official papers are exceedingly interesting and
educational. We give them in full. They are all official translations of
the originals, in Italian. The Lieutenant Colonel in charge at the time
was an Austrian, whom the patriotic Italians greatly hated.
(Translation) Kausler to Lieut. Col. Allet
November 6, 1866.
Zouave Watson to be arrested and to be conveyed under safe military escort
to the military prison at Rome. It is of much importance that this order
be scrupulously fulfilled.
To Lieut. Col. Allet, Com. Battalion of Zouaves, Velleteri."
The French Lieut.
Allet acknowledges the order as follows:
"Allet to Kausler
(Enclosure D' Translation)
Velletri, November 7, 1866.
General:—I have the
honor to inform you that the Zouave Watson (John) has been arrested at
Veroli, and will be conducted tomorrow morning under a good escort to
I have the honor to
be General, your most humble subordinate,
Leiut. Col. Allet,
Pontifical Zouave Commander of Battalion."
And now comes the
surprise, by the way of:
Presented at Velletri. November 8. 1866, 8:35 A.M.
Arrived at Rome, November 8. 1866. 8:50 A.M.
Minister of Arma, Rome.
I received the
following telegram, dated 4:30 A.M. from Zambilly:
At the moment he left
the prison and while surrounded by six men as a guard, Watson threw
himself into a ravine, about a hundred feet, perpendicular in depth, which
defends the prison. Fifty Zouaves in pursuit of him.
I will transmit your
Excellency the intelligence I may receive by telegram.
It was now up to the
Austrian commander to flimflam the American Consuls and State Department
by giving this opera buffet the semblance of genuineness to cover the
investigation which they knew was sure to follow.
"Kausler to Cardinal
Ministry of Arms,
Cabinet of the Pro-Minister
November 8, 1866.
I have the honor to
transmit to your most reverend Eminence, the accompanying documents on the
arrest and escape of the Zouave Watson, of the 3rd Co., and I shall not
fail to communicate such further information as I may receive, as the
result of the pursuit of this individual.
Bowing to kiss the
sacred purple, I am proud to subscribe myself with profound devotion, your
most Reverend Eminence's most humble and obedient servant.
His most Reverend
Antonelli, Secretary of State."
There you are, my
dear reader, how do you like the picture? That is a glimpse of what will
happen in this country if we allow the Jesuits to "Make America Catholic!"
WARNING BY HIS ECCLESIASTICAL PROTECTORS
"Lieut., Col. Allet
out your Excellency's orders, I sent this morning to Veroli, Lieut. De
Farnel, to make an examination of the escape of Zouave Watson. I have
learned some other details of this unfortunate business. Watson, at the
moment he was arrested, must have been on his guard, having obtained
knowledge of a letter addressed . . . which concerned him probably. This
letter was sent by mistake to a trumpeter named . . . was opened by him
and shown to Watson, because it was written in English. I have sent it to
your Eminence, with a report from Captain Zambilly.
I am assured that the
escape of Watson savors of a prodigy. He leaped from a height of 23 feet
on a narrow rock, beyond which is a precipice. The filth from the barracks
accumulated on the rocks, and in this manner the fall of Watson was
broken. Had he leaped a little further he would have fallen in an abyss.
I am, etc., etc."
We have below a
description of the arrest of Surratt given in the report from Lieut. Col.
" . . . Then, the
prisoner was awakened, who arose and put on his gaiters and took his
coffee with the calmness and phlegm quite English. The gate of the prison
opens on a platform which overlooks the country, situated at least thirty
feet below the windows of the prison.
Beside the gate of
the prison are the privies of the barracks. Watson asked permission to
halt there. Corp. Warrin who had six men with him as guards, allowed him
to stop, very naturally, not doubting, neither he, nor the Zouaves,
present, that the prisoner was going to try to escape at a place which
seemed quite impossible to us, is quite clear. In fact, Watson who seemed
quiet, seized the balustrade, made a leap, and cast himself into the void,
falling on the uneven rocks where he might have broken his bones a
thousand times, and gained the depth of the valley below.
immediately organized, but in vain! We saw a peasant who told us he had
seen an unarmed Zouave going towards Commari which is the way to Piedmont
. . . Lieut. Mosley and I have been to examine the localities and we asked
ourselves how one could make such a leap without breaking arms and legs?
DeZambilly, Com: of
That Surratt was
given his warning by some emissary of the Pope's government is beyond a
doubt. Do you think for one moment if Surratt's crime, for instance, had
been the murder of a priest, he would have escaped?
through General King, demanded a report of the affair, and his request was
complied with by Cardinal Antonelli and the above translations were made
and sent to Washington where they are now with the data pertaining to the
affairs of Surratt. Mr. King sent the following letter to Mr. Marsh, our
Consul at Florence, Italy, by courier:
"Mr. King to Mr.
Dear Sir:—I send to
you under very peculiar circumstances and as bearer of these dispatches,
my friend, Mr. Robert McPherson. He will tell you the story which the
accompanying dispatches will help to illustrate.
On November 13th."
referred to above are the ones given here, pertaining to the arrest and
"escape" of Surratt. We see now the pontifical government maneuvered to
permit Surratt to be taken on condition that he be not condemned to death;
we see by some friendly advance information he was prepared for his arrest
and took it with perfect calmness and nonchalance, notwithstanding the
fact he was aroused from his sleep and that "he put on his gaiters and
took his coffee, with a calmness that was quite English." We see that his
arrest was a farce and that he was permitted to Escape. We see
Antonelli assuring our Consul that he had undoubtedly "made good his
escape" and was in Italian territory.
After the order of
Cardinal Antonelli for the arrest of Surratt from the Papal Guard had been
given the official wires of this country were busy. The following orders
were telegraphed to the officers of our Fleet in the Mediterranean.
"Rome, November 16,
1866, I 1:50 A.M.
His Excellency, Mr.
Harvey American Minister, Lisbon
Goldsborough that very important matters renders the immediate presence of
one of our ships-of-war necessary at Vecchia.
Mr. Harvey's reply
"As Rear Adm.
Goldsborough is not now in port, I sent immediately for Commodore Steedman,
who arrived here some days ago, and who is now the superior officer
present, in order to consult as to the proper measures to be adopted.
The U.S. Steamer
Swatara, left here yesterday for Tangier, Gibraltar, and other ports in
the Mediterranean, and if the Rear Admiral who is believed to have left
Cherbourg for Lisbon, within the last few days, does not appear as soon as
expected, Commodore Steedman will intercept and order the Swatara by
telegram to proceed to Civiti Vecchia.
On November 17, 1866,
a telegram from Minister Harvey announced that the Swatara had been
ordered to Civiti Vecchia, which arrived in due time, but Surratt had made
his escape on a steamer which left Naples for Egypt and Henri de Sainte
Marie was placed on board the Swatara, and held awaiting word from our
Consul at Alexandria. The vessel upon which Surratt sailed put in at
Malta. Our American Minister there who had been notified to be on the
alert for that young fugitive, found that he was on board and cabled our
Consul at Rome. This message was sent on to our Minister at Alexandria,
Egypt, so that when the ship arrived at that port, it found Mr. Hale, the
U.S. Consul General, waiting for him. I will let the official wire to the
United States War Department describe his arrival.
It was easy to
distinguish him, (Surratt) from among the seventy-eight third-class
passengers by his Zouave uniform and scarcely less easy, by his almost
unmistakable American type of countenance. I said at once to him: "You are
the man I want; you are an American?' He said. 'Yes Sir.' I said, 'You
doubtless know why I want you? What is your name?' He said, promptly,
'Walters.' I said, 'I believe your name is Surratt,' and in arresting him
I mentioned my official position as United States Consul-General.
The Director of
Quarantine speedily arranged sufficient escort of soldiers, by whom the
prisoner was conducted to a safe place within the Quarantine walls.
Although the walk occupied several minutes, the prisoner close at my side,
made no remark whatever, displaying neither surprise nor irritation.
Arrived at the place
prepared, I gave him the usual magisterial caution, that he was not
obliged to say anything, and that anything he did say would be taken down
in writing. He said 'I have nothing to say. I want nothing but what is
right.' He declared he had neither transportation nor luggage, nor money,
except six francs. His companions confirmed his statement. They said he
came to Naples, a deserter from the Papal army at Rome. I find he has no
papers, no clothes but those he is wearing. The appearance of the prisoner
answers very well the description given by witness Weichmann on page 116
of Pitman's Report, sent me by the government.
Here, again, we see
Surratt, under the most trying circumstances under which an innocent man
would have broken, taking his arrest with amazing coolness, the same, in
fact, which he displayed previously, when he was taken at Velletri,
although, so far as is known, that was the first time that he had ever
been arrested. He was beyond doubt, fortified by the assurance that he was
under the protection of the Vatican, and he had, like all Jesuits, a clear
understanding of all that fact guaranteed. He was clever enough to realize
that with his inner knowledge of this whole sordid, treasonable
transaction, his "holy church" would be compelled to continue its
protection as their interests were inseparable. His confidence must have
been further intensified by the fact that he would not have to face a
military tribunal, as had his mother, and the rest of his co-conspirators,
who were executed, and that the political influence of the Jesuit machine
already had reached the presidential chair, so recently occupied by his
victim, Abraham Lincoln.
Taking stock of the
above facts, the young monster had good and sufficient reason to be
philosophical about his present condition. He was probably rather relieved
when he found himself a manacled prisoner, with his face turned homeward
to the country of his nativity, to the country he had so miserably and
wickedly betrayed. He knew many staunch friends awaited him—friends, who,
like himself, hated the government.
Before going further
we present another official communication of this matter which throws
added light upon the situation in Italy when the POPE WAS KING.
"Mr. March to Mr.
Legation of U.S.
Florence, Italy, Nov. 18, 1866.
Sir:—On my arrival
from Venice on Tuesday morning, found the papers, copies and translations,
of which mark respectively, A B C D and E, are hereto annexed. Mr.
McPherson introduced by a letter marked A, had gone to Leghorn, and I had
no other information on the subject of his mission, than such the papers
referred to above have fumished.
I lost no time in
seeing the Secretary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I stated to him
such facts as I was possessed of, and inquired whether he thought his
government would surrender Surratt to the United States for trial, if he
should be found in Italian territory. He replied, he thought the accused
man would be surrendered on proper demand and proof, but probably only on
stipulation on our part, that the punishment of death, should not be
inflicted on him.
Having no instruction
on the subject, and knowing nothing of those Mr. King might have received,
and at that time having no reason to suppose that Surratt had escaped into
the territory of the King, I did not pursue the discussion farther . . . I
doubt whether in case of surrender of Surratt, a formal stipulation to
exempt him from punishment by death, will be insisted upon.
In the famous LaGala
escape, Mr. Viscount Venosto, then, as now, Minster of Foreign Affairs,
refused to enter into such a stipulation, on the extradition of the
offenders, but nevertheless, the government yielded to the intercession of
the Emperor of France, and the sentences of those atrocious criminals,
though convicted of numerous murders, robberies and even cannibalism, were
commuted, and I suppose the government of Italy, would strongly oppose
capital punishment and recommend Surratt to mercy, if he surrendered to
The public sentiment
of all classes in Italy, is decidedly averse to the infliction of capital
punishment, and I shall not go too far, if I add, to any severe or
adequate punishment for grave offenses.
There is a
psychological reason for the innate enmity in the hearts of Romanists for
severe punishment. It is traceable to the long dark centuries of unjust,
atrocious cruelties of the misrule which the Italians endured, under the
reigns of the popes of Rome. Suppression of any peoples continued for
ages, will react and have a strong tendency to make government of any sort
resented and distasteful to them.
Surratt did not
overestimate the protection of his church, for from the moment he landed
in this country, he was greeted and sustained by the priests of that
church. When his trial began in Washington on June 10th, 1867, the
presence of Roman priests and the students from the Jesuit University at
Georgetown and the Sulpician Monastery where he had studied three years
for the priesthood, were the most noticeable features of the sessions.
Although he declared himself a bankrupt, he was furnished the services of
the best lawyers. When it became necessary to furnish bail for his final
release, it was immediately presented by an Irish woman he did not even
know, to the amount of thirty thousand dollars. According to press reports
this stood there until his death in 1916. That is some friendship, is it
HENRI DE SAINTE MARIE
Aims (note: Ames?)
Report, House of Representatives, 39th Session Congress, page 15, Ex.
Document No. 9. Rome, July 10, 1866.
"I, Henri de St.
Marie, a native of Canada, British American, age 33, do swear and declare
under oath, that about six months previous to the assassination of Abraham
Lincoln, I was living in Maryland, at a small village called Ellangowan,
or Little Texas, about 25 or 30 miles from Baltimore, where I was engaged
as a teacher for a period of about 5 months. I there and then got
acquainted with Louis J. Weichmann and John H. Surratt, who came to that
locality to pay a visit to the parish priest. At that first interview a
great deal was said about the war and slavery, the sentiment expressed by
the two individuals being more than strongly secessionist. In the course
of the conversation I remember Surratt to have said that President Lincoln
would certainly pay for the men that were slain during the war. About a
month afterward I removed to Washington at the instigation of Weichmann
and got a situation as tutor at Gonzaga College where he was himself
engaged. Surratt visited us weekly, and once he offered to send me South,
but I declined.
"I did not remain
more than a month at Washington, not being able to agree with Weichmann
and enlisted in the army the of North as stated in my first statement in
writing to General King.
"I have met Surratt
here in Italy at a small town called Velletri. He is now known under the
name of 'John Watson.' I recognized him before he made himself known to me
and told him privately, 'You are John Surratt, the person I have known in
Maryland.' He acknowledged he was and begged me to keep the thing secret.
After some conversation we spoke of the unfortunate affair, of the
assassination of President Lincoln, and these were his words: 'Damn the
Yankees, they have killed my mother; but I have done them as much harm as
I could. We have killed Lincoln the nigger's friend.' He then said,
speaking of his mother. 'Had it not been for me and that coward Weichmann,
my mother would be living yet. It was fear made him speak. Had he kept his
tongue, there was no danger for him; but if I ever return to America or
meet him elsewhere I shall kill him.'
"He then said he was
in the secret service of the South. And Weichmann, who was in some
department there, used to steal copies of the dispatches and forward them
to him and thence to Richmond. Speaking of the murder he said, they had
acted under the orders of men who were not yet known, some of whom are
still in New York and others in London.
"I am aware that
money is sent to him yet—from London.
"'When I left
Canada,' he said. 'I had but little money, but I had a letter from a party
in London. I was in disguise, with dyed hair and false beard; that party
sent me to a hotel, where he told me to remain until I heard from him.
After a few weeks he came to me and proposed to me to go to Spain, but I
declined, and he asked me to go to Paris. He gave me seventy pounds with a
letter of introduction to a party there who sent me here to Rome where I
joined the Zouaves.'
"He says he can get
money in Rome any time. I believe he is protected by the clergy and that
the murder is the result of a deep laid plot, not only against the life of
President Lincoln but against the existence of the republic, as we are
aware that priesthood and royalty are and always have been opposed to
"That such men as
Surratt, Booth, Weichmann and others of their own accord planned and
executed the infernal plot which resulted in the death of President
Lincoln is impossible. There are others behind the curtain who have pulled
the strings to make these scoundrels act . . . .
"He says he does not
regret what has taken place and he will visit New York in a year or two,
as there is a heavy shipping firm there that had much to do with the
South, and he is surprised that they have not been suspected.
"This is the exact
truth of what I know about Surratt. More I could not learn, being afraid
to awaken his suspicion and further I do not say."
Sworn and subscribed
before me at the American Legation in Rome, this tenth day of July, 1866,
as witness my hand and seal.
Signed: Henri de
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