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 secretary.
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 letter:
"Headquarters Department of Washington,
Special Orders, No. 68.
Special officers, 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 transportation.
By command of Major-General Augur, T. Ingraham
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. F. Potter:
(Mr. Potter to Mr. Seward)
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 Liverpool.
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 justice."
(Signed) John F. Potter."
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. Seward)
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 subject.
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 shows:
"(Mr. Hunter to Mr. Wilding)
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 Abraham Lincoln:
"(General Order No. 164)
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,
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 Mr. Seward)
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.
Yours respectfully, 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 open spaces.
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 hunter.
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 reached.
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:
OFFICIAL REPORT ON JOHN H. SURRATT ISSUED BY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CONGRESSIONAL RECORD
39th Congress, House of Representatives. Report 33, 2nd Session, March 2, 1867.
REPORT OF JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
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 two.
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 COMMITTEE
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.
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:
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 Sezze.
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 instructions.
SURRATT ENTERED 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, 1866."
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 follows:
"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,
Surratt's handwriting 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. King
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 John Surratt.
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.
The following from General King gives further light:
(Mr. King to Mr. Seward)
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 protg 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.
"Cardinal Giacomo 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. Seward,
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 way.
(Mr. King to Mr. Seward)
". . . 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:
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, if desirable.
(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.
"Legation U.S., 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 messages.
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.
"Enclosure 'C' (Translation) Kausler to Lieut. Col. Allet
Colonel:—Cause the 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.
The Gen. Pro-Minister, Kausler.
The French Lieut. Allet acknowledges the order as follows:
"Allet to Kausler (Enclosure D' Translation)
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 Rome.
I have the honor to be General, your most humble subordinate,
Leiut. Col. Allet,
And now comes the surprise, by the way of:
"(Enclosure 'E' Translation)
His Excellency, 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.
Allet., Lieut. Col."
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 Antonelli.
Ministry of Arms, Cabinet of the Pro-Minister
Most Reverend Eminence:
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 Eminence Kausler
The Cardinal 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!"
SURRATT GIVEN WARNING BY HIS ECCLESIASTICAL PROTECTORS
"Lieut., Col. Allet to Kausler.
My General:—Following 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. Allet.
" . . . 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.
Patrols were 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 Detachment."
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?
This government, 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. Marsh.
(Enclosure 'A' Confidential)
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.
The dispatches 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
Inform Adm. Goldsborough that very important matters renders the immediate presence of one of our ships-of-war necessary at Vecchia.
Mr. Harvey's reply was:
"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. Seward.
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 us.
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 not?
AFFIDAVIT OF 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 liberty.
"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 St. Marie
Rufus King, Minister Resident.