tv [untitled] January 28, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm EST
one more question, we're told. is there one? >> yes, one in the -- back there. >> thanks for being here this evening. you mentioned that slavery collapsed after the tobacco industry collapsed or the agriculture part of it. >> slavery didn't come lanllaps >> i know, but you mentioned something that intrigueded me and here's my question. where might it have gone if a different crop would have taken over the way tobacco had. why didn't it continue to flourish? why did it fall back in on itself. i was just curious about why didn't another crop take over and give us another opportunity to trade with it? >> well, washington tried it. washington is one of the first
virginia plapnters so they that tobacco is not going to work but to go to wheat primarily. but he had other crops too. and he had multisources of income. >> he had hemp. every time i talk about washington, some young pot head comes up to me with a dollar bill. and i say i'm for legalizing marijuana just like you are, but the hemp was for fact bribric, r smoking. >> i don't think there's any good rationalization for what you're asking, which is a superb question. think about it this way, the greatest members of the revolutionary was virginians. i'm from virginia. i went to william & mary
university and i have the same color of hair as thomas jefferson, what's left of it. that generation and the generation that succeeded it took the wrong turn. on slavery, and on the principle of state's rights. and once they took that wrong turn, i mean, virginia has become a political back water. it has never recovered its position. and it's been a source of segregation in the 20th century and they could have made a different decision. and actually in 1832, there is a convening of a special convention, in virginia to discuss ending slavery. but it happens right after nat turner's insurrection.
and i mean when you think about it. >> marshall and madison are still alive. >> madison attends and he doesn't say anything. he swallows it. he refuses to take a clear position. i'm for the union, but i don't regard the federal government has the power to do these things and i'm not sure that the states should do it either. it's like if you could go back, which of course we can't, and show them the economic realities and read to them, say, look, jefferson, madison, it's in your best long-term interest, it's in the best interests of your families -- remember, jefferson's daughter becomes a ward of the state, okay? like she's impoverished.
madison's plantation is sold to auction. dolly madison also becomes a person that depends on charity. so that it would have been in your best interest to make a change, but they are so committed, not just to slavery as an economic system, but to the world that slavery represented, psychologically, culturally, they just couldn't imagine another world. and all they had to do is go to, like, massachusetts or connecticut and they could see another world. but it one of the great failures. like the virginia dynasty. wonderful. everything after that is horrible. even robert e. lee, a great general, chooses the wrong side. and i'm convinced that if jefferson lived to 1861, he would have gone with the confederacy. washington would have gone with
new england. at some point in time, greatness -- you can't even know where greatness is headed. a lot knew that as much as anybody. washington knew that, jefferson didn't know that. >> we were headed to a great evening, and we have had one, so thank you very much. next week on history bookshelf, jeff shaara talks about his book "rise to rebellion." history bookshelf airs every saturday at noon eastern. >> this week on "the civil war" thomas craughwell and michael
kline talk about lincoln's forum symposium. the author spoke at the lincoln forum symposium, this is a little under 50 minutes. >> as some of you know, i kind of like weird stories. and maybe i'm credulous. is this working? good. okay. we're talking about weird stories. and i might be credulous. but i figure that if a couple of knuckle-headed irish counterfeiters could try to steal the body of abraham lincoln, then why couldn't a police chief team up with a crazed corsican and try and kill lincoln? so that's sort of my perspective on this. it will come as a surprise to
none of you that the election of abraham lincoln was not received with a wild jubilation in the south. in fact, on election night pro-secessionist group attacked and ransacked republican party headquarters in washington, d.c. and it just got worse from there. in weeks that followed there were all types of reports of plots and conspiracies and more paramilitary organizations springing up all around, to the point that in january of 1861, congress passed a resolution saying that they really ought to start investigating this because this could be dangerous to the united states government. and then one day towards the end of the month, general winfield scott walked into his office and found waiting for him on his desk an anonymous letter in which the writer promised that before inauguration day,
lincoln, buchanan and general scott were all going to be assassinated. about the same time the social reformer, dorothea dix was wrapping up a tour in the south. she had been spending a lot of time in maryland. she went to see samuel felton. samuel felton was the president of the philadelphia, wilmington and baltimore railroad. and she had been hearing stories of plots to kill president lincoln, and variety of possibilities. by blowing up a railroad bridge as his train was going over it en route to washington. or setting fire to a railroad bridge as his train was coming up to it. and samuel felton was sufficiently spooked that he armed his conductors with pistols, and he hired 200 security guys who he masqueraded as maintenance men.
and he sent them out to the railroad bridges and had them -- it looked like they were whitewashing the bridges. actually what they were doing they were painting the timbers with salt and alum to fireproof them. and then felton hired the detective allen pinkerton to go down to baltimore and see what was going on. and so pinkerton with eight or nine detectives travels down to baltimore, and they just sort of fan out and start infiltrating pro-secessionist hot spots. one of the detectives, timothy webster, joined a pro-secessionist cavalry company. harry davies, another detective, moved into the barnum hotel which was sort of ground zero for pro-secessionist, anti-lincoln sentiment. and he very quickly ingratiated himself with the more radical element in baltimore.
kate warny, america's first professional female detective, is also down there. she presents herself and a genteel lady from montgomery, alabama. and so she's welcomed into the circles of the conspirators' wives and sisters. and as for pinkerton, he presented an office and opened up what he said was a stock brokerage firm and let it be known that he had strong southern sympathies. and soon he's in the pro-secessionist circles, too. at one point he's introduced to a man named cipriano ferendini, an immigrant from corsica, who had a barbershop in the basement of the barnum hotel. in spite of that background, he was a fire-breathing secessionist who declared out
loud and at just about every opportunity, it seems, that the only way for the south to be free was for abraham lincoln to die. and the man that introduced pinkerton to him was george cane, who was the baltimore chief of police. so you have this partnership that i love. the chief of police and the loony corsican barber. and they're all out to get lincoln. and as pinkerton is putting all these pieces together and the other detectives are contributing their parts of the puzzle, it's now time to warn the lincoln party. remember he's making his way slowly from springfield down to d.c. so we're now in february, 1861. february 21st he's in philadelphia. pinkerton goes to philadelphia and he talks first to norman judd, lincoln's friend and political associate, who is also in charge of the itinerary at this point. and strongly suggesting that they alter the route. because the way the conspiracy had figured it out was very simple.
in baltimore there was an ordinance. you could not have trains run through the middle of town. so if you came from points north you either got off the train and caught a cab, a carriage, to the southern terminus and met your train there for points south, or maybe they'd uncouple the car and a team of horses would tow it through the city and reconnect it at the southern terminus. either way, the conspirators' plan was to have the streets lined with their guys, part of whom would create a distraction so that any police escort would be drawn away, and then the rest would close in for the kill and murder abraham lincoln in the carriage or in the car. so it's a simple but incredibly nasty plot. when pinkerton goes to philadelphia, he talks to judd. he explains it to him. he talks to lincoln. judd tells us that lincoln was very quiet and very solemn and very sober as he's listening to all of this.
and then on a later occasion he said that he had known pinkerton for ten years and always considered him -- his is the quote "truthful and sagacious." pinkerton's recommendation is that lincoln take the night train now and throw the conspirators off by going through baltimore in the middle of the night on a day that they weren't expecting him, and therefore essentially an end run. lincoln says no, because the next day he's scheduled to raise the flag over independence hall and then go out to harrisburg to address the state legislature. and he doesn't want to break those commitments. so pinkerton suggests plan b. now, while he's suggesting plan b, frederick seward arrives. william seward's son. while pinkerton was investigating this plot, detectives from new york who had also heard of these rumors of a plot were also been in baltimore. and they essentially confirmed
independently the same sets of details that pinkerton and his team have. and the details of this plot are accompanied by notes from seward and general scott telling lincoln, you know, alter the itinerary. do something. take some type of evasive action. so on the strength of these two reports, lincoln decides that yes, he will come into baltimore in the middle of the night when no one expects him. so after he fulfills his commitments in pennsylvania, about 6:00 at night he gets on the train. mrs. warny had been very busy. she went and reserved the rear half of a sleeper coach, and she told the conductor that she was bringing her invalid brother along. he needed quiet and privacy so they hung a curtain between two parts of the car. they wrapped up lincoln in shawls and put a soft hat on him and told him to slouch so nobody would recognize all 6'4" of him. no top hat.
and all of them piled into the back of the car. lincoln, pinkerton, ward lehman who brought a knife, a pistol, brass knuckles. you don't want to take chances. and kate warny. and off they go. and they arrived in baltimore at about 3:30 in the morning. and they uncoupled the sleeper car and horses towed it through the empty streets. and they got to the southern terminus. and they have to wait for about two hours. waiting for a train is bad enough. waiting for a train in the town that wants to kill you? [ laughter ] >> but they're with abraham lincoln. and to break the tension, to break the ice, lincoln tells a joke. are there children in the audience? [ laughter ] >> okay. here's the joke.
here's a guy that's enamored of artifacts from the revolutionary war period, especially those associated with george washington. he hears there's a very, very elderly lady who saw george washington once in her youth and she had saved the dress that she wore at the time. so he writes to her and he gets her permission to come and visit her and see the dress. she lets him in the house, she takes him to the room. she opens the trunk. she takes out the dress. she lace it on the bed. he picks it up. he starts speaking to the dress as if it were a living person, extolling it for having witnessed the great george washington. and then he kisses it like it's a piece of the true cross. at which point the elderly lady says, "sir, if you like kissing old things i've got something older." [ laughter ] >> a punch line at this point would be anticlimactic so we're just going to go forward. [ laughter ]
>> anyway, 6:00 in the morning lincoln arrives safely in baltimore. a couple of hours later the train he's supposed to be on pulls into baltimore. everybody is severely disappointed, not the least the conspirators, that lincoln isn't on it. but then the newspapers of north and south are just savage him as a coward because he didn't risk his neck by riding through a mob of people who wanted to kill him [ laughter ] >> and the cartoons are just vicious. because he was wearing a soft cap that somehow got translated into a scotch bonnet and some of the cartoons show him in full braveheart garb with a kilt. and there's another one where he's sneaking out of a box car. and so just embarrassing as hell. but important thing is that lincoln gets there alive. which lets stay focused on the
goal, shall we, folks? [ laughter ] >> so to me it sounds perfectly credible. we've got pinkerton's report. we've got the new york detectives' report. lincoln believes that this is credible. scott and seward believed it was credible. so i don't really have trouble with this one. now i'm going to turn this over to my friend michael kline who's going to take this from the point of legal evidence. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> no lawyer goes anywhere without a power point, so i'm going to indulge you for a minute here. okay.
>> there you go. >> okay. thank you. thank you very much, joe, for the introduction. since you're my jury, i always like to know the makeup of my jury before i start my presentation. just with a quick show of hands, imagine this was february of 1861, and you're living in that time period. i'd like to see how many of you would side with the union during that time. wow! [ laughter ] >> how many of you brave souls would side with the southerners? there are a few of you. as you can imagine when that question gets asked in atlanta where i live the vote comes out a little bit differently. it's always good to know where your jury stands before you get started. well, thank you to tom for that great introduction on what the baltimore plot was all about. i don't have to therefore give you a recounting of what it was.
but obviously to avoid the threat, as tom said, lincoln did famously wear a disguise and snuck through baltimore around 3:00 a.m. on the morning of february 23rd, 1861. one of the reasons i wrote the book was that as a lawyer, it was fascinating to me that historians all through the years have debated whether or not the plot really existed. none of the alleged conspirators was ever charged with a crime. none of them was ever arrested, despite the fact that their names -- some of their names were known, including cipriano ferendini and others. their addresses were known because some of them had been summoned to appear before the select committee of five in washington, the organization that tom alluded to that was put in place by president buchanan to investigate rumors of assassinations and conspiracies to seize the capitol. despite all this, none of these
conspirators was ever arrested, tried, convicted, et cetera. when doing my research i also would tell you i did not uncover any smoking guns. i didn't find any evidence that any of the alleged conspirators later in life when all risk of being arrested was over confessed to the crime. i didn't find any evidence of that but i looked. believe me. in fact, in december of 1864, lincoln himself denied that such a plot existed. he said, "i did not then nor do i now believe i should have been assassinated had i gone through baltimore as first contemplated. i could not believe there was a plot to murder me". furthermore, one of lincoln's body guards also in a book that he wrote several years later denied that the plot was real. he said "in pinker ton's account
there is literally nothing to sustain the act indication and nothing to rebut it. it's perfectly manifest there was no conspiracy. no conspiracy of 100, of 50, of 20. no definite purpose in the heart of even one man to murder mr. lincoln in baltimore. well, lehman was one of the two people that rode with lincoln all the way from harrisburg to philadelphia and through philadelphia to baltimore into washington. and so you would think that if there was a conspiracy to assassinate lincoln, lehmen of all people would have known of that fact and wouldn't have written an account like this as he did in 1872. now, one of lincoln's few allies in baltimore, he only had a few, was a man named worthington g.snethen. he wrote to lincoln a scathing letter after lincoln snuck through baltimore, letting liw know thought was basically a cowardly thing to do and that he would have been perfectly safe had he gone through baltimore as previously planned. wrote snethen, carriages were to be provided for the accommodation of the whole presidential party. baltimore's mayor brown had assured myself that he should be
present in his official capacity to receive you and to accompany you alone in a private two-seat carriage. there was to be no procession whatever. a strong force of police was to be present at the depot on your arrival to prevent the pressure of the crowd around the carriages when they should drive off under the protection of the mayor, no request was made by any of your friends for the presence of the police. well now, members of the jury, i'd ask you, how many of you believe based on the evidence you've seen thus far that the baltimore plot was real? a few of you. how many based on this evidence would vote initially at least that it was not real? some of you. all right. well now, let's take a look at some more of the evidence. one important piece of evidence that we have is baltimore and its tendencies. baltimore, it has to be said, had the nickname mob town.
and it got that nickname for a reason. it was prone to mob violence, particularly in connection with the political process. four years previously, when james buchanan went through baltimore on his way to washington, his carriage was stoned for about an hour by a bunch of roughs in the city. and rather than stay for dinner, he lost his appetite and hurried off to washington as fast as he could. well, the roughs in baltimore didn't stop there. they followed him all the way to washington and fired the revolvers in the air around the national hotel, terrifying the citizens of washington that whole night. now, buchanan was a democrat. and he was from a neighboring state, pennsylvania. so if he would get that kind of treatment in baltimore, where democrats were fairly well received, imagine what a republican from illinois would receive if he were to go through baltimore.
on november 3rd, worthington snethen, a republican from baltimore, wrote a letter to lincoln advising him that baltimore mobs had attacked the republicans peaceably assembled there. the mobs had broken up two meetings with violence, interference, reportedly with the tacit approval of the baltimore police. and they attacked a wide awake march. he wrote "our people behaved nobly in the wide awake procession. there were 300 of them. as far as my research shows those were the 300 that voted for lincoln in baltimore. there weren't that many more of them. they walked their whole distance amid showers of eggs, brick bats, and jurious epithets from the mob. as will become apparent as this discussion goes forward, the throwing of eggs was a popular pastime in baltimore. you'll see more evidence of that as this case gets presented. now, lincoln was also getting
reports on baltimore from some of his friends, including illinois congressman elijah washburn writing lincoln from washington throughout the winter of 1861, giving him sort of reports on the ground in washington and what was going on there. one of washburn's letters to lincoln on january of 1861 warned him about virginia, maryland and baltimore. "i believe virginia and maryland are both rotten to the core. we have had one of our friends from new york, the kind i wrote about in baltimore, sounding matters there. he gives most unfavorable reports." now, the friends that he's talking about from new york, i believe, were detectives that tom alluded to earlier. in fact, new york had sent through its chief of police john candy shown here had sent several of their best detectives to baltimore in early january of
1861 to scout the terrain in baltimore and find out what was going on there. now, a more telling piece of correspondence came to lincoln also in january of 1861 from captain george hazard. now, hazard wrote to lincoln critical both of baltimore and the same chief of police that tom alluded to, george p. cane. hazard had lived in blog in baltimore for a time so he knew what he was talking about. "i am constrained to state that i have little confidence in colonel cane's abilities and less in the integrity of his character. independent of, this there are men in that city who i candidly believe would glory in being hanged for having stabbed a black republican president." well, hazard went on to provide lincoln with some options on
avoiding the city of baltimore. and these are quite interesting. he gave him three options. one was to go publicly through the city of baltimore, but hazard felt that it would take an army of 50,000 men and several weeks' time in order to get lincoln safely through baltimore because it was such a large and violent city. his second option was to avoid baltimore all together. and he had two proposals for doing. this one was by taking a more southerly rail route, which would have also been the most direct, and that would have taken lincoln through what's now west virginia but back at that time was part of virginia and then through northern virginia and on into washington. the other option for avoiding baltimore that hazard proposed was to take a war steamer from philadelphia and float down the potomac into washington. his third option was to pass through baltimore incognito. it's especially interesting that
that option given by hazard written in a letter bears a striking resemblance to what lincoln actually ended up doing. according to hazard he recommended that lincoln should leave philadelphia privately and unannounced with only a few friends and take a sleeping car at night all the way to washington. he recommended a false mustache, an old slouched hat, and a long cloak or overcoat for concealment be provided boy a friend while lincoln was in new york city. that's virtually identical to how lincoln was disguised. i didn't find any actual evidence of a false mustache but the slouch hat and long overcoat and leaving philadelphia is actually the way it happened. as a practical matter, almost any route that lincoln would take to get him to washington required that he go either through virginia or baltimore. but lincoln had strong reasons for avoiding virginia. running from fort leavenworth, kansas on october 20th of 1860, major david hunter had sent lincoln the following warning.