tv [untitled] January 28, 2012 1:30pm-2:00pm EST
"on a recent visit to the east i met a lass of high character who had been spending part of the summer among her friends and relatives in virginia. she informed me that a number of young men in virginia had bound themselves by oaths the most solemn to cause your assassination should you be elected. furthermore, in december horace greeley warned lincoln about taking the most direct route to washington through virginia, saying "your life is not safe. and it is your simple duty to be very careful of exposing it. i doubt whether you ought to go to washington via wheeling and the b and o railroad unless you go with a very strong force." well, as i said earlier, the most direct route for lincoln to take to washington was through virginia. and lincoln decided ultimately not to take the most direct route. in fact, ultimately he decided to take the most indirect route, which is shown on this map. very circuitous route which took him through the northern states,
most of the northern states, had him doubling back from pittsburgh to cleveland, then going way up north as far north as buffalo and albany before heading south to philadelphia. as tom mentioned, there were two ways for lincoln to actually approach baltimore, depending on which railroad he took. if he was coming from harris burg, he would be coming directly south on the northern central line. if he was coming from philadelphia on the pwb railroad, he would have been approaching more from the east and approaching baltimore from that direction. now, tom also mentioned dorothea dix. and in 1861, samuel morris felton who was the president of the b and o railroad had received an unannounced visit from dorothea dix and she told him the following that there was an extensive and organized plot around the south to declare the
southern confederacy the government of the united states. at the same time they were to cut off all means of communication between washington and the north, east and west, and thus prevent the transportation of troops to wrest the capitol from the hands of the insurgents. mr. lincoln's inauguration was thus to be prevented or his life would fall to sacrifice. she said troops drilling on the line of our own road the men drilled to obey the commands of their leaders and the leaders were banded together to capture washington. well, felton immediately took this information to the aforementioned marshall george p. cane. but according to felton, he, cane scouted the idea that there was any such thing on foot, said he had thoroughly investigated
the whole matter and there was not the slightest foundation for such rumors. i then determined to have nothing more to do with marshall cane. well, in fact, felton instead went to allen pinkerton, shown here on the left. and at felton's request, on or about february 3rd of 1861, pinkerton with my research showed five agents, left chicago and arrived in baltimore. one of his best agents was timothy webster, shown on the right. he also had two men operating under aliases, harry davies and charles williams, and two women, kate warren and hattie lawton. well, pinkerton and his agents immediately set up shop in baltimore and they started to ingratiate themselves as southerners with the various suspected secessionists in baltimore. lehman derided pinker ton's reports written on a daily basis as neither edifying or useful. they proved nothing but the baseness of the vocation which
gave them their existence. in fact from a legal standpoint in my opinion the reports are quite probative. first they were written contemporaneously with the events being described. this is important when trying a legal case. you want to have the best evidence you can get. memories fade. people forget. they start to remember things the way they want them to be remembered. so the fact that these reports were written the same day the events occurred, or maybe a day later, gives them an added measure of credibility. certainly more credibility than lehman's account which was written some 10 or 12 years later. second, the reports provide specific details as to time, place and manner of the alleged conspiracy. the report on contemporaneous events that can be independently verified. they report on specific places, various saloons by name, the names of the conspirators, several of them are mentioned.
intricate details are give than tend to rebutt a charge that these are fabricated reports. but third and most significantly, these reports are corroborated by other evidence. we'll get into some of this other evidence now in some greater detail. well, by the time lincoln boarded his train in springfield on february 11th of 1861, he had been receiving reports of rumors and actual death threats for weeks. and in his farewell address to the people of springfield, lincoln hinted that he might not ever return. he said, "i now leave, not knowing when or whether ever i may return with a task before me greater than that which rested upon washington". as you all know i'm sure lincoln never did return to springfield. this is one of the few known surviving photographs of lincoln taken on his journey to washington, d.c. this was taken outside of independence hall in philadelphia on the morning of february 22nd, 1861. lincoln was invited to raise a
flag honoring george washington's birthday, and they built this wooden platform on which he stood. and he raised the flag. he wasn't expected to give a speech, but of course when he was gathered there in front of all these people they asked him to speak. and so he did. and he spoke very well, very eloquently, but without any notes and without really any preparation. the reason i tell you all this is that when someone speaks in that fashion, they are much more likely to be telling the truth or speaking from the heart. and so let me just tell you a few words that lincoln said to those listening on the morning of february 22nd, 1861 bear in mind this was the day before he was to enter baltimore. this is the morning after he had learned of the baltimore plot from two independent sources, allen pinkerton and fred seward. he said, "but if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, that all men are created equal, i was about to say i would rather be
assassinated on this spot than surrender it. i have said nothing but what i am willing to live by, and in the pleasure of almighty god, die by". now, lincoln is the blurry figure on the left. you can see him holding his stovepipe hat. it's the white oval there on the left center part of the screen. the little blurry image on the right is believed to be tad lincoln looking out to the crowd. well, we heard earlier about cipriano ferendini. indeed he was believed to be one of the ring leaders for the plot to assassinate lincoln. he's shown here standing. and this is a quote that pinkerton wrote down after meeting him for the first time on february 15th of 1861. said ferendini "never never shall lincoln be president. his life was of no consequence.
he was willing to give it for lincoln's. he would sell it for that abolitionist. he was ready to die for his country and the rights of the south, said ferendini, we shall all die together, we shall show the north we fear them not. every captain will on that day show himself a hero. the first shot fired the main traitor lincoln dead and all maryland will be with us and the south shall be free. and the north must then be ours. lincoln shall die in this city. i find this report interesting and probative for a couple of reasons, probably the most significant it makes reference to orsini, who is felice orsini, who was a radical in italy that attempted to assassinate napoleon iii a few years before and he was executed for it. so i find it interesting that a man from corsica, sometimes referred to as italian, sometimes corsican, but it seems
probative someone from that part of the world would have known and been familiar with the actions of orsini. to me it adds credibility that he mentions him specifically in this report of allen pinkerton's. this kind of statement is also important in the law, because it's known as an admission against interest. and admissions against interest are admitted as an exception to the hearsay rule. this is all of pinkerton's reports are hearsay. so they wouldn't normally be admitted in a court of law. but when there are admissions against interest they are admissible. and this is one such admission. well, lincoln had received only a little over 1,000 votes in baltimore in 1860, which was about 3% of the total cast. he never received any official invitation from baltimore to
visit the city, which is in stark contrast with all the other major cities along his route. pinkerton reports that while operating in baltimore, he overheard a conversation of marshall cane from which he determined that cane would be providing no police escort for lincoln. and according to pinkerton, "from the familiar manner of marshall cane and many of the rabid secessionists they could be well aware cane was not giving an escort. i it was impossible for marshall cane not to know there would be a necessity for an escort for mr. lincoln on his arrival to baltimore. with his knowledge if he failed to give a police escort i should from this time on doubt the loyalty of the baltimore police." well, there's also evidence that the baltimore plotters had spies following lincoln as his train headed east from springfield towards washington and that they were reporting on his movements to conspirators in baltimore. george sterns, who was an employee of samuel felton's railroad, recalled the baltimore plotters had spies following mr. lincoln and were in constant
communication with these pairs in baltimore, giving them information of mr. lincoln's movements. this corroborates "claimed they had met on the lookout for lincoln all the time." then on february 12th of 1861, davies recorded another interesting conversation he had with hillard that tends to show they had men on lookout for lincoln. "he then asked me if i had seen a statement of lincoln's route to washington city. the route had been published in the newspapers for weeks before lincoln actually took his journey. so it would have been very easy for anyone who wanted to assassinate him in baltimore to know exactly where he would be in each city and along the route.
i replied that i had. hillard said that reminds me i must go see a certain party in the morning the first thing. i asked him what about. he replied ability lincoln's route. i want to see about the telegraph in philadelphia and new york and have some arrangement made about telegraphing. i remarked, how do you mean? hillard said suppose some of lincoln's friends would arrange that the telegraph messages would be miscarried. we would have some signs to telegraph by. for instance, supposing we should telegraph to a certain point all up at 7:00 that would mean lincoln would be at such a point at 7:00. all right. from this account we can surmise that the conspirators had cohorts shadowing lincoln at least in new york and philadelphia and perhaps in other cities and that they were even developing a crude code for communicating with each other.
well, this same man, otis k. hillard on february 18th of 1861, made the following offer to pinkerton operative hare davies" give me an article of agreement that you will give my mother $500, and i will kill lincoln between here and havre degrace. then exclaimed in the language no. not that i love lincoln less, but i love my country more. it was well published lincoln's train was to arrive in baltimore on february 3rd of 1861. what we see here is a map of baltimore as it existed in 1861. and i already described to you the different train stations there, as tom mentioned no matter which way he came he'd have to get out of his train and either take a carriage or have his car hauled through the streets to the next station. in fact, the crowd was waiting at the calvert street station on the morning of february 23rd, 1861. they didn't believe that he'd actually gone through to washington. they believed that this was just
a hoax trying to disperse the crowd. this is another interesting comment reported by pinkerton agent hare davies "hillard afterwards told me all those men standing there were national volunteers and that they stood in that position on the side of the hill so as when the carriage containing lincoln should come up the hill they could rush and mass upon it around it. when lincoln was to be slain. reasoning with such a dense crowd around the carriage it would be impossible for any outsider to tell who did the deed. in connection with this, hillard says that from his position he would have the first shot. well, the national volunteers of course were the paramilitary organization that toll alluded. to they were believed to number several thousand people. and in fact, that morning in baltimore there were some reports that there were several thousand national volunteers, all of whom reputedly had take an oath to assassinate abraham lincoln if they had the opportunity to do so. well, there was more
corroborating evidence. and i'm probably running short on time, but i want to get to a couple more important pieces of evidence for you. one, and when i say corroborating evidence i mean something that's outside of the allen pinkerton reports. because those are the reports that lehman had derided as being fabricated. well, on february 7th of 1861, george sterns who was an employee of the pwb railroad, wrote a letter to maryland's governor, thomas hicks. in that letter he said, "on sunday last, a man who said he was from baltimore called on our bridge tender at back river and i informed him an attempt would be made by parties in baltimore and other places to burn the bridge just before the train should pass, which should have mr. lincoln onboard. in the excitement to assassinate him. the man who imparted this information will not give his name. he was an old gentleman, very respectable in his appearance. he said he was a friend of the
railroad and did not wish to see its property destroyed if it could be protected." [ laughter ] >> not so much about mr. lincoln. it's more about the railroad [ laughter ] >> well lincoln of course was a lawyer and he knew the power of corroborative evidence. on the night of february 22nd, right after he met with allen pinkerton and learned about this dreadful plot, he received an unannounced visit from fred seward who's shown here. and one of the letters that seward carried with him was written by a colonel charles p. stone. and it said, "a new york detective officer who has been on duty in baltimore for three weeks past reports this morning to colonel stone that there is serious danger of violence to and the assassination of mr. lincoln and his passage through that city should the time of that passage be known.
he states that there are a band of rowdies holding secret meetings and he has heard threats of violence and he has heard men declare if mr. lincoln was to be assassinated they would like to be the men. he states further in the past few days he has considered there was any danger, but now he deems it eminent. he deems the danger one which the authorities and people in baltimore cannot guard against. all risk might be easily avoided by at change in the traveling arrangements which would bring mr. lincoln and a portion of his party through baltimbynotice." of course that's exactly what lincoln did. and this letter is highly duplicative of the reports that allen pinkerton's agents were receiving in baltimore as well. well, fred seward recalled this corroborative account, convincing lincoln the plot was real. lincoln would later recount to a history benson j. lawsing, that once he received this report,
he'd also believed that the plot was real. as lincoln recalled, "i met frederick seward. we went to my room together. when he told me that he had been sent at the instance of his father and general scott to inform me that their detectives am baltimore had discovered a plot there to assassinate me, i now believed such a plot to be in existence." all right. okay. i'm going to quickly finish up. there's one more -- two more points i want to make before i open it for questions. one is that allen pinkerton's reports talked about the road that the rowdies and the crowd were going to get up on the morning of february 23rd of 1861 he talks about how they had rotten eggs. and the plan was to throw these rotten eggs, and in the process this would draw the police away from protecting abraham lincoln and allow the assassins to move in and either shoot or stab abraham lincoln. my research found two independent newspaper articles that in fact reported seeing
people with eggs that they were preparing to throw at lincoln once he arrived in baltimore. and one of the reports the eggs were even indicated as being foul-smelling and rotten. so to me, one of the strongest pieces of evidence that we have is rotten eggs. [ laughter ] because you don't just go out and buy rotten eggs. you've got to plan and prepare to have those things, right? and so somebody had been planning this for awhile. and the fact that the rotten eggs weren't thrown i think is also probative because after all, there was a trainload of nice, republican targets to throw rotten eggs at. they were hated in baltimore. but they held their fire. and i would assert the reason for that was that lincoln was not on board and he was the target of a plot. now, there's one other thing i want to read to you. and this is from an account that
came out in march 27th of 1862. it says -- it was in the newspaper, the "new york evening post" for a long time it was believed an italian barber of this city took to enslave president lincoln in february of 1861 and it is possible he was one of the plotters. but it's come out out of a recent trial of a man named burne in richmond he was the captain of the band that was to take the life of lincoln. he used to be a notorious gambler of baltimore and emigrated innant of april. he was recent i had arrested on the charge of keeping a gambling house of and disloyalty to the lieutenant government. they testified that burne's loyalty to the rebel cause and gave in evidence that burne was the captain of the gang who were going to kill lincoln and upon this evidence it appears he was let go. in fact, if you're guilty of
such an intended crime, it's large enough to cover up all other sins against society and divin love. william burne was, in fact, one of the alleged conspirators identified in pinkerton's report, so this totally independent account who identifies him and he's named by wigfall, he was known as a man with a tendency to shoot people that disagreed with him. he was a southern fire-eater. and, in fact, while he was operating as a senator for texas in the winter of 1861, he was also spying on behalf of the confederacy and sending communications south. he was one of the first people to report that the star of the west had sailed so that his cohorts in south carolina could be prepared when it got to ft. sumter to try and refurbish their -- reinforce the fort.
all right. just wrapping up. it has to be asked why were the baltimore plotters never tried. and i've come up with a couple possible reasons. one is that the accused would have had a public trial in baltimore, and in all likelihood, no jury in baltimore would have convicted any of these people of any kind of crime. second, lincoln himself was likely called as a witness and that would have been embarrassing for him. as tom said he was humiliated in the press. they wanted the baltimore plot to die away as quickly as possible and didn't want it to go on. third, pinkerton's operatives would southerly have been called as witnesses and one of them timothy webster continued to operate in baltimore and richmond for a time spying on the rebels, he both couldn't have been a witness and had his identity known and continued to spy. a trial would have been impractical. as i said before, there were alleged to be thousands of
national volunteers. how would you round them all up and put them all on trial. and finally, i think it's easy to recall that lincoln had some rather important things on his plate at the time. and probably just more important things to worry about than putting baltimore plotters on trial. and with that, i'm going to conclude and ask if there are any questions. >> unfortunately we don't have time for questions right here. but i ask you please take your questions outside. on may 14th, 1607 one
settlers landed, on virginia island, thought to be lost in history, the original fort was unereded in 1994 by the jamestown rediscovery archeological project. we visited jamestown to learn how the story is being revealed every day through the study of artifacts. >> my name is blithe straub and i'm the senior curator. it's a project of preservation virginia, the first statewide preservation organization in the united states. it is confusing that there are so many jamestowns and many people visit jamestown and it turns out that they never went to the real place, you know, the place where all the history happened. so, there's a jamestown that's a
living history museum, the jamestown settlement and they interpret things. and they have three wonderful ships and they've reconstructed a fourth, an indian village and they have a huge museum over there. that is a state-run organization. so, they get state funding for that. then the island itself, the original site of jamestown, is co-managed by the national park service and preservation virginia. so, it's an unusual private/public partnership that goes on here. the park service owns the majority of the island, 1,500 acres. preservation virginia has around 23. but their 23 acres incorporates the site of the original fort, the church, the church tower, and the last government building that was on the property. so, they've got a lot of history condensed in that 23 acres. and it's the -- it's
preservation virginia, then, who are doing the archaeology that visitors will see on the site today. we call our project jamestown rediscovery, so with the jamestown rediscovery project of reservation virginia. we do not get federal support and we do not get state support for our work. so, we're highly reliant on donations, visitors coming because we get half of the gate receipts. visitors coming through. and grants and that's how we've survived. and it's hard in these times. this site is incredibly rich. it's just amazing. and we've been walking over the material all these years, you know, it's been under our feet when everyone was saying that the fort was out in the riv. i mean, it's just astounding that there's so much material. and i thought about why.
for one thing, there was so much death in the early years. in sickness. and i think a lot of things just got thrown away because they didn't belong to people anymore. they sort of were objects, possessions without a possessor, and they just -- and people just didn't have the strength or willpower to do much of anything. we find a lot of, like, lead thrown away that could have been remelted and reused, recycled and it wasn't, just tossed out. i think that's one reason. i think the fort itself being a protective barrier maintained a lot of trash within its perimeter. there didn't seem to be any orchestrated efforts to wheelbarrow the trash out and toss it in the river or anything. it just seems to have collected inside the fort, then there were periodic cleanup periods and rebuilding efforts when new
governors came in, for instance, and then things would get dumped into old wells or old holes, they filled them in. so, i think that also contributed to it. but, yeah, it's a wonderful, wonderful site. >> this program is one of a multipart look at archaeology on jamestown island, virginia. check the "american history tv" website, cspan.org/history for schedule information. robert ingersoll aikman is hardly a household name even to art lover. yet during the first half of the 20th century, aiken was in the front rank of american sculptures, he left a special mark on the national capitol, the national archives bears his imprint as does the main entrance of the united states supreme court, then there's this tribute to labor leader samuel dauphin, he was all of 14 years
old when he joined his adopted country. a generation later he founded the american federation for labor. he campaigned for higher wages, shorter hours and safer working conditions. a strong advocate of collective bargaining. it won friends for the union movement during its infancy, and it made him something of an industrial statesman. the gompers memorial exudes both his dignity and his force. a champion of the working man is seated. behind him half a dozen allegorical figures represent justice. unity. and the spirit of self-improvement.