Sunday, May 22, 2011

Who Were The True Conspirators?

I have to do another post on Mary Surratt to share with you what I have found, so we have a Part III to Mary Surratt.  This information is fascinating to me.  I have never been interested in history, even the thought of it bores me.  Give me a math problem any 'ole day.  But this Mary Surratt case and the bigger picture is an enormous frame up and cover up.  I did not get the significance of many things I saw in the movie "The Conspirator", until I came home and read further.

Historians fall on both sides of this debate...."Was Mary Surratt guilty or innocent?"  The historians saying she was guilty generally argue that she had to know, they buy what the government fed them almost 150 years ago, contrary to what has been found since.  One historian even goes so far as to say she must have been guilty because she had such a calm demeanor and was "clever" during her recorded interrogations. I don't know about you but calm is what I do, in fact the worse the circumstances, the calmer I get.  Because fear, insanity, rage all cloud my ability to think and reason.  When under extreme pressure or conflicting situations I get real quiet and listen with all my might so I can take the next best step.  BUT, now can you see where that can get interpreted as "obfuscating, lying, denying and parsing her words"?  That is how some historians have interpreted her demeanor and her claim of innocence. 

YET, during the trial, five priests and several other people testified on her behalf as to her stellar character and religious devotion.  Who knew more about Mary Surratt, these people who spent time with her over the years or the historians who paint her as Booth's co-conspirator?  It seems to me if someone had a shady, questionable character it would have surfaced at some time throughout the years prior to this event.  But you know the saying, people will find (or create) the evidence to fit their beliefs.  Perhaps I am guilty of the same in this instance...let's take a look at what came up after the conspiracy trial of Mary Surratt.

In the comment section of my prior blog I present the theory that there were others, such as Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, and President Andrew Johnson himself that seemed to go out of their way to see these 8 people convicted and immediately dealt their punishments.  Yet they could have had their own political agendas to rid Lincoln of the Presidency, in fact it would seem they had far more MOTIVE than the characters convicted of conspiracy.  I set out to understand this better by researching John Wilkes Booth's diary, John Surratt Jr.'s trial two years later in a civilian court and anything I could find out about Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial.  I must make a correction a previous comment (last blog - comment section) I said that Andrew Johnson was impeached, but that is an error.  He missed being impeached by one vote, he did finish out his term, but was a very unpopular President. 

I learned several things that I want to share with you, this will give you more insight into how (at a grand level) innocent people can come to be falsely accused and wrongly convicted.  It gives you a better understanding of the deception that is possible when perpetrating fraud on the courts.  Because, rarely, if ever, is a wrongful conviction a result of error, it is much more the result of a deliberate withholding and/or altering/creating evidence, false (coerced) testimonies by state witnesses....and a prosecutor who is hell-bent on winning at any cost while exercising their persuasive powers over the jury.

In the movie, "The Conspirator" the alledged conspirators, while imprisoned awaiting their trials and after had hoods over their heads.  The hoods were lined with one inch of cotton and there was only one small hole at the mouth for them to eat their food.  Therefore, they could not be heard.  In addition, they were shackled making writing impossible and were not allowed any discussions or visits from the outside world (with one exception, at the end of the trial Mary was allowed a brief visit from her daughter).  They had been silenced, were tried quickly and punishment was dealt immediately.  Even back then, this treatment was unheard of.  Mary Surratt pleaded that she be allowed to make a last statement but was denied.  What was the government covering up, what were they so afraid she would say?

Mary Surratt was convicted on the false testimony of two men.  There was no exculpatory evidence, only circumstantial.  Both men later, changed their stories.  John Lloyd, testified in John Surratt Jr.'s trial two years later.  "Lloyd not only contradicted some of the statements he had made at the conspiracy trail but admitted that he had been subjected to both promises and threats."  According to John T. Ford (owner of Ford Theater) Lloyd had told him he "was taken to Bryantown and when he refused to say anything against Mrs. Surratt, he was hanged by his thumbs until he could no longer stand the pain.  Only then, to spare himself from further torture, did he agree to give perjured testimony against his landlady."

The other false testimony came from Louis Weichmann who told his friends John Brophy and Louis Carland, following the conspiracy trial that "his conscience was troubling him, that he had lied on the witness stand to save his own life and keep his government position.  He said that his statements had been written out for him and he had to testify based on that."  On the day of Mary's execution John Brophy swore out an affidavit disclosing Weichmann's statements and copied the Washington Constitutional Union, plus took a copy to the White House. Carland later testified in John Surratt Jr.'s trial regarding what Weichmann had told them that day.

The evidence that was introduced in the John Surratt Jr. civilian trial two years later included Booth's diary, the clemency plea for Mary Surratt (coming from the tribunal members who had voted against the death sentence and were coerced by Stanton and Holt to change their vote),  petitions given to Andrew Johnson, prior to the executions, and the statements of Lewis Powell and John T. Ford presenting "evidence of confessed perjuries and witness intimidation by the government."  "The civil trial of John Surratt Jr. exposed many injustices that a free people must never again tolerate."

John Wilkes Booth's diary indicated there were many over him in this plot, he did not act alone.  It coincided with General Baker's diary, his accounts of the Lincoln assassination.  "Both implicated, even boasted  of a secret government council which had bound the country over a century.  It revealed that the true killers were led by Lincoln's most trusted military advisor in the Civil War, Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War."  General Lafayette Baker, chief of the National Detective Police Force and fellow conspirator (conspirator with Stanton), wrote "Stanton's plot was a vast, well financed attempt to seize control of the federal government, signed Lafayette C. Baker."  Numerous attempts were made on Baker's life (to silence him), he died of arsenic poisoning three years following the conspiracy trial.

Seven hours before Lincoln's assassination John Wilkes Booth left a note at Vice President Andrew Johnson's home. It said "Don't wish to disturb you.  Are you at home?  J. Wilkes Booth."   This note, along with Booth's diary were presented at President Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial, in addition to several other items that had surfaced during John Surratt Jr.'s trial.

Over zealous prosecutors, power hungry men (and women), frightened witnesses can create anything.  I have said this before in my blogs related to my own case...there is NO need to make up any lies if a person is truly guilty.  Their guilt will stand on its own.  The fact that there was so much coercion going on is all the evidence I need to know in my heart that Mary Surratt was innocent.  She was a scapegoat and a distraction used to cover the true conspirators.

Mary Surratt was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Washington DC.  There is a bronze plaque by her grave that reads:

"The souls of the just are in the hands of God, and the torment of malice shall not touch them.  In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, but they are at peace."

If you are interested in reading further or want to follow the quotes above, there are many books and Internet articles on this subject.  I encourage you to take a look and draw your own conclusions.  Injustices in our system didn't end with Mary Surratt, nor are they unique to the military, they continue today in our civilian courts.  Following are a few of the references I used:


  1. Wow! What an interesting history lesson! I love what it says on the bronze plaque by Mary's grave. Reminds me of the verse Philippians 4:7, which reminds me of you. Although I don't understand why bad things happen to good, innocent people (Mary and you), I know that our God's peace transcends ALL understanding.

  2. For some reason I didn't see this post until now.

    Wow. That is a compelling case for Mary's innocence.
    We still haven't seen the movie - and now will probably need to wait till it's out on DVD.