The reason Booth shot Lincoln

Since I didn’t investigate this case until recently, I was surprised at how transparent the Lincoln assassination conspiracy has become over the years. Bill O’Reilly ignored every modern development to write a cover-up fantasy supporting the official story Booth was insane and the War Department had no idea what he was up to. In fact, Booth was surrounded by double agents, a list that included Louis Weichmann, James Donaldson and the beautiful Kate Brown, known as “The French Lady.”

The biggest issue with solving this case is the amount of noise and disinfo that’s been manufactured to hold back realization it was an inside job. There’s a cottage industry of researchers who will attack any suggestion Edwin Stanton was involved, even though the evidence against Stanton is overwhelming.

Periodically, new documents have been produced to bolster one side or another, yet few discuss how many of these are forgeries. Often, when a breakthrough takes place, the scoop is tied to a nasty piece of disinfo, a commonly used counterintelligence booby-trap for discrediting real information. I find this technique in play not just with Lincoln, but with JFK and 9/11.

I often found Roger Norton’s forum a valuable source of research material over the past few months, and there are obviously a number of dedicated researchers contributing to that site. However, I also noticed organized resistance to any inference of an inside job, and that makes me suspicious to say the least.

The single most important document to surface in the last fifty years is the original confession of George Atzerodt. At first, I assumed this to be a forgery like so many other documents involving the case, and I did not study it closely for many months. Today, I accept it as a real document, which means we have the Surratt Society to thank for its exposure, even though the current director is a cheerleader against the inside job theory.

I promise if you look deeply into this case, the cover-up will become obvious, and reading my book Killing Lincoln: The Real Story is a good place to start the adventure. My book is a concise over-view of overlooked details, all of which point to an inside job. Strange how no established press has exposed this information yet.

It’s sad to consider the entire hoodwink could have easily been blown sky-high when Steven Spielberg produced his Lincoln film recently, and you can find clues in that film. But Lincoln’s final hours were glossed over, including his request for additional security that night and his premonitions of the assassination. Both Lincoln and his wife were highly psychic, and the immense powers of the presidency may have lifted those powers even higher.

Since Thaddeus Stevens played a major role in the plot against Lincoln, it’s tragic Spielberg held Stevens up for adoration (while only hinting at his corruption). Stevens believed the ends justify the means, and seeking vengeance against the South was high on his to-do list. In the film, Mary Todd dresses Stevens down, not realizing the plot to assassinate her husband is already in full swing.

The reason John W. Booth accepted the hit was because he knew the “New York crowd” was going to have Lincoln killed and it was only a matter of time. And he also knew this crew had agents embedded deep inside the corridors of power in Washington, people who would aid the assassination. I don’t know what he was offered, or whether he took the hit to avenge the recent hanging of a Confederate spy he knew well, and I don’t know who actually pitched the deal to him, but there can be no doubt he was merely a pawn in their game, and must have realized this toward the end of his life.

Which is why every attempt by Booth to leave a statement about what really happened was destroyed, just like every attempt by Lee H. Oswald to leave a written statement with the FBI and Dallas police was destroyed. So open your eyes and do some research. And when you’re done, spread the news from every mountain top: Lincoln’s murder was an inside job.

James Donaldson is a key to the Lincoln conspiracy

“While standing on Ruhlman’s and Lichau’s porch between 11 & 12 o’clock PM a young man name unknown, as I cannot remember names, about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high thick set, long nose, sharp chin, wide cheek, small eye, I think grey, dark hair, and well dressed, color don’t remember, said called Michael O’Laughlen aside and said J. Wilkes Booth wish to see us both at Gaither’s Saloon on Avenue.”
George Atzerodt original confession (destroyed and not uncovered for 117 years).

“James Donaldson, a low chunky man about 23 or 24 years of age, small-potted, dark complexion (not very) deep plain black suit; only saw him one time & this was Wednesday previous to the murder, he was having an interview with Booth and told him to meet him on Friday eve & he replied he would and left and went up Penn. Avenue towards the Treasury building. I was under the impression he came on with Booth.”
Sam Arnold

In their initial confessions, both George Atzerodt and Sam Arnold came across as eager to convey any information regarding the assassination that might be helpful to the authorities. And even though they confessed knowledge of Booth’s kidnap plot, Atzerodt was not made aware of the Booth’s plan to assassinate Lincoln until a few hours before it happened. He did not believe it would happen, but when it did, he furiously walked in circles around Washington like a crazy man because he knew he was implicated. It’s safe to assume a key character on the primary list of suspects who must have been involved was James Donaldson, who should have been arrested and put on trial, along with Louis Weichmann.

So why wasn’t Donaldson even called to testify? Donaldson was a War Department clerk posted on the household staff of Secretary of State Seward. The attack on Seward took place on his watch, but he’d switched shifts suddenly that day with another clerk who was wounded during Powell’s attack. Both Donaldson and Weichmann were known to everyone inside Booth’s conspiracy as Confederate sympathizers, and the placement of Weichmann inside the Surratt boarding house was done to provide surveillance against Booth and Surratt. Weichmann became the key witness at the tribunal against Mary Surratt, while Donaldson (like Sanford Conover and Sarah Slater) dropped off the face of the earth.

We do know Donaldson arrived at Seward’s moments after Powell’s attack and according to an eyewitness: “In the middle of the room sat Donaldson, his face buried in his hands—crying aloud, like a child. I touched his shoulder & said—“Donaldson, you were not hurt?” “No Miss Fanny” he said—“I wasn’t here. If I had been here this wouldn’t have happened. If I had been here I’d have been a dead man. Oh, why wasn’t I here?”

The Lincoln assassination honey trap

sarahslater copywithbookSarah, whatcha been up to?
In the world of spooks, great attention should be paid to the 20-something super hotties because they make effective spies, and this did not start with Mata Hari. In my attempts to untangle the plot that assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, Sarah Slater joins Sanford Conover on the dias of most under investigated suspicious people inside the center of the true conspiracy.
Someday a book will appear that focuses only on Slater, and it will be long over-due, and perhaps some documents will also surface that will purport to explain what happened to her and her brothers, although odds are these documents will be forgeries and the book filled with misdirections and disinfo, if the past is any guide to the future. That’s just the way things work when investigating deep political events that threaten to shake the populace’s faith in their primary institutions, which is why Lincoln, JFK and 9/11 have such blatant propaganda protection shields in place.
A few months before Lincoln was killed, a newspaper ad appeared in a Southern newspaper offering to assassinate Lincoln, Seward and Johnson for $1 million, and a post office box given as the return address. Strangely, no investigation was ever conducted concerning funds or messages that may have been sent to that box, even though Secretary of State Seward received a copy of the ad and asked Stanton to look into it.
Let’s suppose $1 million was on the table, supplied by a cartel of wealthy individuals with a stake in Lincoln’s removal. And consider this is much closer to $100 million in today’s money. It would be more than enough to set-up anyone for life in a new identity on a new continent.
Slater went by the name Kate Brown or Kate Thompson and was first identified by George Atzerodt, who indicated Louis Weichmann had further details on her. The picture above may be Slater. Little is known as immediately after the assassination, she dropped off the face of the earth.
I plan to keep researching Sarah, and fold whatever turns up into my book on the Lincoln assassination because she and Conover may be the keys to unveiling the real plot. Both stand accused of being Confederate spies, but I find it much more likely they were double agents working for a corrupt entity in New York City that was getting inside tips from the War Department. Great fortunes were made during the Civil War, and no one made a bigger one than Jay Gould, who seemed to have inside information on the outcome of battles before anyone else on Wall Street. Did you know that the man in charge of the War Department telegraph lines rose to become head of Western Union thanks to his friendship with Gould? These links are worthy of more investigation as well.
Slater should have been easily located for the military tribunal, and some reported she was taken to meet Stanton, but the official record indicates she could never be found and zero information ever located concerning her real identity. This is an obvious lie, but could have been told on the grounds of protecting national security if Slater was a double agent.
I find it fascinating that both her brothers were Confederate soldiers accused of fomenting desertion among the troops, a very serious crime. Yet, they managed to slip away, and like their beautiful sister would disappear off the pages of history forever. If you’re going to set-up a new identity on a new continent, it sure helps to have some family along to keep you company.
I hope I locate a trail to wherever Slater landed, although I’m sure whatever trail exists has already been salted by the machine protecting the Radical Republican cabal that orchestrated Lincoln’s murder and then celebrated it secretly as a “godsend.” Because that machine does exist.


 

Gatekeepers of the Lincoln assassination

Meet Edward Steers, Jr., one of the leading propagandists who wants to keep a lid on the Lincoln assassination by looking in all the wrong places. Steers is not an independent researcher and his subjectivity is splashed all over the pages of his rambling book, Blood on the Moon.

Steers notes that only three books on the assassination have been written by academics in the field, while all the others are written by armchair historians, many of whom  portray “Lincoln’s secretary of War, Edwin Stanton….as orchestrating the murder of his president.” According to him, “Such a theory is based on flawed and even fabricated evidence, all designed to titillate the reader and create a type of shock history that, although financially rewarding to the author, misleads.” Steers does not use evidence to support these conclusions, and refers to any attempt to investigate the Radicals as “silly.”

Steers has a close relationship with Roger Norton who runs the largest online Lincoln forum. He seems closely associated with as the Surratt society as well, the volunteer organization that serves as a gatekeeper on assassination research. This crew doesn’t seem interested in breaking the case open, and lead debate of who was responsible in circles going nowhere. Steers’ books are filled with the most amazing prejudices and flights of fancy and he portrays any attempt to analyze the role of the Radical Republican cabal (who hated Lincoln with a purple passion) as meaningless. This is transparent propaganda at work.

I was absolutely floored by the hostile reception my book on the assassination received from the director of the Surratt society and of course Norton himself made no secret of his disgust for my theories and research.

What this crew does is run people around in circles debating the role of Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd, both of whom were undoubtedly part of the Confederate underground in Maryland and assisted that underground whenever they could. But by focusing on these two characters (while also claiming that Jefferson Davis was also involved in the plot), they have tried to keep a lid on any real investigation. I don’t understand their motives, but I can assure you they’re not the least bit interested in investigating the cabal that really killed Lincoln, and will ridicule any attempts to do so.

In fact, the military tribunal that hanged Surratt and put Mudd in jail was not a legitimate trial, but a sham stuffed with fakes, forgeries and perjuries. It’s a fluke this was even discovered, and would not have been revealed if not for one honest Congressman named Andy Rogers, who was able to cross examine the key witnesses who testified at the tribunal at a later Congressional investigation, and many of them folded and confessed to receiving coaching and considerable money for their testimony from Sanford Conover. Why is this Congressional investigation virtually unknown by most Americans, who assume the original trial was legitimate?

When you have a trial so filled with manipulations and deceits, the first person that should be investigated is the one orchestrating the trial, because they are most likely involved. Yet, Steers takes the approach Stanton is above all reproach, and this is the attitude of most on Norton’s forum it seems, since so many immediately attacked me without bothering to read my book or consider my evidence.

We’re reaching a tipping point with this case and with the 150th anniversary almost upon us, I’m hoping the anniversary can help open some minds. Just like the JFK assassination was changed forever when the Zapruder film was finally shown on national television (convincing millions in an instant that Kennedy was shot from multiple directions), the release of The Conspirator by Robert Redford a few years ago opened my eyes to the hoodwinks employed by the tribunal to convict Jefferson Davis, Mary Surratt and Dr. Mudd.

But after that Congressional investigation revealed the truth, many American finally realized Surratt and Mudd had been railroaded by a kangaroo court, and even though they were Southern sympathizers, they had no hand in Lincoln’s assassination, which is why Andrew Johnson had Mudd released from prison, while admitting regrets over the hanging of Surratt.

Let freedom ring and the truth be told from every mountain top. Lincoln’s assassination was an inside job.

Killing Lincoln: the real story

I conducted my own investigation into the assassination of Abraham Lincoln after viewing Robert Redford’s, The Conspirator, a film that documents how a kangaroo military court sent an innocent Mary Surratt to the gallows to cover up the real assassination plot. It’s obvious she was railroaded if you just read the transcripts of the trial, but why?
When I told some people what I was doing, many asked if I’d read Bill O’Reilly’s recent book on the subject. I had no idea he’d written the book, much less that it had become a huge bestseller and launched a franchise of similar historical assassination books.
But after a month of research using mostly original documents from the era, I had to check out Killing Lincoln. It took me about 20 minutes to speed read the book because this is territory I know quite well at this point, so I was skimming major points of evidence, looking for rabbit holes and wanting to see which crucial characters were addressed and which left out entirely.

Unfortunately, O’Reilly pretty much faithfully follows the official cover story Booth was a lunatic operating with a small band of conspirators. His book didn’t cover the trials, so he doesn’t reveal the government’s case was based on proven perjuries.

You can’t analyze the assassination with any degree of success unless you study the role of Sanford Conover (real name Charles Dunham), the double agent and newspaper reporter who groomed the witnesses for the original trial. Another important figure left out of most books is Simon Wolf, of B’nai B’rith, who was close to John Wilkes Booth and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. We know Wolf held a private meeting with Booth the day of the assassination at the National Hotel because many years later, Wolf wrote about this meeting in his memoirs, and seems to have told some lies while doing so, so what was Wolf covering up?

O’Reilly invents a lot of details and pretends to know people’s inner thoughts, but never figured out the alleged assassination attempts on Vice President Johnson, General Grant and Edwin Stanton were all invented for the trial, and there’s not a shred of evidence anyone was supposed to be killed that night except Lincoln and William Seward, which makes total sense since they were the only ones pushing for Southern forgiveness. Lincoln wanted to pardon the South and allow them back into Congress after the war, something that greatly upset the radical Republican cabal that had captured Congress and actually put Lincoln into power. But Lincoln was drifting off the course set by his party leaders, and that’s why he was murdered.

I just published my own book in time for the 150th anniversary: Killing Lincoln: The Real Story, because O’Reilly never gets close to the truth.
The key suspects in this case are Edwin Stanton, Thaddeus Stevens, Salmon Chase and Ben Wade, and I’ve uncovered forensic evidence from the period that links them to the plot. Funny how Stevens and Wade never get a mention in O’Reilly’s book, even though they held a meeting with other leaders of the radicals in Congress the day after the assassination during which Stevens referred to Lincoln’s death as a “godsend.”

The morning after

Lincoln debates Wade-Davis with Radical before his pocket veto.
Lincoln debates Wade-Davis with Radicals before his pocket veto.

Look in the shadows around the edges of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and you might find some useful information. I find the meeting at Ben Wade’s the morning after pretty fascinating.
Although Lincoln had been elevated to the Presidency by a shaky alliance of two dozen Republican Congressmen and Cabinet members, and he went along with their War to End Slavery, he refused to follow their tack when it came to treating the South as a banana republic with zero representation and tons of new taxation afterwards, which is why he vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill and was planning a secret peace agreement.
Lincoln had just started his second term when the war drew to a close, which meant he was going to be in control for a long time. And that is why Lincoln had to go.
Thaddeus Stevens is often correctly painted as the Robespierre of the Civil War, but Wade is also a good fit for that role. They both seem completely without scruples when it comes to achieving an agenda. The strange thing about the top abolitionists is a lack of love for fellow man, as they seem driven mostly by hate. Before joining this cabal Stevens had been an anti-mason, yet many in this new circle were certainly masons. Power, wealth and glory seems a more likely motivation driving some of these men, and having ardent anti-slave opinions was the fastest way to rise within this cabal.
Wade-Davis Bill
Wade-Davis Bill

George Julian (head of the Agriculture Committee), Zachariah Chandler, and John Covode assembled at Wade’s house when they learned Lincoln was mortally wounded and expected to soon die. Stevens was also in attendance, and would write later of this meeting:
“Their hostility towards Lincoln’s policy of conciliation and contempt for his weakness were undisguised; and the universal feeling among radical men here is that his death is a godsend. It really seems so, for among the last acts of his official life was an invitation to some of the chief rebel conspirators to meet in Richmond and confer with us on the subject of peace.”
And there you have it, the real reason Lincoln had to go, and go quickly….was he was planning a meeting with Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet to work out a peace proposal. All these men would soon praise Lincoln and help elevate him to sainthood, and never say another bad word about him, but in reality they didn’t just celebrate his death, a few undoubtedly helped plot it.



Why Fort Sumter and Gulf of Tonkin are the same thing

Few expected Abraham Lincoln would become the 16th president. The newly-formed Republican Party had many better-known options: Salmon Chase, William Seward, Simon Cameron, Edward Bates, William Dayton, Ben Wade or Thaddeus Stevens, but Lincoln was the new-comer compromise selection of a radical Republican cabal that took supreme power in North America after Democrats seceded, abandoning their positions of power in Congress and the Cabinet.

Lincoln arrived into a hornet’s nest not unlike the situation facing John F. Kennedy when the Bay of Pigs dropped in his lap upon arrival in the White House. The Bay of Pigs was supposed to be a catalyst for full-on invasion of Cuba, but once Kennedy saw the operation had little popular support in Cuba, he pulled stakes, infuriating our Military Industrial Complex and the CIA spooks who’d worked on that operation.

The story you’ve heard of Fort Sumter is not entirely correct, nor is the history of the Civil War nor Lincoln’s assassination, at least not as related by Ken Burns.

Slavery was not the real issue that sparked secession, it was the right of states to withdraw from the union. Do you think any state would have signed that original agreement to form a union if they thought it was permanent and irrevocable? The South firmly believed every state had a legal right to secede for any reason it wanted. The South didn’t seek an armed rebellion and were eager to negotiate any peaceful, legal solution.

The accurate part of Spielberg’s Lincoln is it shows how all attempts by the South to make peace were rebuffed by Lincoln. And the entire incident with Fort Sumter that sparked the armed conflict was carefully instigated as a provocation, the same way all our wars begin: some wag-the-dog operation for the press to go hysterical over.

The truth is the Radical Republicans didn’t want a peaceful solution, they wanted bloody war, and they’d been baiting the Democrats in Congress for months to secede so they could start one, and the first thing they did when Lincoln arrived in the White House was convince him to stage a provocation for armed conflict, telling him this was required to keep border states like Maryland from joining the rebellion.

Baltimore was north of Washington, so secession of Maryland would leave Congress virtually surrounded. Lincoln was a novice, so all he could do was take the advice of more experienced men around him, much the same way JFK was stuck under the thumb of the Pentagon when he’d first arrived. But as time went on, both men found their personal centers of gravity, and began to drift off the designated tack their party bigwigs were trying to steer.

When the smoke cleared after the bloody Civil War, the big winners were the banks, J.P. Morgan, and Jay Gould. Follow the money.

Why wasn't Booth arrested in March?

On November 1, 1864, Louis Weichmann moved into widow Mary Surratt’s boarding house, 604 H Street. Surratt’s son John was an important courier for the Confederacy who kept his mother and sister largely in the dark about his activities in order to shield them from culpability. Weichmann was an old friend of the family, an elementary school chum of John’s and a fellow Catholic.

Weichmann worked as a clerk at the War Department of Prisons and sat next to Daniel H.L. Gleason. After arriving at the boarding house, he immediately began telling Gleason the house was a nest of illegal activities. Of course, the possibility exists Weichmann was placed in the house as a confidential informant from the beginning. That fall Weichmann began informing on Surratt and his friend John Wilkes Booth.

On April 18, 1865, four days after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Gleason testified Weichmann informed him in March that “he was well-acquainted with some blockade runners, young fellows, not secessionists, who were out for money and excitement, who were currently involved in a new project that aroused his suspicion.” This message wormed its way up the chain-of-command and it soon came back down Weichmann should join this project, whatever it was. But in 1911, Gleason unloaded his conscience and confessed the real story: the War Department was made aware of John Wilkes Booth’s plot to kidnap Lincoln weeks before the assassination.

Since Stanton controlled the secret police, the army, the telegraph and the entire Washington DC police force, his power was absolute and once he discovered this plot, Booth was obviously at his mercy. At any time, Stanton could have arrested Booth and hanged him for treason, standard treatment for a Confederate spook like Booth, although Booth represented a high-profile celebrity trophy catch, and as such might expect special treatment.

So why wasn’t Booth arrested in March?

Even stranger, Stanton suddenly demoted his chief detective, moving the head of the National Detective Police to Manhattan, leaving the NDP headless for the crucial few weeks the assassination plot unfolded.

Stanton’s specialty was manufacturing evidence, and he had a entire crew led by Sanford Conover (real name Charles Dunham) for this purpose, so guilt or innocence never got in the way of his agenda. It’s possible Dunham’s real employer, however, was the treacherous Jay Gould, soon the be the richest man on Wall Street.

Booth claimed in his diary he could return to Washington and clear his name. I believe he intended to reveal that a detachment of Union soldiers had been sent into Richmond for the purpose of assassinating Jefferson Davis. This unit had been sent by Stanton and Lincoln had been purposely kept in the dark.

Booth was also a bit unhinged over the hanging of his mentor John Yates Beal, despite the pleas of many prominent Washingtonians to spare the spook for his failed attempt to free the Confederates held prisoners-of-war in the North.

Also, John Parker, the guard who deserted his post was never punished and went back to work inside the White House the next day. Knowing Stanton ripped-up most every Presidential pardon, this sudden overwhelming sense of forgiveness for both Parker and Boston Corbett (the alleged killer of Booth) was inexplicable, unless this is exactly what Stanton wanted: an unguarded President and dead assassin to tell no tales.

Sugar, opium and cotton

In 1823, Captain Warren Delano, 24, sailed to Canton, China, in search of adventure. Seven years later, Delano was a senior partner at Russell & Company, America’s biggest opium trader, and his descendents would rise straight to the top of North America’s oligarchy. Of course, the lion’s share of the opium trade belonged to the world’s most powerful corporation at that time, the Honorable East India Company (HEIC), chartered by Queen Elizabeth in 1600, the same year Freemasonry appeared as a major force. And yes, those two are linked throughout history, one visible and the other completely invisible.

William Huntington Russell was heir to the great Russell opium fortune and educated at Yale University. In fact, he was valedictorian of 1833. While at Yale, Russell spent a summer in Germany, where he was inducted into a Masonic-style society known as “The Order.” When he returned to New Haven, he discovered Phi Beta Kappa was going public, so he launched the secret Skull & Bones society based off the The Order he’d discovered in Germany.

There’s some strong connections between the slave and opium trade because both were considered sleazy and not discussed in polite society, and both reaped profits rivaling King Sugar, and both involved shipping fleets. Soon, thanks to the invention of the cotton gin, King Cotton could sit at the dais alongside the monarchs of opium and sugar. But it’s important to realize cotton and sugar were initially dependent on the African slave trade, so while Southerners were saving money with free labor over the long-term, first they had to buy slaves and three million were transported from Africa to North America, so figure a billion dollars over the course of a few decades, and realize those numbers require multiplication of a factor of 25 to reach commensurate value in our money today, so we are talking potentially $25 billion. The average price of a slave during the Civil War peaked at $800, and considered a good investment since they were expected to produce at least $130,000 in labor over a lifetime. There were 4 million slaves when the war began representing a value of $3.2 billion, or $80 billion today.

Maybe now you realize why eight of the twelve colleges at Yale are named after slave holders, while none named for abolitionists, a sure indication Yale was the Northern college of choice, not just for the Boston Brahmin slave traders, but for the Southern oligarchy as well, and The Tomb a place where both interests might converge.

It’s become standard practice for corporations to mount secret grass-roots movements against themselves. You might think it strange, but it’s actually standard corporate counter-intelligence procedure, not rocket science, and something that’s been going on for centuries, if not longer. So don’t be surprised if the same corporations that profiteered off slavery put up money to fund the abolitionist movement. In 1808, the African slave trade was abruptly officially stopped, thus ending the gravy train on that profit stream, although a black market illegal slave trade flourished for another 50 years, it was subject to confiscation and forfeiture by the British Navy.

In England everyone was paid off. You got money for loss of your slaves and you were compensated for any business losses. And only slaves under the age of 3 were freed immediately, others had to work as indentured servants until they’d paid back their value in labor. The pay-out amounted to the equivalent of over 16 billion pounds in today’s money, or around $26 billion.

Jay Gladstone got $134 million and his son served as Prime Minister four times. If you check the House of Lords, you’ll find a number of family fortunes associated with these payouts, and heirs have been living comfortably off interest ever since, a list that includes the appropriately-named Hoggs as well as the Camerons.

So why didn’t Abraham Lincoln strike the same deal, and avert Civil War by offering to compensate the South in much the same way? Maybe he would have after the war was over, we just don’t know, because Lincoln was assassinated before any final decisions were made on Reconstruction.

We know Lincoln vetoed the plan proposed and championed by Thaddeus Stevens: confiscation of all property owned by the 70,000 richest Southern families, so it could be parceled out to freed blacks and Northerners like himself who’d lost property during the war. I imagine Stevens may have already had his winter-estate plantation selected amongst all the choice options available.

It’s interesting the abolitionist movement came out of Massachusetts. The chief propaganda organ was titled, The Liberator, run by William Loyd Garrison, who was closely associated with the British abolitionist movement. Frederick Douglass became his star contributor and most of the subscriptions were sold to blacks. When Douglass launched his own paper, The North Star, Garrison cruelly cut off all contact. As soon as the war ended, Garrison folded his paper and the abolitionist society it had created, saying their mission was accomplished. In truth, any mission involving justice and equality for Southern blacks was just getting started and it took another hundred years to really start lifting them out of the depths of exploitation, and, in fact, in some places that battle lingers, especially inner-city ghettos where blacks have a much better chance of going to prison than of going to college.

During the Civil War, William Russell served as correspondent for London Times.

How Josiah Henson started the Civil War

The seeds of the Civil War were planted by our founding fathers when they wrote “all men are are created equal,” while pretending blacks weren’t human, which is like shaking hands with fingers crossed behind your back.
I wonder when, if ever, Josiah Henson is going to get credit for fomenting the Civil War? Henson was born a slave on a farm in Maryland in 1785. His parents were property of different owners, and his most vivid early memory involved his father preventing a white man from assaulting his mother. For this “crime” his father lost an ear and received 100 lashes, after which he was never the same and had to be sold, which was the last Henson saw of his dad.

By the time Henson reached 22, he was the overseer of a large plantation, and obviously had intellectual abilities higher than the people who owned him. He dressed better, talked better, and comported himself better than most whites. A local minister gave him the idea of buying his own freedom, something that had never occurred to him. Henson soon learned to make money on the side, and began negotiating his own purchase. But after raising the needed $450, his owner swindled him by adding a zero to the contract after it was signed, and then re-sold him. Consequently, Henson escaped to Canada, where he eventually dictated his autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada.
Henson’s book inspired Harriett Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe had no experience living on plantations and her book was packed with stereotypes, while Henson’s book was the real deal. So, of course, Stowe’s book became the second biggest-selling book of its time, right behind the Bible, while Henson’s book never mentioned. America was undergoing a huge wave of Christian consciousness during the Victorian age. Henson was a devout Christian, as was Stowe, and the abolitionist movement was spread largely through the pulpit. The ministers were the radicals of their time, and greatly despised by the population at large for brewing trouble. Even John Brown, who would later be celebrated as a martyr, was considered a maniac, which he was. Brown had limited popular support, but war has a way of changing perspectives and once a few hundred thousand American boys were dead, he began looking prophetic to a country battered by PTSD.

I know most abolitionists were motivated by good Christian ideals, but I also wonder if the movement wasn’t hijacked in some corridors by bankers who saw an opportunity to make money. There’s no profit stream that can compete with war, and huge sums were borrowed by both sides to fund their war machines. The bankers win every war. Keep in mind the international slave trade had been very profitable, and many of the profiteers were located on the Northeast coast. In fact, if you check the social register, you’ll find some of the biggest Brahmins were making huge profits off the African slave trade up until it was abolished in 1808.

Although most of the population and manufacturing resided in the North, the South had cotton, which didn’t explode economically until the invention of the cotton gin in 1784. The South was growing very rich very quickly, and planned to keep growing its slave population to keep the economic engine humming. It’s likely some accountants did some calculations and saw the South was going to outpace the North due to the economic advantages of free labor.

This woodcut from the period reveals a common practice of the slavers prior to 1808, and the major reason the African slave trade was abolished. Any slaves found to be ill would simply be tossed into the ocean at mid-voyage. The reasoning was threefold: 1) This prevented infections from spreading; 2) An insurance loss could be filed for the value of property lost at sea; and 3) The slaver saved on import duties once arriving at port. Once this practice became widely known, the outrage was so great even most Southerns agreed to finally end the barbaric trade, although by then they figured they had enough slaves to breed as many as they wanted. This was a huge loss to the slave trade speculators, who must have been thrashing their brains for a substitute profit stream.

It’s funny how Abraham Lincoln was transformed into the Great Emancipator when he didn’t believe blacks and whites were equal and supported the idea of sending blacks back to Africa. However, the cost of buying the slaves and shipping them home would have cost billions of dollars, more than the Civil War cost.

The Radical Republicans wanted a bloody and long-lasting war because they knew that was the only way the South would accept the end of slavery. Lincoln was a moderate, and only put out an Emancipation Proclamation toward the war’s end. Thaddeus Stevens and Ben Wade had been pressing for the proclamation for years, and were furious that it was taking so long.

It’s hard to know what to make of Stevens and Wade. Are they to be celebrated for their crucial role in ending slavery, or condemned for their involvement in the plot to assassinate Lincoln so the South could be looted six-ways-to-Sunday?

Meanwhile, I’m wondering when the entertainment industry is going to stumble across Henson, a man who should be as celebrated as Lincoln for the crucial role he played in this epic drama, but somehow he seems to have slipped through the cracks of history, at least thus far.