Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The Secret Web Of Profiteers, Politicians, And Booth Conspirators That Led To Lincoln's Death
(Conspiracy Nation) -- Dark Union (Hoboken: Wiley & Sons, 2003. ISBN: 0-471-26481-4) by Leonard F. Guttridge and Ray A. Neff is the best book yet explaining what really was behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on Good Friday, April 14th, 1865.
Guttridge is an historian and author of several books. Neff is an Emeritus Professor at Indiana State University. Archival material upon which Dark Union is based is available to scholars at Indiana State University's Cunningham Memorial Library.
Neff is well-known to Lincoln conspiracy students as the scholar who first discovered Colonel Lafayette Baker's coded messages in an old copy of Colburn's United Service Magazine and Military Journal. Baker, head of the Union's National Detective Police (NDP, the FBI of its day), knew plenty but feared for his life. So, he cautiously revealed what he knew, shortly before he died from apparent arsenic poisoning. Conspiracy Nation previously covered Neff's circa 1957 find in Ray Neff Discovers Coded Messages. (http://www.shout.net/~bigred/Neff.htm)
Readers may be familiar with the system of fiat money, known as "Greenbacks", inaugurated during Lincoln's presidency. According to a hard-to-obtain book, Lincoln: Money Martyred (Omni Publications, first published in 1935; latest reprint 1989), Lincoln and his Treasury Secretary tried to obtain loans from New York bankers to finance the Union war effort. Terms offered for the loans were a usurious 24 to 36 percent interest. Indignant, Lincoln refused the loans. Pondering what to do, the president reportedly was advised by a close friend to get Congress to authorize the printing of "legal tender" treasury notes -- greenbacks. There is some debate over whether the greenbacks worked as reliable money. The author of Lincoln: Money Martyred claims they did, until Congress tacked on an "exception clause" rendering greenbacks "Good for all debts both public and private except duty on imports and interest on government debts." The exception clause "put the government in the light of refusing its own money for duty on imports, and gave the bankers an excuse to refuse or discount [greenbacks], which they promptly did, 30 percent..." (Lincoln: Money Martyred)
The issue of whether greenbacks (issued by the government and not by the later, so-called "Federal" Reserve) were or could have been viable is hotly debated. Whatever the case, the authors of Dark Union portray the Union as going bankrupt and in desperate need of gold. To get the needed gold, Lincoln was forced to allow secret trading of Confederate cotton, "trading with the enemy": a triangle of trade involving the South, Northern speculators, and Europe.
"But in early 1865 Lincoln began to vacillate in regard to trading with the enemy, which, along with the imminent end of the hostilities, threatened the huge profits at stake." (Dark Union) The aspect of an imminent end of hostilities threatening huge business profits suggests a theme developed by author Otto Eisenschmil: that Union victory may have been purposefully botched for years.
Also motivating Lincoln's assassination was his planned policy to go easy on the defeated Confederacy. This flew in the face of members of his own Republican Party favoring harsh treatment toward the defeated South, and of business types eager to profit from "Reconstruction."
Barely mentioned by the authors of Dark Union are the "Copperheads", renegade Democrats operating a secret society called the Knights of the Golden Circle. The power of this clandestine organization is admirably described in Shadow of the Sentinel by Warren Getler and Bob Brewer. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. ISBN: 0-7432-1968-6)
Fleshing out the little-known history of Civil War intrigue is the book, Come Retribution, which offers a scholarly look at the Confederate Secret Service. (by William A. Tidwell. University Press of Mississippi, 1988)
Bottom line: many covert forces were at work during the Civil War, and information about them has only slowly been coming to light.
Odds and Ends
Among the interesting pieces of information in Dark Union
Wall Street operated its own, private telegraph network which gave speculators (insiders) advance knowledge about war-time events.
During the Civil War, southern cotton sold, in Europe, for six times its usual price, payable in gold.
The notorious Dahlgren Raid apparently was originated by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
Mary Lincoln's indebtedness due to her shopping sprees gave mega-merchant A.T. Stewart extraordinary influence.
Presence or lack of cotton exports directly influenced the nation's gold supply; more gold available strengthened the greenback by a sort of par: less gold meant more greenbacks needed to buy gold and vice-versa.
The war dragged on perhaps because an early end would have left Northeners less embittered and more inclined to go easy on the South. This would have damaged rapacious businessmen's "Reconstruction" schemes.
Mexico was the favored choice for postwar Confederate headquarters (this ties in with Knights of the Golden Circle info contained in Shadow of the Sentinel (op. cit.)
As in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, so too following the Lincoln assassination: a limited view of what had actually happened was quickly foisted upon the public.
Robert Lincoln, son of the murdered president, caused many of his father's papers to be removed to Chicago, where some of them were soon thereafter destroyed.
Following the Civil War, the National Detective Police (NDP) ceased to exist. Most NDP agents migrated to the "United States Detective Service" a "private agency controlled by God knows who," according to Lafayette Baker's protege Andrew Potter.
A secret investigation of events surrounding the Lincoln assassination was almost certainly conducted by the government during the 1870s.
This One Mad Act, by Izola Forrester, who claimed to be Booth's granddaughter, presents persuasive evidence that Lincoln's assassin did not die weeks after that sad event but survived many years thereafter. Forrester has the assassin eventually residing in Ceylon. So too do the authors of Dark Union prove the likelihood of Booth's survival and seclusion in Ceylon. (Noteworthy is that Shay McNeal, author of The Secret Plot To Save The Tsar, demonstrates that the Romanovs also were secluded in Ceylon following their supposed assassination by the Bolsheviks.)
The authors of Dark Union also present a photo credibly that of John Wilkes Booth taken in 1873, eight years after his supposed death. It appears that Booth exchanged identities with a British man, John B. Wilkes, to facilitate his seclusion. It also appears that the U.S. government had no wish to reclaim the real Booth, due to the embarrassment to its credibility that would cause as well as for fear that Booth would implicate others, those truly complicit in Lincoln's death.
... "Today," complain the authors, "as always, there are too many people who have a vested interest in preserving a standard version of history. Instead of welcoming new discoveries, as genuine historians should, they ignore or even try to suppress fresh evidence that tends to contradict conventional accounts."
The Knights of the Golden Circle Research and Historical Archives