Four THE TRUE JOHN BOOTH

ABOUT the middle of February 1861, L. E. Chittenden (afterward Register of the Treasury) and another "Young Republican" --both of them members of a "committee of safety" in Washington --visited Baltimore, bent upon their own special inquiries. From a Unionist group there they culled divers particulars of subversive activities in that city, and these they transmitted to Elihu Washburne. In the story as Chittenden told it after a lapse of years, one detail now stands out--a cursory reference to an unnamed actor who at clandestine meetings was wont to recite passages of "Julius Cæsar."

Among actors familiar to Baltimore was a young man of whom a sister long remembered that when studying at home he chose "Julius Cæsar" as an elocutionary practice-piece and by the hour declaimed its mouth-filling speeches, permitting no deviations from the text in so much as a syllable. He was, it happens, the same young man whom we found playing at Albany's Gayety Theatre on the night of February 18th, 1861, and whose disunion views were loudly expressed and ill-received at Stanwix Hall. It has been charged that he was among those who during the "three glorious days" ( April 19th, 20th, and 21st, 1861) went out in parties from Baltimore, under the direction of Marshal Kane, to burn bridges on railway lines running northward.1

Perhaps he was. It would have been like him. He said fiercely

____________________
1
This was asserted by W. G. Snethen, a lawyer of Baltimore, in The Commonwealth ( Boston), Apr. 22, 1865; p. 2. It could have been possible. Booth did not open his third Albany engagement until the night of Apr. 22, 1861. ( Snethen was a member of the Republican committee from Baltimore that went to Pennsylvania to greet Lincoln on his journey to Washington.)

-75-

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The Great American Myth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Foreword ix
  • One Federal City, 1860-1865 3
  • Two · a President-Elect Takes a Journey 13
  • Three - The Safeguarding of Lincoln 51
  • Four The True John Booth 75
  • Five "A Turn Towards the Evil" 97
  • Six Charity and Hate 127
  • Seven the Fourteenth of April 145
  • Eight Pandemonium 168
  • Nine . . . . . Terror by Night 186
  • Ten . . . . . . Flight's End 228
  • Eleven . . . . . This Was He 259
  • Twelve False Colors and Shapes 324
  • Afterword 382
  • Pardon 393
  • Acknowledgments 394
  • Bibliography 396
  • Index 408
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