Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth George Alfred Townsend

Letter V: A Solution Of The Conspiracy

Page 2 of 11

Table Of Contents: The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

That Wilkes Booth was a southern man from the first may be accounted for upon grounds, of interest as well as of sympathy. It is insidious to find no higher incentive than appreciation, but on the stage this is the first and last motive; and as Edwin Booth made his success in the North and remained steadfast, Wilkes Booth was most truly applauded in the South, and became rebel. A false emotion of gratitude, as well as an impulse of mingled waywardness and gratitude, set John Wilkes's face from the first toward the North, and he burned to make his name a part of history, cried into fame by the applauses of the South.

He hung to his bloody suggestion with dogged inflexibility, maintaining only one axiom above all the rest--that whatever minor parts might be enacted--Casca, Cassius, or what not--he was to be the dramatic Brutus, excepting that assassin's negativeness. In other words, the idea was to be his own, as well us the crowning blow.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

Booth shrank at first from murder, until another and less dangerous resolution failed. This was no less than the capture of the President's body, and its detention or transportation to the South. I do not rely on this assertion upon his sealed letter, where he avows it; there has been found upon a street within the city limits, a house belonging to one Mrs. Greene; mined and furnished with underground apartments, manacles and all the accessories to private imprisonment. Here the President, and as many as could be gagged and conveyed away with him, were to be concealed in the event of failure to run them into the confederacy. Owing to his failure to group around him as many men as he desired, Booth abandoned the project of kidnapping; but the house was discovered last week, as represented, ready to be blown up at a moment's notice.

It was at this time that Booth devised his triumphant route through the South. The dramatic element seems to have been never lacking in his design, and with all his base purposes he never failed to consider some subsequent notoriety to be enjoyed. He therefore shipped, before the end of 1864, his theatrical wardrobe from Canada to Nassau. After the commission of his crime he intended to reclaim it, and "star" through the South, drawing money as much by his crime as his abilities.

When Booth began "on his own responsibility," to hunt for accomplices, he found his theory at fault. The bold men he had dreamed of refused to join him in the rash attempt at kidnapping the President, and were too conscientious to meditate murder. All those who presented themselves were military men, unwilling to be subordinate to a civilian, and a mere play-actor, and the mortified bravo found himself therefore compelled to sink to a petty rank in the plot, or to make use of base and despicable assistants. His vanity found it easier to compound with the second alternative than the first.

Page 2 of 11 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth
George Alfred Townsend

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2002