Addenda to the Addenda

Thaddeus_Stevens

In the summer of 1865, an un-named stenographer belonging to the “trial of the conspirators” quietly offered the editor of The People’s Weekly his theory about the Lincoln assassination. It was Thaddeus Stevens (image), leader of the “Radical” faction of the Republican Party, who had “warmed into life the brutal instincts of [Edwin] Stanton, [Joseph] Holt and [Lafayette] Baker, to have Lincoln assassinated.”

The above paragraph was published to Ersjdamoo’s Blog on November 24, 2012, under the title, Addenda To Lincoln’s Assassination.

The source for much of the November 24, 2012 blog entry was a short article by Otto Eisenschiml (1880 – 1963) published in 1950.  Eisenschiml was an Austrian-born chemist and industrial executive in the American oil industry, and a controversial author, says Wikipedia. [1] I have more information on Otto Eisenschiml, found in old newspapers, of which I hope to publish a summary.

But what exactly was the Eisenschiml short article, and where was it published? I realized it was time for an addenda to the addenda.

At a web site called JSTOR I again read through Eisenschiml’s short article. JSTOR is a digital library founded in 1995. Originally containing digitized back issues of academic journals, it now also includes books and primary sources, and current issues of journals. [2]

The title of the short article by Eisenschiml is, “Addenda to Lincoln’s Assassination.” JSTOR gives publication particulars as “Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1908-1984) Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer, 1950), pp. 91-99.” The “Page Count” is given as 9.

Eisenschiml begins by explaining he has authored three books on the Abraham Lincoln assassination:

  • Why Was Lincoln Murdered?
  • In the Shadow of Lincoln’s Death
  • The Case of A.L……, Aged 56

Since publication of those books, “only stray bits of information” were found by Eisenschiml. Circa 1950, he recorded one of these “stray bits” into his 9-page published article.

“The item I am going to discuss in this article is the May 2, 1868, issue of The People’s Weekly, a now rare magazine, published in Washington and Baltimore on Saturday evenings,” continues Eisenschiml. The publishers of The People’s Weekly were listed as Ben E. Green (also the editor), N.B. Talbott, and A.J. Appleby. The address of The People’s Weekly was 44 and 125 North Baltimore Street.

In 1948, the relevant copy of the magazine was found, under curious circumstances, by one Jesse E. Wilson, a Baltimore student focused upon Abraham Lincoln. Through Wilson, Eisenschiml gained possession.

The outstanding piece of interest in the magazine was an editorial entitled, “That Wicked Old Man.” The editorial is reproduced in full in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.

“Thad Stevens, calls President [Andrew] Johnson the ‘offspring of assassination.’ What about the rest of the pedigree? Who were the parents and grand parents of assassination?” Thus asked the 1868 editorial.

A stenographer familiar with testimony given at the 1865 “Trial of the Conspirators” suggested to the publishers of The People’s Weekly a theory which slowly gained their attention. The true parents and grand parents of the Lincoln assassination were, respectively, Edwin M. Stanton, Joseph Holt, and Lafayette C. Baker (parents), and Thaddeus Stevens (grand parent). Their purpose? “[T]hat they might have freer scope in hanging rebels and appropriating to themselves their property; to which they feared Lincoln’s good nature and desire for conciliation would be an obstacle.”

“If the theory of our stenographic friend be correct,” concludes the 1868 editorial, “then Thad Stevens, whose vindictive fury gave life to the embryo spirit of assassination in Stanton and Holt, and by the murder of Lincoln, made [Andrew] Johnson the ‘offspring of assassination,’ is now seeking to renew the old mythological fable, by ‘devouring his own offspring.'”

(Andrew Johnson came very close to being impeached in 1868. There was an impeachment trial, managed by among others Thaddeus Stevens. Thirty-five senators voted “guilty” and 19 “not guilty”, thus falling short by a single vote of the two-thirds majority required for conviction under the Constitution. [3] This is what the 1868 editorial meant by “seeking to renew the old mythological fable, by ‘devouring his own offspring“, with Andrew Johnson being the “offspring of assassination.”)

“If the secrets of [Stanton’s] administration of the War Department and Holt’s management of the Bureau of Military Injustice are ever truthfully disclosed, they will be enough to make one’s hair stand on end.” Thus ends the 1868 editorial.

Who was the stenographer who had first suggested his idea to the publishers of The People’s Weekly? At the 1865 “Trial of the Conspirators”, surmises Eisenschiml, five men headed by Benn Pitman were official stenographers. Other reporters were present and need not have been taking stenographic notes during the trial. “The only stenographer known to have protested against the scenes he had witnessed was one of Pitman’s assistants, Edward V. Murphy. In an interview published by the New York Times Magazine on April 9, 1916, he mercilessly castigated the court and the method used by the government prosecutors.”

Eisenschiml accuses Benn Pitman of sometimes altering the official transcript of the trial. The unknown stenographer who sparked the 1868 editorial may have also possessed other evidence. A subsequent issue of The People’s Weekly was promised, in which further details would be offered. Unfortunately the hoped-for copy of the now-rare magazine could not be found by Eisenschiml despite his efforts.

——- Sources ——-
[1] “Otto Eisenschiml”, Wikipedia, July 14, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Eisenschiml
[2] “JSTOR”, Wikipedia, July 14, 2015.
[3] “Andrew Johnson”, Wikipedia, July 14, 2015.

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About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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