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that he called him by his proper natae, and that Surratt, taking him aside, ad-
mitted that he was right in the guess. He added that Surratt acknowledged his
participation in the plot against Mr. Lincoln's life, and declared that Jefferson
Davis nad incited or was privy to it. St Marie further said that Surratt seemed
to be well provided with money, and appealed to him as a comrade not to betray
his secret; and he expressed an earnest desire that if any steps were taken
towards reclaiming SuiTatt as a criminal, he, St. Marie^^should not be known in
the matter. He spoke so positively in answer to my .'questions as to his ac-
quaintance with Surratt, and the certainty that this was the man, and there
seemed such entire absence of motive for any false statement on the subject,
that I could not very well doubt the truth of what he told me. I deemed it
my duty, therefore, to report the circumstance to the department and ask for

******* *

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. King to Mr. Seward.


No. 54 ] Legation of the United States,

Rome, May 11, ISee.
Sir : Li my last despatch, of April 23, 1 mentioned that H. B. St. Marie, a
private in the Papal zouaves, bad called upon me for the purpose of commu-
mettiiig the intelligence that John H. Surratt, one of the persons charged with
compHdity in the murder of President Lincoln, was a member of the same
re^imeDt aa himself, and then stationed at Sessse. I have sbice received two

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letters from St. Marie relating to this matterrw^iich I enclose for the informatioB
of the department. While awaiting their instmctions, the information has been
kept secret here. ;

I have theh'^nor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary of State, Washington, D, C.

Mr. St. Marie to Mr. King.

Velletri, April 2.3, 1866.

Honorable Sir : With reference to the information I had the honor to give yon Satur-
day last, I most respectfnlly state and suggest that it would be advisable to proceed at onee
and ascertain if such information is correct, as I understand tliat my companj maj be
soon under orders to go further in the mountains, and it would be more difficult for me
to communicate with you. As to the identity of the party, I can assure you on my most
sacred honor it is lost time to acquire further proofs. I am fully convinced that it is tlM
same individual. I have known him in Baltimore. I have seen him here ; have spoken to
him ; recognized him at once ; and, when he made himself known to me and acknowledged
he was the same party I thought he resembled to, he related several particulars of our imt
meeting at Ellangowan, fifteen miles from Baltimore, where I was then engaged as a teacher,
which no one but himself could have remembered. This was about a year before the assas-
sination of President Lincoln ; all this occurred about a fortnight ago. I then resolved thtA
as soon as I could ^t leave to go to Rome, I would seek the American minister and inform
him of the fact, which no one here, and I am certain in Europe, knows but myself. I am
fully aware of tie danger of my position, for in my opinion that party must' have friends
here, and the utmost caution must be used both in securing him, and for my personal sa^ty.
I have told you it is my desire to leave the army as soon as possible, and that I can do by
paying a sum of five or six hundred francs. I think I have done my duty in conscience, and
trust in you not to be forgotten. I shall expect an answer at your earliest convenience ; in
writing to me use ordinanr paper and envelope, and take a form and turn of expression aa
none but myself will be able to understand.

I have the honor to be, honorable sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

Zouave Pontifical, 9th Company , Velletri.

Hon. General King,

Minister of the United States, Palazzo Talviati^ via Dd Corse, Rome.

Mr. St. Marie to Mr. King.

Velletri, Mcy 7, 1866.

General : I am in receipt of your honored favor of the 4th instant, and, in reply, beg Id
state that the party in question is still at the place mentioned in my last letter to tou. If
anything happens I shall immediately advise you. Also, if I change quarters I shall let you
know where you can address me.

Hoping everything will turn out to your satisfaction, and for the greatest advantage of the
United States, I hope justice to the ever-lamented memory of President L. will be made.

I have been greatly disappointed with this zouave corps. I long to revisit my native land
and the gray hair of my fatner and mother, and wish to make of the United States my last
and permanent home.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, gfeneral, &c.,

ZouMve Pontyical, 9th Company.
Hon. Gtnend Kmo, Rmne.

Mr. F. W. Seward to Mr. King.

No. 35.] Department of State,

Washington, May 21, 1866.
Sir : Your despatch of the 23d ultimo. No. 53, was dulj received, and a copj
of BO much »f it as relates to John H. Surratt was promptly communicated to
the Secretary of War. Enclosed I transmit a copy of a letter from him upon the

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inbjectt together with a oommiinieatiou from the Judge Advocate General, to
whom your report was referred by the Secretary of War. You are instructed
to obtain, if possible, pursuant to General Holt's suggestions, the full statement
verified by oath of St. Marie.

I am, sir, your obedient servant*


Acting Secret dry.
Bupus King, Esq., ^v, Sfc,, ifc.

Mr Stanton to Mr, F. W, Seward,

War Department,

Wathin£ton City, May 19, 1866.
Su: I have the honor to aeknowlediife yours of the 17th, accompanyinj^ a report of the
United States minister at Rome, in relation to John H. Sarratt. That report was referred
to the Judge Advocate General, who rotoms it to this department with a recommendation,
a iXfy of which is herewith enclosed. I would respectfully ask that it may be transmitted
to Mr. E^ngt with instructions in conformity with General Holt*s recommendation,
lonr obedient servant,

Hon. F. W. SfiWARD,

Acting Secretary €f State, 8fC,, SfC, S^c,

Bureau op Milftary Justice,

Washington, May 19, 1866.

Respectfully returned.

It is recommended that the American minister at Rome be urged to procure without delay,.
if possible, a fiill statement of John H. Surratt's confession to H. de St. Marie, verified by
oath, which could probably be obtained throug^h assurances that St. Marie should in nO'
manner be compromised thereby. This man, thete is reason to believe, is the same referre^ii
to by one of the witnesses on the trial of the assassins of the President. He was represented
to have been engaged in school-teaching in Maryland, at a village called Ellangowan, in the
rear 1653. Afterwards hd came to Washington, and was for a short time employed by Father
Wiget. He stated that he had come from Montreal, Canada, where he had sold bis farm,
the proceeds of which he had lost in this countiy. He spoke French, Italian, and English
fluentlj, aud was known as Henry de St. Marie. Th^ American minister has no doubtcoaught
the sound of his name imperfectly, and has in consequence written it **B " instead of de St.

The particulars above given will make it easy to ascertain if this is the person mentioned
in the despatah to the Secretary of State. If he is, it is believed that it can be shown here
that he is a man of character and entitled to credit in his statements. It may be added that
in this despatch the American minister has slightly mistaken Surratt's name. It is not John
S., as he supposes, but John H.

J. H0LT,
Judge Advoaate GMUtral*..

Mr. F. W. Seward to Mr. King.

No. 36.] Department of Statb,

Washington, A&u/,,2i^ IS^S.

Sir : Since the date of the instruction addresded to yon in answer to yowr
despatch No. 33, of the 23d ultimo, a letter has been received at this depart-
ment froniT Mr. Holt, the Judge Advocate General, in which he states that it
has been ascertained that the name of the person supposed to be alluded to in
yoar despatch is Henri Beaumont de St. Marie. He is represented to be about
five feet eight inches in height, thirty years old, of a dark complexion, with
Uack hair, with sharp, piercing eyes.

Mr. Holt suggests that if he should make a statement in regard to Surratt's
confeBSion, there should be embodied in it his entire name» together with the

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circumstances of his sojotim In the United States, if te were ever here, men-
tioning dates, places, &c., as well as the names of some of the persons with
whom he was associated. This, Mr. Holt thinks, wUl make the qnestion of
identity one of easy solution.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Acting Secretary.
RuFUS King, Esq., Sfc., Sfc., Sfc.

Juig% HoU U Mr. F. W. Seward.

War Department, Bureau op Military Justice,

fVaskington, D, C, May 22, 1866.

Dear Sir : Referrini^ to oar oonyeraation of this morning, I have the honor to state that
the iiall name of the person supposed to be alluded to in the despatch of the American min-
ister at Rome is now ascertained to be Henri Beanmont de St. Marie. He is represented
to be about 5 feet 6 inches in height, 30 years old, of a very dark complexion, and black
hair, with sharp, piercing eves. Soould he make a statement in regard to Surratt's coo*
fession, there should be embodied in it his entire name, together with the circumstances of
his sojourn in the United States ; if he was here, mentioning dates, places, &c., as well
as the names of some of the persons with whom he was associated. This will make the
question of identity of easy solution.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Judge Advocate General,
Hon. F. W. Seward,

Assistant Secretary of State,

Mr, King to Mr, Seward,

No. 55 ] Legation of the United States,

Rome, June 4, 1866.
Sir : Contrary to the opinion very generally entertained, the month of May
has expired without brinj^ing any solution of the questions at issue between
Austria, Prussia, and Italy ; and Europe continues in doubt whether to expect

g'ace or war. The conference or congress proposed by England, France, and
ussia could not well be declined, and the coming week will probably witness
the opening session. But unless Austria has fully made up her mind to part
with Veuice, the prospect of an amicable agreement is still remote ; and the
p(>pu]ar excitement throughout Italy is so great that war can hardly be avoided.
The French ambassador, with whom I conversed on the subject a day or two
since, seemed to think that hostilities were inevitable and near at hand. Such
is, unquestionably, the prevalent belief here.

The cardinal secretary of state, who has been very seriously ill, is, I am happy
to say, convalescent. For nearly two weeks he was unable to i-eceive visitors or
transact business ; and his condition was such as to excite much apprehension.
Happily the danger is past. His Holiness could ill afford to lose so able and
devoted a councillor.

It is understood that the Pope intends to create three new cardinals within
the current month, viz : Monsignor Mantencci and Prince Hohenlohe, both at-
tached to the Papal household, and the distinguished archbishop of Dublin, Dr.

The festival of Corpus Domini was celebrated with all customary pomp on
Thursday last, his Holmess taking conspicuous part in the procession, and
looking remarkably well.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary ofState^ Woihingtanf D. C. Digitized byGoOglc


Mr. King to Mr. Seward.

No. 56.'] LfioAtioN OP THE Unitbd Statbs,

Rome, June 19, 1866.

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge receipt pf despatch No. 36, tinder
date of May 24 ; and, referring to certain instmctions addreeeed to me, in answer
to my despatch No. 53, of the 23d of April, I hasten to say that these instruc-
tions have not yet come to hand, and it would appear from the numher ( 36) of
the despatch now acknowledged that two of the series from the State Depart-
ment, to wit, Nos. 34 an^ 35, are missing ; the last received previous to the
present one heing No. 33, of March 23d. Under the circumstances I venture to
request that dnpHcates of Nos. 34 and 35 be at once forwarded to me. Await-
ing their arrival, I will act upon the suggestion of the Judge Advocate Grenecal
r^eired to in your last, and endeavor to obtain irom St. Marie, who is
still at Velletri, the further and fuller statement which the judge deems de-
sirable. St. Marie answers exactly to the description given of him in Judge
Holt's letter, and is no doubt the same person. He adheres confidently to
his original statement in regard to Surratt, who, at the present speaking, is
with his company at Veroli, some forty miles from Rome. ♦ * « *
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Sbward,

Secretary of State, Washingtonf D. C

Mr. King to Mr. Seward.

No. 57.] Legation op the United States,

Rome, June 23, 1866.

Sib : In my anxiety to reply at once to despatch No. 36 from the State
Department, received on the 19th instant, I had only time for a brief reference
to the interview and conversation which I enjoyed with the Pope on the day
that my last communication was written. His Holiness spoke at some length
of the impending European war, and condemned very strongly the course pur-
sned by Prussia. On the other hand, he highly commended the Austrian Em-
peror for the moderation and ability which he had displayed, and did not at all
disguise Lis sympathies for the success of the Austrian arms. In reply to my
question as to the probability of his going to his country residence at Gastel
Gai\dolfo during the heats of summer, his Holiness said that as yet it was unde-
cided; his movements would necessarily depend upon the progress and incidents
of the war ; but if matters continued quiet in the Papal States, as he seemed
to anticipate, he should probably go to the mountains in the courise of next

Adverting to American afi&birs, the Pope expressed his sincere gratification at
the rapid recovery of the United States from the destructive effects of the late
war, and the evident progress making towards the complete restoration of peace
and union ; and he begged me to convey to the President the assurance of his
lively sympathy, as well as of his cordial approbation of the policy which the
Executive had thus far pursued. He wished the President all success, he said,
in the good work he had so well begun and was so earnestly prosecuting. I
thanked his Holiness for this friendly expression of his sentiments, and assured
him that it would give me great pleasure to communicate them to the proper

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Thursday last, the 2l8t instant, was the twentieth (20th) anniversary of tb^
coronation of the present Pontiff, and as such was duly conm^emorated by the
Roman people. let, notwithstanding the fact that the Pope is held in general
reyerence and regard, the liveliest interest is felt here in the progress of the
Austro Italian war, and the success of Victor Emanuel's arms anxiously desired,
as involving the fnture status of this imperial city and its final release from
civil and ecdesiastical thraldom. But however it may fare with Venice, there
is no present prohability that Rome will become part of the Italian kingdom.

In compliance with the suggestion contained in your last despatch, (No. 36,)
I communicated immediately with St Marie at Velletri, and received from him
yesterday the accompanying document. I had, at thesame time, a long confer*
sation with him, which tended to confirm my belief in the truth of his statements.
He repeated to me Surratt's confession of complicity in the murder of President
Lincoln, and the admission of his mother's guilty participation in the same
plot. He said diat Surratt was well supplied with money byparties in Paris
and London. He avowed his readiness to proceed at once to Washington isuid
testify to all he knew in Uie premises, only asking to have his expenses paid
and some compensation made for his time and trouble. I requested him to
describe Burratt to me, which he did; and it corresponded exactly with the
description given by the witness Weichmann at the trial of the conspirators.
(See page 116 of volume published by Ben. Pittman, recorder, &c.) I cau-
tioned him not to speak of the mntter to any one ; but to remain quiet until he
heard from me, only keeping me advised, from time to time, of his own and
Surratt's movements and whereabouts. He returned to Velletri last evening.
I await, of course, the receipt of the instructions referred to in despatch No.
3G before taking any further steps in the matter.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary of SuUe, Washington, D. C

Rome, June 21, 1866.
General : Aereeabl j with yonr desire, I have the honor to make the following statement :

1. I am Caiuiaian born, and was livine in the United States when the late rebellion broke
out. I was engaged as teacher in a small village in Maryland, called Little Texas, or £llan-
gowan, and there got acquainted with John H. Surratt and William Weichmann. About six
months before the end of the war I had removed to WashingtoDf and was there engaged in
St Mathew s Institute, under the superintendency of Father White. Weichmann, who wna
a 'friend of Surratt, was there with me. I had occasion to see him several times. He
and Weichmann, who was the principal witness in the trial of the assassins of Preddeat
Lincoln, were intimates. From difficulties with Weichmann I left Washington and
joined the northern army, as a substitute for £. D. Porter, of Newark, Delaware, prin-
cipal of an academy in that city. Not being used to hardships, I straggled in the first
■larches, and was picked up b}r Stuart's cavalry near Orange Court House, Virginia, and
imprisoned in Castle Thunder, Richmond. Havmg been acquainted with the plots of a com-
pany of forgers who were then in the same prison, I acquainted General Winder of their
mtentions, and as a reward of my services got my liberty, and was sent iree to Nassau, and
from there to my native home — Canada — having gone first to England, on board a Teasel
loaded with cotton on the account of the confederacy.

2. After my return home the unfortunate assassination of President Lincoln took place. I
immediately went to the United States consul at Montreal, and informed him what I kn&w
about Surratt and Weichmann, and told him that in my opinion I thought one was as guilty ms
the other, and acted only through fear of selling his accomplice. I have met Surratt here hi
Italy, in the zouaves of the Pope, where I am myself. He has acknowledged to me tbat ^
was tlie instigator of the murder, and hcMl acted in the instructions and orders of persona ke
did not name, but some of whom are in New York, and others in London. He told me a
party in London offered him £10,000 to publish a statement of the affair, but he refoaed.

I beg to say I am prepared to go to the United States and give all the evidence I knbw in
the unfortunate matter.
I am personally known in the United States to £. D. Porter, of NewAlk: Ddaniaa, Neil Ss.

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Derve, proprietors of the St. Louis hotel, Chestnut street, Philadelphia ; R. H. Labbertou,
professcHr of Greek in the University of the same city. I have known in Richmond General
Winder ; Captain Winder, his son ; Mai or Carrington and Major Parkhill, and Captain
Alexander, who was then commander of Castle Thunder.
I bave the honor :o be, general, &c.,

General King, Rome, Italy,


Mr. King to Mr, Seward.

Private.] Rome, June 30, 18G6.

My DbAR GrOVBRNOR : * * ♦ ♦ * *

As yon will learn from the accompanying despatch, the miseing document
from the State Department arrived all right to-day. I cannot imagine where
or how it has been delayed. I will act forthwith upon the instructions in
regard to St. Marie. He is willing and anxious to go to the United States,
and can get his release from the Pontifical zouaves bv paying fifty dollars or
80. I should judge that his parole evidence would be much more desirable
than any certified statement. He would expect to have his expenses paid»
and some compensation made for his time.

FaithftiUy yours,

Hon. William H. Sbward,

Secretary of State, Washington^ Z>. C


Mr. King to Mr. Seward.
[Extract* ]

No. 59.] Legation of the United States,

Rome, My 14, 1866.
Sib : ♦ ♦ * ♦ * In compliance with

iBstructions heretofore received, I have obtained, and herewith transmit, an
additional statement, sworn and subscribed to by H. B. de St. Marie, touchmg
J. H. Snrratt's acknowledged complicity in the assassination of the late Presi-
dent Lincoln. St. Marie again expressed to me his great desire to return to
America and give his evidence in person. He thinks that his life would be in
danger here, should it be known among his comrades that he had betrayed Sur-
ratt's secret.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

Hon. William H. Seward,

Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Rome, July 10, 1866. ,

I, Henri B. de St. Marie, a native of Canada, British America, aged 33, do swear
*nd declare tinder oath, that about six months preyious to the assassination of President
Abraham Lincoln I was livinff in Maryland, at a small village called Ellangowan, or Little
TfiQns, about twenty-five or thirty miles from Baltimore, where I was engaged as teacher
fer& period of about five months. I there and then got acquainted with Lew is J Welch-
mtnaand John H. Sunatt, who came to that locality to nay a visit to the parish priest.
At that first interview a great deal was said about the war''aix«h^lavery ; the sentiments ex-
pressed by these two inwvidaals being more than strojigly secedpiouists. In the course of
conyersation, I remember Snrratt to have said that President Liiicoln would certainly pay
lor dl the men that were slain during the war. About a month aft^r I ^oi^07^^9^WFA^'

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ineton, at the instigration of Weiohmami, and got a situation as tutor in St. Mathew*8 Inatitate,
where he was himself euMffed. Sorratt visited ns weekly, and once he offered to send me
soath ; but I declined. I did not remain more than a month at Washington, not being
able to agree with Welchmann, and enlisted in the army of the n<»rth, as stated in mj first
statement in writing to George King. I have met Snrratt here in Italy, at a small town
called Velletri. He is now known under the name of John Watson. I recc^nuxed him
before he made himself known to me, and told him privately, ** You are John Surratt, the
person I have known in Maryland." He acknowledged he was, and begged of me to keep
the thing secret. After some conversation, we spoke of the unfortunate affiedr of the assas-
sination of Preflident Lincoln, and these were hu words: *' Damn the Yankees; they have
killed my mother ; but I have done them as much harm as I could. We have killed Lincoln*
the nigger*s fnend." He then said, speaking of his mother, '* HeA it not been for me kdo.
that coward Weichmann, nly mother would be livin? yet. It was fear made him speak.
Had he kept his tongue Uiere was no danger for him ; but if I ever return to America, or
meet him elsewhere, I shall kill him."

He then said he was in the secret service of the South. And Weichmann, who was in
some department there, used to steal copies of the despatches and forward them to him, and
thence to Richmond. Speaking of the murder, he said they had acted under the orders of
men who are not yet known, some of whom are still in New York, and others in London.
I am aware that monev is sent to him yet from London. ' * When I left Canada," he said, *' I
had but little money, but I had a letter for a party in London. I was in disguise with
dyed hair and false beard ; that party sent me to a hotel where he told me to remain till I
would hear from him." After a lew weeks he came and proposed to me to go to Spain, but

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StatePapers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, Part 2 → online text (page 24 of 108)