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Judicial Murder of Mrs. Surratt
01-17-2018, 04:39 PM
Post: #46
RE: Judicial Murder of Mrs. Surratt
While not on point with regard to Andrew Johnson, it has also been reported that Edwin Stanton expressed regret about his role in Mrs. Surratt's exectution. (Some sources say that he committed suicide because of it.) I think either is highly unlikely.

One War Department clerk, Charles F. Benjamin, wrote in 1887:

This is perhaps a good place to refer to a belief that has gained some foothold, that Mr. Stanton was especially concerned in bringing about the conviction of the execution of Mrs. Surratt, and that he afterward was stricken by remorse for his part in her painful death. It is true that, after her conviction, he did refuse to interfere in any way with the execution of her sentence, even when importuned by her pale-faced, weeping daughter again and again, till he was obliged either to yield or to deny admittance to the supplicant; and it is true that, relying upon his own legal training and experience, he personally subjected the witness Weichman [sic], upon whose testimony Mrs. Surratt was chiefly convicted, to a searching examination to test the accuracy and trustworthiness of his statements. Beyond these he had, from beginning to end, no especial relations toward the case of Mrs. Surratt. Doubtless he shared the national repugnance of his countrymen to the hanging of women, and I infer this from his expressed disgust at the applications made to him for passes to witness her execution. After his retirement he was not chary of admitting his mistakes made in office, but he certainly died in ignorance of remorse, or any ground for remorse, on the part of himself or anybody else, in connection with the fate of Mrs. Surratt. It is only fair to say that he did take an active part in the subsequent trial of her son, and make no concealment of his chagrin at the failure of the expected conviction.
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