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Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
07-16-2012, 06:27 AM (This post was last modified: 07-16-2012 03:44 PM by RJNorton.)
Post: #1
Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
I have a hypothetical to ask the members. Let's imagine the following scenario: as Booth and Herold ride off, John Lloyd has a massive heart attack and dies in the wee hours of April 15, 1865.

He never gives any statements, testimony at the trial...nada.

Assume ALL other testimony is the same as what really took place.

Only no John Lloyd.

Given this scenario, what would the Military Commission have decided regarding Mary Surratt's fate?

A. She still would have been hanged.
B. She would have been given life.
C. She would have been given a much lighter sentence - maybe along the lines of Spangler's.
D. She would have been found not guilty.
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07-16-2012, 06:42 AM (This post was last modified: 07-16-2012 06:49 AM by BettyO.)
Post: #2
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
(07-16-2012 06:27 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  I have a hypothetical to ask the members. Let's imagine the following scenario: as Booth and Herold ride off, John Lloyd has a massive heart attack and dies in the wee hours of April 15, 1865.

He never gives any statements, testimony at the trial...nada.

Assume ALL other testimony is the same as what really took place.

Only no John Lloyd.

Given this scenario, what would the Military Commission have decided regarding Mary Surratt's fate?

A. She still would have been hanged.
B. She would have been given life.
C. She would have been given a much lighter sentence - maybe along the lines of Spangler's.
D. She would have been found not guilty and freed.

I think that even without Lloyd in the picture, that Mary would have still been found guilty. Johnson had stated that her house was "the nest where the egg was hatched." The Boys still met at her house. Weichmann was still going to do his darnest to keep his neck out of a hemp cravat by spilling tidbits regarding his landlady. Mary may not have hanged, but she would more or less have been given a stiff prison sentence - if only because she aided and abetted. Look at Herold. He killed no one - didn't even attempt to kill - as did Atzerodt. These two met their fate on the gallows - simply by being a party in the complicity. I think the same would have still resulted for Mary. Irregardless of Powell's pleas that she was innocent, the Commission was looking for "examples". Mary fit that scenario. I think that by finding fault with a "female" - they thought that they were ensuring that even women, if involved in treason, would garner punishment.

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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07-16-2012, 06:57 AM (This post was last modified: 07-16-2012 06:57 AM by Gene C.)
Post: #3
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
c. She would have been given a much lighter sentence

Weichmann's testimony was damaging to her, but not as damaging as Lloyd's. I have the impression that no one really wants to say much against her, even Weichmann. This is because, they liked her and don't want to be the one who's testimonhy sends her to prison. I think Weichmann knew more than what he testified to. In my opinion, at the time of the trial, no one testifiying against her believes she is going to get the death sentence.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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07-16-2012, 08:56 AM
Post: #4
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
I think she would have been found guilty, though hanged I am not so sure. If Lloyd had died that night, then how would the detectives have found the gun in the wall and where it even came from. Would that gun have stayed in its place undiscovered if it were not for Lloyd's confession? As Betty reminds us, Mary did provide the nest, and Weichmann and other residents of the house did place her in Booth's private company, etc., etc. Weichmann, as far as we know, did not know about the guns in the wall, other than he heard Mary tell Lloyd to have the shooting irons ready. I suspect that other folks might have gotten in more trouble than they did - would the govt have gone after Smoot, for instance, and others?

So, I think Mary would have been found guilty - maybe on par with Mudd. But I doubt she would have hanged. Lloyd's testimony, in conjunction with Weichmann's, hanged her.

Kate Clifford Larson
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07-16-2012, 09:10 AM
Post: #5
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
Agreed with all who said guilty but not hanged.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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07-16-2012, 10:42 AM
Post: #6
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
I agree with guilty, but not hanged. The hanging sentence applied to only those who remained close to Booth and did his bidding up to the end. The other conspirators who got prison sentences were ones who had no contact between mid-March and April 14.

However, just like the one vote that spared Dr. Mudd from hanging, I think Mary's sentence would have been a tight one. Weichmann testifying that Booth had been to the boardinghouse that afternoon and that a package had been delivered to the tavern for him would still have been very damning.
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07-16-2012, 10:54 AM
Post: #7
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
I also agree with everyone. This was interesting to see everyone on the same page. I think that says something. I would have preferred to see Weichmann have the massive coronary, though.

"There are few subjects that ignite more casual, uninformed bigotry and condescension from elites in this nation more than Dixie - Jonah Goldberg"
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07-16-2012, 12:49 PM
Post: #8
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
Very interesting questions. I think she would have been found guilty, and still sentenced to hang. Why? The other evidence already cited would have been enough to convict her. The sentence of death by hanging was not, in my opinion, the result of the evidence supporting her guilt (The evidence against Mudd was just as strong). I believe Mary's sentence had to do with her son John still at large virtually mocking justice. John was clearly the best of the bunch; a Confederate spy of first rate quality. The Feds wanted John, and Mary was used partly (I say partly) as bait. She was guilty enough if you believe she knowing used her home as the central meeting place for Booth and his cohorts. The Feds believed it. Once the Feds went down the death sentence path for Mary it was difficult to pull back. The appeal by five members to commute is somewhat misleading. I would suggest that all members of the tribunal were not equal.Kautz, Foster, Ekin, and Tompkins were for commutation (Along with Hunter). They had little clout (except for Hunter), in my opinion. Wallace, Albion Howe, Harris, and Clendenin opposed. Backing them up was Holt and Bingham. I think Wallace, Harris, Holt, and Bingham held far more sway over Johnson and others than the five that supported commutation. I personally do not think Mary stood much of a chance. Another point, it is rather clear that John Hartranft, Mary's keeper, although having sympathy for her as a woman, had little sympathy for her sentence. Although her death was used against him later when he ran for governor he never flinched at her sentence by hanging.
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07-16-2012, 01:07 PM
Post: #9
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
(07-16-2012 12:49 PM)Ed Steers Wrote:  Very interesting questions. I think she would have been found guilty, and still sentenced to hang. Why? The other evidence already cited would have been enough to convict her. The sentence of death by hanging was not, in my opinion, the result of the evidence supporting her guilt (The evidence against Mudd was just as strong). I believe Mary's sentence had to do with her son John still at large virtually mocking justice. John was clearly the best of the bunch; a Confederate spy of first rate quality. The Feds wanted John, and Mary was used partly (I say partly) as bait. She was guilty enough if you believe she knowing used her home as the central meeting place for Booth and his cohorts. The Feds believed it. Once the Feds went down the death sentence path for Mary it was difficult to pull back. The appeal by five members to commute is somewhat misleading. I would suggest that all members of the tribunal were not equal.Kautz, Foster, Ekin, and Tompkins were for commutation (Along with Hunter). They had little clout (except for Hunter), in my opinion. Wallace, Albion Howe, Harris, and Clendenin opposed. Backing them up was Holt and Bingham. I think Wallace, Harris, Holt, and Bingham held far more sway over Johnson and others than the five that supported commutation. I personally do not think Mary stood much of a chance. Another point, it is rather clear that John Hartranft, Mary's keeper, although having sympathy for her as a woman, had little sympathy for her sentence. Although her death was used against him later when he ran for governor he never flinched at her sentence by hanging.

Great post, Ed!

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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07-16-2012, 02:36 PM
Post: #10
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
I agree, Ed, except I don't think that Mary was hanged because of her son. I think initially the feds certainly hoped her incarceration would lure John Jr. out, but the evidence against her was great, and in all fairness (ahem!) it could not be ignored. They could have charged Anna, too, but they did not. I think it could be argued that Mary was more involved than Mudd - certainly in the weeks leading up to the Assassination. As for the fellows who recommended sparing her life, they did vote for hanging first, then asked for clemency or commutation to life. I think that was all tied up notions of gender at that time. I believe the request had something to do with her "sex and age" - not because they doubted her guilt or the seriousness of their initial judgment to hang her.

Folks may blame Weichmann, but LLoyd and others played significant roles in condemning Mary. She shouldn't have done what she did, and she hanged for doing so.

I am surprised, though, that Mudd squeaked through.

Kate Clifford Larson
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07-16-2012, 03:19 PM
Post: #11
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
I agree with Ed Steers on this one. The Yanks were in a hanging mood.
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07-16-2012, 03:32 PM
Post: #12
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
Is there any evidence to suppose the government was trying to lure John out of hiding by handing Mary a death sentence or this just supposition? Kate, I believe that Anna must have known something of what was going on. Why do you believe she could have been arrested?
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07-16-2012, 03:58 PM (This post was last modified: 07-16-2012 04:08 PM by Gene C.)
Post: #13
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
Supposition,
As I understand it, the conspirators did not know their fate until 24-36 hours? before the hanging.
The good folks hiding John tell him his mother is in no danger. He believes them. By the time he learns of the death sentence, it's to late for him to do anything about it - he's hiding in Canada. He admitted in his lectures that even had he known she was in danger, there was nothing he could do to save her (so why come out of hiding, it would have served her no purpose - his reasoning, not mine).

No doubt in my mind the Gov't was trying to lure him out of hiding. No hard evidence to that effect that I know of.
I think Anna was arrested, but released. (I recommend Kate Clifford Larson's book, "Assassins Accomplice", if you haven't already read it)

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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07-16-2012, 04:04 PM
Post: #14
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
Anna was held for questioning, but I don't believe that she was ever arrested and certainly not charged.

And, while we're talking clemency plea - what is everyone's feelings on whether or not Johnson saw the plea? Personally, I'll jump right in and say that I think he did.
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07-16-2012, 04:33 PM
Post: #15
RE: Mary Surratt and John Lloyd
I'll jump in too! He had the plea, knew he had the plea, maybe he just didn't look at it so he could say he never saw it.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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