From “The Lincoln Herald” Volume III, Number 4, Winter 2009
Paul N. Herbert had written in the Washington Times (May 7, 2009) about an assassination offer by one George Washington Gayle in December 1864. He was a Democratic State legislator and U. S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama who placed an ad in the Selma Dispatch as follows:
“ONE MILLION DOLLARS WANTED TO HAVE PEACE BY THE FIRST OF MARCH.”
“If the citizens of the Southern Confederacy will furnish me with the cash, or good securities for the sum of $1,000,000, I will cause the lives of Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, and Andrew Johnson to be taken by the 1st of March next. This will give us peace, and satisfy the world that cruel tyrants cannot live in a ‘land of liberty.’ If this is not accomplished, nothing will be claimed beyond the sum of $50,000 in advance, which is supposed necessary to reach and slaughter the three villians. I will give, myself, $1,000 towards this patriotic purpose. Everyone wishing to contribute will address Box X, Cahawba, Ala.”
This assassination offer had no known connection to John Wilkes Booth. Gayle was eventually arrested on conspiracy charges and giving aid to the rebellion. He was imprisioned at Ft. Pulaski in Georgia. President Andrew Johnson pardoned him on April 27, 1867.
It seems strange to me that someone who via a public means threatened to kill the President of the United States and other elected high officials would be pardoned at all-much less than 3 years after the threat was made. I don’t know if President Johnson received an outcry for the pardon or not. Perhaps you just had to be there to understand it?Mail this post