“SENT A SHUDDER THROUGH THE CIVILIZED WORLD”: FIRST EDITION OF JUDGE BINGHAM’S DECISIVE ARGUMENT IN THE TRIAL OF CONSPIRATORS FOR THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN, 1865
(LINCOLN, Abraham) BINGHAM, John A. Trial of the Conspirators for the Assassination of President Lincoln &c. Argument of John A. Bingham, Special Judge Advocate in Reply to the Arguments of the Several Counsel for Mary E. Surratt, David E. Herold… Charged with Conspiracy and the Murder of Abraham Lincoln. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1865. Octavo, original front printed tan paper wrapper with spine and rear wrapper renewed; pp. 122. $1600.
First edition of Judge Bingham’s powerful Argument in the trial of seven men and one woman accused of conspiring to assassinate Lincoln, delivered June 1865, only two months after Lincoln’s death and arguing that the “intense hate and rage” of Jefferson Davis made him as “clearly proven guilty of conspiracy as is John Wilkes Booth.”
Within hours of the assassination of Lincoln, the government pulled “into custody anyone who might have the slightest connection to Booth…. By April 26 Booth was dead and eight of his cohorts were in custody…. placed on trial before a military tribunal established by an executive order of President Johnson” (Steers, The Trial, xii). John Bingham, who served in the Judge Advocate’s Office and would become the main author of the 14th Amendment, was named the trial’s Assistant Judge Advocate General. Together with Judges Burnett and Holt, Bingham had to quickly review the evidence: “Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865… and the trial of the surviving conspirators opened before a military commission on May 9” (Epps, Democracy Reborn, 169). Arguing the assassination was a confederate intelligence operation, Bingham herein states “that Jefferson Davis is as clearly proven guilty of this conspiracy as is John Wilkes Booth” (70). Later “Bingham would from time to time issue dark hints that he knew more about the Lincoln plot than he could tell because the true dimensions of the conspiracy would wreak havoc on the nation. His doctor reported years later that, on his deathbed, Bingham had said, ‘The truth must be sealed” (Epps, 169). Without rear wrapper. Sabin 5451. Harvard Law Catalogue I:172. McDade 625. NYU, 994. Embossed institutional stamp to title page; deaccession stamp title page verso.
Text fresh and clean, text block resewn.