War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0860 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

presented. This witness, who had been dispatched by the latter to Washington to sell the clothing referred to, continued his narrative as follows:

On disposition of the trunks I immediately left Washington and went straight through until I got to Hamilton, Canada. In the waiting room there I met Mr. Holcombe and Mr. Clement C. Clay. They both rose, shook hands with me, and congratulated me on my safe return and upon my maiing a fortunate. They told me I should be a gentleman for the future, instead of a workingman and a mechanic. They seemed perfectly to understand the business in which I had been engaged. Mr. Holcombe told me that Doctor Blackburn was at the Doneganna Hotel, in Montreal, and that I had better telegrah to him stating that I had returned.

It is conceived that no verbal admissions on his part, however distinct, could more clearly fix upon Clay a connection with the cime of Blackburn than his deportment on the occasion referred to. Such demonstrations as those described toward an obscure ondividual and hireling from a well-known accredited agent of the Southern Confederacy in a foreign country are susceptible of but a single construction, and one which must be deduced by every reasoning mind.

in concluding this review it remains to advert to but one other item of testimony, which illustrates the treacherous and clandestine nature of the machinations in which Clay was constantly engaged in Canada, viz, that he frequently resorted to an alias to conceal his true name and position, being known at different times by the names of Hope, Tracey, and Lacey. This circumstance of secrecy is indeed one which contributes to onvest his proceedings under all the circumstances with a character altogether different from that which distinguishes the class of offensive acts held legitimate in war. In connection with the testimony in this case as thus presented may be noticed the assertions of Clay in his recent letter to the Secretary of War that at the date of the assassination he had been absent from Canada nearly six months, and had never known or heard of Booth or eight of those charged as immediate accomplices and had not to his knowledge ever seen himor either of them. Either these declarations are utterly false or the body of testimony of all the witnesses who have been enumerated and of others not herein alluded to must be wholly discredited. But in view of the known unexceptionable character of the principal witnesses and the character for reliability and disinterestedness sustained under severe tests by others, as well as of the fact that the statements of all, although personally unknown to each other, are found to harmonize, the latter conclusion is, it is conceived, impossible to be adopted; and the former must, it is submitted, remain as the judgment of the Department upon the communication referred to. It is to be added upon the single point of the duration of his stay in Canada that it is declared by two unimpeached witnesses that he was seen by them in Canada in February last, and as late as on or about the 12th or 13th of that month; and the place, and indeed the hotel, at which he was seen and conversed with are specified. But if his own statement be credited he must have permanently left Canada in or about the month of October, 1864. It may be said that this Bureau has now no doubt that it will be enabled, by means of abundant additional witnesses, to fix the term of Clay's stay in Canada even more precisely than it has already been made to appear.

This strong assurance of further proof in the case, in connection with the fact of the recent deposition of the altogether new witness above cited, and the expectation that of his companion will be presently obtained, goes to indicate that the emploes of and sympathizers with the late leaders of the rebellion in Canada are becoming so far emancipated