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1891 a President was assassinated…..


In 1891 John G. Nicolay, Lincoln’s former secretary, received a note from Benedict Guldner, a Jesuit priest in New York, asking for information about a “libellous pamphlet” printed in Germany. The pamphlet, according to Guldner, was a translation of a work “originally written in this country … in which the author maintains that the assassination of President Lincoln was the work of Jesuits.” Nicolay and John Hay, another former secretary to the President, had not mentioned the allegation in their biography of Lincoln, and Guldner.
The originator of the conspiracy theory was Charles P.T. Chiniquy, a former Catholic priest who claimed to be a close friend and confidant of Abraham Lincoln’s. According to Chiniquy, “emissaries of the Pope” were plotting to murder Lincoln for his defense of Chiniquy in an 1856 trial. Chiniquy’s autobiography, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, published in 1885, attributes remarks to the President on a variety of subjects, particularly religion.  Most of Chinquy’s stories are so foreign to what is known about the Sixteenth President that scholars have ignored them. Nevertheless, many of the less sensational portions of Chiniquy’s reminiscences have been used by serious students of Lincoln’s life, and the most sensational passages have been widely quoted and disseminated by writers engaged in anti-Catholic polemics.


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