A Sworn Statement On The Circumstances of Morgan’s Abduction

Posted: April 5, 2009 in Murder Of William Morgan
A Posthumous Letter From Thurlow Weed on the Abduction of Capt. Morgan, Fifty Years Ago.
NEW YORK, Nov. 27. – The Buffalo Express of Monday morning publishes a letter of the late Thurlow Weed, under date "New York, Sept. 9, 1882," and attested by Spencer C. Doty, notary public of this city as that of Thurlow Weed. The letter was in answer to an invitation to attend the unveiling of the monument to Capt. Wm. M. Morgan, and is thus prefaced by the Express: "The following letter, dictated by the late Thurlow Weed but a short time before his death, contains his sworn statement of his knowledge concerning the abduction and alleged murder of Wm. Morgan, and forms a most interesting chapter in relation to the sensational events which in their time caused so great a social and political convulsion. Weed begins by saying: "The occasion is one which recalls an event of startling interest, arousing deep popular feeling, first at Batavia, Leroy, Canandaigua and Rochester, then pervading our own and other states. After reading the proceedings of a meeting at Batavia with Hon. David E. Evans as presiding officer, I wrote a six line paragraph for the Rochester Telegraph, in which I stated that a citizen of Batavia had been spirited away from his home and family, and that after a mysterious absence of several days a village meeting had been held and a committee of citizens appointed to investigate the matter, adding that as it was known that the Freemasons were considered in this abduction it behooved the fraternity whose good name was suffering to take the laboring oar in restoring the lost man to his liberty. That paragraph brought dozens of our most influential citizens, greatly excited, to our office, stopping their paper, and discontinuing their advertisements. I inquired of my partner, Robert Martin, what I had done to exasperate so many of our friends. He brought me a book and directed my attention to an obligation invoking severe penalties as a punishment for disclosing secrets of Masons. He inquired what I thought of a man who, after taking such an obligation, violated it. I replied I did not know any punishment too severe for such a perjuror.
The discontinuance of our paper embraced so large a number of its patrons that I saw that my brief and, as I supposed, very harmless paragraph would ruin the establishment. Unwilling that my partner should suffer, I promptly withdrew, leaving the establishment in the hands of Mr. Martin. The paper was doing well, and until that paragraph appeared my business future was all I could desire. At that time an editor was wanted at Utica, where I had made many friends, but my offer to go there was declined.
I was equally unfortunate in my application for editorial employment at Troy. The objection in both cases was that I had been too busy in getting up an excitement about Morgan.
The letter closes thus: "I now look back through the interval of fifty-six years with a consciousness of having been governed through the "anti-Masonic excitement" by a desire, first, to vindicate the violated laws of my country, and next to arrest the great power and dangerous influences of "secret societies." We labored under serious disadvantages. The people were unwilling to believe that an institution so ancient, to which many of our best and most distinguished men belonged, was capable of not only violating laws but of sustaining and protecting the offending men of the order. A vast majority of the American people believed that Morgan was concealed by our committee for political effect, while we were being fiercely denounced as incendiary spirits. Judge Enos J. Throop, in charging the grand jury at Canandaigua, spoke of "anti-masonry" as a "blessed spirit," as a spirit which he hoped, would not rest until every man implicated in the abduction of Morgan was tried, convicted and punished.
Source: The Quincy Daily Herald, Tuesday November 28. 1882


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