At page 117 of my novel about the John Wilkes Booth Conspiracy, The Lincoln Deception, a character laments that the Union and Confederate armies failed to join together at the end of the Civil War to mount invasions of Canada and Mexico. “A terrible missed opportunity,” he complains at page 118.
I had no historical basis for the interlude. It seemed like something that some people might have considered in 1865. My goal wasn’t truth so much as “truthiness” (to borrow from Stephen Colbert). You know, it’s a novel. Fiction.
So imagine my surprise yesterday to find in the Reminiscences of Senator William Stewart of Nevada, the recollection that in the closing days of the Civil War, Senator Zach Chandler urged exactly the same invasion scheme that I imagined for my character (p. 178):
- “I propose that we take an appeal to President Lincoln,” he [Chandler] said, “signed by influential men, to call an extra session of Congress, and send two hundred thousand trained veterans into the British possessions north of us; one hundred thousand picked troops from the Federal Army, and the same number from the flower of Lee’s army. I have thought of this seriously for weeks, and I shall make every effort to bring it about.” He was intensely in earnest, . . .
The goal, in my novel and in Senator Stewart’s memory, was to join North and South in a common enterprise to expand and enrich the nation.
Senator Stewart (no relation to me) states that thirty of the fifty senators in office agreed to support Chandler’s idea, but the Lincoln assassination effectively removed it from consideration.
Truthiness? You bet!