May 26, 1865 - Testimony of Dr. John C. Thomas about Dr. Samuel Mudd
DR. JOHN C. THOMAS, a witness called for the accused, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By MR. STONE:
Q. Where do you reside?
A. I reside in Woodville, Prince George’s County, Md.
Q. What is your profession?
A. I am a physician.
Q. How long have you been practicing?
A. I have been practicing for nineteen years.
Q. Will you state to the Court whether you are or are not a brother of Mr. Daniel Thomas, who has been examined here as a witness?
A. I am.
Q. Will you state to the Court whether your brother made any communication to you on the subject of a conversation that he held with Dr. Mudd in relation to the assassination of the President, before the assassination of the President?
A. The conversation that passed at my house was on Sunday morning. He came over to Woodville Church on a Sunday morning, and it happened at my house before several gentlemen there. Mr. Sullivan Wood was present at the time. We asked him the news; and as he was just from Bryantown the day before, on Saturday, he was full of news, and was speaking about the arrest of Dr. Mudd, finding him with the boot, &c; and then, during the conversation, he observed what Dr. Mudd had told him a few weeks previous or several weeks before.
Q. Will you state to the Court whether he had ever mentioned that subject to you before Dr. Mudd’s arrest?
A. He never mentioned the subject to me before that time.
Q. And that was after the assassination of the President, and after Dr. Mudd’s arrest?
A. Yes: after the soldiers were at Bryantown, and the arrest of Dr. Mudd. I understood he was arrested at that time: whether he was or not, I do not know; but I heard he was.
By ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BINGHAM:
Q. Was not that on Easter Sunday, the Sunday after the President’s assassination?
A. I disremember.
By MR. STONE:
Q. It was on a Sunday?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the boot was mentioned in that conversation?
A. He mentioned Dr. Mudd and the boot in that conversation. I had not heard any thing of the boot before.
Q. Then it was the second Sunday after the assassination?
A. I never heard of the conversation before. It was an error of my brother as to the day. He was convinced of that.
Q. I understand you to say that your brother Daniel did not mention to you any thing of the conversation with Dr. Mudd relative to the assassination before the President was assassinated?
A. He did not.
Q. It was afterwards?
A. It was afterwards. That was the only conversation we had on the subject, if I remember aright.
Q. Will you state to the Court whether or not you have or have not attended your brother professionally at different times?
A. I have attended him in some serious attacks. Some four, five, or six years ago, probably six years ago, he had a very serious paralytic attack,—partial paralysis of the face, and part of the body. He was for some time laboring under considerable nervous depression before he recovered. He was mentally affected from it. His mind was not exactly right for a long time.
Q. Will you state to the Court whether your brother’s mind is now sound at all times?
A. I am under the impression that it is not; not at all times.
Q. You do not consider that his mind is at all times sound?
A. No, sir: I do not.
Q. When his mind is not in its proper state, will you state to the Court whether on those occasions he is or is not credulous, very talkative, and unreliable?
A. He is credulous and very talkative. He is very apt to tell every thing he hears, and believe every thing he hears. I do not pretend to say that he would tell things that he did not hear, or make up things, or any thing like that; but he is very talkative, and very apt to tell every thing he hears.
Q. Will you state to the Court whether, when his mind is not in its proper condition, his memory and reason are not both somewhat affected?
A. His reason may be somewhat affected, and his memory also, when these attacks of sickness come on. He has some fainting spells, and is confined to his bed; but when he is up, and in the enjoyment of good health, he seems to be rational. These attacks come on at no particular time. When they do come on, he labors under great nervous depression. He has to be stimulated materially sometimes. He has not had an attack now for some time: his health has been better.
Cross-examined by ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BINGHAM:
Q. State whether you know on what Sunday it was that your brother made the statement in regard to Dr. Mudd, and whether it was not on Easter Sunday, the Sunday immediately following the assassination of President Lincoln.
A. I expect it was Easter Sunday. It was the Sunday after the soldiers were at Bryantown.
Q. Now state what he said to you on that occasion,—whether he did not say to you on that occasion that Dr. Mudd had made a certain statement in regard to the President and the Cabinet, and the Union men of Maryland, being assassinated within thirty days.
A. The conversation was this: He was speaking of what Dr. Mudd had told him; and he said that Dr. Mudd had said that Lincoln and the whole Cabinet would be killed in a few weeks, and all the Union men of Maryland. That was the amount of the conversation.
Q. Who was present at that conversation?
A. Mr. Sullivan Wood was present that morning, and I think it was Mr. Wood who asked him what was the news. I was engaged somewhere in the room at the time, and the conversation arose when he came in. That was the first time I heard any thing about it.
By MR. EWING:
Q. You are certain, that, in the same conversation, he spoke of Booth’s boot being found in Dr. Mudd’s house?
A. Yes, sir.
By the COURT:
Q. Was your brother in his right mind on the day that this conversation took place?
A. Yes, sir: he seemed to be as rational then as I ever saw him.
Q. Was he much excited?
A. No; not at all.
Q. Do you think he was capable of telling the truth on that day?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. From your knowledge of your brother’s character for truth and veracity, and also of his mental condition, did you have any doubt in your mind of the fact of Dr. Mudd having said to him what he represented he had said?
A. I had no doubt at the time, though I thought probably he might have meant it in a joke.
Q. I am not asking you what you thought he meant, but whether you had any doubt as to the fact of Dr. Mudd having said the things your brother represented him to have said to him.
A. I thought at first that my brother was probably jesting, as he was very fond of telling news and so on; and I observed to him at the time, that, if such was not the fact, he ought not to state it unless it was true; and he said it was certainly true, and that Dr. Mudd had made the statement in Bryantown.
Q. When he averred that it was true, did you have any further doubt about it?
A. No, sir: I supposed that it was so, as he had heard it. I do not suppose that he would swear to any thing that was not so.