We have now been in confinement for more than two months. We were arrested without process or form of law upon the alleged authority of the Secretary of State of the United States who clearly has no lawful authority whatever in the premises. We have been dragged from one fortress of the Government to another by military force and have been dealt with in a manner which would have been indecent if we had been convicted felons instead of free men accused of no offense against the laws of our country.
We have been separated from our homes and families, exposed to constant suffering an privation to the injury of health, the prejudice of our interests and good name and in flagrant violation of every right which we have inherited as American citizens.
More than this as members of the Legislature of Maryland we have been unlawfully withdrawn from the performance of our official duties in derogation of the constitutional rights of our State and her people.
To tell us after all this that our case has not been even inquire into thus far and that it will not even now be made the subject of inquiry by the Government at whose hands we have suffered so much wrong unless we will first submit to conditions as unlawful and arbitrary as our arrest and imprisonment is to offer to each of us an insult which we should forfeit our self-respect if we did not repel.
If we are accused of having committed any offense known to the law we are entitled to be lawfully and publicly charged therewith and to be tried not by you or by the Secretary of State but by the constituted tribunals of the district from which we have been violently and illegally removed.
If we have been guilty of no crime against the law we are entitled to be discharged without any terms or conditions and the Secretary of State if you really represent him is only visiting us with an additional outrage by attempting to impose such upon us.
We are yours, &c.,
E. G. KILBOURN.
S. TEACKLE WALLIS.
T. PARKIN SCOTT.
WM. G. HARRISON.
HENRY M. WARFIELD.
J. HANSON THOMAS.
FORT WARREN, November 16, 1861.
I have twice taken the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States during the present year and am not disposed to turn a solemn obligation into ridicule by constant repetitions of it.
I am not conscious of having in any way or manner violated that obligation. If I have or if the Government supposes I have I have a right as a citizen of the United States to demand an investigation.
I cannot by the acceptance of conditions for my release acknowledge by implication or inference that any just or legal cause existed for my arrest which I utterly deny.
I am willing to hold myself in readiness to meet any charges that may be brought against me.