the night of 17th September last at 2 o'clock by a party of soldiers; taken to Frederick, thence to Fort Lafayette, thence to Fort Warren where he now is. He has now been a prisoner for more than four months and yet no charges have been presented against him; no opportunity given him to confront his accusers.
Saint Paul appealed unto Caesar for justice. To whom shall Mr. Claggett apply? Festus said, "It seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him. " The Government in four months has presented no charge; has afforded no opportunity to face his accusers. Day after day, night after night passes. He is far away from home, from wife, from children, from business, from friends; anxiety harasses his mind; uncertainy lowers over his future. He knows not why or at whose instance he has been imprisoned.
Mr. Claggett is a farmer and lives some ten miles from Frederick City. He is a quiet, peaceable citizen; a sober, upright, honest citizen who has had but little to [do] with politics. He is a Protestant, an old Whig and has therefore had but little to do with Governor Lowe. He has been a vestryman for many years, a church member, a Sunday-school teacher; was always fond of children; and often amuses himself at the trickery and criminations of politicians. He is not the man for plots and treason, for conspiracy and rebellion.
He did not intend to meet the adjourned Legislature in Frederick last September. But for the sickness of his little son he would have been on the night of his arrest at the house of his sister in an adjoining county.
Mr. Claggett always disapproved of secession as a remedy for political grievances. He thought secession would be unwise, impolitic and inexpedient for our State. He thought the South had rights under the Constitution which a party might ignore, which our Government might allow fanatics to disregard, to trample under foot. Our political future looked dismal to him. I am a Union man. My father fought under the stars and stripes against Great Britain; my uncle, my cousin were officers under Government in that struggle. But the proclamations of Fremont and Phelps, the speech of Colonel Cochrane at Washington, and its indorsement by the Secretary of War, Cameron, fills me with dread. I shudder at the thought that in an evil hour fanaticism may usurp the place of patriotism and compromise.
Mr. Claggett has not given "aid or comfort" to the enemy. No charge of treason can be sustained against him. He would like to see the charges against him-to face his accusers. Can he be gratified?
The Government offered to liberate Mr. Claggett if he would take the oath of allegiance. He declined to take the oath. He says:
I owe a native allegiance to my country more sacred and binding than any naturalization oath can make and I say distinctly that in my case that allegiance has not been violated.
But he wishes to disperse the clouds of suspicion which now rest on his character by the act of his Government. If he is a traitor let the fact appear to the world. If he is an innocent citizen falsely charged by persons in the dark; if the Government has been misled by the busy mischief-maker, let the fact appear-the truth come out. Right wrongs no man. Mr. Claggett's family for more than two centuries have been land owners in our State. His grandfather was chaplain to the first Congress, of untarnished memory; he desires to transmit to his children a good name. Is such desire unreasonable? Mr. Claggett is in moderate circumstances and therefore his time and attention to