civil tribunals for trial" or in retaining me "in military custody" and that I am entitled to "be discharged," it is due to my own self-respect as well as to the character for integrity and obedience to the laws of my country which I have endeavored to establish that I should insist on an unconditional discharge and submit to no terms which could warrant an unfavorable interpretation or justify any conclusion against my character. It is also due to my countrymen everywhere that I should not permit a precedent so unusual and unauthorized to be established in my case as that of arresting a citizen without warrant or probable cause, detaining him for months without a hearing and finally when an examination is made and the arrest and detention appears to be wholly unlawful and without cause to tell him it is all a mistake; that he is guilty of no offense; that there is no grounds even for submitting his cause to the consideration of a grand jury and that the present condition of the country even does not require his detention "in military custody," but that the wrong will continue unless he will degrade himself by promising in writing over his own signature that he will not commit treason against his country, which is the greatest of all criminal offenses.
The Executive Department owes it to itself and to the country to deal fairly with me, and now that investigation has been made and the finding is that I should be discharged justice to all parties concerned requires that I should be restored to my family without further injury to my character. Besides the oath taken by me in September is more comprehensive than the parole now proposed and if I could not be trusted upon my oath I can give no parole of honor to those who reject my oath.
I address this to you because I understand that General Dix and Mr. Pierrepont have closed their duty and because I think they have not fully understood my case and for the further reason that I think it proper to bring the facts of my case to your special attention inasmuch as most of them occurred before you came into office.
Hoping that you may agree with me in this view, I remain, yours, &c.
J. H. GORDON.
P. S. -I hope you will do me the favor to have the papers which were taken from me at Washington in August last returned to me. They can be of no importance to any one but myself and are valuable to me only as private letters and papers.
J. H. GORDON.
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSION,
RELATING TO STATE PRISONERS,
Boston, May 7, 1862.
* * * *
William G. Harrison was brought in and stated that he had once declined to give his parole to render no aid or comfort to the enemies in hostility to the Government of the United States. He did so still and was recommitted.