War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0474 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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from the legislative power of that State. Congress did at its last session authorize the administration of an oath of allegiancee to all persons holding civil and military appointments undeer the Government and the penalty prescribd for noncompliance with the law is no timprisonment but sumply dismissal from office. So in lake manner Congress has required an oath of allegiance from every foregner seeking to become a citizen of the United States. But I know of no law of Congress which authorizes the President or any of his subordinate agents to administeer the oath of allegiance to a native bron citizeen of the sUnited States holding no office or employment under the Federal Government. To take the oath therefore which you prescrribe to me would make me in my opinion a party to a clear violation of law and to a manifest usurpation and abuse of executive power.

Second. The condition which you seek to impose stablishes an invidious and offensive discrimination against my rights as a citizen to which I could not submit without dishonor. To concede your right to single me out of the great mass of my fellow citizens and to impose upon me a plotical test, which is neither authorized by law nor exacted as a general rule of policy, would be to concede that my polotical rights in the community are inferior to others, a concession which I will never make so long as I adgere to those great principles of political equality upon which our institutions are founded. In addition to this genereal view it is within my own personal knowledge that two individuals who were confined in the same casemate with myself in the fort and who were arrested upon allegations of disloyalty far more specific that any oath and upon their simple parole of honor not to do any act hostile to the United States during the existing troubles.

Third. The letter in which you submit this condition to me cannot be otherwise regarded than as a peersonal indignity. You assume without a particlat I am an enemy to the Government of the United States; that my heart is filled with sympathy with rebellion and with treason to the Union, and yet you present to me an oath which if I took holding the sentiments which you so gratuitously ascribee to me and which you make the justification for tendering it to me would make me guilty of moral if not of legal perjury in the eyes of God and man.

Foruth. Of all the foregn ministers accredited by the United States to the Governments of Europe and America I am the onlu one who has been selected fro the impostion of this illegal test, and yet I have only to invite you to the testimony of my fellow citizens abroad and to the records of your own Department to show that in maintaining the national honor and the national flag and in a faithful and zealous discharge of my duties to the Goeverment I need not shrink from comparison with any man in the foreign service of the country.

Fifth. to take the oath which you prescribe would under existing circumstances furnish no evidence of my loyalty. It might be proof of my subserviency and cowardice. It could afford no guarantee of heeartfelt devotion to the Union. To say to a prisoner that the bars of his dungeon shall be forever closed upon him unless he swears to be true to the Government may make a hypocrite and a knave. It cannot make a good citizeen or a true patriot. Loyalty springs from the heart; it cannot be manufactured by thumbscrews, political tests or prosons.

Sixth. From the day of my arrest up tu the present moment my tongue has been silenced and my hands paralyzed in my defense. In the meantime calumny has been unceasing in its assaults upon me.