War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0570 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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of the United States Government nor hold any correspondence whatever with persons residing in those States without permission from the Secretary of State; and also that he will not anything hostile to the United States during the present insurrection. You will please make the stipulations a part of the oath.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servnat,


Assistant Secretary.


Washington, D. C., November 19, 1861.

Brigadier General A. PORTER, Provost-Marshal.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the agreeable to an order from the Department of State dated this day and addressed to yourself, signed by F. W. Seward, Assistant Secretary of State, ordering the release of William J. Walker, a prisoner confined in the Old Capitol Prison, I detailed one of my operatives to go to said prison and present him with the oath itwas ordered he should take on the occasion od discharge as a condition precedent by the Assistant Secretary aforesaid, with instructions to my operative to release said Walker if he took the oath but if he refused to let him remain in custody and report the case to me; that my operative went to the prison aforesaid and read the oath prescribed to said Walker, who upon hearing the same told my operative that he would not take the oath, objecting particularly to that part of it which allowed no mental reservation.

My operative further reports that said Walker offered among other reasons why he would subscirbe to the form of oath prescribed that he had relatives or friends in the South and that his sympathies were with them; that said Walker further told my operative that he was willing to give his parole of honor not to leave the city of Washington, but he would not take the oath; that the form of oath presented to Mr. Walker by my operative and which he refused to subscribe to was as follows, to wit*.

In conclusion I beg to submit that the occasion requires of me the reiteration of the opinion given in my previous report upon this case of William J. Walker that he is an unsafe man to be at large at such a time as this, when if ever the best efforts of every man whether in public or private life are required to maintan and defend the Constitution and flag of the United States. This men Walker is willing to enter upon his parole of honor that he will remain in the city of Washington during this rebellion unless permitted to depart by the Secretary of State. Why a parole of honor and not the oath? Because one binds him withoation and the other does not. I further submit that the city of Washington is the very last place for such a man with such antecedents and upon his parole of honor to be allowed at large with his sympathies leaning South and his mental reservations unchecked, when upon that ground alone he refuses to swear like an honest man that he will do no act hostile to the best interests of the best Government of the face of the earth.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Your obedient servant,



* Omitted here. See oath at p. 571, as finally subscribed by Walker.