War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0740 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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occasion (which in fact he did when he joined the Home Guard of this city in the spring) he will not take this oath of allegiance as a condition of his release as he may thus give color to the assertion that there was some cause for his arrest and imprisonment or that he was a man against whom suspicion might have been properly entertained. Mr. Winder is of course unable to have his case heard upon a habeas corpus and he has been now in confinement nearly five months, to the great detriment of his business, the damage of his health and the injury of his character without knowing for what he is imprisoned.

Is he not entitled eithe to have some specific charge brought against him which he can meet in the usual way or to be unconditionally discharged? Is anything gained by the Government in keeping imprisoned a man whose sentiments are strongly for the Union but who honestly differs from the Administration upon questions of policy and who prefers remaining in captivity to the violation of what he considers a principle? Is not the conduct of such a man the best proof of his integrity and can it be deserving of hars or arbitrary treatment? He is of course as every other man is amenable to the law of the land for any infraction of it, and the inference is very strong of his innocence of ciriminality or criminal intnetion when the closest scrutiny into his conduct and affairs has failed to develop a single fact upon which to found a charge against him. I believe him to be a much injured man and feel bound to use every proper effort to procure his release and thereforfor as he was arrested apparently by the order of the late Secretary of War it seems to me that his case is proeprly cognizable by you and that his discharge should come from your Department.

I remain, with much respect, yours, &c.,

GEO. W. BIDDLE.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washinton, February 10, 1862.

Colonel JUSTIN DIMICK, Fort Warren, Boston.

COLONEL: Herewith I inclose* a form of an oath of allegiance so modified as to prevent any possibility of the misapprehension that it is an engagement to support in a partisan sense the persons composing the executive department of the Government of the United States. You may show it to Mr. William H. Winder and tell him that he will be released upon taking this oath and making theusual engagements not to enter any of the insurrectionary States nor hold correspondence with persons residing in those States during the present hostilities.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, February 10, 1862.

Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

SIR: William H. Winder, a gentleman whose domicile is within my Congressional district, is at present confined at Fort Warren. I am not informedof the nature of the charges upon which he is so confined. His family are solicitous that he shall be released at least temporarily for the purpose of attending to important and urgent private business. I have the honor to submit this request to you and to beg your favorable consideration of it.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CHAS. J. BIDDLE.

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*Not found.

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