War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0742 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

my papers, a collection of more than thirty years, ransacked on pretense of hunting treasonable matter during the few months previous; the sanctity of private correspondence was violated and malignantly calumniated by the publication of pretended contents of letters thus seized upon. Other parties were also greivously slandered by statement of falsely alleged contents and yallegations of the discovery of correspondence which never existed, and I debarred of all opportunity to contradict such infamous publications. My letter books, writings and letters are still in the possession of public officials and my correspondence at Philadelphia since that time intercepted. Even pictures twenty years old found in my possession were misrepresented to slanderme.

I am to this hour in ignorance of the causes of my arrest and detention. Governor Seward, Secretary of State, caused an order to be read to the prisoners in which he stated that the employment of paid counsel would only have the effect of preujdicing the case of such parties, would be deemed an offesne and would occasion procrastination of imprisonment. His order required all applications to be addressed directly tohim or through unpaid parties. In accordance with this order, never having employed counsel, on the 5th December last I addressed a letter to the Secretary of State in which referring to his order as giving assurance that he would read andreply to our communications I proceeded to state my long confinement, my ignorance of the causes therefor and requesting permission to go to Washington for an investigation of my case or for a statement of the charges against me if any, the full testimony and the names of my accusrs or else unconditional is hour no reply has been received.

My release was tendered to me on condition of taking the oath of allegiance, &c. I declined to accept release upon conditions. A second time release was offered upon condition of taking the [modified] oath,* which offer was accompanied by a letter of explanation from Governor Seward intended to remove supposed objections in stating that a support of the Constitution did not include support of the individual members of the executive. My objection being radical applied to all tests or conditions whichmight be supposed to admit that I had done anything inconsistent with the character of a true American, and I of course declined this second offer of release. In comon with my fellow members of the company to which I am attached I took an oath to support the Constitution and I am still under tis full responsibility. I am ready in common with all others on every proper and lawful occasionto take it a thousand times, but as a discriminating test imputing past and future intended wrong it is not possible for me thus voluntarily to calumniate myself. The interior of Fort Warren with the mens conscia resti is preferable to a release purchased at the expense of character. So far from being willing thus to calumniate myself I have challenged and I do now challenge a comparison of record of fidelity to the Constitution and its Unioin with all concerned in my arrest and detention, confident that the result will furnish noen of them with cause for self-gratulation.

In this state of the case the Secretary of War announces+ that the President will grant amnesty for past offense and take parole against future offense of all persons "except spies in the service of the insurgents or others whose release at the present oment may be deemed incompatible with the public safety. " Thus I should be turned loose stained with an unnamed guilt of the past; supposed to be covered by


*See Seward to Dimick, February 10, 1862.

+See p. 221 for President's Executive Numbers 1.