War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0944 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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and more successfully in behalf of my Government and country since the fall of Sumter than in all my life before. So much for my own position, which I think would be attested to by Honorable Preston King, D. S. Dickinson, Judge J. B. James and Honorable William A. Wheeler, and any and all other prominent Union citizens who are acquainted with me and my labors.

My object in writing to you is this: I wish to learn the charges against Joseph R. Flanders and Francis D. Flanders, late of Malone, Franklin County, and now of Fort Lafayette, and also to ask that an examination may be granted in their case as soon as possible. Since the arrest of these gentleman I have visited Franklin County, which is my native county, the scene of their labors and their residence, and have obtained all the information that I believe exists tending to connect these men with treasonable action against the Government. I am of the opinion that the Government would not have arrested these gentleman had the facts been accurately stated to them. I think the Government arrived at the conclusion that they had formed or connected themselves with treasonable organizations or had been in correspondence or other connection with rebels and traitors and were continuing therein and laboring in that cause. I think I know and can satisfactorily demonstrate that no treasonable organization (now any with that tendency) exists or has existed in Franklin County; that the Flanders neither are nor have been connected with any organization (secret or public) that has any such objects in view. Their whole offense consists in editing and publishing The Franklin Gazette, and what has appeared in its columns is the only evidence in existence that can be brought against them, and I do believe as do the majority of the leading friends of the Government in Northern New York that however obnoxious and objectionable many of the artper appear to the minds of loyal and patriotic citizens that the Government would not deemthis to be of sufficient importance to cause their arrest and confinement. The discontinuance of this paper from the mails some time ago deprived it of any circulation that would cause serious mischief.

It is my own opinion that their confinement, unless justified by more serious cause than appears from the Gazette, will do serious injury to the Union cause in Northern New York. I have conversed freely upon this subject within a few days with Honorable Preston King and Judge James, of this village, and Honorable William A. Wheeler, of Malone, Franklin County, and they agree with me in the opinion that a speedy examination and action by the Government should be made in this case that the Government may know precisely what charges can be sustained against them and thus be able to act advisedly in the premises. Judge James in a conversation since this letter was commenced says that this in his opinion provided the arrest proceeds from charges and causes beyond the publication of the Gazette, because he believes from my examination that none other exists, but as he has not read the articles in the Gazette he gives no opinion upon the policy of the Government in regard to holding them for that cause alone (whether with or without examination). Mr. Wheeler (who resides at Malone, the residence of the Franders) informed me that he did not believe that either of them was connected in any way with treasonable or quasi treasonable organizations, nor did he believe that any such organizations existed in the county of Franklin; that in their paper (Gazette) was in his opinion all the evidence of treason or treasonable intent and that while he had been anxious for the suppresion of the paper he considered that course was the proper one and also sufficient to attain the desired end.