Other cases might be named about which I have written of equal or greater atrocity and would seem to call for the interposition of the Government, even though redress be effected by application of the lex talionis.
Suppose Minister Adamsby chance orothewise to be placed in ourpossession would you return him with a safe permit to his field of labor in France or to his home in Massachusetts, or would you demand as a condition precedent to his relase the release of Mr. Faulkner from Fort Lafayette?
Suppose the wife of President Lincoln was enjoying thegayeties and hospitalities of a Southern life would you not force those enjoyments upon he run til ladies of more patriotism and perhaps more refinement now detained in Washington and Wheeling should be released, or would you restor her to the embrace of her husband and the surrounding of family affection, or to a people who do not act upon principles of humanity or acknoweldge any law, and suffer those angle spirits held in durance to shiver and weep in prison over the neglect of their Government?
Take a case more directly parallel. Suppose the amiable and accomplsihed wife of President Davis was one of the prisoners at Wheeling or Washington and Mrs. Lincoln should by following the "Grand Army" in its march "On to Richmond" fall into our power. While she might be treated with all the attention and courtesy of polite life does any one believe she would be transferred from her Southern enjoyments without the unconditional release of Mrs. Davis?
It is not necessary to remind one who all admit is attentive to the public history and necessities of our affairs that there areladies in Wheeling if not in Washington indicted and detained as prisoners for no other offense than because with their own needles they made clithing for the brave young men who have since bravely and nobly fallen in our defense. Are they cared for by the Government? What steps for their relief? Have those things occupied the attention of the Government at all? These existing cases are evidences pointing to the actual feeling with which a generous mind may contemplate the calamities of an enemy and should call for every effort, retaliation included, for their relief. At least such is my opinion, and I trust will upon mature reflection be the opinion of your Department, and a vigorous policy inaugurated in pursuance thereof.
Trusting that I may be excused for trespassing at so much length upon your time I will close by merely suggesting that Governor Dennison has exchanged prisoners whom he affects to believe guilty of a crime for Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia political prisoners who are alike our enemies and seeking to subvert the sovereignty of the State, and that I cannot see that harm would grow out of an effort to make further exchanges.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. BENNETT.
Cumberland Gap, November 6, 1861.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Bowling Green, Ky.
SIR: Inclosed you will find a list* of the prisoners we still have under our charge and the circumstances under which they were taken as well as we can learn. Twenty-five of them are citizens of the State of Kentucky;