He retails but a very small portion of the entire conversation or confessions and does not give the conversation and argument in the order in which the several matters were discussed, and state that he only gives the substance of such parts of the conversation and argument as he considers material, or to use his own language "the substance of the material points; " that is to say the witness is the judge of the materiality of the points made and not the arguments; gives only what he considers in his own judgment to be the substance of such points and clothes even these in his own language.
Such evidence is surely of the very weakest kind, and in this translation of the language of the accused we have to rely solely upon the judgment, discretion, impartiality, intelligence and skill of the witness. In a word it is his opinion as to the general and aggregate conclusion to be drawn from along and animated discussion. Upon every principle of reason, justice and law a citizen of standing and repute is no to forfeit his character and his liberty upon such flimsy proof. But giving the fullest scope and the most uncharitable construction to the testimony of the witness it does not convict the accused of any crime, or of any offense punishable by the penal laws of the land.
Under the present administration of the United States Government a great many suspected persons have been seized and thrown into prison under the general appellation of "political prisoners. " In that country freedom of speech and of the press are no longer tolerated. We have seceded from that Government and denounce such acts as unconstitutional and tyrannical, as military despotism. Let us not fall into the same fatal error and destroy the liberties of the people whilst we are fighting to secure them. * * * By what lawful authority then, we ask, has this peaceable citizen been deprived of liberty and stigmatized as infamous? And is he to be branded as a traitor and he destroyed by this novel and summary proceeding? And who is the accused? It is true he was a stranger in Columbus, Miss., but even there upon the sudden emergency he found persons who had known him well and who could prove and did testify that he was a good and true man, a loyal citizen and an ardent and devoted friend of Southern independence. See deposition on file* and marked testimony on behalf on the defendant.
John E. Logwood says that he only knew Mr. Hodges by reputation but had frequently heard him spoken of as one of the best secessionists in Memphis, a man at all times ready to help in the promotion of the Southern interest; and the witness was very much surprised when he heard of his arrest, as the witness learned that he left Memphis to escape arrest by the Federals.
General James A. Carnes states that he has known Mr. Asa Hodges for the last four or five years and has regarded him as a good citizen and a reliable and trustworthy business man; ghat he never heard his loyalty questioned, and regarded him as entirely loyal to the South; that the witness was a member of the committee of safety of the city of Memphis from its first organization and that his opportunities for getting the names of suspected persons was very good, and the witness is of the opinion that had Mr. Hopes been suspected he would have heard of it; that gentlemen in whom he had implict confidence informed him that he talked and evinced the right spirit in the Southern cause.
H. W. Reed testifies that he has known Mr. Hodges twenty or twenty- five years, and that he has been a consistent and upright man, and that since the war his politics have been in favor of the South; that he has