There were four citizens imprisoned in the Old Capitol Prison, but not by any order or warrant from this office, charged with uttering and publishing treasonable and disloyal sentiments and discouraging enlistments, who before their discharge ad at their own request and solicitation without any suggestion from me severally made oath among other things that he would not at any future time commence or cause any action or suit against the officers of any loyal State or of the United States for causing his arrest and imprisonment.
The facts and circumstances are as follows:
Th four person above alluded to are Messrs. D. A. Mahony, John H. Muley, D. Sheward and Andrew D. Duff, ad the oath was sworn to November 11, 1862. Previous thereto they had been before me at my office for personal examination and the investigation of the charges against them, and on these occasions they had refused to take the oath unconditionally and to support the Government in its efforts to crush the rebellion. By reason thereof they were not discharged, while others were discharged who took the oath of allegiance unconditionally.
About the 9th or 10th of November last I was informed by the friends of the said prisoners that they were willing to take the oath of allegiance unconditionally, and I immediately requested the superintendent of the Old Capitol Prison to bring them to my office. This I think was the evening of the 9th of November, and they were to be brought to my office the next day.
The next morning I received a letter from the U. S . marshal of Illinois advising me that certain persons who had been discharged and upon heavy bonds conditioned for loyalty and good citizenship were commencing criminal and civil proceedings against the persons who were in any wise connected officially in that State in making the charges and arrests, thereby hindering and deterring public officers from executing the laws and orders of the Government. Upon the receipt of this letter I informed the superintendent of the Old Capitol prison and Judge Mason (the counsel or friend of the prisoners) that in as much as the said four persons were from the same section of country as those who were instituting suits to harass and intimidate public officers and were also their associates in the Old Capitol Prison I must postpone their discharge till further consideration.
This determination to defer the release temporarily was communicated to the four prisoners as I infer by Judge Mason or the superintendent, because the afternoon of the same day the said prisoners sent word to me by the superintendent that they were not only willing to take the oath of allegiance unconditionally but also desired to make oath that they would not annoy and harass public officers by vexatious suits, as Mehaffy and O'Dell had done.
I accordingly drafted their form of an oath as suggested by them and sent it by the superintendent for their consideration. November 11) the four persons came to my office and said the oath was according to their suggestion and met their approbation, and they severally subscribed and swore to it before me.
I report therefore that the oath of allegiance with the clause not to commence suits was inserted at their express request and solicitation to have it inserted and without any request or suggestion from me. This is the only oath with such a clause inserted that I ever administered, and this was done at the request of those making the oath.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. C . TURNER,