plish the same object; that between two of these attempts the party, including the accused, went to Canada and returned, and that they were on their way back to Canada when he was arrested. In these transactions, as in that on Lake Erie, the accused, though holding a commission from the insurgent authorities at Richmond, was in disguise, procuring information, with the intention of using it, as he subsequently did, to inflict injury upon unarmed citizens of the United States and their private property.
The substance of the charges against the accused is that he was acting as a spy, and carrying on irregular or guerrilla warfare against the United States; in other words, that he was acting in the twofold character of a spy and a guerrillero. He was found guilty of both charges and sentenced to death, and the major-general commanding fully concurs in the judgment of the court. In all the transactions with which he was implicated - in one as a chief, and in the others as a subordinate agent - he was not only acting the part of a spy, in procuring information to be used for hostile purposes, but he was also committing acts condemned by the common judgment and the common conscience of all civilized States, except when done in open warfare, by avowed enemies. Throughout these transactions he was not only in disguise, but personating a false character.
It is not all essential to the purpose of sustaining the finding of the court, and yet it is not inappropriate to state as an indication of the animus of the accused and his confederates, that, the attempts to throw the railroad train off the track in the daytime to be noticed by the engineer or conductor, thus putting in peril the lives of hundreds of men, women, and children. In these attempts three officers, holding commissions in the military service of the insurgent States, were concerned. The accused is shown by the testimony to be a man of education and refinement, and it is difficult to account for his agency in transactions so abhorrent to the moral sense and so inconsistent with all the rules of honorable warfare.
The accused, in justification of the transaction on Lake Erie, produced the manifesto of Jefferson Davis, assuming the responsibility of the act and declaring that it was done by his authority. It is hardly necessary to say that no such assumption can sanction an act not warranted by the laws of civilized warfare. If Mr. Davis were at the head of an independent Government, recognized as such by other nations, he would have no power to sanction what the usage of civilized States has condemned. The Government of the United States, from a desire to mitigate the asperities of war, has given to the insurgents of the South the benefit of the rules which govern sovereign States in the conduct of hostilities with each other, and any violation of those rules should, for the sake of good order here and the cause of humanity throughout the world, be visited with the severest penalty. War, under its mildest aspects, is the heaviest calamity that can befall our race; and he who, in a spirit of revenge or with lawless violence, transcends the limits to which it is restricted by the common behest of all Christian communities should receive the punishment which the common voice has declared to be due to the crime. The major-general commanding feels that a want of firmness and inflexibility on his part in executing the sentence of death in such a case would be an offense against the outraged civilization and humanity of the age.
It is hereby ordered that John Y. Beall be hanged by the neck till he is dead, on Governor's Island, on Friday, the 24th day of February, instant, between the hours of 12 m. and 2 in the afternoon.