War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0645 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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of the Order of Sons of Liberty, acquitted by the commission under the same charges upon which the petitioner was found guilty, and he declares his belief that "had he had the benefit of the testimony for the defense applicable to both Judge Morris and himself, the petitioner also would have been acquitted." He states further that he is but twenty-two years of age; that he is the son of S. M. Semmes, for many years past a well-known lawyer of Maryland and who has always been a loyal citizen in his political vies and in his conduct; that he has never been in the Confederate service; never favored the doctrine of secession, and has never entertained for a moment any idea of resistance to the Government of the United States. He begs that the President will consult Colonel Burnett, judge-advocate, and Colonel Wisewell, a member of the commission, upon the merits of his case.

The statements in the foregoing petition are declared to be strictly reliable by T. W. Bartley and Thomas M. Key, counsel for semmes and Judge Morris on their trial; and they state that the explanatory evidence given on the defense of Morris and on which he was acquitted, as fully exculpated Semmes as it did Morris.

The absence of Colonel Murray's name from the recommendation to pardon is explained in a note to the petition signed by Thomas M. Key, esq., to the following effect:

The name of Colonel Murray, the president, is not attached to the recommendation; but I am informed by Colonel Lathrop, of the commission, that Colonel Murray instructed him to attach his signature, which was not done for want of access to the paper.

The record of the trial of the petitioner and his co-defendants has been carefully examined. It sgreat magnitude, and the consequent length of time required for its critical and intelligent study, have prevented an earlier preparation of this report. The conclusion arrived at by this Bureau is, that the petitioner committed an error in submitting his case to the determination of the commission at the close of the evidence for the presecution without waiting for the introduction of the testimony for the defense. Although confessedly a member of the treasonable Order of Sons of Liberty, and in so far culpable, it is believed that the evidence is extremely slight which goes far to fasten upon him a knowledge of the evil designs of the more prominent members of the order. A study of the record makes it clear that a large majority of the members of the society, through bound together by oaths and principles of a nature which should have opened their eyes to the danger and disloyalty of their course, were kept in intentional ignorance of the deliberately treasonable purposes of theri leaders, and it is believed that Semmes is to be classed with this cheated and uninstructed majority. The influence and authority of Semmes in the order are showsn to have been so trifling in themselves, and especially when contracted with the prominent position held therein by Judge Morris, whose tongue was never weary in the utterance of disloyal sentiments at the frequent meetings of the soecity, and whose political proclivities may be known from the simple fact that he belonged to the so-called peace wing of the Democratic party, that it is difficult to escape the belief that Semmes' impatience of longer confinement, the result of a consciousness of his innocence of intentional treason, has been the chief cause of his conviction of the fearful crimes for which he has been brought to trial. Had he waited with patience for the legitimate conclusion of the trial, it is through that the same influences which led the commission to acquit the far more guilty Morris would have operated to effect the release of Semmes.