War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0916 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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almost the principal cause of his nervous excitability. This has been produced by the tramp of the creaking boots of the sentinels on post round the prison room and the relieval of the guard atthe expiration of every two hours, which almost invariably wakens him. Prisoner Davis states that he has scarcely enjoyed over two hours of sleep unbroken at one time since his confinement. Means have been taken by placing matting on the floors for the sentinels to walk on the alleviate this source of disturbance, but with only partial success. His vital condition is low and he has but little recuperative force. Should he be attacked by any of the severe forms of disease to which the tide-water region of Virginia in subject, I, with reason, fear for the result.

In a very minute and horrible treatise on the tortures practiced by the Inquisition an Italian writer tells us that a certain grand inquisitor at Rome, famous for his skill at jangling God's work in the human body, pronounced this special form of torment--the torment by insomnia--to be "the most exquisite and victorious of all he had ever essayed." No picture in all that dread gallery of imperial madness and misery which Suetonius has bequeathed to us is so fearful as his portraiture of Caligula roaming through the vast halls of the palace of the Caesars night after night with bloodshot eyes, sleepless, and driven on by sleeplessness to insanity. And in what a light are we, this triumphant American people of the nineteenth century, to appear before posterity weighted with the damning image of our most conspicuous enemy thus tied by us to the stake and tortured by us with worse than Indian tortures unto death? We make and seek to make no party issues with any man or men on this matter. It is the honor, the humanity, the Christianity, the civilization of the American Republic which are here involved. Since the eloquent pen of Mr. Gladstone, near a score of years ago, concentrated the indignation of the civilized world upon the barbarous treatment inflicted by the Bourbon rulers of Naples upn Baron Poerio and his fellow captives, there has been no such revelation as this of the brutality to which men may be tempted by political passion, and it is intolerable that the scandals of Ischia and San Elmo should be paralleled in the sacred name of liberty within the walls of Fortress Monroe. We abstain purposely from discussing the nature and extent of the political offenses for which Jefferson Davis has thus been made to suffer, for we are unwilling to believe that any man can be found, even in the ranks of the most extreme of the Radical party, who would dare import such a discussion into the case. Thaddeus Stevens could shock the moral sense of mankind by demanding the "penitentiary of hell" for millions of his fellow-countrymen; but even Thaddeus Stevens, we prefer to think, would shrink from condensing that vast and inclusive anathema into the practical down-right torture of a single human being. When Lafayette was suffering the extremes of cruelty in the Austrian dungeons of Olmutz, Edmund Burke, transported by a blind rage against the French Revolution, could respond to an appeal in behalf of the injured and high-souled victim by exclaiming in his place in Parliament: "I would not debase my humanity by supporting an application in behalf of such a horrid ruffian." But is it for a moment to be supposed that the most fanatical member of an American Congress, which assumes to itself a special philanthropy and sits in the year 1866, can be found to imitate the savage bigotry of an exasperated British royalist in the year 1794?

If the members of the Congressional majority at Washington are not weaker and more wicked men than the sternest of their political opponents would willingly believe them to be they will compel a prompt exposure of the authors of this shameful thing--a prompt exposure and a punishment as prompt. The President has done his duty in laying bare the facts, and will do his duty, we doubt not, in