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That report and its accompanying papers show, 1. That there exists an oath-bound secret society, under various names but forming one brotherhood both in the rebel and loyal States, the objects of which are the overthrow of the existing national Government and the dismemberment of this nation. 2. That the secret oaths bind these conspirators to revolution and all its consequences of murder, arson, pillage, and an untold train of crimes, including assassination and perjury, under the penalty of death to the disobedient or recusant.
3. That they intend to operate in conjunction with rebel movements this summer to revolutionize the loyal States, if they can.
4. That Vallandigham is the Supreme Commander of the Northern wing of this society, and General Price, of the rebel army, the Supreme Commander of the Southern wing of the organization. And that Vallandigham's return was a part of the programme well understood both North and South, by which the revolution they propose was to be inaugurated.
5. That this association is now and has been the principal agency by which spying and supplying rebels with means of war are carried on, between the loyal and rebel States, and that even some of our officers are engaged in it.
6. That they claim to have 25,000 members in Missouri, 140,000 in Illinois, 100,000 in Indiana, 80,000 in Ohio, 70,000 in Kentucky, and that they are extending through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
Besides which prominent and general facts, the names of members, mode of operating, and other details appear fully, showing what a formidable power and what agencies for mischief we have to deal with.
With this synopsis of the report it is respectfully submitted with the single remark-that whatever orders you may deem best to give, it must be obvious to your Excellency that leading conspirators like Chas. L. Hunt and Dr. Shore of St. Louis, arrested for being implicated in the association, cannot be released without serious hazard to the public welfare and safety.
From first to last these organizations were singularly lacking in energy and initiative. The only substantial harm they did was in encouraging desertions and embarrassing and resisting the officers concerned in the enrollment and the draft. The toleration with which the President regarded them, and the immunity which he allowed them in their passive treason, arose from the fact that he never could be made to believe that there was as much crime as folly in their acts and purposes. Senator McDonald reports that the President once said to him when he was asking the pardon of some of these conspirators condemned by military commission, "Nothing can make me believe that one hundred thousand Indiana Democrats are disloyal." They were sufficiently disloyal to take all manner of oaths against the Government; to be ready in their secret councils to declare they were ready to shed the last drop
of their blood to abolish it; to express their ardent sympathy with its enemies and their detestation of its officers and supporters. But this was the limit of their criminal courage. Shedding the last drop of one's blood is a comparatively easy sacrifice-it is shedding the first drop that costs; and these rural Catalines were never quite ready to risk their skins for their so-called principles. All the attempts against the public peace in the free States and on the Northern border proceeded not from the resident conspirators, but from desperate Southern emissaries and their aiders and abettors in the British provinces, and even these rarely rose above the level of ordinary arson and highway robbery.
The case of the Chesapeake was one of the most noteworthy of these incidents. Two Canadians named Braine and Parr resolved, in the latter part of 1863, to start on a privateering enterprise on their own account. Parr, though born in Canada, had lived for several years in Tennessee; and Braine, who had been arrested and confined in Fort Warren, had been released from that prison on his claim, presented by the British minister, that he was a British subject. Their sole pretension to Confederate nationality was the possession of commissions in the Confederate navy prepared ad hoc. They enlisted a dozen men, all British subjects, and purchased in New York the arms and equipment they required for their enterprise, and took passage on board the United States merchant steamer Chesapeake, which left New York on the 5th of December, bound for Portland, Maine. On the morning of the 8th they assaulted the officers and crew of the Chesapeake, capturing her after a struggle of only a few minutes' duration, killing one and wounding two of her officers. They took the Chesapeake into the Bay of Fundy and there. delivered her into the hands of a man calling himself Captain Parker of the Confederate navy, who afterwards turned out to be an Englishman whose name was Vernon Locke, and who had come out in a pilot boat to meet her. Feeling now secure in the possession of her new nationality, she went to Sambro Harbor, Nova Scotia, to receive the fuel and supplies necessary to enable her to prosecute her voyage to the Confederate States. While she lay there, the United States gun-boat Ella and Annie entered the harbor; and, says Mr. Benjamin, whose righteous indignation was evidently aroused by the proceedings, "with that habitual contempt of the territorial sovereignty of Great Britain and of her neutral rights which characterizes our enemies," recaptured the prize and left the British port with the
1 Benjamin to Holcombe, Feb. 15, 1864. MS. Confederate Archives.
purpose of taking the Chesapeake to the United States; but meeting on the way a superior officer of the United States navy, the captain of the Ella and Annie was ordered by him to return to Halifax to restore the Chesapeake to the jurisdiction of Great Britain. This was done, and the few pirates who had been captured in the Chesapeake were delivered up. The case was taken at once into the courts and was promptly and properly decided, so far as the vessel was concerned, by her delivery to her rightful owners; but before this decision was made known at Richmond, the Confederate Government, seeing in the case a possibility of profit to their cause, dispatched to Halifax Professor J. P. Holcombe, said to be the most accomplished international lawyer in the Confederacy, to take charge of the case. During the professor's transit, however, by way of Wilmington and Bermuda, the case had come to its natural close, and on arriving at Halifax he found his occupation gone. He was compelled to report to the department that every man concerned in the capture of the Chesapeake, with the single exception of the CanadianTennesseean just mentioned, was a British subject. He also found that the captors had been guilty of stealing and peddling the cargo and pocketing the proceeds, and that the antecedents of the so-called Confederate officers involved were most disreputable. He seemed greatly disappointed to find that this gang of murderers and thieves were not high-minded and honorable gentlemen, and therefore concluded to make no demand upon the British authorities for the restitution of the stolen ship. He remained for some time in Halifax enjoying the hospitality of the colonial sympathizers with the South, and then proceeded to join the other secession emissaries in Canada who were engaged in equally congenial enterprises.
The principal agent of the Confederates in Canada was Jacob Thompson, late Secretary of the Interior in the administration of Buchanan, whose dishonorable administration of that important office has already been mentioned. He had sunk into appropriate insignificance, even among his own associates, after the war began; had been captured by General Grant on the Mississippi River in a ridiculous attempt at playing the spy under a flag of truce,2 and, after being released with contemptuous forbearance, had gone to Canada, under instructions from the rebel Government, to do what damage he could in connection with the refugees and escaped prisoners who fringed the Northern frontier during the last two years of the war. He immediately placed himself in communication with the disloyal Democrats of the Northern States, and through them and a band of refugees who at once gathered about
him in Canada for employment began a series of operations which, for their folly no less than their malignity, would be incredible if they were not recorded in the report which Thompson himself, with amazing moral obtuseness, wrote of his mission on the 3d of December, 1864.3 He states that immediately on his arrival in Canada he put himself in communication with the leading spirits of the Sons of Liberty. He was received among them with cordiality, and the greatest confidence was extended to him. They became convinced, during the summer of 1864, that their efforts to defeat the election of Mr. Lincoln were hopeless. "Lincoln had the power," he said, "and would certainly reëlect himself," and there was no hope but in force. The belief was entertained and freely expressed that by a bold, vigorous, and concerted movement the three great North-western States of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio could be seized and held. This would naturally involve the accession of Missouri and Kentucky to the Confederacy, and this, in sixty days, would end the war. It was resolved to hold a series of peace meetings in Illinois for the purpose of preparing the public mind for such a revolt. The first of these meetings was to be held at Peoria, and "to make it a success," says Thompson, "I agreed that so much money as was necessary would be furnished by me." It was held, and was decidedly successful. But he pretends that the Niagara Falls conference and Lincoln's letter, "To whom it may concern," shook the country to such an extent that the leading politicians conceived the idea that Lincoln might be beaten at the ballot box on such an issue. "The nerves of the leaders," he says, "thereupon began to relax." The seizure of arms at Indianapolis, the arrests of leading supporters at Louisville, the unsympathetic attitude of Mr. McDonald, the Democratic candidate for governor of Indiana, all tended to discourage the ringleaders; and the day fixed for the revolt, which was to have been the 16th of August, passed by with no demonstration. "The necessity of pandering to the military feeling which resulted in the nomination of McClellan totally demoralized," says Thompson, "the Sons of Liberty."
Convinced that there was nothing to be expected from the coöperation of Northern Democrats, Thompson fell back once more upon his gang of escaped prisoners and other loose fish in Canada. The next scheme adopted by him was ingenious and audacious and not without possibilities of success. He determined to cap
1 Holcombe to Benjamin, April 1, 1864.
2 "Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant," I., p. 462. 3 Thompson to Benjamin, Dec. 3, 1864. MS. Confederate Archives.
ture the war steamer Michigan, plying on Lake Erie, and with her to liberate the rebel prisoners on Johnson's Island; the prisoners were then to march upon Cleveland, attacking that town by land and by water, and thence march through Ohio to gain Virginia. A man named Cole, formerly one of Forrest's troopers, was sent round the lakes as a deck passenger to inform himself thoroughly of the approaches to the harbors, the depositories of coal, the stations and habits of the Michigan. He performed his duty with energy and efficiency and with great satisfaction and amusement to himself. He invented an oil corporation of which he was president and board of directors, opened an office in Buffalo, and used a good deal of Thompson's money in making the acquaintance of the officers of the Michigan. The 19th of September was the day fixed for the attempt upon the Michigan, Cole having contrived to have himself invited to dine with the officers of the vessel on that day. A Virginian named John Yates Beall was assigned the more difficult and dangerous part of the enterprise. He, with twenty-five Confederates, took passage from Sandwich, in Canada, on board the Philo Parsons, an unarmed merchant vessel plying between Detroit and Sandusky; they were all armed with revolvers, and had no trouble in taking possession of the steamer and robbing the clerk of what money he had. They soon afterwards fell in with another unarmed steamer, the Island Queen, scuttled her, and then steered for Sandusky Bay to join Cole and the boats he had prepared in an attack upon the Michigan. But the plan miscarried. The military, aware of Cole's intentions, had captured him; and Beall, missing the signals which had been agreed upon, did not dare to proceed in the enterprise alone. He therefore returned to Sandwich, and his crew scattered through Canada. Beall was not content with the failure of this enterprise, and later in the season, in the middle of December, he was caught in the State of New York near the Suspension Bridge in an attempt to throw a passenger train from the West off the railroad track for the purpose of robbing the express company.1 This was the third attempt which he had made to accomplish this purpose. He was in citizen's dress, engaged in an act of simple murder and robbery, yet he imagined that the fact that he had a Confederate commission in his pocket would secure him against punishment in case of capture. He was tried by court martial and sentenced to death. Mr. Jefferson Davis took the same view of the talismanic character of the Confederate commission upon which Beall had relied, and issued a manifesto assuming 1 General Orders No. 17, Feb. 21, 1865. Case of J. Y. Beall,
the responsibility of the act and declaring that it was done by his authority. There was great clamor in regard to the case, and many people of all parties pleaded with Mr. Lincoln to commute the sentence of Beall. A petition in this cause was signed by most of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives and by many Republicans. But the Judge-Advocate General reported that "Beall, convicted upon indubitable proof as a spy, guerrillero, outlaw, and would-be murderer of hundreds of innocent persons traveling in supposed security upon one of our great thoroughfares, fully deserved to die a felon's death, and the summary enforcement of that penalty was a duty which government owed to society."
Loath as Mr. Lincoln was at all times to approve a capital sentence, he felt that in this case he could not permit himself to yield to the promptings of his kindly heart. He sent a private message to General Dix, saying he would be glad if he would allow Beall a respite of a few days to prepare himself for death, but positively declined to interfere with the sentence, and Beall was hung in the latter part of February. The Virginia Senate made his case their own, and recommended, by resolutions of the 3d of March, the adoption of such steps as might be necessary in retaliation for the offense committed by the authorities of the United States.
Under Thompson's orders the large prison. camps in the North had been thoroughly examined with a view of effecting the release of the Confederate prisoners confined in them. But the attempts at different places were given up for one reason or another, and it was resolved to concentrate all the efforts of the conspirators upon Camp Douglas at Chicago. A large number of rebels and their sympathizers were gathered together in that city, and the plan for taking the prison camp with its ten thousand Confederate prisoners was matured, and was to have been put into execution on the night of election day, taking advantage of the excitement and the crowds of people in the streets to surprise the camp, release and arm the prisoners of war, cut the telegraph wires, burn the railway stations, and seize the banks and stores containing arms and ammunition. It was hoped that this would excite a simultaneous rising of the Sons of Liberty throughout the State, and result in the release of the Confederate prisoners in other camps. But the plot, as usual, was betrayed by repentant rebels who were in the most secret councils of the conspirators. Shortly after midnight on the 7th of November, Colonel Sweet, commanding Camp Douglas, trapped in their various hiding-places and took prisoners all the leaders of the contemplated attack, among them Morgan's ad
jutant-general, St. Leger Grenfell, Colonel Marmaduke, a brother of the rebel general, the commanding officer of the Sons of Liberty in the State, and several other officers of the rebel army who were escaped prisoners. In one house they found two cartloads of revolvers loaded and capped, two hundred stands of muskets loaded, and a large amount of ammunition.1
Mr. Thompson hesitated at nothing which he thought might injure the people of the United States. Any villain who approached him with a project of murder and arson was sure of a kindly reception. "Soon after I reached Canada,” he says, " a Mr. Minor Major visited me and represented himself as an accredited agent from the Confederate States to destroy steamboats on the Mississippi River, and that his operations were suspended for want of means. I advanced to him $2000 in Federal currency, and soon afterwards several boats were burned at St. Louis, involving an immense loss of property to the enemy. . . . Money has been advanced to a Mr. Churchill of Cincinnati to organize a corps for the purpose of incendiarism in that city. I consider him a true man; and although as yet he has effected but little, I am in constant expectation of hearing of effective work in that quarter." Another miscreant of the same type, named Colonel Martin, who brought an unsigned letter from Jefferson Davis to Thompson, expressed a wish to organize a corps to burn New York City. "He was allowed to do so," says Mr. Thompson, "and a most daring attempt has been made to fire that city, but their reliance on the Greek fire has proved a misfortune. It cannot be depended on as an agent in such work. I have no faith whatever in it, and no attempt shall hereafter be made under my general directions with any such material." A party of eight persons, mostly escaped prisoners, were sent to New York to destroy that city by fire. One of them named Kennedy was captured, tried, and hung. Before his execution he confessed that he had set fire to four places: Barnum's Museum, Lovejoy's Hotel, Tammany Hotel, and the New England House; "the others," he said, with a certain sense of wrong, "only started fires where each was lodging, and then ran off. Had they all done as I did, we would have had thirty-two fires and played a huge joke on the fire department." This stupid tool of baser men escaped to Canada; but relying, as Beall did, on his commission as a captain in the Confederate army, he started once more for the Confederacy by way of Detroit, and was arrested by detectives in the railway station. He had taken on a new name and a new 1 Colonel Sweet's report to General Cook, Nov. 7,
character; and in his trial, among the evidence he brought forward which he thought would insure his immunity, was a pledge given to the transportation agent in Canada to return with all due diligence to the Confederacy. Even after his sentence he had no realization of the crime he had committed. He wrote to the President arguing, as a matter of law, that death was too severe a penalty for arson, and suggesting that there was no need of punishing him as an example, since the execution of Beall had already served that purpose.
If Mr. Thompson is to be believed it would appear that his adherents in Canada were not altogether under discipline, and that they sometimes took the opportunity to indulge in occasional burglaries and murders on their own account. He said in his official report that he knew nothing of the St. Albans affair until after it was over. This was a crime of unusual atrocity, and bade fair, for the moment, to involve the most serious consequences. A party of Confederate thieves, some twenty or thirty strong, came over the border from Canada on the 19th of October, and entering the village of St. Albans in Vermont, they robbed the banks of some fifty thousand dollars, accompanying this crime with entirely uncalled for cruelty, firing upon the unarmed citizens, killing one man and wounding three; they also burned one of the hotels in the place. The razzia was over in less than an hour, and the band, who had stolen horses enough in the vicinity to mount them all, immediately returned to Canada. It seemed at first as if the Canadian authorities intended to arrest the criminals and hold them for punishment, and Mr. Seward, two days afterwards, expressed his gratification to the British legation at Washington for this prompt and apparently satisfactory proceeding. As it turned out, however, he spoke too quickly, for Judge Coursol discharged the criminals from custody and restored to them the money they had stolen. As soon as this intelligence reached New York, General Dix, outraged beyond endurance by the iniquity of the act, without consultation with the Government issued an order directing all military commanders on the frontier in case of further acts of depredation and murder to shoot down the murderers, or the persons acting under commissions from the rebel authorities at Richmond; and further instructing them that if it should be necessary, with a view to their capture, to cross the border between the United States and Canada, to pursue them wherever they might take refuge, and on no account to surrender them to the local authorities, but to send them to the headquarters of the Department of the East for trial and punishment by martial law. The
President, who felt no less keenly than General Dix the wrong and outrage committed by these rebel murderers and the Canadian authorities who seemed to be protecting them, nevertheless declined to allow any subordinate to embroil the country with a foreign nation in this way; and in spite of General Dix's vehement defense of what he called "the right of hot pursuit," the President required him to revoke the instructions quoted. The British Government directed Lord Monck, the Governor-General of Canada, to be guided by the decision of the proper legal authorities in the provinces whether persons in custody ought or ought not to be delivered up under the treaty of extradition, saying that in case the decision should have been that they ought to be delivered, the Government would approve Lord Monck's acting on this decision; and in case of the contrary decision, the Government suggested that they should be put upon trial on the charge of misprision and violation of the royal prerogative by levying war from her Majesty's dominions against a friendly power. The criminals whom Judge Coursol had released were again captured; the Canadian Parliament reproved the action of Coursol and suspended him from office. The prisoners having been again arrested, the matter was heard before Mr. Justice Smith of Montreal, who again discharged them, on the ground that Young, the ringleader of the party, bore a commission in the Confederate army;2 that Mr. Clement C. Clay, an associate of Thompson's as Confederate commissioner, was aware of Young's purpose and gave him a check for four hundred dollars for his expenses. "The attack on St. Albans," he said, "must therefore be regarded as a hostile expedition, undertaken and carried out under the authority of the so-called Confederate States by one of the officers of their army." The prisoners, he held, had not acquired any domicile in Canada nor lost their national character by their residence there. The Government of Canada was not satisfied with this pettifogging plea and again arrested the prisoners; but the war having now come to an end, the case was languidly prosecuted and the criminals received no punishment. The Canadian authorities, however, desiring to maintain amicable relations with the United States and to do substantial justice in the case in spite of the courts, refunded the fifty thousand dollars stolen by the raiders, and an attempt
1 This order of General Dix gave great satisfaction at Richmond. An official of the Confederate War Department entered in his diary December 19: "General Dix orders his military subordinates to pursue any rebel raiders even into Canada and bring them over. So light may come from that quarter. A war with England would be our peace."
2 There is an entry in " A Rebel War Clerk's Diary,"
was made in the provincial legislature to pass a law which should prevent the setting on foot of such unlawful expeditions from Canadian soil in the future.
LINCOLN AND THE CHURCHES.
IN a conflict which was founded upon the quickened moral sense of the people it was not strange that the Government received the most earnest support from the churches. From one end of the loyal States to the other all the religious organizations, with few exceptions, moved by the double forces of patriotism and religion, ranged themselves upon the side of the Government against the rebellion. A large number of pulpits in the North had already taken their places as tribunes for the defense of popular freedom, and it was from them that, at the menace of war, the first cry of danger and of defiance rang out. Those ministers who had for years been denouncing the encroachments of slavery did not wait for any organized action on the part of their colleagues, but proclaimed at once in a thousand varying tones that peace was "a blessing worth fighting for." The more conservative churches were but little in the rear of the more advanced. Those who had counseled moderation and patience with the South on account of the divided responsibility for slavery which rested on both halves of the nation speedily felt the sense of release from the obligations of brotherhood when the South had repudiated and renounced them, and rallied to the support of the insulted flag with an earnestness not less ardent, and more steadily trustworthy, than that of the original antislavery clergy. As the war went on, and as every stage of it gave a clearer presage of the coming destruction of slavery, the deliverances of the churches became every day more and more decided in favor of the national cause and the downfall of human bondage. To detail the thousand ways in which the churches testified their support of the national cause, to give even an abstract of the countless expressions of loyalty which came from the different religious bodies of the country, would occupy many volumes; we can only refer briefly to a few of the more important utterances of some of the great religious societies.
In all the church conventions which met after the President's preliminary proclamation of the 22d of September, 1862, that act of liberDecember 15, which would indicate that Young's commission was spurious or prepared after the fact: "A letter from G. N. Sanders.. asks copies of orders, to be certified by Secretary of War, commanding the raid into Vermont, the burning, pillaging, etc., to save Lieutenant Young's life. I doubt if such written orders are in existence-but no matter."