Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

HON. FRANCIS D. FLANDERS, AND JUDGE JOSEPH

R. FLANDERS.

ON. FRANCIS D. FLANDERS, and Judge Joseph R.

Flanders, brothers, reside at Malone, Franklin County, New York.

They were arrested about seven o'clock, on the morning of Tuesday, the 22d day of October, 1861, by four Deputy Marshals, coming in upon them while they were at breakfast with their families. They were told by the officers that their instructions were to disregard any writ of habeas corpus which might be issued in their behalf, and arrest any person attempting to take them from their custody, under any process or authority whatever.

The following is a copy of the order under which the Deputy Marshal acted :

“ DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, Oct. 11, 1861. "EDWARD I. CHASE, Esq., United States Marshal of the Northern

District of New York, Lockport: "Sir: Please confer with the United States District Attorney for the Northern District of New York, and arrest Francis D). Flanders, and Joseph R. Flanders, and convey them to Fort Lafayette. "Very truly yours,

" WM. H. SEWARD.”

There was a regiment of volunteers in camp at Ogdensburg, about sixty miles from the place of their arrest, the two places being connected by railroad. The Deputy Marshar said they had made arrangements for any requisite number of these soldiers being brought down upon them in case of any resistance. The chief officer who made the arrest told them that Judge Hall, the United States District Judge for

the Northern District of New York, was at Albany when they left, and that if he was still there, they should be taken before him and have an examination.

But they did not allow them to stop at Albany, and evi. dently did not intend to do so when they gave this assurance They were taken to the cars at ten o'clock, and travelled night and day, until they reached Fort Lafayette, in the afternoon of the next day. They were delivered by the Deputy Marshal to Colonel Burke, at Fort Hamilton, and by him sent over to, and placed in the custody of a ruffianly civilian lieutenant, of the name of Wood. He took from them all their money, giving a written acknowledgment for it. They were then placed in a large battery-room of the Fort, in which were five or six guns upon carriages. This room was then tenanted by forty or fifty prisoners, of a most promiscuous sort, and of every variety of character. They had no tables, chairs, washstands, or bowls, and all the prisoners had to go out in the square of the Fort to wash, the weather being cold and frosty. The beds furnished them at Fort Lafayette were comfortable. All that they had to eat was cooked by a soldier, and served to them in the soldiers' mess-room on a common table. Their meals immediately succeeded those of the soldiers, and consisted, for breakfast, of a slice of half-boiled fat pork, a slice of very poor stale bread, and a tin-cup of black, bitter liquid, called coffee, without milk, and sweetened with strong and unpleasant sugar or molasses. At dinner they had the same kind of bread, some thin beef-soup, and boiled beef or pork. For supper, the same as breakfast.

A day or two before they left for Fort Warren they were furnished with tables, chairs and pails. They remained in Fort Lafayette one week, and were then conveyed, on the esteamer State of Maine, together with about a thousand others, prisoners of war, political prisoners, and a guard, to Fort Warren, in Boston Ilarbor. They were on board the State of Maine some forty hours, including two nights, and all felt that, overloaded as it was, should a storm arise,

nothing could save them from destruction. The few staterooms were occupied by those fortunate enough to get them; all the rest slept on chairs, round stools, settees, and on the floor of the deck. They had nothing to eat but hard biscuit and raw meat, with coffee once or twice, without milk, brought around in horse-buckets, and dipped out in tin cups.

When they entered Fort Warren, on the morning of the 1st. November, no provision had been made for them, and the first that they got to eat was late in the afternoon, when a barrel of hard biscuit, and a raw ham set upon the head of a barrel, were placed on the parade ground of the fort, and from these the prisoners made their only meal that day, Things were but little, if any better, the next day. After that the prisoners were allowed soldiers' ratione, but no conveniences for cooking, without going into a large room where there were forty or more prisoners all struggling for the use of one common stove.

When they arrived at Fort Warren, they had nothing to sleep on but a stone or brick floor, or some wooden slats like a gridiron, without beds or blankets. After a week or more they were furnished with a straw tick and a shoddy blanket, and some time afterward, with a moss mattress and pillow and some additional blankets, and an iron bedstead.

After they had been in the Fort some weeks, Seth E. Hawley, of New York, as agent of Mr. Seward, came to the Fort and offered to investigate the cases of all prisoners of state, who would first take the oath prescribed by the Lincoln Government, called the oath of allegiance.

The prisoners drew up and caused to be handed to him their reasons for refusing the Lincoln oath, and a protest. against it, of which the following is a copy:

“The undersigned prisoners confined in Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, having been offered a discharge upon the condition of our taking the oath prescribed for certain officers of the United States, by a law passed at the late extra session of Congress, decline to take said oath, upon the following grounds :-- We

liave been guilty of no offence against the laws of our country, but have simply exercised our constitutional rights as freo citizens in the open and manly expression of our opinions upon public affairs. We have been placed here without legal charges, or ir.deed any charges whatsoever being made against us, and npon no legal process, but upon an arbitrary and illegal order of the Hon. Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of the United States. Every tuoment of our detention here is a denial of our most sacred rights. We are entitled to, and hereby demand an unconditional discharge; and, while we would cheerfully take the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, because we are, always have been, and always intend to be loyal to that instruinent, (though, at the same time, protesting against the right of the Government to impose even such an oath on us as the condition of our discharge,) we cannot consent to take tbe oath now required of us, because we hold 10 office of any kind under the Government of the United States, and it is an oath unknown to, and unauthorized by the Constitution, and commits us to tho support of the Government, though it may be acting in direct conflict with the Constitution, and deprives us of the right of freely discussing, and by peaceful and constitutional methods opposing its measures a right sacred to freedom, and which no American citizen should voluntarily surrender. That such is the interpretation put upon this oath, and such its intended effect, is plainly demonstrated by the fact that it is dictated to us as a condition of our discharge from an imprisonment inflicted upon us for no other cause than that we had exercised the above specified constitutional rights.

"F. D. FLANDERS. “J. R. FLANDERS."

Nothing further was heard of this.

1 few weeks afterward the wives of the prisoners, accom panied by their fathers, and carrying a letter from Hon. E. D. Morgan, Governor of New York, to the President, urging a hearing of their cases, proceeded to Washington, and were, by the kind offices of Hon. Erastus Corning, immediately introduced to Mr. Lincoln. They stated the object of their visit, when the President replied that these things belonger

[ocr errors]

entirely to Mr. Seward is department; he knew nothing about them; had never heard of their cases before, and they must go to Mr. Seward

They accordingly went to the office of the Secretary of State, where they were received very reluctantly, and only through Mr. Corning's influence. Scarcely had they become seated when the Hon. Secretary turned to one of the ladies, and in a very loud and excited tone of voice, said: “Well! what propositions have you got to make?” She replied: “We did not come to make propositions, but to demand a trial for our husbands, or their unconditional release.” “No!” was the short answer, in a still higher key. Astonished more by his manner than his answer, a pause ensued, when he said: “ Have you anything more to say ?” Mrs. F. D. Flanders said: “Our husbands object to taking the Lincoln oath, but are willing to take the oath prescribed by the Constitution.” He replied : “Any loyal man will take that oath; your husbands are traitors; I have put them in there, and they shall stay there.” She answered : “ They are not traitors.” Ile baid: “They are traitors; you say they are not traitors, and 1 say they are traitors; now what are you going to do about it?” She then said: “Governor Morgan wrote a letter to the President, calling for a trial for them as citizens of his State.” He replied: “I don't care if all the governors in the world should ask it, they shan't come out till they take that oath.” One of the ladies then asked: “Won't you tell us what they have done?” “I make no charges; I won't argue with you; they shall take that oath ;” was the reply, in the most excited manner. He then added : “If

He then added : “If you haven't anything more to say, I have done with you; I have nothing more to say to you.” Mrs. J. R. Flanders, whose father is a Republican, then asked: “Won't you hear my father? He supports your Government, and is a Republican.” “The more shame to him that he has not brought up his daughter and her husband better," was the dignified and courteous answer of the Hon. Secretary of State. Dr. Bates, the father

Mrs. F. D. Flanders, then said “The gentlemen have

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »