Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

about you, that I do not know how you are treated there. Write to me as soon as you get this, and tell me if I went there would I be allowed to see you. It grieves me very much to have you taken away in your dirty clothes; and did you not get any change of clothes since you were stole away? I cannot rest and content myself and have you be there; but putting my trust in Almighty God that you will soon be home. John Mullin's arr is getting better, and he has been working here since you were stolen away. We got the potatoes out, and Elijah Thompson drilled the wheat in yesterday; Elijah threshed the wheat and the oats. The neighbors are all well. Joel Conrad, James Michener, and a good many others bave gone to Harrisburg and Chambersburg at the call of the Governor. So no more at present, but remain yours truly until death.

" ELLEN HICKEY."

Can anything be more touching and truthful than this recital of wrongs perpetrated upon these poor but honest people? Poor woman, well might she think that her husband, who had been thus ruthlessly stolen from his potato patch, had been “kilt intirely.Shame upon an Administration that could thus invade the poor man's sanctuary! .

REV. JUDSON D. BENEDICT.

we

of age, of fine physical and intellectual appearance. He 18 a minister of the Gospel, of the Campbellite persuasion, and was born and reared in the State of Vermont. He had not voted for fifteen years prior to his arrest, which took place at his residence in East Aurora, Erie County, New York, September 2, 1862.

On Sunday, the 31st of August, he preached a farewell sermon to his congregation at Aurora, which numbered some tbree or four hundred persons. His text was taken from “ CHRIST's SERMON ON THE Mount.” The objectional part

MOUNT of the sermon was the fact, that he had given it as his opinion that the command of the New Testament was explicit that Christians should not engage in wars of any kind. He referred to the Constitution of the State of New York which granted military exemption to Quakers, and said he saw no reason why his brethren should not obtain like immunity

If such were not granted in the case of a draft, he advised his brethren not to resist it, but rather, as law-abiding citi zens, to submit cheerfully to any penalty the law might impose. He said that there was no binding rule of the church; that a majority of its members held a different opinion; and that the subject was one for every man to decide for himself, according to his understanding of the word of God. On Monday, a complaint was made to Deputy Marshal A. G. Stevens, that Rev. Mr. Benedict had uttered seditious language • tensling to discourage enlistments,” and requesting him to come to Aurora and obtain the proof.

Mr. Stevens went to Aurora on Monday vight. At a private house that night and the next morning he took the affidavits of four persons, neither of whom were members of Mr. B.'s church. The contents of these affidavits are to this day unknown, the Marshal having repeatedly refused to fur nish the prisoner or his counsel with copies of them. During the preceding winter, the Rev. George B. Cheever preached a sermon at the Church of the Pilgrims, in New York, to about two thousand people, and published the same, in which he insisted that the policy of the President, in prosecuting the war, was to restore the Union as it was, and that, if successful, it would leave slavery unabolished; that therefore no Christian, in any way, could give aid to the Administration in the prosecution of the war against the rebels, without sinning against God. Although listened to by many leading citizens who favored the Administration, and disapproved by them, none ever thought that Mr. Cheever could be arrested for the sentiments he had expressed. Yet it was a strong denunciation of the war, and tended more toward discouraging enlistments, delivered as it was in a city, and before five times the number of people, than any sentiment contained iu the sermon which caused the arrest of Rev. Mr. Benedict.

On the supposed evidence contained in these (mute) affiJavits, Marshal Stevens arrested Mr. Benedict at his residence, before breakfast, on Tuesday morning, September 2. He took him to Buffalo, and confined him in the guardhouse at Fort Porter, with other political prisoners as companions in tribulation. Mr. Benedict says: “One was a wild Irishman,' of no possible utility but to cut bog and consume bad whiskey; the other, an old German of some seventy years of age, who could not speak three words of the English language; and the third a crazy man by the name of Clark, whose business appeared to be selling wooden nutmegs' and other New England indispensables.” They had all been arrested for “using language tending to prevent enlistments."

Uc remained immured in the filthy guard-house until Wednesday morning at 11 o'clock, without having food or di ink offered him. At noon he was transferred to the county jail, by order of the Marshal. During the transit, handcuffs" were applied to the other prisoners, but he was spared the indignity, and permitted to accompany his custodians without wearing Mr. Stanton's official and ornamental jewels.

On the 3d of September, his counsel, Mr. Albert Sawin, of Buffalo, applied to several Federal officers and citizens for letters to the Secretary of War, recommending his release. These they all refused. He then applied to Deputy Marshal Stevens for a like recommendation. The Marshal refused, saying that he had “discretion to exercise in arresting,” but that he had “no power to discharge.” Whereupon Mr. Sawin said to him, “but the War Department, upon being advised by you that the Government would be strengthened by his discharge, would undoubtedly be governed by your opinion, and order his release."

To which he replied, " I shall make no such recommendik. tion.”

The question here arises, “Should a man, under any cir. cumstances, do that which conflicts with his conscience or is against good morals.” If a superior makes an order, should an inferior obey it right or wrong? Only he who is mercenary in all the affairs of life, would permit his integrity to be influenced by the mandate of a superior, when he was conscious the order under which he acted was contrary to his own sense of justice.

The following statement, signed by a large number of the prominent citizens of Aurora, was then presented to Marshal Stevens. The loyalty and integrity of the subscribers were certified to by Judges Hall and Sheldon:

“We, the undersigned, would respectfully represent to the proper authorities, (if they can be reached,) that we are pained to learn that Rev. J.D. Benedict was arrested on Tuesday morning, for preaching a sermon in Aurora, on Sunday last, which sermon, it is alleged was calculated to discourage enlistments. We, the

andersigned, attentively listened to said sermon, and can put no
such construction on it.
“ AURORA, September 3, 1862.
GEN. AARON RILEY,

ROBERT PERSON,
HORACE HOYT,

WM. D. JONES,
DANIEL D. STILES,

TIMOTHY PAINE,
SABINA POTTER,

WM. B. PAINE,
A LONZO HAVENS,

ISAIAH PHILLIPS,
HARRY H. PERSON,

REYNOLDS COLE,
NEHEMIAH SMITH,

John P. WILSON,
EPHRAIM WOODRUFF,

HORACE PRENTICE,
DORR SPOONER,

N. A. TURNER,
WHIPPLE SPOONER,

JONATHAN SMITH,
EDWARD SPOONER,

HUGH MINTON,

together with numerous ladies, members of the church and congregation."

a

Mr. Sawin further inquired of the Marshal,“ Will you certify to the good character of the people of Aurora, who have signed that statement?” This he obdurately refused to do. He then applied to the Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus, which was refused him by two of the three Judges on the bench. Judges Noah Davis, of Albion, and James G. Hoyt, of Buffalo, refusing the writ, while Judge Martin Grover, of Angelica, dissented. He then, on the same day, requested Deputy Marshal Stevens to informally consent to, or not oppose an allowance of a writ of habeas corpus by Judge Hall, for the sole purpose of enabling Mr. Benedict to give bail; that he could give bail, to the amount of $50,000, to comply with any condition the Federal officers might impose. Stevens replied he would consent to no such thing, and he would " disobey any order for his release on bail, which Judye Hall might make.And yet, in the case of Mr. Barker, of Gowanda, such bail, with the consent of a Deputy Marshal of Buffalo, had been given, and Barker released. Mr. Sawin soon after had an interview with Marshal Chase, who proposed that, on a future day, witnesses should be ex. amined on both sides, before a Federal commissioner, in the

a

« AnteriorContinuar »