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throughout the land, look upon your arrest and imprison ment as an outrage upon American liberty, a dark spot upou the pages of American history. You come home to-day honored and beloved. You come to enjoy thi society of friends and neighbors. You come home to obey the Constitution and laws, as you have done during your entire life. This large assembly of your fellow-citizens bears me witness of the fact. While they look upon you to-day, their hearts are filled with emotions of joy, that you are once more among them, enjoying your liberty, and the society of family and friends.
“They know that your actions and your sentiments in the past will be a guarantee for the future. Therefore they know you, they trust you. In their behalf, again I say, thrice wel. come, Colonel Milligan.'
“ Colonel Milligan's response was particularly happy. Though his voice was weak, and the occasion one requiring much self-control, yet he did infinite credit to himself in all respects. He responded as follows:
“MR. MAYOR: Friends and neighbors, and such I know you are, did my sense of propriety call for an extended response to so imposing a reception, I have neither the physi. cal por mental ability to give it; but, overcome by the spontaneous enthusiasm of the occasion, the acclamations of gladness that greet me, the tears of joy that flow from the thousands around me fill my bosom with emotions that have no utterance, and I can only thank you for so proud a testimonial. I prize it because it comes from you, my neighbors, with whom I have spent the best energies of my life, and from whom I never concealed the most secret aspirations of my heart. I value it more because it is not the addled pageant of a giddy multitude tendered to a great name, whose success may have lent dignity to crime; hut it is the untutored expression of your conviction that I never wrongei my country or my fellow-man; nor did thuge who clamored loudest for my oppression ever suspect me of any wroug. I thank you, and accept it as an approval of my life as a cici
zen and neighbor, and a proof that it is not the acts or worde of others that can degrade a man, but that each must stand upon the basis of his own manhood.
“What revolutions in government or society have intervened since my seclusion I know not; but I am, and always have been, opposed to revolutions, believing that seldom, if ever, have their fruits equalled their cost in treasure, blood, and moral retrogression. I thank you, friends and neigh bors, for this glowing tribute of esteem, and I would be the more happy recipient of it if I was sure that, through the ordeal which I have just passed, my deportment was worthy of so flattering a token. Your kindness has imposed upon me obligations that I will never be able to discharge, and must remain unrequited ; but to live among you, and cominingling, as heretofore, our efforts for the promotion of the interests of our country and the happiness of our race, is the highest ambition of my heart. My friends, I must leave you. There is one I have not yet seen, who has wept most for my misfortunes, but, I hope and trust, will never have occasion to blush for any act of mine, and whose claims to my presence I cannot resist. Thanking you again, please excuse any further remarks.'
“Colonel Milligan then retired. A carriage was in waiting, in which were seated the committee above named, who had been appointed by the Colonel to bring home his remains. They escorted him to his residence, about a mile from the court-house, followed by hundreds. There was a perfect jam at his house from that until late at night. In the streets, from his residence to the great meeting, there was a grand double procession marching and counter-marching.
“ The public meeting was kept up all the afternoon, and antil late in the evening. Speeches were made by distinguished men from all parts of the country, who had assembled to welcome the Colonel to his home. Resolutions of respect and sympathy were passed, and his house was thronged for many days with persons offering testimoniale of respect."
REV. K. J. STEWART.
may be set aside by the political necessities of men in power; houses and towns may be destroyed under military necessity, and vested rights may bu disregarded by men who seek to gain or maintain empire for the public good. But no cause can ultimately succeed, whose leaders openly disregard the rights of the Church, and trample upon the persons of innocent and helpless men, women, and children, whose only fault is that they cannot agree with them in devastating homes and subverting their government.
Men, therefore, who were loyal to the United States Government during the war, but at the same time desired to be loyal to the great interests of religion, and to the interests of our common humanity, must be vexed, if not fearful of divine retribution, as they discover, if such persons can ever venture to read, what history must reveal.
In the fall of 1861, the first year of the war, Rev. K. J. Stewart, a clergyman of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Alex andria, Va., was rudely interrupted while at the altar of the church, on the Lord's day, and in the act of offering up prayers for all Christian rulers and magistrates, by a detail of armed men, under the command of a captain, lieutenant, and sergeant, by the direct authority of the Government of the United States, under circumstances of peculiar sacrilege, tyrauny, and shame. The alleged ground of the arrest was that he refused to pray for the President of the United States. The true object was to intimidate and compel the clergy of the Border States to withdraw the support and consolation of the Christian religion from a strickeri people, who Aed to it as their only hope, and who used it to strengthen themselves to great endurance.
It will be seen that the whole matter was planned at, Wash ington, by the head of the State Department; that it was executed by agents selected with reference to the moral degradation of the work, and that it was done deliberately; that the Government refused to repudiate the act, and that the time, mode, and sequel were a refinement upon the atrocities perpetrated on religion in the reign of the bloody Mary.
Nor has any apology ever been made, or any reparation offered. A quiet and peaceful minister of the Gospel was arrested without cause, condemned without trial, his church closed, and subsequently polluted and ruined — the people scattered and shut out from public worship, and he driven forth a homeless wanderer. And all this without the shadow of military necessity or political obstruction. For the clergyman had not refused to use the forms of prayer prescribed in any and all places where he sojourned ; and the people had been so often arrested in their beds at night, that they were as a flock of timid sheep, unarmed, and incapable of resistance, who crowded together in their fold, the temple of God, to worship Him and seek protection from those who, with a refinement of cruelty, came upon them almost every night, burned their houses, and took away to prison men, women, and children.
It was indeed a reign of terror. No man was safe, no place, or sanctuary, or conduct was secure. Laws were set aside; rank, character, and religious principles only invited ridicule, insult, or hatred. Few found themselves so secure as to be safe in asking justice for a fellow-citizen, and none thought of mercy to the imprudent.
It was one of those solemn occasions when even the most hardened men are subdued. The priest was about celebrating the supper of our blessed Lord — the silent but elo quent emblems of love were upon the altar. In order to avoid any embarrassment or misunderstanding in the conduc! of the services. the priest had written to the Department and explained his exact position, (he was personally known to more than one of the heads of the Departments.)
The gentlemanly officer in charge as military governor of the district had been invited to be present and inspect the services, which he reported to the Government as anexcejtionable, except in the private feelings of the people and the non-committal nature of the prayers.
The priest had taken the additional precaution to explain from the desk, that while the prayer appointed to be used for the President of the Confederate States was voluntarily omitted, being an American citizen, he could not allow the State to dictate to the Church what petition should be asked of the Great King. That it would be better to din than to allow the Church to be used as a political tool.
In order to avoid the possibility of mistake, an old sermou had been preached; but it alluded to the historical fact that all our most precious things were “ blood-bought,” as was that salvation now about to be commemorated. But while these people were thus seeking strength in and from our blessed Lord, in their eucharistic feast, that they might the more constantly subdue their excited passions and yield due obedience to the stern powers that were over them, two emis saries of that very Government were engaged in noting down from the distant galleries such words as might justify medi. tated outrage.
Captain. “ All precious things are 'blood-bought ; ' that means that freedom is blood-bought; it means the Magna Charta is blood-bought; it is aimed at the President's proclamation. Write it down as treason. Damn the priests! I intend to make them preach and pray my way. We'll see which has the longest sword, their master, or ours!”
Government agent. “If I break this fellow down, all the rest will cave in."
It was then arranged that they should return and report to the head of the State Department at Washington; that they should come back to church on the next Sunday; that the most desperate characters should be selected, armed, .