The Great North-Western Conspiracy In All Its Startling Details
By I. Windslow Ayer
Public Domain Books
HYPOCRISY OF COPPERHEAD NEWSPAPERS–COMPLICITY WITH ASSASSINATION–THE LEADERS AND THEIR VICTIMS.
During the month of February, by Executive clemency, a number of Copperheads were released from confinement in Washington, where they had been placed as a measure of public safety. The Times published, and other Copperhead papers echoed the following. That paper now, in a very pious spirit, piteously urges, and the prints of like character also echo it, that “there should be no more party strife,” “no more rancor,” that it has not stabbed the President since he was shot, and the office is now draped with deep mourning. Aminadab Sleek is going to them as a comforter, and as tears mitigate woe, he bears with him an onion. The Times says:
“We submit that this fact should damn this Administration, not only for all time, but, if there be justice hereafter, to all eternity. There is not a single civilized government in existence to-day, against which can be charged a similar display of tyranny. With the title of being the freest government of modern ages, we have shown ourselves to be one whose disregard of right and whose outrageous assumptions of power are only paralleled in the reign of despots.
The liberty of fifty men may seem a small affair; but the matter has not so much reference to the magnitude of the offence as it has to the principle which underlies it. The moment Mr. Lincoln, or Mr. Seward, or any other man, dares to deprive one person of his liberty without due process of law, that moment has the government been changed from one of the people to an autocracy–a tyranny. If any man to-day is free in this country, it is not because he is a good citizen, surrounded by the protection of the laws, but simply because Seward or Lincoln has not chosen to order his incarceration.
The epitaph of posterity upon this people is easily anticipated. It will be–died 24,000,000 of whites, who lost their liberties and lives in an attempt to give a fictitious freedom to 4,000,000 negroes.”
“Sic semper tyrannis!” exclaims Booth, who has read the above article, and the mission of the Times is accomplished, and it now wants “no more party rancor.”
“Out of my sight thou serpent! That name best Befits thee with him leagu’d, thyself as false!”
The palpable HYPOCRISY of rebel sympathizers, can now only excite contempt. Who that read the evidence of Clement L. Vallandigham, before the military commission in Cincinnati, gave him credit for sincerity when he said substantially had he supposed there was a plot against the Government, he would have been the first to oppose or expose it. Have the people forgotten Mr. Vallandigham’s record? Have his Dayton neighbors forgotten his cry of “Ocoon,” the cry of distress of the Order to which he belonged, and which was to summon Sons of Liberty to his rescue, when arrested by the Government? Have they forgotten Vallandigham’s visit to Fulton county, Illinois, during the autumn of 1864, and its consequences? This county was the stamping ground of the leaders of the treasonable organization, which has been dissected, and whose head and heart are now in a state of decomposition. In that county Assistant Provost Marshal Phelps was shot, there too enrolling officer Criss was shot; in that county is Lewiston, where resides S. Corning Judd, Esq., the Grand Commander of the Sons of Liberty in the State of Illinois. C.L. Vallandigham was the Supreme Commander of the Order in the United States. This Order inaugurated the new warfare at the instance of the Southern rebel leaders–inaugurated assassination. This order began with Provost Marshals and enrolling officers, and ended–if indeed the loyal people will it to have ended–with the assassination of the best, the wisest, the most deeply loved President since the immortal Washington. It is the education of Copperhead prints, and Copperhead secret societies that has fitted the instruments of death, and our indulgence which has fostered them.
Vallandigham’s party had been defeated, his greatness had departed, and to wheel into line and “keep step to the music of the Union,” was not for him, and as Milton’s creation once exclaimed, so might he have uttered:
“And in my choice To reign is worth ambition, though in hell; Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. But wherefore let me then our faithful friends, The associates and co-partners of our loss, Lie thus astonished on the oblivion pool, And call them not to share with us their part In this unhappy mansion; or once more With rallied arms to try what may be yet Regained in heaven, or what more lost in hell.”
And so Clement L. Vallandigham became Supreme Commander of the Sons of Liberty.
Who is S. Corning Judd, who testifies before the Commission that “the organization (Sons of Liberty) was being used in Indiana and Missouri for improper purposes”? Who is he that says the organization in Chicago “was looked upon by many of the leaders with great distrust; many of those connected with the order in Chicago were radical, extreme men, and understood to be men of little standing or character”? that one of the delegates from Missouri stated his belief that the order in that State was in favor of “giving aid and comfort to the Confederates”? When Judd made these statements upon the stand, all loyal papers, with one accord, declared that the evidence fully warranted the arrests, in the manner and at the time they were made. No fair-minded man then could come to any other conclusion. Who, we ask, is S. Corning Judd? Stump-speakers, last fall, would have said that he was the “Democratic” candidate for Lieutenant Governor–and so he was. The Gubernatorial ticket bore the name of James C. Robinson for Governor, and S. Corning Judd for Lieutenant Governor–the former a man who, in Congress, voted against “fighting, crushing, and destroying” the rebellion. Both Robinson and Judd were Sons of Liberty, and to them Copperheads fondly turned, and had they carried the State, anarchy and bloodshed would have been the consequence; and, indeed, in the expressed opinion of Judge Morris, “had they carried the State, he cared not who might be President, for they would possess the reins of the General Government.” S. Corning Judd sought to serve his own ends by controlling the Sons of Liberty, and failing in this, he gave the cold-shoulder to his Brig.-General (Walsh), when, in consequence of executing the edicts of the order, he found himself a close prisoner for the horrid doctrine of secession; he must be tried and convicted, but the Grand Commander, S. Corning Judd, and the Supreme Commander, C.L. Vallandigham, and the Past Grand Commander, or Major-General, Amos Green, each, severally appear upon the stand against him, and they permitted to go scott free. O, cursed doctrine of secession!
“So stretch’d out huge in length the arch-fiend lay, Chain’d on the burning lake; nor ever thence Had risen or heaved his head, but that the will And high permission of All-ruling Heaven Left him at large to his own dark designs; That with reiterated crimes he might Heap on himself damnation, while he sought Evil to others.”
If Vallandigham, if Judd, if Green, if Barrett, and if the many equally guilty persons released from custody go unpunished, then “Justice, thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason.” Not that we would contradict Judd in the least in aught that he has said against the Chicago temple, but we would tell him that we know the Chicago temple, so far from taking the lead in radicalism, was behind the order in Peoria, in Bloomington, in Dubuque, in St. Louis, Louisville, and many other places. Give the devil his due. In some places the boldness of Copperheadism induced prominent members of the Sons of Liberty to approach members of Congress, with their base proposals to enter the order.