(From the Louisville Journal.)
A few days ago the subject of a letter written by a Dr. Hopkins in regard to a secret league of traitors in the non-slaveholding States under the name of the Knights of the Golden Circle was brought to the consideration of Congress. Two members of the House of Representatives, Mr. Chandler and Mr. Howard, both of Michigan, attested the existence of the letter. It has since been published in the Detroit Tribune and republished in some of the New York papers. It gives an account of the success of Hopkins, its author, in organizing branches of the treasonable conspiracy in several of the States, and refers in very plain terms to its object, which is to rise against the Government of the United States and aid the rebels of the South in its overthrow. Unquestionably the letter will now be laid before the public in a form that will preclude all dispute as to its genuineness. For some time past we have not doubted the existence of a Northern rebel organization – small, to [be] sure, in numbers, but fierce and virulent in purpose. – We could name several newspapers which, beyond all question, in our mind, are conducted under its influence, and for the furtherance of its objects. Those papers profess indeed to be loyal to the Union, for they are afraid of the swift retribution that they know would follow any open exhibition of treason; but they diligently devote themselves to the selection and publication of such matter as they deem calculated to dispirit the friends of the Union and to encourage the rebels, and they expect and find their reward in the liberal patronage of rebels in Kentucky, Missouri and elsewhere.
The New York Evening Post, one of the ablest and most respectable papers in the country, says that the testimony of the two Michigan members of Congress to the existence of the rebel conspiracy in the North was not necessary. It says that the Knights of the Golden Circle have for months had their clubs in New York city – that the noted rebel General, Gustavus W. Smith, and his deputy, Lovell, belonged to it before they joined the Southern army. It adds that so confident were these plotters at one time of success that they began to indulge in threats of vengeance against those who supported the United states Government, and it refers to the case of a prominent citizen, who, speaking zealously on all occasions against the heresy of Secession was given to understand that, if not more quiet, he would have his throat cut. The post says we are on the eve of a Northern insurrection, and that there would have been one if the popular feeling in that section had not declared itself with irresistible energy on the side of the Constitution.
The Michigan members of Congress affirm that one of the effects of the conspiracy has been to get some of the worst enemies of the Union and the Constitution into the army, where they now are all working upon that high vantage ground, with all their might, in favor of the rebellion. – This may account for the conduct, otherwise inexplicable, of some of our military officers in high positions, and afford some clue to the deep mystery of the frequent promulgation, among the rebels, of the profoundest secrets of our military authorities at Washington and elsewhere.
– Published in the Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 12, 1862, p. 2