Saturday, March 16, 2013

When George Wallace Jones was sent to . . .

. . . Fort Lafayette for an avowal of his intention to join the southern confederacy and take up arms against the lawful government of the United States in a letter over his own signature addressed to Jefferson Davis, President, C. S. A., Father Mahoney of the Dubuque Herald, made a great outcry. Recently, a more humble but equally guilty villain called Hill, Clerk of the Court in Harrison county Iowa, has been sent to Fort Lafayette for equally treasonable avowals of sympathy with rebellion, and that other traitor, Babbitt, of the Council Bluffs Bugle, even out does Mahoney in his outcry over the matter.  It is an awful outrage upon the freedom of speech and the press that traitors are sent to prison for preaching treason, at least these two fellows pretend to think so.  It may not be amiss to remind them that life and liberty are guaranteed to white men under our free institutions.  Yet white men have been incarcerated in jails and sometimes deprived of life, without violating any provision of our Constitution.  The rights and property of honest citizens can only be protected by punishing rogues, thieves and murderers.

In all ages of the world and under all forms of government to conspire against the lawful Government, adhere to and give aid to its enemies has been held and punished as the greatest crime a citizen could be guilty of, and in times of public peril offenders have always been arrested, imprisoned, tried and condemned by both civil and military authorities as the public good seemed to require.  And of this no loyal citizen ever did or ever will complain.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, February 1, 1862, p. 1

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