This inhuman sentence could not be imposed by a judge of the highest judicial tribunal of this Commonwealth for any crime. But I understand the court-martial that imposed this sentence was presided over by a “captain” in the service. Such things ought not to be. . . . You know how extremely uncertain these tribunals have proved for the purposes of justice, and I trust your knowledge and experience will be availed of to work out some broad and generous relief for the poor private soldier, who has neither the means nor the friends to present his individual case, and the special hardships he suffers; but who is, nevertheless, entitled, from his utter dependence and lowliness, to the kindest consideration of his commander-in-chief, whenever opportunities present themselves for its proper exercise.The soldier whose case is here referred to was pardoned by the President, and the finding of the court-martial set aside. We find on the files of the Governor several letters from Secretary Seward, in regard to certain men who came to Boston from Belgium and other countries on the continent of Europe, and enlisted in Massachusetts regiments. These men were brought here in steamers by a Boston firm, partly from patriotic motives, and partly for speculative purposes. There were about a thousand altogether. The men, before coming on board the vessels, signed papers pledging themselves to enter into employment, the nature of which was not clearly stated in the papers which they signed; but it was stated by the firm referred to, that the men understood that they were to enlist as soldiers. Upon their arrival in Boston, these men, with a few exceptions, did enter the volunteer service, and were mustered in by the United-States mustering officers. Their passages to this country cost them nothing; but the parties who brought them here were remunerated for their outlay by the State paying them the bounties provided by law, which amounted to three hundred and twenty-five dollars to each man, which made the speculation a profitable one. These men were brought here in
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