and was held to be unnecessary even there.
No shadow of excuse existed for considering the North
or any State of the North
as disloyal; on the contrary, Democrats and Republicans poured out their money by millions, and sent their young men by hundreds of thousands to the support of the flag.
Yet in the first weeks of the war, a system of arbitrary and despotic seizure and imprisonment was inaugurated, which continued even after the surrenders of Lee
The number of arbitrary arrests that were made in the whole period of the war is variously estimated at from ten to thirty thousand.
The great mass of arrested persons never had a trial, and knew nothing of the charges, if any at all, on which they were imprisoned.
In the great majority of cases, not only was the writ of habeas corpus
refused, but applications to be examined by officers selected by the Government
itself were refused.
Prisoners, suddenly arrested and dragged to prison, without an opportunity of seeing their families or arranging for the continuance of their business, after long incarcerations, were not only denied an examination of their cases, but they were officially informed that the employment of counsel was distasteful to the Government
, and would prejudice their applications for trial and release.
Though arrests were made at the suggestion of anonymous letters, yet letters from the persons imprisoned applying for release or for trial were left unopened, and often returned in that condition to their authors.
Finally, it was determined, that not only should the ground of arrest be withheld from the imprisoned, but the fact of arrest be withheld from the public; detective officers being prohibited from reporting the cases of arrest to the press, or permitting an inspection of their books.
Of course under this system, the number of denunciations against suspected persons became burdensome to the Central Government
; and such paragraphs as the following began to appear in the official newspapers:
Eight hundred names are now entered on the books of the secret police in New York city, of persons suspected of treason, and many arrests will be made.
N. Y. Tribune, Sept. 6, 1861.
A large number of arrests are daily made at the North, the number averaging ten or twelve a day. These are made generally on complaints lodged with the departments at Washington.
The Government is somewhat annoyed and astonished that petty cases of treason should be sent there for consideration.
Any military commander can commit for treasonable acts, and the local officers should promptly act themselves.
Hartford Courant, Sept. 6, 1864.
The arrests soon became very flagrant in their manner and character.
Clergymen were seized while at prayer at the altar on the sabbath-day.
Judges were seized for judicial opinions rendered on the bench.
Ladies were seized and imprisoned, subjected to nameless insults, forbidden the visits of friends.
hurried from prison to prison, and indecently treated by