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[55] decide—the responsibility too great. He asked that light be given him, thus:

General,—Shall I furnish Jefferson Davis writing material to answer Mr. O'Conor's letter received this A. M.?

Nelson A. Miles, Brevet-Major General Volunteers.

To this General Townsend replied with cautious liberality:

Brevet-Major General N. A. Miles, United States Volunteers.
The Secretary of War says you may furnish writing material to Mr. Davis sufficient for the specific purpose of accepting or declining Mr. O'Conor's offer.

E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant General. (121 War of Rebellion, p. 642.)

This momentous question settled, and a sheet of paper being furnished Mr. Davis, he wrote to Mr. O'Conor on the 7th of June. In this letter, after accepting Mr. O'Conor's kind offer, he made some reference to those of whom Mr. O'Conor wrote who had taken interest in his case. This was doubtless some natural expression of gratitude. The letter, after being inspected by the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, and the Attorney-General, Mr. Speed, was returned for amendment, being regarded in its then condition as an ‘improper communication.’ (Id., pp. 655, 656, 657 and 658.) Mr. Davis then struck out the ‘improper language,’ but again it was rejected, and, so far as the records disclose (see letter from the Adjutant-General to Mr. O'Conor, 121 War of Rebellion, p. 657), no reply ever reached Mr. O'Conor, whether because of the inability of Mr. Davis to frame a proper reply, or because another sheet of paper was not supplied, the correspondent does not inform us. Mr. O'Conor nevertheless acted as the leading counsel in the trial.

The hot summer months passed by without material change in Mr. Davis' treatment or condition, and no steps were taken to bring him to that ‘speedy and public trial by an impartial jury,’ guaranteed in the constitution.

There is no doubt that, at the time of Mr. Davis' arrest, there was an honest conviction in the minds of the great mass of the Northern

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