A case in Point.
Since the eloquent pen of Mr. Gladstone, near a score of years ago, concentrated the indignation of the civilized world upon the barbarous treatment inflicted by the Bourbon rulers of Naples upon Baron Poerio and his fellow-captives, there has been no such revelation as this of the brutality to which men may be tempted by political passion, and it is intolerable that the scandals of Ischia and San Elmo should be paralleled in the sacred name of liberty within the walls of Fortress Monroe. We abstain purposely from discussing the nature and extent of the political offenses for which Jefferson Davis has thus been made to suffer, for we are so unwilling to believe that any man can be found, even in the ranks of the most extreme radical party, who would dare import such a discussion into the case. Thaddeus Stevens could shock the moral sense of mankind by demanding the “penitentiary of hell” for millions of his fellow-countrymen; but even Thaddeus Stevens, we prefer to think, would shrink from condensing that vast and inclusive anathema into the practical, downright torture of a single human being. When Lafayette was suffering the extremes of cruelty in the Austrian dungeons of Olmutz, Edmund Burke, transported by a blind rage against the French revolution, could respond to an appeal in behalf of the injured and high-souled victim by exclaiming in his place in Parliament: “I would not debase my humanity by supporting an application in behalf of such a horrid ruffian.” But is it for a moment to be supposed that the most fanatical member of an American Congress, which assumes to itself a special philanthropy and sits in the year 1866, can be found to imitate the savage bigotry of an exasperated British royalist in the year 1794?