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[248] was, these gentlemen, and those others in sympathy with them, changed their former suspicion to a favorable opinion and a friendly disposition. They were from this time kept informed of each movement as made to liberate Mr. Davis or to compel the Government to bring the prisoner to trial. All this took place before counsel, indeed, before anyone acting on his behalf, was allowed to communicate with or to see him.

The Tribune now, at once, began a series of leading editorials demanding that our Government proceed with the trial; and on January 16, 1866, incited by those editorials, Senator Howard, of Michigan, offered a joint resolution, aided by Mr. Sumner, ‘recommending the trial of Jefferson Davis and Clement C. Clay before a military tribunal or court-martial, for charges mentioned in the report of the Secretary of War, of March 4, 1866.’ It will be interesting to mention now that if a trial proceeded in this manner, I was then credibly informed, Mr. Thaddeus Stevens had volunteered as counsel for Mr. Clay.1

After it had become evident that there was no immediate prospect of any trial, if any prospect at all, the counsel for Mr. Davis became anxious that their client be liberated on bail, and one of them consulted with Mr. Greeley as to the feasibility of procuring some names as bondsmen of persons who had conspicuously opposed the war of secession. This was found quite easy; and Mr. Gerrit Smith and Commodore Vanderbilt were selected, and Mr. Greeley, in case his name should be found necessary. All this could not have been accomplished had not those gentlemen, and others in sympathy with them, been already convinced that those charges against Mr. Davis were unfounded in fact. So an application was made on June 11, 1866, to Mr. Justice Underwood, at Alexandria, Va., for a writ of habeas corpus, which, after argument, was denied, upon the ground that ‘Jefferson Davis was arrested under a proclamation of the President charging him with complicity in the assassination of the late President Lincoln. He has been held,’ says the decision, ‘ever since, and is now held, as a military prisoner.’

1 This has been since verified by the Hon. Andrew G. Curtin, lately United States Minister Plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg, upon information given to him by the literary executor of the late Mr. Stevens.

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