previous next

An examination in a "Subjugated."City.

A few days since we published the examination of Rev. Dr. Armstrong, of Norfolk, by an order of Butler, upon the charge of disloyalty. The oath which the accused had taken was an oath of parole, and the charge against the prisoner seems to have been disloyalty in his feelings. In a late copy of "The New Regime." published at Norfolk, we find a report of a subsequent examination of Dr. A. by the Beast in person at Fortress Monroe. We give it as a part of the history of the times:

General.--I have read a report, Mr. Armstrong, of an examination of yourself, by one of my Aid decamps in regard to the question of your loyally. Now I need not say to a man as experienced as yourself, that taking the oath of allegiance is only a manifestation of loyalty that as a man might join your church and still be a very had man after so doing, so a man may take the oath of allegiance and still be a very disloyal man.

Rev Mr. A — If you will allow me to make a state meat to you I will do so, or I will answer such questions as you please.

General.--Make your own statement, sir.

Mr. A — The view with which I took the oath was this: I believe the military commander has a right to demand of the citizens at any time that they shall take a parole. I regard Norfolk as for the present a conquered city; indeed, I have had no idea that the Confederates would again take it, and that if it ever again did become a part of Virginia, it would be by treaty at the end of the war. I wished, in accordance with the scriptural injunctions, to "obey the powers that be," and I believe the United States to be "the powers that be. "I took the oath with the intention of keeping it so far as my actions were concerned. My feelings, of course, I cannot control.My words and actions I can.

General.--That brings me, sir, to a matter to which I wish to call your careful attention Your unrevealed thoughts I can only get by asking questions. Now, sir, I want to ask you a few questions.

Did you in any way advise, consult with, or give any information to Mrs McIntosh in relation to selling any property in Norfolk?

Mr. A.--Not that I recollect.

General — Let me try and quicken your recollection a little You know her?

Mr. A — Yes, sir.

General — She is a sister of Capt McIntosh, of the so called Confederate States Navy?

Mr. A — His wife; she is a member of my church. She was about selling her property.

General.--Wait one moment. Don't you remember whether you advised her about selling it in any way?

Mr. A.--I talked with her. I don't recollect what I said. I believe there was a conversation about her selling her property and removing to Baltimore, --no, not about selling her property. She told me as her pastor, that she was going to remove to Baltimore.

General.--Did you then and there say to her, that she had better not remove or sell her property, because the Confederates would soon have the city of Norfolk, and her property would then be worth more, or words to that effect? Answer me that question, now, without mental reservation of equivocation.

Mr. A.--No. sir. I urged her not to go away from Norfolk, on account of her church.

General.--Did you say anything like it?

Mr. A — No. sir.

General — Did you say anything as to the time when you thought the Confederates would have Norfolk?

Mr. A — No. sir.

General.--Anything of the sort?

Mr. A.--No. sir.

General.--You pray for the authorities?

Mr. A — I pray for the authorities over us; and I publicly explain to my congregation, that in so doing we were praying for the President of the United States.

General — Do your people understand it?

Mr. A — They do. I have publicly explained it.

General.--Have you, since taking the oath of allegiance, or at any other time, checked one of the members of your congregation when he was praying for the President?

Mr. A.--Have I checked them?.

General — Chided them in any way or form of words?

Mr. A — Not that I recollect.

General — I beg your pardon, sir; it is not a matter of recollection. It is a thing you cannot for get.

Mr. A.--No, sir.

General.--Did not one of the members of your congregation pray for the President of the United States, and did not you say that it had better not be done; that there were two parties to please here?

Mr. A — Never, sir.

General.--Nothing of the sort?

Mr. A — Nothing of the sort.

General.--I perceive that in your former examination you declined answering this question: "Do you call yourself a loyal man in letter and spirit to-day?"

Mr. A — I do not decline to answer now. If I were to put my own interpretation upon it is should say I am; but I don't know, sir.

General.--Well, sir, perhaps, I can teach you. Now, sir, what is the name of that gentleman who had taken the oath, and while coming out of the Custom House with you, made the remark that he "would like to spit upon the Northern Yankees."

Mr. A.--Mr Chas Reid. I declined to answer on my former examinant on because I had not his consent to tell, sir; but since that I have seen him, and he has given me his consent to mention his name.

General — Where is Mr. Reld?

Mr. A — He is in Norfolk.

General.--(To an Aid.) Telegraph to Col Whelden, (Provost Marshal, Norfolk,) to arrest Mr. Charles Reid and send him here. He lives on Main street.

General — He stated that as he came out from taking the oath?

Mr. A — Yes. sir.

General.--With the oath fresh on his lips and the words hardly dry in his mouth he said he "wanted to spit in the face of the Northern. Yankees."

Mr. A — Well, General, he took it with the same view as I did.

General.--I agree to that, sir.

Mr. A.--I meant to say.--

General.--Stop, sir. I don't like to be insulted. You said, sir, that infernal Secessionist wanted to spit in the faces of loyal men of this Union, and that you took the oath with the same view as he did, or rather he took it with the same view that you did — it makes no difference which. I agree, sir, that you did. I have treated you, sir. during this interview, with propriety and courtesy up to this moment, and yet you, sir, here tell me, in order to clear this vile wretch, who shall be punished as he deserves, that you took the oath to my Government with the same view that he did.

Mr. A — Well, sir, it was a mortifying fact to contest that we were a conquered people, and it was the irritation growing out of that fact.

General.--You have not helped it, sir. You had not better go on in that direction any further, sir, for your own sake Now, sir, while you did preach a very virulent sermon upon"The Victory of Manassas,"at the recommendation of the Confederate Congress, have you ever since preached in your pulpit a sermon favorable to the Union cause., or one that would be likely to please the loyal and displease the disloyal?

Mr. A — No. sir. I never have.

General — You have said you "do not think this a wicked rebellion."Do you still hold to that opinion.

Mr. A — Yes, sir.

General.--You have not opened your church upon any of the days recommended by the authorities. I want a more explicit answer, sir, than you have given previously. You know whether you have or not. How is it?

Mr. A — I should have to answer, sir, that I did.--There were prayer meetings held in the church, No. addresses were made. There was a prayer for peace.

General.--You said you --would not willingly open your church to any recognized minister of the Gospel from such denominations as before the war you would have exchanged with did you know he would pray for the Union, and against the rebels?"

Mr. A — Yes, sir.

General.--You said you looked upon the hanging of John Brown as just and right because he interfered with the peace of the country?

Mr. A.--Yes, sir.

General.--Very good, sir. Now, then, would you look upon the hanging of the prominent rebels, Jefferson Davis for instance, as just and right?-- You know the rebels have interfered with the peace of the country, and have caused rivers of blood to flow where John Brown only caused pints. What do you say to that?

Mr. A — I would not sir.

General.--Are your sympathies with the Union or the Confederate cause?

Mr. A.--With the Confederates.

General.--I don't see, sir, what good the oath has been to you.

Mr. A — I thought the oath was an oath of amnesty.

General.--You took the oath, sir, for the purpose of having the United States protect you while you should, by your conduct and your life, aid and comfort the rebels. It is an oath of amnesty to those who take it in truth, and come back repentant to the United States You are a Presbyterian. A man comes to you; you are about to take him into communion. You say to him, "You have heretofore been a wicked men." He says, "Yes, sir." You ask him if he has experienced a change of heart? He says, "No, sir." You ask, "Are your sympathies with us or the devil?" He says, "the devil" You ask, "Which would you like to have prevail in this world, God or the devil?" --He says "the devil." You ask, "Where are your friends?"He says, "With the devil."--Then you ask him, "Do you think you can join the church with your present feelings?"He replies, "I think I can, to get the bread and wine at the ultra."Think of it, sir, anywhere else, and as a man of Christian professions, saying nothing of Christian practice. I call upon you to think of it Sworn to be loyal and true to the United States, here you are with your sympathies against them. You, sir, are a perjured man in the right of God. It is an oath of amnesty to those who truly repent precisely as Christ shed his blood for those who repeat, but not for those who would crucify him afresh. For you, sir, it was an oath of amnesty. I should be just as wrong in receiving you, sir, as a loyal man, as you would in receiving such a man as I have described into your church. [To an Aid.]--Make an order that this man be committed to the guard house, in close confinement, there to remain until he can be consigned to Fort Hatteras, there to be kept in solitary confinement until further orders, and send a copy of this examination to the officer in command there.

In a subsequent number of the New Regime we find the following:

The Rev. James D. Armstrong, of this city, who, after taking the oath of allegiance, had given utterance to disloyal sentiments, yesterday sailed for Fort Hatteras, where he is to be confined for some time.

Charles Reid, of this city, has been ordered out side our lines for a like offending, and will go up the James river in the next flag of truce boat.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (7)
Richmond (Virginia, United States) (1)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
James D. Armstrong (3)
Charles Reid (2)
McIntosh (2)
John Brown (2)
Whelden (1)
Reld (1)
Chas Reid (1)
Jefferson Davis (1)
Christ (1)
Butler (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: