The despotism at the North.
the case of Isabella Brinsmade
— a Judicial examination — the way personal liberty is Protected in the United States
The people at the North
seem to have lost the last vestige of a claim to the rights of freemen — But a Board of Police Commissioners have been investigating the conduct of Superintendent and Provost Marshal Kennedy
, and the result of the investigation seems to have roused the public there to a slight realization of the fact that it has lost its liberty.
The case was the arrest of Mrs. Isabella Brinsmade
, of New Orleans, and the ‘"improper conduct"’ of Kennedy
in connection therewith.--The Board met at Hoboken
, and the moment of the opening the proceedings was taken advantage of by several frightened witnesses to disclaim any connection with having preferred charges against the Provost Marshal
We give some of the evidence reported in the New York papers:
Dr. Charles Phelps
was then examined.
Knew Mrs. Brinsmade
in New Orleans; came with her from New Orleans; went to the Everett House
with her; was arrested by a man named Bowles
and another man; supposed it to be on the authority of Colonel Baker
, the Provost Marshal
of the War Department; did not know why he was arrested; it was intimated that he was a disloyal person; he was confined in the Old Capital Prison
; came to New York immediately after he was released; heard that Mrs
B had been arrested; went to Mr. Kennedy
to inquire where she was; went to Mr. Kennedy
's house, introduced himself, and made known his business; was told to call at head quarters; on calling on Mr. Kennedy
, he was informed that Colonel Baker
had written him regretting that he had not kept him (the witness) in prison longer; asked for permission to communicate with Mrs. Brinsmade
; Mr. Kennedy
advised him not to interfere in the case any farther, and if he did he would be locked up; the only difference in the manner of Mrs. Brinsmade
and the other ladies on board the vessel was the great kindness she exhibited towards some sick and disabled United States
soldiers who were on board; had never heard her denounce the Government
or its supporters, or refer to Government matters; she objected personally to Capt. Burt
, who had informed against her.
Cross examined by Mr. Dean.
--Had known Mrs Brinsmade
for some time in New Orleans; knew that she had a husband, and has since been informed that her husband was in the Confederate
service; during Mrs.
B.'s stay in New York she stopped at the Everett House
; Mr. Eton
, a midshipman, a friend of Mrs. Brinsmade
, stayed also at the Everett House
, at the same time; while at Hampton Roads
, Mrs. Brinsmade
telegraphed to witness; did not have that dispatch with him; the contents of the dispatch were that she was at Washington
, and that she would be glad to see him; had no business with the lady.
here requested to be allowed to make a remark.
He had been intimately acquainted with Mrs. Brinsmade
since she left New Orleans, and he wished to say that their association had been of an entirely honorable character.
There had, it seemed, been some imputation cast on the character of their intimacy, which he had taken this opportunity to pronounce as unqualifiedly false.
--On the night he arrived in New York he visited several hotels in search of Mrs. Brinsmade
; Mr. Kennedy
did not stale, when he called on him, that the lady was held at the order of Col. Baker
and not on his own; had no recollection of such statement; Mrs. Brinsmade
visited the Old Capitol prison to see witness; she said that she was under arrest, and was to be sent to New Orleans; one of Baker
's men was in company with Mrs. Brinsmade
--The manner in which Mr. Kennedy
replied to question of witness was not given in a friendly manner, but rather as a threat.
then withdrew, and Mrs. Brinsmade
The lady is remarkably good- looking, about twenty-five years old, medium height, and bears all the impress of the Southern
She was very neatly but richly attired, and gave her evidence in a very composed manner.
My name is Isabel M. Brinsmade
; I reside in New Orleans; I was born there; I left there about the 25th of August last, on the steamer Fulton
; I was coming to New York for the purpose of transacting private family business; I intended to remain a short time in New York; after I got here, I made up my mind to go to Washington
; on the passage here, I knew the Captain
, his wife, and son, Dr. Phelps
, and some of the lady passengers; we arrived at New York on the 25th of September; I went to the Everett House
; afterward went to Brooklyn
; was there a week; I resided there with a friend — an old connection; I then went to Washington
; was there four days; was arrested by one Bowles
, an officer, who told me it was by order of the Provost Marshal
of Washington city
, Colonel Baker
, before whom I was taken; they took from me my private papers, my pictures-- portraits of myself; Baker
told me I was arrested by order of the Secretary of War
; that I was accused of being a rebel spy — of having treasonable papers in my possession; he told me they would send me to New Orleans; I told him I had not done anything to deserve that; he said I had been indiscreet in remarks about the Government
; that I had said Stonewall Jackson
was the only man who could fight McClellan
, [laughter,] which of course I acknowledged, [great laughter;] he told me that I was going to be sent to New Orleans; that I was to be taken to New York, and kept a prisoner at the St. Nicholas Hotel
until I was sent away; that on Saturday he was going to New York, and would release me; he said there was nothing in my private papers to hold me as a spy; he said my letters were very affectionate; he said my pictures were, one or two of them, good looking, and he proposed to preserve and keep them because they were good- looking: he informed me that he could not return my pictures and letters until the next day, because he wished to show them to the Secretary of War
before he gave them to me; when I came to New York Bowles
brought me to the headquarters, in Broome street, in a carriage.
Q — What was Bowles
's conduct and manner toward you? A.--He was exceedingly affectionate, and called me my dear Bella
; when he got out of the carriage he did not tell me the place it was, saying he stopped for orders; when he came back he told me I was to be taken to the Forty-seventh street station-house; the driver got down from his seat on the carriage, and I saw a gentleman whom I knew; I told the driver to tell that gentleman where he took me; I never saw Mr. Kennedy
; I should not know him if I should see him; during my confinement in the station-house I saw the Captain
and policemen every day--Col. Baker
came after I had been there three weeks; he said that he had come to release me; that the Secretary of War
were anxious to have me sent to New Orleans; that Kennedy
had written to him, urging my release, from time to time, and that he had pleased him (Kennedy
) by telling him to inquire when certain vessels were going to New Orleans; that Kennedy
had been very anxious to have me sent to New Orleans, and that he (Baker
) had persuaded the Secretary of War
not to do it; that Mr. Kennedy
had been repeatedly requesting the order to send me to New Orleans; that he had told him to see about some ships leaving for New Orleans; that it was to employ and please Kennedy
; that Kennedy
asked him, when he arrived in New York, whether he had an order for my removal South; that he had told Kennedy
‘"No."’ that he had brought a release; that Kennedy
said, ‘"I will serve it — I would prefer doing it myself; "’ Baker
told me I would be released next day, at 9 or 12 o'clock; he was going to Albany
, and would return in the morning; that I should not go away with any one else but him; that if I let Kennedy
know where I went Kennedy
would arrest me again; he advised me to leave New York for a few days, because, if Kennedy
knew where I was going, he would arrest me; I asked Bowles
what was to become of me; he said he did not know; he had not read his orders from the War Department; I frequently asked the officers, when they went down to headquarters in the morning, to ask Mr. Kennedy
if he had any orders about me; the invariable reply was that ‘ "Kennedy
can't do anything for you until he receives orders from the War Department;" ’ when Baker
promised to let me out he said I had better not remain in New York; that he wanted me to go to Philadelphia
with him, that he would take me away himself; that if I would go with him I should be discharged, because then he would take me where neither Kennedy
nor anybody else would molest me again.
I frequently sent messages to Mr. Kennedy
by Captain Slocum
and others; I had not been guilty of any offence; I did not meddle with political affairs; I wanted to come North, and my business had no connection with any political or military subject; I had a pass from the military commander
of New Orleans to come here.
I had letters to Messrs. Elliott
, and others, authorizing them to advance me money to defray my expenses — whatever I wanted.
To Mr. Dean.
--I never saw Mr. Kennedy
until now; so far as I know, he had nothing to do with my arrest; I always supposed that Mr. Kennedy
was not my custodian — or that the officers who had charge of me, and without whom Kennedy
could do nothing, were at the War Department; that was the invariable reply to my inquiries; Baker
told me I was a prisoner by order of the Secretary of War
To Mr. Bowen.
--I was treated with the utmost respect by all the officers and policemen at the station house; I was treated very rudely by Bowles
; I have no complaint to make as far as the station-house is concerned.
To Mr. Dean.
--I was kept in a little room, next to the large room where complaints are all entered on the books; I had a separate room by myself; I was taken to the adjoining house for my meals, and was comfortable; the room was cold, but one of the wardens lent me a rug; my privacy was not invaded; they all treated me with respect; they all thought my imprisonment an outrage.
Q — They did not put you in a cell?
(earnestly.)--Oh, they would not dare to do that [laughter;] I was allowed no communication with the outside world; they refused to send letters, even under their supervision, but I managed to pitch one out of the window, which some kind person put in the post-office, and it reached its destination; the officers said they had no authority to permit me to write; Baker
told me that Draper
could not get me out; that Draper
was a man of no influence or power, and could not get me out; I had no means of communicating with friends or counsel during the forty days of my imprisonment in the station house.
Some portions of Mrs. Brinsmade
's testimony were repeated, in order to secure accuracy in the official reporter's notes.
The above is the substance of all her testimony, and in nearly every instance, is exactly her own language.
Mrs. J. K. Elliott
was the next witness; she testified as follows: I have known Mrs. Brinsmade
since she was a child; knew her in New Orleans; have known her from childhood; was a neighbor of her father's; when I heard that Mrs. Brinsmade
was a prisoner, I called upon Mr. Kennedy
in company with Mrs. Converse
, who had also known Mrs. Brinsmade
; I asked where she was confined, by whose order, and for what reason; Mr. Kennedy
said she was arrested as a general spy; that he had watched her since her landing in New York; that his presence had overshadowed her since she arrived here; that when she was in Brooklyn
he had been there; when she was at the Everett House
he was there; that when she went to Washington
his presence followed her there, and that when he got her in the right place where he could prevent her doing mischief, he had arrested her; I asked who was her accuser?
who had arrested her?
what had she done?
he said he was her accuser; ‘"I, madam, I am her accuser;"’ those were the very words he used.
Q.--Did you ask permission to see Mrs. Brinsmade
A.--I did; he said I could not see her; he did not tell me where she was; I told him I had been there and tried to see her; I went there first, supposing I could see her without trouble.
Q.--Did you explain to the Superintendent
that you were interested in her — that you had known her before?
A — Yes, sir; I said I had known her from childhood; I do not remember whether I told him all; I was in the office ten or fifteen minutes; Mr. Kennedy
said she was a general spy, and ought to be hung; I told him that she was a young and giddy girl, ill suited to such a mission — that she was not capable of being a spy; Mr. Kennedy
said she ‘"was just as capable of being a spy for all that; that she was just like the rest — even that woman who made a wagon of herself to carry quinine to the rebel soldiers; that her husband was in the rebel service and had lost his arm in it, but that did not dampen his ardor;"’ I did not get permission to see Mrs. Brinsmade
said he wished to ask this witness a question as to Mr. Kennedy
He had several interviews with him, and knew that Mr. Kennedy
had two ‘"usual manners." ’ He wished to ascertain which manner Mr. Kennedy
had in use at the time.
Q.--What was his general tone and manner while addressing you? A.--I thought it rather stern; he said, ‘"I, madam, I,"’ in that abrupt manner.
Q.--He was not insulting to you? A.--No, sir; nothing more than in addressing me in that manner.
I made an application to Mr. Draper
; Mr. Draper
said he had written to Washington
, and I should know about it as soon as he got an answer; he did not know anything about it himself.
To Mr. Dean
--I never knew Mr. Kennedy
before; I introduced myself to him; I carried a letter of introduction to Mr. Draper
stating my business; it was a letter from Dr. Tyng
, whose politics and character were, I suppose, of the right stamp.
, ministers at the North
never have any politics [Laughter.]
--Except Dr. Tyng
(smiling.)--What are his politics?
--Proper, of course.
To Mr. Bowen.
--[Testimony continued.]--I do not recollect that Mr. Kennedy
alluded to the War Department or the Police Department; he simply said he was waiting orders from ‘"the Department;"’ I inferred that to mean the Police Department.
Q.--Was there anything offensive in Mr. Kennedy
Did he treat you with discourtesy?
Did he insult you? A.--No, sir; he did not insult me at all; I felt very much frightened, because I had never been in such a place before.
--Yes, madam, the police have terrors [Laughter.]
--Oh, he is an applicant for a small office in Washington
As to the charge of being traitorous, the action of the authorities at Washington
in releasing Mrs. Brinsmade
was conclusive on that point, and was proof of her innocence. --He would state that all her private papers and other articles which had been taken from her had been retained in Washington
, none of them having been returned to her.
The further hearing of the case was adjourned to Monday next.
The New York World
notices an attempted vindication made by Superintendent
of Police and Ex-Provost Marshal Kennedy
of his conduct in the case of Mrs. Brinsmade
, and adds:
Whatever was bad in this case before, blazes out as worse from this most amazing document.
If the lash was demanded by the original statement of Mr. Kennedy
's offences against law and order, the scorpion alone can adequately chastise his own avowal of those offences — for an avowal this pre tended and shameless vindication is. It is an instructive picture of the perils which impend over society whenever, from any cause, the bonds of legal order give way to the chaos of individual will and arbitrary license.
All the material facts of Kennedy
's outrages upon law and liberty are admitted by him. Its state that upon what he absurdly calls the ‘"semi- official"’ report of a passenger who came with Mrs. Brinsmade
from New Orleans, but who had no more ‘"official"’ connection with her or with Mr. Kennedy
than might consist in the fact that he conspired suspicious of the one and retailed the same to the other, a policeman was ordered by him to observe the lady's movements" in New York, and to follow her to Washington
Arrived in the latter city, Mr. Kennedy
's envoy engaged another agent, Col. Baker
, to assist him in his task of observation.
now disavows agent number two, as ‘"a person of whom he never heard anything good;"’ but although he was notified at the time that the case had passed into these, as he now professes disreputable lands, he made no attempt to interfere with their action.
On the contrary, he suffered his own policeman to be used by these disreputable hands for the arrest of Mrs. Brinsmade
, and when the disreputable hands sent her on to him at New York accepted her as a good prize, shut her up, refused to allow any one to communicate with her, insulted those who sought to investigate the reasons of her duress, threatened them also with incarceration, and kept her under look and key in a station-house for forty days! And all this he did, as he now alleges, simply as a ‘"custodian"’ for a person of whom he ‘ "had never heard anything good."’
After remarking further on this showing which Mr.
K. makes for himself as if ‘"not aware of anything extraordinary or shocking to the public sense"’ therein, the World
notes one further feature in this case which has been unconsciously revealed by Kennedy
's confession, viz:
It appears that some kins people of Mrs. Brinsmade
, for private reasons of their own, which, whatever may be their nature, having nothing under heaven to do with those public aspects of the case which alone concern public opinion and the law, found the lady's liberty an inconvenience to themselves.
One of these persons, a certain Mr. Donn
, now announces that he suggested to the Washington
— of whom Mr. Kennedy
declares that he ‘ "never heard any good,"’--the notable idea that the Government
should relieve him of his ‘"discomfortable cousin."’ Baker
, he says ‘"adopted his advice,"’ and he is very much distressed that this plan of shutting Mrs. Brinsmade
up for forty days and sending her to New Orleans at the expense of the Government
all ‘ "for her immediate good and that of her family,"’ should have been interfered with!
Since the good old days of the ancient regime
, when counts and marquises applied to the king for lettres de cachet
to rid themselves of unruly sons and disobedient daughters, made the Bastille a reformatory for prodigals, and the Chateau d' If a penitentiary for extravagant wives, there has been nothing seen in the world like-this.
Verily, the thing that has been shall be, and there is nothing new under the sun if, in the middle of the nineteenth century, and in the United States of America
, men can calmly acquiesce in transactions which revolted the heart of the race and shook down the fabric of a secular monarchy in France
a hundred years ago.
A letter from Baltimore
in the New York World
, dated the 15th ult., thus refers to one or two cases of suffering under the despotism of Lincoln
A lovely and accomplished daughter of General Charles Howard
, one of our distinguished citizens, died here last night, after a brief illness of three or four days. Her father, who was one of our Police Commissioners during the 19th of April mob, and was subsequently sent a State prisoner to F. Warren
, where he has been incarcerated for eighteen months, by special permission, got leave to come home temporarily, arriving in time only to see his daughter die. Her brother, Frank Key Howard
, who was editor of a paper published here called the Exchange
was also sent to Fott Warren
more than a year ago. He could not obtain permission to come home, and his sister goes to the grave unseen by him.
The term for which William George Brown
was elected as Mayor
It is thought he will be allowed to leave Fort Warren
and come home.
He has been confined them as a State prisoner for eighteen months. A better Union man — at the time he was arrested — than Mr. Brown
does not live in Maryland
He certainly exhibited more firmness and loyalty in the trying scenes of the 19th April mob even than Gov. Hicks
This all concede.