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The Great Northern conspiracy.

a full Exposure of its Secrets--Vallandigham's Addresses to it — prominent Yankee in it — the Cry to be for war but the work for peace, &c.

We have received a copy of the Chicago Tribune containing a full "exposure," as it is called, of the great conspiracy in the Western and Middle States to break up what remains of the late United States. It appears that as early as June last some prominent citizens of St. Louis were arrested by Sanderson, the provost-marshal of the city, upon the charge of being conspirators, but the cause of the arrests was smothered up. Recently, however, more arrests were made, and this time too many to be kept quiet. The St. Louis correspondent of the Tribune furnishes that paper with very lengthy accounts of the "great conspiracy," from which we extract the following:

‘ Of the citizens arrested, a number were refused parole and bond, and continued imprisoned. It now leaks out that those men have been found to be influential officers of an extensive association, co-operating with a similar one in rebeldom, looking to the establishment of a Northwestern Confederacy, (!) and including as a part of the programme the forcible ejection of Mr. Lincoln from the executive office! The details of this matter might relieve the statement of any improbability arising from the apparent hopelessness of such an enterprise; but, doubtless, for good reasons, they are not at present permitted to be published. Colonel Sanderson has, we understand, unravelled the plot, not without the expenditure of much time and patience, as well as labor — it being necessary, with extreme caution, to gain the introduction of trustworthy Unionists into the councils of the suspected parties. The testimony collected, embodying the reports of his agents and proceedings of the secret "Lodges" or "Temples," cover, it is said, a full ream of foolscap paper, and has been transmitted in a report to General Rosecrans to the authorities at Washington.

’ The projects of these conspirators in this department have, of course, been "headed off, " and it is be hoped that they will be disposed of in like summary manner elsewhere.

The evidence is said to implicate many public men, and proves the organization formidable and dangerous, if undiscovered. One of the arrested parties vainly offered a bond of $500,000 for his release.

The gathered facts warrant the belief that the following may be relied upon as a tolerable correct exposition of a conspiracy whose numbers, treasonable purposes, and effective organization, are certainly calculated to startle the loyal people of this country and to excite grave apprehensions of a fresh peril:

The Order.

The order is a secret one. It is called by different names in different localities or States, and is known among its members by these initials, written thus: O. A. K. Its real object is to embarrass and thwart the administration of the General Government in the conduct of the war, and overthrow the Government, if that be necessary, to secure the supremacy of the Order. Its professions, as well as its purposes, are different in different States; thus, while it professes and proclaims a war policy in New York, Pennsylvania and other States, in Ohio and other Western States it is for peace; so while in the eastern section of the Union it is clamorous for the restoration of the "Constitution as it is and the Union as it was, " in the western its undisguised object and avowed policy is the establishment of a Northwestern Confederacy.

Its principle and oath.

The aim and fundamental principle, if principle it may be called, upon which the organization is founded, and which is incorporated in the oath or obligation of every degree taken by any member thereof, is that the chosen officers of our Government have usurped authority; and they claim it, not only as their right, but as their duty, to resist those officers, and, if needs be, to expel them by force; in plain, unvarnished English, that Abraham Lincoln is a usurper, and that it is not only their right, but their duty, to drive him out of the White House. It is claimed by them, and so explained in the oath or obligation itself which they take, that such resistance to the existing functionaries of the Government is not revolution, but only the assertion of right. To make this point more clear, the following extract from the oath is given:

"In accordance with the principles upon which is founded the American theory, Government can exercise only delegated powers; hence if those who shall have been chosen to administer the Government shall assume to exercise powers not delegated, they should be regarded and treated as usurpers."

The meaning of this, to leave no doubt, is explained in the same obligation still further by these words:

"The reference to inherent power, as also to existing necessity, on the part of the functionary for the sanction of any arbitrary exercise of power by him, we will not accept in palliation or excuse."


The origin of the order is traced to the Southern Confederacy, and it has been erected upon the ruins of "the Knights of the Golden Circle," which, at one time, was extensive among officers of the rebel army and their sympathizing secession friends in the loyal States. That order having been thoroughly exposed — its rituals, signs, grips, &c., made known to the public — it became necessary to organize something in its stead.

Sterling Price the chief.

The result of the effort, it would seem, was the Order of American Knights, of which Major- General Sterling Price, of the rebel army, became the chief, known by the title of Supreme Commander, while a distinguished demagogue and agitator from Ohio sojourned at the city of Richmond, in exile. He, it would seem, was fully enlightened in the mysteries, objects, and purposes, of this sublime Rebel Order, and submitted to all its rights and privileges as a member.

Vallandigham in it.

The next step was a gigantic conspiracy between himself and the rebel authorities to inaugurate another rebellion in the Loyal States, to separate the West from the East, and thus give aid and comfort to the Southern rebellion. To do this, he was made Supreme Commander of the Northern Section of the Order, embracing the Loyal States, and was assisted to make his escape through the blockading fleet to Canada, whither he fled to establish his headquarters and commence the organization of the Northern Section of the Order of Traitors.

His work in Canada.

Soon after the arrival of this infamous traitor in Canada, he had a conference with the master- spirit of those in affinity of feeling and sentiment with him from the various loyal States, especially those of the West. The names of those visiting him there at the Clifton House are all known and preserved, to be furnished to the public whenever occasion may require that it should be known who the conspirators are that early met in conclave, upon foreign soil, to confer with him and aid him in the organization of a secret league of sworn traitors. It is not necessary now to enumerate, but prominent among those visitors may be given the names of such men as William B. Reed, of Philadelphia; George H. Pendleton and George E. Pugh, of Ohio; Christian Kribben, of St. Louis; Wilbur F. Storey and Merrick, of Chicago. Facts and evidence are at hand throwing a flood of light on the object of the visits there and the results following from the conference, which in due time, no doubt, will reach the public eye.

On the approach of fall, and after having had all the interviews and conferences at the Clifton House, and concluded his arrangements for the organization of the Order in the different loyal States, the Supreme Commander of the Northern Section changed his headquarters to Windsor, Canada West, where he could have more free and unembarrassed intercourse with its members in the Western States.

Vallandigham's secret address.

About the first of January last he issued an address to the lodges or temples throughout the Loyal States, of which a published copy has been obtained, and which discloses freely the treasonable character of the order. It may not be out of place to give some quotations from it to show the character of the Order and the treasonable purposes its members have in view. Here is one extract:

‘ "Brothers, again renew your solemn vows! Swear at your hearthstones — at the altars consecrated to your household gods! Swear in the holy sanctuary where your fathers worshipped — at their tombs and by their sacred memories! that [here quoting the language of the obligation of the Order.] 'I will at all times, if need be, take up arms in the cause of the oppressed in my own country. First of all, against any armed monarch, prince, potentate, power, or government usurper, which may be found in arms and waging war against a people or peoples who are endeavoring to establish, or have inaugurated, a government for themselves, of their own free choice, in accordance with, and formed upon, the eternal principles of truth! This I do promise, without regard to the name, station or designation of the invading power, whether it shall arise from within or come from without.'"

’ Here is another quotation, also the language of the obligation of the order:

‘ "'That I will never take up arms in behalf of any monarch, prince, or government, which does not recognize the sole authority of power to be the will of the governed, expressly and distinctly declared — nor in any cause or service as a mercenary;'; thus have you sworn at the altars of your order, in the presence of your God and the brothers assembled. The time is near when these vows must be redeemed. The despotism which has crushed us under its iron heel so long is the government usurped which is found in arms and waging war against our noble States, and would degrade them from sovereignties to the mean condition of dependencies of a centralized power."

’ These extracts are in themselves sufficient, but another is added:

‘ "Such a picture, gloomy, dark and blood-marked, the contemplation of which mantles with the rush of shame the cheek of manhood, is exhibited upon every spot of our once bright and beautiful land which has been pressed by the vandal feet of the Federal army. Brothers! You, the noble, gallant men, citizens of the great States within the bonds of brotherhood which are yet unscathed by the flames of war, to you I appeal. Contemplate the picture thus but too dimly assented, and say, while you so invoke the God of Truth and Justice to witness the sincerity of your vows, this picture shall not be reproduced on our homes and fair fields. "

’ And, lastly, there is still another:

"To be prepared for this crisis now approaching, we must catch from afar the earliest and faintest breathing of the spirit of the storm. To be successful when the storm comes, we must be watchful, patient, brave, confident, organised, armed."

Meeting of the Grand Commanders.

A meeting of the Grand Commanders of the different States took place in the city of New York on the 22d of February last. Its object was to organize an outbreak on the 10th of March, the day which had been fixed on which the draft for the raising of troops was to be made, but no definite plans or purposes — owing, perhaps, mostly to the absence of the Supreme Commander of the Northern Section — were agreed upon. The names of the conspirators thus assembled are, however, known. They are watched, and may be taken care of in good season. Failing to arrive at any definite conclusion, an adjournment was had for the purpose of having consultation with this leader, in exit in Canada West. A convocation of the Grand Commanders of the different States was accordingly held at the headquarters of the Supreme Commanders, at Windsor, in the beginning of April last. Among those in attendance was the celebrated Abbe McMasters, of New York; Charles L. Hunt, of St. Louis; Lafayette Develin, of Indiana, and a number of others, whose names will reach the public at the proper time.

The degrees.

The programme agreed upon at Windsor, in the beginning of April, will be given, after adding some further remarks with regard to the character of the organization — its degrees, the first being published in one pamphlet, the two next in another, copies of which have been obtained, and the contents of which will, no doubt, at the proper time, find their way into the newspapers. The first degree seems to be a weak and diluted dose for novices who may have squeamish stomachs. The great mass of the members of the Order are admitted only into the mysteries of it thus far, the leaders thus securing their support without endangering themselves by allowing their followers to know too much of their conspiracy. Once thus entrapped into of an oath, those of the first degree the blind and ready instruments of the intelligent, knavish, and traitorous, who are the mysteries of the higher degrees. --temples have a list of members in the nature of a lodge muster roll, copies of which have also been obtained, and are in themselves a curiosity to look at. These rolls one would suppose to be a list of members of a literary association, while those understanding its real meaning would readily know that a member marked down as having a copy of the St. Louis Republican was the owner of one rifle, and that he who was set down for two copies of the St. Louis Union was the owner of that number of revolvers, and so on.

Explanation of Missouri affairs.

Another fact is referred to show the workings of the Order. At a meeting of one of the lodges, held at the corner of Webster and Fifth streets, on the 25th of May, a Major Harris, of Cooper county, formerly a rebel officer, but now an inmate of Gratiot street prison, made a speech, in which he stated that he had been traveling through Illinois and over the district of North Missouri; and gave a glaring account of the prosperous condition of the Order wherever he had been. He regarded its condition in St. Louis as rather lethargic, but spoke in high terms of praise of its energy and activity in the counties of Callaway, Boone, Howard, Chartton and Cooper. The greatest difficulty experienced by the officers in those counties, he said, was to restrain the members of the Order from rising before the proper opportunity should arrive. He had found the same difficulty to exist in the State of Illinois, and appealed to those present to take no hasty steps, but to await the official call of their Grand Commander. He spoke of General Price in the most eulogistic terms; said he had been in constant communication with him, Marmaduke, and the rebels, in Arkansas. He expected and looked for a raid from Marmaduke. When he came, all should hail and support him as a friend and saviour. He referred minutely to the condition of North Missouri; said that all the Umited States troops had been sent off to the front, and that the enrolled militia would amount to nothing, and could not be trusted by the Government. He looked upon a rebel raid, therefore, as an easy matter. Two hundred Southern men could, even now, march from the Kansas line to the Mississippi, and take all the United States troops in the district. He gave detailed accounts of the posts where United States troops were stationed, and the number at each; also the points of easy access and passage where none are stationed; thus showing the minute details to which the Order gives its attention, and the powerful lever it wields to interfere with and defeat military operations.

Federal officers who are members.

Proof has been obtained that there are officers in the Federal army who belong to this Order, and that these officers, when captured by the rebel army, are unceremoniously turned loose again, because they are believed by the rebels to be of more service to them in their own lines than they could be as prisoners.

Members at Washington.

Proof has also been obtained that persons belonging to this Order, and rebels in fact, are holding positions in all the Departments at Washington, who act as spies and are aiders and abettors of the Rebel Government. Through these the rebels are not only advised of all the movements and purposes of the Government, but also furnished by those in the Treasury Department. It forms a part of the Order to introduce some of its members into all the different branches of the Government, not only at Washington, but also throughout the States and Departments — in all telegraph, express and other public offices.


Proof was also obtained early in June of the contemplated simultaneous demonstration of the Southern armies upon Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Missouri, about the time of the meeting of the Chicago Convention, on the 4th of July, in anticipation of a general rising of the Order, consequent upon the difficulties it was supposed would ensue through the efforts of Vallandigham to appear at Chicago at the meeting of the Democratic National Convention. How that information has been verified, the events which have taken place since afford ample evidence.

Rebel deserters.

It is further established, beyond a doubt, that there is a general understanding and policy acted upon by the rebel commanders, especially in the trans-Mississippi Department, to have a number of spies within our lines, especially in Missouri, by giving them leaves of absence to go home into the States among their families and friends; and those so permitted to go home are instructed by their officers how successfully to pass through the lines without being molested. With these instructions, they start for the North, and upon reaching the nearest Union post, represent themselves as deserters and take the amnesty oath. They then commence their operations as spies and smugglers, and at the same time it was the understanding that they should join in the rise with the members of the Order, which was expected to take place about the 4th of July.

The M'Clellan Minute men.

Of the real character of the "McClellan Minute Men," in New York and some other States, and its identification with this Order, there is abundant evidence. Its signs and rituals have been obtained, and its workings and objects are well understood. Its National Secretary frankly admitted — supposing himself to be speaking "on the square" to a member of the O. A. K.--that it has assumed a support of the war policy only because "people are full of gunpowder and light," and that those who represent its interests are to preach a vigorous prosecution of the war, but that, when once in power, they could soon throw off that policy, and the war would be closed within thirty days after assuming the reins of Government, with such guaranties to the South as would satisfy them.

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