American Bastile

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Would
anyone believe that “just voicing your opinion” could land you in
prison? Would anyone believe that you could be sleeping soundly
in your bed only to be invaded by the local Marshal and his deputies
without a warrant? Would anyone believe that you could be
transported hundreds of miles away from your home with just the
clothes on your back? Want to take a guess as to what country this
happened in? The Soviet Union? Nazi, Germany? Guess what,
folks? This happened already right here in the United States during
Lincoln’s regime.

American
Bastile
written by John A. Marshall, originally published
in 1881 and reprinted by the Crown
Rights Book Co
., describes (in 767 pages) the false arrests
of innocent citizens during Lincoln’s dictatorship, and their ordeal
in the different prisons around the North.

Were
these citizens from the South? Actually, they came from the “loyal”
states, and they were Democrats. These innocent citizens were judges,
lawyers, doctors, U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, farmers,
ministers, women, editors, state legislators, merchants, colonels,
captains, professors, etc. There is a high probability that those
mentioned in the book are only a sampling of those falsely arrested
during Lincoln’s reign of terror.

As
is the usual pattern, these false arrests occurred by
surprise for the most part, usually in the middle of the night or
the early morning hours such as 4 or 5 a.m. In two cases, a lawyer
was participating in a trial when he was falsely arrested, and a
minister was conducting a religious service, when he was also falsely
arrested.

Most
of the prisoners were never told of the charges against them, never
knew who their accusers were, when asked about their authority to
arrest, there was none, no trials except occasionally a prisoner
would be brought in front of a “military commission” which was,
of course, illegal. They were imprisoned without knowing what they
had done wrong, and when they were eventually released months or
years later, they still did not know.

Just
voicing an objection to Lincoln’s administration, supporting the
Constitution of the United States, voicing an opinion against the
illegal draft, refusing to pray for Lincoln, discouraging enlistments,
etc. could land you in prison.

Detectives
and spies were placed by the Lincoln administration at religious
services and conventions held by Democrats, reading local newspapers
which supported the Democrats’ viewpoints, etc., and they reported
their findings to the proper authorities. This they did, and false
arrests ensued.

At
one point, the whole Maryland legislature was imprisoned at Fort
McHenry as well as the Mayor of Baltimore, Mr. Brown, and a Maryland
U.S. Representative, Mr. May. One such Maryland legislator was Frank
Key Howard, Esq., the grandson of Francis Scott Key. He was awakened
around midnight when several armed men entered his home, and searched
the premises. He demanded to see the warrant and the nature of the
accusation, but none was given.

Another
unfortunate citizen, who was falsely arrested, was Senator James
W. Wall from Burlington, New Jersey. On September 11, 1861, the
Marshal informed him that he had a warrant for his arrest, and when
Mr. Wall asked him “at what suit?," the Marshal responded by
saying “at the suit of the government." Senator Wall, in turn,
replied “I do not owe the Government anything." He, too, demanded
to see the affidivit and to know the nature of the accusation, but
none was given. When Mr. Wall refused to be the Marshal’s prisoner,
several deputies entered the room at which point, Mr. Wall seized
the Marshal by the throat and hurled him across the room. More deputies
came forward, and Mr. Wall struck one of them. He was eventually
assaulted by four deputies, and was taken to Belder’s Hotel. Shortly
thereafter, he boarded the train which eventually took him to Fort
Lafayette in New York Harbor.

Senator
Wall’s only crime was that he denounced the war and unconstitutional
violations of citizens’ rights. Additionally, he was never able
to find out the grounds of his arrest. Upon discharge from the prison
and returning home, he was greeted by about a thousand persons at
the train depot, whereby he gave an eloquent speech regarding the
cruel injustice he had experienced as well as constitutional rights.

Furthermore,
Senator Wall denounced the proposal of the Emancipation policy to
“purchase” slaves from the State of Missouri by the Federal government,
and also denounced the “Bill of Indemnity” which basically would
protect the president and his subordinates from any legal consequences
of their unconstitutional and arbitrary acts.

By
the way, “purchasing” slaves is still slavery, is it not? Where
in the Constitution of the United States does it give the general
government the authority to purchase slaves? It is nowhere to be
found in Article 1, Section 8, which is the section that grants
Congress certain enumerated powers and none other.

William
Hewitt Carlin, son of Governor Carlin of Illinois, was a lawyer,
post-master under President Buchanan, state senator of Illinois,
and clerk of the Circuit Court of Greene County, Illinois, was also
falsely arrested without ever knowing the charges against him, and
additionally, he was a personal friend of Lincoln, even though they
were political enemies. No charges were ever filed against him,
and he died in prison.

Robert
Elliott from Freedom, Maine, who was a member of the Maine Legislator,
and also a member of the Governor’s Council, was falsely arrested
around midnight on September 7, 1861, at his home by Marshal Charles
Clark and a dozen deputies. Mr. Elliott claimed that not one of
these men resided in his county. He, too, was not told of any charges
other than his arrest was ordered by Secretary of War Simon Cameron.
About two months later, he was discharged from Fort Lafayette in
NY harbor without ever learning of the nature of the accusation.
On August 16, 1863, his two barns were set on fire, and after building
another barn, this, too, was set on fire on December 31, 1866 while
he was in Boston to arrange for its sale.

Cyrus
Sargent, a merchant, originally from Yarmouth, Maine, who lived
in New Orleans and in Arkansas conducting business, returned to
Maine upon hearing of his wife’s death. He attended a convention
at Portland, Maine, sponsored by the Democrats, and he was asked
the sentiment of the Southern people to which he replied “the people
of the South felt that the war was forced upon them, and all they
asked was that the Government should be administered according to
the Constitution, and not as Abraham Lincoln said it should be….”

When
Mr. Sargent left Portland for Boston, he was attacked by four men
on the train at the South Berwick, Maine, junction while reading
a newspaper. He demanded to know by what authority he was attacked,
and the Marshal produced a paper, but refused to let him see it.
Mr. Sargent then asked the Marshal to read it to him, but this was
refused, too. He was transferred to Fort Lafayette, and never knew
the nature of the charges against him.

It
is interesting to note that Lincoln’s first vice president Hannibal
Hamlin, once a Democrat, was born in Paris, Maine. He was a former
Maine Legislator, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator representing
Maine. I have to wonder what steps he took, if any, when at least
two Maine citizens were falsely arrested under Lincoln’s administration?

May
24, 2004

Lise
Dupont McLain [send her mail]
from Gilead, Maine, a former clinician, has a Bachelor’s
degree from the University of Maine, a Master’s degree from the
University of New England, and two years of Post-Graduate training
at the Center for the Awareness of Patterns.

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