Federal Justice for Confederates
Dear Sir or Madam,
I write this letter in response to Mr. Patrick Donnelly’s Letter to the Editor wherein he asserts that the Confederation of the Southern States known as the Confederate States of America was traitorous and unconstitutional. Mr. Donnelly must know something about the Constitution that no less than three federal prosecutors did not know in 1865-1868.
Following the capture of President Jefferson Davis, he was imprisoned in Fortress Monroe, Virginia while he awaited, even demanded, a trial for treason as threatened by the Radical Republicans in Washington, D.C. And why should they not try him? The federal government had, after all, just prosecuted a successful war to force the sovereign Southern States back into the Union at the point of the bayonet and very much against their will. Certainly, the entire country expected a quick trial and even faster hanging of President Davis.
Why did that not occur? Are we to believe the story that President Davis was pardoned so that the country could heal? Certainly, that sounds nice doesn’t it?! However, the truth is that he was only pardoned after no less than three federal prosecutors analyzed the government’s case against President Davis (and through him the entire Southern Confederacy) and found it wanting.
One of the best constitutional legal minds in 1865 was Mr. Joseph Lieberman. What was his quote concerning the government’s case against President Davis? Mr. Lieberman told the United States Attorney General, "Davis will not be found guilty and we shall stand there completely defeated!" This must have come as quite a shock to his federal masters in Washington so they turned to two other prosecutors with much the same result. Mr. John C. Clifford simply summarized the case by saying, "I have grave doubts about it". Imagine! Grave Doubts!
Failure to successfully prosecute the leader of the evil Southern Confederation would mean that their war against the sovereign Southern States would itself have been unconstitutional! With three federal prosecutors doubting the case against President Davis, it was in desperation that the Radical Republicans sought to ‘pardon’ him under the auspices of the 13th Amendment rather than allow the President his day in court that he so very much wanted.
No sir, the South has nothing for which to hold its head in shame. The men that fought for her independence from 1861-1865 were every bit the Patriot as the men and lads that stood at Concord and Lexington! Today’s tongue cluckers really need to study their history and their constitutional rights before opening their gobs!