Thursday, June 22, 2017

James W. Wall arrested on the 11th day of September, 1861.

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American Bastile a history of the illegal arrests and imprisonment of american citizens during the late civil war by John A. Marshall published in 1869.

 James W. Wall, of New Jersey, was arrested on the 11th day of September, 1861. The circumstances of the arrest were as follows:-- He was about sitting down at his dinner-table, when a servant announced that a Mr. Thomas, with whom he had some business transactions, desired to see him at once in his office. All unconscious of harm, he proceeded to his office, and there, instead of Mr. Thomas, found the United States Marshal for the District of New Jersey, Benajah Deacon, and the Mayor of the City of Burlington. The Marshal informed him, on entering, "that he had a warrant for his arrest." He asked him "at whose suit ?" The Marshal replied: "At the suit of the Government." Mr. Wall at once responded: "I do not owe the Government anything, I believe, but, however, let me look at your warrant." He immediately handed him a copy of a telegram, in these words: "To Benajah Deacon, Esq., Marshal. "You are hereby commanded to arrest James W. Wall, of the city of Burlington, and convey him to Fort Lafayette, New York Harbor, forthwith. "By order of the Secretary of War. "Dated September 11, 1861." Upon reading this most curious document, he asked him how he received it, and the reply was, by telegraph. Mr. Wall said, "The Government is rather expeditious. However, I demand to know the nature of the accusation, and to see the copy of the affidavit upon which this winged warrant is based !" 

To these interrogations the Marshal replied: "I know nothing of either." Mr. Wall further asked: "Is Simon Cameron, who now claims to be Secretary of War, a judicial officer?" To all this the Marshal's reply was the same as before: "I know nothing about all this," adding, "nor is it my business to know." Mr. Wall quickly responded: "It is your business, sir you have entered my house against my will, without legal authority, and if you were to attempt force to execute that order you hold in your hand, and I was to kill you in the act, I would stand perfectly justified in the eye of the law and I now inform you, that I shall decline accompanying you as your prisoner, and if you attempt to coerce me, you will do so at your peril." 

He very quickly replied: Oh I know you, and have not come unprepared! see there!" opening, as he said so, a Venetian blind, that screened the window looking into the back yard. He looked, and there saw some five men, who, the Marshal said, were his deputies to aid him in the arrest. Mr. Wall sprang upon him at once, seized him by the throat, and, hurling him nearly across the room, made for the interior of the house, and when just at the turn of his main staircase, the front door was burst violently open, and four more ruffians made their appearance, the five in the rear yard closing rapidly on him. He struck one of the men in front, knocking him down, when he was assaulted by four or five. In the struggle he had the bosom of his shirt torn out and the sleeve entirely off. Without a hat, he was forced violently upon the pavement, and by main force, though resisting most of the way, was carried to Belder's Hotel.

The exact same Mr. Wall as Senator, March 2, 1863, on occasion of above-mentioned corpus bill:----

"This bill is only an embodiment of that pestilential political heresy with which this war commenced --and to which I shall adress myself presently-- that the right to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus was an executive and not a legislative power --a political heresy boldly sustained in this Chamber"

"Those great, absolute rights of the citizen, which were intended to be beyond the reach of arbitrary influence, the right of personal liberty, of property, of free speech and a free press, rudely and rutltlessly violated. Of these absolute rights, during what was not inaptly called the reign of terror, there was not one that was not trampled upon by the Executive or his subordinates; and what was worse than all, every assault that was made upon them was applauded to the echo by jurists, lawyers, divines, and contract-hunting renegade Democrats, whose cowardly hearts either ran away with their better judgements, or who really did not understand the very first principles of the Constitution under which they lived."