Introduction to "The Reconstruction Convention Simulation".

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Belief 2 - Reading 17 of 17
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HENRY WIRZ
Harper's Weekly, November 25, 1865, pages 738-739 (Editorial)
The guilty agent of the men who determined that our brave boys should die by slow and horrible torture in the pen of Andersonville has been hung. He did not deny that somebody ought to suffer for those unimaginable crimes; and we trust that "Colonel Freemantle of the Guards," and all who believed with him that the horrors of rebel prison were "a Federal lie," will mark and remember the last words of Henry Wirz: "I admit that prisoners were brutally treated, but deny that I am the guilty party."
The real instigators of this atrocity will perhaps never be personally known. But history and the human heart will forever hold those morally responsible who in high positions and by the necessity of the case were familiar with all military details within the rebel lines. If rebel prisoners in our hands had been "brutally treated," as Wirz confessed ours in rebel hands had been, by tens of thousands, until the land shuddered with shame and indignation, and Abraham Lincoln had sat placidly in the White House, and General Grant had smoked calmly in his tent, and neither of them had stopped absolutely and finally those dreadful deeds, their names would justly be as infamous as now they are honored and beloved. No sophistry could conceal their guilty responsibility, and none can acquit the men who held corresponding positions among the rebels. There are crimes against God and man which ought not to be forgotten, and those for which Wirz suffered and of which his masters share the guilt are of them.
It is a curious and awful retribution; but these horrors of Andersonville were but the natural and inevitable result of the system of slavery which this country so long tolerated. You can not deny his natural rights to any man without becoming indifferent to those of every man. When man, under any circumstances, is systematically regarded and treated as a thing or a brute, the compensations of nature are so exquisite and perfect that humanity itself pays the penalty.
The declaration of the late rebel slaveholders in the Southern States, that emancipation has been imposed upon them, and that caste shall be maintained, is another expression of precisely the same spirit which begot the atrocities of Wirz, of Belle Isle, and Salisbury, and Andersonville, and which at this moment hunts and murders the colored soldiers in the Southwest. That spirit is the unclean devil which tortures this country, and there will be no national health until it is utterly cast out.
Harper's Weekly, November 25, 1865, pages 738-739 (Editorial)

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