Thursday, February 15, 2007

Clement L. Vallandigham's Notorious Crime

A little piece of a biography of Clement L. Vallandigham.

On 13 Apr. 1863, Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, Commmander of the Department Of The Ohio, had issued General Order No. 38, forbidding expression of sympathy for the enemy. On 30 Apr. Vallandigham addressed a large audience in Columbus, made derogatory references to the president and the war effort, then hoped that he would be arrested under Burnside's order, thus gaining popular sympathy. Arrested at his home at 2 a.m., 5 May, by a company of troops, he was taken to Burnside's Cincinnati headquarters, tried by a military court 6-7 May, denied a writ of habeas corpus, and sentenced to 2 years' confinement in a military prison. Following a 19 May cabinet meeting, President Lincoln commuted Vallandigham's sentence to banishment to the Confederacy.

He eventually returned to Ohio, but died several years later.

After he lost a bid in 1867 for election to the state senate, he resumed his law practice. In a Lebanon, Ohio, hotel, 16 June 1871, a gun went off while he was demonstrating to other attorneys how a defendant's supposed victim may have accidentally shot himself. He died there the following day.

I guess you could say he was a good lawyer. And he influenced literature:

Inspired by the story of Vallandigham's banishment and his remark at that time that he did not care to live in a country where Lincoln was president, Edward Everett Hale wrote "The Man Without a Country" (1863).


Sphere: Related Content


Jennifer said...

How bizarre. I work for the law firm started by Mr. Vallandingham (among others). I stare at his portrait all day long (taken pre-shooting, thankfully). Our largest conference room (named for him) is adorned with framed news clippings about him. My lobby contains books about him. So crazy, since you had no way of knowing this... did you?

Ontario Emperor said...

I had no idea. I hadn't even heard of him until last night, when I was trying to figure out what habeas corpus was. And I didn't even think to contact my Ohio connections on this topic (I know another Ohio blogger who happens to be a lawyer).