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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908
that which shows that they did it. But some Senators differ
from me about that.  I was just saying the first testimony was
ex parte.
  We did not have to go outside of this Chamber to dispose of
it. A mere analysis of it here in debate prompted the President
to send Mr. Purdy to Brownsville, and he convicted them again
upon testimony taken in the form of affidavits purely ex parte,
without their having any chance to be heard.
  Then there came the Penrose court-martial, where Major Pen-
rose himself was on trial and the men were not, but where
Major Penrose, who was on trial, was acquitted, and the men,
who were not on trial, were convicted--convicted until an analy-
sis was made of what was done. Then the claim that they
were convicted there appeared so utterly absurd and such an
outrage on judicial procedure as to merit only everybody's
  So I might go on. They were convicted again, I was about
to say, by the shells and bullets which were subjected to a
microscopic inspection.  There was conclusive evidence, it was
claimed, that these men had done this shooting, and yet, when
the testimony was taken and application made of what that
showed, the evidence was conclusive just the other way, that
they had nothing whatever to do with it, and could not
have had.
  All that has been gone over. I do not want to go over it,
but now, again, after the testimony is all taken, men are hired
to pursue these men, to ferret the matter out, if they can, in
the way described by this poor, helpless man, by going to him
and saying, "This man, that man, and the other man have been
making affidavits, and you, too, must make an affidavit; if you
will, I will protect you."
  Oh, shame upon a Government that will employ all its
power, every power that it commands, not for the purpose of
the protection of men in their right to be presumed innocent
until they are proven guilty, but to prove men, who claim they
are innocent, to be guilty of a heinous crime, and to do it be-
hind the door and in the dark.
  Mr. President, shooting a man out of the dark and in the
back is the most cowardly and indefensible procedure of which
I have any conception. But I must not take more time.
  I had no idea when I arose to offer my amendment that I
would take any time.  I did not know then of the President's
message. After I reached the Chamber I received a telegram.
which is in my desk, stating that a message of this general
nature was likely to be sent here this morning. That did not
cause me to offer my amendment.  I had already brought it
here to offer it; in fact. I expected to offer it last week.  Neither
did it deter me from offering it.  And now, Mr. President, let it
once and for all be understood that in this whole matter I have
no desire and no purpose except only to do my duty as I under-
stand it. I have no embarrassments to work out for anybody
as against anybody. I have no feeling of spitefulness or revenge
as against anybody in connection with this matter.
  All I have known from the beginning has been that here are
167 men, with as good records as any battalion in the American
Army, everyone of whom says he had nothing whatever to do


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Black Battalion: Speech of Hon. Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio in the Senate of the United States, 1908



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