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

I shall only call attention to the fact that enough has been shown
to make it the imperative duty of the Senate of the United States
to adopt either the amendment I have offered or some other
amendment similar in character to it, to the end that these men
may have a tribunal before which they can go and can be heard.
  Mr. President, is there anything more atrocious than the
way proceedings have been conducted against these men?  This
is the sixth time they have been on trial and five times they
have been acquitted, in my judgment; and when the investiga-
tion of these charges now preferred is completed it will acquit
them again, and triumphantly, for I see enough earmarks to
justify me in saying that what I have indicated will be the
result of such investigation.
  Is there anything more atrocious than the conviction of men
of crime upon secret ex parte testimony? Is there any occasion
for it? What is the necessity for such treatment of these men?
  By the testimony of every one of their officers--and no offi-
cers in the American Army stand higher than do Major Penrose
and his associates of that battalion-these are men of good
habits, men of good character, and men of truth and veracity.
  They were first found guilty upon the testimony taken by the
citizens of Brownsville and Major Blocksom, without having any
opportunity to meet their accusers or to cross-examine or to
offer testimony in answer.
  Mr. CARTER.  Mr. President--
  The VICE-PRESIDENT. Does the Senator from Ohio yield
to the Senator from Montana?
  Mr. FORAKER. I do.
  Mr. CARTER. Mr. President, I have deferred interrupting
the Senator from Ohio, realizing his desire, and very proper de-
sire, to place in the RECORD at the time the correspondence of
the Secretary of War is there placed matter germane, relating
to the subject; but I feel constrained, now that that has been
done, to remind the Senator that this day has been devoted to a
special order, and that the matter to which he is addressing
himself will come up in due time as a special order on the
16th instant. I do not wish to rise to a question of order, but
merely to remind the Senator that the time during which the
special order of his day may be executed is fast passing.
  Mr. FORAKER.  I beg the Senator's pardon, and at the same
time I thank him for the indulgence he has shown me. I am
glad he has recognized it was such a case that all the time that
has been taken should have been taken to put in the RECORD the
story of this poor, humble, and, as I believe, absolutely truthful
man in opposition to what has been fabricated by a lot of hired
detectives, of whom I shall have something more to say at
another time.
  Now, I only want to add one word, if the Senator from Mon-
tana will allow me. I have said this was the sixth time they
have undertaken to convict these men of the shooting. It may
be they did it; I do not know. There has been no testimony
yet offered that satisfies me that they did it. When I say
"satisfies me," I do not mean there is no testimony tending to
show that these men did this shooting-some of them of that
battalion--but what I mean is that the testimony to show that
they did not do it is, to my mind, overwhelmingly stronger than


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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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