54 Southern Historical Society Papers.
which were deemed inconsistent with public safety and were prohib- ited. (Id., p. 695.) Late in the summer of 1865 books and news- papers were allowed him.
It would be unjust to his jailors were the statement omitted, that, on the 30th of January, 1866, after the press at the North had com- mented severely on the treatment of the State prisoners, Davis and Clay, the Secretary of War ordered that $36 per month be paid "for furnishing the prisoners Davis and Clay with such food as they require, and for the payment of the laundresses who do their washing." The day after this expansion in diet the daily report shows that Mr. Davis "suffered more than usual from dyspeptic symptoms." (121 War of Rebellion, p. 874-75.)
Amidst the earlier and darker days of his confinement, one ray of light and hope reached the distinguished prisoner and that, it is pleasant to know, came from the then acknowledged head of our profession in the United States. On the 2d of June, 1865, Mr. Charles O' Conor, of New York, wrote to Mr. Davis as follows:
" Gentlemen who have no personal acquaintance with yourself, and who never had any connection by birth, residence or otherwise with any of the Southern States, have requested me to volunteer as counsel for the defense, in case you should be arraigned upon an indictment which has been announced in the newspapers. No less in conformity with my own sense of propriety than in compliance with their wishes, I beg leave to tender my services accordingly. I will be happy to attend, at any time and place that you may indi- cate, in order to confer with yourself or others in relation to the de- fense. The Department of War having given its assent to the transmission of this open letter through the proper military author- ities, I infer that if my professional aid be accepted, you will have full permission to confer with me in writing and orally at personal interviews, as you may judge to be necessary or desirable."
This letter was in due course of official meandering delivered to Mr. Davis, whose natural impulse was, of course, at once to answer it. Then arose in General Miles' mind a serious question as to the quo modo of the response. Mr. Davis had no paper on which to write, no pen, no ink. The crisis was grave. The government at Washington had permitted a letter from a very distinguished and very loyal lawyer to be delivered to Mr. Davis. Was the inference to be drawn from that fact that the prisoner was to reply? If so, how ? The question was too momentous for our Major-General to