From the Richmond Examiner, 2/6/1866, p. 3, c. 2
MORE ABOUT THE “FERRETS.”
We are now able to give some further particulars concerning the “Ferrets,” which confirm and justify, in the strictest sense, the opinions we expressed in the article on “Ferrets” published in the “Examiner” of yesterday.
The preliminary meeting was held in the officer of Franklin Stearns, on Fifteenth street, between Main and Cary. About forty persons were present, and it was stated that a register would be opened at once, to contain a “white list” of those true and tried men who were to be recommended for fat office and important position, and a “black list” of those who were to be denounced to the “powers that be” as incurable and incorrigible. Mr. Wardwell was, as we have already mentioned, somewhat warm in his expressions, but his heat and ire were those of a pulling child in comparison with the well-matured wrath of one of his mighty coadjutors. Mr. Horace L. Kent, with many a wave of hand and twist of head, expressed his joy that he had never aided the “stinking Confederacy,” and said that “he would go in for hanging every ‘rebel’ upon the most convenient limb.” A convenient memory may perhaps be as much a characteristic of a “Ferret” as the “red eye” and “long snout,” and Mr. Kent, when he talked so glibly about hanging every “rebel,” probably forgot that, on the night of the day on which the ordinance of secession was passed, his house was brilliantly illuminated from basement to attick in celebration of what was then called a “great” and “auspicious” event!
Mr. Franklin Stearns, who sheltered the “Ferrets” under his roof, is an unhappy believer in the “Whig” chief, John Minor Botts! He and his chief were arrested in the early days of the Confederacy, and Mr. Stearns, finding prison life unpleasant to a man of his habits, volunteered to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States. After his release, he became, in act, a strong Southerner, and went so far as to subscribe a sum of ten thousand dollars for the equipment of a volunteer company, formed for the purpose of fighting against that “Union and Constitution” of which the “Ferrets” declare themselves the friends.
It is easy for us to understand, taught as we are by the sad experience of the past, that consistency or inconsistency, faith or treachery has but little to do with the success of such an organization as that of the “Ferrets.” Whatever may have been their errours in Confederate days, they can explain them away as the consequence of youthful folly or senile imbecility, and, by dint of hard swearing and fervent protestations, may soon recover a desirable position of personal and pecuniary safety! The “Ferrets” have not confined themselves to abuse and slander; they have been steadily at work; and so early as May last, a long list of the proscribed was ready to be forwarded to Washington! Facilis descensus Averni! – and these poor skulking creatures, who fear the broad light of day and love the congenial darkness of night, will find that there is no turning back on the path that they have chosen. Lower, still lower, will they sink in the estimation of the honourable and just, until “none shall be so poor as to do them reverence,” and they will be feared no more than the gliding viper which we crush beneath our heel!
From time to time we shall publish such further information as we may obtain – actuated by the sole motive of teaching our people who are their true friends, and how easy it is to seem smooth and fair in face, while in the heart there remains nothing but treachery and corruption.