From the Richmond Examiner, 2/8/1866, p. 3, c. 2
THE “FERRETS” – MR. FRANKLIN STEARNS. – Since the publication of the article in the Examiner, of Monday last, exposing the proceedings and purposes of the “Ferrets,” we have received numerous card and lengthy communications from persons who are desirous of backing out of the organization, now that publick shame attends all its members. So far as we understand the English language, none of the cards we have received admit anything less than we have said, and we quote from a letter of Mr. Franklin Stearns his “contradiction” of a solitary one of our statements:
“Will you allow me to say that I never gave ten thousand dollars, or any other sum, to the Confederate cause. It may be proper to say, that early in May, 1861, Mr. Albert Aiken raised a company of horsemen, as a patrol, to look after the slave population, who were then supposed to be restless, and that I gave him five hundred dollars towards the equipment of said company, which was soon after disbanded and was never intended for the army. When I was in prison, the newspapers falsely stated that I gave ten thousand dollars to the Confederacy, for the purpose of proving to the authorities that I was capable of great deception.”
This is Mr. Stearns’ statement, but we were, and are assured by persons of great reliability that the ten thousand dollars was subscribed as we have stated.
Mr. Stearns does not deny that he was a “Ferret,” and does not say that he is not one now; he acknowledges that he took the oath, but alleges as an excuse that his wife was at the point of death; and, although he took the oath, “he never doubted the ultimate overthrow of the Confederacy.” He entertained officers and privates of the Confederate army at his house; “three or four, or perhaps, five meeting” of the “Ferrets” were held there; and he finally acknowledges that “one man was imprisoned for opinions’ sake,” and, apparently, as a result of the “Ferret” organization. All this is more than enough, and we are content that Mr. Stearns should be judged out of his own mouth! and by that alone!