But in calling a convention to restore the state, who shall restore and re-establish it? Shall the man who gave his influence and his means to destroy the government? Is he to participate in the great work of reorganization? Shall he who brought this misery upon the state be permitted to control its destinies? If this be so, then all this precious blood of our brave soldiers and officers so freely poured out will have been wantonly spilled. All the glorious victories won by our noble armies will go for naught, and all the battle-fields which have been sown with dead heroes during the rebellioin will have been made memorable in vain.
Why all this carnage and devastation? It was that treason might be put down and traitors punished. Therefore I say that traitors should take a back seat in the work of restoration. If there be but five thousand men in Tennessee loyal to the Constitution, loyal to freedom, loyal to justice, these true and faithful men should control the work of reorganization and reformation absolutely. I say that the traitor has ceased to be a citizen, and, in joining the rebellion, has become a public enemy. He forfeited his right to vote with loyal men when he renounced his citizenship and sought to destroy our government. We say to the most honest and industrious foreigner who comes from England or Germany to dwell among us, and to add to the wealth of the country, "Before you can be a citizen you must stay here five years." If we are so cautious about foreigners, who voluntarily renounce their homes to live with us, what should we say to the traitor, who, although born and reared among us, has raised a parricidal hand against the government which always protected him? My judgment is that he should be subjected to a severe ordeal before he is restored to citizenship. A fellow who takes the oath merely to save his property, and denies the validity of the oath, is a perjured man, and not to be trusted. Before these repenting rebels can be trusted, let them bring forth the fruits of repentance. He who helped to make all these widows and orphans, who draped the streets of Nashville in mourning, should suffer for his great crime.
Treason must be made odious, and the traitors must be punished and impoverished, their great plantations must be seized, and divided into small farms, and sold to honest, industrious men. The day for protecting the lands and negroes of these authors of rebellion is past. It is high time it was. I have been most deeply pained at some things which have come under my observation. We get men in command who, under the influence of flattery, fawning, and caressing, grant protection to the rich traitor, while the poor Union man stands out in the cold, often unable to get a receipt or a voucher for his losses.
The Great Rebellion: Its Secret History, Rise, Progress, and Disastrous Failure
by John Minor Botts, of Virginia, The Political Life of the Author Vindicated, pages 382-383
Harper & Brothers, Publishers, Franklin Square, New York, 1866