Famous Exile Clement L. Vallandigham Part 3

About "The Man without a Country" exile Clement L. Vallandigham and his place in United States history.


(1820-1871). Politician, dissenter, exile.

Six months later, he donned a false moustache, took a night ferry to Detroit, and returned to Ohio. This was reported to Lincoln but the war was going so well for the North by then that the President ignored the Ohioan. In 1868, Vallandigham sought his party's nomination for U.S. senator, but the Democrats gave it to another. He was nominated for his old 3rd District seat in Congress, but was beaten and returned to the practice of law.

A gambler named Thomas Myers was attacked by 5 intruders on Christmas Eve in 1870 as he played faro above a saloon in Hamilton, O. Myers drew a pistol and fired several shots. When the smoke cleared, he lay dead. One of the intruders, Thomas McGehan, was arrested and charged with murder. He retained Vallandigham, who, because of local feeling, obtained a change of venue to Lebanon, O. When the case came to trial, McGehan contended that he did not have a pistol the night Myers was killed. As part of his defense, Vallandingham bought a pistol and fired it several times through muslin to study the powder marks. They returned to the Lebanon House on the evening of June 16, 1871.

"A man could easily shoot himself as Myers was shot," argued Vallandigham and pulled the pistol from his pocket to demonstrate. He had forgotten that there were bullets in it. One crashed into his stomach.

Some of the jurors rushed in Vallandigham's room. A mistrial was declared. After 2 later trials, McGehan was freed. Vallandigham did not live to see his client exonerated. In the final anticlimax of his life, he died the morning after his accident, just short of his 51st birthday.

"The Man without a Country" established Hale as a writer. Ticknor and Fields of Boston 1st published it in book form in 1865. Many new editions followed. Hale's passionate tale lives on. It is included in countless anthologies, in many languages, in Pitman and Gregg shorthand, and in Braille. It has been dramatized and made into a motion picture. It went to 25 million readers during the Korean war when a Sunday newspaper supplement and 2 magazines reprinted it. Hale lived to write a foreword for a special Spanish-American War Edition and collected royalties on perhaps a million copies before his death at 87 in 1909. These royalties enabled him to maintain a salty independence. When he became chaplain of the U.S. Senate late in life, a visitor asked him if he prayed for the senators. "No," answered Hale. "I look at the senators and pray for the country!"

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