TO THE PUBLIC.
The papers which are herewith submitted to you for your perusal and consideration, were delivered into my hands by Mr. Berl Trout.
The papers will speak for themselves, but Mr. Trout now being dead I feel called upon to say a word concerning him.
Mr. Berl Trout was Secretary of State in the Imperium In Imperio, from the day of its organization until the hour of his sad death. He was, therefore, thoroughly conversant with all of the details of that great organization.
He was a warm personal friend of both Bernard and Belton, and learned from their own lips the stories of their eventful lives.
Mr. Trout was a man noted for his strict veracity and for the absolute control that his conscience exercised over him.
Though unacquainted with the Imperium In Imperio I was well acquainted with Berl, as we fondly called him. I will vouch for his truthfulness anywhere.
Having perfect faith in the truthfulness of his narrative I have not hesitated to fulfil his dying request by editing his Ms., and giving it to the public. There are other documents in my possession tending to confirm the assertions made in his narrative. These documents were given me by Mr. Trout, so that, in case an attempt is made to pronounce him a liar, I might defend his name by coming forward with indisputable proofs of every important statement.
Sutton E. Griggs,
March 1, 1899. Berkley, Va.
IMPERIUM IN IMPERIO.
BERL TROUT’S DYING DECLARATION.
I am a traitor. I have
violated an oath that was as solemn and
binding as any ever taken by man on earth.
I have trampled under my feet
the sacred trust of a loving
people, and have betrayed secrets which were dearer to them
than life itself.
For this offence, regarded
the world over as the most
detestable of horrors, I shall be slain.
Those who shall be detailed
to escort my foul body to its
grave are required to walk backwards with heads averted.
On to-morrow night, the time of my burial, the clouds should gather thick about the queenly moon to hide my funeral procession from her view, for fear that she might refuse to longer reign over a land capable of producing such a wretch as I.
In the bottom of some old
forsaken well, so reads our law, I
shall be buried, face downward, without a coffin; and my body,
lying thus, will be transfixed with a wooden stave.
Fifty feet from the well into which my body is lowered, a red flag is to be hoisted and kept floating there for time unending, to warn all generations of men to come not near the air polluted by the rotting carcass of a vile traitor.
Such is my fate. I seek
not to shun it. I have walked into
odium with every sense alert, fully conscious of every step