Two men, Caligula and Pickens, were sitting on the front porch of a house in Georgia, observing the scenery and the people passing by. They noticed a man in a long black coat and a beaver hat, who seemed to be highly respected by the townspeople.
The landlord informed them that the man was Colonel Jackson T. Rockingham, the president of the Sunrise & Edenville Tap Railroad, mayor of Mountain Valley, and chairman of the Perry County board of immigration and public improvements.
Later, Caligula read a newspaper article about a Greek citizen named Burdick Harris who was kidnapped by Africans and held for ransom. The United States government intervened, sending two gunboats to the State of Tangiers and forcing the King of Morocco to pay a ransom of seventy thousand dollars to secure Harris's release. Inspired by this story, Caligula proposed that they kidnap Colonel Rockingham and demand a ransom of ten thousand dollars.
What we’re going to do is to kidnap the latter into the former, and inflict a ransom of ten thousand dollars.
Pickens initially objected to the plan, arguing that kidnapping was illegal and immoral. However, Caligula insisted that since the United States government had condoned and endorsed the ransom payment in the case of Burdick Harris, their plan was justified.
Would you commit aspersions on a equitable graft that the United States itself has condoned and indorsed and ratified?
Pickens eventually agreed to participate in the scheme, but expressed concern about the potential involvement of the Secretary of State. He vowed that if they received any communication from the government, he would flee to the neighboring state of Alabama.
I propose to acquire the most propinquitous and celeritous mule in this section and gallop diplomatically over into the neighboring and peaceful nation of Alabama.