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called upon the people to resist its execution. General Burnside arrested him at once, and ordered him to be tried by courtmartial at Cincinnati. On the fifth of May, the day following his arrest, he applied to the United States Circuit Court for a writ of habeas corpus; and, after an elaborate argument from his counsel, and the reading of a long letter from General Burnside giving the reasons for his arrest, Judge Leavitt decided against his application, giving his opinion that “The legality of the arrest depends upon the extent of the necessity for making it; and that was to be determined by the military commander.” Judge Leavitt dealt with the case nobly. “Those who live under the protection and enjoy the blessings of our benignant government,” said he, “must learn that they cannot stab its vitals with impunity. If they remain with us, while they are not of us, they must be subject to such a course of dealing as the great law of self-preservation prescribes and will enforce.” Further, he said: "I confess I am but little moved by the eloquent appeals of those who, while they indignantly denounce violation of personal liberty, look with no horror upon a despotism as unmitigated as the world has ever witnessed.
On the following day, Vallandigham had his trial, was convicted, and was sentenced to confinement in some fortress of the United States, to be designated by General Burnside, who approved the finding of the court, and designated Fort Warren as his prison. The President, however, modified the sentence, and directed that the convict should be sent within the rebel lines, among the people which he held in such cordial sympathy, with the direction that he should not return until after the termination of the war. The man thus sent to his own found safe conduct through the rebel states, and managed to reach Canada, from whose territory he subsequently emerged, without waiting for the termination of the war, and without saying to the President, “By your leave.”
There were numbers of men in the loyal states who were quite as guilty as Mr. Vallandigham, even if less bold than he. These took alarm. If Mr. Vallandigham could be ar
rested and sent within the rebel lines for abusing the motives and acts of the government, who, that sympathized with Mr. Vallandigham, was safe ?. It was a natural and pertinent inquiry. So they began to hold public meetings, to denounce the government, and to call upon the President to reconsider his act in Vallandigham's case. Governor Seymour of New York was powerfully exercised in the matter, and wrote a very spirited letter to one of these meetings held in Albany, on the sixteenth of May. If the Ohio demagogue used treasonable language, it is hard to see why the New York governor did not. The sanction of the act by which Vallandigham was sent among his friends, by President and people, was, in his opinion, not only despotism but revolution. He almost copied the language of the convict himself. Mr. Vallandigham had said that the government was aiming not to restore the Union, but to crush out liberty. Governor Seymour said: “The action of the administration will determine, in the minds of more than one half of the people in the loyal states, whether this war is waged to put down rebellion in the South, or destroy free institutions at the North."
This meeting and others of the same kind, held in the leading cities of the Union, denounced arbitrary arrests and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, protested against Vallandigham's sentence, and called upon the President to recall their injured friend and protégé. A month after Vallandigham was banished, the Democratic State Convention of Ohio met, and, by almost a unanimous vote, nominated him as their candidate for governor, and Senator Pugh, his legal counsel, as their candidate for lieutenant governor. They also sent a committee to Washington to demand of the President the recall of their candidate. The letter which they bore was answered at length by the President; and he gave the supporters of Mr. Vallandigham a very plain talk. He told them what he believed to be the facts touching Mr. Vallandigham's words and influence, in opposition to those means which the government deemed indispensable to its own preservation, and then said: “Your own attitude, therefore, encourages desertion, re
sistance to the draft, and the like, because it teaches those who incline to desert and to escape the draft, to believe it is your purpose to protect them.” He told them, however, that the proceedings in Mr. Vallandigham's case were “for prevention, not for punishment-an injunction to stay an injury; and that the modification of General Burnside's order was made as a less disagreeable mode to Mr. Vallandigham himself of securing the desired prevention.
It is hardly to be doubted that Mr. Lincoln would never, of his own motion, have arrested the greatly over-rated subject of these discussions. He had talked as badly in Washington as he had in Ohio, and lost no opportunity to abuse the President himself; but Mr. Lincoln very severely let him alone. When, therefore, he clandestinely returned, a year , afterwards, and fulminated his threats against the government, in case he should be arrested in any way except by officers of the civil tribunals, he was permitted to say what he pleased. The people of Ohio had already decided against him by a majority of one hundred thousand votes; and he had lost his power for harm, except where he might choose to bestow his friendship
To the resolutions passed by the Albany meeting of which Hon. Erastus Corning was president, Mr. Lincoln made an elaborate reply. This was his favorite field. hold of a case to argue; and its importance, in his apprehension, may be judged by the fact that he spent more time and exhausted more pains upon this paper than upon any other written during his administration, messages included. It was intended to be the full and exhaustive vindication of his policy, upon the subjects it covered, before the American people; and the American people so regarded it. No headway could be made against it, and no serious and candid attempt was made to answer it.
These pages will not give space to the entire document, or even a review of the argument; but some of its illustrations may be cited as giving its drift and style. In arguing the necessity of the arrest of those who were known to be traitors,
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but who had committed no overt act of treason, he said: “General John C. Breckinridge, General Robert E. Lee, General Joseph E. Johnston, General John B. Magruder, General William B. Preston, General Simon B. Buckner, and Commodore Franklin Buchanan, now occupying the very highest places in the rebel war service, were all within the power of the government since the war began, and were nearly as well known to be traitors then as now. Unquestionably, if we had seized and held them, the insurgent cause would be much weaker. But no one of them had committed any crime defined in the law. Every one of them, if arrested, would have been discharged on habeas corpus, were the writ allowed to operate. In view of these and similar cases, I think the time not unlikely to come when I shall be blamed for having made too few arrests, rather than too many."
Certainly here was a case in point; and it is hard to see why reasoning that applies so well to those men would not apply as well to those still in the power of the government, who had notoriously so opposed the war as to hinder that government from conquering the traitors named. Mr. Vallandigham “was not arrested," he said, “because he was damaging the political prospects of the administration, or the personal interests of the commanding general; but because he was damaging the army, upon the existence and vigor of which the life of the nation depends.” Furthermore: “Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier-boy, who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert ? I think that, in such a case, to silence the agitator and save the boy, is not only constitutional, but withal a great mercy.”
The Albany meeting had spoken to Mr. Lincoln as “democrats.” To this aspect of the matter he paid his addresses. He would have preferred to meet them on the higher platform of “ American citizens," at such a time; but, since he was denied this privilege, he comforted himself with the reflection that all democrats did not believe with them. General Burnside, who arrested Mr. Vallandigham, was a democrat. Judge Leavitt, who refused to release him on the writ of habeas corpus, was also a democrat who received his mantle from the hands of Jackson himself; and speaking of Jackson reminded him of an incident in point: “ After the battle of New Orleans, and while the fact that the treaty of peace had been concluded was well known in the city, but before official knowledge of it had arrived, General Jackson still maintained martial or military law. Now that it could be said the war was over, the clamor against martial law, which had existed from the first, grew more furious. Among other things, a Mr. Louiallier published a denunciatory newspaper article. General Jackson arrested him. A lawyer by the name of Morel procured the United States Judge Hall to issue a writ of habeas corpus to relieve Mr. Louiallier. General Jackson arrested both the lawyer and the Judge. A Mr. Hollander ventured to say of some part of the matter that it was a "dirty trick.' General Jackson arrested him. When the officer undertook to serve the writ of habeas corpus, General Jackson took it from him, and sent him away with a copy. Holding the Judge in custody a few days, the General sent him beyond the limits of his encampment, and set him at liberty, with an order to remain until the ratification of peace should be regularly announced, or until the British should have left the southern coast. A day or two more elapsed, the ratification of a treaty of peace was regularly announced, and the Judge and others were fully liberated. A few days more, and the Judge called General Jackson into court, and fined him one thousand dollars for having arrested him and the others named. The General paid the fine, and there the matter rested for nearly thirty years, when Congress refunded principal and interest."
Mr. Lincoln could not avoid adding that Senator Douglas, then a member of the House, was a prominent advocate of this democratic measure; and remarking: “First, that we had the same constitution then as now; second, that we then had a case of invasion, and now we have a case of rebellion; and, third, that the permanent right of the people to public discussion, the liberty of speech and of the press, the trial by jury,