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objectionable." There had been times, he remarked, when United States soldiers were not unwelcome in that state; and the actual sentiment of national independence was such that no domestic contention "ought in any case to be referred to any foreign arbitrament, least of all to the arbitrament of an European monarchy." These were discreet expressions, considering the dangers of the hour; but the people of the North, who had answered the call to arms with such patriotic enthusiasm, had assumed that the period of hesitation and mere self-defence had ended. Lincoln and Seward at once became objects of criticism and warnings that must have startled them."
1 1 Moore's Rebellion Record, Docs., p. 133.
2 Moses H. Grinnell, one of the wealthiest and most influential of Seward's friends and followers in New York, wrote to him, April 25th: 'The correspondence between the government and Governor Hicks does not suit our people. There is a deep sentiment in this quarter repugnant to concession, and I assure you there will be trouble among our people if there is the least appearance on the part of the government yielding to these rascals. I beg you to treat these villains [in Maryland] as they deserve. No more soft words to traitors. The Post of last evening gave you hard hits, and, I assure you, your name is freely spoken of and with some censure." Again, the next day, acting as the spokesman of "twenty-five as influential men as we have in New York," he asked that his views be laid before the President, and added that the feeling was so strong that necessity if not patriotism would compel a response to it in order to prevent serious trouble. The correspondence with Hicks, he said, had caused intense indignation on the part of all classes. The New York Evening Post of April 24th asked: "How much longer is open rebellion to be met with assurances of distinguished consideration? How many more days will the government spend in elegant letter-writing?" From Erie, Penn., H. Ely reported, April 27th, that there was great dissatisfaction because a clear and free passage had not been made through the rebel city Baltimore." You must demolish it if necessary, and at once, or the strong indignation sentiment now resting upon the rebels will be turned upon the administration." N. P. Tallmadge, who had all along been for a peaceful solution, declared, April 28th, that the people would "not brook unnecessary delay. They require action-prompt and vigorous action-and they will not hold the admin
At first Lincoln was unwilling to do more than order General Scott, in case the Maryland legislature should attempt to arm the people against the United States, to adopt the most efficient measures to prevent it, even to the extent of bombarding their cities, and," in the extremest necessity, suspending the writ of habeas corpus."1 But there was so strong a current toward secessionand the secession of Maryland would put the national capital at the mercy of the Confederates-that on April 27th, the President authorized Scott to suspend the writ anywhere between Washington and Philadelphia. This rendered it less difficult to deal with the most dangerous men. Soon the authority was used and arbitrary arrests began to be made: the Baltimore marshal of police, the police commissioners, and other men of prominence were seized and sent to a United States fort. According to a plan devised by Seward, Dix, and General Banks, several members of the Maryland legislature that were expecting to push through an ordinance of secession the next day were arrested in September, 1861, and treated like the other political prisoners.
One of the earliest cases was that of John Merryman, arrested near Baltimore by United States military offi cers because he was lieutenant in a company organized to aid the Confederacy. Chief Justice Taney issued a writ of habeas corpus commanding Major-General Cadwalader, who had Merryman in custody, to appear before the court with the prisoner and explain the cause
istration guiltless in any other course. This rebellion must be crushed out in the least possible time. Such a course will be the most economical in money and lives. You must not wait for the deliberations of Congress. Act whilst the spirit is up-let it not die down by the discouragement of delay. Make an example now that will last for all time-so that treason will not again show its head-and so that the southern right of secession will never again be exercised.”—Seward MSS. 1 1 2 Lincoln's Works, 38.
of the arrest and the detention. Following the President's orders, Cadwalader declined to obey. The Chief Justice then delivered an elaborate opinion declaring that Congress alone had a right to suspend the writ. Numerous learned lawyers soon took up this important question, and a great discussion was begun, which is not likely to end so long as the Constitution merely authorizes the suspension without saying whether it shall be decreed by the President or by Congress.
With the administration the question was primarily one of political necessity. It was summed up in this sentence in Lincoln's message to Congress in July: "To state the question more directly, are all the laws but one to go unexecuted and the government itself to go to pieces lest that one be violated?" Lieber said: "The
'The following paragraphs from Stanton's order of February 14, 1862, represent the views of the administration as to the political necessity:
"Every department of the government was paralyzed by treason. Defection appeared in the Senate, in the House of Representatives, in the Cabinet, in the Federal courts; ministers and consuls returned from foreign countries to enter the insurrectionary councils or land or naval forces; commanding and other officers of the Army and in the Navy betrayed our councils or deserted their posts for commands in the insurgent forces. Treason was flagrant in the revenue and in the post-office service, as well as in the territorial governments and in the Indian reserves.
"Not only governors, judges, legislators, and ministerial officers in the states, but even whole states, rushed one after another with apparent unanimity into rebellion. The capital was besieged and its connection with all the states cut off.
Even in the portions of the country which were most loyal political combinations and secret societies were formed furthering the work of disunion, while from motives of disloyalty or cupidity, or from excited passions or perverted sympathies, individuals were found furnishing men, money, and materials of war and supplies to the insurgents' military and naval forces. Armies, ships, fortifications, navy-yards, arsenals, military posts, and garrisons, one after another, were betrayed or abandoned to the insurgents.
Congress had not anticipated and so had not provided for the 257
whole Rebellion is beyond the Constitution. The Constitution was not made for such a state of things; it was not dreamt of by the framers.'
Good Unionists frequently complained of having to send their sons to fight Confederates while men more dangerous than if armed remained behind and were undisturbed in furnishing aid and encouragement to the enemy. From the latter part of July, 1861, a very important feature of the war-policy was to make political spies and Confederate sympathizers fear northern prisons as much as soldiers do the enemy's cannon. Until the middle of February, 1862, Seward had supreme control of the system by which nearly a thousand men were seized in different parts of the country and hurried off to one of three or four forts in the East.
The logical chief of such an organization was the Attorney-General or the Secretary of War. The Department of State alone of all the executive branches of the government had no officers in any of the states. Why was such a charge assigned to the member of the
emergency. The municipal authorities were powerless and inactive. The judicial machinery seemed as if it had been designed not to sustain the government, but to embarrass and betray it.”
"In this emergency the President felt it his duty to employ with energy the extraordinary powers which the Constitution confides to him in cases of insurrection. He called into the field such military and naval forces unauthorized by the existing laws as seemed necessary. He directed measures to prevent the use of the post-office for treasonable correspondence. He subjected passengers to and from foreign countries to new passport regulations, and he instituted a blockade, suspended the writ of habeas corpus in various places, and caused persons who were represented to him as being or about to engage in disloyal and treasonable practices to be arrested by special civil as well as military agencies, and detained in military custody when necessary to prevent them and deter others from such practices." -115 War Records, 222. See also Henry Wilson's remarks in the Senate, December 16, 1861, Globe, 92. Life and Letters, 340.
Cabinet whose functions were to look after international relations? Important new responsibilities that did not clearly devolve upon others were often assumed by Seward as a matter of course. If he was not the wisest member of the administration, he was the most alert, the most energetic, and the best informed as to the greatest number of important questions. These traits, together with his ambition and Lincoln's wise recognition of his strong qualities, made him not the head of the administration, but in many respects the most active force in it.
Lincoln was responsible for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and Seward for the system, that soon developed therefrom. Because it was arbitrary, largely secret, and altogether unusual, it was either attacked too bitterly or defended without candor. Some of its features bore a striking resemblance to the most odious institution of the ancien régime in France-the Bastile and the lettres de cachet. A just war and a brutal massacre are very similar in some respects, but the motive may make one noble whereas the other is horrible and fiendish. If Seward had carried on his system in time of peace, he would have been the most despicable tyrant of the century. Its sole moral justification must rest upon its necessity. If there was no other means adequate to cope with the enemies of the government, then history will justify this method. On the other hand, if it was more far-reaching and severe than the circumstances demanded, then Seward will not be held blameless. But let us see first what Seward's system
Corresponding with the commercial blockade of the Confederacy, the Secretary of State created a sort of personal blockade of the North by requiring passports of all persons entering or leaving the United States. He appointed special agents at such places as Detroit,