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lenged me to debate with you, may be expected to have with at least a large part of the public, an authority which mine cannot have. It gives me pleasure to say farther, that unless I am misinformed, you have done yourself honor, both as a lawyer and as a citizen, by repudiating the gross iniquity and chicanery of the Dred Scott decision, and all the policy of President Buchanan's administration in regard to slavery; that you have been uncompromisingly opposed to the extension of slavery and to its existence in any territory of the Union; and that your opposition to President Lincoln's administration began in an unfortunate attempt so lately as last autumn to organize a party in Massachusetts, which should at once sustain the President and defeat the reëlection of Senator Sumner. There are disloyal men in the loyal states-men whose sympathies are with the rebellion more than with the government-men who hold that the moral and political opposition to slavery which characterizes the free-labor states is opposition to the Constitution and the Union, and that therefore the rebellion is justifiable, and the war on our part a crime-men who seem to have hardly any other conception of the Constitution than that it was instituted for the purpose of guaranteeing and nationalizing the institution of African slavery. Having no respect for these men, or for any of them, high or low in position, I am happy to be assured that you are not one of them.

Without farther preface, I proceed to the questions which you have invited me to discuss with you.

The first of these questions, you, will allow me to say, requires a more accurate statement than you have given. Your statement of the question is such-or rather, your various statements are so discordant-that I am at a loss to know whether there is really any disagreement between us about it, or what the proposition is which one of us maintains and the other denies. You begin with the announcement that you have undertaken to perform "a duty which some one owes to the profession of the law and to the community generally;" and you describe the duty in these words:

"It is the duty of vindicating the right of the gentlemen of the Bar to form their opinions upon legal subjects, and especially upon the construction of the Constitution of the United States, and to express those opinions in any manner consistent with due courtesy to others, without being subjected to censure, sneers, abuse, and vituperation, by a class of clergymen who assume to know more of constitutional law than the tribunals and officers created and constituted for the purpose of discussing and determining legal questions."

Is this your statement of the point on which you expect me to join issue with you? If so, there is no dispute between us. The right which you have undertaken to assert for "the gen tlemen of the Bar" is cheerfully conceded; and if the right needs to be vindicated, I am as ready as you are to vindicate it against all comers. As for the "class of clergymen who assume to know more of constitutional law than the tribunals and officers created and constituted for the purpose of discussing and determining legal questions," I am not of them, nor will I undertake to defend them.

After expatiating a little on this statement, you put the question in a somewhat different way:-" If the clergy really have the best set of rules by which to determine our constitutional rights and duties." Allow me to say that on this question I have no dispute with you. I have never pretended that clergymen, whose professional business is to expound the documents of our religion, have any better rules, or any other rules, for the interpretation of documents, than the rules which are prescribed to your profession for the interpretation of written laws and constitutions. What other clergymen may have said or implied, is no concern of mine, inasmuch as I have never made myself responsible for them. Should you be able to discover a clergyman who says that the "clergy" have other and better rules of interpretation than those which are recognized in your profession, I shall accept the fact as proof of what needs no proof, namely, that every profession has its


Looking a little further, I find still another statement of the question. After admitting "that among the lawyers themselves there is a difference of opinion upon various questions of constitutional law," you say,

"But that is not at all material to the present inquiry, which has no reference

to the differences of construction by different lawyers, but is whether clergymen are entitled to pass final judgment, and overrule any and all lawyers with whom they differ on such subjects."

Do you really think, my dear Sir, that this is the question between you and me? When you made that statement of the question, did you mean to pretend that, either explicitly or by any implication, I have claimed in behalf of clergymen the right "to pass final judgment" on questions of constitutional law? But what else could you mean, if you considered at all the force of the words you were writing? Surely you must have had a very contemptuous opinion of my understanding, if you thought that, by any artifice, I could be induced to discuss such a question with you or with anybody else.

The occasion on which you have challenged me to this debate, was an article which was published in the Congregationalist of October 31st, and which the editor of that journal took the liberty of announcing as mine. In that article not one word was said concerning the rights or prerogatives of clergymen not one word having the remotest allusion to the clerical profession. I wrote not as a clergyman but anony mously, and the mention of my name by the editor was neither intended by me nor expected. How is it, then, that you undertake to raise upon that article an issue between the clerical profession and the legal? I respectfully deny your right to demand that I shall defend any proposition for which I have not made myself directly or indirectly responsible, or shall discuss with you in this public manner any question not germane to the matter of that article.

For the sake of showing more distinctly how wide of the mark your aim is, let me ask you to read again, and to read more calmly and accurately than you seem to have done, all that portion of my newspaper article which can be regarded as having any relation to this first question, whatever it may be. The President's "great proclamation" of September 22d, was the subject on which I ventured to offer some observations from my own point of view. After showing first that the President had not been coerced into that great measure, against his own judgment, by the importunity of self-constituted

advisers; secondly, that the necessity for it had become, in my view, obvious to all who care more for the Constitution and the Union than for slavery; and, thirdly, that the proclamation marks a definite stage in the progress of the war, I touched another topic in these words :


"Concerning the constitutional power of the President to issue such a proclamation, I have no shadow of a doubt. I am aware that some lawyers have undertaken to argue from the Constitution, against the right of the President to do what he has done in this respect. But though a hundred lawyers should undertake to convince me that the government is restrained by the Constitution from defending its own existence in a civil war, or that there is any one of the rights of a belligerent which it may not exercise in the territory of a state which has rejected the Constitution, and made war upon the Union, they can never impose that absurdity upon me, nor upon any man who is not willing to abnegate his own common sense in favor of somebody else's professional sense. I have a great respect for lawyers in their place, but I must be permitted to remember that lawyership is not the same thing with statesmanship; and to insist that the Constitution of the United States, like the Bible, is to be interpreted by the common sense of the people. I find that the inaugural oath of the President, as prescribed in that document, binds him to the duty, not merely of supporting, like all other officers of government, but of preserving, protecting, and DEFENDING the Constitution, to the best of his ability. I find that the Constitution, in order that may perform his oath, makes him "Commander-in-chief of the army and navy." I find that though Congress has the right to declare war, the President alone has the right to make war. To my common sense, the right and the duty to make war against the enemies of the United States, be they foreigners or rebels, involves, or rather is the right and the duty of conquering and crushing them by every legitimate method of war. Has the President a right by the Constitution, and is it his duty, to wage war in South Carolina-has he a right, and is it his duty to bombard cities, to burn villages, to cut down groves and forests, to obstruct harbors, to turn rivers from their channels, and to mow down regiments of men in battle, when these measures are necessary to a speedy and thorough conquest has he a right to do all this in defiance of the only government and laws now existing in that state-and has he not a right to proclaim that, after a certain day, unless the people of that state shall in the meantime reëstablish a state government under the Federal Constitution, no distinction shall be recognized among them but the distinction between friends and enemies of the United States, and that every friend, whatever his former condition, shall be recognized and protected as a freeman? Shame on the law-logic which undertakes to mystify our common sense! Admit that slaves are property, (though the Constitution does not know them in any other character than that of persons'), what then? Is there any preeminent sacredness in that particular kind of property? If the President, or a military commander, acting by his authority, may seize private property, when needed for military purposes-if he may take cotton, provisions, forage, horses, and all sorts of cattle, from the loyal as well as

the disloyal-giving to loyal owners an assurance of indemnity hereafter; may he not also take this property with a like assurance of indemnity to loyal owners? And if the conversion of all that property from private ownership to the use and service of the United States, by a proclamation of freedom to the slaves, is necessary, as a means of crushing the enemy, then that is just the thing which he must do, or violate his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.""

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What then is my offense? It is not that I have denied "the right of the gentlemen of the Bar to form their opinions upon legal subjects, and especially upon the Constitution of the United States, and to express their opinion in any manner consis tent with due courtesy to others." It is not that in behalf of the clergy, or as a clergyman, I have pretended to have a bet ter "set of rules by which to determine our constitutional rights and duties" than lawyers have. It is not that I have claimed for the clergy the prerogative of "passing final judgment" on questions of constitutional interpretation. Not I, but you, have brought into this discussion the suggestion that I am a clergyman. Surely you need not be told that in relation to any question of jurisprudence to be decided by a court, you are the professional clericus, and I am simply a layman. All my offense is, that being in the language of your profession a layman, I have claimed for myself, in common with all citithe right of private judgment concerning the meaning of the Constitution, and that, in exercising my right of private judgment, I have dared to reject the opinion, not of all lawyers, but of "some lawyers," concerning the powers which the Constitution permits the President to wield against the enemies of the United States. The study and practice of your profession tends, or should tend, to exactness in the statement of a disputed proposition or question. If a student in your office, being entrusted with the task of drawing a declaration for the plaintiff or a plea for the defendant in a civil action, should miss the mark as widely as you have done in your at tempt to raise an issue between yourself and me, about the mutual relations of your profession and mine, I think he would receive a severe rebuke.


Should I attempt to state the case for you, when you have so greatly failed in stating it for yourself, I might expose my

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