War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0149 Chapter IX. BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONERS.

Search Civil War Official Records

which might have been deemed sufficient to justify such a step, your memorialist would have taken care to govern the police force efficiently and properly during his confinement. The legality of such arrest would have been a question for Colonel Kane, and not your memorialist, to consider; but either of the courses suggested would have fulfilled the purposes, and have met the exigency, announced in the proclamation. General Banks, acting doubtless in conformity with his orders, adopted neither the one course nor the other, but assuming jurisdiction not only over the person of an alleged offender, but over his official functions, likewise saw fit not only to arrest and imprison him, but to dismiss him from his place as a public officer of this State (which only your memorialist could lawfully do), and to supersede the lawful authority of your memorialist besides. Knowing that such a proceeding could not by possibility be justified by anything in the laws or constitution of Maryland or the United States, your memorialist were compelled by every consideration of sworn duty to treat the same as an arbitrary act of force and usurpation, no matter by whose orders it might have been committed, or under what pretexts it was sought to be excused. No construction which it was possible for them to give to the proclamation of the 27th of June could have brought them to any other conclusion than that it was their bounden duty to enter their protest against it.

They therefore deny that the construction which they adopted was either "forced" or "unwarrantable," as charged in the proclamation of July 1; and they emphatically protest against the truth of the further allegation contained in the latter document to the effect that their official course upon the occasion was dictated by a purpose to "leave the city without any police protection whatever." If, indeed, they had entertained such a purpose, they respectfully suggest that it was not a matter with which any officer of the Federal Government had any right-full concern, how much so ever it would have furnished their fellow-citizens with just cause of complaint. But they entertained no such purpose. On the contrary, they aver and are prepared to show that when General Banks, by his proclamation of June 27, interrupted the exercise of their lawful authority, the city was thoroughly protected, in all particulars, by your memorialist and the force under their command; that its tranquility was perfect; its peace neither disturbed nor threatened; the rights of person and property of all men were inviolate; the civil authorities of the State and city were in the beneficial and effective exercise of all their functions, and the laws were supreme, except in so far as interfered with by the military power. If, therefore, the city was left without protection on the 27th of June, it was the fault and upon the responsibility not of your memorialist but altogether of that department of the General Government by which the constituted authorities of the State were supersede and the protective provisions of its laws deprived of their vitality.

If General Banks himself were unlawfully superseded by force, he surely would not regard it as just in his captors to accuse him of leaving his department without protection, because he refused, as a man of courage and honor, to acquiesce in their violent suspension and assumption of his functions.

Your memorialist claim to be judged, officially and personally by no lower standard of dignity, responsibility, or honor. As public officers and men of ordinary integrity, it must be obvious to your honorable bodies that they could not lend themselves in any way to what they know to be a palpable violation of the law they had sworn to support.

They could not transfer of acquiesce in the transfer to General Banks