War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0151 Chapter IX. BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONERS.

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would hesitate to quash such a warrant if issued. They know no principle of criminal jurisprudence, under free institutions, which would authorize even the courts of recognized jurisdiction to sanction the arrest and confinement of a citizen upon the indefinite allegation of his entertaining "some purpose, not known to the Government," but still alleged to be "inconsistent with its peace or security."

But be this as it may, these memorialist respectfully insist that if they are charged with any offense which is known to the laws, it is their constitutional right, as citizens of the United States, to be dealt with according to law. If they are charged with no offense, it is equally their constitutional right to have the fact recognized, and to enjoy their personal liberty.

They have, through their counsel, respectfully asked of General Banks a statement of the grounds of their imprisonment, and have challenged an investigation of any and all charges affecting either their personal or official integrity of any and all charges affecting either their personal or official integrity or their fidelity to the laws and the Constitution.

No such statement has been made to them, no such investigation has been granted, and no hope has been held out to them of any speedy relief from the unjust and unlawful imprisonment under which they are suffering. In the mean time they are withdrawn from their homes and separated from their families; their public duties are unlawfully committed to other hands; their private interests are exposed to detriment and perhaps ruin, and they themselves held as malefactors before the country, and are compelled by force to endure mortification and obloquy. The arbitrary suspension of the writ of habeas corpus has of course deprived them of the means provided by law for their deliverance, and unless your honorable bodies should see fit to relieve them, they are wholly without means of present redress. They therefore most respectfully and earnestly invoke the immediate interposition of Congress in their behalf.

They repeat that they have administered their public trust faithfully, impartially, and to the best of their ability, and have not used the police force under their control, nor have they permitted it, nor contemplated permitting it, to be used for any other purpose thana the legitimate and faithful discharge of its duties as prescribed by law. As private citizens they invite scrutiny likewise into their conduct in every respect in which it may be lawfully impugned, and they assert their readiness to meet, without a moment's delay, any charge which may be responsibly laid against their individual or official proceedings.

As citizens of the United States they therefore appeal to your honorable bodies for relief from oppression and unconstitutional wrong. As public officers of the State of Maryland they protest against the usurpation of their official authority by an officer of the Unites States Army, and they protest the more strongly because the usurpation against which they remonstrate is not an irresponsible proceeding of the officer in question, but the advised and deliberate act of the War Department itself. They are aware that the President of the United States has called upon Congress to sanction the suspension of the habeas corpus and other acts which have been done by the Executive Department, upon its responsibility, without previous sanction of law. But the President has not asserted in his message any right on the part of the Federal Government, to depose and appoint State officers, or annul laws of the States constitutionally enacted, nor has he suggested any power in Congress to clothe him with any such authority. He has asserted no right to do wrong to individuals, nor has he asked the interposition of Congress to any such end. But whatever may be the claims of the