In inaugurating this system the practical results do not perhaps depend much upon the number of citizen in any one of the States concerned who were directly interested or took an active part in the election of the State executive and civil officers. It would seem sufficient that the General Government should find occupying these positions loyal and respectable men. It seems better to cherish and sustain such an organization than to attempt to create a new State government by influences and legislation from a distance.
In the State of Arkansas such a civil organization now obtains, and
at the head of it are found men of recognized loyalty. The acts of Congress and the proclamations of the President define distinctly the position which every State should occupy hereafter on the vital questions of the war. All local matters, political or judicial, had best be left to the State government and to the action of the people. The people and the State government will act and react upon each other so as to produce a healthy condition of civil administration as soon as it becomes manifest that the latter is permanently established exercises jurisdiction over civil affairs independent of military control, and is in fact as well as in theory the final appeal of the people in all matters pertaining to local civil questions. Without such a feeling of stability the confidence on the part of the people in their State government necessary to its successful administration can never be secured, and this feeling of stability can never be established so long as the military arbitrarily interfere with override and overrule the action of the State authorities.
It is my wish, therefore, to accept the State government as it exists in Arkansas, and to give that vitality to it and secure that confidence in it necessary to its success by prohibiting the military authorities from any interference with its action further than to render under the forms of law whatever assistance may be asked by the State offiction of the State laws and their own proper functions. In other words, to confine the military to the duty of defending the State against insurrection and against invasion from the enemy and to other proper military business.
In order that the State government may be successful in its administration, it is essential that the people should not only know, but realize, that in all matters pertaining to local civil administration, and on all question of a civil character, their own State government is their final resort, and that no appeals from that authority to the military power will be recognized or considered.
The troops in Arkansas I wish to place in the same relation to the civil authorities in which I have placed the forces in Missouri, so as to aid the civil power as a posse in executing the local laws in conformity to the practice in those States martial law has never been declared. The troops should be posted at such points as will protect the State against invasion and against the danger of insurrection, and at the same time be convenient to respond to any proper requisition of the civil authorities to assist, under the direction of the civil officers, in executing the laws.
Such a position for the military forces would not by any means impair their efficiency for military operations, nor would it compromise nor in any manner interfere with their proper jurisdiction over cases of guerrillas, bushwhackers, or other armed outlaws, who, however dealt with by the civil authorities, are by law amenable for the military crime