which is now or which shall be used between the city of New York and the city of Washington you find resistance which renders it necessary to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for the public safety you personally or through the officer in command at the point where resistance occurs are authorized to suspend that writ.
Given under my hadn and the seal of the United States, at the city of Washington, this 2nd day of July, A. D. 1861, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.
[L. S.] AMBRAHAM LINCOLN.
By the President of the United States:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S OFFICE, July 13, 1861.
The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
SIR: In obedience to a resolution of the House passed yesterday and by permission of the President I have the honor to send herewith a copy of my opinion "mentioned in the message of the President delivered to this House at the opening of its present session. "
The resolution also requests of me "a copy of the order suspending the writ of habeas corpus. " As there is no such order in the records or the files of my office I have ventured to request the Secretary of State of fulfill the pleasure of the honorable House in that particular.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S OFFICE, July 5, 1861.
SIR: You are required my opinion in writing upon the following questions:
First. In the present time of a great and dangerous insurrection has the President the discretionary power to cause to be arrested and held in custody persons known to have criminal intercourse with the insurgents or persons against whom there is probable cause for suspicion of such criminal complicity?
Second. In such cases of arrest is the President justified in refusing to obey a writ of habeas corpus issued by a court or judge requiring him or his agent to produce the body of the prisoner and show the cause of his capture and detention to be adjudged and disposed of by such court or judge?
To make my answer to these questions at once consistent and plain I find it convenient to advert to the great principle of government as recognized and acted upon in most if not all the countries in Europe and to mark the difference between that principle and the great principle which lies at the bottom of our National Government.
Most European writers upon government assume expressly or by implication that every national government is and must be the full expression and representation of the nation which it governs, armed with all its powers and able to assert all its rights. In England, the form of whose Government more nearly approximates our own, and where the rights, interests and powers of the people are more respected and cared for than in most of the nations of the European continent, it has grown into an axiom that "The Parliament is omnipotent," that is, that it can do anything that is possible to be done by legisla-