act of 1795) the "combinations are too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the pwers vested in the marshals. " And this duty is imposed upon the President for the very reason that the courts and the marshals are took weak to perform it. The manner in which he shall perform that duty is not prescribed by any law but the means of performing it are given in the plain language of the statutes and they are all means of force - the militia, the Army and the Navy. The end, the suppression of the insurrection, is required of him; the means and instruments to supress it are lawfully in his hands; but the manner in which he shall use them is not prefuture changes and contingencies of the insurrection. He is therefore necessarily thrown upon his discretion as to the manner in which he will use his means to meet the varying exigencies as they arise. If the insurgents assail the nation with an army he may find it best to meet them with an army and suppress the insurrection in the field of battle. If they seek to prolong the rebellion and gather strength by intercourse with foreign nations he may choose to guard the coasts and close the ports with a navy as one of the most efficient means to supppress the insurrection. And if they employ spies and emissaries to gather information, to forward secret supplies and to excite new insurrections in aid of the original rebellion he may find it both prudent and humane to arrest and imprison them. And this may be done either for the purpose of bringing them to trial and condign punishment for their crimes or they may be held in custody for the milder end of rendering them powerless for mischief until the exigency is past.
In such a state of things the President must of necessity be the sole judge both of the exigency which requires him to act and of the manner in which it is most prudent for him to employ the powers intrusted to him to enable him to discharge his constitutional and legal duty - that is, to suppress the insurrection and execute the laws. And this discretionary power of the President is fully admitted by the Supreme Court in the case of Martin v. Mott (1w Wheaton's Reports, 19; 7 curtis, 10).
This is a great power in the hands of the Chief Magistrate; and because it is great and is capable of being perverted to evil ends its existence has been doubted or denied. It is said to be dangerous in the hands of an ambitious and wicked President because he may use it for the purposes of oppresion and tyranny. Yes, certaintly it is dangerous - all power is dangerous - and for the all-pervading reason that all power is liable to abuse; all the recipients of human power are men not absolutely virtuous and wise. Still it is a power necessary to the peace and safety of the country and undeniably belongs to the Government and therefore must be exercised by some department or officer thereof.
Why should this power be denied to the President on the ground of its liability to abuse and not denied to the other departments on the same grounds? Are they more expempt than he is from the frailties and vices of humanity? Or are they more trusted by the law than he is trusted in their several spheres of action? If it be said with equal truth that a legislature may be factious and unprincipled and a court may be venal and corrupt. But these are crimes never to be presumed even against a private man and much less against any high and highly trusted public functionary. They are crimes, however, recognized as such and made punishable by the Constitution, and whoever is guilty of them, whether a President, a Senator or a judge, is liable to impeachment and condemnation.