enormous debt I felt it to be my duty to resist and I did resist its intiation. I was unable to see how the Union could be preserved if a large majority of the Southern people were bent upon a separation, and I said so. I was unable to comprehend how the President could from the injunction which commanded him to see that the laws were faithfully executed derive authority to supresede and violate the fundamental laws of the land, and I said so. I was equally unable to see how upon the theory of upholding the Consitution I was under an obligation to support those who were daily manifesting a contempt for all its provisions nor could I conceive how this Government had any existence whatever outside of the character which establish it. All these political opinions I had the absolute right to etertain and promulgate.
I choose to refer to them here becuase they constitute the offenses for which I am undergoing punishment. Notwithstanding the fact that many thousands of persons in the Northern States entertained and expressed these views within a twelvemonth the Administration determined that it was criminal in me to continue to hold and utter them and has therefore arbitrarily inflicted upon me the indignities and wrongs which I have mentioned. Although no direct offer has been made to me to release me upon any terms whatsover I nevertheless presume that mine was one of the casese which either your proclamation of February 14 or your order of February 27 was intended to cover.
Now as I cannot accept a conditional discharge coupled with a gracious amnesty for offense which it is assumed I have committed, and as I must equally refuse to appear at the bar of an irresponsible tribunal to justify my right to the ordinary privileges of a citizen of Maryland, it is due to myself at least that I should state the reasons which impel me to the course I shall pursue. To the principles which govern my action now I shall appeal when in the future I seek redren own vindication. It must be obvious to you, sir, that I cannot consistently with my own self-respect accept any such conditional release as is referred to in your proclamation or avail myself of such an amnesty. As I was despotically deprived of my freedom I can make no compromise to regain it. As I am punished merely for venturing to dissent from the theories and policy of the Administraion I need and will ask no pardon. Nor even if I should accept the terms mentioned would I have any security that I would not immediately after my release be again subjected to precisely similar outrages to those which have already been inflicted on me. As the Administration has once determined that I by expressing my political sentiments was giving "aid and comfort to the enemies in hostility to the United States" I could only escape a rearrest by consenting to forego or conceal my opinions. This I will never for one instant do. I deem it to be my bounden duty to defend to the last every privilege and right to which as an American citizen I was born, and I shall do so until I am deprived of these by some known and fair process of law.
Nor can you fail readily to comprehend why I decline to submit myself to the jurisdiction of the strange tribunal which is organized under your order of February 27. I recognize no such indges of my guilt or innocence, of my loyalty or disloyalty under the Constitution or laws of this land. The courts, both State and Federal, are in the unobstructed exercise of their several functions in Maryland and they could long since have examined and disposed of any charge which might have been preferred against me. In them and in them only will
50 R R-SERIES II, VOL II