They proceed to resolve "that these safeguards of the rights of the citizen against the pretensions of arbitrary power were intended more especially for his protection in times of civil commotion. " And apparently to demonstrate the proposition the resolutions proceed:
They were secured substantially to the English people after years of protracted civil war, and were adopted into our Constitution at the close of the Revolution.
Would not the demonstration have been better it could have been truly said that these safeguards had been adopted and applied during the civil wars and urging our Revolution instead of after the one and at the close of the other? I, too, am devotedly for them after civil war and before civil war and at all times, "except when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require" their suspension.
The resolutions proceed to tell us that these safeguards "have stood the test of seventy-six years of trial under our republican system under circumstances which show that while they constitute the foundation of all free government they are the elements of the enduring stability of the Republic. " No one denies that they constitute the foundation of all free government they are the elements of the enduring stability of the Republic. " No one denies that they have so stood the test up to the beginning of the present rebellion if we except a certain occurrence at New Orleans, nor does any one question that they will stand the same test much longer after the rebellion closes. But these provisions of the Constitution have no application to the case we have in hand, because the arrests complained of were not made for treason-that is, not for the treason defined in the Constitution, and upon the conviction of which the punishment is death-nor yet were they made to hold persons to answer for any capital or otherwise infamous crimes, nor were the proceedings following in any constitutional or legal sense "criminal prosecutions. " The arrests were made on totally different grounds and the proceedings following accorded with the grounds of the arrests. Let us consider the real case with which we are dealing and apply it to the parts of the Constitution plainly made for such cases.
Prior to my installation here it had been inculcated that any State had a lawful right to secede from the National Union, and that it would be expedient to exercise the right whenever the devotees of the doctrine should fail to elect a President to their own liking. I was elected contrary to their liking, and accordingly so far as it was legally possible they had taken seven States out of the Union, had seized many of the U. S. forts, and had fired upon the U. S. flag, all before I was inaugurated, and of course before I had done any official act whatever. The rebellion thus begun soon ran into the present civil war, and in certain respects it began on very unequal terms between the parties. The insurgents had been preparing for it more than thirty years, while the Government had taken no steps to resist them. The former had carefully considered all the means which could be turned to their account. It undoubtedly was a well-pondered reliance with them that in their own unrestricted efforts to destroy Union, constitution, and law all together the Government would in great degree be restrained by the same Constitution and law from arresting their progress. Their sympathizers pervaded all departments of the Government and nearly all communities of the people. From this material, under cover of "liberty of speech," "liberty of the press" and habeas corpus of spies, informers, suppliers, and aiders and abettors of their cause in a thousand ways. They knew that they had friends who would make a question as to who was to suspend it, meanwhile their spies and others might remain