person might have been discouraged from enlisting, or that some person might have been encouraged to desert on account of hearing Mr. Vallandigham's views as to the policy of the war as a means of restoring the Union, would that have laid the foundation for his conviction and banishment? If so, upon the same grounds every political opponent of the Mexican war might have been convicted and banished from the country.
When gentlemen of high standing and extensive influence, including Your Excellency, opposed in the discussions before the people the policy of the Mexican war, were they "warring upon the military," and did this "give the military constitutional jurisdiction to lay hands upon" them? And, finally, the charge in the specifications upon which Mr. Vallandigham was tried entitled him to a trial before the civil tribunals, according to the express provisions of the late acts of Congress, approved by yourself July 17, 1862, and March 3, 1863, which were manifestly designed to supersede all necessity or pretext for arbitrary military arrests.
The undersigned are unable to agree with you in the opinion you have expressed that the Constitution is different in time of insurrection or invasion from what it is in time of peace and public security. The Constitution provides for no limitation upon or exceptions to the guarantees of personal liberty, except as to the writ of have as corpus. Has the President at the time of invasion or insurrection the right to ingraft limitations or exceptions upon these constitutional guarantees whenever, in his judgment, the public safety requires it?
True it is, the article of the Constitution which defines the various powers delegated to Congress declares that "the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety requires it. " But this qualification or limitation upon this restriction upon the powers of Congress has no reference to or connection with the other guarantees of personal liberty. Expunge from the Constitution this limitation upon the power of Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and yet the other guarantees of personal liberty would remain unchanged.
Although a man might not have a constitutional right to have an immediate investigation made as to the legality of his arrest upon habeas corpus, yet his "right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed" will not be altered; neither will his right to the exemption from "cruel and unusual punishment; " nor his right to be secure in his person, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable seizures and searches; nor his right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor his right not to be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous offense unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury, be in any wise changed.
And certainly the restriction upon the power of Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in time of insurrection or invasion could not affect the guarantee that the freedom of speech and of the press shall be abridged. It is sometimes urged that the proceedings in the civil tribunals are too tardy and ineffective for cases arising in times of insurrection or invasion. It is a full reply to this to say that arrests by civil process may be equally as expeditious and effective as arrests by military orders.
True, a summary trial and punishment are not allowed in the civil courts, but if the offender be under arrest and imprisoned and not entitled to a discharge on writ of habeas corpus before trial, what more