regiments and separate battalions by the written votes of the commissioned officers of the respective regiments and separate battalions; brigadier-generals and brigade inspectors by the field officers of their respective divisions, brigades, regiments, or separate battalions.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.] MAY 30, 1861.
His Excellency EDWIN D. MORGAN,
Governor of the State of New York:
Public attention in Western New York has been arrested by the extraordinary collision between the General and State governments on the important subject of the appointment of officers for our militia, which we have aided to organize for service in the impending struggle for constitutional liberty. The heart, mind, and soul od our people have been concentrated in an outburst patriotic emotion and action to sustain the Government of the United States. It is important that we should not be misled into the commission of an irreparable wrong to the cause we are all so anxious and eager to sustain. In a moment of imminent peril, when the forms of law were consuming time in which it was needful to provide on the instant for the preservation of the Government itself, those forms might well be omitted. To follow them might have been the circuitous and therefore the certain path to destruction. Again, those processes of law, ordained for the preservation of personal liberty, like the writ of habeas corpus, may well be and must be suspended when higher and paramount principles, on which the whole fabric of constitutional government reposes, demand the suspension.
We therefore can share the general amazement and scorn excited by the senile attempt to exalt the authority of a single judge, through the process of the habeas corpus, so as to paralyze the military arm of the Government when raised to suppress an insurrection of unparalleled atrocity and danger. We are prepared to concede and maintain that forms of law shall neither be followed nor regarded when employed as the means of overthrowing the Constitution itself. But on the other hand, unnecessary, inconsiderate, and dangerous violations of the Constitution of the country in a vital part ought not to be tolerated, even by that excited and self-sacrificing patriotism which in this crisis is ready to endure and forgive much.
The President of the United States has called on the several States for the militia "to suppress the insurrection" led by ambitious traitors, and "to execute the laws of the Union" which those traitors have violated and trampled under foot. In this he has obeyed the laws of Congress, framed under a specific grant of power in the Constitution. But the same section of the Constitution which confers this power also provides in the consecutive subdivision that Congress shall have power "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority to train the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."
What public exigency demands that this reserve power "to make the appointment of the officers" should be disregarded in respect to the general officers, while it is obeyed in the selection of regimental and company officers?