I will not presume, which my knowledge of Governor Bradford, that that proclamation was designed to produce collision between the military power and the citizens who may be assembled at the polls to vote at the election to-morrow; but I cannot doubt that its obvious tendency is to invite and suggest such disturbance. When that proclamation came to my knowledge, late last night, I felt in my duty to take measures for restricting as far as possible its circulation in those parts of the State to be most affected by it, until there could go out with it the letter of the President of the United States on the subject, written yesterday to Governor Bradfor, a copy of which I have now obtained.
I will make for myself but one or two comments on the proclamation. The intimation of the Governor that my order might have been prompted by some other consideration than patriotic purpose or official duty is unworthy of reply and unworthy of him. He knows, and the people of Maryland and this military department know, how single and earnest and constant has been my aim to avoid all side influences, and to keep in view and act steadily upon the idea of maintaining the just authority of the National Government against disloyalty in all its forms, and for the general good only.
it was in this spirit that I issued the general order in question. Its principal purpose is to prevent traitorous persons from controlling in any degree by their votes or taking part in the coming election.
The order is not aimed at candidates, either individually or as a class, as the Governor would presume.
Neither is it aimed at nor can it by any proper interpretation in any way interfere with the rights of loyal voters. It is only framed and intended to exclude from a voice in the election of those who are to administer the affairs, either of the National Government or of this loyal State, such individuals as are hostile to that Government of which Maryland is a part.
Will any good citizen pretend that the exclusion of such persons is not a wise and wholesome protection due to those who adhere to and sustain the Constitution and lawful authority? And it is clearly not a hardship to be complained of by the individual challenged for such disqualification mself by his own oath of allegiance to the Government in the management of which he claims a share.
Governor Bradford himself cannot appreciate more highly than I do the sterling loyalty of the great majority of the people of Maryland, but he must know, as I do, that there still remains at large, from the forbearance of the Government authorities, a very considerable number who are more or less actively engaged in aiding and encouraging rebels in arms. Even in his proclamation he admits the existence of such prevailing disloyalty in the counties of at least one of the Congressional districts.
But my general order was only put forth after the receipt through all the last month of a great number of letters, petitions, and appeals in person from respectable and loyal citizens throughout the southern part of the State, particularly on both sides of the bay, improving the issuing of such an order. I have only failed in complying with this request by making its provisions less stringent than justice and fairness to loyal citizens seemed to them to demand.
I will add, only to shoe with what anxiety I have sought on this occasion to secure peace and good order at the polls, that officers