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JUD(IE

CURTIS

ON

LOYALTY AND

HABEAS

CORPUS.

risk the suspension of the sacred writ of ha- perverted by many who are not good. I mean

the subject of loyalty.' The word itself, at

The beas corpus under any circumstances.

least in the sense in which it is used in those record shows that even seven states, New countries from which we have borrowed it, can Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Penn- soarcely be said to have an appropriate politi

cal and social system. But it is a word at: voted for the clause as adopted, while three it as we find it, and are bound to enquire what

ent in great use among us; and we must take states, North Carolina, South Carolina and are the moral duties which its just and true Georgia, voted against the last clause--they signification embraces. The injury, and the being opposed to any suspension of the writ

, ing out the doctrines which are now forced, up

certain consequences of accepting and followunder any circumstances. Three states were

on us will form the topics of, my discourse toabsent.

night.

The true conditions of American loyalty are not to be found in the passionate exactions of partizan leaders, or in the frantic declama.. tions of the pulpit, the rostrum or the presse

(Cheers.) People who do not like my politi-The Hon. GEORGE TICKNER CURTIs, form- cal.opinions may howl at me the epithet diserly of Bosion, now of New York, and one of loyal, but when they have thrown this missile the soundest jurists in the land, addressed the they have not taken a step towards defining to

me and to others, what the true conditions of Democratic Union Association of New York

loyalty are. It is important that this step city on the 28th of March, 1863. We are al should be taken; for, whether we are toʻgo on most tempted to give his remarks entire, or to cease, in this course of idle and un-lengthy as they were, but our space allotted meaning abuse, it concerns us all to know what

measure of public duty may rightfully béi exwill not permit us. . The following should be acted of us. To know the length and depth of read by everybody:

of those great virtues which are compréhended

in the term "patriotism'-to feel at once that "No man, who does not join in a wild, un- they are seated in our affections, and enthroned discriminating support of the measures and in our reason-is, to 'get wisdom and underdogmas of a dominant party, can hope to es- standing,' in the largest of earthly possessions. cape detraction and obloquy. The utmost ex- (Great applause.) The true conditions of ertions are made to suppress ordinary freedom American loyalty are to be found in the instiof speech; every device is employed to misrep- tutions under which we live; in the duties resent, and every effort is made to misunder- flowing from the Constitution of our country; stand the purposes of those who are not in po- (applause) in the political system which we litical power. The vocabulary of political have inherited from our fathers, with all its slang is exhausted to find terms of reproach manifold relations, through which we may and infamy with which to stigmatize men whose trace the clear dividing line that separates motives have in their favor all the ordinary perfect from imperfect obligations. (Cheers.) presumptions of purity, and whose arguments “The text of our fundamental law is i thé and opinions are at least entitled to a respect- guide, and the sole guide, in all ethical inquiful hearing. This process, which has been go- ries into the duties of the citizen. To that ing on for many months with violence unex

source all must come, rulers and people alike; ampled, even among a people whose political to that fountain all must resort. The vagué discourses are never marked by too much tem- and shifting standards that are drawn from perance, has culminated from time to time in supposed dangers to what is called the 'nationoutrages upon the rights of persons and prop- al life,' or which spring from the conflicting erty, and may do so again. It is no time when judgments of man respecting public necessione would choose to utter opinions without be- ties, can determine nothing. Those things can ing impelled by a strong sense of duty. furnish no rule. We must have a rule, for

But, if we are not prepared to suffer for loyalty is a moral duty; and it must, therefore, our convictions, they must be very humble be capable of definition. A people whose 'nationconvictions. If we do not love our country al life? exists only by virtue of a written necessiand its institutions well enough to encounter ty, can find no rule of loyalty in any of the all the hazards that may attend an honest effort necessities that lie out of, or beyond the writto save them, our love must be cold, indeed. ten necessity, can find no rule of loyalty in Such I am sure is not your case or mine. (Ap- any of the necessities which their constitution plause.) Meaning to utter here nothing but of Government does not cover. They may find words of truth and soberness-the truth as I grounds of expediency in one or other supposed hold it, in the soberness that becomes me to ac- necessity for destroying their constitution; but, cept all the responsibility to public opinion it would be extremely absurd to say that this which may justly fall thereon.

expediency could be made the object of their "I propose to speak to you to-night upon a "loyalty. Let us go, then, to the fountain subject which seems to me to be strangely mis- head--the source of all national obligations. apprehend by many good men, and strangely "The Constitution of the United States itself

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prescribes the full measure of our loyalty, in tional life anywhere else-then, the rights these words:

which the Constitution reserves to the states or “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States the people are equally comprehended it that which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties life, for they are equally declared to be parts made, or which shall be made, under the authority, of the of the supreme law of the land. For this United States, shall be the supreme law of the land."

reason, all idea of a supremacy of the nation"Observe how precise as well as comprehen- al rights, or powers or interests, when foundsive this great rule of our duty is. It expressed on something not embraced in the Constituves without ambiguity the whole of our obliga- tion, is purely visionary. No duty of "loyalty tion toward the Federal Government. It

can possibly be predicated on any claim that is makes a supreme law-a law paramount to all not founded in the supreme law, and our "loyother human laws-an obligation paramount to alty? is not due to them. When we know wbat all other human obligations. It leaves no room are the rights and powers reserved to the states whatever for the intrusion of another, or a ri- or the people--and we know they are the whole val claimant, to our civil obedience. That residue of all possible political rights and claimant can neither be a person invested, or powers--they are equally the objects of our uninvested with office, nor an idea of, public loyalty' for the self same reason, namely, necessity, nor an imaginary 'national life? be- they are parts of the supreme law of the land. yond, or apart from the life created under the (Loud applause.) constitution. The only possible claimant of "Again, the Constitution not only contains im Obedience is the law;

some political powers and rights granted to the made supreme, all other demands or demand- Federal Government, and a reservation of all ants upon our submission are of necessity ex- other political powers and rights to the states cluded. (Loud cheers.)

or the people, but it also embraces rights of "What, then, does this supreme law em- person and property, guaranteed to every citibrace? The text on which I am commenting zen in his individual capacity; and these are itself furnishes the answer, This Constitu- equally made, not by implication, but expresstion, it says-what this constitution contains, ly, parts of the same law of the land, and are and the laws that shall be made in conformity therefore equally the objects of our "loyalty.' with it-these shall be the supreme law, rising All pretense, therefore, of any paramount auin authority above all other laws. No public thority in the Central Government to override necessities, save as they are embodied in the these personal rights of the citizen, or to claim Constitution-no 'national life,' save as it ex- our loyalty' in disregard of these co-ordinate ists under the Constitution--no legislation that parts of the supreme law, is a perversion of the is not in accordance with the Constitution—is very idea of American loyalty. (Cheers ) As the supreme law; but what the Constitution well might the citizen claim, because the Conordains or authorizes, that is the public neces- stitution has made his personal rights part of sitythat is the national life, because it is the the supreme law, that therefore, the loyalty of supreme civil obligation. (Applause.) his neighbor is due to him alone, as the Gov

"Such is the fundamental character of our ernment can claim that loyalty, is due solely, political system, and so perfect is it in its con- or chiefly, or principally, or ultimately, to sistency with itself, and with the rights of all the functions it is appointed to perform.who are subject to it, that it contains a machi- The rights of the Government, the rights of nery by which the conformity of all acts of the the states, and the rights of individuals, all Government with the principles of the Consti- | and equally, are comprehended in the supreme tution may be peacefully tested, without forci- law of the land, and our loyalty is due to that ble resistance. If the acts of the Government law-to the whole and to every part of it-and are complained of as unconstitutional, they public officers are in the same sense, and for may be brought to a judicial test, or the peo- the same reason, bound to obey every 'jot and ple may themselves pass upon them at the bal- tittle of it.'

(Great applause.) lot box through the instrumentality of frequent These provisions are very plain and familelections. (Applause.)

iar; too familiar, perhaps you will say, to re"Now, when we look into the Constitution of quire to be stated. The extravagant language our country, to discover the full scope of the and ideas that are current in the mouths of obligations which are embraced in the supreme even sensible people, on this subject of loyallaw of the land, we find that it grants certain ty, would have exceeded all capacity of belief, political powers and rights to the contral or in any other period than this. If one were to national government, and reserves all other po- undertake to reduce their language and their litical powers and rights to the states or the ideas to something like a definite, moral propopeople. Hence, it is plain that the reserved sition, it would be found that the doctrine is rights of the people are just as much compre- something like this:-In a time of war, when hended within the duty of our allegiance-just there are great public dangers, the rights of as much for the rightful objects of our "loyal- States and of individuals, must give way, and ty? as the powers and rights presented in the if those who administer the government are national government. If the political existence satisfied that the public necessity requires created by the Constitution is the national them to use powers that transcend the limits life;? called into being by the supreme law of of the constitution, he who does not acquiesce in the land-and he would be a bold and reckless theirjudgment, or who questions their authorisophist who should undertake to find that na- | ty, to do particular acts, is a "disloya!” citi

war.

zen. (Laughter.) This statement of the doc- measure of the powers that were conferred trine is the best I know how to make, for I upon that Government. (Cheers.). I use this know not how else to interpret or to apply the language deliberately, I affirm that when the denunciations which we find in the proceedings Constitution repeated the words of Magna newspapers, and in the common speech and ion of the fundamental law, and declared that

public meetings, in the columns of party | Charta, not as a statná lhe words of Magna action of very many persons. I need only 'no person shall bedeprived of life, liberty, or point to the utter prohibition that is attempted property, without due process of law, it meant to be placed on all discussion of any plan for to make a rule for all times and all circumbringing this dreadful war to a close, except stances--shutting the door forever against any by the particular method of fighting; or to the supposed 'public necessity,' for violating the manner in which the terms 'traitor' and 'seces- citizen's rights.* In like manner, I affirm that sionist' are hurled at all who question the au- the Constitution reserved to the states or the

peothority and lawfulness of the methods pursued ple all political power not granted to the Fedby the government in the prosecution of the eral Government, it meant to preclude every

For myself, I do not profess to have, as ground of 'necessity for the assumption by yet a definite idea concerning several of the that Government of the powers thus withheld. modes in which a peace might be sought. But (Applause.) I know not what right I have, legally, or mor- "In fact, the idea of a written constitutionally, to say that my neighbor shall not discuss a fixed and supreme law-is utterly irreconcilsuch a question, or shall not act upon it at the able with the theory that the administrators of polls, or shall be denounced as 'disloyal be- such a government can resort to their own cause his opinions on the subject differ from judgment of public necessity,' and act contrary mine. It is to me very plain that this whole to that supreme law, and that good citizenship effort of a dominant party to control opinion requires the people to acquiesce in that judgby such means, can, under such institutions as

ment. They who set up such a claim for our ours, lead to but one of two results-the es- rulers, claim for them an entirely irresponsible tablishment of a despotism of a very bad kind, power. We are required, for example, to beor the overthrow of the power of those who relieve that what are called 'arbitrary arrests,' sort' to such methods. Either the institutions are 'necessary,' but no one explains to us the of the country will perish, or the party which grounds of that 'necessity.' 'No account is undertakes to repress all freedom of discussion rendered. We are to assume the existence of will perish. (Cheers.) I hope we shall make causes of justification, but no one tells us what up our minds to destroy the party and save the these causes are. They may remain forever institutions. (Great applause. We will do locked in the bosomes of those who do the acts it.”). But of this hereafter.

of which we complain. Why should American "Let me return to this new doctrine of "loy- citizens, filling high places of public trust, act alty,' which requires us to acquiesce in silence upon such a principle as this? Can anything in the judgment of public servants, as to what be more degrading--more injurious to the pubthe public necessities require, even to the ex- lic conscience of a people than to form a habit tent of overlooking great infractions of the of implicit belief in the existence of necessiConstitution. This doctrine entirely ignores ties which nobody explains, and of which nothe purpose for which the Constitution imposed body is required to give an account? You may certain stringent limitations on the powers of hear a hundred men in a day, speaking of the National Government. In order to explain some particular case of this kind, profess its this, it will be necessary to descend from gen- necessity, and not one man in the whole hunderal reasoning to particular illustrations.

"The Constitution, after enforcing certain *: It is in my opinion a monstrous fallacy to suppose that defined political powers upon the Federal Gov- the implied authority for suspending the writ of habeas ernment, declares that all other political pow- citizens, without judicial process. This implied authority ers are reserved to the States or the people.- was given in the original constitution, but after the adoptAnd it further secures to every citizen inalien- ion of that instrument, the people came forward and anable rights of person, forever, beyond all pos-nexed to it the prohibition of viagna Charta, making that sible control of the Government. Now, does provision a part of the supreme law. The two clauses of

the constitution must therefore be so construed and applied any one suppose that this was done without a

as not to render nugatory the one last adopted, and so as purpose? Does any one believe that it

to give effect to its strongest declarations. These clauses done for what is vulgarly called buncombe?

can be reconciled only by such a course of legislation and

executive action as will preserve the operation of both. Do you believe that it was done with mental If, under peculiar circumstances of imminent danger, the reservation of the doctrine of public necessity' actual seizures made without judicial process, the prisonstanding behind the Constitution, and ready er should be immediately charged with an offense by war

rant, and then a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus to strike it down from its supreme control over

may intervene to prevent his discharge from the imprisonus and our affairs? Let me suggest to you, my ment, for causes which would operate to discharge him, if fellow citizens, that you cannot study the Con- the writ was not suspended. This is the only course of stitution, and the purposes of the great gene- legislation, in my opinion, that can be consistent with all

the provisions of the constitution. I do not see how it is ration who made it, without seeing that the possible to contend that a continual imprisonment, foundvery object of all this careful provision for ed on mere executive seizure can be authorized by taking rights that were placed beyond the reach of away the writ of habeas corpus. If Magna Charta had

not been interposed, there might have been some ground the Central Government, was to exclude for- | for this pretension, for then there would have been no neever this doctrine of public necessity as a cessity for process at any time.

was

to

away the

red can tell you what the necessity was ! \tional rights any more than that an individual (Laughter and applause.)

should do the same thing. While a state reMy friends, these false theories of loyalty mains a member of the Union, it is bound to for false I must deem them-are infusing in- vindicate its constitutional rights and powers

our national character a fatal poison. They in that mode which is consistent with the preare leading those who cherish them to impute servation of that Union, and it can at any time factious and interested motives to all pure and under any supposed violation of its rights, or manly efforts in defense of the principles of the rights of its people, make a case for judicivil liburty. They who indulge in this dan- cial determination, Forcible resistance (such gerous work-of dériding the defenders of as Wisconsin and Massachusetts were guilty of] constitutional rights, can have but a very inad- is open revolution, and nothing but an intolerequate conception of the convulsions that must able oppression, cutting off all judicial remeprecede the inal loss of these rights. They dy, can make a revolution a necessity and a take but a very superficial view of the depth of duty. (Applause.) those feelings which lead men in all free coun- Again, there is another equally good reatries to resist every form of mere arbitrary son which shows that no popular tumults, and power. They make no account of the princi- no forcible resistance are either legally or morples implanted in our breasts, and cherished ally justifiable while the ballot box remains into dictates of nature by generations of train- untouched. If the people of all the states had ing in the practice of liberty. These princi- reason to believe that measures of the Federal ples on which depend the primary office of an Government are subversive of the Constitution, opposition in a free government, and by means

to of of which all constitutional rulers are restrain their rulers. (Cheers.) In cases of supposed ed from abuses of power. Impatient of those extensive violation of the Constitution, to restraints, such persons rush to methods which which the attention of the whole country is cannot be employed without undermining the called, the remedy of elections is ordinarily to foundations of liberty. And, for a supposed reverse, and is in our system held to reverse themporary advantage, barter

erroneous constructions of that instrument, as strength and the supports that sustain the vigor well as errors of policy. The popular tribunal of the body politic. This has been in all ages may not be quite so precise in its action as the the downward course of nations, who have judicial, but there can be no mistaking the substituted for free institutions and systems of judgment of the people when it is pronounced fundamental law, a blind and unquestioning upon an issue clearly made, with an Adminisfaith in 'public necessities,' and have then tration which is charged with infringing the welcomed some despotic power. Thus did the Constitution. (Great applause.) Roman Empire succeed the Republic, and thus “These principles, no one I presume, will be we may be preparing ourselves for a like des- inclined to dispute, but there is thrust in to intiny. Let us be warned in time.

tercept their application to the present crisis "I have endeavored to state with due precis- in our affairs, a doctrine which I for one, dision and fairness one very important part of the tinctly repudiate. That doctrine is in subconditions of a true loyalty, but I should leave stance, that all questioning of the measures of this subject in an imperfect state, if I omitted, the Administration should be postponed while on the other hand, to give equal prominence to we are in a civil war--that there should be but certain principles of our political system which one party, and that all should rally, to an “unlimit the mode in which states and individuals conditional support of the constitutional auare to exercise their constitutional rights of thorities. This dogma needs examination. opposition to the measures of the Federal gov- | If by an 'unconditional support of the constiernment. I have, briefly adverted to this al- tuted authorities it is intended to claim that we ready, but a more extended statement of the must all recognize the fact that we are engaged principle is necessary.

in a civil war, and that we must conduct it “I will assume then, that a measure, having while it lasts through those authorities, and all the forms of law, is believed upon good must hold no irregular intercourse with the grounds, to be a violation of the constitutional public enemy, I readily accede to the propesirights of States and individuals. What is the tion; but, if it is meant that we are not to rule of action under such circumstances? question the methods which the Administration There is no difficulty whatever, in finding the pursues in the prosecution of the war--that we answer. [The Republican leaders would say have no rightfal control over their measures'revolutionize the government.'] By the es- or that we are to refrain from demanding a tablishment of a judicial system within the change in their policy, I reject the doctrine Federal constitution, having ultimate cogniz- without the slightest hesitation.” ance of all cases arising under that constitution, one mode is provided by which both states S.P. CHASE'S OPINION OF "LOYALTY." and individuals can ascertain whether their reserved rights are invaded by the Federal au

Mr. CHASE, the present Secretary of the thorities. [Now, mark the difference between Treasury, on the 26th of August, 1857, in a Democrats and Republicans as to the 'mode speech i “Ohio thus gave his idea of rights and measure of redress.'] This remedy is at which the Government could not invade: all times open, and there is no valid reason why a state should forcibly assert its constitu- "We have the right to have our state laws

THE ROMAN LAW AND PERSONAL LIBERTY.

obeyed. We don't mean to resist Federal au- tude” (of Union Leaguers, no doubt,) raised & thority. Just or unjust laws, properly admin hue and cry against Paul. But the "Town istered, will be respected. If dissatisfied, we Clerk” (no doubt a Democrat,) quieted the will go to the ballot box and redress our wrongs. But we have rights which the Federal Govern- rabble by telling them if PAUL and his followment-must not invade-right, superior to its ers had committed anything against the law, power, on which our sovereignty depends, and the law should punish them. He said: we do mean to assert these rights against all tyranical assumptions of authority."

"Wherefore, if Demetrius and the craftsmen [contractors, in the original, no doubt,] which are with him, have a matter against any man,

the law is open, and there are deputies [law The Romans had a keen and just appreci- officers]; let them implead one another. ation of the liberty of their citizens in war “But if ye imagine anything concerning and in peace, the liberty of the Roman citizen other matters, it shall be determined in a law

ful assembly."-Acts XIX-38, 39. was held sacred, and it would seem that our "rulers”? in the latter part of the 19th century

Again, when the clamoring Romans dehave gone back of the age of Roman liberality. manded Paul's life. before Festus, one of the By the Roman law no man could be condemned. Supreme Judges, who, in relating the case, to unheard, or thrust into prison without a trial,

King Agrippa, said: and an opportunity to meet his accusers "face "It is not the manner [law] of the Romans to face." There were cases when the bigoted is accused, have the accusers face to face and

to deliver any man to die before that he which Romans, in persecuting the Christians, violated have license to answer for himself concerning their laws in reference to this subject. The the crime laid against him.?? Christians of that day, like the Democrats of After His Honor, Judge Festus had laid the this era, were persecuted for opinion's sake. case before King Agrippa, the King desired to They took Paul and Silas, on one occasion, see this strange man, Paul, and Festus sent for without process of law, and arbitrarily thrust him, and when Paul came into Agrippa?s authem into prison. But God's power came to gust presence, Judge Festus said: the aid of the Roman law-the jail trembled and was fearfully shaken-the doors were opened, present with us, ye see this man about whom

King Agrippa, and all men which are here and the terrified jailor. was thunderstruck to all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with find that his victims had not departed, and the me [they had probably called Paul a copperguilty, persecutors, fearing a further demon- head?] both at Jerusalem, and also here, cry

ing that he ought not to live any longer." stration of God's wath, bad the prisoners go, [Equivalent to the bloodthirsty declarations of but Paul being a good lawyer, and knowing he Senators Wilson and Jim Lane against the and his compatriot had been illegally dealt by,

Democrats:] “Said unto them, they (the persecutors]

The last verse, Acts XXVI, reads: have beaten us openly, uncondemned, being

“For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a Romans, and have cast us into prison, and now do they thrust us out privily? Nay, verily, but person, and not without to signify the crimes let them come themselves, and fetch us out."

laid against him."

Here was a Roman Judge, near 2,000 years Our laws were borrowed from the Roman ago, addressing his King, and declaring it not Pandects, which declared that no man should only unlawful, but unreasonable to arrest a be (scourged” (punished) uncondemned; and

man charged with no crime, and without giving why should not our citizens be treated as fairly him a fair trial, and the privilege of confrontas Paul insisted on being treated by his Jew-ing his accusers face to face, and this, too, ish, Republican persecutors, who sought to when the Romans were engaged in war. punish him "uncondemned,”' as Mr. LINCOLN

Would to God that our President and his punishes Democrats? Again, when Paul was at Ephesus, a Roman party would read the New Testement, from

which they could drink in the inspiration of silversmith, (no doubt, a contractor,) by the

reason, honor and law. Even the Jews had name of DEMETRIUS, attempted to stir up sedition against him, because Paul did not belong fanaticism, than do our present rulers.

more respect for law, with all: their religious to his "party." He attempted to make the people believe that PAUL was in some way

THE N. YORK INDEPENDENTRIGHT FOR ONCE. opposing the Government, and the multi- In speaking of the arbitrary arrests of the

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