but he remained there only a few weeks, taking a blockade-runner from Wilmington
, and thence making his way in due time to Canada
, where lie remained: having meantime been nominated for Governor by an overwhelming vote in a large Democratic State Convention, and with an understanding that, in case of his anticipated election, he should be escorted from the State
line to its capital by a volunteer procession of Democrats strong enough to resist successfully any attempt to rearrest him.
The action in this case of Gen. Burnside
and his Court Martial created a profound sensation throughout the country; and a great meeting of Democrats was held1
, wherein very strong resolves condemning such action were unanimously passed — among them the following:
Resolved, That we denounce the recent assumption of a military commander to seize and try a citizen of Ohio, Clement L. Vallandigham, for no other reason than words addressed to a public meeting, in criticism of the course of the Administration and in condemnation of the military orders of that General.
Resolved, That this assumption of power by a military tribunal, it successfully asserted, not only abrogates the right of the people to assemble and discuss the affairs of government, the liberty of speech and of the press, the right of trial by jury, the law of evidence, and the privilege of habeas corpus, but it strikes a fatal blow at the supremacy of law and the authority of the State and Federal Constitutions.
Resolved, That the Constitution of the United States--the supreme law of the land — has defined the crime of treason against the United States to consist “only in levying war against them, or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort,” and has provided that “no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt, act, or on confession in open court.”
And it further provides that “no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land and naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger;” and further, that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right of a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime was committed.”
Resolved, That, in the election of Gov Seymour, the people of this State, by an emphatic majority, declared their condemnation of the system of arbitrary arrests and their determination to stand by the Constitution.
That the revival of this lawless system can have burt one result: to divide and distract the North, and destroy its confidence in the purposes of the Administration.
That we deprecate it as an element of confusion at home of weakness to our armies in the field, and as calculated to lower the estimate of American character and magnify the apparent peril of our cause abroad.
And that, regarding the blow struck at a citizen of Ohio as aimed at the rights of every citizen of the North, we denounce it as against the spirit of our laws and Constitution, and most earnestly call upon the President of the United States to reverse the action of the military tribunal which has passed a “cruel and unusual punishment” upon the party arrested, prohibited in terms by the Constitution, and to restore him to the liberty of which he has been deprived.
Hon. Erastus Corning
of the meeting, transmitted, by its order, these resolves to President Lincoln
; who, after taking ample time to consider them, responded frankly, courteously, elaborately, cogently; and, as the subject discussed is one of grave, abiding interest, the material portion of his reply will here be given.
The resolutions promise to support me in every constitutional and lawful measure to suppress the Rebellion; and I have not knowingly employed, nor shall knowingly employ, any other.
But the meeting, by their resolutions, assert and argue that certain military arrests, and proceedings following them, for which I am ultimately responsible, are unconstitutional.
I think they are not. The resolutions quote from the Constitution the definition of treason, and also the limiting safeguards and guaranties therein provided for tie citizen on trial for