It is, in its terms, a limited power, confined to cases of actual invasion, or of imminent danger of invasion. If it be a limited power, the question arises, By whom is the exigency to be judged of and decided? Is the President the sole and exclusive judge whether the exigency has arisen, or is it to be considered as an open question, upon which every officer, to whom the orders of the President are addressed, may decide for himself; and equally open to be contested by every militia-man who shall refuse to obey the orders of the President? We are all of opinion that the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen belongs exclusively to the President, and that his decision is conclusive upon all other persons. We think that this construction necessarily results from the nature of the power itself, and from the manifest object contemplated by the act of Congress. The power itself is to be exercised upon sudden emergencies, upon great occasions of state, and under circumstances which may be vital to the existence of the Union. A prompt and unhesitating obedience to orders is indispensable to the complete attainment of the object. The service is a military service, and the command of a military nature; and in such cases every delay and every obstacle to an efficient and immediate compliance necessarily tend to jeopard the public interests.--Martin vs. Mott, 12 Wheaton's Reports, p. 29. We see, then, that the power is clear as to calling out the militia; we see that we have precedents for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The next objection made is that the President had no power to make additions to the navy and army. I say, in these two instances, he is justified by the great law of necessity. At the time I believe it was necessary to the existence of the Government; and, it being necessary, he had a right to exercise all those powers, that, in his judgment, the crisis demanded for the maintenance of the existence of the Government itself. The simple question — if you condemn the President for acting in the absence of law — is, Do you condemn the propriety of his course; do you condemn the increase of the army; do you condemn the increase of the navy? If you oppose the measure simply upon the ground that the Executive called them forth anticipating law, what will you do now? The question presents itself at this time, Is it not necessary to increase the army and the navy? If you condemn the exercise of the power of the Executive in the absence of law, what will you do now, as the law-making power, when it is manifest that the army and navy should be increased? You may make war upon the Executive for anticipating the action of Congress. What do gentlemen do now, when called upon to support the Government? Do they do it? They say the President anticipated the action of Congress. Does not the Government need an increase of the army and the navy? Where do gentlemen stand now? Are they for it? Do they sustain the Government? Are they giving it a helping hand? No: they go back and find fault with the exercise of a power that they say was without law; but now, when they have the power to make the law, and when the necessity is apparent, they stand back and refuse. Where does that place those who take that course? It places them against the Government, and against placing the means in the hands of the Government to defend and perpetuate its existence. The object is apparent, Mr. President. We had enemies of the Government here last winter; in my opinion we have enemies of the Government here now. I said that I agreed with the Senator from Kentucky that there was a design — a deliberate determination — to change the nature and character of our Government. Yes, sir, it has been the design for a long time. All the talk about slavery and compromise has been but a pretext. We had a long disquisition, and a very feeling one, from the Senator from Kentucky. He became pathetic in the hopelessness of compromises. Did not the Senator from California, [Mr. Latham,] the other day, show unmistakably that it was not compromise they wanted? I will add that compromise was the thing they most feared; and their great effort was to get out of Congress before any compromise could be made. At first their cry was peaceable secession and reconstruction. They talked not of compromise; and, I repeat, their greatest dread and fear was that something would be agreed upon; that their last and only pretext would be swept from under them, and that they would stand before the country naked and exposed. The Senator from California pointed out to you a number of them who stood here and did not vote for certain propositions, and those propositions were lost. What was the action before the Committee of Thirteen? Why did not that committee agree? Some of the most ultra men from the North were members of that committee, and they proposed to amend the Constitution so as to provide that Congress in the future never should interfere with the subject of slavery. The Committee failed to agree, and some of its members at once telegraphed to their States that they must go out of the Union at once. But after all that transpired in the early part of the session, what was done? We know what the argument has been; in times gone by I met it; I have heard it again and again. It has been said that one great object was, first to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia and the slave-trade between the States, as a kind of initiative measure; next, to exclude it from the Territories; and when the free States constituted three-fourths of all the States, so as to have power to change the Constitution, they would amend the Constitution, so as to give Congress power to legislate upon the subject of slavery in the States, and expel it from the States in which it
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