of the Constitution
necessary for its protection and vindication more tolerable than the violations of that sacred instrument aimed at the overthrow and destruction of the Government
We have seen instances, and other instances might occur, where it might be indispensably necessary for the Government
to exercise a power and to assume a position that was not clearly legal and constitutional, in order to resist the entire overthrow and upturning of the Government
and all our institutions.
But the President
issued his proclamation.
When did he issue it, and for what?
He issued his proclamation calling out seventy-five thousand men after the Congress
of the so-called Southern Confederacy had passed a law to call out the entire militia, and to receive into their service one hundred thousand men. The President issued his proclamation after they had taken Fort Moultrie
and Castle Pinckney; after they had fired upon and reduced Fort Sumter
. Fort Sumter
was taken on the 12th, and on the 15th he issued his proclamation.
Taking all these circumstances together, it showed that they intended to advance, and that their object was to extend their power, to subjugate the other States, and to overthrow the Constitution
and the laws of the Government
talk about violations of the Constitution
Have you heard any intimation of complaint from those Senators
about this Southern Confederacy--this band of traitors to their country and country's institutions?
I repeat, substantially, the language of the Senator
): “Have you heard any complaint or alarm about violations of constitutional law on the other side?
But we must stand still; the Government
must not move while they are moving with a hundred thousand men; while they have the power to call forth the entire militia and the army and the navy.
While they are reducing our forts, and robbing us of our property, we must stand still; the Constitution
and the laws must not be violated; and an arraignment is made to weaken and paralyze the Government
in its greatest peril and trial.”
On the 15th of April, the proclamation was issued calling out seventy-five thousand men, after the Confederate States
had authorized one hundred thousand men to be received by their President
— this man Davis
, who stood up here and made a retiring speech — a man educated and nurtured by the Government
; who sucked its pap; who received all his military instruction at the hands of this Government; a man who got all his distinction, civil and military, in the service of this Government, beneath the Stars and Stripes, and then, without cause — without being deprived of a single right or privilege — the sword he unsheathed in vindication of that flag in a foreign land, given to him by the hand of his cherishing mother, he stands this day prepared to plunge into her bosom.
Such men as these have their apologists here in Congress to excuse and extenuate their acts, either directly or indirectly.
You never hear from them of law or Constitution being violated down there.
Oh, no; that is not mentioned.
On the 15th, the President
issued his proclamation calling seventy-five thousand men into the service of the United States
, and on the 17th, this same Jefferson Davis
of the Southern Confederacy, issued a proclamation proposing or opening the door to the issuance of letters of marque and reprisal, and that, too, in violation of the pseudo-hermaphrodite Government that has been gotten up down there.
In retaliation for the proclamation issued by the President
of the United States
, he, in violation of the Constitution
of this pseudo-confederacy, issued his proclamation, proposing to issue letters of marque and reprisal.
In other words, he proposed to open an office and say, we will give out licenses to rob the citizens of the United States
of all their property wherever it can be picked up upon the high seas.
This he proposed to do, not only in violation of the Constitution
of the Confederate States
, but in violation of the law of nations; for no people — I care not by what name you call it — has a right to issue letters of marque and reprisal until its independence is first acknowledged as a separate and distinct power.
Has that been done?
I think, therefore, Senators
can find some little violation of Constitution and law down there among themselves.
Sir, they have violated the law and the Constitution
every step they progressed in going there, and now they violate it in trying to come this way. There was a general license offered, a premium offered, to every freebooter, to every man who wanted to plunder and play the pirate on the high seas, to come and take a commission, and plunder in the name of the Southern Confederacy; to take, at that time, the property of Tennessee
or the property of Kentucky
,--your beef, your pork, your flour, and every other product making its way to a foreign market.
authorized letters of marque and reprisal to pick them up and appropriate them.
After that their Congress saw that he had gone ahead of their Constitution and the laws of nations, and they passed a law modifying the issuance of letters of marque and reprisal, that they should prey upon the property of the citizens of the United States
, excepting certain States--excepting Kentucky
--holding that out as a bait, as an inducement to get them in.
I do not think; therefore, when we approach the subject fairly and squarely, that there was any very great wrong in the President
of the United States
, on the 19th, issuing his proclamation blockading their ports, saying you shall not have the opportunity, so far as I can prevent it, of plundering and appropriating other people's property on the high seas.
I think he did precisely what was right.
He would have been derelict to his duty, and to the high behest of the American
people, if he had sat here and failed to exert every power within his reach