131.-remarks of Messrs. Trumbull and Carlile on the bill to suppress insurrection, in the United States Senate, July 30.
said: The object of this bill is to confer certain powers on the military authorities in cases of insurrection and rebellion, and to regulate, as far as practicable, by law, the exercise of such powers; to provide for putting down this rebellion in a constitutional and legal manner.
The rebellion having arisen during the recess of Congress, imposed on the President
, who is sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution
, and whose duty it is to see that the laws are faithfully executed, the necessity of exerting his whole constitutional power to preserve the Constitution
from overthrow and the Government
It may be that in the exercise of this high duty the President
has assumed authority and done acts which no positive law directly authorized, but whatever he has done which was necessary to preserve the Constitution
and the Government
from destruction till Congress could be convened and act, was not only not forbidden, but proper and right.
On the great principle of self-defence and self-preservation, I am prepared to justify the Administration for all it has done to save the republic from the blow which wicked rebels were aiming at its very life, and which, unless warded off, might have been fatal to its existence.
In such a case I care not whether I can find in strict law the precise warrant for what has been done.
The great law of self-preservation overrides all others, and at such a time it is enough for me that the Administration has acted in good faith for the safety of the State
, without unnecessary encroachments on the rights of the citizen.
When Congress meets, it becomes its bounden duty to clothe the Executive
with all the powers necessary to save the Government
There is no longer a necessity for the President
to assume authority not granted when Congress is in session, with power to grant all needed authority.
The Constitution makes ample provision for its own maintenance, and this rebellion can be put down in pursuance of the Constitution
Among other things, that instrument declares that Congress shall have power to declare war, to make rules concerning captures on land and water, to raise and support armies, and make rules for their government; to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union
and suppress insurrection, and to make all the laws necessary for carrying into execution these powers.
The Constitution also authorizes a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus
in cases of rebellion or invasion, whenever the public safety requires it. When war is declared, or the militia called forth to execute the laws of the Union
, or to suppress an insurrection, whatever is necessary to accomplish the just ends of the war, or of calling forth the militia, may be lawfully done.
With the declaration of war, or the calling forth the militia to execute the laws or to suppress insurrection, all the incidents to war and hostilities necessarily and lawfully follow.
How far it is necessary to destroy the persons of enemies or rebels, or to ravage and lay waste their country, must depend upon the necessities of the case, to be judged of by the political and not the judicial power of the Government
The Government is to decide when that which amounts to a rebellion exists, and to interfere to suppress it with all the incidents to such interference.
The Supreme Court of the United States
expressly says, in the case of Luther against Borden
, 7 Howard
45, “Unquestionably a State may use its military power to put down an armed insurrection too strong to be controlled by the civil authority.
The power is essential to the existence of every government, and essential to the preservation of order and free institutions.”
(Va.) moved to strike out the eighth section, which provides that the military commander cause suspected persons to be brought before him and administer the oath of allegiance, and on his refusal to take the oath he may detain him as a prisoner.
He said, giving great power to the military commander
might do great injury.
Men were disposed to aid this effort to overthrow the Government
and pay no attention to the oath.
He was free to say, if he should be so unfortunate as to be taken prisoner by the enemies of his country, and could only preserve his life by taking the oath, and if he believed it his duty to his country and family to preserve his life, then he should not regard the oath as a binding obligation, morally or legally.
He contended that the President
is justified in what he has done in suspending the writ of habeas corpus
. It was rebellion to overthrow republican institutions to preserve any peculiar institution.
In regard to arrests, he said there were to-day many of
the best citizens of Western Virginia
imprisoned in jails and held by secessionists.
It was important that the Government
should do something to remedy this great evil.--N. Y. World
, July 31.