86.-the rebel Judiciary.
State rights and personal liberty in the South.
First decision in Georgia
under the Antisubstitute law. Judge O. A. Lochrane
, of the Superior Court, Macon Circuit, delivered an original and highly important opinion under the act repealing the substitute law, in the case of Dennis Daley
and Philip Fitzgerald vs
. C. J. Harris
, on Thursday morning, February eleventh, as is reported by the Macon Telegraph
He held it was not only the right but the duty of a nation to protect itself, and that any contract or right flowing out of the operation of law which came in conflict with the preservation of the State
, was an unconstitutional act, not obligatory on the law-making power, and within the constitutional power of the government to repeal.
That the act allowing substitutes was to be regarded as a contract discharging principals from being called into the service; it was then a contract that the principal should not fight in the defence of the country, when it was endangered, and such contract was unauthorized by every principle of constitutional law. If our first Congress had agreed to exempt all men from taxation during the war who paid into the treasury five hundred dollars, such exemption could have been set aside by any subsequent legislature, when the public safety and self-preservation of the government demand it.
He held that the interest of every citizen was
the same as that of the government of which he formed a part, and the military service rendered by the substitute was just as much rendered to the principal as a citizen of the government itself; his life, his honor, his property, and his liberty were defended by the act, and the consideration inured to him as a member of the society which composed the government.
Contracts and vested rights must all bend to the exigencies of the government, of which the Legislature was the judge, and any act of the legislature contravening the public interest, may be repealed when the safety of the people becomes the supreme law.
The vested rights of fathers may be annulled over their minor children, to make them soldiers when the public interests demand it, and the law-making power has so declared.
All rights, all property, all persons who are citizens of a government, may be used by the government in time of war, and it was the duty of courts to sustain the government in the appropriation of the means exercised rightfully by the legislature to protect the whole people from subjugation and ruin.