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[413]

Governor Seymour immediately instructed the District Attorney to proceed against the offenders, saying:

In the month of July last, when New York was a scene of violence, I gave warning that ‘the laws of the State must be enforced, its peace and order maintained, and the property of its citizens protected at every hazard.’ The laws were enforced at a fearful cost of blood and life. The declaration I then made was not intended merely for that occasion, or against any class of men. It is one of an enduring character, to be asserted at all times, and against all conditions of citizens without favor or distinction. Unless all are made to bow to the law, it will be respected by none. Unless all are made secure in their rights of person and property, none can be protected.

An investigation was made by one of the city judges, and warrants were issued for the arrest of Major General Dix and several of his officers. They voluntarily appeared by counsel on July 6th, and the argument was set down for the 9th. On that day the counsel for the defense said:

Since this warrant was issued, the President of the United States has issued another order to General Dix, which directs him that, while this civil war lasts, he ‘must not relieve himself from his command, or be deprived of his liberty to obey any order of a military nature which the President of the United States directs him to execute.’

The result of the arguments was that the officers were held to await the action of the grand jury, who, however, took no action on the charges. The guilty person was arrested in two or three days after the appearance of the proclamation, and imprisoned in Fort Lafayette; the newspaper and telegraph offices were restored to the owners, and the publications resumed. But the government of New York never obtained any indemnification of these losses by its citizens.

Another subversion of the state government was brought about by the military interference on the part of the government of the United States with the state election. This was in 1864, when President Lincoln and General McClellan were the candidates for the presidency of the United States. As usual in all these cases, proceedings to work up a pretended necessity for interference on the part of the United States government were commenced by the appearance of a grandiloquent proclamation from the commanding general, Dix, telling what horrible designs, there was reason to believe, the agents of the Confederate States in Canada had prepared to be executed on election day, by an invasion of voters from Canada to colonize different points. Therefore, to avert these dreadful dangers and arrest the guilty parties, it was necessary that provost marshals, sustained by a military force, should be

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