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[399]

V. Trial by the civil court will be preferred in all cases where there is satisfactory reason to believe that justice will be done. But until the orders of the commanding general are made known in any case, the paramount jurisdiction assumed by the military commissioner will be exclusive.

VI. All persons, civil officers and others, are required to obey and execute the lawful orders of the military commissioners to the same extent as they are required by law to obey and execute writs issued by civil magistrates. Any person who shall disobey or resist the lawful orders or authority of a military commissioner shall be tried by a military commission, and upon conviction shall be punished by fine and imprisonment according to the nature and degree of the offense. . . .

VIII. This order will not be construed to excuse civil officers, in any degree, from the faithful discharge of their duties. It is intended to aid the civil authorities, and not to supersede them, except in cases of necessity.

No case arose in Virginia in which it was found necessary, in my opinion, to supersede the civil authorities in the administration of justice. Not a single citizen of that State was tried by military commission. Yet some cases arose which well illustrate the fascinations of absolute power to those who desire the benefit of its exercise in their own interests. Some of the most prominent citizens of Virginia, men who had earnestly opposed the general policy of military government then in force, came to me to settle their petty differences summarily. They seemed much disappointed when I declined to adjudicate such cases, and informed them that they must be content with the slow process of trial before their own civil magistrates. Other orders were in part as follows:

Richmond, Va., July 26, 1867.
. . . III. The governor and other executive officers, the courts of law, and councils of cities are invited to recommend suitable persons for appointment to such offices as, under the existing laws of Virginia, are usually filled by their appointment or upon their nomination. . . .


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