Doc. 109.--Message of Governor Hicks.
Baltimore, April 27, 1861.Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:--The extraordinary condition of affairs in Maryland has induced me to exercise the constitutional prerogative vested in the Governor, to summon the Legislature in special session, in the hope that your wisdom may enable you to devise prompt and effective means to restore peace and safety to our State. I shall detail briefly the startling events which have induced me to summon you together, and which have so suddenly placed us in the state of anarchy, confusion, and danger, from which I sincerely trust you may be able to extricate us. Believing it to be the design of the administration to pass over our soil troops for the defence of the city of Washington, and fearing that the passage of such troops would excite our people and provoke a collision, I labored earnestly to induce the President to forego his purpose. I waited upon him in person, and urged the importance of my request. I subsequently communicated with him and his Cabinet by special dispatches, entreating an abandonment of his designs. To all my requests I could get but the reply that Washington was threatened with attack; that the Government had resolved to defend it; that there was no other way of obtaining troops than by passing them over the soil of Maryland, and that the military necessity of the case rendered it impossible for the Government to abandon its plans, much as it desired to avoid the dangers of a collision. My correspondence with the authorities at Washington is: therewith submitted. The consequences are known to you. On Friday last a detachment of troops from Massachusetts reached Baltimore, and was attacked by an irresponsible mob, and several persons on both sides were killed. The Mayor and Police Board gave to the Massachusetts soldiers all the protection they could afford, acting with the utmost promptness and bravery.. But they were powerless to restrain the mob. Being in Baltimore at the time, I cooperated with the Mayor to the fullest extent of my power in his efforts. The military of the city  were ordered out to assist in the preservation of the peace. The railroad companies were requested by the Mayor and myself to transport no more troops to Baltimore city, and they promptly acceded to our request. Hearing of the attack upon the soldiers, the War Department issued orders that no more troops would pass through Baltimore city provided they were allowed to pass outside its limits. Subsequently a detachment of troops were ascertained to be encamped at or near Cockeysville, in Baltimore county. On being informed of this, the War Department ordered them back. Before leaving Baltimore, Colonel Huger, who was in command of the United States arsenal at Pikesville, informed me that he had resigned his commission. Being advised of the probability that the mob might attempt the destruction of this property, and thereby complicate our difficulties with the authorities at Washington, I ordered Colonel Petherbridge to proceed with sufficient force and occupy the premises in the name of the United States Government, of which proceeding I immediately notified the War Department. On Sunday morning last I discovered that a detachment of troops, under command of Brigadier-General Benjamin F. Butler, had reached Annapolis in a steamer, and had taken possession of the practice-ship Constitution, which during that day they succeeded in getting outside of the harbor of Annapolis, where she now lies. After getting the ship off, the steamer laid outside the harbor, and was soon joined by another steamer having on board the Seventh Regiment, from New York city. Brigadier-General Butler addressed me, asking for permission to land his forces. It will be seen from the correspondence herewith submitted, that I refused my consent. The Mayor of Annapolis also protested. But both steamers soon afterward landed and put off with the troops. Subsequently other large bodies of troops reached here in transports, and were landed. I was notified that the troops were to be marched to Washington. They desired to go without obstruction from our people, but they had orders to go to Washington, and were determined to obey those orders. In furtherance of their designs they took military possession of the. Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad, in regard to which act I forwarded to Brigadier-General Butler the protest, and see the reply herewith submitted. On Wednesday morning the two detachments landed, and took up the line of march for Washington. The people of Annapolis, though greatly exasperated, acting under counsel of the most prudent citizens, refrained from molesting or obstructing the passage of the troops through the city. Seriously impressed with the condition of affairs, and anxious to avoid a repetition of events similar to those which had transpired in Baltimore, I deemed it my duty to make another appeal at Washington. Accordingly I sent a special messenger to Washington, with a dispatch to the administration, advising that no more troops be sent through Maryland ;that the troops at Annapolis be sent elsewhere, and urging that a truce be offered with a view of a peaceful settlement of existing difficulties by mediation. I suggested that Lord Lyons, the British Minister, be requested to act as mediator between the contending parties. The result of the mission will be seen from the correspondence herewith submitted. These events have satisfied me that the War Department has concluded to make Annapolis the point for landing troops, and has resolved to open and maintain communication between this place and Washington. In the brief time allowed, it is impossible for me to go more into detail. The documents accompanying this message places before you all the information possessed by me. I shall promptly communicate such other information as may reach me. Notwithstanding the fact that our most learned and intelligent citizens admit the right of the Government to transport its troops across our soil, it is evident that a portion of the people of Maryland are opposed to the exercise of that right. I have done all in my power to protect the citizens of Maryland, and to preserve peace within our borders. Lawless occurrences will be repeated, I fear, unless prompt action be taken by you. It is my duty to advise you of my own convictions of the proper course to be pursued by Maryland in the emergency which is upon us. It is of no consequence now to discuss the causes which have induced our troubles. Let us look to our distressing present and to our portentous future. The fate of Maryland, and perhaps of her sister border slave States, will undoubtedly be seriously affected by the action of your honorable body. Therefore should every good citizen bend all his energies to the task before us, and therefore should the animosities and bickerings of the past be forgotten, and all strike hands in the bold;,cause of restoring peace to our State and to our country. I honestly and most earnestly entertain the conviction that the only safety of Maryland lies in preserving a neutral position between our brethren of the North and of the south. We have violated no right of either section. We have been loyal to the Union. The unhappy contest between the two sections has not been commenced or encouraged by us, although we have suffered from it in the past. The impending war has not come by any act or any wish of ours. We have done all we could to avert it. We have hoped that Maryland and other border slave States, by their conservative position and love for the Union, might have acted as mediators between the extremes of both sections, and thus have prevented the terrible evils of a prolonged civil war. Entertaining these views, I cannot counsel Maryland to take sides against the general Government until it shall commit outrages on us which would justify us in resisting  its authority. As a consequence, I can give no other counsel than that we shall array our-selves for Union and peace, and thus preserve our soil from being polluted with the blood of brethren. Thus, if war must be between the North and South, we may force the contending parties to transfer the field of battle from our soil, so that our lives and property may be secure. It seems to me that, independently of all other considerations, our geographical position forces us to this, unless we are willing to see our State the theatre of a long and bloody civil war, and the consequent utter destruction of every material interest of our people, to say nothing of the blood of brave men and innocent women and children, which will cry out from our soil for vengeance upon us, if we fail to do all that in us lies to avert the impending calamity. The course I suggest has all the while been the sole groundwork of my policy; and but for the excitement prevailing among our people during the past few days, I believe the object I have kept steadily in view during my administration would have been consummated. If it has failed, I have the full consciousness that, throughout the whole of my harassing and painful incumbency of the gubernatorial chair, I have labored honestly and faithfully for the peace, the safety, and the interests of Maryland, and of our common country. This consciousness has fully sustained me in all my troubles, and has enabled me to endure patiently all the cruel, unmerited, and heartless attacks that have been made upon my integrity. I have also comfort in the conviction that my policy has been sustained by a large majority of the people, and nothing that has transpired since the recent lamentable occurrence within our State has shaken that conviction. A momentary frantic excitement took the place of reason and good judgment, and men for the time threw aside all prudent thoughts of the future in the burning desire to avenge what they considered wrongs. I submit my suggestions to your wisdom, and I appeal to you not only as devoted citizens of Maryland, but as husbands and fathers, to allow that prudence and Christianlike temper, so honorable to all men, to guide your counsels; and I implore you not to be swayed by the passions which seem to be so fully aroused in our midst to do what the generations to come after us will ever deplore. In conclusion, gentlemen, I ask your indulgence, if I have omitted to present to you any other matter of interest in connection with the important subject which you are summoned to consider. The short time I have had in which to prepare this communication, and the turmoil and excitement around me, may have caused omissions; but, if so, they will be promptly supplied when indicated by you.
--N. Y. Herald, April 28.