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[679] but salutary measure was unanimously approved by those who had remained loyal to the Union.

A large number of telegraphic despatches of a most compromising character regarding those Southern partisans who resided in the North had lately been seized. The complicity of the latter with the insurgents, especially in Maryland, was not doubted; but as the courts of this State were entirely controlled by secessionists, they could not be tried by the ordinary process of law. In such States as Kentucky or Missouri, where the two antagonistic parties faced each other with arms in hand, respect for the guarantees of personal liberty would only have led to scandalous violations of justice. The military authority, charged to protect the Constitution and to fight its enemies, was released by the President, after consulting with his legal advisers, from all obligations to respect the habeas corpus. On the 27th of April an order from Mr. Lincoln, countersigned by Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, officially informed General Scott, commander of the army, of this decision and the powers it conferred upon him in those districts occupied by his troops, as well as along the whole line of railway from Philadelphia to Washington.

The military occupation of the great city of Baltimore soon rendered a recourse to extreme measures necessary. The leaders who had temporarily drawn it into the secession movement thought only of revenging themselves for the bold stroke by which Butler had wrested it from them. The military power, which alone enforced respect for the Constitution in that city, could not fulfil its mission except by rendering it impossible for them to conspire any longer. On the 25th of May, 1861, Mr. Merryman, a member of the Maryland legislature, was arrested and shut up in Fort McHenry. An application was made before a judge to have him brought into court on habeas corpus. General Cadwalader, who was in command of the fort, refused to obey the summons of the judge to bring the prisoner before his court. The case was taken before Chief-justice Taney, of the Supreme Court of the United States. The latter, who was entirely devoted to the cause of the South, declared that the action of the Baltimore judge was perfectly legal. Mr. Lincoln instructed his agents to pay no attention to this decision.

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