Table of Contents:
Gen. Cadwallader, who succeeded Gen. Butler in command at Baltimore, was a gentleman, if not a soldier. Some of the Baltimore journals were disposed to congratulate themselves and the public generally upon the change of masters. It was a poor business at best, as the Baltimore South well observes, the attempt to reconcile a free people to the injustice and disgrace of their disfranchisement, by representing their new jailor as a decent, civil sort of person — as if it mattered greatly, if they were to be bound and scourged, whether the links that composed their chains should be square or round, or the cowhide that should be applied to their backs be green or red. Nevertheless the journals in question made this attempt, and seemingly found great comfort in doing so. Gen. Cadwallader, they said, was a gentleman as well as a soldier; he owned property in Maryland; he was personally acquainted with its people; with many of them he was on terms of personal friendship and intimacy; he would respect their feelings and their rights; he would not violate the laws, or transgress the limits which they assign to the exercise of military as well as civil authority; he would not imprison men without cause, or seize private property without warrant of law; or commit any of the outrages upon private rights which had disgraced the administration of Butler. Better things might be expected from Gen. Cadwallader--at least so said, and doubtless thought these journals, and many respectable citizens besides. How these gratifying expectations have been disappointed; how mistaken this estimate of the character of the man, it is scarcely necessary now to say. The South declares that Cadwallader will leave a name in Baltimore as hateful as that of Butler, for whilst he had the tact to avoid making himself personally obnoxious to the citizens, he has contrived to make the little finger of his authority heavier than the loins of his predecessor. Whilst under his administration there has been neither proclamations nor brigade orders, seizures of public and private property, searches for arms, and the arrest and detention of citizens, have proceeded as before. The South mentions one instance, that of the seizure and appropriation of a number of fowling-pieces, part of the stock in trade of a respectable importer, a robbery which was more bare-faced, and less defensible, even under the tyrant's plea of necessity, than any act of Butler's--who confined his seizures to military arms belonging to the city, or suspected to be actually in course of transshipment to the South. Upon the crowning outrage of all, that which will damn Cadwallader forever in the estimation of all men who have the faintest appreciation of constitutional freedom, the South has the following forcible comments, bold utterances, which prove that the spirit of liberty is not yet dead in Maryland: ‘ In the case of Mr. Merryman, in refusing to obey the writ of habeas corpus, or to permit the service of the process of the Court, General Cadwallader has capped the climax of official outrage, while in his communications, both oral and written, to the Chief Justice of the United States, he has transcended the utmost license of military insolence. Does anybody, for example, believe that Gen. Cadwallader told the truth when he pleaded his engagements at the Fort, as an excuse for not appearing in Court, in obedience to the writ which had been served upon him? Is anybody so simple as to imagine that the ‘"regrets #x34;’ which he commissioned his aid de camp to deliver to the Chief Justice were other than a subterfuge and a falsehood, unworthy of an officer and a gentleman? Gen. Cadwallader had no idea of obeying the writ, still less of placing himself in the power of the Court to answer for his disobedience.--And then his letter to the Chief Justice, closing with the insolent admonition, ‘"that those who should co-operate in the present trying and painful position in which our country is placed, should not, by reason of any unnecessary want of confidence in each other, increase our embarrassments."’#x2014; as if the venerable and upright magistrate whom he was addressing, had any other object at heart than the vindication of the Constitution and the Laws, whose chief minister he is, or was seeking to ‘"embarrass"’ the operation of either! The New York Tribune applauds Gen. Cadwallader for this insult to the Chief Justice, and characterizes it as a ‘"stinging rebuke,"’ which ‘"would penetrate a less hardened bosom than that of Roger B. Taney!"’ But it is not the manner of the deed which constitutes the sum of Cadwallader's infamy. The assumption to suspend the writ of habeas corpus at his own discretion, or by virtue of instructions received from the President, in violation of the Constitution, is, without exception or qualification, the greatest outrage that has been, or can be, inflicted upon the rights of a citizen. Apart from the injury done to Mr. Merryman, who is thus illegally held and imprisoned, a fatal blow has been struck at the liberties of the people — the last, greatest, only bulwark of those liberties has been prostrated in the dust. The authorities which we published yesterday, and which we republish to-day, upon the subject of the writ of habeas corpus, show with what jealous care our forefathers have sought to guard the right of personal liberty, and how this high writ was framed to be its safe-guard and protection. General Cadwallader has assumed to do what in England the Queen's Majesty dare not do — no, not for the Crown — to trample upon the writ, and upon the rights it was intended to defend. For this crime, there is no punishment that would be too severe, and an immortality of infamy will be his due portion in history. General Cadwallader, we believe, was educated a lawyer, and in sinning has therefore sinned against light and knowledge; but lawyer or not, he knows that the Constitution is law for him as well as for the President; and that the President can no more authorize him to commit a palpable violation of that instrument, than he can authorize him to commit theft and murder. The President's instructions afford no greater warrant for an act of disobedience to the writ of habeas corpus, for the false imprisonment of a citizen, for a breach of the plain letter of the Constitution, than for the commission of any other crime. Whatever may be the final result in the case of Mr. Merryman, either as regards that gentleman individually, or with respect to the vindication of the great principles of Right and Liberty which have been violated in his person, the consequences as respects the position of Gen. Cadwallader will be the same.--Nothing can ever efface the damning st n which his part in this most tyrannical and iniquitous proceeding has brought upon his name, and which will cleave to his memory for centuries after his body has rotted in the grave. ’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.