The Habeas corpus.
The significant vote of two to one on laying on the table Mr. Foote
's resolution for the repeal of the act suspending the writ of habeas corpus
in certain cases, in the House of Representatives on Friday, it is to be hoped, will settle the matter for the present.
The Congress would not take such a step as the passage of the bill suspending the writ, much less adhere to it, unless the reasons to sustain the act were of a very imperative and overruling character.
The letter of the President
ought to go far, of itself, to satisfy the public.
He has usurped no authority — he has displayed no disposition to deprive any man of his rights — and we can hardly imagine that any man can distrust him on this subject.
The great objection to him has been his hesitation to exert his authority in emergency, and his extraordinary clemency.
He says, himself, what is true, no doubt, that the suspension of the writ has been chiefly beneficial in "restraining treasonable practices." The instances where arrests were found necessary being "extremely few." We put confidence in the sincerity of Mr. Rives
, and in the correctness of his judgment, when he said in his able speech on Friday, that after an examination of the documents submitted in secret session, which led to the passage of the act, he would say that they "made out a complete case;" and he further expressed his belief that "the Confederacy
, and Richmond
particularly, was indebted for their deliverance from the last assault of the foe, in no meagre measure, to the safeguards thrown around the Government
by the suspending act. " It is a time of danger when every man must give up something of right, and much of means, for the common safety of the country.
In this spirit let us abstain from cavilling about this much limited measure, until the wolf is fairly driven from the fold.