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[182] him, and who clouded his better judgment, had designs which could be consummated only by his official aid; and they spared no efforts to entangle him in the snares they had prepared.

It is alleged by the Mayor and his witnesses that I gave my consent verbally. I am sure the public will agree with me in thinking it strange, under all the circumstances, that an act of so great importance, requiring, as it is alleged, my authority to make it valid, should have been consummated under a pretended verbal assent, admitted to have been unwillingly given by a person who “expressed some doubt as to his authority to give such an order.” None but bold conspirators would have proceeded to perpetrate such an unlawful act without authority in writing from whomsoever they believed competent to give the necessary order. According to their showing, a written order from me would have absolved the Mayor and his associates from all responsibility in the premises. But they confess they had no such authority, and attempt to justify their unlawful acts by a pretended verbal assent by me certified to by witnesses interested very materially in sustaining the position assumed by the Mayor. It seems to me that in this respect my accusers find themselves in a difficulty from which they cannot extricate themselves.

The Mayor's communication does not profess to quote the language used by me on the occasion referred to.--It is admitted that I alleged want of authority to order the destruction of the bridges. The Mayor's witnesses admit that I desired time for reflection. But time for reflection would have materially damaged the plot, inasmuch as men were already on the way to do what they desired me to endorse. Accordingly they jumped to the desired conclusion that I consented, because I contended that I had no power to consent to, and no power to prevent the outrage contemplated, and which was then in process of execution. The visit of Messrs. Brown, Kane, and Lowe to my bedchamber was at a late hour of the night. The Mayor's companions were men in whom I have no confidence. Indeed, it was only on account of the official nature of the visit that, under the circumstances, I consented to any communication with such people. No man of intelligence can fail to see that it was impossible for me to consent unequivocally to the unlawful act which was proposed to me by such men as Kane and Lowe, no matter how necessary it might have appeared to be in the emergency. Consequently I unhesitatingly assert that I refused my consent, and gave as my reason therefor that “I had no authority in the premises — that the bridges were private property — that the proposed act was unlawful — that I was a lover of law and order — that the Mayor could act as he pleased — and that I had no power to interfere with his designs.” If this be consent to the destruction of the bridges, then I consented. If this be complicity in an unlawful act, then I was accessory.

I do not deny that the proposed act, unlawful though it was, seemed to be the only means of averting threatened bloodshed. But it would have little become me, as Governor of the State, to interfere with the province of the Mayor of Baltimore to prevent a riot. Still less did it become me to forget my oath of office, and consent to an infraction of the laws which I had sworn to enforce. I am sure no unprejudiced man can conclude it to be within the range of probability that I could have acted in the manner ascribed to me.

As a matter of course, it is not easy to adduce proof of my position. Those who were near me throughout that trying day can bear but little accurate testimony as to what was said or done by me. Every one was full of excitement, and men whose judgment had always challenged my respect urged me to do many things which they now regret to remember. I was, perhaps, no cooler than those who surrounded me, but it was not possible for me to forget what was due to my position and to my oath of office. I did not do either. I strenuously resisted all propositions which I deemed inconsistent with law and order, and I did nothing on that eventful day which I have any reason to regret.

My accusers seem to forget that long before nightfall I positively and persistently refused my assent to the scuttling or even removal of the steam ferry boat Maryland, at Perryville, which was proposed to me by so many persons, and which, if consummated, would have prevented any necessity for the destruction of the bridges. The following letter from Col. R. S. Mercer, of Anne Arundel county, is evidence that I did refuse my assent to this proposition:

Parkhurst, May 16, 1861.
To His Excellency, Gov. Hicks--
Dear sir: I have just read your card in the American, denying the charge made by the Mayor of Baltimore, Marshal Kane, and others, that you had given your consent and approbation to the burning of the various railroad bridges leading from Baltimore to Pennsylvania.

Having, on the 19th of April, acted as your aide-de-camp, I was present at all your consultations and interviews with the city officials and other prominent citizens, until the violent excitement which marked that day had subsided. I conceive it to be my duty to make the following statement, which suggests itself to me, as a simple act of justice to you.

I heard the request made you by Mr. McLean and others, in which His Honor, the Mayor, acquiesced, that you should order the scuttling or removal of the steam ferry boat Maryland, so as to cut off all means for the transmission of troops through Baltimore, over the Philadelphia Railroad. You peremptorily refused even to remove the boat, and explicitly gave as your

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