Henry Onderdonk.

A history of Maryland : upon the basis of M'Sherry, from its settlement to 1867, with illustrations and an appendix containing the constitution of the state for the use of schools online

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Online LibraryHenry OnderdonkA history of Maryland : upon the basis of M'Sherry, from its settlement to 1867, with illustrations and an appendix containing the constitution of the state for the use of schools → online text (page 14 of 22)
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the proper course to be pursued by Maryland in
the present crisis.

3. His convictions were, "that the only safety
of Maryland lay in preserving a neutral position
between the North and the South ; that he could
not counsel Maryland to take sides against the
General Government until it shall commit outrages
upon us that would justify us in resisting its autho-
rity ; that the geographical position of the State
forces it to declare for Union and Peace, if it
would not have every material interest of its
people destroyed."

4. On the 27th, the day after their assembling,
the Senate and House of Delegates issued an ad-
dress to the people, stating that the fear that their
deliberations might result in committing the State
to secession, was groundless, and that they had no
constitutional authority to take such a step.

5. In the meanwhile, the General Government
had created the military department of Annapolis.
This department embraced the country twenty
miles on each side of the Washington rail road,
as far as Bladensburg. Gen'l Benj. F. Butler was
placed in command of it, with ample discretionary
power to make him a sort of military dictator.

Questions— 3. What were his convictions ? 4. What did the leg-
islature do on the 27th ? 5. What is said of the military depart-
ment? Who was in command?

238 History of Maryland.

6. General Scott, at that time Lieut. Gen'l of
the United States army, devised a grand campaign
against Baltimore. His plan was to send a column
of three thousand men from Washington ; another,
of the same number from York, Pennsylvania, and
a third column of three thousand men from Perry-
ville, or Elkton, by land, or by water, or both, and
a fourth, of equal strength, from Annapolis.

7. Either the military education of Gen'l Scott
was in his way, or he was totally ignorant of the
condition of affairs in Baltimore. However wil-
ling the people may have been to resist the Govern-
ment in sending troops to coerce States, they were
utterly without arms or organization to carry any
such wish into execution.

8. General Butler, however, knew very well how
utterly unprepared the city was to make opposition
even to a single regiment, if brought unexpectedly
to the citizens, and prepared for any emergency.
He, therefore, asked permission to take a regiment
or two from Annapolis and march to the Relay
House on the Baltimore and Ohio rail road. The
request was granted.

9. On the 4th of May he issued orders for two
regiments and a battery of artillery to be ready to
march at two A. M. The troops were in Wash-
ington city. In two hours after starting, they were
at the Relay House.

Questions— d. What was Gen. Scott's plan against Baltimore?
7. "What is said of this plan? 8. What is said of General Butler?
9. What order did he issue on 4th of May?

PwELay House.


10. Not only the utter inability to resist the pas*
sage of troops, but even the want of disposition to
do so on the part of the citizens, was shewn by the
fact that on the 8th of May, Col. Patterson landed
at Locust Point with twelve hundred men. There
was no other demonstration than the usual assem-
bling of a crowd to witness the soldiers. Mar-
shal Kane was present with a body of police, and
tendered the services of the officers of the civil
law. His offer was accepted, and there was no

Rklat House, Washington Junction, D. & 0. R. R.

11. Butler remained at the Relay House for a
week. On the 13th, in the niyrht, when those who

Questions— 10. Was there any ability to resist troops' Who
landed at Locust Point? 11. .'low lun« did Butler remain at the
Relay House, and then what did he do?

240 History op Maryland.

were not in bed, were kept in doors by a violent
rain storm that was raging, he marched with a
thousand men to Federal Hill. Lieut. Gen. Scott
called this " a hazardous occupation of Baltimore,"
and regarded it as a " God-send that it was with-
out conflict."

12. Scott, whether he really thought that Butler
had acted with temerity, or whether he was an-
noyed to find himself so deceived about the condi-
tion of affairs in the city, insisted upon the recall
of General Butler.

13. Butler was succeeded by General Cadwalla-
der, and the troops were temporarily withdrawn.
Afterwards, Duryee's Zouaves occupied Federal
Hill and built a strong earthwork, whose cannon
commanded both the town and Fort McHenry.

14. The first act of resistance to the civil law
on the part of the military, was on May 14th. On
that day, Judge Giles, of the United States Dis-
trict Court, issued a writ of habeas corpus for the
release of a man confined in Fort McHenry. —
Major Morris refused to obey.

15. The most noted case, however, of a refusal
to obey the writ of habeas corpus, was that of
John Merryman, of Baltimore county, who was cast
into Fort McHenry, on May 25th.

Questions.— 12. What did Scott insist upon, and why? 13. By
whom was Butler succeeded? 14. What was the first act of resis-
tance to the civil law by the military? 15. Which waa the most
noted case ?

Case of Mr. Merryman. 241

16. Mr. Merryman was charged with holding a
commission as Lieutenant in a company avowing'
its hostility to the General Government j with being
in communication with the army at the South, and
with various acts of treason. His counsel had an
interview with the commander of the Fort, and
requested that he might be permitted to see the
papers under and by which Mr. Merryman was
detained in custody. The request was refused.

17. Mr. Merryman at once forwarded a petition
to Roger B. Taney, Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court of the United States, praying for a writ of
habeas corpus to be issued, commanding General
Cadwallader to produce the petitioner in Court
and shew cause for his detention. The writ was
issued for May 27th. General Cadwallader's re-
sponse to the writ was a letter to the Chief Justice
stating the charges against the accused j that he
was satisfied of the guilt of the prisoner, and that
he was duly authorized by the President of the
United States to suspend the writ of habeas cor-
pus. He concluded his letter to the Chief Justice
by giving his views of that venerable officer's duty
in the case.

Questions.— 16. What was Mr. Merryman charged with? 17. What
did Mr. Merryman do? What was Gen. Cadwallader's response?


242 History of Maryland.

18. The Chief
Justice immediate*
ly ordered that an
attachment forth*
with issue against
Gen'l Cadwallader,
for contempt in re-
fusing to produce
the body of John
Merryman, accord-
ing to the command
of the writ of ha-
beas corpus. On
the day appointed
for the return, the
Marsha] replied that he had proceeded to the fort
to serve the writ, that he was not permitted to
enter the gate, and that he was informed, " there
was no answer to his card.**

19. The Chief Justice remarked in court that
the detention of the prisoner was unlawful upon
two grounds j

1. That the President, under the Constitution,
cannot suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus, nor authorize any military officer to do it.

2. That "a military officer has no right to arrest
and detain a person, not subject to the rules and
articles of war, for an offence against the laws of the

Questions.— 18i What did Chief Justice Taney do? What was the
effect? 19.. What did the Chief Justice decide?

Chief Justice TaneV.

Case op Mr. Merryman. 243

United States, excepting as subject to the control
of the judicial authority ; and that it is the duty of
the military to immediately deliver over persons so
arrested, to the civil authority, to be dealt with
according to law. It is, therefore, very clear that
John Merryman is entitled to be set at liberty and
discharged immediately from imprisonment. n

20 The Chief Justice subsequently reduced his
opinion to writing, and filed it with the archives of
the Court. In this opinion he recited the history
of the arrest, as given in the petition, and said that
Gen'l Cadwallader in his return did not deny any
of the facts alleged in the petition, but had stated
that the prisoner was arrested by order of General
Keim, of Pennsylvania ; that it was not alleged in
the return that any specific act, constituting an
offence against the laws of the United States, had
been charged against the prisoner, upon oath, but
that he appeared to have been arrested upon
charges of treason and rebellion without proof,
and without the names of witnesses being given,
or the acts specified, which, in the judgment of the
military officer, constituted these crimes.

21. After discussing the constitutional right of
the President to suspend the writ of habeas cor-
pits, the Chief Justice uses the following language :
" Such is the case now before me ; and I can only
say that if the authority which the Constitution has

Questions.— 20. State what is said in this, section,? 21. "What lan-
guage did the Chief Justice use ?

244 History op Maryland.

confided to the judiciary department, and judicial
officers may thus, upon any pretext, or under any
circumstances, be usurped by the military power
at its discretion, the people of the United States
are no longer living under a Government of laws,
but every citizen holds life, liberty and property at
the will and pleasure of the army officer in whose
military district he may happen to be found."

22. After stating that his constitutional power
had been resisted by a force too strong for him to
overcome, and suggesting the possibility that the
military officer may have misunderstood his instruc-
tion, and exceeded the authority intended to be
given him, and stating his intention to have a copy
of the proceedings transmitted to the President of
the United States, he thus concludes : " It will
then remain for that high officer, in fulfilment of
his constitutional obligation ' to take care that the
laws be executed,' to determine what measures he
will take to cause the civil process of the United
States to be respected and enforced." The Chief
Justice declared that the prisoner was improperly
held, and was entitled to his liberty.

23. The Legislature of Maryland passed a reso-
lution declaring "that we deem the writ of habeas
corpus the great safe-guard of personal liberty,
and we view with the utmost alarm and indigna-
tion the exercise of despotic power, that has dared

Questions.— 22. What further did he say2 23. What resolution
did the legislature pass 2

Habeas Corpus. 245

to snspend it in the case of John Merryman, now
confined in Fort McHenry."

24. Within six months no less than one hundred
prisoners of State, to whom the privilege of habeas
corpus had been denied, were confined in Fort La
Fayette, N. Y., alone; and in December, the com-
manding officer read a document to the prisoners,
to the effect that the United States would not re-
cognize any one as attorney for political offenders,
and that all applications through this usual method
would be regarded as sufficient reason for detain-
ing them in custody. They must make their appli-
cation to the State Department, or in other words,
to their accusers.

25. The Attorney General of the United States,
and a prominent lawyer of Philadelphia, published
answers to the Chief Justice's decision. The num-
ber of replies to those answers that appeared
throughout the North, shewed the deep interest
taken in the subject of personal freedom, and that
the minds of many, even in the strife of the hour
were startled from the fancied security to their

2C. Mr. Merryman was subsequently released on
bail, but was never tried, although on two occa-
sions he demanded this right. On the first occa-
sion, May, 1863, the case was dismissed by the

Questions. — 24. Were others deprived of their civil rights?
25. Who published replies to Chief Justice Taney's decision?
2G. What fUrther is said of Mr. Merryman!


246 History op Maryland.

orders of the Attorney General of the United
States. In June, however, he was re-indieted,
and held so until 1867, when by the direction of
the United States District Attorney, the case was
finally dismissed.


Legislative Proceedings — Arrest of Winans — The
Report on Federal Relations — Resolutions Passed —
Governor'' s Denied of the Right of Senate to make

1. Shortly after the assembling of the Legisla-
ture in their extra session, Ross Winans, a member
of the House of Delegates, was arrested in the
presence of the Governor of State by an armed
force under orders of the Federal Government.

2. The General Assembly passed resolutions
condemning in the strongest terms this act, and
declaring " the same to be subversive of the most
sacred guarantees of the Constitution, and in flag-
rant violation of the fundamental principles of free

3. Other important resolutions were passed by
the Legislature. The Committee on Federal Rela-

Questions.— 1. Who was shortly afterwards arrested? 2. What
resolutions did the legislature pass?

[Federal Relations. 24T

lions, -composed of S. T. Wallis, J. H. Gordon,
G. W. Goldsborough, Jas. T. Briscoe and Barnes
Corapton, presented a report and resolutions which
were adopted.

4. The report contended "that the President in
■calling upon the militia of other States to enforce
the laws of the United States in those States where
the execution thereof was obstructed, was unconsti-
tutional, and a summons to the people of the two
-sections to shed each other's blood. It further de-
clared that the war was chiefly obnoxious to the
people of Maryland because it was one of sectional
aggression and domination; that the dominant sec-
tion had seized upon the name, and flag, and re-
sources of the General Government to establish its
dominion over the other section ; that the name and
sacred memories of the Union were prostrated; that
it was a war waged against a people of our own
name and blood, who sought peace and kindly rela-
tions with us, and who only asked to be let alone,
and to govern themselves ; that subjugated pro-
vinces could not be sister States ; that a govern-
ment maintaining its authorities by armies, could
not be other than the most uncontrollable of de-
spotisms; that the South had entrenched itself
upon the principle of self-government, and that un-
less the American Revolution was a crime, the De-
claration of Independence a falsehood, and every

Questions.-^ 3. & i. What is said of the report on Federal rela-

248 History gp Maryland.

patriot and hero of 1TT6 a traitor, the South was
right and the North was wrong npon that issue." 1

5. The report further discussed the constitu-
tional right of the President, and insisted "that the
lawless outbreak in Baltimore on the 19th of April,
was primarily the fault of those who marched the
Massachusetts soldiery through that city upon an
illegal and unconstitutional errand. 7 ' The report
then discussed the Governor's proposition of neu-
trality, and pronounced it futile, saying "that the
only possible position of the State was an attitude
of submission." It discouraged the calling of a
convention, "since the military occupation of the
soil by Northern troops, against the wishes of its
people, and the solemn protest of the Governor,
would render futile any attempt at the performance
of an act of sovereignty. n

6. The resolutions proposed by the committee,
and adopted by the legislature, were in accordance
with the views in the report, viz : " that the State
of Maryland registers her solemn protest against
the war which the Federal Government has declared
upon the Confederate States; that it anxiously de-
sires the restoration of peace between the bellige-
rent sections, and implores the President of the
United Slates to accept the olive branch held out
to him, and in the name of God and humanity to
cease the unprofitable strife; that it desires, and

Questions.— 5. What further did the report discuss? tk "What res-
olutions were passed*

Governor Hicks. 249

gives faer assent to, a recognition of the Confede-
rate States; that the military occupation of the
State was in violation of the Constitution ; and,
finally, that it was inexpedient to call a Sovereign
Convention of the State, or to take any measure
for the organizing of the militia." A committee
was appointed to lay these resolutions before the
President of the Southern Confederacy, and if
possible to obtain a general cessation of hostili-
ties until the meeting of Congress in July. The
committee "Consisted, from the Senate, of Messrs.
Brooke, of Prince George's County; Yellott, of
Baltimore City ; Lynch, of Baltimore County, and
McKaig, of Alleghany Gounty. From the House
-of Delegates, Messrs. Harding, of Montgomery ;
Goldsborough, of Caroline County ; Compton, of
Charles, and Morgan, of St. Mary's County.

7. Governor Hicks having changed his attitude
of neutrality, and taken that of open hostility to
the South, and fearing that the arms belonging to
the militia might be used against the Federal
authorities, had them seized and sent to Fort
Mc Henry.

8. Early in June, the Senate ordered that the
Governor be requested to furnish that body with
a statement of the facts which induced him to
reclaim these arms, and why they were sent to

Questions.— (L What committee was appointed? 7. What is said
of Gov. Hicks? 8. What order did .the senate pass?

250 History of Marixanbw

Fort McHenry ; and aTso*what security he had for
the restoration of said arms> when demanded by
the proper authorities of Maryland.

9. The Governor, in his. message, denied the
right of the Senate to make the enquiries,, but said
that "he was satisfied that many of tbem had been
carried beyond the limits of Maryland for disloyal
purposes ; that he had good reason to believe
more would be carried off for a like purpose ; that
he had placed them in Fort McHenry as a place
of security ; that his. guarantee for their return
was in the honor of the United States Govern-
ment and its loyal officers."

10. This message of the Governor was submitted
to the committee on judicial proceedings, who re-
ported that " the action of the Governor was a
palpable usurpation of authority, which ought »ot
to be tolerated ; and that if the Governor was
right in assuming the position he did, there is no
power in the State to question his authority or stay
his hand." 1

11. The Legislature passed a resolution that the
Governor be requested to return to the armories of
the State the arms, that had been removed, and
that he return to the militia the arms reclaimed
from them. 55. It does not appear to have been

Questions.— 9. What reply did the Governor make? 10. To whom,
•was the message submitted, and what was the report! lL Whafe
resolution was passed by the legislature l

Arrest of Kane. 251


Provost ^Iaksiials— Arrest vf Kane— Arrest of Police
Commissi.o?iers — Habeas Corpus — Military Occupation
of Baltimore — Action of Legislature.

1. The administration of General Cadwallader,
sis commander of the department, having been
thought too mild by the Federal authorities, he
was superseded, on June 8th, by General N. P.

2. Oa the 27th of the month, General Banks
ordered a large body of soldiers, armed and sup-
plied with ball cartridges, to march from Fort
Mc Henry into the city and arrest Marshal Kaue,
and incarcerate him in Fort Mc Henry,

3. GenU Banks issued a proclamation announc-
ing that it was not his design to interfere with the
legitimate government of the people of Baltimore,
or Maryland, but that the government regarded
the Chief of the Police as at the head of a force
hostile to its authority and acting in concert with
its enemies. For this reason he arrested him and
detained him in custody.

4. The suspension of the writ of habeas -corpus
rendered it impossible for any competent tribunal
to decide whether the government was correct in

Questions.— 1. What is said of Gen. Cadwallader? 2. What did

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryHenry OnderdonkA history of Maryland : upon the basis of M'Sherry, from its settlement to 1867, with illustrations and an appendix containing the constitution of the state for the use of schools → online text (page 14 of 22)