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Governor Curtin On Arbitrary A Hests

Governor Curtin On Arbitrary A Hests image
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KXKCUTIVK ClIA MEER, ) Haiirisburu, Feb. 12, 1803. Tu the Senate and House of Representativas of the C mmonwe.iltli of Penney Ivunia: Gentlemen-- I desire to r-all your at tention to a subject of moment. Wlien the present infamous and Godcondenmed rebellion broke out Congrega was notin Bession, and the occurrence of suoh a state of thiugs not having been ioresicn in formor times, no adequate ! legirtion bad been had to meet it. At i the same time - the lifo of tlie country i beiug at stake - it rppeared necessary that some muaiis sliould be taken to con trol the small band of traitors in flie lpy1 nl States, so as to prevent (hem friftn macliinations which migbt be injurious, i if not fatal, to the uatioual cause. Uni der tbèse circumstances the general government resóVted to the system of' uiili! tary arrest of dangerous persons, anr] l having tlius conmieuccd ac;iig utider it have continued (at Leeg intervals in this jétate) to pursue it The goverrnnent of the United States acts dircetly on iudividuals, ai,d the State Executive lias no autliority or means to interfere with arrests of citizena of the United States, made under the autliority of that govorument. Every citizen of Penusylvania is also a citizen of the United States, and owes allegiance to theru as well iis (sub ject to the provisions of the conatitutiou as the United States) he owes it to Pennsylvania. If he be unlaufully deprired of his liberty, his ouly redresa is to be had at the hands of the judiciary. In sach times as the present il is more than qecessary to preserve regularity in official action. Great eiïbrts have been aud are perhapa still beiug made by persons bliuded or ill disposed to throw us mto a state of rcvolution - that is to gay, to créate anarchy and confu,-ion, and, ultiniately, to bring about the destructina of lite and property among us. Any irregular, mueh inore Ilegal, interference by your Executive with rnattera whicli, by the constituiion, are not entrusted to his eognizanee - and espeeially aiiy Buch interference with the letion of tlie Executive of the United States or with the functioija of the judiciarv, would be, ín the existing crisis, etupliattcal'.y dáiigerot; it would have a direct revolutiouary teudency ; in fact, it would bo to commence a revolulion. The courta of justice aro opon, and, no doubt, all personal wrongs can be properly redresstd in due course'of law I do not know liow many arresta of the kind hereinbefore referred to have been made in Penusylvania, as I havo at no time been privy to the maku:g of them, but 1 believe they have been few. I was uu der the impressioi: that there would be no necepsity for more of them, otherwise I might have referred to them in my annual message; but receöff events hnving sliown tliat this impression was erroneous, I deern it my duty how to invite your atteiition to the i-ubject. The COntest in which we are engied 3 ono for the preservation of our own liberty and welfare. The traitors of the South bate the great body of our pi'ople who aieloyal, and hate and bitteriy de epise tlie few who are ready for submission. Unless the rttbelHoTj be effectually suppressed wb must lose uúr pride of country, the larger portion of our territory, and the elemenis uot onl of greatni-ss, but of prnipcrity, and even of security to lite, liberty and property. - Notwithstanding all this, it is, I fear, an tmdoubtcd truth that a few wrctchos among us, false to all our free and hiyal tiaditions- false to tho meiftorj of their fathers and to the tights of their cbildren - falsë to the cou'itry which bas given theui bir'h and proteoted them - only stopping short of the teehuieal offeose of treason - in the very madness of Biischjef are actirely plpttiiig to betray us - to poison and mislead the minds of our peo'ple by trei-cherous misrepreseutations, and to so aid and comfort the rebela that our fate may ba eitüer to abandon the free North and become bange ts on of a govermnent founded in tieachery, fraud and insano ambition ; or, at best, to dissolve tho Union under which we have prospcred, and to break this fair and glorióos country into fragments, which will be cursed by perpetua! discords at home and by the con tempt and ill-usage of foroign nations, from which we shall then ba too wcak to vindícate ourselves That such offensps shouk! bo duly punisln'd no good citizon can doubt, and that proper legislation by Congres? is required for that purpose can be as. littla doubted. Whether such legisktion sliould include a suspension of the writ of fulleca corpus in any and what parts of the country is a question which belongs exclusivfc'ly to the legislativo authoritic-s of the United States, ;who, under the eonstitution, havo the light to determine it. That great writ ought not to be suspended unless, to tlie wisdom oí Cougresj, the present necessity shall appsar to be urgent. Thorefore, I recommend the passage of a joint rtsolution earncstly requesting that Congress shall forthwith pass laws defioipg and puuishing offenses of the olass above roferred to, and providing for the fair and speedy trial, by impartial jury, ol persons charge'd with sueh offeuses in the loyal and uudisturbed States, so that the guilty may justly suffer and the iunoceut be relicved. a. g. cübtin;


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