[from "Reply to the speech of Hon. J. C. Breckinridge, delivered in the U.S. Senate, July 16th, 1861, and in defense of the President's war measures, blockade of the southern ports, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, arrest of political offenders, suppression of traitorous presses, &c, &c. By Anna Ella Carroll of Maryland]
I had read with pain the speech of the Hon. John C. Breckinridge, delivered recently in the United States Senate, and with still deeper pain, I now see him descending from his high position as a Senator and come to Maryland, to use the fallacies of that speech, for the purpose of stimulating and strengthening the Confederate rebellion. I see him addressing the passions of the crowd, as they cheer 'Davis and Beauregard,' and evidently his purpose is, to incite the military uprising of the people in this State against the Government, in aid of Southern Treason, and to prepare them for action whenever the leaders shall give the signal.
In his senatorial speech, to which he refers so vauntingly, he charges that the 'President, in violation of the Constitution, made war on the Sountern States for subjugation and conquest, increased the army and navy, called forth the militia, blockaded the Southern ports, suspended the writ of Habeus Corpus; and without warrant, arrested private persons, searched private houses, seized private papers and effects, &c, &c.' And now, in his Baltimore speech, he asserts that the State of Maryland is abolished, and that her people are 'under the shadow of a broad-spreading military despotism.' With splenetic acerbity and the skill of the demagogue, he reiterates the charge of arrest without warrant of citizens in this state.
These are grave charges, and if true, the President should be made to suffer the
extreme penalty of the law....The argument turns wholly on the question of fact, whether the overt act of treason, which the Constitution defines to be levying war against the United States, has been committed? Whether the Confederate States of the South commenced the war?
Secret but powerful efforts to dissolve this Union have been made in the cotton states, since 1831; but on the 7th of May, 1849, under the instigation of Calhoun, then the chief conspirator, a meeting was held at Jackson, Mississippi, when the secession party formally organized, to form a Southern Confederacy upon the first act of the General Government on which they could have a pretext. They here laid down their programme, which the conspirators of '60 and '61 have faithfully carried out.
But granting his main proposition, that the President has been guilty of making the war, (the sad realities of which are before us), is it not less the duty of every American citizen to stand by his country and sustain the Government until the war is terminated by an honorable peace.
There can be no equivocal position in this crisis; and he who is not with the Government is against it, and an enemy to his country.
But the major premise of the Senator, namely, that the President made the war upon the South, is untrue, and I proceed to show that no one in America knows this better than that gentleman. So far, then, as his position as a Senator of the United States can serve, he has assumed the awful responsibility of conspiring for the overthrow of em>his Government--defending accomplices in their labors to dissolve it, and proclaiming the President a usurper for his efforts to preserve it.
[Here Carroll traces various efforts to divide the Union, discussing debates in the U.S. Senate involving Henry Clay and Jefferson Davis, and the Burr conspiracy. From the latter she concludes] :
Our military commanders in Maryland and Missouri are fully justified upon the precise principle upon which Mr. Jefferson exonerated General Wilkinson.
[She goes on to discuss charges of suppression of a St. Louis press which she justifies as the press 'was in the service of the rebellion....anyone who is aiding the rebellion by treasonable utterances, whether spoken of written, is as amenable to martial law as though enrolled in the Confederate army....]
In the progress of events the rebellion may assume such formidable proportions as to orverride both the judicial and legislative powers, leaving the military as the only visible power in the land. It would then be the clear duty of the President, as commander-in-chief, to maintain the military authority over every foot of territory of the United States until the judicial and legislative power could be restored. In such an exigency it may be his duty to call several millions of men into the service. It may be necessary to arrest traitorous Senators and members of Congress, Judges of Courts, &c, who are in complicity with the rebellion, and treat them as public enemies...Instead of arresting a few traitors he may arrest all traitors, and deprive them of the means of warring on the Government....
In this supreme struggle of its existence men of all sections should adhere to it. They should not only sustain it, but if necessary, meet death to preserve it until the roar of the final fire, and the Judgment of the quick and the dead.
Better that Washington had perished like Hampden. That Jefferson had never drafted the Declaration of Independence. That Lee, Hancock, Adams, Franklin, Sherman, Livingston, &c, had died like Sydney and Russell upon the block, than that this Union, created to be the day-light to break the night of ages, should finally collapse, and traitors be permitted to write the epitaph, 'it lived and died.. "
Anna Ella Carroll, (1815-1894) daughter of Maryland governor Thomas King Carroll, was born to a prominent slave holding family. She freed her own slaves upon the election of Lincoln and devoted her considerable energy and writing talents to supporting the union cause in a series of political pamphlets, defending the actions of the federal government with constitutional arguments.
A 1861 .C366