Thursday, April 25, 2013
PRESENT: HON. JOHN CATRON, An Associate Justice of Supreme Court of United States.
United States Circuit Court,
DISTRICT OF MISSOURI,
SPECIAL JULY TERM, 1861.
HON. JOHN CATRON,
An Associate Justice of Supreme Court of United States.
HON. ROB'T W. WELLS,
District Judge of United States for Western District of Missouri.
HON. SAMUEL TREAT,
District Judge of United States for Eastern District of Missouri.
CHARGE TO THE GRAND JURY
BY THE COURT,
JULY 10, 1861.
PRINTED AT THE DEMOCRAT BOOK AND JOB OFFICE
"TO THE GRAND JURY...."
"...A brief reference to some of the offences of which you have cognizance, and a succinct statement of the law concerning them, may aid your investigations, and serve for your guidance:
"The Constitution and laws of the United States "are the supreme law of the land," anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary, notwithstanding." Their supremacy is thus declared in express terms: "Whatever conflicts therewith has no operative or obligatory force. Allegiance to the United States, and loyalty to the United States Constitution and laws, are the paramount duty of every citizen. Within their legitimate sphere, they command the obedience of all, and no State Coustitution or statute can absolve any one therefrom...."
"...Inasmuch as the Constitution provides a peaceable and regular mode whereby it or the U. S. laws may be amended, there can be no other rightful mode of effecting that end known either to the Constitution or law. As it is both the right and duty of every citizen to become fully informed upon all governmental affairs, so as to discharge his many political obligations intelligently at the ballot-box, and in other legitimate ways; and the freedom of the press and of speech are guaranteed to him for that as well as other essential purposes; and as the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition for the redress of grievances, and to keep and bear arms, cannot be lawfully abridged or infringed, it is evident that an assemblage for the mere purpose of procuring peaceable redress of supposed grievances cannot be treasonable; nor can a free and full discussion of the acts of public men or public measures, whether such discussion be in private conversations, public meetings or the press; nor can a military gathering when assembled for no purpose or design of interfering, by force or intimidation, with the lawful functions of the government or of its constituted authorities, or of preventing the execution of any law, or of extorting its alteration or repeal, or of overthrowing the lawful supremacy of the United States in any State of Territory...."