Judge Catron, of the U.S. Supreme Court, in a recent charge to the Grand Jury, in St. Louis, laid down explicitly the following propositions as the law of the land.
1. That to constitute treason, there must be treasonable intent, as well as a treasonable overt act; the party accused must have been leagued in a conspiracy to overthrow the Government.
2. That there are certain constitutional guaranties which the passion or the frenzy of the hour cannot touch, and among them is the right of expression and discussion and the freedom of the press.
3. That no sentiment, however hostile, can be held to be treasonable.*
4. That the right of every citizen to bear arms is an inalienable right that can not be infringed; and the fact of a citizen having arms, without being in league with a hostile force, was not an act for which liberty could be abridged.
5. That it is the duty of the grand jury to protect both the citizen and the government, and that they should not, on account of any fear, favor or affection, shrink from the discharge of that duty. As an arm of the judiciary, the grand jury should diligently inquire into all offences brought to their knowledge, and bring to the bar of the United States Court all who have been guilty of unlawfully uniting against the government and the laws of the land.
*But all good Citizens should frown upon all hostile words towards our Government ; the abolitionists have opposed the government too much already: We can oppose obnoxious administration doctrine, injustice, yet sustain the laws.
- Joliet Signal, Joliet, Illinois, September 24, 1861. Vol. 19 No. 15. Pg. 1.
It is probable that this is the charge to the Grand Jury written about above.