Tuesday, July 09, 2013

"The Military Subjugation Bill"

   "The blackest record ever made by an assembly of the representatives of a free people stained yesterday the proceedings of the House of Representatives. Never, in the most tyrannous hour of the long Parliament misrule; never, amid the utmost subservience to the royal mandate of an English king; never, in the most blood thirsty epoch of a French convention, did the representatives of the people stamp themselves with greater ignominy. The bill, which passed by a vote of 109 to 55, hands one-third of the people of this country over to military government. For the rule of law, it substitutes the will of an officer. For the tribunal of a judge, it furnishes a drumhead court martial for a military commission. For the process of a court and the peaceful visit of a sheriff, it proffers the order of a petty satrap and the presence of a squad of bayonets. It ignores the Chief Magistrate of the United States. It invests a general with absolute power over one third of his countrymen. It erects subordinate dictators, armed with unbridled power, from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. Throughout this broad domain, comprising
the fairest and most fertile section of the Republic, no man is to have a secure title to his property; no man's house is free from search; no man's chattels exempt from seizure; no man's liberty unexposed to assault; no man's life safe from peril. An army officer, a soldier, exalted above the law, may ruthlessly invade a citizen's home, and drag him from the bosom of his family. Such a bill makes a mockery of free institutions. It despises all the great safe guards of popular liberty. It tramples on the freedom of the press. It annihilates the right of free assemblage. It silences the lips of free speech. It infringes the right of the people to bear arms. It wipes out the guaranty of a grand jury presentment. It abolishes the exemption of freedom from seizure and from search. It abrogates the right of trial by a jury of one's peers in the vicinage of the commission of the alleged offense. It tramples upon the prerogative of the President, it makes war upon the Constitution, it rebels against the authority of the Supreme Court. It invades the sacred constitutional rights of the citizen. It is treason enveloped in the forms of law. It is rebellion wearing the garb of a legitimate power. It is usurpation assuming the sanctity of constitutional enactment.--National Intelligencer."

- The Elk Advocate, Ridgway, Penna, Feb. 28, 1867. Volume 7--Number 1. Pg. 2.

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