THE LEGISLATURE ASSEMBLED AT TOPEKA?
All the powers not delegated to the Constitution, not prohibited by it to the States, are reserved by it to the States respectively, or to the people. The President must therefore find his authority in the Constitution. No doubt he is commander-in-chief of the army and navy, but the command does not involve the power to use it for whatever purpose his pleasure may dictate. The purposes for which this command may be employed must be found in the Constitution, no less than the command itself. No doubt, also, it is his duty to see that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed. But no law of the United States commanded that assembly to be dispersed. Congress cannot pass a law infringing the right of people peaceably to assemble. The right of the people peaceably to assemble and discuss anything they please, resolve anything they please. or enact anything they please, is a law higher than the Constitution. All that the Constitution does, is to provide that Congress shall pass no law infringing it. The members of that Legislature assembled to discuss something which they thought fit to be discussed; to resolve something which they thought ought to resolved, or to enact something which they thought it their duty to enact. Of course they were just where they had a right to go, and were doing just what they had a right to do. Now it is very possible that their discussions might be very unwise, their resolves very unsound, and their enactments very inoperative. But it is not one of the President's rights or duties to disperse peaceable assemblies, because he anticipates or discovers that their proceedings may be or have been inoperative, unsound or unwise. If for these pretexts, or any pretexts, he can decide one peaceable assembly improper, he can another--he can all; and if by military force he can disperse one, he can another and all. And the right of the people peaceably to assemble for any purpose, and all purposes, depends only upon executive pleasure. Quod principi plabuit, vigorem legis habet.
We are under a despotism as unmitigated as that of France, Russia or the Roman Empire.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms has been infringed;
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, has been violated; and now
The right of the people peaceably to assemble is destroyed;
The men by whom and for whom all this is done are certainly doing what they can to test the strength of the Union;--but they over estimate their strength when they tell us the Union is in danger.
There is another remedy, which the people will apply in November.--N.Y. Evening post.
- The Anti-slavery Bugle, Salem, Columbiana County, Ohio, Saturday, August 02, 1856. Vol. 11.---No. 51. Whole No. 565. Pg. 2.