War Power of the President

5 fore, why not do all this through them ? Because he cannot so surely do it thus. The Constitution is imperative that he shall suppress such men; and there is nothing in the Constitution that permits him to evade it by leaving it to the hands of another department of the government, which is independent of him. And, besides, the courts cannot do it efficiently. When the traitors of the loyal state of Maryland were concocting their grand scheme to hurl the organized power of that state against the government, probably not a man of them was known to be guilty of any act for which he could even have been arrested by civil process. And whatever their offences against the laws might have been, and whatever the fidelity of the courts in that jurisdiction, the process of civil law would have been far too slow to prevent the consummation of the gigantic treason which would have added another state to the rebellion. And yet these men were doing more to aid the rebel cause than ten thousand armed men in the field could do. Courts could not have suppressed that unholy work, but the summary imprisonment of those few men saved the state of Maryland to the Union cause. And so in most other cases of disloyal practices in the loyal states. Adroit traitors, in loyal communities, can render more aid to the rebellion, without rendering themselves liable to any civil law, than ten times their number in the rebel army. That aid is none the less valuable to the enemy, or less dangerous to the government, for not being violations of statute laws. Statute books, and courts, and juries, cannot save the republic. The rebellion is one indivisible whole, comprising all the rebels in the land, North and South ; and the President is charged with the duty of suppressing all of it. And if he is to do it, he must do it by military power—he must do it all by military power, for he cannot control any other power. Assuming, then, that the President has the constitutional right to use any needful means to suppress rebellion, and, to this end, to use the like means to suppress everything that aids it, it must be confessed, that here we stand at the threshold of despotism. Here is the boundary line of our constitutional government, with a not very distinct line of demarcation between it and despotic power. I think I l ave made it plain that necessity is the only line. The President may do, he must do, whatever is necessary to suppress the rebellion, and preserve the life of the government. But who is the judge of the necessity of any particular act ? If the President is the final judge, there is virtually no limitation to his power in the premises, and we