Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/580

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548

Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

safety while their fellow-citizens are exposed in the trenches and the field.

The measure most needed, however, at the present time for affording an effective increase to our military strength is a general militia law, such as the Constitution authorizes Congress to pass, by granting to it power "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the Confederate States," and the further power "to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Confederate States, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions." The necessity for the exercise of this power can never exist if not in the circumstances which now surround us.

The security of the States against any encroachment by the Confederate Government is amply provided by the Constitution by "reserving to the States, respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."

A law is needed to prescribe not only how and of what persons the militia are to be organized, but to provide the mode of calling them out. If instances be required to show the necessity for such general law, it is sufficient to mention that in one case I have been informed by the Governor of a State that the law does not permit him to call the militia from one county for service in another, so that a single brigade of the enemy could traverse the State and devastate each county in turn without any power on the part of the Executive to use the militia for effective defense; while in another State the Executive refused to allow the militia "to be employed in the service of the Confederate States" in the absence of a law for that purpose.

I have heretofore, in a confidential message[1] to the two Houses, stated the facts which induced me to consider it necessary that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus should be suspended. The conviction of the necessity of this measure has become deeper as the events of the struggle have been developed. Congress has not concurred with me in this opinion. It is my duty to say that the time has arrived when the suspension of the writ is not simply advisable and expedient, but almost indispensable to the success-


  1. Page 395; see also page 498.