By Jonathan W. White
In the spring of 1861, Union army professionals arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman on fees of treason opposed to the USA for burning railroad bridges round Baltimore on the way to hinder northern squaddies from attaining the capital. From his felony cellphone at citadel McHenry, Merryman petitioned leader Justice of the splendid courtroom Roger B. Taney for free up via a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, yet President Abraham Lincoln neglected it. In mid-July Merryman used to be published, in basic terms to be indicted for treason in a Baltimore federal court docket. His case, despite the fact that, by no means went to trial and federal prosecutors ultimately brushed off it in 1867.
In Abraham Lincoln and Treason within the Civil battle, Jonathan White unearths how the arrest and prosecution of this little-known Baltimore farmer had a long-lasting influence at the Lincoln management and Congress as they struggled to strengthen guidelines to house either northern traitors and southern rebels. His paintings exposes numerous perennially arguable felony and constitutional matters in American historical past, together with the character and volume of presidential struggle powers, the advance of nationwide regulations for facing disloyalty and treason, and the security of civil liberties in wartime.
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Extra resources for Abraham Lincoln and treason in the Civil War : the trials of John Merryman
6 By 1860, slavery was on the decline in Baltimore County. Census records from that year indicate that John Merryman owned five slaves, signifying that he had a moderate financial interest in the peculiar institution. In 1860 most slave owners in Maryland owned only one slave; half of the slave owners owned fewer than three slaves; three-quarters of the slaveholders owned fewer than eight; The Arrest and Incarceration of John Merryman | 27 and 90 percent owned fewer than fifteen. The median slaveholding was three bondsmen.
A constant stream of visitors called on the president, while Lincoln’s private secretary, John Hay, “had to do some very dexterous lying” to persuade Mary Lincoln that rumors of assassination plots against her husband were unfounded. ” Lincoln showed the men the letter he had received from Hicks and Brown the previous day. General Winfield Scott exclaimed that “Gov. Hicks has no authority to prevent troops from passing through Baltimore,” and Secretary of State William H. ” The two visitors told Lincoln that they feared that the North would strike a crushing blow against Baltimore in retaliation for the Pratt Street Riot, but Lincoln reassured them: “Our people are easily influenced by reason.
His actions apparently affected the troops encamped outside of his home. One soldier from the First Pennsylvania Regiment later recalled: “During the night at Cockeysville we had a number of alarms. The Baltimoreans came near our camp by [the] thousands, and all kinds of wild rumors were being circulated through camp. ” Fear quickly spread among the green recruits. ’ The Baltimore Riot and Lincoln’s Habeas Corpus Policy | 21 I grabbed him and held him up between myself and the supposed enemy; and made a kind of shield of him for self-protection; berated him for his cowardice.