James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  hostile operations, arrogated power which became necessary to support the policy of arbitrary arrests, so diligently pursued by Seward at first and afterwards by Stanton. The defence made was necessity, and our own precedents were set aside because the State now stood in its greatest peril since the adoption of the Constitution.  17   By the Act of March 3, 1863, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War were required to furnish lists of “State or political prisoners” to the judges of the United States Courts, but no lists, so far as I have been able to ascertain, were ever furnished; and in truth the aptitude for autocratic government had grown at such a pace that in September [1863] Chase discovered, to his surprise, that the provisions of this act were unfamiliar to the President and to all the members of the Cabinet except himself.  18   For my own part, after careful consideration, I do not hesitate to condemn the arbitrary arrests and the arbitrary interference with the freedom of the press 1 in States which were not included in the theatre of the war and in which the courts remained open. In arriving at this judgment I have not left out of account an unpatriotic speech of Vallandigham’s in the House nor the still more dastardly writing in the Democratic newspapers, nor the “Copperhead” talk in the street, in public conveyances and in hotels, where prudence and restraint were cast to the winds; nor am I unmindful of the fact that the criticisms generally were increasing in virulence and that complaints of “the utterance of treasonable sentiments” were constantly being made to the authorities by patriotic men. Nevertheless, I am convinced that all this extrajudicial procedure was inexpedient, unnecessary and wrong and that the offenders thus summarily dealt with should have been prosecuted
Note 1. See IV, 253. [back]