By Jonathan W. White
Within the spring of 1861, Union army specialists arrested Maryland farmer John Merryman on fees of treason opposed to the U.S. for burning railroad bridges round Baltimore on the way to hinder northern squaddies from achieving the capital. From his felony mobile at castle McHenry, Merryman petitioned leader Justice of the ideally suited court docket Roger B. Taney for unencumber via a writ of habeas corpus. Taney issued the writ, yet President Abraham Lincoln missed it. In mid-July Merryman used to be published, purely 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 aside it in 1867.In Abraham Lincoln and Treason within the Civil warfare, Jonathan White unearths how the arrest and prosecution of this little-known Baltimore farmer had a long-lasting effect at the Lincoln management and Congress as they struggled to boost regulations to house either northern traitors and southern rebels. His paintings sheds major new mild on a number of perennially arguable felony and constitutional matters in American heritage, together with the character and volume of presidential struggle powers, the advance of nationwide rules for facing disloyalty and treason, and the safety of civil liberties in wartime.
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Additional resources for Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)
30 The Horse Guards patrolled the area throughout April 1861. They arrested several prisoners during this time, including a Pennsylvania deserter and a Baltimore County Unionist. ” They kept him overnight at Hayfields before transporting him to the public jail at Towsontown. m. on April 24 to look for Lovell. ” Cockey and Gilmor then bound Lovell’s arms and forced him to walk three miles to Hayfields. Upon arriving they found Merryman and a dozen other members of the Horse Guards sitting in their uniforms.
Hicks likely hoped that the strong Unionist sentiment there would encourage the legislature to keep from acting rashly. Still, many in the legislature were sympathetic toward the South and resented Hicks for his delaying tactics. 33 With pressure mounting all around him, Lincoln determined to take the bold step of suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. S. ” With Congress out of session, a rebellion in progress, and the Maryland legislature assembling possibly to vote Maryland out of the Union, Lincoln knew he had to take action.
5 When Merryman inherited Hayfields in 1847, the inventory of Colonel Bosley’s estate showed the “livestock” on his property as including 5 yoke of oxen, 10 cows, 40 hogs, 5 breed sows, 55 sheep, 17 lambs, 10 horses, 4 adult male slaves, 4 adult female slaves, and 2 slave children. 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.