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Fremont journal extra. ([Fremont, Ohio) 1861-1861, May 14, 1861, Image 2

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87076766/1861-05-14/ed-1/seq-2/

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HON. S. T. WORCESTER'S CHARGE.
To Grand Jury of the Sandusky County Common
Pleas Court, Fremont, May 13, 1861.
DEFINING TREASON.
GxMTLmew: In addition to what 1 have mid
in respect to your general duties as Grand Ju
rors, it seems to me proper in the present un
happy and distracted condition of our country;
to call your attention to an act defining and pun
ishing i'rewwm, passed at the present session of
the Legislature. Treason is said to be the high
est ana most flagrant crime known to the law.
The government under which a person lives is
bound to protect him, and he on his part in re
return for that protection, owes it allegiance and
fidelity, and in all proper ways is under obliga
tion to support and maintain it. The purpoaeof
the person who com mils Treason is to subvert
and overthrow, or to aid in subverting and over
throwing his government. The wrung that is
committed by a man who is guilty of ordinary
crimea, such as murder, robbery or larceny, in
volves in its end consequences in common cases,
but a very tew persons. But not so with Trea
son. The constitution, laws, and customs of a
nation are established and maintained for the
common protection, safety and well being of all
the subjects of the government, and all who may
be within its limits. When these are subverted
or destroyed, the indispeunable safeguard for
the protection of all the interests of society are
swept away. Anarchy, discord and excet-s fol
lows, and all are involved in common danger
and ruin. There is no longer any adequate and
proper security for the lite, liberty or property
.iifajiYone. buch are some of the consequen
ces ot' successful Treason." :
For several months past the people of seven or
more of the (States belonging to this Union have
been and still continue in open rebellion against
the United States. It is not necessary or prop
er for me upon this occasion to comment upon
the history of this rebellion, the causes that have
led to it, or the reasons or pretexts upon which
it is justified or excused by those now engaged
in it. It is sufficient for my present purpose to
refer to its acquiesced existence. The men who
have set it on toot and who are now carrying it
on, have at different places organised and armed
military and naval forces in open and avowed
hostility to the United States; and those forees
are now in arms for the purpose of subverting
our National Government. f her have by force
of arms captured and aeixed the mints, coin,
ships, forts, arsenals, custom houses, arms, and
munitions of war belonging to the United
States, and not only still retain them, but are
now using them as a part of their means to over
throw the government.
They have set upand claim to have establiRh
ed, within the limits of the United States a new
government, known as the Confederate States, in
nostility to the laws and institutions of the Uni
ted Statea. Within the limits of this new gov
ernment they have defied the laws and annulled
the Constitution of the United States, and com
pelled its public officers to resign and abandon
their official duties, or in case of refusal have
forced them to leave the country. They claim
to have absolved all persons within the limits of
this new government from the allegiance due to
the United States, and claim to have caused that
allegiance to be transfered to the Confederate
States. They have levied and are now carrying
on war against the United States, and have as
sumed in all ways the character and attitude of
public mwmiM. All concerned in this movement,
under the laws of the United States, are guilty
of Treason to the Government, and are now in
open rebellion; and the President of the United
States, ill order to prevent the destruction and
overthrow of the government, and to protect the
National Capital, has been compelled to call out
the military forces of the country for the pur
pose of suppressing this rebellion. The rela
tions then, now existing between the United
States and the so-called Confederate States, are
those of actual war, and these relations are to be
governed and controlled by laws applicable to a
iitate of war.
It was in view of this distracted and calamit
ous condition of the country, that our State Leg
islature for the first time since our State has
been organized, has thought proper to pass an
act such as the one to which I nave referred for
the punishment of Treason. The Constitution
of the United States defines what aoU shall eon-!
stitute treason to the General Government, and
a law of Congress passed in the year 1790, pro-1
v idea for its punishment capitally. Under this
act of Congress this crime may be com mi Led by
any persou who owes allegiance to the United
States,and a person within the meaning of this
law is said to owe allegiance to the government,
who resides within its limit and enjoys the ben-1
efit and protection of its laws, whether a native
or foreign born The subjects of the law of this
State to which I have re ft; red are jmrtont resid
ing in the State, and it provides for both the
punishment of Treason against the United
States and the State of Ohio. It la entitled "An
act for the p'iuUhmetU of Treaton" The first
section of the law enacts, that-
;
i
I
i
I
If any person r persons residing In this Stat shall
lev war against thU State or tha United States, or shell
kmmnngtf mdktrt tm (e immmi mf f aw Stmt er f Ac lw
Ud Stmt giving faeat mid mmd evserf, hall be dsemad
guilty of Treason against tha State of Ohio, and on con
viction thereof, shall ba imprisoned la tha peat ten tlarj
daring Ufa.
Tliia section, as will he ami, involves and defines two
distinct crimes, lsti Tha levying of war, a pi Inst this
State or the United States. 3d: Adhering to tha enemies
ot either, giving Uiem aid and comfort.
Tha Constitution of tha United States defines Treason
to tha United States substantially as it Is denned In this
law. It makes it consist In levying war against tha gov
ernment of the United States or fa adhering to Its ene
mies, giving them aid and comfort.
It Is highly honornble to the peopV of the United
States, as well aa creditable to our Government, that tha
orime of Treason has been very rare, and consequently,
wa have vary few judicial decisions giving a oonstraetlon
to the language need in the Constitution defining Trea
son, or showing what ovtri met are to be regarded as
levying war or mdhtring la enemies, giving them mid
mmd cvmfart. The question as to what constitutes tha
levying of war, within the meaning of the law,apprarsto
have been snore folly considered in the ease of the United
dUtes vs. Burr,dectded In the yenr 1BQ7, than In any oth
er reported ease. In that case the court appears tn have
found that there waa a ceesptraury for ievftng aw that a
trem$ommbU prpo exinted on tbe part of Hurr, but that
the crime of Treason had not been consummated for tha
reason that no mrmei mhimg mf bad been col.
lected for the pnrpose of etecnting the treasonable intent
of the conspirators, ortn other words, that starW
been levied against the United States. It would seem
then, that in order to constitute the crime of Treason, by
tevvtng war, it is necessary that there ahould not only be
a eonspiiacy with the criminal intent to commit treason,
but that also there ahould be an straw form mueimvied
for the purpose of establishing that intent. The levying
war," moans literally tbe making or creating war, and
those persons levy war who associate together In armed
force to make it and carry It on. So after a war Is once
commenced, those who give It aid afterwards are equally
guilty with those who originated It, And in tbe case
Merrcd tn, er nher tn the ease against Bolman etal,
growing out of It. Chief Justice Marshall in giving tha
opinion of tbe eon it further says, "It is but tbe in ten.
tino of the court to aay that nn person can ha entity of
this crime who has not appeared in crsu against his conn,
try. On the eontrar), If war be actually levied that la,
if a body of men be actually assembled, for the purpose of
eflecting by force a treasonable purpose, all those who
perform any part, however minute, or however remote
from tha ecenee of action, and who are actually In tha
general conspiracy, are to he considered traitors.
It is not necessary for me to specify the many and vari
ous overt acta that would ba regarded aa levying war,
within the meaclog of this law. But some of these acts
are aa unequivocal in their nature aa to leave little or no
doubt of the guilt of the person who commits tbeai. Of
this character would be the voluntary performance of mil
itary service in the army of the enemy. So If war ahall
actually exist at the time the voluntary enlistment of a
soldier or sailor tn the military or naval service of the en
emy, would unquestionable ba treason, whether tha party
should actually join the armed forces of the enemy or not.
So If a person be in league with the enemy, knowing tbef r
riurpoaea, aheuld act aa a recruiting ottcer, and enlist men
n tair service, or should purchase provisions or muni
tions of war for them of any sort, ha would nndnubtely
be held guilty of levying war. These instances will serve
to t Unit rata tbe subject uy a few of the many examples
tbat might be named; and It will ba an necessary to go
more into detail.
Tbe second kind of treason mentioned In the act refer
red to. Is the adhering to tbe enemies or the Stat or of
the United States, giving them aid or comfort. Tlie stat
ute Itself does not define what is meant by adhering to the
enemies of the State, or what acts would ba regarded as
fiving them aid and comfort within the meaoingof the
aw, nor so far as lam aware, have there hitherto been
any judicial decisions of tha coarts In this country, giv
ing a construction to similar acts, that will furnish any
considerable sid In giving a construction to this. It
must therefore ba left to the eonrta, that may be now called
on to interpret and explatu this law, to gather tha Intents
and purposes of the legislature npon tha words of the
law by applying to It the ordinary rule of construction
applicable to such cases. Adhering to the enemies of
the State as 1 understand the law, means the being at
tached to the enemies of tha Slate, and the taking their
part or taking sides with them. One mar ba at heart
and In thought en tbe aide of tba enemy, and ba may wish
their success against his own country, and he may pub
licly express his attachment to them, and his wishes for
their success in words and in writing. But this alone
I would not be treason in the eye of the law. It would he
strong evidence of disloyalty tn the government. It might
be moral Treason, and be sumctentevideneeof adispnsi
tion and purpose to commit Treason, tn case an opportu
I nity should be afforded. But in enlcrto constitute the
i crime of Treason under this definition of it a person
must not only adhere to the enemy of hie country by hav-
ing the disposition and purpose to favor them, but he
1 must also commit some overt act with Intent to aid or
comfort thetn. And I have no doubt that If a person was
guilty of such an overt act, dona with the intent to aid and
comfort a public enemy, that tha proof of such act,
would of itself ba sufficient evidence of mdktrimg e tee
funy within the letter and meaning of tbe law. In or.
der then for a person to be guilty of Treason under tha
second defininilion in this statute, It Is necessary that ha
should do some overt act with the Intent to aid and com
fort the enemies of theStataand tba United Htates, and to
promote theii hostile designs.
The acta that a person mnydn In violation of this part
of the Statute are vary numerous. 1 need only call your
attention to a very few of them. Persuading men tn en
1st la tha service of the enemy, paying them money to
ido an, acting aa a recruiting officer, or as tbe agent of a
recruiting ofllaer, would ba a clear violation of the law.
So the furnishing arms or munitions of war of any sort,
Horses, Carriages, Railroad Cars, or Vessels for transpor
tation of tents, arms r military stores, knowing the pur
pose for wit tab they are to be used; would be afford ings Id
and comfort within Ihe meaning of the law. So the giv
ing or selling to enemies, ar to any person acting aa their
agent, any provisions or supplies of any kind, for tlie
sustenance or maintenance of a hostile force, or knowing
ly disposing of provisions oreoppltee In such a manner
that they would be likely to fall Into tbe hands of the en
emy, would be giving aid and eoenfort contrary to the In
tents of the law So the acting as a Spy for public ene
mies, or communicating to them Information by writing,
verbally or by telegraph, or In any other mode, with tbe
intent and purpose of aiding then In tblr hostile purposes
and enterprises against the State or United States, would
also ba Treason.
I have said that words nens, nnder our law, however
disloyal, do not constitute Treason. The law, In this
country not only tolerates, nut it protects and encoura
ges both the freedom of speech and ef tha Preen. Onr
people have the legal right to entertain such political sen
timent as they pleas or as they may believe te he trne,
without being, responsible for them to the law f and they
have also the legal right to speak and publish their sen
timents at such prrrpwr times and upon such occasions sa
they may choose without being called to account for
them, lamnn really entertains treasonable sentiments
and opinions. It is perhaps as well for the pnMie safety f
In most casesl that he should have fnll liberty to express
them freely, insnrheaeehisoplnlnnsandfVellngsbeeom
known, and In times of public excitement like the pres
ent, his actions are very sure tn be closely watched, and
the unrestrained expression of each opinions la morn
sure to be attended with danger and injury to the person
who entertains them, than to the public.
It is therefore not only Illegal to attempt tn suppress
the utterance of such opinion", br force, threats, or In
timidation, bet In my judgment. It is no way conduces
to the public good, and even If It did, we have no right to
do evil thet good may come. When a man has violated
the law by the doing of some overt act which brings him
within Its letter and spirit, it Is right, and the public wel
fare demands that he shnnldbe vilfgantly prosecuted, and
severely punished. But the law In this State, as I have
said, does not make It a crime to entertain and publish
disloyal opinions. It la unquestionably, In my view,
morally wi-ong either to entertain nr express them, ana
In times of high excitement It is acting very imprudent to
make them known pnbflbly. But In case It Is done, .those
who may chance to hear them, have no right to snpply
what they may suppose to be the defects of law, by
threats or acts of persecution, nr violence, which in them
selves are a clear violation of the law. I have called your
attention to the subject not because I have heard that any
acts have been committed In the eonnty In violation of
the law to punish Treason, or that there have been any
violent abuses of the freedom of speech or the Press. But
It Is possible that such cases have occurred, or may do an.
and it Is proper that not only yourselves, bot that all well
disposnd ond loyal citixens, as well as those, if such theie
he, should understand what the law la this respect per
mits, and what It forbids ftnd punishes.
Yesterday's Report.
Washington, May 12. The Messrs. Gal
latin, of the New York Chamber of Com
merce, were in consultation with Secretary
Chase Friday about the new loan. Yester
day the Secretary invited offers for the
$9,000,000 ud is posed of under the act of
February, which does not restrict offer to
par. This call requires 10 days advertise
ment only. It is understood the Secretary
though authorized to reject offers below par
and resort to Treasury notes, will accept all
offers at or about the current market rates
and not resort to Treasury notes until after
the expiration of the thirty dsys advertise
ment for the ballance of the Joan.
Preparations being completed for effect
ually blockading Virginia waters. Captain
Pendegrast has given notice of fifteen days
for all vessels to leave ports in thnt Slate,
with or without cargoes. Several foreign
Ministers and some Americans have asked
for an extension of time; but in every caso
have been refused. The order will be ad
hered to imperitively.
Persons, though representing themselves
to be Union men, are denied the privelego
of forwarding locomotive to Tennessee, for
the reason among others tbat such machin
ery might be used in transporting hostile
troops. The Government also lakes caro
that coal for steam purposes ahall not be
transported to disloyal states. Information
having reached Navy Department late last
night that several small vessels had. been
fired at from the Virginia shore and an ef
fort made to detain them by the Alexandria
authorities in order that the cargoes of fish,
instead of being brought to Washington,
might bo used for secession troops, the Sec
retary ordered the Pawnee to stop tbe law
less proceedings. In addition to the na
tional vessels, about 20 armed steamers
from New York, Baltimore and Philadel
phia have been or arc being put in readi
ness for blockading.
New York, May 12. The Baltimore
correspondent of the Tribune of Saturday,
says: Bands of Virginians joined by Balt
imoreans, have advanced from Harper's
Ferry and seized Monocacy Bridge and
Frederick Junction and expected to throw
a detachment into Frederick City.
A Polish gentleman, formerly a Colonel
in the Polish Legion, waa tendered a high
position in the Southern Army by Govern
or Moore, of Alexandria, who at the same
time requested bim to bring drawing of
the fortifications in tbe harbor. He replied
that bis next visit South would be as an
enemy to traitors to the flag of his adopted
country.

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