Friday, October 14, 2011

October 14, 1861 (Monday): Habeas Corpus Denied-Even In Maine

Grand Trunk Railway Station, Portland Maine
WASHINGTON, October 14, 1861.
Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT:

The military line of the United States for the suppression of the insurrection may be extended so far as Bangor, Me. You and any officer acting under your authoirty are hereby authorized to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in any place between that place and the city of Washington.


By the President:

Secretary of State.

Official Records, Series I, Vol 51, Part 1, Page 497

Suspension of habeas corpus in Maine may seem an odd proposition.  But the motivating factor was proximity to Canada.  British neutrality extended to the colonists in Canada, but Confederate agents routinely went back and forth over the border and some Canadians held sympathies toward the South despite a general disapproval of slavery.  Eventually a volunteer defense force would be put together for defense of the Grand Trunk Railway system in Canada, to defend against threats from either side.

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