1865 · Washington
Speed was a Kentuckian appointed as Lincoln's Attorney General in 1864. Though a Border State moderate, he quickly became an all-out Union man with the outbreak of war. Here he opines that trial of the alleged presidential assassins should occur by military commission rather than civil courts: the law of war, as part of the law of nations, has implicitly been adopted in the Constitution. "When lawless wretches become so impudent and powerful as not to be controlled and governed by the ordinary tribunals of a country, armies are called out, and the laws of war invoked." The laws of war do not require different treatment of "secret active enemies" and "open active enemies," who would be tried by military tribunal. Under these circumstances, the alleged assassins may be tried by military court without a jury.
FIRST EDITION. Monaghan 739. II Harv. Law Cat. 634. Not in LCP. (Inventory #: 32612)