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Argument in the impeachment trial of W.W. Holden, governor of North Carolina, February 23, 1871

Title

Argument in the impeachment trial of W.W. Holden, governor of North Carolina, February 23, 1871

Description

In this section of, "Argument in the impeachment trial of W.W. Holden, governor of North Carolina," a man named Mr. Conigland spoke on behalf of Governor Holden. He first discussed the action of the Ku Klux Klan in Alamance and Caswell counties. He stated that he would provide evidence that Governor Holden's actions were justified. Mr. Conigland reviewed the claims the managers (prosecutors) made against Holden. These claims were based on the fact that the managers did not feel there was an insurrection in these counties. Mr. Conigland defended Governor Holden with facts that there was no true definition of the word insurrection, and if Holden had the power to declare a county in a state of insurrection then he had the power to arrest citizens aiding in the insurrection. This portion of this document provided justification for Holden's actions against the Klan.

Creator

North Carolina Government

Source

"Argument in the impeachment trial of W.W. Holden, governor of North Carolina," State Library of North Carolina, accessed November 4, 2014, https://archive.org/details/argumentinimpeac00hold.

Date

1871-02-23

Contributor

Jessie Byrd

Type

Document

Coverage

North Carolina

Original Format

Government Document

Text

Returning to the evidence we propose to offer, it will, we believe, satisfy the minds of the court, that there existed secret associations in the counties of Alamance and Caswell, having a common purpose and design to subvert the laws by threats, intimidation, acts of outrage and murder: that the said associations, in furtherance of such their purpose and design, committed in the said counties many and various outrages, including six or seven murders, through the agency of a number of disguised men with arms in their hands; that the said associations exercised such extensive control and espionage over and within the said counties, that witnesses could not be induced to testify, or grand juries to present, whereby the ordinary administration of the laws became wholly inadequate to protect life, property or the public peace.

The question arises, whether in case we succeed in proving what I have stated, it is sufficient for the defense. The managers insist that it is not, for the following reasons, as I understand them.

First: That the allegations proposed to be proved do not constitute an "Insurrection" within the meaning of the constitution.

Secondly: That the act commonly known as the "Shoffner Act'' does not authorize the offences with which the defendant stands charged; but, if, in fact, the respondent can show that he acted thereunder, he is, nevertheless, guilty, because the said act is unconstitutional and void.

Thirdly: That if the respondent can justify to the extent of declaring the counties of Alamance and Caswell in a state of insurrection, he is nevertheless guilty in this, that he arrested and detained without warrant, innocent persons, and especially, that he refused to obey, in their behalf, the exigency of the writ of habeas corpus.

Fourthly: That even supposing the foregoing propositions to be untenable, the respondent is still guilty in the maltreatment of the parties who were under arrest.

To this the respondent replies

First: That there has never been any judicial construction of the meaning of the word "Insurrection" as used in the constitution of North Carolina.

Secondly: That all acts of the legislature are presumed to be constitutional, until declared otherwise by a tribunal of competent jurisdiction.

Thirdly: That his office of governor is executive and administrative and not judicial.

Fourthly: That the Shoffner Act has never been declared unconstitutional by any judicial tribunal of competent jurisdiction, and, therefore, he is not to be condemned in executing its provisions.

Fifthly: That in declaring the counties of Caswell and Alamance in a state of insurrection, he acted within the provisions of the said act, and upon the very state of facts contemplated by the legislature in the enactment thereof.

Sixthly: That by the force and effect of said act, his action thereunder in proclaiming the counties of Alamance and Caswell in a state of insurrection, cannot be made the subject of trial, or enquiry with a view to trial, by any other department of the government.

Seventhly: That if he had the legal power and authority to declare the said counties in a state of insurrection, he was justified In arresting, without warrant, all suspected persons therein, and of detaining the same, until such time asthe public safety permitted their surrender to the civil authorities, and this notwithstanding the exigency of the writ of habeas corpus.

Eightly: That the alleged maltreatment of arrested parties, was done contrary to the orders of, and without the procurement, knowledge or consent of the respondent, and he is not to be held answerable therefor.

The allegations that the respondent organized forces in a manner unauthorized by law, composed of men of bad character, and that he acted in contempt of a pending injunction in paying said forces from funds in the treasury, he meets with a general denial.

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Citation

North Carolina Government , Argument in the impeachment trial of W.W. Holden, governor of North Carolina, February 23, 1871, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 26, 2017, http://cwnc.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/items/show/2762.