The Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, and the leaders were seized and imprisoned.
Prominent Democrats and a committee of the Convention having appealed for his release, Lincoln wrote two long letters in reply discussing the constitutional question, and declaring that in his judgment the president as commander-in-chief in time of rebellion or invasion holds the power and responsibility of suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, but offering to release Vallandigham if the committee would sign a declaration that rebellion exists, that an army and navy are constitutional means to suppress it, and that each of them would use his personal power and influence to prosecute the war.
The Democratic Party, adopted resolutions that condemned the suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus, endorsed the doctrine of state sovereignty, demanded a national assembly to determine terms of peace, and asked President Lincoln to withdraw the proclamation that emancipated the slaves, and so to permit the people of Illinois to fight only for "Union, the Constitution and the enforcement of the laws."
There are various forms of the writ, of which the most famous is that known as habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, the well-established remedy for violation of personal liberty.
In Darnel's case (1627) the judges held that the command of the king was a sufficient answer to a writ of habeas corpus.