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States, is by the bill made a citizen of the United States. It does not purport to declare or confer any other right of citizenship than federal citizenship. It oes not purportto give these classes of persons any status as citizens of States, except that which may result from their status as citizens of the United States. The power to confer the right of State citizenship is just as exclusively with the several States as the power to confer the right of federal citizenship is with Con ress.
‘T e right of federal citizenship thus to be conferred on the several excepted races before mene tioned, is now, for the first time, proposed to be given by law. If, as is claimed by many, all persons who are nativeborn already are, b virtue of the Constitution, citizens of the Unite States, the passage of the pending bill cannot be necessary to make them such. If, on the other hand, such persons are not citizens, as ma be assumed from the proposed legislation to ma re them such, the grave question presents itself, whether, when eleven of the thirty~six States are unrepresented in Congress at the present time, it is sound policy to make our entire colored population and all other excepted classes citizens of the United States? Four millions of them have just emerged from slavery into freedom. Can it be reasonabl supposed that they possess the requisite quali cations to entitle them to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States? Have the people of the several States expressed such a conviction? It may also be asked whether it is necessary that they should be declared citizens, in order that they may be secured in the enjoyment of the civil rights proposed to be conferred by the bill? Those ri hts are, by federal as well as State laws, secure to all domiciled aliens and foreigners, even before the completion of the process of naturalization; and it may safely be assumed that the same enactments are sufficient to give like protection and benefits to those for whom this bill provides special legislation. Besides, the policy of the Government, from its origin to the presenttime, seems to have been that persons who are strangers to and unfamiliar with our institutions and our laws should pass throu h a certain probation, at the end of which, Eefore attaining the coveted prize, they must give evidence of their fitness to receive and to exercise the rights of citizens, as contemplated by the Constitution of the United States. The bill, in effect, proposes a discrimination against large numbers of intelli
ent, worthy, and patriotic foreigners, and in 'avor of the negro, to whom, after long Years of bondage, the avenues to freedom and intelligence
have just now been suddenly opened. He must, of necessity, from his previous unfortunate condition of servitude, be less informed as to the nature and character of our institutions than he who, coming from abroad, has to some extent, at least, familiarized himself with the principles ‘of a government to which he voluntarily intrusts “life, liberty, and the (pursuit of ha piness." Yet it is now propose , by a single egislative enactment, to confer the rights of citizens upon all persons of African descent born within the extended limits of the United States, while persons of foreign birth, who make our
land their home, must undergo a probation of five years, and can only then become citizens upon proof that they are “of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same." '
The first section of the bill also contains an enumeration of the rights to be enjoyed by these classes, so made citizens, “in ever State and Territory in the United States.” I‘hese rights are, "to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and give evidence; to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convrv real and personal property ;" and to have "full and equal benefitof all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property as is enjo ed by white citizens." So, too, they are‘made su ject to the same unishments, pains, and penaltiesin common wit white citizens, and to none other. Thus a perfect equality of the white and colored races is attem ted to be fixed by federal law in every State of tfie Union, over the vast field ofState jurisdiction covered by these enumerated rights. In no one of these can any State ever exercise any power of discrimination between the different races. In the exercise of State policy over matters exclusively affecting the people of each State, it has fre uently been thought expedient to discriminate etween the two races. By the statutes of some of the States, northern well as southren, it is enacted, for instance, that no white person shall intermarry with a negro or mulatto. Chancellor Kent says, speaking of the blacks, that " marriages between them and the whites are forbidden in some of the States where slavery does not exist, and they are prohibited in all the slaveholding States ; and when not absolutely contrary to law, they are revolting, and regardedas an offence against public decorum."
I do not say that this bill repeals State laws on the subject of marriage between the two races; for, as the whites are forbidden to intermari with the blacks, the blacks can only make suc contracts as the whites themselves are allowed to make, and therefore connot, underlthis bill, enter into the marriage contract with the whites. I cite this discrimination, however, as an instance of the State policy as to discrimination, and to inquire whether, if Congress can abrogate all State laws of discrimination between the two races in the matter of real estate, of suits, and of contracts
enerally,-Congress may not also repeal the State aWs as to the contract of marriage between the two races? Hitherto every subject embraced in the enumeration of rights contained in this bill has been considered as exclusively belongin to the States. They all relate to the interna police and economy of the respective States. They are matters which in each State concern the domestic condition of its people, varying in each according to its own peculiar circumstances and the safety and well-being of its own citizens. I do not mean to say that upon all these subjects there are not federal restraints—as, forinstance, in the State ower of legislation over contracts, there is a fe eral limitation that no State shall pass alaw impairin the obligations of contracts; and, as to crimes, t iat no State shall pass an ex post facto law; and, as to money, that no State shall make anything but gold and silver a legal tender. But where can we find a federal prohibition against the power of any State to discrimi nate, as do most of them, between aliens and citizens, between artificial persons called corporations and natural persons, in the right to hold real estate? If it be granted that Con ress can repeal all State laws discriminating etween w ites and-blacks in the subjects covered by this bill, Why, it may be asked, may not Congress repeal, in the same way, all State laws discriminating between the two races on the subjects of suffrage and office? If Congress can (ice are by law who shall hold lands, who shall testify, who shall have capacity to make a contract in a State, then Congress can by law also declare who, without regard to color or race, shall have the ri ht to sit as a juror or as ajudge, to hold any oéce, and, finall , to vote, “ in every State and Territory of the nited States.” As respects the Territories, they come within the power of Conress, for as to themthe law—making power is the ederal power; but as to the States no similar provision exists vesting in Congress the power “ to make rules and regulations ” for them. The object of the second section of the bill is o afford discriminating protection to colored persons in the full enjoyment of all the rights secured to them by the preceding section. It declares “that any person who, under color of any law', statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, shall subject, or cause to be subjected, any inhabitant of any State or Territory to the deprivation of any right secured or protected by this act, or to different punishment, pains, or penalties, on account of such person having at any time been held in a condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the part shall have been duly convicted, or by reason of is color or race, than is prescribed for the punishment of white per; sons, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding one ear, or both, in the discretion of the court." his section seems to be designed to apply to some existing or future law of a State or Territory which may conflict with the provisions of the bill now under consideration. It provides for counteracting such forbidden legislation by imposing fine and imprisonmentu on the legislators who may pass such conflictin laws, or upon the officers or agents who sha lput or attempt to put them into execution. It means an official offence—not a common crime committed a ainst law u on the persons or property of the b ack race. uch an set may de rive the black man of his roperty, but not of t e right to hold property. . t means a deprivation of the right itself, either by the State judiciary or the State legislature. It is therefore assumed that under this section members of State legislatures who should vote for laws conflicting with the provisions of the bill, that judges of the State courts who should render judgments in antagonism with its terms, and that marshals and sheriffs who should, as mipisterial ofiicers, execute processes sanctioned by State laws and issued by State judges in execution of their judgments, could be brought before other tribunals, and there subjected to fine and
imprisonment for the performance of the duties which such State laws might impose. The legislat-ion thus proposed invades the judicial power of the State. It says to every State court 'or judge, if you decide that this act is unconstitutional; if you refuse, under the prohibition of a State law, to allow a negro to testify; if you hold that over such a subject~matter the State law is aramount, and " under color” of a State law re use the exercise of the right to the negro, your error of judgment, however conscientious, shall subject you to fine and imprisonment! I do not a prehend that the conflicting legislation which t e bill seems to contemplate is so likely to occur as to render it necessar at this time to ailopt a measure of such doubt ul constitutiona it .
Iii the next place, this provision of the bill seems to be unnecessary, as adequate judicial remedies could be adopted to secure the desired end, without invading the immunities of legislators, always important to be preserved in the interest of public libert ; without assailing the independence of the ju iciary, always essential to the preservation of individual rights ; and without impairing the efficiency of ministerial
oflicers, always necessary for the maintenance of ‘
public peace and order. The remedy proposed y this section seems to be, in this respect, not only anomalous, but unconstitutional; for the Constitution guarantees nothing with certainty if it does not insure to the several States the right of making and executing laws in regard to all matters arising within their jurisdiction, subject only to the restriction that, in cases of conflict with the Constitution and constitutional laws of the United States, the latter should be held to be the supreme law of the land.
The third section gives the district courts of the United States exclusive “cognizance of all crimes and offences committed against the pro— visions of this act," and concurrentjurisdiction with the circuit courts of the United States of all civil and criminal cases “affectin persons who are denied, or cannot enforce in t e courts or judicial tribunals of the State or locality where they may be, any of the rights secured to them b the first section.” The construction which have given to the second section is strengthened by this third section, for it makes clear what kind of denial or deprivation of the rights secured by the first section was in contemplation. It is a denial or de rivation of such rights “ in the courts or j udicia tribunals of the State." It stands, therefore, clear of doubt that the offence and the penalties rovided in the second section are intended for t is State judge, who, in the clear exercise of his functions as a jud e, not acting ministerially but judicially, shal decide contrary to this federal law. In other words, when a State judge, acting upon a question involving a conflict between a State law and a federal law, and bound, according to his own judgment and responsibility, to give an impartial decision between the two, comes to the conclusion that the State law is valid and the federal law is invalid, he must not follow the dictates of his own jud ient, at the peril of fine and im risonment. Tile legislative department of the overnment of the United States thus
takes from the judicial department of the States the sacred and exclusive duty ofjudicial decision, and converts the State judge into a mere ministerial officer, bound to decide according to the will of Congress. _
It is clear that, in States which deny to persons whose rights are secured by the first section of the bill any one of those rights, all criminal and civil cases affecting them will, b the provisions of the third section, come on er the exclusive cognizance of the federal tribunals. It follows that if, in any State which denies to a colored erson any one of all those rights, that person s ould commit a crime against the laws of a State—murder, arson, rape, or any other crime—all protection and punishment throu h the courts of the State are taken away, and e can only be tried and punished in the federal courts. How is the criminal to be tried? If the offence is provided for and punished by federal law, that law, and not the State law, is to ]govern. It is only when the offence does not
appen to be within the purview of federal law that the federal courts are to try and punish him under any other law. Then resort is to be had to the “ common law, as modified and changed" by State legislation, “so far as the same is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States.” So that over this vast domain of criminal jurisprudence provided by each State for the protection of its own citizens, and for the punishment of all persons who violate its criminal laws, federal law, when ever it can be made to apply, displaces State law. The question here naturally arises, from what source Congress derives the power to transfer to federal tribunals certain classes of cases embraced in this section? The Constitution expressly dcclares that the judicial power of the United States “shall extend to all cases in law and ecfjuit-y arising under this Constitution, the laws 0 the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made under their authority ; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime ‘urisdiction; to controversies to which the
nited States shall be a party ; to controversies between two or more States, between a State and citizens of another State, between citizens of different States, between citizens of the same State claiming land under grants of different States, and between a State,or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens, or subjects,” Here the judicial power of the United States is expressly set forth and defined; and the act of September 24, 1789, establishing the judicial courts of the United States, in conferring upon the federal courts jurisdiction over cases originating in State tribunals, is careful to confine them to the classes enumerated in the aboverecited clause of the Constitution. This section of the bill undoubtedly comprehends cases and authorizes the exercise of powers that are not, by the Constitution, within the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States. To transfer them to those courts would be an exercise of authority well calculated to excite distrust and alarm on the part of all the States; for the bill alpplies alike to all of them—as well to those t at have as tothose that have not been engaged in rebelliont
It may be assumed that this authority is incident to the power granted to Congress by the Constitution, as recently amended, to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the article declaring that " neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the U ited States, or any place subject to their jurisdlction." It cannot, howzever, be justly claimed that, with a view to the enforcement of this article of the Constitution, there is at present any necessit for the exercise of all the powers which this ill confers. Slavery has been abolished, and at resent nowhere exists within the jurisdiction 0 the United States; nor has there been, nor is it likely there will be, any attempt to revive it by the people or the States. If, however, any such attempt shall be made, it will then become the duty of the General Government to exercise any and all incidental
owers necessary and proper to maintain invio— ate this great constitutional law of freedom.
The fourth section of the bill provides that oflicers and agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau shall be empowered to make arrests, and also that other officers may be specially commissioned for that urpose by the President of the United States. t also authorizes circuit courts of the United States and the superior courts of the Territories to appoint, without limitation, com~ missioners, who are to be charged with the performance of quasi judicial duties. The fifth section empowers the commissioners so to be selected by the courts to appoint in writing, under their hands, one or more suitable persons from time to time to execute warrants and other processes described by the bill. These numerous official agents are made to constitute a. sort of police, in addition to the military, and are anthorized to summon a osse comitatus, and even to call to their aid suc portion of the land and naval forces of the United States, or of the militia, " as may be necessary to the performance of the dut with which they are charged." This extraor inary pOWer is to be conferred u on agents irresponsible to the Government an to the people, to whose number the discretion of the commissioners is the only limit, and in whose hands such authority might be made a terrible engine of wrong, op ression, and fraud. The
eneral statutes re u ating the land and naval orces of the Unite States, the militia, and the execution of the laws, are believed to be adenate for every emergency which can ocdur in time of peace. If it should prove otherwise. Congress can at any time amend those laws in such a manner as, while subserving the public welfare, not to jeopard the rights, interests, and liberties of the people.
The seventh section provides that a fee of ten dollars shall be paid to each commissioner in every case brought before him, and a fee of five dollars to his deputy, or deputies, “ for each person he or they may arrest and take before any such commissioner,” “with such other fees as may be deemed reasonable by such commission,” “ in general for tperforming such other duties as may be recLuire in the remises." All these fees are to e " paid out o the Treasury of the United States," whether there is a conviction or not; but in case of conviction they are to be recoverable from the defendant. It seems to me that under the influence of such temptations bad men might convert any law, however bencficent, into an instrument of persecution and fraud.
By the eighth section of the bill the United 'States courts, which sit only in one‘place for white citizens, must migrate, with the marshal and district attorney, (and neccQarily with the clerk, although he is not mentioned) to any
art of the'district u on the order of the Presi
ent, and there hol acourt"‘for the purpose of the more speedy arrest and trial of persons charged with a violation of this act." and there the judge and oflicers of the court must remain, u on the order of the President, “ for the time t erein designated."
The ninth section authorizes the President, or
such person-as he may empower for that put
ose, “ to employ, such part of the land or naval ¥orces of the United States or of the militia. as shall be necessary to prevent the violation and enforce to due execution of this act." This language seems to imply a permanent military force, that is to be always at hand, and whose only business is to be the enforcement of this neasure over the vast region where it is intended o operate. \
I do not propose to consider the policy of this bill. To me the details of the bill seem fraught with evil. The White race and the black race of the South have hithert) lived together under the relation of master and slave—capital own— ing labor. Now, sud-'Jrnly, that relation is changed, and, as to ownership, capital and labor are divorced. They stand now each master of itself. In this new relation, one being necessary to the other, there will be a new adjustment, which both are deeply interested in leaking harmonious. Each has equal power in settling the terms, and, if left to the laws that regulate capital and labor, it is confidently believed that they will satisfactorily work out the problem. Capital, it is true, has more intelligence, but labor is never so ignorant as not to understand its own interests, not to know its own value, and not to see that capital must pay that value.
This bill frustrates this adjustment. It intervenes between capital and labor, and attempts to settle questions of political economy through the agency of numerous officials, Whose interest it will be to ferment discord between the two races ; for as the breach widens their employment will continue, and when it is closed their occupation will terminate.
In all our history, in all our ‘experience as a people, living under federal and State law, no such system as that contemplated by the details of this bill has ever before been proposed or adopted. They establish for the security of the colored race safeguards which go infinitely beyond any that the General Government has ever provided for the white race. In fact, the distinction of race and'color is, b the bill, made to operate in favor of the colore and against the white race. They interfere with the municipal legislation of the States, with the relations existing exclusively between a State and its citizens, or between inhabitants of the same
State—an absor tion and assuin tion of power by the General overnment whic i, if acquiesced in, must sap and destro our federativc system of limited powers, and real: down the barriers which preserve the rights of the States. It is another step, or rather stride, towards centralization, and the concentration of all is islative powers in the national Government. be tendency of the bill must be to resuscitate the spirit of rebellion, and to arrest the progress of those influences which are more closely draw
Aing around the States the bonds of union and
My lamented predecessor, in his proclamation of the lst of January, 1863, ordered and declared that all persons held as slaves Within certain States and parts of States therein designated were, and thenceforward should be free, and, further, that the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, would recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons. This guarantee has been rendered especially obligatory and sacred by the amendment of the Constitution abolishin slavery throughout the United States. I, t 1erefore, fully recognize the obligation to protect and defend that class of our people, whenever and Wherever it shall become necessary, and to the full extent compatible with the Constitution of the United States. ‘
Entertaining these sentiments, it only remains for me to say, that I will cheerfully co-operate with Congress in any measure that may be necessary for the protection of the civil rights of the freedmen, as well as those of all other classes of ersons throughout the United States, by judicial) process, under equal and impartial laws, in conformity with the Federal Constitution.
I now return the bill to the Senate, and regret that. in considering the hills and 'oint resolutions—forty-two in number—which ave been thus far submitted for my approval, I am compelled to withhold m assent from a second measure that has receive the sanction of both Houses of Congress.
provisions of the
WASHINGTON, D. 0., March 27, 1866.
Copy of the Bill Vetoed.
AN ACT to protect all persons in the United States in their civil rights, and furnish the means of their vindication.
Be it enacted, &c., That all persons born in the United States and not subject to any forei 11 power, excluding Indians, not taxed, are here y declared to be citizens of the United States; and such citizens of every race and color, without regard to any previOus condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as apunishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall have the same right in every State and Territory in the United States to make and enforce contracts; to sue, be parties, and give evidence; to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal roperty; and to full and equal benefit of all aws and proceedings for the security of person and prop— erty as is enjoyed by white citizens,_.and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, and penalties, and to none other, any law, statute ordinance, regulation, or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding,
Sec. 2. That any person who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulatioh, or custom, shall subject, or cause to be subjected, any inhabitant of any State or Territory to the deprivation of any right secured or protected by this act, or to different punishment, pains, or penalties on account of such person having at anyktime'been held in a condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, or by reason of his color or race, than is prescribed for the punishment of white persons, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall be punished by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.
SEO. 3. That the district courts of the United States, within their respective districts, shall have, exclusively of the courts of the several States, cognizance of all crimes and offences committed against the provisions of this act, and also, concurrently with the circuit courts of the United States, of all causes, civil and criminal, affecting persons who are denied or cannot enforce in the courts or judicial tribunals of the State or locality where they may be any of the rights secured to them by the first section of this act; and if any suit or prosecution, civil or criminal, has been or shall be commenced in any State court against any such person, for any cause whatsoever, or against any officer, civil or military, or other person, for any arrest or imprisonment, trespasses, or wrongs done or committed by virtue or under color of authority derived from this actor the act establishing a bureau for the relief of freedmen and refugees, and all acts amendatory thereof, or for refusing to do any act upon the ground that it would be inconsistent with this act, such defendant shall have the right to remove such cause for trial to the proper district or circuit court in the manner prescribed by the "Act relating to habeas corpus aud regulatingajudicial roceedings in certain cases,” approved March t iree, eighteen hundred and Sixty-three, and all acts amendator thereof. Thejurisdiction in civil and crimina matters hereby conferred on the district and circuit courts of the United States shall be exercised and enforced in conformity with the laws of thevUnited States, so far as such laws are suitable to ban the same into effect; but in all cases where suc laws are not adapted to the object, or are deficient in the provisions necessary to furnish suitable remedies and punish offences against law, the common law, as modified and chan ed by the constitution and statutes of the State w erein
4 the court havin jurisdiction of the cause, civil
or criminal, is reld, so far as the same is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of United States, shall be extended to and govern said courts in the trial and disposition of such cause, and, if of a criminal nature, in the infliction of punishment on the party found guilty. SEC. 4. That the district attorn s, marshals, and deputy marshals of the Unitgg States, the commissioners appointed by the circuit court and
territorial courts of the United States, with powers of arresting, imprisoning, or bailing ofienders against the laws of the United States, the officers and agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and every other officer who ma be specially empowered by the President of t e United States, shall be, and they are hereby, specially authorized and required, at the expense of the United States, to institute roceedings against all and every person Who shall violate the provisions of this act, and cause him or them to be arrested and im‘
risoned, or hailed, as the case may be, for trial
efore such court of the United States or territorial court as by this act has cognizance of the offence. And with a view to affording reasonable protection to all persons in their constitutional rights of equality before the law, without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, and to the rompt discharge of the duties of this act, it shal be the duty of the circuit courts of the United States and 'the superior courts of the Territories of the United States, from time to time, to increase the number of commissioners, so as to afford a s eed and convenient means for the arrest and armnation, of persons charged with a violation of this act. And such commissioners are hereby authorized and re uired to exercise and discharge all the powers add duties conferred on them by this act, and the same duties with regard to offences created by this act, as they are authorized by law to exercise with regard to other offences ' against the'laws of the United States.
SEO. 5. That it shall be the duty of all marshals and deput marshals to obey and execute all warrants andv precepts issuedunder the provisions of this act, when to them directed; and should any marshal or deputy marshal refuse to receive such warrant or other process when tendered, or to use all pro er means diligently to
'execute the same, he sha 1, on conviction thereof,
be fined in the sum of one thousand dollars, to the use of the person upon whom the accused is alleged to have committed the oflence. And the better to enable the said commissmners to execute their duties faithfully and efficiently, in conformit with the Constitution of the United States an the re uirements of this act, they are hereby authorize and empowered, within their counties respectively, to appoint, in writing, under their hands, any one or more suitable persons, from time to time, to execute all such warrants and other process that may be issued by them in the lawful performance of their respective duties; and the persons so appointed to execute any warrant or process as aforesaid shall have authority to summon and call to their aid the bystanders or the posse comitatu-s of' the proper county, or such portion of the land and naval forces of the United States, or of the militia, as may be necessary to the erformance of the duty with which t ey are c ar ed, and to insure a faithful observance of the c ause of the Constitution which prohibits slavery, in conformity with the provisions of this act; and said warrants shall run and be executed by said officers anywhere in the State or Terrritory within which they are issued.
SEO. 6. That any person who shall knowingly