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these misguided people, but only by way of caution and warning to ourselves. I come to the conclusion, therefore, that they do not desire the perpetuation of the Union. If we would remove all restraints and give them freedom of choice they would revive the confederacy at once. They would take advantage of a war with Great Britain or France to secure their independence, and they would take advantage of their double representation here to promote such a war. If no opportunity of escape should soon offer, would they not still live in hopes of it and in persistent hostility to the country's obligations to the soldiers, widows, orphans, and creditors of our war, and friendly to the assumption of similar obligations created by themselves in the interest of the rebellion? Even in advance of their own coming a portion of their vast claims have reached your files. When my colleague [Mr. RANDALL] from the Democratic side proposed that the national faith, pledged in war, should not be broken in peace, there was one voice from Kentucky against it-only one by count, but considering the quarter from which it came, multitudinous in omen. A bill has also been introduced by a gentleman, sometimes called the Democratic leader in this House, to repudiate in part the
ment to the Constitution, to be accepted by the rebel States as a condition-precedent to their restoration. It is also proposed to couple with either proposition a second amendment, prohibiting the assumption of rebel debts and claims either by States or the United States. The third proposition has commended itself to much the largest number of Union members, and the amendments to that effect have already passed this House by more than a two-thirds vote. This, then, so far as this House is concerned, is the congressional plan of reconstruction. All we ask of the rebel leaders who are wrongly charging us with having no policy at all, but designing to exclude them for an indefinite period, is a little time to put in form of fundamental law these pledges of future peace. For five years they have been out upon plagueinfected seas. Can they not tarry at quarantine for a single session?
lation of the laws by which it was created. These cannot be regarded as the oddities of one or two men, but rather as impulsive confessions of imprudent scouts, too far in advance of the following army. The purpose will not be generally disclosed until the forces are arranged
for its execution.
I am speaking now only of the dangers that will beset the Republic by the allowance of a representation unfriendly to its prosperity and even its existence in such disproportionate numbers. But we should not forget that this act is also a recognition as republican in form of constitutions, we have never seen (except that of Tennessee) and all, except those of Lincoln origin, under rebel supremacy. The white Unionists who have been looking through five dreary years of persecution, lynching, and confiscation to this as their hour of deliverance, will find themselves betrayed into the hands of their old, unhumbled, unrelenting tormentors. It also consigns the freedmen to the tyranny of old masters, not now as heretofore bribed to humanity by a moneyed interest in the preservation of their chattel estates. Twenty-five per cent., says an honorable gentleman who presents his back offensively to the North as he makes his low obeisance South, twenty-five per cent. have already perished. The wish no doubt was father to the thought with the masters in whose interest the declaration is made. These, then, are my premises. I will repeat them:
1. There are only about five million disloyal population in the country.
2. This population when fully restored to the Union, the Constitution and laws remaining unamended, will hold more than one third of its representative power and the supreme control of at least thirteen States.
3. They will be interested to use that power for the division of the Union; and, failing in that, for the repudiation of its military and financial obligations.
Now, what is to be done? If these States are denied representation, it violates the fundamental principle of republican government. If allowed a double and hostile representation, the Union itself must be destroyed or preserved at the expense of another war. Three remedies are proposed:
1. Disfranchise some portion of the rebels. 2. Allow all the rebels to vote, but neutralize their disunion sentiments by enfranchising the blacks in these States.
Stripped of all disguises, herein lies the main disagreement. Shall these States be recognized at once in their present temper, without guarantees of any kind and with a twofold representation? It is not whether they shall be represented at all; to that we all agree. There may be a little question of time; a difference of a few weeks or a few months, and that is
in their own names and once in the name of the negroes? Shall they come in upon a representative basis that clothes a white man of the South with almost as much again political power as a northern man controls? That gives two white voters in South Carolina as much selection of President in the
Legislation of this House as free vetet and pomme sylvania possess? That practically gives to one seventh of your population, disloyal at that, more than one third of your power? That, sir, is the great question before this House and the American public. It is an effort on the part of the Opposition to carry into the politics of the country the old problem by which sixteen is made the majority of forty-nine. In England it is called the system of "rotten boroughs." It has long been the subject of political strife between the free and slave-labor counties of Maryland, Virginia, and Tennessee. And when it is everywhere else abandoned as a pernicious and anti-republican theory of representation, we are asked to make it the basis of reconstruction in the model Republic.
The enactment of these two simple and brief amendments, or others similar in purpose, is so absolutely necessary for the preservation of the Republic and the discharge of its obligations to its soldiers and creditors, and is so just and even generous to the insurgents, that they ought to receive the assent of every Union man, especially of every northern Union man. The Opposition do not dare to discuss their merits. While some deny that we have any plan of reconstruction, others assail it with insidious and deceptive objections. Some of these I propose to notice here.
First of all, they complain of the consump tion of time. Five months have passed, and not a rebel admitted, is the complaining accusation. The Opposition are impatient. They cannot wait. Come in at once, say they, to the "erring brethren." Do not wait to drop your side arms or exchange your disloyal garments. Bills to protect the loyal men of the South against your pretended violence are pending now, come and help defeat them. We will soon have bills to enlarge pensions and equalize bounties to the soldiers you have maimed and the widows you have made; your advice and votes will be needed. A bill to give bounty land to the boys in blue" could not be de feated nor the "butternuts" included without you. A bill to lift the burdens of taxation from the industry of the country and place it upon your foreign confederates, through exported cotton, will need your attention. Hurry up your organizations. Do not wait to heal lips blistered with a double oath of broken fealty before you kiss the Holy Evangelists with another. We have buried our sons and are lan
When once admitted, deny that you ever tried to break up the Government, but swear on all occasions that the Lincoln party were and are the traitors.
3. Equalize representation by taking as its basis either the number of voters or the population, minus the disfranchised classes; so that these States shall have no more representation in proportion to their represented people than the old free States have. Either proposition would require an amend-guishing to clasp the hands of their murderers.
The complainants have only themselves to blame for much of this delay. Except for their persistent opposition the amendments would have been submitted months ago to the Legislatures then in session in the loyal States, and been assented to, no doubt, by the constitutional number. Except for their own opposition they might now be welcoming back their long-mourned friends to seats in these Halls. But they would consent to nothing that did not return them greater in numbers, and more malevolent in purpose. Hence the delay. Hinc illæ lacrima.
Next we are told that it conflicts with the "President's policy." What is the President's policy? I aver, first, that the President, when last authoritatively heard from, was in favor of the principle embodied in each of the proposed amendments. Of the first one, because he required the confederate States to adopt it; of the second one, because he has repeatedly declared himself in favor of making the number of voters the basis of representation. I aver, second, that he does not consider the status of the States such, that their assent to constitutional amendments cannot be required as conditions-precedent to their restoration, because he directed Mr. Seward to inform these States that their as sent to the amendment proposed in the last Congress was "indispensable" to restoration; and he has not himself then because by were States already in the Union. When the confederacy fell they were in full operation under governments origi nally organized in the Union. Governors, Legislatures, judges, and a full set of county and township officers were at work under constitutions once declared to be republican in form by the United States. These governments were regular unless you assent to the doctrine of forfeiture, for they had political continuity, what the church people call apostolic succession. Yet they were destroyed by the President's order and new ones extemporized in their stead.
From that time to this, in these States, the breath of the President has been the law of the land. Mr. Johnson went much further in this direction than his predecessor. Mr. Lincoln established governments only in States where he found none existing before, but Mr. Johnson first destroyed existing governments and then supplied their places with those of his own creation. So, both by words, and actions which speak louder than words, the President assents to every principle involved in the congressional policy of reconstruction. Indeed, the two policies could not well conflict, because they relate to different subjects. The one creates or revives State organizations, the other renews their Federal relations. When these organizations were complete, and the States ready to apply to Congress for a return to the Union, the President's policy was ended. His work was all done. The rest was for Congress. So he directed his Secretary of State to inform Governor Sharkey, July 24, 1865, Governor Marvin, September 12, 1865, and so he informed us in his annual message. If he has changed his policy since then it is hardly worth while to inquire what it is now, for his principles are written in water.
I do not wish to disguise the fact that while he approves the two amendments and believes the power exists to require their adoption as conditions of return, he thinks it unnecessary to insist upon any terms additional to those imposed by himself. It is in this opinion that his old persecutors, the defeated enemies of the Union, the foiled plotters of his assassination, have taken heart, and with cruel malice conspired with northern sympathizers to pur sue him with their unrelenting friendship. Their last hope for the destruction of this country lies in the seduction of its friends. War failed them, they resort to diplomacy.
us see how this is. For four years these peo-
The President was not much moved by their
Again, it is said by way of excuse, "Why not admit such Union men as Fowler, Stokes, and Maynard, of Tennessee?" Because it is not a question about men. Shall a disloyal district, while it is still in a disloyal spirit, be declared entitled to representation with only half as many represented people in it as we require for a district in the North? That is the question. Captain Semmes ran up the Union flag when he wished to decoy an unarmed merchant vessel under the power of his guns, but replaced it with the pirate emblem when he had secured his victim. The names of these patriots are hung out to-day to secure representation to a rebel constituency behind them, but they will be hauled down at the first election and rebels put up in their stead. You may think you are only recognizing the Union flag, but when it is too late you will find yourselves alongside the Alabama and in the power of its pirate crew.
But it is said in reply, "We will not admit disloyal men even if elected." How can you help yourselves? If a whole delegation from South Carolina, for instance, present themselves to the Clerk of the last House and ask to be placed on the roll, prior to organization, and tender him the certificate of their election signed by the Governor and sealed with the great seal of that most sovereign State, shall the Clerk say which is loyal and which not? I suppose not. After the organization, in which all have participated, and all have been qualified and taken their seats, will you get up an inquisitorial committee to explore the secret recesses of their consciences and be father confessors to their sins? "No, but the iron-clad oath will exclude them." Do you not know, sir, that almost every man who is in favor of admitting these States without conditions is also in favor of repealing that oath? They already denounce it as an odious and unconstitutional test. The Secretary of the Treasury and the Postmaster General, backed up by a message from the President, ask its repeal so far as regards their Departments, thus making rebels as eligible as Union soldiers to appointments here, and under such lead I expect to see it swept away, and so do most of the gentlemen who are now urging us to lay aside a real safeguard and trust to this cobweb of a morning. But suppose we could in this way contrive to dictate to these people who they should and who they should not elect, what kind of representation would that be? We say to them, "you are free to select your representatives, but mind that you select such as suit us, not yourselves." You call that representation? I call it obedience. We propose to extract the envenomed fang of the serpent before he is uncaged, and you to bind him with test oaths afterward. Suppose, again, you could manage to exclude in this way those who had been engaged in the rebellion, do you not know that a rebel constituency could find a fit representation outside that list, and all the more dangerous on that account? If they had none at home they could colonize from the North. Again, magnanimity is invoked as a shield of desertion. A great nation, it is said, can afford to be magnanimous. Of course it can ; but let
drafting unconstitutional; that it was right to raise money, but wrong to tax or borrow; that they were opposed to emancipation, but not in favor of slavery. It was not under that lead that Andrew Johnson was denounced as Lincoln's satrap when he consented to be provisional governor of a State from which the old Governor and Legislature had run away, and cheered as a patriot when he drove out the Governors and Legislatures of half a dozen States and supplied their places with appointees of his own. Is it not probable that, tired of their contradictory and hypocritical position, they crave the undissembling leadership of Breckinridge and Hunter, Davis and Toombs, as much as we can possibly dread it?
As another excuse for opposition to this plan of restoration it is said there are other inequalities in representation that ought to be removed as well as this. An honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania complains that the six eastern States have each two Senators, while New York and other large States have no more. It is true that some of the eastern States are small; but the Constitution provides that each State, whether large or small, shall have two Senators; and it further provides that while that instrument may be amended in other respects, with the assent of three fourths of the States, in this respect it shall not be amended without the assent of all the States. But why point only to the eastern States to illustrate the inequality of senatorial representation? The best illustration of it is not to be found there. The population of these States is 3,135,223. In the South you can find a smaller population with a larger representation in the Senate. The population of Arkansas, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware is only 3,032,761. Here are seven States with more than 100,000 less population than the six eastern States, one third of that being negroes, with fourteen Senators, two more than New England. Why did not the gentleman make his point on these States? Was it because the eastern States are free and loyal and the others were slaveholding, and in part disloyal? And why, just in this connection, does he complain that bounties are paid for catching fish? He never complained when higher bounties were paid for catching men and women for the southern market. These are the old complaints of the South, warmed over, in antici
You tell us they have suffered. So have we. Peace has come at last; business prosperity will return; the insignia of mourning will be laid aside; but in the heart of every family there is an unspoken sorrow that will sadden life even to the grave. Now, we are admonished to be magnanimous to the authors of all this suffering. I accept the admonition, but I submit that we are so already. The law condemued them to death, and we have pardoned them. Their estates were forfeited, and we have restored them. Not a traitor has been hung; not one convicted; not one tried; not a dozen arrested; but many have been honored as rulers in States they only failed to ruin. The high-sounding eloquence of the gentleman from New York, [Mr. RAYMOND,] calling upon us to admire the courage and devotion" with which these bad men prosecuted a cruel war against our kindred, our homes, and our country for four years, has scarcely subsided when our tears are invoked over their self-inflicted sufferings. Thus at this end of the avenue we are alternately called upon to admire and pity them, while at the other the green seal is kept hot with its work of clemency-clemency often unsolicited, sometimes contemned. We have even ordered historic inscriptions to be erased from captured cannon at West Point, that the boys educated at the expense of a Government their fathers could not quite destroy might not be irritated. What more can we do?pation of its return, groundless, no doubt, but What more can gentlemen ask in the name of if ever so just, furnishing no good excuse for magnanimity? "Give to this one seventh of allowing to the complainants a twofold repreyour population more than one third of your sentation in this House. political power?" Is that what you ask, and call it only magnanimity to the false men of the country? Call it rather treachery to the faithful, or if that sounds too harsh, call it submission, surrender, what you like, but for the sake of truth let no one call betrayal of country and friends magnanimity to enemies.
Again, sir, the effort to cut off the excess of this unpatriotic and sectional representation is ascribed to party motives. Is not the Opposition exposed to the same charge? Is not the Democratic party as anxious to secure friends as we are to avoid enemies? For the last five years they have been beaten everywhere. Every election has proved to them that they were growing small by large degrees. "Would to God that night or the rebels would come" has been their daily prayer. Does their haste to embrace the misguided brethren come solely from pure love and affection? Is it not possible that their passion is somewhat like that of"The immortal Captain Wottle,
Who was all for love and a little for the bottle?" Is it not possible that they look a little to party, too? That they long not only for the alliance but the leadership of the South? They must remember that this leadership was generally able and always consistent, however unwise. It was not under that lead that they proclaimed both secession and coercion unconstitutional; that the war for the Union was constitutional, but there was no constitutional mode of conducting it; that an army should be raised, but volunteering was impracticable and
Once more we are reminded that taxation and representation should go together. True, sir, but that would not entitle them to a double representation, nor deprive Congress of a reasonable time for deliberation as to the extent of the right and the best mode of securing it. But if it is meant that they are entitled on the score of taxation to instantaneous, unconditional, and disproportionate representation, I must beg leave to inquire, where are the immense taxes paid by them, upon which to base such extraordinary claims? The loyal people of the country have been paying burdensome taxes, a million per day, imposed by their misconduct, but when and where have they paid taxes? For the last five years they have paid none, and the amount they are just now beginning to pay is too trifling for argument. If the right of representation could be acquired by imposing taxes upon others or by robbery of the Government, their claim would be indisputable. They robbed the southern post offices of money, stamps, and mails; the arsenals and military and naval depots of ammunition, arms, and clothing; the custom-houses and sub-Treasuries of goods, bonds, and money; and the New Orleans mint of $600,000 in gold, and have never made restitution. But they have paid very few taxes, and long before they will be called to do so a fair and adequate rep-upon resentation will be accorded them.
But they have still another argument-the one relied upon when all others fail, their refuge from discomfiture in every other field
of debate and that is what they call the constitutional argument. When they find themselves unable to maintain in discussion the propriety of allowing the disloyal population a twofold representation, the half to represent themselves and the other half to misrepresent the loyal people, white and black, in their midst; when they can no longer screen themselves behind the "President's policy," words of indefinite meaning; when their aspersion upon our motives is repelled by showing that they have as strong party interest in forming an alliance with the rebels as we possibly can have in trying to prevent it; when their taxation theory is demolished by a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, they fall back upon the constitutional right of States to representation. They will retreat no further. This is their last ditch in debate. And here,
to these Halls without our leave, is that the right of a State to representation cannot be forfeited or lost so long as these two sections remain unaltered. Is there no objection to this theory? Why, it concedes the right of representation during the whole war. Their members could have entered this Capitol at any time and voted as the interest of the confederacy required. If the war had lasted fifty years instead of four the right would have run through all that time. Nor would it have ceased if our armies had been overpowered and the confederacy left unmolested. After one hundred years of separation, they might still vote for President and send members to Congress. Unless you admit the doctrine of forfeiture, you cannot avoid this conclusion. Aside from this doctrine, nothing but an amendment of the Constitution could deprive them of this right. But the Constitution could not be amended, because these eleven States are more than one fourth of the whole, and the assent of some of them would be necessary for any amendment; and to deprive them of Senators the assent of every one would be necessary.
The advocates of this theory, to avoid this result, concede that the right of representation would be forfeited by success. But how? The Constitution is not changed by the result of a battle. There it is, just as it was before. If they lost nothing by defeat would they by success? They lost nothing by secession and unsuccessful war, you say, because these were unconstitutional. Can they lose anything, then, by victory? Would not that be unconstitutional also? "But we would acquiesce." Well, suppose we should; would not acquiescence be unconstitutional and void? Where in the Constitution are we authorized to acquiesce in a division of the Republic? If their ordinance of secession was void would not our consent to it be equally void? If the ordinance was void can it be rendered more so by defeat or less so by victory? Some of the advocates of this theory, to avoid this reasoning, concedo that the right of representation is forfeited or suspended during "contumacy." This cruel word to characterize the great rebellion is not original with me. It is the word maliciously chosen by our conservative friends who are determined to make treason odious. I wish the printer to inclose it with inverted commas, that such severity of language may not be ascribed to me. But who is to decide when the suspension begins and when it ends? The State? If so, that is no suspension at all. A right that can be taken up and laid down at pleasure cannot be said to be suspended. Is Congress the judge? Then I submit that by secession from the United States, by the formation of a new confederacy, by four years of terrible war and five of scornful refusal, these States would become a little contumacious, and Congress would be justified in suspending their rights until the legislation necessary to make representation fair and equal could be agreed upon and passed. And that is all that anybody here proposes to do.
This appeal to the Constitution for authority to hand the Government over to the unrepentant plotters of its destruction, is but a continuation of the policy pursued by the Opposition for the last five years. During that period they have raised a cry about the Constitution many times, but always in opposition to good measures or in advocacy of bad ones. When it was first proposed to coerce the rebellion and save the Union, and at every following step toward apparent success, they cried, unconstitutional." It was unconstitutional to raise an army or march it into the sacred soil of the South. It was unconstitutional to issue bills of credit to meet the expenses. It was unconstitutional to close a rebel port or arrest a rebel spy, to proclaim martial law in a rebel country, or to appoint a provisional governor for conquered Louisiana or abandoned Tennessee. Look back through the debates of the Opposition; there is nothing constitutional but slavery and rebellion, nothing so unconstitutional as coercion and emancipation. Judging from
"In Dixie's land
They take their stand,
Mr. Speaker, we are in an anomalous condition. The Constitution does not especially provide for the difficulties with which we are surrounded. Our fathers could not believe that so large a portion of the American people could be so barbarized by slavery as to undertake such stupendous crime. They did not provide for what they could not foresee. There are no precedents on file to guide us. This is the first disunion rebellion. Ours will be the first precedent in reconstruction, and the last-only if it is justly and wisely made. There are objections, plausible or otherwise, to every theory that has been or can be advanced as to the status of these States. My colleague [Mr. STEVENS] suggested that their present position was very much like that of California after the Mexican A score or more of speeches have been made to show that there are objections to this theory. The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. SHELLABARGER] suggested that these State governments had perished in the rebellion, and that now new ones, republican in form, should be originated by Congress. Objections were raised to this theory. The gentleman from New York [Mr. RAYMOND] suggested that new governments must be originated and proper guarantees and conditions could be imposed, but these things should be done by the Commander-inChief of the Army and Navy as the terms of surrender. Objections have been raised to that theory also. Others still take the position that inasmuch as new constitutions and new governments have been established in these States originating in an irregular or revolutionary manner, that it is the duty of Congress, under the fourth article and fourth section of the Constitution, to see that they are republican in form, and in the discharge of that duty, require such conditions or guarantees as the safety of the Union, in their judgment, demands. This, too, is objected to.
An honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania at the other end of the Capitol, with some selfconceit, as it seems to me, sets down all these reconstruction suggestions or theories as mere whimsies. He has a plan of his own to restore the Union and get rid of traitors. It is simple in theory and cheap in execution. He will execute it himself with only the aid of a constable. Whenever a rebel shows his head, he and his constable will pounce upon him like a Buchanan marshal on a flying negro. He will put him where no rebel ever went before with his consent-in the old Capitol Prison. If the honorable gentleman really thinks that his plan is practicable, why does he not set about its execution? His intended victims swarm through the Capitol and the White House, and two or three dozen of them are asking admission to Congress. There are objections to this theory. Indeed it has been tried. It was Buchanan's plan for suppressing the rebellion, but it failed.
Now, sir, the theory of the Opposition, based upon the second and third sections of the first article of the Constitution, under which membors from the rebel States are to be admitted Il
these debates, the Constitution was especially framed to repress liberty, punish fidelity to the Union, shield oppression, and honor treachery and great crime. These war measures are all constitutional now. Great light is thrown upon the Constitution by the surrender of Lee. The gleam of successful bayonets illumines the dark understanding of pro-slavery quibblers. But alas! the light of success shines only on the past. All the future is still unconstitutional. The "unconstitutional, disunion, abolition war' is rendered constitutional by the victory of our soldiers, but the effort to secure to the country the fruits of that victory by appropriate legisla tion is as unconstitutional as ever.
Here I close my defense of the Republican policy of restoration. Shall that policy be adopted? Not by this Congress, it is said, because enough conservative Republicans will unite with the Opposition to defeat it. Then, by falsely charging upon the Union party nonaction and lack of purpose, it is hoped that a Congress can be elected next fall which will repeal the test oath and admit the rebel States without guarantees or conditions of any kind and with a representation always excessive and now enlarged by emancipation. Without the enlargement (which will not be attained until after the next census) the eleven confederate States will have eighty votes in the Electoral College, controlled entirely by the late insurgents, namely:
They will need seventy-seven more to elect a President. Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware, States with strong confederate proclivities, will, it is claimed, furnish thirtyone, while the other forty-six can be made up by the Democrats of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. The classification of votes by which the President would thus be elected, would stand-confederates 80, semi-confederates 31, Democratic 46. This presidential scheme will undoubtedly fail, and yet it is the only one that has the slightest chance of success. If the Union party can be beaten at all, it must be by this or some similar combination. Suppose it successful, then, what would be the character of the new Administration? Four members of the Cabinet would belong to the eighty confederate votes and the other three to the seventy-seven from the northern and border States. All presidential appointments at home and abroad must be made on the same line of division..
If, as is alleged, this combination could also carry a majority of Congress, the confederates would have a majority of that majority, and in caucus (giving their allies the Clerk) would demand the Speaker and a majority of all committees, such as the Ways and Means, Claims, and Pensions, to which their peculiar interests might be referred. Pensions must then be surrendered or divided with confederate claimants; service in the Union Army would be an impediment to political success, and the Treasury, supplied by the industry and economy of the North, would be steadily absorbed in confederate damages. Then your creditors might count their worthless bonds and learn exactly how much it cost them to reclaim their fugitive masters. Then the pensionless widows and orphans of our valiant dead might bemoan in poverty and neglect the ingratitude of a Repub lic saved by a husband's and father's blood. And then our surviving soldiers must conceal their honorable sears to save a humble position in the capital they helped to preservefor the enemy. Then, sir, we will all see, feel, and realize what the Opposition, in different phraseology, constantly assert, that the object of the war was to force the rebels to become our rulers.
Together with the resolution came to this House a large amount of testimony which had been taken by the committee in reference to the condition of Tennessee. In this volume is embraced an act of the General Assembly of the State, in which they prescribe who shall exercise the elective franchise. It is as follows:
MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE.
A message was received from the Senate, by Mr. FORNEY, its Secretary, notifying the House that that body had passed Senate bill No. 220, for the relief of certain contractors for the construction of vessels-of-war and steam machinery. RECONSTRUCTION-AGAIN.
Mr. HIGBY. Mr. Speaker, a large portion of the President's annual message was devoted to the question of the reunion of the loyal States and those which had been in rebellion. Congress was as deeply impressed with the subject which was coming before them as any other branch of this Government possibly could be at the commencement of the present session; and with a view to do as much and as speedily as possible to ascertain the condition of the States which had been in rebellion, and whether there was any possibility by which they could have representation here, a joint committee of both branches of Congress was appointed, to whom everything in connection with reconstruction was referred for their consideration. We have several times, sir, heard from that com⚫mittee by way of amendments to the Constitution of the United States. They have also taken a large amount of testimony in reference to the condition of things in those States, and have from time to time reported that evidence to the House and Senate. But, Mr. Speaker, I propose for a few moments to give attention to the report made by the committee on reconstruction on the 6th of March last, and a joint resolution with reference to the State of Tennessee, introduced into the House at that time; and more particularly to dwell upon the principles involved, for the principles involved in that case will enter into the case of every one of the rebel States on the question of readmission.
Mr. Speaker, I suppose that every and any subject presented to the House pertinent to these great questions can be scrutinized and remarked upon. I do not wish to be deemed officious or captious if I should chance to differ with fifteen of the wisest men we have in Congress in some respects as to the report they made at that time.
I ask the Clerk to read the joint resolution. The Clerk read as follows:
Mr. BINGHAM, from the committee on reconstruction, reported the following joint resolution: Joint resolution concerning the State of Tennessee. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whereas the people of Tennessee have made known to the Congress of the United States their desire that the constitutional relations heretofore existing between them and the United States may be fully established, and did, on the 22d day of February, 1865, by a large popular vote, adopt and ratify a constitution of government republican in form and not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, and a State government has been organized under the provisions thereof, which said provisions, and the laws passed in pursuance thereof, proclaim and denote loyalty to the Union; and whereas the people of Tennessee are found to be in a condition to exercise the functions of a State within this Union, and can only exercise the same by the consent of the law-making power of the United States. Therefore, the State of Tennessee is hereby declared to be one of the United States of America, on an equal footing with the other States, upon the express condition that the people of Tennessee will maintain and enforce, in good faith, their existing constitution and laws, excluding those who have been engaged in rebellion against the United States from the exercise of the elective franchise, for the respective periods of time therein provided for, and shall exclude the same persons for the like respective periods of time from eligibility to office; and the State of Tennessee shall never assume or pay any debt or obligation contracted or incurred in aid of the late rebellion; nor shall said State ever in any manner claim from the United States or make any allowance or compensation for slaves emancipated or liberated in any way whatever; which conditions shall be ratified by the Legislature of Tennessee, or the people thereof, as the Legislature may direct, before this act shall take effect.
Mr. HIGBY. Mr. Speaker, two propositions will be observed as embodied in that resolution; one is that it pronounces the constitution presented by Tennessee republican in form, and the other is that the only means by which the State can have any representation in Congress is to be through the "law-making power of the United States."
An act to limit the elective franchise. Whereas the first article and first section of the declaration of rights in the constitution of the State of Tennessee declares, "That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; for the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper; and whereas a large and respectable convention of the free and loyal people of the State of Tennessee met in the city of Nashville on the 9th day of January, 1865, and proposed certain alterations and amendments to the constitution of the State of Tennessee, for rejection or ratification by the loyal people on the 22d of February following; and whereas said amendments and schedule were solemnly ratified with great unanimity by the authoritative voice of the people; and whereas the eighth section of said schedule provided for the election of a governor and members of the Legislature on the 4th day of March, 1865, and who, in accordance therewith, were elected by the bal 'ots of the loyal people; and whereas the same authoritative voice, in section nine of the schedule, delegated to the General Assembly meeting first under this amended constitution, the right to fix the qualification of voters and the limitation of the elective franchise: Therefore, acting faithfully under and in accordance with this delegation of the supreme
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That the following persons, to wit:
1. Every white man twenty-one years of age, a citizen of the United States and a citizen of the county wherein he may offer his vote six months next preceding the day of election, and publicly known to have entertained unconditional Union sentiments from the outbreak of the rebellion until the present time; and
2. Every white man, a citizen of the United States and a citizen of the county wherein he may offer his vote six months next preceding the day of election, having arrived at the age of twenty-one years since March 4, 1865: Provided, That he has not been engaged in armed rebellion against the authority of the United States voluntarily; and
3. Every white man of lawful age coming from another State, and being a citizen of the United States, on proof of loyalty to the United States, and being a citizen of the county wherein he may offer his vote six months next preceding the day of election; and
4. Every white man, a citizen of the United States and a citizen of this State, who has served as a soldier in the Army of the United States, and has been or may be hereafter honorably discharged therefrom; and
5. Every white man of lawful age, a citizen of the United States and a citizen of the county wherein he may offer his vote six months next preceding the day of election, who was conscripted by force into the so-called confederate army, and was known to be a Union man, on proof of loyalty to the United States, established by the testimony of two voters under the previousclauses of this section; and
6. Every white man who voted in this State at the presidential election in November, 1864, or voted on the 22d of February, 1865, or voted on the 4th of March, 1865, in this State, and all others who had taken the "oath of allegiance" to the United States, and may be known by the judges of election to have been true friends to the Government of the United States, and would have voted in said previously mentioned elections if the same had been holden within their reach, shall be entitled to the privileges of the elective franchise.
SEC. 2. Be it further enacted, That all persons who are or shall have been civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called confederate States of America. or who have left judicial stations under the United States or the State of Tennessee to aid, in any way, the existing or recent rebellion against the authority of the United States, or who are or shall have been military or naval officers of the so-called confederate States, above the rank of captain in the army or licutenant in the navy; or who have left seats in the United States Congress or scats in the Legislature of the State of Tennessee to aid said rebellion, or have resigned commissions in the Army or Navy of the United States, and afterward have voluntarily given aid to said rebellion; or persons who have engaged in treating otherwise than lawfully, as prisoners of war, persons found in the United States service as officers, soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacities; or persons who have been or are absentees from the United States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion; or persons who held pretended offices under the government of States in insurrection against the United States; or persons who left their homes within the jurisdiction and protection of the United States, or fled before the approach of the national forces and passed beyond the Federal military lines into the so-called contederate States, for the purpose of aiding the rebellion, shall be denied and refused the privilege of the elective franchise in this State for the term of fifteen years from and after the passage of this act.
SEC. 3. Be it further enacted, That all other persons, except those mentioned in section one of this act, are hereby and henceforth excluded and denied the exercise of the privilege of the elective franchise in this
State for the term of five years from and after the passage of this act.
SEC. 4. Be it further enacted, That all persons embraced in section three of this act, after the expiration of said five years, may be readmitted to the privilege of the elective franchise by petition to the circuit or chancery court, on proof of loyalty to the United States, in open court, upon the testimony of two or more loyal citizens of the United States.
SEC. 5. Be it further enacted. That so long as any of the white citizens of the State of Tennessee, who by this act are entitled to exercise the elective franchise, shall be connected with the Army of the United States, or with the military force of this State in actual service, the Governor shall issue writs of election to the commanding officers of such brigades, regiments, or detachments of Tennessee soldiers, wherever located, who shall open and hold the election, and receive the votes of their respective commands, and return the same to the secretary of state, and which shall be counted in the same way and manner as if said votes had been cast in any of the counties of the State to which the soldiers belonged.
It will be observed, in looking over this act, or the portion to which I direct your attention more particularly, that the elective franchise is to be limited to the white citizens of the State, those who have been loyal, as it disfranchises those who have been engaged in the rebellion. And further, this act is final upon the subject; as the constitution, as amended, 'delegated to the General Assembly meeting first under this amended constitution, the right to fix the qualification of voters and the limitation of the elective franchise." So that further to amend the act from the reading of the schedule it would seem is not in the power of the General Assembly.
Now I wish to present a few facts immediately under this proposition. The resolution says that the constitution is republican in form. With the constitution comes this act of the Legislature upon the subject of the elective franchise. All the facts are embraced in the report which we received from the committee at the same time that this resolution was introduced. I have taken the trouble to make a little table from the census of 1860, which is as follows:
In which I have united together in one sum the slave population in each State with the free population of the same, because since the slaves have become free they belong to the free colored population of the State, and I find this to be the fact with reference to Tennessee: white population, 826,782; free colored population, 283,019.
W. C. Less than 2 to 1 Less than 3 to 1 Less than 2 to 1 Less than 3 to 4 Less than 3 to 2 Less than 5 to 4 Less than 5 to 4 Less than 1 to 1 Nearly equal. Less than 3 to 1 Nearly 3 to 1
Less than 5 to 3
The proportion is less than three white citizens to one colored. In other words, the colored population in 1860 was more than one fourth of the population of the State.
It is but a few days since a law passed this Congress more diguified than legislative enactments usually are, for the reason that it passed, notwithstanding the veto of the President, by more than a two-thirds vote of each House. What did that law declare? I do not consider that we made the native-born colored man a citizen by it, for I believe that without that enactment he was a citizen of the United States; and I believe that a majority of the people so believe. The most eminent men of the nation for wisdom and learning so construed the Constitution of the United States. But we declared it thus solemnly that nativeborn inhabitants, no matter of what race or color, were citizens of the United States.
Now, then, what is the simple fact presented by the figures? We have some means of arriv ing at the measure of loyalty or disloyalty in the State of Tennessee. It is said that that State furnished thirty thousand Union soldiers to help fight the battles against the rebels. 'It is said on the other hand that Tennessee furnished one hundred thousand men for the rebel
tain age before being allowed to exercise the elective franchise. But this is no such exclusion as that on account of race or color.
army. But, sir, supposing it was fifty thousand Union soldiers to one hundred thousand rebel. Of course we cannot arrive definitely at the true proportion. The Legislature of that State has disfranchised those who were engaged in the rebellion; so that the voting population of the State is reduced to those who remained loyal to the Government during the whole struggle. I am speaking of the white population.
What, then, do we have presented? It comes down to the simple fact that a white population no greater than the colored population of a State are to have the entire control of the administration of the government of the State.
Mr. Speaker, I want to read a few words from the Declaration of Independence upon this question of bestowing civil rights and political rights. I think the definition is conclusive:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure those rights governments are instituted among men deriving their just power from the consent of the governed."
There is, then, according to this language, no security of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" unless those who are seeking these ends have the power of government in their hands. That is the logic of the language.
What, then, do we bestow upon men by attempting to secure to them civil or political rights? Why simply this: that they shall have the power of administering the Government. It is conclusive, therefore, that nothing is effected by simply declaring that you extend to them civil rights if in a republican government in which the power rests with the people they cannot, together with others, possess the political power to protect themselves in these rights.
Sir, I do not know where the power lies to take away the privilege of the elective franchise from a citizen of the United States. As a citizen of this country that privilege is one which belongs to him of right. Such is the definition and such is the logical and just conclusion.
I find this definition given by our great lexicographer, Worcester:
"The article in the Constitution of the United States declaring that citizens of each State were entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States applies only to natural-born or duly naturalized citizens; and if they remove from one State to another they are entitled to the privileges that persons of the same description are entitled to in the State to which the removal is made, and to none other. The laws and usages of one State cannot be permitted to prescribe qualifications for citizens to be claimed and exercised in other States in contravention to their local policy.
"It was declared, in Corfield vs. Coryell, that the privileges and immunities conceded by the Constitution of the United States to citizens in the several States were to be confined to those which were in their nature fundamental, and belonged of right to the citizens of all free Governments. Such are the rights of protection of life and liberty, and to acquire and enjoy property, and to pay no higher impositions than other citizens, and to pass through or reside in the State at pleasure, and to enjoy the elective franchise according to the regulations of the law of the State.' That is from Kent's Commentaries. Some may contend that this regulation may go to the extent of prohibition. But, sir, prohibition is not regulation. The language is plain and explicit. The citizen has a right to vote; and there is no power under the Government to exclude him from that right. I do not care what may be the race or color of a man, if he is a citizen of the United States, that is a right of his-a paramount right.
It is true that States may have their regulations on the subject of suffrage. A State may provide that a citizen coming from another State must reside within its limits a certain length of time before he can vote. It may prescribe that a citizen must have attained a cer
But, sir, what is the extent of this resolution? It proposes to admit the State of Tennessee, coming here upon the basis I have named-only a very small proportion of the white population, taking the same number that it had in 1860. Sir, without meaning to be captious, I say that such a proposition has no element of republicanism in it. Let me state a case which may arise, and let us see how members of this House are willing to meet it. You will have some of the eleven seceded States coming here and asking to be admitted whose colored population is in excess of the white population. In the State of South Carolina, for instance, a large majority of the population are colored people, now citizens. Suppose the colored people of the State of South Carolina should come here with a constitution asking to be admitted. They have been loyal through all this struggle. They are citizens of the United States. They present to Congress a constitution more generous and more liberal, if you please. They make no distinction of race or color. If you admit them with such a constitution you violate the principles contained in this report.
There are some stubborn facts which we must meet and face, and we had better face them in the beginning. It is not so hard to do right if we will trample prejudices beneath our feet and come up to great principles and stand by them. It is far better, sir, that we should come up and meet the question now, than wait until time forces us to do so.
I find, in footing up columns in the table presented, that in 1860 there were 5,449,463 of white population, and 3,653,870 of colored people in the eleven States. More than three fifths of the population now are colored people. Deduct from the computation those men who have been disloyal to the Government through this rebellion and what proportion would the white population of those States bear to the colored people? You would then have five of the colored to three of the white entitled to the privileges of the elective franchise.
If the principles proposed now to be adopted in the case of Tennessee should be accepted, they must be followed in the case of every other of the eleven States that may ask to be admitted, and we shall find in the end that we have ignored as citizens the majority and given the government to the minority, and by so doing will have trampled under foot the great and vital principle that lies at the foundation of our institutions.
of the State to vote or not in organizing aud establishing the new State government; and further, the resolution imposes terms and declares the condition of the citizen entitled to vote.
Mr. Speaker, it is urged that we have no right to say who shall vote and who shall not vote. It is even said by some of the members on this side of the House, the Union members of Congress. It is said, you cannot go into the States and dictate to them who shall vote and who may not vote. Well, I grant this is true under the present condition of things, so far as regards the States that have never been in rebellion. The Government of the United States does not propose or attempt to go into any one of the States now in close fellowship with the Government and represented here, and say to them that all classes of citizens without distinction of race or color shall vote. It is true that the general principle has been to leave that question to each of the States. Sir, if Tennessee and Virginia are to-day States in the Union, possessing the same rights as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, we have nothing to say upon this subject one way or the other. But if, as is declared in this resolution, the law-making power of the United States is to settle now the question of the representation of the eleven States that have been in rebellion, and at the same time to examine the constitution of each of these States to see whether it be republican in form, then at the same time the law-making power of the United States has the right and the power to settle the question whether the State has allowed the citizens
It may be said that what constitutes a government republican in form depends upon the opinion of individuals. But the general principle, I presume, will be admitted, that a government is not republican in form if it excludes a large portion of the citizens from participation in the government; I mean without any contingency whatever-an absolute and unconditional exclusion from such participation. We, sir, have the control. We are act ing as the law-making power with reference to the condition of each of these States; and it is our duty to declare that no constitution of government is republican in form that uncondi tionally excludes from the elective franchise any portion of its citizens for any reason whatSir, there will be no difficulty in the settlement of the question when we get ready to yield our prejudices to right and justice.
Mr. Speaker, there are two very important questions involved in the present admission of any one of those States. Of one of those I have spoken; that is, the exclusion of a portion of the citizens of any one of the States from the elective franchise. There is another point, which when closely scrutinized is a little startling in its character. The proposition in this resolution is to admit Tennessee as a State of the Union. The presumption is that if readmitted, she will be entitled to at least the same number of Representatives that she had when the rebellion commenced. And, sir, the principle will hold true in the case of each of the eleven States that took part in the rebellion, whenever they shall be in as fit a condition to be received as Tennessee is said to be now. If the other ten States disfranchise the same class that Tennessee has disfranchised, the whole eleven States, while having the same number of Representatives as they had at the commencement of the rebellion, will possess a voting population less than half what it was at that time.
If we adopt this resolution we establish these two points: in the first place we permit the white citizen to participate in the government to the exclusion of the colored citizen; and secondly, we allow an undiminished number of Representatives to less than half the voting population at the commencement of the rebellion. I cannot believe that the people of the loyal States are ready to submit to such a sacrifice.
Further than that, Mr. Speaker, it would seem to be rewarding rebellion if we should allow these States to come here with the same number of Representatives that they had previously to the rebellion. While the white population who have remained loyal all through this struggle would have a double representation in these Halls, the colored population, who have been loyal, obedient, and devoted to the Government throughout the rebellion, would be ignored and excluded.
Sir, this act of disfranchisement is to expire after a certain time with reference to a certain class. After a period specified, the rebels are to become again citizens and voters. But no provision is made for admitting to the elective franchise that other class of citizens of whom I have spoken.
I am aware, sir, of what is urged with refer ence to the claims of the State of Tennessee. I am aware at an early period that State sought to bring itself into loyal relations with the Government. It established a new constitution. The Legislature ratified the constitutional amendment forever prohibiting slavery, and adopted other legislation with reference to reorganiza tion. The people of that State have elected persons to be Representatives in this House, and the Legislature has chosen Senators.
But, sir, as has been iterated and reiterated here, the excellence of the character of the men who come here as Representatives is not the question. The question is as to the basis