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IN RATIFICATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. 235
Resolved, That any other rule must tend to postpone the great day when the prohibition of Slavery will be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution of the United States; but the rule herewith declared will assure the immediate ratification of the prohibition, and the consummation of the national desires.
On motion of Mr. Sumner, these resolutions were printed and laid on the table. Besides hastening the adoption of the Constitutional Amendment, it was hoped that they would help prepare the way for Reconstruction.
APPORTIONMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES ACCORDING
PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES,
FEBRUARY 6, 1865.
In the Senate, February 6, 1865, Mr. Sumner submitted the following Amendment to the Constitution, which, on his motion, was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
EPRESENTATIVES shall be apportioned among
the several States which may be included within this Union according to the number of male citizens of age having in each State the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature. The actual enumeration of such citizens shall be made by the census of the United States.
This Amendment was a first attempt to meet the new exigency from the abolition of Slavery. One of two alternatives was open : the extension of suffrage to the new-made freedmen by the action of Congress, which Mr. Sumner insisted was the just course ; or the apportionment of Representatives according to voters, which would make it for the interest of a State to extend the franchise. Without one of these measures the political power of the former slave-masters would be enlarged by Emancipation.
This subject occupied much attention at the next session of Congress.
RAILROAD USURPATION IN NEW JERSEY.
SPEECH IN THE SENATE, ON A BILL TO REGULATE COMMERCE AMONG
THE SEVERAL States, FEBRUARY 14, 1865.
APRIL 25, 1864, Mr. Sumner asked, and by unanimous consent obtained, leave to bring in the following joint resolution, which was read twice, and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.
“A Joint RESOLUTION to facilitate commercial, postal, and military com
munication among the several States. “Whereas the Constitution of the United States confers upon Congress, in express terms, the power to regulate commerce among the several States, to establish post-roads, and to raise and support armies: Therefore,
** Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That every railroad company in the I'nited States, whose road is operated by steam, its successors and assigns, be, and is hereby, authorized to carry upon and over its road, connections, boats, bridges, and ferries, all freight, property, mails, passengers, troops, and Government supplies, on their way from any State to any other State, and to receive compensation therefor."
May 12th, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, from the Committee, reported it without amendment.
Meanwhile the House of Representatives had under consideration a bill to declare certain roads military roads and post-roads, and to regulate commerce, which was much debated, when, on motion of Mr. Wilson, of Iowa, Mr. Sumner's joint resolution, without the preamble, and with the title, “A Bill to regulate commerce among the several States," was adopted as a substitute, and the bill thus amended passed the House, – Yeas 63, Nays 58.
In the Senate the bill was elaborately discussed, especially by Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland; but its friends were never able to press it to a vote, and it expired with the session. In one of these efforts Mr. Sumner said: “There are two ways of killing a measure : one is
by voting it down; the other is by postponing it until you lose an opportunity of voting on it; and the latter is the policy of certain Senators now."
March 3, 1865, failing to obtain a vote on the bill, Mr. Sumner moved it as an amendment to the Post-Route Bill, but without success.
February 14th, while the bill was under consideration, Mr. Sumner spoke.
R. PRESIDENT, — The question before us con
cerns the public convenience to a remarkable degree. But it concerns also the unity of this Repub
Look at it in its simplest form, and you will confess its importance. Look at it in its political aspect, and you will recognize how.vital it is to the integrity of the Union itself. On one side we encounter a formidable Usurpation with all the pretensions of State Rights, hardly less flagrant and pernicious than those which ripened in bloody rebellion. On the other side are the simple and legitimate claims of the Union under the Constitution of the United States.
Thus stands the question at the outset : public convenience and the Union itself in its beneficent powers on the one side; public inconvenience and all the discord of intolerable State pretensions on the other side.
The proposition on its face is applicable to all the States throughout the Union, and in its vital principle concerns every lover of his country. But it cannot be disguised that the interest it has excited in the other House, and also in the Senate, must be referred to its bearing on the railroads of New Jersey. Out of this circumstance springs the ardor of opposition, — perhaps, also, something of the ardor of support. Therefore pardon me, if I glance one moment at the geo
graphical position of this state, and its Railroad Usurpation in the name of State Rights.
Look on the map, or, better still, consult your own personal experience in the journey from Washington to New York, and you will find that New Jersey lies on the great line of travel between the two capitals of the country, political and commercial. There it is, directly in the path. It cannot be avoided, except by circuitous journey. On this single line commerce, passengers, mails, troops, all must move. In the chain of communication by which capital is bound to capital, — nay, more, by which the Union itself is bound together, – there is no single link of equal importance. Strike it out, and where are you? Your capitals will be separated, and the Union itself loosened. But the evil sure to follow, if this link were struck out, must follow also in proportionate extent from every interference with that perfect freedom of transit through New Jersey which I now ask in behalf of commerce, passengers, mails, and troops.
Such is the geographical position of New Jersey. And on this highway pernicious pretensions are set up which can be overthrown only by the power of Congress. The case is plain.
New Jersey, in the exercise of pretended State rights, has undertaken to invest the Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Camden and Amboy Railroad and Transportation Companies with unprecedented prerogatives. These are the words of the Legislature: “It shall not be lawful, at any time during the said railroad charter, to construct any other railroad or railroads in this State, without the consent of the said companies, which shall be intended or used for the transportation of passengers