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by the Constitution on the United States," and not on individuals or classes of individuals, or on any military commander or executive officer, and cannot be intrusted to any such persons, acting, it may be, for an oligarchical class, and in disregard of large numbers of loyal people; but it must be performed by the United States, represented by the President and both Houses of Congress, acting for the whole people.
3. That, in determining the extent of this duty, and in the absence of any precise definition of the term “ republican in form,” we cannot err, if, when called to perform this guaranty, we adopt the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence as an authoritative rule, and insist that in every reëstablished State the consent of the governed shall be the only just foundation of government, and all persons shall be equal before the law.
4. That, outside the Declaration of Independence, it is plain that any duty imposed by the Constitution must be performed in conformity with justice and reason, and in the light of existing facts; that therefore, in the performance of this guaranty, there can be no power under the Constitution to disfranchise loyal people, or to recognize any such disfranchisement, especially when it may hand over the loyal majority to the government of the disloyal minority; nor can there be any power under the Constitution to discriminate in favor of the Rebellion by admitting to the electoral franchise Rebels who have forfeited all rights, and excluding loyal persons who have never forfeited any right.
5. That the United States, now at a crisis of history called to perform this guaranty, will fail in duty under the Constitution, should they allow the reëstablish
ment of any State without proper safeguards for the rights of all the citizens, and especially without making it impossible for Rebels in arms against the National Governinent to trample upon the rights of those fighting the battles of the Union.
6. That the path of justice is also the path of peace, and that for the sake of peace it is better to obey the Constitution, and, in conformity with the guaranty, to reëstablish State governments on the consent of the governed, and the equality of all persons before the law, to the end that the foundations may be permanent, and that no loyal majorities may be again overthrown or ruled by any oligarchical class.
7. That a government founded on military power, or having its origin in military orders, cannot be “republican in form,” according to the requirement of the Constitution; and that its recognition will be contrary, not only to the Constitution, but also to that essential principle of our Government which, in the language of Jefferson, establishes “the supremacy of the civil over the military authority.”ı
8. That, in the States whose governments have already been vacated, a government founded on an oligarchical class, even if erroneously recognized as “republican in form" under the guaranty of the Constitution, cannot sustain itself securely without national support; that such an oligarchical government is not competent at this moment to discharge the duties and execute the powers of a State; and that its recognition as a legitimate government will tend to enfeeble the Union, to postpone the day of reconciliation, and to endanger the national tranquillity.
1 First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801: Writings, Vol. VIII., p. 4.
9. That considerations of expediency are in harmony with the requirements of the Constitution and the dictates of justice and reason, especially now, when colored soldiers have shown their military value; that, as their muskets are needed for the national defence against Rebels in the field, so are their ballots yet more needed against the subtle enemies of the Union at home; and that without their support at the ballot-box the cause of human rights and of the Union itself will be in constant peril.
NO PICTURE AT THE CAPITOL OF VICTORY
REMARKS IN THE SENATE, ON Joint RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING A
Contract with William H. Powell, FEBRUARY 27, 1865.
FEBRUARY 27th, the Senate having under consideration a joint resolution from the House of Representatives, authorizing a contract with William H. Powell for a picture at the Capitol, not to exceed twentyfive thousand dollars in amount, Mr. Sumner said :
R. PRESIDENT, -I am sorry that my friend
from Vermont (Mr. COLLAMER] feels obliged to press this proposition. I do not like to vote against it. Still more, I am reluctant to speak against it. But, satisfied as I am, after careful reflection, that it ought not to pass, I shall express briefly the grounds of my opposition. When it was called up the other day, I ventured to say that I did not think this the time for is to enter upon the patronage of art. Of course such patronage is beautiful and most tempting. It may seem ungracious to arrest it; but I submit confidently, that at this moment, with the national debt accumulating at the rate of millions a day, with brave soldiers still unpaid, with a drain upon our resources at every point, it is not advisable to enter upon the patronage of art, beautiful and most tempting as it is.
There is much to be done to complete the National Capitol in all its parts. Let the work proceed, until
the sublime structure stands forth worthy in everything of the destinies it enshrines. But I think we may hesitate at this time to enter upon any ornamentation not essential to the work. If you order one costly picture, you will be called to order another; and where will this expenditure stop? Better wait for the days of peace, soon to come, I trust, when your means will be greater, and you will approach the question in a calmer mood.
Thus far I have said nothing of the artist. But the vote proposed selects one artist for especial honor, and leaves all others unnoticed. It is like a vote of thanks to an officer in the army or navy.
Are the merits of this artist so peculiar and commanding that he should be taken and all others left ? I doubt. At least, I know that there are other artists in the country who deserve well of those who assume the patronage of art. Are you ready, in this off-hand way, without inquiry, without even hearing their names, to discriminate against them all? I put these questions in no spirit of criticism, and certainly in no unkindness to the artist, for whom, let me say, I have a sincere regard. There is already one picture by him in the Capitol. A second would be more than enough.
Then, again, are you sure that the subject selected at the present time would be such as a maturer and more chastened taste could approve? This is a period
We are all under its influence. But I doubt if it be desirable to keep before us any picture of war, especially of a war with fellow-citizens. There are moral triumphs to which art may better lend its charms. I need only refer to the Proclamation of Emancipation, which belongs to the great events of history.