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now pending as a bill reported by the Select Committee on Slavery and Freedmen, and it is also pending as a section of another bill reported by the Senator from Vermont Mr. COLLAMER) from the Committee on Post-Offices and Post-Roads. Therefore it has the approval, as a general proposition, of two separate coinmittees of this body, while, as a proposition applicable to the District of Columbia, it has had the sanction of the Senate twice over; and now I plead with the Senate not to arrest it here.
Mr. Sherman replied: "I agree with the Senator in the general principle entirely ; but I hope he will not press the proposition as an amendment to this bill, for I know it will create discussion."
Mr. Sumner said :
I BELIEVE it is always time for an act of justice, and I think this Congress ought not to separate without this act of justice. It ought to do it for the sake of the adininistration of justice. I have not put this case, you will bear witness, on any grounds of sympathy or sentiment or humanity; I plead for it now as essential to the administration of justice; and for one, as a Senator, I cannot willingly abandon the opportunity afforded me by my seat here of making this motion, — of making this effort to open the courts of my country to evidence without which justice must often fail.
Mr. Carlile, of Virginia, appealed to Mr. Sumner “to withdraw the amendment, and allow this subject to rest, at least until the next session of Congress.” This he declined to do.
Mr. Buckalew, of Pennsylvania, thereupon moved to amend the amendment by adding, “nor in civil actions, because he is a party to or interested in the issue tried." Then came the following passage.
MR. SUMNER. I am in favor of that proposition, taken by itself; but I do not wish it put upon
MR. Gratz Brown (to Mr. SUMNER). That is just what other people say about yours.
MR. SUMNER. I understand that; but I wish to secure this justice.
MR. BUCKALEW. I wish to secure the additional justice provided by my amendment.
MR. SUMNER. I will vote for the Senator's proposition by itself. Let him move it when mine is carried.
MR. SAULSBURY. I do not wish to say anything about the “nigger” aspect of this case. It is here every day, and I suppose it will be here every day for years to come, till the Democratic party comes into power and wipes out all legislation on the statute-book of this character, which I trust in God they will soon do.
The amendment of Mr. Buckalew was agreed to, and Mr. Sumner's amendment, as amended, was carried, - Yeas 22, Nays 16, — and the bill was approved by the President July 2, 1864.
RECONSTRUCTION, AND ADOPTION OF PROCLAMATION
OF EMANCIPATION BY ACT OF CONGRESS.
REMARKS IN THE SENATE, July 1, 1864.
The effort at Reconstruction, which failed in the previous Congress, was superseded at the present session by another, having, like the former, as its distinctive feature, the assertion of the power of Congress over the Rebel States.
February 15th, Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland, reported a bill to guaranty to certain States, whose governments have been usurped or overthrown, a republican form of government. This bill provided for these States Provisional Governors, appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate ; also, the assembling of Constitutional Conventions, chosen by "loyal white male citizens,” being a majority of the persons enrolled in the State, which shall declare “involuntary servitude forever prohibited, and the freedom of all persons guarantied in said State "; also, all slaves were declared emancipated, and persons free by this or any other act or by “any proclamation of the President” were protected in their freedom. After earnest debate, this bill passed the House May 4th, — Yeas 74, Nays 66.
In the Senate the bill was referred to the Committee on Territories, of which Mr. Wade was Chairman. May 27th, he reported it to the Senate with amendments. July 1st, it was on his motion considered, and, in order to save the bill at that late day of the session, he abandoned the amendments reported, the most important of which was to strike out the word “white," so as to read “all male citizens of the United States." This amendment was rejected, by Yeas 5, Nays 24, the minority being Messrs. Gratz Brown, Lane, of Kansas, Morgan, of New York, Pomeroy, of Kansas, and Sumner. Mr. Gratz Brown then moved to substitute for the whole bill a single section, providing that the inhabitants of a State declared to be in insurrection shall not cast any vote for electors of President or Vice-President, or elect Senators or Representatives in Congress, until the suppression of the insurrection, "nor until such return to obedience shall be declared by procla
mation of the President, issued by virtue of an Act of Congress, hereafter to be passed, authorizing the same.” This was in conformity with propositions introduced by Mr. Sumner. The House bill was unsatisfactory, inasmuch as it founded the new governments on " white male citizens": but, besides asserting the power of Congress over the Rebel States, it decreed the abolition of Slavery in these States ; therefore Mr. Sumner favored it. But the substitute of Mr. Brown prevailed, Yeas 17, Nays 16.
Mr. Sumner then brought forward his bill, originally reported from the Committee on Slavery and Freedmen, and moved it as an additional section:
“And be it further enacted, That the Proclamation of Emancipation, issued by the President of the United States on the 1st day of January, 1863, so far as the same declares that the slaves in certain designated States and portions of States thenceforward should be free, is hereby adopted and enacted as a statute of the United States, and as a rule and article for the gorernment of the military and naval forces thereof."
Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, was in favor of this, but thought. it “incongruous and out of place here.” Mr. Sumner followed.
THE Senator from New Hampshire is entirely mis
taken, when he says that the section moved by me is incongruous. The Senator whispers to me that he did not say so. I beg his pardon ; he began by saying it was incongruous. It is entirely germane, - nothing could be more germane. The section already adopted concerns the Rebel States : that I offer concerns the Rebel States. The Senator cannot vote against what I now offer; it is neither more nor less than this : to recognize as a statute the Proclamation of Emancipation, putting it under the guaranty and safeguard of an Act of Congress. That is all. It is as simple as day; it is as plain as truth. It is impossible for any person
1 See, especially, Resolutions entitled “State Rebellion, State Suicide; Emancipation and Reconstruction," February 11, 1862, – ante, Vol. VI. pp. 301 - 305.
2 Mr. Hale and Mr. Sumner sat next to each other.
recognizing the Proclamation of Emancipation, or disposed to stand by it, to vote against the amendment I now offer. I wish Emancipation in the Rebel States supported by Congress. I am unwilling to see it left afloat on a presidential proclamation. We are assured that the Proclamation will not be changed; but who knows what may be the vicissitudes of elections? I do not look far enough into the future to see what proclamation may be issued hereafter. I would make the present sure, and fix it forevermore and immortal in an Act of Congress.
Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, denounced the amendment as tempt by Federal legislation to legislate for the States themselves, to regulate their domestic institutions, — to control property, in other words." Mr. Gratz Brown said that the amendment, “as an independent proposition, met his hearty concurrence"; that he concurred heartily and fully with Mr. Sumner “as to the propriety of putting in the shape of a statute that proclamation of the President"; but that it ought not to be on the present bill, as it could not pass the House.
MR. SUMNER. I adopt the language of my friend from Missouri. He regards his proposition as necessary. I regard his proposition, or something equivalent, as necessary. But not less necessary do I regard that which I have the honor to offer. His is to meet a question in Reconstruction. Mine is to meet a similar question.
Mr. Brown. Mine is not a proposition for Reconstruction, at all. It is simply providing that they shall not exercise the elective franchise until Congress authorizes it by Act.
MR. SUMNER. I understand it. The obvious effect is to postpone all activities tending to Reconstruction, and to bring them all under the rule of Congress.