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be rocked by earthquakes, may be devastated by all the terrestrial forces and overwhelmed in ruin, but far away in the everlasting depths, the sovereign sun holds the turbulent planet in its place. This earth may be overwhelmed until the high hills are covered by the sea; it may tremble with earthquakes miles below the soil, but it must still revolve in its appointed orbit. So Alabama may overwhelm all her municipal institutions in ruin, but she can not annul the omnipotent decrees of the sovereign people of the Union. She must be held forever in her orbit of obedience and duty.”
After having quoted Gibbon's narrative of the destruction of the collossal statue of Serapis by Theophilus, Mr. Garfield said: So slavery sat in our national Capitol. Its huge bulk filled the temple of our liberty, touching it front side to side. Mr. Lincoln, on the 1st of January, 1863, struck it on the cheek, and the faithless and unbelieving among us expected to see the fabric of our institutions dissolve into chaos because their idol had fallen. He struck it again; Congress and the States repeated the blow, and its unsightly carcass lies rotting in our streets. The sun shines in the heavens brighter than before. Let us remove the carcass and leave not a vestige of the monster. We shall never have done that until we have dared to come up to the spirit of the Pilgrim covenant of 1620, and declare that all men shall be consulted in regard to the disposition of their lives, liberty, and property. The Pilgrim fathers proceeded on the doctrine that every man was supposed to know best what he wanted, and had the right to a voice in the disposition of himself.”
Mr. Taylor, of New York, opposed the bill principally on the ground of the expense involved in its execution. After having presented many columns.of figures, Mr. Taylor arrived at this conclusion: “The cost or proximate cost of the bureau for one year, confining its operation to the hitherto slave States, will be $25,251,600. That it is intended to put the bureau in full operation in every county and parish of the hitherto slave States, including Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, I have not the least 'doubt, nor have I any doubt but that it is intended to extend it into parts of some of the border States.”
Mr. Donnelly moved to amend the bill by inserting the vision that “the commissioner may provide a common-school education for all refugees and freedmen who shall apply therefor."
He advocated education as an efficient means of restoration for the South. He presented ample tables of statistics, and summed up the results in their bearing upon his argument as follows:
“ The whole United States, with a population of 27,000,000, contains 834,106 illiterate persons, and of these 545,177 are found in the Southern States with a population of 12,000,000. In other words, the entire populous North contains but 288,923, while the sparsely-settled South contains 545,177.”'
As an argument for the passage of the bill, he answered the question, "What has the South done for the black man since the close of the rebellion ?"
"In South Carolina it is provided that all male negroes between two and twenty, and all females between two and eighteen, shall be bound out to some 'master.' The adult negro is compelled to enter into contract with a master, and the district judge, not the laborer, is to fix the value of the labor. If he thinks the compensation too small and will not work, he is a vagrant, and can be hired out for a term of service at a rate again to be fixed by the judge. If a hired negro leaves his employer he forfeits his wages for the whole year.
“The black code of Mississippi provides that no negro shall own or hire lands in the State; that he shall not sue nor testify in court against a white man; that he must be employed by a master before the second Monday in January, or he will be bound out-in other words, sold into slavery; that if he runs away the master may recover him, and deduct the expenses out of his wages; and that if another man employs him he will be liable to an action for damages. It is true, the President has directed General Thomas to disregard this code; but the moment the military force is withdrawn from the State that order will be of no effect.
“The black code of Alabama provides that if a negro who has contracted to labor fails to do so, he shall be punished with damages; and if he runs away he shall be punished as a vagrant, which probably means that he shall be sold to the highest bidder for a term of years; and that any person who entices him to leave his master, as by the offer of better wages, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and may be sent to jail for six months; and further, that these regulations include all persons of negro blood to the third generation, though one parent in each generation shall be pure white; that is, down to the man who has but one eighth negro blood in his veins.
After quoting the black codes of other States, the speaker thus epitomized their substance: “All this means simply the reëstablishment of slavery.
“1. He shall work at a rate of wages to be fixed by a county judge or a Legislature made up of white masters, or by combinations of white masters, and not in any case by himself.
66 2. He shall not leave that master to enter service with another. If he does he is pursued as a fugitive, charged with the expenses of his recapture, and made to labor for an additional period, while the white man who induced him to leave is sent to jail.
“3. His children are taken from him and sold into virtual slavery..
“ 4. If he refuses to work, he is sold to the highest bidder for a term of months or years, and becomes, in fact, a slave.
“5. He can not better his condition; there is no future for him ; he shall not own property; he shall not superintend the education of his children; neither will the State educate them.
“6. If he is wronged, he has no remedy; for the courts are closed against him."
Mr. Kerr, of Indiana, addressed the House on the subject of reconstruction, maintaining, by extended arguments and quotations from learned authorities, that the rebel States were still in the Union. He concluded his speech by opposing the bill under consideration on the ground of its expense: “It involves the creation of a small army of agents and commissioners, whose jurisdiction and control shall pervade the whole country, shall extend into every State, into every congressional district, into every county, into every township and city of this broad Union; provided, only, that they can find some freedmen or refugees upon whom to exercise their jurisdiction. I submit that, before a measure of this kind should be adopted, we should reflect most carefully upon what we are doing. We should remember that this country is now almost crushed into the very earth with its accumulated burden of public debt, of State debts, of county debts, of city debts, of township debts, of individual debts. We should bear in mind that we may impose upon the people of this country, by this kind of latitudinarian and most dangerous legis
lation, a burden that is too heavy to be borne, and against which the day may come when the people, as one man, will feel themselves called upon to protest in such a manner as forever to overthrow that kind of legislation, and condemn to merited reproach those who favor it."
On a subsequent day of the discussion, Mr. Marshall, of Illinois, spoke against the bill. He put much stress upon an objection to which nearly all the opponents of the bill had referred, namely, that Congress had no warrant in the Constitution for passing such a measure. He said: “Instead of this being called a bill for the protection of freedmen and refugees, it ought to be called a bill for the purpose of destroying the Constitution of the United States, and subjecting the people thereof to military power and domination. That would be a much more appropriate title.”
Mr. Marshall was opposed to bestowing any thing in charity. "I deny," said he, “that this Federal Government has any authority to become the common almoner of the charities of the people. I deny that there is any authority in the Federal Constitution to authorize us to put our hands into their pockets and take therefrom a part of their hard earnings in order to distribute them as charity. I deny that the Federal Government was established for any such purpose, or that there is any authority or warrant in the Constitution for the measures which are proposed in this most extraordinary bill."
He viewed with horror the slavery which the head of the War Department could impose upon the people by virtue of the provisions of this bill. “He is to send his military satraps,” said Mr. Marshall, "into every county and district of these States; and they may enslave and put down the entire white people of the country by virtue of this law." He saw in the bill power" to rob the people by unjust taxation; to take the hard earnings from the white people of the West, who, unless wiser counsels prevail, will themselves soon be reduced to worse than Egyptian bondage. I demand to be informed here apon this floor by what power you put your hands into their pockets and drag from them their money to carry out the purposes of this measure."
Mr. Hubbard, of Connecticut, made a short speech in reply to the speaker last quoted. He said: “The gentleman from Illinois, some twenty times in the course of his eloquent speech this morning, called upon some one to tell him where Congress gets the
power to enact such a law as this. In the first place, I commend to him to read the second section of the article of the immortal amendment of the Constitution, giving to Congress power to pass all appropriate laws and make all appropriate legislation for the purpose of carrying out its provisions. I commend to his careful study the spirit of the second section of that immortal amendment, and I think, if he will study it with a willingness to be convinced, he will.see that it has given to this Congress full power in the premises. Moreover, sir, I read in the Constitution that Congress has been at all times charged with the duty of providing for the public welfare; and if Congress shall deem that the public welfare requires this enactment, it is the sworn duty of every member to give the bill his support.
“Sir, there is an old maxim of law in which I have very considerable faith, that regard must be had to the public welfare; and this maxim is said to be the highest law. It is the law of the Constitution, and in the light of that Constitution as amended I find ample power for the enactment of this law. It is the duty of Congress to exercise its power in such a time as this, in a time of public peril; and I hope that nobody on this side of the House will be so craven as to want courage to come up to the question and give his vote for the bill. It is necessary to provide for the public welfare."
Mr. Moulton, of Illinois, spoke in favor of the bill. Of the oft-repeated objection that “this bill is in violation of the Con·stitution of the United States," he said: “This is the very argument that we have heard from the other side of this chamber for the last five years with reference to every single measure that has been proposed to this House for the prosecution of the war for the Union. No measure has been passed for the benefit of the country, for the prosecution of this war, for the defense of your rights and mine, but has been assailed by gentlemen on the opposite side of this House with the argument that the whole thing was unconstitutional."
He then proceeded to set forth at length the authority of Congress to pass such a bill.
Very strenuous opposition to the passage of the bill was made by most of the members from Kentucky. Mr. Ritter, of that State, uttered his earnest protest at considerable length against the measure. He presented his views of the grand purposes