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of the past, and the chattel stands forth a man, with the rights and the powers of the freemen. For the better security of these new-born civil rights we are now about to pass the greatest and the grandest act in this series of acts that have emancipated a race and disinthralled a nation. It will pass, it will go upon the statute-book of the republic by the voice of the American people, and there it will remain. From the verdict of Congress in favor of this great measure, no appeal will ever be entertained by the people of the United States."
Mr. Cowan spoke again, and denounced the section of the bill which provided for its enforcement by the military. He said: “There it is; words can not make it plainer; reason can not elucidate it; no language can strengthen it or weaken it, one way or the other. There is the question whether a military man, educated in a military school, accustomed to supreme command, unaccustomed to the administration of civil law among a free people, is to be intrusted with these appellate jurisdiction over the courts of the country; whether he can in any way, whether he ought in any way, to be intrusted with such a power. I, for my part, will never agree to it; and I should feel myself recreant to every duty that I owed to myself, to my country, to my country's history, and I may say to the race which has been for hundreds and thousands of years endeavoring to attain to something like constitutional liberty, if I did not resist this and all similar projects.”
Mr. Trumbull answered some objections to the bill. Senator from Indiana (Mr. Hendricks] objects to the bill because he says that the same provisions which were enacted in the old Fugitive Slave Law are incorporated into this, and that it has been heralded to the country that it was a great achievement to do this; and he insists that if those provisions of law were odious and wicked and wrong which provided for punishing men for aiding the slave to escape, therefore they must be wicked and wrong now when they are employed for the punishing a man who undertakes to put a person into slavery. Sir, that does not follow at all. A law may be iniquitous and unjust and wrong which undertakes to punish another for doing an innocent act, which would be righteous and just and proper to punish a man for doing a wicked act. We have upon our statute-books a law punishing a man who commits murder, because the commission of murder is a high crime, and the party who does it forfeits his right to live; but would it be just to apply the law which punishes a person for committing murder to an innocent person who had killed another accidentally, without malice? That is the difference. It is the difference between right and wrong, between good and evil. True, the features of the Fugitive Slave Law were abominable when they were used for the purpose of punishing, not negroes, as the Senator from Indiana says, but white men.' The Fugitive Slave Law was enacted for the purpose of punishing white men who aided to give the natural gift of liberty to those who were enslaved. Now, sir, we propose to use the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Law for the purpose of punishing those who deny freedom, not those who seek to aid persons to escape to freedom. The difference was too clearly pointed out by the colleague of the Senator [Mr. Lane] to justify me in taking further time in alluding to it.
"But the Senator objects to this bill because it authorizes the calling in of the military; and he asserts that it is the only law in which the military is brought in to enforce it. The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Cowan] follows this up with a half hour's speech, denouncing this law as obnoxious to the objection that it is a military law, that it is taking the trial of persons for offenses out of the hands of the courts and placing them under the military—a monstrous proposition, he says.
Is that so? What is the law ?
“It is a court bill; it is to be executed through the courts, and in no other way.
But does the Senator mean to say it is a military bill because the military may be called in, in aid of the execution of the law through the courts? Does the Senator from Pennsylvania-I should like his attention, and that of the Senator from Indiana, too—deny the authority to call in the military in aid of the execution of the law through the courts ?
“Let me read a clause from the Constitution, which seems to have been forgotten by the Senator from Pennsylvania and the Senator from Indiana. The Senator from Pennsylvania, who has denounced this law, has been living under just such a law for thirty years, and it seems never found it out. What says the Constitution? Congress shall have power to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union.'
“Then, can not the militia prevent persons from violating the
law? They are authorized by the Constitution to be called out for the purpose of executing the law, and here we have a law that is to be carried into execution, and when you combined together to prevent its execution, you can not do any thing with them! Suppose that the county authorities in Muscogee County, Georgia, combine together to deny civil rights to to every colored man in that county. For the purpose of preventing it, before they have done any act, I say the militia may be called out to prevent them from committing an act. We are not required to wait until the act is committed before any thing can be done. That was the doctrine which led to this rebellion, that we had no authority to do any thing till the conflict of arms came. I believed then, in 1860, that we had authority; and if it had been properly exercised, if the men who were threatening rebellion, who were in this chamber defying the authority of the Government, had been arrested for treason-of which, in my judgment, by setting on foot armed expeditions against the country, they were guilty-and if they had been tried and punished and executed for the crime, I doubt whether this great rebellion would ever have taken place.
“There is another statute to which I beg leave to call the attention of the Senator from Pennsylvania, and under which he has lived for thirty years without ever having known it; and his rights have been fully protected. I wish to call attention to a section from which the tenth section of the bill under consideration, at which the Senator from Indiana is so horrified, is copied word for word, and letter for letter. The act of March 10, 1836, 'supplementary.to an act entitled “An act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and to repeal the acts therein mentioned," approved 20th of April, 1818,' contains the very section that is in this bill, word for word. It did not horrify the country; it did not destroy all the liberties of the people; it did not consolidate all the powers of the Constitution in the Federal Government; it did not overthrow the courts, and it has existed now for thirty years !”
The question was first taken on the amendment offered by Mr. Hendricks, to strike out the tenth section of the bill. The vote resulted yeas, twelve; nays, thirty-four.
At this stage of the proceedings, Mr. Saulsbury moved to amend the bill by adding in the first section of the bill after the words “civil rights,” the words, "except the right to vote in the States." He desired that if the Senate did not wish to confer the right of suffrage by this bill, they should say so. The question being taken on Mr. Saulsbury's amendment, the vote resulted seven in the affirmative and thirty-nine in the negative.
The vote was finally taken on the passage of the bill, which resulted thirty-three in the affirmative and twelve in the negative. The following Senators voted in favor of the bill:
Messrs. Anthony, Brown, Chandler, Clark, Connor, Cragin, Dixon, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Harris, Henderson, Howard, Howe, Kirkwood, Henry S. Lane, James H. Lane, Morgan, Morrill, Nye, Poland, Pomeroy, Ramsey, Sherman, Sprague, Stewart, Sumner, Trumbull, Wade, Willey, Williams, Wilson, and Yates--33.
The following voted against the bill, namely:
Messrs. Buckalew, Cowan, Davis, Guthrie, Hendricks, McDougall, Nesmith, Norton, Riddle, Saulsbury, Stockton, and Van Winkle—12.
Five Senators were absent, to wit:
Messrs. Creswell, Doolittle, Grimes, Johnson, and Wright–5.
THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
THE BILL REFERRED TO THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AND REPORTED BACK
SPEECH BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE-MR. ROGERS--MR. Cook MR. THAYER—MR. ELDRIDGE-MR. THORNTON-MR. WINDOM-MR. SHELLABARGER-MR. BROOMALL-MR. RAYMOND-MR. DELANO--MR. KERRAMENDMENT BY MR. BINGHAM–HIS SPEECH-REPLY BY HIS COLLEAGUEDISCUSSION CLOSED BY MR. WILSON-YEAS AND NAYS ON THE PASSAGE OF THE BILL-MR. LE BLOND'S PROPOSED TITLE-AMENDMENTS OF THE HOUSE ACCEPTED BY THE SENATE.
N the 5th of February, four days after the passage of the Civil
sentatives, and having been read a first and second time, was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On the 1st of March, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Wilson, brought the bill again before the House, proposing some verbal amendments which were adopted. He then made a motion to recommit the bill, pending whichi, he made a speech on the merits of the measure. He referred to many definitions, judicial decisions, opinions, and precedents, under which negroes were entitled to the rights of American citizenship. In reference to the results of his researches, he said:
“Precedents, both judicial and legislative, are found in sharp conflict concerning them. The line which divides these precedents is generally found to be the same which separates the early from the later days of the republic. The further the Government drifted from the old moorings of equality and human rights, the more numerous became judicial and legislative utterances in conflict with some of the leading features of this bill.”
He argued that the section of the bill providing for its enforcement by the military arm was necessary, in order “ to fortify the declaratory portions of this bill with such sanctions as will render it effective." In conclusion he said: