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the United States, to make them, and to fix the limit. as to what they shall embrace."
By way of setting forth the opinions of the “Radicals” in as strong a light as possible, Mr. Raymond said: “It may be for the welfare of this nation that we shall cherish toward the millions of our people lately in rebellion feelings of hatred and distrust; that we shall nurse the bitterness their infamous treason has naturally and justly engendered, and make that the basis of our future dealings with them. Possibly we may best teach them the lessons of liberty, by visiting upon them the worst excesses of despotism. Possibly they may best learn to practice justice toward others, to admire and emulate our republican institutions, by suffering at our hands the absolute rule we denounce in others. It may be best for us and for them that we discard, in all our dealings with them, all the obligations and requirements of the Constitution, and assert as the only law for them the unrestrained will of conquerors and masters."
In contrast with this, he placed what he supposed to be a different policy: “I would exact from them, or impose upon them through the constitutional legislation of Congress, and by enlarging and extending, if necessary, the scope and powers of the Freedmen's Bureau, proper care and protection for the helpless and friendless freedmen, so lately their slaves. I would exercise a' rigid scrutiny into the character and loyalty of the men whom they may send to Congress, before I allowed them to participate in the high prerogative of legislating for the nation. But I would seek to allay rather than stimulate the animosities and hatred, however just they may be, to which the war has given rise. But for our own sake as well as for theirs, I would not visit upon them a policy of confiscation which has been discarded in the policy and practical conduct of every civilized nation on the face of the globe."
Mr. Raymond having closed his speech, it was moved that the · Committee of the Whole should rise, but the motion was withdrawn to allow Mr. Jenckes, of Rhode Island, five minutes for reply. He said: “The gentleman states, and properly, that every act or ordinance of secession was a nullity. Undoubtedly it was. Upon that question of law we do not disagree. But he seems to me to overlook entirely what was the state of facts from the time of the passage of the ordinances of secession until the
time of the surrender of Lee's army. During that period what were the relations which all that territory - I will not use the term States, but all that territory—between the Potomac and the Rio Grande sustained to the Government of the United States? Who could see States there for any purpose for which legislation was required by the Constitution of the United States ?
At the time of the passage of the ordinance of secession, States were organized there, in existence, in action, known to the Constitution and the constitutional authorities under it. But were they loyal ? Did they obey the Constitution of the United States ? This is a question that needs no answer other than that which is conveyed to every mind by the recollection of the last four
with their expenditure of treasure and blood. Those States were not destroyed, in the technical language of the law - they simply died out. As their Governors passed out of office, as the terms of their legislatures expired, who knew those facts ? None but themselves. And yet, behind this grand cordon of armies, stretching from here to the Rio Grande, there were States in existence, organized as States, but States in rebellion, occupying the territory belonging to the people of the United States. They were not acting in concert with this Government, but against it. That, Mr. Chairman, is a matter of fact. My eyes are not dimmed or blinded by the parchment upon which constitutions or laws are written. I, like the men who carried the bayonets and planted the cannon, recognize the fact that was before us during all this time. There was a state of rebellion. There were in that part of our territory no States known to our Constitution or the laws that we enact, or the officers whose duty it is to enforce those laws.
“I recognize, too, the next fact. Bear in mind, I am simply stating now what I conceive to be the facts. The question as to what
may be the law, can be reserved for discussion on another occasion. I recognize fully the duties of the Executive. And it was the duty of the President of the United States, as the head of the civil and military power of this great republic-not 'empire;' God forbid that this country should ever be so designated with applause or even with toleration—to beat down armed sition to it, whether it came from a foreign power or from domestic insurrection. That was the duty of the President, and he recognized it; and it was not the duty of any one in this con
gress to gainsay it. It was written on the face of the Constitution that the President was to see that the laws should be faith ly executed, and the power of this republic maintained, and he
66 The next fact—the fact which seems to me to be the one most pertinent for consideration now—is that the military power which was opposed to this Government has been destroyed. It was the duty of the Executive to see that this was done, and to report to the Congress of the United States that it has been done. But what then? Then there comes the third question of fact, intimately connected with the last, and hardly separable from it, because it requires the immediate action of the Executive and of Congress. All the power that existed in the shape of Confederated States behind rebel bayonets and fortifications has fallen to the earth. The territory which these States in rebellion occupied was the property of the people of the United States, and never could be taken from us. I hold it to be a question of public law, worthy of consideration by the representatives of the American people, by the President and the Administration generally, to ascertain what existed in the shape of civil constitutions and laws behind the military government that has been overthrown. I hesitate not to say, here or elsewhere, that the Executive of this Government has done his duty in this matter. All conquering nations, when they overcome a rebellious people by overthrowing their military power, look, as did the Government of Great Britain when it had overcome the mutiny in India, to see what government of a civil kind has existed or may exist from custom among the people who are conquered. I see no reason in this view to discriminate between the argument of the gentleman from Pennsylvania and the argument of the gentleman from New York. It seems to me, that if they will look at the particular questions which are now before us, and which require our action, the differences would be in terms and not in substance."
The people of the predominant party generally acquiesced in the opinion of Mr. Jenckes, as expressed in the conclusion of his remarks as above presented. They conceived that the difference between the various views of the whole question was “one of details and not of essence.” The question of reconstruction was purely practical. All shades of opinion in the Republican party blended in this: that the States in question were not to be restored until satisfactory pledges were given to the United States. All speculation or attempt at argument in reference to their abstract condition was consequently superfluous—"a pernicious abstraction," in the language of Mr. Lincoln.
If some were not prepared to accept the deductions of Mr. Stevens, yet accepting the logic of Mr. Raymond, they would be carried almost as far. The latter held that the citizens of those States were defeated insurgents who must submit to any conditions of surrender imposed by the victorious commander. Certain concessions could be rightfully demanded as parts of their surrender and conditions of their restoration. Their acquiescence had been required in a constitutional amendment affecting the great social and industrial interests of Southern society. After this none could deny the right, whatever might be the expediency, of requiring their assent to other amendments bearing upon the political structure of the Southern States.
Some of the predominant party were willing to stop short in their demands upon the rebel States with requiring acceptance of the emancipation amendment, repudiation of the rebel debt, legal protection of freedmen, and revocation of the ordinances of secession. The majority, however, were disposed to go still further, and demand other conditions and guarantees which should become a part of the fundamental law of the land. This was the practical work of reconstruction for which the Joint Committee of Fifteen was preparing the way, and upon which Congress was soon to enter.
THE BASIS OF REPRESENTATION-IN THE HOUSE.
FIRST WORK OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE—THE JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING A
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT—MR. STEVENS' REASONS FOR SPEEDY ACTIONPROTRACTED DISCUSSION COMMENCED OBJECTIONS TO THE BILL BY MR. ROGERS-DEFENSE BY MR. CONKLING—Two OTHER MODES—How STATES MIGHT EVADE THE LAW-Not A FINALITY-WISCONSIN AND SOUTH CAROLINA-AMENDMENT FOR FEMALE SUFFRAGE PROPOSED-ORTH ON INDIANA AND MASSACHUSETTS-OBSCURATION OF THE SUN_MORE RADICAL REMEDY DESIRED—A KENTUCKIAN GRATIFIED-CITATIONS FROM THE CENSUS-PREMIUM FOR TREASON-WHITE SLAVES-POWER TO AMEND WELL-NIGH EXHAUSTED-OBJECTIONS TO THE SUFFRAGE BASIS—"RACE" " COLOR" AMBIGUOUS-CONDITION OF THE QUESTION-RECOMMITTED-FINAL PASSAGE.
LTHOUGH the Joint Committee of Fifteen were assiduous A in their attention to the work assigned them, it was not
until the 22d of January, 1866, that they were ready to make a partial report and recommend a practical measure for the consideration of Congress.
On that day Mr. Fessenden, of the Senate, and Mr. Stevens, of the House of Representatives, brought before those bodies respectively a partial report from the committee, recommending the passage of the following joint resolution :
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of both houses concurring) That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, shall be valid as part of said Constitution, namely:
ARTICLE Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed: Provided, That whenever the elective franchise shall be denied or abridged in any State on account of race or color, all persons of such race or color shall be excluded from the basis of representation.