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“An amendment of this kind would, in his opinion, place the basis of representation and direct taxation upon correct principles. The qualified voters were, for the most part, men who were subject to draft and enlistment when it was necessary to repel invasion, suppress rebellion, and quell domestic violence and insurrection. They risk their lives, shed their blood, and peril their all to uphold the Government, and give protection, security, and value to property. It seemed but just that property should compensate for the benefits thus conferred by defraying the expenses incident to its protection and enjoyment.
“Such an amendment, the President also suggested, would remove from Congress all issues in reference to the political equality of the races. It would leave the States to determine absolutely the qualifications of their own voters with regard to color; and thus the number of Representatives to which they would be entitled in Congress would depend upon the number upon whom they conferred the right of suffrage.
“The President, in this connection, expressed the opinion that the agitation of the negro-franchise question in the District of Columbia, at this time was the mere entering-wedge to the agitation of the question throughout the States, and was ill-timed, uncalled for, and calculated to do great harm. He believed that it would engender enmity, contention, and strife between the two races, and lead to a war between them which would result in great injury to both, and the certain extermination of the negro population. Precedence, he thought, should be given to more important and urgent matters, legislation upon which was essential for the restoration of the Union, the peace of the country, and the prosperity of the people.”
“This," said Mr. Stevens, I take to be an authorized utterance of one at the other end of the avenue. I have no doubt that this is the proclamation, the command of the President of the United States, made and put forth by authority in advance, and at a time when this Congress was legislating on this very question; made, in my judgment, in violation of the privileges of this House; made in such a way that centuries ago, had it been made to Parliament by a British king, it would have cost him his head. But, sir, we pass that by; we are tolerant of usurpation in this tolerant Government of ours."
In answer to those who contended that Congress should regulate the right of suffrage in the States, Mr. Stevens said: “If you should take away the right which now is and always has been exercised by the States, by fixing the qualifications of their electors, instead of getting nineteen States, which is necessary to ratify this amendment, you might possibly get five. ture to say you could not get five in this Union. And that is an answer, in the opinion of the committee, to all that has been
said on this subject. But it grants no right. It says, however, to the State of South Carolina and other slave States, True, we leave where it has been left for eighty years the right to fix the elective franchise, but you must not abuse it; if you do, the Constitution will impose upon you a penalty, and will continue to inflict it until you shall have corrected your actions.
“Now, any man who knows any thing about the condition of aspiration and ambition for power which exists in the slave States, knows that one of their chief objects is to rule this country. It was to ruin it if they could not rule it. They have not been able to ruin it, and now their great ambition will be to rule it. If a State abuses the elective franchise, and takes it from those who are the only loyal people there, the Constitution says to such a State, You shall lose power in the halls of the nation, and you shall remain where you are, a shriveled and dried-up nonentity instead of being the lords of creation, as you have been, so far as America is concerned, for years past.
“Now, sir, I say no more strong inducement could ever be. held out to them; no more severe punishment could ever be inflicted upon them as States. If they exclude the colored population, they will lose at least thirty-five Representatives in this hall; if they adopt it, they will have eighty-three votes."
Mr. Stevens urged several objections to the proposition of Mr. Schenck. He said: "If I have been rightly informed as to the number, there are from fifteen to twenty Representatives in the Northern States founded upon those who are not citizens of the United States. In New York I think there are three or four Representatives founded upon the foreign population—three certainly. And so it is in Wisconsin, Iowa, and other Northern States. There are fifteen or twenty Northern Representatives that would be lost by that amendment and given to the South whenever they grant the elective franchise to the negro.
“Now, sir, while I have not any particular regard for any foreigner who goes against me, yet I do not think it would be wise to put into the Constitution or send to the people a proposition to amend the Constitution which would take such Representatives from those States, and which, therefore, they will never adopt.
“But I have another objection to the amendment of my friend from Ohio. His proposition is to apportion representation according to the male citizens of the States. Why has he put in
the word 'male?! It was never in the Constitution of the United States before. Why make a crusade against women in the Constitution of the nation? [Laughter.] Is my friend as much afraid of their rivalry as the gentlemen on the other side of the House are afraid of the rivalry of the negro? [Laughter.] I do not think we ought to disfigure the Constitution with such a provision. I find that every unmarried man is opposed to the proposition. Whether married men have particular reason for dreading interference from that quarter I know not. [Laughter.] I certainly shall never vote to insert the word 'male' or the word 'white' in the national Constitution. Let these things be attended to by the States."
In answer to the objection that the amendment proposed by the committee "might be evaded by saying that no man who had ever been a slave should vote, and that would not be disfranchisement on account of race or color," Mr. Stevens said: “Sir, no man in America ever was or ever could be a slave if he was a white man. · I know white men have been held in bondage contrary to law. But there never was a court in the United States, in a slave State or a free State, that has not admitted that if one held as a slave could prove himself to be white, he was that instant free. And, therefore, such an exclusion, on account of previous condition of slavery, must be an exclusion on account of race or color. Therefore that objection falls to the ground."
In reply to the closing paragraph of Mr. Raymond's speech, Mr. Stevens said: “I could not but admire (an admiration mingled with wonder) the amiability of temper, the tenderness of heart, the generosity of feeling which must have prompted some of the closing sentences of the excellent and able speech delivered by the gentleman on last Monday. His words were these :
"The gigantic contest is at an end. The courage and devotion on either side, which made it so terrible and so long, no longer owe a divided duty, but have become the common property of the American name, the priceless possession of the American Republic, through all time to come. The dead of the contending hosts sleep beneath the soil of a common country, under their common flag. Their hostilities are hushed, and they are the dead of the nation for evermore.'
“Sir, much more than amiable, much more than religious, must be the sentiment that would prompt any man to say that 'the courage and devotion' which so long withstood our arms, prolonging the terrible conflict of war, and sacrificing the lives of thousands of loyal men, are hereafter to be the common boast of the nation, 'the priceless possession of the American Republic through all time to come;' that it is the pride of our country so many infamous rebels were so ferocious in their murders.
“Sir, we are to consider these dead on both sides as the dead of the nation, the common dead! And so, I suppose, we are to raise monuments beside the monuments to Reynolds and others, to be erected in the cemetery on the battle-field of Gettysburg. We must there build high the monumental marble for men like Barksdale, whom I have seen in this hall draw their bowie-knives on the Representatives of the people; men who died upon the battle-field of Gettysburg in arms against the Government, and where they now lie buried in ditches, 'unwept, unhonored, and unsung !' They are, I suppose, to be raised and put into the fore-front ranks of the nation, and we are to call them through all time as the dead of the nation! Sir, was there ever blasphemy before like this? Who was it burnt the temple of Ephesus? Who was it imitated the thunder of Jove ? All that was poor compared with this blasphemy. I say, if the loyal dead, who are thus associated with the traitors who murdered them, put by the gentleman on the same footing with them, are to be treated as the common dead of the nation '-I say, sir, if they could have heard the gentleman, they would have broken the cerements of the tomb, and stalked forth and haunted him until his eye-balls were seared.”
The question was first taken on the substitute offered by Mr. Schenck, which was rejected by a vote of one hundred and thirtyone to twenty-nine.
The question was then taken on agreeing to the joint resolution as modified by the committee, and it was decided in the affirmative by the following vote:
YEAS-Messrs. Alley, Allison, Ames, Anderson, James M. Ashley, Baker, Banks, Barker, Baxter, Beaman, Benjamin, Bidwell, Bingham, Blaine, Blow, Boutwell, Brandegee, Bromwell, Broomall, Buckland, Bundy, Reader W. Clarke, Sidney Clarke, Cobb, Conkling, Cook, Cullom, Darling, Davis, Dawes, Defrees, Delano, Deming, Dixon, Donnelly, Eckley, Eggleston, Farnsworth, Farquhar, Ferry, Garfield, Grinnell, Griswold, Abner C. Harding, Hart, Hayes, Hill, Holmes, Hooper, Hotchkiss, Asahel W. Hubbard, Chester D.
Hubbard, Demas Hubbard, John H. Hubbard, James R. Hubbell, Hulburd, James Humphrey, Ingersoll, Julian, Kasson, Kelley, Kelso, Ketcham, Kuy, kendall, Laflin, George V. Lawrence, William Lawrence, Longyear, Lynch, Marston, Marvin, McClurg, McIndoe, McKee, Mercur, Miller, Moorhead, Morrill, Morris, Moulton, Myers, O'Neill, Orth, Paine, Patterson, Perham, Pike, Plants, Pomeroy, Price, Alexander H. Rice, John H. Rice, Rollins, Sawyer, Schenck, Scofield, Shellabarger, Sloan, Spalding, Starr, Stevens, Stilwell, Thayer, Francis Thomas, John L. Thomas, Upson, Van Aernam, Burt Van Horn, Robert T. Van Horn, Ward, Warner, Elihu B. Washburne, William B. Washburn, Welker, Wentworth, Williams, James F. Wilson, Stephen F. Wilson, Windom, and Woodbridge--120.
Nays-Messrs. Baldwin, Bergen, Boyer, Brooks, Chanler, Dawson, Dennison, Eldridge, Eliot, Finck, Grider, Hale, Aaron Harding, Harris, Hogan, Edwin N. Hubbell, James M. Humphrey, Jenckes, Johnson, Kerr, Latham, Le Blond, Marshall, McCullough, Niblack, Nicholson, Noell, Phelps, Samuel J. Randall , William H. Randall
, Raymond, Ritter, Rogers, Ross, Rosseau, Shanklin, Sitgreaves, Smith, Strouse, Taber, Taylor, Thornton, Trimble, Voorhees, Whaley, and Wright-46.
Nor VOTING—Messrs. Ancona, Delos R. Ashley, Culver, Driggs, Dumont, Glossbrenner, Goodyear, Henderson, Higby, Jones, Loan, McRuer, Newell, Radford, Trowbridge, and Winfield-16.
Two-thirds having voted in the affirmative, the Speaker declared the joint resolution adopted.
The strong vote by which this measure was passed, after so general an expression of dissent from it, excited some surprise. Many gentlemen evidently surrendered their individual preferences for the sake of unanimity. They believed that this was the best measure calculated to secure just representation, which would pass the ordeal of Congress and three-fourths of the States. They accepted the “rule of statesmanship,” to “take the best attainable, essential good which is at our command.
A disposition to rebuke supposed Executive dictation had some effect to produce an unexpected unanimity in favor of the measure. One Rhode Island and two Massachusetts members insisted on national negro suffrage, and voted against the amendments. Mr. Raymond and Mr. Hale, of New York, were the only Republicans who voted against the measure in accordance with the President's opinions. Of the border slave State members, ten voted for the amendment and sixteen against it.