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own body, and referring to it certain papers, if we conclude to do so, we are infringing upon the rights of any body or making an intimation with regard to any policy that the President may have seen fit to adopt and recommend to the country. Sir, I trust there are no such things as exclusive friends of the President among us, or gentlemen who desire to be so considered. I have as much respect for the President of the United States probably as any man. I acted with him long, and I. might express the favorable opinions which I entertain of him here, if they would not be out of place and in bad taste in this body. That I am disposed and ready to support him to the best of my ability, as every gentleman around me is, in good faith and with kind feeling in all that he may desire that is consistent with my views of duty to the country, giving him credit for intentions as good as mine, and with ability far greater, I am ready to asseverate.
* But, sir, I do not agree with the doctrine, and I desire to enter my dissent to it now and here, that, because a certain line of policy has been adopted by one branch of the Government, or certain views are entertained by one branch of the Government, therefore, for that reason alone and none other, that is to be tried, even if it is against my judgment; and I do not say that it is or is not. That is a question to be considered. I have a great respect, not for myself, perhaps, but for the position which I hold as a Senator of the United States; and no measure of Government, no policy of the President, or of the head of a department, shall pass me while I am a Senator, if I know it, until I have examined it and given my assent to it; not on account of the source from which it emanates, but on account of its own intrinsic merits, and because I believe it will result in the good of my country. That is my duty as a Senator, and I fear no misconstruction at home on this subject or any other.
“Now, therefore, sir, I hope that, laying aside all these matters, which are entirely foreign, we shall act upon this resolution simply as a matter of business. No one has a right to complain of it that we raise a committee for certain purposes of our own when we judge it to be necessary. It is an imputation upon nobody; it is an insult to nobody; it is not any thing which any sensible man could ever find fault with, or be disposed to do so. It is our judgment, our deliberate judgment, our friendly judgment-a course of action adopted from regard to the good of the
community, and that good of the community comprehends the good of every individual in it."
Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, said: “This resolution is very objectionable to my mind. It is for the appointment of a committee of the two houses to determine and to report upon what? The right of representation of eleven States in this body. What determines the rights of those States to representation here? Is it the views of the members of the House of Representatives? Do we stand in need of any light, however bright it may be, that may come from that distinguished quarter? Are we going to ask them to illuminate us by wisdom, and report the fact to us whether those States are entitled to representation on this floor?
"Mr. President, on the first day of your assemblage after the battle of Manassas, you and they declared, by joint resolution, that the object for which the war was waged was for no purpose of conquest or subjugation, but it was to preserve the union of the States, and to maintain the rights, dignity, and equality of the several States unimpaired. While that war was being waged there was no action, either of this house or of the House of Representatives, declaring that, when it was over, the existence of those States should be ignored, or their right to representation in Congress denied. Throughout the whole contest the battlecry was 'the preservation of the Union' and 'the Union of the States. If there was a voice then raised that those States had ceased to have an existence in this body, it was so feeble as to be passed by and totally disregarded.
“Sir, suppose this committee should report that those States are not entitled to representation in this body, are you bound by their action? Is there not a higher law, the supreme law of the land, which says if they be States that they shall each be entitled to two Senators on this floor? And shall a report of a joint committee of the two houses override and overrule the fundamental law of the land ? Sir, it is dangerous as a precedent, and I protest against it as an humble member of this body. If they be not States, then the object avowed for which the war was waged was false.”
Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, said: “I shall vote against this resolution because it refers to a joint committee a subject which, according to my judgment, belongs exclusively to the Senate. I know that the resolution no longer provides in express terms that the Senate, pending the continuance of the investigation of this committee, will not consider the question of credentials from these States, but in effect it amounts to that. The question is to be referred to the committee, and according to usage, and it would seem to be the very purpose of reference that the body shall not consider the subject while the question is before them. I could not vote for a resolution that refers to a joint committee a subject that'this body alone can decide. If there are credentials presented here, this body must decide the question whether the person presenting the credentials is entitled to a seat; and how can this body be influenced by any committee other than a committee that it shall raise itself?”
Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, then followed: “If I understood the resolution as the Senator from Indiana does, I should certainly vote with him ; but I do not so understand it. It is simply a resolution that a joint committee be raised to inquire into the condition of the States which formed the so-called Confederate States of America, and to report whether they or any of them are entitled to be represented in either House of Congress, with leave to report at any time by bill or otherwise. It is true, as the Senator says, that after having raised this committee, the Senate will not be likely to take action in regard to the admission of the Senators from any of these States until the committee shall have had a reasonable time at least to act and report; but it is very desirable that we should have joint action upon this subject. It would produce a very awkward and undesirable state of things if the House of Representatives were to admit members from one of the lately rebellious States, and the Senate were to refuse to receive Senators from the same State.
“We all know that the State organizations in certain States of the Union have been usurped and overthrown. This is a fact of which we must officially take notice. There was a time when the Senator from Indiana, as well as myself, would not have thought of receiving a Senator from the Legislature, or what purported to be the Legislature, of South Carolina. When the people of that State, by their Representatives, undertook to withdraw from the Union and set up an independent government in that State, in hostility to the Union, when the body acting as a Legislature there was avowedly acting against this Government, neither he nor I would have received Representatives from it. That was a usurpation which, by force of arms, we have put down. Now the
question arises, Has a State government since been inaugurated there .entitled to representation ? Is not that a fair subject of inquiry? Ought we not to be satisfied upon that point? We do not make such an inquiry in reference to members that come from States which have never undertaken to deny their allegiance to the Government of the United States. Having once been admitted as States, they continue so until by some positive act they throw off their allegiance, and assume an attitude of hostility to the Government, and make war upon it; and while in that condition, I know we should all object that they, of course, could not be represented in the Congress of the United States. Now, is it not a proper subject for inquiry to ascertain whether they have assumed a position in harmony with the Government? and is it not proper that that inquiry should be made the subject of joint action ?"
Mr. Guthrie, of Kentucky, wished to ask the friends of this resolution if it was contemplated that this committee should take evidence, and report that evidence to the two houses. “If,” said he, “they are only to take what is open to every member of the Senate, the fact that the rebellion has been suppressed; the fact that the President of the United States has appointed officers to collect the taxes, and, in some instances, judges and other officers; that he has sent the post-office into all the States; that there have been found enough individuals loyal to the country to accept the offices; the fact that the President has issued his proclamation to all these States, appointing Provisional Governors; that they have all elected conventions ; that the conventions have rescinded the ordinances of secession; that most of them have amended their constitutions and abolished slavery, and the Legislatures of some of them have passed the amendment to the Constitution on the subject of slavery—if they are only to take these facts, which are open and clear to us all, I can see no necessity for such a committee. My principal objection to the resolution is, that this committee can give us no information which we do not now possess, coupled with the fact that the loyal conservative men of the United States, North, South, East, and West, do most earnestly desire that we shall so act that there shall be no longer a doubt that we are the United States of America, in full accord and harmony with each other.
“I know it has been said that the President had no authority to do these things. I read the Constitution and the laws of this country differently. He is to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed;' he is to suppress insurrection and rebellion. The power is put in his hands, and I do not see why, when he marches into a rebel State, he has not authority to put down a rebel government and put up a government that is friendly to the United States, and in accordance with it. I do not see why he can not do that while the war goes on, and I do not see why he may not do it after the war is over. The people in those States lie at the mercy of the nation. I see no usurpation in what he has done, and if the work is well done, I, for one, am ready to accept it. Are we to send out a commission to see what the men whom he has appointed have done? It is said that they are not to be relied on; that they have been guilty of treason, and we will not trust them. I hope that no such ideas will prevail here. I think this will be a cold shock to the warm feelings of the nation for restoration, for equal privileges and equal rights. They were in insurrection. We have suppressed that insurrection. . They are now States of the Union; and if they come here according to the laws of the States, they are entitled, in my judgment, to representation, and we have no right to refuse it. They are in a minority, and they would be in a minority even if they meant now what they felt when they raised their arms against the Government; but they do not, and of those whom they will send here to represent them, nineteen out of twenty will be just as loyal as any of us—even some of those who took up arms against us.
"I really hope to see some one move a modification of the test oath, so that those who have repented of their disloyalty may not be excluded, for I really believe that a great many of those who took up arms honestly and wished to carry out the doctrines of secession, and who have succumbed under the force of our arms and the great force of public opinion, can be trusted a great deal more than those who did not fight at all.
* To conclude, gentlemen, I see no great harm in this resolution except the procrastination that will result from it, and that will give us nothing but what we have before us.”
The question being taken, the resolution, as amended, passed the Senate, thirty-three voting in the affirmative and eleven in