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Governor by the President, in each State declared to be in rebellion, to serve until a State government should have been organized and recognized by the National Government. On the suppression of military resistance to the authority of the United States in any such State, an enrollment of white male citizens was to be made, and a convention was to be called, when a majority of them should have taken the oath of allegiance, to act upon the reëstablishment of a State government. All persons having held any office in the Rebel service, civil or military, State or Confederate, and all those having voluntarily borne arms in such service, were to be prohibited from voting for or being elected as delegates to the State convention. The convention was required, by the bill, to insert in the new constitution to be framed by it, provisions (1st) disfranchising those who have "held or exercised any civil or military office (except offices merely ministerial, and military offices below a colonel), State or Confederate, under the usurping power; (2d), prohibiting slavery; and (3d), repudiating all debts created by or under sanction of "the usurping power," "State or Confederate." The State government thus created was to be recognized by the President, after obtaining the assent of Congress, and only after such recognition, the State to be represented in Congress, and in the electoral college. Slavery was further formally declared to be abolished in all the States in question, with remedies and penalties to give this declaration effect. Those Rebels holding any civil or military office, with the conditions above stated, after this bill should become a law, were declared not to be citizens of the United States.

This bill passed the House on the day it was reported, yeas 74, nays 66. Among the latter were several Administration members. The preamble, giving a key-note to the spirit and purpose of the bill, was in these words:

WHEREAS, The so-called Confederate States are a public enemy, waging an unjust war, whose injustice is so glaring that they have no right to claim the mitigation of the extreme rights of war which are accorded by modern usage to an enemy who has a right to consider the war a just one; and whereas, none of the States which, by a regularly recorded majority of

its citizens, have joined the so-called Southern Confederacy, can be considered and treated as entitled to be represented in Congress, or to take any part in the political government of the Union.

This was rejected, ayes 57, nays 75.

In the Senate, on the 1st of July, Mr. Brown, of Missouri, moved the following substitute for the entire bill which was carried, yeas 20, nays 13:

That when the inhabitants of any State have been declared in a state of insurrection against the United States, by proclamation of the President, by force and virtue of the act entitled "An act to provide for the collection of duties on imports, and for other purposes," approved July 13, 1861, they shall be, and are hereby declared to be, incapable of casting any vote for electors of President or Vice President of the United States, or of electing Senators or Representatives in Congress, until said insurrection in said State is suppressed or abandoned, and said inhabitants have returned to their obedience to the Government of the United States, nor until such return to obedience shall be declared by proclamation of the President, issued by virtue of an act of Congress, hereafter to be passed, authorizing the same.

The bill having been returned to the House, as thus amended, the amendment was non-concurred in. The Senate ultimately receded from its amendment, yeas 18, nays 14, thus concurring in the passage of the bill as it first came from the House. It is manifest, from the action taken on this bill, that it was not unobjectionable to the majority of the Senate, and that, on free discussion of its prominent details, it could not certainly command a majority in the House on a full vote. That it could ever have received a two-thirds vote in both houses, had it been returned by the Executive with objections, probably its most zealous supporter never imagined. It so happened that the bill, passed just at the close of the session, only reached the President about an hour before the actual adjournment, when numerous other bills were awaiting his signature, allowing him hardly time to even read it with care, much less to prepare a veto message. Much of it he fully approved. Other parts he thought seriously objectionable. Committed, too, as he

already had been, publicly, to the recognition of the new State governments of Louisiana and Arkansas, he could not, in good faith, repudiate his promises to the people of those States, as would have been done by approving the Davis bill. Only a dictatorial and factious spirit could call in question the President's unrestricted right to withhold his signature, or the purity of the motive which led him to do so. Not less evidently was it proper for him to publish the bill, with a statement of his reasons for the course he had taken, and to give it a place with his own suggestions made in the amnesty proclamation, reserving his former action in regard to Louisiana and Arkansas, and declining to make compliance with the terms of this bill indispensable in any case. He had long before appointed military governors in Tennessee and North Carolina. The power to do so clearly belonged to him, as Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy. But it was questionable, to say the least, whether Congress could constitutionally exercise any "provisional " local jurisdiction in the States, as proposed.

On the 8th of July, 1864, President Lincoln issued the following proclamation, on the subject, accompanied by the Davis Reconstruction bill:

WHEREAS, At the late session, Congress passed a bill "to guarantee to certain States, whose governments have been usurped or overthrown, a republican form of government," a copy of which is hereunto annexed:

AND WHEREAS, The said bill was presented to the President of the United States for his approval less than one hour before the sine die adjournment of said session, and was not signed by him:

AND WHEREAS, The said bill contains, among other things, a plan for restoring the States in rebellion to their proper practical relation in the Union, which plan expresses the sense of Congress upon that subject, and which plan it is now thought fit to lay before the people for their consideration:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known, that, while I am (as I was in December last, when by proclamation I propounded a plan for restoration) unprepared, by a formal approval of this bill, to be inflexibly committed to any single plan of restoration; and, while I am also unprepared to declare that the free State constitutions and governments already

adopted and installed in Arkansas and Louisiana shall be set aside and held for nought, thereby repelling and discouraging the loyal citizens who have set up the same as to further effort, or to declare a constitutional competency in Congress to abolish slavery in States, but am at the same time sincerely hoping and expecting that a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery throughout the nation may be adopted, nevertheless I am fully satisfied with the system for restoration contained in the bill as one very proper plan for the loyal people of any State choosing to adopt it, and that I am, and at all times shall be, prepared to give the Executive aid and assistance to any such people, so soon as the military resistance to the United States shall have been suppressed in any such State, and the people thereof shall have sufficiently returned to their obedience to the Constitution and laws of the United States, in which cases Military Governors will be appointed, with dircctions to proceed according to the bill.

It was not unnatural that the mover of this bill should be unpleasantly affected by its failure to become a law. He had matured, to his own entire satisfaction, a method of “ reconstruction "the vexed question which had been so much and so prematurely discussed-and it had received the indorsement of both Houses of Congress. He could not doubt its perfect sufficiency as a solution of the problem; yet his work had become of no effect for the lack of the President's signature.

Mr. Davis, however, was mistaken in supposing that the people attached any special value to his scheme, or that any appeal he could make to them would avert their ready and intuitive conclusion that he, rather than President Lincoln, was in the wrong. Such an appeal was, nevertheless, determined upon. At a moment when the country was growing impatient and apprehensive over severe losses in the field, without the decisive victories hoped for, when the Opposition was exultant in the prospect of a Presidential triumph in November, and when all cordial supporters of the Baltimore nominations were earnest and united in their efforts to avoid a possible defeat of the cause, Mr. Davis' arraignment of the President was issued. The paper was published on the 5th of August; Senator Wade also giving it his signature. In its imputation of bad motives, in its sweeping denunciations and in its angry

uncharitableness of temper, it was more remarkable than in the weight of its arguments or in the accuracy of its representations. The New York Tribune, which was chosen as the medium for laying this address before the people, although unfriendly to Mr. Lincoln's renomination, and although its chief editor, at a later day, was concerned in a secret movement to bring about his withdrawal, promptly expressed its approval of the President's action in withholding his signature from the measure in question. The principal effect to be anticipated fror this manifesto was a weakening of public confidence in the Government, and an embarrassment of the Administration party at the most critical period of the political canvass.


I have not deemed it worth while to copy, in the text, from a passionate effusion so speedily forgotten by the public, and which its author would, perhaps, gladly forget. The following brief extracts will suffice to justify what I have said as to its general character:

The President, by preventing this bill from becoming a law, holds the electoral votes of the Rebel States at the dictation of his personal ambition .. The President's proclamation . . . discards the authority of the Supreme Court, and strides headlong toward the anarchy his proclamation of the 8th of December inaugurated . . . . . A more studied outrage on the legislative authority of the people has never been perpetrated He has already exercised this dictatorial usurpation in Louisiana, and he defeated the bill to prevent its limitation.

Bearing in mind that the President has a qualified veto power, by the Constitution, in regard to all legislation; and, further, that the Davis bill was opposed by a considerable minority of "Union men" in both Houses, the accuracy of the following extract from the same paper, will be fully appreciated:

But he must understand that our support is of a cause and not of a man; that the authority of Congress is paramount and must be respected; that the whole body of the Union men of Congress will not submit to be impeached by him of rash and unconstitutional legislation; and if he wishes our support, he must confine himself to his executive duties—to obey and execute, not make the laws-to suppress by arms armed rebellion, and leave political reorganization to Congress. If the supporters of the Government fail to insist on this, they become responsible for the usurpations which they fail to rebuke, and are justly liable to the indignation of the people whose rights and security, committed to their keeping, they sacrifice.

Let them consider the remedy for these usurpations, and, having found it, fearlessly execute it.

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