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BROOMALL OF PENNSYLVANIA.
member from Indiana, was another which indicated the whole policy of the party in power. It was the entering wedge to the idea that no class of men could be secure unless they were citizens of the republic and were invested with the right of suffrage. The ultimate purpose of the amendment was to reorganize civil government in the South. "In my judgment,” said he, "the fate of slavery is sealed; it dies by the rebellious hand of its votaries, untouched by the hand of the law;" but he opposed the amendment as "unnecessary and a dangerous precedent without benefit.”1 On the ground of humanity, said another, the amendment should be rejected: it would be a cruel act to turn all those negroes upon the world.? "It is strange," answered Broomall of Pennsylvania, "that an appeal should be made to humanity in favor of an institution which allows the husband to be separated from the wife; the child to be taken from the mother; the very children of the slaveholder himself to be sold to satisfy his merciless creditors."3 But the principal objection was uttered by George H. Pendleton, of Ohio, the recently defeated candidate for Vice-President, and the leader of his party in the House. The amendment should be rejected, he said, not because it came within the two clauses of limitations in the Constitution mentioned by Ashley, but because republicanism lies at the very foundation of our system of government; to overthrow that idea would be not to amend, but to subvert, the Constitution.
If three-fourths of the States should undertake to pass the amendment, and one State dissented, it would have a right to resist by force. Could three-fourths of the States make an amendment which should prohibit a State from
1 Globe, 219. 2 Mallory of Kentucky, January 9, Globe, 179. 3 January 11, Globe, 221,
THE AMENDMENT CARRIED.
having two Houses in its legislature ? Yet this was not prohibited in the Constitution. The reason was because the equality of the States and the control of their internal affairs by themselves only were at the foundation of our system; three-fourths of the States could not amend the Constitution so as to make one-fourth bear all the taxes; or to divide the territory of one-fourth among the rest ; or to make the northern States slaveholding; yet none of these things were forbidden in the Constitution. The only answer that could be made to this argument was founded on an entirely different interpretation of the origin, the scope, and the nature of the National Government than that which Pendleton and his political associates maintained. It was the answer which Mr. Ashley gave at the opening of the debate.
Foreseeing the probable result of the vote, the opponents of the amendment resorted to the usual parliamentary tactics for delay, but in vain. On the last day of January the vote was reached. By a vote of nearly two to one, the House agreed to reconsider its action of the fifteenth of June. By a large majority the June resolution was then adopted. The victory was not strictly a party victory. The four Democrats who had supported the resolution in June now supported it again and were joined by thirteen of their party colleagues. Nineteen representatives from the border States voted for the amendment, of whom at
1 Yeas 112, nays 57, not voting 13; Globe, January 31, 1865, 530-531.
2 Yeas 119, nays 5, not voting 8. Id., 531.
3 James E. English, Connecticut; John Ganson, Anson Herrick, Horner A. Nelson, William Bradford, John B. Steel of New York; Alexander H. Colfroth, Archibald McAllister of Pennsylvania; Wells A. Hutchins of Ohio; Augustine C. Baldwin of Michigan; George H. Yeaman of Kentucky; Austin A. King and James S. Rollins of Missouri, Globe, 531.
SCENE IN THE HOUSE.
least five had supported it by powerful speeches. The eight absentees, all of whom were Democrats, and who were not paired, contributed, perhaps involuntarily to the adoption.
The epoch-making resolution has long been imputed, in popular tradition, to a lofty sense of morality imbuing the members of the Thirty-eighth Congress. The morality of men in public life is doubtless most justly judged from their public acts. By far the greater number of members who voted for the resolution had long been opponents of slavery, and, of late years, had eagerly awaited an opportunity to aid in abolishing it. There were a few members who supported the resolution for selfish, personal
A few were actuated by the promise of offices for their friends and supporters, and a few were controlled by powerful interests among their constituents.?
The vote was cast at four o'clock in the afternoon of the thirty-first of January. The Speaker, Schuyler Col! fax, was the last member to vote, and he voted "yea.” As the roll-call proceeded excitement deepened and applause was with difficulty suppressed. When the Speaker announced that the amendment had passed, enthusiasm burst forth; members on the Republican side sprang to their feet and, regardless of parliamentary rules, applauded with cheers and clapping of hands. “The example was followed by the male spectators in the gallery, which was crowded, who waved their hats and
1 There is evidence, from oral testimony which I have heard, that for their support of the resolution, certain members, and there were Republicans and Democrats among them, were to have the disposal of certain offices, among which was the Collectorship of the Port of New York. The part which the Camden and Amboy Railroad played in the case, and the effort to secure the influence of the President to have Mr. Sumner drop the Raritan bill, are mentioned, with some detail, by Nicolay and Hay in their Life of Lincoln, X, 84-85.
THE HAMPTON ROAD CONFERENCE.
cheered loud and long, while the ladies, hundreds of whom were present, arose in their seats, and waved their handkerchiefs, adding to the general excitement and intense interest of the scene; this lasted several minutes.”1 Amidst the enthusiasm, the voice of Ebon C. Ingersoll, of Illinois, was heard: "In honor of this immortal and sublime event, I move that the House do now adjourn.” The yeas and nays were ordered and the adjournment was carried. As the crowds passed out of the capitol they heard the salute of one hundred guns fired in honor of the great event.
On the day when the general resolution was passed by the House, the President dispatched the Secretary of State to meet three commissioners? sent by Jefferson Davis to ascertain upon what terms the war could be terminated. The conference at Hampton Roads, at which President Lincoln himself was present, followed two days later. “No other person was present, except Mr. Seward; no papers were exchanged or produced, and it was, in advance, agreed that the conversation was to be informal and verbal, merely.” “On our part,” said the President, “the whole substance of the instructions to the Secretary of State was insisted upon.” These instructions were, briefly, to make known three indispensable things: the restoration of the national authority throughout all the States; no recession by the President from the position he had assumed on the slavery question in his last annual message to Congress and in preceding documents; and no cessation of hostilities short of the end of the war and the disbanding of all forces hostile to the government.3
1 Journal, H. R., for the day. 2 Alexander H. Stephens, J. H. Campbell and R. M. T. Hunter.
3 For the official correspondence, see Richardson's Mes and Papers of the President, VI, 260-269.
LINCOLN ANNOUNCES THE AMENDMENT.
The conference, as is well known, ended without result, but the instruction as to slavery was, however, highly significant at this stage of public affairs. The President had no doubts of the adoption of the amendment by Congress, nor of its ultimate ratification by the States. His thought, at this time, was expressed in his brief speech to a body of citizens, who marched in procession to the Executive Mansion on the night following the passage of the resolution, for the purpose of celebrating the event and congratulating the President. “The occasion,” said he, “is one of congratulation to the country, and to the whole world. But there is yet a task before us—to go forward and have consummated by the votes of the States that which Congress so nobly began yesterday.” He had the honor to inform those present that Illinois had already on that day done the work. Maryland was about half through, but he felt proud that Illinois was a little ahead. He thought this measure was a very fitting, if not an indispensable, adjunct to the winding up of the great difficulty. He wished the reunion of all the States perfected, and so effected as to remove all causes of disturbance in the future; and, to attain this end, it was necessary that the original disturbing cause should, if possible, be rooted out. He thought all would bear him witness that he had never shrunk from doing all that he could to eradicate slavery, by issuing an emancipation proclamation. But that proclamation fell short of what the amendment would be when fully consummated. A question might be raised whether the proclamation was legally valid. It might be urged, that it only aided those that came into our lines, and that it was inoperative as to those who did not give themselves up; or that it would have no effect upon the children of slaves born hereafter; in fact, it would be urged that it did not meet the evil. But this