Imágenes de páginas

Sir, I am not disposed to go on, and yet there is one other remark of the Senator to which I must reply. The Senator insists constantly upon foisting an unconstitutional idea in the way of establishing Emancipation throughout this country. He says the vote of Louisiana is needed to the Constitutional Amendment. Sir, the vote of Louisiana is not needed; and when the Senator makes the assertion, he interposes an obstacle to the Amendment. Is he a friend to it? Why, then, interpose an obstacle by an untenable and erroneous interpretation of the Constitution? The Constitution declares that an Amendment shall become to all intents and purposes a part of the Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the States.

MR. DOOLITTLE. "When ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States."

MR. SUMNER. Very well,-"when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States"; but if no Legislatures exist in States, will the Senator make that an excuse for avoiding the establishment of the Amendment? I will not recognize the Rebellion to such extent; I will not recognize the independence of the Rebel States, as the Senator does. I insist, Sir, that these States shall not control the National Government at this moment, in this great period of our history, and thwart the establishment of human freedom throughout the land.

After remarks from other Senators, the motion to take up the Railroad Bill was lost, Yeas 10, Nays 25. Mr. Henderson, of Missouri, made an elaborate speech in favor of the admission, claiming that its Constitution was republican in form, in the course of which the following colloquy occurred

[blocks in formation]

MR. HENDERSON. The Senator from Kentucky thinks the Constitution of Louisiana is the offspring of military usurpation, but he does not say that the Constitution itself is antirepublican.



MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

MR. HENDERSON. In what particular? Mr. President, I have been in the Senate for nearly four years, and I believe now candidly that the Rebellion is about at an end, and, if there were no other evidence of it, that evidence would be presented to-night in the close alliance and affiliation of my friend from Massachusetts and my friend from Kentucky. Truly, the lion and the lamb have lain down together.

MR. JOHNSON (of Maryland). Who is the lion, and who is the lamb?

MR. HENDERSON. That is for the gentlemen themselves to settle. [Laughter.] The Senator from Massachusetts says that these State Constitutions are not republican in form. Will he tell me in what respect?

MR. SUMNER. Because they do not follow out the principles of the Constitution of the United States.

MR. HENDERSON. I should like to know in what particular. The answer is a very general one, indeed. He refuses, then, to specify. The Senator can answer more particularly hereafter, if he chooses. He says these Constitutions do not follow the Constitution of the United States. I have looked over them, and I find no objection to them. The Senator from Massachusetts says the act of secession took the States out. In the name of sense, cannot the act of the loyal men bring them back? . . . .

MR. SUMNER. Does the Senator refer to me as having ever said that the act of secession took a State out?

MR. HENDERSON. I understand the Senator to claim that these States are in a territorial condition, that they are not States, that, by losing their State Governments in the act of secession, they lose their specific identity as States.

MR. SUMNER. I would rather the Senator should use my language than his own, when he undertakes to state my position. I have never said that any act of secession took a State out. I have always said just the contrary. No act of secession can take a State out of this Union. Whatever may be attempted, the State continues under the Constitution of the United States, subject to all its requirements and behests. The Government of the State is subverted by secession; the Senator does not recognize the existing Government as legal or constitutional, any more than I do. Where, then, is the difference between us? There is no Government which he or I recogLize; but we do hold that the whole region, the whole territory, is under the Constitution, to be protected and governed by it.

MR. HENDERSON. The Senator, then, admits that the States are in the Union. Now I ask him if we can restore the Union without restoring State Governments in the seceded States.

MR. SUMNER. That is the desire I have most at heart. I wish to restore State Governments in those States.

MR. HENDERSON. Then I desire to ask the Senator, if the loyal men in one of those States acquiesce in the Constitution presented here, are they not entitled to govern the State under it?

MR. SUMNER. If the loyal men, white and black, recognize it, then it will be republican in form. Unless that is done, it will not be.

MR. HENDERSON. Now, Mr. President, I desire to ask the Senator if the Congress of the United States can interfere with the right of suffrage in one of the American States of this Union. I put the question to him as a constitutional lawyer.

MR. SUMNER. I answer at once, as a constitutional lawyer, that at the present time, under the words of the Constitution of the United States, declaring that the United States shall guaranty to every State a republican form of government, it is the bounden duty of the United States by Act of Congress to guaranty complete freedom to every citizen, immunity from all oppression, and absolute equality before the law. No Government failing to guaranty these things can be recognized as republican in form, when the United States are called to enforce the constitutional guaranty.

In the course of the speech of Mr. Henderson, this further colloquy occurred.

MR. HENDERSON. To secure national supremacy, you must have the aid of State authority. For legitimate State authority you must rely upon the loyal voters.

MR. SUMNER. There is where I agree precisely with the Senator; and I should like to hold him to it. He says the loyal men must form the Government, and we should recognize that Government; and yet he insists upon a mere oligarchy forming it, and an oligarchy of the skin.

MR. HENDERSON. The Senator says he agrees with me in my position, but insists that I am in favor of an oligarchy. If I am in favor of an oligarchy, and he agrees with me, then he also wants an oligarchy. [Laughter.] MR. SUMNER. The Senator plays upon words.

Mr. Henderson continued at length, answering various objections to the Louisiana State Government on account of irregularity in the proceedings. Upon his statement that the failure of the Rebels to vote did not harm the great principles of Republicanism, the followlowing passage occurred.

MR. SUMNER. It was the failure of loyal citizens to vote that did the damage

MR. HENDERSON. I answer that by asking, What loyal men did General Banks prevent from voting?

MR. SUMNER. All the colored race.

At a late hour Mr. Henderson concluded, and the Senate adjourned. February 25th, the Senate proceeded with the resolution, when Mr. Sumner sent to the Chair resolutions which he proposed to offer as a

substitute, declaring the duty of the States to guaranty republican governments in the Rebel States on the basis of the Declaration of Independence, being the next article in this volume.

Mr. Howard, of Michigan, made an elaborate speech against the resolution, and Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, for it. The latter asked: "Are these States to be governed as provinces? That is the idea of the honorable member from Massachusetts. . . . . Will the honorable member deny that it would be in the power of Massachusetts now to exclude the black? I suppose not; and yet, if by an Act of Congress you place it out of the power of the seceded States, when they come back, under the authority of that Act, to change the qualifications of electors, they will not come back as the equals of Massachusetts." Then ensued a colloquy.

MR. SUMNER. Allow me to ask the Senator, whether, in his opinion, the Ordinance governing the Northwest Territory, prohibiting Slavery, and declared to be a perpetual compact, could be set aside by any one of the States formed out of the Territory now.

MR. JOHNSON. I certainly think they can, except so far as rights are vested.

MR. SUMNER. The Senator, then, thinks Ohio can enslave a fellow-man?
MR. JOHNSON. Just as much as Massachusetts can.
Massachusetts cannot.


MR. JOHNSON. Why not?

MR. SUMNER. Massachusetts cannot do an act of injustice.

MR. JOHNSON. Oh, indeed! I did not know that. [Laughter.]

MR. SUMNER. The Senator ought to know it.

MR. JOHNSON. I do not think that is in the Constitution.

MR. SUMNER. I beg the Senator's pardon; it is in the Constitution.

MR. JOHNSON. The United States Constitution, or your State Constitution?

[ocr errors]

in our State Constitution.

MR. SUMNER. Yes, Sir, MR JOHNSON. But it is not in the constitution of your people. You sometimes do, or have done, acts of injustice. What I mean to say is this, —and I am sure the honorable member will not be able successfully to controvert it, certainly not by authority, that there is no difference between the State of Massachusetts and any other State in the Union with reference to its State powers. That is what I mean to say.

MR. SUMNER. I mean to say that the State of Massachusetts has no power to do an act of wrong, no power constitutionally, morally, politically, or in any way.

MR. JOHNSON. What is an act of wrong? Who is to judge of it?

MR. SUMNER. To enslave a fellow-man.

[blocks in formation]

Afterwards came the following question and answer.

MR. SUMNER. Does the Senator from Maryland, who now calls in question the validity of the Proclamation of Emancipation, question that the Supreme Court of the United States, with its present Chief Justice, would affirm the complete validity of that Proclamation every where within the Rebel States strictly according to its letter?

MR. JOHNSON. If I am perfectly satisfied, as I am, that the Chief Justice is abundantly capable of filling the high office he has, I do not think he would; but whether he would or not does not settle the question, what the Court would do. He is but one of ten.

At the close of Mr. Johnson's speech, Mr. Sumner offered the following proviso, to come at the end of the resolution :

"Provided, That this shall not take effect, except upon the fundamental condition that within the State there shall be no denial of the electoral franchise, or of any other rights, on account of color or race, but all persons shall be equal before the law. And the Legislature of the State, by a solemn public act, shall declare the assent of the State to this fundamental condition, and shall transmit to the President of the United States an authentic copy of such assent, whenever the same shall be adopted; upon the receipt whereof, he shall, by proclamation, announce the fact; whereupon, without any further proceedings on the part of Congress, this joint resolution shall take effect."

Mr. Sumner remarked, that he desired to call attention to the precedent on which this proviso was modelled, and he was induced to do so from the very elaborate way in which Mr. Johnson had seemed to anticipate it. He has announced that it would be futile; but those who preceded us did not think so; and Mr. Sumner then read the resolution for the admission of Missouri into the Union on a certain condition, where is a proviso, as he insisted, similar in character.

Mr. Henderson moved to amend the proviso by inserting after the word "race" the words "or sex." Meanwhile occurred a desultory debate, in which the proviso was opposed by Mr. Henderson and Mr. Johnson, also by Mr. Pomeroy, of Kansas. The latter said: "I usually vote for everything that the Senator from Massachusetts brings forward on the Antislavery question; but I am opposed to this amendment, - in the first place, because I do not suppose that we have the right to say what shall be the qualifications of voters in any State in the Union. . . . . I shall vote against all amendments that look like dictation on the part of Congress to any State, whether they will let the right of suffrage be enjoyed by a whole or a part of the people."

« AnteriorContinuar »