Imágenes de páginas

long to a State. It is enough, under the Constitution, that he is "a natural born citizen." He may be of the District of Columbia, or of a Territory, or of a Rebel State; for these are all equally within the rightful jurisdiction of the United States, and this is enough. The national jurisdiction is permanent and indefeas


Therefore, I repeat again, we must look beyond the virtues of individuals. Not all the virtues under heaven can suffice to make a State of this Union, or establish any claim for restoration to ancient rights, where there is failure to comply with essential requirements.

The question under consideration is of momentous interest. It concerns primarily the claim to a seat in the Senate; but it includes also the right of the State of Arkansas to share at this moment in the National Government by representation in Congress, and also the other right of participating in the approaching Presidential election. And behind this great question looms that other, "How shall we treat the Rebel States?" This has already been answered by the House of Representatives in a bill passed by that body; but it has not yet been decided by the Senate.

Unexpectedly, the great question and all the subordinate questions are presented for decision. Not only Arkansas, but Louisiana, and every other Rebel State, will await your judgment. No question of equal importance has been presented since it was determined to meet the Rebellion by arms.

For the present I forbear all minute discussion, either of history or principle. It will be enough, if I state the case, and exhibit the questions involved.

William M. Fishback, a citizen of Arkansas, appears before the Senate of the United States, and claims membership. He asserts that he has been duly chosen . to fill the unexpired term of Senator Sebastian, who was expelled in 1861 for complicity with the Rebellion; and he produces a certificate purporting to be signed by the Governor of Arkansas.

Shall this claimant be admitted to a seat in the Senate? Such is the immediate question. But I have said that there are other questions, of the highest importance, which must be considered now and here; for they all enter into the present case. Admitting the claimant, we must also admit that other claimant who has appeared with like credentials as colleague. The question is not, therefore, Shall Arkansas have one vote in the Senate? but, Shall it have two?

Then, again, if Arkansas is fully represented in the Senate, does it not follow that it is to be represented to the same extent in the other House? If represented in that Chamber, such representation must be under the existing Apportionment Act, assigning to Arkansas two Representatives, chosen by districts, without reference to the number of votes polled in either.

One privilege draws after it another. To him that hath shall be given. If Arkansas is admitted to immediate representation in the National Government, this Rebel State, which has overthrown the Constitution within its borders, and assumed the front of war, can participate in the approaching election of President and Vice-President by organizing an electoral college, and, in case the election of either of those great officers should devolve upon Congress, can give a vote affecting the result as weighty as that of Massachusetts, New

York, or Illinois; for, in such case, the vote, which in the Senate is per capita, is in the House by States.

Therefore, Sir, I repeat, the decision of the question before us rules all the questions that can arise upon the representation of Arkansas in the Congress of the United States, and also the other question of the participation of Arkansas in the election of President and Vice-President for the term of four years next ensuing. The importance of such a subject cannot be exaggerated. It is important constitutionally, important practically, important also to the peace of the country. It ought to be discussed fully and carefully, especially when it is considered that we are on the eve of a Presidential election which may possibly be affected by our decision.

Mr. President, I am against the admission of Arkansas to representation in the National Government at this time and under existing circumstances. There may be a time, and there may be circumstances, when such representation will be proper; but clearly at this moment it is improper, unreasonable, and dangerous. The reasons are obvious.

First. The proposed representation is that of a minority, not only of the people, but even of the ancient voters of Arkansas. It is superfluous to say that such representation is inconsistent with republican principles, and can be vindicated only by overruling necessity. But this point becomes of peculiar importance, when it is considered that the minority asking representation has acquiesced in rebellion, and, still further, that some of those composing the minority have actively assisted the public enemy. Look at the facts.

The authority and jurisdiction of the United States were wholly overthrown and subverted in Arkansas. By action of the State Legislature, and of a Convention called by this Legislature, followed by a popular vote, the State was made de facto a member of the Rebel Confederacy. However much we may deny the rightfulness or the legality of the proceeding, there is no question with regard to the fact. This at least is undeniable, and constitutes an essential ingredient in the case. As a fact it must be recognized, whatever the consequences, precisely as truth is recognized. But this unquestionable fact was followed by a general acquiescence of the people of Arkansas; so that this State became in fact, as in name, a Rebel State, linked with other Rebel States arrayed in arins against the National Government.

At last, after much bloodshed and various vicissitudes, through the exertion of the military power of the United States, a portion of the territory of this State has been rescued from Rebel domination, and brought within the lines of our army. The rest will follow, in process of time, and after further bloodshed, until eventually the whole State will be rescued from Rebel domination, and brought within the lines of our army. Even then we shall be obliged to wait for tokens of returning loyalty also. But at the present moment the possession of the State is still contested by opposing forces, and a minority only has signified adhesion or readhesion to the National Government. This objection, of course, may be removed by time; but it existed in full force at the election of the claimant, and is decisive upon the question before us.

Unquestionably, it is according to the genius of our

Government that the majority should rule. A majority is the natural base of a republic. To found a republic on a minority is scarcely less impracticable than to stand a pyramid on its apex.

Secondly. The proposed representation of Arkansas in the Senate is unjust and inequitable in relation to the representation of the loyal States; and if extended to representation in the House of Representatives and in the Electoral Colleges, it becomes still more unjust and inequitable. By the original terms of union, the other States have agreed that the whole people of Arkansas shall have two Senators, and Representatives according to a fixed proportion, and also electoral votes for President and Vice-President according to the number of Senators and Representatives. Now it would be manifestly wrong toward all the loyal States, if not a fraud upon their rights, to assign such representation and such privilege to a fraction of the people of Arkansas, constituting a small minority, so that, on all questions of legislation, of treaties, or of appointments, in the discharge of legislative, diplomatic, and executive trusts, this small minority would wield in the Senate all the power of a loyal State, while in the choice of President and Vice-President it might turn the scale.

Thirdly. The military occupation of Arkansas, and the unsettled condition of the community there, cannot be forgotten, when we are considering whether to admit the representatives of a newly organized civil government in that State. Military occupation is practically inconsistent with civil government. Even if the former does not absolutely exclude the latter, yet it is evident that it must exercise a controlling influence. It is impossible in time of war to preserve the conditions of

« AnteriorContinuar »