Imágenes de páginas

than it is worth. Better, therefore, have no such tax than run any such line or make any such discrimination. A book is a book; and there should be no tax on a book.

Afterwards, in reply to Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, he remarked:

I HAVE only one word in reply to the learned Senator from Maryland. He does not regard a tax on books as a tax on knowledge. Pray, then, what is such a tax? I can imagine no tax more directly on knowledge. the Senator can, I should like to have him indicate it.' Possibly he can. I believe he cannot. If we repair to the experience of other countries, we find that books are not taxed. In England, where taxation is carried to the farthest point, we know that books are not taxed. We know, also, that, after long and protracted struggle, only during this last year was the last tax on knowledge overthrown, being the paper duty. And yet, Sir, Senators would take up the cast-off taxes of Great Britain, and do even worse. Great Britain has taxed paper, has imposed a stamp-tax also on newspapers, all of which have been latterly removed; but I am not aware that this taxing nation has imposed a tax upon books. And shall our Republic, founded on knowledge, whose duty and mission are to make knowledge cheap, impose, for the first time, a tax on books?

Mr. Wilson said:

"I shall vote against exempting from taxation any book whatever, even the Bible. . . . . I am against these exemptions. What, Sir ! a tax on books a tax on knowledge? Suppose it is : so is a tax on the coat the boy who goes to school wears."

[blocks in formation]

MR. PRESIDENT, - My colleague does not see the difference between a tax on a boy's clothes and a tax on his book. The country, in its experience, from the first settlement at Plymouth Rock, has seen it. Clearly it saw the difference, when it undertook to say that education should be at the public cost, free of charge to every one in the community. My friend [Mr. Howe] shakes his head; he knows well that one of the proudest acts in the history of New England was when at an early day she established her system of public schools, which has continued ever since, where every child is educated free of charge. He was educated at the public cost, but not clothed at the public cost. And, Sir, if you would know what gave to New England those elements of prosperity and of influence, which are, I think, sometimes recognized, you will find them in that very education at the public cost. It was because those early settlers, founders of communities, saw that the mind. should be clothed, and willingly undertook to clothe it. The family at home were left to clothe the body. Now I would have the country act according to this illustrious precedent, which has done so much for the national name, and remove every impediment in the path of knowledge. Do not tell me that by the same rule you must remove the tax from clothes. The conclusion does not follow. If our fathers were right in establishing free schools, it is right for us now to insist. upon free books.

The amendment of Mr. Sumner was lost, - Yeas 5, Nays 27.



MARCH 8th, at the Extra Session, called for executive business, the Senate having under consideration the credentials of William D. Snow as Senator from Arkansas, Mr. Sumner submitted the following resolution, which was ordered to be printed.

RESOLVED, That, where a State has been declared to be in insurrection, no person can be recognized as Senator from such State, or as claimant of a seat as Senator from such State, until after the occurrence of three several conditions: first, the cessation of all armed hostility to the United States within the limits of such State; secondly, the adoption by such State of a constitution of government republican in form and not repugnant to the Constitution and laws of the United States; and, thirdly, an Act of Congress declaring that the people of such State are entitled to representation in the Congress of the United States.1

1 This last requirement was the substance of a concurrent resolution of the two Houses of Congress, adopted in the House February 20, 1866, by a vote of 109 Yeas to 40 Nays, and in the Senate March 2d, Yeas 29, Nays 18.




BENJAMIN G. SMITH and Franklin W. Smith, merchants and copartners in Boston, with the firm name of Smith Brothers & Co., were suddenly arrested in June, 1864, by order of the Navy Department, under the charge of fraud in the performance of contracts with the Department. They were at once consigned to Fort Warren, in the harbor of Boston, with strict injunctions to prevent any communication by them with the outer world. Bail to the amount of half a million dollars was required, which was subsequently reduced to forty thousand. Their counting-room was broken open, their safe forced, and their books seized. Their houses were searched, and private papers taken away. Their business was, for the time, destroyed. This work was crowned by ordering a court-martial for the trial of these civilians at Philadelphia.

These proceedings excited a general interest at Boston. The Massachusetts delegation in Congress united in the following appeal to the President, which was drawn by Mr. Sumner.



HE undersigned, Senators and Representatives in Congress from Massachusetts, ask leave to call your serious attention to the proceedings initiated by the Navy Department against Benjamin G. Smith and Franklin W. Smith, of Boston, of the firm of Smith Brothers & Co., a much respected firm, which has hitherto enjoyed the confidence, personal and mercantile, of

the community where they reside. Among their neighbors and friends these proceedings have already attracted much attention, and awakened corresponding feeling.

The proceedings have seemed to be harsh, vindictive, and unnecessary.

1. In the character of the arrest of Messrs. Smith, which was attended by circumstances of severity utterly unjustifiable.

2. In requiring bonds to so large an amount as half a million of dollars. The fact that the parties in question easily obtained bonds for a much larger amount does not render the exaction of "excessive bail" less obnoxious to the requirements of the Constitution and of justice, or less indicative of the spirit in which these proceedings have been conducted.

3. In the seizure of their books and papers, which are still detained, although regarded by their eminent counsel as important to their defence.

4. In turning into a military offence what is more proper for a civil tribunal, and dragging these defendants before a court-martial.

5. In transferring the proceedings from Boston, where the parties reside, and the transactions in question occurred, to Philadelphia: thus increasing greatly the difficulties and the cost of defence. This will be appreciated, when it is understood that the witnesses are very numerous, and chiefly engaged in mercantile. business, so that they cannot leave Boston without neglect of their private interests.

The undersigned, on reviewing these circumstances, which are so inconsistent with the administration of justice in its most ordinary forms, have been at a

« AnteriorContinuar »