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Title: Charles Sumner; His Complete Works, Volume VIII (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
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[Illustration: A. W. Elson & Co. Boston: JOHN A. ANDREW]

Statesman Edition        VOL. VIII



With Introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar


Lee and Shepard

Copyright, 1872,
Charles Sumner.

Copyright, 1900,
Lee and Shepard.

Statesman Edition.
Limited to One Thousand Copies.
of Which This Is
No. 565

Norwood Press:
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



    and Speech in the Senate, December 12, 1861                        1

    in the Senate, December 16, 1861                                   6

    in the Senate, December 18, 1861                                   7

    in the Senate, December 18, 1861                                  12

    EMANCIPATION AND THE PRESIDENT. Letter to Governor Andrew, of
    Massachusetts, December 27, 1861                                  14

    THE TRENT CASE, AND MARITIME RIGHTS. Speech in the Senate,
    on the Surrender of Mason and Slidell, Rebel Agents, taken
    from the British Mail Steamer Trent, January 9, 1862.
    With Appendix                                                     15

    Remarks in the Senate, on the Case of General Lane, of Kansas,
    January 13, 1862                                                 105

    Senate, January 21 and February 4, 1862                          114

    on the Bill relating to Witnesses before Committees, January
    22, 1862                                                         152

    LIMITATION OF DEBATE IN THE SENATE. Remarks in the Senate, on
    a Five Minutes’ Rule, January 27 and 29, 1862                    155

    INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION AT LONDON. Speech in the Senate, on the
    Joint Resolution providing for Representation there, January
    31, 1862                                                         157

    Senate, February 6, 1862                                         161

    RECONSTRUCTION. Resolutions in the Senate, February 11, 1862.
    With Appendix                                                    163

    TREASURY NOTES A LEGAL TENDER. Speech in the Senate, on the
    Clause making Treasury Notes a Legal Tender, February 13,
    1862                                                             181

    Senate, February 18 and 26, 1862                                 208

    Committee of Foreign Relations upon the Draught of a Convention
    with Mexico, February 19, 1862                                   227

    in the Senate, February 25, 1862                                 238

    to the German Republican Central Committee of New York,
    February 25, 1862                                                241

    STATE SUICIDE AND EMANCIPATION. Letter to a Public Meeting at
    the Cooper Institute, New York, March 6, 1862                    243

    Bill in the Senate, March 18, 1862, and Incidents                247

    on the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery in the District of
    Columbia, March 31, 1862                                         251

    Remarks in the Senate, April 1, 1862                             301

    in the Senate, on the Emancipation Bill, April 3, 1862           304

    INDEPENDENCE OF HAYTI AND LIBERIA. Speech in the Senate, on the
    Bill to authorize the Appointment of Diplomatic Representatives
    to the Republics of Hayti and Liberia, April 23, 1862            307

    FINAL SUPPRESSION OF THE SLAVE TRADE. Speech in the Senate, on
    the Treaty with Great Britain, April 24, 1862                    336

    Remarks in the Senate, April 28, 1862                            349

    Senate, on a Resolution of Inquiry, May 1, 1862                  351

    COLORS. Resolution in the Senate, May 8, 1862                    361

    Resolution in the Senate, May 12, 1862                           363

    CONFISCATION AND EMANCIPATION. Resolution in the Senate, May
    12, and Remarks, June 28, 1862                                   364

    MASSACHUSETTS. Speech in the Senate, on his Death,
    May 15, 1862                                                     366

    Speech in the Senate, on the Enrolment of Bills, May 16, 1862    372



    April 8, 1852, during his first session in the Senate, Mr.
    Sumner brought forward a resolution for a revision and
    consolidation of the national statutes, which was duly referred
    to the Committee on the Judiciary.[1] Though the resolution
    attracted attention at the time, the committee did nothing.

    Early in the next Congress, December 14, 1853, he presented the
    same resolution a second time, which was duly referred,[2] and
    again neglected.

    In the succeeding Congress, February 11, 1856, he offered the
    same resolution a third time,[3] and with no better success
    than before.

    Absence from the Senate and protracted disability prevented
    the renewal of this effort until the administration of
    President Lincoln, who was induced to make a recommendation
    on the subject in his annual message of December 3, 1861.[4]
    Mr. Sumner followed, December 12th, with his oft-repeated

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on the Judiciary be
        directed to consider the expediency of providing by
        law for the appointment of commissioners to revise the
        public statutes of the United States, to simplify their
        language, to correct their incongruities, to supply their
        deficiencies, to arrange them in order, to reduce them to
        one connected text, and to report them thus improved to
        Congress for its final action, to the end that the public
        statutes, which all are presumed to know, may be in such
        form as to be more within the apprehension of all.”

    Of this he spoke.

MR. PRESIDENT,--It is now nearly ten years, since, on first entering
this Chamber, I had the honor of presenting this identical resolution.
Several times afterwards, at succeeding sessions, I brought it forward;
but there was no action in regard to it, either by the Committee on the
Judiciary, to which it was referred, or by the Senate. At last we have
a positive recommendation from the President in his Annual Message,
calling attention to the necessity of a revision of our statutes, and
of reducing them to a connected text. I desire to take advantage of
that recommendation, and to revive the proposition which ten years ago
I first introduced.

Something in earnest, Sir, must be done. The ancient Roman laws,
when first codified, were so cumbersome that they made a load for
several camels. If this cannot be said of our statutes, nobody will
deny that they are cumbersome, swelling to at least eleven or twelve
heavy volumes, besides being most expensive. They are to be found
in few public libraries, and very rarely in private libraries. They
ought to be in every public library, and also in the offices of
lawyers throughout the country. That can be only by reducing them
in size so that they will form a single volume, which is entirely
practicable,--thus rendering them easy to read and cheap to buy.

I have reason to believe, Sir, that such a work would be agreeable
to the people. I am not without assurance that the people value such
reading. Certainly I am justified in this conclusion, when I think
of my own State; for it is within my knowledge that the statutes of
Massachusetts, reduced to a single volume, as they now are, have,
during a very brief period, been purchased by the people at large to
the extent of more than ten thousand copies.

I hope, Sir, there will be no objection founded on the condition of the
country. I do not forget the old saying, that the laws are silent in
the midst of arms; but I would have our Republic show by example that
such is not always the case. I am sure we can do nothing better for
the honor of the Administration that is ours. Indeed, should we not
all look with increased pride upon our country, most cherished when
most in peril, if, while dealing with a fearful Rebellion, Congress
turned aside to the edification of the people in objects that are
useful, among which I place that I now propose? It will be something,
if, through the din of war, this work of peace proceeds, changing the
national statutes into a harmonious text, and making them accessible to

    The resolution was agreed to.

       *       *       *       *       *

    This was followed, January 28, 1862, by a bill, introduced by
    Mr. Sumner, for the revision and consolidation of the statutes
    of the United States, which was referred to the Committee on
    the Judiciary. May 31, the Committee, on motion of its chairman
    [Mr. TRUMBULL], was discharged from the further consideration
    of the resolution. At the same time the bill was postponed to
    the first Monday in December, and expired with the Congress.[5]

    December 15, 1863, Mr. Sumner renewed his original resolution
    on the subject, and on the 23d introduced another bill with
    the same object, on which Mr. Trumbull, from the Committee,
    reported adversely, June 28, 1864.[6]

    January 5, 1866, Mr. Sumner renewed his effort by a bill, which
    was also referred to the Judiciary Committee. February 7,
    Mr. Poland, from the Committee, reported the bill favorably.
    April 9, it was considered in the Senate and passed without
    debate, substantially as drawn and introduced by Mr. Sumner.
    In the original bill the salaries of the commissioners were
    $3,000 each. On the report of the Committee, they were
    changed to $5,000 each. June 22 the bill passed the House of
    Representatives without amendment, and was approved by the
    President June 27.[7]

    Under this Act, President Johnson appointed as commissioners
    Hon. Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts, Hon. Charles P. James of
    Ohio, and Hon. William Johnston of Pennsylvania.

    The period of three years, within which the revision and
    consolidation were to be completed, having expired, leaving the
    work undone, a supplementary Act of Congress was passed,[8]
    continuing the original Act, and under it President Grant
    appointed as commissioners Hon. Benjamin Vaughan Abbott of
    New York, Hon. Charles P. James of Ohio, and Hon. Victor C.
    Barringer of North Carolina.



    Mr. Sumner offered the following resolution, and asked for its
    present consideration.

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on Patents and the Patent
        Office be directed to consider if any further legislation
        is necessary in order to secure to persons of African
        descent, in our own country, the right to take out patents
        for useful inventions, under the Constitution of the United

MR. PRESIDENT,--If I can have the attention of the Chairman of the
Committee on Patents, I will state to him why this resolution is
introduced. It has come to my knowledge that an inventor of African
descent, living in Boston, applied for a patent under the Constitution
and laws of the land, and was refused, on the ground, that, according
to the Dred Scott decision, he is not a citizen of the United States,
and therefore a patent cannot issue to him. I wish the Committee to
consider whether in any way that abuse cannot be removed. That is all.

    The resolution was considered by unanimous consent, and agreed

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Committee made no report on the resolution. It was a case
    for interpretation rather than legislation, and the question,
    like that of passports, was practically settled not long
    afterwards by the opinion of the Attorney-General, that a free
    man of color, born in the United States, is a citizen.[9] Since
    then patents have been issued to colored inventors.



    The abuses in Missouri, to which Mr. Sumner called attention,
    December 4, 1861, appeared even in the neighborhood of
    Washington, almost under the eye of Congress, so that he felt
    it his duty to expose them once more.

    December 18, he spoke briefly on the following resolution,
    introduced by himself the preceding day.

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on Military Affairs and the
        Militia be directed to consider the expediency of providing
        by additional legislation that our national armies shall
        not be employed in the surrender of fugitive slaves.”

MR. PRESIDENT,--Some days ago it was my duty to expose abuses in
Missouri in regard to fugitive slaves. Since then I have received
communications from that State, showing great interest in the question,
some of them in the nature of protest against the system adopted there.
One purports to be from a slave-master, educated in a Slave State, and
he speaks with bitterness of the indignity put upon the army there, and
of the injury it inflicts on the cause of the Union. Another contains a
passage which I shall read.

     “I wish to say in addition that I have lived twenty-four
    years in Missouri, that I know the people well, have served
    them in various offices; and let me assure you, it is nonsense
    to try to save Missouri to the Union, and the institution of
    Slavery also. We must give up one or the other. Slavery ought
    to fall, and Missouri be saved. Fremont’s army struck terror
    into the Secessionists. He made them feel it by taking their
    goods and chattels. Let our armies proclaim freedom to the
    slaves of the Secessionists and the Rebellion will soon close.
    We can take care of the free negroes at a future day; give
    General Lane ten thousand men, and he would establish peace in
    Missouri in thirty days.”

But, Sir, my special object now is, to exhibit wrong here at home
rather than in distant Missouri. Brigadier-General Stone, the
well-known commander at Ball’s Bluff, is adding to his disaster there
by engaging in the surrender of fugitive slaves. He does this most
successfully. If a fugitive slave is to be handed over to a Rebel, the
General is easily victorious.

Sir, beside my constant interest in this question, beside my interest
in the honor of the national army, I have a special interest at the
present moment, because Brigadier-General Stone sees fit to impose
this vile and unconstitutional duty upon Massachusetts troops. The
Governor of my honored State has charged me with a communication to the
Secretary of War, treating it as an indignity to the men, and an act
unworthy of the flag. I agree with the Governor; and when I ask your
attention to this outrage, I make myself his representative, as well as
my own.

Others beside the Governor of Massachusetts complain. There are two
German companies in one of the Massachusetts regiments, who entered
into the public service with the positive understanding that they
should not be put to any such discreditable and unconstitutional
service. They complain, and with them all their own compatriot
fellow-citizens, the enlightened, freedom-loving German population
throughout the country.

The complaint extends to other quarters. Here is a letter from
Philadelphia, interesting and to the point. I read a short extract only.

    “I have but one son, and he fought on Ball’s Bluff in the
    California regiment, where his bravery brought him into notice.
    He escaped, wounded, after dark. He protests against being made
    to return fugitive slaves, and, if ordered to that duty, will
    refuse obedience and take the consequences. I ask, Sir, shall
    our sons, who are offering their lives for the preservation
    of our institutions, be degraded to slave-catchers for any
    persons, loyal or disloyal? If such is the policy of the
    Government, I shall urge my son to shed no more blood for its

With such communications, some official and others private, I feel that
I should not do my duty, if I failed to implore the attention of the
Senate to this intolerable grievance. It must be arrested. I am glad
to know that my friend and colleague, the Chairman of the Committee on
Military Affairs [Mr. WILSON], promises us a bill to stop this outrage.
It should be introduced promptly, and passed at once. Our troops must
be saved from such shame.

    The resolution was adopted after remarks by Mr. Cowan, of
    Pennsylvania, which revealed the tone still prevalent in
    certain quarters. He said:--

        “I agree, that, if all men were Puritans, that, if all
        men appreciated Liberty as we do, and as our race does,
        then we might extend it to all men; but to extend it to
        men who have no appreciation of it, who would trample the
        boon under foot, when granted them,--to such men it is a
        mischief rather than a blessing.

        “Still I have only to say, that I think we have nothing in
        the world to do with all these questions. I think their
        discussion here, their being mooted in these assemblies,
        is mischievous, and only calculated to keep up an angry
        irritation, which may have exceedingly bad results in the
        final consummation of the struggle in which we are now

    Mr. Wilson, as chairman of the Committee, reported a bill on
    the subject, which, after debate, gave way to another from the
    House of Representatives, containing a new article of war,
    prohibiting the employment of the national forces in the return
    of fugitive slaves, which became a law March 13, 1862.[10]

       *       *       *       *       *

    This movement of Mr. Sumner was followed by a personal
    incident. General Stone, whose conduct was exposed with
    severity, took exception to the speech, and addressed him a
    letter intended to be very insulting. Mr. Sumner made no reply,
    nor did he utter any complaint in any quarter. A few days later
    be received notice from Boston that a near relative of the
    General had threatened to inflict personal violence upon him.
    Some time afterwards General Stone was taken into custody by
    military order, and for a long time incarcerated. The hostile
    press and the General’s friends charged this upon Mr. Sumner,
    often in most offensive terms, and it was repeated in the
    face of his constant denial. April 21, 1862, the question of
    this arrest was considered in the Senate, on motion of Mr.
    McDougall, of California, when Mr. Sumner spoke briefly.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I have no opinion to express on the case of General
Stone, for I know nothing about it. Clearly he ought to be confronted
with his accusers at an early day, unless, indeed, there be some reason
of transcending military character, which, in the present condition of
the country, at a moment of war, might render such a trial improper. Of
this I do not pretend to judge; nor am I aware of evidence on which the
Senate can now act.


I hope I shall be pardoned, if I allude to myself. A most persistent
attempt has been made in newspapers to connect me with this arrest, to
the extent of according to me and my imagined influence the credit
or the discredit of it. This is a mistake. I have been from the
beginning an absolute stranger to it. The arrest was made originally
without suggestion or hint from me, direct or indirect, and it has been
continued without any such suggestion or hint from me. I knew nothing
about it at the beginning, and know nothing about it now. There is no
intimate friend or family relative of the prisoner more entirely free
from all connection with it than myself.



    December 18, 1861, Mr. Sumner offered the following resolution,
    which, on his motion, was referred to the Committee on the

        “_Resolved_, That Trusten Polk, of Missouri, now a traitor
        to the United States, be expelled, and he hereby is
        expelled, from the Senate.”

    Mr. Sumner produced a letter from Mr. Polk, which had found its
    way into the newspapers, where he says: “Dissolution is now
    a fact,--not only a fact accomplished, but thrice repeated.
    Everything here looks like inevitable and final dissolution.
    Will Missouri hesitate a moment to go with her Southern
    sisters? I hope not.”

    Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, thought the letter was “not
    genuine,” and added:--

        “He is a native of my own State; from early boyhood he
        has been an exemplary Christian, a member of a religious
        denomination; and when the phrase is used in that letter,
        professing to have been written by Trusten Polk, that he
        had to ‘ante up $200,’ I am satisfied the language is not
        the language of Trusten Polk. He is not familiar with
        scenes where hundreds of dollars are ‘anted up.’”

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

I do not pretend to an opinion on the genuineness of the letter. Like
the Senator from Delaware, I have seen it in several newspapers, and
my attention has been specially called to it by correspondents in
Missouri, who write that its genuineness cannot be doubted. But this is
a question for the Committee.

If I understand the Senator, his argument against the genuineness
of the letter is founded on a phrase which he thinks Trusten Polk
could never have written: it is a phrase of doubtful style or taste,
showing bad associations. I am not familiar enough with Trusten Polk
to sit in judgment on his style, nor is the Senate called to any such
responsibility; but we are to sit in judgment on his public conduct,
and if the letter is not a forgery, there can be no question as to our

Believing the inquiry important, not doubting the duty of the Senate
to purge itself of traitors who have too long found sanctuary in its
Chamber, and satisfied that the country justly expects this to be done,
I have felt bound to introduce the resolution.

But there is more than the letter. The Senate has heard within a few
days that this person has found his way to Memphis. Why is he at
Memphis, when he should be at Washington?

    Some time afterwards Mr. Sumner received from Missouri the very
    letter, in the undoubted autograph of Mr. Polk, and with the
    phrase which it was insisted he could not have written.

    January 9, 1862, Mr. Ten Eyck, of New Jersey, reported
    the resolution from the Committee, with the unanimous
    recommendation that it pass.

    January 10, the resolution was adopted without debate: Yeas,
    36; Nays, 0.



    The following extract, copied from the letter-book of Governor
    Andrew, is a contemporary record of Mr. Sumner’s efforts with
    the Governor, and also of an important remark by President

                                         WASHINGTON, December 27, 1861.


  We hope that in your Message you will keep Massachusetts ahead,
  where she always has been, in the ideas of our movement. Let the
  doctrine of Emancipation be proclaimed as an essential and happy
  agency in subduing a wicked rebellion. In this way you will help
  a majority of the Cabinet, whose opinions on this subject are
  fixed, and precede the President himself by a few weeks. He tells
  me that I am ahead of him only a month or six weeks. God bless

      Ever yours,




    _Hamlet._ Come on, Sir.

    _Laertes._ Come, my Lord. [_They play._]


    _Osric._ A hit, a very palpable hit.

    _Laertes._ Well,--again.

    [LAERTES _wounds_ HAMLET; _then, in scuffling, they change
    rapiers, and_ HAMLET _wounds_ LAERTES.]

                                 SHAKESPEARE, _Hamlet_, Act V. Scene 2.

    It is, perhaps, well that you settled the matter by sending
    away the men at once. _Consistently with your own principles
    you could not have justified their detention._--RICHARD COBDEN,
    _MS. Letter to Mr. Sumner_, January 23, 1862.

    This announcement is not made, my Lord, to revive useless
    recollections of the past, nor to stir the embers from fires
    which have been in a great degree smothered by many years
    of peace. Far otherwise. Its purpose is to extinguish those
    fires effectually, before new incidents arise to fan them into
    flame. The communication is in the spirit of peace and for
    the sake of peace, and springs from a deep and conscientious
    conviction that high interests of both nations require this so
    long contested and controverted subject now to be finally put
    to rest.--DANIEL WEBSTER, _Letter to Lord Ashburton_, August 8,
    1842: Works, Vol. VI. p. 325.

    The case of the Trent was an important incident of the
    war,--most interesting for a time to the people of the United
    States, attracting the attention of foreign nations, and
    exciting England to hostile demonstrations, even to the verge
    of practical coöperation with a Rebellion for the sake of
    Slavery. The facts are few, and are authenticated by official

    At an early stage of the Rebellion, the Slave-Masters of
    Richmond appointed James M. Mason, of Virginia, commissioner
    and envoy to England, and John Slidell, of Louisiana, in the
    same capacity to France, each with a secretary, and also
    with instructions and despatches. Their duty was to help the
    Rebellion, especially in its financial and military exigencies,
    to urge its recognition, to make treaties of commerce and
    alliance, to obtain European intervention, and generally to
    oppose the diplomacy of the United States. As the Rebel ports
    were already under strict blockade, and there were no Rebel
    vessels for their conveyance, they were driven to rely upon
    accommodation under a neutral flag. Some time in October, 1861,
    they succeeded in running the blockade and reaching Havana.
    Here their pretensions and objects were notorious. But this was
    only the first stage in the voyage. The next was conveyance to
    Europe; and for this they relied upon the English flag, taking
    passage in the Trent, bound from Havana to St. Thomas, from
    which latter place a regular line of steamers, connecting with
    the Trent, ran to England. Mr. Dana, in his excellent statement
    of the case, says: “Their character and destination were well
    known to the agent and master of the Trent, as well as the
    great interest felt by the Rebels that they should, and by
    the United States officials that they should not, reach their
    destination in safety.”[11] The regular mails for England from
    South America and Cuba were aboard, to be transferred at St.
    Thomas, with a large number of passengers bound to England.

    On the high seas, within a few hours’ sail of Nassau, the
    Trent was stopped and searched by the national steamer San
    Jacinto, commanded by Captain Wilkes, afterwards Rear-Admiral,
    acting on his own responsibility, and without any instructions
    from the National Government. The two commissioners and
    their secretaries were found aboard, but the despatches were
    secreted or confided to some of the passengers. Here Mr. Dana
    remarks: “There was no evidence or charge that the commander
    of the Trent aided in the concealment or forwarding of these
    despatches. He did, however, deny the right of search, refused
    all facilities for it, and obstructed it by everything but
    actual force, and made it known to Captain Wilkes that he
    yielded only to superior power, and that, if made a prize,
    he and his crew would lend no aid in carrying the Trent into
    port.”[12] Under these circumstances, Captain Wilkes took
    the two commissioners with their suite, and carried them as
    prisoners to the United States, while the Trent proceeded on
    her voyage.

    As this incident became known in the United States, there was
    a general expression of sympathy and approbation. The press
    was unanimous. Persons in authority gave their adhesion by
    public speech or writing, among whom were Mr. Everett, Governor
    Andrew, Chief-Justice Bigelow of Massachusetts, Professor
    Parsons of the Law School at Cambridge, Mr. Caleb Cushing, and
    Mr. George Sumner, all of whom were to a certain extent under
    the influence of British precedents.

    The Secretary of the Navy, under date of November 30, 1861,
    addressed a communication to Captain Wilkes, containing the
    following significant words.

        “Your conduct in seizing these public enemies was marked by
        intelligence, ability, decision, and firmness, and has the
        emphatic approval of this Department. It is not necessary
        that I should in this communication, which is intended to
        be one of congratulation to yourself, officers, and crew,
        express an opinion on the course pursued in omitting to
        capture the vessel which had these public enemies on board,
        further than to say that the forbearance exercised in this
        instance must not be permitted to constitute a precedent
        hereafter for infractions of neutral obligations.”[13]

    The House of Representatives made haste, December 2, 1861, the
    first day of its session, to adopt a joint resolution tendering
    the thanks of Congress to Captain Wilkes, “for his brave,
    adroit, and patriotic conduct in the arrest and detention of
    the traitors James M. Mason and John Slidell.” This was on the
    motion of Hon. Owen Lovejoy, the faithful Abolitionist. The
    joint resolution, on reaching the Senate, was referred to the
    Committee on Naval Affairs, of which Mr. Hale was chairman.
    Mr. Sumner suggested its reference to the Committee on Foreign
    Relations; but Mr. Hale insisted, by way of objection, that
    “the attempt now to take it out of its ordinary course and
    refer it to the Committee on Foreign Relations would be taken
    as an intimation that there is some doubt in some minds as
    to the propriety of the course that Captain Wilkes took.”
    Unwilling to raise a debate at that moment, Mr. Sumner assented
    to the reference proposed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In England there was a counter sentiment, breaking out
    into expressions of exasperation. The press was bitter and
    vindictive. Public report attested a crisis, which may be read
    in the newspapers of Richmond, throbbing sympathetically with
    the London organs.

    The _Richmond Examiner_, of December 19, broke forth in notes
    of triumph.

        “All other topics become trifles beside the tidings of
        England which occupy this journal, and all commentary
        that diverts public attention from that single point is
        impertinence. The effect of the outrage of the Trent on the
        public sentiment of Great Britain more than fulfils the
        prophecy that we made when the arrest of the Confederate
        ministers was a fresh event. All legal quibbling and
        selfish calculation has been consumed like straw in the
        burning sense of incredible insult.”

    Then, speculating upon the position of the National Government,
    the same journal says:--

        “The Abolition element of the Northern States would go
        straight to revolution at the least movement toward a
        surrender of the captives.… Spectators of these events, who
        can doubt that the Almighty fiat has gone forth against the
        American Union, or that the Southern Confederacy is decreed
        by Divine Wisdom?”

    The _Richmond Enquirer_ of the same date likewise rejoiced.

        “We have no need to invite attention to the extremely
        interesting foreign news which we publish to-day from
        England. The old British lion is giving an honest roar, in
        view of the indignity visited upon the Queen’s flag.… We
        will not disturb the eloquence of such facts by words of
        comment. We will only say, Well done, John Bull! France,
        too, echoes the British indignation, and will support her
        action. _Vive Napoléon!_ … After the brave talk and the
        congratulations to Wilkes by both Cabinet and Congress, it
        would be to the last degree pusillanimous to retreat. We
        think Lincoln will be afraid to prove so great a coward.”

    Swiftly came the British demand, in a letter from Earl Russell
    to Lord Lyons at Washington, dated at London, November 30, and
    read to Mr. Seward December 19. It concluded in the following

        “Her Majesty’s Government, therefore, trust, that, when
        this matter shall have been brought under the consideration
        of the Government of the United States, that Government
        will, of its own accord, offer to the British Government
        such redress as alone could satisfy the British nation,
        namely, the liberation of the four gentlemen and their
        delivery to your Lordship, in order that they may again
        be placed under British protection, and a suitable apology
        for the aggression which has been committed. Should these
        terms not be offered by Mr. Seward, you will propose them
        to him.”[14]

    “The four gentlemen,” being the commissioners and their
    secretaries, all Rebels, were to be liberated forthwith, and “a
    suitable apology” was to be made by the National Government.
    Such was the mandate. But accompanying these instructions
    read to Mr. Seward was a private communication to Lord Lyons,
    directing him to break up his legation and to leave Washington,
    if the National Government did not submit to the terms required
    after “a delay not exceeding seven days.” Here are the words:--

        “Should Mr. Seward ask for delay, in order that this grave
        and painful matter should be deliberately considered, you
        will consent to a delay not exceeding seven days. If at the
        end of that time no answer is given, or if any other answer
        is given except that of a compliance with the demands of
        Her Majesty’s Government, your Lordship is instructed to
        leave Washington, with all the members of your legation,
        bringing with you the archives of the legation, and to
        repair immediately to London.… You will communicate with
        Vice-Admiral Sir A. Milne immediately upon receiving the
        answer of the American Government, and you will send him
        a copy of that answer, together with such observations
        as you may think fit to make. You will also give all the
        information in your power to the Governors of Canada, Nova
        Scotia, New Brunswick, Jamaica, Bermuda, and such other of
        Her Majesty’s possessions as may be within your reach.”[15]

    These latter instructions, contemplating war, were unknown
    in our country at the time of the settlement, and, when read
    in the calmness of a period removed from the event, seem
    incomprehensible in spirit. They are positive and peremptory,
    without recognizing any possibility of delay, even for a
    proposal of arbitration. Plainly they announce, as the British
    alternatives, instant surrender, with suitable apology, or war.
    This is the conclusion of Mr. Dana, in his admirable note, and
    nobody can doubt it.

    In accord with this note was the conduct of the British
    Government, making preparations for war; and here is
    unimpeachable British testimony.

        “Troops were despatched to Canada with all possible
        expedition; and that brave and loyal colony called out
        its militia and volunteers, so as to be ready to act at a
        moment’s notice. Our dock-yards here resounded with the din
        of workmen getting vessels fitted for sea; and there was
        but one feeling, which animated all classes and parties in
        the country, and that was a determination to vindicate our
        insulted honor and uphold the inviolability of the national

    At that moment the American Republic was straining every
    nerve to suppress a Rebellion whose single declared object
    was the foundation of a new government with Slavery as its
    corner-stone. War by England was practical recognition of the
    new government, with alliance and breaking of the blockade.

    The difficulty in comprehending this attitude is increased,
    when it is known that the British Government did not regard the
    seizure as authorized by instructions. In his letter to Lord
    Lyons, Earl Russell says expressly: “Her Majesty’s Government
    are willing to believe that the United States naval officer
    who committed the aggression was not acting in compliance with
    any authority from his Government.”[17] Therefore the National
    Government had done nothing,--absolutely nothing.

    On the same day that Earl Russell indited his remarkable
    despatch, Mr. Seward wrote from Washington to Mr. Adams,
    at London, on business of the legation, and in his letter
    mentions that Captain Wilkes “acted without any instructions
    from the Government.” He adds: “We have done nothing on the
    subject to anticipate the discussion.” The letter throughout
    is in the spirit of peace. After declaring his inference
    “that the British Government is now awake to the importance
    of averting possible conflict, and disposed to confer and act
    with earnestness to that end,” Mr. Seward says, “If so, we are
    disposed to meet them in the same spirit, as a nation chiefly
    of British lineage, sentiments, and sympathies, a civilized
    and humane nation, a Christian people,” and then adds, that
    the affair of the Trent “is to be met and disposed of by the
    two Governments, if possible, in the spirit to which I have
    adverted,”[18] that is, with a sense of “the importance of
    averting possible conflict,” and a disposition “to confer and
    act with earnestness to that end,” as a Christian people. It
    so happened that Mr. Adams read this letter to Earl Russell on
    the very day that Lord Lyons read the demand for surrender and
    apology to Mr. Seward; but the British Government did not allow
    its pacific contents to become known, and the war-fever went
    on. Here Mr. Dana aptly remarks: “The truth seems to be, that,
    so long as they were uncertain whether their menace of war
    might not lead to war, they could not afford to withdraw the
    chief motive for the war-spirit in the British people, and to
    admit that their warlike demonstration had been needless. Their
    popular support depended upon a general belief in a necessity
    for their having accompanied their demand with the preparations
    and menace of war.”[19]

    The extraordinary character of this demand was recognized at
    the time in Europe. The Count de Gasparin, after describing
    it as “a question of declaring war,” and an “ultimatum,”
    said: “Between great nations, between sister nations, it was
    a strange opening. The usage is hardly to commence with an
    _ultimatum_,--that is, to commence with the end. Ordinarily,
    when there has been a misunderstanding or regrettable act,
    especially when that act comes within a portion of the Law of
    Nations which is yet full of obscurity, the natural opening
    is to ask for explanations as to the intentions, and for
    reparation for what has been done, without mixing therewith an
    immediate menace of rupture.”[20] After expressing astonishment
    that a demand of apology “figured in the original programme,”
    which he pronounced entirely out of place, the impartial
    Frenchman proceeds: “Seeing such haste and proclamation so
    lofty of an exigence above debate, seeing the idea of an
    impious war accepted with so much ease by some and with such
    joy so little dissembled by others, Europe declared, without
    ambiguity or reserve, that, if England were not miraculously
    saved from her own undertaking, that, if she went so far as to
    fire a cannon at the North as an ally of the South, she would
    tear with her own hands her principal titles to the respect
    of the civilized world.”[21] Rejecting the pretension that
    the maintenance of peace was due to the “warlike measures of
    England,” the eloquent moralist exclaims, “America has just
    rendered to England the most signal service which ever a people
    rendered to another people,” and this by refusing the war which
    was menaced,--a war, as painted by him, where, in addition
    to untold calamity, would be the wretchedness of striking at
    the liberty of the world in alliance with slave-traders. How
    naturally he adds: “From the moment that she is only the ally
    of slave-traders, she has abdicated.”[22]

    The summary tone of the British Government and the
    contemporaneous preparations for war enhanced the difficulties
    peculiar to such a question; but it was easy to see, on
    examination, that the demand was in substantial conformity with
    American precedents, and accordingly the Rebels, who had been
    confined at Fort Warren, in Boston Harbor, were handed over to
    the British Government.

       *       *       *       *       *

    While the question was under consideration by the Cabinet
    of President Lincoln, and before any conclusion had been
    communicated to the British Government, an incident occurred
    in the Senate which showed the feeling that sought expression.
    December 26th, Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, who had already
    avowed his sympathy with the act of Captain Wilkes, found
    occasion to discuss it at some length, and to denounce the idea
    of surrendering the Rebels. A few passages will show the tone
    he adopted.

        “I believe that the Cabinet to-day and yesterday, and for
        some days past, have had under consideration a measure
        which involves more of good or evil to this country
        than anything that has ever occurred before: I mean the
        surrender, on the demand of Great Britain, of the persons
        of Messrs. Slidell and Mason. To my mind, a more fatal act
        could not mark the history of this country,--an act that
        would surrender at once to the arbitrary demand of Great
        Britain all that was won in the Revolution, reduce us to
        the position of a second-rate power, and make us the vassal
        of Great Britain.…

        “I have seen many gentlemen, and I have seen none, not a
        man can be found, who is in favor of this surrender; for it
        would humiliate us in the eyes of the world, irritate our
        own people, and subject us to their indignant scorn. If we
        are to have war with Great Britain, it will not be because
        we refuse to surrender Messrs. Mason and Slidell: that is a
        mere pretence. If war shall come, it will be because Great
        Britain has determined to force war upon us. They would
        humiliate us first and fight us afterwards. If we are to
        be humiliated, I prefer to take it after a war, and not
        before.… I pray that this Administration will not surrender
        our national honor. I tell them that hundreds and thousands
        and hundreds of thousands will rush to the battle-field,
        and bare their breasts to its perils, rather than submit to

    Mr. Sumner at that time had not seen the demand, and was
    without any precise information on the subject, but felt it his
    duty to say something by way of breakwater against the rising
    tide. He spoke briefly.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator has made his speech, and then withdrawn his
motion; he has accomplished his object. For myself, Sir, I would rather
meet this question, truly important, when presented in a practical
form. The Senator treats it on an hypothesis; he assumes that Great
Britain has made an arrogant demand, and then proceeds to denounce it.
How does he know that any such demand has been made? Who in the Senate
knows it? Who in the country knows it? I do not believe it,--will not
believe it, except on evidence.

The Senator says that he is not against arbitration. How does he know
that this is not the policy of the Administration? But I know nobody
here who can speak for the Administration on this point.

I submit to the Senator that on both points he has spoken too swiftly.
There is no evidence to justify him in belief that any arrogant demand
has been made; there is no evidence that can lead him to distrust the
fidelity of the Administration. Speaking for myself and nobody else, I
declare my conviction that the question will be peaceably and honorably
adjusted. I do not believe that it is a question for war; and I hail
with gratitude the declaration of the honorable Senator in favor of
arbitration. This at least is pacific in what must be called a war
speech. But do not understand me as intimating that such mode is under
consideration. I content myself with repeating, that the question is
in safe hands, and that it will be better for us to reserve ourselves
until it is presented in some practical form, or at least on evidence,
and not on mere hypothesis.

    Mr. Sumner had been with the President and his Cabinet the day
    before, to read important letters just received from Mr. Cobden
    and Mr. Bright; but he did not know the conclusion on the
    question. The few words in reply to Mr. Hale were in the spirit
    of peace, and as such were warmly welcomed by the public.
    The sympathy they awakened attests the prevailing interest.
    A leading citizen of Providence wrote: “Very many thanks for
    your mild rebuke of our friend Senator Hale, when he mounted
    the war-horse.” Another in Boston adopted the same vein: “For
    your wise words, after the war speech of Mr. Hale, you have my
    thanks, and the thanks of thousands who will never express to
    you their feelings. I know you will exert your great influence
    on the side of peace, and I rejoice that you have so much moral
    power in this matter.” Rev. George C. Beckwith, Corresponding
    Secretary of the American Peace Society, had promptly declared
    his trust: “It is a matter of special congratulation, that
    the helm of our Foreign Relations, so far as the Senate is
    concerned, is held at this juncture in hands so worthy of our
    confidence. We trust that you and your Committee will have all
    the wisdom and other qualities needed to meet the case now
    before us just as it ought to be.” A friend holding high office
    in Massachusetts augured new strength for Mr. Sumner in the
    battle with Slavery: “Your decisive speech,” he wrote, “will do
    much to raise you in the estimation of those who were alarmed
    by your Emancipation doctrines, and who begin to see that you
    are right in that, as well as other things.”

    The confidence reposed had its responsibilities increased
    by his position as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign
    Relations, and, when the surrender was announced, Mr. Sumner
    felt it a duty to do what he could in reconciling the people
    to his conclusion, especially as he was satisfied that the
    original taking of the Rebels could not be justified without
    adopting most obnoxious British precedents. Besides, reform in
    Maritime Law seemed to be involved in the discussion, and he
    was not without hope of contributing to this important result.
    Therefore he made an early occasion to address the Senate on
    the subject.

    In his speech Mr. Sumner brought into strong relief the early
    and long continued pretension of England to enter our ships and
    take our sailors without trial of any kind, as Captain Wilkes
    had entered the Trent and taken the Rebel agents. In presenting
    this point, he was determined not only by the London press,
    which adopted the original American objection to any such entry
    and taking, but also by the unpublished opinions of the law
    advisers of the Crown, which he had before him in manuscript.

    The capture of the Rebels was known in London on the evening
    of 27th November. But some time before, on an intimation that
    such an attempt might be made, the British Government had asked
    the opinion of the law officers on the questions involved
    in such an act. An answer was returned, bearing date 12th
    November, which was signed by the Queen’s Advocate-General, the
    Attorney-General, and the Solicitor-General. In this opinion
    it was stated: “The United States ship of war may put a prize
    crew on board the West India steamer and carry her off to a
    port of the United States for adjudication by a Prize Court
    there; _but she would have no right to remove Messrs. Mason and
    Slidell and carry them off as prisoners, leaving the ship to
    pursue her voyage_.” This opinion was supposed to have greater
    value because it was given sixteen days before anything on the
    subject had appeared in the London press. Afterwards the case
    of the Trent was submitted to these law officers, and on the
    28th of November they gave another opinion in accordance with
    the former, where they say: “From on board a merchant ship of a
    neutral power, pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage, _certain
    individuals have been taken by force. They were not apparently
    officers in the military or naval service of the Confederate
    Government._” They conclude that Her Majesty’s Government “will
    be justified in requiring reparation for the international
    wrong which has been on this occasion committed.” In conformity
    with this opinion, Earl Russell, in his letter demanding the
    surrender, treated it simply as a forcible taking of “certain
    individuals” from an innocent British vessel at sea by an
    American ship of war, all of which had been too often done by
    British ships of war with innocent American vessels at sea.

    It will be observed that Earl Russell uses the most general
    language, without specification; but the contemporaneous press
    dwelt on the single point taken by the law officers. One of
    these is quoted in Mr. Sumner’s speech.

    In France, the _Revue des Deux Mondes_ wrote, as if instructed
    from Downing Street:--

        “England _confines herself_ to denying that an officer can
        erect himself into a judge in such a cause, the decision of
        which should belong only to a Court of Admiralty. Captain
        Wilkes, _substituting himself arbitrarily for the judicial
        authority_, alone competent to give a legal character to
        his prize, England can see in the act which he committed on
        the Trent only an act of violence, an outrage perpetrated
        against the British flag.”[24]

    This single point found sudden favor in England. Nassau W.
    Senior, the eminent economist, in close relations with the
    British Cabinet, wrote to Mr. Sumner, under date of December
    10: “We think that Captain Wilkes _could not make himself judge
    in his own cause_; that the utmost he could have done legally
    would have been to take the Trent into an Admiralty Court.”
    Here the able Englishman simply echoes the early and constant
    doctrine of our country; but others among his countrymen did
    the same.

    The intimate relations of Mr. Sumner with Mr. Cobden and Mr.
    Bright, already existing, were quickened during this anxious
    period, when these eminent English statesmen wrote constantly,
    full of friendship for our country and anxious always for
    peace. The perfect freedom of these communications may be
    judged by a passage in a letter of Mr. Cobden.

        “I write to you, of course, in confidence; and I write to
        you what I would not write to any other American,--nay,
        what it would be perhaps improper for any other Englishman
        than myself to utter to any other American but yourself.
        But we are, I think, both more of Christians and
        cosmopolitans than British or Yankee.”

    Intervening time and death have removed the seal of confidence,
    opening what passed between them to the observation of history.

    Mr. Cobden occupied himself especially to obtain important
    reforms in International Law on the ocean. This was part
    of his scheme for disarmament; and here Mr. Sumner was a
    fellow-laborer. He was anxious that the attention suddenly
    directed to Maritime Rights should redound to the good of
    the Human Family. His programme was given in a letter dated
    December 5, and read by Mr. Sumner to President Lincoln and his
    Cabinet, while considering the British demand, on the forenoon
    of Christmas day. Mr. Cobden begins by quoting from the public
    letter of General Scott, then at Paris.

        “I am sure that the President and people of the United
        States would be but too happy to let these men go free,
        unnatural and unpardonable as their offences have been,
        if by it they could emancipate the commerce of the world.
        Greatly as it would be to our disadvantage, at this present
        crisis, to surrender any of these maritime privileges of
        belligerents which are sanctioned by the Laws of Nations,
        I feel that I take no responsibility in saying that the
        United States will be faithful to their traditional policy
        upon this subject, and to the spirit of their political

    He then proceeds:--

        “If I were in the position of your Government, I would
        act upon it, and thus, by a great strategic movement,
        turn the flank of the European powers, _especially of the
        governing classes of England_. I would propose to let Mason
        and Slidell go, and stipulate, at the same time, for a
        complete abandonment of the old code of Maritime Law as
        upheld by England and the European powers. I would propose
        that private property at sea should be exempt from capture
        by armed Government ships. On this condition I would give
        in my adhesion to the abolition of privateering. I would
        propose that neutral merchant vessels, in time of war, as
        in time of peace, should be exempt from search, visitation,
        or detention, by armed Government vessels, when on the
        ocean or high seas,--I mean when beyond that distance from
        the shore which removes them from the jurisdiction of any
        maritime state. I would propose to abolish blockades of
        purely commercial ports, excepting for articles contraband
        of war.”

    To these just and magnificent reforms Mr. Cobden returns in
    other letters, dwelling on the abolition of blockades, but
    pressing upon our country the duty of advancing all, and, in
    the ardor of appeal, exclaiming, “Take high ground with Europe
    for a complete sweep of the old maritime code, and then take
    your own time to deal with the Slave States,” and concluding
    another letter with the words, “Recollect how immensely you
    would gain in moral power by leading all Europe in the path of
    civilization. You owe it to yourselves and us.”

    This correspondence reveals the anxiety of good Englishmen,
    and also the various reports by which the public mind was
    perplexed. In one letter Mr. Cobden writes: “Everybody tells
    me that war is inevitable; and yet I do not believe in war.”
    In another he mentions “an impression in high quarters that
    Mr. Seward wishes to quarrel with this country,” which he
    characterizes as “absurd enough.” In another he alludes to
    the joint resolution of thanks to Captain Wilkes, adopted by
    the House of Representatives, as “viewed here by our alarmist
    journals as almost a declaration of war”; and, after mentioning
    that “grave men, holding the highest post in your cultivated
    State of Massachusetts, compliment Captain Wilkes for having
    given an affront to the British lion,” he says, with point, “It
    makes it very hard for Bright and me to contend against the
    British-lion party in this country.”

    Even in this peculiar atmosphere his clearness of perception
    did not fail, and Mr. Cobden saw the mistake of principle or
    policy involved in the “impressment” of the Rebel agents. In
    the postscript of a letter dated November 27, the very day
    when the taking was first known in London, he wrote: “We are
    rather unprepared to find you exercising in a strained manner
    the right of search, _inasmuch as you have been supposed to be
    always the opponents of the practice_.”

    In the same vein his eloquent colleague, Mr. Bright, wrote,
    under date of December 5: “Our law officers are agreed and
    strong in their opinion of the illegality of the seizure of the
    commissioners; _but I cannot make out how or where it exceeds
    the course taken by English ships of war before the War of
    1812_. But all the people here, of course, accept their opinion
    as conclusive on the law of the case.”

    Thus directly from the opinions of the law officers, and also
    from various testimony, including the press, is it apparent
    that the special objection of England was founded on the
    forcible taking of “certain individuals” from a British vessel.

    Naturally, therefore, Mr. Sumner planted himself on the early
    American postulate, constantly maintained by us and constantly
    denied by England. In the able note already cited Mr. Dana sums
    up the result.

        “This celebrated case can be considered as having settled
        but one principle, and that had substantially ceased to be
        a disputed question: viz., that a public ship, though of a
        nation at war, cannot take persons out of a neutral vessel
        at sea, whatever may be the claim of her Government on
        those persons.”[25]

    Mr. Seward was, therefore, right, when, in his communication
    to Lord Lyons, he announced the settlement of the case “upon
    principles confessedly American.”[26] In similar spirit,
    Prince Gortschakoff, in behalf of the Russian Cabinet,
    congratulated our Republic upon “remaining faithful to the
    political principles which she has always maintained, even
    when those principles were turned against her, and abstaining
    from invoking in her turn the benefit of doctrines which she
    has always repudiated.”[27] And Baron Ricasoli, speaking for
    the Italian Cabinet, would not believe that the Government at
    Washington “desired to change its character all at once, and
    become the champion of theories which history has shown to be
    calamitous, and which public opinion has condemned forever.”[28]

       *       *       *       *       *

    The correspondence “in relation to the recent removal of
    certain citizens of the United States from the British
    mail-steamer Trent,” including the letter of Earl Russell and
    the reply of Mr. Seward, and also the letter of M. Thouvenel,
    Minister of Foreign Affairs in France, was communicated to
    the Senate January 6, 1862. Its reference to the Committee
    on Foreign Relations was, on motion of Mr. Sumner, made the
    special order for January 9th, at one o’clock, when he made his

    January 7th, two days before Mr. Sumner’s speech, the subject
    was discussed in the House of Representatives, and strong
    speeches were made against the surrender. Mr. Vallandigham, of
    Ohio, a leading Democrat, said:--

        “I avail myself of this, the earliest opportunity yet
        presented, to express my utter and strong condemnation,
        as one of the Representatives of the people, of the act
        of the Administration surrendering Mr. Mason and Mr.
        Slidell to the British Government.… In six days after the
        imperious and peremptory demand of Great Britain they were
        abjectly surrendered, upon the mere rumor of the approach
        of a hostile fleet; and thus, Sir, for the first time in
        our national history, have we strutted insolently into
        a quarrel without right and then basely crept out of it
        without honor; and thus, too, for the first time, has
        the American eagle been made to cower before the British

    Then again the same Democratic Proslavery orator said:--

        “I would prefer a war with England to the humiliation which
        we have tamely submitted to; and I venture the assertion
        that such a war would have called into the field five
        hundred thousand men who are not now there, and never will
        be without it, and have developed an energy and power in
        the United States which no country has exhibited in modern
        times, except France, in her great struggle in 1793.”[30]

    In equal opposition to the British demand, Mr. B. F. Thomas, of
    Massachusetts, an able lawyer, said:--

        “The surrender is made, the thing done. In the presence
        of great duties we have no time for the luxury of grief.
        Complaint of the Government would be useless, if not
        groundless. It was too much to ask of it to take another
        war on its hands.… But we are not called upon, Mr.
        Speaker, to say that the demand was manly or just. It was
        unmanly and unjust. It was a demand which, in view of her
        history, of the rights she had always claimed and used as a
        belligerent power, of the principles which her greatest of
        jurists, Lord Stowell, had imbedded in the Law of Nations,
        England was fairly estopped to make.… When the matter is
        more carefully weighed, it will be seen and felt that no
        wrong was done to England,--that there was no wrong in the
        forbearance to exercise an extreme right,--no insult, for
        none was intended,--that our feeling, if any, leaned to
        virtue’s side, was a relaxation of the iron rigor of law
        from motives of humanity and Christian courtesy,--that,
        on the other hand, England has done to us a great wrong,
        in availing herself of our moment of weakness to make a
        demand, which, accompanied as it was by the ‘pomp and
        circumstance of war,’ was insolent in spirit and thoroughly
        unjust.… But the loss will ultimately be hers. She is
        treasuring up to herself wrath against the day of wrath.
        She has excited in the hearts of this people a deep and
        bitter sense of wrong, of injury inflicted at a moment
        when we could not respond. It is night with us now; but
        through the watches of the night, even, we shall be girding
        ourselves to strike the blow of righteous retribution.”[31]

    In similar spirit, Mr. Wright, of Pennsylvania, said:--

        “Let England take them; if she has a mind to fête and
        toast them, let her do it,--it is none of our business; if
        England desires to make lions of Confederate Rebels, it is
        a mere matter of taste. If they have to be surrendered,
        then let them be surrendered under a protest, while we
        shall remember hereafter that there is a matter to be
        cancelled between the British Government and the United
        States of North America.”[32]

    These utterances show elements in the atmosphere when
    Mr. Sumner spoke. With many there was grief mingled with
    indignation, while others who accepted the result felt a new
    burden added to the war. Something was needed as a rally.


MR. PRESIDENT,--Every principle of International Law, when justly and
authoritatively settled, is a safeguard of peace and a landmark of
civilization. It constitutes part of that code which is the supreme
law, above all municipal laws, binding the whole Commonwealth of
Nations. Such a settlement may be by a general Congress of Nations,
as at Munster, Vienna, or Paris; or it may be through the general
accord of treaties; or it may be by a precedent established under such
conspicuous circumstances, with all nations as assenting witnesses,
that it becomes at once a commanding rule of international conduct.
Especially is this the case, if disturbing pretensions, long maintained
to the detriment of civilization, are practically renounced. Without
congress or treaty, such a precedent is now established.

Surely it ought to be considered and understood in its true character.
Undertaking to explain it, I shall speak for myself alone; but I shall
speak frankly, according to the wise freedom of public debate, and the
plain teachings of history on the question involved, trusting sincerely
that what I utter may contribute something to elevate the honest
patriotism of the country, and perhaps to secure that tranquil judgment
under which this precedent will be the herald, if not the guardian, of
international harmony.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two old men and two younger associates, recently taken from the British
mail packet Trent, on the high seas, by order of Captain Wilkes of the
United States Navy, and afterwards detained in custody at Fort Warren,
are liberated and placed at the disposition of the British Government.
This is at the instance of that Government, made on the assumption that
the original capture was an act of violence constituting an affront
to the British flag, and a violation of International Law. This is a
simple outline of the facts. To appreciate the value of the precedent,
other matters must be brought into view.

These two old men were citizens of the United States, and for many
years Senators. Arrogant, audacious, persistent, perfidious,--one was
author of the Fugitive Slave Bill, and the other was chief author of
the filibustering system which has disgraced our national name and
disturbed our national peace. Occupying places of trust and power
in the service of the country, they conspired against it, and at
last the secret traitors and conspirators became open rebels. The
present Rebellion, surpassing in proportions and in wickedness any
rebellion in history, was from the beginning quickened and promoted
by their untiring energies. That country to which they owed love,
honor, and obedience, they betrayed and gave over to violence and
outrage. Treason, conspiracy, and rebellion, each in succession, acted
through them. The incalculable expenditures now tasking the national
resources,--the untold derangement of affairs, not only at home,
but abroad,--the levy of armies without example,--the devastation
of extended spaces of territory,--the plunder of peaceful ships on
the ocean, and the slaughter of fellow-citizens on the murderous
battle-field,--such are some of the consequences proceeding directly
from them.

To carry forward still further the gigantic crime of which they were
so large a part, these two old men, with their two younger associates,
stole from Charleston on board a Rebel steamer, and, under cover of
darkness and storm, running the surrounding blockade and avoiding the
national cruisers, succeeded in reaching the neutral island of Cuba,
where, with open display and the knowledge of the British consul, they
embarked on board the British mail packet Trent, bound for St. Thomas,
whence they were to embark for England, in which kingdom one of them
was to play the part of Ambassador of the Rebellion, while the other
was to play the same part in France. The original treason, conspiracy,
and rebellion, of which they were so heinously guilty, were all
continued on this voyage, which became a prolongation of the original
crime, destined to still further excess through their ambassadorial
pretensions, which it was hoped would array two great nations against
the United States, and enlist them openly in support of an accursed
Slaveholding Rebellion. While on their way, the pretended ambassadors
were arrested by Captain Wilkes, of the United States steamer San
Jacinto, an accomplished officer, already well known by scientific
explorations, who on this occasion acted without instructions from his
Government. If in this arrest he forgot for a moment the fixed policy
of the Republic, which has been from the beginning like a frontlet
between the eyes, and transcended the Law of Nations, as the United
States have always declared it, his apology will be found in the
patriotic impulse by which he was inspired, and the British examples he
could not forget. They were the enemies of his country, embodying in
themselves the triple essence of worst enmity,--treason, conspiracy,
and rebellion; and they bore a professed ambassadorial character,
which, as he supposed, according to high British authority, rendered
them liable to be stopped, while, as American citizens, they were
liable to seizure by the National Government in strict conformity with
long continued British practice. If, in the ardor of an honest nature,
Captain Wilkes erred, he might well say,--

    “Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious,
    Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man.
    The expedition of my violent love
    Outran the pauser reason.…
    … Who could refrain,
    That had a heart to love, and in that heart
    Courage to make his love known?”

If this transaction be regarded exclusively in the light of British
precedents, if we follow the seeming authority of the British
Admiralty, speaking by its greatest voice, and especially if we accept
the oft repeated example of British cruisers, upheld by the British
Government against the oft repeated protests of the United States, we
find little difficulty in vindicating it. The act becomes questionable
only when brought to the touchstone of those liberal principles which
from the earliest times the American Government has openly avowed
and sought to advance, and other European nations have accepted with
regard to the sea. Great Britain cannot complain, except by adopting
those identical principles; and should we undertake to vindicate the
act, it can be only by repudiating those identical principles. Our two
cases will be reversed. In the struggle between Laertes and Hamlet,
the combatants exchanged rapiers, so that Hamlet was armed with the
rapier of Laertes, and Laertes with the rapier of Hamlet. And now,
on this sensitive question, a similar exchange occurs. Great Britain
is armed with American principles, while to us are left only those
British pretensions which throughout our history have been constantly,
deliberately, and solemnly rejected.

Earl Russell, in his despatch to Lord Lyons, communicated to Mr.
Seward, contents himself by saying that “it appears that certain
individuals have been forcibly taken from on board a British vessel,
the ship of a neutral power, _while such vessel was pursuing a lawful
and innocent voyage_,--an act of violence which was an affront to
the British flag, and a violation of International Law.”[33] Here is
positive assertion that the ship, notoriously having on board the Rebel
emissaries, was pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage; but there is no
specification of the precise ground on which the act is regarded as a
violation of International Law. Of course, it is not an affront; for an
accident can never be an affront to an individual or to a nation.

But public report, authenticated by various authorities, English and
Continental, forbids us to continue ignorant of the precise ground on
which this act is presented as a violation of International Law. It
is admitted that a United States man-of-war, meeting a British mail
steamer beyond the territorial limits of Great Britain, may subject
her to visitation and search; also that such man-of-war might put a
prize crew on board the British steamer, and take her to a port of
the United States for adjudication by a Prize Court there; but it
is alleged that she would have no right to remove the individuals,
not apparently officers in the military or naval service, and carry
them off as prisoners, leaving the ship to pursue her voyage.[34]
Under the circumstances, in the exercise of a belligerent right, the
British steamer, with all on board, might have been captured and
carried off; but, according to the British law officers, on whose
professional opinion the British Cabinet acted, the whole proceeding
was vitiated by failure to take the packet into port for condemnation.
This failure is the occasion of much unprofessional objurgation; and
we are emphatically and constantly reminded that the custody of the
individuals in question could not be determined by a navy officer on
his quarter-deck, so as to supersede the adjudication of a Prize Court.
This is confidently stated by an English writer, assuming to put the
case for his Government, as follows.

    “It is not to the right of search that we object, _but to the
    following seizure without process of law_. What we deny is _the
    right of a naval officer to stand in place of a Prize Court_,
    and adjudicate, sword in hand, with a _sic volo, sic jubeo_, on
    the very deck which is a part of our territory.”[35]

The same authority flourishes the same objection again.

    “If Captain Wilkes and his irresponsible supporters imagine
    that we shall submit to the _arbitrary, semi-barbarous
    practice_, they will in a few days be undeceived; for our
    Government has instructed Lord Lyons to demand reparation for
    so wanton a breach of friendly relations.”[36]

Such declarations in an important journal, and in precise harmony
with the opinions of the British law officers, seem semi-official in

Thus it appears that the present complaint of the British Government
is not founded on any assumption by the American war steamer of the
belligerent right of search,--nor on the ground that this right was
exercised on a neutral vessel between two neutral ports,--nor that
it was exercised on a mail steamer, sustained by subvention from the
Crown, and officered in part from the royal navy,--nor that it was
exercised in a case where the penalties of contraband could not attach;
but it is founded simply and precisely on the idea that persons other
than apparent officers in the military or naval service cannot be taken
out of a neutral ship at the mere will of the officer exercising the
right of search, and without any form of trial. Therefore the Law of
Nations has been violated, and the conduct of Captain Wilkes must be
disavowed, while men who are traitors, conspirators, and rebels, all in
one, are allowed to go free.

Surely, that criminals, though dyed in guilt, should go free, is better
than that the Law of Nations should be violated, especially in any rule
by which war is restricted and the mood of peace is enlarged; for the
Law of Nations cannot be violated without overturning the protection of
the innocent as well as the guilty. On this general principle there
can be no question. It is but an illustration of that important maxim,
recorded in the Latin of Fortescue, “Better that twenty guilty should
escape than one innocent man should suffer,”[37] with this difference,
that in the present case four guilty ones escape, while the innocent
everywhere on the sea obtain new security. And this security becomes
more valuable as a triumph of civilization, when it is considered that
it was long refused, even at the cannon’s mouth.

Remember, Sir, that the question in this controversy is _strictly a
question of law_,--precisely like a question of trespass between two
neighbors. The British Cabinet began proceedings by taking the opinion
of their law advisers, precisely as an individual begins proceedings
in a suit at law by taking the opinion of his attorney. To make such a
question _a case of war_, or to suggest that war is a proper mode of
deciding it, is simply to revive, on a gigantic scale, the exploded
Ordeal by Battle, and to imitate those dark ages when such proceeding
was openly declared to be the best and most honorable mode of deciding
even an abstract point of law. “It was a matter of doubt and dispute,”
says a mediæval historian, “whether the sons of a son ought to be
reckoned among the children of the family, and succeed equally with
their uncles, if their father happened to die while their grandfather
was alive. An assembly was called to deliberate on this point, and it
was the general opinion that it ought to be remitted to the examination
and decision of judges. But the Emperor, following a better course, and
desirous of dealing honorably with his people and nobles, appointed
the matter to be decided by battle between two champions.”[38] In
similar spirit has it been latterly proposed, amidst the amazement of
the civilized world, to withdraw the point of law, now raised by Great
Britain, from peaceful adjudication, and submit it to Trial by Combat.
The irrational anachronism becomes more flagrant from the inconsistency
of the party making it; for it cannot be forgotten, that, in times
past, _on this identical point of law_, Great Britain persistently
held an opposite ground from that she now takes. Hereafter, in a
happier moment, this exacting power may regret the swiftness with which
she undertook to gird herself for unnatural combat, on a mere point
of law, with a friendly nation already struggling against domestic
enemies,--especially as impartial history must record that her heavy
sword was to be thrown into the scale of Slavery.

       *       *       *       *       *

The British complaint seems narrowed to a single point, although there
are yet other points, on which, had the ship been carried into port for
adjudication, controversy must have arisen. The four following have
been presented in the case.

1. That the seizure of the Rebel emissaries, without taking the ship
into port, was wrong, _inasmuch as a navy officer is not entitled to
substitute himself for a judicial tribunal_.

2. That, had the ship been carried into port, it would not have been
liable on account of the Rebel emissaries, inasmuch as neutral ships
are free to carry all persons not apparently in the military or naval
service of the enemy.

3. Are despatches contraband of war, so as to render the ship liable to

4. Are neutral ships, carrying despatches, liable to be stopped between
two neutral ports?

These I shall consider in their order, giving special attention to
the first, which is the pivot of the British complaint. If, in this
discussion, I expose grievances which it were better to forget, be
assured it is from no willingness to revive the buried animosities they
once so justly aroused, but simply to exhibit the proud position which
the United States early and constantly maintained.

       *       *       *       *       *

A question of International Law should not be presented on any mere
_argumentum ad hominem_. It would be of little value to show that
Captain Wilkes was sustained by British authority and practice, if
he were condemned by International Law as interpreted by his own
country. It belongs to us now, nay, let it be our pride, at any cost
of individual prepossession or transitory prejudice, to uphold that
law in all its force, as it was often declared by the best men in our
history, and illustrated by national acts; and let us seize the present
occasion to consecrate its positive and unequivocal recognition. In
exchange for the prisoners set free, we receive from Great Britain a
practical assent, too long deferred, to a principle early propounded
by our country, and standing forth on every page of our history. The
same voice that asks for their liberation renounces in the same breath
an odious pretension, for whole generations the scourge of peaceful

Great Britain, throughout her municipal history, has practically
contributed to the establishment of freedom beyond all other nations.
There are at least seven institutions or principles which she has
given to civilization: first, the trial by jury; secondly, the writ of
_Habeas Corpus_; thirdly, the freedom of the press; fourthly, bills
of rights; fifthly, the representative system; sixthly, the rules and
orders of debate, constituting Parliamentary Law; and, seventhly,
the principle that the air is too pure for a slave to breathe,--long
ago declared, and first made a conspicuous reality, by British law.
No other nation can show such peaceful triumphs. But, while thus
entitled to gratitude for glorious contributions to Municipal Law, we
turn with dissent and sorrow from much which she has sought to fasten
upon International Law. In municipal questions, Great Britain drew
inspiration from her own native Common Law, instinct with freedom; but,
especially in maritime questions arising under the Law of Nations, this
power seems to have acted on that obnoxious principle of the Roman Law,
positively discarded in municipal questions, _Quod principi placuit
legis vigorem habet_, and too often, under this inspiration, imposed
upon weaker nations her own arbitrary will. A prerogative of the
English monarch, mentioned in very express and pompous terms by early
writers, was “the Custody of the Sea,” and he is frequently styled “The
Sovereign Lord and Proprietor of the Sea.” But beyond these titles,
the time has been when she pretended to actual sovereignty over the
seas surrounding the British Isles, as far as Cape Finisterre to the
south, and Vanstaten in Norway to the north. Driven from this lordly
pretension, other pretensions, less local, but hardly less offensive,
were avowed. The boast of “Britannia rules the waves” was practically
adopted by British Prize Courts, and universal maritime rights were
subjected to the special exigencies of British interests. In the
consciousness of strength, and with an irresistible navy, this power
has put chains upon the sea.

The commerce of the United States, as it began to whiten the ocean, was
cruelly decimated. American ships and cargoes, while, in the language
of Earl Russell, “pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage,” suffered from
British Prize Courts more than from rock or tempest. Shipwreck was less
frequent than confiscation, and, when it came, was easier to bear.
But the loss of property stung less than the outrage of impressment,
by which foreigners, under protection of the American flag, and also
American citizens, without any form of trial, and at the mere mandate
of a navy officer, who for the moment acted as a judicial tribunal,
were dragged from the deck which should have been to them a sacred
altar. This outrage, insolently vindicated by the municipal claim of
Great Britain to the services of her subjects, was enforced arrogantly
and perpetually on the high seas, where Municipal Law is silent and
International Law alone prevails. The belligerent right of search,
derived from International Law, and justly applicable to enemy property
or contraband only, and not to men, was employed for this purpose,
and the quarter-deck of every English cruiser became a floating
judgment-seat. The leading organ of opinion in England, on the morning
after the news that the Rebels had been taken from a British ship, thus
confessed the precedents of British history:--

    “Unwelcome as the truth may be, it is nevertheless a truth,
    that we have ourselves established a system of International
    Law which now tells against us. In high-handed and almost
    despotic manner, we have, in former days, claimed privileges
    over neutrals which have at different times banded all the
    maritime powers of the world against us. _We have insisted even
    upon stopping the ships of war of neutral nations and taking
    British subjects out of them._”[39]

The practice began early and was continued constantly; nor did it
discriminate among its victims. It is mentioned by Mr. Jefferson,
and repeated by an excellent British writer on International Law,
that two nephews of Washington, on their way home from Europe,
were ravished from the protection of the American flag, without
any judicial proceedings, and placed, as common seamen, under the
ordinary discipline of British ships of war.[40] The victims were
counted by thousands. Lord Castlereagh himself admitted, on the floor
of the House of Commons, that an inquiry instituted by the British
Government had discovered in the British fleet three thousand five
hundred men claiming to be impressed Americans,--claiming only. But
while unwilling to accept this large number as all Americans, his
Lordship could not deny, “that, in the great extent of the British
navy, there were sixteen or seventeen hundred individuals who were
there contrary to the wishes of His Majesty’s Government, and who had
some rational ground for demanding their liberation, on the ground
of their being subjects of the United States,”--which, I take it, is
a pleonastic circumlocution to denote that at least sixteen hundred
American citizens were originally kidnapped and stolen from American
ships on the high seas, to undergo the servitude of the British
navy: all of which can be read in the Parliamentary Debates.[41] At
our Department of State upwards of six thousand cases were recorded,
and it was estimated that at least as many more might have occurred,
of which no information had been received.[42] Thus, according to
official admission of the British minister, there was reason to
believe that the quarter-deck of a British man-of-war had been made
a floating judgment-seat three thousand five hundred times, while,
according to the records of our own State Department, it had been made
a floating judgment-seat six thousand times and upwards, and each time
some citizen or other person was taken from the protection of the
national flag without any form of trial whatever. If a pretension so
intrinsically lawless could be sanctioned by precedent, Great Britain
would have succeeded in interpolating it into the Law of Nations.

The numbers sacrificed have been often denied on the other side;
but candid Englishmen have made admissions which are on record. The
“Edinburgh Review,” at a moment when its authority was at its height,
and truth prevailed above controversy, said:--

    “The two lists made out in 1801 and 1812 of impressed Americans
    can be but a small part of the American case against us. From
    that fraction of their case we may, however, form some opinion
    on the extent to which freemen, who would be a scandal to their
    English ancestry, unless liberty was as dear as life, must have
    writhed under our practice of impressment. Prior to September,
    1801, 1,132 native American sailors were set at liberty by
    the English Government, as having been wrongfully impressed.
    On the war with America in 1812, another division of 1,422
    native Americans, every one of them having been so taken, were
    transferred out of our men-of-war into our prisons. This is
    proved from English documents. Here are nearly two thousand six
    hundred sufferers, victims of a greater outrage than one free
    nation ever assumed the privilege of inflicting on another,--an
    outrage which no nation deserving the name of a nation, and
    solemnly bound to protect its meanest members, can be expected
    patiently to endure.”[43]

Such words by one of us might be treated as the exaltation of patriotic
indignation. Here, it is history written by the other side.

Even assuming, that, according to frequent British allegation, the
persons taken were British subjects and not American citizens, which
would make the act identical with that of Captain Wilkes, this only
presents in stronger relief the precise point now in issue. Whether the
victims were American citizens or British subjects, there was in each
case the same forcible entry of our ships and taking from our decks.

Protest, argument, negotiation, correspondence, and war
itself--unhappily the last reason of republics, as of kings--were all
employed by the United States in vain to procure renunciation of the
intolerable pretension. The ablest papers in our diplomatic history
are devoted to this purpose; and the only serious war in which we have
been engaged, until summoned to subdue the Rebellion, was to overcome
by arms this very tyranny, which would not yield to reason. Beginning
in the last century, the correspondence is at length closed by the
recent reply of Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons. The long continued occasion
of conflict is now happily removed, and the pretension disappears
forever,--to take its place among the barbaric curiosities of the past.

But I do not content myself with asserting the persistent opposition
of the American Government. It belongs to the argument that I should
exhibit this opposition, and the precise ground on which it was
placed,--being identical with that now adopted by Great Britain. Here
the testimony is complete. If you will kindly follow me, you shall see
it from the beginning in the public life of our country, and in the
authentic records of the National Government.

This British pretension aroused and startled the administration of
Washington, and the pen of Mr. Jefferson, his Secretary of State,
was enlisted against it. In a letter to Thomas Pinckney, Minister at
London, dated June 11, 1792, he announced the American doctrine.

    “The simplest rule will be, that the vessel being American
    shall be evidence that the seamen on board her are such.”[44]

In another letter to the same minister, dated October 12, 1792, he
calls attention to a case of special outrage.

    “I enclose you a copy of a letter from Messrs. Blow and
    Melhaddo, merchants of Virginia, _complaining of the taking
    away of their sailors_ on the coast of Africa by the commander
    of a British armed vessel. So many instances of this kind have
    happened, that it is quite necessary that their Government
    should explain themselves on the subject, and be led to disavow
    and punish such conduct.”[45]

At a later day, also under the administration of Washington, Mr.
Pickering, at that time Secretary of State, in a letter to Rufus King,
Minister at London, dated June 8, 1796, after repeating the rule
proposed by Mr. Jefferson, says:--

    “But it will be an important point gained, _if, on the high
    seas, our flag can protect those, of whatever nation, who shall
    sail under it_. And for this humanity, as well as interest,
    powerfully pleads.”[46]

The same pretension was put forth under the administration of John
Adams, and was again encountered. Mr. Marshall, afterwards the
venerated Chief Justice of the United States, and at the time Secretary
of State, in his instructions to Rufus King, at London, dated September
20, 1800, says:--

    “The impressment of our seamen is an injury of very serious
    magnitude, which deeply affects the feelings and the honor of
    the nation.… Alien seamen, not British subjects, engaged in our
    merchant service, ought to be equally exempt with citizens.…
    Britain has no pretext of right to their persons or to their
    service. _To tear them, then, from our possession is at the
    same time an insult and an injury._ It is an act of violence
    for which there exists no palliative.”[47]

The same pretension showed itself constantly under the administration
of Mr. Jefferson. Throughout the eight years of his Presidency, the
repeated outrages of British cruisers never for a moment allowed it
to be forgotten. Mr. Madison, during this full period, was Secretary
of State, and none of the varied productions of his pen are more
masterly than those in which he exposed this tyranny. In the course
of the discussion he showed the special hardship found in the fact
that sailors were taken from the ship at the mere will of an officer,
without any form of judicial proceedings, and thus early presented
against the pretension of Great Britain the precise objection now
adopted by her. Here are his emphatic words, in the celebrated
instructions to Mr. Monroe, our Minister at London, dated January 5,

    “Taking reason and justice for the tests of this practice,
    _it is peculiarly indefensible, because it deprives the
    dearest rights of persons of a regular trial_, to which the
    most inconsiderable article of property captured on the high
    seas is entitled, and _leaves their destiny_ to the will of
    an officer, sometimes cruel, often ignorant, and generally
    interested, by his want of mariners, in his own decisions.
    Whenever property found in a neutral vessel is supposed to be
    liable, on any grounds, to capture and condemnation, the rule
    in all cases is, that the question shall not be decided by the
    captor, but be carried before a legal tribunal, where a regular
    trial may be had, and where the captor himself is liable to
    damages for an abuse of his power. Can it be reasonable, then,
    or just, that a belligerent commander, who is thus restricted
    and thus responsible in a case of mere property of trivial
    amount, should be permitted, _without recurring to any tribunal
    whatever, to examine the crew of a neutral vessel, to decide
    the important question of their respective allegiances_, and
    to carry that decision into instant execution, by forcing
    every individual he may choose into a service abhorrent to his
    feelings, cutting him off from his most tender connections,
    exposing his mind and his person to the most humiliating
    discipline, and his life itself to the greatest dangers?
    Reason, justice, and humanity unite in protesting against so
    extravagant a proceeding.”[48]

Negotiations on this principle, thus distinctly enunciated, were
intrusted at London to James Monroe, afterwards President of the United
States, and William Pinkney, the most accomplished master of Prize Law
our country has produced. But they were unsuccessful. Great Britain
persisted. In reply to a proposal of the British commissioners, as
reported in a joint letter to Mr. Madison, dated at London, September
11, 1806, the plenipotentiaries declared,--

    “That it was impossible that we should acknowledge, in favor
    of any foreign power, _the claim to such jurisdiction on
    board our vessels_ found upon the main ocean _as this sort
    of impressment implied_,--a claim as plainly inadmissible in
    its principle, and derogatory from the unquestionable rights
    of our sovereignty, as it was vexatious in its practical

In another joint letter, dated at London, November 11, 1806, the same
plenipotentiaries say:--

    “The right [of the crew to protection under the flag] was
    denied by the British commissioners, _who asserted that of
    their Government to seize its subjects on board neutral
    merchant vessels on the high seas_, and who also urged that
    the relinquishment of it at this time would go far to the
    overthrow of their naval power, on which the safety of the
    state essentially depended.”[50]

Again, in letter dated at London, April 22, 1807, Messrs. Monroe and
Pinkney say of the British commissioners:--

    “They stated that the prejudice of the navy, and of the country
    generally, was so strong _in favor of their pretension_, that
    the ministry could not encounter it in a direct form, and
    that, in truth, the support of Parliament could not have been
    relied on in such a case.”[51]

The British commissioners were two excellent persons,--Lord Holland
and Lord Auckland; but, though friendly to the United States in their
declarations, and Liberals in politics, they were powerless.

At home the question continued to be discussed by able writers. Among
those whose opinions were of the highest authority was the former
President, John Adams, who, from his retirement at Quincy, sent forth
a pamphlet, dated January 9, 1809, in which the British pretension was
touched to the quick, and again was presented the precise objection now
urged by Great Britain against the seizure of the two Rebels. Depicting
the scene, when one of our ships is boarded by a British cruiser, he

    “The lieutenant is to be the judge, … the midshipman is to be
    clerk, and the boatswain sheriff or marshal.… It is impossible
    to figure to ourselves in imagination this solemn tribunal and
    venerable judge without smiling, till the humiliation of our
    country comes into our thoughts and interrupts the sense of
    ridicule by the tears of grief or vengeance.”[52]

At last all redress through negotiation was found impossible; and this
pretension, aggravated into multitudinous tyranny, was openly announced
to be one of the principal reasons for the declaration of war against
Great Britain in 1812. In his message to Congress, dated June 1 of that
year, Mr. Madison, who was now President, thus exposed its offensive
character; and his words, directed against a persistent practice,
are now echoed by Great Britain in the single instance which has
accidentally occurred on our side.

    “Could the seizure of British subjects in such cases be
    regarded as within the exercise of a belligerent right, the
    acknowledged laws of war, which forbid an article of captured
    property to be adjudged without a regular investigation before
    a competent tribunal, _would imperiously demand the fairest
    trial where the sacred rights of persons were at issue. In
    place of such a trial, these rights are subjected to the will
    of every petty commander._”[53]

While the war was waging, the subject was still discussed. Mr. Grundy,
of Tennessee, in the House of Representatives, in a report from the
Committee on Foreign Affairs, said:--

    “A subaltern or any other officer of the British navy ought not
    to be arbiter in such a case. The liberty and lives of American
    citizens ought not to depend on the will of such a party.”[54]

Such was the American ground, occupied from the beginning without
interruption, and from the beginning most persistently contested by
Great Britain.

The British pretension was unhesitatingly proclaimed in the Declaration
of the Prince Regent, afterwards George the Fourth, given at the palace
of Westminster, January 9, 1813.

    “The President of the United States has, it is true, since
    proposed to Great Britain an armistice: not, however, on
    the admission that the cause of war hitherto relied on was
    removed, but on condition that Great Britain, as a preliminary
    step, should do away a cause of war now brought forward _as
    such_ for the first time,--namely, _that she should abandon
    the exercise of her_ UNDOUBTED RIGHT _of search to take from
    American merchant vessels British seamen, the natural-born
    subjects of His Majesty_.…

    “His Royal Highness can never admit, that, in the exercise of
    _the_ UNDOUBTED _and hitherto undisputed right of searching
    neutral merchant vessels in time of war, the impressment
    of British seamen_, when found therein, _can be deemed any
    violation of a neutral flag_. Neither can he admit that
    the taking such seamen from on board such vessels _can be
    considered by any neutral state as a hostile measure or a
    justifiable cause of war_.”[55]

In the semi-official counter statement presented by Alexander J.
Dallas, at the time Secretary of the Treasury, entitled “Exposition
of the Causes and Character of the late War,” this pretension is thus

    “But the British claim, expanding with singular elasticity, was
    soon found to include _a right to enter American vessels on
    the high seas_, in order to search for and seize all British
    seamen; it next embraced the case of every British subject; and
    finally, in its practical enforcement, it has been extended to
    every mariner who could not prove upon the spot that he was a
    citizen of the United States.”[56]

The war was closed by the Treaty at Ghent; but, perversely, the British
pretension was not renounced. Other negotiations, in 1818 under
President Monroe, in 1823 also under Monroe, and again in 1827 under
John Quincy Adams, expressly to procure its renunciation, were all
unavailing. Of these various negotiations I forbear all details; but
the language of Mr. Rush, our Minister at London, who pressed this
question assiduously for several years, beginning with 1818, should not
be omitted. The case was never stated more strongly.

    “Let the steps by which the enforcement proceeds be attended
    to. A British frigate, in time of war, meets an American
    merchant vessel at sea, boards her, and, under terror of her
    guns, takes out one of the crew. The boarding lieutenant
    asserts, and, let it be admitted, believes, the man to be a
    Briton. By this proceeding the rules observed in deciding upon
    any other fact, where individual or national rights are at
    stake, are overlooked. _The lieutenant is accuser and judge.
    He decides upon his own view, instantly._ The impressed man
    is forced into the frigate’s boat, and the case ends. _There
    is no appeal, no trial of any kind_; more important still,
    there is no remedy, should it appear that a wrong has been

At last, in 1842, at the Treaty of Washington, Mr. Webster, calmly
setting aside all idea of further negotiation on this pretension, and
without even proposing any stipulation with regard to it, deliberately
announced the principle irrevocably adopted by our Government. It was
that announced at the beginning by Mr. Jefferson. This document is one
of the most memorable in our history, and it bears directly on the
existing controversy, when, in exposing the British pretension, it

    “But the lieutenant of a man-of-war, having necessity for men,
    _is apt to be a summary judge_, and his decisions will be quite
    as significant of his own wants and his own power as of the
    truth and justice of the case.”[58]

At a later day still, on the very eve of recent events, we find
General Cass, as Secretary of State, in elaborate instructions to our
ministers in Europe, dated June 27, 1859, declaring principles which
may properly control the present question. He says:--

    “It is obvious, from the temper of the age, that the present is
    no safe time to assert and enforce pretensions on the part of
    belligerent powers affecting the interest of nations at peace,
    _unless such pretension are clearly justified by the Law of
    Nations_.… The stopping of neutral vessels upon the high seas,
    their forcible entrance, and the overhauling and examination
    of their cargoes, the seizure of their freight _at the will of
    a foreign officer_, the frequent interruption of their voyages
    by compelling them to change their destination in order to
    seek redress, and, _above all, the assumption of jurisdiction
    by a foreign armed party over what has been aptly termed the
    extension of the territory of an independent state, and with
    all the abuses which are so prone to accompany the exercise of
    unlimited power_, where responsibility is remote,--these are,
    indeed, serious ‘obstructions,’ little likely to be submitted
    to in the present state of the world, without a formidable
    effort to prevent them.”[59]

Such is an authentic history of this British pretension, and of the
manner in which it has been met by our Government. And now the special
argument formerly employed by us against an intolerable pretension
is invoked by Great Britain against the error of taking two Rebel
emissaries from a British packet ship. If Captain Wilkes is right,
then, throughout all these international debates, extending over at
least two generations, have we been wrong.

It is sometimes said, that the steam packet, having on board the Rebel
emissaries, was on this account liable to capture, and therefore
the error of Captain Wilkes in taking the emissaries was simply of
form, and not of substance. I do not stop to consider whether an
exercise of summary power, against which our nation has so constantly
protested, can, under any circumstances, be an error of form merely;
for the national policy, most positively declared in diplomacy, and
also attested in numerous treaties, leaves small room to doubt that
a neutral ship with enemy passengers, not in the military or naval
service, is not liable to capture, and therefore the whole proceeding
was wrong, not only because the passengers were taken from the ship,
but also because the ship, howsoever guilty morally, was not guilty
legally, in receiving such passengers on board. If this question were
argued on English authorities, it might be otherwise; but according
to American principles, the ship was legally innocent. Of course, I
say nothing of the moral guilt which an indignant patriotism will find
forever indelible in that ship.

In the middle of the last century, the Swiss publicist Vattel declared,
that, on the breaking out of war, we are no longer under obligation to
leave the enemy in free enjoyment of his rights; and this principle he
applied loosely to the transit of ambassadors.[60] Sir William Scott,
afterwards known in the English peerage as Lord Stowell, quoting this
authority, at the beginning of the present century, let fall these

    “You may stop the ambassador of your enemy on his passage.”[61]

And this curt proposition, though in some respects indefinite, has
been often since repeated by writers on the Law of Nations. On its
face it leaves the question unsettled, whether the emissaries of an
unrecognized Government can be stopped. But there is another case
in which the same British judge, who has done so much to illustrate
International Law, has used language which seems to embrace not only
authentic ambassadors, but also pretenders to this character, and
all others who are public agents of the enemy. Says this eminent

    “It appears to me on _principle_ to be but reasonable, that,
    whenever it is of sufficient importance to the enemy that _such
    persons should be sent out on the public service, at the public
    expense_, it should afford equal ground of forfeiture against
    the vessel that may be let out for a purpose so intimately
    connected with the hostile operations.”[62]

Admit that the emissaries of an unrecognized Government cannot be
recognized as ambassadors, with the liabilities as well as immunities
of this character, yet, in the face of these words, it is difficult to
see how a Government bowing habitually to the authority of Sir William
Scott, and regarding our Rebels as “belligerents,” can assert that a
steam packet, conveying emissaries from these belligerents, “sent out
on the public service, at the public expense,” was, according to the
language of Earl Russell, “pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage.” At
least, in this assertion, the British Government seems to turn its
back again upon its own history, or it sets aside the facts so openly
boasted with regard to the public character of these fugitives.

On this question British policy may change with circumstances, and
British precedents may be uncertain, but the original American policy
is unchangeable, and the American precedents which illustrate it are
solemn treaties. The words of Vattel and the judgments of Sir William
Scott were well known to the statesmen of the United States; and yet,
in the face of these authorities, which have entered so largely into
this debate, the National Government at an early day deliberately
adopted a contrary policy, to which for half a century there was steady
adherence. It was plainly declared _that only soldiers or officers
could be stopped_, thus positively excluding the idea of stopping
ambassadors, or emissaries of any kind, not in the military or naval
service. Mr. Madison, who more than any other person shaped our
national policy on Maritime Rights, has stated it on this question.
In his remarkable despatch to Mr. Monroe, at London, dated January 5,
1804, he says:--

    “The article renounces the claim to take from the vessels of
    the neutral party, on the high seas, any person whatever _not
    in the military service of an enemy_, an exception which we
    admit to come within the Law of Nations, on the subject of
    contraband of war. _With this exception, we consider a neutral
    flag on the high seas as a safeguard to those sailing under

Then again, in the same despatch, this statesman says:--

    “Great Britain must produce, then, an exception in the Law of
    Nations in favor of the right she contends for. But in what
    written and received authority will she find it? In what
    usage, except her own, will it be found?… But nowhere will
    she find an exception to this freedom of the seas, and of
    neutral flags, which justifies the taking away of any person,
    _not an enemy in military service_, found on board a neutral

And once more, in the same despatch, he says:--

    “Whenever a belligerent claim against persons on board a
    neutral vessel is referred to in treaties, _enemies in military
    service alone_ are excepted from the general immunity of
    persons in that situation; _and this exception confirms the
    immunity of those who are not included in it_.”[65]

In pursuance of this principle, thus clearly announced and repeated,
Mr. Madison instructed Mr. Monroe to propose a convention between the
United States and Great Britain containing the following stipulation:--

    “No person whatever shall, upon the high seas and without the
    jurisdiction of either party, be demanded or taken out of any
    ship or vessel belonging to citizens or subjects of one of the
    parties, by the public or private armed ships belonging to or
    in the service of the other, _unless such person be at the time
    in the military service of an enemy of such other party_.”[66]

Mr. Monroe pressed this stipulation most earnestly upon the British
Government; but, though treated courteously, he could get no
satisfaction. Lord Harrowby, the Foreign Secretary, in one of his
conversations, “expressed concern to find the United States opposed
to Great Britain on certain great neutral questions, in favor of the
doctrines of the Modern Law, which he termed _novelties_”;[67] and Lord
Mulgrave, who succeeded this accomplished nobleman, persevered in the
same dissent. Mr. Monroe writes, under date of 18th October, 1805:--

    “On a review of the conduct of this Government towards the
    United States from the commencement of the war, I am inclined
    to think that the delay which has been so studiously sought
    in all these concerns is the part of a system, and that it is
    intended, as circumstances favor, to subject our commerce, at
    present and hereafter, to every restraint in their power.”[68]

Afterwards Mr. Monroe was joined in the mission to London, as we have
already seen, by Mr. Pinkney, and the two united in again presenting
this same proposition to the British Government.[69] It was rejected,
although the ministry of Mr. Fox, who was then in power, seems to have
afforded at one time the expectation of an agreement.

While these distinguished plenipotentiaries were pressing this
principle at London, Mr. Madison was maintaining it at home. In an
unpublished communication to Mr. Merry, the British minister at
Washington, bearing date 9th April, 1805, which I extract from the
files of the State Department, he declared:--

    “The United States cannot accede to the claim of any nation
    to take from their vessels on the high seas _any description
    of persons, except soldiers_ in the actual service of the

In a reply bearing date 12th April, 1805, this principle was
positively repudiated by the British minister; so that the two
Governments were ranged unequivocally on opposite sides. And this
attitude was continued. In the subsequent negotiations at London,
intrusted to Mr. Rush, in 1818, we find the two powers face to face.
The Foreign Secretary was the celebrated Lord Castlereagh, who,
according to Mr. Rush, did not hesitate to complain,--

    “That we gave to our ships a character of inviolability that
    Britain did not: that we considered them as part of our soil,
    clothing them with like immunities.”[71]

To which Mr. Rush replied:--

    “That we did consider them as thus inviolable, so far as to
    afford protection to our seamen; but that we had never sought
    to exempt them from search for rightful purposes, viz., for
    enemy’s property, articles contraband of war, or _men in the
    land or naval service of the enemy. These constituted the
    utmost limit of the belligerent claim, as we understood the Law
    of Nations._”[72]

Two champions were never more completely opposed than were the two
Governments on this question.

The treaties of the United States with foreign nations are in harmony
with the principle so energetically proposed and upheld,--beginning
with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with France in 1778, and ending
only with the Peruvian treaty as late as 1851. Here is the provision in
the treaty with France, negotiated by Franklin, whose wise forethought
is always conspicuous:--

    “And it is hereby stipulated that free ships shall also give
    a freedom to goods, and that everything shall be deemed to
    be free and exempt which shall be found on board the ships
    belonging to the subjects of either of the confederates,
    although the whole lading or any part thereof should appertain
    to the enemies of either, contraband goods being always
    excepted. It is also agreed, in like manner, that the same
    liberty be extended to persons who are on board a free ship,
    with this effect, that, _although they be enemies to both
    or either party, they are not to be taken out of that free
    ship, unless they are soldiers and in actual service of the

The obvious effect of this stipulation is twofold: first, that enemies,
unless soldiers in actual service, shall not be taken out of a neutral
ship; and, secondly, that such persons are not contraband of war so
as to affect the voyage of a neutral with illegality. Such was the
proposition of Franklin, of whom it has been said, that he snatched the
lightning from the skies, and the sceptre from tyrants. That he sought
to snatch the trident also is attested by his whole diplomacy, of which
this proposition is part.

But the same principle is found in succeeding treaties, sometimes
with a slight change of language. In the treaty with the Netherlands,
negotiated by John Adams in 1782, the exception is confined to
“military men actually in the service of an enemy,”[74]; and this same
exception is also found in the treaty with Sweden in 1783,[75] with
Prussia in 1785,[76] with Spain in 1795,[77] with France in 1800,[78]
with Colombia in 1824,[79] with Central America in 1825,[80] with
Brazil in 1828,[81] with Mexico in 1831,[82] with Chile in 1832,[83]
with Venezuela in 1836,[84] with Peru-Bolivia in 1836,[85] with Ecuador
in 1839,[86] with New Granada in 1846,[87] with Guatemala in 1849,[88]
with San Salvador in 1850,[89] and in the treaty with Peru in 1851.[90]

Such is unbroken testimony, in the most solemn form, to the policy
of our Government. In some of the treaties the exception is simply
“soldiers,” in others it is “officers or soldiers.” Observe, too,
that every treaty testifies to the opinions of the Administration
that negotiated it, and of at least two thirds of the Senate that
ratified it,--so that this large number of treaties constitutes a
mass of authority from which there can be no appeal, embracing all
the great names of our history. It is true that among these treaties
there is none with Great Britain; but it is also true that this is
simply because our mother country refused assent, when this principle
was presented as an undoubted part of International Law which our
Government desired to confirm by treaty.

Clearly and beyond all question, according to American principle and
practice, the ship was not liable to capture on account of the presence
of emissaries, “not soldiers or officers”; nor could such emissaries be
legally taken from the ship. But the completeness of this authority is
increased by the concurring testimony of the Continent of Europe. Since
the Peace of Utrecht, in 1713, the policy of the Continental States
has generally refused to sanction the removal of enemies from a neutral
ship, unless military men in actual service. And now, since this debate
has commenced, we have the positive testimony of the French Government
to the same principle, given with special reference to the present
case. M. Thouvenel, the Minister of the Emperor for Foreign Affairs,
in a recent letter communicated to Mr. Seward, and published with the
papers before the Senate, earnestly insists that the Rebel emissaries,
not being military persons actually in the service of the enemy, were
not subject to seizure on board a neutral ship.[91]

I leave this question with the remark, that it is perhaps Great Britain
alone whose position here can be brought into doubt. Originally a
party to the Treaty of Utrecht, this imperial power soon saw that its
provisions in favor of Maritime Rights interfered plainly with that
dictatorship of the sea which Britannia was then grasping. Maritime
Rights were repudiated, and her Admiralty Courts have ever since
enforced this repudiation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Still another question occurs. Beyond all doubt there were “despatches”
on board the ship,--such “despatches” as rebels can write. Public
report, the statement of persons on board, and the boastful declaration
of Jefferson Davis in an official document that these emissaries were
proceeding under appointment from him, which appointment would be a
“despatch” of the highest character,--and necessarily with instructions
also, being another “despatch,”--seem to place this beyond denial.
Assuming such fact, very notorious at the time of sailing, the ship was
liable to capture and to be carried off for adjudication, according to
British authorities,--unless the positive judgment of Sir William Scott
in the case of the Atalanta,[92] and also the Queen’s Proclamation
at the commencement of the Rebellion, enumerating “despatches” among
contraband articles, are treated as nullities, or so far modified in
application as to be words and nothing more. Even if the judgment be
uncertain and inapplicable, the Queen’s Proclamation is not. Does
it not warn British subjects against “carrying officers, soldiers,
_despatches_, arms, military stores or materials, … _for the use or
service_ of either of the said contending parties”? And we have the
authority of a recent English writer, quoted by the English press, who
characterizes the conveyance of despatches as “a _service_, which, in
whatever degree it exists, can only be considered in one character, as
an act of the most noxious and hostile nature.”[93]

But however binding and peremptory these authorities in Great Britain,
they cannot be accepted to reverse a standing policy of the United
States. For the sake of precision in rights claimed and accorded on
the ocean, our Government has explained in treaties what was meant by
contraband. As early as 1778, in the treaty with France negotiated
by Franklin, after specifying contraband articles, without including
despatches, it is declared that

    “Free goods are all other merchandises and _things_ which are
    not comprehended and particularly mentioned in the foregoing
    enumeration of contraband goods.”[94]

This was before the judgment of Sir William Scott, recognizing
despatches as contraband; but in other treaties subsequent to this
well-known judgment, and therefore practically discarding it, after
enumerating contraband articles, without specifying “despatches,” the
following provision is introduced:--

    “All other merchandises and _things_ not comprehended in the
    articles of contraband explicitly enumerated and classified as
    above shall be held and considered as free.”[95]

Then again John Quincy Adams, in his admirable draught of a treaty for
the reform of Maritime Rights, after declaring specifically what shall
be “under the denomination of contraband of war,” without including
“despatches,” adds:--

    “All the above articles, _and none others_, shall be subject to
    confiscation, whenever they are attempted to be carried to an

Thus we have not only words of enumeration without mention of
“despatches,” but also words of exception. These testimonies constitute
the record of our nation on this question.

Here it may be remarked, that, while decisions of British Admiralty
Courts are freely cited, there are none of our Supreme Court. If any
existed, they would be of the highest value; but there are none, and I
can imagine no better reason than because the question is so settled by
treaties and diplomacy as to be beyond judicial inquiry.

The conclusion follows, that, according to American principle and
practice, the ship was not liable on account of despatches on board.
And here again we have the testimony of Continental Europe, if we may
accept the statement of Hautefeuille, and it would seem also that of
the French Government, in the recent letter of M. Thouvenel.

The French champion of neutral rights vindicates the immunity of
despatches against English construction in pointed language.

    “We must be permitted to protest against the pretension
    set up by the Americans of considering the transportation
    of despatches as an act of contraband, and consequently of
    maintaining that the stopping of the Trent is justified by
    the fact that there were found on board despatches of the
    Confederate Government. This pretension, which has always been
    maintained by England, and which even at the present day is
    still avowed by its journals, is wholly contrary to all the
    principles of International Law.”[97]

But Continental testimony is not uniform. So considerable an
authority as Heffter recognizes the liability of a neutral vessel for
“_voluntarily_ forwarding despatches to or for a belligerent.”[98] This
is on general grounds, independent of treaty or national usage.

Even if the ship were liable, so that Captain Wilkes would have been
justified in bringing the Trent into port for adjudication, it does
not follow that the two Rebels could be summarily seized and taken
therefrom. Here again we are brought to that American principle which
condemns the pretension of seizing even enemies on board a neutral
vessel, unless they are soldiers in actual service, and has constantly
cried out against the desecration of our decks by British officers
seizing our peaceful sailors under claim of allegiance to the British

       *       *       *       *       *

There is yet another question which remains. Assuming that despatches
are contraband, would their presence on board a neutral ship, sailing
between two neutral ports, render the voyage illegal? The mail steamer
was sailing between Havana, a port of Spain, and St. Thomas, a port
of Denmark. Here again, if we bow to English precedent, the answer is
prompt. The British oracle has spoken. In a well-considered judgment,
Sir William Scott declares that despatches taken on board a neutral
ship, sailing from a neutral country and bound for another neutral
country, are contraband,--but that, where there is reason to believe
the master ignorant of their character, “it is not a case in which the
property is to be confiscated, although in this, _as in every other
instance in which the enemy’s despatches are found on board a vessel_,
he has justly subjected himself to all the inconveniences of seizure
and detention, and to all the expenses of those judicial inquiries
which they have occasioned.”[99] Such is the Law of Nations according
to Great Britain.

Even if this rule had not been positively repudiated by the United
States, it is so inconsistent with reason, and, in the present
condition of maritime commerce, so utterly impracticable, that it can
find little favor. If a neutral voyage between two neutral ports is
rendered illegal on this account, then the postal facilities of the
world, and the costly enterprises by which they are conducted, are
exposed to interruptions under which they must at times be crushed, to
the infinite detriment of universal commerce. If the rule is applicable
in one sea, it is applicable in all seas, and there is no part of the
ocean which may not be vexed by its enforcement. It would reach to the
Mediterranean and to the distant China seas as easily as to the Bahama
Channel, and be equally imperative in the chops of the British Channel.
Not only the stately mail steamers traversing the ocean would be
subject to detention and possible confiscation, but the same penalties
must attach to the daily packets between Dover and Calais. The simple
statement of such a consequence, following directly from the British
rule, throws instant doubt over it, which the eloquent judgment of Sir
William Scott cannot remove.

Here again our way is clear. American principle and practice have
settled this question also. Wheaton commences his statement of the
Law of Contraband by saying, “The general freedom of neutral commerce
with the respective belligerent powers is subject to some exceptions.
_Among these is the trade with the enemy_ in certain articles called
contraband of war.”[100] It will be perceived that the trade must be
_with the enemy_, not with the neutral. And here the author followed
the suggestions of reason and the voice of American treaties. In the
celebrated treaty with Great Britain negotiated by John Jay in 1794,
after an enumeration of contraband articles, it is expressly said,
“And all the above articles are hereby declared to be just objects
of confiscation, _whenever they are attempted to be carried to an
enemy_.”[101] Of course, when on the way to neutrals, they are free.
And the early treaties negotiated by Benjamin Franklin and John
Adams are in similar spirit; and in precisely the same sense is the
treaty with Prussia in 1828, which in its twelfth article revives the
thirteenth article of our treaty with that same power in 1799, by
which contraband is declared to be detainable _only when carried to
an enemy_. Even if this rule were of doubtful authority with regard
to articles of acknowledged contraband, it is positive with regard to
despatches, which, as we have already seen, are among “merchandises
and _things_” declared free; with regard to which our early treaties
secured the greatest latitude. Nothing can be broader than the words in
the treaty of 1778 with France:--

    “So that they may be transported and carried _in the freest
    manner_ by the subjects of both confederates, even to places
    belonging to an enemy, such towns or places being only excepted
    as are at that time besieged, blocked up, or invested.”[102]

But the provision in the treaty with the Netherlands of 1782 is equally

    “So that all _effects_ and merchandises which are not expressly
    before named may, _without any exception and in perfect
    liberty_, be transported by the subjects and inhabitants
    of both allies from and to places belonging to the enemy,
    excepting only the places which at the same time shall be
    besieged, blocked, or invested; and those places only shall
    be held for such which are surrounded nearly by some of the
    belligerent powers.”[103]

If the immunity of neutral ships needed further confirmation, it would
be found again in the concurring testimony of the French Government,
conveyed in the recent letter of M. Thouvenel,[104]--which is so
remarkable for its brief, but comprehensive, treatment of the questions
involved in this controversy. I know not how others may feel, but I
like to believe that this communication, when rightly understood, may
be accepted as a token of friendship for us, and also as a contribution
to those Maritime Rights for which France and the United States in
times past have done so much together. This eminent minister does not
hesitate to declare, that, if the flag of a neutral cannot completely
cover persons and merchandise in a voyage between two neutral ports,
then its immunity will be but a vain word.

       *       *       *       *       *

As I conclude what I have to say on contraband in its several
divisions, I venture to assert that there are two rules in regard to it
which the traditional policy of our country has constantly declared,
and has embodied in treaty stipulations with every power that could be
persuaded to adopt them: first, that no article is contraband, unless
expressly enumerated and specified as such by name; secondly, that,
when such articles, so enumerated and specified, are found by the
belligerent on board a neutral ship, the neutral shall be permitted
to deliver them to the belligerent, whenever, by reason of bulk or
quantity, such delivery is possible, and then the neutral shall,
without further molestation, proceed with all remaining innocent cargo
to his destination, being any port, neutral or hostile, not at the time
actually blockaded.

Such was the early fixed policy of our country with regard to
contraband in neutral bottoms. It is recorded in several of our
earlier European treaties. Approximation to it is found in other
European treaties, showing our constant effort in this direction.
But this policy was not supported by the British theory and practice
of International Law, especially active during the wars of the
French Revolution; and to this fact may be ascribed something of the
difficulty which our Government encountered in effort to secure for
this liberal policy the complete sanction of European nations. But in
negotiations with the Spanish-American States the theory and practice
of Great Britain were less felt; and so to-day that liberal policy,
embracing the two rules touching contraband, is, among all American
nations, the public law, stipulated and fixed in solemn treaties. I do
not quote texts, but I refer to all these treaties, beginning with the
convention between the United States and Colombia in 1824. These rules,
if not directly conclusive on the question of contraband, at least
help to exhibit that spirit of emancipation with which our country has
approached the great subject of Maritime Rights.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course this discussion proceeds on the assumption that the Rebels
are regarded as belligerents, which is the character especially
accorded by Great Britain. If they are not regarded as belligerents,
then is the proceeding of Captain Wilkes indubitably illegal and void.
To a political offender, however deep his guilt, though burdened
with the undying execrations of all honest men, and bending beneath
the consciousness of the ruin he has brought upon his country, the
asylum of a foreign jurisdiction is sacred, whether on shore or sea;
and it is among the proudest boasts of England, at least in recent
days, that the exiles of defeated democracies, as well as of defeated
dynasties, have found a sure protection beneath her meteor flag. And
yet this lofty power has not always accorded to other flags what she
claimed for her own. One of the objections made to any renunciation of
impressment by Great Britain, at the beginning of the present century,
was, “that facility would be given, particularly in the British
Channel, by the immunity claimed for American vessels, _to the escape
of traitors_”[105]: thus assuming, not only that traitors--companions
of Robert Emmet, in Ireland, or companions of Horne Tooke, in
England--ought to be arrested on board a neutral ship, but that
impressment was needed for this purpose. This flagrant instance
cannot be a precedent for the United States, which has maintained the
right of asylum as firmly always as it has rejected the pretension of

       *       *       *       *       *

If I am correct in this review, then the conclusion is inevitable.
The seizure of the Rebel emissaries on board a neutral ship cannot be
justified, according to declared American principles and practice.
There is no single point where the seizure is not questionable, unless
we invoke British precedents and practice, which, beyond doubt, led
Captain Wilkes into his mistake. In the solitude of his ship he
consulted familiar authorities at hand, and felt that in Vattel and
Sir William Scott, as quoted by eminent writers, he had guides, while
the inveterate practice of the British navy lighted his way. He was
mistaken. There was a better example: it was the constant, uniform,
unhesitating practice of his own country on the ocean, conceding always
the greatest immunities to neutral ships, unless sailing to blockaded
ports, refusing to consider despatches as contraband of war, refusing
to consider persons other than soldiers or officers as contraband of
war, and protesting always against an adjudication of personal rights
by summary judgment of the quarter-deck. Had these well-attested
precedents been in his mind, the gallant captain would not, even for
a moment, have been seduced from allegiance to those principles which
constitute part of our country’s glory.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, let the Rebels go. Two wicked men, ungrateful to their
country, with two younger confederates, are set loose with the brand
of Cain upon their foreheads. Prison-doors are opened; but principles
are established which will help to free other men, and to open the
gates of the sea. Never before in her renowned history has Great
Britain ranged herself on this side. Such an event is an epoch. “_Novus
sæclôrum nascitur ordo._” To the liberties of the sea this power is
at last committed. To a certain extent the great cause is now under
her tutelary care. If the immunities of passengers not in the military
or naval service, as well as of sailors, are not directly recognized,
they are at least implied; if neutral rights are not ostentatiously
proclaimed, they are at least invoked; while the whole pretension of
impressment, so long the pest of neutral commerce, and operating only
through lawless adjudication of the quarter-deck, is made absolutely
impossible. Thus is the freedom of the sea enlarged in the name of
peaceful neutral rights, not only by limiting the number of persons
exposed to the penalties of war, but by driving from it the most
offensive pretension that ever stalked upon its waves. Farewell to
kidnapping and man-stealing on the ocean! To such conclusion Great
Britain is irrevocably pledged. Nor treaty nor bond is needed. It is
sufficient that her late appeal can be vindicated only by renunciation
of early, long-continued tyranny. Let her bear the Rebels back. The
consideration is ample; for the sea became free as this altered power
went forth, steering westward with the sun, on an errand of liberation.

In this surrender, if such it may be called, the National Government
does not even “stoop to conquer.” It simply lifts itself to the
height of its own original principles. The early efforts of its best
negotiators, the patriot trials of its soldiers in an unequal war, at
length prevail, and Great Britain, usually so haughty, invites us to
practise upon principles which she has so strenuously opposed. There
are victories of force: here is a victory of truth. If Great Britain
has gained the custody of two Rebels, the United States have secured
the triumph of their principles.

As this result is in conformity with our cherished history, it is
superfluous to add other considerations; and yet I venture to suggest
that estranged sympathies abroad may be secured again by open adhesion
to principles which have the support already of Continental Europe,
smarting for years under British pretensions. The powerful organs
of opinion on the Continent are also with us. Hautefeuille, whose
earnest work on the Law of Nations[106] is the arsenal of neutral
rights, has entered into this debate with a direct proposition for the
release of the emissaries, as a testimony to the true interpretation of
International Law. Another distinguished Frenchman, Agénor de Gasparin,
whose impassioned love of liberty and enlightened devotion to our
country impart to his voice all the persuasion of friendship, has made
a similar appeal.[107] And a journal which of itself is an authority,
the _Revue des Deux Mondes_, declares, in words which harmonize with
what I have said to-day, that, “in disavowing a capture effected
by the arbitrary initiative of a naval officer, without any of the
guaranties of legal justice, without the intervention and the sanction
of a Court of Admiralty, the United States, far from renouncing
any of their political principles, would only render homage to the
doctrine which they have ever professed on the rights of neutrals.”
The same distinguished journal proceeds: “It would be in reality a
true triumph for this doctrine so to apply it to the profit of a
nation and of a government which have always contested or violated the
rights of neutrals, but which would be henceforward constrained to the
abandonment of their arbitrary pretensions by the conspicuous authority
of such a precedent.”[108]

Nor is this triumph enough. The sea-god will in future use his trident
less; but the same principles which led to the present renunciation
of early pretensions naturally conduct to yet further emancipation of
the sea. The work of maritime civilization is not finished. And here
the two nations, equally endowed by commerce, and matched together,
while surpassing all others, in peaceful ships, may gloriously unite
in setting up new pillars, to mark new triumphs, rendering the ocean a
highway of peace, instead of a bloody field.

The Congress of Paris, in 1856, where were assembled the
plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, France, Austria, Prussia, Russia,
Sardinia, and Turkey, has already led the way. Adopting the early
policy of the United States, often proposed to foreign nations,
this congress authenticated two important changes in restraint of
belligerent rights: first, that the neutral flag shall protect
enemy goods, except contraband of war; and, secondly, that neutral
goods, except contraband of war, are not liable to capture under an
enemy’s flag. This is much. Another proposition, for the abolition of
Privateering, was defective in two respects: first, because it left
nations free to employ private vessels under public commission as ships
of the navy, and therefore was nugatory; and, secondly, because, if
not nugatory, it was too obviously in the special interest of Great
Britain, which, through her commanding navy, would be left at will
to rule the sea. No change can be practicable which is not equal in
advantage to all nations; for the Equality of Nations is not a dry
dogma merely of International Law, but a vital sentiment common to
all. This cannot be overlooked; and every proposition must be brought
sincerely to its equitable test.

There is a way in which privateering may be effectively abolished
without shock to the Equality of Nations. A simple proposition,
assuring private property on the ocean the same immunity it now enjoys
on land, will at once abolish privateering, and relieve commerce on
the ocean from its greatest perils, so that, like commerce on land,
it will be undisturbed, except by illegal robbery and theft. Such
a proposition must operate for the equal advantage of all. On this
account, and in the policy of peace, always cultivated by our Republic,
it has been already presented to other nations. You have not forgotten
the important paper in which Mr. Marcy did this service,[109] and the
favor it found with European powers, always excepting Great Britain,
whose opposition was too potential. But this vast cause was never
commended with more force than by John Quincy Adams, as Secretary of
State, when, in a masterly despatch, he declared that “private war,
banished by the tacit and general consent of Christian nations from
their territories, has taken its last refuge upon the ocean, and
there continues to disgrace and afflict them by a system of licensed
robbery, bearing all the most atrocious characters of piracy.”[110]
The Governments of Europe were invited to enter into conventions by
which “all warfare against private property upon the sea is disclaimed
and renounced,” and at the same time the final suppression of the
slave-trade assured, so that the freedom of the sea was associated with
the freedom of men.[111] In the same humane interest, Henry Clay, as
Secretary of State, invited Great Britain “to agree to the abolition of
privateering, and no longer to consider private property on the high
seas as lawful prize of war.”[112] In such a cause the effort alone was

To complete the efficacy of this reform, closing the gate against
belligerent pretensions, Contraband of War should be abolished,
so that all ships may navigate the ocean freely, without peril or
detention from the character of persons or things on board: and here
I only follow the Administration of Washington, enjoining upon John
Jay, in his negotiation with England, to seek security for neutral
commerce, particularly “by abolishing contraband _altogether_.”[113]
The Right of Search, which, on outbreak of war, becomes an omnipresent
tyranny, subjecting every neutral ship to the arbitrary invasion of
every belligerent cruiser, would then disappear. It would drop, as
the chains from an emancipated slave; or rather, it would exist only
as an occasional agent, under solemn treaties, in the war waged by
civilization against the slave-trade; and then it would be proudly
recognized as an honorable surrender to the best interests of humanity,
glorifying the flag which made it.

With the consummation of these reforms in Maritime Law, war will be
despoiled of its most vexatious prerogatives, while innocent neutrals
are exempt from its torments. One step further is needed to complete
this exemption. Commercial Blockade must be abandoned; for, while
its first effects are naturally felt by the belligerent against whom
directed, it soon acts with kindred hardship upon all neutrals, near
or remote, whose customary commerce is interrupted,--so that the
blockade of an American port may cause distress in Liverpool and
Manchester, in Lyons and Marseilles, scarcely less than if these great
cities were under pressure of a blockading squadron. Neutrals, it
is said, must not relieve belligerents, and therefore blockade is
effectively a two-edged sword, wounding belligerents on the one side
and neutrals on the other side,--often, indeed, wounding neutrals as
much as belligerents. If not designedly so, it becomes thus mischievous
from the essential vice of its character. Blockade may be called the
elephant of naval warfare, as destructive, often, to friends as to
foes. So palpable is this becoming, that it is doubtful if neutrals
will much longer allow such backhanded agency, smiting the innocent as
well as the guilty, to continue under sanction of International Law.
Its extinction is needed to complete the triumph of Neutral Rights.[114]

Such a change, just in proportion to its accomplishment, will be a
blessing to mankind, inconceivable in grandeur. The statutes of the
sea, thus refined and elevated, will be agents of peace instead of
agents of war. Ships and cargoes will pass unchallenged from shore to
shore, and those terrible belligerent rights under which the commerce
of the world has so long suffered will cease from troubling. In
this work our country began early. Hardly had we proclaimed our own
independence, before we sought to secure a similar independence for
the sea. Hardly had we made a constitution for our own government,
before we sought to establish a constitution similar in spirit for the
government of the sea. If not prevailing promptly, it was because we
could not overcome the unyielding resistance of Great Britain. And now,
behold, this champion of belligerent rights has “changed his hand and
checked his pride.” Welcome to the new-found alliance! Welcome to the
peaceful transfiguration! Meanwhile, through all present excitements,
amidst all trials, beneath all threatening clouds, it only remains for
us to uphold the perpetual policy of the Republic, and to stand fast on
the ancient ways.


    The reception of this speech revealed the interest of the
    question, which was not inferior to that of Slavery. The
    auditory at its delivery, the expressions of the public press,
    the sensation in England, and letters from all quarters were
    as instructive as complimentary. Among our own countrymen at
    home and abroad the satisfaction was general. The people were
    against war with England, and they were glad to learn that
    by surrender of the Rebels Maritime Rights had obtained new
    safeguard, while the British pretext for war was removed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The scene at the delivery was described by the leading journals.

    The correspondent of the _New York Tribune_ telegraphed
    briefly, but emphatically.

        “Senator Sumner’s speech was felt to be exhaustive of the
        Law of Nations which governed the case of the Trent, and
        is already ranked in Washington as a state paper upon the
        question of seizure and search worthy to be placed side by
        side with the despatches of Madison and Jefferson. It was
        delivered to a thronged and charmed Senate.”

    The correspondent of the _New York Herald_ telegraphed more at

        “The speech was impressively delivered. The galleries
        of the Senate were densely crowded. Notwithstanding the
        inclemency of the weather, the ladies’ gallery was filled
        to overflowing. Mrs. Vice-President Hamlin and a party
        of her friends occupied seats in the diplomatic gallery,
        which was also filled. Secretaries Chase and Cameron
        occupied seats on the floor of the Chamber, where were
        also the French, Russian, Austrian, Prussian, Danish, and
        Swedish ministers. Lord Lyons was not present, as etiquette
        required that he should not be there on such an occasion.
        The speech was listened to with fixed attention by Senators
        Bright and Powell and ex-Senator Green. M. Mercier, the
        French minister, occupied a seat next to Mr. Bright, and
        exchanged salutations with Mr. Sumner at the conclusion
        of the speech, as did also most of the other foreign

        “Mr. Sumner’s speech has created a marked impression on
        the public in regard to himself. It has removed much
        prejudice that existed against him, and added greatly to
        his reputation as a profound statesman. The impression
        prevailed, that, with all his learning, his extraordinary
        acquirements, and splendid talents, he could not avoid the
        introduction of his peculiar views in reference to Slavery;
        and on account of the strong Antislavery proclivities of
        England hitherto, and the sympathy heretofore from this
        cause existing between leading English politicians and
        our own Antislavery men of Mr. Sumner’s class, it was
        apprehended by many that he would be inclined to lean
        towards Great Britain in this controversy. His course
        to-day was, therefore, an agreeable surprise. The absence
        of any allusion in his speech to the Negro Question
        demonstrated his ability and willingness to rise superior
        to the one idea attributed to him, and the scathing
        exposition of British inconsistency in regard to the right
        of search, and the dignified rebuke he administered to
        England, exhibited his capacity to regard public affairs
        with the eye of a genuine statesman.

        “The applause accorded to this really great production is
        universal and unqualified.”

    The correspondent of the _New York Evening Post_ gives the
    following sketch of the scene in a letter.

        “In spite of the fog, rain, and mud of this morning, the
        galleries of the Senate Chamber began to fill at an early
        hour. In addition to the lounging _habitués_ of the daily
        sessions, came a crowd which left them no room to lounge.
        You have only to advertise a speech, and how the life-tide
        sets towards the Capitol! Mr. Sumner’s splendid oratory
        always attracts immense audiences, even when his speeches
        bear upon the unpopular subject of Slavery.

        “Most people seemed to think that he was the slave of
        this one idea, and could only be great when mounted on
        his hobby. But in his master speech on the Trent affair
        and its relation to Maritime and International Law he has
        proved himself to be something more than the accomplished
        scholar, the eloquent speech-maker, forcing the recognition
        of his statesmanship from the very mouths of his enemies.
        This exposition of the triumph of American principles,
        necessarily less ornate than his more literary productions,
        is marked by all his usual fastidious strength of style.
        Vibrating through his voice, every word seemed a live nerve
        quivering with electric meaning.

        “A speech so kind and calm in rebuke, so elaborate in
        research, so bountiful in proof, so conclusive in argument,
        coming from the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign
        Relations, and an acknowledged favorite of England, will
        appeal with strong conviction to her people. Here in
        Washington its praise is on every tongue. In the dense
        crowd of the gallery General Fremont was conspicuous, and
        among the Abolitionists of the audience were the Rev. John
        Pierpont and Rev. Dr. Channing of the new Antislavery
        church. The French, Danish, Prussian, Austrian, Russian,
        and Spanish ministers, with Secretaries Chase and Cameron,
        sat in groups in the Senate Chamber, amid the eagerly
        listening Senators. The last is a special item; for I
        observe, as an every-day habit, that these distinguished
        gentlemen do not pay very marked attention to each other’s
        speeches. In the crimson diplomatic gallery sat the
        daughter and wife of Vice-President Hamlin.”

    The editorial judgments were in harmony with the reports of

    The _National Intelligencer_, at Washington, which had not
    inclined to Mr. Sumner on Slavery, said:--

        “We give to-day, in consideration of the current interest
        attaching to its subject, and, we may add, because of its
        great ability, the speech delivered yesterday by Mr. Sumner
        in the Senate of the United States on the question of
        International Law raised by the arrest of Messrs. Mason and

        “Singularly qualified for this discussion by his erudition
        as a jurist and as a student of history, besides being
        called by his position as Chairman of the Committee on
        Foreign Relations in the Senate to give to the subject that
        mature consideration it deserves, Mr. Sumner has brought to
        its treatment an affluence of illustration and authority,
        derived from the most cherished traditions of American
        diplomacy, for the purpose of showing that the decision to
        which our Government has come in the premises may be rested
        on a broader foundation than that which was sufficient to
        cover the ground of the British reclamation against the act
        of Captain Wilkes.”

    _L’Eco d’Italia_, an Italian paper in New York, took this
    occasion to pay a warm tribute to Mr. Sumner, and his
    moderation of conduct.

        “Nobody had better right to speak with knowledge and
        authority than the Chairman of the Committee of Foreign
        Relations, and as a man rather extreme in his ideas of
        personal independence.”

    Then complimenting him on his knowledge of French and Italian,
    his admiration of Italian literature, and his ardent love of
    Italy, this journal says:--

        “Sumner, from the beginning of his political career, showed
        himself the decided enemy of Slavery, and was marked by the
        opposite party as an Abolitionist, which was equivalent
        to subverter of public order, robber, and worse. In the
        midst of the greatest difficulties he kept himself constant
        always.… Now that the movement has commenced, Sumner,
        instead of throwing wood on the fire, which already burns
        too much, shows all the prudence and sagacity of a true

    The _World_, in New York, said:--

        “The carefully prepared speech which Mr. Sumner delivered
        in the Senate yesterday is an important contribution to
        the stock of current information on an important question
        of public law. The arrest of Mason and Slidell has not
        before been discussed with so much breadth of research.
        Mr. Sumner’s luminous speech is a remarkable example of
        the advantage of historical knowledge in the discussion of
        public questions.…

        “It is creditable to Mr. Sumner that he has been able to
        present so conclusive an historical argument in opposition
        to the view of this subject taken by legists and publicists
        so able and erudite as Mr. Everett, Mr. Cushing, Professor
        Parsons, and Chief-Justice Bigelow, of his own State, and
        most of the public journals in all parts of the country.
        The error of these writers has consisted in an undue
        deference to the British admiralty decisions,--decisions
        against whose validity on the points involved in this
        controversy our Government has always protested.

        “Mr. Sumner’s argument plainly sustains Mr. Seward in
        his surrender of the Rebel commissioners, but not in his
        delaying to do so till they were demanded by the English
        Government. The thanks of the country are due to Mr. Sumner
        for his convincing argument that the national honor has
        suffered no detriment by their surrender.”

    The _New York Commercial Advertiser_ said:--

        “Mr. Sumner gives, within limits as brief as the nature of
        the case would permit, the arguments which influenced the
        Committee after a laborious investigation of the point in
        dispute. He performs this duty in a temperate, lucid, and
        convincing manner, rising above all asperity or excitement,
        and viewing the question as it affects the best interests
        of the human race. At the same time he has steered almost
        entirely clear of the track marked out by Secretary Seward,
        the great body of his argument being drawn from events and
        precedents in the history of our own country.… We take the
        greater pleasure in referring to the elaborate arguments
        brought forward by Senator Sumner, inasmuch as certain
        parties seem to think that Secretary Seward’s able reply
        to Lord Lyons on this subject was nothing but a graceful
        backing down before superior force,--that he strove to
        hunt up precedents on behalf of a position which was in
        fact defensible only because our Government could not
        accept the gauntlet thrown down by that of Great Britain.
        No unprejudiced person, we think, can peruse Mr. Sumner’s
        speech without arriving at a different conclusion. It
        should rather be an occasion for national congratulation
        than humiliation, that Great Britain has, _de facto_,
        abandoned her old ground, and planted herself on doctrines
        and practice strictly, and for a time almost exclusively,

    The _Burlington Daily Times_, of Vermont, said:--

        “We have not room to print the elaborate and convincing
        argument of Senator Sumner on the seizure of the Rebel
        emissaries, Mason and Slidell. Notwithstanding all that
        has been said, it is fresh and original, and is a complete
        vindication of the course of the Administration in promptly
        restoring the seized persons to the British Government. It
        cannot remove the animosities which the course of England
        has kindled among Americans; but it cannot fail to heal
        the galled sense of wounded national honor, because it
        is shown by the argument that it has not been wounded at
        all,--that the feeling of shame and dishonor which has
        been experienced has been resting on imaginary and false

    The _Boston Transcript_ said:--

        “Fortunately for Mr. Sumner, events have arisen which have
        enabled him to demonstrate that he is not ridden by one
        idea. As Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the
        most important post that a Senator of the United States
        can hold in the present emergency of the nation, he has
        shown talents and acquirements which every fair mind
        cannot but appreciate. The ‘inevitable negro’ is banished
        from this arena, and the country has been astonished by
        the solidity of Mr. Sumner’s learning, the amplitude of
        his understanding, and the sagacity of his judgment on
        all the vital questions which have arisen in his special
        department. His speech on the affair of the Trent is a
        masterpiece. He goes beyond all the precedents of the
        conservative lawyers of New England, and all the arguments
        of the Secretary of State, to the essential principles of
        International Law, as recognized by the great thinkers and
        statesmen of the Continent of Europe, and as contended
        for by our own Government. He, the man who has most cause
        to hate Slidell and Mason, and who, from his Abolitionist
        proclivities, would be most opposed to delivering them
        up, is found to exceed even Mr. Seward in his desire to
        establish the rights of neutrals and ignore the passions of
        the hour.”

    The _Norfolk County Journal_ said:--

        “It is a work of supererogation to say one word in its
        praise. Public opinion has already stamped it as one of
        the great speeches of the present generation of American
        statesmen. In the acquaintance which it displays with
        International Law, the impregnability of its argument, the
        classic finish of its diction, and the statesmanlike temper
        which it brings to the discussion, it has gained for its
        author new honors, and done much to counteract a prejudice
        against our Senator which too many had mistakenly allowed
        to possess their minds.”

    The _Haverhill Publisher_ said:--

        “The late speech of the Senator on the Trent affair is
        one of the ablest state papers that have appeared in this
        country for years, and will have a powerful influence upon
        the English mind in settling the present disturbed state of
        feeling, and also in securing the practical acknowledgment
        of a great principle in International Law. Those who have
        found the most fault of late with Mr. Sumner for his
        efforts to keep fresh before the country the cause of our
        present disaster, as an important thing to be considered,
        while struggling for relief, are now among the first
        to do him honor for his unanswerable argument upon the
        Trent Question, and the principle involved. In the end,
        the country and the world will as fully agree with him,
        practically, upon the question of Slavery. No man can more
        truly be said to be the man for the hour than can Senator

    The _Salem Gazette_ said:--

        “It is a pleasure to accord to Senator Sumner the approval
        of his most judicious course on the same subject. We take
        the more pleasure in this approval, because it has often
        been our fortune to differ with Mr. Sumner in regard to
        the treatment of some of the most important questions
        before the country. But in regard to our foreign relations,
        holding as he does the responsible position of Chairman of
        the Senate Committee on that subject, we confide in him as
        a safe, wise, and thoroughly well-informed guide.”

    These are illustrations of the American press. Very different
    was that of London, so far as it spoke. One of our countrymen,
    then abroad, and closely observing the manifestations of
    opinion, remarked that the speech was attacked, but not

        “The excellence of any such effort is to be measured now in
        this country only by the amount of attack it calls out, and
        I was therefore much pleased to see that the _Times_ lost
        its temper in criticizing you. It is a significant fact,
        that neither it nor any of its allies have ventured to
        reprint the speech. They confine themselves to a style of
        criticism that I should call blackguard, against you, Mr.
        Seward, and Mr. Everett.”

    In contrast with the prevailing tone was the London Peace
    Society, which, in its Annual Report, spoke of the speech.

        “They felt it right to reprint the very able speech
        delivered by Mr. Charles Sumner on the affair of the
        Trent, because, while explicitly surrendering every right
        on the part of the American Government, as respects that
        transaction, he does so on such broad principles as in
        the judgment of the Committee it would be greatly to
        the advantage of all civilized states to adopt and act
        upon in their relations with each other. Copies of this
        pamphlet were sent to all Members of Parliament, and to a
        large number of newspapers and periodicals throughout the

    The character of the attack by the _Times_ will be seen by a
    few passages from a leader, January 25, 1862.

        “The last mail has brought us another attempt, made in
        a speech five columns long by Mr. Charles Sumner in the
        American Senate. This gentleman is, perhaps, the one
        American who has been most petted and fêted over here.
        Mr. Charles Sumner was the greatest drawing-room lion of
        his day, and his mane was combed by a thousand delicate
        hands, often held up in admiration at his gentle roarings.
        In America he has arrived at the high distinction of
        Senator for Massachusetts and Chairman of the Committee
        for Foreign Affairs; but after the very general hilarity
        throughout Europe caused by Mr. Seward’s diplomatic
        _fiasco_, it seems to have been thought necessary to
        put some one forward to make ‘a scathing exposition of
        British inconsistency,’ and to show what a victory over
        the old country had been obtained. So Charles Sumner is
        the man.… Mr. Sumner has not done his work ill. But
        then he had peculiar facilities for it. ‘Who best has
        known them can abuse them best.’ Moreover, his audience
        at Washington was not difficult. Gentlemen who could
        congratulate themselves on Bull Run required no cogent
        reasons for seeing a glorious triumph, first in the seizure
        of the Trent, and then in the compulsory surrender of
        the prize.… No wonder, then, that Mr. Charles Sumner’s
        speech in the Senate has been a great success. We are
        told that all the foreign ambassadors--except only Lord
        Lyons, whom nothing but severe diplomatic etiquette kept
        away--came round him and congratulated him; and that after
        its delivery, ‘our respected mother, England,’ is ‘left
        out in the cold,’--whatever that may mean. The two points
        which seem especially to have been admired are, first,
        ‘the absence of any allusion in his speech to the Negro
        Question,’--showing that he is by no means so obstinate
        upon that matter as had been feared,--and, second, ‘the
        signal rebuke he administered to England.’ We can go some
        way with Mr. Sumner’s encomiasts in this admiration. It
        at least shows a versatile and cosmopolitan mind. His
        ‘allusions to the Negro Question’ are evidently only absent
        from his Washington speeches because they are kept entirely
        for English use, and are not fitted for home consumption;
        whereas the ‘rebukes’ are manufactured expressly for the
        American market, and are never offered for acceptance on
        this side of the Atlantic.… It is of no great consequence
        to us what clouds of dust American statesmen may choose to
        raise in order to escape from their difficulty. Now that
        they have eaten the leek, they may declare, if they please,
        that it was exquisite in its flavor, and had been presented
        to them as a mark of honor.…

        “The case of the Trent has not made any new precedent
        whatever, nor can it clash with any precedent upon which
        in modern times we ever did or could have intended to
        rely. The forcible removal of those four men from under
        the British flag was a rude outrage, redeemed neither by
        precedent nor principle, and it has been resented and
        repaired. If all the Federal Senate make set speeches till
        doomsday, they can make no more of it.”

    In the course of its objurgations, the _Times_ seeks to repel
    the parallel between the taking by Captain Wilkes and the
    taking of American citizens by British cruisers, and here it

        “In the current number of the _Quarterly Review_ it is
        conclusively shown that only two men ‘claiming to be
        Americans’ were taken by our cruisers out of American ships
        in the year preceding the war of 1812.”[116]

    “Only two men ‘claiming to be Americans’”! Lord Castlereagh,
    in the House of Commons, immediately after the breaking out
    of the war, admitted that there were in the British fleet
    three thousand five hundred men “who claimed to be American
    subjects.”[117] The _Times_ perhaps intended “only two men”
    really American. But here is strange and total oblivion of the
    fact, that, in every case of taking, whether the victim was
    American or not, whether two or two hundred were seized, there
    was an exercise of the very prerogative it condemned in Captain
    Wilkes, although he had an excuse beyond that of any British

    This leader of the _Times_ was followed by an article, dated
    at the Temple, January 28, from its famous correspondent
    “Historicus,” known to be Mr. Vernon Harcourt, a writer
    of admirable power on questions of International Law, and
    afterwards a distinguished member of Parliament. In this
    article the same spirit appeared, with the same personality,
    and the same hardihood of assertion. Beginning with elaborate
    flings at Mr. George Sumner, where the causticity is reinforced
    from _Martin Chuzzlewit_, he comes to the Senator, and, in the
    tone already adopted by the _Times_, refers to his reception
    in London: “It would be scarcely too much to say, that, for
    a single season, Mr. Charles Sumner enjoyed a social success
    almost equal to that of the ‘Black Sam’ himself. He was
    regarded as ‘a man and a brother,’ and he could not have been
    better treated, if he had had real black blood in his veins.”
    This is to prepare for what follows.

        “It is impossible adequately to describe the ‘threat
        speech’ in the Senate, except by saying that Charles,
        if possible, out-Sumners George. The great object of
        this remarkable oration is to prove that the surrender
        of Messrs. Slidell and Mason is a great triumph for the
        American Government. There is, proverbially, no accounting
        for taste; and if the American people are of Mr. Sumner’s
        opinion, I do not see why we should complain of their
        contentment. Some people, like Uriah Heep, are ‘very
        ’umble,’ and their meekness is an edifying spectacle. We
        demanded the restoration of the prisoners, not in order
        to mortify the American people, but for the purpose of
        vindicating the honor of our flag and asserting the
        established principles of Maritime Law.”

    In exposing Mr. Sumner’s misfeasance, the writer proceeds:--

        “As if to make the absurdity of his position more
        conspicuous, Mr. Sumner invokes the sympathies of
        ‘Continental Governments’ for the doctrine of Mr. Seward’s
        despatch. He has even the incredible audacity (if it
        be not, indeed, an ignorance hardly less credible) to
        pledge the authority of M. Hautefeuille in support of
        the pretension to treat Messrs. Slidell and Mason as
        ‘contraband of war.’”

    This is followed by an extract from M. Hautefeuille, declaring
    that a neutral ship, destined for a neutral port, is not
    subject to seizure.

    This passage shows that the writer had in mind something very
    different from the speech he criticized. Mr. Sumner nowhere
    alludes to Mr. Seward’s despatch, much less does he invoke the
    sympathies of Continental Europe for its doctrines. Nor does
    he pledge the authority of M. Hautefeuille in support of the
    pretension to treat the Rebel agents as contraband of war; on
    the contrary, he mentioned M. Hautefeuille as having “entered
    into this debate with a direct proposition for the release
    of the emissaries as a testimony to the true interpretation
    of International Law,”[118] and himself insists upon the
    very doctrine of the French publicist. Plainly, therefore,
    the writer dealt hard words at Mr. Sumner, mistaking him for
    somebody else.

    Then comes another misapprehension.

        “I know not whether, in the hazy muddle of a confused
        intelligence, Mr. Sumner has figured to himself that the
        seizure of Messrs. Slidell and Mason is a parallel case
        to the instances of impressment of seamen out of which
        grew the war of 1812. Yet men of less pretensions than the
        ‘Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations’ ought to
        be aware that the cases are not only not the same, but not
        even similar. Their resemblance, at most, extends to the
        proverbial identity of chalk and cheese.”

    Evidently the writer had not read the opinion of the law
    officers, individualizing the point, that “from on board
    a merchant ship of a neutral power, pursuing a lawful and
    innocent voyage, certain individuals have been taken by
    force,”[119] which was the precise point so often urged by the
    United States against impressment.

    Then follow the general condemnation and counterblast.

        “It is impossible to read such performances as the ‘Great
        Speech of the Hon. C. Sumner’ without drawing a gloomy
        augury for the future of a nation among whom such a man
        can occupy a chief place. In all the symptoms of decadence
        which the recent history of the American Republic exhibits,
        there is none more conspicuous and apparently more
        irreparable than the decline in capacity and character
        of her public men. The men bred under the shadow of the
        English colonial system were of a very different stamp
        from the race which progressive Democracy has spawned for

        “But now, whether we turn to the puerile absurdities
        of President Lincoln’s message, or to the confused and
        transparent sophistry of Mr. Seward’s despatch, or to the
        feeble and illogical malice of Mr. Sumner’s oration, we
        see nothing on every side but a melancholy spectacle of
        impotent violence and furious incapacity.”

    In the volume of Historicus,[120] much of which constitutes a
    valuable contribution to International Law, this effusion is
    abridged and modified. Some things are left out, and others
    are changed. Generally the personalities are mitigated. Thus,
    the original caption, “The Brothers Sumner on International
    Law,” is turned into “Letter on Mr. Sumner’s Speech,” and “the
    hazy muddle of a confused intelligence” is softened into “a
    confusion of mind” attributed to Mr. Sumner; but the article
    is introduced by words describing the speech as “_professing_
    to expound and to maintain the doctrines of Mr. Seward’s
    despatch,” and it repeats the allegation that “Mr. Sumner
    invokes the sympathies of ‘Continental Governments’ for the
    doctrine of Mr. Seward’s despatch,” whereas, in fact, he never
    professed or did any such thing. It would be pleasant to forget
    that an article of such a character was ever written; nor would
    it be mentioned here, if it did not throw important light--and
    not to be neglected--on the general tone of the British press
    and its unfounded conduct towards our Republic at a critical

       *       *       *       *       *

    Contemporary letters from countrymen abroad tell how they were

    At home, persons in all conditions--statesmen, judges,
    lawyers, clergymen, authors, citizens--made haste to express
    gratification and sympathy. This copious correspondence evinces
    the intensity and extent of the prevailing sentiment, which can
    be learned in no other way. Thus it illustrates an important
    chapter of history.

    A letter from Hon. Richard H. Dana, Jr., District Attorney of
    the United States at Boston, and afterwards the annotator of
    Wheaton’s “Elements of International Law,” an able publicist,
    full of good feeling for England, though written at Boston, may
    be introduced here, as it bears especially upon the conduct of
    England and the English press.

        “Permit me to say that I am glad to see the London _Times’_
        attack on you and your Trent speech. It will make you feel
        to the quick--what you did not seem to feel, or refused to
        admit--the _insolent_ tone of the British press and public
        men towards us in our struggle for life, and the false
        manner in which they have tried to turn this case to our
        national ruin. Those few semi-republican, semi-abolition,
        liberally inclined men in England, whom you respect, and
        who command, perhaps, one paper and one monthly, are a drop
        in the bucket. The ruling class in England is determined
        to sever this Republic, and all its pent-up jealousy,
        arrogance, and superciliousness are breaking out stronger
        and stronger.

        “There is not one English paper that I have seen which has
        not either suppressed or falsified the material facts of
        this case, because they know, that, properly understood,
        they would not support the hostile feeling against this
        country the papers depended upon keeping up. I am rejoiced
        to know that you feel this.

        “I have had a letter from England, from a high source,
        which speaks of your speech as very able, etc., etc.,
        but says, “No paper has dared to publish it,” and speaks
        of their attacking without publishing it, thus making it
        apparent that it is read.

        “One of my letters says, ‘It is an excellent speech, but it
        has cost him his favor in England.’

        “I write these things to you because I take pleasure in
        them. They are _the best omen for you_ that I have seen.”

    Hon. George R. Russell, an excellent citizen of Boston,
    travelling in Europe, wrote from Florence:--

        “The _Times_ has come down on you, and has failed. It has
        the usual bitterness, but the power is wanting.”

    Hon. James E. Harvey, Minister Resident at Lisbon, wrote:--

        “I have just read your speech on the Trent affair, and
        cannot refrain from expressing my thanks for its able and
        conclusive vindication of the position of our Government on
        that subject. If any reasoning can reconcile the American
        mind to the restitution of the two emissaries to British
        protection, your arguments and the calm and convincing
        presentation of facts must do it. What you have said of
        Hautefeuille might be justly applied to this statesmanlike
        production, which, in comprehension and in logical
        connection, is a state paper.”

    Hon. Bradford R. Wood, Minister Resident at Copenhagen, wrote:--

        “I thank you for your speech on Maritime Rights, just
        received, and which I have carefully read. All my
        assertions that the Trent affair would not lead to war were
        received here with incredulity, by the Government, by my
        colleagues, by all parties. It was a bitter disappointment
        to some of the English here, and I doubt not in England,
        that this matter has been settled without war. The London
        _Times_, while criticizing your speech and denying its
        conclusions, writhes under it, and its arguments are
        a severer rebuke to England than any philippics or
        denunciations could be.”

    William S. Thayer, Consul-General at Alexandria, wrote from his

        “I lent Mr. Buckle[121] the _Intelligencer_ with your
        speech on the Trent affair, some points of which received
        his emphatic indorsement.”

    Hon. John Bigelow, Consul at Paris, and afterwards Minister
    there, wrote from Paris:--

        “It produced an excellent effect here, and still better in
        England, if one may judge by the ill-humor in which it put
        the _Times_. The impotent venom of that journal, under the
        circumstances, was more complimentary than its praise could
        have been.”

    Henry Woods, the Parisian member of the American importing
    house of Messrs. C. F. Hovey & Co., wrote from Paris:--

        “I have to thank you for a copy of your very able speech
        on the Trent affair, which has been very much read, and
        in all quarters I hear it spoken of with admiration. It
        is considered your greatest effort, and worthy of a great

    Professor Charles D. Cleveland, author and Abolitionist, Consul
    at Cardiff, Wales, wrote:--

        “How my heart rejoices that the affair of the Trent is thus
        amicably settled! but--and I _must_ say so--I have little
        faith in the good feeling of the Government of England,
        and the leading influences here, towards our country. How
        indignant have I felt the last six weeks at the tone of
        the leading papers towards our country! Nothing, hardly,
        could exceed the bitterness of the _Times_, the _Post_, the
        _Telegraph_, the _Saturday Review_, &c., &c. Even _Punch_
        lent all his influence to the Rebels, and against us. The
        very first number after the news of the Trent affair was
        received had a full-length figure of Britannia standing
        beside a cannon, with a match in her hand, looking across
        the water, and underneath was written, ‘Waiting for an

        “True, the religious public, or rather the Dissenters, have
        shown right feelings; and I wrote letters of thanks to Dr.
        Newman Hall and to Mr. Spurgeon for what they had done,
        and received very kind answers; but very few of the Church
        Establishment have shown right feelings.

        “I was always the friend of England, and few have written
        or spoken more in commendation of her; but I must in truth
        say that my feelings have changed since I have been here.
        England would rejoice to-day to see our country divided.
        She sees our growing greatness, and envies and fears it.”

    In close connection with letters from abroad is that of E.
    Littell, founder and editor of the _Living Age_, close student
    of the English press, and warmly attached to England, who wrote
    from Boston:--

        “Allow me to congratulate you upon the speech on the Trent
        affair. ‘They of the contrary part,’ even, ‘cannot gainsay

        “After feeling so deeply the almost unbroken attitude of
        the London press as to be forced to think and say that I
        must give up my love for England (which was a part of my
        inmost heart), I have reverted to her again, pleading that
        that press does not represent either her people or her

    Hon. Henry L. Dawes, the eminent Representative in Congress,

        “I congratulate you on your great effort to-day. It was
        worthy of you. I regret I could not hear it all. But I
        shall have the greater pleasure in reading it.”

    Hon. Hamilton Fish, afterwards Secretary of State, wrote from
    New York:--

        “_Exactly_ right; you have done justice to the question,
        the country, its history, its policy, and its late action.
        On such ground as you have placed the subject we stand
        proudly before the world.…

        “It should be circulated largely in England, among the
        class who will read it. The British press will not publish
        it in full, unless you can bring, through some of your
        friends, an influence to bear. Cannot you do so?”

    Hon. N. P. Talmadge, former Senator of the United States from
    New York, wrote from Georgetown, District of Columbia:--

        “I have just read with great pleasure your very able speech
        in regard to Messrs. Mason and Slidell and the recent
        affair of the Trent. Coming in support of the lucid and
        able reply of Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons, it places the
        matter before the American people and all Europe in a light
        as clear as a sunbeam.

        “It seems to me that England, in the excitement of the
        moment, and with the sudden impulse of redressing a fancied
        wrong, has not foreseen the inevitable result to which her
        own action has brought her. She may attempt hereafter,
        as occasion may require, to evade the consequences by
        saying that the law officers of the crown decided that
        the wrong consisted in not taking the Trent into port for
        the adjudication of a Prize Court, and therefore that was
        the only point involved. She will find, however, that not
        only the United States, but France, and all Europe, will
        hold her to the consequences which you have so clearly
        demonstrated flow from her own action.

        “Mr. Seward’s reply to Lord Lyons, and your speech, will
        settle this whole question with the American people. If
        their judgments are satisfied, they cheerfully acquiesce,
        no matter how high their passions may have been wrought
        against these Rebels, nor how strong their desire to
        keep possession of them. I believe there is not a loyal
        press that has not acquiesced in the decision of the
        Administration. How proudly all this contrasts with the
        predictions of Dr. Russell, the correspondent of the London
        _Times_, that, if these men were given up, the Government
        would be dissolved and destroyed by the mob! This will show
        England that a British ministry have much more to fear from
        her mobs than the Administration of this Government have to
        fear from our people.”

    Hon. Julius Rockwell, the Judge, and former Senator of the
    United States, with lifelong experience, political and
    judicial, wrote from Pittsfield, Massachusetts:--

        “The public opinion, as far as I know it here, is in
        accordance with the positions set forth in your speech,
        and your speech will tend to illustrate and render it
        more general. Still, some are unsatisfied, and there is
        a general, I may say, almost universal, accession of
        dissatisfaction with the conduct and character of England.
        This feeling just now pervades our people, crops out in all
        lectures, and in many sermons, and some prayers.”

    Hon. Daniel Ullmann, prominent in the politics of New York, and
    a General in the war, wrote from his head-quarters:--

        “You will greatly oblige me by sending to my address a
        pamphlet copy of your great speech on the ‘Trent affair.’ I
        desire it in that form for preservation.”

    Hon. James Duane Doty, Governor of Utah, and former
    Representative in Congress, wrote from Salt Lake City:--

        “Far, far from you, on the top of the Rocky Mountains, I
        have just held communion with you by a perusal of your
        able, eloquent, and conclusive speech on the Trent affair,
        as reported in the _Herald_ of the 10th January, which
        has just reached us. Surely no nation was ever put in a
        more absurd position than you have placed England, and if
        she is satisfied with the possession of the Rebels (whom,
        I am glad to notice, you have not named), we ought to be
        gratified; for it avoids a quarrel at an inconvenient time,
        and allays public feeling, which was becoming much excited.
        These two worthless Rebels could not have been put to a
        better use.”

    Hon. Wayne MacVeagh, afterwards Minister at Constantinople,
    wrote from West Chester, Pennsylvania:--

        “I cannot refrain from expressing to you the personal
        obligation I feel for your last great speech. Its wise
        candor and its steadfast adherence to the landmarks of
        maritime freedom cannot fail to make a profound impression
        upon the liberal minds of Europe; while disclaiming the
        thought of her dishonor, you have lifted the Republic to
        the heights of a beneficent victory.”

    Hon. B. C. Clark, merchant, and Consul for Hayti, wrote from

        “Your speech on the Mason and Slidell matter has won, most
        justly, golden opinions from all sorts of people. The
        affair has been put to rest, but simply on legal grounds.…
        The Trent will tell more terribly upon England than the
        ghost of Cæsar upon Brutus at Philippi.”

    Hon. George T. Bigelow, Chief Justice of Massachusetts, wrote
    from Boston:--

        “I have read your speech on the Trent affair with very
        great pleasure. It is an admirable exposition of the
        doctrine which England has so long held on the subject of
        neutral rights; and while it demonstrates that the act
        of Captain Wilkes might have been justified on English
        practice and precedents, it places in the most clear light
        that it was inconsistent with the position which our
        Government has always occupied on the subject of search and
        seizure. The tone of the speech is so quiet and dignified,
        that it will have the effect, I think, of a severe rebuke
        on the hasty and unjustifiable conduct of the English
        Cabinet in demanding a reparation and a surrender of the
        captives with warlike menaces and preparations.

        “The prevailing sentiment here, especially among those who
        have not heretofore been inclined to speak your praise,
        is one of commendation of your speech. I am rejoiced
        that you have been able, while vindicating the course of
        the Administration in making the surrender of Mason and
        Slidell, to add so much to your reputation as a statesman.”

    Hon. Theophilus Parsons, the eminent law-writer and
    law-professor, wrote from Cambridge:--

        “I have read and studied your speech, and am really
        unwilling to repeat to you what I have said in commendation
        of it to others.

        “This question may be considered after the fashion of a
        lawyer, or a politician, or a statesman.

        “You have viewed it as a statesman, and, in my
        understanding of the word, that includes the other two, and
        elevates them both.

        “The affair has given rise to no paper so entirely
        satisfactory to me, nor to one calculated, in my judgment,
        to be so truly and permanently useful.”

    Hon. Emory Washburn, Professor at the Law School, and former
    Governor of Massachusetts, wrote:--

        “I cannot forbear expressing my satisfaction in reading
        your speech in the Senate on the Trent affair. It seems
        to me to place the matter on the true ground; and if the
        English Government do not find, when they come to look
        coolly at the matter, that in taking Mason and Slidell
        they have caught two Tartars, I shall be greatly mistaken.
        I think, moreover, you have spoken the sober, sound
        thought of the country; and while they are indignant at
        the inconsistent annoyance of the ministry and the press
        of England, they feel that the course taken is not only
        the wise and expedient one, but, on the whole, the most

    Hon. John H. Clifford, former Attorney-General of
    Massachusetts, and Governor, wrote from Boston:--

        “I have read with unqualified approval and satisfaction
        your admirable exposition of the interesting questions of
        public law in your recent speech, growing out of the arrest
        and rendition of the ‘two old men’ taken from the Trent. I
        trust its treatment of the doctrine of Maritime Rights will
        command on the other side of the water the respect to which
        it is so justly entitled, and of which its reception by the
        best minds at home gives a hopeful assurance.”

    Hon. John C. Gray, a venerable and accomplished citizen, wrote
    from Boston:--

        “I return you my acknowledgments for your speech on the
        Mason and Slidell affair. The more I have examined the
        law,--and I regret that I did not do it earlier,--the more
        I am satisfied that our civilians here were mistaken in
        their first impressions.”

    Hon. George S. Hale, lawyer, wrote from Boston:--

        “Permit me to congratulate you on your late speech in the
        Senate. I am not unfamiliar with your speeches, and feel
        great pleasure in saying that none has ever, in my opinion,
        so strengthened your position as a statesman; none has been
        more happy, more effective, or more generally satisfactory
        to your constituents.

        “Without calling up any of those questions upon which
        many of them have differed from you, you have done much
        to contribute to public peace, and aided well, under
        peculiarly difficult circumstances, in placing the country
        in an honorable position before the world.”

    Hon. Charles P. Huntington, late Judge of the Superior Court
    for Suffolk County, wrote:--

        “I have read your speech on the Trent affair with more
        satisfaction than anything that has yet been uttered on the
        subject, and as placing the merits of the question on the
        most satisfactory and statesmanlike ground.”

    Rev. Theodore D. Woolsey, the excellent President of Yale
    College, and author of a work on International Law, wrote from
    New Haven:--

        “Having just read with great pleasure your speech on the
        Trent case, as given in the _Tribune_ of yesterday, I feel
        moved to express to you my satisfaction that you have given
        the affair such a shape, and have tacitly exposed some of
        Mr. Seward’s errors.”

    Hon. John Jay, afterwards Minister at Vienna, wrote from New

        “Accept my congratulations on your very able speech on
        the Trent matter. It will rather surprise your friends in

    Hon. John M. Read, a Judge of the Supreme Court of
    Pennsylvania, wrote from Philadelphia:--

        “I was very much gratified in reading your very able,
        temperate, and forcible speech on the Trent affair.”

    Then, in a second letter, the same judicial authority wrote:--

        “It is the very best discussion of the whole subject that I
        have seen.”

    Hon. Francis Brockholst Cutting, former Representative in
    Congress from New York, and a leader of the bar, wrote from New

        “Your speech on Maritime Rights has given me very great
        satisfaction. It was worthy of your reputation, and equal
        to the occasion. The argument was particularly gratifying
        to me, because, from the outset, I had looked at the case
        from the American point of view, and had expressed myself

    Hon. R. J. Meigs, of Tennessee, for a long time eminent at the
    bar and in juridical study, wrote from New York:--

        “One word more. I thank you for your speech upon the
        Trent affair. It vindicates the honor of our baited and
        abused country. It will be a well-remembered document in
        the diplomacy of the world, settling as it does forever
        the immunity of neutrals from the insulting pretension of
        the right to seize persons on their ships merely upon the
        ground that they owe allegiance to the belligerent. It
        effectually extracts that poisonous fang from the jaws of

    Hon. David Roberts, lawyer, and author of a “Treatise on
    Admiralty and Prize,” wrote from Salem:--

        “I deem it your best effort, settling, what to me was
        from the first _the_ embarrassing element in the Wilkes
        question, _a true American_ definition of ‘despatches.’

        “I therefore thank you for the speech sincerely; and
        though differing _toto cœlo_ from you politically in other
        respects, I shall not withhold my commendation from your
        present effort, deeming it, as I do, the paramount duty of
        all to inculcate the lesson of loyalty everywhere, until
        this Government is vindicated, and the existing Rebellion

    Hon. George Wheatland, lawyer, wrote from Salem:--

        “Allow me, for the first time of ever addressing you,
        to thank you for your masterly statement of the Trent
        matter, which I have just risen from reading in the _Boston

        “You have put the matter in its true light.…

        “Your speech will shed light, and, in fact, illuminate the
        whole subject, and should be read by every one. By taking
        Mason & Co. we were acting on the English law; by giving
        them up, we act under our own view of what the law should
        be, and have brought England over to adopting our view.”

    Hon. Asahel Huntington, the veteran lawyer, wrote from Salem:--

        “I am always greatly obliged by your speeches, which you
        have had the kindness to send me from time to time. They
        are all gems of the first water, but the ‘Trent’ is the
        greatest gem of all,--so calm, so full, so exhaustive, so
        statesmanlike, so Websterian in its statements, structure,
        and heavy logic, that, on first reading it, before
        receiving the pamphlet, I had it in my heart to write
        you at once and express my high admiration of that great
        passage in your public life. It was a great opportunity,
        and was met in the true spirit of a controversy between
        nations on questions of International Law. It was potential
        for good at home and abroad, and is worthy itself to be
        trusted as an authority from its own intrinsic weight.”

    Hon. George Morey, lawyer, and for a long time a political
    leader in Massachusetts, wrote from Boston:--

        “I congratulate you on your having delivered an excellent
        speech touching our foreign relations, and particularly the
        case of the Trent.

        “Your speech comes exceedingly apropos, following in the
        track of Mr. Seward’s despatch. As that despatch will be
        looked upon in England with some suspicion, as proceeding
        from an artful and wily statesman, and there may be a
        disposition to regard it as a cunning _dodge_, &c., it is
        very fortunate that your speech will follow in the wake of
        Mr. Seward’s letter. A very great number of distinguished
        men in England, statesmen, diplomatists, &c., will say,
        Mr. Sumner is honest, he speaks his real sentiments.
        Besides, it will be said that Mr. Sumner is a most decided
        Antislavery man, and he is heartily engaged in putting
        down this great Rebellion, not because he desires to fight
        for _empire_, as Earl Russell stated in a speech some time
        since our Government were, but because he is anxious to
        extinguish Slavery, and because he knows that Slavery is
        the origin of this war. I am satisfied your speech will
        have an excellent effect in England, and also in France,
        and all over the Continent. You have done a capital thing
        towards conciliating the favor and good-will of our
        State Street gentlemen. Mr. Cartwright, President of the
        Manufacturers’ Insurance Office, where I am a director,
        says you have done excellent service to the country and
        the good cause. He has a pretty large amount of war risks.
        Your short speech in answer to Mr. Hale was commended very
        highly everywhere.”

    Hon. Theophilus P. Chandler, lawyer, wrote from Boston:--

        “Your Trent speech is by far the best thing I have read
        on the subject. You look _down_ upon the matter, while
        others look _at_ it.… The tables are completely turned upon
        England. If there is any shame in her, she will show it

    Hon. E. F. Stone, lawyer, wrote from Newburyport:--

        “As one of your constituents, I write to thank you for your
        speech on the surrender of Mason and Slidell. I have read
        and re-read it with great satisfaction. It is just the
        thing to create a correct public opinion upon the subject
        in the country.”

    Hon. Alfred B. Ely, lawyer, and officer in the War of the
    Rebellion, wrote from Boston:--

        “I have just read your speech on the Trent affair with
        great pleasure. I deem it entirely unanswerable, and
        that it ought to conclude the whole subject. I desire,
        therefore, to congratulate you upon it.”

    William I. Bowditch, conveyancer and Abolitionist, wrote from

        “I read your speech on the Mason and Slidell matter
        yesterday. It certainly is very admirable and conclusive.
        Still, I think it doubtful whether England will consider
        that she has really abandoned any of her previous
        pretensions by demanding and accepting the men.”

    Hon. Edward L. Pierce, lawyer, writer, and speaker, correct in
    opinion, and able, wrote from Boston:--

        “I read your speech. It is grand,--dealing just right with
        the British, and putting us on the highest grounds. It will
        help the country.”

    Rev. Baron Stow, the Baptist clergyman, wrote from Boston:--

        “My opinion of its merits may be of small importance to
        you, but I cannot forbear to assure you that it has the
        approbation and admiration of one of your constituents. I
        cannot be supposed to be much versed in International Law,
        but I understand your argument, and am sure that every one
        who reads must understand. I see not how you could have
        made it more clear or cogent. You condense the history of
        a vexed question into a crystalline lens, and every eye
        must see your point. I greatly mistake, if your views do
        not produce conviction both at home and abroad. You have
        performed a service to the true and the right which will
        surely be appreciated and acknowledged.”

    Rev. Caleb Stetson, the Liberal preacher, wrote from Lexington,

        “I must for a moment break in upon your vast public labors
        to thank you for your admirable speech on the affair of
        those two wretches, Mason and Slidell. You have said the
        best things that could be said, in the best manner. I
        greatly rejoice that the traitor villains are given up,
        for we cannot afford a war with England when we have this
        diabolical Rebellion. I am glad of your forbearance towards
        her, but I fear this generation will not forgive.”

    Rev. William H. Furness, the eloquent and Radical preacher,
    wrote from Philadelphia:--

        “Lend me your own gift, that I may tell you in fitting
        words how admirable your speech is. It is cheering to see
        how it has convinced people that all is right in regard to
        the Mason and Slidell affair. With all its shortcomings and
        shilly-shallying, what a glorious nation this North is!”

    James Russell Lowell, eminent in our literature, wrote from

        “Let one of your constituents thank you for your speech on
        Maritime Rights. Excellent, as far as my judgment goes, in
        matter and manner.”

    Charles E. Norton, the accomplished author, and for a time
    editor of the _North American Review_, wrote from Cambridge:--

        “I read your speech last night with such great
        satisfaction, that I desire to express my thanks to you
        for it. The argument could not be more forcibly presented,
        or in a manner better fitted to enlighten and confirm the
        sense of national dignity here, and to give the right
        direction to public opinion abroad. You have done a work of
        the highest value.”

    Orestes A. Brownson, the able writer and reviewer, wrote from
    Elizabeth, New Jersey:--

        “I have been absent from home, and have read only the one
        on the Trent affair, which I think does you equal credit
        as a lawyer and a statesman. The view you take is the one
        which I myself took, when I first heard of the capture of
        Mason and Slidell, but I knew not that it could be backed
        by so many and such high authorities as you have cited.”

    Hon. Amasa Walker, Professor of Political Economy, and
    afterwards Representative in Congress, wrote from North
    Brookfield, Massachusetts:--

        “I am much obliged for your speech on Maritime Rights.
        It is your grandest effort. A noble theme, and treated
        in an able and most statesmanlike manner. You have never
        made a speech that did your country more good or yourself
        more credit. I am particularly glad that it draws forth
        encomiums from presses in this State that have been
        very hostile to you. They seem compelled to admit their
        admiration of the speech, and that it is a great historical

    Parke Godwin, the able writer, wrote from the office of the
    _New York Evening Post_:--

        “Let me add my congratulations to the thousands you must
        have already received for the noble speech in defence of
        our time-honored championship of the seas. It is thorough,
        searching, manly, and unanswerable.”

    Charles L. Brace, the enlightened Reformer and author, wrote
    from New York:--

        “Will you allow me, as one of your great ‘Constituency,’ to
        express my admiration of your speech on the Trent affair,
        as reported by telegraph to-day? Its enlightened views,
        broad treatment, sound policy, and thorough historical
        soundness make it, to my mind, the first of your many
        public efforts in oratory.”

    Professor Henry W. Torrey, of Harvard University, wrote:--

        “I hope that you will allow an old Whig, who has often
        differed from you in political opinion, though never
        seduced into supporting Mr. Buchanan or Mr. Bell, to
        congratulate you on the position you have taken and
        so ably maintained on Neutral Rights. From the first
        moment I trembled for the consequences of the seizure
        of the insurgents. Captain Wilkes’s act appeared to be
        a portentous blunder, matched only by the truculent
        indorsements that followed it. It consoles me, however,
        that this deed has become the occasion for teaching our
        people their own antecedents, and proving to the world
        their ability to mortify their pride in the presence of
        higher claims.… You have nobly substituted the _argumentum
        ab humanitate_ for the _argumentum ad hominem_, which you
        so justly condemn.”

    Rev. Convers Francis, the learned Professor, wrote from

        “Most heartily do I thank you for your _great_ speech on
        Maritime Rights, which adds another to your many claims
        on the nation’s gratitude. It is a thorough, exhaustive,
        and most able piece of argument,--by far the most so which
        that question called forth,--and extorts praise even from

    John Penington, the bookseller, wrote from Philadelphia:--

        “I have delayed reading the ‘Maritime Rights’ speech till
        I could enjoy it in the pamphlet form, corrected. It is an
        admirable compend, a perfect _multum in parvo_. It is a
        verification of the adage, that ‘Doctors don’t like to take
        their own physic,’--our friend Bull being no exception to
        the rule. I feel much obliged to you for the treat you have
        afforded me.”

    Alfred Pell, an intelligent Free-Trader, intimate with England,
    and manager of an important insurance office, wrote from New

        “I have a long letter from [Admiral] Dupont. He wrote when
        his last advices from the North were of the 22d December,
        so that he could not have known what action the Government
        had determined upon; yet he says, ‘Few persons in the fleet
        approved of the action of Commodore Wilkes, and some of the
        most intelligent condemned it _in toto_, yet all allowed
        that it showed high moral courage on the part of Wilkes.’ …
        You show we do not stoop to conquer, and I am sure that our
        friends on the other side will feel like the lady’s maid
        spoken of by Swift, who said ‘that nothing annoyed her so
        much as being caught in a lie.’”

    John E. Lodge, merchant and personal friend, wrote from

        “Your speech is more complete even than Mr. Seward’s note;
        it is considered here as your very happiest and ablest
        effort. The English will open their eyes at some parts of

    Willard P. Phillips, merchant, wrote from Salem:--

        “The truth is, that at last you have satisfied even the
        commercial community, and they acknowledge that you have
        more than ‘one idea.’ They express surprise to find that
        you have attended to anything but Slavery, which they
        supposed had occupied all your thoughts and all your
        time. I am sure that your speech has made many who have
        heretofore opposed you feel much more kindly towards you;
        and I congratulate you, both upon this change of feeling
        towards you, and also upon the delivery of your speech,
        which, so able and clear, has satisfied even the doubtful
        ones that the surrender of the ‘two old men’ was right.”

    Stephen Higginson, merchant, wrote from Boston:--

        “I have read to-day with infinite satisfaction your speech
        of the 9th on the Trent affair, and you must allow me to
        tell you how much I admire it. Crammed with unimpeachable
        authorities, the argument terse, vigorous, and eloquent,
        this speech sheds a flood of _American_ light upon the
        subject, which has been wanting to all other essays upon it
        which have come under my notice.”

    George Livermore, merchant and student, wrote from Boston:--

        “I read your speech on the Trent affair with unqualified
        admiration, as it was printed in the _Journal_, and I hope
        a large edition will be published in pamphlet form for
        preservation. I had supposed Mr. Seward had exhausted all
        that could be said on ‘our side,’ but you have given new
        interest by your wonderful illustrations. The whole tone of
        the speech is admirable.”

    Waldo Higginson, an educated man of business, wrote from Boston:--

        “Having just completed reading your great speech on the
        Trent Question, I am impelled to write you, to do my humble
        part towards thanking you for such a triumphant effort.
        I think it is exhaustive, abstinent of all not strictly
        germane to the weighty matter in hand, puts the country
        in a far more dignified position than it was left by Mr.
        Seward’s late letter to Lord Lyons, eminently courteous
        towards _present_ England, and determines as far as
        possible that country’s position.”

    Carlos Pierce, merchant, afterwards agriculturist, wrote
    enthusiastically from Boston:--

        “I am especially grateful for a copy of your most
        remarkable and wonderful speech, delivered in the Senate
        January 9, on Maritime Rights. It came at an opportune
        moment, when the whole populace were terribly excited,
        ready to plan any kind of an expedition to sink the vessel
        that should be sent to convey the Rebels from Fort Warren.
        It is hardly possible for you to conceive of the change it
        wrought in public sentiment in twenty-four hours. It was as
        oil poured upon the troubled waters to their wounded pride.
        But it equally astonished and delighted your best friends
        and worst enemies, and won for you a host of new admirers.
        It was the most masterly and powerfully convincing argument
        I have ever read of yours on any subject. The people, the
        press, the nation, the world, will ever delight to honor
        the man that displayed the genius equal to such a rare
        opportunity, and was ready to strike so powerful a blow
        against a terrible wrong long endured, and in favor of our
        nation’s honor, humanity, and civilization.”

    Robert K. Darrah, appraiser at the Custom-House, wrote:--

        “I am constrained to congratulate you upon making the
        Thursday speech on the Trent affair. It has fallen on the
        community with the most happy effect. It was most timely
        and salutary, and most certainly the great speech of the
        session in a higher than a rhetorical sense. It will have
        a most wide and extended influence: first, to pacificate
        the public sentiment in this country, and also in England;
        and then to conciliate European powers, by acceding to the
        policy and principles they urge upon us; and, finally, by
        clinching England to the construction of International Law
        for which we have always contended, and thus driving her
        from her offensive pretensions pertinaciously adhered to
        for a century. The speech is applauded on all sides, even
        by those who do not love our party or you any too well.…
        The peroration is particularly splendid, argumentative,
        eloquent, and wise. I repeat, that all sorts of people
        applaud it, and it is believed that you have done more to
        put down our Rebellion by your action in the Senate on
        Thursday than all the major-generals have done in the last
        six months.”

    Joseph Lyman, an early friend and college classmate, wrote from
    Jamaica Plain, near Boston:--

        “You cannot think how much I was delighted with your Trent
        speech. I say nothing of it critically, but that the
        statements were truly admirable; and you know very well,
        that, when a case is well stated, it is more than argued,
        it is adjudged. But this is not why I was so much pleased
        with it. It was because it was so thoroughly in your best
        line and manner. It showed you to the public as I want to
        show you,--as a truly _practical man_. I know as well as
        you the absurdity of those who call Antislavery a party of
        one idea, of abstraction and transcendentalism, &c.,--as
        if the one idea of Humanity did not absorb all others of
        practical legislation.”

    Rev. Samuel M. Emery, of the Episcopal Church, and a college
    classmate, wrote from Portland, Connecticut:--

        “It is rather late in the day to congratulate you upon
        the lofty position you have reached on the round of
        fame and usefulness, but not too late to thank you for
        your exhaustive speech on the Trent affair. I, as well
        as thousands of Union-loving people, thank you for that

    William G. Snethen, Abolitionist and lawyer, wrote from

        “God bless Mr. Sumner! Who shall say that God has not
        spared him from the bludgeon of the murderer, not only
        to defend the poor negro in his God-given rights, but to
        vindicate our country from the insolence of England, and
        pronounce judgment against her past wrongs, while according
        forgiveness to the tardy penitent?

        “You said that the correspondence closed with Governor
        Seward’s letter to Lord Lyons. True; but his annotator is
        not less illustrious. _Par nobile fratrum!_ I am curious to
        see how your speech will be received in England.”

    John T. Morrison wrote from Washington:--

        “I have been so much pleased with your clear, concise,
        authoritative, and conclusive vindication of the action of
        the Government in the case, and, withal, with the sublime
        eloquence with which you proclaim the triumph of American
        diplomacy over the long, sullen, and obstinate perverseness
        of English rule, that I feel it my duty to ask a few copies
        of your speech for distribution among special friends in

    George Ely, of Chicago, wrote from Washington, where he was a

        “I had the pleasure of listening to your great speech,
        delivered in the Senate of the United States yesterday,
        on Maritime Rights. Permit so humble an individual as
        myself, and a stranger to you, to congratulate you upon
        the unequalled ability of your speech, and the triumphant
        vindication you have given to the American doctrine upon
        that question. The country will feel proud, in these times
        of trouble and doubt, of such an advocate.”

    Ellis Yarnall, an excellent citizen, much connected with
    England, wrote from Philadelphia:--

        “And now that we have had that speech, everything else
        that has been said on the subject seems of little worth.
        Everywhere I hear the same judgment; so that your friends
        may well congratulate you on what is doubtless one of the
        most brilliant successes of your life. It seems to me
        of the greatest importance that the speech should have
        large circulation in England. The _Times_, I fear, will
        hardly publish what, from its very moderation and its
        statesmanlike dignity, will tell so much for the Americans.
        Yet the leading men of all parties will read it, and I
        am sure it will greatly help our cause. Your rebuke of
        England’s warlike preparations is most timely, and I am
        confident good men in England will feel nothing but shame
        at the remembrance of the menacing action into which they
        were betrayed, in December, 1861, in a controversy on what
        you call a question of law.”

    These unsought and voluntary expressions of opinion show
    that on this occasion, as when demanding Emancipation, Mr.
    Sumner was not alone. Weight and numbers were with him. Nobody
    better than these volunteers represented the intelligence and
    conscience of the country.


13, 1862.

    The question of the seat of Hon. James H. Lane, of Kansas, was
    referred to the Judiciary Committee of the Senate, at the extra
    session of July, 1861, when the Committee reported that he was
    not entitled to his seat. The consideration of the resolution
    was postponed to the present session.

    It appeared, that, previously to the extra session, and
    before Mr. Lane had taken his seat as Senator from Kansas, he
    was designated by President Lincoln as Brigadier-General of
    Volunteers, and entered upon his public duties as such, but
    without any actual commission or formal appointment according
    to law. Afterwards, when informed that he could not be
    Brigadier-General and at the same time Senator, he abandoned
    the former post and was duly qualified as Senator. Meanwhile
    Governor Robinson of Kansas, assuming that Mr. Lane had so far
    accepted another office as to vacate his seat in the Senate,
    appointed Hon. Frederic P. Stanton in his place, and the
    Judiciary Committee affirmed the title of the latter.

    January 13th, Mr. Sumner spoke against the report.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from Connecticut [Mr. FOSTER] has presented
the objections to the seat of General Lane ingeniously and ably; but I
must frankly confess that he fails to satisfy me. I could not resist
the brief, but decisive, statement of the Senator from New York [Mr.
HARRIS], to which we listened the other day; and the ampler argument of
the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. CLARK], to which we have listened
to-day, seems to leave little more to be said. I shall follow the
latter without adding to the argument.

The language of the Constitution applicable to the case is explicit:
“No person holding any office under the United States shall be a member
of either House of Congress during his continuance in office.” But the
question arises, Did General Lane hold any such office after he became

Not considering the case minutely, I content myself with briefly
touching two points, either of which will be sufficient to secure his
seat to General Lane.

1. At the time when the military appointment was received from the
President, General Lane was simply Senator elect from Kansas, and not
actually Senator. This cannot be questioned. Until he took the oath at
your chair, Sir, he was Senator in title only, not in function. It is
true, he already exercised the franking privilege; but this he will
also exercise months after his term expires. The franking privilege
was all that he possessed of Senatorial functions. On this point I
read what is said by Mr. Cushing, in his elaborate work on the Law and
Practice of Legislative Assemblies.

    “SEC. 2. _Refusal to qualify._ One who is returned a member of
    a legislative assembly, and assumes a seat as such, is bound
    to take the oaths required of him, and perform such other acts
    as may be necessary to qualify him, if any, to discharge the
    duties of his office. If a member elect refuses to qualify,
    he will be discharged from being a member, with more or less
    of obloquy, or none at all, according to the circumstances of
    his case; but he cannot be expelled, because he cannot as yet
    discharge the duties of a member.”[122]

It is clear that the member elect is not invested with the office
until qualified by taking the oath. If illustration of this rule be
needed, it will be found in the Parliamentary History of Great Britain.
Soon after the Revolution of 1688, two persons returned as members
refused to take the oaths and were discharged. But there is an historic
precedent almost of our own day. As the long contest for Catholic
Emancipation in Great Britain was drawing to a close, Mr. O’Connell
was elected by the County of Clare to a seat in Parliament. Presenting
himself at the bar of the House of Commons, he refused to take the
Oath of Supremacy, then required of all members, and was heard at the
bar in support of his claim; but the House resolved that he was not
entitled to sit or vote, unless he took this oath; and as he persisted
in refusal, a writ was issued for a new election. Still later, the same
question arose in the case of Baron Rothschild, the eminent banker of
the Jewish persuasion, who, when elected as representative for the city
of London, refused to take the oaths required, and on this account was
kept out of his seat, until what is known as the Jews’ Relief Bill
became a law. The conclusion is irresistible, that, until the oath was
taken, General Lane had not entered upon his functions as Senator; and
here the argument of the Senator from Connecticut, with regard to the
effect of the oath, is strictly applicable. An oath in public, at your
chair, Sir, being at once of record and sealing the acceptance of an
office, is very different from the informal oath taken in private, at
a distance, before a local magistrate, which is in the nature of an
escrow, until recorded in the proper department.

2. Even if General Lane had been Senator, invested with the functions
of the office, and completely qualified by taking the necessary oath,
it is still clear that the military duties he had undertaken did not
operate as a resignation. And here I remark, that, when it is proposed
to unseat a Senator, to deprive him of a place in this body,--I might
almost say to deprive him of his rank,--the evidence must be complete.
It must be, according to that old phrase of the Common Law, “certainty
to a certain intent in every particular.” If there be doubt, either
in law or fact, the interpretation should be in his favor. But this
case requires no such interpretation. It is true that General Lane had
entered upon certain military duties, but he had assumed no military
office under the Constitution of the United States. Colonel Baker, a
late lamented member of this body, had assumed military duties also.
Like General Lane, he, too, had come forward at the summons of the
President. It is true that Colonel Baker acted professedly under a
commission from a State. General Lane has latterly acted under a
similar commission; but at the moment in question he was acting under
certain informal and extra-constitutional proceedings of the President,
rendered necessary by the exigencies of the hour. The President, by
proclamation, undertook to organize an army. He called for volunteers,
and also for additions to the regular army. All approved the patriotic
act. But I am at a loss to understand how it is supposed that this
proceeding can be made effective to oust a Senator of his seat. The
act of the President was proper, just, and patriotic; but clearly,
and beyond all question, it needed the sanction of Congress to be
completely legal. Without such sanction, the army must have drawn its
breath from the proclamation alone, and every commission would have
been merely a token of Presidential confidence, liable to be defeated,
first, by the failure of Congress to sanction the proclamation, and,
secondly, by refusal of the Senate to advise and consent to the
nomination. It was only when the Act of July 22d was passed, that the
President was authorized to appoint new Brigadier-Generals. Then it
was, for the first time, that a legal addition was made to the national
army, and that this very office was legally created which General Lane
was charged with accepting some time in June.

I do not forget the retroactive statute passed on the last day of the
session, declaring that all the acts, proclamations, and orders of the
President respecting the army and navy, and calling out or relating to
the militia or volunteers, are approved, and in all respects legalized
and made valid, to the same intent and with the same effect as if they
had been issued and done under the previous express authority and
direction of Congress. The clause in the Constitution against _ex post
facto_ laws has been restricted by judicial interpretation to criminal
matters; but I doubt if even this much questioned interpretation would
sanction such a retroactive effect as is now proposed. So much, at
least, I do know: the Senate is judge, without appeal, with regard to
the seats of its members; and I am sure it will not unseat a Senator by
a strained application of an _ex post facto_ statute.

The conclusion is twofold: first, that at the time in question General
Lane was not a Senator; and, secondly, that at the time in question
he was not a Brigadier. The whole case is unreal. It is a question
between an imaginary Senator and an impossible Brigadier; or rather,
it is a question whether an imagined seat in this body was lost by
alleged acts under an impossible military commission. The seat of the
Senator did not become a reality until some days after General Lane is
supposed to have vacated it; and the military commission did not become
a possibility until several weeks after General Lane had abandoned it.

Of course, with this view of the law on these two decisive points,
it becomes entirely unnecessary to consider the multifarious and
indefinite evidence with regard to what General Lane did in the way
of accepting his military commission; because nothing that he did,
and nothing that he could do, under that impossible commission, would
operate legally in the present case.

    In reply to Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, Mr. Sumner spoke further.

I have no desire to follow at length the Senator from Kentucky, but
I venture to ask the attention of the Senate simply to one of the
points he has presented. According to him, General Lane, when elected
as Senator, by the mere fact of his election became Senator, so that
the Constitution operated to create an incompatibility between the
function of Senator and the new office which it is said he accepted.
The Senator from Kentucky, as I understood, argued that the function of
the Senator, at least for the purpose of this case, commences with his

    MR. DAVIS. Will the Senator from Massachusetts permit me to ask
    him a question?

MR. SUMNER. Certainly, if the Senator will allow me just to make
my statement. The Senator, I say, assumes that the function of the
Senator, at least for the purposes of this case, commences with his
election; and in support of that assumption he quotes the Constitution
of the United States, as follows:--

    “No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which
    he was elected, be appointed to any civil office, under the
    authority of the United States, which shall have been created,
    or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased, during
    such time.”

Now, Mr. President, I most humbly submit that the clause of the
Constitution just quoted is entirely inapplicable. It has nothing to do
with the question. I say, with all respect to the Senator, he might as
well have quoted anything else in the Constitution. It does not bear on
the case. It relates to an entirely different matter. There is another
associate clause which does directly bear on this question. It is as

    “And no person holding any office under the United States shall
    be a member of either House during his continuance in office.”

Those are the words, Sir, governing this case, and they conduct us
directly to the question, when and at what time a person becomes a
member of either House. That is the simple question.

    MR. DAVIS. Will the Senator now permit me?

MR. SUMNER. I will finish in one moment. Clearly he becomes a member of
this body, so as to discharge his duties as Senator, and to be affected
with the responsibilities of Senator, only when he has taken his oath
at your desk, Sir,--not one minute before. There is nothing in the
Constitution, there is nothing in the practice of any parliamentary
body in this country, or in any other country, I think, pointing
to any different conclusion. Here I cannot err. The language of the
Constitution is sufficiently precise, and I feel confident that the
practice of Congress and of other parliamentary bodies is sufficiently
authoritative. Therefore the conclusion is inevitable, that, until the
4th of July, last summer, General Lane, chosen Senator by the people
of Kansas, was simply Senator elect, possessed through courtesy of the
franking privilege, but enjoying no other Senatorial function.

Now I am ready to answer any question of the Senator.

    MR. DAVIS. I would ask the Senator from Massachusetts if the
    office of Senator from the State of Kansas was vacant until
    General Lane qualified as a member of this body?

MR. SUMNER. In a certain sense I should say it was.

    MR. DAVIS. When he qualified, did or did not his office have
    reference to the time of his election, and take its date from
    the date of his election?

MR. SUMNER. I should say in a certain sense it did. I have already
said that he had the franking privilege, and I presume he was entitled
to the emoluments of the place, such as they are; but had he not been
qualified, he could not have drawn pay. It was only by taking the oath
that he was entitled to pay from the Secretary of the Senate.

    MR. DAVIS. The Senator knows well, that, assuming his premises
    to be true, whenever the Senator from Kansas consummated his
    election by taking his seat and taking the oath of office, his
    term dated back to the date of his election.

MR. SUMNER. The Senator must pardon me, if I cannot assent to his
conclusion. He may have been a Senator to a certain extent, but not so
as to create incompatibility with another office under the Constitution.

    January 15, Mr. Sumner cited two precedents,--the case of
    Hammond _v._ Herrick,[123] and that of Elias Earle of South

    The marginal note of the latter says:--

        “Continuing to execute the duties of an office under the
        United States, after one is elected to Congress, but before
        he takes his seat, is not a disqualification, such office
        being resigned prior to the taking of the seat.”

    January 16, the seat of Mr. Lane was affirmed, contrary to the
    report of the Committee, by the vote of the Senate,--24 yeas to
    16 nays.



    December 16, 1861, Mr. Wilkinson, of Minnesota, submitted to
    the Senate a resolution for the expulsion of Hon. Jesse D.
    Bright, a Senator from Indiana, on account of a letter to
    Jefferson Davis, which was pronounced “evidence of disloyalty
    to the United States, and calculated to give aid and comfort
    to the public enemies.” The resolution was referred to the
    Judiciary Committee, which reported upon it adversely; but, on
    consideration and debate, it was adopted, so that Mr. Bright
    was expelled.

    January 21, 1862, Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The expulsion of a Senator is one of the most solemn
acts which this body can be called to perform. The sentence of a court
in a capital case is hardly more solemn; for, though your judgment
cannot take away life, it may take away all that gives value to life.
Justice herself might well hesitate to lift the scales in which such a
destiny is weighed. But duties in this world cannot be avoided. When
cast upon us, they must be performed, at any cost of individual pain or
individual regret,--especially in the present case, where the Senate,
whose good name is in question, and the country, whose welfare is at
stake, forbid us to hesitate.

       *       *       *       *       *

In other similar cases, arising out of recent events, where the Senate
has already acted, the persons in question were absent, openly engaged
in rebellion. There was no occasion for argument or discussion. Their
guilt was conspicuous, like the rebellion itself. In the present case,
the person is not absent, openly engaged in rebellion. He still sits
among us, taking part in the public business, voting and answering to
his name, when called in the roll of the Senate. His continued presence
may be interpreted in opposite ways, according to the feelings of those
who sit in judgment. It may be referred to conscious innocence, or it
may be referred to audacious guilt.

That he takes his place in the Senate is not, therefore, necessarily
in his favor. Catiline, after plotting the destruction of Rome, took
his place in the Senate, and listened to the orator who denounced the
treason; nor did the Roman patriot hesitate to point his eloquence by
the exclamation that the traitor even came into the Senate,--“_etiam in
Senatum venit_.” In the history of our country there is a well-known
instance of kindred audacity. Benedict Arnold, after commencing
correspondence with the enemy, and before detection, appeared at the
bar of a court-martial in Philadelphia, and yet, with treason not only
in his heart, but already in his acts, thus spoke, without a blush:
“Conscious of my own innocence and the unworthy methods taken to
injure me, I can with boldness say to my persecutors in general, and
to the chief of them in particular,”--and, with this introduction, he
alleged patriotic service.[125] You know well the result. The traitor
thus appearing and speaking in open court continued his treason. The
faithful historian does not hesitate to say that “at the moment
these declarations were uttered he had been eight months in secret
correspondence with the enemy, and was prepared, if not resolved,
when the first opportunity should offer, to desert and betray his
country.”[126] History teaches by example; and the instances that I
adduce admonish us not to be governed merely by appearances, but to
look at things as they are, and to judge according to facts, against
which all present professions are of little worth.

I put aside, therefore, the argument founded on the presence of the
person in question. That he still continues in the Senate, and even
challenges this inquiry, does not prove his innocence any more than
it proves his guilt. The question is still open, to be considered
carefully, gravely, austerely, if you will, but absolutely without
passion or prejudice,--anxious only that justice should prevail. Your
decision will constitute a precedent, important in the history of the
Senate, either as warning or encouragement to disloyalty. And since our
votes are to be recorded, I am anxious that the reasons for mine should
be known.

       *       *       *       *       *

The question may be properly asked, if this inquiry is to be conducted
as in a court of justice, under all the restrictions and technical
rules of judicial proceedings. Clearly not. Under the Constitution, the
Senate, in a case like the present, is absolute judge, free to exercise
its power according to its own enlightened discretion. It may justly
declare a Senator unworthy of a seat in this body on evidence defective
in form, or on evidence even which does not constitute positive crime.
A Senator may deserve expulsion without deserving death; for in the
one case the proceeding is to purge the Senate, while in the other
it is punishment of crime. The motives in the two cases are widely
different. This identical discretion has been already exercised at
this very session, as well as the last, in the expulsion of several
Senators. And the two early precedents--the first of William Blount,
in 1797, and the second of John Smith, in 1807--both proceeded on the
assumption that the Senate was at liberty to exercise a discretion
unknown to a judicial tribunal. In the well-considered report of the
Committee in the latter case, prepared by John Quincy Adams, at that
time Senator, we find the following statement.

    “In examining the question, whether these forms of judicial
    proceedings or the rules of judicial evidence ought to be
    applied to the exercise of that censorial authority which the
    Senate of the United States possesses over the conduct of its
    members, let us assume, as the test of their application,
    either the dictates of unfettered reason, the letter and spirit
    of the Constitution, or precedents, domestic or foreign, and
    your Committee believe that the result will be the same:
    that the power of expelling a member must in its nature be
    discretionary, and in its exercise always more summary than the
    tardy process of judicial tribunals. The power of expelling
    a member for misconduct results, on the principles of common
    sense, from the interest of the nation that the high trust of
    legislation should be invested in pure hands.”[127]

I do not stop to consider and illustrate a conclusion thus sustained by
precedent as well as reason. It is obvious that the Senate may act on
any evidence satisfactory to show that one of its members is unworthy
of his seat, without bringing it to the test of any rule of law. It is
true that the good name of the individual is in question; but so also
is the good name of the Senate, not forgetting also the welfare of the
country; and if there are generous presumptions of personal innocence,
so also are there irresistible instincts of self-defence, compelling us
to act vigorously, not only to preserve the good name of the Senate,
but also to save the country menaced by traitors.

Consider, too, the position of a Senator. Elected by the Legislature
of his State, he sits for six years in this body, sharing its
labors, its duties, its trusts. His official term is the longest
known to the Constitution. The Representative, and the President
himself, pass away; but the Senator continues. In ordinary times his
responsibilities are large; but now they are larger still. On every
question of legislation, touching our multitudinous relations, touching
our finances, our army, our navy, touching, indeed, all the issues
of peace and war,--also on every question of foreign policy, whether
in treaties or in propositions disclosed in executive session,--and
again, on all nominations by the President, judicial, executive,
military, and naval,--the Senator is called to vote; and he is free
to join in debate, and to influence the votes of others. With these
great responsibilities are corresponding opportunities of knowledge
with regard to the counsels of the Government. These doors are often
closed against the public, but they are never closed against him.
This position of the Senator gives to the question of his loyalty an
absorbing interest. Surely it is of no small moment to know if there be
among us any person unworthy of all this confidence.

The facts in the present case are few, and may be easily stated; for,
beyond certain presumptions, they are of public notoriety, and above
all doubt. Indeed, the whole case can be presented as plainly and as
unanswerably as a mathematical proposition or a diagram in geometry.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 6th of November of the last year, Abraham Lincoln of Illinois
was elected President by the popular vote. The election was in every
respect constitutional; and yet, in violation of all the obligations
of the Constitution, and all the duties of patriotism, a movement was
instantly organized in the Slave States to set aside this election, by
acts of conventions, if possible, but by violence, if necessary. The
movement began in South Carolina, a State always mad with treason; and
before the 1st of January then next succeeding, this State formally
separated from the Union, renounced the National Government, and
ranged in open rebellion. Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana
followed; and the precise object of this rebellion was to form a new
government, with Slavery as its corner-stone. The Senators of these
States, one after another, abandoned their seats in this Chamber,
announcing a determination to seek their respective homes, and leaving
behind menaces of war, should any attempt be made to arrest their
wicked purposes.

Meanwhile military preparations were commenced by the Rebel States,
who made haste to take military possession of forts and other property
belonging to the National Government within their borders. Already,
before the 1st of January, the Palmetto flag was raised over the
custom-house and post-office at Charleston; it was also raised over
Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie, in the harbor of Charleston, which,
together with the national armory, then containing many thousand
stands of arms and military stores, were occupied by Rebel troops in
the name of South Carolina. At Charleston everything assumed the front
of war. The city was converted into a camp. The small garrison under
Major Anderson, after retreating from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter,
was besieged in the latter fortress. Powerful batteries were erected
to sustain the siege. From one of these batteries, on the 9th of
January, a shot was fired at the United States steamship Star of the
West, with the national flag at her mast-head, bearing reinforcements
for the garrison, and the discomfited steamship put back to New York.
The darling desire was to capture Fort Sumter, and various plans
were devised for this purpose. One Rebel proposed to take the fort
by floating to it rafts piled with burning tar-barrels, thus, as was
said, “attempting to smoke the American troops out, as you would smoke
a rabbit out of a hollow.” Another was for filling bombs with prussic
acid, and sending them among the national troops. Another thought that
it might be taken without bloodshed,--through silver, rather than
shell,--simply by offering each soldier ten dollars of Rebel money.
Another proposed a floating battery, through which, under cover of
the stationary batteries, and with the assistance of an armed fleet,
an attack might be made, while from some convenient point a party of
sharpshooters would pick off the garrison, man by man, and thus give
opportunity to scale the walls. But such a storming, it was admitted,
could be accomplished only at a fatal sacrifice of life, and it was
finally determined that the better way was by protracted siege and
starvation. Such, at this early day, were the propositions discussed in
Charleston, and through the journals there advertised to the country.

The same spirit of rebellion, animating similar acts, appeared in the
other Rebel States. On the 3d of January, Fort Pulaski, a fortress of
considerable strength near Savannah, was occupied by Rebel troops of
Georgia, acting under orders from the Rebel Governor. On the 4th of
January, the national arsenal at Mobile, with arms, barrels of powder,
and other munitions of war, was seized by Rebel troops of Alabama,
as was also Fort Morgan on the same day. On the 11th of January, the
marine hospital, two miles below New Orleans, was seized by Rebel
troops of Louisiana, and the patients of the hospital, numbering
two hundred and sixteen, were ordered away to make quarters for the
Rebels,--thus repeating the indefensible atrocity of Napoleon, when,
near Dresden, he seized an insane asylum for his troops, and set
its inmates loose, saying, “Turn out the mad.”[128] On the 12th of
January, Fort Barrancas and the navy-yard at Pensacola, with all their
ordnance stores, were obliged to surrender to armed Rebels of Florida
and Alabama, the commandant reporting to the National Government,
“Having no means of resistance, I surrendered, and hauled down my
flag.” On the 24th of January, the national arsenal at Augusta, in
Georgia, also surrendered, upon demand of the Rebel Governor. On the
31st of January, the national branch mint, containing $389,000, and the
national sub-treasury, containing $122,000, were seized at New Orleans
by the Rebel authorities. Such, most briefly told, are some of the
positive incidents of actual war through which the Rebellion became
manifest. And you also know, that, throughout the anxious period, when
these things were occurring, the National Capital was menaced by the
Rebels, proposing especially to disperse Congress, to drive away the
National Government, and to seize the National Archives. Nor can you
forget that Lieutenant-General Scott, then at the head of our army,
under the exigencies of the time, changed his head-quarters from New
York to Washington, where he gave his best powers to the national
defence,--organizing the local militia, summoning the national troops,
planting cannon, and in every way preparing to meet the threatened

Meanwhile these Rebel States, having declared their separation from
the National Government and forcibly seized its strongholds and other
property within their borders, proceeded to constitute themselves
into a political conglomerate, under the title of Confederate
States. Their Constitution was adopted on the 8th of February, and
the same day Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was elected President
and commander-in-chief of the armies, and Alexander H. Stephens, of
Georgia, Vice-President. Shortly afterwards, on the 21st of February,
the President of the Rebellion nominated a Cabinet, in which Toombs,
of Georgia, was Secretary of State, Memminger, of South Carolina,
Secretary of the Treasury, and Walker, of Alabama, Secretary of War.
To this extent had the Rebellion gone. No longer a mere conspiracy, no
longer a simple purpose, no longer a mere outbreak, it was an organized
body, or rather several organized bodies massed into one, and affecting
the character and substance of government. Remember, too, that in all
its doings and pretensions it was a Rebel government, set in motion by
conspiracy and sustained by declared Rebellion, which openly disowned
the National Government, openly seized the national forts, and openly
dishonored the national flag. Of this flagrant Rebellion Jefferson
Davis became the chosen chief, as he had already been for a long time
the animating spirit. In him the Rebellion was incarnate. He was not
merely its civil head, but its military head also. It was he who made
cabinets, commanded armies, and gathered munitions of war. His voice
and his hand were voice and hand of the Rebellion itself. By his
own eminent participation, and the superadded choice of the Rebels,
he had become its chief, as much as the old Pretender was chief of
the disastrous Rebellion in Great Britain, crushed on the field of
Culloden,--as much as Satan himself, when seated on his throne and
rallying his peers of state, was chief of an earlier rebellion.

That transcendent outrage, in itself the culmination of the Rebellion,
destined to arouse at last a forbearing people, had not yet occurred;
but it was at hand. Fort Sumter had not been openly assailed; but the
hostile batteries were ready, and the hostile guns were pointed, simply
waiting the word of Rebel command, not yet given.

       *       *       *       *       *

Precisely at this moment, on the 1st of March, 1861, Jesse D. Bright,
at the time a Senator of the United States, addressed the following
letter to the chief of the Rebellion.

                                            “WASHINGTON, March 1, 1861.

    “MY DEAR SIR,--Allow me to introduce to your acquaintance my
    friend Thomas B. Lincoln, of Texas. He visits your capital
    mainly to dispose of what he regards a great improvement in
    fire-arms. I commend him to your favorable consideration, as a
    gentleman of the first respectability, and reliable in every

        “Very truly yours,

            “JESSE D. BRIGHT.

    “To His Excellency, JEFFERSON DAVIS, “_President of the
    Confederation of States_.”

And now, before considering the letter, look well at the parties and
their respective positions. It is written by a person at the time
Senator, and addressed to a person at the time chief of the Rebellion,
in behalf of an unknown citizen, owner of a great improvement in
fire-arms. It is proper to mention, as additional facts which will
not be questioned, that the author had been for a long time in
notorious personal relations with the conspicuous authors of the
Rebellion, especially with Jefferson Davis and John Slidell,--that he
had notoriously sympathized with them in those barbarous pretensions
for Slavery which constitute the Origin and Mainspring of the
Rebellion,--and that he had always voted with them in the Senate. All
this is notorious; and if the old maxim, _Noscitur a sociis_, or,
according to our familiar English, “A man is known by the company he
keeps,” be not entirely obsolete, then this inquiry must commence with
a presumption against such an intimate associate of the Rebels. But,
while looking at the author, we must not forget the humble citizen
intrusted with the letter. It is a fact, as I understand, that he has
been since arrested for treason, and is now in the hands of the law,
charged with the highest crime known to justice, while the author
still occupies a seat in the Senate. Perhaps this is only another
illustration of the saying of Antiquity, that the law is a cobweb,
holding the weak, but which the powerful break through with impunity.
The agent is now in custody; the principal is yet in the Senate. So
much at present with regard to the parties.

Next comes the letter itself. And here mark, if you please, first,
the date, which is the 1st of March. This was at the very moment
when the Rebellion was completely organized, and had assumed at all
points the undisguised front of war. By various acts of violence it
had forcibly dispossessed the National Government of all its military
posts in the whole extensive region, except Fort Sumter and Fort
Pickens, which it held in siege,--while, by other formal acts, it had
assumed to dispossess the National Government of all jurisdiction,
civil or military, throughout this region. That such acts constituted
“levying of war,” within the meaning of the Constitution, is too plain
for argument. This phrase, borrowed from the early statute of Edward
the Third, has received positive interpretation in the country of its
origin, according to which its meaning is clear. There is no better
authority than Sir William Blackstone, who, when considering what is
“levying of war,” says: “This may be done by taking arms, not only
to dethrone the king, but under pretence to reform religion or the
laws, or to remove evil counsellors, or other grievances, whether
real or pretended: for the law does not, neither can it, permit any
private man or set of men to interfere forcibly in matters of such high
importance.”[129] And Lord Mansfield, Chief-Justice of England, on the
trial of Lord George Gordon, declared it to be “the unanimous opinion
of the Court, that an attempt, by intimidation and violence, to force
the repeal of a law, was a levying war against the king, and high
treason.”[130] I quote these authorities simply that this statement
may not rest at any point on my assertion. At the date of this letter,
then, there was actual levying of war by Jefferson Davis and his
associates against the Government of the United States. And let me add,
that this levying of war was not merely that moderate constructive
levying of war described by Blackstone, but open, earnest, positive
war, backed by armies and by batteries.

You will next observe the address of this letter. It is “To His
Excellency, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederation of States.”
Bestowing upon this Pretender the title of “His Excellency,” the author
certainly exhibits a courtesy--at least in form--which usage does not
allow the President of the United States. It is well known, that, at
the organization of the Government, the title of “Excellency,” together
with all other titles, was, after debate, carefully rejected for our
Chief Magistrate; but the author of this treasonable letter will not
deny anything to the Chief of the Rebellion. His profusion appears
at once, and his first words become a confession. Not by titles of
courtesy do loyal Senators address a traitor. There has been a King of
England who on one occasion was called only Charles Stuart, and there
has been a King of France who on one occasion was called only Louis
Capet; and these great instances show how even the loftiest and most
established titles are refused, where treason is in question. Titles
are sometimes insincere; but a title voluntarily bestowed testifies
at least to the professions of him who bestows it. It is a token of
respect, and an invitation to good-will, proceeding directly from the
author. And in this spirit was this letter begun.

Not content with bestowing upon this Pretender a title of courtesy
denied to our own President, the author proceeds to bestow upon him a
further title of office and of power. He addresses him as “President
of the Confederation of States,”--meaning the very States then engaged
in levying war upon the National Government. So far as this author can
go, just to the extent of his authority, the Pretender is recognized as
President, and the Rebel States are described by the very title which,
in defiance of the National Government, they assume. Our own Government
steadfastly refuses this recognition. Foreign nations thus far follow
substantially the policy of our own Government; but the author of this
letter, at the time Senator, makes haste to offer recognition.

Perhaps this double criticism on the address of the letter may
seem unimportant. It might be so, if the address had been used in
conversation or debate, although then it would be tolerable only if
used in derision. But it becomes important, when used directly to the
Pretender himself; for then it signifies respect and recognition, while
it discloses the mood of the author.

Look next at the contents, or the letter itself, and all that
is implied in the address you will find painfully verified. The
disloyalty which crops out in titles of courtesy and recognition
becomes full-blown in the letter itself, whether we regard its general
character or its special import; and I shall now consider these in
their order.

In general character the letter is correspondence with a public
enemy, in open war with our own country; or rather let me say it
is correspondence with a public rebel. It is obvious that all
correspondence of such a character, even without considering its
special import, is open to suspicion. Throughout history it has been
watched with jealous judgment, as in the cases of Bolingbroke and
Atterbury in England, of Pichegru and Fouché in France. Tried even
by those technical rules which in the present inquiry we reject, it
may help to complete the evidence of treason itself. The well-chosen
language of the Constitution, borrowed from an early resolution of the
Continental Congress, by whom it was borrowed from the early English
statute, authorizes this conclusion. According to the Constitution,
“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war
against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and
comfort.” Here are two classes of cases: the first is levying war,
which Jefferson Davis, as we have already seen, was notoriously doing
at the date of this letter; and the second is adhering to enemies,
giving them aid and comfort. Even if mere correspondence with an enemy
would not bring the author within the scope of these words, clearly
and beyond all question such correspondence is calculated to give at
least moral aid and comfort to the enemy. Nor is it to be disregarded
on this occasion, even if it does not reach the technical requirement
of treason. If we listen to the Supreme Court of the United States in
the case of Bollman, we find this tribunal declaring, that, “if war be
actually levied, that is, if a body of men be actually assembled for
the purpose of effecting by force a treasonable purpose, _all those who
perform any part, however minute, or however remote from the scene of
action_, and who are actually leagued in the general conspiracy, are
to be considered as traitors.”[131] Assuming the previous league, it
cannot be doubted that an act of sympathy and friendship, though minute
or remote, extended to persons in rebellion, would be evidence to bring
the offender within the cautious grasp of the Constitution, even on
technical grounds. If in the present case there was no previous league,
there was at least a previous and most notorious fellowship, kindred to
a league, by which the author was morally linked to the conspirators.

But the letter in question is a letter of sympathy and friendship,
from beginning to end,--such a letter as only one friend could write
to another friend. Dated at Washington on the 1st of March, it was
calculated, if received by the Pretender, to give him hope and
confidence, by inspiring the idea that here in the Senate Chamber there
was at least one person still wearing this high trust, who, forgetting
all that was due to his country, and forgetting all that was due to
the Rebellion, reached forth his hand in friendly salutation. Dated
at Washington on the 1st of March, it was calculated, if received, to
awaken doubt of the loyalty of the Senate itself, and to encourage
belief that here, in this sanctuary of the Constitution, treason
might hatch undisturbed. So are we all knit together, that we are
strengthened by human sympathy; and the Pretender would have felt new
vigor, as the strength of the American Senate was transfused through
the declared sympathies of an acknowledged member. The patriot soul
recoils from the ancient traitor who flashed a signal torch from a
beleaguered citadel; but one of our own number, who yet sits among us,
has done this very thing.

Such is the necessary conclusion with regard to this letter, if we look
at its general character. But when we consider its special import,
the conclusion is still more irresistible. The letter clearly comes
within the precise text of the Constitution. It is flat treason. I use
no soft words, for the occasion does not allow it. Adhering to the
enemy, giving them aid and comfort, must be proved by some overt act,
of which Blackstone states the following instances: “As by giving them
intelligence, by sending them provisions, _by selling them arms_, by
treacherously surrendering a fortress, _or the like_.”[132] Such are
precise words of this authority, and I do not stop to enforce them.
But this letter is an overt act of adherence, giving aid and comfort,
identical with the instances mentioned by Blackstone. Read it. “Allow
me to introduce to your acquaintance,” so says the letter, “_my friend_
Thomas B. Lincoln, of Texas.” The bearer of the letter is commended as
a friend of the writer: but a friend is something more than associate
or confederate; he is almost part of one’s self. Thus accredited, his
errand is next announced: “He visits _your capital_ mainly to dispose
of what he regards a great improvement in fire-arms.” Mark the words
“your capital.” Such is the language of an American Senator, writing
to the Pretender, whose standard of Rebellion was then flying at
Montgomery, in Alabama, which is thus deferentially designated as _his_
capital. Observe next the declared object of the visit. It is “to
dispose of what he regards a great improvement in fire-arms.” Thus does
an American Senator send actual, open, unequivocal aid to the Chief
of the Rebellion. It is true, he does not send him rifles or cannon;
but he sends him “a great improvement in fire-arms,” through which
rifles and cannon and other instruments of death, then preparing to be
employed by Rebel hands against the patriot armies of the Republic,
might be made more deadly. What are a few rifles, or a few cannon,
by the side of such a comprehensive gift? When France, through the
disguised agency of a successful dramatist,[133] sent ordnance and
muskets to our Revolutionary fathers, she mixed herself positively in
the contest, and, under the Law of Nations, Great Britain was justified
in regarding her conduct as an act of war. And when an American
Senator, without disguise, sends “a great improvement in fire-arms” to
the Rebel chief, then engaged in levying war against his country, he
mixes himself in the Rebellion, so that under Municipal Law he is a
traitor. This conclusion is harsh, and I state it painfully; but it is
according to the irresistible logic of the law and the facts.

But the letter contains other language to aggravate its guilt. Not
content with sending the “great improvement in fire-arms,” the bearer
is thus accredited to the Rebel chief: “I commend him to your favorable
consideration, as a gentleman of the first respectability, and reliable
in every respect.” An American citizen going forth on an errand of
treason is thus exalted by an American Senator. The open traitor is
announced as “a gentleman of the first respectability.” This is much
to say of anybody; it is too much to say of an open traitor. But he
is “reliable in every respect.” All language is to be construed with
reference to the matter which it concerns. The bearer of this letter,
going forth on an errand of treason, is “reliable in every respect”;
and as the universal contains the special, he is reliable especially
for the purposes of his treason: and this is the commendation which he
bears to the Rebel chief from an American Senator.

Such a letter naturally begins, “My dear Sir,”--for the Chief of the
Rebellion is evidently dear to the writer. That such a letter should
be signed, “Very truly yours, Jesse D. Bright,” is natural also, and
the words are not mere form. The author evidently, according to the
contents of the letter,--as appears alike in its general character
and its special import,--belongs to the Rebel chief, and is one of
his “own.” In writing to the Rebel chief, he honestly begins, “My
dear Sir,” and honestly closes, “Very truly yours”; but a person
thus beginning and thus closing a letter of treason, volunteered to
the declared enemy of his country, can hardly expect welcome to the
confidential duties of this body.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course, in this inquiry, I assume the genuineness of the letter. If
this letter were to be considered on technical grounds, the evidence
would not be disdained even under the conservative words of our
Constitution, according to which “no person shall be convicted of
treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt
act, _or on confession in open court_.” We have had the confession
of the writer in open Senate, following similar confession in a
supplementary letter, to which reference has been made in this debate.
There can be no doubt on this point, and the writer must stand or
fall by this letter, unless something has occurred since which can be
accepted in extenuation of the unfortunate transaction.

It is true that the bearer of the letter was not able to present
it. Before consummating his errand of treason, he was arrested by
the watchful officers of the law, and, as we have already seen,
is now in custody. The agent is in the hands of the law, while we
debate on the seat of his principal. At the risk of introducing a
superfluous topic, I cannot forbear adding that the crime of the
principal was perfect when he wrote the letter and delivered it to
his agent. It was expressly decided in England long ago, that a
treasonable communication, “though intercepted, is an overt act of
treason”; and this early principle was repeated by the Court of King’s
Bench, speaking by the voice of Lord Mansfield, in the case of Dr.
Hensey,[134] and again by the same court, under Lord Kenyon, in the
case of William Stone.[135] It is completely applicable to the present
case, even if our inquiry proceeded on technical grounds.

       *       *       *       *       *

But the history of the transaction is not yet complete. Other incidents
have occurred since, which are strangely offered in extenuation of
the original crime. At the arrest of the agent, towards the close
of last summer, the letter was found among his papers. Of course it
excited much attention and some feeling. This was natural. At last the
author, who still sits among us, addressed a second letter to his late
colleague in this body [Mr. FITCH].

    MR. BRIGHT (_from his seat_). It was not to my late colleague;
    it was to another Mr. Fitch.

MR. SUMNER. Very well. The letter, dated “At my Farm, September 7,
1861,” proceeds as follows: “The letter to which you refer is no doubt
genuine. I have no recollection of writing it; but if Mr. Lincoln,”
the bearer of the letter, “says I did, then I am entirely satisfied
of the fact; for I am quite sure I would have given, as a matter of
course, just such a letter of introduction to any friend who had asked
it.” Thus, as late as the 7th of September, in the retirement of his
farm, the original letter was approved and sanctioned. I would not
exaggerate the effect of this second letter, as I need not exaggerate
any point in this unhappy case; but, in view of the character of the
original letter, the second letter can only be considered as marking
either stolid hardihood of guilt or stolid insensibility to those rules
of duty without which no man can be a good citizen; but either way, it
only adds to the offensive character of the original transaction, and
makes the duty of the Senate more plain.

I do not dwell on other topics of this second letter, because, though
exhibiting bad temper and bad principles, they do not necessarily
conduct to treason. The author is welcome to express “utter contempt
for Abolitionism,” and also to declare his early and constant
opposition to what he calls “the entire coercive policy of the
Government.” Such declarations may render him an unsafe counsellor, but
they do not stamp him as traitor. And it belongs to us, while purging
this body of disloyalty in all its forms, to maintain at all hazards
that freedom of speech which is herald and safeguard of all other

There is other testimony which aggravates the case still further. Not
content with writing the traitorous letter, on the 1st of March, 1861,
not content with approving and sanctioning this letter on the 7th of
September, the author very recently rose in the place yet conceded to
him in this Chamber, and deliberately said: “I have done nothing that I
would not do over again under the same circumstances, and that I am not
prepared to defend here or elsewhere.”[136] These words were uttered on
this floor, in debate on another case which occurred as late as the 7th
of January of this year. Thus was the original act of the 1st of March
again affirmed, and the relations existing at that time with the Rebel
chief proclaimed and vindicated; and all this in the American Senate,
without a blush. Alas for that sensitive virtue which is the grace and
strength alike of individuals and of communities! Surely it was wanting
in him who could thus brave a just judgment: I fear it was wanting also
in ourselves, when he was permitted to go without instant rebuke.

       *       *       *       *       *

But I hear the suggestion, that at the date of this letter war was not
yet flagrant, and that the author did not anticipate an actual conflict
of arms. The first part of this suggestion is notoriously false. War
had already begun, in the seizure of forts, and in the muster of Rebel
armies; nay, more, in the very presence of the author, the gage of
battle was flung down on this floor by Senators leaving to take part
in the Rebellion. This has been unanswerably shown by the Senator from
Minnesota [Mr. WILKINSON]. But the second part of the suggestion
attributes to the author an ignorance of the well-known condition
of things, inconsistent with his acknowledged intelligence. If the
progress and development of the Rebellion had been in secret, if it
had been masked by an impenetrable privacy, if it had been shrouded in
congenial darkness, then this apology might be entitled to attention.
But the Rebellion was open and complete; and on the 1st of March it
was armed from head to foot, and in battle array against the National
Government. Such was the actual condition of things, patent, certain,
conspicuous to the whole country. And permit me to say that any apology
now offered on pretext of ignorance shows simply a disposition to evade
a just responsibility at any hazard of personal character.

I note the further suggestion, that the letter was written in
carelessness, or in heedlessness, if you please, and without
treasonable intent. Of course such a suggestion must be futile; for
every man is presumed to know the natural consequences of his conduct.
This is the rule of law, and the rule of patriotism. No man can be
admitted to set up any carelessness or heedlessness as apology for
treason. And I doubt not you will all agree with me, that a patriot
Senator cannot be careless or heedless, when his country is in peril.

But I catch yet another suggestion, that this letter is trivial and
insignificant to justify the condemnation of a Senator. Then, indeed,
is disloyalty trivial; then is treason itself trivial. It is true,
the letter is curt; it contains a single short paragraph only; but I
have yet to learn that crime is measured by paragraphs or sentences,
and that treason may not be found in a few words as well as in many.
True, also, the letter is familiar in tone; but treason is a subtle
wickedness, which sometimes stalks in state and sometimes shuffles in
homely disguise. It is our duty to detect and to judge it, whatever
form it takes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, let me not be unjust,--let me not lean even ungently
against an offender; but you will pardon me, if I add, that against
precise testimony, and in the face of unquestioned facts, I can find
little in any present professions of loyalty to be accepted even in
extenuation of the offence. The duty of the Senate depends upon former
conduct, and not upon present professions. It is difficult to imagine
any present professions which can restore the confidence essential
to the usefulness of a Senator. It is in the hour of trial and doubt
that men show themselves as they are, laying up for the future weal or
woe,--and not afterwards, when all temptation to disloyalty is lost
in the assured danger it must encounter, and when all positions have
become fixed by events. Nor do I forget that mere professions have
too often been a cover for falsehood. I refer again to the story of
Benedict Arnold. After making his escape from the fort which he was
about to betray, and finding shelter on board the British frigate, the
Vulture, then swimming in the North River, he addressed a letter to
General Washington, which begins as follows.

                             “ON BOARD THE VULTURE, 25 September, 1780.

    “SIR:--The heart which is conscious of its own rectitude
    cannot attempt to palliate a step which the world may censure
    as wrong. I have ever acted from a principle of love to my
    country, since the commencement of the present unhappy contest
    between Great Britain and the Colonies: the same principle of
    love to my country actuates my present conduct, however it may
    appear inconsistent to the world, who very seldom judge right
    of any man’s actions.”[137]

Perhaps these very words might now be repeated by the person whose seat
is in question. He may not fancy being classed with Benedict Arnold;
but the professions of that fugitive traitor are identical with the
professions to which we have listened on this floor. There is still
another letter to General Washington from the same quarter, only a few
days later, that is equally suggestive. Arnold protests against the
arrest and impending execution of Major André, who, he says, acted
under his directions, and his promise of protection; and he adds, “As
commanding officer in the department, I had an undoubted right to
transact all these matters,”[138]--precisely as the person whose seat
is in question avers in letter and debate that he had undoubted right
to open that traitorous correspondence with the Chief of the Rebellion.
But I proceed no further with this parallel.

Sir, if the present question were to be decided on grounds of sympathy,
it would be pleasant to record our names so as to give the least
personal pain. But we should act weakly and ignobly, if on any such
ground we failed in the double duty now so urgent,--first, to the
Senate, of which we are members, and next, to that country which has a
right to our truest and most unhesitating devotion. If there be among
us any person still enjoying the confidential trusts, legislative,
diplomatic, and executive, of this Chamber, who, since Rebellion
hoisted its flag and pointed its cannon, has failed in that loyalty
which is an inviolable obligation,--even though his offence may not
have the deepest dye of treason,--he is unworthy of a seat in the
Senate; and be assured, Sir, that our country, which knows so well how
to pardon all that is pardonable, expects that no such person, whatever
his present professions, shall be recognized any longer as Senator.

Do not hesitate, then. The case is clear, and impartial history will
so record it. No argument, no apology, no extenuation can remove
or mitigate its requirements. There is a courage which belongs to
this peaceful Chamber as much as to the battle-field, and now is the
occasion for it. Above all, let no false tenderness substitute sympathy
for judgment; and remember well, that, while casting out a faithless
Senator, you will elevate the Senate and inspire the country.

    Mr. Sumner was followed on the same day by Mr. Lane, of
    Indiana, colleague of Mr. Bright, and then by Mr. Bright
    himself, who was especially bitter in allusion to him, alleging
    personal difference as the motive of his conduct. Mr. Sumner
    replied at once to this imputation.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from Indiana [Mr. BRIGHT], in the speech
he has just made, referred to his personal relations with myself, and
intimated, if he did not charge, that there had been some personal
question or difference between us. Sir,----

    MR. BRIGHT. Mr. President,----

MR. SUMNER. Excuse me.

    MR. BRIGHT. I intimated no such thing, Sir.

MR. SUMNER. Let me finish. Sir, that is not the fact. Since I have
been a member of this body, now more than ten years, it has been my
fortune to mix in the debates on important public questions. On these
occasions I have encountered, as the record shows, the opposition of
that Senator, and of his constant associates in this body, all of them
now in open rebellion. With the Senator and his constant associates I
never had personal question or difference. Therefore, when the Senator
asserts any such thing, or suggests it, he goes entirely beyond the
record, and I could not allow the debate to close to-night without
interposing my positive denial.

Sir, I have approached this painful question free from all personal
prejudice. I have no feeling against the Senator. There has been
nothing in our past relations to turn the scales by a feather’s weight.

    The speech of Mr. Bright, to which allusion is made, does not
    appear in the official report. It was taken down and written
    out by the reporters, and then submitted to Mr. Bright, who
    never returned the manuscript. At the proper place in the
    _Congressional Globe_,[139] where the speech should be, is the
    following: “Mr. Bright next addressed the Senate. [His speech
    will be published in the Appendix.]” It is not found in the
    Appendix, which is explained by the following in the Index for
    the Session, under the name of JESSE D. BRIGHT: “The manuscript
    of the speech referred to on page 418 was retained by Mr. B.”
    So that the speech was suppressed by him.

    February 4th, after several others had spoken, Mr. Sumner spoke
    again as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--This debate is about to close; but before the vote is
taken I wish briefly to review it, and to show again that there is but
one conclusion which can truly satisfy the Senate or the country. If
your last judgment in this case were not of incalculable importance
both for the Senate and the country, helping to elevate the one and to
inspire the other, I should not venture again to claim your attention.
Such a precedent, so fruitful in good influences, should be completely
commended and vindicated, that it may remain forever a commanding

Among all who have spoken, we naturally yield precedence on this
occasion to the Senator from Indiana [Mr. BRIGHT]. His speech was
not long, but it afforded ample ground for regret, if not for
condemnation. It showed offensively the same spirit which is found in
the original letter; nor did it suggest anything in apology, except
that the bearer of the letter was his lifelong friend, and that, when
writing the letter, he did not dream of war: in other words, an act of
unquestionable disloyalty was put under the double cloak of lifelong
friendship and professed ignorance. The real condition of things was
not noticed, while he sought to serve a friend. Because the bearer of
the letter was his lifelong friend, and because the Senator did not see
war ahead, therefore he was justified in sending forth this lifelong
friend on an errand of disloyalty, ay, of treason itself, and of making
him the instrument of aid and comfort to an organized rebellion. Of
course such an argument shows weakness, and not strength; and the
very weakness out of which it sprung naturally became impassioned and
unjust. If any personal feeling could disturb that perfect equanimity
which with me, on this occasion, is a sentiment and a duty, I might
complain of that vindictive tone which broke forth, not only in
personal imputation, but also in menace that what I said on the case
of the Senator I dared not say again here or elsewhere; but I make
no complaint. It is sufficient for me that I spoke in the conscious
discharge of duty, and that I know of nothing in the vindictive tone
or in the menace of the Senator that can interfere with such duty, as
I understand it. Therefore I put aside what he has said, whether of
personal imputation, or of personal menace, or of argument; for they
all leave him worse than if he had continued silent.

I put aside also the elaborate argument, lasting for more than a whole
day, of the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. DAVIS], practically exalting
Slavery above the Constitution, and, while life is sacrificed and
property is taken, while great rights are trodden down and all human
energies are enlisted in defence of our country, insisting that Slavery
alone is too sacred to be touched. Sir, I put aside this argument,
because it is utterly out of place and irrelevant; and I trust it is
not my habit in debate to ramble from that straight line which is the
shortest way to the desired point. There is a time to sow and a time to
reap; and there will be a time to discuss the constitutional power of
Congress to end this Rebellion, even if, in so doing, it is constrained
to end Slavery itself.

I put aside, also, the suggestion of the Senator from New York [Mr.
HARRIS], to the effect that the Senator from Indiana is now on trial,
that our proceedings are judicial, and that the evidence before us
is insufficient to satisfy the requirements of such a case. Surely
this assumption proceeds on a mistake. The Senator from Indiana is
not on trial, in the ordinary understanding of that term; nor are
our proceedings judicial; nor is the evidence insufficient for the
case. Under the Constitution, each House, with the concurrence of two
thirds, may expel a member; but this large discretionary power is given
simply for the protection of the body in the exercise of an honest
and honorable self-defence. The Senate itself is on trial just as much
as the Senator; and permit me to say that the Senate will condemn
itself, if it allow any person to continue among its members who has
forfeited that peculiar confidence in his loyalty which is essential
to his usefulness as Senator. It is vain to say that the evidence is
insufficient. Technically and judicially it may be so; but according
to all legislative precedents and all the rules of common life it
is obviously sufficient, for it is beyond all practical doubt. My
friend from New York did not hesitate at this session to vote for the
expulsion of Breckinridge, of Polk, and of Johnson, without one scrap
of evidence that he would recognize as a judge on the bench. How can he
require evidence now which he did not require then?

I put aside, also, the argument of the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr.
COWAN], so carefully and elaborately stated, to the effect that on
the 1st of March, when the disloyal letter was written, there was
no war actually existing between the Rebel States and the United
States. Even if this assumption were correct, even if the United
States were still hesitating what course to adopt, nothing is clearer
than this: the Rebel States were in rebellion,--organized, armed,
and offensive,--with the avowed purpose of overthrowing the National
Government within their borders; and such rebellion was, beyond all
question, a levying of war under the Constitution of the United States,
so that all adherence to it, giving aid and comfort, was treason
itself. But even if not disposed to admit actual levying of war on
the part of the Rebels,--though of this there can be no doubt,--there
was surely preparation and purpose so to do; and any contribution to
such preparation and purpose was disloyalty, if not treason. Clearly,
Jefferson Davis at that time was a traitor, at the head of traitors.
What, then, can be thought of a Senator who offered arms to him?

I put aside, also, the suggestion of the Senator from New Jersey [Mr.
TEN EYCK], founded on the language of the President in his inaugural
address of the 4th of March. It is true that the President spoke of
the Rebels in generous, fraternal words, such as became the Chief
Magistrate of a great people, not yet renouncing the idea of conquering
by kindness, and not forgetting that Leviathan was tamed by a cord.
But, whatever the language of the President, it is none the less clear
that the Rebellion at that very moment was completely organized by a
succession of overt acts, which fixed the treasonable position of its
authors, and especially of its chief, to whom the letter offering arms
was addressed.

I put aside, also, the argument of the Senator from California [Mr.
LATHAM], especially that part founded on the tolerance shown to
treason, when uttered here by the retiring Rebels. Nobody questions
that treason was uttered on this floor, or that treasonable counsels
went forth from this Chamber. But the Senate was then controlled by
the associates of the Senator of Indiana, and it was not in our power
to check or chastise the traitors. It is within the recollection of
many that those utterances were heard on this side of the Chamber,
not only with indignant patriotism, but with bitter, stinging regret
at the abject condition of the Senate, then so entirely in the hands
of traitors that we were obliged to hear in silence. Surely such
utterances, wicked with treason, constituting the very voice of the
Rebellion, cannot be an apology for the disloyal letter of the Senator;
nor can silence, when we were powerless to act, be any argument for
silence now that power and responsibility are ours.

I agree with the Senator from Illinois [Mr. BROWNING], that the whole
conduct and declaration of the author may be legitimately employed to
elucidate the character of this letter; but I found no supplementary
charge on such conduct or declaration. Others may use the argument that
the Senator has declared himself against coercion of the Rebel States,
or that he has refused to vote the necessary means for the suppression
of the Rebellion; but I use no such argument. Much as I lament such a
course, and justly obnoxious as I regard it, yet I cannot consider it
as an argument for expulsion of the Senator. Freedom of debate is among
the triumphs of modern civilization; and it shall never be impaired
by any vote or word of mine. To this freedom I have held fast, when
almost alone in this body; and what I have steadily vindicated for
myself against all odds I shall never deny to another. Therefore, if
I am the judge, there is no Senator who will not always be perfectly
free to speak and vote as he thinks best on every question that shall
legitimately arise; but beyond this immunity he must not go. He shall
not talk treason; he shall not parley with rebellion; he shall not
address to it words of sympathy and good-will; especially, he shall not
recognize its chief in his pretended character of President, nor shall
he send him improved fire-arms to be employed in the work of treason.

Putting aside all these considerations, the case against the Senator
from Indiana is clear. All apologies, all excuses, utterly fail. It
is vain to say that the bearer of the letter was his lifelong friend,
as it is vain to say, also, that the Senator did not dream that
there would be war. The first apology is as feeble as the second is
audacious. If the Senator did not dream that there would be war, then
why send arms to the chief of the Rebellion? To Jefferson Davis as a
private citizen, to Jefferson Davis as a patriot Senator, there was no
occasion or motive for sending arms. It was only to Jefferson Davis as
chief of the Rebellion that arms could be sent; and to him, in that
character, they were sent. But even if the Rebellion were not at that
time manifest in overt acts,--as it clearly was,--still the sending
of arms was a positive provocation and contribution to its outbreak,
especially when the arms were sent by a Senator. And now, at the risk
of repetition, I say again, it is not necessary that the war should
have been commenced on the part of the United States. It is enough,
that, on the part of Jefferson Davis, at the date of the letter, there
was actual levying of war, or, at least, a purpose to levy war; and in
either of these two cases, the latter as well as the former, the guilt
of the Senator offering arms is complete,--call it treason, or simply
disloyalty, if you will.

It is vain that you seek to surround the Senatorial letter-writer with
the technical defences of a judicial tribunal. This will not do. They
are out of place. God grant, that, in the administration of justice,
a citizen arraigned for his life may always be presumed innocent till
he is proved guilty! But, while zealously asserting this presumption
in a criminal trial, I utterly deny it in the present case. The two
proceedings are radically unlike. In the one we think most of the
individual; in the other we think most of the Senate. The flag-officer
of a fleet, or the commander of a garrison, when only suspected of
correspondence with the enemy, is without delay deprived of command;
nor can any technical presumption of innocence be invoked in his
defence. For the sake of the fleet, for the sake of the garrison, which
must not be betrayed, it is your duty to see that he is deprived of
command. Nor can a suspected Senator, with all his confidential trusts,
legislative, diplomatic, and executive, expect any tolerance denied to
a suspected flag-officer, or to a suspected commander of a garrison. If
not strong, pure, and upright in himself, he must not expect to find
strength, purity, and uprightness in any presumption of innocence,
or in any technical rule of law. For the sake of the Senate, he must
be deprived of his place. Afterwards, should he be arraigned at law,
he will be allowed to employ all the devices and weapons familiar to
judicial proceedings.

There is another illusion into which the Senator has fallen; and it
seems to me that the Senator from New York, and perhaps other Senators,
have followed him. It is the assumption, that, in depriving the Senator
of his seat, we take from him something that is really his. This is
a mistake. A Senator is simply a trustee. The Senator is trustee for
Indiana. But his fidelity as trustee is now drawn in question; and
since no person is allowed to continue as trustee whose character
is not above suspicion,--inspired _uberrimâ fide_, according to the
language of the law,--the case of the Senator should obviously be
remanded to the State for which he still assumes to act. Should he
be wronged by expulsion, then will that State promptly return him
to his present trust, and our judgment will be generously reversed.
The Senator has no right for himself here; he does not represent
himself; but he represents his State, of which he is the elected,
most confidential trustee; and when his fidelity is openly impeached,
there is no personal right which can become his shield. Tell me not
of the seat of the Senator. Let the Senator be cautious in language.
By courtesy the seat may be his; but in reality the seat belongs to
Indiana; and this honored State, unsurpassed in contributions to the
patriot armies of the Republic, may justly protest against longer
misrepresentation on this floor by a disloyal Senator.

But the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. COWAN] exclaims--and the
Senator from New York follows him--that the offence of the Senator is
“treason or nothing.” For myself, I have no hesitation in expressing
the conviction that it is treason. If it be not treason in a Senator
to send arms to an open traitor, whom he at the same time acknowledges
in his traitorous character, then it were better to blot out the
crime of treason from our statute-book, and to rase its definition
from the Constitution. Sir, it is treason. But even if not treason
according to all the technical requirements of that crime, obviously
and unquestionably it is an act of disloyalty so discreditable,
so unworthy, and so dangerous as to render the duty of the Senate
imperative. Is it nothing that the Senator should write a friendly
letter, make open acknowledgment, and offer warlike aid to a public
traitor? Is it nothing, that, sitting in this Chamber, the Senator
should send to the chief of the Rebellion words of sympathy and arms
of power? Is it nothing that the Senator should address the traitor
in terms of courtesy and official respect? Is it nothing that the
Senator should call the traitor “His Excellency,” and should hail him
“President of the Confederation of States”? And is it nothing that
the Senator should offer to the traitor thus addressed what of all
things he most coveted, to be turned against the Constitution which the
Senator has sworn to support?

                    “Is this nothing?
    Why, then the world, and all that’s in ’t, is nothing;
    The covering sky is nothing: …
    … nor nothing have these nothings,
    If this be nothing.”

Sir, the case is too plain for argument. You cannot argue that two
and two make four, that a straight line is the shortest distance
between two points, or that the sun shines in the sky. All these are
palpable to reason or to sense. But, if I did not see before me honored
Senators, valued friends, who think otherwise, I should say that to the
patriot soul it is hardly less palpable that a Senator, acknowledging
in friendly correspondence the chief of a Rebellion set on foot in
defiance of the United States, and sending to him arms, whose only
possible use was in upholding the Rebellion, has justly forfeited that
confidence which is as much needed as a commission to assure his seat
in this Chamber. The case is very plain, and we have taken too much
time to consider it. We have been dilatory when we ought to have been
prompt, and have hearkened to technical defences when we should have
surrendered to that indignation which disloyalty is calculated to

The Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. CLARK] has reminded us--as John
Quincy Adams reminded another generation--of that beautiful work of
Art in the other wing of the Capitol, where the Muse of History, with
faithful pen, registers the transactions of each day, and he trusted
that over against the record of past disloyalty another page might beam
with the just judgment that followed. But there is another work of Art,
famous as Art itself, and proceeding from its greatest master, which
may admonish us precisely what to do. The ancient satrap Heliodorus,
acting in the name of a distant sovereign, entered that sumptuous
temple dedicated to the true God, where stood the golden candlesticks
and hung the veil which was yet unrent, and profanely seized the
riches under protection of the altar itself, when suddenly, at the
intercession of the high priest, an angelic horseman armed with thongs
is seen to dash the intruder upon the marble pavement, and to sweep him
with scourges from the sacred presence. Now that disloyalty, in the
acknowledged name of a distant traitor, intrudes into this sanctuary
of the Constitution, and insists upon a place at our altar, there
should be indignant chastisement, swift as the angelic horseman that
moves immortal in the colors of Raffaelle. In vain do you interpose
appeals for lenity or forbearance. The case does not allow them. I know
well the beauty and the greatness of charity. For the Senator I have
charity; but there is a better charity due to the Senate, whose solemn
trusts are in jeopardy; and even if you do not accept completely the
saying of Antiquity, which makes duty to country the great charity
embracing all other charities, you will not deny that it is at least a
commanding obligation, by the side of which all that we owe the Senator
is small. And, Sir, let us not forget, let the precious example be
present in our souls, that He who taught the beauty and the greatness
of charity was the first to scourge the money-changers from the temple
of the Lord.

    Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, followed. Some of his words are quoted,
    from their bearing on Mr. Sumner’s opposition to Slavery.

        “The gentleman shakes his imperial locks like a Jove, and
        menaces death and destruction to Slavery. I thank my stars
        that the gentleman is not yet the Jove of this land, nor
        the Jove of this Senate either. There are minds as exalted
        and as cultivated as his, and there are wills as patriotic
        and as true to the Constitution and to the country as his,
        and altogether independent of his; and it is to those minds
        that I appeal, whenever a question involving the interests
        of my constituents comes up here, not to the mind of the
        gentleman from Massachusetts. I know, Sir, what fate would
        await Slavery, if he could speak the fiat. He is, however,
        but one member of this body.”

    February 5th, after further debate, the final vote was taken on
    the resolution of expulsion, and resulted in yeas 32, nays 14.

        THE VICE-PRESIDENT. Upon this question the yeas are 32,
        the nays are 14. More than two thirds having agreed to the
        resolution, it is passed. [_Applause in the galleries._]

        THE VICE-PRESIDENT. Order! Order!

    The Washington correspondent of a Northern journal described
    the scene of the vote.

        “All seemed to feel that they were acting, not for the
        present only, but for coming time. The great crowd of
        spectators filling every available spot, and the presence
        of many of the members of the House, added to the
        impressiveness of the scene. Amid breathless anxiety and
        profound silence the roll-call commenced. For a time the
        ayes and noes bore a doubtful proportion. Senator Willey,
        having held his vote in abeyance till the last, had just
        announced that he should vote against the expulsion,
        and Senator Carlile, who had been generally supposed to
        favor the resolution, also joined his colleague among
        the noes. As the vote proceeded, the ayes became almost
        uninterrupted, and we were prepared for the result. A few
        moments more and the event was over,--felt by those who
        witnessed it to be scarcely less solemn than the infliction
        of death itself, and which will probably be cited in
        precedent when all its spectators shall have long been



    In considering the bill amending the provisions of the
    second section of the Act of January 24, 1857, enforcing the
    attendance of witnesses before Committees of either House of
    Congress, the following clause was objected to: “And no witness
    shall hereafter be allowed to refuse to testify to any fact
    or to produce any paper touching which he shall be examined
    by either House of Congress or any Committee of either House,
    for the reason that his testimony touching such fact or the
    production of such paper _may tend to disgrace him or otherwise
    render him infamous_.” In the debate that ensued Mr. Sumner
    spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--There seems to be much inquiry as to the Common Law on
this question, and various points are presented.

It is asked, for instance, whether a witness is obliged to answer,
where his answer will render him infamous. I know the differences on
this point, but cannot doubt that by the Common Law the witness is
obliged to answer in such a case,--most certainly, if the question is
relevant and material.

Again, it is asked if a witness is permitted to determine for himself
whether to answer the question proposed. Here also the Common Law, when
properly interpreted, is clear. The witness cannot be the final judge.
He must submit to the decision of the Court, which will determine
whether his answer may criminate him, by revealing either guilt or a
possible link in the evidence of guilt.

But then, Mr. President, why speak of the Common Law? Why revert to
these antiquarian inquiries, when we have the Constitution of the
United States specifically dealing with this very question? In the
fifth article of the Amendments it is provided that “no person shall
be compelled _in any criminal case_ to be a witness against himself.”
Such are the very words of the Constitution, derived from the Common
Law, but imparting precision and limitation to the Common Law. Now it
seems to me it will be enough, if, on this occasion, we follow the text
of the Constitution. As in the pending proposition there is nothing
inconsistent with the Constitution, we need not ransack the wide and
ancient demesnes of the Common Law to stir up difficulties. Whatever
the rule at Common Law, plainly under the Constitution its operation is
restricted to a “criminal case,” leaving a case of infamy untouched.

I am free to say, Sir,--and what I am about to remark is particularly
in answer to the Senator from New York [Mr. HARRIS],--that, if this
question were presented independent of the Constitution, I should be
little disposed to follow the Common Law. In my judgment the Common
Law is less wise here than it ought to be. I cannot but think that the
jurisprudence of other civilized countries, derived from the Roman Law,
supplies a better rule. There is no other civilized jurisprudence under
which a witness is excused from answering any question, though the
answer may affect his character or honor, or even render him criminal.
The Common Law, at an early day, under a generous inspiration, adopted
a contrary principle, which, crossing the ocean with our forefathers,
is embodied in the text of the Constitution. Finding it there, I accept
it; certainly I do not quarrel with it; but I cannot consent that it
shall receive any expansion, especially interfering with the public
interests. I hope the bill may pass as it comes from the House, without
amendment. It is a good bill.

    Mr. Harris, of New York, moved as an amendment: “Nor shall this
    Act be so construed as to require any witness to testify to any
    fact which shall tend to criminate him.” The question, being
    taken by yeas and nays, resulted, yeas 19, nays 21; so the
    amendment failed.

    The bill was then passed, and, January 24th, approved by the



    A Joint Rule, moved by Mr. Wade, of Ohio, to facilitate
    secret sessions, contained a restriction on debate, which was
    afterwards struck out on his own motion. Mr. Sumner united with
    others against this restriction, and some of his remarks are
    preserved here as a record of opinion.

    January 27th, he said:--

I am glad the Senator has modified his rule, so far as it bears on the
length of speeches. He thinks a speech of five minutes long enough. If
all had the happy faculty of my distinguished friend, who so easily
speaks to the point, I doubt not it would be long enough; but we must
take Senators as they are, according to our experience, and allow for
their ways. Besides, such a rule would be a departure from the constant
policy of the Senate.

    The Joint Rule was much discussed, and underwent various
    modifications, some on motion of Mr. Sumner. January 29th, a
    substitute was moved by Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, and subsequently
    adopted, which contained the restriction on debate abandoned by
    his colleague, as follows:--

        “If decided in the affirmative, debate shall be confined to
        the subject-matter, and be limited to five minutes by any
        member. _Provided_, That any member shall be allowed five
        minutes to explain or oppose any pertinent amendment.”

    This led Mr. Sumner to speak again.

I must confess that I hesitate to place among Rules of the Senate
a limitation of debate to five minutes,--not that I desire in our
conversations on business to exceed that allowance. Personally I am
content with what pleases my associates; but I doubt the expediency of
such a rule, which thus far is a stranger among us.

Limitations of debate in various forms play a large part in the other
Chamber. Shall they begin here, even in the small way proposed? A five
minutes’ rule is not the previous question, with its death-dealing
_garrote_, but it is a limitation of debate, and the Senate has from
the beginning set itself against any such restriction, insisting always
upon the largest latitude and amplest opportunity.

If there were any obvious good to be accomplished by such a rule, if
there were any exigency seeming to require the sacrifice, I should
welcome it; but I put it to Senators, whether experience in Executive
Session does not show that it is unnecessary. I cannot doubt that the
very business contemplated by the rule would be discussed directly,
plainly, briefly, according to the essential nature of the question,
even without any restriction. But, if unnecessary, why make a change
which will look so ill that it were better to bear inconvenience rather
than have such a deformity?

It is enough, if on a critical occasion we are able to close our doors,
leaving the great privilege of debate unchecked, to be employed as
sword or buckler, according to the promptings of patriotism and the
conscience of Senators.



    January 31st, the Senate proceeded to consider the joint
    resolution reported by Mr. Sumner from the Committee on Foreign
    Relations, providing for representation at the Exhibition of
    the Industry of all Nations at London in the year 1862.

    Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, said that he was “entirely opposed
    to this whole thing.” Mr. Sumner then spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. HALE] objects to
the joint resolution, but he assigns no reason. When I make a personal
appeal to him, he declines to answer. Of course, that is according to
his right. He may be silent, though we are always too happy when he
speaks. It becomes my duty, therefore, to explain the resolution, which
I shall do in few words.

At the extra session of Congress in July last, a joint resolution was
adopted in the following words:--

    “That the President be, and he hereby is, authorized to take
    such measures as shall to him seem best to facilitate a proper
    representation of the industrial interests of the United States
    at the Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations to be holden
    at London in the year 1862, and the sum of two thousand dollars
    is hereby appropriated for the incidental expenses thereof.”

The resolution passed Congress, and was approved by the President on
the 27th of July. Under it a Commission was organized by the President,
with the Secretary of State as Chairman. Associated with him were
eminent gentlemen from different walks of life, from different parts of
the country----

    MR. GRIMES. What parts?

MR. SUMNER. All parts,--the West, the North, and the East.

    MR. GRIMES. Who from the West?

MR. SUMNER. You will find the names on the printed list. At a meeting
in Washington, a sub-committee was organized for the direction of
business. Through this sub-committee a correspondence has been
conducted with persons all over the country interested in the
Exhibition, and industrial products have been gathered at New York, to
be forwarded to London; but their proceedings are stopped for want of
means, and the actual question is simply this: Will the Senate allow
the business already commenced under their auspices to fail, or will
they make the needful appropriation to carry it forward?

There is at least one precedent. Ten years ago witnessed an industrial
exhibition in London, which attracted the attention of the civilized
world. There was no provision in advance by the Government of the
United States for any representation there; but patriotic citizens came
forward at the last moment, volunteered money and representation, and
through their activity we became honorably known there,--so, indeed, I
think I may say, as to gain renown for our industrial products. I would
not exaggerate; but nobody can forget the triumph of the American
reaper or the American mower. I believe I state what cannot be denied,
when I say, that, through the representation of American industry at
that exhibition, we gained not only fame abroad, but new fields of
activity for our industry, and new markets for our homely, but most
useful products.

Now there is to be another exhibition, and the question is, whether
our country shall be represented. An appropriation is needed for this
purpose. The Committee, after most careful deliberation, not acting, I
assure you, hastily, came to the conclusion that our country should be
represented there, and they recommended the appropriation of the modest
sum of $35,000. Persons interested in the subject desired a larger
appropriation. The Committee concluded in favor of $35,000, as the
utmost they would ask from Congress at the present time. Accordingly
they have made that recommendation, believing it for the general

I do not know the objection of my friend from New Hampshire. Perhaps he
is against any representation. If so, I can understand that he should
oppose the appropriation. But is his objection founded on grounds of
economy peculiar to the present moment, or is it because he is against
such appearance at any time? If founded on grounds of economy peculiar
to the present moment, I must say I cannot enter into his idea. Nobody
more completely than myself can appreciate the importance of bending
every corporal and intellectual agent to the work of putting down
the Rebellion; but I am unwilling that meanwhile all the glorious
and beneficent arts of peace should slumber. Nor would I, even while
pushing this war to victory, cease to watch with guardian care the
industrial interests of my country. Those interests, I am sure, will
be advanced, if we allow them to be represented at this great centre
of industry; and so will all the national resources increase and
multiply. And this is not simply because the exhibition is in London,
or because it may open a market in London, but because through London
we approach all the great markets of the world; and while making our
products known in the great metropolis, we make them known wherever
civilization extends. The exhibition will be an immense fair, to which
exhibitors can have access only through their respective governments. I
am unwilling to deprive American citizens of this opportunity.

I assume, therefore, that my friend cannot be against contributing to
this exhibition simply on grounds peculiar to this moment. It must be
on some other broader, more general ground. I must say that I cannot
enter into that idea, either. If it was good for us to be represented
ten years ago,--and I believe all, after the exhibition, were satisfied
that it was good for us,--I believe it better now. Surely, all this my
friend has at heart. I hope he will not forget that the interests of
farmers, the interests of inventors, the interests of mechanics, the
interests of all who toil and of all who produce,--in one word, the
great diversified interests of the people, cannot fail to be promoted
by this opportunity. And here is reason enough for the small outlay.

    In the brief debate that ensued, Mr. Lane, of Indiana, said:--

        “The sword and the cannon are the reapers now, and the
        Rebels are the harvest; and to that purpose and to those
        reapers I shall devote my attention.”

    The joint resolution was lost,--yeas 17, nays 22; so that at
    the London Exhibition the United States had no representation.



    The Senate had under discussion an Army Bill, when Mr.
    Doolittle, of Wisconsin, moved an amendment reducing and
    regulating the mileage of Members of Congress. The remarks of
    Mr. Sumner were not addressed to the merits of the question,
    but to the impropriety of dealing with it in the pending bill.

MR. PRESIDENT,--It seems clear that the discussion in which we
are launched is a departure from the question before the Senate.
The pending bill is “to define the pay and emoluments of certain
officers of the army, and for other purposes,” and an amendment is
moved to reduce and regulate Congressional mileage. By what process
of association the two are brought together it is not easy to see.
Certainly nobody looking for light on Congressional mileage would think
of exploring our army legislation.

       *       *       *       *       *

My experience teaches me the advantage, not to say the beauty of order,
in the business of legislation, as in all other business. There is a
proper place for everything, and everything should be in its proper
place. Especially should things plainly incongruous be kept apart, and
without commixture. But what more unreasonable than the commixture
proposed? Each measure may be good in itself, but the two do not go
together. They are without natural or logical connection. One is not
the incident of the other, nor in any respect germane to the other.
They should be in separate bills, and be discussed separately.

Here we are in high debate on the Army Bill, and all at once the
subject is changed, although the original bill is still before the
Senate. But Congressional mileage is enough by itself. Already it
has occupied the attention of the country, has been discussed in the
newspapers, and especially in the other House. It is a Serbonian
bog, not indeed “where armies whole have sunk,” but only Members of
Congress. Are you ready, while considering another question, to revive
this debate, making it the accident of another, with which it has
nothing to do? Is it advisable? Is it according to the natural order of

    The Mileage Amendment was adopted, but the bill failed between
    the two Houses.



    Mr. Sumner sent to the Chair a series of resolutions, which he
    described by their title. They were then read, as follows.

    Resolutions declaratory of the Relations between the United
        States and the Territory once occupied by certain States,
        and now usurped by pretended Governments without
        Constitutional or Legal Right.

    Whereas certain States, rightfully belonging to the Union of
    the United States, have, through their respective Governments,
    wickedly undertaken to abjure all those duties by which their
    connection with the Union was maintained, to renounce all
    allegiance to the Constitution, to levy war upon the National
    Government, and, for the consummation of this treason, have
    unconstitutionally and unlawfully confederated together with
    the declared purpose of putting an end, by force, to the
    supremacy of the Constitution within their respective limits;

    And whereas this condition of insurrection, organized by
    pretended Governments, openly exists in North Carolina, South
    Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana,
    Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia,--except in Eastern
    Tennessee and Western Virginia,--and the President of the
    United States, in a proclamation duly made in conformity with
    an Act of Congress, has declared the same to exist throughout
    this territory, with the exceptions already named;

    And whereas the extensive territory thus usurped by
    these pretended Governments and organized into a hostile
    confederation _belongs to the United States, as an inseparable
    part thereof, under the sanctions of the Constitution_, to be
    held in trust for the inhabitants in the present and future
    generations, and is so completely interlinked with the Union
    that it is forever dependent thereupon;

    And whereas the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the
    land, cannot be displaced within this territory, but must ever
    continue the supreme law thereof, notwithstanding the doings of
    any pretended Governments, acting singly or in confederation,
    hostile to its supremacy: Therefore,--

        1. _Resolved_, That any vote of secession, or other act,
        by a State hostile to the supremacy of the Constitution
        within its territory, _is inoperative and void against the
        Constitution_, and, when sustained by _force_, becomes a
        practical abdication by the State of all rights under the
        Constitution, while the treason it involves works instant
        forfeiture of all functions and powers essential to the
        continued existence of the State as a body politic; so
        that from such time forward the territory falls under the
        exclusive jurisdiction of Congress, as other territory, and
        the State becomes, according to the language of the law,
        _felo de se_.

        2. That any combination of men assuming to act in the
        place of such State, and attempting to ensnare or coerce
        its inhabitants into a confederation hostile to the Union,
        is rebellious, treasonable, and destitute of all moral
        authority; and such combination is a usurpation incapable
        of constitutional existence and utterly lawless, _so that
        everything dependent upon it is without constitutional or
        legal support_.

        3. That the termination of a State under the Constitution
        necessarily causes the termination of those peculiar local
        institutions which, having no origin in the Constitution,
        or in natural right independent of the Constitution, are
        upheld by the sole and exclusive authority of the State.

        4. That Slavery, being a peculiar local institution,
        derived from local law, _without any origin in the
        Constitution or in natural right_, is upheld by the sole
        and exclusive authority of the State, and must therefore
        cease, legally and constitutionally, when the State on
        which it depends has lapsed; for the incident must follow
        the principal.[141]

        5. That, in the exercise of exclusive jurisdiction over the
        territory once occupied by the States, it is the duty of
        Congress to see that the supremacy of the Constitution is
        maintained in its essential principles, so that everywhere
        in this extensive territory Slavery shall cease to exist
        in fact, as it has already ceased to exist in law or

        6. That any recognition of Slavery in such territory, or
        surrender of slaves under pretended laws of such States,
        by an officer of the United States, civil or military, is
        a practical recognition of the pretended Governments, to
        the exclusion of the jurisdiction of Congress under the
        Constitution, and is in the nature of aid and comfort to
        the Rebellion that has been organized.

        7. That any such recognition of Slavery, or surrender of
        pretended slaves, besides being a practical recognition of
        the pretended Governments, giving them aid and comfort, is
        a denial of the rights of persons who by the action of the
        States have become free, so that, under the Constitution,
        they cannot again be enslaved.

        8. That allegiance from the inhabitant and protection from
        the Government are corresponding obligations, dependent
        upon each other; so that, while the allegiance of every
        inhabitant of this territory, without distinction of class
        or color, is due to the United States, and cannot in any
        way be defeated by the action of any pretended Government,
        or by any pretence of property or claim to service, the
        corresponding obligation of protection is at the same
        time due from the United States to every such inhabitant,
        without distinction of class or color; and it follows that
        inhabitants held as slaves, whose paramount allegiance
        is to the United States, may justly look to the National
        Government for protection.

        9. That the duty cast upon Congress by the action of
        the States is enforced by the positive requirement of
        the Constitution, that “no State shall enter into any
        confederation,” or, “without the consent of Congress, keep
        troops or ships of war in time of peace,” or “enter into
        any agreement or compact with another State,” or “grant
        letters of marque and reprisal,” or “coin money,” or “emit
        bills of credit,” or, “without the consent of the Congress,
        lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports,” all
        of which have been done by these pretended Governments,
        and also by the positive injunction of the Constitution,
        addressed to the Nation, that “the United States shall
        guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form
        of government”; and that, in pursuance of this duty cast
        upon Congress, and further enjoined by the Constitution,
        _Congress will assume complete jurisdiction of such vacated
        territory, where such unconstitutional and illegal things
        have been attempted, and will proceed to establish therein
        republican forms of government under the Constitution_,
        and, in the execution of this trust, will provide carefully
        for the protection of all the inhabitants thereof, for
        the security of families, the organization of labor, the
        encouragement of industry, and the welfare of society, and
        will in every way discharge the duties of a just, merciful,
        and paternal Government.

    When the reading was completed, Mr. Sumner asked that the
    resolutions be printed and laid upon the table, adding that at
    some future day he hoped to call them up for consideration.
    Then ensued a scene not inaptly called a “flurry,” with regard
    to the disposition of the resolutions,--some wishing their
    reference to a committee, where they would be out of the way,
    and others wishing them laid on the table, so as to avoid
    present debate. Mr. Sumner made the latter motion, so as to
    keep them on the calendar of the Senate.

    Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, moved at once their reference to the
    Committee on the Judiciary. But the motion to lay on the table
    had precedence. Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, said: “I do not think
    we ought to take time now in discussing this question.” Mr.
    Anthony, of Rhode Island, said: “If the motion to lay on the
    table be lost, the motion to refer will be debatable. I vote
    ‘yea.’” The motion of Mr. Sumner prevailed,--yeas 21, nays 15.

    Chief among the nays were the Democrats and the ordinary
    revilers of Antislavery movements; but the division did not
    indicate definite opinions on the resolutions. It was in no
    sense an adverse vote, although often cited as such by hostile
    partisans, which was the more curious as Mr. Sumner voted with
    the majority.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 13th, Mr. Davis introduced a series of counter
    resolutions, eight in number, which were ordered to lie on the
    table and be printed. Their special object was the protection
    of loyal persons, so that no form of confiscation or forfeiture
    should reach them,--meaning, of course, protection against
    Emancipation,--“whilst inflicting on the guilty leaders condign
    and exemplary punishment, granting amnesty and oblivion to the
    comparatively innocent masses.”

    The difference developed here entered into subsequent debates.
    Mr. Sumner regarded Slavery as the great offender, besides
    being a constant wrong, and he wished it destroyed completely.
    Others sought to confine the sphere of Emancipation to the
    slaves of Rebels.

    After certain Senatorial protests at a subsequent day, the
    question of Congressional power, presented by the resolutions,
    and involving Reconstruction, dropped out of sight, partly
    because the Proclamation of Emancipation provided a method
    against Slavery, and partly because Rebel resistance and the
    cloud which soon afterwards lowered upon our arms prevented
    Reconstruction from becoming what was called “a practical
    question,” except to those who, anticipating the future, saw
    how much would be gained by a sure rule capable of immediate
    application as the national power prevailed.

    A speech on this subject, especially vindicating the positions
    he had taken, was prepared by Mr. Sumner during this session;
    but the proper occasion for its delivery not occurring, it was
    handed over to the _Atlantic Monthly_, where it appeared as an
    article, October, 1863. Some of the points of the resolutions
    reappeared in the speech of the 19th May, on “Rights of
    Sovereignty and Rights of War”;[142] also in the resolutions of
    June 2 and 6, 1862, relating to the Provisional Government of
    North Carolina.[143]


    These Resolutions became the occasion of controversy, and
    occupied public attention. They have been considered the
    starting-point of Reconstruction, although the primary object
    on their introduction was to strike at Slavery. The principle
    here enunciated, that Slavery, being without support in
    the Constitution or in natural right, fell with the local
    governments on which it depended, seemed to Mr. Sumner
    impregnable, and he never ceased to regret that it was not
    authoritatively announced at an early day, believing that such
    a juridical truth adopted by the Government would have smoothed
    the way, while it hastened the great result. The essential
    difficulty proceeded from the indisposition to Emancipation;
    for here was only another form of the perpetual question,
    “Shall the slaves be set free?”

    Towards the close of the war, Mr. Everett, in an eloquent
    speech at Faneuil Hall, gave his valuable authority in favor of
    this principle.

        “I will add, that it is very doubtful whether any act
        of the Government of the United States was necessary to
        liberate the slaves in a State which is in rebellion. There
        is much reason for the opinion, that, by the simple act
        of levying war against the United States, the relation of
        Slavery was terminated, certainly so far as concerns the
        duty of the United States to recognize it or to refrain
        from interfering with it. Not being founded on the Law of
        Nature, and resting solely on positive local law, and that
        not of the United States, as soon as it becomes either
        the motive or pretext of an unjust war against the Union,
        an efficient instrument in the hands of the Rebels for
        carrying on the war, a source of military strength to the
        Rebellion and of danger to the Government at home and
        abroad, with the additional certainty, that, in any event
        but its abandonment, it will continue in all future time
        to work these mischiefs, who can suppose it is the duty of
        the United States to continue to recognize it? To maintain
        this would be a contradiction in terms.… No such absurdity
        can be admitted; and any citizen of the United States, from
        the President down, who should by any overt act recognize
        the duty of a slave to obey a Rebel master in a hostile
        operation, would himself be giving aid and comfort to the

    Dr. Brownson’s judgment was the same way, as appears in a
    citation on a subsequent page.

    Besides the enunciation of this juridical truth, which,
    frankly adopted, must have put an end to Slavery legally and
    constitutionally in the Rebel States, the Resolutions further
    asserted the jurisdiction of Congress over these States, and
    the duty to establish republican government therein,--in other
    words, the plenary power and duty of Reconstruction. Although
    these were formally denied, yet the power was practically
    recognized and the duty was followed, but only after injurious
    delay and the conflict of debate.

    The Resolutions were especially criticized, in the Senate and
    out of it, for what was termed the doctrine of “State Suicide,”
    and “the lapse of States into Territories.” They were described
    as proposing to reduce States into Territories. Naturally, the
    sentiment of State Rights was aroused.


    Mr. Willey, of Virginia, saw in them a scheme of
    “unconditional, immediate, and universal Emancipation”; and he

        “These consequences, in my judgment, involve the lives of
        thousands of my fellow-citizens, and the happiness of all
        the loyal people of all the border slaveholding States.”

    Then referring to the people of the South, he said:--

        “Especially will they point to the sweeping resolutions
        of the great apostle of Abolition, the Senator from
        Massachusetts [Mr. SUMNER], which by one dash of the pen
        deprive every Southern man of his slaves.”

    Then came the familiar parallel between Mr. Sumner and
    Jefferson Davis.

        “Sir, a few weeks ago we expelled a Senator, because, on
        the 1st of March last, he wrote a letter to Jefferson
        Davis, commending to his regard a friend who had a valuable
        fire-arm to sell, and who visited the South mainly for
        the purpose of selling it. This was deemed evidence of
        disloyalty sufficient to warrant his ejection from the
        Senate. But what do we now see? What, for instance, is the
        proposition of the distinguished Senator from Massachusetts
        [Mr. SUMNER]? It is, by one fell swoop of his pen, to
        blot ten or twelve States out of the Union forever to
        remit them back to a Territorial condition, and thus to
        involve our muniments of right, the titles to our estates,
        our franchises and municipal privileges, in a kind of
        hotch-pot, begetting and superinducing an inevitable
        confusion as inexplicable and dark as original Chaos.”[145]

    Mr. Fessenden, in reply to Mr. Willey, emphatically disowned
    Mr. Sumner.

        “Why, Sir, I do not hesitate to say here most distinctly,
        for myself, that I dissent entirely from the conclusions
        of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, as stated in
        his resolutions. I do not look upon the States of this
        Union as gone and destroyed.… It is enough to say, in this
        connection, that upon this particular point the opinions of
        the honorable Senator from Massachusetts are his own, for
        which he alone is responsible, and which he is undoubtedly
        well able to defend.”[146]

    On the next day Mr. Sherman followed in the same
    vein,--vindicating the Republican party, and especially
    disowning Mr. Sumner, which in the course of his speech he did
    twice. The first time he said:--

        “The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. SUMNER], as he has a
        perfect right to do, introduced a series of resolutions
        giving his idea about the effect of the war upon the
        political status of the States, and at once those
        resolutions are seized upon as the dogmas of the Republican
        party, and we are denounced for them, although candid men
        must know that they are but the emanation of a single
        individual, who has decided convictions on this subject,
        and who is far in advance of any political organization in
        this country.”

    Then, at the close of his speech, after saying that “we
    ought to oppose all useless and unconstitutional measures of
    legislation,” he proceeded:--

        “I, therefore, cannot help but say, that, while I respect
        the motives of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts,
        while I give him credit for consistency, ability, and a
        great deal of culture, and am always glad to hear him
        speak, yet I must confess, that, when I looked over his
        resolutions, they struck me with surprise and regret. They
        would revolutionize this Government. Sir, strike the States
        out of this system of Government, and your Government is
        lost and gone. I cannot conceive of the United States
        governing colonies and provinces containing millions upon
        millions of people, black and white. I do not think such
        a thing can exist. I do not believe it is in the power of
        Secession to bring us to such a state of things. I can
        draw no distinction between the resolutions of the Senator
        from Massachusetts and the doctrines that are proclaimed
        by Jefferson Davis.… The doctrine of the Senator from
        Massachusetts is substantially an acknowledgment of the
        right of secession, of the right to secede. He, however,
        puts the States in the condition of abject Territories, to
        be governed by Congress. Jefferson Davis puts it in the
        power of the people of the States to govern the States
        themselves. As to which is the most dangerous or obnoxious
        doctrine I leave every man to determine.”[147]

    Not long afterwards, Mr. Dixon, of Connecticut, took up the
    same strain, characterizing the doctrine of the Resolutions
    as “fatal to our form of government, destructive of our
    Federal system, and utterly incompatible with a restoration of
    harmonious relations between the States in which rebellion now
    prevails and the United States”; and he condensed his judgment
    by calling the doctrine a “fatal heresy.”[148]

    Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, some time later, spoke in harmony
    with the others.

        “Now everybody knows that the honorable Senator from
        Massachusetts [Mr. SUMNER] has a scheme by which he
        proposes to turn all these States, in case they could be
        conquered, into Territories, that they shall be governed
        by the United States as Territories, and then, when their
        people come to their senses,--this is the language of the
        advocates of the scheme,--they are to be readmitted into
        the Union upon terms. Mr. President, I do not know anybody
        hardly who has not deprecated that as a most mischievous
        scheme to agitate just at present.”[149]

    Still later, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, in an elaborate
    speech, discussed Mr. Sumner’s policy in the same spirit,
    saying that he had provided a way of disunion,--“which for
    brevity I will call, with no disrespect to my honorable friend
    UNION, namely, by Act of Congress.” And he attributed the same
    position to his colleague, Mr. Howe.

        “What, in effect, do the Senator from Massachusetts
        and my colleague propose? To place outside of the
        Constitution, and to govern with unlimited power, eleven
        States and ten million people, nearly one third of all
        the States and people of the United States, without any

    Mr. Howe replied to Mr. Doolittle, and, after referring to
    a resolution introduced by himself, declaring that “local
    governments ought to be provisionally organized forthwith for
    the people in each of the districts named in the preamble
    hereto,”[151] being the Rebel States, paid the following
    tribute to Mr. Sumner.

        “As to the matter of fact, whether this resolution is
        the Lincoln and Johnson theory or the Sumner theory, the
        Senator from Massachusetts has not yet, I regret to say,
        indorsed that resolution, nor anything that I said in
        support of it; and I suppose the Senator from Massachusetts
        will claim the right, which, under the Constitution, as
        I understand it, belongs to every Senator on this floor,
        to speak for himself. If it should hereafter happen to
        receive his indorsement, it will be very gratifying to me.
        If I should find that I had given utterance on this floor
        to one sentiment which is approved by the Senator from
        Massachusetts, it will be only a small compensation for the
        great number of living sentiments to which I have listened
        from the Senator from Massachusetts, and which are bound to
        live long after my colleague and myself shall have passed
        from this stage of existence.”[152]

    Meanwhile, Mr. Sumner, acting upon the principles of his
    Resolutions, insisted upon colored suffrage in the Rebel
    States to be ordained by Congress, as will appear hereafter in
    these volumes. Senators who had originally opposed the power
    of Congress over these States now united in this requirement.
    Among those who still stood out was Mr. Doolittle, who, after
    alluding to President Lincoln’s policy of Reconstruction,

        “Neither Mr. Lincoln, nor any member of his Cabinet, nor
        more than two Senators, I believe, in this body, the
        Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. SUMNER] and the Senator
        from Missouri [Mr. GRATZ BROWN], at that time advocated
        Reconstruction upon a basis including negro suffrage.”

    And Mr. Doolittle then proclaimed that more than twenty
    Republican Senators, who had stood with him, “advocating
    Reconstruction upon the white basis,” now “go over to the side
    of the Senator from Massachusetts, and advocate his theory
    of Reconstruction upon the basis of negro suffrage and white

    Then came another speech by the same Senator, in which he
    describes Mr. Sumner as adding to his demands only to find them
    adopted by Senators who had begun by opposing him.

        “My friend from Massachusetts ought to feel a sense of
        profound satisfaction to see the progress they have made. I
        mean no discourtesy, when I say the ideas advanced by him
        that night, rejected then by a majority of four to one,
        rule the Senate now. Not only have they educated, they have
        Sumnerized the Senate.”[154]

    Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, the Democratic leader of the
    Senate, differing widely from Mr. Sumner, in the debate on the
    Supplementary Reconstruction Bill, gave this testimony:--

        “I said in the Senate, a year or two ago, that the course
        of things is this: the Senator from Massachusetts steps out
        boldly, declares his doctrine, and then he is approached,
        and finally he governs. Believing that he is in the
        right,--I concede that belief to him as a Senator,--his
        place in this body and before this country to-day is
        a very proud one. He was told somewhat sneeringly, two
        years ago, that among his party friends he stood alone;
        and to-day they all stand upon his position. This is a
        compliment and indorsement of sagacity and intelligence
        that but few men receive in the course of a public


    From the Senate the question was transferred to the great arena
    where pamphlets, reviews, and newspapers were the disputants.
    Here the opposition in the Senate found frequent expression.
    The Resolutions by their positive character offered a full
    front, and they were openly attacked.

    Public meetings and committees also made them the subject of
    discussion,--especially a great meeting at Cooper Institute,
    New York, and a meeting of the German Republican Committee in
    New York, where they were fully sustained.[156]

    The _North American Review_,[157] in an elaborate article,
    under the title of “Constitutional Law,” afterwards published
    in a pamphlet with the author’s name[158] on the title-page,
    treated the Resolutions with a severity which may be judged by
    the concluding words.

        “It is to be hoped that disloyalty will not become
        more general by reason of threats of conquest, or
        by propositions that the United States shall become
        _administrator de bonis non_ of the seceding States.
        One description of treason against the United States
        consists ‘in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid
        and comfort.’ Mr. Conway[159] and Mr. Sumner have given
        the ‘aid and comfort.’ Had they sent in their _adhesion_
        at the same time, they would have done the Union much less

    Not content with this article, the learned author addressed the
    following letter to the _Boston Journal_.


        “DEAR SIR,--Will you permit me to say, that, the
        sooner the Republican party cuts itself loose from
        all unconstitutional projects (whether they relate to
        emancipation by proclamation, conquering States and holding
        them as Territories, confiscation without trial, or any
        other measure not warranted by the Constitution), the
        sooner it will begin to provide for its own salvation.

            “Very truly yours,

                “JOEL PARKER.

        “CAMBRIDGE, May 5, 1862.”

    On the other side, Dr. Brownson, the able and indefatigable
    Catholic writer, sustained Mr. Summer in a powerful article,
    entitled “State Rebellion, State Suicide.”[160] A few sentences
    will show its character.

        “The slave-owners, by their rebellion, have unquestionably
        forfeited their right under the Federal Constitution to be
        protected in their slave property, or, as to that matter,
        in any other species of property. If Slavery be ever again
        recognized as legal, therefore, the responsibility will
        attach not to Slave States only, but to the whole people of
        the United States, and we of the Free States will become,
        clearly and decidedly, _participes criminis_.”[161]

        “We hold with Mr. Sumner in his noble Resolutions,
        creditable alike to him as a statesman and a lawyer, that
        the State by rebellion commits suicide, and lapses as a
        civil and political entity. All laws, customs, or usages,
        depending for their vitality, force, or vigor on the State,
        are rendered null and void by its secession, and are to be
        treated as _non avenues_. Slavery exists in any country
        only by municipal law,--in no country by the _jus gentium_.
        In our political system it exists by the local law, or by
        the law or usage of a particular State, in distinction from
        a law or usage of the United States.”[162]

        “The Rebellion, in a word, kills the whole State and
        everything dependent on it. Whether the State be revived
        and permitted to return to the Union depends entirely on
        the good pleasure of the Federal authority. It cannot be
        claimed as a right by the population on the territory of
        the defunct State. As they could not take the territory
        out of the Union, and as they, so long as they remain on
        it, are within the jurisdiction of the United States,
        the Federal Government has authority to govern them, and
        may govern them either as a Territory or as a conquered

        “The two most important measures ever introduced into
        the American Congress are, first, the resolutions of Mr.
        Sumner in the Senate, declaring that a State by rebellion
        commits suicide, and, second, General Ashley’s bill in
        the House, from the Territorial Committee, providing for
        the government of the rebellious States as Territories.…
        Their adoption would save constitutional government, and
        give new guaranties of man’s capacity for freedom. But
        whether these measures be adopted or not, Mr. Sumner’s
        resolutions will serve as a platform on which will take
        their stand all in the country worthy of consideration for
        their political sagacity, their wise statesmanship, their
        disinterestedness, and their nobility of sentiment.”[164]

    The newspapers were not behind the quarterlies in earnestness
    of difference; but citations from them will not add to the
    case already stated. An article in the _Temps_, an Imperialist
    organ at Paris, is interesting, as showing that the debate had
    crossed the ocean to France.

        “The confidence of the nation possesses the Washington
        Cabinet, too often accessible to incertitude and
        discouragements, and its members seem about to rally to
        the system presented by Mr. Sumner. It is known that the
        Constitution gives to Congress the absolute power over what
        is called the Territories,--that is to say, the territorial
        portions not yet incorporated politically into the Union.…
        The practical consequence which Mr. Sumner draws from that
        can be divined. He proposes to consider the Rebel States
        as simple Territories, which necessarily after victory
        will return one after another to their vitality. Then,
        according to the manner in which the Washington Government
        and Congress shall pronounce definitively on this supreme
        question, can admittance into the Union be refused to
        States which do not abolish Slavery or regulate it in a
        sense favorable to Abolition.”[165]


    The response by letters showed that Senatorial protest and
    newspaper criticism did not prevent the acceptance of the
    Resolutions by earnest, thoughtful people, anxious for decisive
    measures and a true preparation for the future. Here was a plan
    of Reconstruction without Slavery, and this was a wide-spread
    longing of hearts.

    Hon. John Jay, afterwards Minister at Vienna, wrote from New

        “There is no question about the fact that Slavery in the
        Rebel States has ceased to exist, within the meaning and
        under the protection of the Constitution.

        “I have thought somewhat on the matter, and have just
        completed an argument on it, which I proposed to include in
        my lecture before the Washington Association. The Southern
        States have ceased to be States of the Union; their soil
        has become national territory; and the slaves, in the eyes
        of the Constitution, are freemen. I wish your resolutions
        had been referred to some committee from whom we could have
        had a careful report in their favor, even though it were a
        minority report, to get the argument before the country.”

    Charles T. Rodgers, President of the Young Men’s Republican
    Union, wrote from New York:--

        “I have just read the preamble and resolutions offered
        by you in the Senate, in which you define the position
        and status of the revolted States, and of persons held to
        service under the laws thereof.

        “I cannot refrain from expressing to you, personally, my
        pleasure at the fact that the true doctrine on this subject
        has been so clearly laid down. I am sure that your theory
        is the true one, and, in fact, the only one this Government
        can consistently follow, and the only one which seems to
        offer a plain path out of the maze of conflicting legal and
        constitutional points in which so many of our public men
        seem to have become entangled. The States, by seceding,
        have committed suicide. The slaves therein are _de facto_
        free. Stick to that, and you will come out all right.”

    Hon. Charles A. Dana, the accomplished journalist, afterwards
    Assistant Secretary of War, wrote:--

        “I fully appreciate the difficulty of settling the South
        after it is conquered. I don’t see how your plan can be
        avoided; _bon gré, mal gré_, it is what we all must come

    Park Benjamin, writer and poet, who had not formerly
    sympathized with Mr. Sumner politically, wrote from New York:--

        “Your Territorial plan is the only right and just one, let
        the short-sighted geese hiss at it as they may.”

    William Herries, journalist, wrote from New York:--

        “It was my pleasure to-night to be present at the meeting
        of the German Republican Central Committee, and it was
        truly refreshing to witness the enthusiasm manifested in
        behalf of those lofty sentiments embraced in your Rebel
        Territory Bill. A Memorial is now in course of preparation
        for you on the subject.”

    Hon. J. Y. Smith, of the _Wisconsin Argus_, wrote from

        “Early in the Rebellion I took the same view of the effect
        of Secession upon the Rebel States as is set forth in your
        Resolutions,--suggested it to our Wisconsin Senators, and
        wrote several articles in support of it, but could find
        very few public journals or public men to agree with me.
        When your resolutions on that subject appeared, I hailed
        them with joy, and have been exerting the little influence
        I have to instil the principle into the public mind. It is
        the true theory, and I wonder why any friend of the country
        can object to it. By their rebellion they have tumbled
        Slavery right into our bag, and if we shake it out, our
        life will go for its life.”

    Thomas Garrett, a Quaker Abolitionist, wrote from Wilmington,

        “I yesterday read the resolutions thou offeredst on the
        11th of this month, and think the view thou hast taken is
        correct: that any vote of secession, or other act by which
        a State may undertake to put an end to the supremacy of the
        Constitution within its territory, is inoperative and void
        against the Constitution, and, when sustained by force, is
        practical abdication by the State of all rights under the
        Constitution; and every such State ought to be expunged and
        revert back into a Territory, and begin anew. I thought,
        six months since, that ere this Slavery would have been
        abolished by the War Power in all the seceded States, but
        at present I have very little hope of it. It seems to me
        incredible that the President and Cabinet should have so
        much more sympathy for the Rebels than they have for the
        loyal North.”

    W. G. Snethen, lawyer, earnest against Slavery, wrote from

        “Your admirable resolutions respecting the status of
        the Rebel region, in which the Rebellion has killed
        Slavery, did my heart good, especially as indicating an
        Administration policy. I hope and pray that this doctrine
        speaks the mind of Lincoln, and that he will not flinch
        from its execution with the whole power of the Government.…
        Oh that Congress may adopt your set just as they came from
        your mighty pen, and then follow them up by legislation to
        give them active life!”

    Edward P. Brownson communicated the opinion of his father,
    Orestes A. Brownson, in a letter from Elizabeth, New Jersey.

        “I suppose my father has long since told you of his
        delight, when you introduced your Resolutions into the
        Senate. The joy with which he read them, and the attention
        he has given them, you will find very clearly expressed
        in the deep and careful study he has given the subject,
        evident in his article on _State Rebellion, State Suicide_;
        and he would much rather see them pass than win a victory
        in the field.”

    Mrs. Maria Weston Chapman, the devoted Abolitionist, and among
    the earliest in the warfare, wrote from Boston:--

        “Thanks a thousand-fold for the eleventh volume Pacific
        Railroad Survey. Your Resolutions are _the great Pacific
        Road to Freedom_,--made possible by the War Power though
        they be. I thank you a million-fold. To say so is no
        exaggeration, since all done in this behalf is done for all
        men and all time; and from the hour that Garrison struck
        the first blow, I have ever felt that the highest numbers
        were needed fitly to express human gratitude for services
        rendered to human nature.”

    Jabez C. Woodman, an able lawyer, wrote from Portland, Maine:--

        “You are not without some judicial authority. As much
        as ten months ago I heard Judge Ware[166] express the
        opinion that the Union troops would prevail. He then said
        he was in favor of coercion,--that he would subjugate the
        Rebel States, and, taking them at their word, he would
        not acknowledge them at once as States, but would govern
        them as conquered provinces, till they were fit to govern

    Elizur Wright, the early and constant Abolitionist, wrote from

        “Your Resolutions are _the very thing_. Had they been
        passed at the extra session, the war would have been over
        before now. They, or something to the same effect, must
        be passed before spring opens, or we are lost. Victories,
        without this _law_ of the _conquest_, cannot save us. Quite
        the reverse. I beg you to press the resolutions with any
        amount of animosity or violence, and to know that all that
        is alive at the North will sustain you.

        “There are thousands ready to see the present Government
        blotted out in blood and chaos rather than see the old
        curse reinstated. On us, not on our children! There has
        been fooling enough. Heaven bless you!”

    Rev. George C. Beckwith, Secretary of the American Peace
    Society, wrote from Boston:--

        “I had some difficulty for a time about your _Territorial_
        views; but I am coming fully to the conclusion that we must
        deal with all rebellion in some such way, before the South
        can be brought to any terms. We must have and keep them all
        in our grasp, until they prove themselves, by their good
        behavior, fit to come again into the Union.”

    Charles Husband, an intelligent citizen, whose correspondence
    was always valuable, wrote from Taunton, Massachusetts:--

        “I have to thank you for a copy of your Resolutions, and
        perhaps you will not deem me intrusive, if I wish you a
        hearty God-speed in the work you have undertaken,--a work
        the successful accomplishment of which is large enough to
        fill the measure of the highest ambition,--a work which
        will redeem the nation from its low estate, which asserts
        the nation’s sovereignty and self-existence, instead of
        ‘borrowing leave to be,’--which demands for the nation the
        paramount allegiance of every inhabitant of its territory,
        and sweeps away every institution which interposes itself
        between the nation and that allegiance,--which calls the
        Government from being the minister of oppression and the
        mere dispenser of patronage, to take upon itself the high
        purposes and duties for which ‘governments are instituted
        among men,’--which transmutes four millions of chattels
        into men.

        “Allow me to suggest (although it has not, probably,
        escaped your notice), that the constitutional requirement,
        that every legislative, executive, and judicial officer
        in the States shall be sworn to the support of the
        Constitution of the United States, leaves the whole of the
        Rebel territory without a civil officer whom the Government
        can recognize, as every such pretended officer is just as
        much a usurper in the eye of the Constitution as Jefferson
        Davis himself.”

    Henry Hoyt, publisher and bookseller, wrote from Boston:--

         “I cannot sleep another night till I have thanked you
        from the bottom of my heart for your bill resolving
        Rebeldom into Territorial relations again. Of all measures
        ever introduced into Congress, nothing so completely meets
        the case of the present exigency of our country’s history,
        and _nothing but this_ can make the confederacy of the
        whole land stand in safety a single year. We may continue
        to win battles, but, so long as the ruins of Slavery exist
        in the body politic, we shall stand on a volcano.”

    But the most important commentary on the Resolutions is found
    in the measures of Reconstruction subsequently adopted, all of
    which stand on the power of Congress over the Rebel States,
    which they positively assert, including especially the power
    and duty to guaranty a republican form of government.

    The Report of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, drawn up
    by its Chairman, Mr. Fessenden, asserted that the Rebel States
    “having voluntarily renounced the right to representation, and
    disqualified themselves by crime from participating in the
    Government, the burden now rests upon them, before claiming to
    be reinstated in their former condition, to show that they are
    qualified to resume Federal relations.” It then laid down the

        “Having, by this treasonable withdrawal from Congress,
        and by flagrant rebellion and war, forfeited all civil
        and political rights and privileges under the Federal
        Constitution, they can only be restored thereto by the
        permission and authority of that constitutional power
        against which they rebelled, and by which they were

    Here was the power of Congress asserted,--but very tardily, and
    after original denial.

       *       *       *       *       *

    A calm observer has recently recorded his regret that the
    Resolutions were not adopted at once, and consistently
    acted upon. After saying that “the mover was overwhelmed
    with a tornado of denunciation and abuse,” and that the
    opposition “rendered any satisfactory reconstruction as nearly
    impracticable as can well be imagined,” the writer proceeds:--

        “Time has fully vindicated the wisdom of Mr. Sumner’s
        course, and many of the Senators against the measure now
        admit their mistake,--while every man who comes here from
        the South says that their present miserable condition grows
        out of that great error.

        “To the Democratic party the rejection of the Resolutions
        was a God-send. It made the continued existence of the
        Democratic party possible.”[168]

    Such is the first chapter of Reconstruction.



    February 13th, the Senate having under consideration a bill
    from the House of Representatives to authorize the issue of
    United States notes, and for the redemption or funding thereof,
    and for funding the floating debt of the United States, Mr.
    Collamer, of Vermont, moved to strike out the following words:--

        “And such notes herein authorized, and the notes authorized
        by the Act of July 17, 1861, shall be receivable in payment
        of all public dues and demands of every description, and of
        all claims and demands against the United States of every
        kind whatsoever, except for interest upon bonds and notes,
        which shall be paid in coin, _and shall also be lawful
        money and a legal tender in payment of all debts, public
        and private, within the United States, except interest as

    Mr. Collamer stated that some desired him to try the sense of
    the Senate on the question of private debts, but he preferred
    the above amendment, “that these notes shall not be tenderable
    upon any debts due by the Government or by individuals.” On
    this proposition he had already made an elaborate speech.

    Mr. Fessenden also spoke elaborately upon the whole bill;
    but he characterized the legal tender clause as “the main
    question.” Here he said:--

        “The question, then, is, Does the necessity exist?… If the
        necessity exists, I have no hesitation upon the subject,
        and shall have none. If there is nothing left for us to do
        but that, and that will effect the object, I am perfectly
        willing to do that.”

    Mr. Sumner spoke last in the debate, and at least one Senator
    acknowledged that on the question of constitutional power he
    had been changed by this speech. The vote was then taken on the
    amendment, and resulted, yeas 17, nays 22.

    So the motion to strike out the legal tender clause was

    Mr. Doolittle moved an amendment so as to make the notes “a
    legal tender in payment of all public debts, and all private
    debts hereafter contracted within the United States,” which was
    rejected without a division.

    Mr. King also moved a comprehensive amendment, which likewise
    struck out the legal tender clause; but it was rejected without
    a division.

    The bill was then passed, yeas 30, nays 7.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am sorry to ask the attention of the Senate at this
late hour; but the importance of the question must be my apology.

In what I say I shall confine myself exclusively to a single feature
of the present bill. Others may regret that the exigencies of the
country were not promptly met by taxation,--or that at the beginning a
different system was not organized by the Treasury, through which the
national securities might have found a readier market,--or that the
national credit was not sustained, at the period of bank suspension,
by the resolute redemption of the Government securities in coin at
any present sacrifice. But it is useless to discuss these questions.
The time for such discussion has passed. The Tax Bill is not yet
matured. The system adopted by the Treasury cannot be changed at once,
if it were desirable. It is too late to organize the redemption of
the national securities in coin on the daily application of holders.
Meanwhile the exigencies of Government have become imperative. Money
must be had.

And we are told that the credit of Government can be saved only by an
act that seems like a forfeiture of credit. Paper promises are to be
made a legal tender, like gold and silver; and this provision is to be
ingrafted on the present bill authorizing the issue of Treasury notes
to the amount of $150,000,000.

All confess that they vote for this proposition with reluctance,
while to many it seems positively unconstitutional. Of course, if
unconstitutional, there is an end of it, and all discussion of its
character is superfluous. I am compelled by candor to declare that
the doubts which perplex me do not proceed from the Constitution. If
the question of constitutionality were in all respects novel, or, as
lawyers phrase it, of first impression, then I might join with friends
in their doubts. But it seems to me that the constitutional power of
Congress to make Treasury notes a legal tender was settled as long
ago as when it was settled that Congress might authorize the issue of
Treasury notes; for from time immemorial the two have gone together,
one as incident of the other, and, unless expressly severed, they
naturally go together.

It is true that in the Constitution there are no words expressly
conferring upon Congress the power to make Treasury notes a legal
tender; but there are no words expressly conferring upon Congress the
power to issue Treasury notes. If we consult the text, we find it as
silent with regard to one as with regard to the other. There is no
silence with regard to the States, which are expressly prohibited to
“emit bills of credit,” or “make anything but gold and silver coin a
tender in payment of debts.” Treasury notes are “bills of credit”;
and this prohibition is imperative on the States. The inference is
just, that this prohibition, expressly addressed to the States, was
not intended to embrace Congress indirectly, as it obviously does not
embrace it directly. The presence of the prohibition, however, shows
that the subject was in the minds of the framers of the Constitution.
If they failed to extend it still further, it is reasonable to
conclude that they left the whole subject in all its bearings to the
sound discretion of Congress, under the ample powers intrusted to it.

The stress so constantly put upon the prohibitions addressed to the
States will justify me in introducing the opinion of Mr. Justice Story,
in his Commentaries.

    “It is manifest that all these prohibitory clauses, as to
    coining money, emitting bills of credit, and tendering anything
    but gold and silver in payment of debts, are founded upon
    the same general policy, and result from the same general
    considerations. _The policy is, to provide a fixed and uniform
    value throughout the United States_, by which commercial
    and other dealings of the citizens, as well as the moneyed
    transactions of the Government, might be regulated.”[169]

Plainly, no inference adverse to the powers of the National Government
can be drawn from these prohibitory clauses; for, whatever may be these
powers, there will be a fixed and uniform value throughout the United

As we proceed, the case becomes more clear. The States are prohibited
to issue “bills of credit”; but there is no such prohibition on the
National Government, which may do in the premises what the States
cannot do. The failure to prohibit is equivalent to a recognition of
the power. In other words, the National Government may issue “bills
of credit,” which have been characterized by no less a person than
Chief-Justice Marshall, in pronouncing the opinion of the Supreme
Court, when he said: “To ‘emit bills of credit’ conveys to the mind
the idea of issuing paper intended to circulate through the community
for its ordinary purposes _as money_, which paper is redeemable at
a future day.” And then again the learned Chief Justice said: “The
term has acquired an appropriate meaning; and ‘bills of credit’
signify _a paper medium_, intended to circulate between individuals,
and between Government and individuals, for the ordinary purposes
of society.”[170] This “money” and “paper medium” the States are
prohibited from emitting; but there is no such prohibition on the
National Government,--as there is not a single word to prohibit the
National Government from determining what shall be a legal tender.

From the proceedings of the National Convention it appears that a
clause in the first draught of the Constitution empowering Congress to
“emit bills on the credit of the United States” was after discussion
struck out. In the debate on this clause, Mr. Madison asked: “Will
it not be sufficient to prohibit the making them _a tender_? This
will remove the temptation to emit them with unjust views.” Mr.
Mason said, “Though he had a mortal hatred to paper money, yet, as
he could not foresee all emergencies, he was unwilling to tie the
hands of the [National] Legislature. He observed, that the late war
could not have been carried on, had such a prohibition existed.” Mr.
Mercer was “opposed to a prohibition of it altogether. It will stamp
suspicion on the Government to deny it a discretion on this point.”
Mr. Butler remarked, that “paper was a legal tender in no country in
Europe. He was urgent for disarming the Government of such a power.”
Mr. Mason was “still averse to tying the hands of the Legislature
_altogether_. If there was no example in Europe, as just remarked,
it might be observed, on the other side, that there was none in
which the Government was restrained on this head.” Mr. Gorham was
“for striking out, without inserting any prohibition.” And this view
finally prevailed.[171] Thus it appears that the suggestion was made
to prohibit the making of bills a tender; but this suggestion was not
acted on, and no such prohibition was ever moved. It is evident that
the Convention was not prepared for a measure so positive. Less still
was it prepared for a prohibition to emit bills. Such is the record.
While all words expressly authorizing bills were struck out, nothing
was introduced in restriction of the powers of Congress on this subject.

Thus was the whole question practically settled; and the usage of the
Government has been in harmony with this settlement. Treasury notes
were issued during the war of 1812, and in the monetary crisis of 1837,
also during the war with Mexico, and constantly since, so that the
power to issue them cannot be drawn into doubt. If there was any doubt
originally, unquestioned practice, sanctioned by successive Congresses,
has completely removed it. I do not stop to consider whether the power
is derived primarily from the power “to borrow money,” or the power “to
regulate commerce,” or from the unenumerated powers. It is sufficient
that the power exists.

But I see not how to escape the conclusion, that, if Congress is
empowered to issue Treasury notes, it may affix to these notes such
character as shall seem safe and proper, declaring the conditions of
their circulation and the dues for which they shall be received. Grant
the first power, and the rest must follow. Careful you will be in the
exercise of this power, but, if you choose to take the responsibility,
I see no check in the Constitution.

The history of our country furnishes testimony, which has been gathered
with extraordinary minuteness in an elaborate opinion by Mr. Justice
Story.[172] I follow mainly his authority, when I set it forth.

It appears that the phrase “bills of credit” was familiarly used for
bank-notes as early as 1683 in England, and also as early as 1714 in
New England. But the first issue in America was in 1690, by the Colony
of Massachusetts, and the occasion--identical with the present--was to
pay soldiers, returning unexpectedly from an unsuccessful expedition
against Canada. These notes were from two shillings to ten pounds, and
were receivable for dues at the Treasury. Their form was as follows:
“This indented bill of ten shillings, due from the Massachusetts
Colony to the possessor, shall be in value equal to money, and shall
be accordingly accepted by the Treasurer, and Receivers subordinate
to him, in all public payments, and for any stock at any time in the
Treasury.” Here followed the date, and the signatures of the Committee
authorized to issue these notes.[173] Such was their depreciation, that
these notes could not command money or commodities at money price,
although the historian, Hutchinson, who has recorded these interesting
facts, does not hesitate to say that they had better credit than King
James’s leather money in Ireland only a short time before.[174] Being
of small amount, they were soon absorbed in the payment of taxes. But
this example did not stand alone.

The facility with which paper money is created renders it difficult to
withstand the temptation, unless a Government is under the restraint
of correct principles of finance, which at that early day were utterly
unknown. An excuse for Massachusetts may be found in the general
poverty at that time, the lack of precious metals, and the distance
from marts of trade. In 1702 there was another issue of bills of
credit, for £15,000, which, by a subsequent Act, in 1712, were made a
tender for private debts. Under the continued cry of scarcity of money,
bills of credit were again issued in 1716, to the amount of £150,000,
to be lent, for a limited period, to inhabitants, whose lands were
mortgaged as security. These were not made a tender; but they were
receivable at the Treasury in discharge of taxes, and also of mortgage
debts. Other bills were afterwards issued, so that paper money was
common. The historian who has exposed this condition of things does
not hesitate to liken this currency to pretended values stamped on
leather or paper, and declared to be receivable in payment of taxes
and in discharge of private debts. The natural consequence was a fatal
depreciation, so that an ounce of silver, worth in 1702 six shillings
and eight pence, in 1749 was equivalent to fifty shillings of this
paper currency.[175] At the present moment I do not seek to exhibit the
character of this currency, but simply the original association between
bills of credit and the idea of a tender.

But Massachusetts was not alone. The neighboring colony of Rhode
Island, as early as 1710, followed her example, and in 1720 made her
bills a tender in payment of all debts, except certain debts specified.
Connecticut issued bills at different periods, beginning with 1709,
some of which were made a tender, and some not. New York began in the
same year, substantially following Massachusetts; and her bills were
generally made a tender. In 1722 Pennsylvania issued bills, secured
on mortgage, and made a tender. In 1739 Delaware did likewise, making
her bills a tender. So also did Maryland, in 1733, to the amount of
£90,000; but other bills were issued by Maryland, in 1769, which were
not made a tender.

The example of Virginia is more conspicuous, although not so early in
time. The very term, “Treasury notes,” now used as the equivalent of
“bills of credit,” first appears in her colonial legislation, when,
in 1755, they were made a tender in payment of debts.[176] There were
successive emissions in 1769, 1771, and 1773, which were not made a
tender,--and then in 1778, and at other times afterwards, which were
made a tender. That these “Treasury notes” were deemed “bills of
credit” is demonstrated by the legislation of the State, especially
by the Act of May, 1780, which, after reciting that the exigencies of
the war require the further emission of paper money, authorizes new
“Treasury notes,” and proceeds to punish with death any person who
shall forge “any bill of credit _or_ Treasury note to be issued by
virtue of this Act.”[177]

I find that North Carolina, as early as 1748, sent forth bills of
credit which were made a tender, and many subsequent emissions were
authorized. South Carolina began in 1703; but these bills, bearing
interest at twelve per cent, do not seem to have been made a tender.
Others issued by this colony, at different times afterwards, were made
a tender. In 1760 Georgia authorized bills of credit on interest, and
secured by mortgage of the property of the receivers, which were made a

The extensive employment of paper money in New England aroused the
jealousy of the Imperial Parliament, which, by the Act of 25th June,
1751,[178] expressly forbade the issue of any “paper bills, or bills
of credit,” except for certain specific purposes, or upon certain
specified emergencies. The Act constantly speaks of these two as
equivalent expressions, thus seeming to show that “bills of credit,”
in their true meaning, were what is familiarly called “paper money,”
with the incidents of such money. But the Act proceeds to limit these
incidents by declaring expressly that “no paper currency, or bills
of credit,” issued under it, shall be a tender in payment of any
private debts or contracts whatsoever, with a proviso that nothing
therein contained should make any bills then subsisting a tender. That
Parliament should deem it necessary, by special enactment, to take
from bills of credit the character of a tender, attests the customary
association between these two ideas.

During the Revolutionary War, under the exigencies of that time, with
a country without resources and a treasury without money, bills of
credit, known as Continental money, were issued by Congress. But, while
receivable in discharge of taxes and other public dues, they were not
made a tender by Congress, although the States were recommended to make
them such.

    MR. COLLAMER. And did make them so.

MR. SUMNER. At the adoption of the National Constitution, the people,
to their wide-spread cost, had become familiar with bills of credit and
their incidents, while all conversant with Colonial history must have
known the part which bills of credit played for nearly a century, not
only as a help to currency, but as a tender, constituting paper money.
And yet, with all this ample knowledge,--present certainly to the
framers of the Constitution, if not to the people,--no express words on
this subject were introduced into the text of the Constitution, except
with regard to the States. The conclusion from this silence, under all
the circumstances, is strong, if not irresistible.

But the omission of the Constitution with regard to bills of credit was
practically supplied by Congress, which has not hesitated to assume
the existence of the power. If the Constitution failed to speak,
Congress has not failed; and the exercise of this power cannot now be
questioned, without unsettling our whole financial system. But we have
seen that throughout our Colonial history the tender was a constant,
though not inseparable, incident of the bill of credit,--that, indeed,
it was so much part of the bill of credit that the Imperial Parliament
positively interfered to separate the two, and, while sanctioning the
bill of credit, forbade the tender. And now, if this historical review
is properly apprehended, if it is not entirely out of place, it must
conduct to the conclusion, that, whatever may be the present question
of policy, the power to make Treasury notes a tender has precisely
the same origin in the Constitution with the power to create Treasury
notes. It is true that you may exercise one power and decline the
other; but if you assume the power to issue bills of credit, I am at a
loss to understand how you can deny the power to make them a tender.
The two spring from the same fountain. You may refuse to exercise one
or both; but you cannot insist upon one, under the Constitution, and
reject the other.

       *       *       *       *       *

Assuming the constitutionality of this proposition, or rather declining
to admit the satisfactory force of the constitutional arguments against
it, I am brought to a question which has, for me, more of difficulty
and doubt: I mean the policy of exercising the power at this moment.
It is not too much to say that this question concerns the national
character, as well as the national welfare, while intelligent and
patriotic men differ earnestly with regard to it. Decide it as we
may, we cannot escape anxiety on the subject. Take which way we will,
we cannot escape the just sense of responsibility. Seeking the truth
only, and jealous of that good name which is to a Government one of
its best possessions, I shall consider the question frankly; nor shall
I disguise any of the difficulties which it presents, whether from
principle or from experience. This is not the time for concealment, and
I insist, that, if the power is exercised, its true character shall be
understood. I invoke, also, the examples of history, to make us pause;
but it will be my duty to show that there are other examples calculated
to sustain the Government in the policy it now so urgently recommends.

If the Treasury notes of the United States were at this moment
convertible into coin, there would be no occasion to declare them a
tender; for they would be everywhere, at least in our own country,
as good as coin. But the suspension of the banks was followed by
suspension of the Treasury, and its notes are now inconvertible paper,
which it is proposed to sustain artificially by declaring them a
tender. If this proposition be adopted, the Treasury will be enabled
to substitute bits of engraved paper for money. Of course, such a
proposition, on its face, is obnoxious to objections that make upon me
an impression not to be disguised.

Looking at the history of paper money, especially in our own country,
we find no encouragement. Its evils were vividly portrayed by the
“Federalist,”[179] and have been powerfully presented in this debate
by the Senator from Vermont [Mr. COLLAMER]. Congress, during the
Revolution, began, as early as 1775, with bills to the amount of
$3,000,000, on their face declaring the bearer entitled to receive
the sum specified in “Spanish milled dollars, or the value thereof
in gold or silver,” according to a certain resolution of Congress.
The bills were receivable for taxes, and the thirteen colonies were
pledged for their redemption. Other emissions followed, and, as their
credit began to fail, Congress went so far as to declare that whoever
refused to receive this paper in payment should “be deemed, published,
and treated as an enemy of his country.”[180] As the paper continued
to depreciate, Congress became more violent in its support, and even
ventured to recommend it as of peculiar value. “Let it be remembered,”
said Congress, “that paper money is the only kind of money which cannot
‘make unto itself wings and fly away.’”[181] The sum-total of these
bills at last reached upwards of three hundred millions, which in
1780 became so utterly worthless in the hands of their possessors that
they ceased to circulate, and have ever since been treated only as
curiosities, without positive value. No serious proposition for their
redemption has ever been made.

The French _assignats_, amounting to the enormous sum-total of _nine
thousand million dollars_,[182] issued during the fiery excitements
of the Great Revolution, shared the fortunes of American Continental
money, passing into the limbo of “things transitory and vain.” Perhaps
there is not a country on the European continent, which, during the
fearful wars that followed, did not encounter the same experience. I
have heard it said that old soldiers in Denmark lighted their pipes
with paper money, which had become to them only the record of a broken

Power of all kinds is liable to abuse, and experience shows that
the power to issue inconvertible paper is no exception to this
prevailing law. The issue may be moderate at first, and sustained
by plausible reasons, but it breaks soon into excess. Of course,
actual value, or its equivalent, is the life of money, giving to it a
circulating quality; and when money begins to be suspected, it loses
its circulating quality. But inconvertible paper, even when made a
tender, has no actual value, and circulates only because Government
commands its circulation. It has no present worth beyond the engraving;
therefore all ordinary checks to undue issue of money are wanting.
Nothing exists to prevent excess and consequent depreciation; and this
danger is verified by history. I refer to it now that I may not seem
indifferent to any of the perplexities which surround us.

In some countries a legal tender is gold and silver; in others it is
gold alone. In England, since 1816, gold, and not silver, has been
the tender for sums of forty shillings and upwards; and since 1833
the notes of the Bank have been a tender for sums over five pounds,
everywhere except at the Bank itself and its branches. But it is to
be borne in mind that both these metals have positive value in the
market equivalent to that of coin; so that coin is value itself. But
convertible paper is not value itself; it is only the representative of
value; while it is doubtful if inconvertible paper can be called the
representative of anything in particular. These considerations are not
decisive of the policy now proposed, but they justly incline us to a
prudent hesitation.

If we are not deterred by the bad examples of history, or by the
acknowledged danger of excess and consequent depreciation,--if we are
willing to take the chance of seeing Treasury notes in the same list
with Continental money and French _assignats_, and of having returned
soldiers in old age light their pipes with the worthless paper,--if
these suggestions are put aside as exaggerated or irrelevant, I ask you
not to forget that a constant aim of good government is to secure the
immediate convertibility of paper into coin. But, instead of securing
such immediate convertibility, or taking any steps towards it, you will
for the present renounce it.

Pardon my frankness, Sir, if I declare that the present proposition,
when examined carefully, seems too much like bad faith. I say it
_seems_: I would not speak too strongly. Is there not bad faith towards
creditors, who are compelled to receive what is due in a depreciated
currency? Is there not bad faith towards all abroad, who, putting
trust in our integrity, national and personal, have sent their money
to this country in gold or its equivalent? And just in proportion as
this is so, you cannot doubt that we shall suffer alike in character
and resources too; for what resource is greater to a nation or to an
individual than a character for integrity? The present proposition must
be followed soon by others,--even to the extent of $1,000,000,000. But
where shall this vast amount be obtained, and at what cost, when it is
seen that we have already undertaken to authorize inconvertible paper
as a tender? Credit is volatile and sensitive, and will not yield to
force. Do you propose the right way to win the delicate possession? It
will not come to you from abroad, where money usually abounds. Will it
salute you here at home? And is it good economy to obtain the amount
you seek by a policy which will create a disturbing impediment to all
your efforts for the larger amounts soon to be required? I put these
questions without answering them. It is sufficient for me that I open
the difficulties before us; and here I follow the Senator from Maine
[Mr. FESSENDEN], Chairman of the Committee on Finance, who commenced
this debate.

In courts of law, experts are summoned to testify on questions of
science or art within their special knowledge. If, on this occasion,
experts in finance or currency were summoned, I do not know that we
should be much enlightened; for, according to my observation, there
are such differences among them, and, as the Senator from Maine [Mr.
FESSENDEN] has pleasantly told us, such differences even in the same
person, one day and the day after, that it is difficult to place
reliance in their counsels. Some tell us that making Treasury notes
a tender will be most beneficent; others insist that it will be
dishonorable and pernicious. On each side strong words are employed.
Which shall we follow?

Crossing the sea, we find similar differences, not, of course, with
regard to the present proposition, which is not yet known there, but
with regard to the principles entering into this debate. In England
the general subject has occupied much attention. As late as 1857 it
was brought before a distinguished Parliamentary Committee, and their
Report is remarkable for the testimony of numerous witnesses whose
experience and knowledge give authority to their opinions. The Report
is a financial monument. But among these witnesses are some who were
little disturbed by an inconvertible currency, although the weight of
testimony was the other way.

Nobody was more positive than Nathaniel Alexander, Esq., head of
the firm of Alexander & Co., India merchants. His attention being
called to the proper means against the effects of panic on the Bank
of England, he proposed, as an assistance to the Bank, another
currency, inconvertible, and a tender for Government dues, under Act
of Parliament. From its inconvertible character, such a currency, he
said, would not be reached by panic, and would therefore contribute to
the security of the Bank.[183] This testimony seems to maintain the
principle of the present proposition; and I quote it, as showing that
the proposition is not entirely without practical authority.

John Twells, Esq., a London banker for upwards of fifty years, also
testified in favor of an inconvertible note under sanction of
Government, and a legal tender. Here are his answers to two questions.

    “What do you conceive to be the advantage of an inconvertible
    note of that kind over a convertible note payable to bearer
    on demand?--It would prevent a drain of bullion, when it is
    required for foreign trade; and it would give us, what is so
    very essential, a domestic currency which is not influenced by
    any foreign transactions whatever. If France or America wants a
    quantity of gold, it ought not to interfere with our domestic
    currency. Our merchants and all our trade surely should not
    suffer because America wants gold.

    “Do you think that that currency would run the risk of ever
    being depreciated in value,--that is to say, that inconvertible
    five pound notes would not exchange for five sovereigns?--I do
    not know, as compared with sovereigns; that, I think, is of no
    consequence in the world. We want it for our internal commerce,
    and we want it to pay Government their taxes.”[184]

Two other questions and answers may be given.

    “You have been asked about the French assignats. Is not the
    difference between the currency which you recommend and the
    assignats just this, that the Government are bound to take
    back whatever they issue?--Precisely; and that makes all the

    “And, with the French assignats, they refused to take back
    what they had issued?--Yes. A corrupt Government may commit
    such an excess as they did in France, where the amount of
    their assignats was, if I remember right, about £300,000,000
    sterling. They could not receive them back; they could not get
    their taxation, on account of the revolution which was going
    on; therefore the assignats fell to nothing.”[185]

Another witness was Mr. Edward Capps, who described himself as engaged
in the surveying and building trade for thirty years, so that his
attention had been directed to the influence of credit on the manner in
which buildings are erected in London. He, too, testified in favor of
inconvertible paper. Here are some of his answers.

    “Would you recommend the issue of an inconvertible paper
    currency, with the view of remedying the evils which you
    describe?--I was present and heard the examination of Mr.
    Twells, and he was mentioning a project, by which he thought,
    that, instead of the £14,000,000 of paper which the Bank issues
    upon securities, you might go to the extent of £20,000,000 of
    an inconvertible paper. I think I understood the proposition
    rightly, as being to that effect. Though it is not exactly the
    proposition which I should make, yet I cannot see any objection
    to that proposition myself.”[186]

    “Do you believe that the paper which you recommend would be, on
    the average, of the same value as the present bank-note, which
    is convertible into gold?--I think that very shortly it would
    be of a higher value than our present standard. If any person
    had to be paid £10,000 fifteen years hence, and had the option
    whether it should be paid in that way or in the standard of
    gold, I think he would exercise a wise discretion in choosing
    the paper.”[187]

    “You are not in favor of what is called inconvertible paper, in
    the sense of worthless paper, are you?--Not at all.

    “How do you distinguish between your paper and the rags which
    have in other cases been issued?--Unless I know the principle,
    I cannot say.

    “Take the French assignats.--The French assignats were issued
    upon no principle at all, because no provision was made for
    their redemption.”[188]

Against these witnesses was the testimony of a person perhaps the
highest living authority on this question. I refer to Lord Overstone,
known before his elevation to the peerage as Mr. Jones Loyd, the
eminent banker, whose life makes him practically acquainted with this
subject, while his liberal studies and various experience add to the
solidity of his judgment. His testimony on this occasion, extending
over almost three days, occupies nearly one hundred folio pages.
Writers on finance have quoted it ever since, and practical men have
accepted it as a guide. In reply to questions by the Committee, he
declared himself strongly opposed to the issue of Government notes
not payable in specie on demand. In his opinion “they would generate
a state of utter confusion which could not be tolerated for three
months.”[189] Then again:--

    “It is quite clear that there would be a discount upon these
    notes in the first place; they would not answer the purpose of
    a circulating medium; it would throw everything into confusion
    in the very first stage of the process: that would be the first

Here are his answers to other questions.

    “Your Lordship was asked, on the last day, whether it would not
    be possible in a great degree to mitigate such difficulties as
    I have endeavored to portray, by having two sorts of notes, one
    of them payable in bullion, but the other, if I may use the
    expression, a sort of I O U note between the Government and the
    public; whether, inasmuch as the Government owes £6,000,000
    or £7,000,000 every quarter, in the shape of dividends or
    expenses, and the country owes £6,000,000 or £7,000,000 of
    taxes, it would not be possible to arrange that there should
    be two sorts of currency afloat,--one the common banking note,
    payable in bullion, and applicable for all general purposes,
    and the other a note applicable in the more limited sense?--Our
    affairs would then go on very much in the way that a man would
    walk with one of his legs six inches shorter than the other.
    One set of notes would circulate at a depreciation, compared
    with the other set of notes; hence great inconvenience and
    confusion would arise.”[191]

    “Do you believe, that, if any person had notes which insured
    to him the payment of all the Government demands upon himself,
    though he had no demands upon him directly, he would not find
    numbers of persons who would exchange those notes for him
    at a premium or a discount?--Then you would have a certain
    proportion of the monetary system of the country circulating
    at a discount. I cannot conceive a greater state of monetary
    disorganization than that.”[192]

But the testimony of Lord Overstone, strong as it was, against an
inconvertible currency, still admitted a possible occasion for
departure from it; and here his testimony bears directly on the pending
proposition. Alluding to the well-known suspension of specie payments
by the Bank of England in 1797, he says:--

    “I am bound to say that with regard to that period of 1797
    there are circumstances which may make it doubtful whether the
    Suspension Act was not a justifiable measure. The pressure in
    1797 was undoubtedly, to a considerable extent, _connected
    with political alarm, with the fear of foreign invasion_,
    causing an internal demand for the exchange of notes into coin.
    _Under such circumstances, there is no measure founded upon
    principle which can pretend to afford an adequate protection.
    If, for instance, at this moment, this country were suddenly
    exposed to the calamity of a very large foreign force occupying
    its soil, or if it were exposed to the calamity of a very
    formidable and serious civil insurrection_, no doubt a state of
    panic alarm with regard to the paper money might arise, against
    which no provisions of the Act of 1844, nor any provisions
    founded upon principle, could possibly afford an adequate
    protection. But from that view of the subject, again, there
    is an inference to be drawn of a very instructive and warning
    character, namely,--to make this Committee very cautious how
    they extend the issues upon securities. The only protection
    against such contingencies is the existence of a large amount
    of coin, or of bullion, in the country; and therefore, when
    we are looking to contingencies of that nature, we may very
    properly pause at the questionable recommendation of increasing
    our issues upon securities, which is, in other words,
    diminishing our issues upon bullion.”[193]

If this authoritative testimony be accepted in favor of a constant
specie currency, it is unquestionably important as recognizing grounds
of exception,--as, according to the language of the witness, if the
country were “suddenly exposed to the calamity of a very large foreign
force occupying its soil, or to the calamity of a very formidable and
serious civil insurrection.” In these exceptions there is matter for
much reflection. Strong as we may be against any questionable currency,
we must not be insensible to a possible limitation even of this just
principle. In short, we must be content with the best we can command.
And here history affords valuable illustrations in conformity with this

In 1745, the alarm occasioned by the advance of the Highlanders,
under the Pretender, as far as Derby, led to a run upon the Bank of
England; and in order to gain time, the directors, while continuing
to pay in specie, adopted the device of paying in shillings and
sixpences. But, next to the retreat of the enemy, their best relief
was found in a resolution by the merchants and traders of the city,
declaring their willingness to receive bank-notes in payment of any
sum due, and pledging their utmost endeavors to make all payments
in these bank-notes. This proceeding, it is perceived, was prompted
by the pressure of civil disturbance. But the most authentic case
is that of 1797, when the Bank, under pressure of political events,
was prohibited, by Order in Council, _issued on Sunday_, the 26th
of February, from paying their notes in cash, until the sense
of Parliament should be taken on the subject. At the meeting of
Parliament, after much discussion, it was agreed to continue the
suspension till six months after the signature of a definitive treaty
of peace, _thus positively recognizing the existence of war as a reason
for this departure from principle_. A recent English writer vindicates
this act as follows.

    “Much difference of opinion has existed with respect to
    the policy of the restriction in 1797; but, considering
    the peculiar circumstances under which it took place, its
    expediency seems abundantly obvious. The run did not originate
    in any over-issue of bank paper, _but grew entirely out of
    political causes. So long as the alarms of invasion continued,
    it was clear that no bank paper immediately convertible into
    gold would remain in circulation._ And as the Bank, though
    possessed of ample funds, was without the means of instantly
    retiring her notes, she might, but for the interference of
    Government, have been obliged to stop payments,--an event,
    which, had it occurred, might have produced consequences fatal
    to the public interests. The error of the Government did not
    consist in their coming to the assistance of the Bank, _but
    in continuing the restriction after the alarm of invasion had
    ceased_, and there was nothing to hinder the Bank from safely
    reverting to specie payments.”[194]

Unhappily, the definitive treaty of peace, on which the restoration
of specie payments depended, was not consummated till 1815, so that
throughout this long period there was an inconvertible currency, which
even the sanction of Parliament did not save, in 1814, from a discount
of twenty-five per cent. But peace did not bring specie at once. The
routine of paper had become too strongly fixed, and it was only through
the remarkable efforts of Sir Robert Peel, in 1819, that an Act of
Parliament was passed requiring the payment of specie at the Bank in
1823. Such is the practical testimony of British experience.

The experience of France is similar. I do not now refer to the old
_assignats_, but to a modern instance. Beyond question, the Bank of
France is conducted with caution and skill; but no caution and skill
are adequate to counteract the influence of a sudden revolution,
especially like that of 1848, when the Republic was declared. The Bank
made large advances to the Provisional Government. This obligation,
combined with distrust universally prevalent, occasioned so severe
a drain of gold, that, to prevent the total exhaustion of its
vaults, the Bank was authorized by Government decree of 16th March,
1848,--just three weeks after the Revolution,--to suspend specie
payments, while its notes were at the same time made a legal tender.
To prevent abuse, possible in such a condition of things, a maximum
of issues was fixed at three hundred and fifty million francs. Such
precautions were proper; but the fact of the authorized suspension
remains an example of history. The prompt return to the true system is
not without encouragement.

       *       *       *       *       *

If these instances are entitled to consideration, they seem to show,
that, according to the experience of other countries, Government may
be compelled at times to relax the rigor of its requirements with
regard to convertible paper. But they do not fix the limitation to the
exercise of this extraordinary discretion. That the discretion exists
is important in the present debate.

It is a discretion kindred to that under which the _Habeas Corpus_
is suspended, so that citizens are arrested without the forms of
law,--kindred to that under which an extensive territory is declared
to be in a condition of insurrection, so that all business with its
inhabitants is suspended,--kindred to that which unquestionably exists,
to obtain soldiers, if necessary, by draft or conscription instead
of the free offering of volunteers,--kindred to that under which
private property is taken for public uses,--and kindred, also, to that
undoubted discretion which sanctions the completest exercise of the
transcendent right of self-defence.

But, while recognizing the existence of the discretion in the last
resort, under the law of necessity, the question still remains if this
necessity actually exists. And now, as I close, I shall not cease to
be frank. Is it necessary to incur all the unquestionable evils of
inconvertible paper, forced into circulation by Act of Congress,--to
suffer the stain upon our national faith, to bear the stigma of a
seeming repudiation, to lose for the present that credit which in
itself is a treasury, and to teach debtors everywhere that contracts
may be varied at the will of the stronger? Surely there is much in
these inquiries to make us pause. If our country were poor or feeble,
without population and without resources, if it were already drained
by a long war, if the enemy had succeeded in depriving us of the means
of livelihood, then we should not even pause. But our country is rich
and powerful, with a numerous population, busy, honest, and determined,
abounding in unparalleled resources of all kinds, agricultural,
mineral, industrial, and commercial; it is yet undrained by the war in
which we are engaged, nor has the enemy succeeded in depriving us of
any means of livelihood. It is hard, very hard, to think that such a
country, so powerful, so rich, and so beloved, should be compelled to
adopt a policy of even questionable propriety.

If I mention these things, if I make these inquiries, it is because of
the unfeigned solicitude which I feel with regard to this measure, and
not with the view of arguing against the exercise of a constitutional
power, when, in the opinion of the Government to which I give my
confidence, the necessity for its exercise has arrived. Surely we must
all be against paper money, we must all insist upon maintaining the
integrity of the Government, and we must all set our faces against any
proposition like the present, except as a temporary expedient, rendered
imperative by the exigency of the hour. If it has my vote, it will be
only because I am unwilling to refuse the Government especially charged
with this responsibility that confidence which is hardly less important
to the public interests than the money itself. Others may doubt if the
exigency is sufficiently imperative; but the Secretary of the Treasury,
whose duty it is to understand the occasion, does not doubt. In his
opinion the war requires this sacrifice. Uncontrollable passions are
let loose to overturn the tranquil conditions of peace. Meanwhile your
soldiers in the field must be paid and fed. There can be no failure or
postponement. A remedy is proposed which at another moment you would
reject. Whatever the national resources, they are not now within reach,
except by summary process. Reluctantly, painfully, I consent that the
process shall issue.

And yet I cannot give such a vote without warning the Government
against the dangers from such an experiment. The medicine of the
Constitution must not become its daily bread. Nor can I disguise
the conviction that better than any device of legal tender will be
vigorous, earnest efforts for the suppression of the Rebellion, and
the establishment of the Constitution in its true principles over the
territory which the Rebellion has usurped.



    January 6, 1862, the credentials of Hon. Benjamin Stark as
    Senator of Oregon were presented, when Mr. Fessenden, of Maine,
    moved that the oath be not administered at present, and that
    the credentials, together with certain papers which he offered,
    be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. These papers,
    according to him, stated that Mr. Stark was understood by
    everybody in his vicinity to be an open and avowed supporter of
    Secession,--that he had openly defended the course of the South
    in seceding, and given utterance to sentiments totally at war
    with the institutions and the preservation of our country, such
    as approving the attack on Fort Sumter, making declarations
    to the effect, that, in the event of civil war, which, in
    fact, had already commenced, he would sell his property in
    Oregon and go South and join the Rebels,--that the Rebels
    were right,--that the Davis Government was, in fact, the only
    Government left,--that there was, in fact, no Government of the
    Union at all. Mr. Fessenden added, that numerous declarations
    of this kind were sworn to by persons certified and proved to
    his satisfaction to be perfectly reliable. In the course of
    the debate, Mr. Fessenden further remarked: “Now, Sir, I do
    not hesitate to say, that, if a part only of what is stated
    in these papers is true, I presume the Senator from Indiana
    [Mr. BRIGHT] himself would vote upon the instant to expel this
    gentleman from the body, if he had taken the oath.”[195]

    The motion of Mr. Fessenden was opposed by Mr. Bayard, of
    Delaware, and Mr. Bright, of Indiana, the latter objecting
    especially that the motion was without precedent. Here Mr.
    Sumner spoke briefly, presenting the point on which he
    subsequently enlarged.

I desire, Mr. President, to make one single remark. It is said that
the proposition before the Senate is without precedent. New occasions
teach new duties; precedents are made when the occasion requires.
Never before has any person appeared to take a seat in this body whose
previous conduct and declarations, as disclosed to the Senate, gave
reasonable ground to distrust his loyalty. That case, Sir, is without
precedent. It behooves the Senate to make a precedent in such an
unprecedented case. At this very moment we are engaged in considering
if certain Senators shall not be expelled for disloyalty; and it seems
to me we shall do our duty poorly, if we receive a new comer with
regard to whose loyalty there is reasonable suspicion.

    January 10, the credentials of Mr. Stark and the accompanying
    motion were taken up for consideration again, when Mr. Bayard
    made an elaborate speech against the motion. Mr. Sumner
    replied in remarks which will be found in the _Congressional
    Globe_,[196] adducing the case of Philip Barton Key, a sitting
    member from Maryland, against whom it was alleged, that he
    “either now was or had been a British pensioner,” and that
    “an inquiry ought to be had in this matter, as, were it
    true, it would certainly be a disqualification.”[197] After
    further debate, the motion of Mr. Fessenden prevailed, and the
    credentials, with the papers, were referred to the Committee.

    February 7th, Mr. Harris, of New York, reported from the
    Committee, that, “without expressing any opinion as to
    the effect of the papers before them upon any subsequent
    proceeding in the case,” Mr. Stark was “entitled to take the
    constitutional oath of office.” Mr. Trumbull, Chairman of the
    Committee, dissented from the report, thinking it “the duty of
    the Committee to pass upon the testimony before it in regard to
    the loyalty of the Senator from Oregon.”[198]

    February 18th, the Senate resumed the consideration of this
    case, when Mr. Harris spoke in favor of the report, and Mr.
    Hale, of New Hampshire, against it. The latter moved that the
    report be recommitted, with instructions to inquire whether
    the evidence so far impeached Mr. Stark’s loyalty as to
    disqualify him from holding a seat in the Senate. This motion
    presented the very point raised by Mr. Sumner at the beginning,
    and he spoke upon it as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--Over each House of Congress, while in session, floats
the flag of the Union. So long as that flag ripples above our end of
the Capitol, the passing stranger knows that the Senate is engaged in
loyal service to the Republic. In no other country is the national
flag thus employed; and I remember to have heard a distinguished
artist[199]--who, unhappily, no longer lives except in his works, some
of which are near us--remark that this custom was to him the most
original and picturesque feature of Washington. The national flag,
symbolizing the labors of Congress, seemed to have a double beauty,
reminding him not only of country, but also of the patriotic service in
which those the people trusted were then engaged.

The Senate is now in session, performing its allotted duties, and
the national flag is over it. I need not enlarge on these duties,
legislative, diplomatic, and executive. They are present to your minds.
Suffice it to say, that not a law can be passed, not a treaty can be
ratified, not a nomination to office can be confirmed, without the
action of the Senate. And now you are to determine the plain question,
if this body, with these exalted, various, and most confidential
trusts, and actually sitting beneath the flag of the Union, is so
utterly powerless and abject, that, before admitting a person to
participation in these trusts, it can make no inquiry with regard to
his loyalty, and cannot even consider evidence tending to show that
he is false to the flag now waving over us. Sir, if this be so, if the
Senate is really in this condition of imbecility, if its doors must
necessarily swing open to any traitor, even, presenting himself with a
certificate in his pocket, let the flag drop, and no longer symbolize
the loyal service in which we are engaged. The Report of the Committee,
expressed in simple English, without circumlocution or equivocation,
is, “Free admission to traitors here, and no questions asked.” In
other words, the claimant of a seat in the Senate can enter and take
it without question with regard to loyalty. He can freely participate
in these most important trusts, with the flag of the Union waving over
him, and nobody shall ask in advance whether he is true to that flag.

But it is argued by the Senator of New York [Mr. HARRIS], that the
Constitution having provided for the expulsion of a Senator by a vote
of two thirds, there can be no inquiry on the threshold, except with
regard to the qualifications of age, citizenship, and inhabitancy of
the State whose certificate he bears. If this be true, then open,
flaunting treason is not a disqualification, and the traitor, if
allowed to go at large, may present his certificate and proceed to
occupy a seat among us. A proposition is sometimes answered simply by
stating it; and it seems to me that this is done in the present case.
The Constitution was the work of wise and practical men, and they were
not guilty of the absurdity which such an interpretation attributes
to them. They did not announce that a disloyal man, or, it may be, a
traitor, may enter this Chamber without opposition, and then intrench
himself securely behind the provision requiring a vote of two thirds
for his expulsion; they did not declare that the mere certificate of a
Senator is an all-sufficient passport to shield a hateful crime itself
from every inquiry; nor did they insist that disloyalty in this high
place is to be treated so tenderly as not even to be touched, until,
perhaps, it is too late. This whole argument, that the claimant must
be admitted to the Senate and then judged afterwards, is more generous
to the claimant than just to the Senate; it is more considerate of
personal pretensions than of public interests. To admit a claimant
charged with disloyalty, in the hope of expelling him afterwards, is a
voluntary abandonment of the right of self-defence, which belongs to
the Senate as much as to any individual. The irrational character of
such abandonment is aptly pictured in a Parliamentary speech reproduced
in curious verses, more expressive than poetical, and once quoted by
Mr. Webster:--

    “I hear a lion in the lobby roar:
    Say, Mr. Speaker, shall we shut the door,
    And keep him there? or shall we let him in,
    To try if we can turn him out again?”[200]

But the Senate is asked to do this very thing. Instead of shutting the
door and keeping disloyalty out, we are asked to let it in and see if
we can get it out again.

If we look closely at the Constitution, we cannot hesitate. It is
assumed by the Committee that there are but three qualifications for a
Senator, and these words are quoted:--

     “No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained
    to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of
    the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an
    inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”

According to these words, the three qualifications are (1) age, (2)
citizenship, and (3) inhabitancy of the State he assumes to represent.
These qualifications are not questioned, because they are grouped in a
special clause of the Constitution; and every applicant, on presenting
himself here, is subjected at once to these tests. But it is a mistake
to suppose that these are the only qualifications imposed. There is
another, mentioned in a later part of the Constitution, more important
than either of the others; so that, though last in place, it is first
in consequence. It is _loyalty_, which I affirm is made a qualification
under the Constitution; and we have already seen, that, even if the
organic law were silent, it is so essential to the fitness of a Senator
for his trusts, that the Senate, in the exercise of its discretion,
ought to require it. But the language of the Constitution leaves no
room for doubt.

The words establishing loyalty as a qualification are as follows:--

    “_The Senators and Representatives before mentioned …
    shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this

These words are explicit in requiring the oath to support the
Constitution. And the first statute of the First Congress, approved
June 1, 1789, and standing at the head of our statute-book, provides
for the administration of the oath as follows:--

    “The oath or affirmation required by the sixth article of
    the Constitution of the United States shall be administered
    in the form following, to wit: ‘I, A. B., do solemnly swear,
    or affirm, (as the case may be,) that I will support the
    Constitution of the United States.’ …

    “The President of the Senate for the time being shall also
    administer the said oath or affirmation to each Senator who
    shall hereafter be elected, _previous to his taking his

Thus by the Constitution, explained by the earliest statutes, must the
oath to support the Constitution be administered to a Senator _previous
to his taking his seat_. But the oath is simply evidence and pledge of
loyalty; and this evidence and pledge constitute a condition precedent
to admission. As loyalty is more important than age or citizenship or
inhabitancy, it has been put under the solemn safeguard of an oath. So
far from agreeing with the Committee, or with the Senator from New York
[Mr. HARRIS], that it is not named among “qualifications,” it seems
to me that it stands first among them. Of course, it is vain to say
that it is not expressly called a “qualification.” Let us ascend from
words to things. It is made a qualification in fact, call it by what
name you will. Men are familiarly said to “qualify” for an office, when
they take the necessary oath of office; so that the language of common
life becomes an interpreter of the Constitution. Sir, loyalty is among
constitutional “qualifications” of a Senator.

Resting on this conclusion, and assuming that disloyalty is a
constitutional disqualification, the single question remains as to
the time when evidence with regard to it may be considered. Now,
as the Senate, under the Constitution, is exclusive judge of the
qualifications of its members, the time when it shall consider a case
is obviously within its own discretion, according to the exigency. It
may take up the case early or late, before or after the administration
of the oath. Under ordinary circumstances, where the case turned upon a
question of age or citizenship or inhabitancy, it would be reasonable,
and according to usage, that the claimant should be admitted under
his certificate, which is _prima facie_ evidence of the requisite
qualifications. In such a case the public interests would not suffer,
for the disqualification is rather of _form_ than of _substance_. But
where the disqualification is founded on disloyalty, it is obvious that
the public interests might be seriously compromised, if the claimant
were allowed any such privilege,--for the disqualification is of
_substance_, and not of _form_. Disloyalty must not find a seat in the
Senate, even for a day; nor can any claimant charged with disloyalty
complain that the Senate refuses welcome to its trusts.

The oath required to support the Constitution is on its face _an oath
of loyalty_, and nothing else. The claimant may declare willingness
to take it; but such declaration is not an answer to evidence showing
disloyalty, unless you are ready to admit present professions to be a
sufficient cloak for disloyalty, or, it may be, treason, in the past.
On a question of such importance, with positive evidence against his
loyalty, the claimant cannot expect permission to purge himself on
his oath. The issue is distinctly presented, if he has not already
committed himself, so that his oath to support the Constitution is
entitled to no consideration. Sir Edward Coke pronounces generally,
that “an infidel cannot be sworn,”--a doctrine which has been since
mitigated in our courts. But whatever the rule on this subject in
our courts, it is reasonable that an _infidel_ to our Government, an
infidel to our Constitution, should not be permitted by the Senate to
go through the mockery of swearing to support the Constitution; nor
should a person charged with such _infidelity_ be permitted to take
the oath, unless able to remove the grounds of the charge. The oath
is administered by the President of the Senate at your desk, Sir, in
the presence of the Senators; and the solemnity of the occasion is
an additional argument against administering it to any person whose
loyalty is not above suspicion. There is a German treatise entitled,
“_On the Lubricity and Slippery Uncertainty of the Suppletory
Oath_,”--being the oath of a litigant party in his own case. But an
oath to support the Constitution by a claimant charged with disloyalty
would be open to suspicion, at least, of lubricity and slippery
uncertainty not creditable to the Senate.

We are told in the Epistle to the Hebrews that an oath is “the end
of the whole dispute”;[203] but this of course assumes that the oath
is above question. If not above question, it is wrong to allow the
oath,--at least in the Senate of the United States, which is the
exclusive judge of its own proceedings.

I say nothing of the facts in the present case; nor do I venture to
suggest any judgment on the final weight to which they may be entitled.
I confine myself to the simple question as to the duty of inquiry at
the present stage of proceedings.

    Mr. Trumbull of Illinois, Mr. Dixon of Connecticut, Mr. Davis
    of Kentucky, Mr. Clark of New Hampshire, and Mr. Morrill of
    Maine followed against the Report, which was sustained by Mr.
    Carlile of West Virginia, Mr. McDougall of California, Mr. Ten
    Eyck of New Jersey, and Mr. Foster of Connecticut. Mr. Sumner
    moved that the resolution of the Committee be amended so as to

        “_Resolved_, That Benjamin Stark, of Oregon, appointed
        a Senator of that State by the Governor thereof, and
        now charged by affidavits with disloyalty to the
        Government of the United States, is not entitled to take
        the constitutional oath of office without a previous
        investigation into the truth of the charge.”

    Here Mr. Sumner remarked:--

It is my earnest hope that the claimant will be able to purge himself,
and show that he is a loyal citizen. Meanwhile I do not wish to
prejudge him; I have not prejudged him; I have come to no conclusion
on the facts; but I have come to a perfect, fixed, and irreversible
conclusion on the duty of the Senate at this time to enter into this
inquiry, and to ascertain from the evidence whether he is loyal or not.

    Mr. Fessenden followed, withdrawing his opposition, and
    concluded by avowing his purpose: “When the question appears
    before me in a shape that I can vote directly upon it, to vote
    that the gentleman who presents his credentials be permitted to
    take the oath and become a member of the Senate.”

    February 24th, the debate was resumed, when Mr. Howe, of
    Wisconsin, spoke in favor of the admission, and Mr. Doolittle
    against it.

    February 26th, Mr. Hale withdrew his proposition, so that the
    amendment of Mr. Sumner was in order. He then spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am unwilling to speak again in this debate. Nothing
but a sense of duty makes me break silence. But I am determined that
this Chamber of high trust, so carefully guarded by the Constitution,
shall not be opened to disloyalty, if any argument, any persuasion, or
any effort of mine can prevent it.

Of course, in this debate something is assumed. It is simply this: that
the evidence touching the loyalty of the claimant is not valueless;
that it merits attention; that it affords _probable cause_, if I may
adopt the phrase of the Roman Law, for distrust; that it is enough
to put a party on the defensive. If this be the case, if all these
affidavits, verified by the certificate so numerously signed, are not
put aside as baseless, then the Senate must inquire into the charge.
The result of the inquiry may be one way or another; but the inquiry
must be made. Not to make it is abandonment of present duty; and not to
assert the power is abandonment of an essential right of self-defence.

I have listened to the various arguments pressing the Senate to disarm
itself, as they have been presented by able Senators, especially by
the Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN] and the Senator from Wisconsin
[Mr. HOWE]; and I have felt, as I listened, new confidence in the
constitutional power of the Senate to protect itself at all times
against disloyalty, and in the duty to exercise this constitutional
power at any time, early or late, in its completest discretion.

But it is said,--and I believe the Senator from Maine first presented
this argument, which has been urged so strongly by the Senator from
Wisconsin,--that, if we reject the present claimant, Oregon will be
without a representative. And if we expel him, will not Oregon be
without a representative? Surely this is no reason for hesitation in
either case. I, too, desire a representative for Oregon; but I know
full well that a disloyal representative is no representative,--or
rather, Sir, is worse than no representative. In sustaining such a
representative, you sacrifice substance to form,--you abandon the
living principle, content with the dead letter,--you “keep the word of
promise to the ear, and break it to the hope,”--you offer to the people
of Oregon a stone, when they demand bread. In the name of the people of
Oregon, whose wishes are manifest in the papers before us, I protest
against the pretension that they can be represented by a disloyal
person. Misrepresentation is not and never can be representation.

But it is said,--and I believe the Senator from Maine made the
argument,--that the evidence against the claimant, if sustained, might
justify expulsion, but will not justify refusal of admission to take
the oath.

    MR. FESSENDEN. The Senator will state my position as I put it,
    and that was, if the same language and declarations were proved
    as coming from Mr. Stark while a Senator, I thought they might
    justify his expulsion.

MR. SUMNER. The Senator says, that, if the same language had been used
while he was a Senator, it might justify expulsion. That is enough,
Sir; and yet the Senator argues that it will not justify the Senate in
refusing to open its doors, when he presents himself for admission. In
plain terms, the Senate may pronounce the stigma of expulsion, but not
the judgment of exclusion. A similar absurdity would be to say, that in
private life an offence would justify kicking an intruder down stairs,
but would not justify refusing him admission to our house. It is enough
to state this case. Nothing can be clearer in the light of reason--and
I say also of the Constitution--than that it is the duty of the Senate
to meet disloyalty on the threshold,--to say to it, wherever it first
shows itself, that this Chamber is no place for it. The English orator
pictured his desolation, when he said that he was alone, and had none
to meet his enemies in the gate.[204] Desolate will be the Senate, when
it cannot meet disloyalty in the gate.

But the Senator from Maine complains, and the Senator from Vermont [Mr.
COLLAMER] joins in the complaint, that the claimant is not allowed to
_purge_ himself by his oath,--thus using a technical phrase of the
law, applicable chiefly to suspected persons. Not allowed to _purge_
himself! Rather say, Sir, not allowed to _perjure_ himself. For, in
view of the testimony on your table, the inference is, unhappily, too
strong, that in any oath to support the Constitution he must perjure
himself. I say this with pain, and anxious not to prejudge the case,
but simply because the facts, as they stand without contradiction,
leave no opportunity for any other conclusion.

Since complaint is made by learned lawyers that the claimant is not
allowed to purge himself, I desire to adduce a legal analogy on this
question. It is well known that by the Common Law a person is not
permitted to take an oath who does not believe in God. This is the
general principle; but when we look at the application, we see how
completely it illustrates the present case. If a person is known to
have openly and recently declared disbelief, he will not be permitted
to purge himself by his oath, for the reason that his own declarations
are decisive.

    Here Mr. Sumner read from Greenleaf’s _Law of Evidence_, § 370,
    and the note to that section, and then proceeded.

Here again is additional illustration from the annotations to the great
work of Phillipps on the Law of Evidence.

    “After the incompetency of the witness from defect of
    religious belief is satisfactorily established by proof of
    his declarations out of court, he will not be permitted to
    deny or explain such declarations or his opinions, or to
    state his recantation of them, when called to be sworn. But
    he may be restored to his competency on giving satisfactory
    proof of a change of opinion before the trial, so as to repel
    any presumption arising from his previous declarations of

I would not press this illustration too far. But it seems to me clear,
that, if you accept the declarations of a person as decisive against
his religious belief, they must be accepted as equally decisive with
regard to his political belief. An oath to support the Constitution
presupposes political belief, as much as the oath itself presupposes
religious belief.

Pardon me, Sir, but I cannot refrain from astonishment that Senators,
learned lawyers, should be willing to treat the oath to support the
Constitution as an oath of _purgation_, an oath of _defecation_, an
oath of _purification_,--by which a suspected person may cleanse
himself, by which an evil spirit may be cast out. Sir, it is no such
thing. Such is not the oath of the Constitution. By that oath the
accepted Senator dedicates himself solemnly to the Constitution.
It is not an oath of purgation, as Senators insist, but an oath of
consecration. To such an oath may be fitly applied the words of the
ancients, when they spoke of the oath as “the greatest pledge of faith
among men.”

I would not be carried into technicalities; but, since Senators
insist that this oath is merely of purgation, I venture to add, that,
according to early writers, there were two forms of oaths,--one
technically styled “the oath of expurgation,” sometimes the _ex
officio_ oath, by which persons were bound to answer all questions,
even to the extent of accusing themselves or intimate friends. This
oath was much used and abused in the days of Queen Elizabeth. At an
earlier day it was administered to an Archbishop of York charged with
murder, and no less than one hundred compurgators were sworn with him.
The other is what is called “the promissory oath,” which is the oath of
the sovereign, the magistrate, the judge, the senator. Obviously this
is widely different from the oath by which a person clears himself from
suspicion, or cleanses his name.

There is another oath, with a peculiar title: I mean the _custom-house
oath_. You all know something of this oath, which is taken hastily,
without solemnity or question, and is now an acknowledged nuisance and
mockery, against which people petition Congress. By such oaths, “sworn
is the tongue, but unsworn is the mind.” With such oaths for seed,
perjury is the natural harvest. If Senators who have spoken in this
debate can have their own way, you will degrade the solemn oath of the
Constitution to the same class, and make it the seed of similar harvest.

For myself, I am determined, so far as my vote or voice can go, that
the oath shall mean something, and that it shall be kept solemn and
above suspicion. It shall not be degraded to be an oath of purgation or
a custom-house oath, but shall be in all simplicity what is regarded by
the Constitution an oath of office, in itself the pure and truthful
expression of assured loyalty,--not of loyalty still in question, still
doubtful, so that people openly testify against it. And where there is
evidence seriously impeaching the loyalty of a claimant, he shall not
take that oath, with my consent, until the impeachment is removed. Sir,
I am not insensible to the attractions of comedy, when well performed
on the stage; but there is a place for everything, and I am unwilling
to sit in my seat here and witness the comedy proposed. The Senate
is to resolve itself into a theatre, under the management of grave
Senators,--the Senator from New York, the Senator from Maine, and other
Senators,--and we are to see the play proceed. The claimant from Oregon
crosses the floor, and, under honorable escort, approaches the desk,
takes the oath, and kisses the book. The title of the play is borrowed
from a forgotten old English drama: “Treason made Easy; or, An Oath no
Great Thing.”

It ill becomes the Senate at this moment to do or to forbear anything
by which the standard of loyalty can be lowered. If it justly expects
loyalty from others, if it requires loyalty in its soldiers and
officers, surely it ought to set an example in its own members. Toward
itself, at least, it cannot be too austere in requirement. Wherever
about us disloyalty shows itself, whether in the Senate or in its
lobby, whether already intrenched in this Chamber or struggling to
enter in, whether planted at these desks or still standing in the gate,
we have one and the same duty to perform. We must inquire into its
character, and if it be found unworthy of trust, we must chastise it or
exclude it. This is the least we can do.

    Mr. Sumner was followed the same day by Mr. McDougall, Mr.
    Davis, Mr. Cowan, Mr. Carlile, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Harris, all in
    favor of admission, and by Mr. Wilmot, Mr. Trumbull, Mr. Dixon,
    against it.

    February 27th, Mr. Browning spoke in favor of admission, Mr.
    Howard against it.

    The vote was then taken on the amendment of Mr. Sumner, and it
    was lost,--yeas 18, nays 26.

    The question recurred on the resolution of the Committee, which
    was adopted, yeas 26, nays 19; and Mr. Stark was admitted to
    take the oath.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The same question came up again in another form.

    April 22d, the Committee to whom were referred the papers
    touching the disloyalty of Mr. Stark reported that “the Senator
    from Oregon is disloyal to the Government of the United States.”

    May 7th, Mr. Sumner introduced the following resolution:--

        “_Resolved_, That Benjamin Stark, a Senator from Oregon,
        who has been found by a committee of this body to be
        disloyal to the Government of the United States, be, and
        the same is hereby, expelled from the Senate.”

    June 5th, Mr. Sumner moved that the Senate proceed with the
    consideration of this resolution, and explained it briefly.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senate will observe that the resolution declares
that the Senator from Oregon has been found by a Committee of the
Senate to be disloyal. Now, Sir, I have no desire to discuss the facts
of this case. But, in order to exhibit the urgency of this question, it
is my duty to exhibit the conclusions of the Committee, set forth in
their Report, as follows.

    “1st. That for many months prior to the 21st November, 1861,
    and up to that time, the said Stark was an ardent advocate of
    the cause of the rebellious States.

    “2d. That, after the formation of the Constitution of the
    Confederate States, he openly declared his admiration for it,
    and advocated the absorption of the loyal States of the Union
    into the Southern Confederacy, under that Constitution, as the
    only means of peace, warmly avowing his sympathies with the

    “3d. That the Senator from Oregon is disloyal to the Government
    of the United States.”

Of these propositions the first two had the sanction of the Senator
from Virginia [Mr. WILLEY], while all three had the sanction of the
rest of the Committee, being the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr.
CLARK], the Senator from Indiana [Mr. WRIGHT], the Senator from
Michigan [Mr. HOWARD], and the Senator from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN]. Thus,
in a Special Committee of five, raised expressly to consider this
case, raised, too, after protracted discussion in the Senate, four of
the Committee united in all the conclusions of the Report, and the
dissenting member united in the first two conclusions. And this Report
is, if possible, entitled to additional consideration, when it is known
that the Senator from Oregon himself appeared before the Committee. On
these accounts I accept the Report, and do not wish to go into it or
behind it. It is with me the solemn verdict of a jury duly impanelled
for the trial of a cause.

But if the Committee is the jury, the Senate is the court; and it
remains that judgment should be entered.

I hear a voice saying that we must not take time for this question.
Pray, Sir, what time is needed? The time has been already taken. The
hearing has been had, the verdict is rendered.

Pray, why not take time? We are engaged in war to put down disloyalty.
For this we set armies in the field, and contend in battle with our
own fellow-citizens. For this we incur untold debts. For this we
are preparing to incur untold taxation. Sir, all this is simply to
put down disloyalty. And yet, when a committee of this body, after
careful inquiry, solemnly declares a Senator disloyal to the National
Government, we are told that there is no time to consider the question.
Sir, I am against disloyalty, wherever it shows itself, whether in
belligerent States, sheltered and strengthened by numbers, or sitting
here, with all the privileges of this Chamber. Others will do as they
please; but I cannot remain silent, while disloyalty, already exposed
by our own Committee, is allowed a seat in our councils, open and
secret. In not acting, you will discredit the Report of the Committee,
or show that the Senate is indifferent to the character of its members.
I will have no part in any such thing.

    The Senate refused to consider the resolution.

    June 6th, Mr. Sumner again moved to proceed with the
    resolution, urging, that, with the Report of the Committee on
    the table affirming his disloyalty, it was the duty of the
    Senate to act promptly.

    The question, being taken by yeas and nays, resulted, yeas 16,
    nays 21. So the motion was not agreed to.



    A convention was made at London, October 31, 1861, between
    Great Britain, France, and Spain, professedly to obtain redress
    and security from Mexico for citizens of the three contracting
    powers. Provision was made for the accession of the United
    States as a fourth party; but the note inviting us to join
    was dated a month after the Convention. The invitation was
    declined. But, anxious to help Mexico, Mr. Seward proposed
    pecuniary aid, in the hope of enabling our neighbor republic to
    satisfy the demands of the invading allies, so far at least as
    to make them withdraw. The draught of such a Convention with
    Mexico was transmitted to the Senate, who were asked to give
    their advice with regard to it.

    A few passages of a letter from Mr. Corwin to Mr. Sumner, dated
    at Mexico, April 14, 1862, will show the condition of things

        “The general and leading objects of my mission to Mexico
        were, first, to prevent the Southern Confederacy from
        obtaining any recognition here, and thus cut off the hope
        of augmenting the power of the South by acquisition,
        accompanied with Slavery, in Mexico, or any of the Southern
        Spanish-American republics; secondly, to use every proper
        means to prevent European power from gaining a permanent
        hold upon this part of the American Continent.

        “In the first object I have fully succeeded. The Southern
        Commissioner, after employing persuasion and threats,
        finally took his leave of the city, sending back from Vera
        Cruz, as I am informed, a very offensive letter to the
        Government here. In obtaining the second end I have had
        more difficulty.…

        “If the French attempt to conquer this country, it is
        certain to bring on a war of two or three years’ duration.
        The gorges of the mountains, so frequent here, afford
        to small detachments stronger holds than any position
        fortified by art; and the Mexicans have a strong hatred of
        foreign rule, which animates the whole body of the people.
        I trust our Government will remonstrate firmly against all
        idea of European conquest on this continent, and in such
        time as to have its due influence on the present position
        of France in Mexico.…

        “But I am satisfied this danger may be avoided by the
        pecuniary aid proposed by the present treaty with us, and
        the united diplomacy of England, Spain, and the United
        States. If these means are not promptly and energetically
        applied, a European power may fasten itself upon Mexico,
        which it will become a necessity with us, at no distant
        day, to dislodge. To do this, in the supposed event, would
        cost us millions twenty times told more than we now propose
        to lend upon undoubted security.”

    Spain and England soon withdrew from coöperation, leaving the
    French Emperor alone to pursue the unhappy enterprise, which
    ended in the sacrifice of Maximilian, whom he had placed on the
    Mexican throne.

    The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred
        a Message from the President, of December 17, 1861,
        transmitting a Draught for a Convention with the Republic
        of Mexico, with accompanying papers, and a Message from the
        President, of January 24, 1862, transmitting a Despatch
        from Mr. Corwin, Minister at Mexico, have had the same
        under consideration, and report.

On the 2d of September, 1861, Mr. Seward, in a despatch to Mr. Corwin,
at Mexico, announced that the President greatly desired the political
status of Mexico as an independent nation to be permanently maintained;
that the events communicated by Mr. Corwin alarmed him, and he
conceived that the people of the United States would scarcely justify
him, were he to make no effort for preventing so great a calamity on
this continent as would be the extinction of that neighbor republic;
that he had therefore empowered Mr. Corwin to negotiate a treaty with
Mexico for the assumption by the United States of the interest, at
three per cent, upon the funded debt of that country, the principal
of which was understood to be about sixty-two millions of dollars, for
the term of five years from the date of the decree recently issued by
Mexico suspending such payment, provided that Mexico could pledge to
the United States its faith for the reimbursement of the money, with
six per cent interest, to be secured by special lien upon all the
public lands and mineral rights in the several Mexican States of Lower
California, Chihuahua, Sonora, and Cinaloa, the property so pledged
to become absolute in the United States at the expiration of the term
of six years from the time when the treaty went into effect, if such
reimbursement were not made before that time. The President felt that
this course was rendered necessary by circumstances as new as they are
eventful, and seeming to admit of no delay.

Mr. Seward proceeds to say, that his instructions are conditional upon
the consent of the British and French Governments to forbear action
against Mexico, on account of failure or refusal to pay the interest in
question, until after the treaty had been submitted to the Senate, and,
if ratified, then so long thereafter as the interest is paid by the
United States.

Mr. Seward adds, that his instructions are not to be considered as
specific, but general, subject to modification as to sums, terms,
securities, and other points.

Mr. Corwin, in an earlier despatch, dated at Mexico, 29th July, 1861,
and addressed to Mr. Seward, had already suggested the policy he was
now authorized to pursue, and proposed a lien on the public lands and
mineral rights in the provinces mentioned by Mr. Seward. From such
arrangement, in his opinion, two consequences would follow: first, all
hope of extending the domain of a separate Southern republic in this
quarter or in Central America would be extinguished; and, secondly,
any further attempt to establish European power on this continent would
cease to occupy either England or Continental Europe.

Afterwards, in a despatch, dated at Mexico, November 29, 1861, Mr.
Corwin enclosed to Mr. Seward the project of a treaty between the
United States and Mexico, by which the United States were to lend
Mexico five millions of dollars, payable in monthly instalments of
one half million a month,--also the further sum of four millions of
dollars, payable in sums of one half million every six months; the
whole to be secured by mortgage on the public lands, mineral rights,
and Church property of Mexico, for the realization of which a board
of five commissioners was to be organized, three to be appointed by
Mexico and two by the United States, holding sessions in the city of
Mexico until the debt and interest were fully discharged. No reference
was made in the proposed treaty to the consent of the British and
French Governments, mentioned by Mr. Seward as a condition, nor to the
application of the money, when received by Mexico; nor does anything on
this subject appear in the accompanying despatch.

The President, by his Message of December 17, 1861, submitted the
draught of this treaty to the Senate for their advice. Afterwards, by
another Message, of January 24, 1862, he called their attention to it
again, in the following language.

     “I have heretofore submitted to the Senate a request for its
    advice upon the question pending by treaty for making a loan to
    Mexico, which Mr. Corwin thinks will in any case be expedient.
    It seems to me to be my duty now to solicit an early action of
    the Senate upon the subject, to the end that I may cause such
    instructions to be given to Mr. Corwin as will enable him to
    act in the manner which, while it will most carefully guard
    the interests of our country, will at the same time be most
    beneficial to Mexico.”

Meanwhile, Great Britain, France, and Spain, by a Convention, dated at
London, October 31, 1861, have entered into an alliance, the declared
object of which is “to demand from the authorities of the Republic of
Mexico more efficacious protection for the persons and properties of
their subjects, as well as a fulfilment of the obligations contracted
by the Republic of Mexico.” The high contracting parties engaged
not to seek for themselves, in the employment of coercive measures,
any acquisition of territory, nor any special advantage, and not to
exercise in the internal affairs of Mexico any influence of a nature to
prejudice the right of the Mexican nation to choose and to constitute
freely the form of its government. Desiring that the measures they
intend to adopt should not bear an exclusive character, and being
aware that the Government of the United States, on its part, has, like
them, claims upon the Mexican Republic, they further agree that our
Government shall be invited to join in the Convention.

Mr. Seward, in a despatch, dated at Washington, December 4, 1861,
declined to join in the Convention, saying, “that the United States
prefer, as much as lies in their power, to maintain the traditional
policy recommended by the Father of their country, confirmed by
successful experience, and which forbids them to make an alliance with
foreign powers.”

In pursuance of this Convention, the naval and military forces of the
three great powers have assembled at San Juan de Ulua, and the flags of
the three powers now float over the castle. The Government of Mexico
has rallied the people to resistance, and there is at this moment the
prospect of a prolonged and exhausting contest. The occasion seems to
have arrived, when the aid proposed by Mr. Seward, in his despatch of
September 2, 1861, may be of decisive value to Mexico. To the United
States it may also be of great importance, if it could be the means of
removing from Mexico the pressure of hostile armaments, and placing a
neighbor republic in a more tranquil and independent condition. If the
Allied Powers desire security for their claims, and nothing else, then
a reasonable provision of this nature ought to be satisfactory, so far
as any question arises from the claim.

The debt of Mexico to the Allied Powers may be stated, in round
numbers, as follows.

    To England, immediate                     $ 1,000,000
            convention, 4 per cent interest     5,000,000
            bondholders, 3 per cent interest   65,000,000
            general claims                      4,000,000

    To France, immediate                          500,000
            convention, balance, immediate        200,000
            Pennand agreement                     800,000
            claims, general                     3,500,000
                                               ----------  5,000,000

    To Spain, immediate                           500,000
            convention, 3 per cent interest     8,000,000
            claims                              1,500,000
                                               ---------- 10,000,000
                   Total                                 $90,000,000

Of course, payment or guaranty of this large mass on our part is out
of the question; nor was it contemplated by the United States in the
original instructions to Mr. Corwin. It was proposed to make such
payment as would afford present relief to Mexico, and secure the
forbearance of the Allied Powers. To this end, Mr. Seward offered to
assume the interest of the Mexican debt for the term of five years. But
the unfunded claims in the foregoing list, entitled “immediate,” it
is understood, are pressed with equal energy by the Allied Powers. If
these were satisfied, and provision made for the interest, the United
States would have the following liabilities.

    Payments, immediate, or at 3, 6, and 12 months, as follows.

    To England, 3, 6, and 12 months’ drafts of Mexico on
        United States                                    $1,000,000
    To France, 3, 6, and 12 months’ drafts of Mexico on
        United States                                       700,000
    To Spain, 3, 6, and 12 months’ drafts of Mexico on
        United States                                       500,000
    Total cash, or 3, 6, and 12 months                   $2,200,000

    Interest, in semi-annual drafts of Mexico on the United States.

    To England, convention,  4 per cent        $200,000
                bondholders, 3 per cent       1,950,000
                                             ----------  $2,150,000
    To Spain, convention, 3 per cent                        240,000
            Total interest, per annum                    $2,390,000

Other outstanding claims of the Allied Powers are not included in
either of these lists. It is proposed that these should be provided for
by a sinking fund, at the rate of 10 per cent a year for ten years, as

    To England            $400,000
    To France               80,000
    To France              350,000
    To Spain               150,000
        Total, per annum  $980,000

The assumption of all these liabilities for a long period would throw
upon the United States a burden too great for the present moment,
although, perhaps, not out of proportion to the anticipated advantages.
If anything be done on our part, it must be more moderate. The offer of
Mr. Seward for five years, if accepted, would devolve upon the United
States a responsibility sufficiently large; and this responsibility
ought to be kept within a limitation, of which $15,000,000 should be a

But there are two conditions to be required by the United States,
before the assumption of any such responsibility. The first is the
assent of the Allied Powers, and the acceptance on their part of the
friendly offers proposed. Unless the Allied Powers are parties to the
transaction, it would be productive only of embarrassment and loss,
without accomplishing any permanent good to the United States or to

The other essential condition is, that security should be given by
Mexico for the liabilities assumed. It is not too much to expect such
security; nor is Mexico, as is well known, disinclined to give it. Her
creditors are now foreclosing their demands, at the cost, perhaps, of
her national existence, and she turns to the United States for help.
Not merely friendship, but a continental policy, affecting our own
cherished interests, prompts us to afford such help, so far as in our
power. In asking for security, we simply follow the rules of prudence,
whether between individuals or nations.

The security proposed by Mr. Corwin on the public lands, minerals, and
Church property of Mexico, would require the appointment of a board or
mixed commission for the management and disposition of this property.
This necessity adds to the complications of such security.

The security proposed by Mr. Seward, on the public lands and mineral
rights in the several provinces of Lower California, Chihuahua,
Sonora, and Cinaloa, is simple, and it is understood that in some of
this territory there is vast mineral wealth. The province of Lower
California is unquestionably the territory of Mexico most interesting
to the United States in a military and naval point of view.

Another security, perhaps less manageable, but more interesting still,
would be the right of way across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, with a
mortgage on the adjoining public lands of the Isthmus. Estimated by its
pecuniary value, this security would not be large; but there can be no
doubt of its political and commercial value.

Still another security would be a pledge by Mexico of 25 per cent, or
perhaps a larger percentage, of the customs or other revenues.

It is not easy to say positively, at this distance from the scene of
operations, and with the information before the Committee, what is the
most practicable form of security. Perhaps it is advisable to leave
the matter to the careful discretion of our minister at Mexico, under
instructions from the President, with the explicit understanding that
the United States decline any territorial acquisition, and seek the
consolidation of Mexico, without dismemberment of any kind.

Such are the main features of the question on which the President has
asked the advice of the Senate. With more precise information on the
matters involved, it might be proper for the Senate to enter upon
details in its answer. But such information, especially with regard
to actual relations, now daily changing, between Mexico and the Allied
Powers, can be obtained only on the spot. It is evident, therefore,
that the Senate can do little more than indicate an opinion on what
has already been done, and declare the proper principles on which a
negotiation with Mexico should be conducted, without presuming to
fix in advance all its terms. Much must be left to the discretion of
our minister there, and to the instructions he will receive from the

       *       *       *       *       *

The Committee recommend the passage of the following resolution.

    _Resolved_, That, in the changing condition of the relations
    between Mexico and the Allied Powers, and in the absence
    of precise information, it is impossible for the Senate to
    advise the President with regard to all the terms of a treaty
    with Mexico, so as to supersede the exercise of considerable
    discretion on the part of our Minister there, under
    instructions from the President, but that, in answer to the two
    several Messages of the President, the Senate expresses the
    following conclusions.

    _First._ The Senate approves the terms of the instructions to
    our Minister at Mexico contained in the despatch bearing date
    September 2, 1861.

    _Secondly._ The Senate does not advise a treaty in conformity
    with the project communicated by our Minister to Mexico in his
    despatch of November 29, 1861, as the same fails to secure in
    any way the application of the money to the demands of the
    Allied Powers, or either of them, and therefore can be in no
    respect satisfactory to them.

    _Thirdly._ The Senate advises a treaty with Mexico providing
    for the assumption of the interest on the debt from Mexico to
    the Allied Powers during a limited period of time, and also
    for the payment of certain immediate claims by these Powers,
    the whole liability to be kept within the smallest possible
    sum; it being understood that the same shall be accepted by the
    Allied Powers in present satisfaction of their claims, so that
    they shall withdraw from Mexico.[206] And it shall be secured
    by such mortgage or pledge as is most practicable, without any
    territorial acquisition or dismemberment of Mexico.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Resolution reported by the Committee was amended in the
    Senate by striking out all after the word “_Resolved_,” and
    inserting in lieu thereof as follows: “That, in reply to the
    two several Messages of the President with regard to a treaty
    with Mexico, the Senate express the opinion that it is not
    advisable to negotiate a treaty that will require the United
    States to assume any portion of the principal or interest of
    the debt of Mexico, or that will require the concurrence of
    European powers.”



    February 25th, the Senate having under consideration a bill,
    reported by Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, to confiscate the
    property and free the slaves of Rebels, an incidental question
    arose on the recognition of the Fugitive Slave Bill, when Mr.
    Sumner spoke as follows.

I desire to move an amendment, which I believe will carry out the idea
of the Senator from Kansas. I concur with that Senator in all he has
said in relation to the Fugitive Slave Bill. I have never called it a
law, hardly an act. I regard it simply as a bill, still a bill, having
no authority under the Constitution. There is no unsoundness in that
instrument out of which such excrescence can grow. That is my idea; I
believe it is the idea of the Senator from Kansas. Therefore I concur
with him in any criticism upon legislation seeming even in the most
indirect way to recognize the existence of a thing which can have,
thank God, under the Constitution, when properly interpreted, no legal
existence. Therefore, if the language introduced in this bill has the
effect which the Senator supposes, if it does in any way recognize the
existence of that bill, certainly I am against it; and when I listened
to the remarks of the Senator, and critically examined the language,
I must say I feared that there was some implication or other on our
part in favor of that bill. I therefore propose an amendment which
shall remove all such implication or possibility of recognition on our
part, while, at the same time, I believe it will carry out completely,
adequately, in every respect, the idea of the Senator from Illinois in
the measure now under consideration. The language here is as follows.

    “And whenever any person claiming to be entitled to the service
    or labor of any other person shall seek to enforce such claim,
    he shall, in the first instance, and before _any order for the
    surrender of the person whose service is claimed, establish not
    only his title to such service, as now provided by law, but
    also_ that he is, and has been, during the existing Rebellion,
    loyal to the Government of the United States.”

I propose to strike out all after the word “before,” in the sixteenth
line, down to the word “that,” in the nineteenth line, being these

    “any order for the surrender of the person whose service is
    claimed, establish not only his title to such service, as now
    provided by law, but also”--

and instead thereof insert--

    “proceeding with the trial of his claim, satisfactorily prove”--

so that the sentence will read,--

    “he shall, in the first instance, and before proceeding with
    the trial of his claim, satisfactorily prove that he is,
    and has been, during the existing Rebellion, loyal to the
    Government of the United States.”

This language, as I believe, carries out completely the idea of the
Senator from Illinois in the measure before us. I think it also
carries out the idea of the Senator from Kansas. It gives all proper
efficacy to the language of the statute; at the same time it does
not compromise any of us, in this age of Christian light, by a new
recognition, direct or indirect, of the Fugitive Slave Bill.

    MR. COWAN. How long will that provision last?

MR. SUMNER. As long as this statute lasts.

    MR. COWAN. Then a person claiming one hundred years from this
    time would open his cause by showing that he was loyal during
    this Rebellion!

MR. SUMNER. I hope so, certainly,--forever.

    The amendment was agreed to. The bill never became a
    law. Another bill on the same subject from the House of
    Representatives was adopted, with the following title, “To
    suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to
    seize and confiscate the property of Rebels, and for other
    purposes,” and approved by the President, July 17, 1862.[207]


25, 1862.

    Mr. Sumner’s letter is in reply to the following resolutions,
    communicated to him by the Secretary of the Committee.

        “The German Republican Central Committee of the City and
        County of New York, at their regular monthly meeting, held
        at head-quarters, February 14th, 1862, unanimously

        “_Resolved_, That the thanks of this Committee are hereby
        tendered to the Hon. Charles Sumner, United States Senator
        from Massachusetts, for the ‘Resolutions declaratory of the
        relations between the United States and the territory once
        occupied by certain States, and now usurped by pretended
        Governments without constitutional or legal right,’
        introduced by him into the United States Senate.

        “_Resolved_, That we consider these Resolutions as
        embodying sound constitutional doctrine, conclusive logical
        argumentation, and the only true basis upon which the Union
        can be permanently reconstructed.”

                                     SENATE CHAMBER, February 25, 1862.

  SIR,--I have had the honor to receive the Resolutions unanimously
  adopted by the German Republican Central Committee of New York,
  declaring their adhesion to certain principles presented by me
  to the Senate on the relation between the United States and the
  territory once occupied by certain States, and now usurped by
  pretended Governments without constitutional or legal right.

  I pray you to let the Committee know my gratitude for the prompt
  and generous support they have given to these principles. Our
  German fellow-citizens, throughout the long contest with Slavery,
  have not only been earnest and true, but have always seen the
  great question in its just character and importance. Without
  them our cause would not have triumphed at the last Presidential
  election. It is only natural, therefore, that they should
  continue to guard and advance this cause.

  Where so many hesitate and fail, it is most gratifying to find a
  Committee so distinguished as yours ready again to enter into the
  contest for Human Rights.

  Accept the assurance of the respect with which I have the honor
  to be, Sir,

      Faithfully yours,


    _Corresponding Secretary of the German
      Republican Central Committee, New York._



    This meeting was in pursuance of the following call.

        “All citizens of New York who rejoice in the downfall
        of treason, and are in favor of sustaining the National
        Government in the most energetic exercise of all the rights
        and powers of war, in the prosecution of its purpose
        to destroy the cause of such treason, and to recover
        the territories heretofore occupied by certain States
        recently overturned and wholly subverted as members of the
        Federal Union by a hostile and traitorous power calling
        itself ‘The Confederate States,’ and _all who concur in
        the conviction that said traitorous power, instead of
        achieving the destruction of the Nation, has thereby
        only destroyed Slavery_, and that it is now the sacred
        duty of the National Government, as the only means of
        securing permanent peace, national unity and well-being,
        to provide against its restoration, and _to establish in
        said territories Democratic Institutions founded upon
        the principles of the Great Declaration_, ‘That all MEN
        are created equal, endowed by their Creator with the
        unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of
        Happiness,’ are requested to meet at the Cooper Institute,
        on the sixth day of March, at eight o’clock, P. M., to
        express to the President and Congress their views as to the
        measures proper to be adopted in the existing emergency.”

    On the day of this great meeting the President communicated to
    Congress his Message on Compensated Emancipation, which was his
    first public step in the transcendent cause.

    The President of the meeting was Hon. James A. Hamilton, the
    venerable son of Alexander Hamilton, who agreed with Mr. Sumner
    in regard to the death of Slavery and the power of Congress.
    There was also a distinguished list of Vice-Presidents,
    with George Bancroft at the head. There were letters from
    Preston King, Senator of New York, Henry Wilson, Senator of
    Massachusetts, David Wilmot, Senator of Pennsylvania, George W.
    Julian, Representative in Congress from Indiana, and from Mr.
    Sumner. Among the orators were the President of the meeting,
    Mr. Martin F. Conway, Representative in Congress from Kansas,
    and Carl Schurz, who had recently returned from his Spanish

    The report in the _New York Tribune_ has the caption, “The
    Suicide of Slavery.--New York for a Free Republic.”

    Mr. Sumner’s letter was a vindication of his Resolutions.

                                         SENATE CHAMBER, March 5, 1862.

  DEAR SIR,--Never, except when suffering from positive disability,
  have I allowed myself to be absent from my seat in the Senate
  for a single day, and now, amid the extraordinary duties of the
  present session, I am more than ever bound by this inflexible
  rule. If anything could tempt me to depart from it, I should find
  apology in the invitation with which you honor me.

  The meeting called under such distinguished auspices is needed at
  this moment as a rally to those true principles by which alone
  this great Rebellion can be permanently suppressed. I should be
  truly happy to take part in it, and try to impart something of
  the strength of my own convictions.

  It is only necessary that people should see things as they are,
  and they will easily see how to deal with them. This is the
  obvious condition of practical action. Now, beyond all question,
  Slavery is the great original malefactor and omnipresent
  traitor,--more deadly to the Union than all Rebel leaders,
  civil or military. Therefore, as you are in earnest against the
  Rebellion, you will not spare Slavery. And happily the way is
  plain, so that it cannot be mistaken.

  Look throughout the whole Rebel territory, and you do not find
  a single officer legally qualified to discharge any function
  of Government. By the Constitution of the United States,
  “members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive
  and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the
  several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support
  this Constitution.” But these functionaries have all renounced
  allegiance to the United States, and taken a new oath to support
  the Rebel Government, so that at this moment they cannot be
  recognized as constitutionally empowered to act. But a State is
  known only through its functionaries, constitutionally empowered
  to act; and since all these have ceased to exist, the State,
  with its unnatural institutions, has ceased to exist also, or it
  exists only in the lifeless parchments by which its Government
  was originally established. The action of these functionaries was
  impotent to transfer its territory to a pretended confederation.
  To destroy the State was all they could do.

  In the absence of any legitimate authority in this territory,
  Congress must assume the necessary jurisdiction. Not to do so is
  abandonment of urgent duty. Some propose a temporary military
  government; others propose a temporary provisional government,
  with limited powers. These all concede to Congress jurisdiction
  over the territory; nor can such jurisdiction be justly
  questioned. But I cannot doubt that it is better to follow the
  authoritative precedents of our history, and proceed as Congress
  is accustomed to proceed in the organization and government of
  other territories. This is simple.

  And as to Slavery, if there be any doubt that it died
  constitutionally and legally with the State from which it drew
  its malignant breath, it might be prohibited by the enactment of
  that same Jeffersonian ordinance which originally established
  Freedom throughout the great Northwest.

  Accept my thanks for the honor you have done me, and believe me,
  dear Sir,

      Faithfully yours,


    Among the resolutions adopted at the meeting was one
    calling for the overthrow of Slavery,--“because the supreme
    jurisdiction of the National Constitution over all the
    territories now occupied by the Rebel States must be held
    to be exclusive of the traitorous Rebel authorities therein
    established, by virtue of which alone Slavery now therein
    exists, and that wherever the Constitution has exclusive
    jurisdiction it ordains Liberty and not Slavery.”

    These were forwarded to Mr. Sumner by one of the secretaries,
    with the following letter.

        “I hand herewith a copy of Resolutions adopted, amid the
        wildest enthusiasm, and without a breath of dissent, by an
        assembly of some three thousand of our prominent citizens,
        last evening, at the Cooper Institute Mass Meeting. No
        such audience has been convened in this city (except only
        the Union Square meeting of last April) since your address
        in July, 1860. Nor has so demonstrative a gathering been
        seen here since that time. I say this to give you an
        idea of the character and popularity of the affair. I
        hand the Resolutions to you _for personal presentation
        to the President_ (and to _Congress_, if your views are
        not opposed to such a course), preferring to secure
        their reaching the President through you as a medium of

    Mr. Sumner had pleasure in presenting them to the President.



    March 18, 1862, Mr. Sumner asked, and by unanimous
    consent obtained, leave to introduce a bill to remove all
    disqualification of color in carrying the mails, which was
    read twice by its title and referred to the Committee on
    Post-Offices and Post-Roads.

    The bill in its operative words was as follows.

That, from and after the passage of this Act, no person, by reason of
color, shall be disqualified from employment in carrying the mails;
and all Acts and parts of Acts establishing such disqualification,
including especially the seventh section of the Act of March 3, 1825,
are hereby repealed.

    March 27th, the bill was reported to the Senate by Mr.
    Collamer, of Vermont, Chairman of the Committee, without

       *       *       *       *       *

    The existing law was as follows:--

        “That no other than a free white person shall be employed
        in conveying the mail, and any contractor who shall employ
        or permit any other than a free white person to convey the
        mail shall for every such offence incur a penalty of twenty

    This passed the Senate March 1, 1825, and the House March 2,
    without a division. The first suggestion of this measure was
    as early as 1802, by Gideon Granger, Postmaster-General, in a
    communication addressed to Hon. James Jackson, Senator from
    Georgia, which, it will be seen, was private in character.

                                  “GENERAL POST-OFFICE, March 23, 1802.

        “SIR,--An objection exists against employing negroes, or
        people of color, in transporting the public mails, of a
        nature too delicate to ingraft into a report which may
        become public, yet too important to be omitted or passed
        over without full consideration. I therefore take the
        liberty of making to the Committee, through you, a private
        representation on that subject.…

        “Everything which tends to increase their knowledge of
        natural rights, of men and things, or that affords them an
        opportunity of associating, acquiring, and communicating
        sentiments, and of establishing a chain or line of
        intelligence, must increase your hazard, because it
        increases their means of effecting their object.

        “The most active and intelligent are employed as
        post-riders. These are the most ready to learn and the
        most able to execute. By travelling from day to day, and
        hourly mixing with people, they must, they will, acquire
        information. _They will learn that a man’s rights do not
        depend on his color. They will in time become teachers to
        their brethren._ They become acquainted with each other
        on the line. Whenever the body, or a portion of them,
        wish to act, they are an organized corps, circulating our
        intelligence openly, their own privately.”[209]

    This communication, which Mr. Sumner laid before the Committee,
    was the argument on which he relied.

    April 11th, the bill was considered in the Senate, on motion of
    Mr. Sumner, and passed without amendment or debate: Yeas 24,
    Nays 11.

       *       *       *       *       *

    A correspondent of the _Boston Journal_ remarked at the time:--

        “This is the first time, within the recollection of your
        correspondent, that any bill having the negro in it,
        directly or indirectly, has been passed by the Senate
        without debate. What a good time is coming, when the negro
        questions shall all have been legislated upon, and when the
        African race will no longer be a bone of contention in our
        legislative halls!”

    The bill was less fortunate in the House of Representatives,
    where, May 20th, Mr. Colfax, of Indiana, reported it from the
    Post-Office Committee with the recommendation that it do not
    pass. In explaining the reasons for this report, he referred to
    the original Act of Congress establishing the disqualification,
    and said:--

        “That law has been on the statute-book for more than a
        third of a century. Among all the petitions presented
        during that time to this House and the Senate, from people
        in all sections of the country, there has not been, so far
        as I have been able to discover, a single petition from
        any person, white or black, male or female, asking for a
        repeal or modification of this law. It has remained there
        by common consent until the present time; and therefore I
        think it unwise and inexpedient to pass the bill at the
        present time, not being demanded by public opinion.

        “In the second place, the repeal of this bill does
        not affect exclusively the blacks of the country, as
        generally supposed. It will throw open the business of
        mail-contracting, and of thus becoming officers of the
        Post-Office Department, not only to blacks, but also to
        the Indian tribes, civilized and uncivilized, and to the
        Chinese, who have come in such large numbers to the Pacific

        “By this bill, if it is to pass, you would allow all
        over the South the employment by the slaveholder of his
        slaves to carry the mail, and to receive compensation for
        the labor of such slaves out of the Federal Treasury.
        By the present law not a dollar is ever paid out of the
        Post-Office Treasury to any slaveholder for the labor of
        his slave.…

        “Mr. Speaker, I am furthermore authorized by the
        Postmaster-General to say that he has not recommended the
        passage of this bill, nor does he regard it as promotive of
        the interests of the Department. I cannot find that it is
        asked for by any official or private citizen throughout the
        length and breadth of this land.”

    To these objections he added, that it was necessary to have
    testimony by which you can convict mail depredators; and “in
    some of the States Indians and negroes, and in California and
    Oregon the Chinese also, are not allowed by the statutes of the
    State to give testimony in the courts against white persons.”

    Mr. Dawes, of Massachusetts, inquired of Mr. Colfax, “whether
    he supposes depredators upon the mails are tried in the State
    courts, or whether they are tried in the United States courts,
    and if the latter, whether he and I do not make the laws of the
    United States and the courts of the United States, prescribing
    who shall testify and who shall not?”

        “MR. COLFAX. Not being a lawyer, and not understanding,
        therefore, all the rules which govern the proceedings of
        the courts, I, however, say that I am informed by those
        who are lawyers that the rules of evidence in force in the
        States respectively are adopted by the United States courts
        in such States. And the gentleman from Massachusetts, who
        is a lawyer, ought to have known the fact, and, knowing it,
        ought not to have asked me such a question.

        “MR. DAWES. The gentleman from Indiana has not quite
        answered me.”[210]

    Mr. Colfax moved to lay the bill on the table, which was
    ordered, May 21st: Yeas 82, Nays 45. So the bill was lost.

    In the next Congress it was again introduced by Mr. Sumner.

       *       *       *       *       *

    A letter from William C. Nell, of Boston, well known for his
    volume on “The Colored Patriots of the Revolution,” shows how a
    single individual suffered under this discrimination of color.

        “Please accept my sincere thanks for your efforts to remove
        the disqualification of color in mail-carrying.

        “Mr. Phillips conveyed to me the substance of information
        imparted by you, to wit, the postponement of the bill in
        the House. To me the disappointment is heavy, presuming
        said action to be a finality, at least for this session,
        and the next one is not likely to be as liberal.

        “I never had more desire or more need of chances to earn
        money than now, and never were my opportunities so small.”

    The existing law was general, and Mr. Nell could not be a
    letter-carrier in Boston.



    And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.

                                    ST. PAUL, _2 Corinthians_, XII. 15.

    Ornatus sacramentorum redemtio captivorum est.

              ST. AMBROSE, _De Officiis Ministrorum_, Lib. II. Cap. 28.

    Thy ransom paid, which man from death redeems.

                                MILTON, _Paradise Lost_, Book XII. 424.

    Let me observe, fellow-citizens, that this enterprise of
    unparalleled magnitude and importance, the extirpation of
    Slavery from the face of the earth, of which the Abolition of
    Slavery throughout this Union is the principal branch, and
    the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia a minute
    ramification, is an effort to purify and redeem the human race
    from the sorest evil with which they are afflicted in the
    mortal stage of their existence.--JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, _Speech at
    Bridgewater, Mass., November 6, 1844_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In activity against Slavery Mr. Sumner did not confine himself
    to public effort. By writing and personal appeal he was always
    doing. The letter to Governor Andrew, already given,[211] not
    only shows his exertion in that important quarter, but affords
    a glimpse of his relations with the President, whom he reports
    as saying that there was a difference between them of a month
    or six weeks only. In point of fact, Mr. Sumner found the
    difference much greater.

    On his arrival at Washington, previously to the opening of
    Congress, he lost no time in seeing the President, who read
    to him the draught of his Annual Message. Mr. Sumner was
    disheartened by the absence of any recommendation or statement
    on Emancipation, and especially by what the President told him
    of his striking from Mr. Cameron’s Report a strong passage on
    this subject. But he was entirely satisfied that the President
    was really against Slavery, and was determined to do his duty.
    From that time Mr. Sumner saw him constantly, never missing an
    opportunity of pressing action. Not a week passed without one
    or more interviews. At the same time, Mr. Chase was pressing,
    also, and the two interchanged reports with regard to his state
    of mind. During this time he was watching the Border States,
    and communicating with friends in Kentucky. For Mr. Sumner this
    was an anxious period.

    At last, early in the morning of March 6th, he received a
    request from the President to come to him as soon as convenient
    after breakfast. Mr. Sumner hastened, and on his arrival the
    President said that he had something to read; and he then read
    the draught of the Special Message of that date, proposing
    Compensated Emancipation.

    Mr. Sumner never had strong faith in the practicability of
    Compensated Emancipation on a large scale, and was always
    against Gradual Emancipation; but he welcomed any step towards
    Emancipation, being assured, that, when once begun in any way,
    it must proceed to the complete establishment of Freedom. In
    the conversation that ensued he began with a mild protest
    against gradualism in dealing with wrong, but said nothing
    against compensation. Taking the draught into his hands, and
    reading it over slowly and carefully, he could not but object
    to a certain brief paragraph, which he thought might be turned
    against us by the other side, and he asked permission to
    rewrite it, so as to remove the ground of possible objection.
    While occupied in this attempt with his pencil, the President
    said: “Don’t trouble yourself; I will strike it all out”:
    and it was struck out. As Mr. Sumner continued for some time
    studying the paper, the President at length interrupted him in
    a familiar, pleasant way, saying: “Enough; you must go, or the
    boys[212] won’t have time to copy it.” He then said that he
    should communicate the Message to the Senate that day. It was
    communicated accordingly.

    Before he left, Mr. Sumner told the President, that, though
    knowing that the Message was coming, he should stand aside and
    leave to others the making of the proper motion with regard
    to it. As he anticipated, nothing was ever done under it
    beyond the adoption by the two Houses of the joint resolution
    recommended: “That the United States ought to coöperate with
    any State which may adopt _gradual_ abolishment of Slavery,
    giving to such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in
    its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public
    and private, produced by such change of system.” But the
    Message gave public assurance that the President was occupied
    with the great question, and its concluding words sank into
    the popular heart. “In full view,” he said, “of my great
    responsibility to my God and to my country, I earnestly beg
    the attention of Congress and the people to the subject.” Many
    breathed freer.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Meanwhile a bill was introduced into the Senate by Mr. Wilson,
    providing for Emancipation in the District of Columbia. This
    was entitled, “For the release of certain persons held to
    service or labor in the District of Columbia.” It provided for
    a commission to appraise the claims on account of the slaves
    liberated, limiting their allowance in the aggregate to an
    amount equal to three hundred dollars a slave, and appropriated
    one million dollars to pay loyal owners; to which was added,
    on motion of Mr. Doolittle, one hundred thousand dollars for
    the colonization of slaves who desired to emigrate to Hayti or

    This bill was introduced December 16th, referred to the
    Committee on the District of Columbia December 20th, reported
    with amendments by Mr. Morrill of Maine February 13th, taken up
    for consideration March 12th, and proceeded with to its final
    passage April 3d: Yeas 29, Nays 14.

    April 11th, it passed the House: Yeas 94, Nays 44.

    April 16th, it was approved by the President, who sent a
    Message expressing gratification that “the two principles
    of compensation and colonization are both recognized and
    practically applied in the Act.”[213]

    In the interval between the passage of the bill and its
    approval by the President there was concern with many lest it
    should fail in his hands. During this painful suspense, Mr.
    Sumner visited the President, and said: “Do you know who at
    this moment is the largest slave-_holder_ in this country?
    It is Abraham Lincoln; for he holds all the three thousand
    slaves of the District, which is more than any other person in
    the country holds.” He then expressed astonishment that the
    President could postpone the approval a single night.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Sumner spoke, March 31st, treating the case as of ransom
    rather than compensation. He was willing to vote money for
    Emancipation, but would not recognize the title of the master
    implied in compensation. The distinction facilitated a bolder
    dealing with the question, which was needed in the Rebel States.

    This method was noticed especially by the _New York Tribune_.

        “The speech of Mr. Sumner in the Senate on the Bill for
        the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia is a
        statesmanlike view of the subject, which should commend
        it to the impartial consideration of the country. He
        addressed himself, not to a discussion of the character
        of Slavery itself, but simply to its recognition in the
        national capital, and advocates its removal because it is
        not in accordance with the Constitution. On this point
        his reasoning is conclusive, and is an appeal to the
        national self-respect which ought not to be disregarded.
        Not less forcible is the ground he takes on the question
        of compensation. Viewing it rather in the light of ransom
        for the slave than compensation to the master for a right
        surrendered, he upholds it as a duty springing from the
        complicity of the whole country in the existence heretofore
        of the system in the domain exclusively under national
        jurisdiction. Common sense and a sense of justice to all
        parties alike commend such a treatment of the subject.”

    Lewis Tappan, the early and most watchful Abolitionist, wrote
    from New York:--

        “I have just read the speech again in pamphlet form. Your
        able efforts in procuring the passage of this bill add
        another link to the golden chain by which you are bound to
        the good people of my native State, and, as I believe, to

    Orestes A. Brownson, able and indefatigable with his pen,
    recognized the idea of ransom.

    “I thank you for your able speech on the Ransom of the Slaves
    in the District of Columbia. The term _Ransom_ is happily
    chosen, and meets many scruples.”

    Frederick Douglass wrote with the effusion of a freeman once a

        “I want only a moment of your time to give you my thanks
        for your great speech in the Senate on the Bill for the
        Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia. I trust
        I am not dreaming; but the events taking place seem like
        a dream. If Slavery is really dead in the District of
        Columbia, and merely waiting for the ceremony of ‘Dust
        to dust’ by the President, to you more than to any other
        American statesman belongs the honor of this great triumph
        of justice, liberty, and sound policy. I rejoice for my
        freed brothers,--and, Sir, I rejoice for you. You have
        lived to strike down in Washington the power that lifted
        the bludgeon against your own free voice. I take nothing
        from the good and brave men who have coöperated with you.
        There is, or ought to be, a head to every body; and whether
        you will or not, the slaveholder and the slave look to you
        as the best embodiment of the Antislavery idea now in the
        councils of the nation. May God sustain you!”

    The speech, while addressed to the particular circumstances of
    the District of Columbia, presented considerations applicable
    to Slavery everywhere. It was a blow at Slavery outside the
    District, as well as inside, while it illustrated the power and
    duty of Congress over this subject.


    Before Mr. Sumner began, Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, read the
    following interrogatories.

        “It may be that the speech which the honorable Senator
        intends to pronounce may cover the points which I have
        embodied in some questions to him. If not, I should take
        it very kindly, if the honorable Senator will answer the
        questions. I will read them.

        “1. Are slaves in the District of Columbia, and in the
        slaveholding States, legally the subject of property?

        “2. Has Congress the power to deprive the owners of lands
        and houses and lots situated in the District of Columbia of
        that property?

        “3. What law or laws give the owners of real estate in the
        District of Columbia their right to such property? Inform
        us where such law or laws may be found and read.

        “4. What law or laws give a different right and title to
        slaves and to real estate? Where can such law or laws be

        “5. Is or not the Constitution, and the laws of the United
        States made in pursuance thereof, and all the treaties
        made under the authority of the United States, the supreme
        law of the land, which all persons, without any exception
        whatever, are bound to obey?

        “6. Is or not the Supreme Court of the United States the
        proper and final tribunal to judge and determine all
        questions, whether in law or equity, under the Constitution
        and laws of the United States?”

    The answers to these interrogatories, so far as they bear on
    the main question, will be found in the course of the speech.

MR. PRESIDENT,--With unspeakable delight I hail this measure and the
prospect of its speedy adoption. Though only a small instalment of
that great debt to an enslaved race which we all owe, yet will it be
recognized in history as a victory of humanity. At home, throughout
our own country, it will be welcomed with gratitude, while abroad it
will quicken the hopes of all who love Freedom. Liberal institutions
will gain everywhere by the abolition of Slavery at the national
capital. Nobody can read that slaves were once sold in the markets of
Rome, beneath the eyes of the Sovereign Pontiff, without confessing the
scandal to religion, even in a barbarous age; and nobody can hear that
slaves are now sold in the markets of Washington, beneath the eyes of
the President, without confessing the scandal to liberal institutions.
For the sake of the national name, if not for the sake of justice, let
the scandal cease.

In early discussions of this question many topics were introduced that
obtain little attention now. It was part of the tactics of Slavery to
claim absolute immunity. Indeed, without such immunity it had small
chance to exist. Such a wrong, so utterly outrageous, could find safety
only where protected from inquiry. Therefore Slave-Masters always
insisted that petitions against its maintenance at the national capital
were not to be received, that it was unconstitutional to touch it even
here within the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress, and that, if it
were touched, it should be only under the auspices of the neighboring
States of Virginia and Maryland. On these points elaborate arguments
were constructed, useless to consider now. Whatever the opinions of
individual Senators, the judgment of the country is fixed. The right of
petition, first vindicated by the matchless perseverance of John Quincy
Adams, is now beyond question, and the constitutional power of Congress
is hardly less free from doubt. It is enough to say on this point,
that, if Congress cannot abolish Slavery here, then there is no power
anywhere to abolish it here, and this wrong will endure always, lasting
as the capital itself.

As the moment of justice approaches, we are called to meet a different
objection, inspired by generous sentiments. It is urged, that, since
there can be no such thing as property in man, especially within the
exclusive jurisdiction of Congress, therefore all held as slaves at
the national capital are justly entitled to freedom without price or
compensation of any kind,--or, at least, that any money paid should be
distributed according to an account stated between master and slave.
If this question were determined according to divine justice, so far
as we may be permitted to contemplate such a judgment, it is obvious
that nothing can be due to the master, and that any money paid belongs
rather to the slave, who for generations has been despoiled of every
right and possession. If we undertake to audit this fearful account,
pray what sum shall be allowed for the prolonged torments of the lash?
what treasure shall be voted to the slave for wife ravished from his
side, for children stolen, for knowledge shut out, and for all the
fruits of labor wrested from him and his fathers? No such account can
be stated. It is impossible. Once begin the inquiry, and all must go to
the slave. It only remains for Congress, anxious to secure this great
boon, and unwilling to embarrass or jeopard it, to act practically,
according to its finite powers, in the light of existing usage, and
even existing prejudice, under which these odious relations have
assumed the form of law; nor can we hesitate at any forbearance or
sacrifice, provided Freedom is established without delay.

Testimony and eloquence have been accumulated against Slavery; but
on this occasion I shall confine myself precisely to the argument
for the ransom of slaves at the National Capital; although such is
Slavery that it is impossible to consider it in any single aspect
without confronting its whole many-sided wickedness, while the broad,
diversified field of remedy is naturally open to review. At some other
time the great question of emancipation in the States may be more fitly
considered, together with those other questions where the Senator
from Wisconsin [Mr. DOOLITTLE] has allowed himself to take sides so
earnestly,--whether there is an essential incompatibility between the
two races, so that they cannot live together except as master and
slave? and whether the freedmen shall be encouraged to exile themselves
to other lands, or rather continue their labor here at home? Enough
for the present to consider Slavery at the National Capital. And here
we are met by two inquiries, so frankly addressed to the Senate by the
clear-headed Senator from Kansas [Mr. POMEROY]: first, _Has Slavery
any constitutional existence at the national capital?_ and, secondly,
_Shall money be paid to secure its abolition?_ The answer to these two
inquiries will make our duty clear. If Slavery has no constitutional
existence here, then more than ever is Congress bound to interfere,
even with money; for the scandal must be peremptorily stopped, without
any postponement, or any consultation of the people on a point which is
not within their power.

       *       *       *       *       *

It may be said, that, whether Slavery be constitutional or not,
nevertheless it exists, and therefore this inquiry is superfluous.
True, it exists as a MONSTROUS FACT; but it is none the less important
to consider its origin, that we may understand how, assuming the form
of law, it was able to shelter itself beneath the protecting shield of
the Constitution. When we see clearly that it is without any such just
protection, that the law which declares it is baseless, and that in all
its pretensions it is essentially and utterly brutal and unnatural,
we shall have less consideration for the Slave Tyranny, which, in
satisfied pride, has thus far--not without compunction at different
moments--ruled the national capital, reducing all things here, public
opinion, social life, and even the administration of justice, to its
own degraded standard, so as to fulfil the curious words of an old
English poet:--

                        “It serves, yet reigns as King;
  It lives, yet ’s death; it pleases, full of paine.
  Monster! ah, who, who can thy beeing faigne,
  Thou shapelesse shape, live death, paine pleasing, servile raigne?”[214]

It is true, there can be no such thing as property in man: and here I
begin to answer the questions propounded by the Senator from Kentucky
[Mr. DAVIS]. If this pretension is recognized anywhere, it is only
another instance of custom, which is so powerful as to render the
idolater insensible to the wickedness of idolatry, and the cannibal
insensible to the brutality of cannibalism. To argue against such a
pretension seems to be vain; for the pretension exists in open defiance
of reason as well as of humanity. It will not yield to argument; nor
will it yield to persuasion. It must be encountered by authority. It
was not the planters in the British islands or in the French islands
who organized emancipation, but the distant governments across the
sea, far removed from local prejudice, which at last forbade the
outrage. Had these planters been left to themselves, they would
have clung to the pretension, as men among us still cling to it. In
making this declaration against the idea of property in man, I say
nothing new. An honored predecessor of the Senator from Maryland [Mr.
KENNEDY], whose fame as a statesman was eclipsed, perhaps, by his more
remarkable fame as a lawyer,--I mean William Pinkney, and it is among
the recollections of my youth that I heard Chief Justice Marshall call
him the undoubted head of the American bar,--in a speech before the
Maryland House of Delegates, spoke as statesman and lawyer, when he

    “Sir, by the eternal principles of natural justice no master in
    the State has a right to hold his slave in bondage for a single

And Henry Brougham spoke not only as statesman and lawyer, but as
orator also, when, in the British Parliament, he uttered these
memorable words:--

    “Tell me not of rights, talk not of the property of the
    planter in his slaves. I deny the right, I acknowledge not
    the property. The principles, the feelings, of our common
    nature rise in rebellion against it. Be the appeal made to
    the understanding or to the heart, the sentence is the same
    that rejects it. In vain you tell me of laws that sanction
    such a claim. There is a law above all the enactments of human
    codes,--the same throughout the world, the same in all times:
    … it is the law written on the heart of man by the finger of
    his Maker; and by that law, unchangeable and eternal, while men
    despise fraud and loathe rapine and abhor blood, they will
    reject with indignation the wild and guilty fantasy that man
    can hold property in man.”[216]

It has been sometimes said that the finest sentence of the English
language is that famous description of Law with which Hooker closes the
first book of his “Ecclesiastical Polity”; but I cannot doubt that this
wonderful denunciation of an irrational and inhuman pretension will be
remembered hereafter with higher praise; for it gathers into surpassing
eloquence the waking and immitigable instincts of Universal Man.

If I enter now into analysis of Slavery, and say familiar things, it is
because such exposition is an essential link in the present inquiry.
Looking carefully at Slavery as it is, we find that it is not merely a
single gross pretension, utterly inadmissible, but an aggregation of
gross pretensions, all and each utterly inadmissible. They are five
in number: first, the pretension of property in man; secondly, the
denial of the marriage relation,--for slaves are “coupled” only, and
not married; thirdly, the denial of the paternal relation; fourthly,
the denial of instruction; and, fifthly, the appropriation of all
the labor of the slave and its fruits by the master. Such are the
five essential elements which we find in Slavery; and this fivefold
barbarism, so utterly indefensible in every point, is maintained for
the single purpose of compelling labor without wages. Of course such
a pretension is founded in force, and nothing else. It begins with
the kidnapper in Guinea or Congo, traverses the sea with the pirate
slave-trader in his crowded hold, and is continued here by virtue of
laws representing and embodying the same brutal force that prevailed
in the kidnapper and the pirate slave-trader. Slavery, wherever it
exists, is the triumph of force, sometimes in the strong arm of an
individual, and sometimes in the strong arm of law, but in principle
always the same. Depending upon force, he is master who happens to be
stronger,--so that, if the slave were stronger, he would be master, and
the master would be slave. Beyond all doubt, according to reason and
justice, every slave possesses the same right to enslave his master
that his master possesses to enslave him. If this simple statement of
unquestionable principles needed confirmation, it would be found in the
solemn judgments of courts. Here, for instance, are the often quoted
words of Mr. Justice McLean, of the Supreme Court of the United States:
“Slavery is admitted by almost all who have examined the subject to
be founded in wrong, in oppression, in _power_ against _right_.”[217]
And here are the words of the Supreme Court of North Carolina: “Such
services [of a slave] can only be expected from one who has no will
of his own, who surrenders his will in implicit obedience to that
of another. Such obedience is the consequence only of _uncontrolled
authority over the body_. There is nothing else which can operate to
produce the effect.”[218] And the Supreme Court of the United States,
by the lips of Chief Justice Marshall, has openly declared, in a famous
case, read the other day by the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. DAVIS], that
“Slavery has its origin in _force_.”[219] Thus does it appear by most
authoritative words, that this monstrous Barbarism is derived not
from reason, or nature, or justice, or goodness, but from _force_, and
nothing else.

Here in the national capital, under the exclusive jurisdiction of
Congress, the FORCE which now maintains this unnatural system is
supplied by Congress. Without Congress the “uncontrolled authority”
of the master would cease. Without Congress the master would not be
master, nor would the slave be slave. Congress, then, in existing
legislation, is the power behind, which enslaves our fellow-men.
Therefore does it behoove Congress, by proper, instant action, to
relieve itself of this painful responsibility.

The responsibility becomes more painful, when it is considered that
Slavery exists at the national capital absolutely without support of
any kind in the Constitution: and here again I answer the Senator
from Kentucky [Mr. DAVIS]. Nor is this all. Situated within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the Constitution, where State rights cannot
prevail, it exists in open defiance of most cherished principles.
Let the Constitution be rightly interpreted by a just tribunal, and
Slavery must cease here at once. The decision of a court would be as
potent as an Act of Congress. And now, as I confidently assert this
conclusion, which bears so directly on the present question, pardon
me, if I express the satisfaction with which I recur to an earlier
period, shortly after I entered the Senate, when, vindicating the
principle now accepted, but then disowned, that _Freedom and not
Slavery is National_, I insisted upon its application to Slavery
everywhere within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Constitution, and
declared that Congress might as well undertake to make a king as to
make a slave.[220] That argument has never been answered; it cannot
be answered. Nor can I forget that this same conclusion, having such
important bearings, was maintained by Mr. Chase, while a member of
this body, in that masterly effort where he unfolded the relations of
the National Government to Slavery,[221] and also by the late Horace
Mann, in a most eloquent and exhaustive speech in the other House,
where no point is left untouched to show that Slavery in the national
capital is an _outlaw_.[222] Among all the speeches in the protracted
discussion of Slavery, I know none more worthy of profound study than
those two, so different in character and yet so harmonious in result.
If authority could add to irresistible argument, it would be found in
the well-known opinion of the late Mr. Justice McLean, in a published
letter, declaring the constitutional impossibility of Slavery in the
National Territories, because, in the absence of express power under
the Constitution to establish or recognize Slavery, there was nothing
for the breath of Slavery, as respiration could not exist where there
was no atmosphere. The learned judge was right, and his illustration
was felicitous. Although applied at the time only to the Territories,
it is of equal force everywhere within the exclusive jurisdiction of
Congress; for within such jurisdiction there is no atmosphere in which
Slavery can live.

If this question were less important, I should not occupy time with
its discussion. But we may learn to detest Slavery still more, when we
see how completely it instals itself here in utter disregard of the
Constitution, compelling Congress ignobly to do its bidding. The bare
existence of such a barbarous injustice in the metropolis of a Republic
gloriously declaring that “all men are entitled to life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness,” is a mockery which may excite surprise; but
when we bring it to the touchstone of the Constitution, and consider
the action of Congress, surprise is deepened into indignation.

       *       *       *       *       *

How, Sir, was this foothold secured? When and by what process did the
National Government, solemnly pledged to Freedom, undertake to maintain
the Slave-Master here in the exercise of that _force_, or “unrestrained
power” which swings the lash, fastens the chain, robs the wages, sells
the child, and tears the wife from the husband? A brief inquiry will
show historically how it occurred: and here again I answer the Senator
from Kentucky.

The sessions of the Revolutionary Congress were held, according to
the exigencies of war or the convenience of members, at Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Lancaster, York, Princeton, Annapolis, Trenton, and New
York. An insult at Philadelphia from a band of mutineers caused
an adjournment to Princeton, in 1783, which was followed by the
discussion, from time to time, of the question of a permanent seat
of government. On the 7th of October, 1783, a motion was made by Mr.
Gerry, of Massachusetts, “That buildings for the use of Congress be
erected on the banks of the Delaware, near Trenton, or of the Potomac,
near Georgetown, provided a suitable district can be procured on one
of the rivers as aforesaid for a federal town, and that the right of
soil, and an exclusive or such other jurisdiction as Congress may
direct, shall be vested in the United States.”[223] Thus did the first
proposition of a national capital within the exclusive jurisdiction of
Congress proceed from a representative of Massachusetts. The subject of
Slavery at that time attracted little attention; but at a later day,
in the Constitutional Convention, this same honored representative
showed the nature of the jurisdiction which he would claim, according
to the following record: “Mr. Gerry thought we had nothing to do with
the conduct of the States as to slaves, _but ought to be careful
not to give any sanction to it_.”[224] In these words will be found
our own cherished principle, _Freedom National, Slavery Sectional_,
expressed with homely and sententious simplicity. There is something
grateful and most suggestive in the language employed, “we ought to be
careful not to give any sanction to it.” In the first Congress under
the Constitution, the same representative, during the debate on the
Slave-Trade, gave further expression to this same conviction, when he
said that “he highly commended the part the Society of Friends had
taken; it was the cause of humanity they had interested themselves

The proposition of Mr. Gerry in reference to a national capital, after
assuming various forms, subsided. But in 1785 three commissioners were
appointed “to lay out a district of not less than two nor exceeding
three miles square, on the banks of either side of the Delaware, not
more than eight miles above or below the lower falls thereof, for a
federal town.”[226] At the Congress which met at New York two years
later, unsuccessful efforts were made to substitute the Potomac for
the Delaware. The commissioners, though appointed, never entered
upon their business. At last, by the adoption of the Constitution,
the subject was presented in a new form, under the following clause:
“The Congress shall have power to exercise exclusive legislation, in
all cases whatsoever, over such district, not exceeding ten miles
square, as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of
Congress, become the seat of government of the United States.” From
the records of the Convention it does not appear that this clause
occasioned debate. But it broke out in the earliest Congress. Virginia
and Maryland, each, by acts of their respective Legislatures, tendered
the ten miles square, while similar propositions were made by citizens
of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. After long and animated discussion,
Germantown, in Pennsylvania, was on the point of being adopted, when
the subject was postponed till the next session. Havre de Grace and
Wright’s Ferry, both on the Susquehanna, Baltimore, on the Patapsco,
and Connogocheague, on the Potomac, divided opinions. In the course of
the debate, Mr. Gerry, who had first proposed the Potomac, now opposed
it. He pronounced it highly unreasonable to fix the seat of government
where nine States out of the thirteen would be to the northward, and
adverted to the sacrifice the Northern States were ready to make in
going as far south as Baltimore. An agreement seemed impossible, when
the South suddenly achieved one of those political triumphs by which
its predominance in the National Government was established.

Pending at this time was the great and trying proposition to assume
the State debts, which, being at first defeated through Southern votes,
was at last carried by a “compromise,” according to which the seat of
government was placed on the Potomac, thus settling the much vexed
question. Mr. Jefferson, in a familiar account, thus sketches the

    “It was observed that this pill [the assumption of the State
    debts] would be peculiarly bitter to the Southern States, _and
    that some concomitant measure should be adopted to sweeten
    it a little to them_. There had before been propositions
    to fix the seat of government either at Philadelphia or at
    Georgetown on the Potomac, and it was thought that by giving it
    to Philadelphia for ten years, and to Georgetown permanently
    afterwards, this might, as an anodyne, calm in some degree the
    ferment which might be excited by the other measure alone. So
    two of the Potomac members (White and Lee, but White with a
    revulsion of stomach almost convulsive) agreed to change their
    votes, and Hamilton undertook to carry the other point.”[227]

Such was one of the earliest victories of Slavery in the name of
“Compromise.” It is difficult to estimate the evil consequences thus
entailed upon the country.

The bill establishing the seat of government, having already passed the
Senate, was adopted by the House of Representatives, after vehement
debate and many calls of the yeas and nays, by a vote of thirty-two to
twenty-nine, on the 9th of July, 1790. A district of territory, not
exceeding ten miles square, on the river Potomac, was accepted for the
permanent seat of the Government of the United States: “_Provided,
nevertheless_, that the operation of the laws of the State within such
district shall not be affected by this acceptance, until the time
fixed for the removal of the Government thereto, _and until Congress
shall otherwise by law provide_.”[228] Here, it will be seen, was a
positive saving of the laws of the States for a limited period, so far
as Congress had power to save them, within the exclusive jurisdiction
of the Constitution; but there was also complete recognition of the
power of Congress to change these laws, and an implied promise to
assume the “exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever” contemplated
by the Constitution.

In response to this Act of Congress, Maryland, by formal act, ceded
the territory now constituting the District of Columbia “in full and
absolute right, and exclusive jurisdiction, as well of soil as of
persons residing or to reside thereon,”--provided that the jurisdiction
of Maryland “shall not cease or determine, _until Congress shall by law
provide for the government thereof_.”[229]

In pursuance of this contract between the United States of the one
part and Maryland of the other part, expressed in solemn statutes,
the present seat of government was occupied in November, 1800, when
Congress proceeded to assume that complete jurisdiction conferred in
the Constitution, by enacting, on the 27th of February, 1801, “that
the laws of the State of Maryland, _as they now exist_, shall be and
continue in force in that part of the said District which was ceded
by that State to the United States, and by them accepted for the
permanent seat of government.”[230] Thus at one stroke all existing
laws of Maryland were adopted by Congress in gross, and from that time
forward became the laws of the United States at the national capital.
Although known historically as laws of Maryland, they ceased at once
to be laws of that State, for they draw their vitality from Congress
alone, under the Constitution of the United States, as completely as if
every statute had been solemnly reënacted. And now we see precisely how
Slavery obtained its foothold.

Among the statutes of Maryland thus solemnly reënacted in gross was the
following, originally passed as early as 1715, in colonial days.

    “All negroes and other slaves already imported or hereafter
    to be imported into this province, and all children now born
    or hereafter to be born of such negroes and slaves, shall be
    slaves during their natural lives.”[231]

Slavery cannot exist without barbarous laws in its support. Maryland,
accordingly, in the spirit of Slavery, added other provisions, also
reënacted by Congress in the same general bundle, of which the
following is an example.

    “_No negro or mulatto slave_, free negro or mulatto born of a
    white woman, during his time of servitude by law, … _shall be
    admitted and received as good and valid evidence in law, in
    any matter_ or thing whatsoever depending before any court of
    record or before any magistrate within this province, _wherein
    any Christian white person is concerned_.”[232]

At a later day the following kindred provision was added, in season to
be reënacted by Congress in the same code.

    “No slave manumitted agreeably to the laws of this State …
    shall be entitled … to give evidence against any white person,
    or shall be recorded as competent evidence to manumit any slave
    petitioning for freedom.”[233]

And such is the law for Slavery at the national capital.

It will be observed that the original statute which undertakes to
create Slavery in Maryland does not attaint the blood beyond two
generations. It is confined to “all negroes and other slaves,” and
their “children,” “during their natural lives.” These are slaves, but
none others, unless a familiar rule of interpretation is reversed, and
such words are extended rather than restrained. And yet it is by virtue
of this colonial statute, with all its ancillary barbarism, adopted
by Congress, that slaves are still held at the national capital. It
is true that at the time of its adoption there were few slaves here
to whom it was applicable. For ten years previous, the present area
of Washington, according to received tradition, contained hardly
five hundred inhabitants, all told, and these were for the most part
laborers distributed in houses merely for temporary accommodation. But
all these musty, antediluvian, wicked statutes, of which you have seen
a specimen, took their place at once in the national legislation, and
under their supposed authority slaves multiplied, and Slavery became
a national institution. And it now continues only by virtue of this
Slave Code borrowed from early colonial days, which, though flagrantly
inconsistent with the Constitution, has never yet been repudiated by
Court or Congress.

I have said that this Slave Code, even assuming it applicable to
slaves beyond the “natural lives” of two generations, is flagrantly
inconsistent with the Constitution. On this point the argument is so
plain that it may be shown like a diagram.

Under the Constitution, Congress has “exclusive legislation in all
cases whatsoever” at the national capital. The cession by Maryland was
without condition, and the acceptance by Congress was also without
condition; so that the territory fell at once within this exclusive
jurisdiction. But Congress can exercise no power except in conformity
with the Constitution. Its exclusive jurisdiction in all cases
whatsoever is controlled and limited by the Constitution, out of which
it is derived. Now, looking at the Constitution, we find, first, that
there are no words authorizing Congress to establish or recognize
Slavery, and, secondly, that there are positive words which prohibit
Congress from the exercise of any such power. The argument, therefore,
is twofold: first, from the absence of authority, and, secondly, from
positive prohibition.

Of course, a barbarism like Slavery, having its origin in force and
nothing else, can have no legal or constitutional support except
from positive sanction. It can spring from no doubtful phrase. It
must be declared by unambiguous words, incapable of a double sense.
Here I repeat an argument which I have presented before, when on
other occasions arraigning the pretensions of Slavery under the
Constitution, but which, so long as Slavery claims immunity, cannot
be allowed to drop out of sight. It begins with the great words of
Lord Mansfield, who, in the memorable case of Somerset, said: “The
state of Slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of being
introduced on any reasons, moral or political, but only by _positive
law_.… It is so odious that nothing can be suffered to support it
but POSITIVE LAW.”[234] This principle has been adopted by tribunals
even in slaveholding States.[235] But I do not stop to dwell on these
authorities. Even the language, “exclusive legislation in all cases
whatsoever,” cannot be made to sanction Slavery. It wants those
positive words, leaving nothing to implication, which are obviously
required, especially when we consider the professed object of the
Constitution, as declared in its Preamble, to “establish justice and
secure the blessings of liberty.” There is no power in the Constitution
to make a king, or, thank God, to make a slave; and the absence of all
such power is hardly more clear in one case than in the other. The word
_king_ nowhere occurs in the Constitution, nor does the word _slave_.
But if there be no such power, then all Acts of Congress sustaining
Slavery at the national capital must be unconstitutional and void. The
stream cannot rise higher than the fountain head; nay, more, _nothing
can come out of nothing_; and if there be nothing in the Constitution
authorizing Congress to make a slave, there can be nothing valid in
any subordinate legislation. It is a pretension which has thus far
prevailed simply because Slavery predominated over Congress and courts.

To all who insist that Congress may sustain Slavery in the national
capital I put the question, Where in the Constitution is the power
found? If you cannot show where, do not assert the power. So hideous
an effrontery must be authorized in unmistakable words. But where are
the words? In what article, clause, or line? They cannot be found. I
challenge their production. Insult not human nature by pretending
that its most cherished rights can be sacrificed without solemn
authority. Remember that every presumption and every leaning must be
in favor of Freedom and against Slavery. Remember, too, that no nice
interpretation, no strained construction, no fancied deduction, can
suffice to sanction the enslavement of our fellow-men. And do not
degrade the Constitution by foisting upon its blameless text the idea
of property in man. It is not there; and if you think you see it there,
it is simply because you make the Constitution a reflection of yourself.

A single illustration will show the absurdity of this pretension. If,
under the clause giving to Congress “exclusive legislation” at the
national capital, Slavery may be established, and under these words
Congress is empowered to create slaves instead of citizens, then, under
the same words, it may do the same thing in the “forts, magazines,
arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings” belonging to the
United States, wherever situated, for these are all placed within the
same “exclusive legislation.” The extensive navy-yard at Charlestown,
in the very shadow of Bunker Hill, may be filled with slaves, with
enforced toil to take the place of that cheerful, well-paid labor
whose busy hum is the best music of the place. Such an act, however
consistent with slaveholding tyranny, would not be regarded as
constitutional at Bunker Hill.

If there were any doubt on this point, and the absence of all authority
were not perfectly clear, the prohibitions of the Constitution
would settle the question. It is true that Congress has “exclusive
legislation” within the District; but the prohibitions to grant titles
of nobility, to pass _ex post facto_ laws, to pass bills of attainder,
and to establish religion, are unquestionable limitations of this
power. There is also another limitation, equally unquestionable.
It is found in an Amendment proposed by the First Congress, on the
recommendation of several States, as follows:--

    “No PERSON shall be deprived of life, LIBERTY, or property,
    without _due process of law_.”

This prohibition, according to the Supreme Court, is obligatory on
Congress.[236] It is also applicable to all claimed as slaves; for,
in the eye of the Constitution, every human being within its sphere,
whether Caucasian, Indian, or African, from the President to the
slave, is a _person_. Of this there is no question. But a remarkable
incident of history confirms the conclusion. As originally recommended
by Virginia, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, this proposition was
restricted to the _freeman_. Its language was,--

    “No _freeman_ ought to be deprived of his life, _liberty_, or
    property, but by the law of the land.”[237]

Of course, if the word _freeman_ had been adopted, this clause would
be restricted in its effective power. Deliberately rejecting this
limitation, the authors of the Amendment recorded their purpose that
no _person_, within the national jurisdiction, of whatever character,
shall be deprived of _liberty_ without due process of law. The latter
words are borrowed from Magna Charta, and they mean without due
presentment, indictment, or other judicial proceedings. But Congress,
undertaking to support Slavery at the national capital, enacts that
_persons_ may be deprived of liberty there without any presentment,
indictment, or other judicial proceedings. Therefore every _person_ now
detained as a slave in the national capital is detained in violation
of the Constitution. Not only is his liberty taken without due process
of law, but, since he is tyrannically despoiled of all the fruits
of his industry, his property also is taken without due process of
law. You talk sometimes of guaranties of the Constitution. Here is an
unmistakable guaranty, and I hold you to it.

Bringing the argument together, the conclusion may be briefly stated.
The five-headed barbarism of Slavery, beginning in violence, can have
no legal or constitutional existence, unless through positive words
expressly authorizing it. As no such positive words are found in the
Constitution, all legislation by Congress supporting Slavery must be
unconstitutional and void, while it is made still further impossible by
positive words of prohibition guarding the liberty of every _person_
within the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress.

A court properly inspired, and ready to assume that just responsibility
which dignifies judicial tribunals, would at once declare Slavery
impossible at the national capital, and set every slave free,--as Lord
Mansfield declared Slavery impossible in England, and set every slave
free. The two cases are parallel; but, alas! the court is wanting
here. The legality of Slavery in England was affirmed in professional
opinions by the ablest lawyers; it was also affirmed on the bench.
England was a Slave State, and even its newspapers were disfigured with
advertisements for the sale of human beings, while the merchants of
London, backed by great names in the law, sustained the outrage. Then
appeared Granville Sharp, the philanthropist, who, pained by the sight
of Slavery, and especially shocked by the brutality of a slave-hunt in
the streets of London, was aroused to question its constitutionality
in England. For two years he devoted himself to anxious study of the
British Constitution in all its multifarious records. His conclusion
is expressed in these precise words: “The word _slaves_, or anything
that can justify the enslaving of others, is not to be found there,
God be thanked!”[238] Thus encouraged, he persevered. By his generous
exertions the negro Somerset, claimed as a slave by a Virginia
gentleman then in London, was defended, and the Court of King’s Bench
compelled to that immortal judgment by which Slavery was forever
expelled from England, and the early boast of the British Constitution
became a practical verity. More than fourteen thousand persons, held
as slaves on British soil--four times as many as are now found in the
national capital--became instantly free, without price or ransom.

The good work that our courts thus far decline remains to be done
by Congress. Slavery, which is a scandalous anomaly and anachronism
here, must be made to disappear from the national capital,--if not
in one way, then in another. A judgment of court would be simply on
the question of constitutional right, without regard to policy. But
there is no consideration of right or of policy, from the loftiest
principle to the humblest expediency, which may not properly enter into
the conclusion of Congress. The former might be the triumph of the
magistrate,--the latter must be that of the statesman. But whether from
magistrate or from statesman, it will constitute an epoch in history.

       *       *       *       *       *

But the question is asked, Shall we vote money for this purpose? I
cannot hesitate. Two considerations are with me prevailing. First,
the relation of master and slave at the national capital has from the
beginning been established and maintained by Congress everywhere in
sight, and even directly under its own eyes. The master held the slave;
but Congress, with strong arm, stood behind the master, looking on and
sustaining. Not a dollar of wages has been taken, not a child stolen,
not a wife torn from her husband, without the hand of Congress. If
not partnership, there is complicity on the part of Congress, through
which the whole country has become responsible for the manifold
wrong. Though always protesting against its continuance, and laboring
earnestly for its removal, yet gladly do I accept my share of the
prospective burden. And, secondly, even if not all involved in the
manifold wrong, nothing is clearer than that the mode proposed is the
gentlest, quietest, and surest in which the beneficent change can be
accomplished. It is therefore the most practical. It recognizes Slavery
as an existing fact, and provides for its removal. And when I think of
the unquestionable good we seek, of all its great advantages, of the
national capital redeemed, of the national character elevated, and of
the righteous example we shall set, and when I think, still further,
that, according to a rule alike of jurisprudence and morals, _Liberty
is priceless_, I cannot hesitate at any appropriation within our
means by which all these things of incalculable value can be promptly

As I find no reason of policy adverse to such appropriation, so
do I find no objection in the Constitution. I am aware that it is
sometimes asked, Where in the Constitution is the power to make such
appropriation? But nothing is clearer than that, under the words
conferring “exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever,” Congress
may create freemen, although it may not create slaves. And of course
it may exercise all the powers necessary to this end, whether by a
simple act of emancipation or a vote of money. If there could be any
doubt on this point, it would be removed, when we reflect that the
abolition of Slavery, with all the natural incidents of such an act,
has been constantly recognized as within the sphere of legislation. It
was so regarded by Washington, who, in a generous letter to Lafayette,
dated May 10, 1786, said: “It certainly might and assuredly ought to
be effected, and that, too, by _legislative_ authority.”[239] Through
legislative authority Slavery has been abolished in State after State
of our Union, and also in foreign countries. I have yet to learn that
the power of Congress for this purpose at the national capital is
less complete than that of any other legislative body within its own

       *       *       *       *       *

But, while not doubting the power of Congress in any of its incidents,
I prefer to consider the money we pay as in the nature of _ransom_
rather than _compensation_, so that Freedom shall be _acquired_ rather
than _purchased_; and I place it at once under the sanction of that
commanding charity proclaimed by prophets and enjoined by apostles,
which all history recognizes and the Constitution cannot impair.
From time immemorial every Government has undertaken to ransom from
captivity, and sometimes a whole people has felt the general resources
well bestowed in the ransom of its prince. Religion and humanity have
both concurred in this duty as more than usually sacred. “The ransom
of captives is a great and excellent office of justice,” exclaims one
of the early Fathers. And the pious St. Ambrose insisted upon breaking
up even the sacred vessels of the Church, saying: “The ornament of the
sacraments is the redemption of captives.”

Among the most beautiful incidents of the early Church is that of St.
Ambrose. There had been hesitation, but the divine Emancipationist
broke forth: “What! you will not sell the vessels of gold, and you
leave for sale the living vessels of the Lord! The ornament of the
sacraments is the redemption of captives. Let the cup ransom from the
enemy him whom the blood ransoms from sin.”[240] Happily, this spirit
prevailed. At the report of Christians compelled to wear out their
days as captives in Algiers, Tunis, or Morocco, or, it might be, among
the Moors of Spain or the merchants of Genoa and Venice, it assumed
practical form. Two Frenchmen, Jean de Matha and Pierre Nolasque, born
on the coast of the Mediterranean, conceived the idea of a special
order vowed to the redemption of Christian slaves. The first founded,
in 1199, the order of the Holy Trinity, known often as Mathurins; the
second, acting under the patronage of Spain, founded the order of
Our Lady of Mercy. Upon both these orders Bishops and Popes bestowed
approbation and encouragement, while, for more than six centuries, they
devoted themselves to this Christian charity, often, according to the
vow assumed, giving themselves as hostages for the ransomed captive. It
is related, that, in 1655, the Order of Mercy in Algiers alone ransomed
more than twelve thousand slaves, leaving in pledge a large number of
its members, faithful to the vow, “_In Saracenorum potestate in pignus,
si necesse fuerit ad redemptionem Christi fidelium, detentus manebo_.”
Thus did these pious fathers give not only money, but themselves.[241]

The duty thus commended has been exercised by the United States under
important circumstances, with the coöperation of the best names of
our history, so as to be beyond question. The instance may not be
familiar, but it is decisive, while, from beginning to end, it is full
of instruction.

Who has not heard of the Barbary States, and of the pretension put
forth by them to enslave white Christians? Algiers was the chief seat
of this enormity, which, through the insensibility or incapacity of
Christian States, was allowed to continue for generations. Good men
and great men were degraded to be captives, while many, neglected
by fortune, perished in barbarous Slavery. Even in our colonial
days, there were Americans whose fate, while in the hands of these
slave-masters, excited general sympathy. Only by ransom was their
freedom obtained. Perhaps no condition was more calculated to arouse
indignant rage. And yet the disposition so common to palliate Slavery
in the National Capital showed itself with regard to Slavery in
Algiers; and, indeed, the same arguments to soften public opinion have
been employed in the two instances. The parallel is so complete, that I
require all your trust to believe that what I read is not an apology
for Slavery here. Thus, a member of a diplomatic mission from England,
who visited Morocco in 1785, says of the Slavery which he saw: “It is
very slightly inflicted”; and “as to any labor undergone, it does not
deserve the name.”[242] And another earlier traveller, after describing
the comfortable condition of the white slaves, adds, in words to which
we are accustomed: “I am sure we saw several captives who lived much
better in Barbary than ever they did in their own country.… Whatever
money in charity was ever sent them by their friends in Europe was
their own.… And yet this is called insupportable slavery among Turks
and Moors! But we found this, as well as many other things in this
country, strangely misrepresented.”[243] A more recent French writer
asserts, with a vehemence to which we are habituated from the partisans
of Slavery among us, that the white slaves at Algiers were not exposed
to the miseries which they represented; that they were well clad and
well fed, _much better than the free Christians there_; that special
care was bestowed upon those who became ill; and that some were allowed
such privileges as to become indifferent to freedom, and even to prefer
Algiers to their own country.[244] Believe me, Sir, in stating these
things I simply follow history; and I refer to the volume and page or
chapter of the authorities which I quote, that the careful inquirer may
see that they relate to Slavery abroad, and not to Slavery at home.
If I continue to unfold this strange, eventful story, it will be to
exhibit _the direct and constant intervention of Congress for the
ransom of slaves_; but the story itself is an argument against Slavery,
pertinent to the present occasion, which I am not unwilling to adopt.

Scarcely was national independence established, when we were aroused
to fresh efforts for the protection of enslaved citizens. Within
three years no less than ten American vessels were seized. At one
time an apprehension prevailed that Dr. Franklin, on his way home
from France, had been captured. “We are waiting,” said one of his
French correspondents, “with the greatest impatience to hear from you.
The newspapers have given us anxiety on your account, for some of
them insist that you have been taken by the Algerines, while others
pretend that you are at Morocco, enduring your slavery with all the
patience of a philosopher.”[245] Though this apprehension happily
proved without foundation, it soon became known that other Americans,
less distinguished, but entitled to all the privileges of new-born
citizenship, were suffering in cruel captivity. At once the sentiments
of the people were enlisted in their behalf. Newspapers pleaded,
while the corsairs were denounced sometimes as “infernal crews,”
and sometimes as “human harpies.” But it was through the stories of
victims who had succeeded in escaping from bondage that the people
were most aroused. As these fugitive slaves touched our shores, they
were welcomed with outspoken sympathy. Glimpses opened through them
into the dread regions of Slavery gave a harrowing reality to all that
conjecture or imagination had pictured. True, indeed, it was that
our own white brethren, entitled like ourselves to all the rights of
manhood, were degraded in unquestioning obedience to an arbitrary
taskmaster, sold at the auction-block, worked like beasts of the field,
and galled by the manacle and lash. As the national power seemed yet
inadequate to compel their liberation, it was attempted by ransom.

Generous efforts at Algiers were organized under the direction of our
minister at Paris, and the famous _Society of Redemption_, having its
origin in the thirteenth century, offered aid. Our agents were blandly
entertained by the great slave-dealer, the Dey, who informed them that
he was familiar with the exploits of Washington, and, as he never
expected to set eyes on this hero of Freedom, expressed a hope, that,
through Congress, he might receive a full-length portrait of him, to
be displayed in the palace at Algiers. Amidst such professions the Dey
still clung to his American slaves, holding them at prices beyond the
means of the agents, who were not authorized to exceed two hundred
dollars a head,--being not unlike in amount that proposed in the
present bill; and I beg to call the attention of the Senator from Maine
[Mr. MORRILL], who has the bill in charge, to the parallel.

Their redemption engaged the attention of the National Government early
after the adoption of the Constitution. It was first brought before
Congress by petition, of which we find the following record.

    “_Friday, May 14, 1790._--A petition from sundry citizens
    of the United States, captured by the Algerines, and now
    in slavery there, was presented, praying the interposition
    of Congress in their behalf. Referred to the Secretary of

An interesting report on the situation of these captives was made to
the President by the Secretary of State, December 28, 1790, where he
sets forth the efforts for their redemption at such prices as would
not “raise the market,”--it being regarded as important, that, in “the
first instance of a redemption by the United States, our price should
be fixed at the lowest point.”[247] I quote the precise words of this
document, which will be found in the State Papers of the country, and I
call special attention to them as applicable to the present moment. Our
price should be fixed at the lowest point, and we should do nothing to
raise the market. The parallel becomes more complete, when it is known
that the white slaves at Algiers were about the same in number with the
black slaves at Washington whose redemption is now proposed. The report
of Mr. Jefferson was laid before Congress, with the following brief
message from the President.

                                     “UNITED STATES, December 30, 1790.

    “_Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives_:--

    “I lay before you a report of the Secretary of State on the
    subject of the citizens of the United States in captivity at
    Algiers, that you may provide on their behalf what to you shall
    seem most expedient.

        “GEO. WASHINGTON.”[248]

It does not appear that there was question in any quarter with regard
to the power of Congress. The broad recommendation of the President was
to provide on behalf of the slaves what should seem most expedient.

Another report from the Secretary of State, entitled “Mediterranean
Trade,” and communicated to Congress December 30, 1790, relates chiefly
to the same matter. In this document are different estimates with
regard to the price at which our fellow-citizens might be ransomed and
peace purchased. One person, who had long resided at Algiers, put the
price at sixty or seventy thousand pounds sterling: this was the lowest
estimate. Another, also long, and still, a resident there, said that it
could not be less than a million dollars,--which is the sum proposed in
the present bill. Mr. Jefferson, after considering the subject at some
length, concludes as follows.

    “Upon the whole, it rests with Congress to decide between war,
    tribute, and ransom.… If war, they will consider how far our
    own resources shall be called forth.… If tribute or ransom, it
    will rest with them to limit and provide the amount, and with
    the Executive, observing the same constitutional forms, to make
    arrangements for employing it to the best advantage.”[249]

Among the papers accompanying the report is a letter from Mr. Adams,
minister at London, from which I take important words.

    “It may be reasonably concluded that this great affair cannot
    be finished for much less than two hundred thousand pounds

This is the very sum now needed for our great affair.

In pursuance of these communications, the Senate tendered its advice to
the President in a resolution.

    “_Resolved_, That the Senate advise and consent that the
    President of the United States take such measures as he may
    think necessary for the redemption of the citizens of the
    United States now in captivity at Algiers: _Provided_, The
    expense shall not exceed forty thousand dollars; and also that
    measures be taken to confirm the treaty now existing between
    the United States and the Emperor of Morocco.”[251]

In a subsequent message, February 22, 1791, the President said:--

    “I will proceed to take measures for the ransom of our citizens
    in captivity at Algiers, in conformity with your resolution of
    advice of the first instant, so soon as the moneys necessary
    shall be appropriated by the Legislature, and shall be in

The same subject was presented again to the Senate by President
Washington, in the following inquiry, May 8, 1792.

    “If the President of the United States should conclude a
    convention or treaty with the Government of Algiers for the
    ransom of the thirteen Americans in captivity there, for a sum
    not exceeding forty thousand dollars, all expenses included,
    will the Senate approve the same? Or is there any, and what,
    greater or lesser sum which they would fix on as the limit
    beyond which they would not approve the ransom?”[253]

The Senate promptly replied by a resolution declaring it would approve
such treaty of ransom.[254] And Congress, by Act of May 8, 1792,
appropriated a sum of fifty thousand dollars for this purpose.[255]
Commodore Paul Jones was intrusted with the mission to Algiers, charged
with the double duty of making peace and of securing the redemption
of our citizens. In his letter of instructions, June 1, 1792, Mr.
Jefferson considers the rate of ransom.

    “It has been a fixed principle with Congress to establish the
    rate of ransom of American captives with the Barbary States at
    as low a point as possible, that it may not be the interest of
    those States to go in quest of our citizens in preference to
    those of other countries. Had it not been for the danger it
    would have brought on the residue of our seamen, by exciting
    the cupidity of these rovers against them, our citizens now in
    Algiers would have been long ago redeemed, without regard to
    price. The mere money for this particular redemption neither
    has been nor is an object with anybody here.”[256]

In the same instructions Mr. Jefferson says:--

    “As soon as the ransom is completed, you will be pleased to
    have the captives well clothed and sent home at the expense of
    the United States, with as much economy as will consist with
    their reasonable comfort.”[257]

Commodore Paul Jones--called Admiral in the instructions--died without
entering upon these duties, and they were afterwards undertaken by
Colonel Humphreys, our minister at Lisbon, honored especially with the
friendship of Washington, and an accomplished officer of his staff
during the Revolution. The terms demanded by the Dey were such as to
render the mission unsuccessful.

Meanwhile the Algerines seized other of our citizens, who are described
as “employed as captive slaves on the most laborious work, in a
distressed and naked situation.”[258] One of their number, in a letter
to the President, dated at Algiers, November 5, 1793, says:--

    “Humanity towards the unfortunate American captives, I presume,
    will induce your Excellency to coöperate with Congress to adopt
    some speedy and effectual plan in order to restore to liberty
    and finally extricate the American captives from their present

At this time one hundred and nineteen American slaves in Algiers united
in a petition to Congress, dated December 29, 1793, where they say:--

    “Your petitioners are at present captives in this city of
    bondage, employed daily on the most laborious work, without any
    respect to persons.… They pray you will take their unfortunate
    situation into consideration, and adopt such measures as will
    restore the American captives to their country, their friends,
    families, and connections.”[260]

The country was now aroused. A general contribution was proposed.
People of all classes vied in generous effort. Newspapers entered with
increased activity into the work. At public celebrations the toasts,
“Happiness for all,” and “Universal Liberty,” were proposed, partly
in sympathy with our wretched white fellow-countrymen in bonds. On
one occasion, at a patriotic festival in New Hampshire, they were
distinctly remembered in the toast: “Our brethren in slavery at
Algiers. May the measures adopted for their redemption be successful,
and may they live to rejoice with their friends in the blessings of
liberty!”[261] The clergy, too, were enlisted. A fervid appeal by
the captives themselves was addressed to ministers of the Gospel
throughout the United States, asking them to set apart a special
Sunday for sermons in behalf of their enslaved brethren. Literature
added her influence, not only in essays, but in a work, which, though
now forgotten, was among the earliest of the literary productions of
our country, reprinted in London at a time when few American books
were known abroad. I refer to the story of “The Algerine Captive,”
which, though published anonymously, like other similar works at a
later day, is known to have been written by Royall Tyler, afterwards
Chief Justice of Vermont. Slavery in Algiers is here delineated in the
sufferings of a single captive,--as Slavery in the United States has
been since depicted in the sufferings of “Uncle Tom”; but the argument
of the early story was hardly less strong against African Slavery than
against White Slavery. “Grant me,” says the Algerine captive--who had
been a surgeon on board a ship in the African slave-trade--from the
depths of his own sorrows, “once more to taste the freedom of my native
country, and every moment of my life shall be dedicated to preaching
against this detestable commerce. I will fly to our fellow-citizens in
the Southern States; I will on my knees conjure them, in the name of
humanity, to abolish a traffic which causes it to bleed in every pore.
If they are deaf to the pleadings of Nature, I will conjure them, for
the sake of consistency, to cease to deprive their fellow-creatures of
freedom, which their writers, their orators, Representatives, Senators,
and even their Constitutions of Government, have declared to be the
unalienable birthright of man.”[262] In such words was the cause of
Emancipation pleaded at that early day.

From his distant mission at Lisbon, Colonel Humphreys, yet unable
to reach Algiers, joined in this appeal by a letter to the American
people, dated July 11, 1794. Taking advantage of the general interest
in lotteries, and particularly of the custom, not then condemned, of
employing these to obtain money for literary or benevolent purposes,
he suggests a grand lottery, sanctioned by the United States, or
particular lotteries in individual States, to obtain the means required
for the ransom of our countrymen. He then asks:--

    “Is there within the limits of these United States an
    individual who will not cheerfully contribute in proportion to
    his means to carry it into effect? By the peculiar blessings
    of freedom which you enjoy, by the disinterested sacrifices
    you made for its attainment, by the patriotic blood of those
    martyrs of Liberty who died to secure your independence, and by
    all the tender ties of Nature, let me conjure you once more to
    snatch your unfortunate countrymen from fetters, dungeons, and

Meanwhile the Government was energetic through all its agents, at home
and abroad; nor was any question raised with regard to constitutional
powers. In the animated debate which ensued in the House of
Representatives, an honorable member said, “If bribery would not do, he
should certainly vote for equipping a fleet.”[263] At last, by Act of
Congress of the 20th March, 1794, a million dollars was appropriated
for this purpose, being the identical sum now proposed for a similar
purpose of redemption; but it was somewhat masked under the language,
“to defray any expenses which may be incurred in relation to the
intercourse between the United States and foreign nations.”[264] On the
same day, by another Act, the President was authorized “to borrow, on
the credit of the United States, if in his opinion the public service
shall require it, a sum not exceeding one million of dollars.”[265]
The object was distinctly avowed in the instructions of Mr. Jefferson,
28th March, 1795, “for concluding a treaty of peace and liberating our
citizens from captivity.” In other instructions, 25th August of the
preceding year, the wishes of the President are thus conveyed:--

    “Ransom and peace are to go hand and hand, if practicable; but
    if peace cannot be obtained, a ransom is to be effected without
    delay, … restricting yourself, on the head of a ransom, within
    the limit of three thousand dollars per man.”[266]

The negotiation being consummated, the first tidings of its success
were announced to Congress by President Washington in his speech at the
opening of the session, 8th December, 1795.

    “With peculiar satisfaction I add, that information has
    been received from an agent deputed on our part to Algiers,
    importing that the terms of a treaty with the Dey and
    Regency of that country had been adjusted in such a manner
    as to authorize the expectation of a speedy peace, and the
    restoration of our unfortunate fellow-citizens from a grievous

The treaty was signed at Algiers, 5th September, 1795. It was a
sacrifice of pride, if not of honor, to the necessity of the occasion.
Among its stipulations was one even for annual tribute to the barbarous
Slave Power.[268] But, amidst all its unquestionable humiliation, it
was a treaty of Emancipation; nor did our people consider nicely the
terms on which this good was secured. It is recorded that a thrill of
joy went through the land on the annunciation that a vessel had left
Algiers having on board the Americans who had been captives there. The
largess of money, and even the indignity of tribute, were forgotten
in gratulations on their new-found happiness. Washington, in his
speech to Congress of December 7, 1796, thus solemnly dwelt on their

    “After many delays and disappointments, arising out of the
    European war, the final arrangements for fulfilling the
    engagements made to the Dey and Regency of Algiers will, in all
    present appearance, be crowned with success,--but under great,
    though inevitable, disadvantages in the pecuniary transactions,
    occasioned by that war, which will render a further provision
    necessary. _The actual liberation of all our citizens who were
    prisoners in Algiers, while it gratifies every feeling heart_,
    is itself an earnest of a satisfactory termination of the whole

Other treaties were made with Tripoli and Morocco, and more money was
paid for the same object, until at last, in 1801, the slaveholding
pretensions of Tripoli compelled a resort to arms. By a document
preserved in the State Papers of our country, it appears that from
1791, in the space of ten years, appropriations were made for the
liberation of our people, reaching to a sum-total of more than two
millions of dollars.[270] To all who question the power of Congress,
or the policy of exercising it, I commend this account, in its various
items, given with authentic minuteness. If we consider the population
and resources of the country at the time, as compared with our present
gigantic means, the amount will not be deemed inconsiderable.

The pretensions of Tripoli brought out Colonel Humphreys, the former
companion of Washington, now at home in retirement. In an address to
the public, he called again for united action, saying:--

    “Americans of the United States, your fellow-citizens are in
    fetters! Can there be but one feeling? Where are the gallant
    remnants of the race who fought for freedom? Where the glorious
    heirs of their patriotism? _Will there never be a truce
    between political parties? Or must it forever be the fate of
    free States, that the soft voice of union should be drowned
    in the hoarse clamor of discord?_ No! Let every friend of
    blessed humanity and sacred freedom entertain a better hope and

Then commenced those early deeds by which our arms became known in
Europe,--the best achievement of Decatur, and the romantic expedition
of Eaton. Three several times Tripoli was attacked; and yet, after
successes sometimes mentioned with pride, our country consented
by solemn treaty to pay sixty thousand dollars for the freedom of
two hundred American slaves, and thus again by money obtained
Emancipation.[272] But Algiers was governed by Slavery as a ruling
passion. Again our people were seized. Even the absorbing contest with
Great Britain could not prevent an outbreak of indignant sympathy
for those in bonds. A naval force, promptly despatched to the
Mediterranean, was sufficient to secure the freedom of the American
slaves without ransom, and the further stipulation that hereafter no
Americans should be made slaves, and that “any Christians whatsoever,
captives in Algiers,” making their escape and taking refuge on board
an American ship of war, should be safe from all requisition or
reclamation.[273] Decatur, on this occasion, showed character as
well as courage. The freedmen of his arms were welcomed on board his
ship with impatient triumph. Thus, by war, and not by money, was
Emancipation this time obtained.

At a later day, Great Britain, weary of tribute and ransom, directed
her naval power against the Barbary States. Tunis and Tripoli each
promised Abolition, but Algiers sullenly refused, until compelled by
irresistible force. Before night, on the 27th August, 1816, the fleet
fired, besides shells and rockets, one hundred and eighteen tons of
powder and fifty thousand shot, weighing more than five hundred tons.
Amidst the crumbling ruins of walls and citadel, the cruel Slave Power
was humbled, and by solemn stipulation consented to the surrender of
all slaves in Algiers, and the abolition of White Slavery forever. This
great triumph was announced by the victorious admiral in a despatch to
his Government, where he uses words of rejoicing worthy of the occasion.

    “In all the vicissitudes of a long life of public service, no
    circumstance has ever produced on my mind such impressions
    of gratitude and joy as the event of yesterday. To have
    been one of the humble instruments in the hands of Divine
    Providence for bringing to reason a ferocious Government,
    and destroying forever the insufferable and horrid system of
    Christian Slavery, can never cease to be a source of delight
    and heartfelt comfort to every individual happy enough to be
    employed in it.”[274]

And thus ended White Slavery in the Barbary States. A single brief
effort of war put an instant close to the wicked pretension. If, in
looking back upon its history, we find much to humble our pride, if we
are disposed to mourn that the National Government stooped to ransom
men justly free without price, yet we cannot fail to gather instruction
from this great precedent. Slavery is the same in essential character,
wherever it exists,--except, perhaps, that it has received new
harshness here among us. There is no argument against its validity at
Algiers not equally strong against its validity at Washington. In both
cases it is _unjust_ FORCE organized into law. But in Algiers it is
not known that the law was unconstitutional, as it clearly is here in
Washington. In the early case, Slavery was regarded by our fathers only
as an existing FACT; and it is only as an existing FACT that it can be
regarded by us in the present case; nor is there any power of Congress,
generously exerted for those distant captives, which may not be invoked
for the captives in our own streets.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, if, in this important discussion, which seems to open
the door of the future, I confine myself to two simple inquiries, it
is because practically they exhaust the whole subject. If Slavery be
unconstitutional in the national capital, and if it be a Christian
duty, sustained by constitutional examples, to ransom slaves, then
your swift desires will not hesitate to adopt the present bill. It
is needless to enter upon other questions, important perhaps, but
irrelevant. It is needless, also, to consider the objections which
Senators have introduced, for all must see that they are but bugbears.

If I seem to dwell on details, it is because they furnish at each
stage instruction and support; if I occupy time on a curious passage
of history, it is because it is more apt even than curious, while it
sometimes holds the mirror up to our own wickedness, and sometimes even
seems to cry out, “Thou art the man!” I scorn to argue the obvious
truth that the slaves here are as much entitled to freedom as the
white slaves that enlisted the early energies of the new-born nation.
They are _men_ by the grace of God, and this is enough. There is no
principle of the Constitution, and no rule of justice, which is not as
strong for one as for the other. Consenting to the ransom proposed, you
recognize their manhood, and if authority be needed, you find it in the
example of Washington, who did not hesitate to employ a golden key to
open the house of bondage.

Let this bill pass, and then will be accomplished the first practical
triumph of Freedom, for which good men have longed, dying without the
sight,--for which a whole generation has petitioned, and for which
orators and statesmen have pleaded. Slavery will be banished from the
national capital. This metropolis, bearing a venerated name, will be
exalted, its evil spirit cast out, its shame removed, its society
refined, its courts made just, its revolting ordinances swept away,
and even its loyalty assured. If not moved by justice to the slave,
then be willing to act for your own good and in self-defence. If you
hesitate to pass this bill for the blacks, then pass it for the whites.
Nothing is clearer than that the degradation of Slavery affects the
master as well as the slave; while also recent events testify, that,
wherever Slavery exists, there Treason lurks, if it does not flaunt.
From the beginning of this Rebellion, Slavery has been constantly
manifest in the conduct of the masters, and even here in the national
capital it is the traitorous power encouraging and strengthening
the enemy. This power must be suppressed at every cost; and if its
suppression here endangers Slavery elsewhere, there will be new motive
for determined action.

Amidst all present solicitudes, the future cannot be doubtful. At
the national capital Slavery will give way to Freedom. But the good
work will not stop here: it must proceed. What God and Nature decree
Rebellion cannot arrest. And as the whole wide-spread tyranny begins
to tumble, then, above the din of battle, sounding from the sea and
echoing along the land, above even the exultations of victory on
hard-fought fields, will ascend voices of gladness and benediction,
swelling from generous hearts, wherever civilization bears sway, to
commemorate a sacred triumph, whose trophies, instead of tattered
banners, are ransomed slaves.



    Mr. Sumner offered the following resolution, and then spoke
    upon it.

        “_Resolved_, That the Select Committee on the Conduct of
        the War be directed to collect the evidence with regard
        to the barbarous treatment by the Rebels at Manassas of
        the remains of officers and soldiers of the United States
        killed in battle there, and to report the same to the
        Senate, with power to send for persons and papers.”

MR. PRESIDENT,--We have all been shocked, during the last few days, by
the evidence that has accumulated with regard to the treatment of our
dead at Manassas.

Instead of those honorable rites which in all ages generous soldiers
have been glad to bestow upon enemies fallen in battle, we are
disgusted by barbarities reminding us of savage life. Bodies have
been dug up, and human bones carried off as trophies. The skull of a
gallant Massachusetts soldier has been converted into the drinking-cup
of a Georgia colonel, that he may, far away among his slaves, renew
the festive barbarism of another age under the name of “The Feast of

It is obvious, Sir, that we are now in conflict with beings who belong
to a different plane of civilization from ourselves, and it is
important that this unquestionable fact should be made known to the
country and to the world.

All familiar with recent events will remember the effect with which
that great minister, Cavour, when on the eve of the war for Italian
liberation, put forth his circular, setting forth the outrages of the
Austrian soldiers on the Italian inhabitants. Through that appeal, Sir,
he secured the general sympathy of Europe and of the civilized world.
Our cause needs no such document; but I am anxious, nevertheless, for
the sake of history, that the record should be made.

Let it be made, also, that the country and mankind may see how Slavery
in all its influences is barbarous,--barbarous in peace, barbarous in
war, barbarous always, and nothing but barbarism.

    On motion of Mr. Howard, the resolution was amended by adding:--

        “And that the said Select Committee also inquire into the
        fact, whether Indian savages have been employed by the
        Rebels in their military service against the Government of
        the United States, and how such warfare has been conducted
        by said savages, and to report the same to the Senate, with
        power to send for persons and papers.”

    The resolution as amended was adopted.

       *       *       *       *       *

    April 30, Mr. Wade, Chairman of the Committee, reported
    particularly on that part of the resolution moved by Mr.
    Sumner, and the next day the Senate ordered fifty thousand
    extra copies of the report. Its conclusions appear in the
    following painful passage.

        “The outrages upon the dead will revive the recollections
        of the cruelties to which savage tribes subject their
        prisoners. They were buried, in many cases, naked, with
        their faces downward; they were left to decay in the open
        air; their bones were carried off as trophies, sometimes,
        as the testimony proves, to be used as personal adornments;
        and one witness deliberately avers that the head of one of
        our most gallant officers was cut off by a Secessionist,
        to be turned into a drinking-cup on the occasion of his
        marriage. Monstrous as this revelation may appear to
        be, your Committee have been informed, that, during the
        last two weeks, the skull of a Union soldier has been
        exhibited in the office of the sergeant-at-arms of the
        House of Representatives, which had been converted to such
        a purpose, and which had been found on the person of one of
        the Rebel prisoners taken in a recent conflict.”[275]

    The report sustained the allegations of Mr. Sumner, when he
    moved the inquiry, besides giving new force to the term “The
    Barbarism of Slavery.”



MR. PRESIDENT,--In addressing the Senate on this bill, urging the duty
of ransom, I exposed an early, inhuman, and wicked statute of Maryland,
belonging to that offensive mass originally adopted at the time of the
cession as the law of the District, and ever since recognized, although
never voted on, and having only a surreptitious authority. I refer to
that unjust statute making colored persons incompetent to testify,
where a white is a party. I quoted the precise words, still the law of
the District.[276] No language of mine is strong enough to express the
detestation such a contrivance is calculated to arouse in every bosom
not entirely given over to injustice.

The time has come for a change. At least, while providing for the
release of those now detained in Slavery,--unconstitutionally, as I
hold,--we must see that the proceedings are without embarrassment from
that outrageous statute. I propose an amendment, and here I have the
consent of my friend, the chairman of the Committee [Mr. MORRILL], in
the hope of removing this grievance in the inquiries under the bill.

The bill provides for something like a tribunal, as follows:--

    “They [the Commissioners] shall have power to subpœna and
    compel the attendance of witnesses, and to receive testimony
    and enforce its production, as in civil cases before courts of

Under this provision the old Maryland statute is left in full force.
This should not be.

    Mr. Sumner moved to add at the end of this clause, immediately
    after “courts of justice,” the words “without the exclusion of
    any witness on account of color.”

    Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, called for the yeas and nays, which
    were ordered, and, being taken, resulted, yeas 26, nays 10. So
    the amendment was agreed to.

       *       *       *       *       *

    This was the first step for the civil rights of colored
    persons, but it was limited to proceedings under the
    Emancipation Act in the District of Columbia.

       *       *       *       *       *

    July 7th, the Senate having under consideration a Supplementary
    Bill on Emancipation in the District, Mr. Sumner took occasion
    to broaden the immunity by moving the following additional

        “_And be it further enacted_, That in all judicial
        proceedings in the District of Columbia there shall be no
        exclusion of any witness on account of color.”

    The yeas and nays were ordered, at the call of Mr. Powell, of
    Kentucky, and, being taken, resulted, yeas 25, nays 11.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In the House of Representatives, while the bill was under
    consideration, Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, said: “I have no
    hope of success; but I feel it to be my duty to move to strike
    out the words ‘without the exclusion of any witness on account
    of color,’ where they occur.… I presume it is intended to let a
    man’s servant come in and swear that he is a disloyal man. I do
    hope the friends of this bill will not so far outrage the laws
    of this District as to authorize slaves or free negroes to be
    witnesses in cases of this kind.” Mr. Thaddeus Stevens said,
    “I trust that this Committee [of the whole House] will not so
    far continue an outrage as not to allow any man of credit,
    whether he be black or white, to be a witness”; and the motion
    was rejected.[277]


23, 1862.

    Thereupon Zeus, fearing for the safety of our race, sent Hermes
    with self-respect and justice, that their presence among men
    might establish order and knit together the bonds of friendship
    in society. “Must I distribute them,” said Hermes, “as the
    various arts have been distributed aforetime, only to certain
    individuals, or must I dispense them to all?” “_To all_,” said
    Zeus, “_and let all partake of them_.”--PLATO, _Protagoras_, p.
    322 C.

    _Resolved_, That the independence of Texas [Hayti and Liberia]
    ought to be acknowledged by the United States, whenever
    satisfactory information shall be received that it has in
    successful operation a civil government capable of performing
    the duties and fulfilling the obligations of an independent
    of the Senate_, July 1, 1836.

    _Resolved_, That the State of Texas [Hayti and Liberia] having
    established and maintained an independent government capable of
    performing those duties, foreign and domestic, which appertain
    to independent governments, … it is expedient and proper, and
    in conformity with the Laws of Nations and the practice of
    this Government in like cases, that the independent political
    existence of said State be acknowledged by the Government of
    STATES, _Journal of the Senate_, January 12 and March 1, 1837.

    Every nation that governs itself, under what form soever,
    without any dependence on a foreign power, is a sovereign
    state. Its rights are naturally the same as those of any other
    state.… To give a nation a right to make an immediate figure in
    this grand society, it is sufficient if it be really sovereign
    and independent; that is, it must govern itself by its own
    authority and laws.--VATTEL, _Law of Nations_, Book I. ch. 1, §

       *       *       *       *       *

    In his Annual Message at the beginning of this session of
    Congress, December, 1861, the President said: “If any good
    reason exists why we should persevere longer in withholding
    our recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Hayti
    and Liberia, I am unable to discern it. Unwilling, however,
    to inaugurate a novel policy in regard to them without the
    approbation of Congress, I submit for your consideration
    the expediency of an appropriation for maintaining a Chargé
    d’Affaires near each of those new states. It does not admit of
    doubt that important commercial advantages might be secured by
    favorable treaties with them.”

    Until this recommendation, Hayti and Liberia had borne the ban
    of the colored race. The National Government, so long as it was
    ruled by Slavery, could not tolerate a Black Republic. A few
    extracts exhibit the indecency of the opposition. Mr. Hayne,
    of South Carolina, announced: “Our policy with regard to Hayti
    is plain: we never can acknowledge her independence. Let our
    Government direct all our ministers in South America and Mexico
    to _protest_ against the independence of Hayti.” Mr. Hamilton,
    of South Carolina, declared the sentiments of the Southern
    people to be, “that Haytien independence is not to be tolerated
    in any form.” Mr. Berrien, of Georgia, said: “Consistently
    with their own safety, can the people of the South permit the
    intercourse which would result from establishing relations of
    any sort with Hayti?” Even Mr. Benton, of Missouri, joined
    with the rest: “The peace of eleven States in this Union will
    not permit the fruits of a successful negro insurrection to be
    exhibited among them.”[278] On the presentation of a petition
    in the House of Representatives, December 18, 1838, praying
    for the establishment of international relations with the
    Republic of Hayti, there was an outburst. Mr. Legaré, of South
    Carolina, known as an accomplished scholar, exclaimed: “The
    memorial originates in a design to revolutionize the South and
    to convulse the Union, and ought, therefore, to be rejected
    with reprobation. As sure as you live, Sir, if this course is
    permitted to go on, the sun of this Union will go down,--it
    will go down in blood, and go down to rise no more. I will vote
    unhesitatingly against nefarious designs like these. They are
    treason.” Mr. Wise, of Virginia, spoke in the same tone.[279]
    Such was the prevailing spirit. The time had come for a change.

    December 4, 1861, on motion of Mr. Sumner, so much of the
    President’s Message as related to the establishment of
    diplomatic relations with the Governments of Hayti and Liberia
    was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

    December 9th, on motion of Mr. Sumner, all memorials,
    resolutions of Legislatures, and other papers on the files of
    the Senate, relating to the recognition of Hayti and Liberia,
    were taken from the files and referred to the Committee on
    Foreign Relations. Mr. Sumner stated, that he wished to reach
    papers as far back as 1852,--that among these was a very
    important paper, which at the time passed under the eye of Mr.
    Webster, from the mercantile interest of New England, strongly
    in favor of the recognition of Hayti.

    The subject was carefully considered in committee.

    February 4, 1862, Mr. Sumner reported from the Committee
    a bill, which was read and passed to a second reading, to
    authorize the President of the United States to appoint
    diplomatic representatives to the Republics of Hayti and
    Liberia respectively, each representative so appointed
    to be accredited as Commissioner and Consul-General, the
    representative in Hayti to receive the compensation of
    Commissioner according to the Act of Congress of August 18,
    1856, being $7,500, and the representative in Liberia not more
    than $4,000.

    April 23d, on motion of Mr. Sumner, the Senate proceeded to
    consider the bill, when Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.


MR. PRESIDENT,--The independence of Hayti and Liberia has never been
acknowledged by our Government down to this day. It is within the
province of the President to do this at any time, either by receiving a
diplomatic representative or by sending one. The action of Congress is
not necessary, except so far as an appropriation is needed to sustain
a mission. But the President has seen fit, in his Annual Message, to
invite such action. By this bill Congress will associate itself with
him in the acknowledgment, which, viewed only as an act of justice,
comity, and good neighborhood, must commend itself to all candid minds.

In all respects Hayti and Liberia fulfil the requirements of
International Law. Our acknowledgment can raise no question with any
foreign power. Independent in fact, and with a civil government in
successful operation, these two Republics are entitled to hospitable
recognition in the Family of Nations, according to the rule already
established by our Government.

In proposing to appoint diplomatic representatives, we necessarily
contemplate the negotiation of treaties and the establishment of
friendly relations with these two Republics under the sanctions of
International Law, and according to the usage of nations. If it be
important that such treaties should be negotiated and such relations
be established, then the present bill is entitled to support. Thus far
our Government, habitually hospitable to all newly formed republics,
has turned aside from Hayti and Liberia, although the former has been
an independent power for nearly sixty years, and the latter for nearly
fifteen. Our national character has suffered from such conduct, while
important commercial relations with these countries have continued
without the customary support of treaties or the active protection
afforded by the presence of an honored representative. It is time to
end this anomalous state of things.

The arguments for the recognition of Hayti loom like her own mountains
as the mariner approaches the beautiful island, rising higher and
higher, while the head of the last purple peak is lost in the clouds;
and the arguments for the recognition of Liberia are not inferior in

It was my purpose originally to consider this question in some of
its larger aspects, to trace the character and history of the two
Republics, to exhibit the struggles in our own country for the
acknowledgment of their independence, and to vindicate this act in its
manifest relations to civilization. I am happy to believe that such a
discussion is unnecessary, and shall therefore content myself with a
few considerations exclusively practical in character, and especially
in reply to the assertion that diplomatic representatives are not
needed in our concerns with these two Republics.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hayti is one of the most charming and important islands in the world,
possessing remarkable advantages in size, situation, climate, soil,
productions, and mineral wealth. In length, from east to west, it is
about three hundred and thirty-eight miles; and in breadth, from
north to south, it varies from one hundred and forty-five miles to
seventeen. Its circumference, without including bays, measures eight
hundred and forty-eight miles. Its surface, exclusive of adjacent
islands, is estimated at thirty thousand five hundred and twenty-eight
square miles,--being about the area of Ireland, and nearly half that
of New England. In size it is so considerable as to attract attention
among the islands of the world. In situation it is commanding, being at
the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, and within easy reach of all the
islands there. In climate it is salubrious, with natural heats tempered
by sea-breezes. In soil, it is rich with tropical luxuriance, various
with mountains and plains, watered by numerous rivers, and dotted with
lakes. In productions it is abundant beyond even the ordinary measure
of such favored regions. The mountains yield mahogany, satin-wood, and
lignum-vitæ, while the plains supply all the bountiful returns of the
tropics, including bananas, oranges, pine-apples, coffee, cacao, sugar,
indigo, and cotton. Among the minerals are gold, silver, platinum,
mercury, copper, iron, sulphur, and several kinds of precious stones.
Such, in brief, is the physical character of this wonderful island,
which, like Ireland, is a “gem of the sea.”

Originally discovered by Christopher Columbus, who named it Hispaniola,
or Little Spain, the island was for a long time among the most valued
possessions of Spain, from which power the western portion, known as
Hayti, passed to France. Throwing off the government of the latter
country, the Republic of Hayti for nearly sixty years has maintained
its independence before the world, and performed honorably all its
duties in the family of nations. At one time it embraced the whole
island: at present it occupies a portion only, with a population of six
hundred thousand.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Republic of Liberia extends along the western coast of Africa for
a space of five hundred miles, beginning at the British colony of
Sierra Leone, with an average breadth of fifty miles, between latitude
4° 20´ and 7° 20´ north, embracing an area of thirty thousand square
miles, being almost precisely the area of Hayti,--so that these two
regions, one an island and the other a strip of African sea-coast,
are of equal geographical extent. I say nothing of the origin of this
republic, although it cannot be contemplated without the conviction
that perhaps it is one of the most important colonies ever planted. At
last civilization obtains foothold in Africa, almost under the equator.

In soil and productions, if not in climate, this region is hardly
less favored than Hayti. Though so near the equator, the mercury
seldom rises above ninety degrees in the shade, and never falls below
sixty. Most of the productions in one are also found in the other.
But Liberia abounds in iron ore. Copper and other metals are said to
exist in the interior. It is, however, in sugar, cotton, coffee, and
palm-oil that Liberia seems destined to excel. A person familiar with
the country reports that it “bids fair to become one of the greatest
sugar-producing countries in the world.” The population embraces some
fifteen thousand persons, emigrants, or their children, from the United
States, with a large native population, held in subjection and already
won toward civilization, amounting to more than two hundred thousand.

With two countries like these the argument for treaties is strong,
without pursuing the inquiry further. But it becomes irresistible, when
we consider the positive demands of our commerce in these quarters.
Even in spite of coldness, neglect, and injustice, our commercial
relations have grown there to great importance. If assured of the
customary protection afforded by treaties and the watchful presence of
a diplomatic representative, they must become of greater importance

I have in my hands a tabular statement of our commerce and navigation
with foreign countries for the year ending June 30, 1860, arranged
according to amount, so that the country with the largest commercial
intercourse stands first. This authentic testimony has been prepared
at the Treasury Department, under my directions, for this occasion.
Though most interesting and instructive, it is too minute to be read in
debate. Here, under one head, are the exports from the United States;
under another head, the imports; and, under other heads, the number of
ships and tonnage: the whole so classified that we see at a glance the
relative importance of foreign countries in their commercial relations
with the United States.[280] Such a statement is in itself an argument.

It is to exhibit the precise position of Hayti and Liberia in the scale
that I introduce this table. When it is said that out of seventy-one
countries Hayti stands the _twenty-seventh_, and Liberia at least helps
to make the _twenty-ninth_, this is not enough. It must be observed
that there are no less than ten countries, like Canada and Cuba, which,
though enumerated separately, belong to other nationalities. If these
are excluded, or added to their proper nationalities, Hayti will rank
as _seventeenth_, and Liberia will take her place as _nineteenth_. But
if we examine this table in detail, we find the important relative
position of these two countries amply sustained. Confining ourselves
for the present to Hayti, we have these remarkable results.

Hayti, in exports received from us, stands next to Russia. The exports
to Hayti are $2,673,682; while those to Russia amount to $2,786,835.
But the imports from Hayti are $2,062,723, while those from Russia are
only $1,545,164. In number of vessels employed, Hayti is much the more
important to us. Only sixty vessels are employed between the United
States and Russia, while four hundred and ninety are employed between
the United States and Hayti. So that, in importance of commercial
relations, Hayti stands above Russia, where we have been constantly
represented by a Minister Plenipotentiary of the highest class, with
a Secretary of Legation, and have at this moment no less than eight
consuls besides.

According to this table, there are no less than _fifteen_ countries
with which the United States maintain diplomatic relations, although
lower than Hayti in the scale of commerce and navigation. This is not
all. In point of fact, there are at least _three_ other countries,
where we are now represented by a Minister Resident, which do not
appear in any commercial tables: I refer to Switzerland, Paraguay, and
Bolivia. So that there are as many as _eighteen_ countries of less
commercial importance than Hayti, with which the United States are now
in diplomatic relations.

The exports to Austria, including Venice, where we are represented
by a Minister Plenipotentiary of the first class, with a Secretary
of Legation and three consuls, are less than one half our exports to
Hayti, while the number of ships in this commerce is only forty-five,
being four hundred and forty-five less than in our commerce with Hayti.
The exports to Peru, where we are represented also by a Minister
Plenipotentiary of the first class, with a Secretary of Legation and
five consuls, are still less than those to Austria.

In this scale of commerce and navigation Hayti stands above Prussia,
where we are represented by a Minister Plenipotentiary, and also above
Sweden, Turkey, Central America, Portugal, the Papal States, Japan,
Denmark, and Ecuador, where we are represented by Ministers Resident.
It also stands above the Sandwich Islands, where we are represented by
a Commissioner. Of these there are several whose combined commerce with
the United States is inferior to that of Hayti. This is the case with
Sweden, Turkey, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, and Ecuador, which altogether
do not equal Hayti in commercial relations with the United States.

Our combined exports to Turkey in Europe and Turkey in Asia are
nearly two millions less than to Hayti; and yet, with this Mohammedan
Government we have felt it important within a few weeks to negotiate a
treaty of commerce.

The commerce with China is among the most valuable we possess, and
the ships engaged in it are of large size; but in number they are
inferior to those engaged in trade with Hayti. And yet at China we
have a Minister Plenipotentiary of the first class, with a salary of
twelve thousand dollars, an interpreter with a salary of five thousand
dollars, two consuls with salaries each of four thousand dollars, one
other consul with a salary of three thousand five hundred dollars, two
other consuls with salaries each of three thousand dollars, and two
other consuls paid by fees.

Perhaps the comparison between Hayti and the Sandwich Islands is the
most instructive. Both are islands independent in government,--Hayti
with a population of six hundred thousand, the Sandwich Islands with
a population of little more than seventy thousand. The exports to
Hayti, as we have already seen, are $2,673,682, while the exports
to the Sandwich Islands are only $747,462. And the difference in
navigation is as great. In commerce with Hayti there are four hundred
and ninety ships, with an aggregate of 82,360 tons, while in commerce
with the Sandwich Islands there are only eighty-five ships, with an
aggregate of 35,368 tons. And yet, at the Sandwich Islands, with this
inferior population, inferior commerce, and inferior navigation, we are
represented by a Commissioner, with a salary of seven thousand five
hundred dollars, one consul with a salary of four thousand dollars,
another consul with a salary of three thousand dollars, and still
another paid by fees.

Nor is the interest in the trade with Hayti confined to any particular
State or section of the United States. From other authentic
tables it appears that the New England States send fish and cheap
cottons,--Pennsylvania and the Western States send pork,--Vermont, New
York, Ohio, and Illinois send beef, butter, and cheese,--Philadelphia
and Boston send soap and candles,--while Maine sends lumber, and in
times past Southern States have sent rice and tobacco.

Of fish Hayti in 1859-60 took from us 55,652 cwt., being much more than
was taken by any other country, except Cuba, which took 59,719 cwt.,
and much more than was taken by all the rest of the West Indies. Of
cotton manufactures Hayti took from us to the value of $227,717, being
more than was taken by many other countries together, and nearly double
the amount taken by Cuba and Porto Rico together, the two remaining,
but valuable, American possessions of Spain. Of butter Hayti took
211,644 pounds, of cheese 121,137 pounds, of lard 675,163 pounds,--but
of soap she took 2,602,132 pounds, being three times as much as was
taken by any other country. Cuba, which stands next, took only 867,823
pounds, while Mexico took only 66,874 pounds.[281]

Such are some of the articles, which I mention that you may see the
distribution of this commerce in our own country, as well as the extent
to which, though pursued under difficulties, it has already gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

The practical advantages from the recognition of Hayti were directly
urged upon the National Government by one of its agents, even during
the unfriendly administration of President Pierce. I refer to the
consular return of John L. Wilson, commercial agent at Cape Haytien,
under date of June 5, 1854, as follows.

    “By a recognition of the independence of Hayti our commerce
    would be likely to advance still more. Our citizens trading
    there would enjoy more privileges, besides standing on a better
    footing. _Many decided advantages might also be obtained
    through treaty_, and our own Government exercise a wholesome
    influence over theirs, of which it stands much in need.”[282]

This is certainly strong testimony, although, when we consider his
political relations, testimony from an unwilling witness. There is
other testimony of a similar character. In the text of the elaborate
report by the Department of State, from which the above is taken, is
found the following weighty opinion.

    “There being no treaty between the United States and Hayti, the
    commerce between the two countries is governed by such local
    laws and regulations as may from time to time be enacted. These
    are always subject to changes and alterations, sometimes so
    sudden,--decrees of to-day superseding the laws in force but
    yesterday,--that commercial interests, _especially those of
    the United States_, have been in many instances most seriously

As late as June 25, 1850, a law was in force which subjected the
vessels of all countries not acknowledging the independence of Hayti
to an additional duty of ten per cent. American vessels, being within
its operation, could not compete with the vessels of other nations,
even in exporting to Hayti our own staples. Then, again, there was a
tariff, that took effect in January, 1850, under which there was a most
injurious discrimination against our trade. A despatch at that period
from Aux Cayes to the Department of State says: “While the citizens
of France are scarcely affected in their importations to Hayti, the
Americans here import, and our merchants at home export, scarcely any
article that is free.” And yet, in the face of these annoyances, and
notwithstanding the embarrassments which they occasioned, our merchants
have secured at least a moiety of the foreign trade of Hayti. With the
encouragements bestowed on our relations with other countries, we shall
enjoy a much larger proportion.[284]

If any additional motive were needed, it might be found in the
political condition of the West India Islands, and the present
movements in Mexico. Spain, quickened by ancient pride, has begun to
recover her former foothold,[285] and it is sometimes supposed that
France is willing to profit by imagined change of sentiment in her
favor. Thus far the Republic of Hayti has been left without sympathy
or support from our country. That it is able to sustain itself so
well gives assurance of still greater strength, when surrounded by
more auspicious circumstances. Nor is the influence of Hayti to be
neglected in adjusting that balance of power which is daily becoming
of increased importance in the West Indies. It may be of value to us
that this republic should be among our friends, while it cannot be
doubted that our friendship will contribute to Haytien security against
danger from any quarter whatsoever. It will be remembered that Mr.
Canning boasted, somewhat grandly, that he called a new world into
existence to redress the balance of the old,--alluding in this way to
the acknowledgment of the Spanish colonies. In the same spirit, and
without any exaggeration, may it be said that by the acknowledgment of
Hayti we shall provide a check to distant schemes of ambition, which
have latterly menaced an undue predominance in the West Indies. In this
view, the present proposition has a political importance which it is
difficult to measure. It becomes a pledge of permanent peace, as well
as of commerce; but it can have this character only if made effective,
sincerely and honestly, according to the usage of nations.

Of the many colonies following our example and independence Hayti was
the first, and yet, by strange perversity, is not even now recognized
by our Government. We are told that the last shall be first and the
first shall be last. This, surely, is a case where the first is
last. It remains to be seen, if, under the genial influence of such
recognition, Hayti may not become, among all independent colonies,
first in importance to us, as it was first in accepting our example.

In acknowledging the independence of Hayti, we follow too tardily the
lead of other nations. France for a long time hesitated, as Spain
hesitated, to acknowledge the independence of her colonies. This
concession was made in 1825, under Charles the Tenth, while Hayti
stipulated by treaty to pay one hundred and fifty million francs,
as well for the recognition as for indemnification to colonial
proprietors. It was natural that the mother country should hesitate;
but when France abandoned all claim, every objection to recognition by
other nations ceased. Accordingly, this republic has been recognized,
if not cordially welcomed, by Great Britain, France, Spain, Prussia,
Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Hanover, Italy, and even
by Austria, all of whom have representatives there, duly chronicled in
the Almanach de Gotha.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far I have confined myself to the case of Hayti. But Liberia has
claims of its own. If our commercial relations with this interesting
country are less important, they are nevertheless of such consequence
as to require protection, while this republic may properly look to us
for parental care.

The commercial tables by which I have illustrated so completely the
relative importance of Hayti are less precise with regard to Liberia,
inasmuch as this republic, owing to unhappy prejudices in recent
Administrations, was not allowed a separate place in the tables, but
was concealed under the head of “Other Ports in Africa.” From authentic
sources I learn that the exports from the single port of Monrovia for
the year 1860 amounted to near $200,000, while those from the whole
republic amounted to as much as $400,000.

I forbear details with regard to the commerce of Liberia. It is enough
that it is already considerable, and is increasing in value, although
Great Britain, by a treaty, and the cultivation of friendly relations,
has done something to divert this commerce from the United States. But
it is not too late for us to enter into a treaty, and to establish
similar friendly relations. If, beyond the impulse of self-interest, we
need anything to quicken us, we shall find it in the judgment of Henry
Clay, who, in a letter dated Ashland, October 18, 1851, uses these
positive words:--

    “I have thought for years that the independence of Liberia
    ought to be recognized by our Government, and I have frequently
    urged it upon persons connected with the Administration,--and I
    shall continue to do so, if I have suitable opportunities.”

In taking this step, and entering into a treaty with Liberia, we only
follow the example of commercial nations. Nor can I doubt that we must
in this way essentially promote our own commercial interests. Liberia
is so situated, that, with the favor of the National Government, it may
become the metropolitan power on the whole African coast, so that the
growing commerce of that continent will be to a great degree in its

       *       *       *       *       *

I do not dwell at length on the general advantages from the recognition
of these two powers, nor do I enlarge on the motives of justice. I
mean to state the case simply, without introducing any topic which can
justly cause debate in this body. It is enough that the acknowledgment
is required for our own good. Happily, in benefiting ourselves we shall
promote the interests of others.

There is one consequence which I cannot forbear to specify. Emigrants
to these Republics will be multiplied by such recognition, while every
emigrant, when happily established, will create an additional demand
for the productions of our commerce, and contribute to the number of
American keels which plough the ocean.

And there is yet one other consequence, which ought to be presented
expressly. Our commerce will be put at once under the solemn safeguard
of treaty, so that it will enjoy that security which is essential to
its perfect prosperity, and can no longer suffer from discriminating
duties or hostile legislation, aroused by a just sensibility at our
persevering illiberality. If you would have such treaties, you must
begin by an acknowledgment of independence.

Sir, there is one business only which can suffer by this measure: I
mean that of counterfeit money. You know, Sir, that, by a familiar
rule of International Law, declared by the Supreme Court of the United
States,[286] it belongs exclusively to the political department of the
Government to determine our relations with a foreign country. And since
our Government refuses to acknowledge Hayti, our courts of justice are
obliged to do so likewise; so that, when criminals are arraigned for
counterfeiting the money of Hayti, they decline all jurisdiction of
the offence. As Hayti is not a nation, it cannot have money. Such is
the reasoning, and the counterfeiters go free. It is said that during
the past thirty years millions of false dollars have in this way been
put in circulation. A case has occurred only recently, where the
counterfeiter was promptly discharged, while the witness alone seemed
to be in danger. It is time that such an outrage should be stopped.

It may be said that the same objects can be obtained by consuls,
instead of commissioners. It is clear that it is not the habit of the
United States to enter upon negotiations and open friendly relations
with foreign states through consuls. And it is also clear, that,
according to the usage of nations, consuls are not entitled to the same
consideration with diplomatic representatives. Their influence is less,
whether in dealing with the Government to which they are accredited, or
with the representatives of other powers at the same place. On this
point I content myself with reading the words of Mr. Wheaton.

    “Consuls are not public ministers. Whatever protection they
    may be entitled to in the discharge of their official duties,
    and whatever special privileges may be conferred upon them
    by the local laws and usages, or by international compact,
    they are not entitled by the general Law of Nations to the
    peculiar immunities of ambassadors. No state is bound to permit
    the residence of foreign consuls, unless it has stipulated
    by convention to receive them. They are to be approved and
    admitted by the local sovereign, and, if guilty of illegal or
    improper conduct, are liable to have the exequatur which is
    granted them withdrawn, and may be punished by the laws of the
    state where they reside, or sent back to their own country, at
    the discretion of the Government which they have offended. In
    civil and criminal cases they are subject to the local law, in
    the same manner with other foreign residents owing a temporary
    allegiance to the state.”[287]

It may be true that negotiations are sometimes conducted by consuls,
but very rarely; and the exceptions testify to the prevailing policy.
Ministers are the received agents of diplomacy. Any other agent
must be inferior in weight and character. If this be true,--and it
is undeniable,--then obviously the objects now proposed can be most
fitly and effectively accomplished only by diplomatic representatives.
And since what is worth doing is worth well doing, I hope there
will be no hesitation. Here again the example of the great European
powers may properly influence us. England, France, and Spain have
diplomatic representatives at Hayti, who are reputed to discharge their
responsible duties with activity and ability. All these have the
advantage of subsisting treaties. Our treaty remains to be negotiated.
To do this in such a way as to secure for our various interests all
proper advantages must be our special aim. Any further neglect on
our part can be nothing less than open abandonment of these various
interests. Too long already has this sacrifice been made.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, a full generation has passed since the acknowledgment
of Hayti was urged upon Congress. As an act of justice too long
deferred, it aroused even then the active sympathy of multitudes, while
as an act for the benefit of our commerce it was ably commended by
eminent merchants of Boston and New York without distinction of party.
It received the authoritative support of John Quincy Adams, whose
vindication of Hayti was associated with his best labors in the other
House. The right of petition, which he steadfastly maintained, was long
ago established. Slavery in the national capital is now abolished.
It remains that this other triumph shall be achieved. Petitioners,
who years ago united in this prayer, and statesmen who presented the
petitions, are dead. But they will all live again in the good work they
generously began.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, this is the statement I have to make on this important
question. As I know that the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. DAVIS] desires
to move an amendment, I shall not ask a vote to-day; but I propose that
the further consideration of the bill be postponed until to-morrow at
half past twelve o’clock, when I hope we may have a vote upon it.

    The motion was agreed to.

    April 24th, the Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed
    the consideration of the bill to authorize the President of
    the United States to appoint diplomatic representatives to the
    Republics of Hayti and Liberia respectively. Mr. Davis, of
    Kentucky, moved to strike out all after the enacting clause,
    and insert:--

        “That the President of the United States be, and hereby
        is, authorized, by and with the advice and consent of the
        Senate, to appoint a consul to the Republic of Liberia, and
        a consul-general to the Republic of Hayti, respectively,
        with powers to negotiate treaties of amity, friendship, and
        commerce between the United States and those Republics.”

    In the course of his remarks, Mr. Davis expressed himself as

        “MR. PRESIDENT,--I am weary, sick, disgusted, despondent
        with the introduction of the subject of Slaves and Slavery
        into the Chamber; and if I had not happened to be a member
        of the committee from which this bill was reported, I
        should not have opened my mouth upon the subject.… I oppose
        the sending of ambassadors of any class from our Government
        to theirs upon this consideration: it would establish
        diplomatically terms of mutual and equal reciprocity
        between the two countries and us. If, after such a measure
        should take effect, the Republic of Hayti and the Republic
        of Liberia were to send their ministers plenipotentiary
        or their chargés d’affaires to our Government, they would
        have to be received by the President, and by all the
        functionaries of the Government, upon the same terms of
        equality with similar representatives from other powers. If
        a full-blooded negro were sent in that capacity from either
        of those countries, by the Laws of Nations he could demand
        that he be received precisely on the same terms of equality
        with the white representatives from the powers of the
        earth composed of white people. When the President opened
        his saloons to the reception of the diplomatic corps,
        when he gave his entertainments to such diplomats, the
        representatives, of whatever color, from those countries,
        would have the right to demand admission upon terms of
        equality with all other diplomats; and if they had families
        consisting of negro wives and negro daughters, they would
        have the right to ask that their families also be invited
        to such occasions, and that they go there and mingle with
        the whites of our own country and of other countries that
        happened to be present. We recollect that a few years
        ago the refined French court admitted and received the
        representative of Soulouque, who then denominated himself,
        or was called, the Emperor of Dominica, I think.”

        MR. SUMNER. “Of Hayti.”

        MR. DAVIS. “Well, a great big negro fellow, dressed out
        with his silver or gold lace clothes in the most fantastic
        and gaudy style, presented himself in the court of Louis
        Napoleon, and, I admit, was received. Now, Sir, I want
        no such exhibition as that in our capital and in our
        Government. The American minister, Mr. Mason, was present
        on that occasion, and he was sleeved by some Englishman--I
        have forgotten his name--who was present, who pointed
        him to the ambassador of Soulouque, and said, ‘What do
        you think of him?’ Mr. Mason turned round and said, ‘I
        think, clothes and all, he is worth a thousand dollars.’


        “Mr. President, I regret to have felt myself forced to
        speak the words upon this subject I have. I do begin to
        nauseate the subject of Slaves and Slavery in debate in
        this Chamber; and it was only because this measure has
        been perseveringly and uniformly opposed from the Slave
        States heretofore, and I know is distasteful, to a very
        considerable extent, to the people of those States, and
        because the measure, in the form in which it has been
        reported, would have the effect, in my opinion, to increase
        this feeling, that I have thought it incumbent on me to say
        a word.”

MR. SUMNER. Mr. President, the Senate will bear me witness, that, in
presenting this important question yesterday, I made no allusion to
the character of the population in the two Republics. I made no appeal
on account of color. I did not allude to the unhappy circumstance in
their history, that they had once been slaves. It is the Senator from
Kentucky who introduces this topic. And not only this, Sir, he follows
it by alluding to some possible difficulties--I hardly know how to
characterize them--which may occur in social life, should the Congress
of the United States undertake at this late day, simply in harmony with
the Law of Nations, and following the policy of civilized communities,
to pass this bill. I shall not follow the Senator on those sensitive
topics. I content myself with a single remark. More than once I have
had the opportunity of meeting citizens of these Republics, and I say
nothing beyond the truth when I add that I have found them so refined
and so full of self-respect as to satisfy me that no one of them
charged with a mission from his Government can seek any society where
he will be not entirely welcome. Sir, the Senator from Kentucky may
banish all personal anxiety. No representative from Hayti or Liberia
will trouble him.

But the proposition of the Senator makes a precise objection to the
bill, which I am ready to meet. He insists that we shall be represented
by consuls only, and not by diplomatic agents. Yesterday, in the
remarks I had the honor of addressing to the Senate, I anticipated this
very objection. I quoted then the authoritative words of Mr. Wheaton
in his work on the Law of Nations, where he sets forth the distinction
between ministers and consuls, and shows the greater advantage from a
representation by one than by the other. I follow up that quotation now
by reading from another work. It is a treatise on International Law
and the Laws of War by General Halleck; and as I quote this authority,
which is not yet much known, I venture to remark that I doubt if there
is any recent contribution to the literature of the Law of Nations
of more practical value. In a few words he states the character of
consuls. I quote from him as follows.

    “Consuls have neither the representative nor diplomatic
    character of public ministers. They have no right of
    ex-territoriality, and therefore cannot claim, either for
    themselves, their families, houses, or property, the privileges
    of exemption which by this fiction of law are accorded to
    diplomatic agents, who are considered as representing, in a
    greater or less degree, the sovereignty of the state which
    appoints them. They, however, are officers of a foreign state,
    and, when recognized as such by the exequatur of the state in
    which they exercise their functions, they are under the special
    protection of the Law of Nations. Consuls are sometimes made
    also chargés d’affaires, in which cases they are furnished with
    credentials, and enjoy diplomatic privileges; but these result
    only from their character as chargés, and not as consuls.”[288]

The Committee who had the subject in charge, taking it into careful
consideration,--as I believe the Senator from Kentucky, who is a
member of the Committee, will confess,--deliberately reached the
conclusion that it was advisable for the United States at present to
be represented at each of those Republics by a person of diplomatic
character. The Committee put aside the proposition that we should be
represented merely by a consul. It was felt that such an officer would
not adequately do all that our country might justly expect to have
done. Nor is this all. We were guided also by the precedents of our
Government. There are eighteen different states lower down in the scale
of commerce and navigation with the United States, where we are now
represented by diplomatic representatives. One of these, as I explained
yesterday, is the Sandwich Islands, with a population of only seventy
thousand, and with a commerce and navigation vastly inferior to that
between the United States and Hayti.

    MR. DAVIS. I think we have too many.

MR. SUMNER. Possibly. I go into no inquiry on that point. Suffice it to
say we already have these eighteen diplomatic representatives, and one
of these is at the Sandwich Islands, with a population, a commerce, and
navigation inferior to those of Hayti. Besides, at the Sandwich Islands
we have three consuls highly paid. If we have too many, let us reduce
the list, but do not commence our economies on Hayti and Liberia.

The Committee in their conclusion followed the usage of nations, and
also the example of the great powers at Hayti. In presenting this
measure, I make no appeal on account of an oppressed race. I urge it
simply as an act for our own good. We go about the world hunting up
the smaller powers, where to make treaties and to place diplomatic
representatives, under the temptation of petty commercial advantage.
Thus far we have stood aloof from two important opportunities of
extending and strengthening our influence. It is time to change.

    The proposition of Mr. Davis was rejected,--Yeas 8, Nays 30.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, then said:--

        “After the vote just taken in the Senate, I shall not
        trespass upon their attention, as I intended to do,--only
        for a brief period, however. It is evident that this bill
        is going to pass. I want the country, however, to know that
        according to the rules of the Senate foreign ministers have
        a right upon this floor, and we have set apart a portion of
        the gallery for the ministers and their families. If this
        bill should pass both Houses of Congress and become a law,
        I predict that in twelve months some negro will walk upon
        the floor of the Senate of the United States and carry his
        family into that gallery which is set apart for foreign
        ministers. If that is agreeable to the taste and feeling of
        the people of this country, it is not to mine; and I only
        say that I will not be responsible for any such act. With
        this I will content myself.”

    The question, on the passage by yeas and nays, resulted, Yeas
    32, Nays 7.

    So the bill was passed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    June 3d, the bill passed the House,--Yeas 86, Nays 37.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The passage of this bill was felt to be an important stage
    in the warfare with Slavery. Governor Andrew saw it so, and

         “The triumphant and exemplary majority which the
        Hayti bill obtained in the Senate is most gratifying.
        I am greatly rejoiced. The law, when passed, will be a
        recognition of the _Colored Man_, not merely of Hayti. It
        is a jewel in your crown.”

    Joshua Leavitt, of New York, the tried Abolitionist, also saw
    it so, and wrote:--

        “Allow me to congratulate you on the splendid vote in the
        Senate on Haytien recognition. I think it shows the benefit
        of waiting for the right time, and then striking. This
        action is final in regard to the supremacy of the Slave
        Power. How can they administer a government that is in
        amity with a nation of insurgent negro slaves?”

    The joy in Hayti was reported by Seth Webb, Jr., our Commercial
    Agent at Port-au-Prince.

        “We all admire the way you steered the recognition through
        the Senate, and can only hope for as good a pilot in the

        “The news of the passage of the Recognition Bill through
        the Senate was received here about the same time with
        that of the taking of Yorktown and Williamsburg, and
        diffused real joy among all classes. The American residents
        illuminated their houses, and had a good time generally.

        “Your speech on the passage of the Recognition Bill
        attracts great attention here, and, when printed in full,
        will be extensively read.”[289]

    Hon. Benjamin C. Clark, an eminent merchant, acting as Consul
    of Hayti at Boston, wrote with the feelings of an American
    citizen, as well as of a Haytien representative.

        “The passage of the bill under your thorough exposition
        of the subject will be a big white stone in our pathway
        as a nation, and a gravestone to the vampires and Vandals
        who have left nothing by the wayside but works of treason
        leading to bloodshed and desolation.”

    The feelings of the Haytien people were communicated by the
    following letter.

                         “CONSULATE OF HAYTI, NEW YORK, 26 April, 1862.

        “SIR,--I have the honor to express my high appreciation
        of the important services you have so untiringly rendered
        to Hayti, for which you receive the gratitude of all
        liberal and benevolent persons who desire justice and
        political equality accorded to all men, and especially,
        in the present instance, to a people who, under many
        embarrassments, have nobly maintained their position, and
        are daily advancing in intellectual culture and in the
        refinements of civilized life.…

        “My despatches announcing the recognition were forwarded
        yesterday by a vessel sailing directly for the Bay of
        Port-au-Prince, and duplicates of my despatches will be
        sent on Monday by a fast vessel for Port-au-Prince.

        “I know the character of the Haytiens thoroughly, having
        lived among them some fifteen years, eight years of the
        time as Commercial Agent of the United States, and I can
        imagine their hearts swelling with pleasure and gratitude
        on the reception of the good news; and your name, Sir, will
        be held in kind remembrance as long as Hayti exists.

        “Be pleased, Sir, to accept assurance of my distinguished

            “GEORGE F. USHER, _Hayti Commercial Agent_.

        “HON. CHARLES SUMNER, _United States Senator, &c., &c.,
        &c._, Washington.”

    The sentiments of Liberia were conveyed in the following.

                                   “WASHINGTON, D. C., 10th June, 1862.

        “DEAR SIR,--The children of Africa all over the globe owe
        you the deepest gratefulness and lasting honor, for you
        have been most prompt and punctual in vindicating their
        cause, in advancing their interests, and even in suffering
        in their behalf. But recently you have participated in an
        act which touches with benignant power upon the great home
        of this race, and which, combining with the generous and
        beneficent policy of other great nations, will, without
        doubt, serve to stir to unusual activity and to move with
        a civilizing and saving power millions of human beings
        throughout the entire continent of Africa.

        “To you, Sir, to a very considerable degree, we owe the
        recognition of the Republic of Liberia by the Government of
        the United States.

        “Had it not been for your masterly policy and your wise
        discretion, allied to a most persistent determination, we
        have reason to doubt whether the Bill of Recognition would
        not have met with a miscarriage during the present session
        of Congress.

        “Thanks to your fast friendship, it has not failed, and
        the Republic of Liberia has been brought, through wise
        and cordial legislation, into brotherhood with the great
        Republic of America. And believe us, Sir, your name and
        memory will never be forgotten by us. Your virtues and
        excellencies shall be recited to our children’s children,
        your philanthropic course and painful labors shall be held
        up for imitation to our aspiring youth, and your effigy
        shall adorn the halls of legislation, of letters, and of
        art in Liberia, with all the other great benefactors of our
        country and our race, as advancing civilization shall rear
        stately structures and noble courts.

        “In our own behalf, and in behalf of the young nation we
        represent, we tender you cordial congratulations and our
        sincerest thanks, and we are, Sir,

            “Your obedient servants,

                “ALEX. CRUMMELL,
                “EDWARD W. BLYDEN,
                 “J. D. JOHNSON,
            “_Commissioners from Liberia, &c., &c._


    In the summer of 1871, the memory of this effort was revived
    by a beautiful medal offered to Mr. Sumner in the name of
    the Haytien people, as an expression of gratitude for his
    defence of their independence on two different occasions,--the
    first being the present speech, and the other a later effort,
    growing out of the attempt to annex Dominica, with menace to
    Hayti. As Mr. Sumner felt it his duty to decline the medal,
    the Haytien Minister placed it in the hands of the Governor
    of Massachusetts, who deposited it in the Library of the



    Early in the spring of 1862, Mr. Seward conferred with Mr.
    Sumner on a treaty with Great Britain for a mutual and
    restricted right of search and mixed courts, with a view to the
    suppression of the slave-trade. The negotiation was opened and
    proceeded successfully. April 7th, Mr. Sumner, being at the
    State Department, had the happiness of witnessing the signature
    of this treaty by Mr. Seward and Lord Lyons. April 11th, it was
    communicated to the Senate in Executive Session, and referred
    to the Committee on Foreign Relations. April 15th, it was
    reported to the Senate by Mr. Sumner, with the recommendation
    that the Senate advise and consent thereto. April 22d, it
    was brought up in the Senate, when Mr. Sumner moved the
    usual resolution of ratification. April 24th, on motion of
    Mr. Sumner, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution
    of ratification. The yeas and nays were dispensed with by
    unanimous consent, and the resolution was agreed to without a
    dissenting vote.

MR. PRESIDENT,--Already a slave-trader has been executed at New
York, being the first in our history to suffer for this immeasurable
crime.[290] English lawyers dwell much upon treason to the king, which
they denounce in a term borrowed from ancient Rome as _lese_-majesty;
but the slave-trade is treason to man, being nothing less than
_lese_-humanity. Much as I incline against capital punishment, little
as I am disposed to continue this barbarous penalty, unworthy of a
civilized age, I see so much of good in this example at the present
moment, that I reconcile myself to it without a pang. Clearly it will
be a warning to slave-traders, and also notice to the civilized world
that at last we are in earnest, while it helps make the slave-trade
detestable. Crime is seen in the punishment, and the gallows sheds upon
it that infamy which nothing short of martyrdom in a good cause can

       *       *       *       *       *

The important treaty now before the Senate is to enforce on a large
scale final judgment against the slave-trade. It is to do with many
what has just been done with an individual. Our flag is desecrated
by this hateful commerce; ships equipped in New York are tempted by
its cruel gains. To stop this has been impossible, while Slavery
prevailed in the National Government. How could our courts judge the
slave-trader, how could the National Government set itself against the
hateful commerce, while Slavery occupied all the places of power? But
this is changed. If Emancipation is yet longer delayed, Slavery is at
least dislodged from its predominant influence. Therefore is the way
free for action against the slave-trade.

The treaty proceeds on the idea of earnest work, and it recognizes two
especial agencies, each of which has been discussed between the two
Governments in former years, but has always failed of adoption. The
first is a mutual and restricted right of search, and the second is the
well-known system of mixed courts, for the enforcement of the treaty.

The treaty has just been read, so that I need not recite in detail the
terms of these two provisions. I pass at once to the consideration of
their origin and necessity.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a time when our country was open and earnest against the
slave-trade. A well-known provision of the Constitution, classed among
original compromises, restrained Congress from prohibiting it prior
to the year 1808; but, just so soon as it had the power, Congress
acted. Its promptitude justified the enthusiasm with which Judge Story
in his Commentaries remarks: “It is to the honor of America that she
should have set the first example of interdicting and abolishing the
slave-trade in modern times.”[291] By Act of Congress, bearing date
as early as March 2, 1807, and to take effect January 1, 1808, the
importation of slaves into the United States was prohibited, under
penalties of imprisonment, fine, and forfeiture. These were increased
by Act of Congress of April 20, 1818. But mild and moderate enactments
were not enough; and at length, by Act of May 15, 1820, Congress was
constrained to declare the slave-trade piracy, and to punish it with
death. Since then this offence has stood in the catalogue of capital

Already this immense subject had occupied the attention of the great
European powers. In the Treaty of Paris in 1814, Great Britain and
France united against what was denounced as “a species of commerce
equally repugnant to the principles of natural justice and the lights
of the times.”[292] This was followed by the Treaty of Ghent, at the
close of the same year, in which the United States and Great Britain
denounced the traffic in slaves as “irreconcilable with the principles
of humanity and justice,” and promised their best endeavors for its
suppression.[293] Then came the Treaty of Vienna, where the great
powers joined in declaring it “repugnant to the principles of humanity
and of universal morality.”[294] These were declarations only. The
next attempt was to find a system of action, which should be effective
against the Protean monster in the many metamorphoses it was able to
assume, and here England nobly took the lead.

Lord Castlereagh instructed the Duke of Wellington, the British
ambassador at Paris, to obtain from France the concession of a mutual
right of search for the enforcement of the denunciation in which they
were agreed; but this was found unwelcome to the French Government,
and therefore not pressed at the time. Such was the beginning of the
proposition, which, after various fortunes, is at last recognized in
the treaty now before us.

Meanwhile negotiations were opened on our side particularly with
Great Britain. These seem for a time to have had the sanction not
only of the Executive, but of Congress, or at least of the House of
Representatives. Messages from the President, calling attention to
the slave-trade, were answered by reports from special committees of
the House of Representatives. One of these, made February 9, 1821,
concluded with a resolution, “That the President of the United States
be requested to enter into such arrangements as he may deem suitable
and proper with one or more of the maritime powers of Europe for the
effectual abolition of the African slave-trade.” The report, while
declaring that “to efface this reproachful stain from the character of
civilized mankind would be the proudest triumph that could be achieved
in the cause of humanity,” proceeds to announce, in words applicable
to the present moment, that “this happy result, experience has
demonstrated, cannot be realized by any system, except a concession by
the maritime powers to each other’s ships of war of a qualified right
of search.”[295] Another report, by a select committee of the House,
April 12, 1822, adopted the resolution of the previous committee,
and also the recommendation of a mutual right of search, adding,
that it could not be doubted “that the people of America have the
intelligence to distinguish between the right of searching a neutral
on the high seas in time of war, claimed by some belligerents, and
that mutual, restricted, and peaceful concession by treaty, suggested
by your Committee, and which is demanded in the name of suffering

Then came the devoted efforts of Charles Fenton Mercer, an admirable
representative of Virginia, who exposed this terrible traffic with
a pathos not to be forgotten. On his motion, another resolution was
adopted, February 28, 1823, by a vote of one hundred and thirty-one
yeas to only nine nays, calling upon the President to enter into
negotiations “for the effectual abolition of the African slave-trade,
and its ultimate denunciation as piracy, under the Law of Nations,
by the consent of the civilized world.”[297] The character of this
resolution was impaired by the rejection of an amendment, “and that
we agree to a qualified right of search,”[298] which was a falling off
from the recommendations of the two committees.

The Executive responded to Congress, and, under instructions from
John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, a treaty was negotiated with
Great Britain, bearing date March 13, 1824, in which it was stipulated
that the ships of the two powers might “cruise on the coasts of
Africa, _of America_, and of the West Indies, for the suppression of
the slave-trade,” and empowering them under certain restrictions to
detain and capture vessels engaged in this traffic.[299] Important
in substance, this treaty became important historically. Although
the clause quoted appeared in the original draught sent out from
Washington, yet the treaty was ratified by the Senate only on the
condition that the words “of America” were struck out, thus excluding
operations of British cruisers along the whole extent of American
coast.[300] This was fatal to the treaty, as the British Government
would not accept the condition. The case is memorable, not only as a
check to negotiations for the suppression of the slave-trade, but as a
conspicuous instance, where the Senate, in dealing with a power like
Great Britain, did not shrink from asserting its prerogative under the
Constitution, not less decisive than the tribunitial veto.

Thus it stood. Our own Government had proposed a modified search on
the coast of America, but this was point-blank refused by the Senate.
It appears that the proposition was made contrary to the judgment
of Mr. Adams. His sense of wrong from the long-continued search
exercised by British cruisers was so keen that he would not willingly
furnish any excuse for its revival; and such, it was feared, might
be the concession. Afterwards, in the revelations which he sometimes
made to the House of Representatives, he declared his repugnance to
this negotiation, and the way it was overcome. The same repugnance,
doubtless, influenced Senators in the vote on the treaty, increased
by a growing sentiment for Slavery, which the debates on the Missouri
Compromise had quickened.

Mr. Adams’s statement made in debate at a later day lets us behind the
scenes at an important period. After describing the proposition for a
mutual right of search, the veteran said:--

    “It was utterly against my judgment and wishes; but I was
    obliged to submit, and I prepared the requisite despatches to
    Mr. Rush, then our minister at the court of London. When he
    made his proposal to Mr. Canning, Mr. Canning’s reply was,
    ‘Draw up your convention, and I will sign it.’ Mr. Rush did so,
    and Mr. Canning, without the slightest alteration whatever,
    without varying the dot of an _i_ or the crossing of a _t_,
    did affix to it his signature,--thus assenting to our own
    terms in our own language. The convention came back here for
    ratification; but in the mean while another spirit came over
    the feelings of this House, as well as of the Senate. A party
    had been formed against the Administration of Mr. Monroe;
    the course of the Administration was no longer favored, and
    the House came out in opposition to a convention drawn in
    conformity to its own previous views.… The Senate ratified the
    treaty, giving the right of search in the fullest manner to
    Great Britain, with the exception, I think, of one article,
    which extended the right to the coast of the United States:
    that was rejected.”[301]

This statement from an eminent quarter shows how at another time the
opposition to a mutual right of search became manifest. It is for the
Senate to determine if the time has not come for this opposition to

Not disheartened by failure with the United States, Great Britain
pursued her honorable policy, enlisting Government after Government,
until nearly all the maritime powers of Europe, moved by a common
sentiment of humanity, had conceded a mutual and restricted right of
search, with the single object of suppressing the slave-trade. The
famous Quintuple Treaty of 1841 between the great powers consecrated
the same principle on a wider theatre; but, owing to the extraordinary
efforts of General Cass, our Minister at Paris, France was induced to
withhold her assent, yielding, I fear, to an irritated Anglophobia and
to the growing pretensions of Slavery. The treaty was duly ratified
by Great Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria. As a substitute,
stipulations for naval coöperation were adopted between Great Britain
and France,--also between Great Britain and the United States. And
still Great Britain persevered in this glorious championship, until,
in 1850, it was her boast that she stood party to no less than
twenty-four treaties denouncing the slave-trade, of which ten conceded
a mutual right of search and mixed courts, twelve conceded search
with trial only before home tribunals, and two provided for naval

This summary brings us to the present treaty, where we find a mutual
and restricted right of search and mixed courts for certain purposes,
but with the trial of criminals only before home tribunals.

If at an earlier day there was reason to be sensitive about any
concession of the right of search, especially to Great Britain, always
so exacting on the ocean, that day has happily passed. The reason
ceasing, so also should the opposition cease. Even if the acknowledged
power of the United States and the enlightened opinion of the civilized
world did not remove the liability to abuse, making it so absolutely
impossible as not to be an element in the case, we cannot forget
a recent signal event, when Great Britain openly renounced that
tyrannous pretension which so stirred the soul of the whole American
people, never again to assert it. This was done in solemn demand for
the rendition of Mason and Slidell, who had been taken by a national
cruiser, acting in precise conformity with early and constant British
practice. Therefore on this account there need be no solicitude.
Conceding search for the suppression of the slave-trade, we furnish
no excuse and open no door for that other search, always so justly
offensive, which finally brought war in its train. Such a concession
now is only an addition to international policy demanded by the
civilization of the age.

Nor need there be any jealousy on account of Slavery; for this power
is disappearing. If, unhappily, it is not yet extinct, if it still
lingers in prolonged malignant existence, it has ceased to sway the
National Government. Therefore I see no reason why the sensibilities of
its partisans should be consulted.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another possible objection to the treaty is more technical. This also
was presented by John Quincy Adams, when he spoke of mixed courts
“as inconsistent with our Constitution,”[303] because the judges are
not appointed, nor do they hold office, according to its well-known
requirements. But this objection, if entitled to any consideration, is
mitigated in the present treaty, which hands over the slave-trader for
trial in the home courts of the captor, leaving to the mixed courts
only the condemnation and destruction of the slave-ship. But whatever
doubts might have prevailed at an earlier period, when the question
was less understood, it is plain now that this objection is wholly
superficial and untenable. Besides courts known to the Constitution and
subject to its requirements, there are others extra-constitutional,
like courts in the Territories, where the judges hold for four years
instead of during good behavior, and yet are recognized by the Supreme
Court of the United States.[304] Like Territorial courts, mixed courts
are plainly extra-constitutional, standing on the treaty power and the
practice of nations,--as courts martial are also extra-constitutional,
standing on the war power and the practice of nations.

Among frequent means for the determination of international questions
are mixed courts or mixed commissions in various forms, where
different nations are represented. Such tribunals are the natural
incident of treaties, and were recognized as such at the beginning of
our history. Nor is it easy to see how treaties can be consummated
without their ancillary help. A mixed commission, where our country
was represented, sat at London under Jay’s Treaty, deciding numerous
cases; and similar commissions have been sitting ever since. The Jay
Commission was originally criticized on the ground that judicial power
cannot be vested except according to the Constitution,[305]--being
the very objection to mixed courts in anti-slave-trade treaties, that
occupied so much attention at a later day, and to which I am now
replying. But nobody now doubts that this commission was proper. The
proposed tribunal, though differing in purpose, proceeds from the same
fountain of power. It is kindred in character and origin. Now, without
considering if the objection to mixed courts is not equally strong
against a crowned head as arbitrator, as when the French Emperor sat
in judgment on the long-pending litigation between the United States
and Portugal in the _General Armstrong_ case, it is obvious that all
the international tribunals constituted by treaty, whether an emperor
or a commissioner, are sustained by unbroken usage as well as by
reason. To insist that the restrictions of the Constitution, evidently
intended for the national judicature, are applicable to these outlying
tribunals, is to limit the treaty power and to curtail the means of
justice beyond the national jurisdiction. Mixed courts are familiar to
International Law, and our country cannot afford to reject them, least
of all on a discarded technicality which would leave us isolated among

       *       *       *       *       *

It remains only that we make haste to ratify the treaty, nor miss the
great opportunity. A moment lost is a concession to crime. Therefore
must we be prompt.

Foreign nations will not fail to recognize this open pledge to Human
Rights, and the Rebels will discern a new sign of the national purpose.
Abroad and at home we shall be strengthened. The Rebellion itself will
feel the blow, and ambitious Slavery foresee its doom.

    As soon as the vote was announced in the Senate, Mr. Sumner
    hastened to Mr. Seward at the State Department. It was five
    o’clock in the afternoon, and the Secretary was reposing
    on a sofa. On hearing the words, “The treaty is ratified
    unanimously,” he exclaimed, “Where ---- were the Democrats?”
    His joy was great, and Lord Lyons, on learning the result, was
    not less happy. It is much in a diplomatic career to sign any
    treaty, but it was an event to have signed a treaty promising
    the final extinction of an infinite scandal and curse to

    Subsequent action was prompt. The treaty was ratified by the
    Senate April 24th; ratifications were exchanged in London May
    25th; the treaty was proclaimed by the President June 7th, 1862.

    June 10th, a message of the President, transmitting a copy of
    the treaty, with correspondence between Mr. Seward and Lord
    Lyons in relation to it, was laid before the Senate, and on
    motion of Mr. Sumner referred to the Committee on Foreign
    Relations, and ordered to be printed.

    June 13th, Mr. Sumner reported from the Committee a bill to
    carry the treaty into effect, providing for the appointment,
    with the advice and consent of the Senate, of a judge and also
    an arbitrator on the part of the United States to reside at
    New York, a judge and also an arbitrator to reside at Sierra
    Leone, and a judge and also an arbitrator to reside at the Cape
    of Good Hope,--all the judges to be paid $2,500 annually, the
    arbitrator at New York $1,000, and the arbitrators at Sierra
    Leone and the Cape of Good Hope $2,000 respectively.

    Owing to the pressure of business incident to the latter days
    of a very crowded session, Mr. Sumner was not able to call it
    up immediately. June 26th, on his motion, it was considered and
    passed: Yeas, 34; Nays, only 4.

    Among the nays was Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, who remarked:--

        “I do not object to the suppression of the African
        slave-trade, but I do not believe that this Government has
        the constitutional right to establish any such court. I
        think the treaty ought not to have been adopted.”

    July 7th the bill passed the House, and July 11th was approved
    by the President.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The importance of this treaty had not been exaggerated. The
    _Journal des Débats_, organ of French intelligence at Paris, in
    its enunciation, June 15, 1862, of the objects accomplished by
    the National Government, says: “There is a treaty with England,
    which, loyally executed, must soon render the slave-trade
    almost impossible.”

    The slave-trade became almost impossible, so that practically
    it ceased to exist. The terror of the law, with these
    provisions for its enforcement, sufficed at last to deter the
    perpetrators of this inhuman crime, and the ocean, so often
    traversed by slave-ships, became like a peaceful metropolis
    with a well-ordered police.

    This great result was without the capture of a single vessel.
    It was enough that at last we were in earnest. Judges and
    arbitrators found themselves without employment, when, in an
    appropriation bill, of March 3, 1869, Congress called on the
    President, with the consent of Great Britain, to terminate that
    part of the treaty requiring mixed courts and their annual
    outlay.[306] This was done by treaty between the two powers,
    signed at Washington, June 3, 1870; so that the mutual right of
    search for the suppression of the slave-trade alone remained.



    April 18th, Mr. Sumner offered the following resolution, which
    was considered by unanimous consent, and adopted.

        “_Resolved_, That the Secretary of the Interior be
        requested to furnish, for the use of the Senate, a list of
        all persons residing in the District of Columbia who appear
        in the returns of the last census as owners of slaves,
        indicating the number claimed to be owned by each person,
        with the classification of their ages according to the

    April 28th, the Secretary of the Interior accompanied the
    return with the suggestion, that, as it exposed the private
    affairs of individuals, it was questionable “whether it would
    be proper to print it for circulation.” On hearing this
    communication read at the desk, Mr. Sumner moved its reference
    to the Committee on the District of Columbia, and remarked:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--In offering the resolution, I felt that I was doing
good service to the Commissioners appointed to carry out our recent
measure of Emancipation, and I felt also that I was helping to correct
possible abuses in anticipation of its operation.

I have been sorry to hear of efforts during the last few weeks to
run able-bodied slaves out of the District. Slavery is often called
a patriarchal institution, and I am anxious to see how many of the
patriarchs, in avoidance of the action of Congress, have transported
slaves beyond the reach of its beneficent power. Such an outrage
ought to be exposed. I confess that I find no good reason for delicacy
towards persons so guilty. I am sure that freedom and truth will be
gainers, when such conduct is laid bare. I cannot doubt that the object
proposed is important.

These statistics should be brought before the Senate, if not before the
country. They will be needed by the Commissioners, and I am sure they
will do something to illustrate the character of Slavery.

    The motion was agreed to.



    May 1st, on motion of Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, the
    Senate resumed the consideration of the following resolution,
    submitted by him on the 3d of April.

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on Military Affairs and
        the Militia be directed to consider and report whether
        any further legislation is necessary to prevent persons
        employed in the military service of the United States from
        aiding in the return of or control over persons claimed as
        fugitive slaves, and to punish them therefor.”

MR. PRESIDENT,--Some time has elapsed since we listened to the
persuasive speech of the Senator from Iowa [Mr. GRIMES], but,
unhappily, the subject is fresh still. The character, if not the
efficiency, of our armies is concerned in the complete enforcement of
the late legislation with regard to slaves. If this legislation be set
at defiance, or evaded, I think that our military strength will be
impaired, and I am sure that our good name must suffer.

I am grateful to the Senator from Iowa for the frankness with which he
exposed and condemned the recent orders of several of our generals.

One of these officers, though last from California, was originally of
Massachusetts. He served honorably in the Mexican War, and, I believe,
is an excellent soldier. His present position as a general is due
partly to my exertions. I pressed his appointment. But, had I for a
moment imagined he could do what he has just perpetrated, he would
never have had my support. When an officer falls bravely in defence
of his country, honest pride mingles with the regret that we feel.
But when an officer falls as General Hooker has now fallen, there is
nothing but regret. He has fallen, although not dead. I say this with
pain; but I cannot say less.

The order of General Hooker has been quoted by the Senator from Iowa
[Mr. GRIMES]. I ask leave to read part of a letter which I have
received from his camp.

    “I take the liberty of forwarding to you the enclosed order of
    General Hooker, with a report of its results, thinking that
    you will be interested to know how the late Act of Congress
    forbidding the rendition of slaves by army officers is
    violated, and hoping that some effort may be made to prevent
    such unjust and outrageous measures on the part of superior

    “Our moral and humane feelings have been violated by having
    been compelled to witness the attempts of slave-holders, known
    to be of Secession proclivities, coming into our camps and
    searching our private quarters for their slaves, under the
    cover of a protecting order from a general who exceeds his

This letter expresses feelings natural to a humane bosom. In contrast
with General Hooker, I call attention to the course of General
Doubleday, whose head-quarters are here in Washington. I read his order.

                                             WASHINGTON, April 6, 1862.

    “SIR,--I am directed by General Doubleday to say, in answer to
    your letter of the 2d instant, that all negroes coming into the
    lines of any of the camps or forts under his command are to be
    treated as persons, and not as chattels.

    “Under no circumstances has the commander of a fort or camp the
    power of surrendering persons claimed as fugitive slaves, as it
    cannot be done without determining their character.

    “The additional article of war recently passed by Congress
    positively prohibits this.

    “The question has been asked, whether it would not be better
    to exclude negroes altogether from the lines. The General is
    of the opinion that they bring much valuable information which
    cannot be obtained from any other source. They are acquainted
    with all the roads, paths, fords, and other natural features of
    the country, and they make excellent guides. They also know,
    and frequently have exposed, the haunts of Secession spies and
    traitors and the existence of Rebel organizations. They will
    not, therefore, be excluded.

    “The General also directs me to say that civil process cannot
    be served directly in the camps or forts of his command,
    without full authority be obtained from the commanding officer
    for that purpose.

        “I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

            “E. P. HALSTED, _Assistant Adjutant-General_.

    _Commanding Seventy-Sixth Regiment New York Volunteers_.”

General Doubleday acted bravely at Fort Sumter; but he did not render a
truer service to his country on that occasion than he has now done in
this order. If this example were followed everywhere in our camps, we
should at least save ourselves from shame, if we did not secure victory.

Other generals at the West think they do their duty best, when they
serve Slavery. There is General McCook, of whom we have the following
sad report, on the authority of a paper at Nashville, recounting the
visit of a slave-hunter to his camp.

    “He visited the camp of General McCook, in Maury County, in
    quest of a fugitive, and that officer, instead of throwing
    obstacles in the way, afforded him every facility for the
    successful prosecution of his search. That General treated
    him in the most courteous and gentlemanly manner, as
    also did General Johnson, and Captain Blake, the brigade
    provost-marshal. Their conduct toward him was in all respects
    that of high-toned gentlemen desirous of discharging their
    duties promptly and honorably. It is impossible for the army to
    prevent slaves from following them; but whenever the fugitives
    come into the lines of General McCook, they are secured, and a
    record made of their names and the names of their owners. All
    the owner has to do is to apply either in person or through an
    agent, examine the record or look at the slaves, and, if he
    finds any that belong to him, take them away.”

Can we listen to such a statement and not feel indignant at the levity
with which human freedom is treated?

Yet similar cases multiply. There is the provost-marshal of Louisville,
who seems to be a disgrace to our army, if we may believe the following

    Here Mr. Sumner quoted at length the description of his
    conduct: making colored people “his subjects of oppression and
    inhuman treatment”; “ordering his provost guards to flog all
    colored persons out after dark”; “now being revenged on the
    colored people for their faithfulness to the Union cause.”[307]

But, Sir, an incident has occurred under General Buell’s command which
cannot be read without a blush. Here it is, as described in the
letter of a soldier who was more than a witness, even a party to it.
I find this letter in a newspaper, but it has been furnished to me in
manuscript by the person to whom it is addressed.

                                    “CAMP ANDY JOHNSON, NEAR NASHVILLE,
                                              TENNESSEE, March 8, 1862.

    “MY DEAR PARENTS,-- … A great outrage was perpetrated in our
    camp yesterday, as follows.

    “A black boy, named Henry, has been at work for the Colonel for
    some days. His owner came after him while we were camped on the
    other side of the river, but the boys hooted him out of camp.
    The negro said he would sooner be killed on the spot than go
    back with his master, even if he knew he would not be punished.
    His master, he said, was a Secessionist, and had kept him (the
    boy) on some fortifications down the river at work for four

    “Nothing more transpired concerning his return until yesterday.
    While the greater part of the regiment were out on picket, the
    boy’s owner came with two sentinels of the provost guard from
    the city, and, after chasing the poor frightened boy through
    the camp several times,--he drawing a knife once, and the
    sentinel knocking him down with his musket,--they captured
    and delivered him to his owner, who stood waiting outside the
    lines. The latter paid the catching sentries fifteen dollars
    each, and led Henry away with him unmolested, flourishing
    a pistol at his head as he went. They had no order--at
    least, showed none--for the boy from head-quarters, and the
    Lieutenant-Colonel of our regiment, who was in command, need
    not have delivered him up without such an order, yet allowed
    him to be caught, and the Major forbade our boys from giving
    him any assistance. One of the sentinels was from a Kentucky,
    and one from an Indiana regiment.…

    “The former master of our boy will not get him without an
    order, and an imperative one, I believe; and if one is
    given for him,--his master having been a strong and active
    Secessionist, a quartermaster for the Southern army, in
    fact,--I have about concluded to follow it by immediate
    resignation, and this, whether the order be for him or any
    other negro. The order would make it an official act. What do
    you think my duty would be in the premises?”

Of General Buell I know nothing personally; but such an incident
must fill us with distrust. He may possess military talent, he may
be a thunderbolt of war; but it is clear that he wants that just
comprehension of the times and that sympathy with humanity without
which no officer can do his complete duty.

But General Buell may, perhaps, shelter himself behind the instructions
of his superior officer; and this brings me to the famous Order No.
3 of Major-General Halleck. I have it in my hands, and quote these

    “We will prove to them that we come to restore, not to violate,
    the Constitution and the laws.… The orders heretofore issued
    from this department in regard to pillaging, marauding, and
    the destruction of private property, and stealing and the
    concealment of slaves, must be strictly enforced. It does not
    belong to the military to decide upon the relation of master
    and slave: such questions must be settled by the civil courts.
    _No fugitive slaves will, therefore, be admitted within our
    lines or camps, except when specially ordered by the General

In this order, so strangely inconsistent, absurd, unconstitutional, and
inhuman, the General perversely perseveres. In every aspect it is bad.
It wants common sense, as well as common humanity. It is unworthy a man
of honor and a soldier.

It is inconsistent with itself, inasmuch as the General proclaims
that he “comes to restore, not to violate, the Constitution and the
laws,” and then proceeds to a direct violation of them. In the same
order he says: “It does not belong to the military to decide upon the
relation of master and slave: such questions must be settled by the
civil courts.” And then, in the face of this declaration, he proceeds
to say that “no fugitive slaves will be admitted within our lines or
camps.” But pray, Sir, how can such persons be excluded from lines or
camps without deciding that they are fugitive slaves? This flat and
discreditable inconsistency is in harmony with the whole order.

But worse than its inconsistency is its absurdity. This watchful,
prudent General proposes to exclude all fugitive slaves from his camps.
In other words, he shuts out all opportunities of information with
regard to the enemy naturally afforded by this class of deserters. They
may come charged with knowledge of movements and plans; but the General
will not receive them, because they are slaves. They may be able to
disclose the secret of a campaign; but the General will not have it,
because they are slaves. If we have failed thus far in knowledge of the
enemy’s designs, it is because this absurd policy has prevailed.

General Halleck may be instructed by General McDowell, whose opposite
conduct shines in a despatch published in the papers.

                                      “CATLETTSVILLE STATION, VIRGINIA,

    “HON. EDWIN M. STANTON, _Secretary of War_:--

    “An intelligent negro has just come in from Stafford County,
    and says his master returned this morning from Fredericksburg
    to his home, and told his wife, in this negro’s presence, that
    all the enemy’s troops had left Fredericksburg for Richmond and
    Yorktown, the last of them leaving on Saturday morning. This
    last has just been confirmed by another negro.

        “IRVIN MCDOWELL, _Major-General_.”

Here are two negroes coming into camp with important information,
both of whom General Halleck’s order would repel and drive back to
bondage. And he may be instructed by the despatch of General Wool, just
received, announcing our success at New Orleans, the news of which came
by a “fugitive black.” The General adds: “The negro bringing the above
reports that the Rebels have two iron-clad steamers nearly completed,
and that it is believed that the Merrimac will be out to-morrow.”
But all this information would be shut out by General Halleck. Can
absurdity be more complete?

But worse than inconsistency or absurdity is its positive
unconstitutionality. What right, under the Constitution, has this
General to set himself up as judge in cases of human freedom? Where
does he find his power? By whom has he been invested with this
attribute? It is the boast of the National Constitution that all
are “persons.” The National Constitution so regards everybody, and
surrounds everybody with the safeguards of “persons,” even to the
extent of declaring that “no person shall be deprived of _liberty_
without due process of law.” And yet the army is gravely told to
treat certain persons as slaves. Of course this cannot be without
sitting in judgment most summarily on human freedom. How does the
General know that they are slaves? On what evidence? Because they are
black? Why may they not be free blacks? General Halleck would reverse
the true presumption. He assumes Slavery, when he ought to assume
Freedom. In the eye of the Constitution all are freemen until proved
to be slaves, no matter of what color. The only question to be asked
concerns loyalty. Are you loyal or rebel? If loyal, then welcome to the
hospitality and protection of our camps. If rebel, then surrender to
our arms. Be these the inquiries, with this rule, and the Union we seek
to restore will not be indefinitely postponed.

But worse than its unconstitutionality is the inhumanity of this order,
so shocking to the moral sense. This General, professing to fight the
battle of the Constitution with the commission of the Republic, speaks
of “the concealment of slaves” in the same class with “pillaging,
marauding, and stealing.” I complain of this confusion of language,
showing an insensibility to human rights. It is like those shameful
advertisements which garnish Southern newspapers, where “the boy Tom”
and “the girl Sally” are to be sold in the same lot with “horses,
mules, cattle, and swine.” That such an order should be put forth in
the name of our country may justly excite indignation.

On these various grounds I object to this order. In this criticism,
which I make with sincere sorrow, I confine myself to the order.
General Halleck is reputed an able officer, and I am sure he is an
able lawyer. I do not intend to question his various capacity. But
I do protest against his perverse violation of the Constitution to
carry out a miserable and disgraceful proslavery policy; and I protest
against his being allowed to degrade the character of our country. Sir,
we are making history. Every victory adds something to that history;
but such an order is worse for us than defeat. More than any defeat
it will discredit us with posterity, and with the friends of liberal
institutions in foreign lands. I have said that General Halleck is
reputed an able officer; but, most perversely, he undoes with one hand
what he does with the other. He undoes by his orders the good he does
as a general. While professing to make war upon the Rebellion, he
sustains its chief and most active power, and degrades his gallant army
to be the constables of Slavery.

How often must I repeat that Slavery is the constant Rebel and
universal enemy? It is traitor and belligerent together, and is always
to be treated accordingly. Tenderness to Slavery now is practical
disloyalty and practical alliance with the enemy.

Believe me, Sir, against the officers named to-day I have no personal
unkindness. I should much prefer to speak in their praise; but I am in
earnest. While I have the honor of a seat in the Senate, no success,
no victory, shall be apology or shield for a general who insults human
nature. From the midst of his triumphs I will drag him forward to
receive the condemnation which such conduct deserves.

    This movement ended in the Bill for Confiscation and
    Liberation, approved July 17th, which provided for the freedom
    of the slaves of Rebels. The enactments on this subject
    were embodied by the President in the first Proclamation of
    Emancipation, September 22, 1862.



    In a despatch announcing the capture of Williamsburg, May 6th,
    General McClellan inquired whether he was “authorized to follow
    the example of other generals and direct the names of battles
    to be placed on the colors of regiments.” This gave occasion to
    the following resolution, moved by Mr. Sumner.

RESOLVED, That, in the efforts now making for the restoration of
the Union and the establishment of peace throughout the country,
it is inexpedient that the names of victories obtained over our
fellow-citizens should be placed on the regimental colors of the United

    Mr. Hale objected to its consideration; so it was postponed.

    May 13th, Mr. Wilson introduced a joint resolution to authorize
    the President to permit regiments of the volunteer forces to
    inscribe on their flags the names of battles in which such
    regiments have been engaged; but no further action was had upon

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Sumner’s resolution excited comment at the time. The
    _National Intelligencer_ remarked:--

        “Now that public attention has for the first time been
        called to the subject, we presume there will be on the
        part of many an instinctive approval of the grounds on
        which Senator Sumner condemns the custom thus originated
        and practised by ‘other generals.’ … When the Union is
        restored and peace has been reëstablished, we take it that
        the regimental colors of the United States will preserve
        no trace either of Union _victories_ or Union _defeats_.
        The name of ‘Springfield,’ in Missouri, would otherwise
        perpetually remind us of the unhappy fall of Lexington in
        that State.”

    An excellent citizen of New York, Alfred Pell, wrote that
    “exactly what Congress should do with base Secession standards
    and flags was pointed out by Mrs. Brownrigg, who

            “‘whipped two female ’prentices to death,
        _And hid them in the coal-hole_.’”

    Other testimony was from an undoubted authority, being
    none other than Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott, in his
    autobiography. After quoting the famous resolution which Rufus
    King laid upon the table of the Senate, February 18, 1825,
    fifteen days before he finally left that body, which he calls
    “a benign resolution,” to the effect, that, as soon as the
    remnant of the national debt should be discharged, the net
    proceeds of the whole of the public lands should constitute a
    fund for Emancipation, the Lieutenant-General proceeds:--

        “The resolution stands a national record. Here is
        statesmanship, farsightedness.… Here is magnanimity,
        considering the hostility of the South on account of Mr.
        King’s powerful resistance to the admission of Missouri
        into the Union with Slavery. Here is a Christian’s revenge,
        returning good for evil. All honor to a great deed and a
        great name!.…

        “I place in juxtaposition with the foregoing a kindred
        sentiment that gleamed in the same body on a more recent

        “It had been proposed, without due reflection, by one
        of our gallant commanders engaged in the suppression
        of the existing Rebellion, to place on the banners of
        his victorious troops the names of their battles. The
        proposition was rebuked by the subjoined resolution,
        submitted by the Hon. Mr. Sumner, May 8, 1862.”

    Then quoting the resolution, the Lieutenant-General adds:--

        “This was noble, and from the right quarter.”[309]



RESOLVED, That the Select Committee on the confiscation of Rebel
property be directed to consider the expediency of providing that our
soldiers engaged in the suppression of the Rebellion may be entitled to
bounty lands out of the real estate of the Rebels.

    This was objected to by Mr. Powell, of Kentucky, but on the
    next day it was agreed to.



RESOLVED, That the Select Committee on the confiscation of Rebel
property be directed to consider the expediency of providing, that, in
all judicial proceedings to confiscate the property and free the slaves
of Rebels, there shall be no exclusion of any witness on account of

    This was objected to by Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, but on the
    next day it was agreed to.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Select Committee failing to adopt this provision in
    the bill reported by them, entitled “A bill to suppress
    insurrection, punish treason and rebellion, and for other
    purposes,” Mr. Sumner sought to engraft it on the bill by
    motion in the Senate.

    June 28th, Mr. Sumner moved the following amendment:--

        “And in all proceedings under this Act there shall be no
        exclusion of any witness on account of color.”

    Mr. Clark, of New Hampshire, Chairman of the Select Committee,
    said, that, “while they had no hostility to the general
    principle of the amendment, they thought it was better not to
    engraft it upon this bill.”

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

This bill is to operate in the Slave States. But, with the rule of
evidence prevailing there, I see insuperable difficulties in the way
of conviction. If Congress choose to authorize criminal proceedings
against Rebels, as is done by this bill, then in good faith they must
see that the proceedings are not entirely nugatory, through failure of
evidence, under the operation of an irrational rule of exclusion.

    Mr. Clark said, that the Committee was influenced by the
    consideration, that under the bill slaves would become free on
    the conviction of their masters for treason; and the Committee
    “thought it would look a little like inducing the slave to
    come forward and swear against the master, … if we put such a
    provision in the bill; and we rejected it on that ground.”

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

But the Senator will not forget that there are other slaves besides
those of the master under trial, as well as colored persons who are
not slaves. Whether slaves or not, even if freemen, the Senator knows
well that there is one cruel rule of evidence everywhere in the Rebel
States, which excludes the testimony of colored persons.

    The amendment was rejected: Yeas 14, Nays 25.

    This was the third move against exclusion of witnesses on
    account of color.[310]



MR. PRESIDENT,--The last Representative of Massachusetts snatched away
by death during the session of Congress was Robert Rantoul, Jr. Ripe
in years and brilliant in powers, this distinguished person tardily
entered these Halls, and he entered them not to stay, but simply to go.
Congress was to him only the antechamber to another world. Since then
ten years have passed, and we are now called to commemorate another
Representative of Massachusetts snatched away by death during the
session of Congress. Less ripe in years and less brilliant in powers,
Mr. Bailey occupied less space in the eyes of the country; but he had a
soul of perfect purity, a calm intelligence, and a character of his own
which inspired respect and created attachment; and he, too, was here
for so brief a term that he seems only to have passed through these
Halls on his way, without, alas! the privilege of health as he passed.

Born in 1823, Mr. Bailey had not reached that stage of life, when,
according to a foreign proverb, a man has given to the world his full
measure;[311] and yet he had given such measure of himself as justified
largely the confidence of his fellow-citizens. This was the more
remarkable, as he commenced life without those advantages which assure
early education and open the way to success. At two years of age he
was an orphan, of humble parentage and scanty means. From school he
followed the example of Franklin, and became a printer. There is no
calling, not professional, which to an intelligent mind affords better
opportunities of culture. The daily duties of the young printer are
daily lessons. The printing-office is a school, and he is a scholar. As
he sets types, he studies, and becomes familiar at least with language
and the mystery of grammar, orthography, and punctuation, which, in
early education, is much; and if he reads proofs, he becomes a critic.
At the age of twenty-two our young printer changed to a student of law,
and in 1848 was admitted to the bar.

In the very year of his admission to the bar the question of Slavery
assumed unprecedented proportions, from the efforts made to push
it into the Territories of the United States. Although he took no
active part in the prevailing controversy, it must have produced its
impression on his mind. It was to maintain prohibition of Slavery in
the Territories, and to represent this principle, that he was chosen to
Congress.[312] In a speech at the time he upheld this cause against the
open opposition of its enemies and the more subtle enmity of those who
disparaged the importance of the principle. Never had Representative a
truer or nobler constituency. It was of Worcester, that large central
county of Massachusetts, and broad girdle of the Commonwealth, which,
since this great controversy began, has been always firm and solid for
Freedom. To represent a people so intelligent, honest, and virtuous
was in itself no small honor.

But with this honor came those warnings which teach the futility of all
honor on earth. What is honor to one whom death has already marked for
his own? As life draws to its close, the consciousness of duty done,
especially in softening the lot of others, must be more grateful than
anything which the world alone can supply. Even the spoiler, Death,
cannot touch such a possession. And this consciousness rightly belonged
to the invalid who was now a wanderer in quest of health. Compelled to
fly the frosts of his Massachusetts home during the disturbed winter
of 1860, when these civil commotions were beginning to gather, he
journeyed nearer to the sun, and in the soft air of the Mexican Gulf
found respite, if not repose. There he was overtaken by that blast of
war, which, like

    “A violent cross wind from either coast,”

swept over the country. Escaping now from the menace of war in Florida,
as he had already escaped from the menace of climate in Massachusetts,
he traversed the valley of the Mississippi, and succeeded in reaching
home. At the session of Congress called to sustain the Government he
appeared to take his seat; but a hand was fastened upon him which could
not be unloosed. Again he came to his duties here during the present
session; for while the body was weak, his heart was strong. He often
mourned his failing force, because it disabled him from speaking and
acting at this crisis. He longed to be in the front rank. Yet he was
not a cipher. He was a member of the Committee on Territories in the
House of Representatives, and its Chairman[313] relates that this
dying Representative was earnest to the last that his vote should be
felt for Freedom. “Let me know when you wish my vote, and, though weak,
I shall surely be with you,” said the faithful son of Massachusetts.
This is something for his tombstone; and I should fail in just loyalty
to the dead, if I did not mention it here.

As a member of this Committee, he put his name to a report which became
at once a political event. In the uneventful life of an invalid,
who was here for a few weeks only, it should not be passed over in
silence. By a resolution adopted on the 23d of December, 1861,[314]
the Committee on Territories was instructed “to inquire into the
legality and expediency of establishing Territorial Governments
within the limits of the disloyal States or districts.” After careful
consideration of this momentous question, the Committee reported a bill
to establish temporary provisional governments over the districts of
country in rebellion against the United States.[315] This bill assumed
two things, which, of course, cannot be called in question: first, that
throughout the Rebel region the old loyal State Governments had ceased
to exist, leaving no person in power there whom we could rightfully
recognize; and, secondly, that the Constitution of the United States,
notwithstanding all the efforts of Rebellion, was still the supreme
law throughout this region, without a foot of earth or an inhabitant
taken from its rightful jurisdiction. Assuming the _absence_ of State
Governments and the _presence_ of the National Constitution, the bill
undertook, through the exercise of Congressional jurisdiction, to
supply a legitimate local government, with a governor, legislature,
and court; but it expressly declared that “no act shall be passed,
establishing, protecting, or recognizing the existence of Slavery; nor
shall said temporary government, or any department thereof, sanction or
declare the right of one man to property in another.” In a succeeding
section it was made the duty of the authorities “to establish schools
for the moral and intellectual culture of all the inhabitants, and to
provide by law for the attendance of all children over seven and under
fourteen years of age not less than three months in each year.” With
a thrill of joyful assent Mr. Bailey united with the majority of the
Committee in this bill. It was his last public act, almost his only
public act in Congress, and certainly the most important of his public
life. As a record of purpose and aspiration it will not be forgotten.

To such a measure he was instinctively moved by the strength of his
convictions and his sense of the practical policy needed for the
support of the Constitution. He had no indulgence for the Rebellion,
and saw with clearness that it could be ended only by the removal of
its single cause. His experience at the South added to his appreciation
of the true character of Slavery, and increased his determination. He
did not live to see this Rebellion subdued, but he has at least left
his testimony behind. He has taught by what sign we are to conquer. He
has shown the principle which must be enlisted. Better than an army is
such a principle; for it is the breath of God.

Mr. Bailey was clear in understanding, as he was pure in heart. His
life was simple, and his manners unaffected. His, too, were all the
household virtues which make a heaven of home, and he was bound to
this world by a loving wife and an only child. He was happy in being
spared to reach his own fireside. Sensible that death was approaching,
he was unwilling to continue here among strangers, and, though feeble
and failing, he was conveyed to Fitchburg, where, after a brief period
among kindred and friends, he closed his life. His public place here
is vacant, and so also is his public place in Massachusetts. But there
are other places also vacant: in his home, in his business, and in his
daily life among his neighbors, in that beautiful town scooped out of
the wooded hills, where he was carried back to die.

       *       *       *       *       *

I offer resolutions identical with those offered by myself, and adopted
by the Senate, on the death of Robert Rantoul.

    _Resolved, unanimously_, That the Senate mourns the death
    of Hon. GOLDSMITH F. BAILEY, late a member of the House
    of Representatives from Massachusetts, and tenders to his
    relatives a sincere sympathy in this afflicting bereavement.

    _Resolved_, As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased,
    that the Senate do now adjourn.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The resolutions were agreed to; and the Senate adjourned.



    December 23, 1861, Mr. Sumner offered the following resolution,
    and said that he would call it up for consideration some day

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on Enrolled Bills shall
        consider the expediency of changing the Joint Rules of
        the two Houses of Congress, so as no longer to require
        that bills which have passed both Houses shall be enrolled
        on parchment; but that they shall be simply copied in
        a fair hand on linen paper, and be thus preserved in
        the Department of State, instead of being preserved in
        cumbersome rolls of parchment.”

    May 16, 1862, the resolution was taken up for consideration.

MR. PRESIDENT,--There is a usage of Congress which must strike all
coming here for the first time, whether as members or spectators. It
is the usage, after bills have passed both Houses, of copying them on
rolls of parchment, when they receive the signatures of the Speaker
of the House, the President of the Senate, and the President of the
United States. Under our rules this is called _enrolling_, although
in England, where it originated, it was known, down to its recent
abolition there, as _engrossing_.

I have said that it is calculated to arrest attention. This is because
to most persons it is a novelty, although old in itself. On inquiry,
I do not learn that it is continued in any of our States except
Massachusetts. In the new States of the West it has never been known.
The question which I now submit is, Whether it is wise for Congress
to continue this embarrassing form, already discontinued, or never
adopted, by the State Legislatures?

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the Joint Rules of the two Houses is the following, entitled
“Enrolled Bills.”

    “After _a bill_ shall have passed both Houses, it shall be
    duly _enrolled_ on parchment by the Clerk of the House of
    Representatives, or the Secretary of the Senate, as the bill
    may have _originated_ in the one or the other House, before it
    shall be presented to the President of the United States.”

This was adopted as early as 6th August, 1789. Shortly before this
date, at the recommendation of Senators Morris, Carroll, Langdon, Read,
and Lee, a joint resolution was passed, requiring the Secretary of the
Senate and the Clerk of the House, within ten days after the passing
of every Act of Congress, to authenticate printed copies thereof, and
lodge them with the President.[316] In September, 1789, a statute was
passed to provide for the safe keeping of the acts, records, and seal
of the United States, by the first section of which the Department of
Foreign Affairs was changed to the Department of State. The Secretary
of the Department thus remodelled was made custodian of all bills,
orders, resolutions, or votes of Congress approved by the President,
or having become laws or taken effect without his approval, with
directions to publish the same in the newspapers, to cause one printed
copy to be delivered to each Senator and Representative, and two
printed copies, duly authenticated, to be sent to the Governor of each
State, and to “carefully preserve the originals.”[317] This latter
service has been executed by binding the enrolled copies of the acts of
each session in separate volumes, without rolling or folding the skins
of parchment, and depositing them in a fire-proof vault, under the
immediate charge of an officer of the State Department, known as Clerk
of the Rolls.

The enrolment of bills requires special care, and sometimes even delays
legislation. From the haste with which the transcription is often made
and the amendments are embodied, errors naturally occur. Perhaps these
cannot be entirely avoided by copies on paper. Indeed, nothing can
supersede the necessity of great vigilance, whether paper or parchment
be employed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The main reason for enrolment on parchment, when first adopted by
Congress, was English example. Technical phrases, tautologous terms,
absurdities of law Latin and law French, all these, together with our
jurisprudence, were borrowed directly from England, and with them came
parchment, the use of which antedated these peculiarities. Of course it
was before the manufacture of paper in England, which was not earlier
than the reign of Henry the Seventh, and it was continued long after
the manufacture had rendered it unnecessary.

In Antiquity other substances were employed; but among European
nations in modern times, previous to the invention of paper, parchment
prevailed. In England, every manuscript, every book, every deed,
every indenture, every contract, every record, judicial or other,
was on parchment. So, also, was Magna Charta, wrung from King John
in 1215, and still exhibited as a venerable curiosity in the British
Museum. It must have been the case with the statutes and proceedings
of Parliament; for, in fact, there was little else on which they
could be written. These proceedings, together with the statutes,
constituted what were called the Rolls of Parliament,--_Rotuli
Parliamentorum_,--and they were preserved apart, with other parchment
records. There is a verse of Scripture which has been quoted as
describing the place where they were kept: “Darius the king made a
decree, and search was made in _the house of the rolls_, where the
treasures were laid up.”[318]

The durability of parchment is attested by the manuscripts which
illumine the great libraries of Europe. Among the treasures of the
Vatican is a Virgil of the fourth century, and in the National Library
of Paris is a Prudentius of an early date, both in a condition to
survive the structures in which they are preserved. Abbeys, convents,
churches, built with pious skill, have crumbled to dust, while their
parchments continue to defy the tooth of Time. But this peculiar
durability, so important before the invention of printing, when copies
were few, has played its part.

Parchment soon gave way to paper in judicial proceedings and records,
probably from considerations of economy and convenience; but it
continued longer in parliamentary proceedings. The Journals of the
House of Lords, which have always been held to be public records, were
formerly “recorded every day on rolls of parchment.”[319] The original
usage with regard to the Journals of the other House seems to have
been different; for we find in 1621, the year after the sailing of our
Pilgrim Fathers, an express order that the Journals of the House of
Commons “shall be reviewed and recorded on rolls of parchment.”[320]
Notwithstanding the order, this usage does not appear to have prevailed
with the Commons, and it was long ago discontinued by the Lords. But
the statutes continued to be engrossed on parchment, and placed in the
custody of the “Master of the Rolls.”

       *       *       *       *       *

According to English practice, engrossment took place after the report.
But at last, in 1848, it was thought advisable to make a change. The
whole subject occupied committees of both Houses, and finally of
Parliament itself. Even at the cost of details which may be wearisome,
I present the history of these proceedings, which will be interesting,
at least, as showing the care which presided over this transition, and
also a possible guide to us.

On the 4th of September, 1848, the day before the prorogation of
Parliament, it was ordered in the House of Lords,--

    “That the Clerk Assistant be directed, in communication with
    the proper authorities of the House of Commons, to take such
    preliminary steps as may be necessary, so as to enable the
    House, if it shall so think fit, at the commencement of the
    next session, to dispense with the present form of engrossing
    bills, and to transmit and to receive printed copies of the

The Clerk Assistant, thus directed to report, was John George Shaw
Lefevre, Esquire, brother of the accomplished Speaker of the House of

On the third day of the next session, February 6, 1849, the Lord
Chancellor informed the House of Lords,--

    “That the Clerk Assistant had prepared and laid on the table,
    in obedience to the resolutions of this House, a report of the
    result of his communication with the authorities of the House
    of Commons on the subject of dispensing with the present form
    of engrossing bills.”[322]

A select committee to consider the proposed change, was appointed,
consisting of the Lord Chancellor, Lord Privy Seal, Duke of Richmond,
Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord Beaumont, and Lord Monteagle of Brandon.

It is probable that they adopted at once the suggestions of the Clerk
Assistant, as, within a few hours after their appointed meeting, their
Chairman, the Lord Chancellor, reported to the House of Lords, February
8, 1849, that the Committee had met and considered the subject-matter
referred to them, and united in recommending, “That it is expedient to
discontinue the present system of engrossing, and to alter the present
system of enrolling bills”; and they reported provisions, in lieu
thereof, to which I shall refer.

The House of Lords adopted the report, passed the resolutions, and
ordered that they be communicated to the Commons at a conference, and
their concurrence desired.[323]

On the 9th of February, managers of the conference were appointed.
Those representing the House of Lords were the Lord Privy Seal, Earl
Waldegrave, Earl Saint Germans, Viscount Hawarden, Lord Bishop
of Hereford, Lord Beaumont, and Lord Monteagle of Brandon. The
managers representing the House of Commons were Sir George Grey,
Sir Robert Peel, Sir Robert Harry Inglis, Mr. Herries, Mr. Wilson
Patten, Mr. Bernal, Sir John Yarde Buller, the Earl of Lincoln, Mr.
Attorney-General, the Earl of Arundel and Surrey, Mr. Thornely, Mr.
Maitland, Mr. Hume, Mr. Mackenzie, the Judge Advocate, and Sir John

Omitting other details, I come at once to the resolutions afterwards
adopted in both Houses.

    “1. That, in lieu of being engrossed, every bill shall be
    printed fair immediately after it shall have been passed in the
    House in which it originated, and that such fair printed bill
    shall be sent to the other House as the bill so passed, and
    shall be dealt with by that House and its officers in the same
    manner in which engrossed bills are now dealt with.

    “2. That, when such bill shall have passed both Houses of
    Parliament, it shall be fair printed by the Queen’s printer,
    who shall furnish a fair print thereof on vellum to the House
    of Lords before the royal assent, and likewise a duplicate of
    such fair print, also on vellum.

    “3. That one of such fair prints of each bill shall be duly
    authenticated by the Clerk of the Parliaments, or other proper
    officer of the House of Lords, as the bill to which both Houses
    have agreed.

    “4. That the royal assent shall be indorsed in the usual form
    on such fair print so authenticated, which shall be deposited
    in the Record Tower, in lieu of the present engrossment.

    “5. That the copies promulgated in the first instance by the
    Queen’s printer shall be impressions from the same form as the
    deposited copy.

    “6. That for the present session this arrangement shall not
    apply to private bills, nor to local and personal bills, which
    last mentioned bills, intended to be brought in this session,
    have been for the most part already printed, in pursuance of
    the standing orders of the House of Commons.

    “7. That the Master of the Rolls shall, upon being duly
    authorized in that behalf, receive, in lieu of the copies
    of public general acts as now enrolled, the herein
    before-mentioned duplicate fair print of each public general
    bill, to be held for the same purposes and subject to the
    same conditions for and upon which the enrolled acts are now
    received and held by him.

    “8. That it is expedient, with a view to economy, convenience,
    and dispatch, and to the diminution of the chance of errors,
    that one printer should print the public general bills for both
    Houses; and that, inasmuch as the Queen’s printer is, by virtue
    of his office, bound to print the acts, it would be advisable,
    for the attainment of the before-mentioned objects, that the
    Queen’s printer should be employed by both Houses to print the
    public general bills.”[324]

Later in the same session of Parliament, the House of Commons passed
the following resolution, which was agreed to by the House of Lords on
the 31st of July, 1849.

    “That the arrangement contained in the resolutions agreed to
    by both Houses of Parliament on the 12th day of February last,
    relative to the engrossing and enrolling of bills, (except
    so much thereof as relates to the expediency of one printer
    printing the bills for both Houses,) shall in future sessions
    apply to local, personal, and private, as well as to public

Thus in England the old system of engrossing and enrolling has
disappeared. It is true that the bill, in its last stage, is printed on
vellum; but the ancient cumbersome proceeding is abolished.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have referred especially to English practice, because ours was
originally derived from it. But the example of a nation so truly
enlightened as France may be properly adduced also. The ordinances
of the kings of France were engrossed on parchment down to the reign
of Louis the Fourteenth, when his great minister, Colbert, contented
himself with having them copied in a fair hand on folio paper, and
bound in large volumes. The voluminous ordinances of the Grand
Monarch on the Government of Canada, and of the Mississippi Valley,
then recently discovered, are still preserved in the _Archives de la
Marine_ at Paris, each one bearing the signature of the sovereign, and
countersigned by his minister. Thus in France, even before the great
changes of the Revolution, parchment was discarded, and I am not aware
that it is now used either in judicial or legislative proceedings.
The records and documents, all fairly copied on paper, are admirably
preserved, untouched by time or damage of any kind, and in better
condition than some of our own public documents written within the
last ten years. I do not forget that the clerks of the last century
wrote with carefully prepared ink on linen paper. Bad ink and cotton
paper must, of course, be avoided, especially where metallic pens are
employed to tear the surface and open the way for the deleterious fluid.

       *       *       *       *       *

If disposed to follow the examples of England and France, and of our
own States in their local Legislatures, we shall make a change. Nor
is there any reason of utility or convenience in favor of parchment.
I know that a vellum page is a luxury, coveted always by the refined
book-collector; but it has long since ceased to be anything else.
Paper is good enough and durable enough for all practical purposes.
Volumes of the fifteenth century, among the first fruits of the newly
discovered art of printing, are found now in as good condition as when
their paper was first blackened by types; and there are manuscripts,
not merely on parchment, but also on paper, older than the discovery of
America, in as good condition as the Journals of the Senate.

Even if paper were less permanent than parchment, the latter becomes
entirely superfluous since the practice was established of printing the
statutes under the supervision of the Government. It is well known that
public statutes require no proof besides the printed statute-book.[326]
This was an original principle of English law, which has been adopted
and fortified among us. Professor Greenleaf, who is such authority on
the Law of Evidence, thus exhibits the value of the printed copy:--

    “It is the invariable course of the Legislatures of the several
    States, as well as of the United States, to have the laws and
    resolutions of each session printed by authority. Confidential
    persons are selected to compare the copies with the original
    rolls, and superintend the printing. The very object of this
    provision is to furnish the people with authentic copies; and,
    from their nature, _printed copies of this kind, either of
    public or private laws, are as much to be depended on_ as the
    exemplification verified by an officer who is a keeper of the

Summing up the whole case, we find that the present system has its
origin in ancient usage, the reason of which has long since ceased;
that there is no necessity for its continuance; that it is contrary to
convenience; that it is contrary to the example of France, and even of
England, whence it was derived; that it is contrary to the usage of our
own States, in their legislative action; and that a change would do
something, at least, to simplify our proceedings.

Paper is of all qualities, and of every degree of durability. Besides
rags, there are many other substances out of which it is made, so
that even the increasing demand meets a corresponding supply. It is
always cheap, and entirely convenient. To reject it for parchment is
as if we imitated the early Arabs, and inscribed our statutes on the
shoulder-blades of sheep. The skin is less antediluvian than the bone,
but both are out of place in our age.

Should the change be deemed advisable, it might be made by substituting
the words “linen paper” for “parchment,” in the sixth Joint Rule. This
would be simple enough: but the phrases “engrossed” and “enrolled”
would still remain in the rules, although the occasion for them had
passed. In the British Parliament, the old form of question, “That this
bill be engrossed,” which always followed after the Committee of the
Whole, is now dispensed with;[328] and it seems to me that we might do
something to simplify our proceedings in this respect, also.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have here a complete collection of bills, as printed, at their
different stages in the two Houses of Parliament, as follows.

Bill as delivered to each member of the House of Commons.

House copy of bill originating in the Commons.

Bill as presented by the Commons to the Lords, after passing the

Bill as delivered to each peer.

House copy of bill originating in the Lords.

Bill as presented by the Lords to the Commons, after passing the Lords.

Bill on vellum, as passed both Houses, and ready for the royal assent.

All these I shall, if he will allow me, hand over to the Chairman of
the Committee on Enrolled Bills, who will do something, I trust, for
the improvement of our rules in this respect.

    The resolution was adopted, but no report was ever made by the


[1] Senate Journal, 32d Cong. 1st Sess., p. 339.

[2] Ibid., 33d Cong. 1st Sess., p. 43.

[3] Ibid., 34th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 100.

[4] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Appendix, p. 2.

[5] Senate Journal, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 147, 549.

[6] Ibid., 38th Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 28, 47, 667.

[7] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 74, 75.

[8] Act of May 4, 1870: Ibid., Vol. XVI. p. 96.

[9] Opinions of Attorneys-General, Vol. X. p. 382, November 29, 1862.

[10] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 354.

[11] Wheaton’s Elements of International Law, edited, with Notes, by
Richard H. Dana, Jr., Note 228, p. 645.

[12] Wheaton’s Elements of International Law, ed. Dana, Note 228, p.

[13] Rebellion Record, Vol. III, Documents, p. 330.

[14] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 8, p. 4.

[15] Annual Register, 1861, p. 291.

[16] Annual Register, 1861, p. 254.

[17] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 8, p. 3.

[18] Ibid., p. 2.

[19] Wheaton’s Elements of International Law, ed. Dana, Note 228, p.

[20] L’Amérique devant l’Europe, p. 176.

[21] Ibid., p. 177.

[22] Ibid., pp. 209, 210.

[23] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 176, 177.

[24] Revue des Deux Mondes, Jan.-Fév., 1862, p. 245.

[25] Wheaton’s Elements of International Law, ed. Dana, Note 228, p.

[26] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 8, p 13.

[27] Ibid., No. 22, p. 2.

[28] Ibid., No. 30, p. 2.

[29] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 208.

[30] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d. Sess., p. 211.

[31] Ibid., pp. 209, 210.

[32] Ibid., p. 211.

[33] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 8, p. 3.

[34] MS. Opinion of the British Law Officers. _Ante_, p. 163.

[35] The Examiner [London], December 7, 1861, p. 769.

[36] The Examiner, December 7, 1861, p. 770.

[37] De Laudibus Legum Angliæ, Cap. 27.

[38] Witichindus Corbeiensis, lib. 2. Annal., ap. M. de Laurière, Préf.
Ordon., Vol. I. p. xxxiii.,--quoted by Robertson, History of Charles
V., Vol. I., Proofs and Illustrations, Note 22.

[39] The Times, November 28, 1861.

[40] Jefferson, Letter to Madame de Staël, May 24, 1813: Works, Vol.
VI. p. 118. Manning, Commentaries on the Law of Nations, p. 375.

[41] Hansard, Vol. XXIV. 601, 602, February 18, 1813.

[42] Hildreth’s History of the United States, Vol. VI. p. 349.

[43] Edinburgh Review, July, 1833, Vol. LVII p. 459.

[44] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 574.

[45] Ibid.

[46] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 574.

[47] Ibid., Vol. II. p. 489.

[48] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 84.

[49] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 134.

[50] Ibid., p. 138.

[51] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 160.

[52] The Inadmissible Principles of the King of England’s Proclamation
of October 16, 1807, considered: Works, Vol. IX. p. 322.

[53] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 405.

[54] Ibid., p. 605.

[55] Annual Register, 1813, Vol. LV. pp. 337, 339.

[56] Exposition, pp. 6, 7. This pamphlet is preserved in the Appendix
to the Life and Writings of Alexander J. Dallas, by his Son, George
Mifflin Dallas.

[57] Memoranda of a Residence at the Court of London, 2d edit., pp.
200, 201.

[58] Letter to Lord Ashburton, August 8, 1842: Webster’s Works, Vol.
VI. p. 323; Executive Documents, 27th Cong. 3d Sess., Senate, No. 1, p.

[59] Executive Documents, 36th Cong. 1st Sess., Senate, No. 2, pp. 28,

[60] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. IV. ch. 7, § 85.

[61] The Caroline, 6 Robinson, Admiralty R., 468.

[62] The Orozembo, 6 Robinson, Admiralty R. 434.

[63] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 83.

[64] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 84.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Ibid., p. 82.

[67] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 99.

[68] Ibid., p. 107.

[69] Ibid., p. 137.

[70] MS.

[71] Memoranda of a Residence at the Court of London, 2d edit., p. 306.

[72] Ibid., pp. 306, 307.

[73] Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. pp. 24, 26.

[74] Ibid., p. 38.

[75] Ibid., p. 64.

[76] Ibid., p. 90.

[77] Ibid., p. 146.

[78] Ibid., p. 186.

[79] Ibid., p. 312.

[80] Ibid., p. 328.

[81] Ibid., p. 393.

[82] Ibid., p. 416.

[83] Ibid., p. 436.

[84] Ibid., p. 474.

[85] Ibid., p. 490.

[86] Ibid., p. 540.

[87] Ibid., Vol. IX. p. 888.

[88] Ibid., Vol. X. p. 880.

[89] Ibid., p. 894.

[90] Ibid., p. 936.

[91] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 8, p. 13.

[92] 6 Robinson, Admiralty R., 440.

[93] Pratt, Law of Contraband of War, p. 58.

[94] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 26.

[95] Convention with Colombia, 1824: Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p.
312; and later treaties, _passim_.

[96] Executive Documents, 33d Cong. 1st Sess., H. of R., No. 111, p. 13.

[97] Hautefeuille, Questions de Droit International Maritime:
Affaires du Trent et du Nashville, p. 13. See also an earlier
pamphlet,--Quelques Questions de Droit International Maritime, à propos
de la Guerre d’Amérique (Leipzig et Paris, 1861).

[98] Europäische Völkerrecht der Gegenwart (1855), § 157 b, p. 276.

[99] The Rapid, Edwards, Admiralty R., 231.

[100] Elements of International Law, Part IV. ch. 3, § 24.

[101] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 125.

[102] Ibid., p. 26.

[103] Ibid., p. 46.

[104] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, Doc. 8, p. 13.

[105] Mr. Madison to Mr. Monroe, January 5, 1804: American State
Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 86.

[106] Des Droits et des Devoirs des Nations Neutres en Temps de Guerre
Maritime. 4 vol. Paris, 1848.

[107] Une Parole de Paix sur le Différend entre l’Angleterre et les

[108] Revue des Deux Mondes, Nov.-Déc., 1861, p. 1014.

[109] Letter to M. de Sartiges, July 28, 1856: President’s Message and
accompanying Documents, December, 1856: Executive Documents, 34th Cong.
3d Sess., H. of R., No. 1, pp. 35-43.

[110] Letter to Mr. Rush, July 28, 1823: Executive Documents, 33d Cong.
1st Sess., H. of R., No. 111, p. 6.

[111] Letter to Mr. Sheldon, August 13, 1823, Ibid., p. 17; Letter to
Mr. Brown, December 23, 1823, Ibid., p. 19.

[112] Letter to Mr. Gallatin, June 19, 1826: Ibid., p. 37.

[113] Letter of the Secretary of State, May 6, 1794: American State
Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 473. See also Letter of December
15, 1794: Ibid., p. 511.

[114] This paragraph was omitted in the delivery, lest it might be
turned to disparage the blockade already instituted against Slavery.

[115] Herald of Peace, August, 1862.

[116] Quarterly Review, January, 1862, p. 260.

[117] Debate on the Address respecting the War with America, Feb. 18,
1813: Hansard, XXIV. 601.

[118] _Ante_, p. 213.

[119] _Ante_, p. 164.

[120] Letters by Historicus on some Questions of International Law,
reprinted from the _Times_ with considerable Additions. London and
Cambridge, 1863.

[121] This was a very short time before the sudden death of this
lamented author.

[122] Elements of the Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies in the
United States, by L. S. Cushing, p. 193.

[123] Clarke and Hall’s Cases of Contested Elections in Congress, p.

[124] Ibid., p. 314.

[125] Sparks, Life and Treason of Benedict Arnold, p. 140: Library of
American Biography, Vol. III.

[126] Sparks, Life and Treason of Benedict Arnold, p. 141: Library of
American Biography, Vol. III.

[127] Annals of Congress, 10th Cong. 1st Sess., col. 57.

[128] Alison, History of Europe, 2d edit., Vol. IX. p. 553.

[129] Commentaries, Vol. IV. pp. 81, 82.

[130] 2 Douglas, R., 592.

[131] 4 Cranch, S. C. Rep., 126.

[132] Commentaries, Vol. IV. p. 82.

[133] Caron de Beaumarchais, author of _Mariage de Figaro_.

[134] 1 Burrow, R., 646.

[135] 6 Term, R., 529.

[136] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 184.

[137] Writings of Washington, ed. Sparks, Vol. VII., Appendix, p. 533.

[138] Ibid., p. 540.

[139] 37th Congress, 2d Session, p. 418.

[140] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 333.

[141] This important principle was affirmed by Mr. Everett somewhat
tardily; also by Dr. Brownson, at an earlier date. See, _post_,
Appendix, pp. 307, 313.

[142] _Post_, Vol. VII. p. 1.

[143] _Post_, Ibid., pp. 112, 119.

[144] Duty of Supporting the Government; Address delivered in Faneuil
Hall, 19th October, 1864: Orations and Speeches, Vol. IV. pp. 718, 719.

[145] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., March 20, 1862, pp.
1300, 1302.

[146] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., April 1, 1862, p. 1472.

[147] Ibid., April 2, pp. 1493, 1495.

[148] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., June 25, 1862, p. 2925.

[149] Ibid., July 7, p. 3148.

[150] Ibid., 39th Cong. 1st Sess., January 17, 1866, pp. 268, 274.

[151] Ibid., January 10, p. 162.

[152] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., January 26, 1865, p.

[153] Ibid., 39th Cong. 2d Sess., February 16, 1867, p. 1444.

[154] Ibid., 40th Cong. 2d Sess., February 24, 1868, p. 1378.

[155] Congressional Globe, 40th Cong. 2d Sess., January 30, 1868, p.

[156] See, _post_, pp. 381, 376.

[157] April, 1862, Vol. XCIV. pp. 435-463.

[158] Hon. Joel Parker, Professor in the Law School, Cambridge,
formerly Chief Justice of New Hampshire.

[159] Hon. Martin F. Conway, Representative in Congress from Kansas.

[160] Brownson’s Quarterly Review, Third New York Series, April, 1862,
Vol. III. pp. 194-220.

[161] Ibid., p. 199.

[162] Ibid., p. 200.

[163] Ibid., pp. 201, 202.

[164] Ibid., pp. 217, 218.

[165] Le Temps, 5 Mars, 1862.

[166] For a long time the able and learned Judge of the District Court
of the United States in Maine.

[167] Senate Reports, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 112, June 8, 1866, pp.
13, 14.

[168] Hon. Amasa Walker, in the Chicago Advance, February 2, 1871.

[169] Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II. § 1372.

[170] Craig et al. _v._ The State of Missouri, 4 Peters, R., 432.

[171] Madison, Debates in the Federal Convention, August 16, 1787.

[172] Briscoe _v._ The Bank of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 11
Peters, R., 257. Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II. §
1362-1367, and note.

[173] Collections Mass. Hist. Soc., 2d Ser. Vol. III. p. 261.

[174] History of Massachusetts, Vol. I. p. 402.

[175] Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts, Vol. I. p. 403, note.

[176] Hening, Statutes at Large, Vol. VI. p. 467.

[177] Ibid., Vol. X. pp. 279, 286.

[178] 24 George II, Chap. 53.

[179] No. XLIV., by Mr. Madison.

[180] Journals of Congress, Vol. II. p. 21.

[181] Circular Letter from Congress to their Constituents, September
13, 1779: Journals of Congress, Vol. V. p. 347.

[182] 45,578,000,000 francs. Say, J. B., Cours Complet d’Économie
Politique Pratique, Part. III. ch. 16. Nervo, le Baron de, Les Finances
Françaises sous l’Ancienne Monarchie, la République, le Consulat et
l’Empire, Tom. II. p. 280.

[183] Report on Bank Acts, 1857, Part I., Q. 4270.

[184] Report on Bank Acts, 1857, Part I., Q. 4634, 4635.

[185] Ibid., Q. 4764, 4765.

[186] Report on Bank Acts, 1857, Part I., Q. 5422.

[187] Ibid., Q. 5458.

[188] Report on Bank Acts, 1857, Part I., Q. 5483-5485.

[189] Ibid., Q. 3825. The Evidence of Lord Overstone is in a separate
volume, revised by himself.

[190] Ibid., Q. 3822.

[191] Report on Bank Acts, 1857, Part I., Q. 4049.

[192] Ibid., Q. 4054.

[193] Report on Bank Acts, 1857, Part I., Q. 4179.

[194] Encyclopædia Britannica (8th edit.), art. MONEY, Vol. XV. p. 456.

[195] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 183.

[196] 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 266.

[197] Annals of Congress, 10th Cong. 1st Sess., col. 1492, 1493.

[198] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 696.

[199] Horatio Greenough, the sculptor.

[200] Bramston, Art of Politics, 162-165: Dodsley’s Collection, Vol.
I. p. 265. Speech of Col. Titus in the House of Commons, Jan. 7,
1680-1, on the King’s Message concerning the Exclusion Bill: Hansard’s
Parliamentary History, Vol. IV. col. 1291. Webster’s Works, Vol. II. p.

[201] Art. 6, par. 3.

[202] Statutes at Large, Vol. I. p. 23.

[203] Heb., vi. 16.

[204] Burke, Letter to a Noble Lord: Works (London, 1801), Vol. VII. p.

[205] Cowen and Hill’s Notes to Phillipps on Evidence, Note 55, p. 24.

[206] In the Report as printed by the Senate this clause was omitted by
a mistake of the copyist.

[207] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 589.

[208] Statutes at Large, Vol. IV. p. 104.

[209] American State Papers, Post-Office Department, p. 27. See also
McPherson’s Political History of the Rebellion, p. 239, note.

[210] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 2231, 2232.

[211] _Ante_, p. 152.

[212] His private Secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay.

[213] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1680.

[214] P. Fletcher, The Locusts or Apollyonists, Canto I. st. 10.

[215] Speech on Manumission, 1788: American Museum, July, 1789, Vol.
VI. p. 75.

[216] Speech on Negro Slavery, July 13, 1830. Works, Vol. X. p. 216.

[217] Jones _v._ Vanzandt, 2 McLean, R., 603.

[218] The State _v._ Mann, 2 Devereux, R., 266.

[219] The Antelope, 10 Wheaton, R., 121.

[220] Speech in the Senate, August 26, 1852: _ante_, Vol. III. pp. 126,

[221] Speech in the Senate, March 26, 27, 1850: Congressional Globe,
31st Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, pp. 468-480.

[222] Speech in the House of Representatives, February 23, 1849: Ibid.,
30th Cong. 2d Sess., Appendix, pp. 318-326.

[223] Journal of Congress, Vol. VIII. p. 419.

[224] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 22, 1787: Madison
Papers, p. 1394.

[225] Annals of Congress, 1st. Cong. 2d Sess., col. 1189.

[226] Journal of Congress, Vol. X. pp. 29, 50, 52.

[227] Introduction to the Anas: Jefferson’s Writings, Vol. IX. p. 94.

[228] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. I. p. 130.

[229] Laws of Maryland, 1791, Ch. XLIV. sec. 2.

[230] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. II. pp. 104, 105.

[231] Laws of Maryland, 1715, Ch. XLIV. sec. 22.

[232] Ibid., 1717, Ch. XIII. sec. 2.

[233] Laws of Maryland, 1796, Ch. LXVII. sec. 5.

[234] Howell’s State Trials, Vol. XX. col. 82.

[235] See Harry _v._ Decker, Walker, Mississippi R., 42; Rankin _v._
Lydia, 2 A. K. Marshall, Kentucky R., 470.

[236] Barron _v._ Baltimore, 7 Peters, R., 243.

[237] Elliot’s Debates, II. 484, III. 211, IV. 223.

[238] Hoare’s Memoirs of Sharp, p. 38.

[239] Writings, ed. Sparks, Vol. IX. p. 164.

[240] S. Ambrosius, De Officiis Ministrorum, Lib. II. c. 28.

[241] Cochin, L’Abolition de l’Esclavage, Tom. II. pp. 437-439.

[242] Keatinge’s Travels, p. 250.

[243] Braithwaite’s Revolutions in Morocco, p. 353.

[244] Histoire d’Alger (Paris, 1830), Ch. 27.

[245] Letter from M. Le Veillard, October 9, 1785: Franklin’s Works,
ed. Sparks, Vol. X. p. 230.

[246] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess., col. 1572.

[247] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 101.

[248] Ibid., p. 100.

[249] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 105.

[250] Ibid., p. 106.

[251] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 128.

[252] Ibid.

[253] Ibid., p. 136.

[254] Ibid., p. 136.

[255] Statutes at Large, Vol. I. p. 285.

[256] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. pp. 291, 292.

[257] Ibid., p. 292.

[258] Letter from Richard O’Brien to the President of the United
States, Algiers, November 5, 1793: American State Papers, Foreign
Relations, Vol. I. p. 417.

[259] Ibid., p. 418.

[260] Ibid., p. 421.

[261] Independent Chronicle (Boston), April 9, 1795.

[262] Algerine Captive, Ch. 32, Vol. I. p. 213.

[263] Mr. Baldwin, of Georgia, February 6, 1794: Annals of Congress, 3d
Cong. 1st Sess., col. 434.

[264] Statutes at Large, Vol. I. p. 345.

[265] Ibid.

[266] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 529.

[267] Ibid., p. 28.

[268] Statutes at Large, Treaties, Vol. VIII. p. 136.

[269] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. pp. 30, 31.

[270] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. II. p. 372.

[271] Remarks on the War between the United States and Tripoli:
Miscellaneous Works (New York, 1804), p. 73.

[272] Statutes at Large, Treaties, Vol. VIII. p. 214.

[273] Ibid., p. 226.

[274] Osler’s Life of Admiral Viscount Exmouth, Appendix, p. 432.

[275] Senate Reports, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., No. 41, p. 10.

[276] See, _ante_, p. 410.

[277] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1646, April 11, 1862.

[278] Debates on the Panama Mission, March and April, 1826: Gales and
Seaton’s Register of Debates in Congress, Vol. II. 166, 291, 330, 2150.

[279] National Intelligencer, December 19 and 21, 1838.

[280] See Statistical View, annexed to Speech: Congressional Globe,
37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1775. Also, Report of the Register of the
Treasury of the Commerce and Navigation of the United States for the
Year ending June 30, 1860, Tables 10, 11, 13: Executive Documents, 36th
Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., Vol. XI.

[281] Report of Register of Treasury of the Commerce and Navigation
of the United States, for the Year ending June 30, 1860, Table No. 1:
Executive Documents, 36th Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., Vol. XI.

[282] Report on the Commercial Relations of the United States with all
Foreign Nations, Vol. IV. p. 509: Executive Documents, 34th Cong. 1st
Sess., H. of R., No. 47.

[283] Ibid., Vol. I. p. 559.

[284] Commercial Relations, Vol. I. p. 560.

[285] This foothold on the Dominican portion of the island proved to be
only temporary.

[286] Kennett et al. _v._ Chambers, 14 Howard, R., 38.

[287] Elements of International Law, Part III. ch. 1, § 22.

[288] International Law, or Rules regulating the Intercourse of States
in Peace and War, by H. W. Halleck, p. 242.

[289] It was translated into French.

[290] Nathaniel Gordon, commander of the slave-ship Erie, executed at
New York, February 21, 1862.

[291] Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Vol. II. §

[292] Annual Register, 1814, p. 418. Martens, Nouveau Recueil de
Traités, Tom. II. p. 15.

[293] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 223.

[294] Martens, Nouveau Recueil de Traités, Tom. II. p. 432.

[295] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. V. p. 93.

[296] Ibid., p. 141.

[297] Annals of Congress, 17th Cong. 2d Sess., 928, 1147, 1155.

[298] Annals of Congress, 17th Cong. 2d Sess., 1154.

[299] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. V. p. 320. See
also p. 335.

[300] Ibid., pp. 361, 362. Rush’s Memoranda of a Residence at the Court
of London (2d Series), p. 499.

[301] Speech in the House of Representatives, April 14, 1842:
Congressional Globe, 27th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 424.

[302] Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords on the
Final Extinction of the African Slave-Trade, July 23, 1849, Appendix F,
No. 1: Parliamentary Papers, 1850, Vol. IX., No. 53, p. 370.

[303] Letter to Mr. Rush, June 24, 1823: American State Papers, Foreign
Relations, Vol. V. p. 334. See, also, Letter to Messrs. Gallatin and
Rush, November 2, 1818, Ibid., p. 73; and Letter of Mr. Rush to Lord
Castlereagh, December 21, 1818, Ibid., p. 113.

[304] American Ins. Co. et al. _v._ Canter, 1 Peters, S. C. R., 546;
Benner et al. _v._ Porter, 9 Howard, R., 244.

[305] Features of Mr. Jay’s Treaty, by Alexander J. Dallas,--originally
published in the _American Daily Advertiser_. This able disquisition is
preserved in the Appendix to the Life of Mr. Dallas by his Son, George
Mifflin Dallas. See pp. 188, 189.

[306] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. XV. p. 321.

[307] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., May 1, 1862, p. 1893.

[308] Rebellion Record, Vol. IV., Documents, p. 204. General Halleck’s
subsequent explanation of this order, as “military, and not political,”
is criticized by Mr. Greeley: The American Conflict, Vol. II. p. 241.
See also, _ante_, pp. 119, 120.

[309] Memoirs of Lieut-General Scott, LL.D., written by Himself, Vol.
I. pp. 188-190.

[310] See, _ante_, p. 442.

[311] “On a donné sa mesure à quarante ans.”

[312] See, _ante_, Vol. V. p. 310.

[313] Hon. James M. Ashley.

[314] On motion of Hon. William Vandever, of Iowa.

[315] Reported by Mr. Ashley, March 12, 1862, when the bill was read at
length. Mr. Pendleton, after saying that it “ought to be entitled ‘A
Bill to dissolve the Union and abolish the Constitution of the United
States,’” moved to lay it on the table, which was done,--Yeas 65, Nays

[316] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 1st Sess., col. 44, 420.

[317] Statutes at Large, Vol. I. p. 68.

[318] Ezra, vi. 1.

[319] May’s Parliamentary Practice, or Treatise on the Law, Privileges,
Proceedings, and Usage of Parliament (London, 1859), p. 228.

[320] Ibid.

[321] Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. LXXX. p. 867.

[322] Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. LXXXI. p. 16.

[323] Ibid., pp. 18, 19.

[324] Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. CIV. p. 52.

[325] Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. LXXXI. pp. 588, 589.

[326] Gilbert, Law of Evidence, Vol. I. p. 12.

[327] Greenleaf, Law of Evidence, Vol. I. § 480.

[328] May’s Parliamentary Practice, p. 452.

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