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Title: Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 9 (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
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       [Illustration: A. W. Elson & Co. Boston: HANNIBAL HAMLIN]

            Statesman Edition                      VOL. IX

                            Charles Sumner

                          HIS COMPLETE WORKS

                           With Introduction
                       HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR


                            LEE AND SHEPARD

                           COPYRIGHT, 1872,
                            CHARLES SUMNER.

                           COPYRIGHT, 1900,
                           LEE AND SHEPARD.

                          Statesman Edition.
                           OF WHICH THIS IS
                                No. 259

                            Norwood Press:
                        NORWOOD, MASS., U.S.A.



    AGAINST THE REBELLION. Speech in the Senate, on his Bill for
    the Confiscation of Property and the Liberation of Slaves
    belonging to Rebels, May 19, 1862                                  1

    Remarks in the Senate, May 23, 1862                               78

    ARMIES. Resolution in the Senate, May 26, 1862                    82

    MEN. Resolution in the Senate, May 26, 1862                       83

    TAX ON COTTON. Speeches in the Senate, May 27 and June 4, 1862    84

    TAX ON SLAVE-MASTERS. Speeches in the Senate, on Amendment to
    the Internal Tax Bill, May 28 and June 6, 1862                    93

    PROPER DESPATCH OF BUSINESS. Remarks in the Senate, on the
    Order of Business, May 30, 1862                                  110

    NORTH CAROLINA. Resolution and Remarks in the Senate, June 2,
    1862                                                             112

    STAND BY THE ADMINISTRATION. Letter to ----, June 5, 1862        116

    Resolutions in the Senate, June 6, 1862                          119

    in the Senate, June 9, 1862                                      121

    in the Senate, on the Bill for the Admission of West Virginia
    as a State, June 26, July 1 and 14, 1862                         122

    in the Senate, on the House Bill for the Confiscation of
    Property and the Liberation of Slaves belonging to Rebels,
    June 27, 1862                                                    128

    PRIZE MONEY AND ITS POLICY. Remarks in the Senate, June 30,
    1862                                                             148

    THE RANK OF ADMIRAL. Remarks in the Senate, on the Bill to
    establish the Grades of Navy Officers, July 2, 1862              150

    STATES. Speeches in the Senate, on an Amendment to two
    different Bills, one relating to the Judiciary, and the other
    to the Competency of Witnesses, July 3 and 15, 1862              152

    Senate, on a Bill to establish Provisional Governments in
    Certain Cases, July 7, 1862                                      162

    TAXES ON KNOWLEDGE. Remarks in the Senate, on the Duties upon
    Imported Books and Rags, July 8, 1862                            166

    CONSTITUTIONAL QUORUM OF THE SENATE. Speech in the Senate, on a
    Resolution declaring the Constitutional Quorum, July 12, 1862    169

    Senate, on a Resolution for the Final Adjournment of the Two
    Houses, July 12, 1862                                            176

    PATRIOTIC UNITY AND EMANCIPATION. Letter to a Public Meeting at
    New York, July 14, 1862                                          180

    Senate, on the Joint Resolution explanatory of the Act for
    Confiscation and Liberation, July 16, 1862                       182

    Republican State Committee, September 9, 1862                    187

    Faneuil Hall, October 6, 1862. With Appendix, on the Nomination
    and Reëlection of Mr. Sumner as Senator                          191

    Fellow-Citizens at Salem, October 10, 1862                       247

    the Dinner of the Hampshire County Agricultural Society, at
    Northampton, Mass., October 14, 1862                             248

    AMBULANCE AND HOSPITAL CORPS. Resolution in the Senate,
    December 3, 1862                                                 255

    CELEBRATION OF EMANCIPATION. Letter to a Public Meeting of
    Colored Citizens in Boston, January 1, 1863                      256

    PRUDENCE IN OUR FOREIGN RELATIONS. Remarks in the Senate, on
    Resolutions against French Interference in Mexico, February 3,
    1863                                                             257

    EMPLOYMENT OF COLORED TROOPS. Bill in the Senate, February 9,
    1863                                                             262

    on the Bill providing Aid for Emancipation in Missouri,
    February 12, 1863                                                266

    LETTERS OF MARQUE AND REPRISAL. Speeches in the Senate, on the
    Bill to authorize the President, in all Domestic or Foreign
    Wars, to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal, February 14 and
    17, 1863                                                         278

    APPOINTMENTS TO THE NAVAL ACADEMY. Remarks in the Senate, on
    the Bill to regulate the Appointment of Midshipmen to the Naval
    Academy, February 16, 1863                                       301

    the Conscription Law, February 16, 1863                          303

    NATIONAL PURPOSE. Concurrent Resolutions of Congress, reported
    in the Senate, February 28, 1863                                 307

    INEXPEDIENCY OF LETTERS OF MARQUE. Letter to a Citizen of New
    York, March 17, 1863                                             313

    UNITY. Letter to a Public Meeting at Cleveland, Ohio, May 18,
    1863                                                             316

    PACIFIC RAILROAD. Letter to Messrs. Samuel Hallett & Co., May
    23, 1863                                                         318

    Convention at Chicago, May 27, 1863                              320

    THE ISSUES OF THE WAR. Dedication of a New Edition of the
    Speech on the Barbarism of Slavery, July 4, 1863                 322

    LET COLORED MEN ENLIST. Letter to a Convention at Poughkeepsie,
    New York, July 13, 1863                                          325




    Wherefore he deserves to be punished, not only as an enemy, but
    also as a traitor, both to you and to us. And indeed treason is
    as much worse than war as it is harder to guard against what
    is secret than what is open,--and as much more hateful, as
    with enemies men make treaties again, and put faith in them,
    but with one who is discovered to be a traitor nobody ever
    enters into covenant, or trusts him for the future.--XENOPHON,
    _Hellenica_, Book II. ch. 3, § 29.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Tum, ex consulto Senatus adversariis hostibus judicatis, in
    præsentem Tribunum, aliosque diversæ factionis, jure sævitum
    est.--FLORUS, _Epitome_, Lib. III. cap. 21.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Ego semper illum appellavi hostem, cum alii adversarium; semper
    hoc bellum, cum alii tumultum. Nec hæc in Senatu solum; eadem
    ad populum semper egi.--CICERO, _Oratio Philippica XII._ cap.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Except the Tax Bill, no subject occupied so much attention
    during this session as what were known generally as
    “Confiscation Bills,” all proposing, in different ways, the
    punishment of Rebels and the weakening of the Rebellion, by
    taking property and freeing slaves. In supporting these bills,
    Mr. Sumner did not disguise his special anxiety to assert the
    power of Congress over Slavery.

    As early as January 15th, Mr. Trumbull reported from the
    Judiciary Committee a bill to confiscate the property and free
    the slaves of Rebels, which was considered from time to time
    and debated at length, many Senators speaking. Amendments
    were made, among which was one moved by Mr. Sumner, February
    25th, requiring, that, whenever any person claimed another
    as slave, he should, before proceeding with his claim, prove
    loyalty.[1] Then came motions for reference of the pending bill
    and all associate propositions to a Select Committee. That of
    Mr. Clark prevailed. In a speech which will be found in the
    _Congressional Globe_[2] sustaining the reference, Mr. Sumner

        “Such are the embarrassments in which we are involved,
        such is the maze into which we have been led by these
        various motions, that a committee is needed to hold the
        clew. Never was there more occasion for such a committee
        than now, when we have all these multifarious propositions
        to be considered, revised, collated, and brought into a
        constitutional unit,--or, if I may so say, changing the
        figure, passed through an alembic, to be fused into one
        bill on which we can all harmonize.”

    Mr. Clark reported from the Select Committee a bill “to
    suppress Insurrection and punish Treason and Rebellion,” which,
    on the 16th of May, was taken up for consideration. Mr. Sumner
    was among those who thought the bill inadequate, and on the day
    it was taken up he introduced a substitute in ten sections,
    which was printed by order of the Senate. The title was, “For
    the Confiscation of Property and the Liberation of Slaves
    belonging to Rebels.” The sections relating to Liberation were

        “SEC. 6. _And be it further enacted_, That, if any person
        within any State or Territory of the United States shall,
        after the passage of this Act, wilfully engage in armed
        rebellion against the Government of the United States,
        or shall wilfully aid or abet such rebellion, or adhere
        to those engaged in such rebellion, giving them aid or
        comfort, every such person shall thereby forfeit all claim
        to the service or labor of any persons commonly known as
        slaves; and all such slaves are hereby declared free,
        and forever discharged from such servitude, anything in
        the laws of the United States, or of any State, to the
        contrary notwithstanding. And whenever thereafter any
        person claiming the labor or service of any such slave
        shall seek to enforce his claim, it shall be a sufficient
        defence thereto that the claimant was engaged in the said
        rebellion, or aided or abetted the same, contrary to the
        provisions of this Act.

        “SEC. 7. _And be it further enacted_, That, 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 shall be
        made for the surrender of the person whose service or labor
        is claimed, establish not only his claim to such service
        or labor, but also that such claimant has not in any way
        aided, assisted, or countenanced the existing Rebellion
        against the Government of the United States. And no person
        engaged in the military or naval service of the United
        States shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to decide
        on the validity of the claim of any person to the service
        or labor of any other person, or deliver up any such person
        to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the

    May 19th, Mr. Sumner made the following speech, vindicating the
    powers of Congress.

    A debate ensued, turning on the inadequacy of the pending
    bill, in which Mr. Sumner likened it to a glass of water with
    a bit of orange-peel, which, according to a character in one
    of Dickens’s novels, by making believe very hard, would be
    a strong drink, and said: “At a moment when the life of the
    Republic is struck at, Senators would proceed by indictment in
    a criminal court.” Mr. Wade said: “I do not know that we shall
    get anything; but if we only get this bill, we shall get next
    to nothing.”

    In the course of the debate, Mr. Davis departed from the
    main question to say that he understood the Senators from
    Massachusetts sympathized with the mob in Boston, and its
    resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act. He never knew that Mr.
    Wilson had appeared “to back the Marshal of the United States
    in the execution of that law.” Then ensued a brief colloquy.

        “MR. DAVIS. I never heard that he did, or that either
        of them did, perform or attempt to perform that high,
        patriotic duty.

        “MR. SUMNER. I was in my seat here.

        “MR. DAVIS. Did you not give your sympathy to those who
        resisted the law?

        “MR. SUMNER. My sympathy is always with every slave.

        “MR. DAVIS. That is a frank acknowledgment. His sympathy is
        with every slave against the Constitution and the execution
        of the laws of his country! If that is not a sentiment of
        treason, I ask what is.”[3]

    Meanwhile the House of Representatives were considering the
    same subject, and on the 26th May passed a bill “to confiscate
    the property of Rebels for the payment of the expenses of the
    present Rebellion, and for other purposes,” which, on motion
    of Mr. Clark, was taken up in the Senate June 23d, when he
    moved to substitute the pending Senate bill. The debate on
    the general question was resumed. June 27th, Mr. Sumner made
    another speech, which will be found in its place, according to
    date,[4] especially in reply to Mr. Browning, who had claimed
    the War Powers for the President rather than for Congress.

    June 28th, the substitute moved by Mr. Clark was agreed to,
    Yeas 19, Nays 17, and the bill as amended was then passed, Yeas
    28, Nays 13.

    July 3d, the House non-concurred in the Senate amendment.
    A Conference Committee reported in substance the Senate
    amendment, which was accepted in the Senate, Yeas 28, Nays 13,
    and in the House, Yeas 82, Nays 42. July 17th, the bill was
    signed by the President.

    The sections of this bill, as it passed, relating to
    liberation, were these.

        “SEC. 9. _And be it further enacted_, That all slaves of
        persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against
        the Government of the United States, or who shall in any
        way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons
        and taking refuge within the lines of the army, and all
        slaves captured from such persons, or deserted by them, and
        coming under the control of the Government of the United
        States, and all slaves of such persons found on [or] being
        within any place occupied by Rebel forces, and afterwards
        occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be
        deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their
        servitude, and not again held as slaves.

        “SEC. 10. _And be it further enacted_, That no slave
        escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of
        Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up,
        or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except
        for crime, or some offence against the laws, unless the
        person claiming said fugitive shall first make oath that
        the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is
        alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne
        arms against the United States in the present Rebellion,
        nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no
        person engaged in the military or naval service of the
        United States shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to
        decide on the validity of the claim of any person to the
        service or labor of any other person, or surrender up any
        such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed
        from the service.”[5]

    This speech in the Washington pamphlet was entitled “Indemnity
    for the Past and Security for the Future,” which points
    directly at its object. An edition was printed in New York by
    the Young Men’s Republican Union, with the title, “Rights of
    Sovereignty and Rights of War, Two Sources of Power against the
    Rebellion,” which describes the way in which this object might
    be accomplished.

    It was noticed at the time as removing difficulties which
    perplexed many with regard to the powers of Congress.

    In Paris, the _Journal des Débats_[6] referred to it as
    explaining the confiscation proposed in the United States, and
    quoted passages especially in reply to the _Constitutionnel_,
    which had attacked the measure.

    A few opinions are given, merely to illustrate the tone of

       *       *       *       *       *

    Hon. John Jay, afterwards our Minister at Vienna, who
    sympathized promptly with all that was done to crush the
    Rebellion, wrote from New York:--

        “Your Confiscation speech is an admirable exposition of the
        subject, and will go far to remove any lingering doubts
        in the public mind in regard to the constitutionality and
        necessity of the measure.”

    Then again he wrote:--

        “I have re-read, with thorough satisfaction, your speech
        on Confiscation and Emancipation in the pamphlet you
        were good enough to send me. It is admirable in its
        tone, arrangement, and completeness, and the arguments
        and illustrations are overwhelming and unanswerable. The
        necessity of Emancipation is fast forcing itself upon our
        people by the stern logic of facts, but your speech will
        remove any lingering doubts.”

    Hon. Amos P. Granger, former Representative in Congress, and a
    stern patriot, wrote from Syracuse, New York:--

        “Your remarks of the 19th, as reported in the _Tribune_ day
        before yesterday, are read in this vicinity with a great
        deal of pleasure and approbation. They are replete with
        prudence, skill, and wisdom. Such sentiments are rarely
        heard in Washington. It would seem that they would be

    Hon. William L. Marshall, an able Judge of Maryland, wrote
    from Baltimore:--

        “You have exhausted the subject, it seems to me, so far as
        it involves legal questions. I have been greatly pleased
        and much interested by your argument.”

    L. D. Stickney, of Florida, wrote from Washington:--

        “I have read your speech on the confiscation of the
        property of Rebels with the liveliest interest and with
        entire approbation. Long a citizen of the South, I have
        nevertheless been a steadfast Republican of the school of
        Jefferson and of J. Quincy Adams,--a Republican to elevate
        men to the proper status of freemen, not to degrade them
        to slavery. While the unthinking and those of violent
        prejudices call you fanatical, no man properly qualified
        to judge of men and events can survey your parliamentary
        history without acknowledging your claim to the highest
        plane of statesmanship. I reverence Sir James Mackintosh
        as the brightest example of great men whom the world will
        not willingly let die. Tried by no other standard than your
        speeches in the Thirty-Seventh Congress alone, you will
        stand unchallenged by the enlightened judgment of mankind,
        his co-rival in that fame which makes his name cherished by
        scholars everywhere, and by all men of good report.”

    While expressing sympathy with this speech, many at this time,
    like the last writer, referred to the series of efforts by
    Mr. Sumner during this session. Among these was Hon. Samuel
    E. Sewall, of Boston, the able lawyer and tried Abolitionist,
    who repeated the kindly appreciation which he had expressed on
    other occasions.

        “Your course during the present session has not only
        delighted your friends, but I think has given great
        satisfaction to the mass of your constituents, as well as
        to all throughout the country whose opinions are of any

        “Any man might think his life well spent, who, in its whole
        course, had said and done no more in the cause of freedom
        and justice than you have in the six months past.”

    Hon. Charles W. Upham, the author, and former Representative in
    Congress, wrote from Salem:--

        “You have nobly presented and thoroughly exhausted all the
        subjects you have treated. I rejoice in your success, and
        cordially indorse your sentiments. May you live to witness
        the progressive triumphs of the great cause to which you
        are devoted!”

    Lewis Tappan, often quoted already, wrote from New York:--

        “You have done a great work in the Senate during the last
        session. I admire your consistency. Every utterance has
        been instinct with liberty and loyalty.… Thanking you again
        for the speech, and for your other speeches, and thanking
        God for the brilliancy of your entire Senatorial career.…”

    Hon. Asaph Churchill, lawyer and fellow-student, expressed his
    sympathy, and gave a reminiscence, in a letter from Boston.

        “Allow me to congratulate you upon the grand success of our
        country’s movement, and no less upon your own career, which
        has been crowned with such splendid success, during the
        past season, in the new, important, and delicate questions
        which you have been called upon to speak and act upon.
        Certainly your highest ambition ought to be satisfied with
        that which insures to you your place in the immortality of
        history; and you have had the most abundant opportunity for
        accomplishing upon the grandest scale that aspiration which
        I so well remember you gave utterance to at our Law School,
        when, boy-like, we were all telling what we most ardently
        sought to do or to be, that you ‘wished to do that which
        would do the most good to mankind.’”

    Wendell Phillips, after his return from a lecture-tour, wrote:--

        “Be of good courage. We all say amen to you. And your
        diocese, _I_ can testify, extends to the Mississippi.”

    Alfred E. Giles, lawyer, wrote from Boston:--

        “During your Congressional career, I have so uniformly
        found my views and feelings on public affairs in accordance
        with those of your speeches, that I now feel myself
        obliged, for once at least (for I shall not often trouble
        you), to express my gratitude, and give a word of good
        cheer to you, who, amid so many discouragements, and under
        so much obloquy as has been attempted to be thrown upon
        you, have ever so faithfully and manfully stood up for the
        oppressed and for liberal principles.

        “It appears to me, on reading your speeches, that I find
        my own views and principles announced, stated, and clothed
        with a richness and beauty of style and illustration that I
        admire, but cannot emulate.

        “Again, I am much pleased that you always deal fairly
        with your opponents, not using misrepresentation and _ad
        captandum_ argument, but drawing your weapons from the
        armory of truth and right.”

    Professor Ordronaux, of Columbia College, New York, wrote:--

         “Last year, while in England, I had the honor of meeting
        many gentlemen of your acquaintance, and, amid the many
        bitter things I was compelled to listen to, it was a
        source of constant satisfaction and pride to hear them
        acknowledge the great confidence they reposed in you, and
        the earnest wish they expressed for the success of that
        _novus ordo sæclorum_ in the Senate, for which we are so
        much indebted to you. Reading over for the third time your
        famous Kansas speech, of May, 1856,[7] this morning, I was
        struck with the almost prophetic character of its language.
        The crime against Nature has indeed culminated. It struck
        you down, and then went dancing like a maniac, all the
        while approaching that bottomless abyss into which it is
        now descending. Can you doubt that Nemesis still wields her
        sword and flaming torch?”

    These expressions of sympathy and good-will, overflowing from
    opposite quarters, are a proper prelude to other utterances,
    widely different in tone, aroused against Mr. Sumner by the
    very persistency of his course. Appearing in their proper
    place, these will be better comprehended from knowing already
    the other side.


MR. PRESIDENT,--If I can simplify this discussion, I shall feel that
I have done something towards establishing the truth. The chief
difficulty springs from confusion with regard to different sources of
power. This I shall try to remove.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a saying, often repeated by statesmen and often recorded
by publicists, which embodies the direct object of the war we are
now unhappily compelled to wage,--an object sometimes avowed in
European wars, and more than once made a watchword in our own country:
“Indemnity for the past, and Security for the future.” Such should be
our comprehensive aim,--nor more, nor less. Without indemnity for the
past, this war will have been waged at our cost; without security for
the future, this war will have been waged in vain, treasure and blood
will have been lavished for nothing. But indemnity and security are
both means to an end, and that end is the National Unity under the
Constitution of the United States. It is not enough, if we preserve the
Constitution at the expense of the National Unity. Nor is it enough, if
we enforce the National Unity at the expense of the Constitution. Both
must be maintained. Both will be maintained, if we do not fail to take
counsel of that prudent courage which is never so much needed as at a
moment like the present.

Two things we seek as means to an end: Indemnity for the past, and
Security for the future.

Two things we seek as the end itself: National Unity, under the
Constitution of the United States.

In these objects all must concur. But how shall they be best

The Constitution and International Law are each involved in this
discussion. Even if the question itself were minute, it would be
important from such relations. But it concerns vast masses of property,
and, what is more than property, it concerns the liberty of men, while
it opens for decision the means to be employed in bringing this great
war to a close. In every aspect the question is transcendent; nor is it
easy to pass upon it without the various lights of _jurisprudence_, of
_history_, and of _policy_.

Sometimes it is called a constitutional question exclusively. This is
a mistake. In every Government bound by written Constitution nothing
is done except in conformity with the Constitution. But in the present
debate there need be no difficulty or doubt under the Constitution.
Its provisions are plain and explicit, so that they need only to be
recited. The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. COWAN] and the Senator from
Vermont [Mr. COLLAMER] have stated them strongly; but I complain less
of their statement than of its application. Of course, any proposition
really inconsistent with these provisions must be abandoned. But if,
on the other hand, it be consistent, then is the way open to its
consideration in the lights of history and policy.

If there be any difficulty now, it is not from the question, but
simply from the facts,--as often in judicial proceedings it is less
embarrassing to determine the law than the facts. If things are seen
as they really are and not as Senators fancy or desire, if the facts
are admitted in their natural character, then must the constitutional
power of the Government be admitted also, for this power comes into
being on the occurrence of certain facts. Only by denying the facts can
the power itself be drawn in question. But not even the Senator from
Pennsylvania or the Senator from Vermont denies the facts.

       *       *       *       *       *

The facts are simple and obvious. They are all expressed or embodied in
the double idea of Rebellion and War. Both of these are facts patent
to common observation and common sense. It would be an insult to the
understanding to say that at the present moment there is no Rebellion
or that there is no War. Whatever the doubts of Senators, or their
fine-spun constitutional theories, nobody questions that we are in
the midst of _de facto_ Rebellion and in the midst of _de facto_ War.
We are in the midst of each and of both. It is not enough to say that
there is Rebellion; nor is it enough to say that there is War. The
whole truth is not told in either alternative. Our case is double, and
you may call it Rebellion or War, as you please, or you may call it
both. It is Rebellion swollen to all the proportions of war, and it is
War deriving its life from rebellion. It is not less Rebellion because
of its present full-blown grandeur, nor is it less War because of the
traitorous source whence it draws its life.

The Rebellion is manifest,--is it not? An extensive territory, once
occupied by Governments rejoicing in allegiance to the Union,
and sharing largely in its counsels, has undertaken to overthrow
the National Constitution within its borders. Its Senators and
Representatives have withdrawn from Congress. The old State
Governments, solemnly bound by the oaths of their functionaries to
support the National Constitution, have vanished; and in their place
appear pretended Governments, which, adopting the further pretension
of a Confederacy, have proceeded to issue letters of marque and to
levy war against the United States. So far has displacement of the
National Government prevailed, that at this moment, throughout this
whole territory, there are no functionaries acting under the United
States, but all are pretending to act under the newly established
Usurpation. Instead of the oath to support the Constitution of the
United States, required of all officials by the Constitution, another
oath is substituted, to support the Constitution of the Confederacy;
and thus the Rebellion assumes a completeness of organization under the
most solemn sanctions. In point of fact, throughout this territory the
National Government is ousted, while the old State Governments have
ceased to exist, lifeless now from Rebel hands. Call it suicide, if
you will, or suspended animation, or abeyance,--they have practically
ceased to exist. Such is the plain and palpable fact. If all this
is not rebellion, complete in triumphant treason, then is rebellion
nothing but a name.

But the War is not less manifest. Assuming all the functions of an
independent government, the Confederacy has undertaken to declare
war against the United States. In support of this declaration it has
raised armies, organized a navy, issued letters of marque, borrowed
money, imposed taxes, and otherwise done all that it could in waging
war. Its armies are among the largest ever marshalled by a single
people, and at different places throughout a wide-spread territory they
have encountered the armies of the United States. Battles are fought
with the varying vicissitudes of war. Sieges are laid. Fortresses and
cities are captured. On the sea, ships bearing the commission of the
Rebellion, sometimes as privateers and sometimes as ships of the navy,
seize, sink, or burn merchant vessels of the United States; and only
lately an iron-clad steamer, with the flag of the Rebellion, destroyed
two frigates of the United States. On each side prisoners are made,
who are treated as prisoners of war, and as such exchanged. Flags of
truce pass from camp to camp, and almost daily during the winter this
white flag has afforded its belligerent protection to communications
between Norfolk and Fortress Monroe, while the whole Rebel coast is
by proclamation of the President declared in a state of blockade, and
ships of foreign countries, as well as of our own, are condemned by
courts in Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, as prize
of war. Thus do all things attest the existence of war, which is
manifest now in the blockade, upheld by judicial tribunals, and now in
the bugle, which after night sounds truce, indubitably as in mighty
armies face to face on the battle-field. It is war in all its criminal
eminence, challenging all the pains and penalties of war, enlisting all
its terrible prerogatives, and awaking all its dormant thunder.

Further effort is needless to show that we are in the midst of a
Rebellion and in the midst of a War,--or, in yet other words, that
unquestionable war is now waged to put down unquestionable rebellion.
But a single illustration out of many in history will exhibit this
double character in unmistakable relief. The disturbances which
convulsed England in the middle of the seventeenth century were
occasioned by the resistance of Parliament to the arbitrary power of
the Crown. This resistance, prolonged for years and maintained by
force, triumphed at last in the execution of King Charles and the
elevation of Oliver Cromwell. The historian whose classical work was
for a long time the chief authority relative to this event styles it
“The Rebellion,” and under this name it passed into the memory of
men. But it was none the less war, with all the incidents of war. The
fields of Naseby, Marston Moor, Dunbar, and Worcester, where Cavaliers
and Puritans met in bloody shock, attest that it was war. Clarendon
called it Rebellion, and the title of one of his works makes it “The
Grand Rebellion,”--how small by the side of ours! But a greater than
Clarendon--John Milton--called it War, when, in unsurpassed verses,
after commemorating the victories of Cromwell, he uses words so often
quoted without knowing their original application:--

                      “Yet much remains
    To conquer still: Peace hath her victories
    No less renowned than War.”[8]

The death of Cromwell was followed by the restoration of King Charles
the Second; but the royal fugitive from the field of Worcester,
where Cromwell triumphed in war, did not fail to put forth the full
prerogatives of sovereignty in the suppression of rebellion; and all
who sat in judgment on the king, his father, were saved from the
fearful penalties of treason only by exile. Hugh Peters, the Puritan
preacher, and Harry Vane, the Puritan senator, were executed as
traitors for the part they performed in what was at once rebellion and
war, while the body of the great commander who defeated his king in
battle, and then sat upon his throne, was hung in chains, as a warning
against treason.

Other instances might be given to illustrate the double character of
present events. But enough is done. My simple object is to exhibit this
important point in such light that it will be at once recognized. And
I present the Rebellion and the War as obvious _facts_. Let them be
seen in their true character, and it is easy to apply the law. Because
Senators see the facts only imperfectly, they hesitate with regard to
the powers we are to employ,--or perhaps it is because they insist upon
seeing the fact of Rebellion exclusively, and not the fact of War. Let
them open their eyes, and they must see both. If I seem to dwell on
this point, it is because of its practical importance in the present
debate. For myself, I assume it as an undeniable postulate.

       *       *       *       *       *

The persons arrayed for the overthrow of the Government of the United
States are unquestionably _criminals_, subject to all the penalties of
rebellion, which is of course treason under the Constitution of the
United States.

The same persons arrayed in war against the Government of the United
States are unquestionably _enemies_, exposed to all the incidents
of war, with its penalties, seizures, contributions, confiscations,
captures, and prizes.

They are _criminals_, because they set themselves traitorously against
the Government of their country.

They are _enemies_, because their combination assumes the front and
proportions of war.

It is idle to say that they are not criminals. It is idle to say that
they are not enemies. They are both, and they are either; and it is for
the Government of the United States to proceed against them in either
character, according to controlling considerations of policy. This
right is so obvious, on grounds of reason, that it seems superfluous to
sustain it by authority. But since its recognition is essential to the
complete comprehension of our present position, I shall not hesitate to
illustrate it by judicial decisions, and also by an earlier voice.

A judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States cannot bind the
Senate on this question; but it is an important guide, to which we
all bow with respect. In the best days of this eminent tribunal, when
Marshall was Chief Justice, in a case arising out of the efforts of
France to suppress insurrection in the colony of San Domingo, it was
affirmed by the Court that in such a case there were two distinct
sources of power open to exercise by a government,--one found in the
rights of a sovereign, the other in the rights of a belligerent, or, in
other words, one under Municipal Law, and the other under International
Law,--and the exercise of one did not prevent the exercise of the
other. Belligerent rights, it was admitted, might be superadded to
the rights of sovereignty. Here are the actual words of Chief-Justice

    “It is not intended to say that belligerent rights may not be
    superadded to those of sovereignty. But admitting a sovereign,
    who is endeavoring to reduce his revolted subjects to
    obedience, to possess both sovereign and belligerent rights,
    and to be capable of acting in either character, the manner in
    which he acts must determine the character of the act. If as a
    legislator he publishes a law ordaining punishments for certain
    offences, which law is to be applied by courts, the nature of
    the law and of the proceedings under it will decide whether
    it is an exercise of belligerent rights or exclusively of his
    sovereign power.”[9]

Here are the words of another eminent judge, Mr. Justice Johnson, in
the same case:--

    “But there existed a war between the parent state and her
    colony. It was not only a fact of the most universal notoriety,
    but officially notified in the gazettes of the United States.…
    Here, then, was notice of the existence of war, and an
    assertion of the rights consequent upon it. The object of
    the measure was … solely the reduction of an enemy. _It was,
    therefore, not merely municipal, but belligerent, in its nature
    and object._”[10]

Although the conclusion of the Court in this case was afterwards
reversed, yet nothing occurred to modify the judgment on the principles
now in question; so that the case remains authority for double
proceedings, municipal and belligerent.

On a similar state of facts, arising from the efforts of France
to suppress the insurrection in San Domingo, the Supreme Court of
Pennsylvania asserted the same principle; and here we find the eminent
Chief-Justice Tilghman--one of the best authorities of the American
bench--giving to it the weight of his enlightened judgment. These are
his words:--

    “We are not at liberty to consider the island in any other
    light than as part of the dominions of the French Republic.
    _But supposing it to be so, the Republic is possessed of
    belligerent rights.…_

    “Although the French Government, from motives of policy, might
    not choose to make mention of war, yet it does not follow that
    it might not avail itself of all rights to which by the Law of
    Nations it was entitled in the existing circumstances.… This
    was the course pursued by Great Britain in the Revolutionary
    War with the United States.… Considering the words of the
    _arrêté_, and the circumstances under which it was made, it
    ought not to be understood simply as a municipal regulation,
    but a municipal regulation connected with _a state of war_ with
    revolted subjects.”[11]

The principle embodied in these cases is accurately stated by a recent
text-writer as follows.

    “A sovereign nation, engaged in the duty of suppressing an
    insurrection of its citizens, may, with entire consistency, act
    in the twofold capacity of sovereign and belligerent, according
    to the several measures resorted to for the accomplishment of
    its purpose. By inflicting, through its agent, the judiciary,
    the penalty which the law affixes to the capital crimes of
    treason and piracy, … it acts in its capacity as a sovereign,
    and its courts are but enforcing its municipal regulations. By
    instituting a blockade of the ports of its rebellious subjects,
    … the nation is exercising the right of a belligerent, and its
    courts, in their adjudications upon the captures made in the
    enforcement of this measure, are organized as Courts of Prize,
    governed by and administering the Law of Nations.”[12]

The same principle has received most authentic declaration in the
recent judgment of an able magistrate in a case of Prize for a
violation of the blockade. I refer to the case of the _Amy Warwick_,
tried in Boston, where Judge Sprague, of the District Court, expressed
himself as follows.

    “The United States, as a nation, have full and complete
    belligerent rights, which are in no degree impaired by the fact
    that their enemies owe allegiance, and have superadded the
    guilt of treason to that of unjust war.”[13]

Among all the judges called to consider judicially the character of
this Rebellion, I know of none whose opinion is entitled to more
consideration. Long experience has increased his original aptitude for
such questions, and made him an authority.

There is an earlier voice, which, even if all judicial tribunals had
been silent, would be decisive. I refer to Hugo Grotius, who, by his
work “_De Jure Belli ac Pacis_,” became the lawgiver of nations.
Original in conception, vast in plan, various in learning, and humane
in sentiment, this effort created the science of International Law,
which, since that early day, has been softened and refined, without
essential change in the principles then enunciated. His master mind
anticipated the true distinction, when, in definition of War, he wrote
as follows.

    “The first and most necessary partition of war is this:
    that war is _private_, _public_, or _mixed_. Public war is
    that which is carried on under the authority of him who has
    jurisdiction; private, that which is otherwise; _mixed, that
    which is public on one side and private on the other_.”[14]

In these few words of this great authority is found the very
discrimination which enters into the present discussion. The war in
which we are now engaged is not precisely “public,” because on one side
there is no Government; nor is it “private,” because on one side there
is a Government; but it is “mixed,”--that is, public on one side and
private on the other. On the side of the United States, it is under
authority of the Government, and therefore “public”; on the other side,
it is without the sanction of any recognized Government, and therefore
“private.” In other words, the Government of the United States may
claim for itself all belligerent rights, while it refuses them to the
other side. And Grotius, in his reasoning, sustains his definition by
showing that war becomes the essential agency, where public justice
ends,--that it is the justifiable mode of dealing with those who are
not kept in order by judicial proceedings,--and that, as a natural
consequence, where war prevails, the Municipal Law is silent. And here,
with that largess of quotation which is one of his peculiarities, he
adduces the weighty words of Demosthenes: “Against enemies, who cannot
be coerced by our laws, it is proper and necessary to maintain armies,
to send out fleets, and to pay taxes; but against our own citizens,
a decree, an indictment, the state vessel are sufficient.”[15] But
when citizens array themselves in multitudes, they come within the
declared condition of enemies. There is so much intrinsic reason in
this distinction that I am ashamed to take time upon it. And yet it has
been constantly neglected in this debate. Let it be accepted, and the
constitutional scruples which play such a part will be out of place.

Senators seem to feel the importance of being able to treat the Rebels
as “alien enemies,” on account of penalties which would then attach.
The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. DAVIS], in his bill, proposes to
declare them so, and the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. DOOLITTLE] has
made a similar proposition with regard to a particular class. But all
this is superfluous. Rebels in arms are “enemies,” exposed to all the
penalties of war, as much as if they were alien enemies. No legislation
is required to make them so. They are so in fact. It only remains
that they should be treated so, or, according to the Declaration of
Independence, that we “hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind,
_enemies in war_, in peace friends.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Mark now the stages of the discussion. We have seen, first, that, in
point of _fact_, we are in the midst of rebellion and in the midst of
a war,--and, secondly, that, in point of _law_, we are at liberty to
act under powers incident to either or both of these conditions, treat
the people engaged against us as criminals, or as enemies, or, if we
please, as both. Pardon me, if I repeat these propositions; but it is
essential that they should not be forgotten.

Therefore, Sir, in determining our course, we may banish all question
of power. The power is ample and indubitable, being regulated in the
one case by the Constitution, and in the other case by the Rights of
War. Treating them as criminals, then are we under the restraints of
the Constitution; treating them as enemies, we have all the latitude
sanctioned by the Rights of War; treating them as both, then may we
combine our penalties from the double source. What is done against
them merely as _criminals_ will naturally be in conformity with the
Constitution; but what is done against them as _enemies_ will have no
limitation except the Rights of War.

The difference between these two systems, represented by two opposite
propositions now pending, may be seen in the motive which is the
starting-point of each. Treating those arrayed in arms against us as
criminals, we assume sovereignty, and seek to punish for violation of
existing law. Treating them as enemies, we assume no sovereignty, but
simply employ the means known to war in overcoming an enemy, and in
obtaining security against him. In the one case our cause is founded
in Municipal Law under the Constitution, and in the other case in the
Rights of War under International Law. In the one case our object is
simply punishment; in the other case it is assured victory.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having determined the existence of these two sources of power, we
are next led to consider the character and extent of each under the
National Government: first, _Rights against Criminals_, founded
on sovereignty, with their limitations under the Constitution;
and, secondly, _Rights against Enemies_, founded on war, which are
absolutely without constitutional limitation. Having passed these in
review, the way will then be open to consider which class of rights
Congress shall exercise.


I begin, of course, with _Rights against Criminals_, founded on
sovereignty, with their limitations under the Constitution.

Rebellion is in itself the crime of treason, which is usually called
the greatest crime known to the law, containing all other crimes, as
the greater contains the less. But neither the magnitude of the crime
nor the detestation it inspires can properly move us from duty to the
Constitution. Howsoever important it may be to punish rebels, this must
not be done at the expense of the Constitution. On that point I agree
with the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. COWAN], and the Senator from
Vermont [Mr. COLLAMER]; nor will I yield to either in determination to
uphold the Constitution, which is the shield of the citizen. Show me
that any proposition is without support in the Constitution, or that it
offends against any constitutional safeguard, and it cannot receive my
vote. Sir, I shall not allow Senators to be more careful on this head
than myself. They shall not have a monopoly of this proper caution.

In proceedings against criminals there are provisions or principles of
the Constitution which cannot be disregarded. I will enumerate them,
and endeavor to explain their true character.

1. Congress, it is said, has no power under the Constitution over
Slavery in the States. This popular principle of Constitutional Law,
which is without foundation in the positive text of the Constitution,
is adduced against all propositions to free the slaves of Rebels. But
this is an obvious misapplication of the alleged principle, which
simply means that Congress has no direct power over Slavery in the
States, so as to abolish or limit it. For no careful person, whose
opinion is of any value, ever attributed to the pretended property
in slaves an immunity from forfeiture or confiscation not accorded
to other property; and this is a complete answer to the argument
on this head. Even in prohibiting Slavery, as in the Jeffersonian
ordinance, there is a declared exception of the penalty of crime; and
so in upholding Slavery in the States, there must be a tacit, but
unquestionable, exception of this penalty.

2. There must be no _ex post facto_ law; which means that there can be
no law against crime retrospective in its effect. This is clear.

3. There must be no bill of attainder; which means that there can be no
special legislation, where Congress, undertaking the double function of
legislature and judge, shall inflict the punishment of death without
conviction by due process of law. And there is authority for assuming
that this prohibition includes a bill of pains and penalties, which is
a milder form of legislative attainder, where the punishment inflicted
is less than death.[16] And surely no constitutional principle is more
worthy of recognition.

4. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law; which means, without presentment, or other judicial
proceeding. This provision, borrowed from Magna Charta, constitutes a
safeguard for all: nor can it be invoked by the criminal more than by
the slave; for in our Constitution it is applicable to every “person,”
without distinction of condition or color. But the criminal is entitled
to its protection.

5. In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a
speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and District
wherein the crime shall have been committed, which District shall
have been previously ascertained by law. This is the sixth amendment
to the Constitution, and is not to be lost sight of now. The accused,
whoever he may be, though his guilt be open as noonday, can be reached
_criminally_ only in the way described. When we consider the deep and
wide-spread prejudices which must exist throughout the whole Rebel
territory, it is difficult to suppose that any jury could be found
within the State and District where the treason was committed who
would unite in the necessary verdict of Guilty. For myself, I do not
expect it; and I renounce the idea of justice in this way. Jefferson
Davis himself, whose crime has culminated in Virginia, could not be
convicted by a jury of that State. But it is the duty of the statesman
to consider how justice, impossible in one way, may be made possible in
another way.

6. No attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or
forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted. Perhaps
no provision of the Constitution, supposed pertinent to the present
debate, has been more considered; nor is there any with regard to which
there is greater difference of opinion. Learned lawyers in this body
insist broadly that it forbids forfeiture of real estate, although
not of personal, as a penalty of treason; while others insist that
all the real as well as personal estate belonging to the offender may
be forfeited. The words of the Constitution are technical, so as to
require interpretation; and as they are derived from the Common Law,
we must look to this law for their meaning. By “attainder of treason”
is meant _judgment of death_ for treason,--that is, the judgment of
court on conviction of treason. “Upon judgment of death for treason or
felony,” says Blackstone, “a man shall be said to be attainted.”[17]
Such judgment, which is, of course, a criminal proceeding, cannot,
under our Constitution, work corruption of blood; which means that it
cannot create obstruction or incapacity in the blood to prevent an
innocent heir from tracing title through the criminal, as was cruelly
done by the Common Law.

Nor shall such attainder work “forfeiture except during the life of
the person attainted.” If there be any question, it arises under these
words, which, it will be observed, are peculiarly technical. As the
term “attainder” is confined to “judgment of death,” this prohibition
is limited precisely to where that judgment is awarded; so that, if the
person is not adjudged to death, there is nothing in the Constitution
to forbid absolute forfeiture. This conclusion is irresistible. If
accepted, it disposes of the objection in all cases where there is no
judgment of death.

Even where the traitor is adjudged to death, there is good reason
to doubt if his estate in fee-simple, which is absolutely his own,
and alienable at his mere pleasure, may not be forfeited. It is
admitted by Senators that the words of the Constitution do not forbid
the forfeiture of the personal estate, which in the present days of
commerce is usually much larger than the real estate, although to an
unprofessional mind these words are as applicable to one as to the
other; so that a person attainted of treason would forfeit all his
personal estate, of every name and nature, no matter what its amount,
even if he did not forfeit his real estate. But since an estate in
fee-simple belongs absolutely to the owner, and is in all respects
subject to his disposition, there seems no reason for its exemption
which is not equally applicable to personal property. The claim of
the family is as strong in one case as in the other. And if we take
counsel of analogy, we find ourselves led in the same direction. It
is difficult to say, that, in a case of treason, there can be any
limitation to the amount of fine imposed; so that in sweeping extent
it may take from the criminal all his estate, real and personal. And,
secondly, it is very clear that the prohibition in the Constitution,
whatever it be, is confined to “attainder of treason,” and not,
therefore, applicable to a judgment for felony, which at the Common
Law worked forfeiture of all estate, real and personal; so that under
the Constitution such forfeiture for felony can be now maintained.
But assuming the Constitution applicable to treason where there is
no judgment of death, it is only reasonable to suppose that this
prohibition is applicable _exclusively to that posthumous forfeiture
depending upon corruption of blood_; and here the rule is sustained by
intrinsic justice. But all present estate, real as well as personal,
actually belonging to the traitor, is forfeited.

Not doubting the intrinsic justice of this rule, I am sustained by
the authority of Mr. Hallam, who, in a note to his invaluable History
of Literature, after declaring, that, according to the principle of
Grotius, the English law of forfeiture in high treason is just, being
part of the direct punishment of the guilty, but that of attainder or
corruption of blood is unjust, being an infliction on the innocent
alone, stops to say:--

    “I incline to concur in this distinction, and think it at
    least plausible, though it was seldom or never taken in the
    discussions concerning those two laws. Confiscation is no more
    unjust towards the posterity of an offender than fine, from
    which, of course, it only differs in degree.”[18]

An opinion from such an authority is entitled to much weight in
determining the proper signification of doubtful words.

This interpretation is helped by another suggestion, which supposes
the comma in the text of the Constitution misplaced, and that, instead
of being after “corruption of blood,” it should be after “forfeiture,”
separating it from the words “except during the life of the person
attainted,” and making them refer to the time when the attainder
takes place, rather than to the length of time for which the estate
is forfeited. Thus does this much debated clause simply operate to
forbid forfeiture when not pronounced “during the life of the person
attainted.” In other words, the forfeiture cannot be pronounced against
a dead man, or the children of a dead man, and this is all.

Amidst the confusion in which this clause is involved, you cannot
expect that it will be a strong restraint upon any exercise of power
under the Constitution which otherwise seems rational and just. But,
whatever its signification, it has no bearing on our rights against
enemies. Bear this in mind. Criminals only, and not enemies, can take
advantage of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, Mr. President, are the provisions or principles of Constitutional
Law controlling us in the exercise of rights against criminals. If any
bill or proposition, penal in character, having for its object simply
punishment, and ancillary to the administration of justice, violates
any of these safeguards, it is not constitutional. Therefore do I admit
that the bill of the Committee, and every other bill now before the
Senate, so far as they assume to exercise the Rights of Sovereignty
in contradistinction to the Rights of War, must be in conformity with
these provisions or principles.

       *       *       *       *       *

But the Senator from Vermont [Mr. COLLAMER], in his ingenious speech,
to which we all listened with so much interest, was truly festive in
allusion to certain proceedings much discussed in this debate. The
Senator did not like proceedings _in rem_, although I do not know that
he positively objected to them as unconstitutional. It is difficult to
imagine any such objection. Assuming that criminals cannot be reached
to be punished _personally_, or that they have fled, the Senator from
Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL], and also the Senator from New York [Mr.
HARRIS], propose to reach them through their property,--or, adopting
technical language, instead of proceedings _in personam_, which must
fail from want of jurisdiction, propose proceedings _in rem_. Such
proceedings may not be of familiar resort, since, happily, an occasion
like the present has never before occurred among us; but they are
strictly in conformity with established precedents, and also with the
principles by which these precedents are sustained.

Nobody can forget that smuggled goods are liable to confiscation by
proceedings _in rem_. This is a familiar instance. The calendar of our
District Courts is crowded with these cases, where the United States
are plaintiff, and some inanimate thing, an article of property, is
defendant. Such, also, are proceedings against a ship engaged in the
slave-trade. Of course, by principles of the Common Law, a conviction
is necessary to divest the offender’s title; but this rule is never
applied to forfeitures created by statute. It is clear that the same
sovereignty which creates the forfeiture may determine the proceedings
by which it shall be ascertained. If, therefore, it be constitutional
to direct the forfeiture of rebel property, it is constitutional to
authorize proceedings _in rem_ against it, according to established
practice. Such proceedings constitute “due process of law,” well known
in our courts, familiar to the English Exchequer, and having the
sanction of the ancient Roman jurisprudence. If any authority were
needed for this statement, it is found in the judgment of the Supreme
Court of the United States in the case of the _Palmyra_, where it is

    “Many cases exist where there is both a forfeiture _in rem_ and
    a personal penalty. But in neither class of cases has it ever
    been decided that the prosecutions were dependent upon each
    other; but the practice has been, and so this Court understand
    the law to be, that the proceeding _in rem_ stands independent
    of, and wholly unaffected by, any criminal proceeding _in

The reason for proceedings _in rem_ is, doubtless, that _the thing_ is
in a certain sense an offender, or at least has coöperated with the
offender,--as a ship in the slave-trade. But the same reason prevails,
although perhaps to less extent, in proceedings against rebel property,
which, if not an offender, has at least coöperated with the offender
hardly less than the ship in the slave-trade. Through his property the
traitor is enabled to devote himself to treason, and to follow its
accursed trade, waging war against his country; so that his property
may be considered guilty also. But the condemnation of the property
cannot be a bar to proceedings against the traitor himself, should he
fall within our power. The two are distinct, although identical in
their primary object, which is punishment.

Pardon me, Sir, if, dwelling on these things, I feel humbled that
the course of the debate imposes such necessity. Standing, as we do,
face to face with enemies striking at the life of the Republic, it is
painful to find ourselves subjected to all the embarrassments of a
criminal proceeding, as if this war were an indictment, and the army
and navy of the United States, now mustered on land and sea, were only
a _posse comitatus_. It should not be so. The Rebels have gone outside
of the Constitution to make war upon their country. It is for us to
pursue them as enemies outside of the Constitution, where they wickedly
place themselves, and where the Constitution concurs in placing them
also. So doing, we simply obey the Constitution, and act in all
respects constitutionally.


And this brings me to the second chief head of inquiry, not less
important than the first: _What are the Rights against Enemies which
Congress may exercise in War?_

Clearly the United States may exercise all the Rights of War which
according to International Law belong to independent states. In
affirming this proposition, I waive for the present all question
whether these rights are to be exercised by Congress or by the
President. It is sufficient that every nation has in this respect
perfect equality; nor can any Rights of War accorded to other nations
be denied to the United States. Harsh and repulsive as these rights
unquestionably are, they are derived from the overruling, instinctive
laws of self-defence, common to nations as to individuals. Every
community having the form and character of sovereignty has a right
to national life, and in defence of such life may put forth all
its energies. Any other principle would leave it the wretched prey
of wicked men, abroad or at home. In vain you accord the rights
of sovereignty, if you despoil it of other rights without which
sovereignty is only a name. “I think, therefore I am,” was the
sententious utterance by which the first of modern philosophers
demonstrated personal existence. “I am, therefore I have rights,” is
the declaration of every sovereignty, when its existence is assailed.

Pardon me, if I interpose again to remind you of the essential
difference between these rights and those others just considered.
Though incident to sovereignty, they are not to be confounded with
those peaceful rights which are all exhausted in a penal statute within
the limitations of the Constitution. The difference between a judge and
a general, between the halter of the executioner and the sword of the
soldier, between the open palm and the clenched fist, is not greater
than that between these two classes of rights. They are different in
origin, different in extent, and different in object.

I rejoice to believe that civilization has already done much to
mitigate the Rights of War; and it is among long cherished visions,
which present events cannot make me renounce, that the time is coming
when all these rights will be further softened to the mood of permanent
peace. Though in the lapse of generations changed in many things,
especially as regards non-combatants and private property on land,
these rights still exist under the sanction of the Law of Nations, to
be claimed whenever war prevails. It is absurd to accord the right to
do a thing without according the means necessary to the end. And since
war, which is nothing less than organized force, is permitted, all the
means to its effective prosecution are permitted also, tempered always
by that humanity which strengthens while it charms.

I begin this inquiry by putting aside all Rights of War against
persons. In battle, persons are slain or captured, and, if captured,
detained as prisoners till the close of the war, unless previously
released by exchange or clemency. But these rights do not enter into
the present discussion, which concerns property only, and not persons.
From the nature of the case, it is only against property, or what is
claimed as such, that confiscation is directed. Therefore I say nothing
of persons, nor shall I consider any question of personal rights.
According to the Rights of War, property, although inanimate, shares
the guilt of its owner. Like him, it is criminal, and may be prosecuted
to condemnation in tribunals constituted for the purpose, without any
of those immunities claimed by persons accused of crime. It is _Rights
of War against the property of an enemy_ which I now consider.

If we resort to the earlier authorities, not excepting Grotius himself,
we find these rights stated most austerely. I shall not go back to any
such statement, but content myself with one of later date. You may find
it harsh; but here it is.

    “Since this is the very condition of war, that enemies are
    despoiled of all right and proscribed, it stands to reason that
    whatever property of an enemy is found in his enemy’s country
    changes its owner and goes to the treasury. It is customary,
    moreover, in almost every declaration of war, to ordain that
    goods of the enemy, as well those found among us as those
    taken in war, be confiscated.… Pursuant to the mere Right of
    War, even immovables could be sold and their price turned
    into the treasury, as is the practice in regard to movables;
    but throughout almost all Europe only a register is made of
    immovables, in order that during the war the treasury may
    receive their rents and profits, but at the termination of the
    war the immovables themselves are by treaty restored to the
    former owners.”[20]

These are the words of the eminent Dutch publicist, Bynkershoek, in
the first half of the last century. In adducing them now I present
them as adopted by Mr. Jefferson, in his remarkable answer to the note
of the British minister at Philadelphia on the confiscations of the
American Revolution. There are no words of greater weight in any writer
on the Law of Nations. But Mr. Jefferson did not content himself with
quotation. In the same state paper he thus declares unquestionable

    “It cannot be denied that the state of war strictly permits a
    nation to seize the property of its enemies _found within its
    own limits or taken in war_, and in whatever form it exists,
    whether in action or possession.”[21]

This sententious statement is under date of 1792, and, when we consider
the circumstances which called it forth, may be accepted as American
doctrine. But even in our own day, since the beginning of the present
war, the same principle has been stated yet more sententiously in
another quarter. The Lord Advocate of Scotland, in the British House of
Commons, as late as 17th March of the present year, declared:--

    “The honorable gentleman spoke as if it was no principle of war
    that private rights should suffer at the hands of the adverse
    belligerent. But that was the true principle of war. If war was
    not to be defined--as it very nearly might be--as a denial of
    the rights of private property to the enemy, that denial was
    certainly one of the essential ingredients in it.”[22]

In quoting these authorities, which are general in their bearing, I do
not stop to consider their modification according to the discretion
of the belligerent power. I accept them as the starting-point in the
present inquiry, and assume that by the Rights of War enemy property
may be taken. But rights with regard to such property are modified by
the _locality_ of the property; and this consideration makes it proper
to consider them under two heads: _first_, rights with regard to enemy
property actually within the national jurisdiction; and, _secondly_,
rights with regard to enemy property actually outside the national
jurisdiction. It is easy to see, that, in the present war, rights
against enemy property actually outside the national jurisdiction
must exist _a fortiori_ against such property actually within the
jurisdiction. But, for the sake of clearness, I shall speak of them

       *       *       *       *       *

_First._ I begin with the Rights of War over enemy property actually
within the national jurisdiction. In stating the general rule, I adopt
the language of a recent English authority.

    “Although there have been so many conventions granting
    exemption from the liabilities resulting from a state of
    war, the right to seize the property of enemies found in our
    territory when war breaks out remains indisputable, according
    to the Law of Nations, wherever there is no such special
    convention. All jurists, including the most recent, such as De
    Martens and Klüber, agree in this decision.”[23]

This statement is general, but unquestionable even in its rigor.
For the sake of clearness and accuracy it must be considered in its
application to different kinds of property.

1. It is undeniable, that, in generality, the rule must embrace real
property, or, as termed by the Roman Law and the Continental systems
of jurisprudence, _immovables_; but so important an authority as
Vattel excepts this species of property, for the reason, that, being
acquired by consent of the sovereign, it is as if it belonged to
his own subjects.[24] But personal property is also under the same
safeguard, and yet it is not embraced within the exception. If such,
indeed, be the reason for the exception of real property, _it loses
all applicability where the property belongs to an enemy who began
by breaking faith on his side_. Surely, whatever the immunity of
an ordinary enemy, it is difficult to see how a rebel enemy, whose
hostility is bad faith in arms, can plead any safeguard. _Cessante
ratione, cessat et ipsa lex_, is an approved maxim of the law; and
since with us the reason of Vattel does not exist, the exception which
he propounds need not be recognized, to the disparagement of the
general rule.

2. The rule is necessarily applicable to all personal property, or,
as it is otherwise called, _movables_. On this head there is hardly
a dissenting voice, while the Supreme Court of the United States, in
a case constantly cited in this debate, has solemnly affirmed it. I
refer to _Brown_ v. _United States_,[25] where the broad principle is
assumed that war gives to the sovereign full right to confiscate the
property of the enemy, wherever found, and that the mitigations of the
rule, derived from modern civilization, may affect the exercise of the
right, but cannot impair the right itself. Goods of the enemy actually
in the country, and all vessels and cargoes afloat in our ports, at
the commencement of hostilities, were declared liable to confiscation.
In England, it is the constant usage, under the name of “Droits of
Admiralty,” to seize and condemn property of an enemy in its ports at
the breaking out of hostilities.[26] But this was not followed in the
Crimean War, although the claim itself has never been abandoned.

3. The rule, in strictness, also embraces private debts due to an
enemy. Although justly obnoxious to the charge of harshness, and
uncongenial with an age of universal commerce, this application
is recognized by the judicial authorities of the United States.
Between debts contracted under faith of laws and property acquired
under faith of the same laws reason draws no distinction; and the
right of the sovereign to confiscate debts is precisely the same
with the right to confiscate other property within the country on
the breaking out of war. Both, it is said, require some special act
expressing the sovereign will, and both depend less on any flexible
rule of International Law than on paramount political considerations,
which International Law will not control. Of course, just so far
as slaves are regarded as property, or as bound to service or
labor, they cannot constitute an exception to this rule, while the
political considerations entering so largely into its application
have with regard to them commanding force. In their case, by natural
metamorphosis, confiscation becomes emancipation.

Such are recognized Rights of War touching enemy property within the
national jurisdiction.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Secondly._ The same broad rule with which I began may be stated
touching enemy property beyond the national jurisdiction, subject,
of course, to mitigation from usage, policy, and humanity, but still
existing, to be employed in the discretion of the belligerent power. It
may be illustrated by different classes of cases.

1. Public property of all kinds belonging to an enemy,--that is,
property of the government or prince,--including lands, forests,
fortresses, munitions of war, movables,--is all subject to seizure
and appropriation by the conqueror, who may transfer the same by
valid title, substituting himself, in this respect, for the displaced
government or prince. It is obvious that in the case of immovables the
title is finally assured only by the establishment of peace, while
in the case of movables it is complete from the moment the property
comes within the firm possession of the captor so as to be alienated
indefeasibly. In harmony with the military prepossessions of ancient
Rome, such title was considered the best to be had, and its symbol was
a spear.

2. Private property of an enemy at sea, or afloat in port, is
indiscriminately liable to capture and confiscation; but the title is
assured only by condemnation in a competent court of prize.

3. While private property of an enemy on land, according to modern
practice, is exempt from seizure simply as private property, yet
it is exposed to seizure in certain specified cases. Indeed, it is
more correct to say, with the excellent Manning, that it “is still
considered as liable to seizure,” under circumstances constituting in
themselves a necessity, of which the conqueror is judge.[27] It need
not be added that this extraordinary power must be so used as not to
assume the character of spoliation. It must have an object essential to
the conduct of the war. But, with such object, it cannot be questioned.
The obvious reason for exemption is, that a private individual is not
personally responsible, as the government or prince. _But every rebel
is personally responsible._

4. Private property of an enemy on land may be taken as a penalty for
the illegal acts of individuals, or of the community to which they
belong. The exercise of this right is vindicated only by peculiar
circumstances; but it is clearly among the recognized agencies of war,
and it is easy to imagine that at times it may be important, especially
in dealing with a dishonest rebellion.

5. Private property of an enemy on land may be taken for contributions
to support the war. This has been done in times past on a large scale.
Napoleon adopted the rule that war should support itself. Upon the
invasion of Mexico by the armies of the United States, in 1846, the
commanding generals were at first instructed to abstain from taking
private property without purchase at a fair price; but subsequent
instructions were of a severer character. It was declared by Mr.
Marcy, at the time Secretary of War, that an invading army had the
unquestionable right to draw supplies from the enemy without paying for
them, and to require contributions for its support, and to make the
enemy feel the weight of the war.[28] Such contributions are sometimes
called “requisitions,” and a German writer on the Law of Nations says
that it was Washington who “invented the expression and the thing.”[29]
Possibly the expression; but the thing is as old as war.

6. Private property of an enemy on land may be taken on the field of
battle, in operations of siege, or the storming of a place refusing
to capitulate. This passes under the offensive name of “booty” or
“loot.” In the late capture of the imperial palace of Pekin by the
allied forces of France and England, this right was illustrated by the
surrender of its contents, including silks, porcelain, and furniture,
to the lawless cupidity of an excited soldiery.

7. Pretended property of an enemy in slaves may unquestionably
be taken, and, when taken, will of course be at the disposal of
the captor. If slaves are regarded as property, then will their
confiscation come precisely within the rule already stated. But, since
slaves are men, there is still another rule of public law applicable
to them. It is clear, that, where there is an intestine division in
an enemy country, we may take advantage of it, according to Halleck,
in his recent work on International Law, “without scruple.”[30] But
Slavery is more than an intestine division; it is a constant state of
war. The ancient Scythians said to Alexander: “Between the master and
slave no friendship exists; even in peace the Rights of War are still
preserved.”[31] Giving freedom to slaves, a nation in war simply takes
advantage of the actual condition of things. But there is another
vindication of this right, which I prefer to present in the language of
Vattel. After declaring that “in conscience and by the laws of equity”
we may be obliged to restore “booty” recovered from an enemy who had
taken it in unjust war, this humane publicist proceeds as follows.

    “The obligation is more certain and more extensive with regard
    to a people whom our enemy has unjustly oppressed. For a
    people thus spoiled of their liberty never renounce the hope
    of recovering it. If they have not voluntarily incorporated
    themselves with the state by which they have been subdued, if
    they have not freely aided her in the war against us, _we ought
    certainly so to use our victory as not merely to give them a
    new master, but to break their chains_. To deliver an oppressed
    people is a noble fruit of victory; it is a valuable advantage
    gained thus to acquire a faithful friend.”[32]

These are not the words of a visionary, or of a speculator, or of an
agitator, but of a publicist, an acknowledged authority on the Law of

Therefore, according to the Rights of War, slaves, if regarded as
property, may be declared free; or if regarded as men, they may be
declared free, under two acknowledged rules: _first_, of self-interest,
to procure an ally; and, _secondly_, of conscience and equity, to do an
act of justice ennobling victory.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, Sir, are acknowledged Rights of War with regard to enemy
property, whether within or beyond our territorial jurisdiction. I do
little more than state these rights, without stopping to comment. If
they seem harsh, it is because war in essential character is harsh. It
is sufficient for our present purpose that they exist.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course, all these rights belong to the United States. There is
not one of them which can be denied. They are ours under that great
title of Independence by which our place was assured in the Family
of Nations. Dormant in peace, they are aroused into activity only by
the breath of war, when they all place themselves at our bidding, to
be employed at our own time, in our own way, and according to our own
discretion, subject only to that enlightened public opinion which now
rules the civilized world.

Belonging to the United States by virtue of International Law, and
being essential to self-defence, they are naturally deposited with the
_supreme power_, which holds the issues of peace and war. Doubtless
there are Rights of War, embracing confiscation, contribution, and
liberation, to be exercised by any commanding general in the field,
or to be ordered by the President, according to the exigency. Mr.
Marcy was not ignorant of his duty, when, by instructions from
Washington, in the name of the President, he directed the levy of
contributions in Mexico. In European countries all these Rights of
War which I have reviewed to-day are deposited with the executive
alone,--as in England with the Queen in Council, and in France and
Russia with the Emperor; but in the United States they are deposited
with the legislative branch, being the President, Senate, and House
of Representatives, whose joint action becomes the supreme law of the
land. The Constitution is not silent on this question. It expressly
provides that Congress shall have power, first, “to declare war,” and
thus set in motion all the Rights of War; secondly, “to grant letters
of marque and reprisal,” being two special agencies of war; thirdly,
“to make rules concerning captures on land and water,” which power of
itself embraces the whole field of confiscation, contribution, and
liberation; fourthly, “to raise and support armies,” which power, of
course, comprehends all means for this purpose known to the Rights
of War; fifthly, “to provide and maintain a navy,” plainly according
to the Rights of War; sixthly, “to make rules for the government and
regulation of the land and naval forces,” another power involving
confiscation, contribution, and liberation; and, seventhly, “to
provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union,
suppress insurrections, and repel invasions,” a power which again
sets in motion all the Rights of War. But, as if to leave nothing
undone, the Constitution further empowers Congress “to make all laws
which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the
foregoing powers.” In pursuance of these powers, Congress has already
enacted upwards of one hundred articles of war for the government of
the army, one of which provides for the security of public stores taken
from the enemy. It has also sanctioned the blockade of the Rebel ports
according to International Law. And only at the present session we
have enacted an additional article to regulate the conduct of officers
and men towards slaves seeking shelter in camp. Proceeding further on
the present occasion, it will act in harmony with its own precedents,
as well as with its declared powers, according to the very words of
the Constitution. Language cannot be broader. Under its comprehensive
scope there is nothing essential to the prosecution of the war, its
conduct, its support, or its success,--yes, Sir, there can be nothing
essential to its success, which is not positively within the province
of Congress. There is not one of the Rights of War which Congress may
not invoke. There is not a single weapon in its terrible arsenal which
Congress may not grasp.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are indubitable powers of Congress. It is not questioned that
these may all be employed against a public enemy; but there are
Senators who strangely hesitate to employ them against that worst enemy
of all, who to hostility adds treason, and teaches his country

    “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
    To have a thankless child.”

The rebel in arms is an enemy, and something more; nor is there any
Right of War which may not be employed against him in its extremest
rigor. In appealing to war, he has voluntarily renounced all safeguards
of the Constitution, and put himself beyond its pale. In ranging
himself among enemies, he has broken faith so as to lose completely
all immunity from the strictest penalties of war. As an enemy, he must
be encountered; nor can our army be delayed in the exercise of the
Rights of War by any misapplied questions of _ex post facto_, bills of
attainder, attainder of treason, due process of law, or exemption from
forfeiture. If we may shoot rebel enemies in battle, if we may shut
them up in fortresses or prisons, if we may bombard their forts, if we
may occupy their fields, if we may appropriate their crops, if we may
blockade their ports, if we may seize their vessels, if we may capture
their cities, it is vain to say that we may not exercise against them
the other associate prerogatives of war. Nor can any technical question
of constitutional rights be interposed in one case more than another.
Every prerogative of confiscation, requisition, or liberation known in
war may be exercised against rebels in arms precisely as against public
enemies. Ours are belligerent rights to the fullest extent.

Sir, the case is strong. The Rebels are not only criminals, they
are also enemies, whose property is actually within the territorial
jurisdiction of the United States; so that, according to the Supreme
Court, it only remains for Congress to declare the Rights of War to be
exercised against them. The case of Brown,[33] so often cited in this
debate, affirms that enemy property actually within our territorial
jurisdiction can be seized only by virtue of an Act of Congress, and
recognizes the complete liability of all such property, when actually
within such territorial jurisdiction. It is therefore, in all respects,
a binding authority, precisely applicable; so that Senators who would
impair its force must deny either that the Rebels are enemies or that
their property is actually within the territorial jurisdiction of the
United States. Assuming that they are enemies, and that their property
is actually within our territorial jurisdiction, the power of Congress
is complete; and it is not to be confounded with that of a commanding
general in the field, or of the President as commander-in-chief of the

Pardon me, if I dwell on one point with regard to the property of
rebels in arms by which it is distinguishable from the private property
of enemies in international war. _Every rebel in arms is directly
responsible for his conduct_, as in international war the government or
prince is directly responsible; so that on principle he can claim no
exemption from any penalty of war. And since Public Law is founded on
reason, it follows that the rule subjecting to seizure and forfeiture
all property, real as well as personal, of the hostile government or
prince should be applied to all property, real and personal, of the
rebel in arms. It is impossible for him to claim the immunity conceded
generally to private property of an enemy in international war, and
also conceded generally to land of an enemy within our territorial
jurisdiction. For the rebel in arms there is no just exemption.

       *       *       *       *       *

When claiming these powers for Congress, it must also be stated
that there is a limitation of time with regard to their exercise.
Whatever is done against the Rebels in our character as belligerents
under the Rights of War must be done during war, and not after its
close. Naturally the Rights of War end with the war, except in
those consequences which have become fixed during the war. With the
establishment of peace the Rights of Peace resume sway, and all
proceedings are according to the prescribed forms of the Constitution.
Instead of laws silenced by arms, there are arms submissive to laws.
Instead of courts martial or military proceedings, there are the
ordinary courts of justice with all constitutional safeguards. If this
change needed illustration, it would be found in a memorable passage
of French history. Marshal Ney, who had deserted Louis the Eighteenth
to welcome Napoleon from Elba, was, after the capitulation of Paris,
handed over to a council of war for trial; but the council, composed
of marshals of France, declared itself incompetent, since the case
involved treason, and the accused was carried before the Chamber of
Peers, of which he was a member, according to the requirements of the
French Charter. His condemnation and execution have been indignantly
criticized, but the form of trial was a homage to the pacification
which had been proclaimed. Therefore let it be borne in mind that
all proceedings founded on the Rights of War will expire, when the
Constitution is again established throughout the country. They are
temporary and incidental, in order to secure that blessed peace which
we all seek.

So completely are these rights distinguished from ordinary municipal
proceedings against crime, that they are administered by tribunals
constituted for the purpose, with well-known proceedings of their
own. Courts of Prize have a fixed place in the judicial system of
the United States, and their jurisdiction excludes that of municipal
tribunals, so that no action can be brought in a court of Common Law
on account of a seizure _jure belli_. It is their province to hear
all cases of prize or capture,--in short, every case of property
arising under the Rights of War; and although practically these cases
are chiefly maritime, yet the jurisdiction of such courts is held to
embrace hostile seizures on shore.[34] The hearing is by the court
alone, without a jury, substantially according to forms derived from
the Roman Law; and the ordinary judgment is against the thing captured,
or _in rem_, pronouncing its condemnation and distribution. In every
case of prize or capture, involving a question of property, and not
of crime, these proceedings constitute “due process of law,” so as
to be completely effective under the Constitution, and, according to
acknowledged principles, they supersede the jurisdiction of all mere
municipal tribunals.

Among the few cases illustrating this exclusive jurisdiction in matters
of capture and prize on land is one which arose from the exercise
of military power in a conquered province in India, and was at last
considered and decided by the Privy Council in England, after most
elaborate argument by the most eminent barristers of the time. The
facts are few. Upon the conquest of Poonah, in 1817, Mr. Mountstuart
Elphinstone, perhaps the most finished man, and of completest
gentleness, who ever exercised power in British India, was appointed
“sole commissioner for the settlement of the territory conquered,
with authority over all the civil and military officers employed in
it.” In the discharge of his dictatorial functions, he proceeded to
appoint a “provisional collector and magistrate of the city of Poonah
and the adjacent country,” whom he instructed “to deprive the enemy
of his resources, and in this and all other points to make everything
subservient to the conduct of the war.” After indicating certain crimes
to be treated with summary punishment, he proceeded to confer plenary
powers, saying: “All other crimes you will investigate according
to the forms of justice usual in the country, modified as you may
think expedient; and in all cases you will endeavor to enforce the
existing laws and customs, _unless where they are clearly repugnant to
reason and natural equity_.” Under these instructions the provisional
collector seized several bags of gold, in the house of a prominent
enemy. In an action before the Supreme Court of Bombay for the value
of this treasure, and of a quantity of jewels and shawls taken by the
military, judgment was given for the claimant. But this was overruled
by the Court of Appeals in England, on the ground, that, in the actual
state of warfare at that time, there was no jurisdiction over a
question of prize and capture in an ordinary municipal court. At the
bar it was argued:--

    “No country can ever be thoroughly brought under subjection, if
    it is to be held, that, where there has been a conquest and no
    capitulation, the mere publication of a proclamation, desiring
    the people to be quiet, and telling them what means would be
    resorted to, if they were not so, so far reduces the country
    under the civil rule, that the army loses its control, and the
    municipal courts acquire altogether jurisdiction, so that every
    action of the officers in the direction of military affairs is
    liable to their cognizance.”[35]

In giving judgment, Lord Tenterden, at the time Chief Justice of
England, stated the conclusion, as follows.

    “We think the proper character of the transaction was that
    of _hostile seizure_, made, if not _flagrante_, yet _nondum
    cessante bello_, regard being had both to the time, the place,
    and the person, and consequently that the municipal court had
    no jurisdiction to adjudge upon the subject, but that, if
    anything was done amiss, recourse could only be had to the
    Government for redress.”[36]

This is an important and leading authority, interesting in all
respects; but I adduce it now only to show that municipal courts cannot
properly take cognizance of questions of property arising under the
Rights of War. This established principle testifies to the essential
difference between _rights against criminals_ and _rights against
enemies_. There is a different tribunal for each claim.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have said what I have to say on the law of this matter, bringing it
to the standard of the Constitution and of International Law, and I
have exhibited the powers of Congress in their two fountains. It is
for you to determine out of which you will draw, or, indeed, if you
will not draw from both. Regarding the Rebels as criminals, you may so
pursue and punish them. Regarding them as enemies, you may blast them
with that summary vengeance which is among the dread agencies of war,
while, by an act of beneficent justice, you elevate a race, and change
this national calamity into a sacred triumph. Or, regarding them both
as criminals and as enemies, you may marshal against them all the
double penalties of rebellion and war, or, better still, the penalties
of rebellion and the triumphs of war.

       *       *       *       *       *

It now remains to borrow such instruction as we can from the _history_
of kindred measures. And here I am not tempted to depart from that
frankness which is with me an instinct and a study. If there be
anything in the past to serve as warning, I shall not keep it back,
although I ask you to consider carefully the true value of these
instances, and how far they are a lesson to us. If there be any course
to which I incline, it will be abandoned at once, when shown not to be
for the highest good. I have no theories to maintain at the expense of
my country or of truth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Confiscation is hardly less ancient than national life. It began
with history. It appears in the Scriptures, where Ahab took the
vineyard of Naboth, and David gave away the goods of a confederate of
Absalom. The Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. DOOLITTLE] reminded us that
it prevailed among the Persians and Macedonians. In the better days
of the Roman Republic it was little known; but it appeared with the
vengeful proscriptions of Sylla; and Cæsar himself, always forbearing,
yet, while striving to mitigate the penalties of the Catilinarian
conspirators, moved a confiscation of all their property to the public
treasury. It flourished under the Emperors, who made it alternately
the instrument of tyranny and of cupidity. But there were virtuous
Emperors, like Antoninus Pius, under whom the goods of a convict were
abandoned to his children, and like Trajan, under whom confiscation
was unknown. Among the reforms of Justinian, in his immortal revision
of the law, this penalty disappeared, except in cases of treason.[37]
But these instances illustrate confiscation only as punishment.
Throughout Roman history it had been inseparable from war. The auction
was an incident of the camp. It was a distribution of bounty lands
among the soldiers of Octavius, after the establishment of his power,
that drove Virgil from his paternal acres to seek imperial favor at

In modern times confiscation became a constant instrument of
government, both in punishment and in war. It was an essential incident
to the feudal system, which was in itself a form of government.
Ruthlessly exercised, sometimes against individuals and sometimes
against whole classes, it was converted into an engine of vengeance
and robbery, which spared neither genius nor numbers. In Florence it
was directed against Dante, and in Holland against Grotius, while in
early England it was the power by which William of Normandy despoiled
the Saxons of their lands and parcelled them among his followers. In
Germany, during the period of theological conflict which darkened
that great country, it was often used against Protestants, and was at
one time menaced on a gigantic scale. The Papal Nuncio sought nothing
less than the confiscation of all the goods of heretics. Spain was
not less intolerant than Germany, and the story of the Moors and the
Jews, stripped of their possessions and sent forth as wanderers,
protests against such injustice. In early France confiscation was
not idle, although in one instance it received an application which
modern criticism will not reject, when, by special ordinance, _rebels_
were declared to be _enemies_, and their property was subjected to
confiscation as Prize of War.

By the law of England, it was the inseparable incident of treason,
flourishing always in Ireland, where rebellion was chronic, and showing
itself in Great Britain whenever rebellion occurred. But it was simply
as part of punishment, precisely as the traitor was drawn and quartered
and his blood corrupted, all according to law. The scaffold turned over
to the Government all the estate of its victims. But there is another
instance in English history entirely different in character, where
Henry the Eighth, in warfare with the Catholic Church, did not hesitate
to despoil the monasteries of their great possessions, with a clear
annual revenue of one hundred and thirty-one thousand six hundred and
seven pounds, or, according to Bishop Burnet, ten times that sum “in
true value.”[38] This property, so enormous in those days, wrested at
once from the mortmain of the Church, testifies to the boldness, if not
the policy, with which the power was wielded.

It is in modern France that confiscation has played its greatest part,
and been the most formidable weapon, whether of punishment or of war.
At first abolished by the Revolution, as a relic of royal oppression,
it was at length adopted by the Revolution. Amidst the dangers menacing
the country, this sacrifice was pronounced essential to save it, and
successive laws were passed, beginning as early as November, 1789, by
which it was authorized. Never before in history was confiscation so
sweeping. It aroused at the time the eloquent indignation of Burke,
and still causes a sigh among all who think less of principles than
of privileges. From an official report to the First Consul, it appears
that before 1801 sales were authorized by the Government to the
fabulous amount of two thousand five hundred and fifty-five millions
of francs, or above five hundred millions of dollars, while still a
large mass, estimated at seven hundred million francs, of confiscated
property remained unsold.[39] The whole vast possessions of the Church
disappeared in this chasm.

Cruel as were many of the consequences, this confiscation must be
judged as part of the Revolution whose temper it shared; nor is it
easy to condemn anything but its excesses, unless you are ready to
say that the safety of France, torn by domestic foes and invaded from
abroad, was not worth securing, or that equality before the law,
which is now the most assured possession of that great nation, was
not worth obtaining. It was part of the broad scheme of Napoleon,
moved by politic generosity, to mitigate as far as possible the
operation of this promiscuous spoliation, especially by restraining
it, according to the principle of the bill which I have introduced,
to the most obnoxious persons,--although this sharp ruler knew too
well what was due to titles once fixed by Government to contemplate
any restoration of landed property already alienated. “There are,”
he exclaimed, in the Council of State, “above one hundred thousand
names on these unhappy lists: it is enough to turn one’s head.… _The
list must be reduced by three fourths of its number, to the names of
such as are known to be hostile to the Government._”[40] Hostility to
the Government constituted with him sufficient reason for continued
denial of all rights of property or citizenship. And so jealous was
he on this point, that, when he heard that some who were allowed to
enter upon their yet unalienated lands had proceeded to cut down the
forests, partly from necessity and partly to transfer funds abroad, he
interfered peremptorily, in words applicable to our present condition:
“We cannot allow the greatest enemies of the Republic, the defenders of
old prejudices, to recover their fortunes and despoil France.”[41] This
episode of history, so suggestive to us, will not be complete, if I do
not mention, that, through this policy of confiscation, France passed
from the hands of dominant proprietors, with extended possessions,
into the hands of those small farmers now constituting so important a
feature in its social and political life. Nor can I neglect to add,
that kindred in character, though involving no loss of property, was
the entire obliteration at the same time of the historic Provinces of
France, and the substitution of new divisions into Departments, with
new landmarks and new names, so that ancient landmarks and ancient
names, quickening so many prejudices, no longer served to separate the

But this story is not yet ended. Accustomed to confiscation at
home, France did not hesitate to exercise it abroad, under the name
of contributions; nor was there anything her strong hand did not
appropriate,--sometimes, it might be, the precious treasures of Art,
paintings of Raffaelle, Titian, or Paul Potter, enshrined in foreign
museums, and sometimes the ornaments of churches, palaces, and streets.
Often in hard money were these contributions levied. For instance,
in 1807, Napoleon exacted from Prussia, with little more than five
million inhabitants, a war contribution of more than one hundred and
twenty millions of dollars; and in 1809, the same conqueror exacted
from Austria a like contribution of about fifty millions of dollars.
In kindred spirit, Davoust, one of his marshals, stationed at Hamburg,
levied upon that single commercial city, during the short term of
twelve months, contributions amounting to more than fifteen, or,
according to other accounts, twenty-five, millions of dollars. But the
day of reckoning came, when France, humbled at last, was constrained
to accept peace from the victorious allies encamped at Paris. The
paintings, the marbles, and the ornaments ravished from foreign
capitals were all taken back, while immense sums were exacted for
expenses of the war, and also for spoliations during the Revolution,
amounting in all to three hundred million dollars. Such is the lesson
of France.

And still later, actually in our day, the large possessions of the late
king, Louis Philippe, were confiscated by Louis Napoleon, while every
member of the Orléans family was compelled to dispose of his property
before the expiration of a year, under penalty of forfeiture and
confiscation. This harsh act had its origin in the assumed necessities
of self-defence, that this powerful family might be excluded from
France, not only in person, but in property also, and have no foothold
or influence there.

While it is easy to see that these interesting instances are only
slightly applicable to our country, yet I do not disown any suggestion
of caution or clemency they inculcate. Other instances in our own
history are more applicable. All are aware that during the Revolution
the property of Tories, loyalists, and refugees was confiscated; but
I doubt if Senators know the extent to which this was done, or the
animosity by which it was impelled. Out of many illustrations, I select
the early language of the patriot Hawley, of Massachusetts, in a letter
to Elbridge Gerry, under date of July 17, 1776. “Can we subsist,”
said this patriot, “did any state ever subsist, without exterminating
traitors?… It is amazingly wonderful, that, having no capital
punishment for our intestine enemies, we have not been utterly ruined
before now.”[42] The statutes of the time are most authentic testimony.
I hold in my hand a list, amounting to _eighty-eight_ in number, which
I have arranged according to States. Some are very severe, as may be
imagined from the titles, which I proceed to give; but they show,
beyond assertion or argument, how, under the exigencies of war for
National Independence, the power of confiscation was recognized and
employed. Each title is a witness.

    1. _New Hampshire._--To confiscate estates of sundry persons
    therein named. November 28, 1778.

    2. _Massachusetts._--To prevent the return of certain persons
    therein named, and others who had left that State, or either of
    the United States, and joined the enemies thereof. 1778.

    3. To confiscate the estates of certain notorious conspirators
    against the government and liberties of the inhabitants of the
    late Province, now State, of Massachusetts Bay. 1779.

    4. For repealing two laws of the State, and for asserting the
    rights of that free and sovereign Commonwealth to expel such
    aliens as may be dangerous to the peace and good order of
    government. March 24, 1784.

    5. In addition to an Act made and passed March 24, 1784,
    repealing two laws of this State. November 10, 1784.

    6. _Rhode Island._--To confiscate and sequester estates, and
    banish persons of certain descriptions. October, 1775.

    7-13. To confiscate and sequester estates, and banish persons
    of certain descriptions. February, March, May, June, July,
    August, October, 1776.

    14, 15. To confiscate and sequester estates, and banish persons
    of certain descriptions. February, October, 1778.

    16-20. To confiscate and sequester estates, and banish persons
    of certain descriptions. February, May, August, September,
    October, 1779.

    21-23. To confiscate and sequester estates, and banish persons
    of certain descriptions. July, September, October, 1780.

    24, 25. To confiscate and sequester estates, and banish persons
    of certain descriptions. January, May, 1781.

    26-28. To confiscate and sequester estates, and banish persons
    of certain descriptions. June, October, November, 1782.

    29-32. To confiscate and sequester estates, and banish persons
    of certain descriptions. February, May, June, October, 1783.

    33. To send out of the State N. Spink and John Underwood, who
    had formerly joined the enemy, and were returned into Rhode
    Island. May 27, 1783.

    34. To send William Young, theretofore banished, out of the
    State, and forbidden to return at his peril. June 8, 1783.

    35. Allowing William Brenton, late an absentee, to visit his
    family for one week, then sent away, not to return. June 12,

    36. To banish S. Knowles (whose estate had been forfeited), on
    pain of death, if he return. October, 1783.

    37. _Connecticut._--Directing certain confiscated estates to be

    38. _New York._--For the forfeiture and sales of the estates of
    persons who have adhered to the enemies of the State. October
    22, 1779.

    39. For the immediate sale of part of the confiscated estates.
    March 10, 1780.

    40. Approving the Act of Congress relative to the finances of
    the United States, and making provision for redeeming that
    State’s proportion of bills of credit to be emitted. June 15,

    41. To procure a sum in specie, for the purpose of redeeming a
    portion of the bills emitted, &c. October 7, 1780.

    42. For granting a more effectual relief in cases of certain
    trespasses. March 17, 1783.

    43. For suspending the prosecutions therein mentioned. March
    21, 1783.

    44. To amend and extend certain Acts. May 4, 1784.

    45. To preserve the freedom and independence of the State, &c.
    May 12, 1784.

    46. _New Jersey._--To punish traitors and disaffected persons.
    October 4, 1776.

    47. For taking charge of and leasing the real estates, and
    for forfeiting personal estates, of certain fugitives and
    offenders. April 18, 1778.

    48. For forfeiting to and vesting in the State the real estates
    of certain fugitives and offenders. December 11, 1778.

    49. Supplemental to the Act to punish traitors and disaffected
    persons. October 3, 1782.

    50. To appropriate a certain forfeited estate. December 23,

    51. _Pennsylvania._--For the attainder of divers traitors, and
    for vesting their estates in the Commonwealth, if they render
    not themselves by a certain day. March 6, 1778.

    52. To attaint Henry Gordon, unless he surrender himself by
    a given day, and the seizure of his estates by the agents of
    forfeited estates confirmed. January 31, 1783.

    53. _Delaware._--Declaring estates of certain persons
    forfeited, and themselves incapable of being elected to any
    office. February 5, 1778.

    54. _Maryland._--For calling out of circulation the quota of
    the State of the bills of credit issued by Congress. October,

    55. To seize, confiscate, and appropriate all British property
    within the State. October, 1780.

    56. To appoint commissioners to preserve confiscated British
    property. October, 1780.

    57. To procure a loan, and for the sale of escheat lands and
    the confiscated British property therein mentioned. October,

    58. For the benefit of the children of Major Andrew Leitch.
    June 15, 1782.

    59. To vest certain powers in the Governor and Council.
    November, 1785.

    60. To empower the Governor and Council to compound with the
    discoverers of British property, and for other purposes.
    November, 1788.

    61. _Virginia._--For sequestering British property, enabling
    those indebted to British subjects to pay off such debts, &c.
    October, 1777.

    62. Concerning escheats and forfeitures from British subjects.
    May, 1779.

    63. For removal of seat of government. May, 1779.

    64, 65. To amend the Act concerning escheats and forfeitures.
    May, October, 1779.

    66. To adjust and regulate pay and accounts of officers of
    Virginia line. November, 1781.

    67. For providing more effectual funds for redemption of
    certificates. May, 1782.

    68. Prohibiting the migration of certain persons to that
    Commonwealth, &c. October, 1783.

    69. To explain, amend, &c., the several Acts for the admission
    of emigrants to the rights of citizenship, and prohibiting the
    migration of certain persons to that Commonwealth. October,

    70. _North Carolina._--For confiscating the property of
    all such persons as are inimical to the United States, &c.
    November, 1777.

    71. To carry into effect the last mentioned act. January, 1779.

    72. Directing the sale of confiscated property. October, 1784.

    73. To describe and ascertain such persons as owed allegiance
    to the State, and to impose certain disqualifications on
    certain persons therein named. October, 1784.

    74. To amend the last mentioned Act. November, 1785.

    75. To secure and quiet in their possessions all such as have
    or may purchase lands, goods, &c., sold or hereafter to be sold
    by the commissioners of forfeited estates. December 29, 1785.

    76. Act of pardon and oblivion. April, 1788.

    77. _South Carolina._--For disposing of certain estates and
    banishing certain persons therein mentioned. February 26, 1782.

    78. To amend the last mentioned Act. March 16, 1783.

    79. To vest land, late property of James Holmes, in certain
    persons in trust for the benefit of a public school. August 15,

    80. For restoring to certain persons their estates, and for
    permitting the said persons to return, &c. March 26, 1784.

    81. For amending and explaining the Confiscation Act. March 26,

    82. To amend the Confiscation Act, and for other purposes
    therein mentioned. March 22, 1786.

    83. _Georgia._--For inflicting penalties on, and confiscating
    the estates of, such persons as are therein declared guilty of
    treason, &c. May 4, 1782.

    84. To point out the mode for the recovery of property
    unlawfully acquired under the British usurpation, and withheld
    from the rightful owners, &c. February 17, 1783.

    85. Releasing certain persons from their bargains, &c. July 29,

    86. For ascertaining the rights of aliens, and pointing out a
    mode for the admission of citizens. February 7, 1785.

    87. To authorize the auditor to liquidate the demands of
    such persons as have claims against the confiscated estates.
    February 22, 1785.

    88. To compel the settlement of public accounts, for inflicting
    penalties, and for vesting auditor with certain powers.
    February 10, 1787.[43]

Such is the array which illustrates the terrible earnestness of those
times. In their struggle for National Independence, our fathers did not
hesitate to employ all the acknowledged Rights of War; nor did they
higgle over questions of form with regard to enemies in arms against
them. To this extent, at least, we may be instructed by their example,
even if we discard their precedents.

In the negotiations for the acknowledgment of National Independence
these Acts were much considered. It does not appear, however, that
their legality was drawn into question, although, as is seen, they
exercised the double rights of sovereignty and of war. The British
Commissioner, Mr. Oswald, expresses himself, under date of November 4,
1782, as follows.

    “You may remember, that, from the very first beginning of our
    negotiation for settling a peace between Great Britain and
    America, I insisted that you should positively stipulate for
    the restoration of the property of all those persons, under
    the denomination of the Loyalists or Refugees, who have taken
    part with Great Britain in the present war: or, if the property
    had been resold, and passed into such a variety of hands as
    to render the restoration impracticable, (which you asserted
    to be the case in many instances,) you should stipulate for a
    compensation or indemnification to those persons adequate to
    their losses.”[44]

The American Commissioners, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John
Jay, declared in reply, that “the restoration of such of the estates
of the refugees as have been confiscated is impracticable, because
they were confiscated by laws of particular States, and in many
instances have passed by legal titles through several hands.” As to
the demand of compensation for these persons, the Commissioners said:
“We forbear enumerating our reasons for thinking it ill-founded.”[45]
In the course of the conference, and by way of reply or set-off, gross
instances were adduced of outrages by the British troops in “the
carrying off of goods from Boston, Philadelphia, and the Carolinas,
Georgia, Virginia, &c., and the burning of the towns.” Franklin
mentioned “the case of Philadelphia, and the carrying off of effects
there, even his own library.” Laurens added “the plunders in Carolina
of negroes, plate, &c.”[46] In a letter from Franklin to the British
Commissioner, under date of November 26, 1782, the pretension of the
loyalists was finally repelled in the plainest words.

    “You may well remember, that, in the beginning of our
    conferences, before the other Commissioners arrived, on
    your mentioning to me a retribution for the loyalists whose
    estates had been forfeited, … I gave it as my opinion and
    advice, honestly and cordially, that, if a reconciliation was
    intended, no mention should be made in our negotiations of
    those people; for, they having done infinite mischief to our
    properties, by wantonly burning and destroying farm-houses,
    villages, and towns, if compensation for their losses were
    insisted on, we should certainly exhibit against it an account
    of all the ravages they had committed, which would necessarily
    recall to view scenes of barbarity that must inflame, instead
    of conciliating, and tend to perpetuate an enmity that we all
    profess a desire of extinguishing.…

    “Your ministers require that we should receive again into our
    bosom those who have been our bitterest enemies, and restore
    their properties who have destroyed ours,--and this while the
    wounds they have given us are still bleeding. It is many years
    since your nation expelled the Stuarts and their adherents,
    and confiscated their estates. Much of your resentment against
    them may by this time be abated; yet, if we should propose it,
    and insist on it, as an article of our treaty with you, that
    that family should be recalled and the forfeited estates of its
    friends restored, would you think us serious in our professions
    of earnestly desiring peace?

    “I must repeat my opinion, that it is best for you to drop all
    mention of the refugees.”[47]

But on this occasion there was a compromise. Instead of positive
stipulations in behalf of the loyalists, it was agreed in the treaty,
“that the Congress shall earnestly _recommend_ it to the Legislatures
of the respective States to provide for the restitution of all estates,
rights, and properties which have been confiscated, belonging to _real_
British subjects, and also of the estates, rights, and properties of
persons resident in districts in the possession of his Majesty’s arms,
_and who have not borne arms against the said United States_.”[48]
Thus, while in every other article of the treaty it was agreed that
certain things _shall be done_, here it was only agreed to _recommend_
that they shall be done; and even the recommendation of restitution
was confined to what are called “_real_ British subjects,” and others
“who have not borne arms against the United States,”--thus evidently
recognizing the liability of those who did not come within these two

After the adoption of our Constitution, this article came under
discussion between the United States and Great Britain, when Mr.
Jefferson, in the most elaborate diplomatic paper of his life, ably
vindicated the conduct of our Government. It was on this occasion
that he quoted the words of Bynkershoek, that “it stands to reason
that whatever property of an enemy is found in his enemy’s country
changes its owner and goes to the treasury, … even immovables, as
is the practice in regard to movables.”[49] And in the course of
his argument he distinctly asserts that “an Act of the Legislature
confiscating lands stands in place of _an office found_ in ordinary
cases,--and that, on the passage of the Act, as on the finding of the
office, the State stands _ipso facto_ possessed of the lands without
a formal entry. The confiscation, then, is complete by the passage of
the Act, both the title and possession being divested out of the former
proprietor and vested in the State.”[50]

This is strong language. Not only in our diplomacy, but also in our
courts, was the validity of these Acts upheld. Mr. Jefferson was
sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States in an early case
on the confiscation of British debts by Virginia,[51] where it was
declared that “a State may make what rules it pleases, and those rules
must necessarily have place within itself,”[52]--that “the right
to confiscate the property of enemies during war is derived from a
state of war, and is called the Rights of War,”[53]--and that “the
right acquired by war depends on the power of seizing the enemy’s
effects.”[54] The last remark has a subtle significance. But the whole
case was stated at the bar by John Marshall, afterwards our honored
Chief Justice, in words applicable to our own times.

    “It has been conceded that independent nations have in general
    the right of confiscation, and that Virginia at the time of
    passing her law was an independent nation. But it is contended,
    that, from the peculiar circumstances of the war, the citizens
    of each of the contending nations having been members of the
    same government, the general right of confiscation did not
    apply, and ought not to be exercised. It is not, however,
    necessary to show a parallel case in history, since it is
    incumbent on those who wish to impair the sovereignty of
    Virginia to establish on principle or precedent the justice
    of their exception. _That State, being engaged in a war,
    necessarily possessed the powers of war, and confiscation is
    one of those powers, weakening the party against whom it is
    employed, and strengthening the party that employs it._”[55]

In closing what I have to say of the confiscation bills of the
Revolution, I cannot disguise that they have been thought severe in
some cases beyond the acknowledged exigencies of the times; but,
admitting their severity, they testify none the less to those Rights of
War in which they had their origin.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, Sir, are examples of history, so far as I can gather them,
to guide on the present occasion. The embarrassment of Hercules is
constantly repeated. There are paths to avoid, as well as paths to
take; and it is for you to determine, under the lights of the past, how
your course shall be directed.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are considerations of _policy_, and, I rejoice to believe, of
justice also, which furnish illumination such as cannot be found
in any other instances of history. If we go astray, it must be from

In determining what powers to exercise, you will be guided to a certain
extent by the object you seek to accomplish. Do you seek really to
put down the Rebellion, and to tread it out forever, or do you seek
only the passage of a penal statute? Do you seek a new and decisive
weapon in the war our country is compelled to wage, or do you seek
nothing more than to punish a few rebels? Or, if the object you seek is
simply punishment, do you wish it to be sure and effective, or only in
name? Are you in earnest to strike this rebellion with all the force
sanctioned by the Rights of War, or do you refuse to use anything
beyond the peaceful process of Municipal Law? I put these questions
sincerely and kindly. You will answer them by your votes. If you are
not in earnest against the rebellion now arrayed in war, if you are
content _to seem_ without acting, _to seem_ without striking, in short,
_to seem_ rather than _to be_, you will pass a new penal statute, and
nothing more.

It is clear that such a statute will be of perfect inefficiency. It
will not produce even a moderate intimidation,--not so much as a Quaker
gun. With the provision in our Constitution applicable to jury trials
in criminal cases, it is obvious that throughout the whole Rebel
country there can be no conviction under such statute. Proceedings
would fail through the disagreement of the jury, while the efforts of
counsel would make every case an occasion of irritation. People talk
flippantly of the gallows as the certain doom of the Rebels. This is
a mistake. For weal or woe, the gallows is out of the question. It
is not possible as a punishment for this rebellion.[56] Nor would
any forfeiture or confiscation whatever be sanctioned by a jury in
the Rebel country. I think that in this judgment I do not err. But if
this be correct, surely we should take all proper steps to avoid such
failure of justice. Let Senators see things as they are; let us not
deceive ourselves or deceive others. A new statute against treason will
be simply a few more illusive pages on the statute-book, and that is

I cannot doubt that Senators are in earnest, that they mean what they
say, and that they intend to do all in their power, by all proper
legislation, to bring the war to a final close. But if this be their
purpose, they will not hesitate to employ all the acknowledged Rights
of War calculated to promote this end. Two transcendent powers have
been exercised without a murmur: first, to raise armies, and, secondly,
to raise money. These were essential to the end. But there is another
power, without which, I fear, the end will escape us. It is that of
confiscation and liberation; and this power is just as constitutional
as the other two. The occasion for its exercise is found in the same
terrible necessity. An army is not a _posse comitatus_; nor is it, when
in actual war, face to face with the enemy, amenable to the ordinary
provisions of the Constitution. It takes life without a jury trial, or
any other process of law; and we have already seen, it is by virtue of
the same Right of War that the property of enemies may be taken, and
freedom given to their slaves. On the exercise of these rights there
can be no check or limitation in the Constitution. Any such check or
limitation would be irrational. War cannot be conducted _in vinculis_.
Seeking to fasten upon it the restraints of the Constitution, you
repeat the ancient tyranny which compelled its victims to fight in
chains. Glorious as it is that the citizen is surrounded by the
safeguards of the Constitution, yet this rule is superseded by war,
bringing into being other rights which know no master. An Italian
publicist has said that there is no right which does not, in some
measure, impinge upon some other right. But this is not correct. The
Rights of War can never impinge upon any rights under the Constitution,
nor can any rights under the Constitution impinge upon the Rights of
War. Rights, when properly understood, harmonize with each other.

Assuming, then, what is so amply demonstrated, that the Rights of War
are ours without abridgment, and assuming also that you will not allow
the national cause, which has enlisted such mighty energies, to be
thwarted through any failure on your part, I ask you to exercise these
rights in such way as to insure promptly and surely that permanent
peace in which is contained all we desire. But to this end mere victory
will not be enough. The Rebellion must be so completely crushed that it
cannot again break forth, while its authors have penalties to bear, all
of which may be accomplished only by such a bill as I have proposed.
The reasons of policy, as well as of duty, are controlling.

       *       *       *       *       *

But while all desire to see the Rebellion completely crushed, there may
be difference with regard to the Rights of War to be exercised. Some
may be for part; others may be for all. Some may reject the examples of
the past; others may insist upon them. It is for you to choose; but,
in making election, you will not forget the object in view. At another
point I have leaned on the authority of Grotius. Turning now to Vattel,
a writer of masculine understanding, who has done much to popularize
the Law of Nations, I am influenced by the consideration, that, less
austere than others, he seems always inspired by the free air of his
native Switzerland, and filled with the desire of doing good, so that
what he sanctions cannot be regarded as illiberal or harsh. In grouping
the details entering into the object proposed, this benevolent master
teaches that we may seek these things:--

1. Possession of what belongs to us;

2. Expenses and charges of the war, with reparation of damages;

3. Reduction of the enemy, so that he shall be incapable of unjust

4. Punishment of the enemy.[57]

And in order to arrive at these results, the Rights of War are ours,
to be employed in our discretion. Nor is it to be forgotten that these
rights are without any of those limitations which modern times have
adopted with regard to the private property of enemies in international
war, and that, on reason and principle, which are the foundations of
all Public Law, _every rebel who voluntarily becomes an enemy is as
completely responsible in all his property, whether real or personal,
as a hostile Government or Prince_, whose responsibility to this extent
is unquestioned.

Such in detail is the object that is all contained in the idea of
peace. In this work it is needless to say there is no place for any
sentiment of hate or any suggestion of vengeance. There can be no
exaction and no punishment beyond the necessity of the case,--nothing
harsh, nothing excessive. Lenity and pardon become the conqueror more
even than victory. “Do in time of peace the most good, and in time of
war the least evil possible: such is the Law of Nations.” These are
the admirable words of an eminent French magistrate and statesman.[58]
In this spirit it is our duty to assuage the calamities of war, and
especially to spare an inoffensive population.

But not so should we deal with conspirators. For those who organized
this great crime and let slip the dogs of war there can be no penalty
too great. They should be not only punished to the extent of our
power, but stripped of all means of influence, so that, should their
lives be spared, they may be doomed to wear them out in poverty, if
not in exile. To this end their property must be taken. Their poor
deluded followers may be safely pardoned. Left to all the privileges
of citizenship in a regenerated land, they will unite in judgment of
leaders who have been to them such cruel taskmasters.

The property of the leaders consists largely of land, owned in
extensive plantations. It is just that these should be broken up, so
that never again can they be nurseries of conspiracy or disaffection.
Partitioned into small estates, they will afford homes to many now
homeless, while their peculiar and overbearing social influence will
be destroyed. Poor neighbors, so long dupes and victims, will become
independent possessors of the soil. Brave soldiers, who have left
their Northern skies to fight the battles of their country, resting at
last from their victories, and changing their swords for ploughshares,
will fill the land with Northern industry and Northern principles.

I say little of personal property, because, although justly liable to
confiscation, yet it is easy to see that it is of much less importance
than the land, except so far as slaves are falsely classed under that

       *       *       *       *       *

Vattel says that in our day a soldier would not dare to boast of having
killed the enemy’s king; and there seems to be similar timidity on our
part towards Slavery, which is our enemy’s king. If this king were
removed, tranquillity would reign. Charles the Twelfth, of Sweden,
did not hesitate to say that the cannoneers were perfectly right in
directing their shots at him; for the war would instantly end, if
they could kill him; whereas they would reap little from killing his
principal officers. There is no shot in this war so effective as one
against Slavery, which is king above all officers; nor is there any
better augury of complete success than the willingness, at last, to
fire upon this wicked king. The illusions through which Slavery has
become strong must be abandoned.

The slaves of Rebels cannot be regarded as property, real or personal.
Though claimed as property by their masters, and though too often
recognized as such by individuals in the National Government, it is the
glory of our Constitution that it treats slaves always as “persons.”
At home, beneath the lash and local law, they may be chattels; but
they are known to our Constitution only as _men_. In this simple and
indisputable fact there is a distinction, clear as justice itself,
between the pretended property in slaves and all other property, real
or personal. Being men, they are bound to allegiance, and entitled
to reciprocal protection. It only remains that a proper appeal
should be made to their natural and instinctive loyalty. Nor can any
pretended property of their masters supersede this claim, I will not
say of eminent domain, but of eminent power, inherent in the National
Government, which at all times has a right to the services of all.
Declaring the slaves free, you will at once do more than in any other
way, whether to conquer, to pacify, to punish, or to bless. You will
take from the Rebellion its mainspring of activity and strength; you
will stop its chief source of provisions and supplies; you will remove
a motive and temptation to prolonged resistance; and you will destroy
forever that disturbing influence, which, so long as allowed, will keep
this land a volcano ever ready to break forth anew. While accomplishing
this work, you will at the same time do an act of wise economy, giving
new value to all the lands of Slavery, and opening untold springs of
wealth; and you will also do an act of justice, destined to raise our
national name more than any triumph of war or any skill in peace. God,
in His beneficence, offers to nations, as to individuals, opportunity,
_opportunity_, OPPORTUNITY, which, of all things, is most to be
desired. Never before in history has He offered such as is ours here.
Do not fail to seize it. The blow with which we smite an accursed
Rebellion will at the same time enrich and bless; nor is there any
prosperity or happiness it will not scatter abundantly throughout the
land. Such an act will be an epoch, marking the change from Barbarism
to Civilization. By old Rights of War, still prevalent in Africa,
freemen were made slaves; but by the Rights of War which I ask you to
exercise slaves will be made freemen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, if you seek Indemnity for the Past and Security for
the Future, if you seek the national unity under the Constitution of
the United States, here is the way. Strike down the leaders of the
Rebellion, and lift up the slaves.

    “To tame the proud, the fettered slave to free,--
    These are imperial arts, and worthy thee.”

Then will there be Indemnity for the Past such as no nation ever before
was able to win, and there will be Security for the Future such as
no nation ever before enjoyed, while the Republic, strengthened and
glorified, will be assured forever, one and indivisible.



    May 23d, the Senate proceeded to consider a resolution offered
    the preceding day by Mr. Sumner:--

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on the District of Columbia
        be directed to consider what legislation, if any, is
        needed to protect persons of African descent in Washington
        from unconstitutional seizure as fugitive slaves, or from
        seizure by disloyal persons.”

    Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The question presented in this resolution has a
practical value to-day, when, here in Washington, we are shocked
by efforts of slave-hunters, coming from an adjoining State, to
carry off human beings as slaves. This is menaced on a large scale.
Whole hecatombs are to be sacrificed. A Philadelphia paper of this
morning, “The Press,” which I find on my table, contains, under the
telegraphic head, an account of certain proceedings instituted by
persons called Commissioners, who have undertaken gravely to decide,
that, in a case of human freedom, “it was discretionary with them to
allow cross-examination as to identity and ownership.” According to
these wise Daniels, a person may be doomed to Slavery, even without
any cross-examination of witnesses against him. The statement of this
assumption shows the outrage which offends justice and common sense,
and, I am happy to believe, the Constitution also, even if it be
assumed that anybody now can be treated as a slave in the District.

The much discussed clause of the Constitution bearing on this question
provides that “no person held to service or labor _in one State_, under
the laws thereof, _escaping into another_, shall, in consequence of any
law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor.”
It will be observed that this is limited to escape _from one State into
another State_. Nothing is said of escape into Territories, or into
the District of Columbia. If made applicable to Territories or the
District, it is only by inference and deduction, and not by virtue of
any express words.

Notwithstanding this omission in the Constitution, the Act of 1793,
providing for the surrender of fugitives from service, was made
applicable to escape into Territories, and this questionable precedent
was followed in the terrible Act of 1850. But neither of these Acts
was made applicable to escape into the District of Columbia. While
Slavery prevailed in the District, it was difficult to raise a question
with regard to the surrender of fugitive slaves. But since Freedom has
happily become the law here, the case is materially changed. Slaves at
last are beginning to have rights. And the question arises, whether,
in the absence of express power in the Constitution, and also in the
absence of express words in any statute, commissioners can undertake
to surrender men into Slavery. Even if there were express words in
the statute, we should be obliged to find express words also in the
Constitution, which is the source of the power. But there are no words
applicable to this pretension either in statute or Constitution.

Sir, I have always understood, that, in the interpretation of statutes,
and especially of the Constitution, every word is to be interpreted in
favor of life and liberty,--_in favorem vitæ ac libertatis_. Indeed,
one of the received maxims of the Common Law says strongly, “Impious
and cruel is he to be adjudged who does not favor Liberty.”[59] If
these maxims are not entirely rejected, it is impossible to find,
either in statute or Constitution, any power to gratify the hunters now
thronging this District in quest of human prey. It is _casus omissus_
in our texts legislative or constitutional, and no commissioner, in the
plenitude of petty power, can undertake to supply words which do not
appear in statute or Constitution. It is for them only to administer
the law as it is, and not to make it, especially against Freedom.
They are not greater than the Constitution; and they should know that
human freedom, in the estimation of every civilized jurisprudence, is

The question which I now raise, if I may employ the language of
lawyers, is proper for the courts. A court in Washington, properly
inspired, could not hesitate in its conclusion. It would deny any such
offensive prerogative, unless sanctioned by clear and positive words.
In the absence of such words, it would rejoice to set aside the whole
pretension. It would not hesitate or halt, but it would do it gladly,
generously, justly, and make a new precedent by which civilization
should be advanced. Yet this is too much to expect from the courts of
Washington, whose sense of justice has been enfeebled by the atmosphere
of Slavery.

This pretension is aggravated by the fact that many of these hunters
are notoriously disloyal. Sir, it is hard that our Constitution should
be violated, and men hurried into Slavery, at the trumpery process of
such offensive characters. I think the Committee will find a remedy.

    On motion of Mr. Grimes, the resolution was amended by
    substituting the Committee on the Judiciary for the Committee
    on the District of Columbia, and then agreed to.



    Mr. Sumner submitted the following resolution for consideration.

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of War be requested to communicate to the
Senate copies of any instructions to commanding generals, in pursuance
of the Act of Congress, approved August 6, 1861, setting free slaves
who have been employed by the consent of their masters against the
Government and lawful authority of the United States; and also to
inform the Senate if any steps have been taken to make this statute
effective, and to insure its due execution by our advancing armies, for
the benefit of slaves who have been so employed.

    June 4th, the resolution was considered and agreed to.

    July 10th, a report was received from the Secretary of War,
    entitled “Instructions to commanding generals in regard to the
    freeing of slaves,” which, besides the instructions, contained
    communications from General Phelps and General Butler.[60]



    The following resolution was introduced, as an expression of
    opinion, and an appeal to the country.

RESOLVED, That, in the prosecution of the present war for the
suppression of a wicked Rebellion, the time has come for the Government
of the United States to appeal to the loyalty of the whole people
everywhere, but especially in the Rebel districts, and to invite
all, without distinction of color, to make their loyalty manifest
by ceasing to fight or labor for the Rebels, and also by rendering
every assistance in their power to the cause of the Constitution and
the Union, according to their ability, whether by arms, or labor, or
information, or in any other way; and since protection and allegiance
are reciprocal duties, dependent upon each other, it is the further
duty of the Government of the United States to maintain all such
loyal people, without distinction of color, in their rights as _men_,
according to the principles of the Declaration of Independence.



    In the consideration of the Internal Tax Bill Mr. Sumner took
    an active part, as the _Congressional Globe_ attests.

    When this bill came from the House of Representatives, it
    contained a tax of one cent a pound on cotton. The Finance
    Committee of the Senate reported against this tax. Mr. Sumner,
    though never disposed to spare Slavery, was unwilling to
    bear hard on an interest so important as cotton to the whole
    country, especially to the South when redeemed, as well as to
    the manufactures of the North, and therefore exerted himself
    against the tax. May 27th, he spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am in favor of the proposition of the Committee,
which seems to me sound in principle and policy.

There are reasons against taxing cotton,--first, from the character
of the product itself, and, secondly, from the effect of the tax on

If we look at the character of the product, we find, in the first
place, that it is agricultural,--peculiar, indeed, to one section of
the country, but as much an agricultural product as grain, hemp, and
flax, which are left untouched by this bill. There should be reason
for adopting the tax in one case and not in the other. No such reason

But cotton is not only an agricultural product, it is also a leading
export. Now I raise no constitutional question on the power to tax
exports, although it may not be entirely easy to reconcile such tax
with the language of the Constitution: “No tax or duty shall be laid
on articles exported from any State.” The object of this clause was
to prevent discrimination among States through the taxing power. But
not questioning the power in the present case, it seems to me that its
exercise is of doubtful policy, according to principles of political
economy. I do not think that it is the policy of civilized nations
to tax exports, which play an important part, first, in quickening
commerce, and, secondly, in furnishing the equivalent of imports.

Then there is difficulty arising from the condition of the country.
Until the Cotton States are restored to the Union, little or no revenue
can be expected from any such tax. But if their representatives were
once more here, can anybody suppose it possible to tax this great
staple of the South, while the great staples of the West--grain,
provisions, and wool--are free? It seems to me unadvisable to attempt,
in the absence of these representatives, what we would not attempt, if
they were present,--in other words, to do what is of doubtful equity,
simply because we have the votes. Our tax, at best, can be little more
than prospective. Is it not better to wait till it may be a reality?

Even if at another time the tax on cotton seemed politic, I doubt if
it can be so regarded for some time to come. Considering the peculiar
condition of things, there is small doubt that the country for the next
five years will have greater interest in encouraging the production of
cotton than in taxing it.

Sometimes it is said, that, if cotton is not taxed, the Cotton States
will escape taxation, which would be a practical injustice to other
parts of the country. But I am not satisfied that we cannot tax
their slaves. Besides, the $200,000,000 of cotton exported assures
the importation of $200,000,000 of foreign products, which, with
twenty-five per cent duty, gives a revenue of $50,000,000 annually.

But if cotton must be taxed, it should not be by a specific tax, but
by a tax _ad valorem_, and for obvious reason. Cotton is sold in the
market under seven different grades, varying materially in value.
These grades are classified as follows, beginning with the lowest or
least valuable, and ending with the highest or most valuable: (1.)
ordinary, (2.) good ordinary, (3.) low middling, (4.) middling, (5.)
good middling, (6.) middling fair, (7.) Sea Island. For ten years, from
1850 to 1860, the average price of ordinary cotton was six and five
eighths cents a pound, while middling fair, the highest grade except
Sea Island, averaged twelve cents a pound. A tax of one cent a pound
on ordinary cotton would be over fifteen per cent on its value, while
one cent a pound on middling fair cotton would be eight and one third
per cent, and the same tax on Sea Island cotton, commanding the highest
price of all, would be less than five per cent.

The tax on cotton, if any is imposed, ought not to exceed five per cent
_ad valorem_. In the natural course of events, without interruption of
war, the cotton exported would have amounted in value for a year to
$200,000,000. If to this we add the value of cotton used in the United
States, $35,000,000, we shall have the sum-total of $235,000,000. A tax
of five per cent _ad valorem_ on this would be $11,750,000.

The proposed tax of one cent a pound is much larger. During the year
ending the 30th of June, 1860, the value of the cotton exported was
$191,806,555, and the number of pounds exported was 1,767,686,338. A
tax of one cent a pound would be $17,676,863,--a very large sum, which
I should be glad to pour into our Treasury. But, assuming the value of
this cotton at ten and eight tenths cents a pound, the tax of one cent
a pound will be above nine and one fourth per cent,--nearly double what
the tax ought to be.

Consider now, if you please, the effect of this tax on cotton
manufactures. It appears that we manufacture annually about seven
hundred thousand bales of cotton, one half of which is of the three
lower grades, and is worked into what is called by manufacturers coarse
goods. Of these one pound of cotton will make about two and a half
yards, worth twenty cents. Now a tax of three per cent on this cloth
would be six mills. Add the tax of one cent a pound on cotton, and you
have a total of sixteen mills, making a tax of eight per cent on the
value of the cloth,--a higher tax than is imposed by the Tax Bill on
anything except dogs, whiskey, and tobacco.

The rest of the cotton manufactured in our country is worked into what
are called fine goods, of which one pound will make from four to eight
yards, valued at thirty to forty cents, or, on an average, thirty-five
cents. The tax of three per cent on these goods at thirty-five cents
would be ten and a half mills. Add the tax of one cent on the cotton,
which is ten mills, and you have the total of twenty and a half mills,
making a tax on this article of more than five and eight tenths per

Of the finest goods, a pound of cotton would make cloth worth
seventy-five cents. The tax upon this class would be four and one third
per cent.

Thus the cheap goods used by the poorer people will be taxed much
higher than the finer goods used by the rich. Are you ready to set up
this discrimination?

There is an important export trade of cotton manufactures, which must
not be forgotten. But these are entirely of the class known as coarse
goods. For instance, during the year ending June 30, 1860, cotton
goods exported amounted to $10,934,796. This commerce is conducted
under difficulties. Necessarily it encounters strong competition in
the foreign markets, and must have failed, but for the anomalous
opportunities it enjoyed in China and the East Indies, where these
goods were often sent as remittances instead of bills of exchange, it
being cheaper to pay for them in Boston even more than they will bring
at their destination than to pay the premium of exchange. But this
business, having such anomalous support, cannot bear additional burden.
It will be annihilated,--at least I am so assured by those who ought to

The proposed tax upon coarse goods used in our country is found, on
calculation, equal to seven per cent on the capital invested in their
manufacture, and on exported goods it is equal to five per cent. If
cotton must be taxed, it ought not to be higher than five per cent,
and I have already shown that it ought to be _ad valorem_. On goods
exported there should be a drawback in favor of the manufacturer, not
only of the three per cent on the goods, but also of the five per cent
on the cotton. If the three per cent tax on all goods used in this
country were reduced to one and one half per cent _ad valorem_, this,
with the five per cent tax on the cotton, would be equal to three and
one sixth per cent _ad valorem_ on coarse goods, and to three and one
third per cent on fine goods. But I prefer the proposition of the
Committee, leaving the bill otherwise as it is.

In conclusion, I have to say that the cotton cloths manufactured in our
country are nearly as much a necessary as breadstuffs, entering into
the daily life of all, whether rich or poor, like daily bread.

    In the debate which ensued, Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, alluded to
    Mr. Sumner.

        “I have been very strongly arrested by the debate to-day,
        and I very much approve of its spirit and its tenor. I am
        glad to see gentlemen quitting visionary subjects”--

        MR. CLARK. Do not lug them in.

        --“and coming to questions of legitimate political
        economy; and especially I am glad that the Senators from
        Massachusetts have shown a disposition to come to such
        legitimate ground of legislation.”

    In the same speech the Kentucky Senator indulged in prophecy.

        “And if the slaves were liberated, if the theory of the
        gentlemen from Massachusetts and other Senators were
        carried into operation, I believe, as certainly as I
        believe that I am now addressing the Senate of the United
        States, that there would not be one fifth as much cotton
        raised in any year in the next five years as has been
        raised, according to the estimate of the Senator from Rhode
        Island, for the past year. I do not believe that the man
        lives, that the child lives, who will ever see, after the
        universal emancipation of the slaves, under any state of
        labor, or of care, or of application of labor, either the
        labor of men or of machinery, that the production of cotton
        in the United States will reach one half of five millions
        of bags.”[61]

    The amendment striking out the tax was adopted,--Yeas 20, Nays

       *       *       *       *       *

    June 3d, at the next stage of the bill, the question was
    presented again, when Mr. Sumner renewed his opposition to
    the tax. In the course of his remarks the following passages

MR. SUMNER. Then, Sir, as I had the honor of saying in the former
debate, suppose the vacant seats on the other side of the Chamber were
filled, suppose Senators here from the Cotton States, would you think
of imposing a tax on cotton without in the same bill imposing a tax on
the agricultural products of the North? You would not, I am sure; and,
Sir, in their absence, I will not do what I would not do, if I could,
were they here.

    MR. GRIMES. Would you not abolish Slavery in the District of

MR. SUMNER. I would do that, were they here, and propose it to their
faces, and be too happy in the opportunity.

    June 4th, the debate was continued, when Mr. Sumner spoke as

I am admonished by my friend, the Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN],
not to say anything. I shall say very little. I am in favor of
reducing the tax from one cent to half a cent, and I am also in favor
of striking out the whole tax. If there must be a tax, I wish the
smallest; and if I can have the attention of the Senator from Wisconsin
[Mr. HOWE], whose remarks were so candid, I should like to put him a
question. You heard him say that he would not impose any tax which he
knew would really be burdensome on the manufacturers. Other Senators
have repeated the same thing.

Now, Sir, on whom will he rely, in determining whether the tax will be
burdensome? I take it that the manufacturers are competent witnesses,
if not the best witnesses; and Senators from manufacturing States, when
they express themselves on the question, are to be heard. But it is
the clear opinion of the manufacturers that the proposed tax will be
burdensome, that it will almost annihilate a certain branch of trade
with China and the East Indies, and that it will be most oppressive
on the coarser fabrics at home. The tax on the latter will swell to
as much as seven per cent, which is a very large tax, larger than is
imposed on anything else in the bill, unless it be whiskey and dogs.

I put it to the Senator from Wisconsin, who so candidly said that he
would not impose a tax that he knew to be burdensome, whose testimony
will he accept? On what will he rely? Is it his own knowledge, his own
impressions, his own imagination, if you please? In answer to all these
I present the positive testimony of those really familiar with the

Here, then, is the question in a nutshell. In imposing this tax, you
have on one side the certainty of undue burden on a special interest;
and what have you on the other side? An uncertainty. Who here can say
that the proposed tax will be productive? Sir, we have not the cotton
in our hands. Through the machinations of wicked men, it has ceased to
be within our possession. I remember in my childhood being much amused
with a little poem entitled “Oxen in the Skies,” which pleasantly
described a contest between two senseless persons as to who should own
certain imagined oxen in the skies,--that is, a contest about something
not within reach. The cotton you propose to tax is not within reach. I
trust that it may soon be. Should we not act on existing facts, rather
than on hopes?

There is a larger view of the question. While you begin to tax the
agricultural products of the country, you open the door to that great
experiment. If the Senate is ready to march in that direction, I will
not say whether I am not ready to march also; but the Senate should
not commence the experiment without considering where it leads. In
this whole bill you do not tax a single agricultural product. Why,
therefore, make an exception of cotton? If you begin with cotton, where
will you stop? Must you not also tax hemp, flax, and corn? Why not? Not
that I am in favor of such taxation; but where in principle are you to
stop? Sir, I put these questions as a warning to Senators.

    The original proposition from the House of Representatives was
    amended by substituting “one half cent” a pound, instead of
    “one cent,”--Yeas 30, Nays 10.


AND JUNE 6, 1862.

    While voting and speaking against a tax on cotton, Mr. Sumner
    was anxious to tax Slavery, and this he sought to accomplish by
    a tax on those who pretended to hold slaves.

       *       *       *       *       *

    May 28th, he moved the following amendment:--

        “_And be it further enacted_, That any person who shall
        claim the service or labor for life of any other person,
        under the laws of any State, shall pay, on account of such
        person so claimed, the sum of ten dollars.”

    And then said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--A tax of ten dollars on account of each slave will
give $40,000,000. And in putting the tax at ten dollars I follow the
precedent of the Constitution, which taxes slaves imported at ten
dollars. I do not disguise that on this question I have shared the
doubts of others. Of course, no tax would be tolerable which gave
any sanction to property in man; and it has been feared that a tax
on slaves might be interpreted into such sanction. This fear is not
unnatural to persons shocked by the idea of Slavery. It was early
avowed by Roger Sherman, of Connecticut, whose sensibility is recorded
by Madison in his report of the debates in the Federal Convention.

    “He was opposed to a tax on slaves imported, as making the
    matter worse, because it implied they were property.”[62]

Again, a few days later, when the same clause of the Constitution was
under discussion, Mr. Sherman repeated his objection, and the following
debate occurred, which seems to exhaust the argument on both sides.

    “MR. SHERMAN was against this second part, as acknowledging men
    to be property, by taxing them as such under the character of

    “COLONEL MASON. Not to tax will be equivalent to a bounty on
    the importation of slaves.

    “MR. GORHAM thought that Mr. Sherman should consider the
    duty, _not as implying that slaves are property_, but as a
    discouragement to the importation of them.

    “MR. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS remarked, that, as the clause now
    stands, it implies that the Legislature may tax freemen

    “MR. SHERMAN, in answer to Mr. Gorham, observed, that the
    smallness of the duty showed revenue to be the object, not the
    discouragement of the importation.

    “MR. MADISON thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the
    idea that there could be property in men. The reason of duties
    did not hold, as slaves are not, like merchandise, consumed, &c.

    “COLONEL MASON, in answer to Mr. Gouverneur Morris. The
    provision, as it stands, was necessary for the case of
    convicts, in order to prevent the introduction of them.”[63]

After this discussion, the clause as found in the Constitution, laying
“a tax or duty on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for
each person,” was adopted, _nem. con._ Thus it appears that Sherman,
Morris, Franklin, and Gerry, to say nothing of Madison, all known
for opposition to Slavery, and determination to give it no sanction,
concurred in this proposition. They felt that a tax or duty, thus
arranged, was not a sanction of Slavery.

The same question is now presented to us. Clearly there can be no such
thing as property in man. The whole idea is offensive and odious.
There is no revenue, whatever be its amount, to compensate for this
recognition. Better be poor, better be pinched in means, better forego
much needed supplies, than obtain help through any such sacrifice.
But the same considerations which induced our fathers, with all their
avowed scruples, to sustain such a tax or duty, may properly influence

It is the boast of the Constitution that it knows nobody as a slave.
All are “persons.” But at the same time it does not assume to interfere
with a well-known State institution by which “persons” are degraded to
be property. The condition of the slave is anomalous. He is property by
local law; he is a “person” by the Constitution. But nobody questions
the existence of Slavery. It is a monstrous _fact_, beyond reach in
the States, except through the War Power, and yet none the less a
_fact_, which taxation will only recognize, and not sanction. It is an
intolerable nuisance intrenched in State lines; but we shall not treat
it otherwise than as nuisance, when we tax it. In taxing it we do not
assume its rightfulness; we only assume its undeniable existence as a
_fact_, and nothing else.

If our tax were an encouragement, it would be clearly immoral. But
it is a discouragement. Exemption from taxation is encouragement.
Taxation is discouragement just in proportion to its extent, until, in
the progress of events, it becomes destructive. Regarding the present
question in this light, our course is plain. It is not permissible to
encourage Slavery, while every principle of economy and every sentiment
of justice and humanity urge its discouragement.

But it is said that the Constitution prohibits a capitation tax,
“unless in proportion to the census.” The tax I propose is not a
capitation tax, any more than the tax on auctioneers, or lawyers, or
jugglers, or peddlers, or slaughterers of cattle is a capitation tax.
According to lexicographers, a capitation tax is a poll tax, a tax on
each individual. Now this tax makes no pretension to be a poll tax,
or a tax on each individual. It is a tax on a person who claims the
service or labor of another for life, proportioned to the extent of his
claim. In other words, _it is a tax on a claim of property_; and when I
tax this claim, surely I do not recognize its morality, nor do I accord
to it any sanction.

If it be said, that at one time I insist the slave shall have all the
rights of “persons” under the Constitution, while I now insist that his
master shall pay a tax on his claim of property, I reply, that there
is no inconsistency, but perfect harmony. By an unquestionable rule
of interpretation, applicable to the Constitution, every word must
be construed _in favor of Liberty_, so as most to promote Liberty.
According to this rule, every presumption is in favor of Liberty. But,
while insisting upon every such presumption, it does not follow that
the counter claim shall not be taxed. Indeed, the same principle which
inclines in favor of the slave must incline also to tax the claim
of his master, so long as this claim exists in fact. Freedom is to
be enlarged in every way possible, whether by encouraging the slave
or discouraging the master. Therefore do I say fearlessly, that the
slave, whenever he appears within the national jurisdiction or before
national tribunals, is entitled to all the rights of “persons”; but the
master, who asserts this odious property, cannot claim any immunity for
it on this account. The indulgence is all for the slave, and not at
all for the master. For the slave Congress must do everything in its
power; for the master Congress must have nothing but disapprobation and

These are reasons that influence me, and I present them now in order
to influence those who hesitate to impose this tax, on the old idea of
Roger Sherman, that it will be a recognition of property in man. Of
course, where Senators have no such scruple, the argument for this tax
is unanswerable.

It is easy to levy.

It is profitable.

And so far as it exerts an influence, it must be a discouragement to an
offensive wrong, which is the parent of our present troubles, and the
occasion of all this taxation. It would be strange, if Slavery, after
causing our national calamity, should escape from all its consequences.
It would be strange, if Slavery, which has played the tyrant thus far
in our history, should now, like the tyrant, be so far indulged as to
escape burdens of all kinds. It shall not be by my vote.

    Subsequently Mr. Sumner modified his amendment, by accepting
    a substitute drawn by Mr. Simmons, of Rhode Island, in behalf
    of the Finance Committee, who suggested, that “the section,
    as presented by the Senator from Massachusetts, might leave
    the slave liable to be sold to pay the tax, and that conflicts
    about as much with the Senator’s notions as he could well have
    drawn any provision to do so.” Mr. Sumner had no anxiety on
    this head, and said at once:--

Perhaps the Senator and myself start from different points. I do not
think the United States can own a slave. I cannot doubt, that, if a
slave should be seized under process of the United States, he would be
taken to Freedom, and not to Slavery, for the simple reason that the
nation cannot own a slave. Therefore any special provision for this
emergency is superfluous. I rest in the conviction, that, when a slave
passes into the hands of the United States, he at once becomes free.

    Mr. Sumner added, that the proposition he had presented was “in
    the plainest form and fewest words,” and on this account had
    merits of its own.

    Mr. Collamer hoped Mr. Sumner would accept the substitute,
    and thought “ten dollars a head on all ages and conditions an
    unreasonable tax.”

    The substitute accepted by Mr. Sumner was as follows.

        “SEC.--_And be it further enacted_, That an annual tax of
        five dollars shall be paid by every person or persons,
        corporation, or society, for and on account of the service
        or labor of every other person between the ages of ten and
        sixty-five years, whose service or labor, for a term of
        years or for life, is claimed to be owned by such first
        mentioned person or persons, corporation, or society,
        whether in a fiduciary capacity or otherwise, under and by
        virtue of the laws or customs of any State; and said annual
        tax shall be levied and collected of the person or persons,
        corporation, or society, making such claim, and of their
        goods, chattels, or lands, as is herein before provided;
        but in no case shall the person or persons whose service or
        labor is so claimed, or their service or labor, be sold for
        the purpose of collecting said tax: _Provided_, That this
        tax shall not apply to service due to parents.”[64]

    Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, took the lead in answer to Mr. Sumner,
    and in opposition to his amendment. After insisting that slaves
    are “persons,” and that, if the amendment be adopted, “they
    will be the only persons taxed under this bill,” he said:--

        “If the Senator had made his argument yesterday, when
        we proposed to tax cotton, a production which goes into
        manufactures, what he has said would apply with great
        force. Cotton is a production of slave labor solely.… All
        his arguments apply to cotton as a subject of taxation; but
        he convinced a majority of the Senate yesterday that it was
        not expedient to tax cotton; and now he proposes to tax
        slaves, and how?… With all our immense resources, we cannot
        now collect it, except from the loyal people who live in
        the Border States, who now recognize our flag and are
        subject to our law. I am not willing to select them as the
        first to bear a heavy and peculiar taxation. I believe that
        the true course is to insist upon the tax on cotton.”[65]

    The special points of Mr. Sherman’s opposition appear in Mr.
    Sumner’s reply.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I will make one remark in reply to the Senator from
Ohio. He objects to my proposition as in the nature of a direct tax, or
poll tax. How is this? Has not the Senator voted to tax auctioneers,
lawyers, jugglers, and slaughterers of cattle, all being classes of
persons in the community?

    MR. SHERMAN. To tax their employments.

MR. SUMNER. And I propose to tax the employment of the
slave-master,--that is all. It is the business of the slave-master to
make the slave work. This is his high vocation. In other words, his
business consists in using the service and labor of another. And to
this class of persons he belongs. Is it not plain? Can there be any
doubt? Look at it. He is an auctioneer of human rights, a broker of
human labor, a juggler of human sufferings and human sympathies,--I
might say a slaughterer of human hopes; and, Sir, if the Senator from
Ohio can tax auctioneer, broker, juggler, or slaughterer of cattle,
I am at a loss to understand why he cannot tax the peculiar form of
these vocations all concurring in the slave-master. He is swift to
tax the less, but hesitates to tax the greater. He can tax the petty
employment, which is not immoral or cruel; but he will not tax the
larger multiform employment, in which immorality and cruelty commingle.

But the Senator says it is a capitation or poll tax. Not, Sir, in the
sense of the Constitution. On this I stand. It is simply a tax on a
productive claim of property, or, to borrow the language of the Senator
a moment ago, on an “employment.” It is nothing but that.

The Senator thinks it improper to tax slave-masters, especially when we
have cotton for taxation; and he almost chides me, because yesterday
I was against the cotton tax, which in his judgment is most proper.
Sir, I am at a loss to find the parallel between the two cases implied
in supposing that one can be a substitute for the other. They are
unlike in every respect. Slaves and cotton belong to the same section
of country, precisely as alligators and cotton; and that is all the
parallel between them. Cotton is an agricultural product, entering into
commerce and manufactures, while the manufactures made from it are
important to all classes, but especially the poor. The question of its
taxation involves considerations of economy and policy utterly unlike
those arising on the motion to tax the claim of the slave-master. It
is difficult to see how the two taxes can be confounded. One is a tax
on an agricultural product; the other is a tax on an odious claim.
The Senator will not say that it is an acceptable claim under the
Constitution. Even if there, it is disguised under ambiguous words.
Indeed, he knows well that it is offensive and repugnant to the
conscience of good people. Shall not such a claim be taxed? Shall such
a claim be permitted to go scot-free? Shall we run about the country,
seeking class after class to visit with oppressive taxation, and,
under the lead of the Senator, excuse this largest and most offensive
class of all? I am at a loss to understand on what ground of principle
the Senator can proceed, when he proposes this special immunity. If
I use strong terms in describing slave-masters, it is because the
very language of the bill suggests them, and they are in essential
conformity with truth.

I believe I have answered the two objections made by the Senator from
Ohio. If he made any other, it has escaped my recollection.

    Mr. Sherman followed Mr. Sumner, beginning with these words:--

        “I will not reply to that part of the speech of the
        honorable Senator from Massachusetts in which he denounced
        slaveholders. My opinions on this subject are well known.
        I think that slaveholders have certain rights under the
        Constitution of the United States; and while I never
        could be one myself, and have as deep a repugnance to any
        law which authorizes the holding of slaves as any other
        man, yet, while I am here under oath, I will respect
        their constitutional rights to the fullest extent. We
        are bound to legislate for them, and they are entitled
        to the protection of the Constitution of the United
        States as fully as if they were here, all of them, to
        speak for themselves; and especially I do not think it
        proper or courteous to use such language, applied to a
        whole class of people, when Senators on this floor are
        with us, associating with us, who are included by the
        appellation ‘slaveholder,’ so obnoxious to the Senator from
        Massachusetts. Certainly I cannot characterize so harshly
        any one who is a member of the same body with myself.”[66]

    He then said that he intended “to put the proposition to tax
    cotton and the proposition to tax slaves against each other,”
    and that he would “propose to amend the amendment of the
    Senator from Massachusetts by substituting a modified tax on
    cotton,”--that “they are connected together, and the Senator
    cannot disconnect them.” He then spoke of slave-masters again.

        “The slaveholders of the Revolution were men of the highest
        purity, of the greatest patriotism. At that time Slavery
        was admitted to be an evil. They were men of gentleness, of
        courtesy, of kindness, good hearts and good heads, nearly
        all of them; and so are the great body of the slaveholders
        with whom you are brought in contact in the Border States,
        men of gentleness and kindness and courtesy.… Many of the
        most gentlemanly, courteous, kind, and patriotic men that I
        ever met in the world were slaveholders; and I think, that,
        taken as a class, the slaveholders of the Border States
        are men who are deserving of our commiseration, of our
        kindness, rather than of our reproaches.… I do not choose
        to select that class of men from among all the population
        of the Southern States and tax them, and then to apply to
        them opprobrious epithets.”[67]

    Mr. Sumner felt called to speak again in reply, and said:--

The Senator from Ohio says that I propose a tax on “slaves,” and then
carefully reminds me that “slaves” are persons, and therefore not,
according to the Constitution, to be taxed, except by a capitation
tax. Now, Sir, I have to say, in the first place, that the tax which
I propose is not to be regarded as a tax on slaves. If applicable to
persons, it is to the masters, and not to the slaves. It is a tax on
slave-masters, as I have already said,--precisely like the tax on
auctioneers, which is sustained by the Senator. It is a tax on a claim
of property made by slave-masters. The Senator may call such a claim
property or not, as he pleases. It is at least a claim of property,
and as such I propose to tax it. Why not? The Senator admits that at
other times slaves have been expressly taxed,--actually taxed in name.
In the tax of 1815 there was a tax on “land _and slaves_.” The Senator
does not doubt the constitutionality of such tax. Sir, I am content
with this authority, which goes beyond anything that I propose, and I
am not troubled by any scruple, lest, in imposing a tax on the claim of
the slave-master, I recognize property in man. At most, I recognize a
profitable claim, and tax it.

The remarks of the Senator were occupied chiefly with two
heads,--first, eulogy of slave-masters, and, secondly, vindication
of his proposed tax on cotton. I have little to say of the Senator’s
eulogy. There are two authorities on that head, which the Senator will
pardon me, if I place above him: I mean Mr. Jefferson and Colonel
Mason, both of our early Revolutionary days. Mr. Jefferson assures us
that the whole commerce between master and slave is one of boisterous
passion, tending to barbarism.[68] Colonel Mason exclaimed, in the
Convention to frame the Constitution, that every slave-master is
born a petty tyrant.[69] And yet, Sir, in the face of this authentic
testimony, from persons who knew Slavery and all its influences, the
Senator eulogizes slave-masters, and pleads for their exemption from
taxation. Eulogy is for the dead. I would not add to the odium justly
belonging to a tyrannical class, but I do insist that justice shall
be done to their victims; and when the Senator interposes eulogy, I
interpose against him the rights which have been violated. So long as
men persist in such outrage, so long as they persevere in maintaining
an institution which annuls the parental relation, the conjugal
relation, the right to instruction, the right to the fruit of one’s
own labor, and does all this merely to make men work without wages, so
long as men support this unjust and irrational pretence, they must not
expect soft words from me. If the Senator from Ohio finds it in his
generosity to plead for slave-masters, he must excuse me, if I decline
to follow him. He does not know them as well as I do, nor does he know
their victims as well as I do.

The Senator dwells much on the importance of a tax on cotton. The
subject was fully canvassed yesterday, and the vote of the Senate was
against him. He now seeks a re-hearing out of the ordinary course.
Would it not be better, if his proposition were postponed to the next
stage of the bill, when it will be strictly in order? Meanwhile, in
pursuance of my promise to be brief, I content myself with saying, that
the desire of the Senate to tax cotton is no reason why they should
refuse to tax the claim of the slave-master. The two are not in any
way dependent upon each other. Let the Senator from Ohio carry his
cotton tax, if the Senate agree with him. But, Sir, I insist, that,
whether cotton is taxed or not, the claim of the slave-master shall
not be permitted to escape. I do not say the property, but I say the
claim. It ought to be taxed, not only for revenue, but also for the
discouragement it will fasten upon an odious pretension, which has been
to us the fountain of trouble and war.

    Mr. Sherman’s motion to strike out the tax on slave-masters and
    insert the tax on cotton was then lost,--Yeas 15, Nays 22.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Henderson, of Missouri, then moved to amend the amendment
    of Mr. Sumner by adding,--

        “_And provided, further_, That the tax herein prescribed
        shall not be levied or collected in any State where a
        system of gradual emancipation may have been adopted at the
        time of the collection.”

    May 29th, this was lost,--Yeas 15, Nays 20.

    Then, on motion of Mr. Fessenden, Mr. Sumner’s amendment was
    further modified by substituting a tax of “two” dollars,
    instead of “five,” on account of each slave. Before the vote
    was taken, Mr. Sumner assigned the reason for the higher rate.

The Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN] said that he had looked simply
at the revenue to be obtained by a tax. But, pray, will not a larger
revenue be obtained at the rate of five dollars than at the rate of
two? There are the slaves,--count them, and tax them. The process is
simple, with no chance of evasion. Besides, Sir, I cannot forget, nor
can the Senator, that throughout our history we have heard constantly
of “incidental protection.” But, if incidental protection is just and
expedient, then is incidental discouragement, and the tax I propose
may be sustained on this ground. We do not hesitate to tax whiskey and
tobacco as luxuries, indulgences, vices. Why should we hesitate to tax
the worst luxury, the worst indulgence, the worst vice of all, which
is Slavery? Therefore, for a double reason, first, for the sake of
revenue, and, secondly, for the sake of discouragement to Slavery, I am
for the larger tax.

    After further debate, the question was taken on the amendment
    of Mr. Sumner as modified, and resulted, Yeas 14, Nays 22. So
    the amendment was lost.

       *       *       *       *       *

    June 5th, at the next stage of the bill, Mr. Sumner moved his
    amendment in the following form:--

        “_And be it further enacted_, That every person claiming
        the service or labor of any other person as a slave shall
        pay a tax of two dollars on account of every person so
        claimed: but in no case shall any person so claimed be sold
        for the purpose of collecting the tax.”

    The yeas and nays were ordered, and, being taken, resulted,
    Yeas 19, Nays 16. So the amendment was agreed to.

       *       *       *       *       *

    June 6th, Mr. Anthony, of Rhode Island, who had voted for
    the tax on slaves, moved a reconsideration, not because he
    had changed his opinion, but, as he said, at the request of
    Senators. This was to give an opportunity for another vote.

    In the debate which ensued the amendment was assailed by Mr.
    Doolittle, Mr. Browning, Mr. Cowan, and Mr. Hale. The latter
    quoted the words,--

        “And if we cannot alter things,
        Egad, we’ll change their names, Sir,”[70]--

    and insisted, that, however it might be called, it was a tax on
    slaves; on which Mr. Wade remarked from his seat, “So much the
    better.” Mr. Sumner said in reply:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I presume there is no difference among Senators in
desire to follow the Constitution. The Senator from New Hampshire [Mr.
HALE], on my right, cannot be more desirous to follow it than the
Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. WILMOT], on my left. In that respect
they are equal. Nor do I believe that the Senator from Illinois [Mr.
BROWNING], over the way, can claim any particular monopoly of such
devotion. In that respect, Sir, we are all equal. Our difference is as
to the meaning of the Constitution. But it is a poor argument which
finds its chief force in asseverations of devotion to the Constitution.
Conscious of my obligation to support it, and of my loyalty, I make no
such asseverations.

Nor again, Sir, do I believe that the Senator from New Hampshire can
take to himself any monopoly of praise for denying the whole offensive
pretension of property in man. Is he more earnest in this denial
than many other Senators? Is he more earnest than the Senator from
Pennsylvania near me? Is he more earnest than myself? Has he denied
it oftener in debate or public speech? To me the pretension is absurd
as it is wicked. A man may as well claim property in a star as in
his fellow-man. And yet, Sir, with this conviction, I cannot forget
that I am here, as a Senator, to legislate with regard to existing
institutions, and to see things as they are. I cannot be blind to the
_fact of Slavery_. Slavery exists as a monstrous fact, an enormity, if
you please, but still it exists; and as a legislator I am to act on its
existence. Am I not right? Can I presume on this occasion to be guided
by my inner conviction that there is no property in man, when, looking
to the Slave States, I am compelled to see the great, unquestionable
fact of pretended property? To my mind, it is more practical to
recognize the fact, and to proceed accordingly.

The Senator from Illinois insists that this is a capitation tax, and
he reads the text of the Constitution. What is a capitation tax? The
precise definition in Webster’s Dictionary--if the Senator will excuse
me for going to an authority which is not a law book--is “a tax or
imposition upon each head or person, a poll tax.” Such is the tax with
regard to which the provision of the Constitution read by the Senator
was adopted. This provision is not applicable to any other tax, but
simply to this special tax.

Already I have reminded the Senator that he has voted to tax
auctioneers, to tax jugglers, to tax the slaughterers of cattle, and to
tax lawyers. I might add other classes. I now propose that he should
tax claimants of slaves, a class offensive to reason and humanity. That
is all. If you look at the census of 1850,--that of 1860 is not yet
published,--you will find among the different classes of our population
the following: mariners, 70,000,--I will not give the hundreds;
merchants, 100,000; planters, 27,000; wheelwrights, 30,000; teachers,
29,000; tailors, 52,000; overseers, 18,000; lawyers, 23,000; farmers,
2,363,000; slaveholders, 347,000.

Now, Sir, would any one say that a tax on the business of the mariner
was a capitation tax? Would any one say that a tax on the business
of merchants, of whom we have one hundred thousand, was a capitation
tax? Would any one say that a tax on the business of the planter was
a capitation tax? that a tax on the business of the wheelwright was a
capitation tax? that a tax on the business of teachers was a capitation
tax? that a tax on the business of tailors was a capitation tax? that
a tax on the business of overseers of plantations, who apply the
lash, of whom there are eighteen thousand, was a capitation tax? that
a tax on lawyers, already voted by the Senator from Illinois, was a
capitation tax? that a tax on farmers, if you will, of whom, happily,
we have two million three hundred and sixty-three thousand, was a
capitation tax? And will any one say that a tax on slave-masters, of
whom, unhappily, we have three hundred and forty-seven thousand, is a
capitation tax? Senators may imagine it a capitation tax, Senators may
call it a capitation tax, but no imagination and no energy of assertion
can make it so. It is not a capitation tax. It is a tax on the claim
of the slave-master in the bones and muscles, the labor and service of
his fellow-man, and, so far as the tax can have any influence, it must
discredit and discourage such claim. Therefore, Sir, I say confidently
that the tax is in every respect constitutional, and it is also a tax
well worthy of adoption, because, at a moment when Slavery stands
revealed as the very pest of our land, it will operate to discredit and
discourage it.

In no other way can you obtain so much revenue so easily and so
beneficently. But if you refuse to impose this tax, you concede a
special immunity to a most offensive pretension, and leave those who
profit by it to gather their profits without any of that burden so
freely imposed upon the honest industry of the country, and upon so
many classes of our citizens.

    The motion to reconsider was carried,--Yeas 22, Nays 18.

    The question then recurred on the amendment, and it was
    lost,--Yeas 17, Nays 23.

       *       *       *       *       *

    This narrative shows how the effort to tax Slavery finally
    failed, not on its merits, but from tenderness to slave-masters
    of the Border States.



    In the pressure of business before the Senate, it was proposed
    to sit into the night on the Internal Tax Bill. Mr. Sumner
    spoke against this proposition.

MR. PRESIDENT,--If I recollect aright, the Tax Bill was considered in
the House of Representatives more than three weeks, and it is well
known that there are rules for the limit of debate in that body which
do not prevail in the Senate.

    MR. HALE. But which ought to prevail here.

MR. SUMNER. They do not prevail here, and we are to take things as
they are. Now, Sir, shall we limit debate? Shall we cut it off more or
less? In the absence of rules by which it may be done, we are asked to
do it by protracting the daily session into the night, in other words,
by night sessions, and so hurrying the bill to a final vote. I do not
think this advisable. The matters in question are too important for
such summary process. Each day has its debate on questions of detail,
which multiply as we proceed; but there are two or three questions of
principle not yet considered, though already before us, including that
opened yesterday by the Senator from Rhode Island [Mr. ANTHONY], and
another to be presented by the Senator from California [Mr. MCDOUGALL],
involving a review of different systems of taxation. Is it supposed
that such questions can be properly considered in a single day, or in
two days, so that then we shall be ready to vote? To my mind it is not

But if possible, I repeat, it is not advisable, and, believe me, Sir,
I say this from no disposition to shirk business or duty here. I have
not been out of my seat three minutes since this bill was taken up,
nor, indeed, have I been out of my seat a half-hour since the session
began. Therefore I do not fall under the judgment of the Senator from
Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN] with regard to those who prefer that debate
should be allowed to proceed, even at the expense of time. I am ready
for work; but I think we shall all do best, if this important measure
is considered without haste, if not entirely without rest, according to
the customary order of business.



    Hon. Edward Stanly was appointed by the President Provisional
    Governor of North Carolina, and Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee.
    The former signalized his arrival at his post by an official
    movement against schools for colored children, as forbidden by
    “the laws of the State,” meaning the Black Code, before the war.

    Mr. Vincent Colyer, who had opened a school for colored
    children at Newbern, came at once to Washington. Arriving
    at the close of the day, he reported immediately to Mr.
    Sumner, who without delay hurried to the Executive Mansion,
    and, not finding the President there, followed him to the
    War Department. Mr. Sumner related what had occurred, when
    the President, with an impatience which Mr. Sumner never
    encountered from him on any other occasion, exclaimed, “Do
    you take me for a School-Committee-man?” Mr. Sumner replied
    promptly: “Not at all; I take you for President of the United
    States; and I come with a case of wrong, in attending to which
    your predecessor, George Washington, if alive, might add to
    his renown.” The President changed his tone, and with perfect
    kindness proceeded to consider the case.

    Mr. Sumner lost no time in laying it before the Senate.

    June 2d, he offered the following resolution:--

        “_Resolved_, That the Secretary of War be requested to
        communicate to the Senate copies of any commissions
        or orders from his Department undertaking to appoint
        Provisional Governors in Tennessee and North Carolina, with
        the instructions given to the Governors.”

    By unanimous consent, the Senate proceeded to consider the
    resolution, when Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I shall not stop to consider any question touching the
power to appoint Governors of States. My object is different. It is to
expose a case of peculiar interest and importance, with regard to which
I have a statement worthy of confidence. From this it appears that one
of the first acts of Mr. Stanly, on arrival at Newbern, North Carolina,
and assuming his responsible duties as Provisional Governor, was to
announce that the school there for the education of colored children,
recently opened by Northern charity, must be closed, being forbidden by
the laws of North Carolina, which he was instructed by the authorities
at Washington to maintain. I have here an official report of this
extraordinary transaction.

    “In a conversation between Governor Stanly and Mr. Colyer,
    the Governor stated that there was one thing in Mr. C.’s
    doings, as superintendent of the poor, a question would be
    raised about,--indeed, it had been already,--and that was
    his (C.’s) keeping school for the blacks. ‘Of course you are
    aware,’ said the Governor, ‘that the laws of the State make the
    opening of such schools a criminal offence. My instructions
    from Washington were, that I was to carry out the laws of
    North Carolina precisely as they were administered before the
    breaking out of this unhappy affair; so, if I were called upon
    for a decision in the matter of your schools for the blacks, I
    would have to decide against you; but at the same time I don’t
    want anything done abruptly. As a man, I might do, perhaps, as
    you have done; but as a Governor, I must act in my official
    capacity according to my instructions, and administer the laws
    as I find them.’

        “A true copy.

            “C. H. MENDELL,
                _Clerk to Mr. Colyer_.

    “NEWBERN, May 28, 1862.”

Then follows a further statement.

    “Mr. C. C. Leigh, who was with General Saxton in the Oriental,
    on his way to South Carolina, as confidential agent of the
    National Freedmen’s Relief Association, and who has just
    returned, asked Mr. Colyer what he should do. Mr. C. replied:
    ‘I must close the schools, as I cannot consent to continue to
    place myself in a situation where I am liable to be punished
    according to the laws of North Carolina.’

    “Mr. Leigh is the Chairman of our Home Committee.”

If any person, in the name of the United States, has undertaken to
close a school for little children, whether white or black, it is
important that we should know the authority under which he assumes to
act. Surely nobody here will be willing to take the responsibility for
such an act. It is difficult to conceive that one of the first fruits
of national victory and the reëstablishment of national power should
be an enormity not easy to characterize in any terms of moderation.
Jefferson tells us that in a certain contest there is no attribute of
the Almighty “which can take side with us.”[71] And permit me to say,
that, if, in the war unhappily existing, the military power of the
United States is employed in closing schools, there is no attribute
of the Almighty which must not be against us; nor can we expect any
true success. Sir, in the name of the Constitution, of humanity, and
of common sense, I protest against such impiety under sanction of the
United States.

The proper rule of conduct is simple. It is found in the instructions,
to which I referred the other day, from the British Commissioner in
a conquered province of India. After indicating certain crimes to be
treated with summary punishment, he proceeds to say: “All other crimes
you will investigate according to the forms of justice usual in the
country, modified as you may think expedient; and in all cases you will
endeavor to enforce the existing laws and customs, _unless where they
are clearly repugnant to reason and natural equity_.”[72] Here is the
proper limitation. Anything else is unworthy of a civilized country.
Whatever is clearly repugnant to reason and equity must be rejected.
Surely such a thing cannot be enforced. But what can be more clearly
repugnant to reason and equity than the barbarous law which an officer,
in the name of the National Government, has threatened to enforce?

    The resolution was agreed to.

       *       *       *       *       *

    June 4th, a report from the Secretary of War, in answer to
    this resolution, contained a letter of appointment, dated May
    19, 1862, conferring “all and singular the powers, duties,
    and functions pertaining to the office of Military Governor,
    including the power to establish all necessary offices and
    tribunals, and suspend the writ of _Habeas Corpus_.” This was
    followed, May 20th, by instructions, wherein it is said: “Upon
    your wisdom and energetic action much will depend.… It is not
    deemed necessary to give any specific instruction, but rather
    to confide in your sound discretion to adopt such measures as
    circumstances may demand. Specific instructions will be given,
    when requested. You may rely upon the perfect confidence and
    full support of the Department in the performance of your


LETTER TO ----, JUNE 5, 1862.

    This letter, after enjoying an extensive circulation in
    the newspapers, was preserved as a political document in
    McPherson’s “Political History of the Rebellion.”[74]

    It first appeared in the _Boston Journal_,[75] with the
    caption, “Senator Sumner and the President,” and with these
    introductory words:--

        “We are permitted to publish the following private letter
        from Hon. Charles Sumner, in reply to a letter addressed
        to him by a personal friend. Senator Sumner’s hearty
        indorsement will not be without its influence upon those
        who are impatient at what they term the Proslavery policy
        of the President. At the same time there is nothing in
        this indorsement which should shake the confidence of
        conservative men in his wisdom and prudence.… It is
        something to obtain from one who may be regarded as a
        representative of this class so handsome a tribute to
        the purity of the President’s motives, and so hearty an
        indorsement of the correctness of his convictions and

                                      SENATE CHAMBER, June 5, 1862.

  MY DEAR SIR,--Your criticism of the President is hasty. I am
  confident, if you knew him as I do, you would not make it.

  The President cannot be held responsible for the misfeasance of
  subordinates, unless adopted, or at least tolerated, by him. And
  I am sure nothing unjust or ungenerous will be tolerated, much
  less adopted, by him.

  I am happy to let you know that he has no sympathy with Stanly
  in his absurd wickedness, closing the schools, nor, again, in
  his other act of turning our camps into a hunting-ground for
  slaves. He repudiates both, positively. The latter point has
  occupied much of his thought, and the newspapers do not go too
  far in recording his repeated declarations, which I have often
  heard from his own lips, that slaves finding their way within
  the national lines are never to be reënslaved. This is his
  conviction, expressed without reserve.

  Could you--as has been my privilege often--have seen the
  President, while considering the great questions on which he has
  already acted, beginning with the invitation to Emancipation in
  the States, then Emancipation in the District of Columbia, and
  the acknowledgment of the Independence of Hayti and Liberia, even
  your zeal would be satisfied; for you would feel the sincerity
  of his purpose to do what he can to carry forward the principles
  of the Declaration of Independence. His whole soul was occupied,
  especially by the first proposition, so peculiarly his own. In
  familiar intercourse with him, I remember nothing more touching
  than the earnestness and completeness with which he embraced this
  idea. To his mind it was just and beneficent, while it promised
  the sure end of Slavery. To me, who had already proposed a Bridge
  of Gold for the retreating Fiend, it was most welcome. Proceeding
  from the President, it must take its place among the great events
  of history.

  If disposed to be impatient at apparent short-comings, think, I
  pray you, what has been done in a brief period, and from the past
  discern the sure promise of the future. Knowing something of my
  convictions, and of the ardor with which I maintain them, you
  may, perhaps, derive assurance from my confidence. I say to you,
  therefore, Stand by the Administration. If need be, help it by
  word and act; but stand by it, and have faith in it.

  I wish that you knew the President, and had heard the artless
  expression of his convictions on those questions which concern
  you so deeply. You might, perhaps, wish he were less cautious,
  but you would be grateful that he is so true to all you have at
  heart. Believe me, therefore, you are wrong; and I regret it
  the more because of my desire to see all our friends stand firm

  If I write strongly, it is because I feel strongly; for my
  constant and intimate intercourse with the President, beginning
  with the fourth of March, not only binds me peculiarly to his
  Administration, but gives me a personal as well as a political
  interest in seeing that justice is done him.

      Believe me, my dear Sir,

          With much regard,

              Ever faithfully yours,

                  CHARLES SUMNER.



    Further report from North Carolina induced Mr. Sumner again to
    bring the action of Mr. Stanly before the Senate, in the hope
    especially of reaching the country, and also the Administration.

Whereas Edward Stanly, assuming to act under a letter from the
Secretary of War, calling him Military Governor of North Carolina, a
post unknown to the Constitution and laws of the Union, has undertaken,
by virtue of such military authority, to surrender fugitive slaves,
contrary to the intent and meaning of an Act of Congress recently
adopted; also to banish an American citizen, in violation of personal
rights secured by the Constitution; and also to close and suppress
schools maintained by the charity of good men for the education
of colored children, in defiance of every principle of morals and
religion, and to the discredit of our national character: Therefore,--

1. _Resolved_, That the President of the United States be requested to
cancel the letter of the Secretary of War under which Edward Stanly now
assumes to act.

2. _Resolved_, That any such letter, assuming to create any person
Military Governor of a State, is without sanction in the Constitution
and laws, and that its effect is to subordinate the civil to the
military authority, contrary to the spirit of our institutions, and in
derogation of the powers of Congress, which, where a State Government
falls into the hands of traitors, can be the only legitimate authority,
except martial law.

    Mr. Carlile, of West Virginia, objected to the consideration of
    the resolutions, and they were postponed.

    These resolutions presented again the question of the Power of
    Congress over the Rebel States, first opened by the resolutions
    of February 11, 1862.[76]



RESOLVED, That the Committee on Post-Offices and Post-Roads be directed
to consider the expediency of providing for an air-line railroad
between Washington and New York, which shall carry the mails of the
United States, and be free from all local impediments.

    This resolution was objected to, and so was postponed; but its
    immediate object was accomplished. The existing roads were
    stimulated, and the attention of the country was called to
    the idea of better communication between the two capitals of
    politics and commerce. A French paper spoke of the proposed
    road as “_atmospheric_.”

    The resolution was renewed at the next session of Congress,
    December 5, 1862, when it was agreed to.


AS A STATE, JUNE 26, JULY 1 AND 14, 1862.

    The facts essential to the comprehension of this case appear in
    the debate.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The question is on the admission of West Virginia into
the Union as a new State, and the following is one of the conditions,
namely: “That from and after the fourth day of July, 1863, the children
of all slaves born within the limits of said State shall be free.” Here
is a condition which you undertake to impose. This is clear.

But, Sir, be good enough to observe that this condition recognizes
Slavery during the present generation. Short as life may be, it is too
long for Slavery. If it be adopted, and the bill becomes a law, a new
Slave State will take its place in our Union,--it may be with but few
slaves, and for the present generation only, but nevertheless a new
Slave State. That, Sir, is too much.

How often have I said, and how painful that I must now repeat what
all know, that it takes but little Slavery to make a Slave State with
all the virus of Slavery! Now my vote shall help no new State to take
a place in this Union, with Senators in this body, unless purged of
this poison. Enough has our nation been disturbed, and enough has
the Constitution been perverted. The time has come for the remedy. It
is found in the policy of Thomas Jefferson, originally applied to the
great Territory of the Northwest. Its application to a portion of his
own Virginia, seeking to become a new State, will be politic, just, and

    Mr. Sumner concluded by moving to strike out the words of
    the condition proposed, and insert an absolute abolition and
    prohibition, so that it should read, “From and after the fourth
    day of July, 1863, within the limits of the State there shall
    be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise than
    in the punishment of crime whereof the party shall be duly

    July 1st, the Senate proceeded to the consideration of the
    bill, the pending question being the amendment of Mr. Sumner,
    who made the following remarks.

Time has elapsed since this measure was before the Senate, which
meanwhile has been engaged in an important debate. Therefore I shall be
pardoned, if, at the expense of repetition, I recall attention to the
precise question.

The bill for the admission of West Virginia provides that from and
after the 4th of July, 1863, all children born of slaves shall be free,
leaving the existing generation in Slavery. From statistics furnished
by the honorable Senator from Virginia [Mr. WILLEY], in his elaborate
speech, it appears that in West Virginia twelve thousand human beings
are held in Slavery.

    MR. WILLEY. That was in 1860; but it is not so now.

MR. SUMNER. There may be fewer now: call the number ten thousand.
There are ten thousand slaves there, who, according to the bill, are
to remain in bondage during life. Thus, for one whole generation,
shall we be afflicted by another Slave State, with two slaveholding
representatives in this body.

I mean to speak of this question with all possible respect for Senators
on the other side. I am anxious not to introduce any topic otherwise
than agreeable; but I must discharge my duty here. I cannot by my vote
consent that there shall be two additional slaveholding Senators for
another generation. I content myself with this declaration, without
argument,--except what is found in a brief passage by Mr. Webster in
this body. I refer to his speech of the 22d of December, 1845, on the
admission of Texas, where he used this language:--

    “In the next place, Sir, I have to say, that, while I hold,
    with as much integrity, I trust, and faithfulness, as any
    citizen of this country, to all the original arrangements and
    compromises under which the Constitution under which we now
    live was adopted, I never could, and never can, persuade myself
    to be in favor of the admission of other States into the Union
    as Slave States, with the inequalities which were allowed and
    accorded by the Constitution to the slaveholding States then in
    existence. I do not think that the Free States ever expected,
    or could expect, that they would be called on to admit more
    Slave States, having the unequal advantages arising to them
    from the mode of apportioning representation under the existing

    “It will always be a question, whether the other States have
    not a right (and I think they have the clearest right) to
    require that the State coming into the Union should come
    in upon an equality; and if the existence of Slavery be
    an impediment to coming in on an equality, then the State
    proposing to come in should be required to remove that
    inequality by abolishing Slavery, or take the alternative of
    being excluded.”[77]

Afterwards, in his famous speech of the 7th of March, 1850, he
reaffirmed these principles.

    “It has happened that between 1837 and this time, on various
    occasions, I have expressed my entire opposition to the
    admission of Slave States, or the acquisition of new Slave
    Territories, to be added to the United States. I know, Sir,
    no change in my own sentiments or my own purposes in that

I might quote more, but this is sufficient. Mr. Webster was against new
Slave States.

I adduce these words as stating strongly at least one important
ground of objection. The admission of West Virginia with a condition
recognizing Slavery for a full generation will be an extension of the
Slave Power and a new sanction of Slavery. I cannot consent to it, Sir;
nor do I see any apology for hesitation. Our control of this matter is
clear beyond reasonable doubt, and the present state of our country
supplies a new motive for its exercise.

    In the debate that ensued, Mr. Hale criticized Mr. Sumner,
    quoting the story of Abraham and his aged idolatrous guest, as
    given by Dr. Franklin.

        “‘And God said to Abraham, Have I borne with you [him]
        these fourscore years, and canst thou not bear with him
        one night, who art thyself a sinner?’ Sir, in exactly
        the spirit inculcated by that fable I would deal with
        Slavery; and I would listen to-day as it were to the voice
        of God, who asks us, Have I borne with this thing so many
        generations, and cannot you bear with it dying, when it
        begins on the next Fourth of July?”[79]

    Mr. Wade, in the same spirit, said:--

        “My friend from Massachusetts, by his proposition, strikes
        this institution down at one dash. I should like to see it
        go; but I must look a little to see what its effect will
        be, after all.”[80]

    Before the vote was taken, Mr. Carlile, of Virginia, remarked:--

        “Mr. President, it is my sincere belief that this
        disposition to interfere with the rights of the States,
        exhibited by this Congress, has prolonged the war,--that,
        if persisted in, the war becomes a war of indefinite
        duration, and that the Constitutional Union our fathers
        formed will be lost to us and our posterity forever.”[81]

    July 14th, the question was taken on Mr. Sumner’s amendment,
    which was rejected,--Yeas 11, Nays 24.

    Mr. Lane, of Kansas, moved that all slaves in the State, July
    4, 1863, and under the age of ten, shall be free when they
    arrive at the age of twenty-one, and all slaves over ten and
    under twenty-one shall be free when they arrive at the age of
    twenty-five; and the amendment was adopted,--Yeas 25, Nays 12.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The question then occurred on the passage of the bill, when Mr.
    Sumner remarked:--

I renounce the intention of presenting again the amendment you have
already voted down; but it is none the less important in my judgment.
I do not like to occupy the time of the Senate; but I cannot doubt
that you have acted on the amendment hastily, and without full
consideration. Why, Sir, it is simply the old Jeffersonian ordinance,
which, when originally adopted for the great Territory of the
Northwest, operated upon Slavery already there, and absolutely forbade
this wrong from that time forward. In point of fact, slaves were freed
by this ordinance.

I thought it well that this institute of Virginia’s son should help
to redeem Virginia. It has been voted down; and now the question
is presented, whether the Senate will recognize a new Slave State.
True, Slavery will be for a short term only, for twenty-one years, if
you please, but that is a long time for Slavery. I cannot consent to
admit a new State with such a curse for twenty-one years. How little
slavery it takes to make a Slave State is illustrated by Delaware, with
less than eighteen hundred slaves, sending two Senators of Slavery to
this Chamber. Shall we welcome two more from a State newly created
by ourselves? Never, Sir, by my vote; and as the Senate sees fit to
discard the effort I have made, I deem it my duty to vote against the

    The bill was passed,--Yeas 23, Nays 17,--Mr. Sumner voting in
    the negative.



    This speech is a supplement to that of May 19th, on the “Rights
    of Sovereignty and Rights of War.” Its occasion is explained in
    the Introduction to the latter speech.[82]

       *       *       *       *       *

    The New York _Independent_ published it at length, and thus
    characterized it:--

        “It is the most complete presentation of the question
        that can be found within the same compass, and, like all
        Mr. Sumner’s speeches, is distinguished for accuracy
        of statement, learning, and sound principle. It is a
        defence of the present position of our Government, as
        defined by Act of Congress, to which every citizen owes
        obedience. In efficacy, that Act will go with our armies,
        as they advance, and will clear up the perplexities of
        our Generals, and clear their minds of certain political
        superstitions by which they have been hampered and
        hindered, to the great injury of our military operations.
        Let the people of Massachusetts, in particular, exult, as
        they observe, in regard to this, as well as most other
        leading measures of Congress, how the views of their great
        Senator became, step by step, the recognized and settled
        policy of the Government; and let them thank God that the
        good old Bay State has such a representative, and furnishes
        such a leader in this great extremity.”

MR. PRESIDENT,--Too tardily the house of a Rebel General in
Virginia[83] has been taken by the Government, and set apart as a
military hospital for the reception of our soldiers, wounded and maimed
in battle. At least three churches here in Washington have been seized
and occupied for the same purpose. All applaud these acts, which
make the house more historic and the churches more sacred than ever
before. But pray, Sir, under what authority is all this? Not according
to any contract or agreement; not according to any “due process of
law”; not even according to any statute. And yet the language of
the Constitution is positive: “No soldier shall in time of peace be
quartered _in any house_, without the consent of the owner; nor in
time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” If it be time
of peace now, then is the Constitution violated by quartering soldiers
in these houses without the consent of the owner. If it be time of war
now, then is the Constitution violated by quartering these soldiers
in a manner not prescribed by law,--unless we are ready to admit that
the provisions of the Constitution are entirely inapplicable to what
is done under the military requirements of self-defence, which is a
supreme law, above all other laws or constitutions devised by men. But
if the Constitution, in a case where it is singularly explicit, can
be disregarded without question in the exercise of the Rights of War,
it is vain to invoke its provisions in other cases, where it is less
explicit, in restraint of the Rights of War.

It is true that the Constitution ambiguously provides against certain
forfeitures, as incident to an “attainder of treason”; it also
positively prohibits “_ex post facto_ laws”; and it nobly declares that
“no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law.” But nothing in the House bills for the confiscation of
property or the liberation of slaves is obnoxious to either of these
provisions. There is no attainder of treason, no _ex post facto_ law,
and no taking of property without due process of law; for the judicial
proceedings which these bills institute are competent for the purpose.
The House bills are not criminal statutes, nor do they institute
criminal proceedings. Therefore do I assert unhesitatingly that these
bills are above constitutional objection. They are as constitutional
as the Constitution itself. It was once said of a subtile spirit of
criticism, that it would find a heresy in the Lord’s Prayer; and such a
spirit, permit me to say, is needed to find anything unconstitutional
in these bills.

Here I assume, as a cardinal principle of Constitutional Law, that,
whatever may be the condition of slaves in the States and under State
laws, they are, under the Constitution of the United States, _persons_,
and not property; so that, in declaring their emancipation, Congress
is not constrained by any constitutional requirements with regard to
property. Whatever the claims of property, slaves are men; and I but
repeat an unquestionable truth of morals, confirmed by the Declaration
of Independence, when I say that there can be no property in men.
Mr. Winter Davis,[84] of Baltimore, has reminded the country, that
Congress, on the motion of Mr. Clay, once undertook to declare the
freedom of slaves without any “due process of law”; and the present
Congress, by a bill of the last session, setting free slaves actually
employed in the Rebellion,[85] has done the same thing; so that the
principle is completely established.

Even if the bills seemed obnoxious to certain constitutional
provisions,--as they clearly are not,--this objection and every
other objection will disappear, when it is understood that they are
_war measures_, derived from the capacious War Powers of Congress,
applicable only to public enemies, and limited in duration to the
war. Considered in these aspects and with these qualifications, these
bills are only an agency in the prosecution of the war, and the power
to enact them is as clear as the power to raise armies or to levy
taxes. An ancient historian, in words adopted by the greatest modern
publicist, has told us that “war has its laws, no less than peace.”[86]
These words are placed by Grotius at the head of his great work, and
they embody a fundamental principle. The Rights of War are not less
peculiar than the victories of war, which are so widely different from
the victories of peace.

Pray, Sir, where in the Constitution is any limitation of the War
Powers? Let Senators who would limit them mention a single section,
line, or phrase, which even hints at any limitation. If it be
constitutional to make war, to set armies in the field, to launch
navies, to occupy fields and houses, to bombard cities, to kill in
battle,--all without trial by jury, or any process of law, or judicial
proceeding of any kind,--it is equally constitutional, as a war
measure, to confiscate the property of the enemy and to liberate his
slaves. Nor can it be doubted on principle, that, if the latter be
unconstitutional, then are all other acts of war unconstitutional. You
may condemn confiscation and liberation as impolitic, but you cannot
condemn them as unconstitutional, unless, in the same breath, you
condemn all other agencies of war, and resolve our present proceeding
into the process of a criminal court, guarded at each step by the
technicalities of the Common Law.

Sir, I speak frankly, according to my convictions, claiming nothing
for myself which I do not freely accord to others. In this discussion
there is no need of sharp words or of personal allusions; nor can
anything be gained by misstatement of the position of another. It is
easy to say that Senators who insist upon the War Powers of Congress
are indifferent to the Constitution; but I do not admit that any
Senator is more anxious for the Constitution than myself. The War
Powers are derived from the Constitution, but, when once set in motion,
are without any restraint from the Constitution; so that what is done
in pursuance of them is at the same time _under_ the Constitution
and _outside_ the Constitution. It is under the Constitution in its
beginning and origin; it is outside the Constitution in the latitude
with which it is conducted; but, whether under the Constitution or
outside the Constitution, all that is done in pursuance of the War
Powers is constitutional. It is easy to cry out against it; it is easy,
by misapplication of the Constitution, to call it in question; but it
is only by such misapplication, or by senseless cry, that its complete
constitutionality can for a moment be drawn into doubt.

The language of the Constitution is plain and ample. It confers upon
Congress all the specific powers incident to war, and then further
authorizes it “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for
carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” Here are the precise

    “The Congress shall have power … to declare war, grant letters
    of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures
    on land and water; to raise and support armies; … to provide
    and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government and
    regulation of the land and naval forces; to provide for calling
    forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress
    insurrections, and repel invasions; … _to make all laws which
    shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution
    the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this
    Constitution_ in the Government of the United States, or in any
    department _or officer thereof_.”

Can language be clearer? Other parts of the Constitution may be open
to question; but here is no room for question. The text is full and
unequivocal. The powers are enumerated. Without stopping to consider
them in detail, it will be seen that the most important are exclusively
incident to a state of war, and not to a state of peace. A declaration
of war is of course war, and “all laws necessary and proper for
carrying into execution” this declaration are called into being by the
war. Rules concerning captures on land and water are from necessity
dormant, till aroused by war; but when aroused, they are, like other
War Powers, without check from those constitutional provisions which,
just so long as peace prevails, are the boast of the citizen.

The War Powers conferred upon Congress by the Constitution were well
known; they had been conferred upon Congress by the earlier Articles of
Confederation. The language of the latter was full and explicit with
regard to captures.

    “The United States in Congress assembled shall have the
    sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace
    and war, … of establishing rules for deciding in all cases
    _what captures on land or water shall be legal_, and in what
    manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service
    of the United States shall be divided or appropriated, … and
    establishing courts for receiving and determining finally
    _appeals in all cases of captures_.”[87]

The language subsequently employed in the Constitution is identical in
substance. It is evident that the framers of the Constitution had the
Articles of Confederation in mind, when they vested in Congress power
to “make rules concerning captures on land and water.”

The bills now under consideration are obviously founded on the War
Powers. The first section of the first bill begins as follows.

    “That all the estate and property, money, stocks, credits,
    and effects of the persons hereafter named in this section
    are hereby forfeited to the Government of the United States,
    _and are declared lawful subjects of seizure, and of prize and
    capture, wherever found, for the indemnity of the United States
    against the expenses of suppressing the present Rebellion_.”

The Senator must be very hardy who denies the power of Congress, in the
exercise of belligerent rights, to pass such a bill; and he must be
equally hardy, when he insists that belligerent rights are impaired by
any limitations of the Constitution.

If the enemies against whom we now wage war were not our own
fellow-citizens, if they were aliens unhappily fastened for the time on
our territory, there would be no fine-spun question of constitutional
immunity. Such immunities are essentially municipal in character; but
a public enemy can claim nothing merely municipal. The immunities he
enjoys are such only as are conceded by the Rights of War,--nor more,
nor less. As a public enemy, he seeks to subvert our Government, its
laws and its Constitution; and in this warfare he proceeds according to
the Rights of War, indifferent to any mere local law. But if the war on
our part were in accordance with mere local law, and in subordination
to provisions of the Constitution devised for peace, it is evident that
the National Government would be unable to cope with its enemy. It
would enter into battle with hands tied behind the back. Of course, in
warfare with people of another country Senators would not require any
such self-sacrifice.

But the Rights of War are fixed, whether against alien enemies
or against enemies whose hostility is aggravated by the guilt of
rebellion, with this single difference, that against rebel enemies
these rights would seem to be more complete and unsparing. Show me any
Right of War which may be employed against alien enemies, and now, in
the name of the Constitution, I insist upon its employment against
rebels arrayed as enemies. Because enemies are also rebels, they are
not on this account any the less enemies. Because rebels are also
enemies, they are not on this account any the less rebels. The double
character which they bear increases their liabilities, subjecting them
to all the penalties of war enhanced by those personal responsibilities
which every partaker in rebellion necessarily assumes.

And yet, Sir, the Constitution is cited as a limitation upon these
rights. As well cite the Constitution on the field of battle to check
the bayonet charge of our armies, or at the bombardment of a fortress
to stay the fiery rain of shells; or, to adopt the examples with which
I began, as well cite the Constitution to prevent the occupation of
churches here in Washington as hospitals for our soldiers, or to
save the house of General Lee in Virginia from similar dedication.
The Constitution is entirely inapplicable. Sacred and inviolable,
the Constitution is made for friends who acknowledge it, and not
for enemies who disavow it; and it is made for a state of peace,
and not for the fearful exigencies of war, treading down within its
sphere all rights except the Rights of War. Born of violence, and
looking to violence for victory, war discards all limitations except
such as are supplied by the Rights of War. Once begun, war is a law
unto itself,--or, in other words, it has a law of its own, which
is part of itself. And just in proportion as you seek to moderate
it by constitutional limitations do you take from war something of
its efficiency. In vain do you equip our soldiers with the best of
weapons, or send into the field the most powerful batteries, the latest
invention of consummate science, if you direct them all in full career
to stand still for an indictment, or other “due process of law,” or, at
least, for the reading of the Riot Act. Undertaking to limit the Rights
of War by the Constitution, where are you to stop? If the Constitution
can interfere with one, it can interfere with all. If the Constitution
can wrest from Government the weapons of confiscation and liberation,
there is no other weapon in the whole arsenal of war which it may not
take also.

Sir, the Constitution is guilty of no such absurdity. It was made
by practical men, familiar with public law, who, seeing clearly the
difference between peace and war, established powers accordingly. While
circumscribing the Peace Powers with constitutional checks, they left
untouched the War Powers. They declared, that, in the administration
of the Peace Powers, all should be able to invoke the Constitution as
a constant safeguard. But in bestowing upon the Government War Powers
without limitation, they embodied in the Constitution all the Rights of
War as completely as if those rights had been severally set down and
enumerated; and among the first of these is the right to disregard the
Rights of Peace. In saying this I fail in no sympathy with peace, which
I seek and reverence always, but simply exhibit war in some of its
essential conditions. Sir, an alien enemy is not admitted even to sue
in your courts.

There is a saying of Antiquity, already quoted in this debate, _Silent
leges inter arma_,--“The laws are silent in the midst of arms.”[88]
Handed down from distant ages, and repeated by successive generations,
this saying may be accepted as the embodied result and very essence of
human experience. Had it not been true, it would have been forgotten,
or at least ceased to be repeated. But it declares a truth to which
every war practically testifies, while it is founded in reason and the
nature of things, confirmed by centuries as attesting witnesses. The
Constitution itself is only a human law; nor can it claim to speak in
time of war, and within the sphere of war, more than any other human

How vain, then, to adduce against confiscation and liberation, as
war measures, an objection derived from the Constitution! and how
vain, also, to offer a penal statute, under the Peace Powers of the
Constitution, as a war measure! War is war. Better arrest it at once,
if it is to be war on the one side and peace on the other,--if our
enemies are to employ against us all the Rights of War, while we employ
against them only the Rights of Peace. Penal statutes are good for
peace, when laws prevail; but in the midst of war, and against enemies,
when laws are proverbially silent, they are absurd. What enemy now
arrayed in arms can be indicted, or, if indicted, convicted, under the
most stringent of penal statutes? Not Jefferson Davis himself. Why,
then, painfully construct legislative verbiage? Why new penalties for
treason, which, from the nature of the case, cannot be enforced in this
hour of need? Why not see things as they are, and do what the moment
requires? The War Powers of Congress are ample; but in time of war a
mere penal statute against a public enemy is not so much as a pop-gun.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are Senators who claim these vast War Powers for the
President, and deny them to Congress. The President, it is said, as
commander-in-chief, may seize, confiscate, and liberate under the
Rights of War, but Congress cannot direct these things to be done.
Pray, Sir, where is the limitation upon Congress? Read the text of the
Constitution, and you will find its powers vast as all the requirements
of war. There is nothing that may be done anywhere under the Rights of
War, which may not be done by Congress. I do not mean to question the
powers of the President in his sphere, or of any military commander
within his department; but I claim for Congress all that belongs to
any Government in the exercise of the Rights of War. And when I speak
of Congress, let it be understood that I mean _an Act of Congress_,
passed, according to the requirements of the Constitution, by both
Houses, and approved by the President. It seems strange to claim for
the President alone, in the exercise of his single will, War Powers
alleged to be denied to the President in association with Congress.
If he can wield these powers alone, surely he can wield them in
association with Congress; nor will their efficacy be impaired, when it
is known that they proceed from this associate will, rather than from
his single will alone. The Government of the United States appears most
completely in an Act of Congress. Therefore war is declared, armies are
raised, rules concerning captures are made, and all articles of war
regulating the conduct of war are established by Act of Congress. It
is by Act of Congress that the War Powers are all put in motion. When
once put in motion, the President must execute them. But he is only the
instrument of Congress, under the Constitution.

It is true, the President is commander-in-chief; but it is for Congress
to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution his
powers, so that, according to the very words of the Constitution, his
powers depend upon Congress, which may limit or enlarge them at its own
pleasure. Thus, whether you regard Congress or regard the President,
you will find that Congress is the arbiter and regulator of the War

Of the pretension that all these enormous powers belong to the
President, and not to Congress, I try to speak calmly and within
bounds. I mean always to be parliamentary. But a pretension so
irrational and unconstitutional, so absurd and tyrannical, is not
entitled to respect. The Senator from Ohio [Mr. WADE], in indignant
words worthy of the Senate, has branded it as slavish, and handed it
over to judgment. Born in ignorance, and pernicious in consequences,
it ought to be received most sternly, and, just in proportion as it
obtains acceptance, with execration. Such a pretension would change
the National Government from a government of law to that of a military
dictator. It would degrade our proud Constitutional Republic, where
each department has its appointed place, to one of those short-lived,
vulgar despotisms appearing occasionally as a warning to mankind. That
this pretension should be put forward in the name of the Constitution
is only another illustration of the effrontery with which the
Constitution is made responsible for the ignorance, the conceit, and
the passions of men. Sir, in the name of the Constitution, which I
have sworn to support, and which, according to my ability, I mean to
maintain, I protest against this new-fangled effort to foist into it a
pretension abhorrent to liberty, reason, and common sense.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the risk of repetition, but for the sake of clearness, I repeat the
propositions on which I confidently rest.

1. Rights of Sovereignty are derived from the Constitution, and can be
exercised only in conformity with the requirements of the Constitution;
so that all penal statutes punishing treason must carefully comply with
these requirements. This is the case of the bill introduced by the
Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. CLARK].

2. Rights of War are under the Constitution in their origin, but
outside the Constitution in their execution. In other words, the
Constitution confers Rights of War, but sets no limits to them; so
that statutes to enforce them are not mere penal statutes, restricted
by the Constitution. But these rights belong to a state of war, and
necessarily cease with the war. This is the case of the House bill
under discussion.

3. All rebels are criminals, liable to punishment according to penal
statutes; and in all proceedings against them, as such, they are
surrounded by the safeguards of the Constitution.

4. Rebels in arms are public enemies, who can claim no safeguard from
the Constitution; and they may be pursued and conquered according to
the Rights of War.

5. Rights of War may be enforced by Act of Congress, which is the
highest form of the national will.

If these conclusions needed the support of authority, they would find
it in John Quincy Adams. His words have been often quoted, without
perhaps fully considering the great weight to which they are entitled.
At an early day, when Minister at London, while Slavery prevailed in
the Government, in the discharge of official duties, under instructions
from the President, he claimed compensation for slaves liberated by
the British armies, arguing against any such liberation under the
Rights of War. In conversation with the British Prime-Minister, as
reported by himself, after saying that proclamations inviting slaves
to desert from their masters had been issued by British officers, he
added: “_We_ considered them as deviations from the usages of war.”[89]
Afterwards, as Secretary of State under Mr. Monroe, of Virginia, he
made a similar statement.[90] A full knowledge of his convictions on
this occasion might, perhaps, disclose the repugnance, or, to borrow
his own words on another occasion, “the bitterness of soul,” with
which he discharged his duty. It is known, by avowals afterwards made,
that on at least one occasion he acted as Secretary of State contrary
to his convictions. “It was utterly against my judgment and wishes, but
I was obliged to submit, and I prepared the requisite despatches.”[91]
Such was his open declaration in the House of Representatives with
regard to an important negotiation. So that it is easy to see how on
this other occasion he may have represented the Government and not
himself. But, whatever his actions at that time, it is beyond question,
that afterwards, in his glorious career as Representative, when larger
experience and still maturer years had added to his great authority,
and he was called in Congress to express himself on his personal
responsibility, we find him reconsidering his earlier diplomatic
arguments, and, in the face of the world, defiantly claiming not only
for Congress, but for the President, and every military commander
within his department, full power to emancipate slaves under the
Rights of War. If these words had been hastily uttered, or, if once
uttered, had been afterwards abandoned, or if they could in any way be
associated with the passions or ardors of controversy, as his earlier
words were clearly associated with the duties of advocacy, they might
be entitled to less consideration. But they are among the later and
most memorable utterances of our great master of the Law of Nations,
made under circumstances of peculiar solemnity, and repeated after
intervals of time.[92]


The representatives of Slavery broke forth in characteristic outrage
upon the venerable orator, but nobody answered him. And these words
have stood ever since as a landmark of public law. You cannot deny
the power of Congress to liberate the slaves, without removing this
landmark. Vain work! It is not less firm than the Constitution itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus do I vindicate for Congress all the Rights of War. If, assuming
the powers of Congress, any further question be raised as to the extent
of these rights, I reply, briefly, that there is no right, according to
received authorities, against a hostile sovereign or prince, embracing,
of course, confiscation of property, real as well as personal, which
may not in our discretion be exercised against a rebel enemy; and
the reason is obvious. Whatever the mitigations of the Rights of War
introduced by modern civilization, under which private property in
certain cases is exempt from confiscation, _this rule does not apply
to cases where there is a direct personal responsibility for the war_.
And here is the precise difference between the responsibility of the
sovereign or prince and the responsibility of the private citizen:
the private citizen is excused; but the sovereign or prince is always
held responsible to the full extent of his property, real as well as
personal. Now every rebel who has voluntarily become a public enemy
has assumed a _personal responsibility_, for which, according to
acknowledged principles of public law, especially if he has taken high
office in the rebel government, he is liable to the full extent of his
property, real as well as personal. Every citizen who voluntarily aids
in armed rebellion is a hostile sovereign or prince. A generous lenity
may interfere to limit his liability, but on principles of public law
he is in the very condition of Shylock, when his cruelty was arrested
by the righteous judge:--

                          “If thou dost shed
    One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
    Are by the laws of Venice _confiscate_
    Unto the State of Venice.”

Such, Sir, is the extent of powers which may be exercised by Congress.
Of course, it is for Congress to determine the degree of severity or
lenity it will adopt. In claiming these powers to the full extent, I
yield to no Senator in that spirit of clemency which, next to justice,
is the grace and ornament of success.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, these are the principles on which we must act.
Announcing them and reducing them to practice, Congress will enlarge
its accumulating claims to public gratitude.

The present Congress has already done much beyond any other Congress
in our history. Measures, which for long years seemed attainable
only to the most sanguine hope, have triumphed. Emancipation in the
National Capital; freedom in all the National Territories; the offer
of ransom to help emancipation in the States; the recognition of Hayti
and Liberia; the treaty with Great Britain for the suppression of
the slave-trade; the prohibition of the return of fugitive slaves by
military officers; homesteads for actual settlers on the public lands;
a Pacific railroad; endowments of agricultural colleges out of the
public lands: such are some of the achievements by which the present
Congress is already historic. There have been victories of war, won
on hard-fought fields, but none comparable to the victories of peace.
Besides these measures of unmixed beneficence, the present Congress has
created an immense army and a considerable navy, and has provided the
means for all our gigantic expenditures by a tax, which in itself is an

Thus, in the prosecution of the war, Congress has exercised two great
powers,--first, to raise armies, and, secondly, to tax. Both bear
directly upon loyal fellow-citizens everywhere throughout the country.
Sons, brothers, and husbands are taken from happy homes and from the
concerns of business, leaving vacant places, never, perhaps, to be
filled again, and hurried away to wage a fearful war. But beyond this
unequalled draft upon the loyal men of the country, summoning them to
the hazards of battle, there is another unequalled draft upon the loyal
property of the country, presenting a combined draft without precedent
upon men and upon property. If you would find a parallel to the armies
raised, you must go back to the forces marshalled under Napoleon in the
indulgence of unbridled ambition. If you would find a parallel to the
tax, you must go further back, to that early day of which the Gospel,
in its simple narrative, speaks: “And it came to pass in those days
that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that _all the world_
should be taxed.” A similar decree is about to go out from you,--not,
indeed, to tax all the world, but to tax a large and generous people:
vast, it may be, even for the world. There have been taxes here before;
and in other countries there have been taxes as enormous: but there
has been no such tax here before; and in no other country has any such
tax been levied at once, without the preparation and education of
long-continued taxation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Confiscation and liberation are other War Powers of Congress, incident
to the general grant of such powers, which it remains for us to employ.
So important are they, that without them I fear all the rest will be in
vain. Yes, Sir, in vain do we gather mighty armies, and in vain do we
tax our people, unless we are ready to grasp these other means, through
which the war can be carried to the homes of the Rebellion: I mean
especially the criminal homes of the authors and leaders of all this
wickedness. By the confiscation of property, the large Rebel estates,
where treason laid its eggs, will be broken up, while by the liberation
of slaves the Rebels will be deprived of an invaluable ally, whether in
labor or in battle. But I confess frankly that I look with more hope
and confidence to liberation than to confiscation. To give freedom is
nobler than to take property, and on this occasion it cannot fail to
be more efficacious, for in this way the rear-guard of the Rebellion
will be changed into the advance-guard of the Union. There is in
confiscation, unless when directed against the criminal authors of the
Rebellion, a harshness inconsistent with that mercy which it is always
a sacred duty to cultivate, and which should be manifest in proportion
to our triumphs, “mightiest in the mightiest.” But liberation is not
harsh, and it is certain, if properly conducted, to carry with it the
smiles of a benignant Providence.

The war began in Slavery, and it can end only with the end of Slavery.
It was set in motion and organized by the Slave Oligarchy, and it
cannot die except with this accursed Oligarchy. Therefore, for the
sake of peace, and to restore the Union, every power should be enlisted
by which Slavery, which is the soul of the war, can be reached. Are
you in earnest? Then strike at Slavery. Liberation is usually known as
a charity; but while none the less a charity, comprehending all other
charities, it is now, in the course of events, _a necessity of war_.
Through liberation alone can we obtain that complete triumph, bringing
with it assured tranquillity, without which the war will stop merely to
break forth anew, and peace will be nothing but an uneasy truce. Among
all the powers of Congress incident to our unparalleled condition,
there is none so far-reaching, as there is none so beneficent,--there
is none so potent to beat down rebellion, as there is none other
by which peace can be made truly secure. Powerful and beautiful
prerogative! The language of Chatham is not misapplied, when I call it
the “master feather of the eagle’s wing.”



    The pending bill, providing that property taken by the Rebels
    and then retaken under national authority should be restored
    to the former loyal owner without salvage, was opposed by Mr.

    Mr. Sumner said:--

I take it that the policy of prize-money is always open to question. It
has been handed down from other generations, but I cannot doubt, that,
in proportion as nations advance in civilization and refinement, it is
more and more drawn into doubt.

    MR. GRIMES. I will ask the Senator, whether, under the law as
    it now exists, our officers and sailors have not certain vested
    rights? This bill is retrospective, as well as prospective.

MR. SUMNER. But these vested rights, according to existing law, are
acquired in war with foreign enemies. And here is the precise point of
principle. Certain property of fellow-citizens is taken, not by foreign
enemies, but by rebels, and afterwards it is retaken. Several vessels
are in this predicament. Even if the recapture were from a foreign
enemy, English and American statutes treat it as a case of salvage, and
not of prize. But the claim now made involves nothing less than the
extension of the ancient rule of war to a new class. I am against such
extension. I would have no amplification of such a rule.

I am disposed to go still further, and to reconsider the whole
policy of prize-money in any case. Even if not ready for this larger
question, the Senate will not hesitate to apply the limitation now
proposed. Besides the hardship of prize-money at the expense of our
own fellow-citizens, there is the uncivilized character of the whole
system, which should make us pause.

    The bill was passed,--Yeas 25, Nays 12.



    The bill under consideration was “to establish and equalize the
    grades of line officers of the United States Navy.” By this
    bill the rank of Admiral was established in the national navy.
    Mr. Hale moved to reduce the pay of admirals from five thousand
    seven hundred and eighteen to five thousand dollars.

    Mr. Sumner said:--

I hope the amendment will prevail. For years we have been asked to
make admirals. Congress has refused,--partly, perhaps, from motives of
economy, and partly, also, from hesitation to create officers with that
rank and title.

Now, Sir, I am willing, considering the increase of our navy and the
exigency of the public service at this time, to create officers with
that rank and title. So doing, we confer honor and consideration,--we
bestow what officers, military and naval, naturally covet. Wherever
they go, they will be addressed as Admiral; and, with naval men, that
is much. Sir, I believe it more than money. But, while bestowing
rank, I hesitate to increase emolument largely, particularly at this
moment of our history. It costs nothing to confer rank; but it will be
most expensive to the Treasury, if we enter upon a new scale of pay.
Therefore I follow the Senator from New Hampshire in his proposition
to reduce the salary. Create the admirals,--bestow this new title,
this consideration, this introduction wherever the admiral goes, this
equality, if you please, with the admirals of other nations and other
fleets; but do not undertake to vie with those nations in salaries. To
me it seems unwise.

    The amendment was agreed to.



    The Senate having under consideration a bill “relating to the
    Judiciary,” in which provision was made for proceedings “in the
    courts of the United States,” Mr. Sumner made another attempt
    to overthrow the rule excluding colored witnesses by the
    following amendment:--

        “And there shall be no exclusion of any witness on account
        of color.”

    This was rejected,--Yeas 14, Nays 21.

       *       *       *       *       *

    At the next stage of the bill, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--This bill relates to the national judiciary. The Senate
is making rules for the courts of the United States, and now by its
vote sanctions the rule that a witness who happens to have a color
different from ours is incompetent to testify, he cannot be heard in
court. The practical effect of such exclusion is, that any outrage by
a white man on a colored person, if no other white person is present,
must go unpunished; and the Senate of the United States refuses to
interfere against this cruelty. I must say, Sir, that I lose my
interest in the bill, when it is associated with such wickedness,--for
such I must call it. If there is any outrage at this moment in the form
of law, and actually within our reach, it is what I now hold up to the
indignation of the country and of mankind. It is hard to think that
human beings can be placed thus defenceless by Act of Congress,--that
masters or overseers, being white, may offer to colored persons any
offence, any brutality, and the testimony of the witnesses, merely
because they are colored, shall be excluded absolutely. And yet, Sir,
that is what the Senate to-day declares.

The Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. HALE] has voted to sustain
this cruelty. Other Senators have voted to sustain it. It is their
privilege. Each Senator votes, I know, according to his conscience;
but, Sir, I call attention to the vote, and remind you of what occurred
on another occasion. Formerly, when I moved this proposition, it was
opposed on the allegation that it was not pertinent to the bill under
consideration. When I moved it, the other day, on what was known as the
Confiscation Bill, the other Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. CLARK]
mildly suggested, that, at a proper occasion, on a proper bill, he
would be ready to support it. I know that the motion must have the
approbation of that excellent Senator. He is too just and too humane
not to be in favor of it. And now, Sir, the time has come. Here is a
bill regulating evidence in courts of the United States,--not in courts
of the States, but in courts of the United States. The whole subject
is directly before you. It is within your province now to decide.
Yours the jurisdiction and power. And yet, Sir, you choose to continue
the wrong. I shall vote for the bill on its final passage, because in
other respects I think it ought to be a law; but I enter my protest
against the conclusion of the Senate. It is melancholy, disastrous,

    Mr. Hale vindicated the vote of the Senate, and insisted that
    the proper object of attack was the Supreme Court.

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

The Senator from New Hampshire severely criticizes the Supreme Court,
which he reminds us has decided that the rights of citizenship, being
rights that white men are bound to respect, and all the rights which
make human life worth anything, are dead to colored persons; and he
then proceeds forthwith to sustain a principle every way as bad. He
condemns Chief-Justice Taney for declaring that colored persons are not
citizens, and then, with marvellous logic, proceeds to say that he will
not interfere to overturn the rule by which the testimony of colored
persons is excluded from the national courts. Sir, I do not know which
is most open to condemnation, the Supreme Court or the Senator. I am
against the decision of the Supreme Court. The Senator knows it well.
I am not one whit behind him in condemnation of that judgment, which
must forever stand forth among the inhumanities of this generation. But
permit me to remind the Senator that the rule he sustains is not less
inhuman. There is not a word he can launch against the Court that must
not rebound upon himself. To me it is unintelligible as painful that
the Senator should interfere to save any such inhumanity. I use strong
language, but it is only in this way that I can fitly characterize the
doctrines of the Supreme Court and of the Senator. The Supreme Court
has erred infinitely and wretchedly, but the Senator now errs in the
same way.

The Senator is entirely mistaken, when he says that the rule which I
seek to overturn proceeds from the Supreme Court. It is no such thing;
and if I can have his attention one moment, I can make him understand
it. The rule against the testimony of colored persons stands on the
local law of the States, and not on any decision of the Supreme Court
of the United States. The Court cannot interfere with it one way or
the other. Congress alone, when legislating for its own courts, can
interfere with it; and I entreat the Senate now, as it is about to
legislate for the national courts, to interfere with it. The amendment
of the Senator from Connecticut, which I have in my hand, is as

    “That _the laws of the several States_, except where the
    Constitution, treaties, or statutes of the United States shall
    otherwise require or provide, shall be regarded as _rules of
    decision in all trials at Common Law_ in the courts of the
    United States, in cases where they apply.”

That is, the laws of the several States shall be rules of decision
in the United States courts. That is what we declare. I simply
propose to add, that those laws shall not be rules of decision in the
United States courts, so far as they exclude witnesses on account
of color. The Senator from New Hampshire opposes this just, humane,
and irresistible proposition; and his argument is, that, instead of
reaching the result by legislation, we must overturn the Supreme Court.
Sir, permit me to say, his argument is entirely inapplicable, his
whole philippic against the Supreme Court is out of place. Whether I
agree with him or not, it is plain that this is not the time for it;
and I must confess that I like to see things in their proper place.
The question now is much more simple, more direct. Why enter upon
the ample, illimitable debate which the Senator opens? Why review
the Supreme Court and its relations to the country, and whether it
shall be overturned, whether it shall be reformed, whether it shall
be modified? All this has nothing to do with the question, and the
Senator, when he introduced it, simply diverted attention from the
business before us. I do not know that he did it purposely. Indeed, I
rather suspect the ardor of his nature, which has led him into this
strange diversion with its irrelevant amplification.

But the Senator says that the cases in which colored persons are
interested arise in the State courts, and not in the United States
courts, and that therefore my amendment is entirely inapplicable. The
Senator is entirely mistaken again. The United States courts have
jurisdiction of crimes without reference to color. They also have civil
jurisdiction in other cases which do not depend upon citizenship.
The Senator, as a lawyer, knows this well; and yet, deliberately, by
vote, and now by speech, he upholds the barbarous rule of exclusion
on account of color. Sir, I do not know which was worse, the vote or
the speech, although the latter was in harmony with the former. I was
astonished at the vote. I am now astonished at the speech, which,
pardon me, is as illogical in argument as bad in principle. Most
kindly, but most earnestly, do I dissent from it. Sir, I do not wish
to take up time, but the subject is of transcendent importance. You
will bear with my frankness, if I add, that sanctioning this exclusion
can do no honor to Congress. I am sure it must be recorded in judgment
against us, and deservedly too. Civilization will blush at the record.
God save us!

    Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, followed with the remark:--

        “I do not think, Mr. President, there was any need
        for sticking the perpetual, the all-pervading, the
        everywhere-to-be-found, the ever-in-the-way negro to this
        bill. I hope and trust that the Senate and the Congress of
        the United States will be allowed to mature and perfect
        some few bills, in which the interests and the business
        of the white man are involved, without having this
        ever-present negro stuck upon them by the Senator from
        Massachusetts. If he desires to bring up this matter of the
        negro in connection with the rules of proceeding in the
        Federal courts, let him introduce a distinct bill, and not
        make everything odoriferous of his friend.”

    Mr. Sumner then renewed his motion in the form of a proviso,
    and afterwards the Senate adjourned. The bill was never taken
    up again. But the same question was soon presented on another

    July 15th, the Senate had under consideration a bill concerning
    the competency of witnesses in courts of the United States,
    which provided that this should be regulated by “the laws
    of the State in which the court shall be held.” Mr. Sumner
    offered his amendment again. It was opposed by Mr. Foster, of
    Connecticut, who had reported the pending bill. In the course
    of his remarks he said: “It is competent for every State to fix
    its own rules for itself, and the independence of each State
    of every other State requires that they should be protected in
    that right of making their own laws.”

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--It may be well, as the Senate is called to enact
a new national statute, to glance back at an early landmark, and
contemplate the principles declared by our fathers. I hold in my hand
the Declaration of Independence, with these words at the beginning: “We
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,”
&c. Now, Sir, the Senator from Connecticut [Mr. FOSTER], representing
the Judiciary Committee, proposes to establish as a rule of evidence in
the national courts that men are not equal.

    Mr. Foster here interrupted to say that he proposed “no such
    rule of evidence”; that he simply proposed “to allow the laws
    of the several States of this Union to operate as rules to
    control the courts of the United States sitting within those
    several States, as it regards the competency of witnesses: that
    is all.”

    Mr. Sumner resumed:--

I could not intentionally do the Senator injustice. Nor do I find
that I did him injustice; and he will therefore pardon me, if I repeat
what I said before,--that, representing the Judiciary Committee, the
Senator comes forward, in defiance of the Declaration of Independence,
to ingraft into the legislation of the United States the practical
principle that all men are not equal. The Senator rises and denies
that he is doing any such thing. He simply recognizes local laws in
the States. That is all,--nothing else. But pray, Sir, is not this
enough? Local laws which defy the Declaration of Independence cannot be
recognized without defying the Declaration; nor can the Senator escape
responsibility merely by saying that he follows the local laws. Does he
not sanction injustice? The case is plain. He asks us to legislate on
the competency of witnesses. He proposes to regulate this competency
by Act of Congress, where, among other things, we are to provide that
in the courts of the United States witnesses shall be incompetent
on account of color. The proposition is not made openly, but in the
covert words, that the local laws of States shall in all cases prevail
in the national courts. The Senator cannot forget these local laws,
how instinct with barbarism they are, nor the shame and scandal they
bring upon our country and upon civilization itself; and yet he would
give them new sanction and effect,--not in the courts of the States,
within the local jurisdiction, but in the courts of the United States,
under the Constitution of the United States, within the national
jurisdiction, where you and I, Sir, are responsible for the barbarism.
No matter in what form it is put, no matter how subtly the attempt is
concealed, it is the adoption by Congress of an outrageous rule.

Offer any objection you please to the credibility of a witness, show
that he is not intelligent, that he is not worthy of belief, that his
character is bad, and make all proper deductions from his testimony on
this account, but do not say that he is absolutely incompetent, that he
cannot be heard in court, that, no matter how intelligent, truthful, or
respectable, he cannot be admitted to testify, if he happens to be of
another color than ourselves. Such exclusion is cruel to the witness,
degrading to courts administering it, and destructive of justice, which
seeks evidence from every quarter.

I listened closely to the ingenious argument of the Senator, going
along with him in what he claimed for the States and for their courts.
He said, each State is entitled, within its own jurisdiction, to have
its rules of evidence. Granted. He thought it better to leave every
State its own rule on this question. Granted again, Sir, so far as the
courts of the States are concerned.

    MR. FOSTER. Why allow them barbarism?

MR. SUMNER. Because I have no right to interfere with them.

    MR. FOSTER. That answers the two questions.

MR. SUMNER. There is the mistake of the Senator. He confounds our
duties in the two different cases of national courts, where we are
responsible, and of State courts, where we have no responsibility and
no right to interfere. In his remarks he said: “It is competent for
each State to make these rules for itself.” Granted again,--within its
own jurisdiction. But he would allow each State its sovereign will on
this question. Sir, where I cannot constitutionally interfere to check
a barbarism, of course I do not interfere; sorrowfully I allow the
sovereign will to prevail. But when a barbarism seeks shelter under the
jurisdiction of Congress, when it falls under the direct responsibility
of my vote, I cannot be silent.

The Senator will pardon me, if I add, that he erred, when he undertook
to transfer the rules of the State courts, without amendment or
modification, to the National courts. The State courts have their
rules of evidence,--they are beyond our control; but the United States
courts are within our control, and the time has come to bring them at
last within the pale of civilization. Why, Sir, has the good cause
advanced thus far? to what end is it triumphant on this floor, if, in
determining rules of evidence in the national courts, we take up and
sanction this relic of barbarism?

If the rule is not justly within our reach, pray, Sir, why are we
asked to vote on a bill concerning the competency of witnesses, and
with a section expressly regulating the whole subject? Sir, I should
feel untrue to myself, untrue to the principles I have at heart, and
to the people I have the honor to represent, if I allowed a bill like
this, with such a title, with such an object, to pass without earnest
endeavor to exclude from it all support of the vileness which seeks
shelter under its words. Within a few days the Senator has voted for
a bill to punish the fraudulent counterfeiting of postage stamps; but
suppose the counterfeiter does his work in the presence of colored
persons and nobody else, where, under the proposed rule, will the
Senator find the evidence required to carry the law into effect? As
long as Congress undertakes to legislate criminally, as long as it
has courts with a national jurisdiction in the Slave States, it is
due to itself, and it is due to justice, that it should furnish the
evidence by which such legislation may be made effective, and justice
be administered, without a constant act of shame calculated to bring
a blush upon the cheeks. I speak plainly, as is my habit, and perhaps
with feeling, but I trust that I have said nothing that I ought not to

    The amendment was rejected,--Yeas 14, Nays 23. The next volume
    will show how this effort of Mr. Sumner at last prevailed.



    This was reported from the Judiciary Committee, by Mr. Harris,
    of New York, with certain amendments, one of which recognized
    “the laws and _institutions_” in a State before the Rebellion.
    On the latter amendment Mr. Sumner remarked:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I cannot consent to the amendment. Plainly it is
going too far. A government organized by Congress and appointed by
the President is to enforce laws and institutions, some of which are
abhorrent to civilization. Take, for instance, the Revised Code of
North Carolina, which I have before me. Here is a provision which
the Governor, under this Act, must enforce. I say must enforce. The
amendment is, that there shall be “no interference with the laws
and institutions existing in such State at the time its authorities
assumed to array the same against the Government of the United States.”
Therefore they must be enforced. And now, if you please, listen to one
of them.

    “Any free person, who shall teach, or attempt to teach, any
    slave to read or write, the use of figures excepted, or shall
    give or sell to such slave any book or pamphlet, shall be
    deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, if
    a white man or woman, shall be fined not less than one hundred
    nor more than two hundred dollars, or imprisoned, and if a free
    person of color, shall be fined, imprisoned, or whipped, not
    exceeding thirty-nine nor less than twenty lashes.”

That abomination, Sir, is set forth in the Revised Code of North
Carolina, chap. 34, sec. 82. But lest it should fail by the employment
of slaves as school-teachers, we have the following prohibition.

    “It shall not be lawful for any slave to teach, or attempt to
    teach, any other slave or free negro to read or write, the use
    of figures excepted.”[93]

The punishment of slaves for this offence is whipping, repeated for
every act. But, Sir, here is another specimen.

    “If any person shall wilfully bring into the State, with an
    intent to circulate, or shall wilfully circulate or publish
    within the State, or shall aid or abet the bringing into,
    or the circulation or publication of within, the State, any
    written or printed pamphlet or paper, whether written or
    printed in or out of the State, the evident tendency whereof
    is to cause slaves to become discontented with the bondage in
    which they are held by their masters and the laws regulating
    the same, and free negroes to be dissatisfied with their social
    condition and the denial to them of political privileges, and
    thereby to excite among the said slaves and free negroes a
    disposition to make conspiracies, insurrections, or resistance
    against the peace and quiet of the public, such person so
    offending shall be deemed guilty of felony, and on conviction
    thereof shall, for the first offence, be imprisoned not less
    than one year, and be put in the pillory and whipped, at the
    discretion of the court, and for the second offence _shall
    suffer death_.”[94]

Here is yet another.

    “If any free person of color shall preach or exhort in public,
    or in any manner officiate as a preacher or teacher in any
    prayer meeting, or other association for worship, where slaves
    of different families are collected together, he shall be
    deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall, for
    each offence, receive not exceeding thirty-nine lashes on his
    bare back.”[95]

And now one more.

    “If any person shall wilfully carry or convey any slave, the
    property of another, without the consent of the owner or the
    guardian of the owner, with the intent and for the purpose
    of enabling such slave to escape out of this State, from the
    service of his owner, or any one having an interest in such
    slave, present or future, vested or contingent, legal or
    equitable, or if any person shall wilfully conceal any slave,
    the property of another, with such intent and purpose, the
    person so offending shall suffer death.”[96]

I have read enough, Sir. These passages show you the statutes to
be enforced in the name of the National Union, by its constituted
authorities, in courts organized by Congress. And behind all these is
Slavery itself to be enforced also.

Sir, such an exhibition is more than sufficient. You cannot consent to
any such thing. In organizing these governments, all that we can do is
to protect life and property, and generally to provide the machinery
of administration. Further we cannot go, and protect institutions in
themselves an outrage to civilization.

    In the debate that ensued Mr. Sumner remarked:--

In this country there is but one “institution,” as all the world
knows, and the phrase “and institutions,” when carefully introduced,
means only one institution, which I need not name.

    Mr. Trumbull united with Mr. Sumner in criticizing the bill.

        “I was for it in the Committee; but since I have seen the
        operation of these laws in the Southern States, and the
        manner in which persons acting in behalf of the United
        States undertake to execute them, I have changed my opinion
        in regard to the propriety of such a clause as this, and I
        agree with the Senator from Massachusetts. I cannot consent
        by my vote, and I never will consent by my vote, to give
        sanction to a law that punishes a man for teaching another
        to read the word of God.”

    The bill was allowed to drop. But this debate had its influence
    in showing how impossible it was to recognize “institutions”
    existing in a State before the Rebellion. Slavery and the Black
    Code were not to obtain license under any such terms. Here was
    a point in Reconstruction.


8, 1862.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I ask a moment’s attention to the tax on books, which
is raised in this bill from fifteen to twenty per cent. Assuming that
this is done to increase the revenue, I have to say, that, if we place
reliance on the evidence before us, it will not have such effect.

The annual importation of books during the last four years shows that
a duty of ten per cent is more productive than a higher rate. The
increased importation is more than compensation for the diminished
rate; but here it is with books as with other things.

If there were a tax on the manufacture of books in our country, there
might be reason for a corresponding duty; but there is no such tax.

By the experience of the last tariff we are warned. The increase of
this duty was disastrous to the book-trade, and I am assured that
several booksellers who have imported largely are withdrawing from this
branch of business, because the rate of fifteen per cent renders it
unprofitable. And yet you propose to raise the rate to twenty per cent.

Nor is there any practical argument founded on protection. There are no
interests requiring protection which will be promoted by an increased
duty, as appears in last year’s memorial of publishers and importers,
praying a reduction to ten per cent, and also in another and later
memorial from New York importers, praying for the same reduction, and
setting forth that their business seriously suffers from the existing

And now I add, that this increased duty is a tax on knowledge, and
as such to be discountenanced and opposed. But I rest my argument on
the simple ground, that it will not increase the revenue. If at this
exacting moment it would have any such consequence, much as I should
regret the necessity, I could not oppose it. But it is easy to show
that such will not be the consequence: at least, the statistics point
this way. The total value of books imported in 1858, with a duty of
eight per cent, amounted to five hundred and thirty thousand dollars:
I do not give the odd figures. The total value in 1859, likewise with
a duty of eight per cent, was seven hundred and seventy-seven thousand
dollars; and in 1860, with the same rate, it was seven hundred and
thirty-four thousand. In 1861, the total value, with a duty of fifteen
per cent, sank as low as three hundred and forty-six thousand. These
figures speak.

I do not err, when I infer from them that the higher duty has been an
injury to the revenue, and also to the importer. Therefore it is open
to a twofold objection. With a duty of ten per cent the revenue would
gain, and the public with the importer would be benefited.

The case is stated in a few words. An increased duty on books will do
nothing for the revenue; but it will interfere with a useful business,
and at the same time impose a tax on knowledge.

    Mr. Sumner moved to reduce the tax from twenty to ten per
    cent, but, at the suggestion of Mr. Fessenden, Chairman of the
    Finance Committee, consented to fifteen per cent, which was
    adopted. The amendment failed between the two Houses.

    The bill as it came from the House had a proviso, “That all
    imported cotton and linen rags for the manufacture of paper
    shall be free of duty.” Mr. Sumner made an ineffectual effort
    to prevent this from being struck out. In the course of his
    remarks, he said:--

Here is another tax on knowledge. On the face it is a tax on rags; but
rags are imported to make paper; so that a tax on rags is a tax on
paper, and as such is a tax on knowledge.


QUORUM, JULY 12, 1862.

    According to long-continued usage, a quorum of the Senate was a
    majority of the whole number of Senators, assuming each State
    represented by two Senators. After the withdrawal of the Rebel
    Senators, business was often embarrassed from the failure of
    what was supposed to be the constitutional quorum. To remove
    this difficulty, Mr. Sherman, April 11th, introduced the

        “_Resolved_, That a majority of the Senators duly elected
        and entitled to seats in this body is a constitutional

    July 12th, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--What is a quorum depends upon the Constitution; but
we approach its consideration with the knowledge that in England, the
original home of our institutions, and especially of Parliamentary Law,
the question, for a long period anterior to the National Constitution,
was fixed by usage. Indeed, usage is authority for the larger part of
the English Constitution. But in this case of a quorum the usage is
liable to alteration. In his elaborate work on the Law and Practice of
Legislative Assemblies, the Parliamentary Law on the subject is thus
stated by Mr. Cushing:--

    “In the British Parliament, according to the ancient and
    invariable usage of the two Houses, as evidenced by their
    rules, three is the number necessary to constitute a quorum of
    the Lords, and forty a quorum of the Commons. These numbers,
    respectively, although established by and dependent upon usage
    merely, and within the power of each House to abrogate or
    change at any time, have, nevertheless, the force of standing
    orders; that is, they are equally binding upon every succeeding
    Parliament until abrogated, and do not require to be specially
    adopted in order to be in force.”[97]

It will be observed that the quorum of the Commons, numbering six
hundred and fifty-four persons, is only forty, and this number appears
to have been recognized as long ago as 5th January, 1640. At an earlier
day more than sixty was required, and as late as March 18, 1801, an
attempt was made in the Commons to revive this ancient rule, but it
failed. For a short time in 1833 and 1834 the quorum for private
business was twenty.[98]

The quorum of the Lords, numbering four hundred and sixty-five, is only
three. A spectator at the law sessions of the Upper House is struck
by the appearance of the Lord Chancellor on the woolsack, in wig and
gown, listening to arguments, with two lay lords, like two lay figures,
on the side benches, merely to constitute a quorum so as to legalize
the decision of the Chancellor. The origin of this quorum, having
the sanction of unbroken usage, is lost in the night of Antiquity.
It is probably founded on the ancient maxim of the Roman Law, _Tres
faciunt collegium_,--“Three make a _college_,”--the latter word being
equivalent, in some respects, to our word _corporation_.

Thus, according to Parliamentary Law, two things appear: first, the
quorum of each House is within the control of the House; secondly,
it is now, and always has been, in each House, much smaller than a

With us the quorum, in general terms, is fixed by the Constitution.
It is not left to usage, or the control of each House; but it
is reasonable to infer that any question on the meaning of the
Constitution, arising from generality of language, may be interpreted
in the light of Parliamentary Law. Indeed, this is only according
to the rule under which all technical words in the Constitution are
interpreted. For instance, words known to the Common Law or to the
English Chancery are interpreted according to the Common Law or
the English Chancery. Mr. Wirt, in his admirable argument on the
impeachment of Judge Peck, states the rule in these words:--

    “The Constitution secures the _trial by jury_. Where do you
    get the meaning of a _trial by jury_? Certainly not from the
    Civil or Canon Law, or the Law of Nations. It is peculiar
    to the _Common Law_; and to the Common Law, therefore,
    the Constitution itself refers you for a description and
    explanation of this high privilege, _the trial by jury_, and
    the mode of proceeding in those trials.… I insist, that, the
    moment that _a Court of Common Law_ or _a Court of Equity_ is
    established under the authority of the Constitution, its modes
    of proceeding and its powers of self-protection arise with
    it, and that the _very name_ by which it is called into being
    authorizes it to look at once to the English archetypes for its
    government in these particulars.”[99]

According to this rule, so clearly enunciated, the words “quorum” and
“House,” which are derived from English Parliamentary Law, may be
explained by that law; so that, in case of doubt, that law is for this
purpose embodied in the Constitution. Now the Constitution declares
that _a majority of each House_ shall constitute a quorum to do
business. The rule, it will be observed, is the same for each House.
But the question arises, What is a majority of each House? or rather,
putting aside all question with regard to the House of Representatives,
which is perfectly free to determine for itself, What is a majority of
the Senate?

In fixing the quorum at a majority rather than any smaller number,
our Constitution followed the law of business corporations, where a
majority always prevails, according to an old maxim of the Common
Law,--_Ubi major pars est, ibi est totum_,--“Where _the greater part_
is, there is the whole.” This rule is so reasonable, that it has been
vindicated by an eminent authority as founded on the Law of Nature.
Here are the words of the great jurist Savigny:--

    “The will of a corporation is not merely the concurring will
    of all its members, but even that of the greater number.
    Therefore the will of a majority of all its existing members
    is to be regarded as being properly invested with the rights
    of the corporation. This rule is founded on the Law of Nature,
    inasmuch as, if unanimity were demanded, will and action on the
    part of a corporation would be quite impossible. It is also
    confirmed by the Roman Law.”[100]

Thomas Jefferson, a very different person from the German jurist, has
also vindicated the rule.

    “The _Lex majoris partis_ is founded in Common Law as well as
    common right. It is the natural law of every assembly of men
    whose numbers are not fixed by any other law.”[101]

But the question still occurs, What is the major part of the Senate? Is
it the major part of the abstract or theoretical Senate, or the major
part of the real Senate? In other words, is it the major part of the
Senate contemplated by the Constitution, with two Senators from each
State, or the major part of the actual Senate, counting only those
entitled to vote? At the present moment there is a wide difference
between the two cases.

Several clauses of the Constitution are applicable to this question. I
group them together.

    “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two
    Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for
    six years.”

    “_A majority of each House_ shall constitute a quorum to do

    “The Congress, whenever _two thirds of both Houses_ shall deem
    it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution.”

    “A quorum for the purpose [the election of Vice-President]
    shall consist of two thirds of _the whole number of Senators_,
    and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a

Probably “the whole number of Senators” is equivalent to the term
“House.” But what is the “House”?

The Senate _de jure_ consists of two Senators from each State.

The Senate _de facto_ may consist of Senators actually elected and
qualified, or of Senators actually elected.

Whether the “House” shall be the Senate _de jure_ or the Senate _de
facto_ is now within our discretion. The question has been raised,
and the way is open to adopt either interpretation, according to the
meaning of the Constitution as seen in the light of Parliamentary Law,
and, I add also, of convenience.

According to Parliamentary Law, the whole question is in our hands.

According to convenience, the quorum should be founded on the actual
Senate, being the Senators actually elected and qualified.

If ever the argument of convenience was strong, peculiarly strong, it
is now, when a wicked rebellion has undertaken to withdraw the Senators
of eleven States, thus reducing our numbers. It is not necessary to
assert that these States should be no longer counted among our stars.
It is enough, if we declare that their vacant chairs shall no longer
be counted in our quorum. As the language of the Constitution is drawn
into debate, I cannot doubt, that, according to Parliamentary Law, the
present question is within the control of the Senate, to be determined
by the teachings of reason and convenience, so as to assure the public
welfare. Any other interpretation must leave the Senate to all the
hazards of disorganization by treason, or, it may be, by indifference.
If the Senate declines to exercise this power, it will abandon an
essential principle of self-defence.

An extreme case might be put, where, through defection, the actual
Senators are reduced to a mere handful. But the rule is not to be tried
by any such extreme case, which can occur only when the Government is
broken up.

I rest confidently on the double conclusion: first, that the words of
the Constitution with regard to the quorum of the Senate, so far as
doubtful, are to be interpreted by Parliamentary Law; and, secondly,
that, by Parliamentary Law, these words are within the control of the
Senate, to be interpreted according to its own ample discretion under
the exigency of the occasion.


TWO HOUSES, JULY 12, 1862.

    July 12th, the question being on the final adjournment for the
    Session, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I do not think, in the present state of the country,
the Senate ought to adjourn, and for one I enter my protest against it,
and I ask for the yeas and nays that I may make it of record.

It is essential to proper legislation not only that the Senate should
vote, but that it should consider measures on which it votes; and the
consideration must be in proportion to their importance. Allusion is
made to one measure on which the Senate has not voted,--that in charge
of my friend the Senator from Ohio [Mr. WADE], the admission of West
Virginia as a new State. Perhaps no question of greater importance has
ever been presented. It concerns the whole question of Slavery; it
concerns the pretension of State Rights; it concerns also the results
of this war. Look at it, therefore, in any aspect you please, it is a
great question. And yet the idea of Senators anxious to adjourn is,
that it is to be hurried forward without any proper discussion.

There is another question, not less important. It is the bill of
the Senator from New York [Mr. HARRIS], constituting Provisional
Governments for the Rebel States,--a subject of transcendent
importance, and I submit, also, of practical interest at this very
moment; for it involves precisely this inquiry, Whether you are to
allow a system of military governments or Congressional governments. It
is a question between the military and the civil power.

Then we have the Army Bill, which my colleague has in charge. Few
matters of greater importance have ever been laid before the Senate. It
involves nothing less than the organization in our country of a system
of conscription, so well known on the Continent of Europe, but thus far
happily unknown to us; and yet, Sir, this great question, also, is to
be hurried forward without any adequate discussion.

Then we have Executive business, to which I can only allude in a
general way, but of vast moment, which cannot be adequately considered
without days, and I might say weeks.

Then we have also the whole Calendar, to which the Senator from
Illinois has referred, that ought to occupy us for weeks.

Here are at least five important matters,--West Virginia, the
Provisional Governments, the Army Bill, Executive business, and the
whole Calendar,--all open to consideration; and yet, Sir, Senators
propose to go home,--Senators are weary,--Senators would like to find
a retreat, away from these legislative cares. I can enter into that
feeling. Sir, I should be glad to be at home. I suppose the gallant
soldiers on the James River, on the Chickahominy, would also be glad to
be at home. They are not excused, they have not a furlough,--and yet
we Senators talk of our furlough.

Now it is known that formerly, when Congress was paid by the day, it
never thought of adjourning at this time. One of the most important
bills on your statute book bears date the 18th day of September,
1850;[102] and for some years immediately thereafter Congress did not
adjourn until late in August. I think I have sat myself close upon
September; but when I mentioned this fact the other day, the Senator
from Ohio reminded me that then Congress was paid by the day, whereas
now it is paid by the year. Has it come to this, that Congress could
sit here content when paid by the day, and now that it is paid by the
year it leaves its important business to be neglected entirely, or to
be hurried forward without that discussion which it ought to receive?

Sir, I hope the Senate will not consent to fix any day of adjournment.
I hope it will sit here, proceeding regularly with the business now on
its Calendar, and meeting any contingencies which in the present state
of the country may arise. A duty is cast upon Congress which ought not
to be slighted. It is to see that the Republic receives no detriment.
Solemnly now this duty addresses itself to all of us. Let us not
neglect it. For the sake of the public business, and for the sake of
those responsibilities which from their very uncertainty at this crisis
are so vast, I ask the Senate to continue here.

    The resolution, which was originally for adjournment on Monday,
    July 14th, was amended by substituting Wednesday, July 16th,
    and then, as amended, adopted,--Yeas 29, Nays 10.

    July 14th, President Lincoln communicated to Congress the
    draught of a bill to compensate any State which might abolish
    Slavery within its limits, the passage of which as presented
    he earnestly recommended. On motion of Mr. Sumner, the Message
    with the accompanying draught was referred to the Committee
    on Finance. Immediately thereafter he offered the following

        “_Resolved_, That, in order that the two Houses of Congress
        may have time for the proper consideration of the Message
        of the President and the accompanying bill for Emancipation
        in the States, and for the transaction of other public
        business, the resolution fixing Wednesday, the 16th of
        July, for adjournment, is hereby rescinded.”

    The consideration of the resolution was objected to.



                                             WASHINGTON, July 14, 1862.

  DEAR SIR,--I welcome and honor your patriotic efforts to arouse
  the country to a generous, determined, irresistible unity in
  support of the National Government; but the Senate is still in
  session, and my post of duty is here. A Senator cannot leave his
  post, more than a soldier.

  But, absent or present, the cause in which the people are to
  assemble has my God-speed, earnest, devoted, affectionate, and
  from the heart. What I can do let me do. There is no work I will
  not undertake, there is nothing I will not renounce, if so I may
  serve my country.

  There must be unity of hands, and of hearts too, that the
  Republic may be elevated to the sublime idea of a true
  commonwealth, which we are told “ought to be but as one huge
  Christian personage, one mighty growth and stature of an honest
  man, as big and compact in virtue as in body.”[103] Oh, Sir, if
  my feeble voice could reach my fellow-countrymen, in workshops,
  streets, fields, and wherever they meet together, if for one
  moment I could take to my lips that silver trumpet with tones to
  sound and reverberate throughout the land, I would summon all,
  forgetting prejudice and turning away from error, to help unite,
  quicken, and invigorate our common country--most beloved now that
  it is most imperilled--to a compactness and bigness of virtue in
  just proportion to its extended dominion, so that it should be as
  one huge Christian personage, one mighty growth and stature of an
  honest man, instinct with all the concentration of unity. Thus
  inspired, the gates of Hell cannot prevail against us.

  To this end the cries of faction must be silenced, and the
  wickedness of sedition, whether in print or public speech, must
  be suppressed. These are the Northern allies of the Rebellion. An
  aroused and indignant people, with iron heel, must tread them out
  forever, as men tread out the serpent so that it can neither hiss
  nor sting.

  With such concord God will be pleased, and He will fight for us.
  He will give quickness to our armies, so that the hosts of the
  Rebellion will be broken and scattered as by the thunderbolt;
  and He will give to our beneficent government that blessed
  inspiration, better than newly raised levies, by which the
  Rebellion shall be struck in its single vulnerable part, by which
  that colossal abomination, its original mainspring and present
  motive power, shall be overthrown, while the cause of the Union
  is linked with that divine justice whose weapons are of celestial

  God bless our country! and God bless all who now serve it with
  singleness of heart!

      I have the honor to be, dear Sir,

          Your faithful servant,

              CHARLES SUMNER.

  CHARLES GOULD, Esq., _Secretary of the Select Committee_.



    While the bill providing for Confiscation and Liberation was
    in the hands of the President, and before its signature, it
    was understood that he objected to it on certain grounds, one
    of which was that under it real estate was forfeited beyond
    life. In point of fact, the President had already drawn up a
    Message stating his objections to its becoming a law.[104]
    In anticipation of these objections, a joint resolution was
    adopted, containing the provision, “Nor shall any punishment
    or proceedings under said Act be so construed as to work a
    forfeiture of the real estate of the offender beyond his
    natural life.”[105]

    Mr. Sumner did not sympathize with the objections, but, in
    his anxiety to secure the approval of the Act as a step
    to Emancipation, he did not hesitate to support the joint

    July 16th, he said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--Our country is in peril. This is much to say, but it
must be said, and we must all govern ourselves accordingly. More than
ever before, the time has come for an earnest, absolute, controlling
patriotism. This is the lesson of the day. In presence of such peril,
and under the weight of such duties, there is no pride of opinion
which I would not freely sacrifice, nor can I stand on any order of
proceeding. I ask no questions, and I make no terms. Show me how an
important measure can be secured, which I think vital to the country,
and I shall spare no effort to secure it.

Rules are for protection, for defence, and to facilitate business.
If in any way they become an impediment, they cease to perform their
natural office, and I can easily abandon them, especially when my
country may suffer. Therefore, Sir, I am only slightly impressed by the
argument that our information with regard to the President is informal.
It is enough that a measure we all have at heart as essential to
national life may fail to receive his constitutional approval, unless
modified in advance by supplementary statute. Anxious for this measure,
I think how it may be secured, rather than how the opinions of the
President have become known to us.

Of course, Sir, I cannot share the doubts attributed to the President.
To me they seem groundless and fallacious. Waiving all question of
their accuracy as an interpretation of the Constitution, even in
criminal proceedings, I cannot forbear saying that they proceed on
the mistaken idea of a procedure by _indictment_ and not by _war_,
subjecting the country to all the constraint of a criminal trial when
the exigency requires the ample latitude of war. If soldiers are sent
forth to battle, if fields are occupied as camps, and houses are
occupied as hospitals, without permission of the owners, it is under
the War Powers of Congress, or, in other words, the belligerent rights
of this Government. And it is by virtue of these same belligerent
rights that the property of an enemy is taken. Now, if he be an enemy,
is there in the Constitution any check upon these rights? Whether you
choose to take property for life or beyond life, the Constitution
is indifferent; for all constitutional limitations are entirely
inapplicable to belligerent rights. There are express words ordaining
that you must not “abridge the freedom of speech or of the press,” or
“infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms”; nor can you
take “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” And yet,
wherever your armies move, and elsewhere too, you do all these very
things in the exercise of acknowledged belligerent rights. As plainly,
the right of confiscation, whether for life or beyond life, is also

Unhappily, Sir, our country is engaged in war,--terrible, relentless,
unquestionable war,--and if we would not discard success, it must be
prosecuted as war, in the full exercise of belligerent rights. If we
were dealing with sporadic cases of treason, with simple sedition, or
with a mere outbreak, our process would be limited by the Constitution;
but with an enemy before us, lashed into fury and led on by “Até hot
from Hell,” where is the limit to the powers to be employed? I remember
that Burke, in his great effort on Conciliation with America, says: “It
looks to me to be narrow and pedantic to apply the ordinary ideas of
criminal justice to this great public contest; I do not know the method
of drawing up an indictment against an whole people.”[106] But when,
on account of a provision in the Constitution obviously intended only
for the protection of _the citizen_, you refuse to take the property
of _an enemy in open war_, then do you substitute the safeguards of
criminal justice for war, thus voluntarily weakening your armies and
diminishing your power. I am tempted to say, that, in devotion to the
form of the Constitution, you sacrifice its substance. I might say,
that, in misapplying the text of the Constitution, you sacrifice the
Constitution itself.

Pardon me for seeming, even briefly, to argue this question. I do it
only because I would not have my vote misunderstood. I shall support
the proposition, not because I concur with it, but because its adoption
will help secure the approval of the bill that has so much occupied the
attention of Congress and the hopes of the country.

Mr. President, I have never, from the beginning, disguised my
conviction that the most important part of the bill concerns
Emancipation. To save this great part, to secure this transcendent
ally, to establish this assurance of victory, and to obtain for my
country this lofty crown of prosperity and glory, I willingly abandon
all the rest. The navigator is called sometimes to save his ship by
casting part of the cargo into the sea.

But whatever the difference between the President and Congress, there
are two points on which there is no difference. Blacks are to be
employed, and slaves are to be freed. In this legislative proclamation
the President and Congress will unite. Together they will deliver it to
the country and to the world.

It is an occasion of just congratulation, that the long debates of the
session have at last ripened into a measure which I do not hesitate to
declare more important than any victory achieved by our arms. Thank
God, the new levies will be under an inspiration which cannot fail. It
is the idea of Freedom, which, in spite of all discomfiture, past or
present, must give new force to the embattled armies of the Republic,
making their conflicts her own.

Sir, from this day forward the war will be waged with new hopes and
new promises. A new power is enlisted, incalculable in influence,
strengthening our armies, weakening the enemy, awakening the sympathies
of mankind, and securing the favor of a benevolent God. The infamous
Order No. 3, which has been such a scandal to the Republic, is
rescinded. The slave everywhere can hope. Beginning to do justice, we
shall at last deserve success.

    The original bill and the explanatory joint resolution were
    returned to the Senate together, with the approval of the
    President, July 17th, being the last day of the session, and
    just before its close.



    At the Republican State Convention at Worcester, September
    10th,[107] Mr. Claflin, Chairman of the State Committee, read
    the following letter from Mr. Sumner, which, according to the
    report, was received with great applause.

                                             BOSTON, September 9, 1862.

  MY DEAR SIR,--As a servant of the State, I have always recognized
  the right of my constituents in State Convention to expect from
  me such counsels on public affairs as I could offer, and I have
  accepted with gratitude the invitations with which they have
  honored me. If now, in these dark days, when danger thickens, I
  do not take advantage of the opportunity you present, believe me,
  it is not from indifference, nor is it because our duties at this
  moment are uncertain.

  Eagerly do gallant soldiers (God bless them!) rush to the field
  of death for the sake of their country. Eagerly do good citizens
  at home (God bless them!) contribute of their abundance, or
  it may be of their poverty, to smooth the lot of our gallant
  soldiers. But there is another duty, hardly less commanding. It
  is union, without distinction of party, to uphold the Government,
  and also to uphold those who uphold the Government. Therefore do
  I recognize the just liberality of the call for our Convention,
  which is addressed not only to Republicans, but also to “all
  who support the present National and State Governments and are
  in favor of the use of all means necessary for the effectual
  suppression of the Rebellion.” Under such a call there is no
  patriot citizen of the Commonwealth who may not claim a place.

  Is there a patriot citizen who hesitates to support the National
  Government, beleaguered by a rebel enemy?

  Is there a patriot citizen who hesitates to support the State
  Government, now, under the inspiring activity and genius of John
  A. Andrew, so efficiently sustaining the National Government?

  And is there a patriot citizen who is not for the use of all
  means necessary for the effectual suppression of the Rebellion?

  Were I able to be at the Convention, according to the invitation
  with which you honor me, gladly would I appeal to all such
  citizens. This country must be saved; and among the omens of
  victory I hail confidently that unanimity of sentiment and
  trust with which all loyal citizens now look to the National
  Government, determined that nothing of energy or contribution
  or sacrifice shall be wanting, by which its supremacy may be
  reëstablished. Another omen is yet needed. It is that the people,
  forgetting the past, shall ascend to that plane of justice
  and truth where is the light of candor, and all shall frown
  indignantly upon the rancors and animosities of party, which
  even now are so disturbing in their influence, shall silence the
  senseless prejudices of personal hate, and stifle the falsehoods
  of calumny, so that here among ourselves there may be unity and
  concord, giving irresistible strength to our patriotic labors.

  Beyond this appeal from heart to heart, I should rejoice to show
  clearly _how to hamstring this Rebellion and to conquer a peace_,
  all of which I am sure can be done. To this _single practical
  purpose_ all theories, prepossessions, and aims must yield. So
  absorbing at the present moment is this question, that nothing is
  practical which does not directly tend to its final settlement.
  All else is blood-stained vanity. And the citizen soldiers you
  send forth to battle may justly complain, if you neglect any
  means by which they may be strengthened. Good Democrats, who
  have enjoyed the confidence of their party and also public
  trust,--Daniel S. Dickinson, of New York, and Robert Dale Owen,
  of Indiana,--bear their generous testimony. So also does Parson
  Brownlow, of Tennessee, in a letter which I have just read, where
  he says that the negroes “must be urged in every possible way to
  crush out this infernal Rebellion.” Butler bore his testimony,
  when, by virtue of an outstanding order of the Rebel Governor
  of Louisiana, he organized a regiment of colored persons in
  the national service. Banks also symbolized the idea, when,
  overtaking the little slave-girl on her way to Freedom, he lifted
  her upon the national cannon. In this act--the brightest, most
  touching, and most suggestive of the whole war, which Art will
  hereafter rejoice to commemorate--our Massachusetts general gave
  a lesson to his country. Who can doubt that the country will yet
  be saved?

  I hope you will excuse me to my fellow-citizens of the
  Convention, and believe me, with much regard,

      Very faithfully yours,


  TO HON. WM. CLAFLIN, _Chairman of State Committee_.




                      A patriot’s blood,
    Well spent in such a strife, may earn, indeed,
    And for a time insure to his loved land,
    The sweets of Liberty and Equal Laws.

                                   COWPER, _The Task_, Book V. 714-717.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      I assure you,
    He that has once the Flower of the Sun,
    The perfect ruby which we call Elixir,
    Not only can do that, but by its virtue
    Can confer Honor, Love, Respect, Long Life,
    Give Safety, Valor,--yea, and Victory,--
    To whom he will.

                            BEN JONSON, _The Alchemist_, Act II. Sc. 1.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Rendez-les libres,--et plus près que vous de la nature, ils
    vaudront beaucoup mieux que vous.--CONDORCET, _Note 109 aux
    Pensées de Pascal_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    When a leak is to be stopped, or a fire extinguished, do not
    all hands coöperate without distinction of sect or party? Or if
    I am fallen into a ditch, shall I not suffer a man to help me
    out, until I have first examined his creed?--BISHOP BERKELEY,
    _A Word to the Wise, or an Exhortation to the Roman Catholic
    Clergy of Ireland_: Works (London, 1837), p. 360.

       *       *       *       *       *

    May Congress not say that every black man must fight? Did we
    not see a little of this last war?… Have they not power to
    provide for the general defence and welfare? May they not
    think that these call for the abolition of Slavery? May they
    not pronounce all slaves free? And will they not be warranted
    by that power? This is no ambiguous implication or logical
    deduction. The paper speaks to the point.--PATRICK HENRY.
    _Debates in the Virginia Convention on the Adoption of the
    Federal Constitution_: Elliot’s Debates, Vol. III. p. 590.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The natural strength of the country, in point of numbers,
    appears to me to consist much more in the blacks than in
    the whites. Could they be incorporated and employed for its
    defence, it would afford you double security. That they would
    make good soldiers I have not the least doubt.--MAJOR-GENERAL
    NATHANAEL GREENE, _Letter to Governor Rutledge_: Johnson’s Life
    of Greene, Vol. II. p. 274.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The anxiety which prevailed so extensively was restored by
    the Proclamation of Emancipation, at last put forth by the
    President, September 22, 1862. Besides enjoining obedience
    to the Acts of Congress already passed against Slavery, it

        “That, on the first day of January in the year of our Lord
        one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons
        held as slaves within any State or designated part of
        a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion
        against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward,
        and forever free; and the Executive Government of the
        United States, including the military and naval authority
        thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such
        persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such
        persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for
        their actual freedom.”[108]

    The work was completed by the final proclamation of January 1,

    There was an echo to these proclamations throughout the
    country, and also from the Rebel States. The _Richmond Whig_
    said of the first: “It is a dash of the pen to destroy four
    millions of our property, and is as much as a bid for the
    slaves to rise in insurrection, with the assurance of aid from
    the whole military and naval power of the United States.” In
    another article, it spoke of “the fiends of the new programme.”
    These feelings, after debate in the Rebel Congress, found vent
    in the following terms.

        “That, in the judgment of Congress, the proclamations of
        the President of the United States, dated respectively
        September twenty-second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two,
        and January first, eighteen hundred and sixty-three,
        and the other measures of the Government of the United
        States, and of its authorities, commanders, and forces,
        designed or tending to emancipate slaves in the Confederate
        States, or to abduct such slaves, or to incite them to
        insurrection, or to employ negroes in war against the
        Confederate States, or to overthrow the institution of
        African Slavery and bring on a servile war in these States,
        would, if successful, produce atrocious consequences, and
        they are inconsistent with the spirit of those usages
        which in modern warfare prevail among civilized nations;
        they may, therefore, be properly and lawfully repressed by

    The earlier proclamation caused a thrill in Massachusetts.
    Earnest people, who had longed for it, were rejoiced and
    comforted. At the invitation of his fellow-citizens, Mr. Sumner
    consented to address them at Faneuil Hall, in response to the

    The proceedings at this crowded meeting, which was held at
    noon, are copied from the newspapers of the day.

    The meeting was called to order by George S. Hale, Esq.,
    Chairman of the Ward and City Committee, who submitted the
    following list of names for the officers of the meeting.

    _President_,--William Claflin, of Newton.

    _Vice-Presidents_,--Francis B. Crowninshield, Alexander H.
    Bullock, Julius Rockwell, Peleg W. Chandler, Oakes Ames, John
    Gardner, Lee Claflin, Robert W. Hooper, James M. Barnard,
    Francis B. Fay, Jacob Sleeper, Edward S. Tobey, Stephen H.
    Phillips, Waldo Higginson, Samuel May, John Nesmith, William
    J. Rotch, Eliphalet Trask, Martin Brimmer, Henry I. Bowditch,
    Gerry W. Cochrane, Charles H. Parker, Charles O. Whitmore,
    John D. Baldwin, John R. Brewer, John M. S. Williams, James
    P. Thorndike, Samuel Hall, Artemas Lee, Robert B. Storer,
    Julius A. Palmer, John L. Emmons, William I. Bowditch, Abel G.
    Farwell, Alvah Crocker, Otis Norcross, John J. May, Phineas E.
    Gay, Nathan Cushing, Robert C. Pitman, Alexander H. Twombly,
    Warren Sawyer, James Adams, Moses Kimball, Theodore Otis, Alvah
    A. Burrage, David Snow, Edwin Lamson, John Demeritt, John M.
    Forbes, William Washburn, Arba Maynard, Joseph T. Bailey,
    Osborn Howes, Daniel Farrar, John Chandler, John Q. A. Griffin,
    Robert E. Apthorp, William Bellamy, Alexander Wadsworth,
    Edward Buffinton, Nehemiah Boynton, Phineas J. Stone, William
    B. Spooner, Frederick Nickerson, P. Emory Aldrich, Abijah W.
    Farrar, William Pope, Charles C. Barry, Timothy W. Hoxie, Avery
    Plumer, Ephraim Allen, J. Warren Merrill, Peter B. Brigham,
    George F. Williams, Pliny Nickerson, John A. Nowell, Arthur
    W. Tufts, Roland Worthington, John Bertram, Frank B. Fay, J.
    Ingersoll Bowditch, William Endicott, Jr., Edward Atkinson,
    Nathaniel C. Nash, Franklin Snow, J. Wingate Thornton, Samuel
    Johnson, Edward A. Raymond, Albert L. Lincoln, Francis E.
    Parker, Charles O. Rogers, William Fox Richardson, John G.
    Webster, Leister M. Clark, Chester Guild, Jr., Estes Howe,
    William Brigham.

    _Secretaries_,--William S. Robinson, Delano A. Goddard, Stephen
    N. Stockwell, William W. Clapp, Jr., Hamlin R. Harding, H.
    Burr Crandall, Henry M. Burt, Ebenezer Nelson, George H.
    Monroe, Stephen N. Gifford.

    On taking the chair, Mr. Claflin was received with great
    applause. He spoke as follows.

        “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,--None of you can be more
        disappointed at the present time than myself, that I am
        called upon to occupy this position.

        “At the last moment we were informed that his Excellency
        the Governor[111] was compelled by the duties of his
        position, and his desire ever to do for the interests of
        those brave men who have gone forth for our defence, to
        leave the State, and to leave us to-day in your hands.

        “Under these circumstances, and at the last moment, by the
        desire of the Committee of Arrangements, I consented to
        occupy this position; but you will, of course, excuse me
        from making any remarks on this occasion. My heart is in
        the cause. This is a great era, and this is the time when
        every man should come up to the work and fight for this
        nation, doing everything which he can, whether by his purse
        or his sword, to sustain the Government. [_Cheers._]

        “Thanking you for the honor you have conferred upon me, I
        now await any motion which may be made.”

    Resolutions sustaining Emancipation were then read by Charles
    W. Slack, and, amidst cries of “Good!” and great applause, were

    The President then said:--

        “I now introduce to you Massachusetts’--ay,
        Boston’s--honored son. I need not praise him, I need not
        eulogize him; but I will simply say, it is CHARLES SUMNER.”

    The enthusiasm that followed Senator Sumner’s stepping on the
    platform was not surpassed by anything that has been seen in
    the Hall since Senator Webster took the same place on _his_
    return from Washington years ago. The air below was dark with
    waving hats, and along the galleries white with fluttering
    kerchiefs. When the applause subsided, a colored man cried out,
    “God bless Charles Sumner!” in an earnest, trembling, “tearful”
    voice, and the applause was renewed.

    The meeting is described as “of much enthusiasm on the part
    of the overflowing audience that gathered and tried to gather
    within the ancient walls.”

    A few sentences from the London _Morning Star_ will show how
    this effort was recognized at a distance.

        “The Massachusetts Senator has lately had a meeting with
        his constituents. Fragments and summaries of his speech
        at Faneuil Hall have found their way into most English
        newspapers. Let the sympathizers with the South produce,
        if they can, from their side of Mason and Dixon’s line,
        any utterance to compare with it in all the qualities that
        should commend human speech to human audience.…

        “This representative of a powerful community addresses
        to his fellow-citizens considerations upon the conduct
        of a war in which they and he are more deeply interested
        than any English constituency has been in any war which
        England has waged since the days of Cromwell. It is such
        a speech as Hampden might have spoken in Buckinghamshire,
        or Pym in the Guildhall. It treats both of principles and
        policy,--of the means of success, and of the ends which can
        alone sanctify the struggle or glorify success. It breathes
        throughout the spirit of justice and of freedom.…

        “Throughout his public life, Mr. Sumner has held the same
        doctrines, expressed the same spirit.… He is the leader
        of a party, as well as the representative of the first
        New England State, and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs
        Committee of Congress. Too advanced a thinker and too
        pure a politician for office in a Cabinet undecided on
        the Slavery Question, he has pioneered its way and shaped
        its conclusions. Is he not a man whose name should check
        the blustering apologists of Slavery and Secession?… The
        Rebellion is just such a blow at the Union as Preston
        Brooks struck at Charles Sumner; and yet there are English
        hands and voices to applaud the deed, as worthy heroes of
        patriotism and civilization.”

    In urging Emancipation, Mr. Sumner always felt, that, besides
    sustaining the cause of justice, he was helping our country
    with foreign nations.



Meetings of the people in ancient Athens were opened with these words:
“May the gods doom to perdition that man, and all his race, who, on
this occasion, shall speak, act, or contrive anything against the
Commonwealth!” With such an imprecation all were summoned to the duties
of the citizen. But duties become urgent in proportion to perils. If
ever there were occasion for these solemn words, it is now, when the
country is in danger, when the national capital itself is menaced,
when all along the loyal border, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian
Territories west of the Mississippi, barbarian hordes, under some
Alaric of Slavery, are marshalling forces, and death is knocking at the
doors of so many happy homes. If ever there was occasion when country
might claim the best and most self-forgetful effort of all, it is now.
Each in his way must act. Each must do what he can: the youthful and
strong by giving themselves to the service; the weak, if in no other
way, by scraping lint. Such is the call of patriotism. The country must
be saved.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among omens which I hail with gladness is the union now happily
prevailing among good men in support of the Government, whether State
or National,--forgetting that they were Democrats, forgetting that
they were Whigs, and disregarding old party names, to remember only the
duties of the citizen. Another sign, not less cheering, is the generous
devotion which all among us of foreign birth offer to their adopted
country. Germans fight as for fatherland, and Irishmen fight as for
loved Erin; nor can our cause be less dear to the latter, now that the
spirit of Grattan and O’Connell has entered into it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Surely this is no time for the strife of party. Its jealousies
and antipathies are now more than ever irrational. Its clamors of
opposition are now more than ever unpatriotic. Unhappily, there are
some to whom its bitter, unforgiving temper has become so controlling,
that, even at this moment, they would rather enlist to put down
a political opponent than to put down the rebel enemy of their
country,--they would rather hang Henry Wilson or John A. Andrew than
hang Jefferson Davis or Robert Toombs. Such persons, with all their
sweltered venom, are found here in Massachusetts. Assuming the badge
of “No Party,” they are ready for any party, new or old, by which
their prejudices may be gratified,--thus verifying the pungent words
of Colonel Benton: “Wherever you will show me a man with the words ‘No
Party’ in his mouth, I will show you a man that figures at the head or
dangles at the tail of the most inveterate party that ever existed.” Of
course, such persons are not expected to take part in a meeting like
the present, which seeks to unite rather than divide, while it rallies
all to the support of the President, and to that policy of Freedom he
has proclaimed.

Thank God that I live to enjoy this day! Thank God that my eyes have
not closed without seeing this great salvation! The skies are brighter
and the air is purer now that Slavery is handed over to judgment.

By the proclamation of the President, all persons held as slaves
January 1, 1863, within any State or designated part of a State, the
people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States,
shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive
Government of the United States, including the military and naval
authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such
persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of
them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. Beyond
these most effective words, which do not go into operation before
the new year, are other words of immediate operation, constituting a
present edict of Emancipation. The President recites the recent Acts
of Congress applicable to this question, and calls upon all persons in
the military and naval service to observe, obey, and enforce them. But
these Acts provide that all slaves of Rebels, taking refuge within the
lines of our army, all slaves captured from Rebels or deserted by them,
and all slaves found within any place occupied by Rebel forces and
afterwards occupied by forces of the United States, shall be forever
free of servitude, and not again held as slaves; and these Acts further
provide, that no person in the military or naval service shall, under
any pretence whatever, assume to decide on the validity of any claim to
a slave, or surrender any such person to his claimant, on pain of being
dismissed from the service: so that by these Acts, now proclaimed by
the President, Freedom is practically secured to all who find shelter
within our lines, and the glorious flag of the Union, wherever it
floats, becomes the flag of Freedom.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thank God for what is already done, and let us all take heart as
we go forward to uphold this great edict! For myself, I accept the
Proclamation without note or comment. It is enough for me, that, in
the exercise of the War Power, it strikes at the origin and mainspring
of this Rebellion; for I have never concealed the conviction that it
matters little where we strike Slavery, provided only that we strike
sincerely and in earnest. So is it all connected, that the whole must
suffer with every part, and the words of the poet will be verified,

                    “whatever link you strike,
    Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.”

On this most interesting occasion, so proper for gratitude, it is
difficult to see anything but the cause; and yet, appearing before
you on the invitation of a Committee of the Commonwealth, I must not
forget that I owe this privilege to my public character as Senator of
Massachusetts. In this character I have often been invited before;
but now the invitation has more than accustomed significance; for, at
the close of a long period of public service, it brings me face to
face with my constituents. In a different condition of the country, I
could not decline the opportunity of reviewing the relations between
us,--of showing, at least, how you took me from private station, all
untried, and gave me one of your highest trusts, and how this trust was
enhanced by the generosity with which you sustained me against obloquy
and vindictive assault, especially by your unparalleled indulgence to
me throughout a protracted disability,--and perhaps, might I be so
bold, of presenting for your consideration some sketch of what I have
attempted, conscious, that, if not always successful, I have been at
all times faithful to cherished convictions, and faithful also to your
interests, sparing nothing of time or effort, and making up by industry
for any lack of ability, so that, during a service of more than eleven
years, I have never once visited home while Congress was in session,
or been absent for a single day, unless when suffering from that
disability to which I have referred, and during the session which has
just closed, filled with most laborious duties from beginning to end,
I was not out of my seat a single hour. But this is no time for such a
review. I have no heart for it, while my country is in danger. And yet
I shall not lose the occasion to challenge the scrutiny of all, even
here in this commercial metropolis, where the interests of business are
sometimes placed above all other interests. Frankly and fearlessly I
make my appeal. In all simplicity, I ask you to consider what I have
done as your servant, whether in the Senate or out of the Senate, in
matters of legislation or of business. If there is any one disposed
to criticize or complain, let him be heard. Let the whole record be
opened, and let any of the numerous visitors who have sought me on
business testify. I know too well the strength of my case to shrink
from any inquiry, even though stimulated by the animosity of political

But there are two accusations, often repeated, to which I reply on the
spot; and I do so with less hesitation, because the topics are germane
to this debate. The first is, that from my place in the Senate I early
proclaimed Slavery to be Barbarism. Never shall the cause of Freedom go
by default, if I can help it; and I rejoice, that, on that occasion,
in presence of the slaveholding conspirators vaunting the ennobling
character of Slavery, I used no soft words. It is true, that, in direct
reply to most offensive assumptions, I proclaimed Slavery barbarous in
origin, barbarous in law, barbarous in all its pretensions, barbarous
in the instruments it employs, barbarous in consequences, barbarous
in spirit, barbarous wherever it shows itself,--while it breeds
barbarians, and develops everywhere, alike in the individual and the
society to which he belongs, the essential elements of barbarism. It
is true, that, on the same occasion, I portrayed Slavery as founded in
violence and sustained only by violence, and declared that such a wrong
must, by sure law of compensation, blast the master as well as the
slave, blast the land on which they live, blast the community of which
they are part, blast the government which does not forbid the outrage,
and the longer it exists, and the more completely it prevails, must its
blasting influence penetrate the whole social system. Was I not right?
Since then the testimony is overwhelming. A committee of the Senate
has made a report, extensively circulated, on the barbarities of this
Rebellion. You know the whole story to which each day testifies. It is
in some single incident that you see the low-water mark of social life;
and I know nothing in which the barbarism of Slavery is more completely
exhibited than in the fate of our brave soldiers, dug up from
honorable graves, where at last they had found rest, that their bones
might be carved into keepsakes and their skulls into drinking-cups to
gratify the malignant hate of Slave-Masters.

The other accusation is similar in character. It is said that I have
too often introduced the Slavery Question. At this moment, seeing
what Slavery has done, I doubt if you will not rather say that I have
introduced it too seldom. If, on this account, I neglected any single
interest of my constituents, if I was less strenuous whenever foreign
relations or manufactures or commerce or finances were involved, if I
failed to take my part in all that concerns the people of Massachusetts
and in all embraced within the manifold duties of a Senator, then,
indeed, I might be open to condemnation. But you will not regret that
your representative, faithful in all other things, was ever constant
and earnest against Slavery, and that he announced from the beginning
the magnitude of the question, and our duties with regard to it. Say
what you will, the slave is the humblest and the grandest figure of
our times. What humility! what grandeur! both alike illimitable! In
his presence all other questions are so petty, that for a public man
to be wrong with regard to him is to be wholly wrong. How, then, did
I err? The cause would have justified a better pertinacity than I can
boast. In the Senate of Rome, the elder Cato, convinced that peace
was possible only by the destruction of Carthage, concluded all his
speeches, on every matter of debate, by the well-known words: “But
whatever you may think of the question under consideration, this I
know, Carthage must be destroyed.” I have never read that the veteran
Senator was condemned for the constancy of his patriotic appeal. With
stronger reason far, I, too, might always have cried, “This I know,
Slavery must be destroyed,”--_Delenda est Servitudo_. But, while
seeking to limit and constrain Slavery, I never proposed anything
except in strictest conformity with the Constitution; for I always
recognized the Constitution as my guide, which I was bound in all
respects to follow.[113]

Such are accusations to which I briefly reply. Now that we are
all united in the policy of Emancipation, they become of little
consequence; for, even if I were once alone, I am no longer so. With me
are the loyal multitudes of the North, now arrayed by the side of the
President, where, indeed, I have ever been.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you will bear with me yet longer in allusions which I make with
reluctance, I would quote, as my unanswerable defence, the words of
Edmund Burke, when addressing his constituents at Bristol.

    “And now, Gentlemen, on this serious day, when I come, as it
    were, to make up my account with you, let me take to myself
    some degree of honest pride on the nature of the charges
    that are against me. I do not here stand before you accused
    of venality or of neglect of duty. It is not said, that, in
    the long period of my service, I have in a single instance
    sacrificed the slightest of your interests to my ambition or
    to my fortune. It is not alleged, that, to gratify any anger
    or revenge of my own or of my party, I have had a share in
    wronging or oppressing any description of men, or any one man
    in any description. No! the charges against me are all of one
    kind,--that I have pushed the principles of general justice and
    benevolence too far,--further than a cautious policy would
    warrant, and further than the opinions of many would go along
    with me. In every accident which may happen through life, in
    pain, in sorrow, in depression, and distress, I will call to
    mind this accusation, and be comforted.”[114]

Among the passages in eloquence which can never die, I know none
more beautiful or heroic. If I invoke its protection, it is with the
consciousness, that, however unlike in genius and fame, I am not unlike
its author in the accusations to which I have been exposed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fellow-citizens, a year has passed since I addressed you; but,
during this time, what events for warning and encouragement! Amidst
vicissitudes of war, the cause of Human Freedom has steadily and
grandly advanced,--not, perhaps, as you could desire, yet it is the
only cause which has not failed. Slavery and the Black Laws all
abolished in the national capital; Slavery interdicted in all the
national territory; Hayti and Liberia recognized as independent
republics in the family of nations; the slave-trade placed under the
ban of a new treaty with Great Britain; all persons in the military
and naval service prohibited from returning slaves, or sitting in
judgment on the claim of a master; the slaves of Rebels emancipated by
coming within our lines; a tender of compensation for the abolition of
Slavery: such are some of Freedom’s triumphs in the recent Congress.
Amidst all doubts and uncertainties of the present hour, let us think
of these things and be comforted. I cannot forget, that, when I last
spoke to you, I urged the liberation of the slaves of Rebels, and
especially that our officers should not be permitted to surrender back
to Slavery any human being seeking shelter within our lines; and I
further suggested, if need were, a Bridge of Gold for the retreating
Fiend. And now all that I then proposed is embodied in the legislation
of the country as the supreme law of the land.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was as _a military necessity_ that I urged these measures; it is
as a military necessity that I now uphold them, and insist upon their
completest and most generous execution, so that they shall have the
largest scope and efficacy. Not as Abolitionist, not as Antislavery
man, not even as philanthropist,--if I may claim that honored name,--do
I now speak. I forget, for the moment, all the unutterable wrong of
Slavery, and all the transcendent blessings of Freedom; for they do
not belong to this argument. I think only of my country menaced by
rebellion, and ask how it shall be saved. But I have no policy, no
theory, no resolutions to support,--nothing which I will not gladly
abandon, if you will show me anything better.

    “If you know better rules than these, be free,
    Impart them; but if not, use these with me.”[115]

And now, what is the object of the war? This question is often asked,
and the answer is not always candid. It is sometimes said that it is
to abolish Slavery. Here is a mistake, or a misrepresentation. It is
sometimes said, in cant language, that the object is “the Constitution
as it is and the Union as it was.” Here is another mistake or
misrepresentation, which becomes more offensive when it is known that
by “the Constitution as it is” is meant simply the right to hold and
hunt slaves, and by “the Union as it was” is meant those halcyon days
of Proslavery Democracy, when the ballot-box was destroyed in Kansas,
when freedom of debate was menaced in the Senate, and when chains were
put upon the Boston Court-House. Not for any of these things is this
war waged. Not to abolish Slavery or to establish Slavery, but simply
to put down the Rebellion. And here the question occurs, How can this
object be best accomplished?

In discussing this question with proper frankness, I shall develop
and vindicate that policy of which the President’s Proclamation is
the herald, and to which his Administration is publicly pledged. The
Administration belongs to us, and we belong to the Administration. My
aim is to bring the Administration and the people nearer together,
by showing the ground on which they must meet, for the sake of the
Republic, and that it may not perish beneath felon blows.

       *       *       *       *       *

I start, of course, with the assumption, in which you will all unite,
that this war must be brought to a close. It must not be allowed to
drag its slow length along, bloody, and fruitless except with death.
Lives enough have been sacrificed, graves enough have been filled,
homes enough have been emptied, patriot soldiers enough have been
sent back halt and maimed with one leg or one arm, tears enough have
been shed. Nor is this all; treasure enough has been expended. It is
common to think only of the national debt, now swelling to unnatural
proportions; but this will be small by the side of the fearful
sum-total of loss from destruction of property, derangement of
business, and change of productive to unproductive industry. Even if
we do not accept the conclusions of an ingenious calculator who places
this damage at ten thousand millions of dollars, we must confess that
it is an immensity, which, like the numbers representing sidereal
distances, the imagination refuses to grasp. To stop this infinity of
waste there must be peace; to stop this cruel slaughter there must be
peace. In the old wars between King and Parliament, which rent England,
the generous Falkland cried from his soul, “_Peace! peace!_” and
history gratefully records his words. Never did he utter this cry with
more earnestness than I do now. But how shall the blessing be secured?

       *       *       *       *       *

I start with the further assumption, that there can be no separation
of these States. Foreign nations may predict what Rebels threaten, but
this result is now impossible. Pray, good Sirs, where will you run the
boundary line? Shall it be the cotton limit? Shall it embrace Virginia
in whole or part? How about Tennessee? Kentucky? Or shall it be the
most natural line of cleavage, the slave line? And how will you adjust
the navigation of the Mississippi, and the whole question of Slavery?
And what principles, commercial and political, shall be established
between the two Governments? But do not deceive yourselves into the
idea that peace founded on separation can be anything but a delusion
and a snare. Separation is interminable war, “never ending, still
beginning,”--worse than the forays which ravaged the Scottish border,
or the Tartar invasions which harassed China until its famous wall
was built, fifteen hundred miles long, and so thick that six horsemen
ride upon it abreast. War will be chronic, and we must all sleep on
our arms. Better that it be all at once, rather than diffused over a
generation. If blood must be shed, better for a year than for an age.

But if there be anything in the Monroe doctrine, if we could not
accommodate ourselves to the foothold of Europe upon this continent,
how can we recognize on our borders a malignant Slave empire, with
Slavery as its boasted corner-stone, constituting what Shakespeare
calls “an impudent nation,” embittered and enraged against us, without
law, without humanity, and without morals,--a mighty Blue-Beard’s
Chamber,--an enormous House of Ill-Fame? We would not allow the old
Kingdom of the Assassins to be revived at our side. But wherein are our
Rebels better?

       *       *       *       *       *

Nor can you recognize such separation without delivering over this
cherished Union to chaos. If the Rebel States are allowed to go, what
can be retained? It is true, there can be no constitutional right to
break up the Constitution, but the precedent unhappily recognized would
unsettle this whole fabric of States. Therefore, fellow-citizens, there
can be no separation. But how to prevent it,--in other words, how to
hamstring the Rebellion and conquer a peace,--this is the question.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Rebels are in arms, aroused, at home, on their own soil, and
resolved never to yield. Nothing less than independence will satisfy
them: if the war continues, I know not that they will be content
with this. Two policies are presented on our side,--one looking
primarily to Rebel conciliation, and the other looking primarily to
Rebel submission. Both have the same elements, although in diverse
order. The first begins with conciliation in order to end with Rebel
submission, which is cart before horse. The second begins with Rebel
submission in order to end with conciliation. The question is simply
this,--Whether conciliation shall precede or follow submission?
Conciliation is always proper, where possible; but, at this stage,
it is obviously impossible. If anybody believes that now any word or
act of conciliation, any forbearance on our part, any hesitation in
exercise of the sternest Rights of War, will help us to victory or
contribute to put down the Rebellion, let me not enter into that man’s
counsels, for they can end in nothing but shame and disaster. I find
that they who talk most against coercion of Rebels and coercion of
States are indifferent to the coercion of four million people, men,
women, and children, to work without wages under discipline of the
lash. Without hesitation I say that the Rebels must be subdued,--call
it coercion or subjugation, whichever you please: our war has this
direct object. With victory will come conciliation, clemency, amnesty.
But first victory.

To obtain victory, two things are needed: first, a precise
comprehension of the case, and, secondly, vigor of conduct. One will
not do without the other. It will not be enough to comprehend the case,
unless you are ready to treat it with corresponding vigor. And it
will not be enough to have vigor, unless you discern clearly how the
case shall be treated. To this end there must be statesmen as well as

       *       *       *       *       *

The first duty of the good physician is to understand the condition
of his patient,--whether it is a case of medicine or surgery, of
cutaneous eruption or deep-seated cancer. This is called diagnosis. Of
course, if this fails, the whole treatment will be a failure. But the
statesman, in all the troubles of his country, has the same preliminary
duty. He, too, must see whether it is a case for medicine or surgery,
of cutaneous eruption or deep-seated cancer. And since all that he does
must be precisely according to his judgment of the case, error here
must be equally fatal.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next to comprehension of the case is vigor in conduct, which is more
needful in proportion as the case becomes desperate. This must be not
only in the field, but also in council,--not only against the serried
front of the enemy, but against those more fatal influences that come
from lack of comprehension or lack of courage. The same vigor we
require in our generals must be required also in our statesmen,--the
same spirit must animate both. No folding of the hands, no putting off
till to-morrow what can be done to-day, no hesitation, no timidity, but
_action_, _action_, _action_, straightforward, manly, devoted action.
It is easy to see that this is required in the field; but it is no less
required in every sphere of the Government, from President to paymaster.

       *       *       *       *       *

In war there are some who content themselves with triumphs of prudence
instead of triumphs of courage, and spend much time in trying how
not to be beaten, instead of how to beat. They are content to forego
victory, if they can escape defeat, forgetting that Fabius was only
a defender and not a conqueror, that a policy fit at one time may be
unfit at another, that a war waged in an enemy’s country cannot be
defensive, nor can it prevail by any procrastination. People at home,
on their own soil, can afford to wait. Every month, every week, every
day is an ally. But we cannot wait. No moment must be spared. Not in
this way battled those ancient commanders called “The Two Thunderbolts
of War.” Not in this way did Napoleon defeat the Austrian forces at
Marengo, and shatter the Prussian power on the field of Jena.

But there are “thunderbolts” of the cabinet as well as of the field.
The elder Pitt, who was only a civilian, infused his own conquering
soul into the British arms, making them irresistible; and the French
Carnot, while a member of the Committee of Public Safety, was said to
have organized victory. Such is the statesmanship now needed for us.
And there must be generals who will carry forward all that the most
courageous statesmanship directs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Armies and men we have of rarest quality. Better never entered a field
or kept step to drum-beat. Intelligent and patriotic, they have left
pleasant homes, to offer themselves, if need be, for their country.
They are no common hirelings, mere food for powder, but generous
citizens, who have determined that their country shall be saved. Away
in camp, or battle, or hospital, let them not be forgotten. But,
better than gratitude even, we owe them the protection which comes
from good generals and courageous counsels. O God! let them not be led
to useless slaughter like sheep, nor be compelled to take the hazard
of death from climate and exposure, as well as from ball and bayonet,
without giving them at once all the allies which can be rallied to
their support. In the name of humanity, and for the sake of victory,
I make this appeal. But the loyal everywhere are allies. And does
loyalty depend upon color? Is it skin or heart that we consult? Do you
ask the color of a benefactor? As I listen to people higgling on the
question how to treat Africans coming to our rescue, I am reminded of
that famous incident, where the Emperor of Austria, driven back by the
Turks, three hundred thousand strong, and besieged in Vienna until at
the point of surrender, was suddenly saved by the gallant Sobieski of
Poland. The Emperor, big with imperial pride, thought chiefly of his
own supereminent rank,--as a Proslavery Democrat thinks of his,--and
hesitated how to receive his Polish benefactor, who was only an elected
king, when the Austrian commander said: “Sire, receive him as the
saviour of your empire.” The Emperor gave to his saviour hardly more
than a cold salute; and we are told to imitate this stolid ingratitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

Wherever I turn in this war, I find the African ready to be our
saviour. If you ask for strategy, I know nothing better than that of
the slave, Robert Small, who brought the Rebel steamer Planter with
its armament out of Charleston, and surrendered it to our Commodore as
prize of war. If you ask for successful courage, I know nothing better
than that of the African, Tillman, who rose upon a Rebel prize-crew,
and, overcoming them, carried the ship into New York. If you ask for
heroism, you will find it in that nameless African on board the Pawnee,
who, while passing shell from the magazine, lost both his legs by a
ball, but, still holding a shell, cries out, “Pass up the shell,--never
mind me; my time is up.” If you ask for fidelity, you will find it in
that slave, also without a name, who pointed out the road of safety
to the harassed, retreating Army of the Potomac. And if you ask
for evidence of desire for freedom, you will find it in the little
slave-girl, journeying North, whom Banks took up on his cannon.

It is now as at earlier stages of our history. The African is
performing his patriotic part, so far as you will let him. At the
famous massacre, when the first blood of the Revolution reddened the
ice-clad pavements of Boston, Crispus Attucks, an African, once a
slave, was among the victims. At Bunker Hill, where our homely troops
first stood against British valor, Peter Salem, also an African once a
slave, was conspicuous for courage, to the cost of the royal officer
who scaled the rampart, so that History names him with honor, and Art
presents him in the fore-front of the battle. Trumbull has portrayed
the scene. So long as that picture endures, so long as that historic
battle haunts the memory, you cannot forget the African fellow-soldier
of Prescott and Warren. But there are others like him, ready now to do
the same service.

       *       *       *       *       *

Not for the first time do I here make this appeal. Constantly I have
made it before the people and in the Senate, by speech and proposition.
I give an instance, being a resolution in the Senate, offered May 26th
of this year.

    “_Resolved_, That, in the prosecution of the present war for
    the suppression of a wicked Rebellion, the time has come for
    the Government of the United States to appeal to the loyalty
    of the whole people everywhere, but especially in the Rebel
    districts, and to invite all, without distinction of color, to
    make their loyalty manifest by ceasing to fight or labor for
    the Rebels, and also by rendering every assistance in their
    power to the cause of the Constitution and the Union, according
    to their ability, whether by arms, or labor, or information,
    or in any other way; and since protection and allegiance are
    reciprocal duties, dependent upon each other, it is the further
    duty of the Government of the United States to maintain all
    such loyal people, without distinction of color, in their
    rights as _men_, according to the principles of the Declaration
    of Independence.”[116]

I need not stop to discuss this resolution. You know my opinions, and
how I have pressed them in debate. You may also be assured that I have
never failed to present them in that quarter where it was peculiarly
important they should prevail. On the 4th of July of the present year,
in a personal interview with the President, I said: “You need more men,
not only at the North, but at the South, in the rear of the Rebels:
you need the slaves. Say the word, and you can give to our armies this
invaluable alliance,--you can change the rear-guard of the Rebellion
into the advance-guard of the Union. It is now the 4th of July. You
can make this day more sacred and more historic, and do for it better
than the Continental Congress.” Had Emancipation been spoken at that
time, I cannot doubt that the salvation of our country would have begun
thus earlier. Of course, such a word would have been a blast from the
war-trumpet, justified as a military necessity, according to examples
of history and the heart of man. And such a blast the President has now

       *       *       *       *       *

But it is said that all appeal to slaves is unconstitutional; and it
is openly assumed that rebels making war on the Constitution are not,
like other public enemies, beyond its protection. Why this peculiar
tenderness, whenever Slavery is in question? Battalions may be shot
down, and property taken without due process of law, but Slavery must
not be touched. The ancient Egyptians, when conquered, submitted easily
to loss of life and property; but when a Roman soldier happened to
kill a cat in the streets, they rose and tore him limb from limb with
such violent excitement that the generals overlooked the outrage for
fear of insurrection. Slavery is our sacred cat, not to be touched
without fear of insurrection. Sir, I am tired and disgusted at hearing
the Constitution perpetually invoked for Slavery. According to certain
authorities, the Constitution is all for Slavery and nothing for
Freedom. I am proud to own that with me just the reverse is the case.
There are people who keep apothecaries’ scales, in which they nicely
weigh everything done for Freedom. I have no such scales, where Freedom
is in question, nor do I hesitate to say that in a case of Freedom all
such nicety is unconstitutional. The Constitution is not mean, stingy,
and pettifogging, but open-handed, liberal, and just, inclining always
in favor of Freedom, and enabling the Government, in time of war, not
only to exercise any Rights of War, including liberation of slaves, but
also to confer any largess or bounty--it may be of money, or, better
still, of freedom--for services rendered. I do not dwell now on the
unanswerable argument by which John Quincy Adams has placed this power
beyond question.[117] Whatever the provisions of the Constitution
for protection of the citizen, they are inapplicable to what is done
against a public enemy. The law of an Italian city prohibited the
letting of blood under penalty of death; but this did not doom the
surgeon who opened a vein to save the life of a citizen. In war there
is no constitutional limit to the activity of the Executive, except
the emergency. The safety of the people is the highest law. There is
no blow the President can strike, there is nothing he can do against
the Rebellion, that is not constitutional. Only inaction can be

Some there are who would sacrifice the lives of our Northern
liberty-loving people, and, if this does not save the Union, then
strike Slavery. This again is putting cart before horse. Slavery should
be struck to save precious blood. The life of a single patriot is worth
more than all Slavery; ay, more, it has stronger securities in the

       *       *       *       *       *

Search the writers on the Law of Nations, and you will find the appeal
to slaves justified. Search history, whether in ancient or modern
times, and you will find it justified by example. In our Revolution,
this appeal was made by three different British commanders,--Lord
Dunmore, Sir Henry Clinton, and Lord Cornwallis. I do not stop for
details. That their appeal was not unsuccessful is evident from
concurring testimony. Its propriety was admitted by Jefferson, while
describing his own individual losses from Cornwallis.

    “He destroyed all my growing crops of corn and tobacco; he
    burned all my barns, containing the same articles of the last
    year, having first taken what corn he wanted; he used, _as was
    to be expected_, all my stock of cattle, sheep, and hogs, for
    the sustenance of his army, and carried off all the horses
    capable of service.… _He carried off, also, about thirty
    slaves. Had this been to give them freedom, he would have done
    right.…_ From an estimate I made at that time, on the best
    information I could collect, I supposed the State of Virginia
    lost, under Lord Cornwallis’s hands, that year, about thirty
    thousand slaves.”[118]

It would be difficult to imagine testimony stronger. Here was a
sufferer, justly indignant for himself and his State; but he does not
doubt that an enemy would do right in carrying off slaves to give them

The enterprise of Lord Dunmore deserves more particular mention. His
proclamation was thus explicit:--

    “And I do hereby further declare all indented servants, negroes
    or others (appertaining to rebels), free, that are able and
    willing to bear arms, they joining his Majesty’s troops as
    soon as may be, for the more speedily reducing this colony
    to a proper sense of their duty to his Majesty’s crown and

Its effect is amply attested. Edmund Pendleton writes to Richard Henry
Lee: “Letters mention that slaves flock to him in abundance; but I
hope it is magnified.”[120] Lord Dunmore reports to his Government at
home: “I have been endeavoring to raise two regiments here,--one of
white people, the other of black. The former goes on very slowly, but
the latter very well.”[121] Nothing shows the consternation more than
a letter of Washington, who, after saying that “Lord Dunmore should be
instantly crushed, if it takes the force of the whole colony to do it,”

    “Otherwise, like a snow-ball in rolling, his army will get
    size,--some through fear, some through promises, and some
    through inclination joining his standard: but that which
    renders the measure indispensably necessary is the negroes;
    for, if he gets formidable, numbers of them will be tempted to
    join who will be afraid to do it without.”[122]

To these authorities add the exclamation of Zubly, in the Continental
Congress from Georgia:--

    “I look on the plan we heard of yesterday to be vile,
    abominable, and infernal; but I am afraid it is

Naturally the representative of slave-masters did not approve it. It is
enough that he thought it “practicable.”

Several years later, Lord Dunmore reiterated his sentiments and
vindicated his appeal. This was at Charleston, where he addressed a
communication to Sir Henry Clinton at New York, under date of February
2, 1782, in which he says:--

    “Every one that I have conversed with think--and, I must own,
    my own sentiments perfectly coincide with theirs--that the
    most efficacious, expeditious, cheapest, and certain means of
    reducing this country to a proper sense of their duty is in
    employing the blacks, who are, in my opinion, not only better
    fitted for service in this warm climate than white men, but
    they are also better guides, may be got on much easier terms,
    and are perfectly attached to our sovereign. And by employing
    them, you cannot devise a means more effectual to distress
    your foes, not only by depriving them of their property, but
    by depriving them of their labor. You in reality deprive
    them of their existence; for without their labor they cannot

These examples, with all this testimony, vindicate our Proclamation.

There are other instances nearer our own day. During the last war with
England, Admiral Cochrane, commander-in-chief of the British squadron
on the American station, was openly charged with inviting slaves of
our planters to join the British standard, although the phraseology of
his proclamation was covert, offering “all those who might be disposed
to emigrate from the United States” service under his Majesty, or
encouragement as “free settlers” in the British possessions.[125]
Something similar has been anticipated by our own Government on the
coast of Florida, as appears from an official report.

    “In the event of war with either of the great European powers
    possessing colonies in the West Indies, there would be danger
    of the Peninsula of Florida being occupied by blacks from the
    islands. A proper regard to the security of our Southern States
    requires that prompt and efficient measures be adopted to
    prevent such a state of things.”[126]

Here is distinct recognition of danger from black soldiers, if employed
against us.

       *       *       *       *       *

Admitting that an appeal to slaves is constitutional, and also
according to examples of history, it is said that it will be
unavailing, for the slaves will not hearken to it. Then why not try?
It can do no harm, and will at least give us a good name. But, if not
beyond learning from the enemy, we shall see that the generals most
hated on our side, and, like Adams and Hancock in the Revolution,
specially excepted from pardon, are Phelps and Hunter, plainly because
the ideas of these generals are more dreaded than any battery or
strategy. Of this be assured: the opponents of this appeal are not
anxious because it will fail; only because it may be successful do they
oppose it. They fear it will reach the slaves, rather than not reach

Look at it candidly, and you cannot deny that it must produce an
effect. It is idle to say that its influence will be bounded by our
jurisdiction. When the mill-gates are lifted, all the water above, in
its most distant sources, starts on its way; and so will the slaves.
Remote kingdoms trembled at the Pope’s excommunication and interdict,
and an elegant historian has described the thunders of the Vatican
intermingling with the thunders of war. Christendom shook when Luther
nailed his theses on the church-door of Wittenberg. An appeal to our
slaves will be hardly less prevailing. Do you ask how it would be
known? The fall of Troy, long before our telegraph, was flashed by
beacon-fires from Mount Ida to Argos. The slave telegraph is not as
active as ours, but it is hardly less sure. It takes eight days for a
despatch from Fortress Monroe to the Gulf of Mexico. The glad tidings
of Freedom will travel with the wind, with the air, with the light,
quickening and inspiring the whole mass. Secret societies of slaves,
already formed, will be among the operators. That I do not speak
without authority, please listen to the words of John Adams, taken
from his Diary, under date of 24th September, 1775.

    “These gentlemen [Georgia delegates] give a melancholy account
    of the state of Georgia and South Carolina. They say, that,
    if one thousand regular troops should land in Georgia, and
    their commander be provided with arms and clothes enough, and
    proclaim freedom to all the negroes who would join his camp,
    twenty thousand negroes would join it from the two provinces in
    a fortnight. The negroes have a wonderful art of communicating
    intelligence among themselves: it will run several hundreds of
    miles in a week or fortnight.”[127]

This is testimony. The destructive avalanche of the Alps is sometimes
started by the winding of a horn, and a structure so irrational as
Slavery will tremble at a sound.

       *       *       *       *       *

From such appeal two things must ensue. First, the slaves will be
encouraged in loyalty; and, secondly, the masters will be discouraged
in disloyalty. Slave labor, which is the mainspring and nursery of
Rebel supplies, without which the Rebellion must starve, will be
disorganized, while a panic spreads among slave-masters absent from
their homes. The most audacious Rebels will lose their audacity, and,
instead of hurrying forward to deal parricidal blows at their country,
will hurry backward to defend their own firesides. The Rebellion will
lose its power. It will be hamstrung.

That such a panic would ensue is attested by the confession of the
South Carolina delegation in the old Continental Congress, as appears
by its Secret Journal, under date of 29th March, 1779, that this State
was “_unable_ to make any effectual efforts with militia, by reason of
the great proportion of citizens necessary to remain at home to prevent
insurrections among the negroes, and to prevent the desertion of them
to the enemy.”[128] It is attested, also, by the concurring testimony
of Southern men in other days, especially in those remarkable words of
John Randolph: “The night-bell never tolls for fire in Richmond that
the frightened mother does not hug her infant the more closely to her
bosom, not knowing what may have happened.”[129] It is attested also
by the actual condition of things when John Brown entered Virginia, as
pictured in familiar words:--

    “He captured Harper’s Ferry
      With his nineteen men so few,
    And he frightened Old Virginny
      Till she trembled through and through.”

Asserting the efficacy of this appeal, I ground myself on no visionary
theories or vain hopes, but on the nature of man and authentic
history. To doubt its efficacy is to doubt that man is man, with a
constant desire for liberty as for life, and it is also to doubt the
unquestionable instances in our own history where this desire has been
displayed by African slaves. That a government exposed to the assaults
of a merciless barbarian foe should so long reject this irresistible
alliance is among questions to excite the astonishment of future ages.

       *       *       *       *       *

What, then, are the reasons alleged against this appeal? They all
resolve themselves into objections of fact. The President, by his
Proclamation, has already answered them practically; but I will take
them up in detail.

(1.) The first objection, and most often repeated, is one which it is
difficult to treat with patience. We are told that the appeal will
offend the Border States, and that, in this moment of trial, we must
do as they tell us. It is, of course, slave-masters who speak for
the Border States; and permit me to say, such persons, continuing to
swear by Slavery, are not competent witnesses. Believing in Slavery,
wedded to Slavery, they are as incompetent to testify as husband and
wife are incompetent to testify for each other. Just in proportion as
we follow them we are misled, and we shall continue to be misled so
long as we follow them. Their influence is perpetual paralysis. Nobody
can counsel safely at this moment who adheres to Slavery, or fails to
see Slavery as the origin and mainspring of the Rebellion. It is well
known that for a long time in England all efforts against Slavery,
led by Wilberforce and Clarkson, were discountenanced and opposed by
the slave-masters in the distant islands. Whatever the proposition,
whether to abridge, to mitigate, or ameliorate, there was always one
steady dissent. Put not your trust in slave-masters,--do not hearken to
their promises,--do not follow their counsels. Such is the plain lesson
of English history, of French history, of Dutch history, of every
country which has dealt with this question,--ay, of Russian history at
this very moment,--and such, also, is the positive caution of English
statesmen. On this point we have the concurring testimony of three
names, each of which is an authority. It is all embodied in a brief
passage of a speech by Lord Brougham.

    “I entirely concur in the observation of Mr. Burke, repeated
    and more happily expressed by Mr. Canning, that the masters
    of slaves are not to be trusted with making laws upon
    Slavery,--that nothing they do is ever found effectual,--and
    that, if by some miracle they ever chance to enact a wholesome
    regulation, it is always found to want what Mr. Burke calls
    _the executory principle_,--it fails to execute itself.”[130]

These are emphatic words, and as often as I am reminded of the opinions
of Slave-Masters on our present duties, when Slavery is in question, I
think of them as a solemn warning, confirmed by all the teachings of
experience in our own country, early and late.

(2.) Another objection is, that officers in our army will fling down
their arms. Very well,--let the traitors fling down their arms: the
sooner, the better. They are unworthy to bear arms, and should be
delivered up to the hissing and execration of mankind. But I will not
dishonor officers with the commission of the United States by such
imputation on their loyalty and common sense. As officers they must
know their duty too well, and as intelligent men they must know that
the slaves are calculated to be their best and surest allies.

(3.) Another objection is, that Slavery is a “side issue,” not to be
touched until the war is ended. But these wise objectors forget that
it is precisely in order to end the war that Slavery is to be touched,
and that, when they oppose the effort, they make a “side issue” in its
behalf, calculated to weaken the national arm.

(4.) Another objection has its origin in pity, that the Rebels may
be saved from a slave insurrection. God forbid that I should fail in
any duty of humanity, or tenderness even; but I know no principle
of war or of reason by which our Rebels should be saved from the
natural consequences of their own conduct. When they rose against
a paternal Government, they set the example of insurrection which
has carried death to innumerable firesides. They cannot complain,
if their slaves, with better reason, follow it. According to an old
law, bloody inventions return to plague the inventor. But this whole
objection proceeds on a mistaken idea of the African slave. The
story of San Domingo, so often quoted against him, testifies to his
humanity. Only when Napoleon, in an evil hour, sought to reënslave
him, did those scenes of blood occur, which exhibit less the cruelty
of the slave than the atrocious purpose of the white man. The African
is not cruel, vindictive, or harsh, but gentle, forgiving, and kind.
Such is authentic history. Nor does it appear, when the slaves left
their masters, on the appeal of the British commanders, during our
Revolution, that they were guilty of any excess. It is true that labor
was disorganized, and the whole community weakened; and this is what we
seek to accomplish in the Rebel States.

(5.) And yet one more objection is sometimes advanced. It is said
that an appeal to the slaves will make them overflow into the North,
where they will compete with other labor. This ill-considered and
trivial objection subordinates the suppression of the Rebellion to a
question of labor, and, by a “side issue,” diverts attention from the
great object at heart. But it becomes absurd, when you consider, as
every candid observer must admit, that no such objection can arise.
There is no danger of any such overflow. It is precisely the pressure
of Slavery, and not the license of Freedom, that causes overflow.
If Slavery were removed, the Africans would flow back, instead of
overflowing here. The South is their natural home, and there they will
go when justice at last prevails.

Such are the objections of fact, so far as any exist within my
knowledge. If any other has been made, I do not know it. I ask you
frankly, have I not answered them?

       *       *       *       *       *

But, fellow-citizens, I shall not leave the argument at this stage.
It is not enough to show that slaves can render important assistance,
by labor, by information, or by arms, and that there is no reasonable
objection to calling upon them, with other loyalists, in support of
the Union. The case is stronger still. _Without the aid of the slaves
this war cannot be ended successfully._ Their alliance is, therefore,
a necessity. In making this assertion I know well the responsibility
I assume, nor do I assume it lightly. But the time has come when the
truth must be told. Let me be understood. As war is proverbially
uncertain, I cannot doubt that fortune will again light upon our
arms. The force of the Rebellion may be broken even without appeal to
the slaves. But I am sure that with the slaves our victory will be
more prompt, while without them it can never be effectual completely
to crush out the Rebellion. It is not enough to beat armies. Rebel
communities, envenomed against the Union, must be restored, and a
wide-spread region quieted. This can be done only by removal of the
disturbing cause, and the consequent assimilation of the people, so
that no man shall call another master. If Slavery be regarded as a
disease, it must be extirpated by knife and cautery; for only in this
way can the healthful operations of national life be regained. If
regarded as a motive, it must be expelled from the system, that it may
no longer exercise its malign influence. So long as Slavery continues,
the States in which it exists will fly madly from the Union, but with
its destruction they will lose all such tendency. The Slave States, by
the influence of Slavery, are now _centrifugal_; but with Slavery out
of the system, they will be _centripetal_. Such is the law of their
being. And it should be our present policy to take advantage of this
law for the benefit of the Union. Nay, from the necessity of the case,
this must be done.

       *       *       *       *       *

A united people cannot be conquered. Defeated on the battle-field, they
will remain sullen and revengeful, ready for another rebellion. This is
the lesson of history. Even Hannibal, after crushing in the field all
the armies of Rome, and ranging at will throughout Italy, was obliged
to confess the inadequacy of his triumphs, while he appealed for help
to the subjects of Rome, exciting them to insurrection, and arousing
them against the Roman power. To this long-cherished plan were directed
all the energies he could spare from battle, believing that in this
way his enemy could be brought under a double fire. But it is known
that the people of the Slave States are not wholly united, and that
among them are large numbers ready at call to uphold the Union. From
the beginning of the war, we have assumed, as an element of strength,
the presence there of large numbers devoted to the Union, ready at
the proper moment to coöperate with the national forces. Yet most of
these faithful Unionists are not white. The Unionists of the South are
black. Let these be rallied, and the Rebellion will be exposed not only
to a fire in front, but also to a fire in the rear. The two together
are necessary to the operations of war. The Union army thus far is like
a single blade of a pair of scissors, which, though of choicest steel
with sharpest edge, must be comparatively useless. Let the other blade
be conjoined, and the instrument will be perfect. The scissors of Fate
could not cut more surely.

       *       *       *       *       *

Is not our duty clear? And is not the President completely vindicated?
By Emancipation we not only hasten the war to a close, but we give
it an effective _finality_, preventing it from breaking forth anew,
which can be obtained in no other way. The heads of the hydra will
be extirpated and the monster destroyed, never more to show itself.
Without Emancipation the whole contest is delivered over to present
uncertainty, while the future is left to glare with all the horrors of
civil strife unsuppressed. The last chapter of “Rasselas” is entitled
“The Conclusion, in which Nothing is Concluded”; and this will be
the proper title for the history of this war, if Slavery is allowed
to endure. If you would trample down the Rebellion, you must trample
down Slavery; and, believe me, it must be completely done. Among the
terrible pictures in the immortal poem of Dante, where crime on earth
is portrayed in so many fearful punishments, is that of Caiaphas,
high-priest of the Jews, who, as penalty for his sacrifice of the
Saviour, was stretched on the floor of Hell, where all who passed must
tread on him.

    “Naked athwart this pathway he must lie,
      Condemned, as thou perceiv’st, to undergo
    The weight of every one who passes by.”[131]

Such should be the final fate of Slavery, naked and dishonored,
stretched where all may tread upon it. Never can the Rights of War be
employed more justly than to create this doom.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was easy to see from the beginning that the Rebellion had its
origin in Slavery,--that without Slavery it never could have broken
forth,--that, when begun, it was continued only through Slavery,--that
Slavery was at once the curse that pursued, the principle that
governed, and the power that sustained,--and the Oligarchy of
slave-masters, three hundred and fifty thousand all told, were the
criminals through whom all this direful wickedness was organized and
waged. Such is the unquestionable diagnosis of the case, which history
will recognize, and a wise statesmanship must have seen promptly. Not
to see Slavery in this guilty character was a mistake, and grievously
have we answered for it. All are agreed now that Buchanan played into
Rebel hands, when, declaring that there can be no coercion of a State,
he refused to touch the Rebellion. Alas! alas! we, too, may play into
Rebel hands, when, out of strange and incomprehensible forbearance,
we refuse to touch Slavery, which is the very life of the Rebellion.
Pardon these allusions, made in no spirit of criticism, but simply that
I may accumulate new motives for that Proclamation which I rejoice to
welcome as herald of peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many generals already in the field,--upwards of thirty
major-generals, and two hundred brigadiers; but, meritorious and brave
as they may be, there is a general better than all, whom the President
now commissions,--I mean General Emancipation.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is common to speak of God as on the side of the heavy battalions.
Whatever the truth of this saying, it does not contain the whole
truth. Heavy battalions are something, but they are not everything.
Even if prevailing on the battle-field, which is not always the case,
the victory they compel is not final. It is impotent to secure that
tranquillity essential to national life. Mind is above matter, right is
more than force, and it is vain to attempt conquest merely by matter
or by force. If this can be done in small affairs, it cannot in large;
for these yield only to moral influences. Napoleon was the great master
of war, and yet, from his utterances at St. Helena, the legacy of his
transcendent experience, comes this confession: “The more I study the
world, the more am I convinced of the inability of _brute force_ to
create anything durable.” And another Frenchman, of subtile thought
and perfect integrity, whose name is linked forever with American
institutions, De Tocqueville, has paid a similar tribute to truth.
“Force,” says he, “is never more than a transient element of success. A
government only able to crush its enemies on the field of battle would
very soon be destroyed.” In these authoritative words of the warrior
and the thinker there is warning not to put trust in batteries or
bayonets, while an unconquerable instinct makes us confess that might
cannot constitute right.

Let the war end on the battle-field alone, and it will be only in
appearance that it will end, not in reality. Time will be gained
for new efforts, and Slavery will coil itself to spring again. The
Rebellion may seem to be vanquished, and yet it will triumph. The
Union may seem to conquer, and yet it will succumb. The Republic may
seem to be saved, and yet it will be lost,--handed over a prey to that
injustice which, so long as it exists, must challenge the judgments of
a righteous God.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, for the sake of peace, which we all desire, do I now plead for
Freedom, through which alone peace can be secured. Are you earnest for
peace? then must you be earnest for Freedom also. Would you uphold
the Union against treason? then must you uphold Freedom, without
which bloody treason will flourish over us. But Freedom is adopted by
Congress and proclaimed by the President as one of the agencies in the
prosecution of the war. Therefore it must be maintained with all our
souls and all our hearts and all our might. The hour of debate has
passed, the hour of action has sounded. In opposing solemn Acts of
Congress, which, according to the Constitution, are now the supreme
law of the land, passed for the national defence,--in opposing the
Proclamation of the President,--nay, in discouraging Freedom,--you
are as bad as if you discouraged enlistments. It is through Freedom,
as well as arms, that the war will be waged; and the same loyalty
that supports the one is now due to the other. The discouragement
of enlistments is recognized as seditious and traitorous; but the
discouragement of this new force, adopted by the Government for the
suppression of the Rebellion, is only another form of sedition and
treason, which an indignant patriotism will spurn. Emancipation is now
a war measure, to be sustained as you sustain an army in the field.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the instincts of patriotism did not prompt this support, I
should find a sufficient motive in that duty which we all owe to
the Supreme Ruler, God Almighty, whose visitations upon our country
are now so fearful. Not rashly would I make myself the interpreter
of His will; and yet I am not blind. According to a venerable maxim
of jurisprudence, “Whoso would have equity must do equity”; and God
plainly requires equity at our hands. We cannot expect success while
setting at nought this requirement, proclaimed in His divine character,
in the dictates of reason, and in the examples of history,--proclaimed,
also, in the events of this protracted war. Terrible judgments have
fallen upon the country: plagues have been let loose, rivers have
been turned into blood, and there is a great cry throughout the land,
for there is not a house where there is not one dead; and at each
judgment we seem to hear that terrible voice which sounded in the ears
of Pharaoh: “Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people
go, that they may serve me.” I know not how others are touched, but
I cannot listen to the frequent tidings of calamity descending upon
our arms, of a noble soldier lost to his country, of bereavement at
the family hearth, of a youthful son brought home dead to his mother,
without catching the warning, “Let my people go!” Nay, every wound,
every sorrow, every hardship, all that we are compelled to bear in
taxation, in want, in derangement of business, has a voice crying,
“Let my people go!”

And now, thank God, the word is spoken!--greater word was seldom
spoken. Emancipation has begun, and our country is already elevated
and glorified. The war has not changed in _object_, but it has changed
in _character_. Its object now, as at the beginning, is simply to put
down the Rebellion; but its character is derived from the new force at
length enlisted, stamping itself upon all that is done, and absorbing
the whole war to itself. Vain will it be again to delude European
nations into foolish belief that Slavery has nothing to do with the
war, that it is a war for empire on one side and independence on the
other, and that all generous ideas are on the side of the Rebellion.
And vain, also, will be that other European cry,--whether from an
intemperate press or the cautious lips of statesmen,--that separation
is inevitable, and that our Government is doomed to witness the
dismemberment of the Republic. With this new alliance, such forebodings
will be falsified, the wishes of the fathers will be fulfilled, and
the rights of human nature, which were the declared object of our
Revolution, vindicated. Thus inspired, the sword of Washington--that
sword which, according to his last will and testament, was to be drawn
only in self-defence, or in defence of country and its rights--will
once more marshal our armies to victory, while the national flag,
wherever it floats, will give freedom to all beneath its folds, and the
proud inscription be at last triumphantly verified: “Liberty and Union,
now and forever, one and inseparable.”

       *       *       *       *       *

But, fellow-citizens, the war we wage is not merely for ourselves, it
is for all mankind. Slavery yet lingers in Brazil, and beneath the
Spanish flag in those two golden possessions, Cuba and Porto Rico;
but nowhere can it survive extinction here. Therefore we conquer for
Liberty everywhere. In ending Slavery here we open its gates all over
the world, and let the oppressed go free. Nor is this all. In saving
the Republic we save Civilization. Man throughout his long pilgrimage
on earth has been compelled to suffer much, but Slavery is the heaviest
burden he has been called to bear: it is the only burden our country
has been called to bear. Let it drop, and this happy Republic, with
humanity in its train, all changed in raiment and in countenance, like
the Christian Pilgrim, will hurry upward to the celestial gate. If
thus far our example has failed, it is simply because of Slavery. Vain
to proclaim our unparalleled prosperity, the comfort diffused among
a numerous people, resources without stint, or even the education of
our children; the enemies of the Republic had but to say, “There is
Slavery,” and our example became powerless. But let Slavery disappear,
and the same example will be of irresistible might. Without firing a
gun or writing a despatch, it will revolutionize the world.

Therefore the battle we fight belongs to the grandest events of
history. It constitutes one of those epochs from which humanity will
date. It is one of the battles of the ages, as when the millions of
Persia were hurled back from Greece, or when the Mohammedans, victors
in Africa and Spain, were hurled back from France by Charles Martel,
and Western Europe was saved to Christianity. In such a cause no effort
too great, no faith too determined. To die for country is pleasant
and honorable. But all who die for country now die also for humanity.
Wherever they lie in bloody fields, they will be remembered as heroes
through whom the Republic was saved and civilization established

But there are duties elsewhere than in bloody conflict. Each of us, in
his place at home, by his best efforts, can do something, not only to
sustain the soldier in the field, but also to uphold that sublime edict
which will be to the soldier both sword and buckler, while it gives to
the conflict all the grandeur of a great idea. In this hour of trial
let none fail. Above all, let none go over to the enemy, even should
his tents for the moment be pitched in Faneuil Hall,[132] assured
that there can be but two parties: the party of our country, with the
President for its head, and Emancipation its glorious watchword; and
the party of Rebellion, with Jefferson Davis for its head, and no other
watchword than Slavery.



    As this speech was made in the midst of the excitement in
    Massachusetts on the nomination of Mr. Sumner as Senator, an
    account of that contest will not be out of place here.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The early and active part taken by Mr. Sumner in favor
    of Emancipation, and the urgency of his efforts against
    Slavery, excited against him an intense opposition, not
    only in Massachusetts, but throughout the country. He was
    denounced as second only to Jefferson Davis in hostility to
    the Constitution. But these attacks aroused the friends of
    Emancipation, who were unwilling to see their representative

    There were signs of this contest in the autumn of 1861, when
    Mr. Sumner called for Emancipation as our best weapon.[133]
    Governor Andrew saw it coming. In a letter, dated June 9, 1862,
    with reference to the appointment of officers in the Internal
    Revenue Bureau, he used the following language.

        “The Hunkers will make the most strenuous efforts to secure
        a large representation in this agency, so that, by means
        of their influence with the people (and in travelling from
        town to town), they can poison the minds of prominent
        citizens against you, and accomplish your defeat by
        securing a Legislature favorable to their purposes.

        “Depend upon it, that they are calculating largely upon the
        Tax Bill as an element in their desperate ‘strategy’ for
        the fall campaign.”

    The _New York Tribune_, in a vigorous article, June 24, 1862,
    entitled “Mr. Sumner’s Seat,” set forth reasons “why many
    earnest Republicans in other States would regret the retirement
    of Mr. Sumner.” Here it said:--

        “Most of our Republican statesmen have a political
        history antecedent to our existing organizations. Mr.
        Sumner, nearly alone, is nowhere regarded as having Whig
        or Democratic predilections, but as purely and wholly

        “Other statesmen, however profoundly Republican, regard
        collateral questions with an observing interest: the
        Tariff, the Currency, the Pacific Railroad, &c., largely
        engross their attention. Mr. Sumner profoundly believes it
        of paramount, absorbing interest that the nation should be
        just, even to her humblest, most despised children, and
        that Righteousness is the essential condition of material
        and other prosperity. Never inattentive to or neglectful
        of any public duty, never even accused of sacrificing
        or opposing the interest of Massachusetts in any matter
        of legislation, he is yet known to believe that her
        interests can never be truly promoted by sacrificing those
        of Humanity. In an age of venality and of uncharitable
        suspicion, he was never even suspected of giving a
        mercenary or selfish vote; in an atmosphere where every
        man is supposed to have his price, and to be scheming and
        striving for self-aggrandizement, no man ever suggested
        that Charles Sumner was animated by sinister impulses, or
        that he would barter or stifle his convictions for the
        Presidency. The one charge brought against him by his many
        bitter adversaries imports that he is a _fanatic_,--not
        that it was ever imagined that he is the special devotee of
        any fane or sect, but that he sincerely believes it the end
        of civil government to hasten the coming of God’s earthly
        kingdom by causing His justice to pervade every act, every
        relation, and thus making the earth, so far as human
        imperfection will permit, a vestibule of heaven.”

    In warning against possible combination to defeat his
    reëlection, the article said:--

        “All that the Republicans of other States can and do
        ask is, that no back-stairs intrigue, no chimney-corner
        arrangement, shall send to Boston a Legislature secretly
        pledged to oust him, and elected by constituencies
        profoundly ignorant of any such manipulation.… All we ask
        is, that those who vote at the polls to supersede Mr.
        Sumner in the Senate shall know for what they vote, and not
        be duped by professions only made to deceive.”

    The adverse spirit showed itself at a large public meeting in
    New York, July 1st, which was entitled by the _Herald_, “The
    Anti-Abolition and Anti-Secession Movement.--Disunion the Fruit
    of Abolition.” Here Hon. William Duer, of Oswego, seemed to
    become the mouthpiece of the excited multitude.

        “No emancipation and turning loose upon them hordes
        of uncivilized and ignorant Africans.… No tyrant in
        history has ever made his name execrated by measures more
        despicable than such as those proposed by the Abolitionists
        for the humiliation and destruction of the South. The
        Southern people have been deluded by their leaders in the
        same way as the Northern people, and, in his opinion,
        the next man who walked up the scaffold after Jefferson
        Davis should be Charles Sumner. [_Loud and long-continued
        applause, mingled with hooting and groans for Sumner. Some
        person in the meeting attempted to say a word in his favor,
        but his voice was quickly drowned in loud shouts of ‘Put
        him out!’_]”

    This is from the _Herald_. The same incident is thus reported
    in the _Tribune_.

        “And if we came to hanging every traitor in this country
        in the order of their guilt, the next man who marched
        upon the scaffold after Jefferson Davis would be Charles
        Sumner. [_Loud applause, the greatest of the evening thus
        far. Groans for Sumner. Great excitement. Cries of ‘Put him
        out!’ Cries, ‘Where is Horace Greeley?’_]”

    A correspondent of a Boston paper, taking up the strain, echoed
    it for the benefit of Massachusetts.

        “There are now two war-cries in New York, and the great
        Union mastiff is as ready to pounce upon one of the brutes
        as upon the other. If there are two parties outside of the
        doomed radicals, they are those, the most violent of them,
        who would hang Jeff. Davis and Sumner together, and those
        who would hang Davis first and Sumner afterwards.

        “If Sumner is reëlected to the Senate, he may not find it
        convenient to pass through this city. That his name is
        odious, infamous, is not all,--it is cursed and abominable.
        The blood of thousands sacrificed to his ambition and
        personal revenge cries to Heaven against him, and if a
        Massachusetts Legislature can still support him by its
        vote, those who do so will deserve to lose their children
        at the altar of this Moloch.”

    The _New York Herald_ followed with a leader, July 16th,
    entitled, “Senators Wade and Sumner,” which, after announcing
    that the terms of these Senators would expire on the 4th of
    March next, made the following appeal.

        “By the foulest means they have succeeded in clogging the
        wheels of our progress in the war, and have made another
        year of battles unavoidable. Had it not been for them and
        their coadjutors, the war would have been over and the
        Union restored on the Fourth of July instant. More than any
        other men they are responsible for the useless sacrifice of
        blood and treasure in the past, and for the three hundred
        thousand more men and five hundred millions more dollars
        which will have to be perilled in the future. Practically,
        and in the most emphatic sense, they are traitors to the
        country and enemies of the nation. From them, more than
        from a thousand Vallandighams, Jeff. Davis has received
        aid and comfort; for they have strengthened his forces by
        exasperating the South and by dividing and weakening the
        North. We hope that the loyal men of Massachusetts and
        Ohio will raise these questions in the coming elections
        for State legislators, and vote down every man who is
        pledged or who intends to vote for the reëlection of these
        twin traitors, Sumner and Wade. They have only escaped
        Fort Lafayette and the gallows because the Government has
        distrusted its own power and misunderstood the sentiments
        of the loyal people. Let this misunderstanding now end,
        and let Messrs. Sumner and Wade find, when they return to
        their homes, that they are held personally and politically
        responsible for their infamous and treasonable course.”

    The friends of Emancipation in Massachusetts were not inactive.
    The issue thus presented was accepted by the formal nomination
    of Mr. Sumner, at the annual Republican State Convention at
    Worcester, September 10th.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Convention was organized by the choice of the following

    _President_,--Hon. Alexander H. Bullock of Worcester.

    _Vice-Presidents_,--District 1, Nathaniel Coggswell of
    Yarmouth; District 2, J. H. D. Blake of Braintree; District
    3, Theodore Otis of Roxbury; District 4, Nehemiah Boynton of
    Chelsea; District 5, Timothy Davis of Gloucester; District 6,
    George Foster of Andover; District 7, Chauncey L. Knapp of
    Lowell; District 8, Valorous Taft of Upton; District 9, Joel
    Hayden of Williamsburg; District 10, George L. Wright of West
    Springfield. _At Large_,--John Bertram of Salem, George Morey
    of Boston, Tappan Wentworth of Lowell, Ensign H. Kellogg of
    Pittsfield, Charles G. Davis of Plymouth, Henry Alexander, Jr.,
    of Springfield.

    _Secretaries_,--Stephen N. Stockwell of Boston, William M.
    Walker of Pittsfield, Joseph B. Thaxter, Jr., of Hingham,
    William T. Hollis of Plymouth, Thomas B. Gardner of Boston,
    Joel Hayden, Jr., of Williamsburg.

    John A. Andrew was re-nominated for Governor by acclamation.
    J. Q. A. Griffin, of Charlestown, introduced a resolution
    approving the course of the two Senators, and nominating Mr.
    Sumner for reëlection as Senator, and at the same time said:--

        “Remember, it is our duty not only to sustain the arms
        of the Generals in the field, but likewise to sustain
        the President in his seat, the Cabinet in its counsels,
        the Governor in his chair, and, _above all, the fearless
        legislator in his duty_. [_Loud applause, and cries of

    Mr. Griffin was followed by Frederick Robinson, of Marblehead,
    who hoped that the resolution would be adopted unanimously,
    and also another, expressing the opinion of Massachusetts in
    favor of Emancipation. George F. Hoar, of Worcester, agreed
    with Mr. Robinson. As to the resolution approving Charles
    Sumner and Henry Wilson, “he liked that,” but he wished, also,
    “an expression of the opinion of this Convention, that it
    is the duty of the United States Government, in the further
    prosecution of the war, to strike the Rebellion where it is
    weakest.” The different propositions were then referred to
    a committee. At this stage the letter of Mr. Sumner to the
    Convention was presented and read by Mr. Claflin.[134]

    Among the resolutions subsequently reported were the two

        “_Resolved_, That the most decisive measures for the
        complete and permanent suppression of this Rebellion are
        the most prudent, and that, as the institution of Slavery
        is a principal support of it, that institution shall be

        “_Resolved_, That we recognize and acknowledge the
        preëminent merits and services of our Senators in the
        Congress of the United States, the Hon. Charles Sumner
        and the Hon. Henry Wilson. In the posts of duty assigned
        them by the suffrages of their brother Senators, one as
        Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and the
        other as Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs,
        they have cordially and unreservedly, and with masterly
        ability, supported all governmental measures, and fitly
        represented the Commonwealth as among the most cheerful and
        enthusiastic defenders of the Government. And now that the
        second term of our senior Senator is drawing to a close,
        we desire to express our warm approbation of his course
        and appreciation of his services, and to commend him to
        the suffrages of his fellow-citizens, whom he has served
        so well, that the Commonwealth may again honor itself by
        returning to duty at the capital a statesman, a scholar, a
        patriot, and a man of whom any republic in any age might be

    The whole series, as read, was received with intense
    enthusiasm, especially that against Slavery. A motion was
    made to amend by striking out that part recommending the
    reëlection of Mr. Sumner, which was voted down promptly, and
    the resolution was unanimously adopted.

    The action of the Convention presented two distinct
    issues,--first, the extermination of Slavery, and, secondly,
    the reëlection of Mr. Sumner. There was at once a counter
    movement. A call was put forth for what was called a “People’s
    Convention,” at Faneuil Hall, October 7th, whose main object
    was to defeat the action of the Republican Convention, and
    especially the reëlection of Mr. Sumner. It was supposed that
    in this way all the elements of opposition could be united.
    This plan received an unexpected check by the Proclamation of
    Emancipation of September 22d. It could no longer be said that
    the Republican Party of Massachusetts and Mr. Sumner were not
    in entire harmony with the President.

    Meanwhile Mr. Sumner addressed his fellow-citizens at Faneuil
    Hall, October 6th, in vindication of the Proclamation. On
    the succeeding day the “People’s Convention” assembled in
    the same place and nominated candidates for State offices in
    opposition to the Republicans. The tone of this Convention
    appears in a brief extract from the speech of Hon. Josiah G.
    Abbott, of Boston. After alluding to the various interests of
    Massachusetts, he said:--

        “And I tell you, Gentlemen,--and every heart here responds
        to it,--every heart out of this hall would respond to it,
        if the lips would speak the language of the heart,--I tell
        you, Gentlemen, we want men in the Halls of Congress, in
        the House of Representatives, and, above and beyond all,
        in the Senate Chamber, who will attend to those interests,
        and not be continually, as they have been, Sir, attending
        to mere wild speculations and sentimental theories.
        [_Applause._] Do not the people cry out, ’For God’s sake,
        give us somebody who believes there is something to be
        attended to in the wants of a million and a quarter of
        white men, women, and children’? [_Great applause._]”

    The spirit of this Convention was thus described by the
    _Norfolk County Journal_:--

        “The partisanship of the People’s Convention all centres
        in opposition to Charles Sumner. It is as pure an instance
        of personal hate on the part of its leaders as was ever
        exhibited. _This animosity comes solely from the fact
        that he was the earliest and has been the most persistent
        advocate of what is now the policy of the nation._ They
        hate Mr. Sumner, not because he is personally unamiable,
        not because there is a flaw in his moral character or a
        doubt as to the purity of his intentions, not because he
        has not represented the opinion of Massachusetts, and
        faithfully advocated her best interests on every point
        affecting her material prosperity. They have commenced this
        personal crusade _solely_ because he has been the most
        conspicuous and uncompromising foe to the encroachments of
        Southern Slavery. And now that the President has ranged
        himself on Mr. Sumner’s side, in opposing him they oppose
        the Administration.”

    On the next day, the Democratic Convention at Worcester adopted
    the nominations of the “People’s Convention,” so that the
    elements of opposition seemed to be united. The President of
    the Convention in his remarks announced the common object.

        “Let me, then, appeal to you to come here with one heart
        and with kindly feelings towards all, entertaining respect
        for the opinions of all, so that, when this Convention
        shall have adjourned, a voice will go forth throughout this
        Commonwealth, that the day of John A. Andrew and Charles
        Sumner is ended. [_Prolonged cheers._]”

    Other speeches followed in the same tone, and insisting upon
    union “to beat Sumner and Andrew.”

    The issue was thus presented to the people of Massachusetts,
    and throughout the Commonwealth the election of Senators
    and Representatives turned mainly upon it. If the attack
    was vigorous, so also was the defence. Of the latter a few
    illustrations will suffice. The first is from Wendell Phillips,
    who, in an address at Music Hall, Sunday forenoon, November 2d,

        “I say this much, before turning again to my immediate
        subject, for our great Senator, who has done justice to the
        manufacturing interests and the shipping of Massachusetts,
        as Webster did, and also justice to her conscience and her
        thought, as Webster did not. [_Applause._] I do not wish to
        take one leaf from the laurel of the great Defender of the
        Constitution; he rests at Marshfield, beneath the honors he
        fairly earned. But we have put in his place a man far more
        practical than he was; we have put in his place the hardest
        worker that Massachusetts ever sent to the Senate of the
        United States [_applause_]; we have put in his place the
        Stonewall Jackson of the floor of the Senate,--patient of
        labor, untiring in effort, boundless in resources, terribly
        in earnest,--the only man who, in civil affairs, is to
        be compared with the great terror of the Union armies,
        the General of the Virginia forces: both ideologists,
        both horsed on an idea, and both men whom a year ago the
        drudges of State Street denounced, or would have denounced,
        as unpractical and impracticable; but when the war-bugle
        sounded through the land, both were found to be the only
        men to whom Carolina and Massachusetts hasted to give the
        batons of the opposing hosts.”

    John G. Whittier, whose words of flame had done so much in the
    long warfare with Slavery, was aroused from his retirement to
    testify. In the Amesbury _Villager_, near his home, he wrote:--

        “In looking over the speeches and newspapers of his active
        opponents, it really seems to me, that, if ever a man
        was hated and condemned for his very virtues, it is this
        gentleman. Nobody accuses him of making use of his high
        position for his own personal emolument; no shadow of
        suspicion rests upon the purity of his private or public
        character; no man can point to an instance in which he
        has neglected any duty properly devolving upon him; no
        interest of his State has been forgotten or overlooked;
        no citizen has appealed to him in vain for kindly offices
        and courteous hearing and attention. As Chairman of the
        Committee of Foreign Affairs, his industry and ability
        have never been denied by his bitterest enemies. All admit
        that he has rendered important service to his Government.
        What, then, is his crime? Simply and solely this, that he
        stands inflexibly by his principles,--that he is too hearty
        in his hatred of the monstrous Wrong which initiated and
        still sustains the present Rebellion,--that in advance
        of his contemporaries he saw the danger and proclaimed
        it,--that he heartily sustains the President in his
        Proclamation,--that he is in favor of destroying the guilty
        cause of all our national calamities, that red-handed
        murderer and traitor against whom the sighs and groans of
        Massachusetts wives and mothers, weeping in every town
        and hamlet for dear ones who are not, are rising in swift
        witness to God.

        “This is his crime, his real offence, in the eyes of his
        leading opponents. I know it has been said that he is
        too much a man of ideas, and not a statesman. That he
        is not a politician, in the modern sense of the word, I
        admit; and if indirection, trickery, and the habit of
        looking upon men, parties, and principles as mere stock in
        trade and tools of convenience are the qualifications of
        statecraft, then he is not a statesman. But if a thorough
        comprehension of the great principles of law and political
        economy, of all which constitutes the true honor and glory
        and prosperity of a people,--if the will and ability to
        master every question as it arises,--if entire familiarity
        with the history, resources, laws, and policy of other
        nations, derived not merely from the study of books, but
        from free personal intercourse with the leading minds of
        Europe, are essential requisites of statesmanship, then is
        Charles Sumner a statesman in the noblest and truest sense.
        Certain it is that he is so regarded by the diplomatic
        representatives of European nations, and that no man in the
        country has so entirely the confidence and esteem of all
        who are really our friends in the Old World.”

    Horace Greeley, in an article under his own name in the
    New York _Independent_, and entitled, “Charles Sumner as a
    Statesman,” united with the Republicans of Massachusetts.

        “For the first time in our political history, a party has
        been organized and a State ticket nominated for the sole
        purpose of defeating the reëlection of one who is not a
        State officer, and never aspired to be. Governor Andrew is
        regarded with a hostility intensified by the fewness of
        those who feel it; but the bitterness with which Mr. Sumner
        is hated insists on the gratification of a canvass, even
        though a hopeless one; and, since there was no existing
        party by which this could be attempted without manifest
        futility, one was organized for the purpose. And it was
        best that this should be. Let us have a census of the
        friends and the enemies of Mr. Sumner in the State which he
        has so honored.

        “I have said, that, while other Senators have shared
        his convictions, none has seemed so emphatically, so
        eminently, as he to embody and represent the growing,
        deepening Antislavery sentiment of the country. None has
        seemed so invariably to realize that a public wrong is a
        public danger, that injustice to the humblest and weakest
        is peril to the well-being of all. Others have seemed to
        regard the recent developments of disunion and treason
        with surprise and alarm: he has esteemed them the bitter,
        but natural, fruit of the deadly tree we have so long been
        watering and cherishing. The profound, yet simple truth,
        that ‘RIGHTEOUSNESS exalteth a nation,’--that nothing else
        is so baleful as injustice,--that the country which gains
        a large accession of territory or of wealth at the cost
        of violating the least tittle of the canons of eternal
        rectitude has therein made a ruinous mistake,--that
        nothing else can be so important or so profitable as
        stern uprightness: such is the key-note of his lofty and
        beneficent career. May it be vouchsafed him to announce
        from his seat in the Senate the final overthrow of the
        demon he has so faithfully, so nobly resisted, and that
        from Greenland to Panama, from the St. John to the Pacific,
        the sun in his daily course looks down on no master and no

    A single incident will illustrate the interest excited
    throughout the Commonwealth. A venerable citizen of New
    Bedford, seventy-nine years of age and very feeble, was
    assisted to the polls, saying, “Here goes a dying vote for
    Charles Sumner!”

    The triumphant result of the election was known at once. It was
    declared officially on the meeting of the Legislature.

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 15, 1863, at twelve o’clock, each branch of the
    Legislature proceeded, by special assignment, to vote for a
    Senator to represent Massachusetts for six years from March
    4th next ensuing. The vote in each branch was _vivâ voce_, the
    roll bring called and each member pronouncing the name of the
    candidate he voted for.

    In the Senate, the vote was,--

        Charles Sumner, of Boston         33
        Josiah G. Abbott, of Boston        5
        Charles Francis Adams, of Quincy   1

    In the House of Representatives, the vote was,--

        Charles Sumner                   194
        Josiah G. Abbott                  38
        Caleb Gushing                      2
        Charles Francis Adams              1

    In the House there were slight manifestations of applause when
    the result was announced, but they were promptly checked by the

    The result was noticed by the press throughout the country.
    The venerable _National Intelligencer_, at Washington, which
    had been opposed to the principles and policies of Mr. Sumner,
    employed the following generous terms.

        “This is the third time that this gentleman has been thus
        honored by the Legislature of Massachusetts. Such repeated
        tokens of confidence would seem sufficiently to indicate,
        that, whatever dissent from the views of Mr. Sumner may
        elsewhere exist, he is the favorite, as he is admitted
        by all to be the able, representative of the opinions
        entertained by a majority of the people of this great and
        influential State. And these views now predominate in the
        conduct of the present Administration, which may be said to
        have adopted, reluctantly and at a late day, the political
        and military policy early commended to its favor by Mr.

        “If we are not able to concur with Mr. Sumner in certain of
        his opinions on questions of domestic politics, it gives
        us only the greater pleasure to bear our cheerful and
        candid testimony to the enlightened judgment and peculiar
        qualifications he brings to the discharge of the important
        duties devolved on him as Chairman of the Committee on
        Foreign Relations in the Senate. In this capacity he has
        deservedly won the confidence of the whole country.”

    Such testimony from a political opponent attested the change
    that had occurred in public policy and private feeling.

    The _Tribune_ exhibited the change in yet stronger light.

        “By a vote of nearly six to one, Massachusetts again
        declares her confidence in her long-tried Senator, and, on
        an issue defined with unmistakable clearness, for the third
        time returns him to his seat.

        “The contrast between his present position and that which
        he held on first entering the Senate is instructive. Then
        an arrogant Democratic majority with unequalled effrontery
        declared him outside of any healthy political organization,
        excluded him from the Committees, denied him parliamentary
        courtesies, and withheld the common civilities of social
        intercourse and acquaintance. There were hardly three or
        four Senators in Congress who were in any degree identified
        with his opinions. He declared them none the less boldly,
        and his speeches for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act,
        on the Nebraska Bill, and on the Crime against Kansas
        finally exasperated the slaveholding oligarchy into
        personal violence, and for words spoken in orderly debate
        he was brutally assaulted on the floor of the Senate and
        seriously injured. This outrage, and the enthusiastic
        approval with which it was received throughout the South,
        were largely instrumental in rousing the North to a right
        estimate of the system and the political power which sought
        such means of defence.”

    The _Liberator_, by the pen of its faithful and able editor,
    William Lloyd Garrison, gave expression to the sentiments of
    those most enlisted against Slavery.

        “Thus has Massachusetts nobly vindicated her name and fame
        as the foremost State of all the world in the cause of free
        institutions, and trampled beneath her feet the malignant
        aspersions cast upon the political reputation of her gifted
        Senator by the minions of a traitorous Slave Oligarchy. The
        vote is an overwhelming one, notwithstanding the desperate
        efforts of Mr. Sumner’s enemies to make his defeat a sure
        event. Such enemies only serve to prove his personal worth
        and public usefulness, and their factious and profligate

        “Mr. Sumner’s friends in Washington proposed, last week,
        to give him a serenade in honor of his reëlection to the
        Senate; but, hearing of their intention, he declared that
        the compliment was not in accordance with the present
        condition of public affairs, and intimated that he
        preferred that the funds subscribed for the music should be
        donated to the Massachusetts Soldiers’ Relief Association,
        which was done.”

    In Mr. Sumner’s reëlection the cause of Emancipation triumphed,
    and Massachusetts was fixed irrevocably on that side.



                                              BOSTON, October 10, 1862.

  GENTLEMEN,--I feel flattered by your invitation, where I
  recognize so many excellent names, and shall be happy to take
  advantage of the opportunity with which you honor me.

  The Emancipation Proclamation of the President, on which you ask
  me to speak, is now the corner-stone of our national policy. For
  the sake of our country, and in loyalty to our Government, it
  ought to have the best support of every patriot citizen, without
  hesitation or lukewarmness. Now is the time for earnest men.

  If agreeable to you, I accept your invitation for Monday evening,
  20th October.

      Believe me, Gentlemen, with much respect,

          Faithfully yours,

              CHARLES SUMNER.



    At the dinner which followed the cattle-show, Mr. Sumner was
    introduced by Hon. Erastus Hopkins, who commenced by alluding
    to their early days at the Boston Latin School.

        “GENTLEMEN,--It is now full forty years, when at school
        I had a schoolmate and a classmate who in point of
        physical altitude and breadth, but more especially (I am
        no flatterer, I only speak historic truth) in point of
        diligence and scholarship, was _primus inter pares_,--first
        among equals. That boy was father of the man. He now holds
        the position of Senator in the Senate of the United States,
        with a relative eminence no less than that of his earlier
        days. He is the valued servant and the honored Senator of
        Massachusetts, whom she has hitherto delighted to honor,
        and whom, so long as she remains true to her cherished
        sentiments, to her gushing instincts, and to her memorable
        history, SHE WILL EVER HONOR. [_Loud applause._]

        “We were told yesterday by the Rev. Dr. Huntington, in
        his admirable address delivered in this hall, that the
        farmer owed his first duty to his land,--to care for it, to
        fertilize it, and to beautify it. Recurring to this point,
        at the close of his address, he reminded the farmer that
        ‘duty to his land’ was susceptible of a double meaning: the
        one referring to the few acres of his own individual and
        exclusive proprietorship; the other, to that great land,
        that vast country, which he owned, and to which he owed
        duty, in common with all his fellow-citizens.

        “I do not know that the honorable Senator owns, or ever did
        own, in separate proprietorship, any acres of land,--that
        he ever held the plough, or ‘drove the team a-field’; I do
        not know whether he intends to enlighten us with regard to
        the care and culture of our homesteads and our farms; but
        I do know that he understands the farmer’s ‘duty to his
        land,’ in the secondary and higher sense to which allusion
        has been made,--that, looking over our wide country, our
        rich heritage, and heritage of our fathers, he has been
        ever diligent and untiring in his endeavors to remove its
        deformities, to augment its fertility, and to crown it with

        “To which department of farming the Senator will direct his
        remarks I know not; but, whatever his topic, I submit without
        fear his words of instruction and of eloquence to the ordeal
        of your verdict.

        “I have the honor to introduce to you the Hon. CHARLES SUMNER.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.


I cannot forget the first time that I looked upon this beautiful
valley, where river, meadow, and hill contribute to the charm. It
was while a youth in college. With several of my classmates I made a
pedestrian excursion through Massachusetts. Starting from Cambridge,
we passed, by way of Sterling and Barre, to Amherst, where, arriving
weary and footsore, we refreshed ourselves at the evening prayer in
the College Chapel. From Amherst we walked to Northampton, and then,
ascending Mount Holyoke, saw the valley of the Connecticut spread out
before us, with river of silver winding through meadows of gold. It
was a scene of enchantment, and time has not weakened the impression
it made. From Northampton we walked to Deerfield, sleeping near Bloody
Brook, and then to Greenfield, where we turned off by Coleraine through
dark woods and over hills to Bennington in Vermont. The whole excursion
was deeply interesting, but no part more so than your valley. Since
then I have been a traveller at home and abroad, but I know no similar
scene of greater beauty. I have seen the meadows of Lombardy, and those
historic rivers, the Rhine and the Arno, and that stream of Charente,
which Henry the Fourth called the most beautiful of France,--also those
Scottish rivers so famous in legend and song, and the exquisite fields
and sparkling waters of Lower Austria; but my youthful joy in the
landscape which I witnessed from the neighboring hill-top has never
been surpassed in any kindred scene. Other places are richer in the
associations of history; but you have enough already in what Nature has
done, without waiting for any further illustration.

It is a saying of Antiquity, often quoted: “Oh, too fortunate
husbandmen, if they only knew their blessings!”[135] Nowhere are these
words more applicable than to this neighborhood, where Nature has
done so much, and where all that Nature has done is enhanced by an
intelligent and liberal spirit. An eminent French writer, one of the
greatest of his country, who wrote in the middle of the last century,
when France was a despotism, Montesquieu, has remarked in his “Spirit
of Laws,” that “countries are not cultivated in proportion to their
fertility, but in proportion to their liberty.”[136] A beautiful truth.
But here in this valley are both. Where is there greater fertility?
where is there truer liberty?

If the farmers of our country needed anything to stimulate pride in
their vocation, it would be found in the statistics furnished by the
national census. That of 1860 is not yet prepared, and I go back
to that of 1850. Here it appears, that, out of the whole employed
population of the United States over fifteen years of age, two
millions four hundred thousand, or forty-four per cent, were engaged
in agricultural pursuits, while the total number engaged in commerce,
trade, manufactures, mechanic arts, and mining was only one million
six hundred thousand, or about thirty per cent. These figures show an
immense predominance of the agricultural interest in the whole country.
Of course in Massachusetts the commercial and manufacturing interests
are relatively larger than in other parts of the country. But our
farmers are numerous.

This same census shows, that, in 1850, the four largest staples of our
country, ranking them according to their nominal value, were: Indian
corn, two hundred and ninety-six million dollars; wheat, one hundred
million dollars; cotton, ninety-eight million dollars; hay, ninety-six
million dollars. These figures, of course, are familiar, but they are
so instructive that they will bear repetition. Besides illustrating
the magnitude of our agricultural interests, they shed new light on
the lofty pretensions that have been made for King Cotton. There is no
crown for hay, or wheat, or Indian corn, and yet two of these stand
above cotton. But the whole table testifies to the power of the farmer.

From another quarter are statistics showing how agricultural pursuits
favor longevity. Out of seventeen hundred persons, the average life
of farmers was forty-five years; of merchants, thirty-three years; of
mechanics, twenty-nine years; and of laborers, twenty-seven years. Thus
length of days seems to be an agricultural product.

Gratifying as it may be to glance at agriculture in these statistics,
which must arouse the pride, if not the content of the farmer, there
are other aspects which to my mind are more interesting. In early days
agriculture was only an art, most imperfectly developed. The plough
of the ancient husbandman was little more than a pole with a stick at
the end by which the earth was scratched, and other implements were
of like simplicity. As for the knowledge employed, it was all of the
most superficial character. But agriculture is now not only an art, in
a high degree of perfection, it is also a science, with its laws and
rules, as much as navigation or astronomy. There is no knowledge which
will not help the farmer; especially is there no branch of science.
Geography, geology, meteorology, botany, chemistry, zoölogy, and animal
physiology, all contribute. Regarding agriculture in this light, we
cannot fail to give the farmer a high standard of excellence. In the
cultivation of the earth he practises an art and pursues a science. But
human character is elevated by the standard which is followed.

There is another feature in the life of the farmer which is to me more
interesting still. The farmer is patriotic and liberal. Dependent upon
Nature, he learns to be independent of Man. If not less than others
under the influence of local prejudices, he is at least removed from
those combinations engendered by the spirit of trade. He thinks for
himself, and acts for his country. I do not venture to say that he is
naturally a reformer, but I think the experience of our country attests
that he does not set himself against the ideas of the age.

    Here Mr. Sumner dwelt on that spirit of obstructiveness which
    is so common, illustrating it by historic instances, and then

I rejoice to believe that there is no such hide-bound indifference to
liberal ideas among our farmers. But, just in proportion as these are
numerous, intelligent, powerful, and liberal, do they constitute an
arm of strength. Pardon me, if now more than ever I see them in this
character. In appealing to them for the sake of our country, I make no
appeal inconsistent with the proprieties of this occasion. Our country
is in peril, and it must be saved. This is enough.

Under God, our country will be saved through the united energy, the
well-compacted vigor of the people directed by the President of the
United States. Our first duty is to stand by the President, and to hold
up his hands. There must be no hesitation or timidity. If he calls
for troops, he must have them. If, besides calling for troops, he
enlist other agencies for the suppression of the Rebellion, he must be
sustained precisely as in calling for troops.

Thus far the main dependence has been troops, to which our honored
Commonwealth has made generous contributions. No part of the country
has suffered more in gallant officers, youthful, gentle, and excellent
in all things. This neighborhood has its story of sorrow. Amherst has
buried the pure and patriotic Stearns, and only within a few days here
in Northampton you have received from the field of death the brave and
accomplished Baker.

And now at last a new power is invoked, being nothing less than that
great Proclamation of the President which places Liberty at the head of
our columns.

    Mr. Sumner here explained the immediate and prospective effects
    of the Proclamation, and then closed as follows.

It is sometimes said that this edict is unconstitutional. Some there
are with whom the Constitution is a constant stumbling-block, wherever
anything is to be done for Freedom. It cannot be so, I trust, with the
liberal farmers of this valley. Of course, the Edict of Emancipation is
to be regarded as a war measure, made in the exercise of the Rights
of War. It is as much a war measure as the proclamation calling forth
troops, and is entitled to the same support. It is not a measure of
Abolition or Antislavery, or of philanthropy, but a war measure, pure
and simple. If there be any person disposed to discourage it, I warn
him that _he departs from the duties of patriotism hardly less than if
he discouraged enlistments_. There is but one course now before us.
The policy of Emancipation, at last adopted as a war measure, must
be sustained precisely as we sustain an army in the field. With this
new and mighty agency I cannot doubt the result. The Rebellion will
be crushed, and the Republic will be elevated to heights of power and
grandeur where it will be an example to mankind. It is related of
the Emperor Julian, known as the Apostate,--for he had once embraced
Christianity,--that, perishing before he had struck the last blows
prepared by hatred to the Church, he looked at the blood which spurted
from his side, and then cried, “Galilean, thou hast conquered!” Whether
fable or truth, the story has its meaning. Such a cry will yet be heard
from the apostate chiefs in our Rebel States, “Liberty, thou hast
conquered!”--and the echo of this cry will be heard round the globe.

       *       *       *       *       *

Following the usage of your festival, I offer the following sentiment:--

    _The Valley of the Connecticut._ Happy in its fertility, and
    also in its beauty; happier still in that inspiration of
    Liberty which is better than fertility or beauty.



    The following resolution, offered by Mr. Sumner, was adopted.

RESOLVED, That the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia
be directed to consider the expediency of providing by law for the
establishment of a corps composed of men especially enlisted for
hospital and ambulance service, with officers commissioned purposely
to command them, who shall have the entire charge, under the medical
officers, of the hospitals and of the ambulance wagons, so as to
enlarge the usefulness of this humane service, and give to it the
efficiency derived from organization.



                                           WASHINGTON, January 1, 1863.

  MY DEAR SIR,--Owing to the wretched condition of the mails
  between New York and Washington, I did not receive your letter
  of the 27th in season for an answer to be used at the proposed

  I am glad that you celebrated the day. It deserved your
  celebration, your thanksgiving, and your prayers. On that day an
  angel appeared upon the earth.

  Accept my best wishes for your association, and believe me, dear

      Faithfully yours,




    In the Senate, January 19th, Mr. McDougall, a Democratic
    Senator from California, introduced the following resolutions,
    setting forth the duty of the United States to take steps
    against French interference in Mexico.

        “_Resolved by the Senate_ (_the House of Representatives
        concurring_), That the present attempt by the Government of
        France to subject the Republic of Mexico to her authority
        by armed force is a violation of the established and known
        rules of International Law, and that it is, moreover, a
        violation of the faith of France, pledged by the treaty
        made at London on the 31st day of October, 1861, between
        the allied Governments of Spain, France, and England,
        communicated to this Government over the signatures of the
        representatives of the allies, by letter of the 30th day of
        November, 1861, and particularly and repeatedly assured to
        this Government through its minister resident at the Court
        of France.

        “_Resolved further_, That the attempt to subject the
        Republic of Mexico to French authority is an act not merely
        unfriendly to this Republic, but to free institutions
        everywhere; and that it is regarded by this Republic as not
        only unfriendly, but as hostile.

        “_Resolved further_, That it is the duty of this Republic
        to require of the Government of France that her armed
        forces be withdrawn from the territories of Mexico.

        “_Resolved further_, That it is the duty and proper office
        of this Republic, now and at all times, to lend such aid to
        the Republic of Mexico as is or may be required to prevent
        the forcible interposition of any of the States of Europe
        in the political affairs of that Republic.

        “_Resolved further_, That the President of the United
        States be requested to cause to be communicated to the
        Government of Mexico the views now expressed by the two
        Houses of Congress, and be further requested to cause to
        be negotiated such treaty or treaties between the two
        Republics as will best tend to make these views effective.”

    February 3d, Mr. McDougall moved to take them up for
    consideration. His motion was opposed by Mr. Sumner, who said,
    among other things:--

But, Sir, if the Senate had abundant time, like a mere debating
society, and were free to select at will a topic for discussion, I
surely should object at this moment to a debate which must be not only
useless, but worse than useless. I forbear from details at present. I
wish to avoid them, unless rendered necessary. I content myself with
saying that the resolutions either mean something or they mean nothing.
If they mean nothing, surely the Senate will not enter upon their
discussion. If they mean anything, if they are not mere words, they
mean war, and this no common war, but war with a great and adventurous
nation, powerful in fleets and armies, bound to us by treaties and
manifold traditions, and still constant in professions of amity and
good-will. Sir, have we not war enough already on our hands, without
needlessly and wantonly provoking another? For myself, I give all that
I have of intellectual action, and will, and heart, to the suppression
of this Rebellion; and never, by my consent, shall the Senate enter
upon a discussion the first effect of which will be aid and comfort to
the Rebellion itself.

    Mr. McDougall, in reply, said: “I trust the Senate will dare to
    look the grave question of our foreign relations with France
    and Mexico fairly, boldly, and openly in the face. I hope the
    Senate will not take counsel of its fears.” Mr. Sumner followed.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I, too, hope that the Senate will dare do everything
that is right; but I hope that it will not dare to embarrass the
Government at this moment, and give aid and comfort to the Rebellion.
I do not say that the Senator means to give such aid and comfort, but
I do say that the very speech which has just fallen from him, to the
extent of its influence, will give aid and comfort. Can any Senator
doubt that all who sympathize with the Rebellion will rejoice to see
this Senate discussing the question of peace and war with a great
European power? Can any one doubt that the Rebels over the way will
rejoice and clap their hands, when they hear the tidings? Sir, I will
not give them any such encouragement. They shall not have it, if vote
or voice of mine can prevent. I, too, Sir, am for the freest latitude
of debate, but I am for the suppression of the Rebellion above and
before everything else; and the desires of the Senate must all yield
at this moment to the patriotic requirements of the country. There is
a time for all things. There is a time to weep, and there is a time
to laugh. I do not know, that, in the chapter of national calamities,
there may not be a time for further war; but I do say that the duty
of statesmanship here in this Chamber is to set the foot down at
once against any such proposition, which, just to the extent of its
recognition, must add to present embarrassments.

    The resolutions were taken up for consideration by a vote of 29
    yeas to 16 nays, when Mr. McDougall made an elaborate speech.
    Mr. Sumner followed.

MR. PRESIDENT,--At the present moment there is one touchstone to which
I am disposed to bring every question, especially in our foreign
relations; and this touchstone is its influence on the suppression of
the Rebellion. A measure may in itself be just or expedient; but if it
would be a present burden, if it would add to our embarrassments and
troubles, and especially if it would aggravate our military condition,
then, whatever may be its merits, I am against it. To the suppression
of the Rebellion the country offers life and treasure without stint,
and it expects that these energies shall not be sacrificed or impaired
by the assumption of any added responsibilities.

If I bring these resolutions to this touchstone, they fail. They may
be right or wrong in fact and principle, but their influence at this
moment, if adopted, must be most prejudicial to the cause of the Union.
Assuming the tone of friendship to Mexico, they practically give to
the Rebellion a most powerful ally, for they openly challenge war with
France. There is madness in the proposition. I do not question the
motives of the Senator, but it would be difficult to conceive anything
more calculated to aid and comfort the Rebellion, just in proportion to
its adoption. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. The present
war is surely enough, without adding war with France.

I content myself with this protest, without following the Senator in a
discussion which must be unprofitable, if not pernicious.

I say nothing of France, whose power cannot be doubted, and whose
friendship I would carefully cultivate.

I say nothing of Mexico, our unhappy neighbor Republic, torn, as we now
are, except to declare sympathy and cordial good-will.

It is sufficient that the policy of the Senator from California,
without any certainty of good to Mexico, must excite the hostility of
France, and give to the Rebellion armies and fleets, not to mention
that recognition and foreign intervention which we deprecate.

Let us all unite to put down the Rebellion. This is enough for the

If Senators are sensitive, when they see European monarchies again
setting foot on this hemisphere,--entering Mexico with their armies,
entering New Grenada with their influence, and occupying the ancient
San Domingo,--let them consider that there is but one way in which
this return of empire can be arrested. It is by the suppression of the
Rebellion. Let the Rebellion be overcome, and this whole continent
will fall naturally, peacefully, and tranquilly under the irresistible
influence of American institutions. Resolutions cannot do this, nor
speeches. I therefore move that the resolutions lie on the table.

    The Senate went into Executive Session without a vote. The
    resolutions came up again the next day, when, on motion of Mr.
    Sumner, they were laid on the table, by a vote of yeas 34, nays



    As early as May 26, 1862, Mr. Sumner introduced a resolution
    declaring that the time had come for the Government “to invite
    all, without distinction of color, to make their loyalty
    manifest by ceasing to fight or labor for the Rebels, and also
    by rendering every assistance in their power to the cause of
    the Constitution and the Union, according to their ability,
    whether by _arms_, or labor, or information, or in any other

    After much debate, an Act was passed to amend the Act to
    provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws
    of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions,
    approved February 28, 1795. The new Act, approved by the
    President July 17, 1862, contained the following provision:--

        “That the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to
        receive into the service of the United States, for the
        purpose of constructing intrenchments, or performing camp
        service or any other labor, or any military or naval
        service for which they may be found competent, persons of
        African descent; and such persons shall be enrolled and
        organized under such regulations, not inconsistent with the
        Constitution and laws, as the President may prescribe.”[137]

    This was the beginning of colored troops.

    In his speech at Faneuil Hall, October 6, 1862,[138] Mr. Sumner
    justified an appeal to the slaves.

    In the Senate, February 9, 1863, he introduced the following
    bill, providing for the enlistment of slaves and others of
    African descent, which was referred to the Committee on
    Military Affairs and the Militia, and ordered to be printed.

       *       *       *       *       *

  A Bill to raise additional Soldiers for the Service of the
      United States.

_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled_, That each and every
able-bodied male person of the age of eighteen years and under
forty-five years, made free by the Act of Congress, approved August
sixth, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, entitled “An Act to confiscate
property used for insurrectionary purposes,” or the Act of July
seventeenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, entitled “An Act to
suppress insurrection, to punish treason and rebellion, to seize and
confiscate the property of Rebels, and for other purposes,” or by
Proclamations of the President of the United States, dated September
twenty-second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and January first,
eighteen hundred and sixty-three, respectively, or by any other legal
and competent authority exercised in suppressing the present Rebellion,
shall severally be forthwith enrolled as a military force of the United
States by the commanding officer within whose department such persons
shall be found, and they shall be organized, armed, equipped, and
mustered into the service of the United States, to serve during the
present war, to a number not exceeding three hundred thousand men.

SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That the said military force shall
be organized according to the regulations of the branch of service in
which they may be designated to serve, and receive the same rations,
clothing, and equipments as volunteers, and a monthly pay of seven
dollars, to be paid one half at the end of each month, and the other
half when discharged. They shall be officered by persons appointed and
commissioned by the President, and governed by the rules and articles
of war, and such other rules and regulations as may be prescribed by
law. Each person so serving as a non-commissioned officer or private in
such military force of the United States shall be entitled to receive,
upon his discharge, ten acres of land, and each person so serving as a
commissioned officer shall be entitled to receive twenty-five acres,
the same to be located upon any lands confiscated during the present
Rebellion, and not reserved by the Government for public use; the land
so located to be occupied only as a homestead by the person entitled to
receive the same, and his family.

SEC. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That the President be, and is
hereby, authorized to further order the voluntary enlistment or
enrolment of each and every able-bodied free male person of African
descent, of the age of eighteen years and under forty-five years,
within the United States, for military service, as provided by this
Act, except that the monthly pay of such free persons shall be the same
as that of the volunteers: _Provided_, The whole number called into the
service of the United States under the provisions of this section shall
not exceed one hundred thousand men.

    There was no action of the Committee on this bill, and it fell
    with the session.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 10, 1864, more than a year later, the subject was
    brought forward in the House of Representatives by Mr. Stevens,
    in an amendment to the Enrolment Bill then pending, and finally
    prevailed in the following terms:--

        “That all able-bodied male colored persons, between the
        ages of twenty and forty-five years, resident in the United
        States, shall be enrolled according to the provisions of
        this Act and of the Act to which this is an amendment, and
        form part of the national forces; and when a slave of a
        loyal master shall be drafted and mustered into the service
        of the United States, his master shall have a certificate
        thereof, and thereupon such slave shall be free.”[139]



    The recommendation of President Lincoln to aid the States in
    Emancipation, though urged by him, never found great favor in
    Congress. Among the measures prompted by it was one introduced
    into the House of Representatives by Mr. Noell, of Missouri,
    entitled, “A Bill giving aid to the State of Missouri for the
    purpose of securing the abolishment of Slavery in said State.”
    This provided that the Government of the United States would,
    upon the passage of a good and valid Act of Emancipation of
    all the slaves therein, and to be irrepealable, unless by the
    consent of the United States, apply the sum of ten million
    dollars in United States bonds, redeemable in thirty years from
    date. It passed the House by 73 yeas against 46 nays.

    In the Senate, this bill was referred to the Committee on the
    Judiciary, which reported a substitute, when it was recommitted
    and another substitute reported, by which it was provided,
    that, on the adoption of a valid law by Missouri “for the
    _gradual_ or immediate emancipation of all the slaves therein,
    and the exclusion of Slavery forever thereafter from said
    State,” twenty million dollars in United States bonds should
    be applied “to compensate for the inconveniences produced by
    such change of system,” which was to take effect “on some day
    not later than the fourth day of July, 1876”; but the bonds
    were not to exceed ten million dollars, unless there was “full
    and perfect manumission” before the fourth day of July, 1865,
    nor in their aggregate were they to exceed “the sum of three
    hundred dollars for each slave emancipated.”

    This recognition of the principle of _Gradual_ Emancipation,
    especially as a war measure, was very disagreeable to Mr.
    Sumner. February 7th, he moved to strike out “seventy-six”
    and insert “sixty-four,” so that the Act of Emancipation
    should go into operation on the 4th of July, 1864; and here he

MR. PRESIDENT,--This bill, as I understand it, is a bill of peace; it
is to bring back tranquillity in a disturbed State. If you ask for
authority under the Constitution, I cannot doubt that it is in the
War Power. It is in the power to suppress this insurrection, to put
down this rebellion. But most strangely do you seek to put down this
rebellion by the abolition of Slavery twenty years, or even ten years,
from now. To my mind the proposition is simply ridiculous. I use strong
language, because so it seems to me, and I cannot help saying it.

Sir, for the sake of our common country at this critical moment, for
the sake of Missouri herself, for the sake of every slave-master in
Missouri, and for the sake of every slave, I insist that Abolition
shall be completed at the nearest possible day. History, reason,
and common sense are uniform in this requirement, and I challenge
contradiction to their concurring testimony.

The measure on its face is double, being in the alternative. It
provides a certain sum in the event of Emancipation taking place within
two years, and another sum if it takes place at a certain distant day.
Now, Sir, I do not desire any alternative. I trust that what we do will
take effect at once. I wish to see the benefit of it, especially to see
it felt in the suppression of the Rebellion.

    Mr. Willey, of West Virginia, said, that, in his estimation,
    “it would be much better for Missouri, and for the slave, if,
    instead of 1876, it was 1900”; and he was followed by Mr.
    Henderson, of Missouri, on the same side. Mr. Sumner replied

I assume that Senators are in earnest for something to put down the
Rebellion. Our country, I know, is rich in resources. It can vote
millions for almost any purpose; but still I doubt if the Senator from
Missouri would urge Congress, at this moment, to appropriate millions,
unless he expected in this way to do something very positive against
the Rebellion. I assume that this is his object, and also the object
of other Senators urging this measure. Is there any other object to
justify, at this moment, a vote for it? Is there any Senator who
will toss twenty or ten millions of money to any State, unless he is
satisfied that by doing so he can help put an end to the Rebellion?
On this point all must agree. Therefore do I insist on the single
question, How shall we most surely help put an end to the Rebellion?
If this can be best accomplished by immediate Emancipation, then must
we vote accordingly. But if it is better to allow Emancipation to drag
through twenty or even ten years, with the possibility of reaction, and
with the certainty of controversy during all this period, and, above
all, without any immediate good, then will Senators vote accordingly.
Sir, I am against any such thing. I wish the measure to be effective
for the object proposed, and, as I do not believe it can be effective,
unless immediate, I must vote accordingly.

    The amendment of Mr. Sumner was lost,--Yeas 11, Nays 26.

    In the debate which ensued, Mr. Powell, of Kentucky, taunted
    Mr. Sumner with desiring the negroes of Missouri to be “freed
    quickly, so that Governor Andrew can recruit there to fill up
    the Massachusetts quota.” Mr. Sumner replied: “I would have
    a musket put in the hands of every one of these negroes in

    Mr. Sumner moved to amend by striking out “three hundred” and
    inserting “two hundred” dollars, as the measure of value of a
    slave. Here he said:--

I object to the enormous valuation. I object to it in the present
bill, and also as a precedent. We shall be bound by it hereafter. The
next bill will have this same value of three hundred dollars for each
slave. I would begin by putting it at two hundred dollars, and that is
my motion.

    This amendment was adopted,--Yeas 19, Nays 17.

    Mr. Sumner then moved to strike out the word “gradual,” so that
    the money should be paid only on immediate Emancipation. Here
    he remarked, that he did not understand a war measure which
    was to go into effect ten years from now,--that he did not
    understand a gradual war measure,--that it was an absurdity in
    terms, and utterly indefensible.

    The motion was lost,--Yeas 11, Nays 27.

    The question then recurred on the adoption of the substitute,
    when Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--If I speak tardily in this debate, I hope for the
indulgence of the Senate. Had I been able to speak earlier, I should
have spoken; but, though present in the Chamber, and voting when this
bill was under consideration formerly, I was at the time too much of an
invalid to take an active part in the debate. In justice to myself and
to the great question, I cannot be silent.

I have already voted to give Missouri twenty million dollars to secure
freedom at once for her slaves, and to make her at once a Free State.
I am ready to vote more, if more be needed for this good purpose; but
I will not vote money to be sunk and lost in an uncertain scheme of
Prospective Emancipation, where Freedom is a jack-o’-lantern, and the
only certainty is the Congressional appropriation. For money paid down,
Freedom must be delivered.

Notwithstanding all differences of opinion on this important question,
there is much occasion for congratulation in the progress made.

Thank God, on one point the Senate is substantially united. A large
majority will vote for Emancipation. This is much, both as a sign of
the present and a prophecy of the future. A large majority, in the
name of Congress, will offer pecuniary aid. This is a further sign
and prophecy. Such a vote, and such an appropriation, will constitute
an epoch. Only a few short years ago the very mention of Slavery
in Congress was forbidden, and all discussion of it was stifled.
Now Emancipation is an accepted watchword, while Slavery is openly
denounced as a guilty thing worthy of death.

It is admitted, that now, under the exigency of war, the United
States ought to coöperate with any State in the abolition of Slavery,
giving it pecuniary aid; and it is proposed to apply this principle
practically in Missouri. It was fit that Emancipation, destined to end
the Rebellion, should begin in South Carolina, where the Rebellion
began. It is also fit that the action of Congress in behalf of
Emancipation should begin in Missouri, which, through the faint-hearted
remissness of Congress, as late as 1820, was opened to Slavery. Had
Congress at that time firmly insisted that Missouri should enter the
Union as a Free State, the vast appropriation now proposed would have
been saved, and, better still, this vaster civil war would have been
prevented. The whole country is now paying with treasure and blood for
that fatal surrender. Alas, that men should forget that God is bound by
no compromise, and that, sooner or later, He will insist that justice
shall be done! There is not a dollar spent, and not a life sacrificed,
in this calamitous war, which does not plead against any repetition of
that wicked folly. Palsied be the tongue that speaks of compromise with

Though, happily, compromise is no longer openly mentioned, yet it
insinuates itself in this debate. In former times it took the shape of
barefaced concession, as in the admission of Missouri with Slavery, in
the annexion of Texas with Slavery, the waiver of the prohibition of
Slavery in the Territories, the atrocious bill for the reënslavement of
fugitives, and the opening of Kansas to Slavery, first by the Kansas
Bill, and then by the Lecompton Constitution. In each of these cases
there was concession to Slavery which history records with shame, and
it was by this that your wicked slaveholding conspiracy waxed confident
and strong, till at last it became ripe for war.

And now it is proposed, as an agency in the suppression of the
Rebellion, to make an end of Slavery. By proclamation of the
President, all slaves in certain States and designated parts of States
are declared free. Of course this proclamation is a war measure,
rendered just and necessary by exigencies of war. As such, it is
summary and instant in operation, not prospective or procrastinating.
A proclamation of Prospective Emancipation would have been an
absurdity,--like a proclamation of a prospective battle, where not
a blow was to be struck or a cannon pointed before 1876, unless,
meanwhile, the enemy desired it. What is done in war must be done
promptly, except, perhaps, under the policy of defence. Gradualism
is delay, and delay is the betrayal of victory. If you would be
triumphant, strike quickly, let your blows be felt at once, without
notice or premonition, and especially without time for resistance or
debate. Time deserts all who do not appreciate its value. Strike
promptly, and time becomes your invaluable ally; strike slowly,
gradually, prospectively, and time goes over to the enemy.

But every argument for the instant carrying out of the Proclamation,
every consideration in favor of despatch in war, is especially
applicable to whatever is done by Congress as a war measure. In a
period of peace Congress might fitly consider whether Emancipation
should be immediate or prospective, and we could listen with patience
to the instances adduced by the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. DOOLITTLE]
in favor of delay,--to the case of Pennsylvania, and to the case of
New York, where slaves were tardily admitted to their birthright. Such
arguments, though to my judgment of little value at any time, might
then be legitimate. But now, when we are considering how to put down
the Rebellion, they are not even legitimate. There is but one way to
put down the Rebellion, and that is _instant action_; and all that
is done, whether in the field, in the Cabinet, or in Congress, must
partake of this character. Whatever is postponed for twenty years, or
ten years, may seem abstractly politic or wise; but it is in no sense
a war measure, nor can it contribute essentially to the suppression of
the Rebellion.

I think I may assume, without contradiction, that the tender of money
to Missouri for the sake of Emancipation is a war measure, to be
vindicated as such under the Constitution of the United States. It is
also an act of justice to an oppressed race. But it is not in this
unquestionable character that it is now commended. If it were urged
on no other ground, even if every consideration of philanthropy and
of religion pleaded for it with rarest eloquence, I fear that it
would stand but little chance in either House of Congress. Let us not
disguise the truth. Except as a war measure to aid in putting down
the Rebellion, this proposition could expect little hospitality here.
Senators are ready to vote money--as the British Parliament voted
subsidies--to supply the place of soldiers, or to remove a stronghold
of the Rebellion, all of which is done by Emancipation. I do not
overstate the case. Slavery is a stronghold, which through Emancipation
will be removed, while every slave, if not every slave-master, becomes
an ally of the Government. Therefore Emancipation is a war measure, and
constitutional as the raising of armies or the occupation of hostile

In vindicating Emancipation as a war measure, we must see that it
is made under such conditions as to exercise a present, _instant_
influence. It must be immediate, not prospective. In proposing
Prospective Emancipation, you propose a measure which can have little
or no influence on the war. Abstractly Senators may prefer that
Emancipation should be prospective rather than immediate; but this is
not the time for the exercise of any abstract preference. Whatever is
done as a war measure must be immediate, or it will cease to have this
character, whatever you call it.

If I am correct in this statement,--and I do not see how it can be
questioned,--then is the appropriation for Immediate Emancipation
just and proper under the Constitution, while that for Prospective
Emancipation is without sanction, except what it finds in the
sentiments of justice and humanity.

It is proposed to vote ten million dollars to promote Emancipation ten
years from now. Perhaps I am sanguine, but I cannot doubt that before
the expiration of that period Slavery will die in Missouri under the
awakened judgment of the people, even without the action of Congress.
If our resources were infinite, we might tender this large sum by way
of experiment; but with a treasury drained to the bottom, and a debt
accumulating in fabulous proportions, I do not understand how we can
vote millions, which, in the first place, will be of little or no
service in the suppression of the Rebellion, and, in the second place,
will be simply a largess in no way essential to the subversion of

Whatever is given for Immediate Emancipation is given for the national
defence, and for the safety and honor of the Republic. It will be a
blow at the Rebellion. Whatever is given for Prospective Emancipation
will be a gratuity to slaveholders and a tribute to Slavery. Pardon
me, if I repeat what I have already said on this question: “Millions
for defence, but not a cent for tribute”; millions for defence against
peril, from whatever quarter it may come, but not a cent for tribute
in any quarter,--especially not a cent for tribute to the loathsome
tyranny of Slavery.

I know it is sometimes said that even Prospective Emancipation will
help weaken the Rebellion. That it will impair the confidence in
Slavery, and also its value, I cannot doubt. But it is equally clear
that it will leave Slavery still alive and on its legs; and just
so long as this is the case, there must be controversy and debate,
with attending weakness, while Reaction perpetually lifts its crest.
Instead of tranquillity, which we all seek for Missouri, we shall have
contention. Instead of peace, we shall have prolonged war. Every year’s
delay, ay, Sir, every week’s delay, in dealing death to Slavery leaves
just so much of opportunity to the Rebellion; for so long as Slavery
is allowed to exist in Missouri the Rebellion will still struggle,
not without hope, for its ancient mastery. But let Slavery cease at
once and all will be changed. There will be no room for controversy
or debate, with attending weakness; nor can Reaction lift its crest.
There will be no opportunity to the Rebellion, which must cease all
effort there, when Missouri can no longer be a Slave State. Freedom
will become our watchful, generous, and invincible ally, while the
well-being, the happiness, the repose, and the renown of Missouri will
be established forever.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far, Sir, I have presented the argument on grounds peculiar to
this case; and here I might stop. Having shown, that, as a military
necessity, and for the sake of that economy which it is our duty to
cultivate, Emancipation must be immediate, I need not go further. But
I do not content myself here. The whole question is opened between
Immediate Emancipation and Prospective Emancipation,--or, in other
words, between doing right at once and doing right at some future,
distant day. Procrastination is the thief, not only of time, but of
virtue itself. Yet such is the nature of man that he is disposed
always to delay, so that he does nothing to-day which he can put
off till to-morrow. Perhaps in no single matter is this disposition
more apparent than with regard to Slavery. Every consideration of
humanity, justice, religion, reason, common sense, and history, all
demanded the instant cessation of an intolerable wrong, without
procrastination or delay. But human nature would not yield, and we
have been driven to argue the question, whether an outrage, asserting
property in man, denying the conjugal relation, annulling the parental
relation, shutting out human improvement, and robbing its victim of
all the fruits of his industry,--the whole to compel work without
wages,--should be stopped instantly or gradually. It is only when we
regard Slavery in its essential elements, and look at its unutterable
and unquestionable atrocity, that we fully comprehend the mingled
folly and wickedness of this question. If it were merely a question of
economy, or a question of policy, then the Senate might properly debate
whether the change should be instant or gradual; but considerations of
economy and policy are all absorbed in the higher claims of justice and
humanity. There is no question whether justice and humanity shall be
immediate or gradual. Men are to cease at once from wrong; they are to
obey the Ten Commandments instantly, and not gradually.

Senators who argue for Prospective Emancipation show themselves
insensible to the true character of Slavery, or insensible to the
requirements of reason. One or the other of these alternatives must be

Shall property in man be disowned immediately, or only prospectively?
Reason answers, Immediately.

Shall the conjugal relation be maintained immediately, or only
prospectively? Reason recoils from the wicked absurdity of the inquiry.

Shall the parental relation be recognized immediately, or only
prospectively? Reason is indignant at the question.

Shall the opportunities of knowledge, including the right to read the
Book of Life, be opened immediately or prospectively? Reason brands the
idea of delay as impious.

Shall the fruits of his own industry be given to a fellow-man
immediately or prospectively? Reason insists that every man shall have
his own without postponement.

And history, thank God, speaking by examples, testifies in conformity
with reason. The conclusion is irresistible. If you would contribute
to the strength and honor of the Nation, if you would bless Missouri,
if you would benefit the slave-master, if you would elevate the slave,
and, still further, if you would afford an example which shall fortify
and consecrate the Republic, making it at once citadel and temple, do
not put off the day of Freedom. In this case, more than in any other,
he gives twice who quickly gives.

    The substitute, containing the provisions for Gradual
    Emancipation, was then adopted,--Yeas 27, Nays 10,--Mr. Sumner
    voting in the minority. The final question was on the passage
    of the bill as amended by the insertion of the substitute, when
    Mr. Sumner said:--

I shall vote for this bill on its final passage, but it will be because
I know it will go back to the House of Representatives, where it can
undergo consideration, and where, I trust, a bill will be at last
matured that will embody the true principle which ought to govern this
great question.

    The bill passed,--Yeas 23, Nays 18. It went back to the House,
    where it gave way to a new bill, which was lost in the closing
    hours of the Thirty-Seventh Congress. Aid to States and
    Compensated Emancipation soon passed out of sight.


FEBRUARY 14 AND 17, 1863.

    At the close of the preceding session of Congress, Mr. Grimes
    introduced a bill concerning Letters of Marque and Reprisal,
    but he was unable to secure the action of the Senate upon it.
    January 7, 1863, he again asked for its consideration, when, on
    motion of Mr. Sumner, it was referred to the Committee on Naval
    Affairs. January 20th, it was reported from the Committee by
    Mr. Hale, with amendments. February 14th, Mr. Grimes moved to
    proceed with its consideration. In opposing this motion, Mr.
    Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--It seems to me that this bill is in all respects a
misconception. There is nothing now to justify letters of marque and
reprisal; and when Senators say that Massachusetts is interested in
their issue, I repel the suggestion. Sir, Massachusetts is interested
in putting down the Rebellion. She is also interested in clearing
the sea of pirates. Such is her open and unquestionable interest,
and to this end she is concerned in the employment of all possible
agencies consistent with the civilization of our day. Massachusetts is
interested in the enlargement of the marine, national and private, and
I add, also, in the present enlistment of the private marine in the
national service; but this is very different from the issue of letters
of marque.


I think the Senator from Iowa is misled by a phrase. He speaks
of the militia of the sea. It is a captivating phrase, I admit;
but the meaning is not entirely clear. The Senator finds it in
privateers,--that is, private armed ships, belonging to private
individuals, under the command of private persons, cruising against
private commerce, and paid exclusively by booty. Such is his idea of
a sea militia. I confess this is not very captivating to me. My idea
of a sea militia is different. It is all the ships of the country,
if the occasion require, under the national flag, in the service of
the country as national ships, with the character of national ships,
enjoying everywhere the immunities of national ships, and free from the
suspicions always attaching to the privateer, wherever it appears. An
enactment, authorizing the employment of the mercantile marine in the
national service as part of the national navy, would be practical and
reasonable. Such a marine might justly be called the militia of the
sea; but I must protest against the deceptive militia of the Senator.

    The bill was taken up by a vote of 31 yeas and 6 nays; but,
    after ordering the printing of amendments, it was postponed.

    February 17th, it was taken up again, when Mr. Sumner spoke in
    reply to Mr. Grimes.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from Iowa [Mr. GRIMES], who has just taken
his seat, ingeniously and elaborately vindicates a bill which, at
least in one feature, is an innovation upon the original policy of our
country; and, strange to say, while doing so, he pleads for what he
calls our traditional policy. I, too, plead for our traditional policy,
but not the policy of the Senator. And I plead also for a policy which,
whether traditional or not, will provide for the national defence
according to that best economy which takes counsel of prudence as well
as of courage.

The Senator, with seeming triumph, asks if we can afford to declare
that our whole private marine shall rot at the wharf. Clearly not,
and nobody proposes to declare so, although we might as well do this
as recklessly provoke war which must drive our commerce from the
ocean,--if in no other way, by the increased rates of insurance. I
would secure for our private marine the amplest opportunity, that it
may continue without interruption to plough every sea with its keels,
and that, wherever it appears, it may find its accustomed welcome. The
policy of the Senator has no such promise.

All will concur in any practical measure at this time for the increase
of our strength on the ocean. To this end my vote shall not be wanting.
But to my mind it is clear to demonstration that the measure proposed
is not practical in character, that it promises no result which cannot
be reached better in another way, while it is almost sure to bring upon
the country additional embarrassment. It may be bold, but I am sure it
is not prudent, nor is there in it economy of any kind.

This bill is entitled, “Concerning Letters of Marque, Prizes, and
Prize Goods.” The title is borrowed from the two statutes of 1812 and
1813. It is, in plain terms, a bill to authorize _Privateers_,--that
is, private armed vessels licensed to cruise against the commerce of
an enemy, and looking to booty for support, compensation, and salary.
It is by booty that owners, officers, and crews are to be paid. Booty
is the motive power and life-spring. Such is this bill on its face,
without going into detail. Surely a bill of this character ought not
to pass without strong reason.

Looking at the bill more closely, it is found to have two distinct
features: _first_, as a new agency against the Rebellion; _secondly_,
as a provision for privateers in any future war. I regard these two
features as distinct. They may be considered separately. One may be
right, and the other wrong. One may be adopted, and the other rejected.

So far as the bill promises substantial help in putting down the
Rebellion without more than countervailing mischief, it may properly
be entertained. But what can it do against the Rebellion? And where
is the policy or necessity on which it is founded? If Senators think
that the bill can do any good now, I am sure they listen to their hopes
rather than to the evidence. Why, Sir, the Rebels, against whom you
would cruise, are absolutely without commerce. Pirate ships they have,
equipped in England, armed to the teeth, and unleashed upon the sea
to prey upon us; but there is not a single bottom of theirs that can
afford the booty which is the pay and incentive of the privateer. It
would be hardly more irrational to enlist private armed ships against
the King of Dahomey.

I know it is said that our navy is too small, and that more ships
are needed, not only for transportation, but also to increase and
strengthen the blockade, or to cruise against pirates. Very well.
Hire them, and put them in commission as Government ships, with the
immunities, the responsibilities, and the character of such ships.
There can be no difficulty in this; and, better still, there will be no
difficulty afterwards. This is simple and practical.

But, while I see no probable good from launching privateers upon the
ocean to cruise against a commerce that does not exist, and to be paid
by a booty that cannot be found, I see certain evils which I am anxious
to avoid for the sake of my country, especially at this moment. I think
that I cannot be mistaken in this anxiety.

It is well known, that, according to ancient usage and the Law of
Nations, every privateer is entitled to belligerent rights, one of
which is that most difficult, delicate, and dangerous right, the
much disputed Right of Search. There is no Right of War with regard
to which nations are more sensitive,--and no nation has been more
sensitive than our own, while none has suffered more from its exercise.
By virtue of this right, every licensed sea-rover is entitled on the
ocean to stop and overhaul all merchant vessels under whatever flag.
If he cannot capture, he can at least annoy. If he cannot make prize,
he can at least make trouble, and leave behind a sting. I know not
what course the great neutral powers may adopt, nor do I see how
they can undertake to set aside this ancient right, even if they
smart under its exercise. But when I consider that these powers have
already by solemn convention--I refer, of course, to the Congress
of Paris in 1856--renounced the whole system of privateers among
themselves, I confess my fears that they will not witness with perfect
calmness the annoyance to which their commerce will be exposed. And
now, Sir, mark my prediction. Every exercise upon neutral commerce
of this terrible Right of Search will be the fruitful occasion of
misunderstanding, bickering, and controversy, at a moment when, if my
voice could prevail, there should be nothing to interfere with that
accord, harmony, and sympathy which are due from civilized states to
our Republic in its great battle with Barbarism. Even if we are not
encouraged to expect these things from Europe, I hope that nothing will
be done by us to put impediments in their way. Justly sensitive with
regard to our own rights, let us respect the sensibility of others.

It is not enough to say that we have an unquestioned right to issue
letters of marque. Rights, when exercised out of season or imprudently,
may be changed into wrongs. It was a maxim of ancient jurisprudence,
_Sic utere tua, ut alienum non lædas_, and I think that this maxim, at
least in spirit, is applicable to the present occasion. Our right may
be clear; but, if its exercise would injure or annoy others, especially
without corresponding advantage to ourselves, we shall do well, if we
forbear to exercise it.

Thus far I have considered that part of the bill which provides for
privateers against the Rebels; but I cannot quit this branch of the
question without calling attention again to the scenes that must
ensue, if these privateers are let loose. Picture to yourselves the
ocean traversed by licensed rovers seeking prey. The Dutch admiral
carried a broom at his mast-head as the boastful sign that he swept the
seas. The privateer might carry a scourge. Wherever a sail appears,
there is chase; the signal gun is fired, and the merchantman submits
to visitation and search. Delay is the least of the consequences.
Contention, irritation, humiliation ensue, all calculated to engender
ill-feeling, which, beginning with individuals, may embrace country
and government. I do not say that such an act, even harshly exercised
upon neutral commerce, will bring upon us further war, but I would not
try the experiment. The speaking-trumpet of a reckless privateer may
contribute to that discord which is the herald of bloodshed itself.

But, Sir, even if you think it worth while to authorize privateers
against the Rebels, to cruise against an imaginary commerce, in quest
of an imaginary booty, why not stop there? The measure would not be
wise, but it might find seeming apology in the present condition of
affairs. The bill of the Committee, and also the amendment of the
Senator from Iowa, go much further. It is a general bill, authorizing
privateers, not merely against the Rebels, but also against foreign
nations in future wars, in the discretion of the President. I quote
from the bill of the Committee.

    “That, whenever war exists or has been declared between the
    United States and any other nation, and during the present
    Rebellion, the President of the United States is hereby
    authorized to issue to private vessels of the United States
    commissions or letters of marque and general reprisal, in such
    form as he may think proper.”

Mark the language, “whenever war exists.” I am not ready to say that
these words give the President power to declare the existence of war
without the intervention of Congress; but I object to the whole clause
on account of its generality. And the substitute of the Senator is
obnoxious to the same objection. It says:--

    “That, _in all domestic and foreign wars_, the President of the
    United States is authorized to issue to private armed vessels
    of the United States commissions or letters of marque and
    general reprisal, in such form as he shall think proper.”

This is a general provision, by which the President is authorized to
issue letters of marque, not only to aid in putting down the present
Rebellion, but also “in all domestic and foreign wars” which may occur
hereafter. I will not say that any such general, prospective provision,
although clearly a departure from that traditional policy which the
Senator professes to uphold, is positively unconstitutional; but I am
sure that it is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution. To me it
seems obvious that the Constitution contemplated the special action
of Congress on every occasion for the exercise of this power. This
was the safeguard against excess or blunder. Such a power was not to
be exercised hastily or inconsiderately, but with full and special
consideration. It was not to be exercised all at once and in the lump,
but as the exigency occurred in individual cases. And Congress, which
was empowered to declare war, had the further power, in the same way
and with similar solemnities, to give the war this additional feature,
if, under the circumstances, it thought best. This great power was not
handed over indefinitely to the President, to be wielded at will, but
was lodged in Congress. If Congress is not insensible to the spirit of
the Constitution, it will never hand it over to the President, as now

Even in England, where the power to declare war is lodged with the
sovereign in council, it seems that in point of fact letters of marque
are regulated by special Acts of Parliament on the breaking out of war.
This is stated by Chitty, in his work on the Prerogatives of the Crown.

    “By various statutes, _enacted during every war_, the Lord High
    Admiral, or the Commissioners of the Admiralty, are empowered
    to grant commissions, or, as they are also called, letters of
    marque and reprisals, to the owners of ships, enabling them to
    attack and take the property of his Majesty’s enemies, which
    statutes contain, also, various provisions as to the prizes
    captured. (See 29 George II. c. 34; 19 George III. c. 67; 43
    George III. c. 160; 45 George III. c. 72.)”[140]

Obviously recognizing this principle, which is so entirely consistent
with reason and that wisdom which is the strength of nations, our
country thus far in its history has declined to pass any general
prospective law authorizing letters of marque. This is our traditional
policy, which the Senator seeks to overturn. The statute authorizing
letters of marque in 1812 expired with the war. It was not general or
prospective. Is there any reason now that we should depart from this
policy? Is there any good to be accomplished by such departure? It is
strange that at this moment, when other nations renounce privateering,
we should rush forward and ostentatiously declare it part of our
political system,--I might almost say, an element of our political
life. Pray, if this declaration were of such importance, why has it
been so long postponed? Generations, jealous guardians of all our
national rights, have passed away, leaving the statute-book without any
such voice. It did not occur to them that the national defence or the
national honor required it. And yet the discovery is suddenly made that
this is a mistake, or that our predecessors were all wrong, especially
in not announcing to the world that in the event of war privateers will
be let loose.

As there is no foreign war in which we are now engaged, this
provision is prospective and minatory, so far as foreign nations are
concerned. It is notice to avoid any question with us, under penalty
of depredations by privateers. If not a menace, it is very like one.
I do not know that it will be so interpreted by those to whom it is
addressed, but I am sure that it can do no good; and just in proportion
as it is so interpreted, it will be worse than useless. A menace is as
ill-timed between nations as between individuals.

I do not dwell now on the irrational character of privateering, but I
seize the occasion to declare my deliberate judgment that our country
may yet find, to its cost, that this cherished weapon is a two-edged
sword. A nation with an extensive commerce cannot afford to invite
the hazard of its employment. Thus, in the event of war with a power
inferior to ourselves in commerce, as Portugal, or Spain, or France,
the increased rates of insurance would make it impossible for us
to keep our ships afloat, while all our profits on the ocean would
be appropriated by those nations happily still at peace. The very
superiority of our commerce would be a disadvantage, inasmuch as we
should be more exposed. For instance, in a war with Portugal or Spain
we should stake gold against copper, and even in a war with France it
would be gold against silver. If this prospect pleases, then Senators
will vote for a measure which may be called _Privateering made easy;
or, how to do it without Congress_.

Nor do I discuss the immorality and brutality too naturally engendered
by a system whose inspiration is booty. Here I content myself with the
words of General Halleck, in his excellent summary of International Law.

    “But, even with these precautions, privateering is usually
    accompanied by abuses and enormous excesses. The use of
    privateers, or private armed vessels under letters of marque
    and reprisal, has often been discussed by publicists and
    text-writers on International Law, and has recently been made
    the subject of diplomatic correspondence and negotiation
    between the United States and the principal European powers.
    The general opinion of text-writers is, that privateering,
    though contrary to national policy and the more enlightened
    spirit of the present age, is, nevertheless, allowable under
    the general rules of International Law. _It leads to the worst
    excesses and crimes, and has a most corrupting influence upon
    all who engage in it_, but cannot be punished as a breach of
    the Law of Nations. _The enlightened opinion of the world is
    most decidedly in favor of abolishing it_, and recent events
    lead to the hope that all the commercial nations of both
    hemispheres will unite in no longer resorting, in time of war,
    to so barbarous a practice.”[141]

There is another American authority I ought not to omit. I refer to
Chancellor Kent, who in his much quoted Commentaries has recorded his
judgment. If I chose to cross the ocean, I might add indefinitely to
this testimony; but I confine myself to our own countrymen, so that you
shall see privateering as judged by Americans. Here are the words of
the great jurist.

    “As a necessary precaution against abuse, the owners of
    privateers are required, by the ordinances of the commercial
    states, to give adequate security that they will conduct
    the cruise according to the laws and usages of war and the
    instructions of the Government, and that they will regard the
    rights of neutrals, and bring their prizes in for adjudication.
    These checks are essential to the character and safety of
    maritime nations. _Privateering, under all the restrictions
    which have been adopted, is very liable to abuse._ The object
    is not fame or chivalric warfare, but plunder and profit. The
    discipline of the crews is not apt to be of the highest order,
    _and privateers are often guilty of enormous excesses, and
    become the scourge of neutral commerce_. They are sometimes
    manned and officered by foreigners, having no permanent
    connection with the country, or interest in its cause. This was
    a complaint made by the United States, in 1819, in relation to
    irregularities and acts of atrocity committed by private armed
    vessels sailing under the flag of Buenos Ayres. _Under the best
    regulations, the business tends strongly to blunt the sense of
    private right and to nourish a lawless and fierce spirit of

It is well known that these were the sentiments of the founders of
our Republic, which, in its early treaty with Prussia, took the lead
in denouncing the whole system of privateering. Is it not better to
follow this example, until positive, irresistible exigencies of war
compel us to depart from it? If we cannot do this, let us at least keep
from affording new facilities to an offensive system. What our country
denounced in other days should not now be proclaimed and glorified.

    MR. GRIMES. The Senator will allow me to inquire when it was
    that this nation denounced the system of privateering.

MR. SUMNER. By the treaty of 1785.

    MR. GRIMES. The Prussian treaty, I suppose.

MR. SUMNER. The Prussian treaty.

    MR. GRIMES. I should like to know the purport of that
    denunciation. Was it not a mere stipulation that we should not
    prey on the commerce of that nation?

MR. SUMNER. It was a stipulation to the effect, that, in any war
between the United States and Prussia, neither party should commission
privateers to depredate on the commerce of the other.

    MR. GRIMES. A stipulation that I suppose this Government could
    very easily make, because Prussia has no commerce.

MR. SUMNER. I wish the treaty had been such as to afford a stronger
example; but it must be accepted as the judgment of our country
at that time; and to my mind it is a practical denunciation of
privateering, worthy of the illustrious character by whom it was
negotiated, who was none other than Benjamin Franklin. But this treaty
is not all. I do not forget how Jefferson wrote to France, “The
benevolence of this proposition is worthy of the nation from which
it comes, and our sentiments on it have been declared in the treaty
to which you are pleased to refer, as well as in some others which
have been proposed,”[143] thus testifying to our treaty and to his
own sentiments; and, at a later day, that John Quincy Adams, in his
instructions to Mr. Rush, of July 28, 1823, directing him to negotiate
a treaty with Great Britain for the abolition of privateering,
declared that this was “an object which has long been dear to the
hearts and ardent in the aspirations of the benevolent and the wise,
an object essentially congenial to the true spirit of Christianity”;
and he adopted the earlier declaration of Franklin, “It is time, it
is high time, for the sake of humanity, that a stop were put to this

    MR. GRIMES. I am speaking now of the declaration which the
    Senator has seen fit to designate as a national denunciation
    of privateers, made in 1785, though the Constitution, which
    was made in 1787, expressly reserved to Congress the power to
    issue letters of marque and reprisal. Taking these two facts,
    the treaty made in 1785 and the Constitution made in 1787, how
    can it be asserted that the ancient policy of the Government is
    against privateering, and that we have nationally denounced it?

MR. SUMNER. The Senator will pardon me, if I say that I know no better
denunciation than that of a treaty negotiated by Franklin. A treaty is
the act of the nation, and testifies to the sentiments of the nation.
If the same denunciation did not find place in more important treaties,
it is reasonable to suppose that it was not acceptable to the other
contracting parties. It is an historic fact, that Franklin sought to
embody this denunciation in the very treaty by which our independence
was acknowledged, and thus to associate it with our national
being.[145] Indeed, it was a standing offer from our Government to
foreign powers.[146] Unquestionably the Constitution gives Congress the
power to issue letters of marque, but the reason is obvious: because
privateering was recognized at that time as a proper agency of war.
The framers of the Constitution did not divest the government they
created of a power which belonged to other governments according to
the existing usage of nations. In recognizing this power, they express
no opinion upon its character. For that we must go to the treaty,
and to the words and efforts of Franklin, Jefferson, and John Quincy
Adams, speaking and acting officially for the nation,--all but Franklin
subsequent to the Constitution.

And now, Sir, at the risk of repetition, I enumerate my objections to
this bill.

1. It proposes to cruise against a non-existent commerce, for the sake
of a non-existent booty.

2. It accords to private individuals the belligerent right of search,
which must be fruitful of trouble in our relations with the great
neutral powers.

3. It gives to the President, in his discretion, the power to issue
letters of marque in any future wars, without any further authority of
Congress, when this power should always wait for the special authority
of Congress on the declaration of war.

4. It is in the nature of a menace to foreign nations, and therefore
worse than useless.

5. It vitalizes and legalizes a system which civilization always
accepted with reluctance, and our own country was one of the earliest
and most persistent to denounce.

6. It will give us a bad name in history.

It does all this without accomplishing any substantial good. If it be
said that ships are needed for transportation, or for the blockade,
or in order to pursue pirates on the sea, then, I repeat, let the
Government hire them. The way is easy, and it is also the way of
peace. To this end I offer a substitute for the present bill, which
will secure to the Government all the aid it can desire, without the
disadvantage or shame of a measure which can be justified only by
overruling necessity. I will read the substitute.

    “That the Secretary of the Navy be authorized to hire any
    vessels needed for the national service, and, if he sees fit,
    to put them in charge of officers commissioned by the United
    States, and to give them in every respect the character of
    national ships.”

If Senators desire a militia of the seas, here it is,--a sea militia,
precisely like the land militia, mustered into the service of the
United States, under the command of the United States, and receiving
rations and pay from the United States, instead of sea-rovers, not
mustered into the national service, not under national command, and
not receiving rations or pay from the nation, but cruising each for
himself, according to his own will, without direction, without concert,
simply according to the wild temptation of booty. Such a system on
land would be rejected at once. Nobody would call it a militia. Do not
sanction it now on the ocean; or, if you are disposed to sanction it,
call it not a militia of the seas.

    The bill was then amended, on motion of Mr. Sherman, by
    limiting it to “three years from the passage of this Act.”

    Mr. Sumner then moved to strike out the words “in all domestic
    and foreign wars,” and to insert “to aid in putting down the
    present Rebellion,” so that it would read,--

        “That, _to aid in putting down the present Rebellion_, the
        President of the United States is authorized to issue to
        private armed vessels of the United States commissions,” &c.

    On this motion he remarked:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The question is now presented precisely, whether the
Senate will confine this bill in operation to the war in which we are
actually engaged for the suppression of the Rebellion, or make it
prospective in character, applicable to some war in the unknown future,
to some country not named, to some exigency not now understood, and
therefore, in its nature, a notice or warning, if not a menace, to all

This is the precise question: Shall the bill be confined to our own
time, to this day, to this hour, to something we can see, to what is
actually before us; or shall it be extended also to the future, to
something we cannot see, to what is not actually before us, and with
regard to which we can have no knowledge, unless we listen to our fears?

If the words are introduced as a menace, then are they out of place and
irrational. Suppose any such words in the legislation of Great Britain
or France at a moment when they might be interpreted as applicable to
us, who can doubt their injurious effect upon public opinion here? A
brave and intelligent people will not bend before menace, nor can any
such attempt affect a well-considered national policy. All history
and reason show that such conduct is more irritating than soothing.
Sir, if you are in earnest, as I cannot doubt, to cultivate those
relations of peace and good-will with foreign nations which are in
themselves a cheap defence, you must avoid all legislation which can be
misinterpreted, especially everything which looks like menace.

I cannot pretend to foresee the future. I know not that other wars
may not be in store for us, that we may not be called to confront
other powers, in alliance, perhaps, with our Rebels, and to make still
greater efforts. All this may come; but I pray not. If it does come,
then let us meet its duties and responsibilities like Senators; but do
not rush forward recklessly, like the bully with his bludgeon, ready to
strike wherever there is a head. I do not believe in such legislation;
nor do I believe in any legislation providing new facilities for a
war, or tending to produce irritation and distrust. Prepared always
for the future, I would not challenge it. Preparation and provocation
are widely different. Nor would I do anything out of season. There was
characteristic wisdom in the remark of the venerable Chief Justice of
England, Sir Matthew Hale, when he said that “we must not jump before
we get to the stile.” It seems to me that Senators who are pressing
this bill forget this time-honored injunction, and try to make their
country take a jump prematurely.


You have just listened to the Senator from California [Mr. MCDOUGALL],
announcing that perhaps before the next meeting of Congress there
may be foreign war; and you have not forgotten his elaborate speech
only the other day, when he openly challenged war with France. I ask
Senators, if, at this critical moment, they are ready to follow him in
his effort to carry us in that direction. For myself, I protest against
it. I am heart and soul for putting down this Rebellion without playing
into the hands of Rebels. Now it must be plain to all that every word
calculated to draw or drive any foreign government into alliance
with the Rebellion does play into the hands of Rebels. Senators may
be willing to distract the attention of the country from our single
object, to impair the national force, and help surrender all to the
uncertainties and horrors of accumulating war. Let me not enter into
their counsels. It is not my habit to shrink from responsibility;
personal risks I accept willingly; but I confess anxiety that my
country should not rush abroad in quest of new dangers, whose only
effect will be to increase the national calamities.

    The amendment of Mr. Sumner was lost,--Yeas 13, Nays 22.

    Mr. Sumner then moved to strike out the words authorizing the
    President to “make all needful rules and regulations,” and to

        “The provisions of the Act of Congress, approved on
        the 26th day of June, 1812, entitled ‘An Act concerning
        letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods,’ and of the Act
        of Congress, approved on the 27th day of January, 1813,
        entitled ‘An Act in addition to the Act concerning letters
        of marque, prizes, and prize goods,’ are hereby revived,
        and shall be in force in relation to all that part of the
        United States where the inhabitants have been declared in a
        state of insurrection, and the vessels and property to them

    Mr. Sumner explained the amendment.

It will be observed, that, by the amendment already adopted, the
President alone, without the coöperation of Congress, is empowered
to make what are called all needful rules and regulations for the
government and conduct of these privateers, and for the adjudication
and disposal of prizes and salvages made by them. But formerly it was
not so ordered. No such large power was ever before vested in the
President. By the statute of June 26, 1812, a system was provided, in
seventeen sections, for the government of letters of marque, prizes,
and prize goods. These sections relate to the formalities required
from persons applying for letters of marque, the bonds to be given,
and the sureties, how the captured property shall be forfeited, the
distribution of the prize money, the distribution of salvage, how the
prize shall be brought in for adjudication, regulations concerning
prisoners found on board of prize vessels, instructions for the
privateers, bounty for destroying the enemy’s vessels, instructions to
the commanding officers of privateers to keep journals, how owners of
privateers are punishable for violating the revenue laws of the United
States, how offences on board private armed vessels are punishable;
also the commissions of collectors and consuls upon prize goods, and
the uses to which they shall be applied. Here is a statute, in itself a
code, containing provisions exclusively applicable to these important
matters, all determined by Congress in advance; but it is now proposed
that Congress shall abdicate, leaving to the President alone this large

I call attention to one matter in the statute, namely, “How offences
on board private armed vessels shall be punished.” It is enacted,
“that all offences committed by any officer or seaman on board any
such vessel having letters of marque and reprisal, during the present
hostilities against Great Britain, shall be tried and punished in such
manner as the like offences are or may be tried and punished, when
committed by any person belonging to the public ships of war of the
United States.”[147]

I would ask if it is in the power of the President merely by regulation
to determine how offences on board private armed vessels shall be
tried and punished? I take it that Congress must deal directly with
this question. I am sure that it is unwise for Congress to renounce
a duty belonging to it obviously under the Constitution, and which
in former times it exercised. Senators sometimes complain that great
powers are assumed by the President; but, unless I misread this bill,
they are about to confer on him powers large, indeed, beyond precedent.
There is, in the first place, the power to declare whether, in case
of war with a foreign nation, letters of marque shall be issued,--a
high prerogative, in times past reserved exclusively to Congress. But,
not content with this, they would confer upon him plenary powers, as
legislator, with regard to everything to be done by the letter of
marque, and with regard, also, to its possible prizes. As once the
French monarch exclaimed, “The State, it is I!”--so, when we have
conferred these powers, one after another, on the President, I think he
may make a similar exclamation.

    This amendment was also lost.

    Mr. Sumner then moved the following substitute for the pending

        “That the Secretary of the Navy be authorized to hire any
        vessels needed for the national service, and, if he see
        fit, to put them in charge of officers commissioned by
        the United States, and to give them in every respect the
        character of national ships.”

The proposition on which a vote is now asked has all that is good in
the pending measure, without any of the unquestionable disadvantages. I
am unwilling to trespass upon the Senate, and would hope that I am not
too earnest; but the question, to my mind, is of no common character.

The Senator who presses this measure seeks to employ private enterprise
in all wars, domestic or foreign: I show him how it can be done.
He seeks to enlist the private marine of the country in the public
service: I show him how it can be done. He seeks to contribute at this
moment to the national force: I show him how it can be done. Say not
that I am against the employment of private enterprise. Nor say that
I would allow our private marine to rot at the wharf. Nor say that
I would begrudge anything needed by the national force. To this end
the Senate cannot go further than I. All that the Senator would do I
would do, but in a way to avoid those embarrassments and difficulties
necessarily incident to privateering, and so as to be in harmony with
the civilization of our age. Nor shall it be said that I shrink from
any of the responsibilities which belong to us with regard to foreign
nations; but I desire to say, that among the highest responsibilities
which any can recognize is that of doing nothing needlessly which shall
add to existing troubles or give the country a new burden.

In conclusion, let me once more remind you that every privateer upon
the ocean carries the right of search. Wherever he sails, he is
authorized to overhaul neutral ships in search of contraband, or, it
may be, to determine if the voyage is to break the blockade. A right so
delicate and grave I would reserve to the Government, to be exercised
only by national ships. I cannot err, when I insist that it shall be
intrusted to those only whose position, experience, and relations with
the Government give assurance that it will be exercised with wisest

If, in order to secure private enterprise and to enlist all its
energies, it were necessary to have privateers, then the argument
of the other side might be entitled to weight. But all that you
desire can be had without any such resort, and without any drawback
or disadvantage. Let the Secretary of the Navy hire private ships,
wherever he can find them, and put them in commission as national
ships, with the rations, pay, officers, and character of national
ships. This will be simple and most effective. I am at a loss for any
objection to it: I can see none.

I may be mistaken, Sir, but I speak in frankness. To my mind the
question between the two propositions is too clear for argument. On one
side it is irrational, barbarous, and fruitless, except of trouble. On
the other side you have practical strength, and the best assurance of
that prudence which is the safeguard of peace. Between the two let the
Senate choose.

    This amendment was also lost,--Yeas 8, Nays 28.

    The bill then passed the Senate,--Yeas 27, Nays 9. March 2d, it
    passed the House of Representatives without a division, and was
    subsequently approved by the President.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Failing in Congress, Mr. Sumner renewed his opposition with
    President Lincoln, urging upon him the impolicy of any action
    under the law. He advised most strenuously that no commissions
    should be issued, and that the law should be allowed to remain
    a dead letter. The President was so much impressed by these
    representations that he invited Mr. Sumner to attend the next
    meeting of his Cabinet and make them there. When Mr. Sumner
    doubted the expediency of such a step, as possibly giving rise
    to comment, the President requested him to see the members of
    his Cabinet individually, which he did. No commissions were
    ever issued, and the attempt soon subsided.

       *       *       *       *       *

    This effort to set afloat privateers created anxiety among our
    friends in England. Mr. Bright wrote:--

        “I hope the President will remain firm against the letters
        of marque, so long as peace is preserved. They will do no
        good, and only tend to war. I was sorry your fight against
        the bill was in vain.”

    A letter from Mr. Bates, the intelligent American partner in
    the London house of the Barings, confirmed the President in his
    determination. Another letter from the same source concurs with
    Mr. Bright in condemning the project.

        “I am very glad that anything I have written has had any
        effect in stopping the issue of letters of marque, for I
        am convinced that their issue would have led to a war, and
        would have given those who in this country wish for war an
        opportunity through the press to make a war popular. It
        would, further, have been playing into the hands of the
        Confederates, who are doing all they can to embarrass the
        relations between this country and the United States. It is
        the last card the Confederates have to play.”

    The Act of Congress authorizing letters of marque has since
    expired by its own limitation.



    The Senate having under consideration the bill to regulate the
    appointment of midshipmen, Mr. Anthony, of Rhode Island, moved
    the following amendment:--

        “And to be selected by the Senators, Representatives,
        and Delegates on the ground of merit and qualification,
        to be ascertained by an examination of the candidates,
        and that the Secretary of the Navy be authorized to make
        the regulations under which such examinations shall be
        conducted, not inconsistent with the provisions of this

    Mr. Sumner sustained the amendment.

Because these appointments are conferred upon youth, or, if you please,
upon boys, it seems to me that they are too often regarded as of little
moment. In reality, they are among the most important appointments
under Government. They are appointments for life; since, beginning
with the youth or boy, they end only at death, it may be as captain,
commodore, or admiral, supported always at the expense of the country,
and with increasing emoluments corresponding to increasing rank.

Therefore do I think that the Government cannot be too careful in
securing the best youths, and I welcome cordially the proposition of
the Senator from Rhode Island. I think it entirely practicable, and
also most important. I hope the Senate will adopt it. I cannot doubt
that such places should be given only to the most worthy, discarding
personal or political favoritism; but there must be a rule by which to
ascertain the most worthy.

    The amendment was lost, having only 6 yeas against 32 nays.



    The Senate having under consideration the bill for enrolling
    and calling out the national forces, Mr. Sumner moved as an
    amendment that clergymen or ministers of the Gospel be exempted
    from conscription. Then ensued brief comments.

        MR. POMEROY. They will fight.

        MR. MCDOUGALL. I will ask the Senator from Massachusetts to
        modify his proposition so as not to include the Methodist
        clergy, because they are a fighting clergy.

        MR. HOWARD. I think the loyal clergy are among the most
        fighting portion of our population, quite as reliable as
        any other.

        MR. WILSON. I do hope we are not to exempt lawyers, or
        clergymen, or any other class.

        MR. FESSENDEN. It is now provided in the bill that those
        who cannot go may be excused on paying a fine.

    Mr. Sumner followed.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I would not have this proposition treated with levity.
I do not say that it has been. Suffice it for me that I make it in
sincerity, because I think the exception worthy of place in a permanent
statute regulating the military system of our country.

I shall not be led into debate, but you will let me declare my
conviction that the proper duty of the clergyman, if he joins the
army, is as chaplain, ministering to the sick, the wounded, the dying,
and teaching the living how to die. At the same time, I can well
understand that there may be occasions when another service will be
required, or when an irresistible impulse may change the chaplain into
the soldier.

An eminent writer of our age, the late Lord Macaulay, has said
positively that a clergyman should never fight. The motion which I make
has no such extent. It simply proposes that the law shall not require
him to fight.

In former days bishops have worn coats of mail and led embattled
forces, and there are many instances where the chaplain has assumed all
the duties of the soldier.

At the famous Battle of Fontenoy, where the French, under Marshal Saxe,
prevailed over the united armies of England, Austria, and Holland,
there was a British chaplain, with a name subsequently historic, who
by military service acquired the title of “The Fighting Chaplain of
Fontenoy.” This was the renowned Edinburgh professor, Adam Ferguson,
author of the “History of the Roman Republic.” And only a few days ago
I presented a petition for a pension from the widow of Rev. Arthur
B. Fuller, chaplain, who fell fighting at Fredericksburg. But these
instances are exceptional. Legislation cannot be founded on exceptions.

    In reply to other Senators, Mr. Sumner spoke again.

The Senate is engaged in maturing a permanent law,--not merely for a
year, not only for the present Rebellion, not for any exigency of the
day, but an enduring statute,--and as such it will be a record of the
sentiments and the civilization of our time. But I am not disposed to
present this question on any ground of sentiment, though such an appeal
would be difficult to answer.

Time is precious, and I content myself with another appeal,--I mean to
practical experience. I think I do not err, when I say, that, in the
history of the Christian world, you will not find a single evidence of
a country where clergymen have been compelled to serve as soldiers,--at
least I do not recall such instance,--while the most military country
of modern times has refused to sanction the compulsion. I have before
me the well-considered military statute of France, where everything
was matured with the greatest care and consideration, and so as to
secure the largest amount of service. No exemption was recognized,
except after conscientious debate and for sufficient reason. Therefore
this statute is testimony of the highest character. But here I find
exemption, not only of the clergy, including all denominations
recognized by the State, but also of students of divinity preparing
to enter the ministry. If not absolutely indifferent to practical
experience, the example of a military people like the French,
especially in exemptions from conscription, cannot be neglected. I
doubt if we shall lose by following it.

    Mr. Wilson then said:--

        “If they cannot bear arms, if they cannot perform military
        duty, they at any rate can furnish a substitute, or pay the
        sum provided for, be that more or less.”

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

I do not understand that our clergy throughout the United States are
rich. In some of the larger towns they may be comparatively so, but
in the country such is not the case. Goldsmith’s village preacher,
“passing rich with forty pounds a year,”--that is, about two hundred
dollars,--was not unlike large numbers of the clergy among us. Now,
Sir, to compel persons living on such a small allowance to pay two
hundred and fifty dollars for a substitute is really asking too much. I
think it unreasonable; and I think my colleague, who is pressing this
bill with so much energy, would adapt himself better to the sentiment
of the country and of civilization, if he admitted this natural and
humane exemption into his list.

    The amendment was lost.



    From the beginning of the Rebellion there had been constant
    anxiety lest foreign powers, especially England and France,
    should intervene in some way, by diplomacy, if not by arms. As
    early as July, 1861, Russia made an offer of its good offices
    between the contending parties, with warm expressions for the
    integrity of the Union; but these were promptly declined.[148]
    In October, 1862, the French Emperor instructed his ambassadors
    at London and St. Petersburg to propose the coöperation of
    the three Cabinets in obtaining a suspension of arms for six
    months, and, if required, to be prolonged further, during which
    every act of war, direct or indirect, should provisionally
    cease, on sea and land. The Cabinets of England and St.
    Petersburg both declined the proposition.[149] The French
    Emperor then proceeded alone. By a despatch of M. Drouyn de
    Lhuys, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to M. Mercier, the
    Minister at Washington, dated January 9, 1863, his good offices
    were tendered to the United States, in the view of facilitating
    negotiations between the contending parties; but these were
    declined by Mr. Seward, in a despatch to Mr. Dayton at Paris,
    February 6, 1863.[150]

    Meanwhile there were suggestions in the English press, and
    also in Parliament, of intervention in some form. Sometimes
    it was proposed that the independence of the Rebels should be

    The proposition from the French Emperor and the reply of Mr.
    Seward, being communicated to the Senate, were, on motion of
    Mr. Sumner, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, and
    February 28th he reported the following resolutions.


Whereas it appears from the diplomatic correspondence submitted to
Congress, that a proposition, friendly in form, looking to pacification
through foreign mediation, has been made to the United States by the
Emperor of the French, and promptly declined by the President; _and
whereas_ the idea of mediation or intervention in some shape may be
regarded by foreign governments as practicable, and such governments,
through this misunderstanding, may be led to proceedings tending to
embarrass the friendly relations which now exist between them and
the United States; _and whereas_, in order to remove for the future
all chance of misunderstanding on this subject, and to secure for
the United States the full enjoyment of that freedom from foreign
interference which is one of the highest rights of independent states,
it seems fit that Congress should manifest its convictions thereon:

_Resolved_ (_the House of Representatives concurring_), That,
while in times past the United States have sought and accepted the
friendly mediation or arbitration of foreign powers for the pacific
adjustment of _international_ questions, where the United States
were party of the one part and some other sovereign power party of
the other part; and while they are not disposed to misconstrue the
natural and humane desire of foreign powers to aid in arresting
_domestic_ troubles, which, widening in influence, have afflicted
other countries, especially in view of the circumstance, deeply
regretted by the American people, that the Rebel blow aimed at the
national life has fallen heavily upon the laboring population of
Europe; yet, notwithstanding these things, Congress cannot hesitate to
regard every proposition of foreign interference so far unreasonable
and inadmissible, that its only explanation can be found in a
misunderstanding of the true state of the question, and of the real
character of the war in which the Republic is engaged.

_Resolved_, That the United States are grappling with an unprovoked and
wicked Rebellion, which is seeking the destruction of the Republic,
that it may build a new power, whose corner-stone, according to the
confession of its chiefs, shall be Slavery; that for the suppression
of this Rebellion, thus saving the Republic and preventing the
establishment of such a power, the National Government is employing
armies and fleets, in full faith that the purposes of conspirators and
rebels will be crushed; that, while engaged in this struggle, on which
so much depends, any proposition from a foreign power, whatever form
it take, having for object the arrest of these efforts, is, just in
proportion to its influence, an encouragement to the Rebellion, and to
its declared pretensions, and on this account is calculated to prolong
and embitter the conflict, to cause increased expenditure of blood
and treasure, and to postpone the much desired day of peace; that,
with these convictions, and not doubting that every such proposition,
although made with good intent, is injurious to the national interests,
Congress will be obliged to look upon any further attempt in the same
direction as an unfriendly act, which it earnestly deprecates, to the
end that nothing may occur abroad to strengthen the Rebellion, or to
weaken those relations of good-will with foreign powers which the
United States are happy to cultivate.

_Resolved_, That the Rebellion, from its beginning, and far back even
in the conspiracy which preceded its outbreak, was encouraged by hope
of support from foreign powers; that its chiefs constantly represented
the people of Europe as so far dependent upon regular supplies of the
great Southern staple, that, sooner or later, their governments would
be constrained to take side with the Rebellion in some effective form,
even to the extent of forcible intervention, if the milder form did not
prevail; that the Rebellion is now sustained by this hope, which every
proposition of foreign interference quickens anew, and that without
this life-giving support it must soon yield to the just and paternal
authority of the National Government; that, considering these things,
which are aggravated by the motive of the resistance thus encouraged,
the United States regret that foreign powers have not frankly told the
chiefs of the Rebellion that the work in which they are engaged is
hateful, and that a new government, such as they seek to found, with
Slavery as its acknowledged corner-stone, and with no other declared
object of separate existence, is so far shocking to civilization
and the moral sense of mankind that it must not expect welcome or
recognition in the Commonwealth of Nations.

_Resolved_, That the United States, confident in the justice of their
cause, which is the cause of good government and of human rights
everywhere among men, anxious for the speedy restoration of peace,
which shall establish tranquillity at home and remove all occasion
of complaint abroad, and awaiting with well-assured trust the final
suppression of the Rebellion, through which all these things, rescued
from present peril, will be secured forever, and the Republic, one and
indivisible, triumphant over its enemies, will continue an example to
mankind, HEREBY ANNOUNCE, as their unalterable purpose, that the war
will be vigorously prosecuted, according to the humane principles of
Christian nations, until the Rebellion is overcome; and they reverently
invoke upon their cause the blessing of Almighty God.

_Resolved_, That the President be requested to transmit a copy of these
resolutions, through the Secretary of State, to the ministers of the
United States in foreign countries, that the protest and declaration
herein set forth may be communicated by them to the governments near
which they reside.

    March 3d, on motion of Mr. Sumner, the Senate proceeded
    to consider the resolutions. In reply to Mr. Powell, of
    Kentucky, he remarked: “The resolutions speak for themselves,
    and I content myself by simply asking for a vote.” Then,
    in reply to Mr. Carlile, of West Virginia, he said: “These
    resolutions proceed from the spontaneous deliberations of the
    Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, without a suggestion
    or hint from the Secretary of State or from any member of
    the Administration; but I am able to state, that, since the
    resolutions have been reported, they have the entire and
    cordial approval of the Secretary of State, who has authorized
    me to say that he takes a special interest in their adoption by

    The resolutions passed the Senate by a vote of 31 yeas
    to 5 nays. On the same day they passed the House of
    Representatives,--Yeas 103, Nays 28.

    Being concurrent resolutions of the two Houses, and not a joint
    resolution, they were never submitted to the President for
    approval; but, according to the request in the last resolution,
    they were communicated by the Secretary of State in an official
    note to our ministers abroad.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The reception of these resolutions at the time will appear by
    an extract from the _Evening Post_ of New York.

        “Mr. Sumner’s resolutions, which have so triumphantly
        passed the National Legislature, and which receive at the
        same time the cordial approval of the President and the
        Cabinet, will deepen and justify the feeling in our favor.
        They define our position with a distinctness that has not
        always been attained in our official acts. They describe
        boldly and vividly the nature of the Rebellion which has
        destroyed our peace, tracing it wholly to the ambition
        and selfishness of the Slaveholders, and warning foreign
        nations of the awful crime they commit in lending their
        aid to such an infamous assault upon all the principles of
        orderly government, all the rights of humanity, and all the
        best interests of Christian civilization. Every reflective
        mind in Europe will know, after reading them, that whatever
        encourages the Rebellion will encourage the most odious
        tyranny that human cupidity ever devised.”

    The speech on Foreign Relations, at New York, September 10,
    1863,[151] was a vindication of these resolutions.



    The following letter, which appeared in the papers at the time,
    was written in the hope of preventing any action under the law
    of Congress authorizing letters of marque.

                                            WASHINGTON, March 17, 1863.

  MY DEAR SIR,--In the freedom of that conversation which I had
  with you as we drove to the Capitol recently, allow me for a
  moment to speak again on the question which interested us then.…

  I confess that I am anxious that the issuing of letters of marque
  should be avoided, not merely because it will give us a bad name
  without commensurate good, nor because it will be a departure
  from the early and often declared policy of our Government,
  which has not hesitated, by the pen of Benjamin Franklin and
  John Quincy Adams, to denounce privateering as an “enormity,”
  but because it does not meet, in a practical way, the precise
  necessity of this time. People who advocate it are obviously
  misled by the experience of another generation, when we were at
  war with a nation whose commerce was a temptation and a reward
  to private enterprise. The case is so different now that the old
  agency is entirely inapplicable.

  The privateer cruises for booty, which is in lieu of rations
  and pay to officers and men, and of hire and compensation to
  owners. But if the booty does not exist, or if it is in such
  inconsiderable quantity as to afford small chance of valuable
  prize, evidently you must find some other system of compensation;
  as this cannot be, you must abandon the idea of private
  enterprise stimulated and sustained by booty. An agency must be
  found applicable to the present case, precisely as in machinery a
  force is found best calculated to do the required work.

  Now our present business is to help the Government capture
  the Alabama and her piratical comrades, and also to catch
  blockade-runners. But a letter of marque is not proper for
  this purpose, nor will the chance of booty be the best way to
  stimulate and sustain the cruiser, while, on the other hand, it
  is obvious that such a ship, invested with the belligerent right
  of search, in the quest of booty, will be tempted to exercise it
  on neutral commerce, and thus become the occasion of contention
  and strife with foreign powers.

  Privateers have never been remarkable for the caution or reserve
  with which they employ belligerent rights. I would not exaggerate
  the troubles that might ensue; but when I think of these
  sea-rovers, with license to overhaul neutral ships and to inflict
  upon them visitation and search, I feel how much evil may ensue
  compared with the good. You would not threaten a whole street in
  order to catch a few robbers who had sought shelter in some of
  its recesses, nor would you burn down your house, according to
  the amusing story of Charles Lamb, in order to roast a pig.

  It seems to be only according to common prudence, that private
  enterprise, if enlisted now, should be regulated by the object
  in view. To this end, it is not necessary that it should assume
  a form calculated to awaken solicitude. The way is simple. If
  citizens are willing to unite in efforts of the Government, let
  them place their ships at its disposal, to be commissioned as
  national ships, and let the Government, on its part, offer bounty
  and prize money, in addition to pay and rations, for the capture
  of the Alabama and her piratical comrades. The motive power will
  thus be adapted to the object, while our country will be saved
  from all chance of additional complication, and also from the
  stigma of reviving a policy which civilization condemns.

  The argument of economy is sometimes pressed. But it is poor
  economy to employ an agency which in its very nature is
  inapplicable. Besides, I doubt if any success reasonably expected
  from such ships, called by the French _corsaires_, will be a
  compensation for the bad name they will give us, and the bad
  passions they will engender.

  I hope I do not take too great a liberty in sending you this
  sequel to our conversation. At all events, you will be pleased
  to accept my best wishes, and believe me, my dear Sir, with much

      Very faithfully yours,


  JOHN AUSTIN STEVENS, Jr., Esq., &c., &c., &c.



                                              WASHINGTON, May 18, 1863.

  GENTLEMEN,--It will not be in my power to take part in the
  generous meeting to assemble at Cleveland, but I pray you to
  accept my thanks for the cordial invitation with which you have
  honored me.

  If it were my privilege to speak on that occasion, I should urge
  upon my fellow-citizens everywhere the duty of _Unity for the
  sake of Freedom_, and also of _Freedom for the sake of Unity_.
  The two cannot be separated. They are mutually dependent. Let
  this people continue united, and Freedom must surely prevail. Let
  Freedom prevail, and this people cannot cease to be united.

  With such a cause, there is but one side and one duty. Whoever is
  for the Unity of the Republic must be for Freedom, and whoever
  is for Freedom must be for the Unity of the Republic. It is vain
  to think that one can be advanced without the other. Whoever is
  against one is against the other, and whoever is lukewarm for one
  is lukewarm for the other. We must be fervid and strong for both.

  This is not the time for doubt or hesitation. We must act at
  once and constantly, so that the Republic may be saved, while
  Slavery is scourged from this temple consecrated to Freedom. And
  this will be done.

      Believe me, Gentlemen,

          Very faithfully yours,

              CHARLES SUMNER.



    Messrs. Hallett & Co. were associated with General Fremont
    in urging the Pacific Railroad. This letter was extensively

                                              WASHINGTON, May 23, 1863.

  GENTLEMEN,--I have always voted for the Pacific Railroad, and
  now that it is authorized by Congress I follow it with hope and
  confidence. It is a great work, but science has already shown it
  to be practicable.

  Let the road be built, and its influence will be incalculable.
  People will wonder that the world lived so long without it.

  Conjoining the two oceans, it will be an agency of matchless
  power, not only commercial, but political. It will be a new
  girder to the Union, a new help to business, and a new charm to
  life. Perhaps the imagination is most impressed by the thought
  of travel and merchandise winding their way from Atlantic to
  Pacific in one unbroken line; but I incline to believe that the
  commercial advantages will be more apparent in the opportunities
  the railroad will create and quicken everywhere on the way. New
  homes and new towns will spring up, making new demand for labor
  and supplies. Civilization will be projected into the forest and
  over the plain, while the desert is made to yield its increase.
  There is no productiveness to compare with that from the upturned
  sod which receives the iron rail. In its crop are school-houses
  and churches, cities and states.

  In this vast undertaking coöperation of all kinds is needed,
  and it will be rewarded too. Capitalists, bankers, merchants,
  engineers, mechanics, miners, laborers, all must enlist.
  Perhaps there will be a place also for _the freedmen of this
  war_, although it seems to me that their services can be more
  effectively bestowed at home, as laborers and soldiers. But I
  see not why emigrants should not be invited from Europe to take
  part in this honorable service, and share the prosperity it
  will surely organize. Let them quit poverty, dependence, and
  wretchedness in their own country, for good wages here, with
  independence, and a piece of ground which each man can call his

  Emigration will hasten the work; but, with or without emigration,
  it must proceed. Everywhere, from sunrise to sunset, the Rail
  and Wheel, which an eminent English engineer has pronounced “man
  and wife,” will yet be welcomed, sure to become the parents of a
  mighty progeny.

      I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,

          Your faithful servant,

              CHARLES SUMNER.




    The Convention was held June 2d.

                                              WASHINGTON, May 27, 1863.

  GENTLEMEN,--I resign most reluctantly the opportunity with which
  I am favored by your invitation, and shall try to content myself
  with reading the report of your powerful and well-organized
  meeting at Chicago, without taking part in it.

  The proposition to unite the greatest navigable river of the
  world with the greatest inland sea is characteristic of the West.
  Each is worthy of the other. The idea of joining these together
  strikes the imagination as original. But the highest beauty is
  in utility, which will not be wanting here. With this union,
  the Gulf of Mexico will be joined to the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
  and the whole continent, from Northern cold to Southern heat,
  traversed by one generous flood, bearing upon its bosom untold

  It is for the West to consider well the conditions of this
  enterprise, and the advantages it will secure. Let its
  practicability be demonstrated, and the country will command
  it to be done, as it has already commanded the opening of the
  Mississippi. Triumphant over the wickedness of an accursed
  Rebellion, we shall achieve another triumph, to take its place
  among the victories of Peace.

  To this magnificent work Science will contribute her myriad
  resources. But there is something needed even to quicken and
  inspire science: it is the unconquerable will, which does not
  yield to difficulties, but presses forward to overcome them.
  No word is used with more levity than the word “impossible.”
  A scientific professor, in a public address, declared the
  navigation of the Atlantic by steam “impossible.” Within a few
  weeks it was done. The British Prime-Minister declared the
  construction of a canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea
  “impossible.” The Pacha of Egypt, with French engineers, is now
  doing it. Mirabeau was right, when he protested against the use
  of this word as simple stupidity. But I doubt if the word will be
  found in any Western dictionary.

  Believe me, Gentlemen, with much respect,

      Very faithfully yours,


  To Hon. JAMES ROBB, I. N. ARNOLD, and others of the Committee.


SLAVERY,[152] JULY 4, 1863.


It is now more than three years since I deemed it my duty, in the
Senate, to expose the Barbarism of Slavery. This phrase, though common
now, was new then. The speech was a reply, strict and logical, to
assumptions of Senators, asserting the “divine origin” of Slavery, its
“ennobling” character, and that it was the “black marble keystone” of
our national arch. Listening to these assumptions, which were of daily
recurrence, I felt that they ought to be answered; and considering
their effrontery, it seemed to me that they should be answered
frankly and openly, by exhibiting Slavery _as it really is_, without
reserve,--careful that I should “nothing extenuate, nor set down aught
in malice.” This I did.

In that debate was joined the issue still pending in the Trial by
Battle. The inordinate assumptions for Slavery naturally ripened in
Rebellion and War. If Slavery were in reality all that was claimed by
its representatives, they must have failed in duty, if they did not
vindicate and advance it. Not easily could they see a thing so “divine”
and so “ennobling,” constituting the “black marble keystone” of our
national arch, discredited by popular vote, even if not yet consigned
to sacrifice.

The election of Mr. Lincoln was a judgment against Slavery, and its
representatives were aroused.

Meanwhile, for more than a generation, an assumption of Constitutional
Law, hardly less baleful, had become rooted side by side with Slavery,
so that the two shot up in rank luxuriance together. It was assumed,
that, under the Constitution, a State was privileged at any time, in
the exercise of its own discretion, to withdraw from the Union. This
absurdity found little favor at first, even among the representatives
of Slavery. To say that two and two make five could not be more
irrational. But custom and constant repetition gradually produced
an impression, until, at last, all the maddest for Slavery were the
maddest also for this disorganizing ally.

It was then, conjoined with this constitutional assumption, that the
assumption for Slavery grew into noxious vigor, so that, at last, when
Mr. Lincoln was elected, it broke forth in flagrant war; but the war
was declared in the name of State Rights.

Therefore there are two _apparent_ rudiments to this war. One is
Slavery, and the other is State Rights. But the latter is only a cover
for the former. If Slavery were out of the way, there would be no
trouble from State Rights.

The war, then, is for Slavery, and nothing else. It is an insane
attempt by arms to vindicate the lordship asserted in debate. With
madcap audacity it seeks to install this Barbarism as the truest
Civilization. Slavery is announced as the “corner-stone” of the new
edifice. This is enough.

The question is presented between Barbarism and Civilization,--not
merely between two different forms of Civilization, but between
Barbarism on the one side and Civilization on the other side.

Such is the issue, simply stated. On the one side are women and
children at the auction-block, families rudely separated, human flesh
lacerated and seamed by the bloody scourge, labor extorted without
wages; and all this frightful, many-sided wrong is the declared
foundation of a mock Commonwealth. On the other side is the Union of
our fathers, with the image of Liberty on its coin and the sentiment of
Liberty in its Constitution, now arrayed under a patriotic Government,
which insists that no such mock Commonwealth, having such declared
foundation, shall be permitted on the national territory, purchased
with money and blood, to impair the unity of our jurisdiction, and to
insult the moral sense of mankind.

Therefore the battle waged by the Union is for Civilization itself, and
it must have aid and God-speed from all not openly for Barbarism. Every
one must give his best efforts, and especially the young men to whom I
now appeal.

                                                        CHARLES SUMNER.

WASHINGTON, 4th July, 1863.



                                                 BOSTON, July 13, 1863.

  DEAR SIR,--It will not be in my power to take part in the
  proposed meeting at Poughkeepsie. But I am glad it has been
  called, and I trust it will be successful.

  To me it has been clear from the beginning that the colored men
  would be needed in this war. I never for a moment doubted that
  they would render good service. And thus far the evidence in
  their favor is triumphant. Nobody now questions their bravery or
  capacity for discipline. All that can be said against them is
  that they are not “white.”

  But they have a special interest in the suppression of the
  Rebellion. The enemies of the Union are the enemies of their
  race. Therefore, in defending the Union, they defend themselves
  even more than other citizens; and in saving the Union, they save

  I doubt if in times past our country could have justly expected
  from colored men any patriotic service. Such service is the
  return for protection. But now that protection has begun, the
  service should begin also. Nor should relative rights and duties
  be weighed with nicety. It is enough that our country, aroused at
  last to a sense of justice, seeks to enroll colored men among
  its defenders.

  If my counsels could reach such persons, I would say, Enlist
  at once. Now is the day, and now the fortunate hour. Help to
  overcome your cruel enemies battling against your country, and
  in this way you will surely overcome those other enemies, hardly
  less cruel, here at home, who still seek to degrade you. This is
  not the time to hesitate or to higgle. Do your duty to our common
  country, and you will set an example of generous self-sacrifice
  which must conquer prejudice and open all hearts.

  Accept my thanks for the invitation with which you have honored
  me, and believe me, dear Sir,

      Very faithfully yours,




[1] See, _ante_, Vol. VI. p. 379.

[2] May 6, 1862, pp. 1957, 1958.

[3] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., May 20, 1862, p. 2223.

[4] _Post_, p. 128.

[5] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 591.

[6] 12 Juin, 1862.

[7] The Crime against Kansas, May 19 and 20, 1856: _ante_, Vol. IV. p.

[8] Sonnet XVI. 9-11: To the Lord General Cromwell.

[9] Rose _v._ Himely, 4 Cranch, S. C. R., pp. 272, 273.

[10] Ibid., pp. 288, 289.

[11] Cheriot _v._ Foussat, 3 Binney, R., pp. 252, 253.

[12] Upton, The Law of Nations affecting Commerce during War, pp. 211,

[13] Law Reporter, Vol. XXIV. p. 345, April, 1862.

[14] Lib. I. cap. 3, § 1.

[15] Oratio de Chersoneso, p. 97: Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis,
Prolegom. § 25.

[16] Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II. § 1344.

[17] Commentaries, Vol. IV. p. 381.

[18] Introduction to the Literature of Europe, 3d edit., (London,
1847,) Vol. II. p. 568, note.

[19] 12 Wheaton, R., 14, 15.

[20] Bynkershoek, Questiones Juris Publici, Lib. I. cap. 7.

[21] Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Hammond, May 29, 1792: American State Papers,
Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 201.

[22] Speech on International Maritime Law, March 17, 1862: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXV. col. 1608.

[23] Manning, Commentaries on the Law of Nations, p. 127.

[24] Vattel, Book III. ch. 5, sec. 76.

[25] 8 Cranch, S. C. R., 110.

[26] Wheaton, Elements of International Law, Part IV. ch. 1, § 11.

[27] Law of Nations, p. 136.

[28] Halleck, International Law, p. 460.

[29] “Washington, dans la guerre de l’Amérique, inventa l’expression
et la chose.”--KLÜBER, _Droit des Gens Moderne de l’Europe_, (Paris,
1831,) Tom. II. p. 33, sec. 251, note.

[30] Page 410.

[31] Q. Curtius, Lib. VII. cap. 8.

[32] Law of Nations, Book III. Ch. 13, § 203.

[33] 8 Cranch, S. C. R., 110.

[34] Le Caux _v._ Eden, Douglas, R., 594; Faith et al. _v._ Pearson,
Holt, N. P. Cases, 113.

[35] Elphinstone _v._ Bedreechund, 1 Knapp, Privy Council R., 337.

[36] Elphinstone _v._ Bedreechund, 1 Knapp, Privy Council R., 360, 361.

[37] Merlin, Répertoire de Jurisprudence, art. CONFISCATION, § I.

[38] History of the Reformation (Oxford, 1829), Vol. I. p. 538.

[39] Alison, History of Europe, (5th edit.,) Vol. IV. pp. 708, 709,

[40] Ibid., p. 705, note.

[41] Alison, History of Europe, Vol. IV. p. 706, note.

[42] Austin’s Life of Elbridge Gerry, Vol. I. p. 207.

[43] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. pp. 198, 199.

[44] Letter to United States Commissioners: American State Papers,
Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 219.

[45] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 219.

[46] Extract from Mr. Adams’s Journal respecting Peace, November 29,
1782: Ibid., p. 220.

[47] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 221.

[48] Definitive Treaty of Peace, Art. V.: United States Statutes at
Large, Vol. VIII. p. 82.

[49] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 201.

[50] Ibid., p. 205.

[51] Ware _v._ Hylton et al., 3 Dallas, R., 222.

[52] Ibid., p. 282.

[53] Ibid., p. 227.

[54] Ibid., p. 264.

[55] Ware _v._ Hylton et al., 3 Dallas, R., 210.

[56] How completely this early prophecy has been fulfilled appears in
our history.

[57] Law of Nations, Book III. ch. 9.

[58] Count Portalis, at the installation of the Council of Prizes in
1800: Cussy, Phases et Causes Célèbres du Droit Maritime des Nations,
Tom. I. pp. 179, 206, 264. Montesquieu had previously enunciated the
same principle, with a limitation: L’Esprit des Lois, Liv. I. ch. 3.

[59] “Impius et crudelis judicandus est, qui libertati non
favet.”--FORTESCUE, _De Laudibus Legum Angliæ_, Cap. XLII.

[60] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 67.

[61] This prophecy, like so many others with regard to Slavery, has
failed, as appears from a Comparative Statement of the Cotton Crops of
the United States for the three years last preceding the War (which
years had the largest crops ever produced), and for the three years
last past, prepared by Mr. B. F. Nourse, of Boston, December, 1871.

  |                         |     CROP PRODUCED.    |  Aggregate   |
  | YEAR, OR COTTON SEASON. +---------+-------------+Value at Ports|
  |                         |  Bales. |Pounds Gross.|   in Gold.   |
  |1858-59                  |4,019,000|1,876,800,000| $164,225,000 |
  |1859-60                  |4,861,000|2,343,000,000|  207,190,000 |
  |1860-61                  |3,849,000|1,886,240,000|  170,000,000 |
  |                         |         |             +--------------+
  | Gold value, three years |         |             | $541,415,000 |
  |                         |         |             +==============+
  |1868-69                  |2,367,000|1,103,957,000| $201,835,000 |
  |1869-70                  |3,123,000|1,441,057,000|  242,195,000 |
  |1870-71                  |4,352,000|2,021,651,000|  236,770,000 |
  |                         |         |             +--------------+
  | Gold value, three years |         |             | $680,800,000 |

[62] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 22, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. p. 1396.

[63] Debates, August 25: Ibid., pp. 1429, 1430.

[64] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 2403.

[65] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 2402.

[66] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 2403.

[67] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 2404.

[68] Notes on Virginia, Query XVIII.: Writings, Vol. VIII. p. 403.

[69] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 22, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. p. 1391.

[70] These lines, with a slight alteration, are from a parody, “On
the Discoveries of Captain Lewis,” which appeared anonymously in the
_Monthly Anthology_ for March, 1807, but attributed to John Quincy
Adams.--DUYCKINCK, _Cyclopædia of American Literature_, Vol. I. p. 395.

[71] Notes on Virginia, Query XVIII.: Writings, Vol. VIII. p. 404.

[72] Elphinstone _v._ Bedreechund, 1 Knapp’s Privy Council Rep., 320.
See, _ante_, p. 51.

[73] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, Vol. V. No. 54.

[74] Page 233.

[75] June 13, 1862.

[76] _Ante_, Vol. VI. pp. 301-305.

[77] Works, Vol. V. pp. 56, 57.

[78] Works, Vol. V. pp. 348, 349.

[79] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., July 1, 1862, p. 3035.
Mr. Hale quotes from memory. The passage in the original, entitled
“A Parable against Persecution,” is as follows: “And God said, Have
I borne with him these hundred ninety and eight years, and nourished
him, and clothed him, notwithstanding his rebellion against me,
and couldst not thou, that art thyself a sinner, bear with him one
night?”--Franklin’s Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. II. p. 122.

[80] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., July 1, 1862, p. 3038.

[81] Ibid., July 14, p. 3314.

[82] _Ante_, p. 5.

[83] Arlington, the property of General Lee.

[84] Hon. Henry Winter Davis, late Representative in Congress from

[85] Acts of 37th Cong. 1st Sess., Ch. LX. sec. 4: Statutes at Large,
Vol. XII. p. 319.

[86] “Sunt et belli, sicut pacis, jura.”--LIVY, Lib. V. c. 27: quoted
by Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis, Prolegom. § 26.

[87] Art. IX.

[88] Cicero, Orat. pro Milone, Cap. iv. § 10.

[89] Letter to the Secretary of State, August 22, 1815: American State
Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. IV. p. 117.

[90] Quoting it in reply to “the authority that has been rung in our
ears by the Senator of Massachusetts,” Mr. Powell, of Kentucky, said:
“This was the utterance of Mr. Adams, before he was fired with that
fanatical zeal, before he had that disease of negrophobia, that for a
time dethroned his mighty intellect on that subject.”--Congressional
Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., July 15, 1862, p. 3349.

[91] Congressional Globe, 27th Cong. 2d Sess., April 14, 1842, p. 424.

[92] The important passages introduced here will be found in an earlier
speech, “Emancipation our Best Weapon,” _ante_, Vol. VI. pp. 21-23.

[93] Chap. 107, sec. 31.

[94] Chap. 34, sec. 16.

[95] Chap. 107, sec. 59.

[96] Chap. 34, sec. 11.

[97] Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies, § 248, pp. 95, 96.

[98] Ibid., § 248 and note.

[99] Stansbury’s Report of the Trial of James H. Peck, Appendix, p. 499.

[100] System des heutigen Römischen Rechts, Band II. p. 329, § 97.

[101] Notes on Virginia, Query XIII.: Writings, Vol. VIII. p. 367.

[102] The Fugitive Slave Act.

[103] Milton, Of Reformation in England, Book II.: Prose Works, ed.
Symmons, Vol. I. p. 29.

[104] Senate Journal, July 17, 1862, pp. 872-874. Congressional Globe,
37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 3406.

[105] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 627.

[106] Works (London, 1801), Vol. III. p. 69.

[107] At this Convention Mr. Sumner was nominated for reëlection as
Senator. See, _post_, pp. 240, 241.

[108] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. XII., Appendix, p. 1267.

[109] The pen with which the President signed the final proclamation
was given by him to George Livermore, author of the “Historical
Research respecting the Opinions of the Founders of the Republic on
Negroes as Slaves, as Citizens, and as Soldiers.”

[110] Joint Resolution on the Subject of Retaliation, May 1, 1863:
Public Laws of the Confederate States of America, 1st Cong. 3d Sess.,
(Richmond, 1863,) p. 167.

[111] John A. Andrew.

[112] In the delivery of the speech Mr. Sumner was interrupted here
by an inquiry from the audience: “What about that vacant chair?”
Cries answered: “Put him out!” The Voice: “He challenges inquiry. I
ask him, What about the vacant chair?” Repeated cries: “Put him out!”
Mr. Sumner: “Let him stay. The gentleman asks about the vacant chair.
I refer him to the history of my country for answer.” [_Tremendous

[113] Here the same voice that had already interrupted said: “Without
reservation?” Mr. Sumner replied: “Yes, without reservation.”

[114] Speech at Bristol, previous to the Election, 1780: Works (London,
1801), Vol. IV. pp. 72, 73.

[115] Horace, Epist. I. vi. 67, 68.

[116] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 2342; Senate
Journal, p. 527.

[117] See, _ante_, Vol. VI. pp. 20-23.

[118] Letter to Doctor Gordon, July 16, 1788: Writings, Vol. II. pp.
426, 427.

[119] November 7, 1775: American Archives, Fourth Series, Vol. III.
col. 1385.

[120] November 27, 1775: Ibid., Vol. IV. col. 202.

[121] Letter to the Secretary of State, March 30, 1776: Ibid., Fifth
Series, Vol. II. col. 160.

[122] Letter to Joseph Reed, December 15, 1775: Life and Correspondence
of Joseph Reed, Vol. I. p. 135.

[123] John Adams, Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress, October
6, 1775: Works, Vol. II. p. 458.

[124] An Historical Research, by George Livermore, p. 187.

[125] Proclamation, dated at Bermuda, April 2, 1814. An Exposition
of the Causes and Character of the Late War, by A. J. Dallas,
(Philadelphia, 1815,) p. 70. Life and Writings of A. J. Dallas, by his
Son, G. M. Dallas, Appendix, No. 5, p. 356.

[126] Report of Quartermaster-General, November 15, 1841: Senate
Documents, 27th Cong. 2d Sess., No. 1, p. 110.

[127] Works, Vol. II. p. 428.

[128] Secret Journals, Vol. I. p. 108. _Ante_, Vol. III. p. 403.

[129] Speech in the House of Representatives of the United States,
December 10, 1811: Hildreth’s History of the United States, Vol. VI. p.
269; Annals of Congress, 12th Cong. 1st Sess., col. 451.

[130] Speech in the House of Lords, on the Immediate Emancipation of
the Negro Apprentices, February 20, 1838: Works, Vol. X. p. 274.

[131] Inferno, Canto XXIII. 118-120, tr. Brooksbank.

[132] What was called “The People’s Convention” was to meet the next
day in Faneuil Hall. See, _post_, Appendix p. 241.

[133] See, _ante_, Vol. VI. pp. 1-64.

[134] See, _ante_, p. 187.


    “O fortunatos nimium, sua si bona nôrint,

                                         _Georgic._, Lib. II. 458, 459.

[136] De l’Esprit des Lois, Liv. XVIII. ch. 3.

[137] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 599, sec. 12.

[138] _Ante_, pp. 212 seqq.

[139] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIII. p. 11, sec. 24.

[140] Chitty’s Prerogatives of the Crown, p. 42.

[141] Halleck’s International Law, pp. 391, 392.

[142] Kent’s Commentaries on American Law, Vol. I. p. 97.

[143] Letter to M. de Ternant, October 16, 1792: Writings, Vol. III. p.

[144] Wheaton’s Elements of International Law, ed. Lawrence, (Boston,
1863,) p. 631, note.

[145] See Letter to Richard Oswald, enclosing propositions to abolish
privateering, January 14, 1783: Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. IX. pp. 466,

[146] See Letter of Franklin to Benjamin Vaughan, March 14, 1785:
Ibid., Vol. II. p. 485.

[147] Statutes at Large, Vol. II. p. 763, sec. 15.

[148] Lawrence, Commentaire sur les Éléments du Droit International,
etc., de Henry Wheaton, Tom. II. p. 467, Part. II. ch. 1.

[149] Ibid., pp. 477-479.

[150] Ibid., pp. 482, 483.

[151] Post, p. 327.

[152] See, _ante_, Vol. V. p. 1.

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translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.