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Title: Charles Sumner; His Complete Works, Volume X (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
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[Illustration: A. W. Elson & Co., Boston: WILLIAM H. SEWARD]

Statesman Edition        VOL. X



With Introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar


Lee and Shepard

Copyright, 1872 and 1873,
Charles Sumner.

Copyright, 1900,
Lee and Shepard.

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

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



    OF OCEAN BELLIGERENCE. Speech before the Citizens of New York,
    at the Cooper Institute, September 10, 1863. With Appendix         1

    STATES. Article in the Atlantic Monthly, October, 1863           167

    Atlantic Monthly, November, 1863                                 221

    Citizens in New York, celebrating the Anniversary of the
    Proclamation, December 18, 1863                                  259

    THE MAYFLOWER AND THE SLAVE SHIP. Letter to the New England
    Society at New York, December 21, 1863                           260

    Remarks in the Senate, on an Amendment moved to the Enrolment
    Bill, January 8, 12, and June 20, 1864, and February 7, 1865     262

    Senate, January 13, 1864                                         271

    Committee in Boston, January 20, 1864                            272

    in the Senate, on a New Rule requiring the Oath of Loyalty for
    Senators, January 25, 1864                                       273

    Remarks in the Senate, on his Death, February 1, 1864            293

    AND FOR PROTECTION OF FREEDMEN. Resolutions in the Senate,
    February 8, 1864                                                 295

    PRAYER OF ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND. Speech in the Senate, on
    presenting a Petition of the Women’s National League, praying
    Universal Emancipation by Act of Congress, February 9, 1864      300

    EQUAL PAY OF COLORED SOLDIERS. Remarks in the Senate, on
    Different Propositions, February 10, 29, and June 11, 1864       304

    Senate, on Various Propositions, February 10, March 17, June
    21, 1864                                                         323

    the Senate, of the Committee on Slavery and Freedmen, February
    29, 1864                                                         338





    MARCUS. Quæro igitur a te, Quinte, sicut illi solent: Quo si
    civitas careat, ob eam ipsam causam, quod eo careat, pro nihilo
    habenda sit, id estne numerandum in bonis?

    QUINTUS. Ac maximis quidem.

    MARCUS. Lege autem carens civitas estne ob id ipsum habenda
    nullo loco?

    QUINTUS. Dici aliter non potest.

    MARCUS. _Necesse est igitur legem haberi in rebus optimis._

    QUINTUS. Prorsus assentior.

                                 CICERO, _De Legibus_, Lib. II. cap. 5.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          I have told,
    O Britons! O my brethren! I have told
    Most bitter truth, but without bitterness.
    Nor deem my zeal or factious or mistimed;
    For never can true courage dwell with them
    Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look
    At their own vices.

                      COLERIDGE, _Sibylline Leaves: Fears in Solitude_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    ’Tis therefore sober and good men are sad
    For England’s glory, seeing it wax pale
    And sickly.

                                   COWPER, _The Task_, Book V. 509-511.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Government condemns in the highest degree the conduct of
    any of our citizens who may personally engage in committing
    hostilities at sea against any of the nations parties to the
    present war, and will exert all the means with which the laws
    and Constitution have armed them to discover such as offend
    herein and bring them to condign punishment.… The practice of
    commissioning, equipping, and manning vessels in our ports
    to cruise on any of the belligerent parties is equally and
    entirely disapproved; and the Government will take effectual
    measures to prevent a repetition of it.--JEFFERSON, _Letter to
    Mr. Hammond, May 15, 1793_: Writings, Vol. III. p. 559.

       *       *       *       *       *

    One spot remains which oceans cannot wash out. The slavery of
    the African race, which the North Americans had inherited from
    the ancient monarchy, was adopted and fondly cherished by the
    new Republic.… The logic of the Constitution declared that
    all men were free: the pride and avarice of the slave-owners,
    disowning the image of the Creator and the brotherhood of
    nature, degraded men of a dark color, and even all the
    descendants of their sons and daughters, to a level with oxen
    and horses. But as oxen and horses never combine, and have
    no sense of wronged independence, oxen and horses are better
    treated than the men and women of African blood.… But neither
    the philosophical dogma of the authors of the Constitution,
    nor the strict pedantry of law, can stifle the cry of outraged
    humanity, nor still the current of human sympathy, nor arrest
    forever the decrees of Eternal Justice.--LORD JOHN RUSSELL,
    _Life and Times of Charles James Fox_, Vol. I. pp. 364, 365.

       *       *       *       *       *

    To this condition the Constitution of this Confederacy reduces
    the whole African race; and while declaring these to be its
    principles, the founders claim the privilege of being admitted
    into the society of the nations of the earth,--principles
    worthy only of being conceived and promulgated by the
    inmates of the infernal regions, and a fit constitution for
    a confederacy in Pandemonium. _Now, as soon as the nature
    of this Constitution is truly explained and understood, is
    it possible that the nations of the earth can admit such a
    Confederacy into their society? Can any nation calling itself
    civilized associate, with any sense of self-respect, with
    a nation avowing and practising such principles?_ Will not
    every civilized nation, when the nature of this Confederacy is
    understood, come to the side of the United States, and refuse
    all association with them, as, in truth, they are, _hostes
    humani generis_? For the African is as much entitled to be
    protected in the rights of humanity as any other portion of
    the human race. _As to Great Britain, her course is, in the
    nature of things, already fixed and immutable. She must sooner
    or later join the United States in this war, or be disgraced
    throughout all future time_; for the principle of that
    civilization which this Confederacy repudiates was by her--to
    her great glory, and with unparalleled sacrifices--introduced
    into the code of Civilization, and she will prove herself
    recreant, if she fails to maintain it.--JOSIAH QUINCY, _Address
    before the Union Club of Boston, February 27, 1863_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    If British merchants look with eagerness to the event of the
    struggle in South America, no doubt they do so with the hope of
    deriving advantage from that event. But on what is such hope
    founded? On the diffusion of beggary, on the maintenance of
    ignorance, on the confirmation of slavery, on the establishment
    of tyranny in America? No; these are the expectations of
    Ferdinand. The British merchant builds his hopes of trade and
    profit on the progress of civilization and good government, on
    the successful assertion of Freedom,--of Freedom, that parent
    of talent, that parent of heroism, that parent of every virtue.
    The fate of South America can only be accessory to commerce as
    it becomes accessory to the dignity and the happiness of the
    race of man.--SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH, _Speech in Parliament, on
    the Foreign Enlistment Bill, June 10, 1819_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    When a power comparable only to Thugs, buccaneers, and
    cannibals tries to thrust its hideous head among nations, and
    claims the protection and privileges of International Law,--a
    power which rose against the freest rule on earth for the
    avowed motive of propagating the worst form of Slavery ever
    known, having no legitimate complaint, or, if it had, certainly
    trying no constitutional means of redress, but plunging at once
    into arms, and that when the arsenals had been emptied and the
    fortresses seized by the treason of office-holders,--I hold it
    to be an offence against law, order, and public morality for a
    statesman whose words carry weight to speak at all of such a
    power without declaring abhorrence of it.--PROFESSOR FRANCIS W.
    NEWMAN, _Letter to Mr. Gladstone, December 1, 1862_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    I blame men who are eager to admit into the Family of Nations a
    state which offers itself to us, based upon a principle, I will
    undertake to say, more odious and more blasphemous than was
    ever heretofore dreamed of in Christian or Pagan, in civilized
    or in savage times. The leaders of this revolt propose this
    monstrous thing: that over a territory forty times as large
    as England the blight and curse of Slavery shall be forever
    perpetuated.--JOHN BRIGHT, _Speech at Birmingham, December 18,

       *       *       *       *       *

    We are already culpable for a part of this bloody war; for,
    better informed or less indifferent, less selfish or more
    adroit, above all, more wise, more sincerely the friends
    of what is right, we could, from London and Paris, have
    thrown into the midst of the combatants this declaration,
    which would have rendered the conflict ephemeral: “Never
    will either England or France, Christian nations, liberal
    nations, recognize the existence of a people seeking to found
    Liberty and Independence on Slavery!” The misfortune of the
    times, in obscuring our judgment, in dulling our passion for
    the beautiful ideas of Freedom, has, then, already made us
    participants, in some respect, in the rebellion of the people
    of the South, and, in order to mask what was gross and low in
    our voluntary error, we set up vague reasons of commercial
    policy and general policy at which our fathers would have
    blushed.… The truth is, that the revolt of the South is the
    most impudent and most odious insult that has ever been offered
    to the ideas of modern Civilization.--JOURNAL DES ÉCONOMISTES,
    Avril, 1864, Tom. XLII. p. 88.

    The following speech[1] was delivered at the invitation of the
    New York Young Men’s Republican Union, at Cooper Institute,
    on the 10th of September, 1863. The announcement that Mr.
    Sumner had consented to address the citizens of New York on
    a subject so momentous attracted an audience numbering not
    less than three thousand persons, among whom were most of the
    acknowledged representatives of the intelligence, wealth, and
    influence of the metropolis. Long before the hour appointed for
    the delivery of the speech, the entrance-doors were besieged by
    an impatient and anxious crowd, who, as soon as the gates were
    opened, filled the seats, aisles, lobbies, and platform of the
    vast hall, leaving at least an equal number to return home,
    unable to gain an entrance to the building.

    Of the following named gentlemen, who were invited to occupy
    seats upon the platform, a majority were present, while in
    the auditorium were hundreds of equally prominent citizens,
    who preferred to retain seats near the ladies whom they had
    escorted to the meeting.

    Francis Lieber, LL.D., George Bancroft, Major-General Dix,
    Horace Greeley, George Griswold, John E. Williams, W. W.
    DeForest, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Abram Wakeman, Rev. Dr. Tyng,
    Cyrus W. Field, Alexander T. Stewart, Horace Webster, LL.D.,
    Joseph Lawrence, John A. Stevens, Pelatiah Perit, James A.
    Hamilton, H. B. Claflin, T. L. Thornell, Colonel William
    Borden, William Goodell, Rev. Dr. Thompson, Rev. Dr. Gillette,
    William Cullen Bryant, Major-General Fremont, A. A. Low,
    John Jay, Henry Grinnell, James Gallatin, Cephas Brainerd,
    William B. Astor, William H. Aspinwall, Oliver Johnson, W. M.
    Evarts, William Curtis Noyes, Rev. Dr. Hitchcock, Shepherd
    Knapp, William H. Webb, James W. Gerard, Anson Livingston,
    Frank W. Ballard, Isaac H. Bailey, George B. Lincoln, General
    Harvey Brown, Rev. Dr. Shedd, Rev. Dr. Durbin, Peter Cooper,
    Major-General Doubleday, Charles H. Marshall, Marshall O.
    Roberts, Judge Bradford, Charles H. Russell, E. Delafield
    Smith, Hamilton Fish, Robert B. Minturn, Rev. Dr. Cheever, F.
    B. Cutting, Charles King, LL.D., Rev. Dr. Ferris, Ex-Governor
    King, George Folsom, Samuel B. Ruggles, S. B. Chittenden,
    Charles T. Rodgers, Mark Hoyt, Lewis Tappan, Rev. Dr. Storrs,
    Rev. Dr. Adams, Rev. Dr. Vinton, Daniel Drew, Francis Hall,
    George William Curtis, Judge Edmonds, Rev. Dr. Asa D. Smith,
    Truman Smith, William A. Hall, Prosper M. Wetmore, B. F.
    Manierre, George P. Putnam, E. C. Johnson, Rev. Dr. Osgood,
    Elliott C. Cowdin, Rev. T. Ralston Smith, J. S. Schultz, M.
    Armstrong, Jr., D. A. Hawkins, Edgar Ketchum, Joseph Hoxie,
    Rev. Dr. Bellows, General S. C. Pomeroy, James McKaye, George
    F. Butman, David Dudley Field.

    David Dudley Field, Esq., who had been selected by the
    Committee as Chairman of the meeting, introduced Mr. Sumner to
    the audience in the following words.

        “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,--At no former period in the history
        of the country has the condition of its foreign relations
        been so important and so critical as it is at this moment.
        In what agony of mortal struggle this nation has passed the
        last two years we all know. A rebellion of unparalleled
        extent, of indescribable enormity, without any justifiable
        cause, without even a decent pretext, stimulated by the
        bad passions which a barbarous institution had originated,
        and encouraged by expected and promised aid from false men
        among ourselves, has filled the land with desolation and
        mourning. During this struggle it has been our misfortune
        to encounter the evil disposition of the two nations of
        Western Europe with which we are most closely associated
        by ties of blood, common history, and mutual commerce.
        Perhaps I ought to have said the evil disposition of the
        governments, rather than of the nations; for in France the
        people have no voice, and we know only the imperial will
        and policy, while in England the masses have no powers, the
        House of Commons being elected by a fraction of the people,
        and the aristocratic classes being against us from dislike
        to the freedom of our institutions, and the mercantile
        classes from the most sordid motives of private gain. To
        what extent this evil disposition has been carried, what
        causes have stimulated it, in what acts it has manifested
        itself, and what consequences may be expected to follow
        from it in future, will be explained by the distinguished
        orator who is to address you this evening. His position as
        Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has
        given him an acquaintance with the subject equal, if not
        superior, to that of any other person in the country. He
        needs no introduction from me. His name is an introduction
        and a passport in any free community between the Atlantic
        and the Pacific seas; therefore, without saying more, I
        will give way for CHARLES SUMNER, of Massachusetts.”

    Amid the most marked demonstrations of satisfaction, expressed
    frequently by long-continued applause and hearty cheers, Mr.
    Sumner proceeded in the delivery of his discourse. The meeting
    adjourned about an hour before midnight.

    Three New York newspapers and two in Boston printed the entire
    speech on the day following its delivery.


FELLOW-CITIZENS,--From the beginning of the war in which we are now
engaged, the public interest has alternated anxiously between the
current of events at home and the more distant current abroad. Foreign
Relations have been hardly less absorbing than Domestic Relations.
At times the latter seem to wait upon the former, and a packet from
Europe is like a messenger from the seat of war. Rumors of foreign
intervention are constant, now in the form of mediation, and then
in the form of recognition; and more than once the country has been
summoned to confront the menace of England, and of France, too, in open
combination with Rebel Slavemongers battling in the name of Slavery to
build an infamous power on the destruction of this Republic.

It is well for us to turn aside from battle and siege at home, from
the blazing lines of Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Charleston, to
glance for a moment at the perils from abroad: of course I mean from
England and France; for these are the only foreign powers thus far
moved to intermeddle on the side of Slavery. The subject to which
I invite attention may want the attraction of waving standards or
victorious marches; but, more than any conflict of arms, it concerns
the civilization of the age. If foreign powers can justly interfere
against human freedom, this Republic will not be the only sufferer.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is always a natural order in unfolding a subject, and I shall try
to pursue it on this occasion, under the following heads.

_First._ The perils to our country from foreign powers, especially
foreshadowed in the unexpected and persistent conduct of England and
France since the outbreak of the war.

_Secondly._ The nature of foreign intervention by mediation, with the
principles applicable thereto, illustrated by historic instances,
showing especially how England, by conspicuous, wide-spread, and most
determined intervention to promote the extinction of African Slavery,
_is irrevocably committed against any act or policy that can encourage
this criminal pretension_.

_Thirdly._ The nature of foreign intervention by recognition, with
the principles applicable thereto, illustrated by historic instances,
showing that by the practice of nations, and especially by the declared
sentiments of British statesmen, _there can be no foreign recognition
of an insurgent power, where the contest for independence is still

_Fourthly._ The moral impossibility of foreign recognition, even if
the pretended power be _de facto_ independent, where it is composed of
Rebel Slavemongers seeking to found a _new_ power with Slavery for its
declared “corner-stone.” Pardon the truthful plainness of the terms I
employ. I am to speak not merely of Slaveholders, but of people to whom
Slavery is a passion and a business, therefore Slavemongers,--now in
rebellion for the sake of Slavery, therefore Rebel Slavemongers.

_Fifthly._ The absurdity and wrong of conceding ocean belligerence to a
pretended power, which, in the first place, is without a Prize Court,
so that it cannot be an ocean belligerent _in fact_,--and, in the
second place, even if ocean belligerent _in fact_, is of such an odious
character that its recognition is a moral impossibility.

From this review, touching upon the present and the past, leaning upon
history and upon law, enlightened always by principles which are an
unerring guide, our conclusion will be easy.


The perils to our country, foreshadowed in the action of foreign powers
since the outbreak of the war, first invite attention.

There is something in the tendencies of nations which must not be
neglected. Like individuals, nations influence each other; like the
heavenly bodies, they are disturbed by each other in their appointed
orbits. Apparent even in peace, this becomes more so in the convulsions
of war, whether from the withdrawal of customary forces or from their
increased momentum. It is the nature of war to enlarge as it continues.
Beginning between two nations, it gradually widens its circle,
ingulfing other nations in its fiery maelström. Such is human history.
Nor is it different, if the war be for independence. Foreign powers may
for a while keep out of the conflict; but examples of history show how
difficult this has been.

There was liberty-loving Holland, which, under that illustrious
character, William of Orange, predecessor and exemplar of our
Washington, rose against the dominion of Spain, upheld by the bigotry
of Philip the Second, and the barbarity of his representative, Alva;
but the conflict, though at first limited to the two parties, was not
slow to engage Queen Elizabeth, who lent to this war of independence
the name of her favorite Leicester and the undying heroism of Sidney,
while Spain retorted by the Armada. The United Provinces of Holland,
in their struggle for independence, were the prototype of the United
States of America, which I need not remind you drew into their contest
the arms of France, Spain, and Holland. In the rising of the Spanish
colonies there was less interposition of other nations, doubtless
from the distant and outlying position they occupied, although not
beyond the ambitious reach of the Holy Alliance, whose purposes were
so far thwarted by Mr. Canning, backed by the declaration of President
Monroe, known as the Monroe doctrine, that the British statesman felt
authorized to boast that he had called a new world into existence to
redress the balance of the old. Then came the struggle of Greece,
which, after painful years darkened by massacre, but relieved by
exalted self-sacrifice, shining with names, like Byron and Bozzaris,
that cannot die, challenged the powerful interposition of England,
France, and Russia. The independence of Greece was hardly acknowledged,
when Belgium, renouncing the rule of the Netherlands, claimed hers
also, and here again the great powers of Europe were drawn into the
contest. Then came the effort of Hungary, inspired by Kossuth, which,
when about to prevail, aroused the armies of Russia. There was also
the contemporaneous effort of the Roman Republic, under Mazzini,
which, almost successful, evoked the bayonets of France. We have only
recently witnessed the resurrection of Italy, inspired by Garibaldi,
and directed by Cavour; but it was not accomplished, until Louis
Napoleon, with well-trained legions, bore the imperial eagles into

Such are famous instances, being so many warnings. Ponder them, and you
will see the tendency, the temptation, the irresistible fascination,
or the commanding exigency under which foreign nations have been led
to participate in conflicts for independence. I do not dwell on the
character of these interventions, although mostly in the interest of
Human Freedom. It is only as examples to put us on our guard that I
adduce them. The footprints all lead one way.

Even our war is not without its warning. If thus far in its progress
other nations have failed to intervene, they have not succeeded in
keeping entirely aloof. The foreign trumpet has not sounded yet, but
more than once the cry has come that we should soon hear it, while
incidents too often occur, exhibiting abnormal watchfulness of our
affairs and uncontrollable passion or purpose to intermeddle in them,
with signs of unfriendly feeling. This is applicable especially, if not
exclusively, to England and France.

And at the outset, as I am about to speak frankly, I quote the words
of an eminent English statesman and orator, who felt it his duty to
criticize Spain. From his place in the House of Commons, whence his
words flew over Europe, Mr. Canning, Minister of Foreign Affairs,

     “If, in what I have now further to say, I should bear hard
    upon the Spanish Government, I beg that it may be observed,
    that, unjustifiable as I shall show their conduct to have
    been--contrary to the Law of Nations, contrary to the law of
    good neighborhood, contrary, I might say, to the laws of God
    and man--with respect to Portugal, still I do not mean to
    preclude a _locus pœnitentiæ_, a possibility of redress and

Fellow-citizens, you shall decide, on hearing the story, if we also
have not complaints; but I, too, hope that all will end well.

       *       *       *       *       *

(1.) One act of the British Cabinet stands foremost as an omen of
peril,--foremost in time, foremost also in the magnitude of its
consequences. Though plausible in form, it is none the less injurious
or unjustifiable. I refer to that inconsiderate Proclamation, in the
name of the Queen, as early as 13th May, 1861, which, after raising
Rebel Slavemongers to equality with the National Government, solemnly
declares “neutrality” between the two coëqual parties: as if the
recognition of equality was not an insult to the National Government,
and the declaration of neutrality was not a moral absurdity, offensive
to reason and all those precedents which make the glory of the British
name. Neutrality is equality; neutrality is equity. It is both. But
is there just equality between these two parties? Can neutrality
between such parties, especially at the very outset, be regarded as
equity? Even if the Proclamation could be otherwise than improper at
any time in such a rebellion, it was worse than a blunder at that
early date. The apparent relations between the two powers were more
than friendly. Only a few months had passed since the youthful heir to
the British throne was welcomed everywhere, except in Richmond, as
in the land of kinsmen. And yet, at once, after tidings of the Rebel
assault on Fort Sumter, before the National Government had begun to
put forth its strength, and even without waiting for the arrival of
our newly appointed minister, who was known to be at Liverpool, on his
way to London, the Proclamation was suddenly launched. I doubt if any
well-informed person, who reads Mr. Dallas’s despatch of 2d May, 1861,
recounting a conversation with the British Secretary, will undertake
to vindicate it in point of time. “I informed him,” the minister
reports, “that Mr. Adams had apprised me of his intention to be on
his way hither in the steamship Niagara, which left Boston on the 1st
May, and that he would probably arrive in less than two weeks, by the
12th or 15th instant. His Lordship acquiesced in the expediency of
disregarding mere rumor, _and waiting the full knowledge to be brought
by my successor_.”[3] And yet the blow was struck without waiting.
The alacrity of this concession was unhappy, for it bore an air of
defiance, or at least of heartlessness, towards an ally of kindred
blood engaged in the maintenance of its traditional power against an
infamous pretension. More unhappy still was it that the good genius of
England did not save this historic nation, linked with so many triumphs
of Freedom, from a fatal step, which, under the guise of “neutrality,”
was a betrayal of Civilization itself.

It is difficult to exaggerate the consequences of this precipitate,
unfriendly, and immoral concession, which has been, and still is, an
overflowing fountain of mischief and bloodshed,--“_hoc fonte derivata
clades_,”--_first_, in what it vouchsafes to Rebel Slavemongers on sea
and in British ports, and, _secondly_, in the removal of impediments
from British subjects ready to make money out of Slavery,--all of which
has been declared by undoubted British authority. Lord Chelmsford, of
professional renown as Sir Frederick Thesiger, now an ex-Chancellor,
used these words recently in the House of Lords: “If the Southern
Confederacy had not been recognized by us as _a belligerent power_,
he agreed with his noble and learned friend [Lord BROUGHAM], that any
Englishman aiding them by fitting out a privateer against the Federal
Government _would be guilty of piracy_.”[4] But this is changed by
the Queen’s Proclamation. For Rebel Slavery there is recognition; for
the British subject opportunity of trade. For Rebel Slavery there is
fellowship and equality; for the British subject a new customer, to
whom he may lawfully sell Armstrong guns, and other warlike munitions
of choicest British workmanship, and, as Lord Palmerston tells us, even
ships of war, to be used in behalf of Slavery.[5] What was unlawful is
suddenly made lawful, while the ban is taken from an odious felony. It
seems superfluous to add, that such concession, thus potent in reach,
must have been a direct encouragement and overture to the Rebellion.
Slavery itself was exalted, when barbarous pretenders, battling to
found a new power in its hateful name, without so much as a single port
on the ocean where a prize could be carried for condemnation, were yet,
_in face of this essential deficiency_, swiftly acknowledged as _ocean_
belligerents, while, as consequence, their pirate ships, cruising for
plunder in behalf of Slavery, were acknowledged as national ships,
entitled to equal immunities with the national ships of the United
States. This simple statement is enough. It is vain to say that the
concession was a “necessity.” There may have been strong temptation
to it, constituting, perhaps, imagined necessity, as with many there
is strong temptation to Slavery itself. But such concession to Rebels
fighting for Slavery can be vindicated only as Slavery is vindicated.
As well declare “neutrality” between Right and Wrong, between Good and
Evil, with concession to Evil of belligerent rights, and then set up
the apology of “necessity.”

If he is an enemy who does what pleases an enemy, according to the
rule borrowed by Grotius from the Christian lawyer of the age of
Justinian,[6] then did England become the enemy of the National Union,
for this most fruitful concession rejoiced beyond measure the Rebel

(2.) An act so essentially unfriendly in character, and also in the
alacrity with which it was done, too clearly indicated an unfriendly
sentiment, easily stimulated to menace of war. And this menace was not
wanting, when, soon afterwards, the two Rebel emissaries on board the
Trent were seized by a patriotic, brave commander, whose highest fault
was, that, in the absence of instructions from his own Government, he
followed British precedents only too closely. This accident--for such
it was, and nothing else--assumed at once overshadowing proportions.
With indefensible exaggeration, it was changed by the British nation,
backed by the British Government, into a _casus belli_,--as if an
unauthorized incident, obviously involving no question of self-defence,
could justify war between two civilized nations. And yet, in the face
of positive declaration from the United States, communicated by our
minister at London, that it was an accident, the British Government
_made preparations to take part with Rebel Slavery_, and fitly began
such an ignoble proceeding by keeping back from the British people the
official despatch of 30th November, 1861, where our Government, after
announcing that Captain Wilkes had acted “without any instructions,”
expresses a “trust that the British Government would consider the
subject in a friendly temper,” and promises “the best disposition” on
our part.[7] It is painful to recall this exhibition. But it belongs to
history, and we cannot forget the lesson it teaches.

(3.) This tendency to espouse the side of Slavery appears in small
things as well as great, becoming more marked in proportion to the
inconsistency involved. Thus, where two British subjects, “suspected”
of participation in the Rebellion, were detained in a military
prison without the benefit of _Habeas Corpus_, the British minister
at Washington was directed to complain of their detention _as
inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States_, of which
this intermeddling power assumed to be “expounder”; and the case was
accordingly presented on this ground.[8] But the British Cabinet, with
instinct to mix in our war, if only by diplomatic notes, seemed to have
forgotten the British Constitution, under which, in 1848, with consent
of all the party leaders, Brougham and Lansdowne, Peel and Disraeli,
_Habeas Corpus_ was suspended in Ireland, and the Government authorized
to apprehend and detain “such persons as they shall suspect.” The
bill sanctioning this exercise of power went through all its stages
in the House of Commons on one day, and the next day went through all
its stages in the House of Lords without a dissenting vote. It is
hard to believe that Lord Russell, who complains of our detention of
“suspected” persons as inconsistent with the Constitution of the United
States, was the minister who introduced this bill, and on that occasion
used these words: “I believe in my conscience that this measure is
calculated to prevent insurrection, to preserve internal peace, _to
preserve the unity of this empire_, and to secure the throne of these
realms and the free institutions of this country.”[9]

(4.) The complaint about _Habeas Corpus_ was hardly answered, when
another was solemnly presented, founded on the legitimate effort to
complete the blockade of Charleston, by sinking at the mouth of its
harbor ships laden with stone, usually known as “the stone blockade.”
Did anybody find fault with the Russians for sinking their men-of-war
in the harbor of Sebastopol? Nor is the allegation of permanent damage
to the harbor tenable in the present advanced state of engineering
science. A London journal, not inferior to any other in character
and ability, has recently recognized the normal character of such a
proceeding by mentioning it as a possible defence for Calcutta against
naval force, saying: “The ascent of the river without pilots is
impossible; for the Government can alter all the channels in a night by
_merely sinking a couple of loaded schooners_.”[10] In common times her
Majesty’s Government would shrink from such intermeddling. It could not
forget that history, early and late, and especially English history,
abounds in similar incidents: that, as long ago as 1436, at the siege
of Calais by the Duke of Burgundy, and also in 1628, at the memorable
siege of Rochelle by Cardinal Richelieu, ships laden with stone were
sunk in the harbor; that, during the war of the Revolution, in 1779,
six vessels were sunk by the British commander in the Savannah River,
not far from this very Charleston, as a protection against the approach
of the French naval forces; that, in 1804, under direction of the
British Admiralty, there was an attempt, notorious from contemporary
jest,[11] to choke the entrance into the harbor of Boulogne by sinking
stone vessels; and that, in 1809, the same blockade of another port was
recommended to the Admiralty by no less a person than Lord Dundonald,
saying: “Ships filled with stones would ruin forever the anchorage of
Aix, and some old vessels of the line well loaded would be excellent
for the purpose.”[12] This complaint by the British Cabinet becomes
doubly strange, when it is considered that one of the most conspicuous
treaties of modern history contains solemn exactions from France by
England herself, that the harbor of Dunkirk, whose prosperity was
regarded with jealousy, should be permanently “filled up,” so that
it could no longer furnish those hospitalities to commerce for which
it was famous. This was the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713. The Triple
Alliance, four years later, compelled France to stipulate again that
nothing should be omitted “which Great Britain could think necessary
for the entire destruction of the harbor”; and the latter power was
authorized to send commissioners as “ocular witnesses of the execution
of the treaty.” These humiliating provisions were renewed in successive
treaties down to the Peace of Versailles, in 1783, when the immunity of
that harbor was recognized with American Independence. And yet it is
Great Britain, thus persistent in closing ports and rivers, that now
interferes to warn us against a stone blockade in a war to put down
Rebel Slavery.

(5.) The same propensity and the same inconsistency appear in another
instance, where an eminent peer, once Foreign Secretary, did not
hesitate, from his place in Parliament, to charge the United States
with making medicines and surgical instruments contraband, “contrary
to all the common laws of war, _contrary to all precedent, not
excluding the most ignorant and barbarous ages_.”[13] Thus exclaims
the noble Lord. Now I have nothing to say of the propriety of making
these things contraband. My simple object is to exhibit the spirit
against which we are to guard. It is difficult to understand how such
a display could be made in face of the historic fact, exposed in the
satire of Peter Plymley, that Parliament, in 1808, by large majorities,
prohibited the exportation of Peruvian bark into any territory occupied
by France, and that this prohibition was moved by no less a person than
the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Perceval, who commended it on the
ground that “the severest pressure was already felt on the Continent
from the want of that article,” and that “it was of great importance to
the armies of the enemy.”[14] Such, in an age neither “ignorant” nor
“barbarous,” is authentic British precedent, but now ostentatiously

(6.) The same recklessness, of such evil omen, breaks forth again in a
despatch of the Foreign Secretary, where he undertakes to communicate
the judgment of the British Cabinet on the President’s Proclamation
of Emancipation. Here, at least, you will say there can be no
misunderstanding and no criticism; but you are mistaken. Under any
ordinary circumstances, when great passions find no vent, such an act,
having such an object, and being of such unparalleled importance, would
be treated by the minister of a foreign power with supreme caution, if
not with sympathy; but, under the terrible influence of the hour, Earl
Russell, not content with condemning the Proclamation, misrepresents
it in the most barefaced manner. This was done in a communication to
Lord Lyons here in Washington. Gathering his condemnation into one
phrase, he says that it “makes Slavery at once legal and illegal”[15];
whereas it is obvious to the most careless observer, who looks only
at the face of the Proclamation, that, whatever its faults, it is not
obnoxious to this criticism, for it makes Slavery legal nowhere, while
it makes it illegal in an immense territory. An official letter so
incomprehensible in motive, from a statesman usually liberal, if not
cautious, is another illustration of that irritating tendency which
will be checked, at last, when it is fully comprehended.

(7.) The activity of our navy is only another occasion for criticism
in a similar spirit. Nothing can be done anywhere to please our
self-constituted monitor. Our naval officers in the West Indies,
acting under instructions modelled on the judgments of the British
Admiralty, are reprehended by Earl Russell in a formal despatch.[16]
The judges in our Prize Court are indecently belittled by this same
minister, from his place in Parliament,[17] when it is notorious that
there are several who compare favorably with any British Admiralty
judge since Lord Stowell, not even excepting that noble and upright
magistrate, Dr. Lushington. And this same minister has undertaken to
throw the British shield over a newly invented contraband trade with
the Rebel Slavemongers _viâ_ Matamoras, claiming that it is “a lawful
branch of commerce” and “a perfectly legitimate trade.” The “Dolphin”
and “Peterhoff” were two ships elaborately prepared in London for this
illicit commerce, and they have been duly condemned as such; but their
seizure was made the occasion of official protest and complaint, with
the insinuation of “vexatious capture and arbitrary interference,”
followed by the menace, that, under such circumstances, “it is obvious
that Great Britain must interfere to protect her flag.”[18]

(8.) This persistent, inexorable criticism, even at the expense
of all consistency, or of all memory, has broken forth in forms
incompatible with that very “neutrality” so early declared. It was
bad enough to declare neutrality, when the question was between a
friendly power and an insulting barbarism; but it is worse, after
the declaration, to depart from it, _if in words only_. The Court of
Rome, at a period when it dictated the usage of nations, instructed
its Cardinal Legate, on an important occasion, as a solemn duty, first
and above all things, to cultivate “indifference” between the parties,
and in this regard he was to be so exact, that not only should no
partiality be seen in his conduct, but it should not be remarked even
“_in the actions and words of his domestics_.”[19] If, in that early
day, before steam and telegraph, or even the newspaper, neutrality
was disturbed by “words,” how much more so now, when every word is
multiplied indefinitely, and wafted we know not whither, to begin,
wherever it falls, a subtle, wide-spread, and irrepressible influence!
This injunction is in plain harmony with the refined rule of Count
Bernstorff, who, in his admirable despatch at the time of the Armed
Neutrality, says sententiously: “Neutrality does not exist, _when it
is not perfect_.”[20] It must be clear and above suspicion. Like the
reputation of a woman, it is lost when you begin to talk about it.
Unhappily, there is too much occasion to talk about the “neutrality” of

I say nothing of a Parliamentary utterance, that the national cause
was “detested by a large majority of the House of Commons”; nor do I
speak of other most unneutral speeches. I confine myself to official
declarations. Here the case is plain. Several of the British Cabinet,
including the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
two masters of “words,” have allowed themselves in public speech
to characterize our present effort to put down Rebel Slavery as “a
contest for empire on one side and for independence on the other.”
Here are “words” which, under a specious form, openly encouraged Rebel
Slavery. But they are more specious than true, revealing nothing but
the side espoused by the orators. Clearly, on our side it is a contest
for national life, involving the liberty of a race. Clearly, on the
other side it is a contest for Slavery, in order to secure for this
hateful crime _new_ recognition and power; and it began in rebellion
against the solemn judgment of the American people, declaring, in the
election of Abraham Lincoln, that Slavery shall not be extended. Our
empire is simply to crush Rebel Slavery. Their independence is but
the unrestrained power to whip and sell women and children. If at the
beginning the National Government made no declaration, yet the real
character of the war was none the less apparent in the Presidential
election, out of which it grew, and in the repeated declarations of the
other side, who did not hesitate to assert their purpose to build a
_new_ power on Slavery,--as in the Italian campaign of Louis Napoleon
against Austria the object was necessarily apparent, even before
the Emperor tardily at Milan put forth his life-giving proclamation
that Italy should be free from the Alps to the Adriatic, by which the
war became, in its avowed purpose, as well as in reality, a war of
liberation. That such a rebellion should be elevated by the unneutral
“words” of a foreign Cabinet into respectability which it deserves so
little is only another sign we have to watch.

(9.) These same Cabinet orators, not content with giving us a bad
name, allow themselves to pronounce against us on the whole case. They
declare that the National Government cannot succeed in crushing Rebel
Slavery, and that dismemberment is inevitable. “Jefferson Davis,” says
one of them, “has created _a nation_.” Thus do these representatives
of declared “neutrality” degrade us and exalt Slavery. It is apparent
that their utterance, though made in Parliament and repeated at public
meetings, was founded less on special information from the seat of
war--disclosing its secret--than on political theory, if not prejudice.
It is true that our eloquent teacher, Edmund Burke, in his famous
Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol, argued most persuasively that Great
Britain could not succeed in reclaiming the colonies which had declared
themselves independent. His reasoning rather than his wisdom enters
into and possesses the British statesmen of our day, who do not take
the trouble to see how the two cases are so entirely unlike that the
example of the one is not applicable to the other,--that the colonies
were battling to found a _new_ power on the corner-stone of Liberty,
Equality, and Happiness to All Men, while our Slavemongers are battling
to found a _new_ power on the corner-stone of Slavery. The difference
becomes a contrast, so that whatever was once generously said in favor
of American Independence now tells with unmistakable force against this
new-fangled pretension.

No British statesman saw the past more clearly than Earl Russell, when,
long ago, in striking phrase, he said that England, in her war against
our fathers, “had engaged _for the suppression of Liberty_”;[21]
but this is precisely what Rebel Slavery is doing. Men change, but
principles are the same now as then. Therefore do I say, that every
sympathy formerly bestowed upon our fathers now belongs to us their
children, striving to uphold their work against bad men, who would not
only break it in pieces, but put in its stead a _new_ piratical power,
whose declared object is “the suppression of Liberty.” And yet British
ministers, mounting the prophetic tripod, presume most oracularly to
foretell the doom of this Republic. Their prophecies do not disturb my
confidence. I do not forget how often false prophets have appeared,
like the author of the “Oceana,” who published a demonstration that
monarchy was impossible in England[22] less than six months before
Charles the Second was welcomed to London amid salvos of cannon
and hurrahs of the people. Nor do I stop to consider how far such
prophecies uttered in public places by British ministers are consistent
with that British “neutrality” so constantly boasted. Opinions are
allies more potent than subsidies, especially in an age like the
present. Prophecies are opinions proclaimed and projected into the
future; and yet these are given freely to Rebel Slavery. There is
matter for reflection in this instance, but I adduce it only as another
illustration of the times. Nothing is more clear than that whosoever
assumes to play prophet becomes pledged in character and pretension
to sustain his prophecy. The learned Jerome Cardan, professor and
doctor, also dabbler in astrology, of great fame in the sixteenth
century, undertook to predict the day of his death, and he maintained
his prophetic character by taking his own life at the appointed time.
If British ministers, playing prophet, escape the ordinary influences
of this craft, it is from that happy nature which suspends for them
human infirmity and human prejudice. But it becomes us to note well
the increased difficulties and dangers to which, on this account, the
national cause is exposed.

(10.) It is not in “words” only, of speeches, despatches, or
declarations, that our danger lies. I am sorry to add, that there
are acts, also, with which the British Government is too closely
associated. I do not refer to the unlimited supply of “munitions of
war,” so that our army everywhere, whether at Vicksburg or Charleston,
is compelled to encounter Armstrong guns and Blakely guns, with all
proper ammunition, from England; for the right of British subjects to
sell these articles to Rebel Slavemongers was fixed, when the latter,
by sudden metamorphosis, were changed from lawless vagrants of the
ocean to lawful belligerents. Nor do I refer to the swarms of swift
steamers, “a pitchy cloud warping on the eastern wind,” always under
British flag, with contributions to Rebel Slavery; for these, too,
enjoy kindred immunity. Of course no royal proclamation can change
wrong into right, or make such business otherwise than immoral; but the
proclamation may take from it the character of felony.

Even the royal manifesto gives no sanction to the fitting out in
England of a _naval expedition_ against the commerce of the United
States. It leaves the Parliamentary statute, as well as the general
Law of Nations, in full efficacy to restrain and punish such offence.
And yet, in face of this obvious prohibition, standing forth in the
text of the law, and founded in reason “ere human statute purged the
gentle weal,” also exemplified by the National Government, which, from
the time of Washington, has always guarded its ports against such
outrage, powerful ships are launched, equipped, fitted out, and manned
in England, with arms supplied at sea from another English vessel,
and then, assuming that by this insulting _hocus pocus_ all English
liability is avoided, they proceed at once to rob and destroy the
commerce of the United States. _England is the naval base_ from which
are derived the original forces and supplies enabling them to sail the
sea. Several such ships are now depredating on the ocean, like Captain
Kidd, under pretended commissions, each in itself a _naval expedition_.
As England is not at war with the United States, these ships can be
nothing else than pirates; and their conduct is that of pirates. Unable
to provide a court for the trial of prizes, they revive for every
captured ship the barbarous Ordeal of Fire. Like pirates, they burn
what they cannot rob. Raging from sea to sea, they turn the ocean into
a furnace and melting-pot of American commerce. Of these incendiaries,
the most famous is the “Alabama,” with a picked crew of British seamen,
with “trained gunners out of her Majesty’s naval reserve,” all,
like those of Queen Elizabeth, described as “good sailors and better
pirates,” and with everything else from keel to truck British, which,
after more than a year of unlawful havoc, is still firing the property
of our citizens, _without once entering a Rebel Slavemonger port_, but
always keeping the umbilical connection with England, out of whose womb
she sprung, and never losing the original nationality stamped upon
her by origin, so that, at this day, she is a British pirate ship,
precisely as a native-born Englishman, robbing on the high seas, and
never naturalized abroad, is a British pirate subject.

It is bad enough that all this should proceed from England. It is hard
to bear. Why is it not stopped at once? One cruiser might, perhaps,
elude a watchful government. But it is difficult to see how this can
occur once, twice, three times,--and the cry is, Still they sail!
Two powerful rams are announced, like stars at a theatre. Will they,
also, be allowed to perform? I wish there were not too much reason to
believe that all these performances are sustained by prevailing British
sympathy. A Frenchman, accidentally prisoner on the Alabama at the
destruction of two American ships, describes a British packet in sight
whose crowded passengers made the sea resound with cheers, as they
witnessed the captured ships handed over to the flames. The words of
Lucretius were verified:--

    “Suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri.”[23]

And these same cheers were echoed in Parliament, as the builder of the
piratical craft gloried in his deed. The verse which filled the ancient
theatre with glad applause declared sympathy with Humanity[24]; but
English applause is now given to Slavery and its defenders: “I am an
Englishman, and nothing of Slavery is foreign to me.” Accordingly,
Slavery is helped by English arms, English gold, English ships, English
speeches, English cheers. And yet, for the honor of England be it
known, there are Englishmen who stand firm and unshaken amidst this
painful recreancy. Their names cannot be forgotten. And still more
for the honor of England be it spoken, the working classes, called
to suffer the most, bravely bear their calamity, without joining the
enemies of the Republic. Their cheers are for Freedom, and not for

But the cheers of the House of Commons prevail in her Majesty’s
Government. Municipal Law is violated, while International Law, in its
most solemn obligation to do unto others as we would have them do unto
us, is treated as the merest nullity. Eminent British functionaries,
in Court and Parliament, vindicate the _naval expeditions_ which in
the name of Slavery are unleashed against a friendly power. Taking
advantage of an admitted principle, that, after the concession of
belligerent rights, “munitions of war” may be supplied, the Lord Chief
Baron of the Exchequer tells us that “ships of war” may be supplied
also. Lord Palmerston echoes Lord Chief Baron. Each vouches American
authority. But they are mistaken. The steel which they strive to
“impel” cannot be feathered from our sides. Since the earliest stage
of its existence, the National Government has asserted a distinction
between the two cases; and so has the Supreme Court, although there
are words of Story latterly quoted to the contrary. The authority of
the Supreme Court is positive on the two points into which the British
apology is divided. The first is, that, even if a “ship of war” cannot
be furnished, the offence is incomplete until the armament is put
aboard, so that, where the ship, though fitted out and equipped in a
British port, awaits an armament at sea, she is not liable to arrest.
Such apology is an insult to the understanding and to common sense,--as
if it were not obvious that the offence begins with the laying of
the keel for the hostile ship, _knowing it to be such_:[25] and in
this spirit the Supreme Court has decided that it is not necessary
to find that a ship on leaving port was armed, or in a condition to
commit hostilities; for citizens are restrained from such acts as
are calculated to involve the country in war.[26] The second apology
assumes, that, even if the armament were aboard, so that the “ship of
war” is complete at all points, still the expedition would be lawful,
if the fiction of a sale were adroitly managed. On this point, the
Supreme Court, speaking by Chief-Justice Marshall, has left no doubt
of its deliberate and most authoritative judgment. In the case before
the Court the armament was aboard, but cleared as cargo; the men, too,
were aboard, but enlisted for a commercial voyage; the ship, though
fitted out to cruise against a nation with which we were at peace, was
not commissioned as a privateer, and did not attempt to act as such,
until she reached the river La Plata, _where a commission was obtained
and the crew reënlisted_; yet, in the face of these extenuating
circumstances, it was declared by the whole Court, that the neutrality
of the United States had been violated, so that the guilty ship could
not afterwards be recognized as a legitimate cruiser. All the disguises
were to no purpose. The Court penetrated them every one, saying, that,
if such a ship could lawfully sail, there would be on our part “a
fraudulent neutrality, disgraceful to our own Government, and of which
no nation would be the dupe.”[27] But a “neutrality” worse even than
that condemned in advance by our Supreme Court, “of which no nation
would be the dupe,” is now served out to us, which nothing can explain,
short of the fatal war-spirit that has entered into Great Britain.
There was a time when the Foreign Secretary of England, truly eminent
as statesman and orator, Mr. Canning, said in the House of Commons:
“If a war must come, let it come in the shape of satisfaction to be
demanded for injuries, of rights to be asserted, of interests to be
protected, of treaties to be fulfilled. _But, in God’s name, let it not
come on in the paltry, pettifogging way of fitting out ships in our
harbors to cruise for gain. At all events, let the country disdain to
be sneaked into a war._”[28] These noble words were uttered in reply
to Lord John Russell and his associates in 1823, when trying to repeal
the Foreign Enlistment Act, and to overturn the statute safeguards of
British neutrality. They speak now with greater force even than then.

Though it be admitted that “ships of war,” like “munitions of war,” may
be sold to a belligerent, as is asserted by the British Prime-Minister,
echoing the Lord Chief Baron, it is obvious that it can be only with
the distinction already mentioned, that the sale is a _commercial
transaction_, pure and simple, and not in any respect a _hostile
expedition_ fitted out in England. The ship must be “exported” as an
_article of commerce_, and must continue such _until_ arrival at the
belligerent port, where alone can it be fitted out and commissioned as
a “ship of war,” when its hostile character will commence. Any attempt
in England to impart a hostile character to the ship, or, in one
word, to make England its _naval base_, must be criminal: but this is
precisely what has been done. Ships are sent forth, armed and equipped.
And, pray, how distinguish a ship armed and equipped from a regiment
armed and equipped? It is not a munition, it is not even an article,
but much more; and here is the distinction not to be overlooked. It
is an _organized force_, and the nation sending it forth makes itself
a party to the war,--all of which England has done. And here are the
leonine footprints which point so badly.

(11.) Not content with misconstruing the decisions of our Supreme
Court, making them a cover for _naval expeditions_ to depredate on
our commerce, our whole history is forgotten or misrepresented. It
is forgotten, that, as early as 1793, under the administration of
Washington, before any Act of Congress on the subject, the National
Government recognized its liability, under the Law of Nations, for
ships fitted out in its ports to depredate on British commerce; that
Washington, in his speech at the opening of Congress, describes such
ships as “vessels commissioned or _equipped in a warlike form_ within
the limits of the United States,” and also as “military expeditions
or enterprises”;[29] and that Jefferson, vindicating this policy of
_repression_, said, in a letter to the French Minister, that it was
“our wish to preserve the morals of our citizens from being vitiated by
courses of lawless plunder and murder”;[30] that, on this occasion, the
National Government made the distinction between “munitions of war,”
which a neutral might supply in the way of commerce to a belligerent,
and “ships of war,” which a neutral was not allowed to supply or even
to augment with arms; that Mr. Hammond, the British plenipotentiary at
that time, by his letter of 8th May, 1793, after complaining of two
French privateers, fitted out at Charleston to cruise against British
commerce, expressly declares that “he conceives them to be breaches of
that neutrality which the United States profess to observe, and direct
contraventions of the proclamation which the President issued,”[31]
and that very soon there were criminal proceedings, at British
instigation, on account of these privateers, in which it was affirmed
by the Court that such ships could not be fitted out in a neutral port
without violation of international obligations; that promptly, on
the representation of the British Government, a statute was enacted
by Congress, in harmony with the Law of Nations, for the better
maintenance of our neutrality;[32] that, in 1818, another statute
followed in the nature of a Foreign Enlistment Act,[33] afterwards
proposed as an example by Lord Castlereagh, when urging a similar
statute upon Parliament;[34] that, in 1823, the conduct of the United
States on this whole head was presented as a model by Mr. Canning;[35]
that, in 1838, during the rebellion in Canada, on the appeal of the
British Government, and to its special satisfaction, as was announced
in Parliament by Lord Palmerston, at the time Foreign Secretary, our
Government promptly declared its purpose “to maintain the supremacy of
those laws which were passed to fulfil the obligations of the United
States to all friendly nations who may be unfortunately engaged in
foreign or domestic war,” and, not satisfied with existing powers,
undertook to ask additional legislation from Congress; that Congress
proceeded at once to the enactment of another statute, calculated to
meet the immediate exigency, where it is provided that collectors,
marshals, and other officers shall “seize and detain _any vessel_
or any arms or munitions of war which may be provided or prepared
for _any military expedition_ or enterprise against the territory or
dominions of any foreign prince or state.”[36] It is something to
forget these things; but it is convenient to forget still further,
that, at the Crimean War, in 1854, the British Government, jointly with
France, made another appeal to the United States, that our citizens
should “rigorously abstain from taking part in armaments of Russian
privateers, or in any other measure opposed to the duties of a strict
neutrality”;[37] and this appeal, declared by the British Government
to be “in the spirit of just reciprocity,” was answered on our part by
a sincere and determined vigilance, so that not a single British or
French ship suffered from any cruiser fitted out in our ports. And it
is also convenient to forget no less the solemn obligations of treaty,
binding both parties:--

    “That the subjects and citizens of the two nations _shall not
    do any acts of hostility or violence against each other_,
    nor accept commissions or instructions so to act from any
    foreign prince or state, enemies to the other party; nor
    shall the enemies of one of the parties be permitted to
    invite or endeavor to enlist in their military service any of
    the subjects or citizens of the other party; _and the laws
    against all such offences and aggressions shall be punctually

At the date of this treaty, in 1794, there was little legislation on
the subject in either country; so that the treaty, in harmony with
the practice, testifies to the requirements of the Law of Nations as
understood at the time by both powers.

And yet, disregarding all these things, which show how faithfully the
National Government has acted, both in measures of _repression_ and
measures of _compensation_, also how often the British Government
asked and received protection at our hands, and how highly our example
of neutrality has been appreciated by leading British statesmen,--and
disowning, also, that “spirit of just reciprocity,” which, besides
being the prompting of an honest nature, has been positively promised,
ship after ship is permitted to leave British ports to depredate on
our commerce; and when we complain of an outrage so unprecedented
and so unjustifiable, all the obligations of International Law are
ignored, and we are petulantly told that the evidence against the
ships is not sufficient _under the statute_; and when we propose that
the statute shall be rendered efficient for the purpose,--precisely
as in past times the British Government, under circumstances less
stringent, proposed to us,--we are pointedly repelled by the old
baronial declaration, that there must be no change in the laws
of England,--“_nolumus leges Angliæ mutari_”; while, to cap this
strange insensibility, Lord Palmerston, in a last debate of the late
Parliament, brings against us a groundless charge of infidelity to
neutral duties during the Crimean War,[39] when the fact is notoriously
the reverse, and Earl Russell, in the same spirit, imagines an equally
groundless charge, which he records in one of his diplomatic notes,
that we have recently enlisted men in Ireland,[40] when notoriously we
have done no such thing. Thus are the obligations of reciprocal service
and good-will openly discarded, while our public conduct, as well in
the past as the present, is openly misrepresented.

(12.) This flagrant oblivion of history and of duty, which seems
the adopted policy of the British Government, is characteristically
followed by flat refusal to pay for the damages to our commerce caused
by the hostile expeditions. The United States, with Washington as
President, on application of the British Government, made compensation
for damages to British commerce under circumstances much less
vexatious,--and, still further, by special treaty, made compensation
for damages “by vessels originally armed” in our ports,[41]--which is
the present case. Of course it can make no difference, not a pin’s
difference, if the armament is carried out to sea in another vessel
from a British port and there transshipped. Such an elaborate evasion
may be effectual against a Parliamentary statute, but it must be
impotent against a demand upon the British Government, according to
the principles of International Law; for this law looks always at
_substance_, and not _form_, and will not be diverted by the trick
of a pettifogger. Whether the armament be put on board in port or
at sea, England is always the _naval base_, or, according to the
language of Sir William Scott in a memorable case, the “station” or
“vantage-ground,” which he declared a neutral country could not be.[42]
Therefore the early precedent between the United States and England is
in every respect completely applicable; and since this precedent was
established _not only by the consent of England, but at her motion_, it
must be accepted on the present occasion as an irreversible declaration
of international duty. Other nations might differ, but England is
bound. And now it is her original interpretation, first made to take
compensation from us, which is flatly rejected when we ask compensation
from her. Even if the responsibility for _a hostile expedition_ fitted
out in British ports were not plain, there is something in the recent
conduct of the British Government calculated to remove all doubt.
Pirate ships are reported on the stocks ready to be launched, and when
the Parliamentary statute is declared insufficient to stop them, the
British Government declines to amend it, and, so doing, openly declines
to stop the pirate ships, saying, “If the Parliamentary statute is
inadequate, then let them sail.” It is not needful to consider the
apology. The act of declension is positive, and its consequences are
no less positive, _fixing beyond question the responsibility of the
British Government for these criminal expeditions_. Thus fixing the
responsibility, we but follow the suggestions of reason and the text of
an approved authority, whose words have been adopted in England.

    “_It must be laid down as a maxim_, that a sovereign, who,
    knowing the crimes of his subjects, as, for example, that
    they _practice piracy_ on strangers, and, being also able and
    obliged to hinder it, does not hinder it, _renders himself
    criminal, because he has consented to the bad action, the
    commission of which he has permitted_.… It is presumed that a
    sovereign knows what his subjects openly and frequently commit;
    and _as to his power of hindering the evil, this likewise is
    always presumed_, unless the want of it be clearly proved.”[43]

Such are the words of Burlamaqui, in his work on Political Law, quoted
with approbation by Phillimore, in his work on the Law of Nations.[44]
Unless these words are discarded as “a maxim,” while the early
precedent of British demand upon us is also rudely rejected, it is
difficult to see how the British Government can avoid the consequences
of complicity with the pirate ships in all their lawless devastation.
I forbear to dwell on this accumulating liability, amounting already
to many millions of dollars, with accumulating exasperations also. My
present object is accomplished, if I make you see which way danger lies.

(13.) Beyond acts and words, this same British _rabbia_ shows itself
in the official tone towards the national cause in its unparalleled
struggle, especially throughout the correspondence of the British
Foreign Office. There is little friendship in any of these letters.
Nor is there any sympathy with the national championship against
Rebel Slavery, nor even one word of mildest dissent from the
miscreant apocalypse preached in its behalf. Naturally the tone is
in harmony with the sentiment. Hard, curt, captious, cynical, it
evinces indifference to that kindly intercourse which nations ought
to cultivate with each other, and which should be the study of a
wise statesmanship. The Malay _runs amuck_, and such is the British
diplomatic style in dealing with us. This is painfully conspicuous in
all that concerns the pirate ships. But I can well understand that a
Secretary conceding belligerent rights to Rebel Slavery so easily, and
then so easily permitting its ships to sally forth for piracy, would be
very indifferent to the tone of what he wrote. And yet, even outrage
may be soothed or softened by gentle words; but none such come out of
British diplomacy to us. Most deeply do I regret this too suggestive
failure. And believe me, fellow-citizens, I say these things with
sorrow unspeakable, and only in discharge of my duty, when, face to
face, I meet you to consider the aspects of our affairs abroad.

(14.) There is still another head of danger, in which all others
culminate. I refer to intrusive mediation, or, it may be, recognition
of the Slavemonger attempt as an independent nation,--for such
movements have been made openly in Parliament and urged constantly
by the British press, and, though not yet adopted by her Majesty’s
Government, have never been repelled on principle, so that they
constitute a perpetual cloud threatening to break. It is plain to all
who have not forgotten history, that England never can be guilty of
such recognition without unpardonable apostasy; nor can she intervene
by way of mediation, except in the interests of Freedom. And yet such
are the “elective affinities” newly born between England and Slavery,
such is the wilful blindness with regard to our country, kindred to
that which prevailed in the time of George Grenville and Lord North,
that her Majesty’s Government, instead of repelling the proposition,
simply adjourn it, adopting meanwhile the attitude of one watching to
strike. The British Minister at Washington, of model prudence, whose
individual desire for peace I cannot doubt, tells his Government, in a
despatch found in the last Blue Book, that as yet he sees no sign of “a
conjuncture at which foreign powers _may step in with propriety_ and
effect to put a stop to the effusion of blood.”[45] Here is the plain
assumption that such conjuncture may occur. For the present we are left
free to wage the battle against Slavery without any such intervention
in arrest of the national efforts.

Such are some of the warnings which lower from the English sky arching
the graves of Wilberforce and Clarkson, while sounding above these
sacred resting-places are heard strange, un-English voices, crying
out: “Come unto us, Rebel Slavemongers, whippers of women and sellers
of children!--for you are the people of our choice, whom we welcome
promptly to _ocean rights_, with Armstrong guns and _naval expeditions_
equipped in our ports, and on whom we lavish sympathy always and the
prophecy of success; while for you who uphold the Republic and oppose
Slavery we have hard words, criticism, rebuke, and the menace of war!”

       *       *       *       *       *

Crossing the Channel into France, we are not encouraged much. And yet
the Emperor, though acting habitually in concert with the British
Cabinet, has not intermeddled so illogically or displayed a temper
of so little international amiability. The correspondence under his
direction, even at the most critical moments, leaves little to be
desired in respect of form. Nor has there been a single blockade-runner
under the French flag, nor a single pirate ship from a French port.
But, in spite of these things, it is too apparent that the Emperor
has taken sides against us in at least four important public acts,
positively, plainly, offensively. The Duc de Choiseul, Prime-Minister
of France, was addressed by Frederick of Prussia as “Coachman of
Europe,”--a title which belongs now to Louis Napoleon. But he must not
try to be “coachman of America.”

(1.) Following the example of England, Louis Napoleon acknowledges the
Rebel Slavemongers as _ocean_ belligerents, so that, with the sanction
of France, our ancient ally, their pirate ships, although without
a single open port which they can call their own, enjoy complete
immunity as lawful cruisers, while all who sympathize with them furnish
supplies and munitions of war. This fatal concession was aggravated by
the concurrence of the two great powers. But, God be praised, their
joint act, though capable of giving brief vitality to Slavery on pirate
decks, is impotent to confirm the intolerable pretension.

(2.) Sinister events are not alone, and this recognition of Slavery was
followed by an expedition of France, in concurrence with England and
Spain, against our neighbor Republic, Mexico. The two latter powers
very soon withdrew, but the Emperor, less wise, did not hesitate at
invasion. A French fleet, with an unmatched iron-clad,--the consummate
product of French naval art,--is now at Vera Cruz, and the French
army, after a protracted siege, has stormed Puebla and entered the
famous capital. This far-reaching enterprise was originally declared
to be nothing more than process, served by a general, for the recovery
of outstanding debts due to French citizens. But the Emperor, in a
mystic letter to General Forey, gives it another character. He proposes
nothing less than the restoration of the Latin race on this side of
the Atlantic, and more than intimates that the United States must be
restrained in power and influence over the Gulf of Mexico and the
Antilles. And now the Archduke Maximilian of Austria is proclaimed
Emperor of Mexico under the protection of France. It is obvious that
this imperial invasion, though only indirectly against us, would
not have been made, if our convulsions had not left the door of the
Continent ajar, so that foreign powers may bravely enter in. And it is
more obvious that this attempt to plant a throne by our side would
“have died before it saw the light,” had it not been supposed that
Rebel Slavery was about to triumph.[46] Plainly the whole transaction
is connected with our affairs. But it can be little more than a
transient experiment; for who can doubt that this imperial exotic,
planted by foreign care and propped by foreign bayonets, must disappear
before the ascending glory of the Republic?

(3.) This enterprise of war was followed by an enterprise of diplomacy
not less hardy. The Emperor, not content with stirring against us
the Gulf of Mexico, the Antilles, and the Latin race, entered upon
work of a different character. He invited England and Russia to unite
with France in tendering to the two “belligerents” (such is the equal
designation of our Republic and the embryo Slavemonger mockery!) a
joint mediation to procure “an armistice for six months, during which
every act of war, direct or indirect, should provisionally cease on
sea as well as on land, to be renewed, if necessary, for a further
period.” The Cabinets of England and Russia, better inspired, declined
the invitation, which looked to little short of recognition itself.
Under the proposed armistice, all our vast operations must have been
suspended, the blockade itself must have ceased, while the Rebel ports
were opened on the one side to unlimited supplies and military stores,
and on the other to unlimited exports of cotton. Trade, for the time,
would have been legalized in these ports, and Slavery would have lifted
its grinning front before the civilized world. Not disheartened by this
failure, the Emperor alone pushed forward his diplomatic enterprise
against us, as alone he had pushed forward his military enterprise
against Mexico, and presented to our Government the unsupported
mediation of France. His offer was promptly rejected by the President.
By solemn resolutions of both Houses, adopted with singular unanimity,
and communicated since to all foreign governments, Congress announced
that such a proposition could be attributed only to “a misunderstanding
of the true state of the question, and of the real character of the
war in which the Republic is engaged”; and that it was in its nature
so far injurious to the national interests that Congress would be
obliged to consider its repetition an unfriendly act.[47] This strong
language frankly states the true position of our country. Any such
offer, whatever its motive, must be an encouragement to the Rebellion.
In an age when ideas prevail and even words become things, the simple
declarations of statesmen are of incalculable importance. But the
head of a great nation is more than statesman in such influence. The
imperial proposition tended directly to the dismemberment of the
Republic and the substitution of a ghastly Slavemonger nation.

Baffled in this effort twice attempted, the Emperor does not yet
abandon his policy. We are told that it is “postponed to a more
suitable opportunity”; so that he, too, waits to strike, if the Gallic
cock does not sound alarm in an opposite quarter. Meanwhile the
development of the Mexican expedition shows too clearly the motive of
mediation. It was all one transaction. Mexico was invaded for empire,
and mediation was proposed to help the plot. But the invasion must fail
with the diplomacy to which it is allied.

(4.) The policy of the French Emperor towards our Republic is not left
to uncertain inference. For a long time public report has pronounced
him unfriendly, and now public report is confirmed by what he does
and says. The ambassadorial attorney of Rebel Slavery is received at
the Tuileries, members of Parliament on an errand of hostility to
our cause are received at Fontainebleau, and the open declaration
is made that the Emperor desires to recognize Rebel Slavery as an
independent power. This is hard to believe, but it is too true. The
French Emperor is against us. In an evil hour, under temptations which
should be scouted, he forgets the precious traditions of France,
whose blood commingled with ours in a common cause; he forgets the
swords of Lafayette and Rochambeau, flashing side by side with the
swords of Washington and the earlier Lincoln, while the lilies of
the ancient monarchy floated together with the stars of our infant
flag; he forgets that early alliance, sealed by Franklin, which gave
to the Republic the assurance of national life, and made France the
partner of her rising glory;--“_Heu pietas! heu prisca fides! Manibus
date lilia plenis!_”--and he forgets still more the obligations of
his own name,--how the first Napoleon surrendered to us Louisiana and
the whole region west of the Mississippi, saying: “This accession of
territory establishes forever the power of the United States, and gives
to England a maritime rival destined to humble her pride”;[48] and he
forgets, also, how he himself, when beginning intervention for Italian
liberty, boasted proudly that France always stood for an “idea”;
and forgetting these things, which mankind cannot forget, he seeks
the disjunction of this Republic, with the spoliation of that very
territory which came to us with such auspices, while France, always
standing for an “idea,” stands, under the second Napoleon, for the
“idea” of welcome to a new evangel of Slavery, with Mason and Slidell
as the evangelists. Thus is imperial influence exerted for Rebel
Slavemongers. The Emperor, for the present, forbears to fling his sword
into the scale; but he flings his heavy hand, if not his sword.

Only recently we have the menace of the sword. The throne of Mexico
is offered to an Austrian archduke. The desire to recognize the
independence of Rebel Slavery is openly declared. These two incidents
together are complements of each other. And now we are assured by
concurring report, that Mexico is to be maintained as an empire. The
policy of the Holy Alliance, originally organized against the great
Napoleon, is adopted by his representative on the throne of France.
What its despot authors left undone the present Emperor, nephew of the
first, proposes to accomplish. Report informs us that Texas also is
doomed to the imperial protectorate, thus ravishing a possession which
belongs to this Republic as much as Normandy belongs to France.[49]
The partition of Poland is acknowledged to be the great crime of the
last century. It was accomplished by three powers, with the silent
connivance of the rest, but not without pangs of remorse in one of
the spoilers. “I know,” said Maria Theresa to the ambassador of Louis
the Sixteenth, “that I have brought a deep stain on my reign by what
has been done in Poland; but I am sure that I should be forgiven,
if it could be known what repugnance I had to it.”[50] Here on this
Continent the French Emperor seeks to play the very part which of old
caused the contrition of Maria Theresa; nor could the partition of our
broad country--if, in an evil hour, it were accomplished--fail to be
the great crime of the present century. Trampler upon the Republic in
France, trampler upon the Republic in Mexico, it remains to be seen if
the French Emperor can prevail as trampler upon this Republic. I do not
think he can; nor am I anxious on account of this new-found Emperor,
who will be another King Canute against the rising tide of the American
people. His chair must be withdrawn, or he will be overwhelmed.[51]

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I bring to an end this unpleasant review. It is with little
satisfaction, and only in explanation of our relations with foreign
powers, that I accumulate these instances, not one of which, small or
great, is without its painful lesson, while they all testify with a
single voice to the perils of our country.


Another branch of the subject is not less important. Considering all
these things, and especially how great powers abroad constantly menace
intervention, now by criticism and then by proffer of mediation, all
tending painfully to something further, it becomes us to see what,
according to International Law and the examples of history, will
justify foreign intervention, in any of the forms it may take. And here
there is one remark to be made at the outset. Nations are equal in the
eye of International Law, so that what is right for one is right for
all. It follows that no nation can justly exercise any right which it
is not bound to concede under like circumstances. Therefore, should our
cases be reversed, there is nothing England and France now propose,
or may hereafter propose, which it will not be our equal right to
propose, when Ireland or India once more rebels, or when France is in
the throes of its next revolution. Generously, and for the sake of that
international comity not lightly hazarded, we may reject the precedents
they furnish; but it will be difficult for them to complain, if we
follow their steps.

Foreign intervention is, on its face, inconsistent with every idea of
national independence, which in itself is the natural and acknowledged
right of a nation to rest undisturbed so long as it does not disturb
others. If nations stood absolutely alone, dissociated from each other,
so that what passed in one had little or no influence in another, only
a tyrannical or intermeddling spirit could fail to recognize this
right. But civilization, drawing nations nearer together and into one
society, brings them under reciprocal influence, so that no nation
can now act or suffer alone. Out of the relations and suggestions
of good neighborhood, involving the admitted right of self-defence,
springs the only justification or apology to be found for _foreign
intervention_, which is the general term to signify interposition in
the affairs of another country, whatever form it may take. Much is done
under the name of “good offices,” whether in the form of mediation or
intercession,--and much also by military power, whether in the declared
will of superior force or directly by arms. Recognition of independence
is also another instance. Intervention in any form is interference. If
peaceable, it must be judged by its motive and tendency; if forcible,
it will naturally be resisted by force.

Intervention may be between two or more nations, or between the two
parties to a civil war; and yet again, it may be where there is no
war, foreign or domestic. In each case it is governed by the same
principles, except, perhaps, that in the case of civil war there
should be more careful consideration, not only of the rights, but
of the susceptibilities of a nation so severely tried. Such is the
obvious suggestion of humanity. Intervention between nations is only
a common form of participation in foreign war, but intervention in a
civil war is intermeddling in the domestic concerns of another nation.
Whoever acts at the _joint invitation_ of belligerent parties to
compose a bloody strife is entitled to the blessings which belong
to the peacemakers; but, if uninvited, or acting at the invitation
of one party only, he will be careful to proceed with reserve and
tenderness, in the spirit of peace, and confining action to a proffer
of good offices in the form of mediation or intercession, unless he is
ready for war. Such proffer may be declined without offence. But it
can never be forgotten, that, _where one side is obviously fighting
for Barbarism_, any intervention, whatever form it takes,--if only
by captious criticism, calculated to encourage the wrong side, or to
secure for it time or temporary toleration, if not final success,--_is
plainly immoral_. If not contrary to the Law of Nations, it ought to be.

Intervention in the spirit of peace and for the sake of peace belongs
to the refinements of modern civilization. Intervention in the spirit
of war, if not for the sake of war, has filled a large space in
history, ancient and modern. But all these instances may be grouped
under two heads: first, intervention in _external_ affairs; and,
secondly, intervention in _internal_ affairs. The first is illustrated
by the intervention of the Elector Maurice of Saxony against Charles
the Fifth, of King William against Louis the Fourteenth, of Russia and
France in the Seven Years’ War, of Russia again between France and
Austria in 1805, and also between France and Prussia in 1806, and of
France, Great Britain, and Sardinia between Turkey and Russia in the
war of the Crimea.

The intervention of Russia, Austria, and Prussia in the affairs of
Poland, of Great Britain among the native provinces of India, and
of the Allied Powers in the French Revolution, under the continued
inspiration of the Treaty of Pilnitz, are illustrations of the second
head. Without dwelling on these great examples, I shall call attention
to instances showing more especially the growth of intervention,
first in external, and then in internal affairs. Here I shall conceal
nothing. Instances seeming against the principles I have at heart will
at least help illustrate the great subject, so that you may see it as
it is.

       *       *       *       *       *

(1.) First in order, and for the sake of completeness, I speak of
intervention in _external_ affairs, where two or more nations are

As long ago as 1645, France offered mediation between what were then
called “The Two Crowns of the North,” Sweden and Denmark. This was
followed, in 1648, by the famous Peace of Westphalia, the beginning of
our present Law of Nations, negotiated under the joint mediation of
the Pope and the Republic of Venice, present by nuncio and ambassador.
In 1655, the Emperor of Germany offered mediation between Sweden and
Poland; but the old historian records that the Swedes suspected him
of seeking to increase rather than to arrange pending difficulties;
and the effort ended by the withdrawal of the imperial envoy into
the Polish camp. Sweden, though often belligerent in those days, was
not so always, and, in 1672, when war broke forth between France and
England on one side and the Dutch Provinces on the other, we find her
proffering mediation, which was promptly accepted by England, who
justly rejected a similar proffer most hardily made by the Elector
of Brandenburg, ancestor of the kings of Prussia, while marching at
the head of his forces to join the Dutch. The English note on this
occasion, written in what at the time was called “sufficiently bad
French, but in very intelligible terms,” declared that the Electoral
proffer, though under the pleasant name of mediation (_par le doux nom
de médiation_), was adjudged to be only arbitration, and that, instead
of mediation _unarmed and disinterested_, it was mediation armed and
pledged to the enemies of England.[52]

Such are earlier instances, all of which have their lessons for us.
There are modern, also. I allude only to the Triple Alliance, between
Great Britain, Prussia, and Holland, which, at the close of the last
century, successively intervened, by mediation which could not be
resisted, to compel Denmark, while siding with Russia against Sweden,
to remain neutral for the rest of the war,--then, in 1791, to dictate
terms of peace between Austria and the Porte,--and lastly, in 1792,
to constrain Russia into abandonment of her designs upon the Turkish
Empire by the Peace of Jassy. On this occasion, the Russian Empress,
Catharine the Second, peremptorily refused the mediation of Prussia,
and the mediating Alliance made its approaches through Denmark, by
whose good offices the Empress was finally induced to accept the
treaty. While thus engaged in professed mediation, England, in a
note to the French ambassador, declined to act as mediator between
France and the Allied Powers, leaving that world-embracing war to
proceed. Not only has England refused to act as mediator, but _also
refused submission to mediation_. This was during the last war with
the United States, when Russia, at that time the ally of England,
proffered mediation between the two belligerents, which was promptly
accepted by the United States. Its rejection by England, causing the
prolongation of hostilities, was considered by Sir James Mackintosh
less justifiable, as “a mediator is a common friend, who counsels both
parties with a weight proportioned to their belief in his integrity
and their respect for his power; but he is not an arbitrator, to whose
decision they submit their differences, and whose award is binding
on them.”[53] The Peace of Ghent was concluded at last under Russian
mediation. But England has not always been belligerent. When Andrew
Jackson menaced letters of marque against France, on account of failure
to pay a sum stipulated in a recent treaty with the United States,
King William the Fourth proffered mediation; but happily the whole
question was already virtually arranged. It appears, also, that, before
our war with Mexico, the good offices of England were tendered to the
two parties; but neither was willing to accept them, and war took its

Such are instances of interference in external affairs; and since
International Law is traced in history, they furnish a guide we cannot
now neglect, especially when we regard the actual policy of England and

       *       *       *       *       *

(2.) Instances of foreign intervention in the _internal_ affairs
of a nation are more pertinent. They are numerous, and not always
harmonious, especially if we compare the new with the old. In the
earlier times such intervention was regarded with repugnance. But
the principle then declared has been sapped on the one side by
the conspiracies of tyranny seeking the suppression of liberal
institutions, and on the other by a generous sympathy breaking forth
from time to time in their support. According to old precedents,
most of which are found in the gossipping book of Wicquefort,[54]
whence they have been copied by Mr. Wildman, in his “Institutes of
International Law,”[55] even _foreign intercession_ was prohibited.
Not even in the name of charity could one ruler speak to another on
the domestic affairs of his government. Peter, King of Aragon, was
astonished at a proposed embassy from Alphonso, King of Castile,
entreating mercy for rebels. Charles the Ninth of France, a detestable
monarch, in reply to ambassadors of the Protestant princes of Germany,
pleading for his Protestant subjects, insolently declared that he
required no tutors to teach him how to rule. And yet this same
sovereign did not hesitate to ask the Duke of Savoy to receive certain
subjects “into his benign favor, and to restore and reëstablish them
in their confiscated estates.”[56] In this appeal there was a double
inconsistency; for it was not only interference in the affairs of
another prince, but it was in behalf of Protestants, only a few months
before the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. Henry the Third, successor of
Charles, and another detestable monarch, in reply to the Protestant
ambassadors, announced that he was a sovereign prince, and ordered them
to leave his dominions. Louis the Thirteenth was of milder nature,
and yet, when the English ambassador, the Earl of Carlisle, presumed
to speak in favor of the Huguenots, he intimated that no interference
between the King of France and his subjects could be approved. The
Cardinal Richelieu, who governed France so long, learning that an
attempt was made to procure the intercession of the Pope, stopped it
by a message to his Holiness, that the King would be displeased by any
such interference. The Pope himself, on another recorded occasion,
admitted that it would be a pernicious precedent for a subject to
negotiate terms of accommodation through a foreign prince. On still
another occasion, when the King of France, forgetting his own rule,
interposed in behalf of the Barberini family, Innocent the Tenth
declared, that, having no desire to interfere in the affairs of France,
he trusted his Majesty would not interfere in his. Queen Christina of
Sweden, merely hinting a disposition to proffer good offices for the
settlement of the unhappy divisions in France, was told by the Queen
Regent that she need give herself no trouble about them, and one of
her own ministers at Stockholm declared that the overture was properly
rejected. Nor were the States General of Holland less sensitive. They
even refused audience to the Spanish ambassador seeking to congratulate
them on the settlement of a domestic question; and when the French
ambassador undertook to plead for Roman Catholics, the States, by
formal resolution, denounced his conduct as inconsistent with the peace
and constitution of the Republic, all of which was communicated to him
by eight deputies, who added in speech whatever the resolution seemed
to want in plainness.

Nor is England without similar example. Louis the Thirteenth, shortly
after the marriage of his sister Henrietta Maria with Charles the
First, consented that the English ambassadors should interpose for
French Protestants; but when the French ambassador in England requested
the repeal of a law against Roman Catholics, Charles expressed his
surprise that the King of France should presume to intermeddle in
English affairs. Even as late as 1746, when, after the Battle of
Culloden, the Dutch ambassador in France was induced to address the
British Government in behalf of the unfortunate Charles Edward, to the
effect, that, if taken, he should not be treated as a rebel, it is
recorded that this intercession was greatly resented by the British
Government, which, not content with apology from the unfortunate
official, required that he should be rebuked by his own Government
also.[57] And this is British testimony with regard to intervention in
a civil war, even when it took the mildest form of intercession for the
life of a prince.

In face of such repulses, all these nations, at different times,
practised intervention in every variety of form,--sometimes by
intercession or “good offices” only, sometimes by mediation, and often
by arms. Even these instances attest the intermeddling spirit; for such
intervention, however received, was at least attempted.

Two precedents belonging to the earlier period deserve to stand apart,
not only for historic importance, but for applicability to our times.
The first was the effort to institute mediation between King Charles
the First and his Parliament, attempted by Cardinal Mazarin, that
powerful minister, who, during the minority of Louis the Fourteenth,
swayed France. The civil war had been waged for years; good men on each
side had fallen,--Falkland fighting for the King, and Hampden fighting
for the Parliament,--and other costliest blood been shed on the fields
of Edgehill, Newbury, Marston Moor, and Naseby, when the ambitious
Cardinal, wishing to serve the King, promised, as Clarendon relates,
“to press the Parliament so imperiously, and to denounce a war against
them, if they refused to yield to what was reasonable.”[58] For this
important service he selected the famous Pomponne de Bellièvre, of a
family tried in public duties,--himself President of the Parliament
of Paris and peer of France,--conspicuous in personal qualities as in
place, whose beautiful head, preserved by the graver of Nanteuil, is
illustrious in Art, and whose dying charity lives still in the great
hospital of the Hôtel Dieu, at Paris. Arriving at London, the graceful
ambassador presented himself to that Long Parliament which knew so
well how to guard English rights. At once every overture was rejected
in formal proceedings, from which I copy these words: “We do declare
that we ourselves have been careful to improve all occasions to compose
these unhappy troubles, _yet we have not, neither can we, admit of any
mediation or interposing betwixt the King and us by any foreign prince
or state_. And we desire that his Majesty, the French King, will rest
satisfied with this our resolution and answer.”[59] On the committee
which drew this reply was John Selden, unsurpassed for learning and
ability in the whole splendid history of the English bar, in every
book of whose library was written, “Before everything, Liberty,” and
also that Harry Vane whom Milton, in one of his most inspired sonnets,
addresses as

    “Vane, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
      Than whom a better Senator ne’er held
      The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repelled
    The fierce Epirot and the African bold.”

The answer of such men is a precedent for us, especially should
England, taking up the rejected policy of Mazarin, presumptuously send
any ambassador to stay the Republic in its war with Slavery.

The same heart of oak, so strenuous to repel intervention of France
between King and Parliament, was not less strenuous the other way, when
intervention could serve the rights of England or the principles of
religious liberty. Such was England when ruled by the great Protector,
called in his own day “chief of men.” No nation so powerful as to be
exempt from that irresistible intercession, where, beneath the garb
of peace, was a gleam of arms. From France, even under the rule of
Mazarin, he claimed respect for the Protestant name, which he insisted
upon making great and glorious. From Spain, on whose extended empire
the sun did not cease to shine, he required that no Englishman should
be subject to the Inquisition. Reading to his Council a despatch from
Admiral Blake, announcing justice obtained from the Viceroy of Malaga,
Cromwell said, that “he hoped to make the name of Englishman as great
as ever that of Roman had been.”[60] In this same exalted mood he
turned to propose mediation between Protestant Sweden and Protestant
Bremen, “chiefly bewailing, that, being both his friends, they should
so despitefully combat one against another,” offering his assistance
to “a commodious accommodation on both sides,” and exhorting them “by
no means to refuse any honest conditions of reconciliation.”[61] Here
was intervention between nation and nation; but it was soon followed
by intervention in the internal affairs of a distant country, which of
all the acts of Cromwell is the most touching and sublime. The French
ambassador, while at Whitehall, urging the signature of a treaty,
was unexpectedly interrupted by news from a secluded valley of the
Alps, far away among mountain torrents, affluents of the Po, that a
company of pious Protestants, for centuries gathered there, keeping
the truth pure, “when all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,”
were suffering terrible persecution from their sovereign, Emanuel of
Savoy. Despoiled of all possessions and liberties, brutally driven from
their homes, given over to licentious and infuriate violence, and then
turning in self-defence, they had been “slain by the bloody Piemontese,
that rolled mother with infant down the rocks”; and it was reported
that French troops took part in the dismal transaction. The Protector
heard the story, and his pity flashed into anger. He would not sign
the treaty until France united with him in securing justice to these
humble sufferers, whom he called the Lord’s people. For their relief he
contributed out of his own purse two thousand pounds, and authorized a
general collection throughout England, which reached a large sum; but
besides money, he set apart a day of humiliation and prayer for them.
Nor was this all. “I should be glad,” wrote his Secretary, Thurloe,
“to have a most particular account of that business, and to know
what is become of those poor people, for whom our very souls here do
bleed.”[62] But a pen mightier than that of any plodding secretary was
enlisted in this pious intervention. It was John Milton, glowing with
that indignation which his sonnet “On the Massacre in Piemont” makes
immortal in the heart of man, who wrote the magnificent despatches,
where the English nation of that day, after declaring itself “linked
together” with its distant brethren, “not only by the same tie of
humanity, but by joint communion of the same religion,” naturally and
grandly insisted that “both this edict and whatsoever may be decreed
to their disturbance upon the account of the Reformed Religion” should
be abrogated, “and that an end be put to their oppressions.”[63] Not
content with this call upon the Duke of Savoy, the Protector appealed
to Louis the Fourteenth and his Cardinal Minister, to the States
General of Holland, the Protestant Cantons of Switzerland, the King of
Denmark, the King of Sweden, and even to the Protestant Reformed Prince
of remote Transylvania,--and always by the pen of Milton,--rallying
these princes and powers in joint entreaty and intervention, and, if
need were, to “some other course to be speedily taken, that such a
numerous multitude of our innocent brethren may not miserably perish
for want of succor and assistance.”[64] The Regent of Savoy, daughter
of Henry the Fourth, professed to be affected by this English charity,
and announced for her Protestant subjects a free pardon, and also
“such privileges and graces as could not but give the Lord Protector a
sufficient evidence _how great a respect they bare both to his person
and mediation_.”[65] But there was still delay. Meanwhile Cromwell
began to inquire where in the Prince’s territories English troops might
debark, and Mazarin, anxious to complete the yet unfinished treaty,
joined in requiring immediate pacification of the Valleys and the
restoration of these persecuted people to their ancient liberties.
It was done. Such is the grandest intervention of English history,
inspired by Milton, enforced by Cromwell, and sustained by Louis the
Fourteenth with his Cardinal Minister by his side, while foreign
nations watched the scene.

This great instance, constituting an inseparable part of the
Protector’s glory, is not the last where England intervened for
Protestant liberties. Troubles, beginning in France with the Revocation
of the Edict of Nantes, broke forth in the rebellion of the Camisards,
smarting under the Revocation. Sheltered by the mountains of the
Cevennes, and nerved by a good cause, with the device “Liberty of
Conscience” on their standards, they made head against two successive
marshals of France, and perplexed the old age of Louis the Fourteenth,
whose arms were already enfeebled by foreign war. At last, through the
mediation of England, the great monarch made terms with his Protestant
rebels, and this civil war was brought to a close.[66]

Intervention, more often armed than unarmed, showed itself in the
middle of the last century. All decency was set aside, when Frederick
of Prussia, Catharine of Russia, and Maria Theresa of Austria invaded
and partitioned Poland, under pretext of suppressing anarchy. Here
was intervention with a vengeance, and on the side of arbitrary
power. Such is human inconsistency, almost at the same time was
another intervention in the opposite direction. It was the armed
intervention of France, followed by that of Spain and Holland, in
behalf of American Independence. Spain began by offer of mediation
with a truce, which was accepted by France on condition that meanwhile
the United States should be independent _in fact_.[67] Then came, in
1788, the armed intervention of Prussia to sustain the Orange faction
in Holland, followed soon by the compact between Great Britain,
Prussia, and Holland, known as the Triple Alliance, which entered upon
the business of its copartnership by armed intervention to reconcile
the insurgent provinces of Belgium with the German Emperor and their
ancient Constitution. As France began to shake with domestic troubles,
mediation in her affairs was proposed. Among the papers of Burke,
in 1791, is the draught of a memorial, in the name of the British
Government, offering what he calls “this healing mediation.”[68] Then
came the vast coalition for armed intervention in France to put down
the Republic. This dreary cloud was for a moment brightened by a
British attempt in Parliament, through successive debates, to institute
an intercession for Lafayette, immured in the dungeons of European
despotism. “It is reported,” said one of the orators, “that America has
solicited the liberation of her unfortunate adopted fellow-citizen.…
Let British magnanimity be called to the aid of American gratitude,
and exhibit to mankind a noble proof, that, wherever the principles of
genuine liberty prevail, _they never fail to inspire sentiments of
generosity, feelings of humanity, and a detestation of oppression_.”[69]

Meanwhile France, against whom all Europe intervened, played her
part of intervention, and the scene was Switzerland. In the unhappy
disputes between the aristocratic and democratic parties by which this
Republic was distracted, French mediation became chronic, beginning
in 1738, when it found partial apology in the invitation of several
cantons and of Geneva; occurring again in 1768, and again in 1782. The
mountain Republic, breathing the air of Freedom, was naturally moved
by the convulsions of the French Revolution. Civil war ensued, and
grew in bitterness. At last, when France herself was composed under
the powerful arm of the First Consul, we find him turning to compose
Swiss troubles. He was a military ruler, and always acted under the
instincts of military power. By proclamation, dated at the palace of
St. Cloud, September 30, 1802, Bonaparte declared that for three years
the Swiss had been slaying each other, and that, if left to themselves,
they would continue to slay each other for three years more, without
reaching any understanding; that, at first, he had resolved not to
interfere, but that he now changed his mind, and announced himself
as mediator of their difficulties, proclaiming confidently that his
mediation would be efficacious, as became the great people in whose
name he spoke. Deputies from the cantons, together with the chief
citizens, were summoned to declare the means of restoring the Union,
securing peace, and reconciling all parties.[70] This was armed
mediation; but Switzerland was weak and France strong, while the
declared object was union, peace, and reconciliation. I know not if all
this ensued, but the civil war was stifled, and the Constitution was
established by what is entitled in history the Act of Mediation.

From that period down to the present moment, intervention in the
internal affairs of other nations has been a prevailing practice, now
cautiously and peaceably, now offensively and forcibly. Sometimes
it was against the rights of men, sometimes it was in their favor.
Sometimes England and France stood aloof, sometimes they took part.
The Congress of Vienna, which undertook to settle the map of Europe,
organized universal and perpetual intervention in the interest
of monarchical institutions and existing dynasties. This compact
was renewed at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1818, with the
explanatory declaration, that the five great powers would never assume
jurisdiction over questions concerning the rights and interests of
another power, _except at its request_, and without inviting such power
to take part in the conference,--a concession obviously adverse to any
liberal movement. Meanwhile appeared the Holy Alliance, specially to
watch and control the revolutionary tendencies of the age; but into
this combination England most honorably declined to enter. The other
powers were sufficiently active. Austria, Russia, and Prussia did
not hesitate at the Congress of Laybach, in 1821, to institute armed
intervention for the suppression of liberal principles in Naples; and
again, two years later, at the Congress of Verona, these same powers,
together with France, instituted another armed intervention to suppress
liberal principles in Spain, which ultimately led to the invasion of
that kingdom and the overthrow of its Constitution. France was the
belligerent agent, and would not be turned aside, although the Duke of
Wellington at Verona, and Mr. Canning at home, sought to arrest her
armies by the mediation of Great Britain, which was directly sought
by Spain and directly refused by France. The British Government, in
admirable letters, composed with unsurpassed skill, and constituting
a noble page of International Law, “disclaimed for itself, and denied
for other powers, the right of requiring any changes in the internal
institutions of independent states, _with the menace of hostile attack
in case of refusal_”; and bravely declared to the imperial and royal
interventionists, that, “so long as the struggles and disturbances of
Spain should be confined within the circle of her own territory, they
could not be admitted by the British Government to afford any plea
of foreign interference”; and in still another note repeated that a
“_menace of direct and imminent danger could alone, in exception to the
general rule, justify foreign interference_.”[71] These were the words
of Mr. Canning; but even Lord Castlereagh, in an earlier note, asserted
the same limitation, which, at a later day, had the unqualified support
of Lord Grey, and also of Lord Aberdeen. Justly interpreted, they
leave no apology for armed intervention, except in case of direct and
imminent danger, when a nation, like an individual, may be thrown upon
the great right of self-defence.

Great Britain bore testimony by what she did, as well as by what she
refused to do. Even while resisting the armed intervention of the
great conspiracy, her Government intervened sometimes by mediation
and sometimes by arms. Early in the contest between Spain and her
colonies she consented to act as mediator, on the invitation of the
former, in hope of effecting reconciliation; but Spain declined the
mediation she had invited. From 1812 to 1823, Great Britain constantly
repeated her offer. In the case of Portugal she went further. Under
the counsels of Mr. Canning, whose speech on the occasion was of the
most memorable character, she intervened by landing troops at Lisbon;
but this intervention was vindicated by the obligations of treaty.
Next came the greater instance of Greece, when the Christian powers
of Europe intervened to arrest a protracted struggle and to save this
classic land from Turkish tyranny. Here the first step was _a pressing
invitation from the Greeks_ to the British and French Governments
for their mediation with the Ottoman Porte. These powers united with
Russia in proffering the much desired intervention, which the Greeks at
once accepted and the Turks rejected. Already battle raged fiercely,
reddened by barbarous massacre. Without delay, the allied forces were
directed to compel the cessation of hostilities, which was accomplished
by the destruction of the Turkish fleet at Navarino and the occupation
of the Morea by French troops. At last, under the continued mediation
of these powers, the independence of Greece was recognized by the
Ottoman Porte, and another commonwealth consecrated to Freedom
took its place in the Family of Nations. But mediation in Turkish
affairs did not stop. The example of Greece was followed by Egypt,
whose provincial chief, Mehemet Ali, rebelled, and by genius for war
succeeded in dispossessing the Ottoman Porte not only of Egypt, but of
other possessions also. This civil war was first arrested by temporary
arrangement at Kutaieh, in 1833, under the mediation of Great Britain
and France, and finally ended by an armed mediation in 1840, when,
after elaborate and irritating discussions threatening to involve
Europe, a treaty was concluded at London between Great Britain, Russia,
Austria, and Prussia, by which the Pacha was compelled to relinquish
his conquests, while he was secured in the Government of Egypt as
perpetual vassal of the Porte. France, dissatisfied with the terms of
this adjustment, stood aloof from the treaty, which found apology,
such as it had, first, in the invitation of the Sultan, and, secondly,
in the desire to preserve the integrity of the Turkish Empire, as
essential to the balance of power and the peace of Europe, to which may
also be added the desire to stop effusion of blood.

Before the Eastern questions were settled, other complications
commenced in Western Europe. Belgium, restless from the French
Revolution of 1830, rose against the House of Orange and claimed
independence. Civil war ensued; but the great powers promptly
intervened, even to the extent of arresting a Dutch army on its march.
Beginning with armistice, there was a long and fine-spun negotiation,
which, assuming the guise alternately of pacific mediation and of armed
intervention, ended in the established separation of Belgium from
Holland, and its recognition as an independent nation. Do you ask why
Great Britain intervened on this occasion? Lord John Russell, in the
course of debate at a subsequent day, declared that a special motive
was “the establishment of a free constitution.”[72] Meanwhile the
Peninsula of Spain and Portugal was torn by civil war. The regents of
these two kingdoms respectively appealed to Great Britain and France
for aid, especially in the expulsion of the pretender Don Carlos from
Spain and the pretender Dom Miguel from Portugal. For this purpose the
Quadruple Alliance was formed in 1834. The moral support from this
treaty is said to have been important, but Great Britain was compelled
to provide troops. This intervention, however, was _at the solicitation
of the actual Governments_. Even after Spanish troubles were settled,
war still lingered in the sister kingdom, when, in 1847, the Queen
addressed herself to her allies, among whom was Great Britain, the
ancient patron of Portugal, who undertook to mediate between her
and her insurgent subjects, in the declared hope of composing the
difficulties “in a just and permanent manner, with all due regard to
the dignity of the crown on the one hand, and to the constitutional
liberties of the nation on the other.”[73] The insurgents did not
submit until after military demonstrations. Liberty and Peace were the
two watchwords.

Then occurred the European uprising of 1848, with France once more a
Republic; but Europe, wiser grown, did not interfere even so much as to
write a letter. The case was different with Hungary, whose victorious
armies, radiant with Liberty regained, expelled the Austrian power
only to be arrested by the armed intervention of the Russian Czar, who
yielded to the double pressure of invitation from Austria and fear
that successful insurrection might extend into Poland. It was left
for France, in another country, with strange inconsistency, to play
the part which Russia played in Hungary. Rome, after rising against
the temporal power of the Pope and proclaiming the Republic, was
occupied by a French army, which expelled the republican magistrates,
and, though fourteen years are already passed since that unhappy
act, the occupation still continues. From this military intervention
Great Britain stands aloof. In a despatch, dated at London, January
28, 1849, Lord Palmerston makes a permanent record, to the honor of
his country, as follows: “Her Majesty’s Government would, upon every
account, and not only upon abstract principle, but with reference
to the general interests of Europe, and from the value which they
attach to the maintenance of peace, _sincerely deprecate any attempt
to settle the differences between the Pope and his subjects by the
military interference of foreign powers_.”[74] This statesman gives
further point to the position of Great Britain in contrast with
France, when he says: “Armed intervention _to assist in retaining a
bad Government would be unjustifiable_.”[75] Such was the declaration
of the Lord Palmerston of that day. How much more unjustifiable the
strange assistance now proposed _to found_ a bad Government! The
British minister insisted that the differences should be accommodated
by “the diplomatic interposition of friendly powers,” which he declared
a “much better mode of settlement than an authoritative imposition of
terms by the force of foreign arms.”[76] In harmony with this policy,
Great Britain, during the same year, united with France in proffering
mediation between the insurgent Sicilians and the King of Naples, the
notorious Bomba, in the hope of helping good government and liberal
principles. Not disheartened by rebuff, these two powers, in 1856,
united in friendly remonstrance to the same tyrannical sovereign
against the harsh system of political arrests, and against his cruelty
to good citizens thrust without trial into the worst of prisons. The
advice was indignantly rejected, and the two powers that gave it
withdrew their ministers from Naples. The sympathy of Russia was on the
wrong side, and Prince Gortschakoff, in a circular, while admitting,
that, “as a consequence of friendly fore-thought, one Government might
give advice to another,” declared, that “to endeavor by threats or a
menacing demonstration to obtain from the King of Naples concessions in
the internal affairs of his Government is a violent usurpation of his
authority, and an open declaration of the right of the strong over the
weak.”[77] This was practically answered by Lord Clarendon, speaking
for Great Britain at the Congress of Paris, when, admitting the
principle that no Government has the right to interfere in the internal
affairs of other states, he declares that there are cases where an
exception to this rule becomes equally a right and a duty; that peace
must not be broken, but that there is no peace without justice; and
that therefore the Congress must let the King of Naples know its desire
for the amelioration of his Government, and must demand amnesty for
political offenders suffering without trial.[78] This language was bold
beyond the practice of diplomacy, but the intervention it proposed was
on the side of humanity.

I must draw this chapter to a close, although the long list is not
yet exhausted. Even while I speak, we hear of intervention by England
and France in the civil war between the Emperor of China and his
subjects,--and also in that other war between the Emperor of Russia
on the one side and the Poles whom he claims as subjects on the
other, but with this difference, that in China these powers take
the part of the existing Government, while in Poland they intervene
against the existing Government. In the face of positive declarations
of neutrality, the British and French admirals have united their
forces with the Chinese; but thus far in Poland, although there is no
declaration of neutrality, the intervention is unarmed. In both these
instances we witness a common tendency, directed, it may be, by the
interests or prejudices of the time, and, so far as it has proceeded,
it is, at least in Poland, on the side of liberal institutions. But,
alas for human consistency! the French Emperor is now intervening
in Mexico with armies and navies to build an imperial throne for an
Austrian Archduke.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is one long-continued British intervention, which speaks now
with controlling power; and it is on this account that I reserve it
for the close of what I have to say on this head. Though not without
original shades of dark, it has for more than half a century been a
shining example to the civilized world. I refer to that _intervention
against Slavery_, which, from its first adoption, has been so constant
and brilliant as to make us forget the earlier _intervention in behalf
of Slavery_, when, for instance, at the Peace of Utrecht, Great
Britain intervened to extort the detestable privilege of supplying
slaves to Spanish America at the rate of four thousand eight hundred
yearly during the space of thirty years, and then again, at the Peace
of Aix-la-Chapelle, higgled for a yet longer sanction of the ignoble
intervention; nay, it almost makes us forget the kindred intervention,
at once sordid and criminal, by which this power counteracted all
efforts for the prohibition of the slave-trade even in its own
colonies, and thus helped to fasten Slavery upon Virginia and Carolina.
The abolition of the slave-trade by Act of Parliament, in 1807, was
the signal for a change of history. A British poet at the time gave
exulting expression to the grandeur of the epoch:--

    “‘Thy chains are broken, Africa, be free!’
    Thus saith the island-empress of the sea;
    Thus saith Britannia. O ye winds and waves,
    Waft the glad tidings to the land of slaves!”[79]

Curiously, it was the other color which gained the first fruits of
this revolution, by triumphant intervention for the overthrow of
White Slavery in the Barbary States. The old hero of Acre, Sir Sidney
Smith, released from long imprisonment in France, sought to organize
a “holy league” for this purpose; the subject was discussed at the
Congress of Vienna; and the agents of Spain and Portugal, anxious
for the punishment of their piratical neighbors, argued, that,
because Great Britain had abolished for itself the traffic in African
slaves, therefore it must see that whites were no longer enslaved
in the Barbary States. The argument was less logical than humane.
But Great Britain undertook the work. With a fleet complete at all
points, consisting of five line-of-battle ships, five frigates, four
bomb-vessels, and five gun-brigs, Lord Exmouth approached Algiers,
where he was joined by a considerable Dutch fleet, anxious to take
part. “If force must be resorted to,” said the Admiral in general
orders shortly before, “we have the consolation of knowing that we
fight in the sacred cause of Humanity, and cannot fail of success.”
Less than half a day was enough, with such a force in such a cause. The
formidable castles of the great Slavemonger were battered to pieces,
and he was compelled to sign a treaty, confirmed under a salute of
twenty-one guns, which in its first article stipulated “the abolition
of Christian Slavery forever.” Glorious and beneficent intervention!
Not inferior to that renowned instance of Antiquity, where the
Carthaginians were required to abolish the practice of sacrificing
their own children,--a treaty which has been called the noblest of
history, because stipulated in favor of human nature. The Admiral who
had thus triumphed was hailed as Emancipator. He received a new rank
in the peerage, and a new blazonry on his coat of arms. The rank is
continued in his family, and on their shield, in perpetual memory of
this great transaction, is still borne _a Christian slave holding
aloft the Cross and dropping his broken fetters_. But the personal
satisfactions of the Admiral were more than rank or heraldry. In his
despatch to the Government, describing the battle, and written at the
time, he says: “To have been one of the humble instruments in the hands
of Divine Providence for bringing to reason a ferocious Government and
destroying forever the insufferable and horrid system of Christian
Slavery, can never cease to be a source of delight and heartfelt
comfort to every individual happy enough to be employed in it.”[80]

I have said too much with regard to an instance, which, though
beautiful and important, is only a parenthesis in the grander and more
extensive intervention against African Slavery, which was already
organizing, destined at last to embrace the whole human family. Even
before Wilberforce triumphed in Parliament, Great Britain intervened
with Napoleon, in 1806, pressing him to join in the abolition of the
slave-trade; but he flatly refused. What France would not then yield
was exacted from Portugal in 1810, from Sweden in 1813, and from
Denmark in 1814. An ineffectual attempt was made to enlist Spain,
even by temptation of pecuniary subsidies,--and an appeal was made to
the restored monarch of France, Louis the Eighteenth, with the offer
of a sum of money outright or the cession of a West India island, in
consideration of the desired abolition. The Prince Regent wrote with
his own hand to the latter, assuring him that he could not give a more
acceptable proof of his regard than by consenting to the abolition.
Had gratitude to a benefactor prevailed, these powers could not have
resisted; but Lord Castlereagh confessed in the House of Commons, that
in France there was distrust of the British Government “even among the
better classes of people,” who thought that its zeal in this behalf was
prompted by desire to injure the French colonies and commerce, rather
than by benevolence. The British minister was more successful with
Portugal, where pecuniary equivalents led to a supplementary treaty, in
January, 1815. This was followed by the declaration of the Congress of
Vienna, on motion of Lord Castlereagh, 8th February, 1815, denouncing
the African slave-trade “as repugnant to the principles of humanity
and of universal morality.” Meanwhile Napoleon returned from Elba,
and what British intervention failed to accomplish with the Bourbon
monarch, and the Emperor once flatly refused, was now spontaneously
done by him, doubtless in the hope of conciliating British sentiment.
His hundred days of power were signalized by an ordinance abolishing
the slave-trade in France and her colonies. Louis the Eighteenth, once
again restored by British arms, and with the shadow of Waterloo resting
upon France, could not do less than ratify the imperial ordinance by
a royal assurance that “the traffic was henceforth forever forbidden
to all the subjects of his most Christian Majesty.”[81] Holland
came under the same influence, and accepted the restitution of her
colonies, except the Cape of Good Hope and Guiana, on condition of
the entire abolition of the slave-trade in the restored colonies, and
also everywhere else beneath her flag. Spain was the most indocile;
but this proud monarchy, under whose auspices the African slave-trade
first came into being, at last yielded. By the treaty of Madrid, of 23d
September, 1817, extorted by Great Britain, it stipulated the immediate
abolition of the trade north of the equator, and also, after 1820,
its abolition everywhere, in consideration of four hundred thousand
pounds, the price of Freedom, paid by the other contracting party. In
vindication of this intervention, Wilberforce declared in Parliament,
that “the grant to Spain would be more than repaid to Great Britain in
commercial advantages by the opening of a great continent to British
industry,”--all of which was impossible, if the slave-trade was allowed
to continue under the Spanish flag.[82]

At the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1818, and of Verona, in
1822, Great Britain continued her intervention against Slavery.
Chateaubriand, in his history of the latter Congress, pauses to
express his admiration of the “singular perseverance” in this cause
manifested by her at all Congresses, amidst questions the most urgent
and interests the most pressing.[83] Here her primacy was undisputed,
and her fame complete. It was the common remark of Continental
publicists, that she “made the cause her own.”[84] One of them portrays
her vividly, since 1810 waging “relentless war” against the principle
of the slave-trade, and by this “crusade,” undertaken in the name of
Humanity, making herself the “declared protectress” of the African
race. These are the words of a French authority.[85] According to
him, it is nothing less than “relentless war” and a “crusade” which
she has waged, and the position which she has achieved is that of
“protectress” of the African race,--while no less a person than
Chateaubriand recognizes with admiration the “singular perseverance”
she has displayed in this practical extension of Christianity. Not
content with imposing her magnanimous system upon the civilized world,
she carried it among the tribes and chiefs of Africa, who, by her
omnipresent intervention, were summoned to renounce a barbarous and
criminal custom. By a Parliamentary Report, it appears that in 1849
there were twenty-four treaties in force between Great Britain and
foreign civilized powers for the suppression of the slave-trade, and
also forty-two similar treaties between Great Britain and native chiefs
of Africa.[86]

This intervention was not by treaties only; it was by correspondence
and circulars also. And here I approach a part of the subject which
illustrates the vivacity of its character. All British ministers and
consuls were so many pickets on constant guard in the outposts. They
were held to every service by which the cause could be promoted,
even to translating and printing documents against the slave-trade,
especially in countries where, unhappily, it was still pursued. There
was the Pope’s Bull of 1839, which Lord Palmerston transmitted for this
purpose to his agents in Cuba, Brazil, and even in Turkey, some of whom
were unsuccessful in their efforts to obtain its publication, although,
curiously enough, it was published in Turkey.[87]

Such zeal could not stop at the abolition of the traffic. Accordingly,
Great Britain, by Act of Parliament, in 1834, enfranchised all the
slaves in her own possessions, and thus again secured to herself the
primacy of a lofty cause. The intervention was now openly declared to
be against Slavery itself, assuming its most positive character while
Lord Palmerston was Foreign Secretary,--and I say this sincerely to his
great honor. Throughout his long life, among all the various concerns
in which he has acted, there is nothing to be remembered hereafter with
such gratitude. By his untiring diplomacy her Majesty’s Government
constituted itself a vast Abolition Society, with the whole world for
its field. It was in no respect behind the famous World’s Convention
against Slavery, held at London in June, 1840, with Thomas Clarkson,
the pioneer Abolitionist, as President; for the strongest declarations
of this Convention were adopted by Lord Palmerston as “the sentiments
of her Majesty’s Government,” and communicated officially to British
functionaries in foreign lands. The Convention declared “the utter
injustice of Slavery in all its forms, and the evil it inflicts upon
its miserable victims, and the necessity of employing every means,
moral, religious, and pacific, for its complete abolition, an object
most dear to the members of this Convention, and for the consummation
of which they are especially assembled.”[88] These words became the
words of the British Government, and in circular letters were sent over
the world.

It was not enough to declare the true principles. They must be
enforced. Spain and Portugal hung back. The Secretary of the
Antislavery Society was sent “to endeavor to create in those countries
a public feeling in favor of the abolition of Slavery”; and the British
minister at Lisbon was desired by Lord Palmerston to “afford all the
assistance and protection in his power for promoting the object of his
journey.”[89] British functionaries abroad sometimes backslided. This
was corrected by circulars setting forth “that it would be unfitting
that any officer holding an appointment under the British Crown
should, either directly or indirectly, hold or be interested in slave
property.”[90] The Parliamentary Papers which attest the universality
of this instruction show the completeness with which it was executed.
The consul at Rio Janeiro, in slaveholding Brazil, had among his
domestics three negro slaves, two men and a woman; “of the men one was
a groom and the other a waiter, and the woman he was forced to hire
to nurse one of his children”; but he discharged them at once, under
the antislavery discipline of the British Foreign Office, and Lord
Palmerston, in formal despatch, “expresses his satisfaction.”[91] In
Cuba, at the time of its reception, there was not a single resident
officer, holding under the British Crown, “who was entirely free from
the charge of countenancing Slavery.” But only a few weeks afterwards
it was officially reported from Havana that there was “not a single
British officer residing within the consular jurisdiction who had
not relinquished, or was not at least preparing to relinquish, this
odious practice.”[92] This was quick work. The metamorphosis was prompt
as anything in ancient fable. Every person holding office under the
British Government at once set his face against Slavery, _and the way
was by having nothing to do with it, even in employing or hiring the
slave of another,--nothing, “directly or indirectly”_.

Lord Palmerston, acting in the name of the British Government, did not
stop with changing British officials into practical Abolitionists,
whenever they were in foreign countries. He sought to enlist other
European Governments, and to this end requested them to forbid their
functionaries residing in slaveholding communities to be interested
in slave property or in any holding or hiring of slaves. Denmark
for a moment hesitated, from unwillingness to debar them from acting
according to the laws where they resided, when the minister at once
cited in support of his request the example of Belgium, Hanover,
Holland, Sweden, Naples, Portugal, and Sardinia, all without delay
having yielded to this British intervention, and Denmark ranged herself
in the list.[93] Nor was this indefatigable Propaganda confined to the
Christian powers. With a sacred pertinacity it reached into distant
Mohammedan regions, where Slavery was imbedded not only in the laws,
but the habits, the social system, and the very life of the people,
and called upon the Government to act against it. No impediment
deterred,--no prejudice, national or religious. To the Shah of Persia,
ruling a vast, outlying slave empire, Lord Palmerston announced the
desire of the British Government “to see the slave-trade put down
and the condition of Slavery abolished in every part of the world”;
“that it conceived much good might be accomplished in these respects,
even in Mohammedan countries, by steady perseverance, and by never
omitting to take advantage of favorable opportunities”; and “that
the Shah would be doing a thing extremely acceptable to the British
Government and nation, if he would issue a decree prohibiting for the
future the importation of slaves of any kind into Persia, and making it
penal for a Persian to purchase slaves.”[94] To the Sultan of Turkey,
whose mother was a slave, whose wives were all slaves, and whose very
counsellors, generals, and admirals were originally slaves, he made a
similar appeal, and he sought to win the dependent despot by reminding
him that only in this way could he hope for that good-will which was
so essential to his Government; “that the continued support of Great
Britain will, for some years to come, be an object of importance to
the Porte,--_that this support cannot be given effectually, unless the
sentiments and opinions of the majority of the British nation shall
be favorable to the Turkish Government,--and that the whole of the
British nation unanimously desire, beyond almost anything else, to put
an end to the cruel practice of making slaves_.”[95] Such, at that
time, was the voice of the British people. Since Cromwell pleaded for
the Vaudois, no nobler voice had gone forth. The World’s Convention
against Slavery saw itself transfigured, while platform speeches
were transfused into diplomatic notes. The Convention, earnest for
Universal Emancipation, declared that “_the friendly interposition_ of
Great Britain could be employed for no nobler purpose,” and, as if to
crown its work, in an address to Lord Palmerston, humbly and earnestly
implored his Lordship to use his high authority for “connecting the
overthrow of Slavery with the consolidation of Peace”; and these
words were at once adopted in foreign despatches, as expressing the
sentiments of her Majesty’s Government.[96] Better watchwords could
not be, nor any more worthy of the British name. _There can be no
consolidation of Peace without the overthrow of Slavery._ This is as
true now as when first uttered. Therefore is Great Britain still bound
to her original faith; nor can she abandon the cause, of which she
was the declared protectress, without betrayal of Peace, as well as
betrayal of Liberty.

Even now while I speak this same conspicuous fidelity to a sacred
cause is announced. The ship canal across the Isthmus of Suez, first
attempted by the early Pharaohs, and at last resumed by French
influence, under the auspices of the Pacha, is most zealously opposed
by Great Britain for the declared reason that in its construction
“forced labor” is employed, which this power cannot in conscience
sanction. Not even to complete this vast beneficence, bringing East
and West near together, for which mankind has waited throughout long
centuries, will Great Britain depart from the rule so gloriously
declared. Slavery is wrong, therefore not to be employed. The canal
must stop, if it cannot be constructed without “forced labor.”

The veteran statesman who did so much in this cause, weaving its
golden thread into the tissue of his renown, dwelt on it with pride,
and accepted for his country the primacy that had been awarded. Never,
in his extended Parliamentary career, did Lord Palmerston rise to a
higher mood,--not even when claiming for Englishmen all the immunities
of Roman citizenship,--_Civis Romanus sum_,--than when he pictured
the dependence of Africans on their constant friend. “If ever,” said
he, “by the assault of overpowering enemies, or by the errors of her
misguided sons, England should fall, and her star should lose its
lustre, with her fall, for a long period of time, would the hopes of
the African, whether in his own continent or in the vast regions of
America, be buried in the darkness of despair. I know well that in such
case Providence would in due course of time raise up some other nation
to inherit our principles and to imitate our practice; but, taking the
world as it is, and states as they are constituted, I do not know--and
I say it with regret and with pain--I do not know any nation that is
now ready in this respect to supply our place.”[97] And can it be that
now, instead of the African, a rebellion inspired by Slavery turns to
England with hope?

The honorable story of British intervention against Slavery is
incomplete without showing how its generous ardor broke forth against
our Republic, which was denounced as linked with Slavery. Literature,
eloquence, and poetry lent themselves to expose the terrible
inconsistency. Lord Russell stepped aside from the easy path of
biography, to declare that among us “oxen and horses are better treated
than the men and women of African blood,” and then to proclaim “the
cry of outraged humanity,” “the current of human sympathy,” and “the
decrees of Eternal Justice,” irresistible.[98] Lord Macaulay, in the
House of Commons, thundered forth: “The Government of the United States
has formally declared itself the patron, the champion, of Negro Slavery
all over the world, the evil genius, the Arimanes, of the African race,
and seems to take pride in this shameful and odious distinction.… They
put themselves at the head of the slave-driving interest throughout
the world, just as Elizabeth put herself at the head of the Protestant
interest; and wherever their favorite institution is in danger,
are ready to stand by it as Elizabeth stood by the Dutch.”[99]
Thomas Campbell, fresh from writing “Ye Mariners of England” and
“Hohenlinden,” struck at our Slavery in most scornful verses on the
national flag:--

    “But what’s the meaning of the stripes?
    They mean your negroes’ scars!”[100]

If these things, so bitterly said, were true, if Campbell, Macaulay,
and Russell were right in their indignant rebuke, if Palmerston was
justified in his eloquent pride, then must England make haste to turn
away from a rebellion which seeks to reverse that noble intervention
where the liberty of the African was a constant guide.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I close the historic instances illustrating the right and practice
of foreign intervention. The whole subject is seen in these instances,
teaching clearly what to avoid and what to follow. In this way, the
Law of Nations, like History, gives its best lessons. For the sake of
plainness, I gather up some of the conclusions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Foreign intervention is _armed_ or _unarmed_, although sometimes the
two are not easily distinguishable. Unarmed intervention may have in
it the menace of arms, or it may be war in disguise. When this is the
case, it must be treated accordingly.

_Armed_ intervention is war, and nothing less. Of course it can be
vindicated only as war, and it must be resisted as war. Believing,
as I do most profoundly, that war can never be a game, but must
always be a crime when it ceases to be a duty,--a crime to be
shunned, if not a duty to be performed swiftly and surely,--and that
a nation, like an individual, is not permitted to take the sword
except in just self-defence,--I find the same limitation in armed
intervention, which becomes unjust invasion in proportion as it
departs from just self-defence. Under this head is naturally included
all that intervention moved by a tyrannical or intermeddling spirit,
because such intervention, whatever its professions, is essentially
hostile,--as when Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland, when
the Holy Alliance intermeddled everywhere and menaced even America, or
when Russia intervened to crush the independence of Hungary, or France
to crush the Roman Republic. All such intervention is inexcusable,
illegal, and scandalous. Its vindication is found only in the
effrontery that might makes right.

_Unarmed_ intervention is of a different nature. If sincerely unarmed,
it may be regarded as obtrusive, but not hostile. It may assume the
form of mediation or the proffer of good offices, at the invitation of
both parties, or, in the case of civil war, at the invitation of the
original authority. With such invitation, this intervention is proper
and honorable; without such invitation, it is of doubtful character;
but if known to be contrary to the desires of both parties, or to
the desires of the original authority in a distracted country, it
becomes offensive and inadmissible, _unless obviously on the side of
Human Rights_, when the act of intervention takes its character from
the cause in which it is made. But it must not be forgotten, that,
in the case of civil war, any mediation, or, indeed, any proposition
not enjoining submission to the original authority, is in its nature
adverse, for it assumes the separate existence of the other party, and
secures for it temporary immunity and opportunity, if not independence.
Congress, therefore, was right in declaring to foreign powers that
any renewed effort of mediation in our affairs will be regarded as an
unfriendly act.

There is another case of unarmed intervention which I cannot criticize.
It is where a nation intercedes or interposes in favor of Human Rights,
or to secure the overthrow of some enormous wrong,--as when Cromwell
pleaded, with noble intercession, for the secluded Protestants of
the Alpine valleys, when Great Britain and France declared sympathy
with the Greeks struggling for independence, and when Great Britain
alone, by splendid diplomacy, set herself against Slavery everywhere
throughout the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

The full lesson may be summed up briefly. All intervention in the
internal affairs of another nation is contrary to law and reason,
and can be vindicated only by overruling necessity. Intervening by
war, then must there be the necessity of self-defence. Intervening by
mediation or intercession, then must you be able to speak in behalf
of civilization endangered or human nature wronged. To this humane
policy no power is bound so absolutely as England; especially is none
so fixed, beyond possibility of retreat or change, in hostility to
Slavery, whatever shape this criminal pretension may assume, whether
the animating principle of a nation, the “forced labor” of a multitude,
or even the service of a solitary domestic.


There is a species of foreign intervention which stands by itself and
has its own illustrations. Therefore I speak of it by itself. It is
where a foreign power undertakes to acknowledge the independence of
a colony or province renouncing its original allegiance, and it may
be compendiously called _Intervention by Recognition_. Recognition
is strictly applicable only to the act of the original government,
renouncing all claim of allegiance, and at last acknowledging the
independence in dispute. It becomes an act of intervention, where
a foreign government steps between the two parties. The original
government is so far master of its position, that it may select its
own time in making this recognition. But the question arises, At what
time and under what circumstances can this recognition be made by a
foreign power? It is obvious that a recognition proper at one time
and under special circumstances would not be proper at another time
and under different circumstances. Mr. Canning said, with reference
to Spanish America, that, “if he piqued himself upon anything, it was
upon the subject of _time_”; and he added, that there were two ways of
proceeding,--“recklessly and with a hurried course to the object, which
might be soon reached and almost as soon lost, or by another course so
strictly guarded that no principle was violated and no strict offence
given to other powers.”[101] These are words of wise statesmanship,
and they present the practical question occurring in every case of
recognition: What condition of the controversy will justify such

Here again the whole matter is best explained by historic instances.
The earliest is that of Switzerland, as long ago as 1307, breaking
off from the House of Hapsburg, whose original cradle was a Swiss
canton. But Austria did not acknowledge the independence of the
Republic until the Peace of Westphalia, nearly three centuries and
a half after the struggle began under William Tell. Meanwhile the
cantons lived through the vicissitudes of war, foreign and domestic,
and formed treaties with other powers, including the Pope. Before Swiss
independence was acknowledged, the Dutch conflict began under William
of Orange. Smarting from intolerable grievances, and with a price set
upon the head of their illustrious Stadtholder, the United Provinces
of the Netherlands, in 1581, renounced the tyrannical sovereignty
of Philip the Second, and declared themselves independent. In the
history of Freedom this is an important epoch. They were Protestants,
battling for rights denied, and Queen Elizabeth of England, the
head of Protestantism, acknowledged their independence, and shortly
afterwards extended military aid. Nor did other powers stand aloof.
In 1594, Scotland, Protestant also, under James the Sixth, afterwards
the first James of England, treated with the insurgent Provinces as
successors of the Houses of Burgundy and Austria, and in 1596 France
entered into alliance with them. The contest continued, sustained on
the side of Spain by the genius of Parma and Spinola, and on the side
of the infant Republic by the youthful talent of Maurice, son of the
great Stadtholder. But the claims of Spain were enduring; for it was
not until the Peace of Westphalia, eighty years after the revolt, and
nearly seventy years after their Declaration of Independence, that this
power consented to Dutch independence. Nor do these examples stand
alone, even at that early day. Portugal, unjustly subjugated by Spain
in 1580, broke away in 1640 and declared herself independent, under
the Duke of Braganza as King. A year scarcely passed before Charles
the First of England negotiated a treaty with the new sovereign.
The contest had ceased, but not the claim; for it was only after
twenty-eight years that Spain made this other recognition.

Traversing the Atlantic Ocean in space and more than a century in
time, I come to the next historic instance, so interesting to us all,
while as a precedent it dominates the whole question. The long discord
between the Colonies and the mother country broke forth in blood on
the 19th of April, 1775. Independence was declared on the 4th of July,
1776. Battles ensued,--Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown,
Saratoga, followed by the winter of Valley Forge. The contest was yet
undecided, when, on the 6th of February, 1778, France entered into
a treaty of amity and commerce with the United States, containing,
among other things, a recognition of their independence, with mutual
stipulations between the two parties to protect the commerce of the
other, by convoy on the ocean, “against all attacks, force, and
violence”;[102] and on the 13th of March this treaty was communicated
to the British Government by the French ambassador at London, with a
diplomatic note, in which the United States are described as “in full
possession of the independence pronounced by their Act of 4th July,
1776,” and the British Government is warned that the King of France,
“being determined effectually to protect the legitimate freedom of the
commerce of his subjects and to maintain the honor of his flag, has
taken in consequence some eventual measures with the United States
of North America.”[103] A further treaty of alliance, whose declared
object was the maintenance of the independence of the United States,
had been signed on the same day, but this was not communicated; nor is
there evidence that it was known to the British Government at the time.
The communication of the other sufficed, for it was an open recognition
of the new power, with promise of protection on the ocean, _while the
war was yet flagrant between the two parties_. As such it must be
regarded as an armed recognition, constituting in itself a belligerent
act, aggravated and explained by the circumstances under which it
was made, the warning, in the nature of menace, by which it was
accompanied, the clandestine preparations by which it was preceded, and
the corsairs to cruise against British commerce, which for some time
had been allowed to swarm under the American flag from French ports.
It was so accepted by the British Government. The British minister
was summarily withdrawn from Paris, all French vessels in British
harbors were seized, and on the 17th March a message from the King
was brought down to Parliament in the nature of a declaration of war
against France. In this declaration there was no allusion to anything
but the treaty of amity and commerce officially communicated by the
French ambassador, which was denounced by his Majesty as an “unprovoked
and unjust aggression on the honor of his crown and the essential
interests of his kingdoms, _contrary to the most solemn assurances,
subversive of the Law of Nations, and injurious to the rights of every
sovereign power in Europe_.” Only three days later, on the 20th March,
the Commissioners of the United States were received by the King of
France in solemn audience, with all the pomp and ceremony accorded by
the Court of Versailles to the representatives of sovereign powers.
War ensued between France and Great Britain on land and sea, in which
Holland and Spain afterwards took part against Great Britain. With such
allies, a just cause prevailed. Great Britain, by provisional articles,
signed at Paris 30th November, 1782, acknowledged the United States
“to be free, sovereign, and independent,” and declared the boundaries

Colonial independence was contagious, and the contest for it presented
another illustration, more discussed, and constituting a precedent, if
possible, more interesting still. This was when the Spanish colonies
in America, following the Northern example, broke away from the mother
country and declared themselves independent. The contest began as
early as 1810, but it was long continued, and extended over an immense
region,--from New Mexico and California in the North to Cape Horn in
the South,--washed by two vast oceans, traversed by mighty rivers,
and buttressed by lofty mountains fruitful in silver, capped with
snow, and shooting volcanic fire. At last the United States, satisfied
that the ancient power of Spain had ceased to exist beyond reasonable
chance of restoration, and that the contest was practically ended,
acknowledged the independence of Mexico and five other provinces. This
act was approached only after frequent debate in Congress, where Henry
Clay took an eminent part, and after most careful consideration in the
Cabinet, where John Quincy Adams, as Secretary of State, shed upon the
question all the light of his unsurpassed knowledge, derived from
long practice as well as from laborious study of International Law.
This judgment must be regarded as a sufficient authority. President
Monroe, in a special message, on the 8th of March, 1822, twelve years
after the war began, called the attention of Congress to the state of
the contest, which he said had “now reached such a stage, and been
attended with such decisive success on the part of the provinces,
that it merits the most profound consideration whether their right
to the rank of independent nations, with all the advantages incident
to it in their intercourse with the United States, is not complete.”
After setting forth the _de facto_ condition of things, he proceeded:
“Thus it is manifest that all those provinces are not only in the full
enjoyment of their independence, but, _considering the state of the war
and other circumstances, that there is not the most remote prospect
of their being deprived of it_.” In proposing their recognition, the
President declared that it was done “under a thorough conviction that
it is in strict accord with the Law of Nations”; and further, that “it
is not contemplated to change thereby, in the slightest manner, our
friendly relations with either of the parties.” In accordance with this
recommendation, Congress authorized the recognition. Three years later
the same thing was done by Great Britain, after much debate, diplomatic
and Parliamentary. No case of international duty has been illustrated
by a clearer eloquence, an ampler knowledge, or a purer wisdom.
The despatches were written by Mr. Canning, and upheld by him in
Parliament; but Lord Liverpool took part in the discussion, succinctly
declaring “that there could be no right to recognition while the
contest was actually going on,”[104]--a conclusion cautiously, but
strongly, enforced by Lord Lansdowne, and nobly vindicated, in an
oration reviewing the whole subject, by that great publicist, Sir James
Mackintosh. All inclined to recognition, but admitted that it could not
take place _so long as the contest continued_,--and that there must
be “such a contest as exhibits some equality of force, and of which,
if the combatants were left to themselves, the issue would be in some
degree doubtful.” The Spanish strength throughout the whole continent
was reduced to a single castle in Mexico, an island on the coast of
Chile, and a small army in Upper Peru, while in Buenos Ayres no Spanish
soldier had set foot for fourteen years. “Is this a contest,” said
Mackintosh, “approaching to equality? Is it sufficient to render the
independence of such a country doubtful? Does it deserve the name of
a contest?”[105] It was not until 1825 that Great Britain was so far
satisfied as to acknowledge this independence. France followed in 1830,
and Castilian pride relaxed in 1836, twenty-six years from the first
date of the contest.

The next instance is Greece, which declared independence January 27,
1822. After a cruel contest of more than five years, with alternate
success and disaster, the great powers intervened forcibly in 1827;
but the final recognition was postponed till May, 1832. Then came the
instance of Belgium, which declared independence in November, 1830,
and was promptly recognized by the great powers intervening for this
purpose. The last instance is Texas, which declared independence in
December, 1835, and defeated the Mexican army under Santa Aña, making
him prisoner, in 1836. The power of Mexico seemed to be overthrown; but
Andrew Jackson, then President of the United States, in his Message
of December 21, 1836, laid down the rule of caution and justice,
as follows: “The acknowledgment of a new state as independent and
entitled to a place in the Family of Nations is at all times an act
of great delicacy and responsibility, but more especially so when
such state has forcibly separated itself from another, of which it
had formed an integral part, and which still claims dominion over it.
_A premature recognition_ under these circumstances, _if not looked
upon as justifiable cause of war_, is always liable to be regarded
as a proof of an unfriendly spirit.” And he concluded by proposing
that our country should “stand aloof” until the question was decided
“beyond cavil or dispute.” During the next year, when the contest had
practically ceased and only the claim remained, this new power was
acknowledged by the United States, who were followed in 1839 by France,
and in 1840 by Great Britain, Holland, and Belgium. Texas was annexed
to the United States in 1845; but at this time Mexico had not joined in
the general recognition.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are historic instances illustrating Intervention by Recognition.
As in other cases of intervention, the recognition may be _armed_ or
_unarmed_, with an intermediate case, where the recognition may seem
unarmed, when in reality it is armed,--as when France simply announced
recognition of the independence of the United States and at the same
time prepared to maintain it by war.

_Armed_ recognition is simply _Recognition by Coercion_. It is a
belligerent act, constituting war, and can be vindicated only as
war. No nation will undertake it, unless ready to assume all the
responsibilities of war,--as in the recent cases of Greece and Belgium,
not to mention the recognition of the United States by France. But
an attempt, under guise of recognition, to coerce the dismemberment
or partition of a country is in its nature offensive beyond ordinary
war, especially when the country to be sacrificed is a republic,
and the plotters against it are crowned heads. Proceeding from the
consciousness of brute power, such an attempt is an insult to mankind.
If armed recognition at any time can find apology, it is only _where
sincerely made for the protection of Human Rights_. It would be hard to
condemn that intervention which saved Greece to Freedom.

_Unarmed_ recognition is where a foreign power acknowledges in some
pacific form the independence of a colony or province against the claim
of its original government. Although excluding all idea of _coercion_,
yet it cannot be uniformly justified.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here we are brought to that question of “time,” on which Mr. Canning
so pointedly piqued himself, and to which President Jackson referred,
when he suggested that “a premature recognition” might be “looked
upon as justifiable cause of war.” Nothing is more clear than that
recognition may be favored at one time, while it must be rejected
at another. So far as it assumes to determine rights instead of
facts, or to anticipate the result of a contest, it is wrongful. No
nation can undertake to sit in judgment on the rights of another
nation without its consent. Therefore it cannot declare that _de
jure_ a colony or province is _entitled_ to independence, but, from
the necessity of the case, and that international intercourse may
not fail, it must ascertain the facts, carefully and wisely, and,
on the actual evidence, it may declare that _de facto_ the colony
or province appears _to be in possession_ of independence,--which
means, first, that the original government is dispossessed beyond the
possibility of recovery, and, secondly, that the new government has
achieved a reasonable stability, with fixed limits, giving assurance
of solid power. All this is simply fact and nothing more. But just
in proportion as a foreign nation anticipates the fact, or imagines
the fact, or substitutes its own passions for the fact, it transcends
the well-defined bounds of International Law. Without the fact of
independence, positive and fixed, there is nothing but a claim. Now
nothing is clearer than, that, while the terrible litigation is still
pending, and the trial by battle, to which appeal is made, remains
undecided, _the fact of independence cannot exist_. There is only a
paper independence, which, though reddened with blood, is no better
than a paper empire or a paper blockade; and any pretended recognition
of it is a wrongful intervention, inconsistent with just neutrality,
since the obvious effect must be to encourage the insurgent party. Such
has been the declared judgment of our country, and its practice, even
under circumstances tempting in another direction; and such, also, was
the declared judgment and practice of Great Britain with reference to
Spanish America.

The conclusion, then, is clear. To justify recognition, it must appear
beyond doubt that _de facto_ the contest is finished, and that _de
facto_ the new government is established secure within fixed limits.
_These are conditions precedent_, not to be avoided without open
offence to a friendly power, and open violation of that International
Law which is the guardian of the world’s peace, even if there be not
_another condition precedent_ which civilization in this age will

Do you ask now if foreign powers can acknowledge our Rebel embryo as
an independent nation? There is madness in the thought. Recognition
accompanied by the breaking of the blockade would be war, impious war,
against the United States, where Slavemongers would be the allies and
Slavery the inspiration. Of all wars in history, none more accursed,
none more sure to draw down upon its authors the judgment alike of God
and man. But the thought of recognition, under existing circumstances,
while the contest is still pending, even without any breaking of the
blockade or attempted coercion, is a Satanic absurdity, hardly less
impious than the other. It would assume unblushingly, that, already
Rebel Slavery had succeeded in establishing an independent nation
with an untroubled government and a secure conformation of territory,
when, _in fact_, nothing is established, nothing untroubled, nothing
secure, not even a single boundary-line, and there is no element of
independence except the audacious attempt,--when, _in fact_, the
conflict is still waged on numerous battle-fields, and these pretenders
to independence have been driven from State to State, driven away
from the Mississippi which parts them, driven back from the sea which
surrounds them, and shut up in the interior or in blockaded ports,
so that only by stealth can they communicate with the outward world.
Any recognition of such a pretension, existing only as pretension,
scouted and denied by a whole people with invincible armies and navies
embattled against it, would be a mockery of truth. It would assert
independence as _a fact_, when notoriously it was not _a fact_. It
would be an enormous lie. Naturally a power thus guilty would expect to
support the lie by arms.


I do not content myself with a single objection to this outrageous
consummation. There is another, of a different nature. Assuming, for
the moment, what I glory to believe can never happen, that the _new_
Slave Power has become independent _in fact_, while the national flag
has sunk away exhausted in the contest, there is one objection which,
in an age of Christian light, thank God, cannot be overcome, unless,
after solemn covenants branding Slavery, the great powers shall forget
their vows, while England, the declared protectress of the African
race, and France, the declared champion of “ideas,” both break away
from the irresistible logic of their history, and turn their backs upon
the past. Vain is honor, vain is human confidence, if these nations,
at a moment of high duty, can thus ignobly fail. “Renown and grace
is dead.” Like the other objection, this is _of fact_ also,--for it
is founded on the character of the pretension claiming recognition,
which constitutes _fact_. Perhaps it may be said that it is a question
of policy; but it is of policy which ought to be beyond debate, _if
such fact be established_. Something more is necessary than that the
new power shall be _de facto_ independent. _De facto_ it must be _fit_
for independence; and, from the nature of the case, every nation will
judge of this fitness _in fact_. Undertaking to acknowledge a _new_
power, you proclaim its fitness for welcome and association in the
Family of Nations. Can England gazette such a proclamation, elevating
the whippers of women and sellers of children? Can France permit Louis
Napoleon to do the same?

Here, on the threshold of this inquiry, the true state of the question
must not be forgotten. It is not whether old and existing relations
shall be continued with a power permitting Slavery, but _whether
relations shall be commenced with a new power_, not merely permitting
Slavery, but building its whole intolerable pretension upon this
Barbarism. “No _new_ Slave State” is a watchword with which we are
familiar in our domestic history; but even such cry does not reveal
the full opposition to the _new_ revolt against Civilization,--for,
even if disposed to admit a _new_ Slave State, there must be, among men
who have not yet lost all sense of decency, undying resistance to the
admission of a _new_ Slave Power with such an unquestioned origin and
such an unquestioned purpose as that which now flaunts in piracy and
blood before the civilized world, seeking recognition for its criminal
chimera. Here is nothing for nice casuistry. Duty is plain as the moral
law or the multiplication table.

Look for a moment at the unprecedented character of this pretension. A
President known to be against the extension of Slavery was duly elected
by the people in the autumn of 1860. This was all. He had not entered
upon his duties. But the apostolic Slavemongers saw that Slavery at
home must suffer under the popular judgment against its extension;
they saw that a vote against its extension was a vote for its
condemnation; and they rebelled. Under this wicked inspiration, State
after State pretended to withdraw from the Union, and to construct a
new Confederacy, whose “corner-stone” was Slavery. A Constitution was
adopted, declaring these words: (1.) “No law denying or impairing the
right of property in negro slaves shall be passed”[106]; and (2.) “In
all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the
limits of the several States, the institution of Negro Slavery, as it
now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected
by Congress and by the Territorial Government.”[107] Do not start.
These are the authentic words of the text. You will find them in the
Rebel Constitution.

Such was the unalterable fabric of the new government. Nor was there
any doubt or hesitation in proclaiming its distinctive character.
Its Vice-President, Mr. Stephens, thus far remarked for moderation
on Slavery, as if smitten with diabolic light, undertook to explain
and vindicate the new Magna Charta. His words are familiar, but they
cannot be omitted in a complete statement of the case. “_The new
Constitution_,” he said, “has put at rest _forever_ all the agitating
questions relating to our peculiar institution, African Slavery, as
it exists among us,” which he proceeds to declare “was the immediate
cause of the late rupture and present revolution.” The Vice-President
announced unequivocally the change that had taken place. Admitting
it was “the prevailing idea of most of the leading statesmen at the
time of the formation of the old Constitution that the enslavement
of the African was in violation of the Laws of Nature, that it was
wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically,” he denounces
this idea as “fundamentally wrong,” and proclaims the new government
“founded upon _exactly the opposite idea_.” Here is no disguise. “Its
foundations,” he avows, “are laid, its _corner-stone_ rests, upon
the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man,--that
Slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal
condition.” Not content with exhibiting the untried foundation, he
boastfully claims for the new government priority of invention. “_This
our new government_,” he vaunts, “_is the first in the history of the
world_ based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.…
This stone, which was rejected by the first builders, ‘is become the
chief stone of the corner.’” And then, as if priority of invention
were not enough, he proceeds to claim for the new government future
supremacy, saying that it is already “the nucleus of a growing power,
which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny, and our high mission,
will become the controlling power on this continent.”[108]

Since Satan first declared the “corner-stone” of his new government,
and openly denounced the Almighty Throne, there has been no blasphemy
of equal audacity. In human history nothing but itself can be its
parallel. The gauntlet is thrown down to heaven and earth, while a
disgusting Barbarism is proclaimed as the new Civilization. Here is
a new method, a _novum organum_, to usher in the world’s future. Two
years are already passed,--but, as the Rebellion began, so is it now.
A Governor of South Carolina, in a message to the Legislature, as late
as 3d April, 1863, takes up the boastful strain, and congratulates
the Rebel Slavemongers that they are “a refined, cultivated, and
enlightened people,” and that the new government is “the finest type
that the world ever beheld.”[109] God save the mark! Such, doubtless,
was the speech of the African tyrant, as he sat in state on the
prostrate bodies of his subjects and rejoiced in this manifestation
of power. A leading journal, more than any other the organ of the
Slavemongers, repeats the original vaunt with more than the original
brutality. After dwelling on “the grand career and lofty destiny”
before the new government, the “Richmond Examiner” of 28th May, 1863,
proceeds as follows. “Would that all of us understood and laid to heart
the true nature of that career and that destiny, and the responsibility
it imposes. _The establishment of the Confederacy is, verily, a
distinct reaction against the whole course of the mistaken civilization
of the age._ For Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity we have deliberately
substituted Slavery, Subordination, and Government. _Reverently we feel
that our Confederacy is a God-sent missionary to the nations, with
great truths to preach._ We must speak thus boldly; but ‘whoso hath
ears to hear, let him hear.’” This God-sent missionary to the nations
it is now proposed to welcome at the household hearth of the civilized

Unhappily, there are old nations already in the family still tolerating
Slavery; but now, for the first time, a new nation claims admission
there, which not only tolerates Slavery, but, exulting in its shame,
strives to reverse the judgment of mankind, making this outrage its
chief support and glory, so that all recognition of the new power will
be recognition of a sacrilegious pretension,

    “With one vast blood-stone for the mighty base.”

Elsewhere Slavery has been an accident; here it is the principal.
Elsewhere it has been an instrument only; here it is the inspiration.
Elsewhere it has been kept back in becoming modesty; here it is pushed
forward in all its brutish nakedness. Elsewhere it has claimed nothing
but liberty to live; here it claims license to rule, with unbounded
empire at home and abroad. Look at this candidate power in its whole
continued existence, from Alpha to Omega, and it is nothing but
Slavery. Its origin is Slavery, its mainspring is Slavery, its object
is Slavery. Wherever it appears, whatever it does, whatever form it
takes, it is Slavery and nothing else; so that, with the agonizing
despair of Satan, it might cry out:--

    “Me miserable! which way shall I fly
    Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
    Which way I fly is Hell; _myself am Hell_.”

The Rebellion is Slavery in arms, Slavery on horseback, Slavery on
foot, Slavery raging on the battle-field, Slavery savage on the
quarter-deck, robbing, destroying, burning, killing, to uphold this
candidate power. Its legislation is simply Slavery in statutes,
Slavery in chapters, Slavery in sections, with an enacting clause.
Its diplomacy is Slavery in pretended ambassadors, Slavery in
cunning letters, Slavery in cozening promises, Slavery in persistent
negotiation,--all to secure for the candidate power its much desired
welcome. Say what you will, try to avoid it, if you can, you are
compelled to admit that the candidate power is nothing else than
_organized Slavery_, now, in its madness, surrounded by its criminal
clan, and led by its felon chieftains, braving the civilization of
the age. Any recognition of Slavery is bad enough; but this will be
recognition with welcome and benediction, imparting _new_ consideration
and respectability, and, worse still, securing _new_ opportunity and
foothold for the supremacy it openly proclaims.

In ancient days the candidate was robed in white, while at the
Capitol and in the Forum he canvassed the people for their votes. The
candidate nation, unashamed of Slavery, should be robed in black, while
it conducts the great canvass, and asks the votes of the Christian
powers. “Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night,” as
the outrage proceeds; for the candidate gravely asks international
recognition of the claim to hold property in man, to sell wife away
from husband, to sell child away from parent, to shut the gates of
knowledge, to appropriate all the fruits of another’s labor. The
candidate proceeds in the canvass, notwithstanding all history declares
Slavery essentially barbarous, and that whatever it touches it changes
to itself,--that it barbarizes laws, barbarizes business, barbarizes
manners, barbarizes social life, and makes the people who cherish it
barbarians. And still the candidate proceeds, although it is known
to the Christian powers that the partisans of Slavery are naturally
“filibusters,” always apt for lawless incursion and for robbery;
that, during later years, under their instigation and to advance
their pretensions, expeditions _identical in motive with the present
Rebellion_ were let loose in the Gulf of Mexico, twice against Cuba,
and twice, also, against Nicaragua, breaking the peace of the United
States and threatening the repose of the world, so that Lopez and
Walker were but predecessors of Beauregard and Jefferson Davis. And yet
the candidate proceeds, although it is obvious that the recognition
urged will be nothing less than solemn sanction by the Christian powers
of Slavery everywhere throughout the new jurisdiction, on land or
sea, so that every ship, being part of _the floating territory_, will
be _Slave Territory_. And yet, with the phantasy that man can hold
property in man shooting from his lips, with the shackle and lash in
his hands, with barbarism on his forehead, with filibusterism in his
recorded life, and with Slavery woven in his flag wherever it floats on
land and sea, the candidate clamors for independent recognition. It is
sad to think that there is delay in repelling the insufferable canvass.
Can Christian nations longer hesitate? To detest and combat such an
accursed pretension it is not necessary even to be a Christian,--it is
sufficient to be a man.

If the recognition of a _de facto_ power were a duty imposed upon
other nations by International Law, there would be no opportunity for
objections founded on principle or policy. _But there is no such duty._
International Law leaves to each nation, precisely as the Municipal
Law leaves to each citizen, what company to keep or what copartnership
to form. No company and no copartnership can be forced upon a nation.
It is all a question of free choice and acceptance. International Law
on this head is like the Constitution of the United States, which
declares, “New States _may be admitted_ by the Congress into this
Union.” Not _must_, but _may_,--it being in the discretion of Congress
to determine whether the State shall be admitted. Accordingly, in the
exercise of this discretion, Congress for a long time refused to admit
Missouri _as a Slave State_. And now the old Missouri Question, in
more outrageous form, on vaster theatre, with “monarchs to behold the
swelling scene,” is presented to the Christian powers of the world. If
it was right to exclude Missouri, having only few slaves, and regarding
Slavery merely as a temporary condition, it must be right to exclude
a pretended nation, which not only boasts millions of slaves, but
passionately proclaims the perpetuity and propagation of Slavery as the
cause and object of its separate existence.

Practical statesmen have always treated recognition as a question of
policy, to be determined on the whole case, even where the power is
_de facto_ established,--as amply appears in the Parliamentary debates
on the recognition of Spanish America. If we go behind the practical
statesmen and consult the earliest oracles of International Law, we
find, that, according to their most approved utterances, not only may
recognition be refused, but there are considerations of duty this way
which cannot be evaded. It is not enough that a pretender has the form
of a commonwealth. “A people,” says Cicero, in a definition copied by
most jurists, “is not every body of men, _howsoever_ congregated,
but a gathered multitude _associated through agreement in right and
community of interest_.”[110] Again, he goes so far as to say, “When
the king is unjust, or the aristocracy, or the people itself, the
commonwealth is not vicious, _but null_.”[111] Of course a commonwealth
that is _null_ cannot be recognized. This same lofty standard is of
frequent recurrence in the testimony of the great Roman. But he is not
alone. Grotius, who speaks always with the magistral voice of learning
and genius, furnishes the just conclusion, when, after declaring that
a state is “a complete body of freemen associated for the enjoyment of
right and for their common benefit,”[112] he exposes the distinction
between a body of men, who, being already a recognized commonwealth,
are guilty of systematic crime,--as, for instance, piracy,--and
another body of men, who, _not yet recognized as a commonwealth_, band
together for this purpose,--_sceleris causâ coeunt_. The latter, by
happy discrimination, he places beyond the pale of recognition.[113]
When before, in all history, have creatures wearing the human form
proclaimed the _criminal principle_ of their association with the
audacity of our Slavemongers? And yet there is hesitation to place them
beyond the pale of recognition. A recent English authority on the Law
of Nations adopts the same distinction. I quote Mr. Phillimore, who,
after alluding to societies united _for the sake of crime_, says:
“All agree to class such bodies amongst those of whose corporate
existence the law takes no cognizance (_qui civitatem non faciunt_),
and therefore as not entitled to international rights either in peace
or war.”[114]

It might be argued, on grounds of reason and authority even, that
the _declared principle_ of the pretended power was a violation of
International Law. Eminent magistrates have solemnly ruled, that, in
the development of civilization, the Slave-Trade has become illegal
by a law higher than any statute. Sir William Grant, an ornament of
the British bench, whose elegant mind was governed always by practical
sense, adjudged that this trade “cannot, _abstractedly speaking_, be
said to have a legitimate existence”;[115] and our own great authority,
Mr. Justice Story, in a remarkable judgment, declared himself
constrained “to consider the trade _an offence against the universal
law of society_”;[116] and the highest professional authorities of our
country adopted the same conclusion: I refer especially to the late
William Pinkney and Jeremiah Mason.[117] But arguments which are strong
against any recognition of the Slave-Trade are strong also against any
recognition of Slavery itself, especially when it is the foundation of
a _new_ power.

In the determination of present duty, it is not necessary to assume
that Slavery or the Slave-Trade is positively forbidden by existing
International Law. It is enough to show, that, _according to the
spirit_ of that sovereign law which “sits empress, crowning good,
repressing ill,” and also according to those commanding principles
of justice and humanity which cannot be set at nought without shock
to human nature itself, so foul a wrong as Slavery can receive no
voluntary support from the Commonwealth of Nations. It is not a
question of Law, but of Morality. The Rule of Law is sometimes less
comprehensive than the Rule of Morality, so that the latter may
positively condemn what the former silently tolerates. But within its
own domain Morality cannot be less authoritative than Law. It is,
indeed, nothing less than the Law of Nature, which is the Law of God.
If we listen again to heathen teaching, we shall confess its truth.
“Law,” says Cicero, “is the highest reason, implanted in nature,
_which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the
contrary_.”[118] This law is an essential part of International Law,
as is also Christianity itself, and where treaties fail and usage is
silent it is the only law between nations. Jurists of all ages and
countries have delighted to acknowledge its authority, if it spoke only
in the still, small voice of conscience. A celebrated professor of
Germany in our own day, Savigny, whose name is honored by students of
jurisprudence everywhere, touches upon this monitor of nations, when
he declares that “there may exist between different nations _a common
consciousness of right_ similar to that which engenders the positive
law of particular nations.”[119] This common consciousness of right is
identical with that law, which, according to Cicero, is “the highest
reason, implanted in nature.” Such is the _Rule of Morality_.

The Rule of Morality differs from the Rule of Law in this
respect,--that the former finds support in the human conscience, the
latter in the sanctions of public force. But moral power prevails with
a good man as much as if it were physical. I know no different rule for
a good nation than for a good man. I am sure that a good nation will
not do what a good man would scorn to do.

There is a Rule of Prudence superadded to the Rule of Morality.
Grotius, in discussing treaties, does not forget the wisdom of
Solomon, who, in not a few places, warns against fellowship with the
wicked,--although he adds, that these are maxims of prudence, and not
of law.[120] And he reminds us of the saying of Alexander, “that those
grievously offend who enter the service of barbarians.”[121] Better
still are the words of the wise historian of classical antiquity, who
enjoins upon a commonwealth the duty of considering carefully, when
sued for assistance, “whether what is sought is sufficiently pious,
safe, glorious, or whether it is _unbecoming_”;[122] and also those
words of the Hebrew king, who, after rebuking an alliance with Ahab,
asks with scorn, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly?”[123]

The claim for recognition, when brought to the touchstone of these
principles, is easily disposed of.

       *       *       *       *       *

Urge not the _Practice of Nations_ in its behalf. Never before in
history has a candidacy been put forward _in the name of Slavery_,
and the terrible outrage is aggravated by the Christian light which
surrounds it. This is not an age of darkness. But even in the Dark
Ages, when the Slavemongers of the Barbary coast had gathered into
cities, the saintly Louis the Ninth was fired to treat one of these
communities as a “nest of wasps.”[124] Afterwards, but slowly, they
obtained “the right of legation” and “the reputation of a government”;
when at last, weary of their criminal pretensions, the aroused
vengeance of Great Britain and France blotted out this power from the
list of nations. Louis the Eleventh, who has been described as the
sovereign “who best understood his interest,” indignant at Richard the
Third of England, who had murdered two infants in the Tower and usurped
the crown, sent back his ambassadors without holding intercourse
with them. This is a suggestive precedent, which I give on venerable
authority in diplomatic history;[125] but the parricide usurper of
England had never murdered so many infants or usurped so much as the
pretended Slave Power, strangely tolerated by the sagacious sovereign
who sits on the throne of Louis the Eleventh.

It is not necessary, however, to go so far in history, nor to dwell on
the practice of nations in withholding or conceding recognition. The
whole matter is stated by Burke, with his customary power.

    “In the case of a divided kingdom, by the Law of Nations, Great
    Britain, like every other power, is free to take any part
    she pleases. _She may decline, with more or less formality,
    according to her discretion, to acknowledge this new system_;
    or she may recognize it as a government _de facto_, setting
    aside all discussion of its original legality, and considering
    the ancient monarchy as at an end. The Law of Nations leaves
    our court open to its choice.… The declaration of a _new_
    _species_ of government on new principles is a real crisis in
    the politics of Europe.”[126]

This same rule Burke declared in Parliament, saying, “that the French
Republic was _sui generis_, and bore no analogy to any other that ever
existed in the world. It, therefore, did not follow that we ought to
recognize it, merely because different powers in Europe had recognized
the Republic of England under Oliver Cromwell.”[127] And in his famous
“Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs” this illustrious authority
proclaimed the new French Government “so fundamentally wrong as to be
utterly incapable of correcting itself by any length of time, or of
being formed into any mode of polity of which a member of the House of
Commons could publicly declare his approbation.”[128]

Another eloquent publicist, Sir James Mackintosh, while pressing on
Parliament the recognition of Spanish America, says: “The reception of
a new state into the society of civilized nations by those acts which
amount to recognition is a proceeding which has no legal character, and
_is purely of a moral nature_”; and he proceeds to argue, that, since
England “is the only anciently free state in the world, for her to
refuse her _moral aid to communities struggling for liberty_ is an act
of unnatural harshness.”[129] Thus does he vindicate recognition for
the sake of Freedom. How truly he would have repelled any recognition
for the sake of Slavery let his life testify.

At the Congress of Verona, Chateaubriand, as representative of France,
replied to a proposition from the Duke of Wellington on this subject:--

    “France is influenced by considerations of more general
    importance with regard to the governments _de facto_. She
    conceives that _the principles of justice on which society is
    founded must not be lightly sacrificed_ to secondary interests,
    and it appears to her that those principles increase in
    importance _when the matter in question is that of recognizing
    a political order of things virtually hostile to that which
    exists in Europe_.”[130]

Here the rule is mildly stated, but in harmony with correct principle.
A _new_ government, with Slavery as its active soul, must be “virtually
hostile” to European civilization, so as to make its recognition
impossible; nor can the principles of justice be lightly sacrificed.

No better testimony to the practice of nations can be found than the
words of Vattel, whose work, presenting the subject in familiar form,
has done more, during the last century, to fashion opinion on the Law
of Nations than any other authority. Here it is briefly.

    “If there be any nation that _makes an open profession_ of
    trampling justice under foot, of despising and violating
    the rights of others, whenever it finds an opportunity, the
    interest of human society will authorize all others to unite in
    order to humble and chastise it.”[131]

    “_To form and support an unjust pretension_ is to do an injury
    only to the nation whom such pretension concerns; to mock at
    justice in general is to injure all nations.”[132]

    “The power that assists an odious tyrant, that declares for an
    unjust and rebellious people, undoubtedly violates duty.”[133]

    “As to those monsters who under the title of sovereigns render
    themselves the scourges and horror of humanity, they are
    ferocious beasts, of whom every brave man may justly clear the

    “If the maxims of a religion tend to establish it by violence,
    and to oppress all those who do not embrace it, the Law
    of Nature forbids us to favor that religion, or to unite
    unnecessarily with its inhuman followers, and the common safety
    of mankind invites them rather to enter into _a league against
    such madmen, to repress such fanatics, who disturb the public
    repose and menace all nations_.”[135]

Nor can you urge this recognition on any principle of _Comity of
Nations_. This is an expansive term, into which enters much of the
refinements, amenities, and hospitalities of civilization, and also
something of the obligations of moral duty. But where an act is
prejudicial to national interests, or contrary to national policy, or
questionable in morals, it cannot be commended by any consideration
of courtesy. A paramount duty must not be betrayed by a kiss. For the
sake of comity, acts of good-will and friendship not required by law
are performed between nations; but an English court has authoritatively
declared that this principle cannot prevail, “where it violates the
law of our own country, the Law of Nature, or the Law of God,” and on
this exalted ground it was decided that an American slave who had found
shelter on board a British man-of-war on the high seas could not be
recognized as a slave.[136] The same principle must prevail against
recognition of a new slave nation.

Nor, finally, can this recognition be urged on any reason of _Peace_.
There can be no peace founded on injustice; and any recognition is
injustice which will cry aloud, resounding through the earth. You may
seem to have peace, but it will be only smothered war, sure to break
forth in war more direful than before.

Thus is every argument for recognition repelled, whether under the
sounding words, Practice of Nations, Comity of Nations, or Peace. There
is nothing in practice, nothing in comity, nothing in peace, which is
not against any such shameful acknowledgment.

       *       *       *       *       *

Applying the principles already set forth,--assuming what cannot be
denied, that every power is free to refuse recognition,--assuming that
it is not every body of men that can be considered a commonwealth,
but only those “associated _through agreement in right and community
of interest_,”--that men “banding together for the sake of systematic
crime” cannot be considered a commonwealth,--assuming that every member
of the Family of Nations will surely obey the rule of morality,--that
it will “shun fellowship with the wicked,”--that it will not “enter
the service of barbarians,”--that it will avoid what is “unbecoming,”
and do that only which is “pious, safe, and glorious,”--and that,
above all things, it will not enter into alliance to “help the
ungodly,”--assuming these things, every such member must reject with
indignation a new pretension whose declared principle of association is
so intrinsically wicked. Here there can be no question. The case is
plain; nor is any language of contumely or scorn too strong to express
the irrepressible repugnance to such a pretension, which, like vice,
“to be hated needs but to be seen.” Surely there can be no Christian
power which will not rouse to expose it, crying, with irresistible

No _new_ sanction of Slavery!

No _new_ quickening of Slavery in its active and aggressive barbarism!

No _new_ encouragement to “filibusters” engendered by Slavery!

No _new_ creation of _Slave Territory_!

No _new_ creation of a _Slave Navy_!

_No new Slave Nation!_

No installation of Slavery as a _new_ Civilization!

But all this litany will fail, if recognition succeeds,--from which,
good Lord, deliver us! Nor will this be the end.

       *       *       *       *       *

Slavery, through the _new_ power, will take its place in the Parliament
of mankind, with the immunities of an independent nation, ready
always to uphold and advance itself, and organized as an unrelenting
Propaganda of the new faith. A power having its inspiration in such
a Barbarism must be essentially barbarous; founded on the asserted
right to whip women and sell children, it must assume a character
of disgusting hardihood; and openly professing determination to
revolutionize the public opinion of the world, it must be in open
schism with Civilization itself, so that all its influences will be
wild, savage, brutal, and all its offspring kindred in character.

    “Pards gender pards; from tigers tigers spring;
    No doves are hatched beneath a vulture’s wing.”[137]

Such a power, from very nature, must be despotism at home “tempered
only by assassination,” with the cotton-field for its Siberia,--while
abroad it must be aggressive, dangerous, and revolting, in itself
a _Magnum Latrocinium_, whose fellowship can have nothing but “the
filthiness of evil,” and whose very existence will be an intolerable
nuisance. When Dante, in the vindictive judgment hurled against his own
Florence, called it _bordello_, he did not use a term too strong for
the mighty house of ill-fame which the Christian powers are now asked
for the first time to license. Such must be the character of the new
power. But, though only a recent wrong, and pleading no prescription,
the illimitable audacity of its nature can hesitate at nothing; nor is
there anything offensive or detestable it will not absorb into itself.
It will be an Ishmael, with hand against every man. It will be a brood
of Harpies, defiling all it cannot steal. It will be the one-eyed
Cyclop of nations, seeing only through Slavery, spurning all as fools
who do not see likewise, and bellowing forth in savage egotism,--

    “Know, then, we Cyclops are _a race above_
    Those air-bred people and their goat-nursed Jove;
    And learn our power proceeds with thee and thine
    Not as he wills, _but as ourselves incline_.”[138]

Or it will be the Læstrygonian cannibal, with Slavery a perpetual
maw, and terrible to the civilized world as that distant power to the
companions of Ulysses, when, according to Homer,

    “One for his food the raging glutton slew.”[139]

Or, worse still, it will be the soulless monster of Frankenstein, the
wretched creation of human science without God,--endowed with life and
nothing else, forever raging madly, the scandal to humanity, powerful
only for evil, whose destruction will be essential to the peace of the

Who can welcome such a creation? Who can consort with it? There is
something loathsome in the idea. There is contamination even in the
thought. If you live with the lame, says the ancient proverb, you will
learn to limp; if you keep in the kitchen, you will smell of smoke; if
you touch pitch, you will be defiled. But what limp so mean as that
of this pretended power? what smoke so foul as its breath? what pitch
so defiling as its touch? It is an Oriental saying, that a cistern of
rosewater will become impure, if a dog be dropped into it; but an ocean
of rosewater with Rebel Slavemongers would be changed into a vulgar
puddle. Imagine whatever is most disgusting, and this pretended power
is more disgusting still. Naturalists report that the pike will swallow
anything except the toad, but this it cannot do. The experiment has
been tried, and though this fish, in unhesitating voracity, always
gulps whatever is thrown to it, yet invariably it spews the nuisance
from its throat. Our Slavemonger pretension is worse than toad; and
yet there are foreign nations which, instead of spewing it forth, are
already turning it like a precious morsel on the tongue.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is yet another ground on which I make this appeal. It is part
of the triumphs of Civilization, that no nation can act for itself
alone. Whatever it does for good or for evil affects all the rest.
Therefore a nation cannot forget its obligations to others. Especially
does International Law, when it declares the absolute equality of
independent nations, cast upon all the duty of considering well how
this privilege shall be bestowed so that the welfare of all may be best
upheld. But the whole Family of Nations would be degraded by admitting
this new pretension to any toleration, much more to equality. There
can be no reason for such admission; for it can bring nothing to the
general weal. Civil society is created for safety and tranquillity.
Nations come together and fraternize for the common good. But this
hateful pretension can do nothing but evil for civil society at home or
for nations in their intercourse with each other. It can show no title
to recognition, no passport for its travels, no old existence. It is
all new. And here I borrow the language of Burke on another occasion:--

    “It is not a new power of an old kind. _It is a new power of a
    new species._ When such a questionable shape is _to be admitted
    for the first time_ into the brotherhood of Christendom, it is
    not a mere matter of idle curiosity to consider _how far it is
    in its nature alliable with the rest_.”[140]

The greatest of corporations is a nation; the sublimest of all
associations is that composed of nations, independent and equal, knit
together in the bonds of peaceful fraternity as the great Christian
Commonwealth. The Slavemongers may be a corporation _in fact_, but
no such corporation can find place in that august Commonwealth. As
well admit the Thugs, whose first article of faith is to kill the
stranger,--or the Buccaneers, those “brothers of the coast,” who
plundered on the sea; or, better still, revive the old Kingdom of the
Assassins, where the king was an assassin, surrounded by counsellors
and generals who were assassins, and all his subjects were assassins;
or yet again, better at once and openly recognize Antichrist, the
supreme and highest impersonation of the Slave Power.

       *       *       *       *       *

Amidst the general degradation following such obeisance to Slavery,
there are two Christian powers that would appear in sad and shameful
eminence. I refer to Great Britain, declared protectress of the African
race, and to France, declared champion of “ideas,” who, from the very
abundance of pledges, are so situated that they cannot desert the good
old cause and turn their faces against civilization without criminal
tergiversation, which no mantle of diplomacy can cover. Where, then,
is British devotion to the African race, so eloquently proclaimed by
the British Minister? Where, then, is French devotion to ideas, so
ostentatiously announced by the French Emperor? Remembered only to
point a tale and show how nations have fallen. Great Britain knows less
than France of national vicissitudes, but such an act of wrong would
do something in its influence to equalize the conditions of these two
nations. Rather than do this thing, better for the fast-anchored isle
that it should sink beneath the sea, carrying down its cathedrals, its
castles, its happy homes, its fields of glory, Runnymede, Westminster
Hall, and the tomb of Shakespeare. In other days England has valiantly
striven against Slavery, winning a truer glory than any achieved by
her arms on land or sea; and now she is willing to surrender, at a
moment when more can be done than ever before against the monster,
wherever it shows its head,--for Slavery everywhere has its neck in
this Rebellion. In other days France has valiantly striven for ideas;
and now she, too, proposes surrender, although all that she professes
at heart is involved in the doom of Slavery, which a word from her
might hasten beyond recall. It is in England, where the great victory
of Emancipation was first obtained, that now, more even than in
France, the strongest sentiment for Rebel Slavemongers is manifest,
constituting a _moral mania_ which menaces a pact and _concordat_ with
the Rebellion itself,--as when an early Pope, head of the Christian
Church, did not hesitate to execute a piratical convention with a Pagan
enemy to the Christian name. It only remains that the new coalition
should be signed in order to consummate the unutterable degradation.
The contracting parties will be the Queen of England and Jefferson
Davis, once patron of “Repudiation,” now chief of Rebel Slavery. Then
must this virtuous lady, whose pride is justice always, bend to receive
the author of the Fugitive Slave Bill as ambassadorial plenipotentiary
at her Court.

A new power, dedicated to Slavery, will take its seat at the great
council-board, to jostle thrones and benches, while it overshadows
humanity. Its foul attorneys, reeking with Slavery, will have their
letter of license as ambassadors of Slavery, to rove from court to
court, over foreign carpets, poisoning the air which has been nobly
pronounced too pure for a slave to breathe. Alas for England, vowed
a thousand times to the protection of the African race, and by her
best renown knit perpetually to this sacred loyalty, now plunging
into adulterous dalliance with Slavery, recognizing the new and
impious Protestantism against Liberty itself, and wickedly becoming
_Defender of the Faith_ as now professed by Rebel Slavemongers! Alas
for England’s Queen, woman and mother, carried off from the cause of
Wilberforce and Clarkson to sink into unseemly association with the
scourgers of women and the auctioneers of children!--for a “stain”
deeper than that which aroused the anguish of Maria Theresa is settling
upon her reign. Alas for that Royal Consort, humane and just, whose
dying voice was given to assuage the temper of that ministerial
despatch, by which, in an evil hour, England was made to strike hands
with Rebel Slavery!--for the counsellor is needed now to save the land
he adorned from an act of inexpiable shame.

And for all this sickening immorality I hear but one declared apology.
It is, that the Union permitted and still permits Slavery,--therefore
foreign nations may recognize Rebel Slavery as a _new_ power. Here
is the precise error. England is still in diplomatic relations with
Spain, and was only a short time ago in diplomatic relations with
Brazil, both permitting Slavery; but these two powers are not _new_,
they are already established, there is no question of recognition,
nor do they pretend to found empire on Slavery. There is no reason
in any relations with them why a _new_ power, with Slavery as its
declared “corner-stone,” whose gospel is Slavery, and whose evangelists
are Slavemongers, should be recognized in the Family of Nations.
If Ireland were in triumphant rebellion against the British Queen,
complaining of rights denied, it would be our duty to recognize her as
an independent power; but if Ireland rebelled with the declared object
of establishing a _new_ power which should be nothing less than a giant
felony and a nuisance to the world, then it would be our duty to spurn
the infamous pretension, and no triumph of rebellion could change this
plain and irresistible obligation. And yet, in face of this commanding
rule, we are told to expect the recognition of Rebel Slavery.

An aroused public opinion, “the world’s collected will,” and returning
reason in England and France, will see to it that Civilization is
saved from this shock, and the nations themselves from the terrible
retribution which sooner or later must surely attend it. No power
can afford to stand up before mankind and openly vote a new and
untrammelled charter to injustice and cruelty. God is an unsleeping
avenger; nor can armies, fleets, bulwarks, or “towers along the steep”
prevail against His mighty anger. To any application for this unholy
recognition there is but one word the Christian powers can utter. It is
simply and austerely “No,” with an emphasis that shall silence argument
and extinguish hope itself. And this proclamation should go forth
swiftly. Every moment of hesitation is a moment of apostasy, casting
its lengthening shadow of dishonor. Not to discourage is to encourage;
not to blast is to bless. Let this simple word be uttered, and Slavery
will slink away with a mark on its forehead, like Cain, a perpetual
vagabond, forever accursed; and the malediction of the Lord shall
descend upon it, saying: “Among these nations shalt thou find no ease,
neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest; but the Lord shall give
thee there a trembling heart and failing of eyes and sorrow of mind;
and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day
and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life; in the morning
thou shalt say, Would God it were even, and at even thou shalt say,
Would God it were morning.”[141]


Too much have I spoken for your patience, if not enough for the cause.
But there is yet another topic, which I have reserved to the last,
because logically it belongs there, or at least can be best considered
in the gathered light of the previous discussion. Its immediate
practical interest is great. I refer to the _Concession of Belligerent
Rights_, being the first stage to independence. Great Britain led the
way in acknowledging the embryo government as belligerent on sea as
well as land, and by proclamation of the Queen declared neutrality
between the two parties,--thus lifting an embryo, which was nothing
else than animate Slavery, to equality _on sea_ as well as land with
its ancient ally, the National Government. Here was a blunder, if not
a crime, not merely in the alacrity with which it was done, but in
doing it at all. It was followed immediately by France, and then by
Spain, Holland, and Brazil. The concession of belligerent rights on
land was a name and nothing more, therefore I say nothing about it.
But the concession of _belligerent rights on the ocean_ is of widely
different character, and the two reasons against the recognition of
independence are equally applicable to this concession: _first_, the
embryo government has no _maritime_ or _naval_ belligerent rights _de
facto_, and, _secondly_, an embryo of Rebel Slavery cannot have the
character _de facto_ which would justify the concession of _maritime_
or _naval_ belligerence; so that, were the concession vindicated on the
first ground, it must fail on the second.

       *       *       *       *       *

The concession of _ocean_ belligerence is a letter of license from
consenting powers to every Slavemonger cruiser, or rather it is the
countersign of these powers to the commission of every such cruiser.
Without such countersign the cruiser would be an outlaw, with no right
to enter a foreign port. The declaration of belligerence imparts legal
competence, and the right to testify by flag and arms. Without such
competence there would be no flag and no right to bear arms on the
ocean. Burke sententiously describes it as an “intermediate treaty
_which puts rebels in possession of the Law of Nations with regard to
war_.”[142] And this is plainly true.

The magnitude of this concession may be seen in three aspects: _first_,
in the immunities it confers, putting an embryo of Rebel Slavery on
_equality_ with established governments, making its cruisers lawful
instead of piratical, and opening to them boundless facilities at
sea and in port, so that they may obtain supplies and hospitality;
_secondly_, in the degradation it fastens upon the National Government,
which is condemned to see its ships treated on _equality_ with the
ships of Rebel Slavery, and also the just rule of “neutrality” between
belligerent powers invoked to fetter its activity against a giant
felony; and, _thirdly_, in the disturbance to commerce it sanctions,
by letting loose lawless sea-rovers armed with belligerent rights,
including the right of search, whose natural recklessness is left
unbridled and without remedy even from diplomatic intercourse. The
ocean is a common highway; but it is for the interest of all who
traverse it that the highway should not be disturbed by predatory
hostilities. Such a concession should be made with the greatest
caution, and then only under the necessity of the case, on the
overwhelming authority of _the fact_: for, from beginning to end, it is
simply a question of fact, absolutely dependent on those conditions and
prerequisites without which ocean belligerence cannot exist.

As a general rule, belligerent rights are conceded only where a rebel
government or contending party in a civil war has acquired such form
and body, that, for the time being, within certain limits, it is
sovereign _de facto_, so far at least as to command troops and _to
administer justice_. On this last point I dwell especially. It is the
capacity to administer justice which is the criterion, whether on land
or ocean. The concession of belligerence is the recognition of such
limited sovereignty, which bears the same relation to acknowledged
independence as gristle bears to bone. It is obvious that such
sovereignty may exist _de facto_ on land without existing _de facto_ on
ocean. It may prevail in armies, and yet fail in navies. In short, _the
fact_ may be one way on land and the other way _on ocean_. Nor can it
be inferred on ocean simply from existence on land. Our Supreme Court
has declared that there may be “a limited, partial war,” “a restrained
or limited hostility,” “an imperfect war, or a war as to certain
objects and to a certain extent.” Thus, on one occasion, hostilities
were authorized “on the high seas by certain persons in certain cases,”
but without authority “to commit hostilities on land.”[143] But by
the same rule there may be war on land and not on sea, and this may
follow from the necessity of the case. If Rebel Slavery does not come
within the conditions of ocean war, then, whatever its belligerence on
land, it cannot expect it on the ocean. Since every such concession
is adverse to the original government, and is made only under the
necessity of the case, it must be limited carefully to _the actual
fact_. Indeed, Mr. Canning, who has shed so much light on these topics,
openly took the ground that “belligerency is not so much a principle
as _a fact_.”[144] And the question then arises, whether Rebel Slavery
has acquired such _de facto_ sovereignty on the ocean as entitles it to
_ocean_ belligerent rights.

There are at least two “facts” patent to all: _first_, that Rebel
Slavery is without a single port into which even legal cruisers
can take prizes for adjudication; and, _secondly_, that the ships
which now presume to exercise _ocean_ belligerent rights in its
name--constituting that navy which a member of the British Cabinet
announced as “to be created”--were all “created” in England, which
is the _naval base_ from which they sally forth on predatory cruise,
without once entering a port of their own pretended government.

These two “facts” are different in nature. The first attaches
absolutely to the pretended power, rendering it incompetent to
exercise _belligerent jurisdiction_ on the ocean. The second attaches
to the individual ships, rendering them piratical. These simple and
unquestionable “facts” are the key to unlock the present question.

From the reason of the case, there can be no _ocean_ belligerent
without a port into which it can take prizes. Any other rule is
absurd. It is not enough to sail the sea, like the Flying Dutchman;
the _ocean_ belligerent must be able to touch the land, and that
land its own. This proceeds on the idea of civilized warfare, that
something more than _naked force_ is essential to the completeness of
capture. According to the earlier rule, transmutation of property was
accomplished by the “pernoctation” of the captured ship within the port
of the belligerent,--or, as it was called, _deductio infra præsidia_.
As early as 1414, under Henry the Fifth of England, there was an Act
of Parliament requiring privateers _to bring their prizes into a
port of the kingdom_, and to make a declaration thereof to a proper
officer, _before undertaking to dispose of them_.[145] The modern rule
interposes an additional check upon lawless violence, by requiring the
condemnation of a competent court. This rule, which is among the most
authoritative of the British Admiralty, is found in the famous letter
of Sir William Scott and Sir John Nicholl, addressed to John Jay, as
follows: “_Before the ship or goods can be disposed of by the captor_,
there must be a regular judicial proceeding, wherein both parties may
be heard, and condemnation thereupon as prize, in a Court of Admiralty,
judging by the Law of Nations and treaties.”[146] This is explicit, and
is plainly necessary for the protection of neutral commerce. But this
rule is French as well as English. It is part of International Law. A
_seizure_ is regarded merely as a _preliminary_ act, which does not
divest the property, though it paralyzes the right of the proprietor. A
subsequent act of condemnation by a competent tribunal is necessary to
determine if the seizure is valid. The question is compendiously called
_Prize or No Prize_. Where the property of neutrals is involved, this
requirement becomes of absolute necessity. In conceding belligerence,
all customary belligerent rights with regard to neutrals are conceded
also, so that neutral rights and interests are put in jeopardy. Here
we see at once the wrong done. If nothing is due to Civilization,
something is due to neutrals. Without dwelling on this point, I
content myself with the authority of two recent French writers.
M. Hautefeuille, in his elaborate work, says: “The cruiser is not
recognized as the proprietor of the objects seized, he cannot dispose
of them, but _it is his duty to present himself before the tribunal and
obtain a sentence declaring them to be prize_.”[147] A later writer,
M. Eugène Cauchy, whose work has appeared since our war began, says:
“A usage which evidently has its source in _natural equity_ requires,
that, before proceeding to divide the booty, there should be an inquiry
as to the regularity of the prize. _Every prize taken from an enemy
should be carried before the judge established by the sovereign of
the captor._”[148] But if the power calling itself belligerent cannot
comply with this condition,--if it has no port into which it can
bring the captured ship, and no court, according to the requirement
of the British Admiralty, with “a regular judicial proceeding wherein
both parties may be heard,”--it is clearly _not in a situation to
dispose of a ship or goods as prize_. Whatever its force in other
respects, it lacks a vital element of _ocean_ belligerence. In that
_semi_-sovereignty which constitutes belligerence on land there must be
provision for the _administration of justice_, without which there is
nothing but a mob. In that same _semi_-sovereignty on the ocean there
must be similar provision. It is not enough that there are ships duly
commissioned to take prizes, there must also be courts to try them;
and the latter are not less important than the former. Such is the
conclusion of reason, in harmony with acknowledged principles. How,
then, acknowledge belligerent rights where this condition is wanting?

Earl Russell himself, so swift to make this concession, is led
to confess the necessity of Prize Courts on the part of _ocean_
belligerents, and thus exposes the irrational character of his own
work. In a letter to the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, occasioned by
the destruction of British cargoes, the Minister says: “The owners of
any British property, not being contraband of war, on board a Federal
vessel captured and destroyed by a Confederate vessel of war, _may
claim in a Confederate Prize Court compensation for destruction of such
property_.”[149] Even in the very speech announcing the belligerent
rights of our Rebels, including the right to visit and detain British
merchant vessels having enemy’s property on board and to confiscate
such property, Earl Russell was compelled to declare, that “it was
_necessarily implied_, as a condition of such acknowledgment, that the
detention was for the purpose of bringing the vessels detained before
an established Court of Prize, and that confiscation did not take place
until after condemnation by such competent tribunal.”[150] Such was the
express condition, obviously to secure justice. If there be no Prize
Court, then justice must fail; and with this failure tumbles _in fact_
the whole wretched pretension of _ocean_ belligerence, except in the
galvanism of a Queen’s proclamation or a Cabinet concession.

If a cruiser may at any time burn prizes, it is because of some
exceptional exigency in a particular case, and not according to general
rule, which practically declares that there can be no right to take
a prize, if there be no port into which it may be carried. The right
of capture and the right of trial are the complements of each other,
through which a harsh prerogative is supposed to be rounded into the
proper form of civilized warfare. Therefore every ship and cargo burned
by the captors for the reason that they had no port testifies that they
are without that vital sovereignty on the ocean which is needed in the
exercise of belligerent jurisdiction, and that they are not _ocean_
belligerents _in fact_. Nay, more, all these bonfires of the sea cry
out against the power which by precipitate concession furnished the
torch. As well invest the rebel rajahs of India, who never tasted salt
water, with this ocean prerogative, so that they too may rob and burn;
as well constitute land-locked Poland, now in arms for independence,
an ocean belligerent,--or enroll mountain Switzerland in the same
class,--or join with Shakespeare in giving to inland Bohemia an outlook
upon the ocean.[151]

To aggravate this concession, the ships are all built, rigged, armed,
and manned in Great Britain. It is out of British oak and British iron
that they are constructed, rigged with British ropes, made formidable
with British arms, provided with British gunners, and navigated by
British crews, so as to constitute in all respects a _British naval
expedition_. British ports supply the place of Rebel Slavemonger
ports. British ports are open to them, when their own are closed.
British ports constitute their _naval base of operations and supplies_,
furnishing everything needful, except an officer, the ship’s papers,
and a court for the trial of the prizes, each of which is essential
to the legality of the expedition. And yet these same ships, thus
equipped in British ports, and _never touching a port of the pretended
government_ in whose name they rob and burn,--being simply a rib taken
out of the side of England and prostituted to Rebel Slavery,--receive
the further passport of belligerence from the British Government, when
_in fact_ the belligerence does not exist. The whole proceeding, from
the laying of the keel in a British dockyard to the bursting flames
on the ocean, is a mockery of International Law and an insult to a
friendly power.

The case is sometimes said to be new; but it is new only as no
such “parricide” is provided against in express terms. It was not
anticipated. But the principles which govern it are as old as justice
and humanity, in the interests of which belligerent rights are said
to be conceded. Here it is all reversed, and it is now apparent,
that, whatever the motives of the British Government, the concession
was in behalf of _in_justice and _in_humanity. Burning ships and
scattered wrecks are the witnesses. If such a case is not condemned
by International Law, then has this law lost its virtue. Call such
cruisers by whatever polite term most pleases the ear, and you do not
change their character with their name. Without a home and without a
legal character, they are mere gypsies of the sea, disturbers of the
common highway, outlaws, and enemies of the human race.

There is a precedent which shows how impossible it is for a pretended
power, without a single port, to possess belligerent rights on the
ocean, and how impossible it is for the ship of such pretended power
to be anything but a felon ship. James the Second of England, after he
had ceased to be _de facto_ king, and while an exile without a single
port, undertook to issue letters of marque. It was argued unanswerably
before the Privy Council of William the Third, that a deposed prince
could not receive from any other sovereign “international privileges”;
“that, if he could grant a commission to take the ships of a single
nation, it would in effect be a general license to plunder, _because
those who were so commissioned would be their own judges of whatever
they took_”; and “that the reason of the thing, which pronounced that
robbers and pirates, when they formed themselves into a civil society,
became just enemies, pronounced also that a king without territory,
without power of protecting the innocent or punishing the guilty, _or
in any way of administering justice_, dwindled into a pirate, if he
issued commissions to seize the goods and ships of nations, _and that
they who took commissions from him must be held by legal inference to
have associated ‘sceleris causâ’ and could not be considered as members
of a civil society_.”[152] These weighty words are strictly applicable
to the present case. Whatever the force of Rebel Slavery on land, it
is no more on the ocean than the “deposed prince,” “without power of
protecting the innocent or punishing the guilty, _or in any way of
administering justice_”; and, like the prince, it has “dwindled into a
pirate,” except so far as sustained by British concession. In adducing
this precedent, I follow the learned ex-Chancellor, Lord Chelmsford,
who used it to show, that, without the concession of belligerent rights
to our Rebels, “any Englishman aiding them by fitting out a privateer
against the Federal Government would be guilty of piracy.”[153] But the
reasoning at the Privy Council shows, also, that the concession ought
not to have been made.

There is yet another British precedent, which shows how essential are
judicial proceedings before appropriation of a captured ship or cargo.
The case is memorable. It is none other than that of the famous Captain
Kidd, who, on indictment for piracy, as long ago as 1701, produced a
commission in justification. But it was at once declared not enough
to show a commission; _he must also show condemnation of the captured
ship_. The Lord Chief Baron of that day said, that, “if he had acted
pursuant to his commission, _he ought to have condemned the ship and
goods_”; that “by his not condemning them he seems to show his aim,
mind, and intention; that he did not act in that case by virtue of his
commission, but quite contrary to it, for he takes the ship and shares
the money and goods, and is taken in that very ship, … _so that there
is no color or pretence appears that he intended to bring this ship to
England to be condemned or to have condemned it in any of the English
plantations_”; and that, “whilst men pursue their commissions, they
must be justified, but when they do things not authorized, or never
acted by them, _it is as if there had been no commission at all_.”[154]
Captain Kidd was condemned to death and executed as a pirate. If he was
a pirate, worthy of death, then, by the same rule, those rovers who
rob cargoes, burn ships, and adorn their cabins with rows of stolen
chronometers, careless of a Prize Court, are entitled to small favor
from a civilized power.

Without considering more critically what should be the fate of these
ocean incendiaries, or what the responsibilities of England, out of
whom they came, I content myself with the conclusion that they are not
entitled to _ocean_ belligerence. And here let it be understood that
no question is possible with regard to an established power with access
to the ocean; for belligerent rights are fixed by International Law,
without foreign recognition; nor can the rights of such a power be a
precedent for any concession to a rebel community without ports and
Prize Courts.

_Pirate_ is a hard word; but Jefferson did not shrink from applying
it to “private armed vessels,” infesting our coasts, preying upon our
commerce, and making captures at the very entrance of our harbors,
as well as on the high seas. “They have carried them off,” he says,
“under pretence of legal adjudication; but, not daring to approach a
court of justice, they have plundered and sunk them by the way, or in
obscure places, where no evidence could arise against them, maltreated
the crews, and abandoned them in boats in the open sea or on desert
shores without food or covering.” These things, kindred to what is
done by our Rebel cruisers, he calls “enormities,” and he announces
that he has equipped a force “to bring the offenders in for trial as

       *       *       *       *       *

Even if Rebel Slavery, coagulated in embryo government, has arrived
at that _semi_-sovereignty _de facto_ on the ocean which justifies
belligerent rights, yet the Christian powers should indignantly decline
to make the concession, because by doing so they make themselves
accomplices in shameful crime. Here I avoid details. It is sufficient
to say that every argument of fact and reason, every whisper of
conscience and humanity, every indignant outburst of an honest man
against recognition of Slavery as an independent power, is equally
strong against any concession of ocean belligerence. Such concession
is half-way house to recognition, and can be made only where a nation
is ready, if the fact of independence be sufficiently established, to
acknowledge it, on the principle of Vattel, that “whosoever has a right
to the end has a right to the means.”[156] It is equally clear, that,
where a nation, on grounds of conscience, must refuse recognition of
independence, it cannot concede belligerence; for, _where the end is
forbidden, the means must be forbidden also_. The illogical absurdity
of such concession by Great Britain, so persistent always against
Slavery, and now for more than a generation the declared protectress of
the African race, becomes doubly apparent, when it is considered that
every Rebel ship built in England and invested with ocean belligerence
carries with it the Law of Slavery, so that, by British concession, the
ship becomes an _extension_ of _Slave_ territory and a floating _Slave_

And yet it is said that this impostor is entitled to ocean rights, and
the British Queen is made to proclaim them. Sad day for England, when
another wicked compromise was struck with Slavery, kindred to that
old treaty which mantles the cheeks of honest Englishmen, when the
slave-trade was protected and its profits secured to British subjects!
I know not the profits secured by the destruction of American commerce,
but I do know that the Treaty of Utrecht, crimson with the blood of
slaves, is not so crimson as that reckless proclamation which gave to
Slavery a frantic life, and helped for a time, nay, still helps, this
demon in the rage with which it battles against Human Rights. Such a
ship, with the law of Slavery on its deck and the flag of Slavery at
its mast-head, sailing for Slavery, fighting for Slavery, burning for
Slavery, and knowing no other sovereignty than the pretended government
of Rebel Slavery, can be nothing less in spirit and character than
a slave pirate and the enemy of the human race. Like produces like,
and the parent power, which is Slavery, must stamp itself upon the
ship, making it a floating offence to Heaven, with no limit to its
audacity,--wild, outrageous, impious, a monster of the deep, to be
hunted down by all who have not forgotten their duty alike to God and

Meanwhile there is one simple act which the justice of England cannot
continue to refuse. That fatal concession, made in a moment of
eclipse, when reason and humanity were obscured, must be annulled. The
_blunder-crime_ must be renounced, so that Slave pirates may no longer
sail the sea, robbing, destroying, burning, with British license. Then
will they promptly disappear forever, and with them the occasion of
strife between two great powers, who ought to be, if not as mother and
child, at least as brothers among the nations. And may God in His mercy
help this consummation!

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I leave this part of the subject, founding my objections on two

(1.) The embryo of Rebel Slavery has not that degree of sovereignty _on
the ocean_ which is essential to belligerence there.

(2.) Even if it possessed the requisite sovereignty, no Christian
power can make such concession to it without shameful complicity with

Both are objections of _fact_. Either is sufficient. Even if the
belligerence seems to be established as _fact_, still its concession
in this age of Christian light must be impossible, except under some
temporary aberration, which, for the honor of England and the welfare
of Humanity, should speedily pass away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Again, fellow-citizens, I crave forgiveness for this long trespass.
If the field traversed is ample, it has been brightened always by
the light of international justice, exposing clearly, from beginning
to end, the sacred landmarks of duty. I have been frank, disguising
nothing and keeping nothing back, so that you have been able to see the
perils to which the Republic is exposed from the natural tendency of
war to breed war, as exhibited in examples of history, and also from
the fatal proclivity of foreign powers to intermeddle, as exhibited
in recent instances of querulous criticism or intrusive proposition,
all adverse to the good cause, while pirate ships are permitted to
depredate on our commerce; then how the best historic instances testify
in favor of Freedom, and how all intervention of every kind, whether
by proffer of mediation or otherwise, becomes intolerable, when its
influence tends to the establishment of that soulless anomaly, a
professed Republic built on the hopeless and everlasting bondage of
a race; and especially how Great Britain is sacredly engaged by all
the logic of her history and all her traditions in unbroken lineage
against any such unutterable baseness; then how all the Christian
powers constituting the Family of Nations are firmly bound to set
their faces against any recognition of the embryo government.--first,
because its independence is not _in fact_ established, and, secondly,
because, even if _in fact_ established, its recognition is impossible
without criminal complicity in Slavery; and, lastly, how these same
Christian powers are firmly bound by the same twofold reasons against
any concession of ocean rights to this hideous pretender.

       *       *       *       *       *

It only remains that the Republic should gird itself to the majesty
of its duties. War is terrible and hard to bear, with its waste, its
pains, its wounds, its funerals. But in this war we are not choosers.
We are challenged to the defence of country, and in this sacred cause
to crush Slavery. There is no alternative. Slavery began the combat,
staking life, _and determined to rule or die_. Let it die; and to this
end the country must be aroused. We need a song like “Scots who have
with Wallace bled.” The cause is greater now than then. We need words
like those of Luther, “half battles.” Ours is another Reformation
and another Revolution. The attempted revolution for Slavery we meet
by a counter revolution for Liberty. That we may continue freemen,
there must be no slaves; and thus our own security is linked with the
redemption of a race. Blessed lot, amidst the harshness of war, to
wield the arms and deal the blows under which the monster will surely
fall! The battle is mighty; for into Slavery has entered the Spirit of
Evil. It is persistent; for such a gathered wickedness, concentrated,
aroused, and maddened, must have a tenacity of life which will not
yield at once. But no might nor time can save it now.

That the whole war is contained in Slavery may be seen not only in
the acts of the National Government, but also in the confessions of
Rebel Slavemongers. Already the President has proclaimed that the
slaves throughout the whole Rebel region “are and henceforward shall be
free”; and in order to fix the irreversible character of this sublime
edict, he has further announced “that the Executive Government of the
United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof,
will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.”[157] An
enlightened commission is constituted to consider how these thronging
freedmen can be best employed for their own good and the national
defence. Already the sons of Africa, as mustered soldiers of the Union,
have shown a discipline and a bravery not unworthy of their ancient
fathers, when the prophet Jeremiah said, “Let the mighty men come
forth, the Ethiopians and the Libyans that handle the shield”;[158]
and still further, by their stature, by their appearance in the ranks,
and even by the unexpected testimony of sanitary statistics, according
to which for every black soldier disabled by sickness there are more
than ten white, thus making the army health of the black ten times as
sure as that of the white,--by all these things they have shown that
the Father of History, who is our earliest classical authority, was
not entirely mistaken, when he spoke of Ethiopia as “the most distant
region of the earth, whose inhabitants are the tallest, most beautiful,
and most long-lived of the human race.”[159] Even if these acts of the
National Government were less significant, all doubt is removed by
the Rebel Slavemongers themselves, who, in Satanic audacity, openly
avow that Slavery is the end and aim of the government they seek to
establish, so that the whole bloody war they wage is all in the name
of Slavery. Therefore, in battling against the Rebellion, we battle
against Slavery. Freedom is the growing inspiration of our armies
and the just inscription of our banners. Such a war is not a war of
subjugation, but a war of liberation, to save the Republic from a petty
oligarchy of taskmasters, and to rescue four millions of human beings
from cruel oppression. Not to subjugate, but to liberate, is the object
of our Holy War.

And yet British statesmen, forgetting for the moment all moral
distinctions, forgetting God, who will not be forgotten, gravely
announce that our cause must fail. Alas! individual wickedness is too
often successful; but a pretended nation, suckled in wickedness and
boasting its wickedness, a new Sodom, with all the guilt of the old,
waiting to be blasted, and yet, in barefaced effrontery, openly seeking
the fellowship of Christian powers, is doomed to defeat. Toleration
of such a pretension is practical atheism. Chronology and geography
are both offended. Piety stands aghast. In this age of light, and
in countries boasting civilization, there can be no place for its
barbarous plenipotentiaries. As well expect crocodiles crawling on
the pavements of London and Paris, or the carnivorous idols of Africa
installed for worship in Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame.

Even if the Republic were less strong, yet I am glad to believe that
the Rebellion must fail from the essential impossibility of any such
wicked success. The responsibilities of the Christian powers would be
increased by our weakness. Behind our blockade there would be _a moral
blockade_; behind our armies there would be the aroused judgment of
the civilized world. But not on that account can we hesitate. This is
no time to pause. Thus do I, who formerly pleaded so often for Peace,
now insist upon Liberty as its indispensable condition,[160]--clearly
because, in this terrible moment, there is no other way to that sincere
and solid peace without which is endless war. Even on economic grounds,
it were better that this war should proceed rather than recognize
any partition, which, beginning with humiliation, must involve the
perpetuation of armaments and break out again in blood. But there is
something worse than waste of money; it is waste of character. Give me
any peace but a liberticide peace. In other days the immense eloquence
of Burke was stirred against a regicide peace. But a peace founded on
the killing of a king is not so bad as a peace founded on the killing
of Liberty; nor can the saddest scenes of such a peace be so sad as
the daily life legalized by Slavery. A queen on the scaffold is not so
pitiful a sight as a woman on the auction-block.

While thus steady in purpose at home, we must not neglect that proper
moderation abroad which becomes the consciousness of strength and the
nobleness of our cause. The mistaken sympathy which foreign powers
bestow upon Slavery,--or, it may be, the mistaken insensibility,--under
the plausible name of “neutrality,” which they profess, will be worse
for them than for us. For them it will be a record of shame, which
their children would gladly blot out with tears. For us it will be only
another obstacle vanquished in the battle for Civilization, where,
unhappily, false friends are mingled with open enemies. Even if the
cause seem for a while imperilled by foreign powers, yet our duties are
none the less urgent. If the pressure be great, the resistance must be
greater. Nor can there be any retreat. Come weal or woe, this is the
place for us to stand.

I know not if a republic like ours can count even now upon the certain
friendship of any European power, unless it be the Republic of William
Tell. The very name is unwelcome to the full-blown representatives of
monarchical Europe, who forget how proudly, even in modern history,
Venice bore the title of _Serenissima Respublica_. It is for us to
change all this. Our consistent example will be enough. Thus far we
have been known chiefly through that vital force which Slavery could
only degrade, but not subdue. Now, at last, by the death of Slavery,
will the Republic begin to live. For what is life without Liberty?
Stretching from ocean to ocean, teeming with population, bountiful in
resources of all kinds, rejoicing in that righteousness which exalteth
a nation, and thrice happy in universal enfranchisement, it will be
more than conqueror. Nothing too vast for its power, nothing too minute
for its care. Triumphant over the foulest wrong ever inflicted, after
the bloodiest war ever waged, it will know the majesty of Right and the
beauty of Peace, prepared always to uphold the one and to cultivate
the other. Strong in its own mighty stature, filled with all the
fulness of a new life, and covered with a panoply of renown, it will
confess that no dominion is of value that does not contribute to human
happiness. Born in this latter day and child of its own struggles,
without ancestral claim, but heir of all the ages, it will stand forth
to assert the dignity of man, and wherever any member of the Human
Family can be succored, there its voice will reach,--as the voice of
Cromwell reached across France, even to the persecuted mountaineers of
the Alps. Such will be this Republic, upstart among the nations. Ay!
as steam-engine, telegraph, and chloroform are upstart. Comforter and
helper like these, it can know no bounds to its empire over a willing
world. But the first stage is the death of Slavery.


    This speech was made at a crisis in our foreign relations when
    they were watched with more than the wonted anxiety, which
    began with the hasty concession of belligerent rights, as early
    as May 13, 1861. Among painful incidents may be mentioned the
    affair of the Trent, with the attendant menace, the escape
    of the Florida, and then of the Alabama, the damage to our
    commerce by these British vessels, the report of other vessels
    building for the Rebels, the swarm of British blockade-runners
    with arms and powerful cannon, adverse speeches of British
    statesmen, offensive articles of the British press, and
    movements for the recognition of the Rebels as an independent

    As early as March 4, 1861, Mr. Gregory gave notice in the House
    of Commons that on an early day he would call the attention
    of her Majesty’s Government to the expediency of a prompt
    recognition of the Southern Confederacy of America. April 16,
    Mr. Gregory renewed his notice, and added a call for papers.
    This motion was afterward deferred from April 30 to May 13,
    and on May 16 until June 7, when it was finally postponed
    _sine die_. After that frequent debates occurred in both
    Houses of Parliament, involving the course of England to the
    United States. As late as June 30, 1863, in the summer before
    Mr. Sumner’s speech, a long debate was started in the House
    of Commons by Mr. Roebuck, on presenting a petition praying
    the House to enter into negotiations with the great powers of
    Europe with the object of recognizing the independence of the
    Confederate States. To all these things was now superadded
    the open construction at Birkenhead of two powerful iron-clad
    war-vessels, known as the Rebel rams.

    The country was alarmed, for the contribution of these powerful
    vessels to the Rebel navy was felt to be an open participation
    in the Rebellion. Foreign war seemed to menace. Mr. Sumner, in
    private correspondence with England during the summer, did not
    hesitate to say, that, in his judgment, the sailing of these
    Rebel rams from an English port, after the ample notice given,
    would be equivalent to a declaration of war by England, not
    unlike the seizure of the Spanish galleons or the bombardment
    of Copenhagen. Our diplomatic correspondence shows a similar
    sentiment in important official quarters. July 11, Mr. Adams,
    our minister at London, after setting forth “a systematic plan
    of warfare upon the people of the United States carried on from
    the port of Liverpool, as well as in less degree from other
    ports in the kingdom,” called the attention of Earl Russell to
    “the construction and equipment of a steam vessel of war of
    the most formidable kind now known,” and intimated that such
    a proceeding would “be regarded by the Government and people
    of the United States with the greatest alarm, as virtually
    tantamount to a participation in the war by the people of Great
    Britain.”[161] At different times he transmitted additional
    papers, showing the character of these vessels. Meanwhile one
    iron-clad ram, being launched, received her engines, and was
    engaged in receiving her coal, ready to depart, when, September
    4, Mr. Adams, transmitting further testimony, begged permission
    to record, in the name of his Government, “this last solemn
    protest against the commission of such an act of hostility
    against a friendly nation.”[162] On the same day he received
    a communication from Earl Russell, bearing date September
    1, where, after setting forth the alleged insufficiency of
    the testimony against the vessels, he says: “Her Majesty’s
    Government are advised that they cannot interfere in any way
    with these vessels.”[163] The next day Mr. Adams replied: “I
    trust I need not express how profound is my regret at the
    conclusion to which her Majesty’s Government have arrived.…
    It would be superfluous in me to point out to your Lordship
    that this is war. No matter what may be the theory adopted of
    neutrality in a struggle, when this process is carried on, in
    the manner indicated, from a territory and with the aid of the
    subjects of a third party, that third party, to all intents
    and purposes, ceases to be neutral. Neither is it necessary
    to show that any government which suffers it to be done
    fails in enforcing the essential conditions of international
    amity towards the country against whom the hostility is
    directed.”[164] On the very day of this reply, Mr. Seward, at
    Washington, addressed Mr. Adams as follows: “Can the British
    Government suppose for a moment that such an assault as is
    thus meditated can be made upon us by British built, armed,
    and manned vessels, without at once arousing the whole nation
    and making a retaliatory war inevitable?… For the interest of
    both countries, and of civilization, I hope they will not let
    a blow fall from under their hands that will render peace
    impossible.”[165] Mr. Beaman, in his essay on the Alabama
    Claims, after examining this correspondence, says, it “shows,
    that, if these rams had been allowed to escape, peace between
    Great Britain and the United States would have been no longer

    It is easy to see that the two countries were on the verge
    of war. Happily, this was avoided by a tardy act, made known
    to Mr. Adams by a note, under date of September 8: “Lord
    Russell presents his compliments to Mr. Adams, and has the
    honor to inform him that instructions have been issued which
    will prevent the departure of the two iron-clad vessels from
    Liverpool.”[167] The Rebel rams were stopped.

    Meanwhile Mr. Sumner had accepted an invitation to speak in
    New York on our foreign relations, at a time to be fixed by
    himself. Watching the course of events, and seeing clearly the
    alternative that presented itself to Mr. Adams and Mr. Seward,
    he wrote at the close of August, fixing September 10th for his
    speech; and here his purpose was twofold. Anxious to arrest the
    fatal tendency, he was not without hope that he might obtain
    a hearing in England, especially from the Cabinet, to most of
    whom he was personally known; but, if unsuccessful in this
    last frank effort for peace, then he trusted that his speech
    would be a vindication of his country on the issue forced by
    England, and an appeal to the moral sentiments of the civilized
    world. On this account he dwelt especially on Slavery, and the
    impossibility in a civilized age of recognizing a _new_ power
    openly proclaiming this Barbarism as its corner-stone.

    The reception of this speech at home was cordial and
    sympathetic; in England it was the reverse, although there were
    friendly exceptions. A few extracts from the American press
    will show the unison with Mr. Sumner, which becomes important
    in illustrating his position, and also the divergence of
    sentiment in the two countries.

    The New York press was outspoken.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The _Herald_ said:--

        “The very voluminous speech of Mr. Senator Sumner at the
        Cooper Institute, the other evening, in two or three points
        is a remarkable production. His exposure and denunciations
        of the hypocritical pleadings and false pretences of the
        British Government, in justification of its sneaking and
        perfidious neutrality in this war, are well administered,
        and, considering the rapidly dissolving Davis Confederacy,
        these views of the learned Senator at this time can hardly
        fail to make a decided sensation, not only upon the public
        mind of England, but upon the rhinoceros hides of the
        British Cabinet.…

        “But the whole of this exhaustive and exhausting discourse
        of the inexhaustible Senator is spoiled by his venomous and
        rabid denunciations of African Slavery. In view of this
        peculiar Southern institution he becomes as fierce and
        remorseless as a vicious bull, when a piece of red flannel
        is flaunted before his eyes.”

    The _Times_ said:--

        “We give up one half of the entire surface of to-day’s
        issue of the _Times_ to the important speech upon our
        Foreign Relations delivered by Senator Sumner in this
        city last night. The subject at the present moment is one
        of such deep public interest, and of such overshadowing
        national importance, that we believe we cannot do a greater
        service than by giving in full the views of one who, by his
        official position as Chairman of the Senate Committee on
        Foreign Affairs, by his relations with some of the foremost
        publicists of England and France, and by his intimate
        knowledge of the whole subject, is capable of speaking with
        intelligence, if not with authority.

        “We can give no analysis or estimate of the discourse at
        this moment, as it was a late hour of the night before
        he concluded its delivery; but every intelligent citizen
        will doubtless give due study to its views and statements,
        which, we need not say, are set forth in a style
        highly ornate, yet lucid, and distinguished by all the
        characteristics of a professed orator.”

    The _Evening Post_ said:--

        “It is a very important subject, treated by him with
        great ability and knowledge, and in a manner which must
        leave little to be added by the diligence of others. It
        was listened to with profound attention and frequent
        expressions of interest and approbation by one of the most
        closely packed audiences which the hall at Cooper Institute
        ever contained.”

    Horace Greeley, in a contribution to the _Independent_, said:--

        “Mr. Sumner’s speech is not, therefore, a mere rehearsal
        and arraignment of national wrongs already endured. It is
        a protest and a warning against those which are imminently
        threatened. In showing how deeply, flagrantly, France and
        England have already sinned against us, he admonishes
        them against persistence in the evil course on which they
        have entered, against aggravating beyond endurance the
        indignities and outrages they have already heaped upon us.…
        Mr. Sumner’s is the authentic voice, not of the mob, but of
        the people. He utters the sentiments of the conscientious,
        the intelligent, the peace-loving. His inoffensive protest
        against the wrongs to which we have been subjected is
        utterly devoid of swagger or menace. It is a simple, but
        most cogent demonstration, by the application thereto of
        the established principles of International Law, of the
        systematic injustice to which we as a people have been
        subjected. A miracle of historical and statesmanlike
        erudition, his address is severe without being harsh,--an
        indictment judicial in its calmness, its candor, its
        resistless cogency.”

    The _Boston Journal_ said:--

        “We trust no one will be deterred by its length from
        reading Mr. Sumner’s speech on our Foreign Relations; and
        we are sure that no one will be, who fairly enters upon
        the subject.… The speech is the most able and elaborate
        ever delivered by Mr. Sumner, and will be read with great
        interest abroad as well as in this country. Let us hope
        that it will help to open the eyes of the people of England
        and France to the treachery of their rulers to the progress
        of civilization and the spirit of the age.”

    Then, in another article, the same journal said:--

        “The recent speech of Mr. Sumner meets with the warmest
        expressions of commendation from all quarters, excepting,
        of course, the journals which are wedded to the interests
        of Slavery.… The speech was, in fact, timely, and, while it
        was designed primarily to communicate facts of the gravest
        interest to the people of the loyal States, it will have
        the secondary and not less important effect of making an
        impression upon the Cabinets of England and France. The
        fairness, candor, earnestness, and ability with which
        great questions of international rights are discussed by a
        statesman so well known abroad and so much respected as Mr.
        Sumner must secure for the speech an attentive perusal by
        those who shape public opinion in the Old World.”

    A correspondent of the _Boston Journal_, calling himself “An
    European Democrat,” wrote:--

        “The speech of Senator Sumner at the Cooper Institute
        will produce a startling effect in Europe. It may safely
        be asserted that the opinions of that gentleman upon
        international politics are received with greater favor in
        England and France than those of perhaps any other American
        statesman. He is regarded as most liberal and cosmopolitan
        in his views; his acquaintance with leading public men in
        both countries is known to be alike extended and intimate;
        and such declarations, therefore, as those to which he
        gave utterance last Thursday evening will necessarily have
        extraordinary weight in political and commercial circles.”

    The _Transcript_, of Boston, said:--

        “The great speech of Senator Sumner upon the Foreign
        Relations of the United States will command the attention
        of all intelligent men in Europe and America. It is a
        thorough and exhaustive discussion of English and French
        diplomacy, so far as either bears upon the present war. The
        effect of the complete exposition of the policy of Great
        Britain with regard to Slavery since 1807, proving, by
        clear and irrefragable historical instances, the apostasy
        of the existing ministry to the high principles so long
        maintained, must be great among all reflective Englishmen.…
        Mr. Sumner’s comprehensive views of International Law, the
        extensive learning with which he enriches the discussion of
        it, his convincing logic and kindling eloquence, together
        with the results he reaches, make this address one of
        great importance, and cannot but exert the most beneficial
        influence in this country and in Europe.”

    The _Independent_, of New York, in a leading article entitled
    “Sumner and Burke,” presented an elaborate parallel between the
    recent speech and that against Warren Hastings.

        “The trial of Hastings was really a trial of England
        herself. So Burke evidently felt it. The bill of charges
        and the speech upon them was more of an appeal against
        the rulers of England than the despot of India.… As he
        arraigned England against herself, so does Sumner. As
        he sought to flatter her to the right by appeals to her
        highest professions and practices against the swift current
        of her ruling passions and purposes, so does Sumner. As he
        failed in his attempt, so, we fear, will Sumner.… Grander
        is his position, as well as his appeal, than those of
        Burke. He stood before a House of British nobles: Sumner
        stands before the Congress of Nations. Burke impeached the
        conduct of a satrap: Sumner the heads of powerful nations.
        Burke denounced him in the name of justice and law outraged
        by his abuse of subject provinces: Sumner denounces England
        in the interests of outraged internationality and humanity,
        for her conduct toward a free and equal nation engaged in
        casting out the devils that Britain’s lust of gold and
        power had forced upon her in the days of her helplessness.
        He has constrained the haughty powers to appear at the bar
        of the Nations. The world will hear his plea, and give him
        the verdict.”

    _Zion’s Herald_, of Boston, an able religious journal, said:--

        “This speech is not hostile in its tone, unless our
        transatlantic friends see fit to make it so. It is a grand
        effort in behalf of those principles which are to underlie
        our renovated nationality; it is a noble assertion of our
        rights against wrongs which are emphatically condemned by
        the best minds of England and France themselves. If our
        sister nations will heed this appeal, and cease to give
        the support hitherto accorded to our foes, it is not too
        late for them to gain thereby the friendship of our people
        and the praise of mankind; but if any European power
        should now directly espouse the cause of the Rebellion,
        the responsibility of war will rest with them and not with
        us; and even if they continue to grant the Rebels their
        sympathy and moral support, the severe words of Mr. Sumner
        will be but a faint expression of the infamy to which an
        indignant posterity will consign them.”

    The New York correspondent of _The Congregationalist_, at
    Boston, wrote:--

        “The whole country owes Mr. Sumner a debt of gratitude
        for this timely, thorough, and weighty exposition of our
        Foreign Relations. Its facts and arguments must produce a
        strong impression upon the popular mind in England; and
        every American who has friends abroad should hasten to
        put in circulation in Great Britain as many copies of the
        speech as he can command. Its tone, at once dignified,
        firm, and conciliatory, will help our cause wherever it is
        read, while it cannot fail to ally to us all who really
        value truth and honor between nations, and who abhor
        Slavery and its abettors.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    Numerous letters, in harmony with the press of the country,
    attested the extent to which Mr. Sumner was sustained, being
    spontaneous testimony to the prevailing sentiment. Written as
    they were for the purpose of sympathy and encouragement, they
    show the general conscience and intelligence. Prompted by the
    speech, and relating exclusively to it, they may be considered
    among its incidents. The warm appreciation of Mr. Sumner’s
    service was less important than the aspiration for country and
    for mankind which they disclosed.

    Mr. Seward wrote from the Department of State:--

        “I have read your address on Foreign Relations without once

        “You have performed a very important public service in a
        most able manner, and in a conjuncture when I hope that it
        will be useful abroad and at home.…

        “You are on the right track. Rouse the nationality of the
        American people. It is an instinct upon which you can
        always rely, even when the conscience that ought never to
        slumber is drugged to death.”

    Mr. Chase wrote from the Treasury Department:--

        “In spite of finest print almost illegible, I have read
        your great speech from beginning to end. It is a noble
        effort, quite worthy of you. It exhausts the whole subject,
        leaving nothing even for a gleaner. I shall await with
        curiosity, not unmixed with anxiety, the rebound from

    Hon. Thomas Corwin, Minister Plenipotentiary in Mexico, wrote:--

        “I cannot withhold my mite of praise for the truly masterly
        manner and matter of the whole pamphlet. Your country,
        Europe, all Christendom, and Heathendom too, are your

    Hon. Christopher Robinson, Minister Plenipotentiary in Peru,

        “I have read it with great attention, and with the
        highest pleasure, for the principles it announces, the
        facts it narrates, and the firm and manly discussion
        of them. As an explanation of the great principles of
        International Law applicable to the nefarious Rebellion, it
        will open the eyes of the American people to the important
        fact, that, in all its disguises, English and French policy
        has wilfully ignored the principles of justice and liberty
        which the Government of the United States are struggling to

    Hon. Horatio J. Perry, Secretary of Legation at Madrid, wrote:--

        “Your noble effort was well timed. I have had portions of
        it reproduced in the Spanish press with the best effect.
        Another part will reappear here in a more durable form,
        which I shall take pains to send you.

        “These admonitions of yours to the European powers have
        always been of the highest possible service. Whatever
        necessity there may have been (and there has been
        necessity) for our diplomatic representatives to act
        with consummate prudence in our direct intercourse with
        the courts hostile to us, it was no less necessary that
        the voice from home, the utterances of our Houses of
        Congress, of our leading Senators, should be bold and
        unsubdued,--confidence in ourselves and in our cause, above
        all, the consciousness of right, and the evidence that we
        were not afraid.”

    Professor Charles D. Cleveland, Consul at Cardiff, wrote from
    his consulate:--

        “I need hardly say with what pleasure I read your recent
        speech at New York. Though Earl Russell did not like some
        things in it, _it evidently did him much good_. I think I
        saw clearly that he FELT the force of your arguments; for,
        if you will notice, it was not till after your speech had
        reached this country, and after quotations were made from
        it in papers friendly to us, that the more decided orders
        were given to stop the Rebel rams in the Mersey.”

    The latter statement is confirmed by a despatch of Mr. Adams to
    Mr. Seward, dated October 16, where he says: “The Government
    has, within the past week, adopted measures of a much more
    positive character than heretofore to stop the steam-rams.”[168]

    Hon. T. O. Howe, Senator of the United States, wrote from

        “Stopping here, where I am to speak this evening, I cannot
        refrain from telling you that I approve it. How much I
        approve it I am utterly unable to tell you.

        “Such conciseness of statement, such fulness of research,
        such wealth of illustration, such iron logic, heated, but
        unmalleable, I really do not think are to be found in any
        other oration, ancient or modern.

        “To me it seems bursting with new and most inspiring ideas.
        But even when you deal with ideas which are not new, but
        old and familiar, you present them in words so marvellously
        chosen that they are themselves giant forces.…

        “No single man has ever so grandly struggled against the
        barbaric tendencies of a frightfully debauched generation.
        I cannot certainly foresee the future; you may be worsted
        in this encounter; but I know the world will be the better
        for it.”

    Hon. Henry B. Anthony, Senator of the United States, wrote from

        “I suppose you are tired of compliments about your great
        speech. Everybody says it is one of the best things that
        even you have done. It must have a large and beneficial
        effect, not only here, but in Europe, where your reputation
        will secure for it the consideration of those who control
        public affairs and mould public opinion.”

    Hon. Samuel S. Blair, a Representative in Congress from
    Pennsylvania, wrote:--

        “I have just read your New York speech on our Foreign
        Relations, and most cordially thank you for a statement
        of our cause which ought to give us the verdict of the
        civilized world.”

    Hon. Joshua R. Giddings, for so many years eminent as
    Antislavery champion in Congress, and then Consul-General at
    Montreal, wrote:--

        “I have just read your lecture at Cooper Institute. That
        production excites in my heart the deepest gratitude and
        the highest pleasure.”

    Hon. Simon Cameron, who had recently returned from Russia,
    where he had been Minister, wrote:--

        “It is a masterly production of a master mind, and if you
        had never made a single mental effort before, or if you
        should cease from this moment to enjoy the power of speech,
        it would stand as a monument unrivalled among the many
        great productions of American and British statesmen. It is
        unanswerable. Its influence, like all great ideas founded
        on truth, may be comparatively slow, but it is already
        acting over the world, and in a brief period it will be
        so potent that men and nations will be ashamed to avow a
        belief in any other code of morals.”

    Rev. William H. Furness, the accomplished Unitarian preacher of
    Philadelphia, wrote:--

        “I have no words to express my sense of the large
        familiarity with human affairs, and of the conscientious
        fidelity which it shows. If you had done nothing else for
        the past year but prepare that, I should hold you to be
        a miracle of work. It is impossible it should not tell.
        It indicates a statesmanship fitting the grandeur of our
        unequalled cause.”

    Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, of Boston, eminent in the medical
    profession and as an Abolitionist, wrote:--

        “Allow me to express to you my most hearty thanks for
        your noble, and, as it seems to me, unanswerable, speech
        at New York. It is truly statesmanlike, and I regard it
        in that light as one that will last longer and have more
        effect than any delivered by any one in this country since
        the war began. It must have a wide influence in Europe. I
        thank you, therefore, most heartily for it. It will aid
        mightily public sentiment in England, and _tend_ to force
        the Government of that country, for consistency’s sake, at
        least, to deal more fairly.”

    Parker Pillsbury, the earnest Abolitionist, wrote from Concord,
    New Hampshire:--

        “When a nation is expressing its admiring gratitude for
        your recent masterly oration on our Foreign Relations,
        what place or what need for my feeble utterance remains?
        And all the nations will thank you, as they shall read, in
        present and coming time, this chapter in the new political
        dispensation. It is a scripture for the ages.”

    Hon. Amasa Walker, formerly a Representative in Congress, a
    Vice-President of the American Peace Society, devoted to the
    cause of peace, and a writer on political economy and finance,

        “It is the grandest thing you have yet done, if I am
        qualified to judge. I think it cannot fail to exert a great
        influence at home and abroad. I am quite anxious to find
        out how it is received in England, and am much mistaken, if
        it does not produce a great impression.

        “The friends of our Government will be greatly delighted at
        it, our enemies greatly annoyed by it.

        “I have the impression that there is no speech of any
        American statesman, that has ever been printed, that will
        secure such a lasting reputation, and be so often referred
        to in the future, as this.”

    Hon. George R. Russell, of various experience, who had recently
    returned from Europe, wrote:--

        “I have often thought of writing you about your speech on
        our Foreign Relations, which I read with much attention,
        and decided that it was the best that could be said. I
        met a friend of ours a few evenings since, and he told
        me that he had said to you that you made a great mistake
        in assailing England as you had done. I met him with the
        rejoinder, that you had hit the nail on the head, that the
        proofs of change we see daily are in consequence of your
        attacks, and that, instead of upbraiding you, we owed you
        our heartfelt thanks for the good you had done.”

    Brigadier-General Saxton, of the United States army, wrote from
    his station at Beaufort, South Carolina:--

        “I can hardly express to you the intense satisfaction and
        delight with which I read your great oration delivered in
        New York. In my humble opinion you have rendered a great
        service to our country and to humanity. The words of truth
        and wisdom which you have spoken cannot fail to command the
        attention and respect of the statesmen of England as well
        as of this country.”

    Captain George Ward Nichols, of the United States army, wrote
    from his station at Milwaukee:--

        “I hardly know what to say of this eloquent exposition,
        so full of righteous indignation, terrible denunciation,
        exhaustive research, unanswerable argument,--so abundant,
        so powerful, and so eloquent in the cause of humanity. It
        seems to me like a timepiece, which, with unfailing faith,
        I consult to mark the hour in a stormy day, unmindful of
        the wondrous art and wit which combine this perfect whole.
        I thank you more than I can say for this noble speech. It
        is already a part of the history of this momentous time. It
        is as much a fact as is Gettysburg or Vicksburg.”

    George Baty Blake, Esq., a banker of Boston, wrote:--

        “I have read attentively your speech made in New York, and,
        let me say, I think it exactly suited to the occasion; and
        if it finds circulation in Great Britain, it cannot fail to
        do us much good in our foreign relations. Plain speech with
        John Bull, and to the point frankly, is what always proves
        most effective with him, in my experience.”

    The late James A. Dix, editor of the _Boston Journal_, declared
    his sympathies:--

        “I cannot resist the temptation to express the pleasure
        which the perusal of your speech on our Foreign Relations
        has afforded me. I do not think it extravagant to say that
        it is the ablest speech ever delivered in this country.
        Certainly it is the ablest of any with which it could
        appropriately be compared. In the number, value, interest,
        and importance of its historical facts and precedents, in
        the apt use of materials derived from laborious research,
        and in the lucid treatment of the topics discussed, it is

    Major B. Perley Poore, for a long period connected with the
    press, wrote from his country home:--

        “If human gratitude be among the number of our national
        virtues, the highest honors should contribute to reward
        you for your address on Foreign Relations, so replete with
        patriotism, learning, and practical knowledge, knowledge
        of public law and the practice of nations, a thorough
        acquaintance with civil government and the great question
        of Freedom which underlies and overtops everything else. I
        have read it twice in the small type of the _Journal_.”

    Pliny Miles, the writer on Postal Affairs, wrote from London to
    President Lincoln, who forwarded the letter to Mr. Sumner:--

        “Mr. Sumner’s late speech in New York has arrived here in
        the journals, and is attracting a great deal of attention.
        Quotations and extracts are made from it in the leading
        liberal papers; but really the whole speech ought to be
        printed here, and circulated in pamphlet form. If sent to
        all the members of both Houses of Parliament and to the
        press, I think it would do great good.”

    Daniel R. Goodloe, for a long time connected with the press,
    then of Washington and afterwards of North Carolina, wrote:--

        “I regard Lord Russell’s speech at Blairgowrie as a
        reply to yours; and the country is indebted to you for
        the important concessions he makes, and for the greatly
        modified tone in which he speaks of our affairs.”

    Hon. A. C. Barstow, formerly Mayor of Providence, wrote:--

        “I returned from Washington this morning. Have read your
        speech with great satisfaction. I think you have touched
        the public pulse more widely than ever before.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    The speech had a different reception in England, being
    criticized by the press, and by Earl Russell in a public speech.

    The New York correspondent of the London _Standard_ called Mr.
    Sumner “the mouthpiece of the President,” and said that the
    speech “had been carefully examined by the President, and was
    analyzed by the confidential members of the Cabinet, before
    being let off to the public in this great city.” This was a
    mistake. Neither the President nor any of his Cabinet had seen
    a line of the speech.

    Its delivery was reported by the London _Times_ of September
    22d, in a telegraphic despatch from Greencastle, in Ireland:--

        “He denounced the conduct of the British Government in
        permitting the building of war steamers in British ports
        for the Confederates and recognizing on the part of the
        South any belligerent rights upon the ocean. He disbelieved
        that either France or England would intervene in favor
        of a state that based itself upon Negro Slavery, and
        asserted that all intervention in the internal affairs of
        another nation was contrary to law and reason, unless such
        intervention were obviously on the side of human rights.”

    The _Times_ followed with an elaborate leader, undertaking to
    correct statements of law and fact, dwelling especially on
    the allegation, that, without the concession of belligerent
    rights, the supply of munitions of war to rebels would have
    been a violation of English law. Here Mr. Sumner had the
    authority of the English Law Lords in Parliament, openly
    declaring that without such concession the building of a Rebel
    ship in England would have been under the penalties of piracy,
    and it is difficult to see why a corresponding penalty would
    not have followed the supply of munitions of war. In each
    case the article is supplied for offence against a friendly
    power. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, remarkable for learning
    and good sense, has said: “The law of England recognizes
    the principle of protecting a foreign government by its own
    municipal regulations”[169]; and he refers to the trials for
    libels on foreign sovereigns, and also to the proceedings in
    1858 against Simon Bernard, the Frenchman, indicted for a
    plot to assassinate the Emperor Louis Napoleon, in supplying
    the grenades used by Orsini in his attempt. In the latter
    case, Lord Chief Justice Campbell said to the jury: “If you
    believe that he, as there is strong evidence to show, being
    acquainted with Allsop’s views, and knowing that Allsop had
    got these grenades, _assisted in having them, transported to
    Brussels,--if you believe that he bought in this country the
    materials for making the fulminating powder with which these
    grenades were charged_,--if you believe, that, living in this
    country, and owing a temporary allegiance to the sovereign
    of this country, _he sent over the revolvers_ with the view
    that they should be used in the plot against the Emperor of
    the French, … it will be a fair inference, I think, to draw,
    that he had a guilty knowledge of that plot.”[170] Though this
    judgment was in the case of a conspiracy to take the life of a
    foreign sovereign, it is not easy to see why the same principle
    is not applicable to a conspiracy against a friendly power.
    To this case may be added the authority of Lord Lyndhurst,
    who laid it down in debate, with the concurrence of other Law
    Lords, that a conspiracy in the United Kingdom, either by
    native subjects or aliens, to do any act, either at home or
    abroad, tending to embroil the Government with that of any
    foreign country, is a misdemeanor.[171] Is a rebellion without
    belligerent rights different from a conspiracy? Its nature was
    changed by the Queen’s Proclamation, which not only helped the
    Rebels, but created a new set of customers.

    The character of the leader in the _Times_ appears in its

        “We believe our readers have by this time had enough of
        the logic of Mr. Sumner. It is based neither on law nor on
        fact, but upon his own sympathies and antipathies, which he
        is pleased to assume must also be ours, on the supposition,
        which we do not admit, that the North are obviously in the
        right, and on the inference, which we refuse to draw, that,
        even if the North are in the right, we are bound to violate
        the laws of neutrality in order to assist them.”

    The _Daily News_, of London, in its first notice, said:--

        “He spoke under the impression that the English
        Government was about to permit the Confederate iron-clads
        to leave this country, and he interpreted their previous
        policy by this supposed breach of neutrality. Every candid
        man will make allowance for words spoken under provocation,
        and distinguish them from the utterances of settled
        malevolence, such as we were accustomed to hear from the
        American statesmen now at Richmond, and still hear from
        their allies in the Northern States.”

    In a second article, the same journal criticized the speech at
    length, saying:--

        “It is a strange delusion. It makes one wonder whether
        it is still possible that a republican legislator, now
        blinded by panic and perplexed by jealousy, should even
        yet recover his sense and temper, and see the case as
        others see it.… Instead of using his influence, as the
        friend of many Englishmen, to bring the two peoples to a
        clear understanding, and the calm temper which arises out
        of it, he has nourished and propagated a delusion, and
        has applied all his powers of influence and eloquence to
        raise and kindle the passions of his countrymen against a
        nation which, if not accustomed to flatter, is capable of
        a sound and durable friendship with a people exhibiting
        such qualities as the citizens of the Free States are
        manifesting now. The American people have nothing to fear
        from us, while they treat us justly. We believe that Mr.
        Sumner knows this as well as we do, however he may be for
        the hour beguiled into passion and error.”

    The _Scotsman_, of Edinburgh, said:--

        “The splendid oration which he delivered at New York
        on the 10th inst., though full of a strange injustice
        towards ourselves, ought not to lessen our love for the
        man, and will increase our admiration of the orator and
        philanthropist; but, if there was any idea that Mr. Sumner
        could reason clearly as well as feel rightly and speak
        eloquently, that idea will be dissipated. All the multitude
        of eloquent and burning words which he pours forth
        against Slavery will here find ready echo; and even when
        he enters on accusations against this country, as having
        ‘intermeddled on the side of Slavery,’ it will be felt
        that he speaks in the spirit, not of a mean and jealous
        enemy, but of a high-minded, though mistaken friend. But no
        non-American man can fail to perceive that there is a grand
        mistake lying at the root of all the complaints he makes
        against us: he would have Great Britain in her national
        capacity to deal with American affairs according to moral
        sentiments as distinguished from political rules, and he
        condemns her for doing what he did himself and is doing
        still.… He tries, indeed, to make a difference between the
        hypothetical Confederate States and all other Slave States,
        including the late United States. They will, he says, form
        a ‘_new_’ Slave Power. He forgets, that, though the Power
        may be new, the Slavery will be old.”

    The Manchester _Guardian_ said:--

        “We receive by the last steamer from New York the report
        of a speech recently delivered by a person of great
        consideration in the councils of the present Government
        at Washington, who maintains that the favor already given
        to the Confederacy by England deserves the execration of
        humanity, and supplies, if necessary, abundant cause for
        war. The speaker to whom we allude is Mr. Charles Sumner,
        the President of the Committee of the Senate on Foreign
        Affairs. He denounced, we are told, as ‘a betrayal of
        civilization,’ England’s recognition of the Confederate
        States as belligerents, and her proclamation of neutrality.
        _The absurd injustice of this often repeated complaint
        is sufficiently shown by the simple observation, that,
        in recognizing the belligerent rights of the South, we
        did exactly what the Federal Government itself did_,
        and has continued to do from the commencement of the
        war. We did, moreover, what no power could have avoided,
        without absolutely intending to take a direct part in
        the subjugation of the seceding States. But Mr. Sumner
        correctly appreciates the consequences of this course, as
        adopted by ourselves and France, in perceiving that it
        insured to the South the free exercise of all the power
        of making war from its own resources which an independent
        state could possess.”

    The _Economist_, of London, a weekly journal, in an article
    entitled “Mr. Sumner’s Speech at New York,” among many remarks
    of bad temper and doubtful candor, said:--

        “Mr. Charles Sumner has been delivering a speech before a
        crowded audience in New York which will cause much pain
        and disappointment to all friends and well-wishers of the
        Federal United States. It is weak in argument, unfair and
        unjust in its representations, and bitter in tone and
        temper. If men of Mr. Sumner’s education and position in
        America really believe the things they say and indulge
        the feelings to which they give utterance, it is clearly
        hopeless to attempt either to enlighten their understanding
        or to allay their irritation.…

        “Two other considerations will fully justify us in
        describing Mr. Sumner’s address as marked by the most
        distinctly unfair and unfriendly _animus_ toward this
        country. The first is, that he has carefully avoided doing
        the slightest justice to the strong Antislavery feeling
        which prevails among us, and even insinuates a disposition
        to favor the slave empire of the South.…

        “Finally, what construction is to be placed upon the
        remarkable circumstance, that, throughout his whole
        address, while endeavoring to rouse the wrath of his
        countrymen by a vicious enumeration of the supposed
        offences of Great Britain, he says not a word against
        France, which has participated in nearly all, and
        added others of her own? He charges us with hostile
        designs, because we recognized belligerent rights in the
        Confederates; but he utters no word of complaint against
        France, who recognized these at the same date and in the
        same terms.”

    Referring to Mr. Sumner’s speech, it will be seen how untrue is
    the statement that he said “not a word against France”; nor is
    it true that he was unjust to “the strong Antislavery feeling”
    which had done so much honor to English history, although
    he lamented that it was impotent to save England from fatal
    concession to Rebel Slavery.

       *       *       *       *       *

    There was a critical spirit in the provincial press. The
    Halifax _Reporter_, in Nova Scotia, said:--

        “Mr. Sumner, whose judgment is evidently warped by his
        abhorrence of Slavery, seems to expect that England
        should look upon the North as waging the war on behalf
        of human liberty. It is obvious he considers, that, in
        recognizing the Confederates as belligerents, her statesmen
        have exhibited a sympathy with slaveholders which is

        “Mr. Sumner is peculiarly wrathy that any portion of the
        British people should have been allowed to give aid and
        comfort to the Rebels by affording them supplies of various

    The _Globe_, at Toronto, said:--

        “He reviews the whole transactions between England and the
        United States since the commencement of the civil war with
        great warmth, beginning with the proclamation of neutrality
        and ending with Mr. Laird’s rams, and tortures every
        action of the British Government into a manifestation of
        unfriendliness towards the Republic. We expected from Mr.
        Sumner more enlightened consideration for the circumstances
        in which the English people have been placed, and some
        acknowledgment of the provocation they have received from
        this side of the Atlantic.…

        “There is only one excuse for Mr. Sumner. As an
        Abolitionist, he has been accustomed to look to England for
        sympathy and aid, and he is disappointed to find so many
        enemies where he supposed he would see none but friends.
        This feeling should not prevent him, however, from doing
        justice as a publicist, nor, as a statesman, from pursuing
        the course most wise and expedient at the moment.”

    In a different tone, the _Morning Star_, of London, the
    constant friend of the national cause, said:--

        “The Hon. Charles Sumner has not belied the confidence
        inspired by a long and illustrious career. He is as
        firmly as ever the friend of peace, and especially of
        peace between Great Britain and America. The eloquent
        voice which has so often employed the stores of a richly
        furnished mind in persuasives to international amity has
        not, as the telegrams suggested, been inflamed by the heat
        of domestic conflict to the diffusion of discord between
        kindred peoples. His speech at New York on the 10th of
        September is, indeed, heavy with charges against France and
        England. But it is an appeal for justice, not an incentive
        to strife. It is a complaint of hopes disappointed,
        of friendship withheld, of errors hastily adopted and
        obstinately maintained. It is, however, an argument which
        does honor even to those against whom it is urged, and
        which aims to establish future relations of the closest
        alliance. Senator Sumner’s chief reproach is this,--that
        we have acted unworthily of ourselves, unfaithfully to our
        deepest convictions and best memories.…

        “There runs through the whole of Mr. Sumner’s gigantic
        oration--far too long to have been spoken as printed,
        but yet without a word of superfluous argument or
        declamation--an idea on which we can now only touch. From
        the first sentence to the last, Slavery is present to
        his mind. It colors all his reasoning. It inspires him
        to prodigious eloquence. Not merely as the Senator for
        Massachusetts, the honored chieftain of the political
        Abolitionists, but as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign
        Relations, he sees everywhere the presence of the Slave
        Power. Against it he invokes, in periods of classic beauty
        and of fervid strength, all the moral forces of the mother
        country. To England he makes a passionate and pathetic
        appeal--more for her own sake than that of the slave, more
        for the sake of the future than of present effects--that
        she withdraw all favor and succor from Rebel slave-owners.”

    The _Northern Whig_, of Belfast, Ireland, noticed especially
    the statement on _ocean_ belligerence:--

        “One point, however, on which Mr. Sumner dwells, is of such
        urgent present importance as to make the reproduction of
        his remarks, at such length as our space allows, desirable.
        We refer to his criticism of the claims of the Confederates
        to belligerent rights _at sea_. Whether the ground which
        Mr. Sumner takes on this question be or be not tenable,
        whether the authorities and examples by which he supports
        it really make out his case, is a matter not to be decided
        summarily. His argument is, beyond dispute, a most masterly
        one, and deserves the careful attention of the English
        Government and its legal advisers, and will, no doubt,
        engage the ingenuity of writers upon International Law.”

    These expressions of opinion show something of the extent to
    which Mr. Sumner was sustained, and also the British criticism
    he encountered. To the latter must be added an unexpected

       *       *       *       *       *

    Earl Russell was on a visit to Scotland when Mr. Sumner’s
    speech arrived. Being entertained at a public dinner in the
    Town-Hall of Blairgowrie, September 26th, he took that occasion
    to review the questions of the war, and especially to answer
    Mr. Sumner, thus making a new precedent. It is not known that
    any European statesman ever before made a speech criticizing
    a speech in another country. The part relating to us was
    approached by the remark, “I am speaking of what has occurred
    in what a few years ago were the United States of America”;
    and then, towards the end, he says, “The people of what
    were the United States, whether they are called Federals or

    The following passages belong to this answer.

        “It was impossible to look on the uprising of a community
        of five million people as a mere petty insurrection
        [‘_Hear! hear!_’], or as not having the rights which at
        all times are given to those who, by their numbers and
        importance, or by the extent of the territory they possess,
        are entitled to these rights. [_Cheers._] Well, it was
        said we ought not to have done that, because they were a
        community of Slaveholders.

        “Gentlemen, I trust that our abhorrence of Slavery is not
        in the least abated or diminished. [_Loud and prolonged
        cheers._] For my own part, I consider it one of the most
        horrible crimes that yet disgrace humanity. [_Cheers._]
        But then, when we are treating of the relations which we
        bear to a community of men, I doubt whether it would be
        expedient or useful for humanity that we should introduce
        that new element of declaring that _we will have no
        relations with a people who permit Slavery to exist among
        them. We have never adopted it yet, we have not adopted it
        in the case of Spain or Brazil, and I do not believe that
        the cause of humanity would be served by our adoption of
        it._ [‘_Hear! hear!_’]

        “Well, then it was said that these Confederate States were
        Rebels,--Rebels against the Union. Perhaps, Gentlemen,
        I am not so nice as I ought to be on the subject. But
        I recollect that we rebelled against Charles the First
        [_a laugh_], we rebelled against James the Second, and
        the people of New England, not content with these two
        rebellions, rebelled against George the Third. [_‘Hear!’
        and laughter._] … But, certainly, if I look to the
        declarations of those New England orators,--and I have
        been reading lately, if not the whole, yet a very great
        part, of the very long speech by Mr. Sumner on the subject,
        delivered at New York,--I own, I cannot but wonder to see
        these men, the offspring, as it were, of three rebellions,
        as we are the offspring of two rebellions, really speaking,
        like the Czar of Russia, the Sultan of Turkey, or Louis
        the Fourteenth himself, of the dreadful crime and guilt of
        rebellion. [_Loud laughter and cheers._] …

        “I said, that in America, although there were some of the
        local courts which had not the authority of such men as
        Lord Stowell and Sir William Grant, yet there was a Court
        of Appeal, there was a Supreme Court, in the United States,
        which contained, and had for many years contained, men as
        learned and of as high reputation in the law and of as
        unsullied reputation for integrity as any that have sat in
        our English courts of justice, and that we ought to wait
        patiently for the decision of those tribunals. Now what
        is my surprise to find, and what would be your surprise
        to find, that Mr. Sumner is so prejudiced that he brings
        these declarations of mine against me, saying _that I have
        diminished the reputation of the American Courts_, and that
        I showed myself biased against the Federal States, by the
        declaration I then made in Parliament! [_A gentleman from
        the Southern States among the company here ejaculated, ‘He
        is not to be believed.’_]

        “I will not detain you further on these subjects; but
        one remark I must make on the general tendency of these
        speeches and writings in America. The Government of
        America discusses these matters very fairly with the
        English Government. Sometimes we think them quite in the
        wrong; sometimes they say we are quite in the wrong; but
        we discuss them fairly, and with regard to the Secretary
        of State I see no complaint to make. I think he weighs
        the disadvantages and difficulties of our situation in a
        very fair and equal balance. But there are others, and Mr.
        Sumner is one of them, his speech being an epitome almost
        of all that has been contained in the American press, by
        whom our conduct is very differently judged.”

    In defending the concession of belligerent rights to Rebel
    Slavery, Earl Russell forgot two things: first, that the
    Rebels, whatever their numbers, were without ports or Prize
    Courts, and therefore unable to administer justice on the
    ocean, which was essential to the protection of neutrals, and,
    in the nature of things, the condition precedent of any such
    concession; and, secondly, he forgot, that, whatever might be
    the traditional relations with existing nations “permitting
    Slavery to exist among them,” it was now proposed, for the
    first time in history, to recognize a rebel community seeking
    to found a new nation whose declared corner-stone was Slavery,
    which Mr. Sumner insisted was contrary to good morals and the
    Antislavery principles so constantly and loftily avowed by

    On another occasion Earl Russell seems to have laid down a
    rule requiring Prize Courts, as will be seen in Mr. Sumner’s
    speech.[172] He insisted that vessels seized should be tried in
    a Prize Court. If this rule is correct, how vindicate the award
    of belligerent rights to a community without Prize Courts?
    Another question may also be asked: If Slavery be, as Earl
    Russell declared, “one of the most horrible crimes that yet
    disgrace humanity,” how could England make any concession to
    Rebels whose single declared object of separate existence was
    this very crime?

    The answer to Mr. Sumner on Prize Courts will be appreciated
    after reading the report in the London _Times_, June 16,
    1863,[173] of what Earl Russell actually said in the House of

        “With regard to the decisions in Prize Courts, I must say I
        lament that the Constitution of the United States is such,
        that, instead of being brought at once before the Court of
        Admiralty, where generally you have a very eminent judge to
        preside, perfectly well acquainted with the Law of Nations,
        _such cases go in the first instance before the District
        Courts_, then, I think, before a Circuit Court, and it is
        only after a considerable delay that they come before the
        Supreme Court of the United States. I say this, because
        I believe we should all very much respect a decision of
        the Supreme Court of the United States, and it is to be
        lamented that there should be a considerable delay before
        the judgment of that tribunal can be obtained.”

    The compliment to the Supreme Court of the United States,
    which, like the House of Lords and the Privy Council, is not
    a court of original jurisdiction in prize cases, will hardly
    excuse the reflection upon the District Courts, which are the
    Admiralty Courts of the United States,--especially when it is
    considered that those at Boston and New York, where the prize
    cases chiefly occurred, were administered at the time by judges
    who would compare favorably with the contemporary judge of the
    English Admiralty. Judge Sprague, of Boston, and Judge Betts,
    of New York, were “very eminent” and “perfectly well acquainted
    with the Law of Nations,” although only judges of District

    The speech of Earl Russell was noticed by Mr. Adams, in a
    despatch to Mr. Seward, under date of October 1, 1863:--

        “The event of the week has been the speech of Earl Russell
        at Blairgowrie, evidently drawn forth by the report of Mr.
        Sumner’s address at New York.”[174]

    It was the subject of comment by the press of England and the
    United States. The sympathetic _Morning Star_ said:--

        “Mr. Sumner’s oration has had an unexpected effect. It
        has stirred the phlegmatic nature of Earl Russell. The
        Foreign Secretary has replied from his Scottish retreat to
        the complaints and reproaches of the New England Senator.
        Absurdly contemptuous in his personal allusions to the
        distinguished Senator, Lord Russell confesses the force of
        his accusations by taking the trouble to reply to them.…

        “It would also have been well, if our Foreign Secretary
        had included in his reply some notice of one of the
        most distinct and gravest of Mr. Sumner’s complaints.
        The defence of our recognition of the Confederates as
        belligerents is without novelty. It is a simple repetition
        of the old statement, that our naval commanders required to
        be instructed whether they should respect the new flag or
        treat it as that of a pirate. Lord Russell does not touch
        the objection raised by Mr. Sumner, that the Confederates
        had no ocean navy, and could provide one only from neutral
        ports. Neither does his Lordship explain why the resolution
        to recognize the Confederates as belligerents was taken in
        the absence from this country of a Federal minister.

        “But, notwithstanding these defects, Lord Russell’s speech
        at Blairgowrie is an immense advance upon his previous
        utterances on the American Question. It is evident that
        he begins to perceive the real issue of the conflict, and
        rightly estimates the direction of British sentiment.”

    The Boston _Traveller_ said:--

        “Earl Russell has fallen into several grave errors in the
        course of his remarks. He has utterly misconceived the
        whole temper of Mr. Sumner’s speech, when he says that ‘it
        weighs the difficulties of the English Government in an
        unequal balance,’ and that it is ‘an epitome of almost all
        that has been contained by the press of America’ on the
        subject of the ill-feeling against Great Britain and her
        neutrality, so generally prevalent among us. The feeling
        evoked by the belligerent articles of the New York _Herald_
        is one of far different character from that produced by Mr.
        Sumner’s remarks. Lord Russell charges him with injustice
        to the English people. Had he read the speech to which he
        professes to reply with more care, there would have been
        found no ground to sustain such a charge.”

    In France the speech of Mr. Sumner was published in an abridged
    form, under the following title:--

        “Les Relations Extérieures des États-Unis. Préface et
        Traduction abrégée par A. Malespine [of the _Opinion
        Nationale_]. Paris, 1863.” 31 pp. 8vo.

    The eminent historian, Henri Martin, writing in the _Siècle_ on
    American affairs, alluded to the speech.

        “We will not close these considerations without
        recommending to the readers of the _Siècle_ the eloquent
        appeal addressed to public opinion by one of the greatest
        citizens of the United States, Charles Sumner, Chairman
        of the Committee of Foreign Relations in the American
        Senate. The French translation of this discourse on the
        _Foreign Relations of the United States_ has just appeared.
        He treats here the question of foreign intervention in
        fact and in right, demonstrates in a victorious manner,
        according to our opinion, that the South had not the
        title to be admitted as a belligerent, and considers
        it impossible that France and England can recognize a
        political society founded on Slavery. We think to-day the
        cause gained. Neither the sons of ’89 nor the country of
        Wilberforce will have this stain on their history.”

    These various testimonies at home and abroad, where criticism
    is not wanting, show that Mr. Sumner did not speak in vain.
    Evidently he obtained a hearing for the national cause.



    This argument was prepared as a speech on the resolutions of
    February 11, 1862, entitled “State Rebellion State Suicide,
    Emancipation and Reconstruction”; but the tardy success of
    our arms and the press of business caused its postponement,
    until, during the recess of Congress, it was thought best to
    print it as an article in the _Atlantic Monthly_. It was much
    discussed. Hon. Montgomery Blair, at the time a member of
    the Cabinet, in a speech at Rockville, Maryland, October 3d,
    replied to it at length, insisting that it was “the keynote of
    the revolution,”--“the programme of the movement,”--presenting
    “the issue on which the Abolition party has resolved to rest
    its hopes of setting up its domination in this country”; and
    in opposition to this “programme” he placed “that which is
    presented by President Lincoln,” alleging that Mr. Sumner had
    directly arrayed himself against the President on a question
    of fundamental policy in the conduct of the war. The _National
    Intelligencer_, at Washington, in an elaborate leader,
    sustained the position of Mr. Blair.

    From this time forward, the discussion proceeded in the press,
    in public meetings, and in Congress, followed by the measures
    of Reconstruction, including especially the requirement by
    Congress of the colored suffrage in the reorganization of
    the Rebels and in their new Constitutions,[175] all of which
    assumed the power of Congress.

At this moment our domestic relations all hinge upon one question,--How
to treat the Rebel States. No patriot citizen doubts the triumph of
our arms in the suppression of the Rebellion. Early or late triumph
is inevitable,--perhaps by sudden collapse of the bloody imposture, or
perhaps by slower and more gradual surrender. For ourselves, we are
prepared for either alternative, and shall not be disappointed, if
constrained to wait yet a little longer; but when the day of triumph
comes, political duties will take the place of military. The victory
won by our soldiers must be assured by wise counsels, so that its
hard-earned fruits shall not be lost.

The relations of the States to the National Government must be
carefully considered,--not too boldly, not too timidly,--that we may
understand in what way or by what process _the transition from Rebel
forms may be most surely accomplished_. If I do not greatly err, it
will be found that the powers of Congress, thus far so effective
in raising armies and supplying moneys, will be important, if not
essential, in fixing the conditions of perpetual peace. But there is
one point on which there can be no question. The dogma and delusion of
State Rights, as mischievously interpreted, which did so much for the
Rebellion, must not be allowed to neutralize all that our arms have

Already, in a remarkable instance, the President has treated the
pretension of State Rights with proper indifference. Quietly and
without much discussion, he has constituted military governments in
the Rebel States, with governors nominated by himself: all of which
testifies against the old delusion. Strange will it be, if this
extraordinary power, amply conceded to the President, is denied to
Congress. Practically, the whole question is opened here. Therefore to
this aspect of it I ask your first attention.

Already four military governors have been appointed: one for Tennessee,
one for South Carolina, one for North Carolina, and the other for
Louisiana. So far as known, the appointment of each was by simple
letter from the Secretary of War. But if this can be done in four
States, where is the limit? It may be done in every Rebel State; and
if not in every other State of the Union, it will be simply because
the existence of a valid State government excludes the exercise of
this extraordinary power. Assuming, that, as our arms prevail, it will
be done in every Rebel State, we shall then have _eleven_ military
governors, all deriving authority from one source, ruling a population
amounting to upwards of nine millions. And this imperatorial dominion,
indefinite in extent, will also be indefinite in duration; for, if,
under the Constitution and laws, it be proper to constitute such
governors, it is clear that they may be continued without regard to
time,--for years, if you please, as well as for weeks; and the whole
region they are called to sway will be a military empire, with all
powers, executive, legislative, and even judicial, derived from one
man in Washington. Talk of “the one-man power!” Here it is with a
vengeance. Talk of military rule! Here it is, in the name of a republic.

The bare statement of this case may put us on our guard. We may well
hesitate to organize a single State under military government, when we
see where such step leads. If you approve one, you must approve eleven,
and the National Government may crystallize into military despotism.

In appointing military governors of States, we follow an approved
example in certain cases beyond the jurisdiction of the National
Constitution,--as in California and Mexico, after their conquest, and
before peace. It is evident that in these cases there was no constraint
from the Constitution, and we were perfectly free to act according to
the assumed exigency. It may be proper to set up military governors for
a conquered country beyond our civil jurisdiction, and yet it may be
questionable if we should undertake to set up such governors in States
that we all claim to be within our civil jurisdiction. At all events,
the two cases are different, so that it is not easy to argue from one
to the other.

In Jefferson’s Inaugural Address, where he develops what he calls “the
essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which
ought to shape its administration,” he mentions “_the supremacy of
the civil over the military authority_” as one of these “essential
principles,” and then says:--

    “These should be the creed of our political faith, the text of
    civil instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services
    of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments
    of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps, and
    to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and

Undertaking to create military governors of States, we reverse the
policy of the Republic, as solemnly declared by Jefferson, and subject
the civil to the military authority. If this has been done in patriotic
ardor, without due consideration, in a moment of error or alarm, it
only remains, that, according to Jefferson, we should “hasten to
retrace our steps, and to regain the road which alone leads to peace,
liberty, and safety.”

There is nothing new under the sun, and the military governors we are
beginning to appoint find a prototype in the Protectorate of Oliver
Cromwell. After the execution of the King and the establishment of
the Commonwealth, the Protector conceived the idea of parcelling the
kingdom into military districts, of which there were _eleven_, being
precisely the number now proposed, under favor of success, among us. Of
this system a great authority, Mr. Hallam, speaks thus:--

    “To govern according to law may sometimes be an usurper’s wish,
    but can seldom be in his power. The Protector abandoned all
    thought of it. Dividing the kingdom into districts, he placed
    at the head of each a major-general, as _a sort of military
    magistrate_, responsible for the subjection of his prefecture.
    These were _eleven in number_, men bitterly hostile to the
    royalist party, and insolent towards all civil authority.”[177]

Carlyle, in his Life of Cromwell, gives a glimpse of this military

    “The beginning of a universal scheme of Major-Generals, the
    Lord Protector and his Council of State having well considered
    and found it the feasiblest,--‘if not _good_, yet best.’ …
    ‘It is an arbitrary government,’ murmur many. Yes, arbitrary,
    but beneficial. _These are powers unknown to the English
    Constitution, I believe; but they are very necessary for the
    Puritan English nation at this time._”[178]

Perhaps no better words could be found in explanation of the
Cromwellian policy adopted by our President.

A contemporary republican, Lieutenant-General Ludlow, whose “Memoirs”
add to the authentic history of those interesting times, characterizes
these military magistrates as so many “bashaws.” Here are some of his

    “The major-generals carried things with unheard-of insolence
    in their several precincts, decimating to extremity whom they
    pleased, and interrupting the proceedings at law upon petitions
    of those who pretended themselves aggrieved; _threatening such
    as would not yield a ready submission to their orders with
    transportation to Jamaica, or some other plantations in the
    West Indies_.”[179]

Again, says the same contemporary writer,--

    “There were sometimes bitter reflections cast upon the
    proceedings of the major-generals by the lawyers and country
    gentlemen, who accused them to have done many things oppressive
    to the people, in interrupting the course of the law, _and
    threatening such as would not submit to their arbitrary orders
    with transportation beyond the seas_.”[180]

At last, even Cromwell, at the height of his power, found it necessary
to abandon the policy of military governors. He authorized his
son-in-law, Mr. Claypole, to announce in Parliament, “that he had
formerly thought it necessary, in respect to the condition in which
the nation had been, that the major-generals should be intrusted with
the authority which they had exercised; but, in the present state of
affairs, he conceived it inconsistent with the laws of England and
liberties of the people to continue their power any longer.”[181]

The conduct of at least one of our military magistrates seems to have
been a counterpart to that of these “bashaws” of Cromwell; and there
is no argument against that early military despotism which may not be
urged against any attempt to revive it in our day. Some of the acts of
Governor Stanly in North Carolina are in themselves an argument against
the whole system.

It is clear that these military magistrates are without direct
sanction in the Constitution or existing laws. They are not even
“major-generals,” or other military officers, charged with the duty
of enforcing martial law, but special creations of the Secretary of
War, acting under the President, and charged with universal powers.
As governors within the limits of a State, they obviously assume the
extinction of the old State governments for which they are substituted,
and the President, in appointing them, assumes a power over these
States kindred to his acknowledged power over Territories of the Union;
but, in appointing governors for Territories, he acts in pursuance of
the Constitution and laws, by and with the advice and consent of the

That the President should assume the vacation of the State governments
is of itself no argument against the creation of military governors,
for it is simply the assumption of an unquestionable fact; but if it
be true that the State governments have ceased to exist, then the
way is prepared for the establishment of provisional governments by
Congress. In short, if a new government is to be supplied, it should be
by Congress rather than by the President, and it should be according
to established law rather than according to the mere will of any
functionary, to the end that ours may be “a government of laws, and not
of men.”

There is no argument for military governors which is not equally
strong for Congressional governments, while the latter have in their
favor two controlling considerations: first, that they proceed from
the civil rather than the military power; and, secondly, that they
are created by law. Therefore, in considering whether Congressional
governments should be constituted, I begin by assuming everything in
their favor that is already accorded to the other system. I should not
do this, if the system of military dictators were not now recognized;
so that the question is sharply presented, which of the two to choose.
Even if provisional governments by Congress are unconstitutional, it
does not follow that military governments, without the sanction of
Congress, can be constitutional. But, on the other hand, I cannot
doubt, that, if military governments are constitutional, then surely
the provisional governments by Congress must be so also. In truth,
there can be no opening for military governments which is not also an
opening for Congressional governments, with this great advantage for
the latter, that they are in harmony with our institutions, which favor
the civil rather than the military power.

Thus declaring deliberate preference for Congressional governments, I
am sustained by obvious reason. But there is positive authority on this
identical question. I refer to the recorded opinion of Chancellor Kent.

     “Though the Constitution vests the executive power in
    the President, and declares him to be commander-in-chief
    of the army and navy of the United States, _these powers
    must necessarily be subordinate to the legislative power in
    Congress_. It would appear to me to be the policy or true
    construction of this simple and general grant of executive
    power to the President, not to suffer it to interfere with
    those specific powers of Congress which are more safely
    deposited in the legislative department, and that _the powers
    thus assumed by the President do not belong to him, but to

Such is the weighty testimony of this esteemed master on the assumption
of power by the President, in 1847, over Mexican ports in our
possession. It is found in the latest edition of his “Commentaries”
that enjoyed the supervision of the author. Of course, it is equally
applicable to the recent assumptions within our own territory. His
judgment is clear in favor of Congressional governments.

In ordinary times, and under ordinary circumstances, neither system of
government would be valid. A State in the full enjoyment of its rights
would spurn a military governor or a Congressional governor. It would
insist that its governor should be neither military nor Congressional,
but such as its own people chose to elect; and nobody would question
this right. The President does not think of sending a military governor
to New York; nor does Congress think of establishing a provisional
government in that State. It is only with regard to the Rebel States
that this question arises. The occasion, then, for the exercise of
this extraordinary power is found in the Rebellion. Without the
Rebellion there would be no talk of any governor, whether military or

       *       *       *       *       *

Here it becomes important to consider the operation of the Rebellion
in opening the way to this question. To this end we must understand
the relations between the States and the National Government, under
the Constitution of the United States. As I approach this question
of singular delicacy, let me say on the threshold, that for all those
rights of the States which are consistent with the peace, security, and
permanence of the Union, according to the objects grandly announced in
the Preamble of the Constitution, I am the strenuous advocate at all
times and places. Never, through any word or act of mine, shall those
rights be impaired; nor shall any of those other rights be called in
question by which the States are held in harmonious relations as well
with each other as with the Union. But, while thus strenuous for all
that justly belongs to the States, I cannot concede to them immunities
inconsistent with that Constitution which is the supreme law of the
land; nor can I admit the impeccability of a State.

From a period even anterior to the National Constitution, there has
been a perverse pretension of State Rights, which has perpetually
interfered with the unity of our Government. Throughout the Revolution
this pretension was a check upon the powers of Congress, whether in
respect to armies or finances, so that it was too often constrained to
content itself with the language of advice or persuasion rather than of
command. By the Declaration of Independence it was solemnly declared
that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and
independent _States_” and that, as such, “they have full power to levy
war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do
all other acts and things which independent _States_ may of right do.”
Thus, by this original charter, the early Colonies were changed into
independent States, under whose protection the liberties of the country
were placed.

Early steps were taken to supply the deficiencies of this government,
which was effective only through the generous patriotism of the
people. In July, 1778, two years after the Declaration, Articles of
Confederation were ratified by nine States, but the assent of all was
not obtained till March, 1781. The character of this new government,
which assumed the style of “The United States of America,” appears
in the title of these Articles, which was as follows: “Articles
of Confederation and Perpetual Union _between the States_ of New
Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations,
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.” By the second
article it was declared that “_each State retains its sovereignty_,
freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right
which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United
States in Congress assembled.” By the third article it was further
declared that “the said _States_ hereby severally enter into _a firm
league_ of friendship with each other, for their common defence, the
security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare.” By
another article, a “committee of the _States_, or any nine of them,”
was authorized, in the recess, to execute the powers of Congress. The
government thus constituted was a compact between _sovereign States_,
or, according to its precise language, “a firm league of friendship”
between these _States_, administered, in the recess of Congress, by a
“committee of _the States_.” Thus did State Rights triumph.

But the imbecility of the Confederation, from this pretension, soon
became apparent. As early as December, 1782, a committee of Congress
made an elaborate report on the refusal of Rhode Island, one of the
States, to confer certain powers on Congress with regard to revenue
and commerce. In April, 1783, an Address of Congress to _the States_
was put forth, appealing to their justice and plighted faith, and
representing the consequence of failure on their part to sustain the
Government and provide for its wants. In April, 1784, a similar appeal
was made to what were called “the several States,” whose Legislatures
were recommended to vest “the United States in Congress assembled”
with certain powers. In July, 1785, a committee of Congress made
another elaborate report on the reason why the States should confer
upon Congress powers therein enumerated, in the course of which it
was urged, that, “unless _the States_ act together, there is no plan
of policy into which they can separately enter which they will not be
separately interested to defeat, and of course all their measures must
prove vain and abortive.” In February and March, 1786, there were three
other reports of committees of Congress, exhibiting the failure of _the
States_ to comply with the requisitions of Congress, and the necessity
for a complete accession of _all the States_ to the revenue system. In
October, 1786, there was still another report, most earnestly renewing
the former appeals to _the States_. Nothing could be more urgent.

As early as July, 1782, even before the first report to Congress,
resolutions were adopted by the State of New York, declaring “that the
situation of _these States_ is in a peculiar manner critical,” and
that “the radical source of most of our embarrassments is _the want
of sufficient power in Congress_ to effectuate that ready and perfect
coöperation of _the different States_ on which their immediate safety
and future happiness depend.”[183] Finally, in September, 1786, at
Annapolis, commissioners from several States, after declaring “the
situation of the United States delicate and critical, calling for an
exertion of the united virtue and wisdom of all the members of the
Confederacy,” recommended the meeting of a Convention “to devise such
further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the
Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of
the Union.” In accord with this recommendation, the Congress of the
Confederation proposed a Convention “for the sole and express purpose
of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress
and the several Legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as
shall, when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the States, render
the Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and
the preservation of the Union.”

In pursuance of the call, delegates to the proposed Convention
were duly appointed by the Legislatures of the several States, and
the Convention assembled at Philadelphia in May, 1787. The present
Constitution was the well-ripened fruit of their deliberations. In
transmitting it to Congress, General Washington, who was the President
of the Convention, in a letter, bearing date September 17, 1787, uses
this instructive language:--

     “It is obviously impracticable, in the Federal Government of
    _these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty
    to each_, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all.
    Individuals entering into society must give up a share of
    liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice
    must depend as well on situation and circumstance as on the
    object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw
    with precision the line between those rights which must be
    surrendered and those which may be reserved; and on the present
    occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference _among
    the several States_ as to their situation, extent, habits,
    and particular interests. In all our deliberations on this
    subject, we kept steadily in our view that which appears to us
    the greatest interest of every true American, THE CONSOLIDATION
    OF OUR UNION, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity,
    safety, perhaps our national existence.”

These famous words were in harmony with the constant sentiments of
Washington. Here is additional evidence, from a letter to John Jay,
during the summer of 1786:--

    “We have errors to correct. We have probably had too good
    an opinion of human nature, in forming our Confederation.
    Experience has taught us that men will not adopt and carry
    into execution measures the best calculated for their own
    good, _without the intervention of a coercive power_. I do not
    conceive we can exist long as a nation without having lodged
    somewhere a power which will pervade the whole Union _in as
    energetic a manner as the authority of the State governments
    extends over the several States_.”

These are the words of Washington; and he then proceeds:--

    “To be fearful of investing Congress, constituted as that body
    is, with ample authorities for national purposes, appears to me
    the very climax of popular absurdity and madness.”[184]

The Constitution was duly transmitted by Congress to the several
Legislatures, by which it was submitted to Conventions of delegates
“chosen in each State by the people thereof,” who ratified the same.
Afterwards, Congress, by resolution, dated September 13, 1788, setting
forth that the Convention had reported “a Constitution _for the people
of the United States_,” which had been duly ratified, proceeded to
authorize the necessary elections under the new government.

The Constitution, it will be seen, was framed to remove difficulties
arising from State Rights. So paramount was this purpose, that,
according to the letter of Washington, it was kept steadily in view
in all the deliberations of the Convention, which did not hesitate
to declare _the consolidation of our Union_ essential to prosperity,
felicity, safety, and perhaps national existence.

The unity of the Government was expressed in the term “Constitution,”
instead of “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the
States,” and in the idea of “a more perfect union,” instead of “a
firm league of friendship.” It was also announced emphatically in the

    “_We, the people of the United States, in order to form a
    more perfect union_, establish justice, insure domestic
    tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the
    general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to
    ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this
    Constitution for the United States of America.”

Not “we, the States,” but “we, the people of the United States.” Such
is the beginning and origin of our Constitution. Here is no compact or
league between States, involving the recognition of State Rights, but a
government ordained and established by the people of the United States
for themselves and their posterity. This government is not established
_by the States_, nor is it established _for the States_; but it is
established _by the people_, for themselves and their posterity. It is
true, that, in the organization of the government, the existence of
the States is recognized, and the original name of “United States” is
preserved; but the sovereignty of the States is absorbed in that more
perfect union which was then established. There is but one sovereignty
recognized, and this is the sovereignty of the United States. To the
several States is left that specific local control which is essential
to the convenience and business of life, while to the United States,
as Plural Unit, is allotted that commanding sovereignty which embraces
and holds the whole country within its perpetual and irreversible

This obvious character of the Constitution did not pass unobserved at
the time of its adoption. Indeed, the Constitution was most strenuously
opposed on the ground that the States were absorbed in the Nation. In
the debates of the Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry protested against
consolidated power.

    “And here I would make this inquiry of those worthy characters
    who composed a part of the late Federal Convention. I am sure
    they were fully impressed with the necessity of forming a great
    consolidated Government, instead of a Confederation. _That
    this is a consolidated Government is demonstrable clear_; and
    the danger of such a Government is to my mind very striking.
    I have the highest veneration for those gentlemen; but, Sir,
    give me leave to demand, What right had they to say, ‘_We, the
    people_’?… Who authorized them to speak the language of ‘_We,
    the people_,’ instead of ‘_We, the States_’?”[185]

And again, at another stage of the debate, the same patriotic opponent
of the Constitution declared succinctly,--

    “The question turns, Sir, on that poor little thing, the
    expression, ‘We, _the people_,’ instead of _the States_, of

In the same Convention, another patriotic opponent of the Constitution,
George Mason, following Patrick Henry, said:--

    “Whether the Constitution be good or bad, the present clause
    clearly discovers that it is a National Government, and no
    longer a Confederation.”[187]

But against all this opposition, and in face of this exposure, the
Constitution was adopted, in the name of the people of the United
States. Much, indeed, was left to the States; but it was no longer
in their name that the government was organized, while the miserable
pretension of State “sovereignty” was discarded. Even in the
discussions of the National Convention Mr. Madison spoke thus plainly:--

    “Some contend that States are _sovereign_, when, in fact, they
    are only political societies. The States never possessed the
    essential rights of sovereignty. These were always vested in

Grave words, especially when we consider the position of their author.
They were substantially echoed by Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts,
afterwards Vice-President, who said:--

    “It appears to me that the States never were independent. They
    had only corporate rights.”[189]

On another occasion, Mr. Madison said,--

    “I hold it for a fundamental point, that an individual
    independence of the States is utterly irreconcilable with the
    idea of an aggregate sovereignty.”[190]

Better words still fell from Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania, known
afterwards as a learned judge of the Supreme Court, and also for his
“Lectures on Law”:--

    “Will a regard to State Rights justify the sacrifice of the
    rights of men? If we proceed on any other foundation than the
    last, our building will neither be solid nor lasting.”[191]

The argument was unanswerable then. It is unanswerable now. You cannot
elevate the sovereignty of the States over the Constitution of the
United States. It would be even more odious than the early pretension
of sovereign power over Magna Charta, according to the memorable words
of Lord Coke, as recorded by Rushworth:--

    “Sovereign power is no Parliamentary word. In my opinion,
    it weakens Magna Charta and all our statutes; for they are
    absolute, without any saving of sovereign power; and shall
    we now add it, we shall weaken the foundation of law, and
    then the building must needs fall. Take we heed what we yield
    unto. _Magna Charta is such a fellow that he will have no

But the Constitution is our Magna Charta, which can bear no sovereign
but itself, as you will see at once, if you consider its character. And
this practical truth was recognized at its formation, as may be seen in
the writings of our Rushworth: I refer to Nathan Dane, who was a member
of Congress under the Confederation. He tells us plainly, that the
terms “sovereign States,” “State sovereignty,” “State rights,” “rights
of States,” are “not constitutional expressions.”[193]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the exercise of its sovereignty, Congress is intrusted with large
and peculiar powers. Take notice of them, and you will see how little
of “sovereignty” is left to the States. Their simple enumeration is
an argument against this pretension. Congress may “lay and collect
taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and _provide for
the common defence and general welfare of the United States_”; it may
“borrow money on the credit of the United States”; “regulate commerce
with foreign nations, and _among the several States_, and with the
Indian tribes”; “establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and
uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies, _throughout the United
States_”; “coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign
coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures”; “provide for the
punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the
United States”; “establish post-offices and post-roads”; “promote the
progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to
authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings
and discoveries”; “constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme
Court”; “define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high
seas, and offences against the Law of Nations”; “declare war, grant
letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on
land and water”; “raise and support armies”; “provide and maintain a
navy”; “make rules for the government and regulation of the land and
naval forces”; “provide for calling forth the militia to execute _the
laws of the Union_, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions”;
“provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for
governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the
United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment
of the officers, and the authority of training the militia _according
to the discipline prescribed by Congress_”; “exercise exclusive
legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over the seat of the government
of the United States, and like authority over all places purchased by
the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be,
for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other
needful buildings”; and “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.”

Such are the ample and diversified powers of Congress, embracing all
those agencies which enter into sovereignty. With this concession to
the United States, there seems to be little for the several States. In
the power to “declare war” and to “raise and support armies” Congress
possesses an exclusive power, in itself immense and infinite, over
persons and property in the several States, while, by the power to
“regulate commerce,” it may put limits round about the business of the
several States; and even in the case of the militia, which is the
original military organization of the people, nothing is left to the
States except “the appointment of the officers,” and the authority to
train it “according to the discipline _prescribed by Congress_.” Thus
these great functions are all intrusted to the United States, while the
several States are subordinated to their exercise.

Constantly, and in everything, we behold the constitutional
subordination of the States. But there are other provisions by which
the States are expressly deprived of important powers. For instance:
“No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation;
coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver
coin a tender in payment of debts.” Or, if the States may exercise
certain powers, it is only with the consent of Congress. For instance:
“No State shall, _without the consent of Congress_, lay any duty of
tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any
agreement or compact with another State or with a foreign power.” Here
is a magistral power accorded to Congress utterly inconsistent with
the pretensions of State Rights. Then again: “No State shall, _without
the consent of the Congress_, lay any imposts or duties on imports or
exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its
inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts laid by
any State on imports or exports shall be for the use of the treasury of
the United States; _and all such laws shall be subject to the revision
and control of the Congress_.” Here, again, is a similar magistral
power accorded to Congress; and as if still further to deprive the
States of their much vaunted sovereignty, the laws which they make with
the consent of Congress are expressly declared to be subject “to the
revision and control of the Congress.” There is still another instance.
According to the Constitution, “Full faith and credit shall be given
in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of
every other State”; but here mark the controlling power of Congress,
which is authorized to “prescribe the manner in which such acts,
records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”

There are five other provisions of the Constitution by which its
supremacy is positively established. (1.) “The citizens of each State
shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the
several States.” As Congress has the exclusive power to establish “an
uniform rule of naturalization,” it may, under these words of the
Constitution, secure for its newly entitled citizens “all privileges
and immunities of citizens in the several States,” in defiance of
State Rights. (2.) “New States may be admitted _by the Congress_
into this Union.” According to these words, the States cannot even
determine their associates, but are dependent in this respect upon the
will of Congress. (3.) Not content with taking from the States these
important functions of sovereignty, it is solemnly declared that the
Constitution, and the laws of the United States made in pursuance
thereof, and all treaties under the authority of the United States,
“SHALL BE THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND,--_anything in the Constitution
or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding_.” Thus are
State Rights again subordinated to the National Constitution, which
is erected into the paramount authority. (4.) This is done again by
another provision, which declares that “_the members of the several
State Legislatures_, and all executive and judicial officers both of
the United States and of _the several States_, shall be bound by oath
or affirmation to support this Constitution”; so that not only State
laws are subordinated to the National Constitution, but the makers of
State laws and all other State officers are constrained to declare
allegiance to this Constitution, thus placing the State, alike through
its acts and its agents, in complete subordination to the sovereignty
of the United States. (5.) This sovereignty is further proclaimed
in the solemn injunction, that “the United States shall guaranty to
every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall
protect each of them against invasion.” Here are duties of guaranty and
protection imposed upon the United States, by which their position is
fixed as the supreme power. There can be no such guaranty without the
implied right to examine and consider the governments of the several
States, and there can be no such protection without a similar right to
examine and consider the condition of the several States, subjecting
them to the rightful supervision and superintendence of the National

Thus, whether we regard the large powers vested in Congress, the
powers denied to the States absolutely, the powers denied to the
States without the consent of Congress, or those other provisions
which accord supremacy to the United States, we find the pretension of
State sovereignty without foundation, except in the imagination of its
partisans. Before the Constitution such sovereignty may have existed;
it was declared in the Articles of Confederation; but since then it
has ceased. It has disappeared and been lost in the supremacy of the
National Government, so that it can no longer be recognized. Perverse
men, insisting that it still existed, and weak men, mistaking the
shadow of former power for the reality, have made arrogant claims in
its behalf. When the Constitution was proclaimed, and George Washington
took his oath to support it as President, our career as a nation began,
with all the unity of a nation. The States remained as living parts of
the body, important to the national strength, and essential to those
currents which maintain national life, but plainly subordinate to the
United States, which then and there stood forth a nation, one and

       *       *       *       *       *

The new Government had hardly been inaugurated before it was disturbed
by the pestilent pretension of State Rights, which has never ceased to
disturb it since. Discontent with the treaty between the United States
and Great Britain, negotiated by that purest patriot, John Jay, under
instructions from Washington, in 1794, led Virginia, even at that
early day, to commence an opposition to its ratification, _in the name
of State Rights_. Shortly afterwards appeared the famous resolutions
of Virginia and of Kentucky, usually known as the “Resolutions of
’98,” declaring that the National Government was founded on compact
between the States, and claiming for the States the right to sit
in judgment on the National Government, and to interpose, if they
thought fit: all this, as you will see, _in the name of State Rights_.
This pretension increased, till, at last, on the mild proposition to
attach a prospective prohibition of Slavery as a condition to the
admission of Missouri into the Union as a new State, the opposition
raged furiously, even to the extent of menacing the existence of the
Union; and this, too, was done _in the name of State Rights_. Ten
years later the pretension took the famous form of Nullification,
insisting that the National Government was only a compact of States,
any one of which was free to annul an Act of Congress at its own
pleasure; and all this _in the name of State Rights_. For a succession
of years afterwards,--at the presentation of petitions against Slavery,
petitions for the recognition of Hayti, at the question of Texas, at
the Wilmot Proviso, at the admission of California as a Free State, at
the discussion of the Compromises of 1850, at the Kansas Question,--the
Union was menaced; and always _in the name of State Rights_. The
menace was constant; and it sometimes showed itself on small as well
as great occasions, but always _in the name of State Rights_. When it
was supposed that Fremont was about to be chosen President the menace
became louder, and mingling with it was the hoarse mutter of war; and
all this audacity was _in the name of State Rights_.

But in the autumn of 1860, on the election of Abraham Lincoln, the
case became much worse. Scarcely was the result known by telegraph,
before the country was startled by other intelligence, to the effect
that certain States at the South were about to put in execution the
long pending threat of Secession, of course _in the name of State
Rights_. First came South Carolina, which, by Ordinance adopted in a
State Convention, undertook to repeal the original Act by which the
Constitution was adopted in this State, and to declare that South
Carolina had ceased to be one of the States of the Union. At the
same time a Declaration of Independence was put forth by the State,
which proceeded to organize as an independent community. This example
was followed successively by other States, which, by formal Acts of
Secession, undertook to dissolve relations with the Union, always,
be it understood, _in the name of State Rights_. A new Confederation
was formed by these States, with a new Constitution, and Jefferson
Davis at its head; and the same oaths of loyalty by which the local
functionaries of all these States had been bound to the Union were now
transferred to this new Confederation, of course in utter violation
of the Constitution of the United States, but always _in the name of
State Rights_. The Ordinances of Secession were next maintained by
war, which, beginning with the assault upon Fort Sumter, convulsed the
whole country, till, at last, all the States of the new Confederation
were in open rebellion, which the Government of the United States is
now exerting its energies, mustering its forces, and taxing its people
to suppress. The original claim, _in the name of State Rights_, has
swollen to all the proportions of an unparalleled war, which, _in the
name of State Rights_, now menaces the national life.

The pretensions in the name of State Rights are not all told. While
the Ordinances of Secession were maturing, and before they were
yet consummated, Mr. Buchanan, who was then President, declined to
interfere, on the ground that what had been done was by States, and
that it was contrary to the theory of our Government “to coerce a
State,” thus making the pretension of State Rights the apology for
imbecility. Had the President then interfered promptly and loyally,
it cannot be doubted that this whole intolerable crime might have
been trampled out forever. And now, when it is proposed that Congress
shall organize governments in these States, which are absolutely
without loyal governments, we are met by the objection founded on State
Rights. The same disastrous voice which from the beginning of our
history has sounded in our ears still makes itself heard; but, alas!
it is now on the lips of friends. Just in proportion as it prevails,
it is impossible to establish the Constitution again throughout the
Rebel States. State Rights are fully triumphant, if, first, in their
name Rebel governments can be organized, and then again in their name
Congressional governments to replace the Rebel governments can be
resisted. If they can be employed, first to sever the States from the
Union, and then to prevent the Union from extending its power over
them, State Rights are at once sword and buckler to the Rebellion. It
was through the imbecility of Mr. Buchanan that the States were allowed
to use the sword: God forbid that now, through any similar imbecility
of Congress, they shall be allowed to use the buckler!

       *       *       *       *       *

And here we are brought to the practical question destined to occupy
so much of public attention. It is proposed to bring the action of
Congress to bear directly upon the Rebel States. This may be by the
establishment of provisional governments under authority of Congress,
or simply by making the admission or recognition of the States depend
upon the action of Congress. The essential feature of the proposition
is, _that Congress shall assume jurisdiction of the Rebel States_. A
bill authorizing provisional governments in these States was introduced
into the Senate by Mr. Harris, of the State of New York, and was
afterwards reported from the Judiciary Committee of that body; but
it was left with unfinished business, when the late Congress expired
on the fourth of March. The opposition to this proposition, so far
as I understand it, assumes two forms: first, that these States are
always to be regarded as States, with much vaunted State Rights, and
therefore cannot be governed by Congress; and, secondly, that, if any
government is to be established over them, it must be simply a military
government, with a military governor appointed by the President, as
is the case with Tennessee and North Carolina. But State Rights are
as much disturbed by a military government as by a Congressional
government. The local government is as much set aside in one case as
in the other. If the President, within State limits, can proceed to
organize a military government to exercise all the powers of the State,
surely Congress can proceed to organize a civil government within the
same limits for the same purpose; nor can any pretension of State
Rights be effective against Congress more than against President.
Indeed, the power belongs to Congress by a higher title than it belongs
to President: first, because a civil government is more in harmony with
our institutions, and, wherever possible, is required; and, secondly,
because there are provisions of the Constitution under which this power
is clearly derived.

Assuming, then, that the pretension of State Rights is as valid
against one form of government as against the other, and still further
assuming, that, in the case of military governments, this pretension
is practically overruled by the President at least, we are brought
again to consider its efficacy when advanced against Congressional

It is argued, that the Acts of Secession are all inoperative and void,
and therefore the States continue precisely as before, with their local
constitutions, laws, and institutions in the hands of traitors, but
totally unchanged, and ready to be quickened into life by returning
loyalty. Such, I believe, is a candid statement of the pretension for
State Rights against Congressional governments, which, it is argued,
cannot be substituted for the State governments.

To prove that the Rebel States continue precisely as before, we are
reminded that Andrew Johnson continued to occupy his seat in the
Senate after Tennessee had adopted its Act of Secession and embarked
in rebellion, and that his presence testified to the fact that rebel
Tennessee was still a State of the Union. No such conclusion is
authorized by this incident. There are two principles of Parliamentary
Law long ago fixed: first, that the power once conferred by an election
to Parliament is _irrevocable_, so that it is not affected by any
subsequent change in the constituency; and, secondly, that a member,
when once chosen, is _a member for the whole kingdom_, becoming
thereby, according to the words of an early author, not merely knight,
citizen, or burgess of the county, city, or borough which elected
him, but knight, citizen, or burgess of England.[194] If these two
principles are not entirely inapplicable to our political system, then
the seat of Andrew Johnson was not in any respect affected by the
subsequent madness of his State, nor can the legality of his seat be
any argument for his State.

We are also reminded, that, during the last session of Congress, two
Senators from Virginia represented that State in the Senate, and
the argument is pressed that no such representation would be valid,
if the State government of Virginia was vacated. This is a mistake.
Two things are established by the presence of these Senators in the
National Senate: first, that the old State government of Virginia is
extinct; and, secondly, that a new government has been set up in its
place. It was my fortune to hear one of these Senators, while earnestly
denouncing the idea that a State government could disappear. I could
not but think that he strangely forgot the principle to which he owed
his seat in the Senate, as men sometimes forget a benefactor.

It is true beyond question that the Acts of Secession are all
inoperative and void against the Constitution of the United States.
Though matured in successive conventions, sanctioned in various forms,
and maintained ever since by bloody war, these Acts, no matter by what
name they may be called, are all equally impotent to withdraw an acre
of territory or a single inhabitant from the rightful jurisdiction
of the nation. But while thus impotent against the United States,
it does not follow that they were equally impotent in the work of
self-destruction. Clearly, the Rebels, by utmost effort, could not
impair the national jurisdiction; but it remains to be seen if their
enmity did not act back with fatal rebound upon those very State Rights
in behalf of which they commenced their treason.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is sometimes said that the States themselves committed _suicide_, so
that, as States, they ceased to exist, leaving their whole jurisdiction
open to the occupation of the United States under the Constitution.
This assumption is founded on the fact, that, whatever the existing
governments in these States, they are in no respect constitutional;
and since the State itself is known by the government with which its
life is intertwined, it must cease to exist constitutionally when its
government no longer exists constitutionally. It were better, perhaps,
to avoid the whole question of life or death in the State, and content
ourselves with inquiry into the condition of its government. It is
not easy to say what constitutes that entity we call a State; nor is
the discussion much advanced by any theory. To my mind it seems a
topic fit for the old schoolmen or a modern debating society; and yet,
considering the part it has already played, I shall be pardoned for a
brief allusion to it.

There are well-known words which ask and answer the question, “What
constitutes a _State_?” But the scholarly poet[195] was not thinking
of a “State” of the American Union. Indeed, this term is various in
use. Sometimes it stands for civil society itself. Sometimes it is
the general name for a political community, not unlike “nation” or
“country,”--as when our fathers, in the Resolution of Independence
which preceded the Declaration, spoke of “the _State_ of Great
Britain.” Sometimes it stands for the government,--as when Louis the
Fourteenth, at the height of his power, exclaimed, “The _State_, it
is I,”--or when Sir Christopher Hatton, in the famous farce of “The
Critic,” ejaculated,--

    “I cannot but surmise,--forgive, my friend,
    If the conjecture’s rash,--I cannot but
    Surmise _the State_ some danger apprehends.”[196]

Among us the term is most known as the technical name for one of the
political societies composing our Union. When used in this restricted
sense, it must not be confounded with the same term when used in
a different and broader sense. But it is obvious that some persons
attribute to the one something of the qualities which can belong only
to the other. Nobody has suggested, I presume, that any “State” of our
Union has, through rebellion, ceased to exist as a _civil society_, or
even as a _political community_. It is only as a _State of the Union_,
armed with State Rights, or at least as a _local government_, annually
renewing itself, as the snake its skin, that it can be called in
question. But it is vain to challenge for the technical “State,” or for
the annual government, that immortality which belongs to civil society.
The one is an artificial body, the other is a natural body; and while
the former, overwhelmed by insurrection or war, may change or die, the
latter can change or die only with the extinction of the community
itself, whatever its name or its form.

It is because of confusion in the use of this term that there has been
so much confusion in the political controversies where it has been
employed. But nowhere has this confusion led to greater absurdity than
in the pretension recently made in the name of State Rights,--as if
it were reasonable to claim for a technical “State” of the Union that
immortality belonging to civil society.

From approved authorities it appears that a “State,” even in a broader
signification, may lose its life. Dr. Phillimore, in his recent work
on International Law, says: “A State, like an individual, may die,”
and among the various ways, he says, “by its submission, and the
donation of itself, as it were, to another country.”[197] But in
the case of our Rebel States there has been a plain submission and
donation of themselves, _effective, at least, to break the continuity
of government_, if not to destroy that immortality which is claimed.
Nor can it make any difference, in breaking this continuity, that the
submission and donation, constituting a species of attornment, are to
enemies at home rather than to enemies abroad,--to Jefferson Davis
rather than to Louis Napoleon. The thread is snapped in one case as
much as in the other.

But _change of form_ in the actual government may be equally effective.
Cicero speaks of change so complete as “to leave no image of a State
behind.” This is precisely what has been done throughout the whole
Rebel region: no image of a _constitutional_ State is left behind.
Another authority, Aristotle, whose words are always weighty, says,
that, _the form of the State being changed, the State is no longer
the same_, as the harmony is not the same when we modulate out of the
Dorian mood into the Phrygian. But, if ever an unlucky people modulated
out of one mood into another, it was our Rebels, when they undertook
to modulate out of the harmonies of the Constitution into their bloody

Without stopping further for these diversions, I content myself with
the testimony of Edmund Burke, who, in a striking passage, which seems
to have been written for us, portrays the extinction of a political
community; but I quote his eloquent words rather for suggestion than

    “In a state of rude Nature there is no such thing as a
    people. A number of men in themselves have no collective
    capacity. The idea of a people is the idea of a corporation.
    It is wholly artificial, and made, like all other legal
    fictions, by common agreement. What the particular nature of
    that agreement was is collected from the form into which the
    particular society has been cast. Any other is not _their_
    covenant. _When men, therefore, break up the original compact
    or agreement which gives its corporate form and capacity to
    a state, they are no longer a people, they have no longer a
    corporate existence_, they have no longer a legal coactive
    force to bind within, nor a claim to be recognized abroad.
    They are a number of vague, loose individuals, and nothing
    more. With them all is to begin again. Alas! they little
    know how many a weary step is to be taken before they
    can form themselves into a mass which has a true politic

If that great master of eloquence could be heard, who can doubt that
he would stamp our Rebel States as senseless communities who have
sacrificed that corporate existence which makes them living, component
members of our Union of States?

       *       *       *       *       *

Again, it is sometimes said that the States, by flagrant treason,
have _forfeited_ their rights as States, so as to be civilly dead.
It is a patent and indisputable fact, that this gigantic treason was
inaugurated with all the forms of law known to the States; that it
was carried forward not only by individuals, but also by States, so
far as States can perpetrate treason; that the States pretended to
withdraw bodily, in their corporate capacities; that the Rebellion, as
it showed itself, was _by_ States, as well as _in_ States; that it was
by the governments of States, as well as by the people of States; and
that, to the common observer, the crime was consummated by the several
corporations, as well as by the individuals of whom they were composed.
From this fact, obvious to all, it is argued, that, since, according
to Blackstone, a traitor “hath abandoned his connections with society,
and hath no longer any right to those advantages which before belonged
to him purely as a member of the community,”[199] by the same principle
the traitor State is no longer to be regarded as a member of the Union.
But it is not necessary, on the present occasion, to insist on the
application of any such principle to States.

       *       *       *       *       *

Again, it is said that the States by their treason and rebellion,
levying war upon the National Government, have _abdicated_ their places
in the Union; and here the argument is upheld by the historic example
of England at the Revolution of 1688, when, on the flight of James and
the abandonment of his kingly duties, the two Houses of Parliament
voted, that the monarch, “having violated the fundamental laws, and
having withdrawn himself out of this kingdom, _has abdicated the
government_, and that the throne is thereby vacant.”[200] But it is not
necessary for us to rely on any allegation of abdication, applicable as
it may be.

       *       *       *       *       *

It only remains that we should see things as they are, and not seek
to substitute theory for fact. On this important question I discard
all theory, whether of State suicide, or State forfeiture, or State
abdication, on the one side, or of State Rights, immortal and
unimpeachable, on the other side. Such discussions are only endless
mazes, in which a whole Senate may be lost. And discarding all
theory, I discard also the jural question, whether, for instance,
the Rebel States, while the Rebellion is flagrant, are _de jure_
States of the Union, with all the rights of States. It is enough,
that, for the time being, _and in the absence of a loyal government_,
they can take no part and perform no function in the Union, _so that
they cannot be recognized by the National Government_. The reason
is plain. Since there are in these States no local functionaries
bound by constitutional oaths, there are, in fact, no constitutional
functionaries; and as the State Government is necessarily composed
of such functionaries, there can be no State Government. Thus, for
instance, in South Carolina, Pickens and his associates may call
themselves Governor and Legislature, and in Virginia Letcher and his
associates may call themselves Governor and Legislature; but we cannot
recognize them as such. Therefore to all pretensions in behalf of State
governments in the Rebel States I oppose the simple FACT, that, for the
time being, no such governments exist. The broad spaces once occupied
by those governments are now abandoned and vacated.

That loyal Senator, Andrew Johnson,--faithful among the faithless, the
Abdiel of the South,--began his attempt to reorganize Tennessee by an
address, as early as the 18th of March, 1862, in which he made use of
these words:--

    “I find most, if not all, of the offices, both State and
    Federal, _vacated, either by actual abandonment or by the
    action of the incumbents, in attempting to subordinate their
    functions_ to a power in hostility to the fundamental law of
    the State and subversive of her national allegiance.”[201]

In employing the word “vacated” Mr. Johnson hit upon the very term
which, in the famous Resolution of 1688, was held most effective in
dethroning King James. After declaring that he had abdicated the
government, it was added, “that the throne is thereby _vacant_”; on
which Macaulay happily remarks:--

    “The word _abdication_ conciliated politicians of a more timid
    school.… To the real statesman the simple important clause was
    that _which declared the throne vacant_; and if that clause
    could be carried, he cared little by what preamble it might be

The same simple principle is now in issue. It is enough that the Rebel
States be declared _vacated_, as _in fact_ they are, by all local
government which we are bound to recognize: so that the way is open to
the exercise of a rightful jurisdiction.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here the question occurs, How shall this rightful jurisdiction be
established in the vacated State? Some there are, so impassioned
for State Rights, and so anxious for forms, even at the expense of
substance, that they insist upon the instant restoration of the
old State governments in all their parts, through the agency of
loyal citizens, who, meanwhile, must be protected in this work of
restoration. But, assuming that all this is practicable, as it clearly
is not, it attributes to the loyal citizens of a Rebel State, however
few in numbers,--it may be an insignificant minority,--a power clearly
inconsistent with the received principle of popular government, that
the majority must rule. The thirteen voters of Old Sarum were allowed
to return two members of Parliament, because this place,--once a Roman
fort, and afterwards a sheep-walk,--many generations before, at the
early constitution of the House of Commons, had been entitled to
this representation; but the argument for State Rights assumes that
all these rights may be lodged in voters as few in number as ever
controlled a rotten borough of England.

Pray, admitting that an insignificant minority is to organize the
new government, how shall it be done, and by whom shall it be set in
motion? In putting these questions, I open the difficulties. As the
original government has ceased to exist, and there are none who can be
its legal successors so as to administer the requisite oaths, it is not
easy to see how the new government can be set in motion, without resort
to some revolutionary proceeding, instituted either by the citizens or
by the military power,--unless Congress, in the exercise of its plenary
authority, should undertake to organize the new jurisdiction.

But every revolutionary proceeding is to be avoided. It is within the
recollection of all familiar with our history, that our fathers, while
regulating the separation of the Colonies from the parent country, were
careful that all should be done according to forms of law, so that
_the thread of legality_ should continue unbroken. To this end the
Continental Congress interfered by supervising direction. But the Tory
argument denied the power of Congress then as earnestly as now. Mr.
Duane, of the Continental Congress, made himself its mouthpiece.

    “_Congress ought not to determine a point of this sort, about
    instituting government._ What is it to Congress how justice is
    administered? You have no right to pass the resolution, any
    more than Parliament has. How does it appear that no favorable
    answer is likely to be given to our petitions?”[203]

In spite of this argument, the Congress of that day undertook,
by formal resolutions, to indicate the process by which the new
governments should be constituted.[204]

If we seek for the principle which entered into this proceeding of the
Continental Congress, we find it in the idea that nothing can be left
to illegal or informal action, but that all must be done according
to rules of constitution and law previously ordained. Perhaps this
principle has never been more distinctly or powerfully enunciated than
by Mr. Webster, in his speech against the Dorr Constitution in Rhode
Island. According to him, this principle is a fundamental part of what
he calls our American system, under which the right of suffrage is
prescribed by _previous law_, including its qualifications, the time
and place of its exercise, and the manner of its exercise; and then,
again, the results are certified to the central power by some certain
rule, _by some known public officers_, in some clear and definite form,
thus accomplishing two things: first, that every man entitled to vote
may vote; secondly, that his vote may be sent forward and counted, so
that practically he may exercise his part of sovereignty in common with
his fellow-citizens. Such, according to Mr. Webster, are minute forms
which must be followed, if we would impart to the result the crowning
character of law. And here are other positive words from him on this
important point.

     “We are not to take the will of the people from public
    meetings, nor from tumultuous assemblies, by which the timid
    are terrified, the prudent are alarmed, and by which society is
    disturbed. These are not American modes of signifying the will
    of the people, and they never were.”

    “Is it not obvious enough, that men cannot get together and
    count themselves, and say they are so many hundreds and so
    many thousands, and judge of their own qualifications, and
    call themselves the people, and set up a government? _Why,
    another set of men, forty miles off, on the same day, with the
    same propriety, with as good qualifications, and in as large
    numbers, may meet and set up another government._”

    “When, in the course of events, it becomes necessary to
    ascertain the will of the people on a new exigency or a new
    state of things or of opinion, _the legislative power provides
    for that ascertainment by an ordinary act of legislation_.”

    “What do I contend for? I say that the will of the people must
    prevail, when it is ascertained; but there must be _some legal
    and authentic mode of ascertaining that will_, and then the
    people may make what government they please.”

    “All that is necessary here is, that the will of the people
    should be ascertained by some regular rule of proceeding,
    _prescribed by previous law_.”

    “But the law and the Constitution, the whole system of American
    institutions, do not contemplate a case in which a resort will
    be necessary to proceedings _aliunde_, or _outside of the law
    and the Constitution_, for the purpose of amending the frame of

Happily, we are not constrained to any such revolutionary proceeding.
The new governments can all be organized by Congress, which is the
natural guardian of the people, without any immediate government, and
within the jurisdiction of the National Constitution. Indeed, with
the State governments already _vacated_ by Rebellion, the Constitution
becomes, for the time, the supreme and only law, binding alike on
President and Congress, so that neither can establish any law or
institution incompatible with it; and the whole Rebel region, deprived
of all local government, lapses under the exclusive jurisdiction of
Congress, precisely as any other territory,--or, in other words, the
negation of the local government leaves the whole vast region without
any other government than Congress, unless the President should
undertake to govern it by military power. Startling as this proposition
may seem, especially to all who believe that there is a “divinity doth
hedge” a State hardly less than a king, it will appear, on careful
consideration, to be as well founded in the Constitution as it is
simple and natural, while it affords easy and constitutional solution
to all present embarrassments.

I have no theory to maintain, but only the truth; and in presenting
this argument for Congressional government I simply follow teachings
which I cannot control. The wisdom of Socrates, in the words of Plato,
has aptly described these teachings, when he says,--

    “These things, as I affirm, are held and bound (though it is
    somewhat rude to say so) in reasons of iron and adamant, as
    would really appear to be the case,--so that, unless you, or
    some one stronger than you, can break them, it is not possible
    that any one who says otherwise than as I now say can speak
    correctly; for my statement is always the same,--that I know
    not how these things are, but that of all the persons with
    whom I have ever conversed, as now with you, no one who says
    otherwise can avoid being ridiculous.”[206]

Show me that I am wrong, that this conclusion is not founded in the
Constitution, and is not sustained by reason, and I shall at once
renounce it; for, in the present condition of affairs, there can be
no pride of opinion which must not fall at once before the sacred
demands of country. Not as partisan, not as advocate, do I make this
appeal, but simply as citizen, seeking, in all sincerity, to offer my
contribution to the establishment of that policy by which Union and
Peace may be restored.

       *       *       *       *       *

Looking at the origin of this power in Congress, we find that it comes
from three distinct fountains, any one of which is ample to supply it.
Three fountains, generous and hospitable, are found in the Constitution
ready for this occasion.

_First._ From the necessity of the case, _ex necessitate rei_, Congress
must have jurisdiction over every portion of the United States _where
there is no other government_; and since in the present case there is
no other government, the whole region falls within the jurisdiction
of Congress. This jurisdiction is incident, if you please, to that
guardianship and eminent domain belonging to the United States over all
its territory and the people thereof, and springing into activity when
the local government ceases. It can be questioned only in the name of
the local government; but since this government has disappeared in the
Rebel States, the jurisdiction of Congress is uninterrupted there. The
whole broad Rebel region is _tabula rasa_, or “a clean slate,” where
Congress, under the Constitution of the United States, may write the
laws. In adopting this principle, I follow the authority of the Supreme
Court of the United States in determining the jurisdiction of Congress
over the Territories. Here are the words of Chief-Justice Marshall:--

    “Perhaps the power of governing a Territory belonging to the
    United States, which has not, by becoming a State, acquired
    the means of self-government, _may result necessarily from the
    facts that it is not within the jurisdiction of any particular
    State_, and is within the power and jurisdiction of the United
    States. The right to govern may be the inevitable consequence
    of the right to acquire territory.”[207]

If the right to govern may be the inevitable consequence of the right
to acquire territory, surely, and by much stronger reason, this right
must be the inevitable consequence of the sovereignty of the United
States, wherever there is no local government.

_Secondly._ The jurisdiction may also be derived from the _Rights
of War_, which surely are not less abundant for Congress than for
President. If the President, disregarding the pretension of State
Rights, can appoint military governors within the Rebel States to serve
a temporary purpose, who can doubt that Congress can exercise a similar
jurisdiction? That of the President is derived from the war powers;
but these are not sealed to Congress. If it be asked, where in the
Constitution such powers are bestowed upon Congress, I reply, that they
are found precisely where the President now finds his powers. But it is
clear that the powers to “declare war,” to “suppress insurrections,”
and to “support armies” are all ample for this purpose. It is Congress
that conquers, and the same authority that conquers must govern. Nor
is this authority derived from any strained construction; it springs
from the very heart of the Constitution. It is among those powers,
latent in peace, which war and insurrection call into being, but as
intrinsically constitutional as any other power.

Even if not conceded to the President, these powers must be conceded
to Congress. Would you know their extent? They are found in the
authoritative texts of Public Law,--in the works of Grotius, Vattel,
and Wheaton. They are the powers conceded by civilized society to
nations at war, known as Rights of War,--at once multitudinous and
minute, vast and various. It would be strange, if Congress could
organize armies and navies to conquer, and could not also organize
governments to protect.

De Tocqueville, who saw our institutions with so keen an eye, remarked,
that, since, in spite of all political fictions, the preponderating
power resided in the States and not in the nation, a civil war here
would be “nothing but foreign war in disguise.”[208] Of course the
natural consequence would be to give the nation, in such a civil war,
all the rights it would have in a foreign war. And this conclusion from
the observation of the ingenious publicist has been practically adopted
by the Supreme Court of the United States, in those recent cases where
this tribunal, after most learned argument, followed by most careful
consideration, adjudged, that, since the Act of Congress of July 13,
1861, the nation has been waging “a _territorial_ civil war,” in which
all property afloat, belonging to a resident of the _belligerent
territory_, is liable to capture and condemnation as lawful prize. But,
surely, if the nation may stamp upon all residents in this _belligerent
territory_ the character of foreign enemies, so as to subject ships
and cargoes to the penalties of confiscation, it may perform the milder
service of making all needful rules and regulations for the government
of this territory under the Constitution, so long as requisite for the
sake of peace and order; and since the object of war is “indemnity for
the past and security for the future,” it may do everything necessary
to make these effectual. But it will not be enough to crush the
Rebellion; its terrible root must be exterminated, so that it may no
more flourish in blood.

_Thirdly._ There is another source for this jurisdiction common alike
to Congress and the President. It is found in the constitutional
provision, that “the United States shall guaranty to every State in
this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of
them against invasion.” Here, be it observed, are words of guaranty
and an obligation of protection. In the original concession to the
United States of this twofold power there was open recognition of
the ultimate responsibility and duty of the National Government,
_conferring jurisdiction above all pretended State Rights_; and now the
occasion has come for the exercise of this twofold power thus solemnly
conceded. The words of twofold power and corresponding obligation are
plain, and beyond question. If there be any ambiguity, it is only in
what constitutes a republican form of government. But for the present
this question does not arise. It is enough that a wicked rebellion
has undertaken to detach certain States from the Union, and to take
them beyond its protection and sovereignty, with the menace of seeking
foreign alliance and support, even at the cost of every distinctive
institution. It is well known that _Mr. Madison anticipated this
precise danger from Slavery, and upheld this precise grant of power in
order to counteract the danger_. His words, which will be found in a
yet unpublished document produced by Mr. Collamer in the Senate, seem

Among the defects he remarked in the old Confederation was what he
called “want of guaranty to the States of their constitutions and laws
_against internal violence_.” In showing why this guaranty was needed,
he says, that, “according to republican theory, right and power, being
both vested in the majority, are held to be synonymous; according to
fact and experience, a minority may, in an appeal to force, be an
overmatch for the majority”; and he then adds, in words of wonderful
prescience, “_Where Slavery exists, the republican theory becomes still
more fallacious_.”[209] This was written in April, 1787, before the
meeting of the Convention that formed the National Constitution. Here
is the origin of the very clause in question. The danger which this
statesman foresaw is now upon us. When a State fails to maintain a
republican government, _with officers sworn according to requirement
of the Constitution_, it ceases to be a constitutional State. The very
case contemplated by the Constitution has arrived, and the National
Government is invested with plenary powers, whether of peace or war.
There is nothing in the storehouse of peace, and there is nothing in
the arsenal of war, it may not employ in the maintenance of this solemn
guaranty, and in the extension of that protection against invasion
to which it is pledged. But this extraordinary power carries with it
corresponding duty. Whatever shows itself dangerous to a republican
form of government must be removed without delay or hesitation; and if
the evil be Slavery, our action will be bolder when it is known that
the danger was foreseen.

In reviewing these three sources of power, I know not which is most
complete. Either is ample alone; but the three together are three times
ample. Thus out of this triple fountain, or, if you please, by this
triple cord, do I educe the power of Congress over the vacated States.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are yet other words of the Constitution which cannot be
forgotten. “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this
Union.” Assuming that the Rebel States are no longer _de facto_ States
of this Union, but that the territory occupied by them is within
the jurisdiction of Congress, then these words become completely
applicable. It is for Congress, in such way as it shall think best,
to regulate their return to the Union, whether in time or manner.
No special form is prescribed. But the vital act must proceed from
Congress. Here again is another testimony to that Congressional power,
which, under the Constitution, will restore the Republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

Against this power I have heard nothing which can be called argument.
There are objections, originating chiefly in the baneful pretension
of State Rights; but these objections are animated by prejudice
rather than reason. Assuming the impeccability of a State, and openly
declaring that States, like kings, can do no wrong, while, like kings,
they wear “the round and top of sovereignty,” politicians treat them
with most mistaken forbearance and tenderness, as if these Rebel
corporations could be dandled into loyalty. At every suggestion of
rigor, State Rights are invoked; and we are vehemently told not to
destroy the States, when all that Congress proposes is simply to
recognize the actual condition of the States, and undertake their
temporary government by providing for the condition of political
syncope into which they have fallen, and during this interval
substitute its own constitutional powers for the unconstitutional
powers of the Rebellion. Congress will blot no star from the flag,
nor will it obliterate any State liabilities; but it will seek,
according to its duty, in the best way, to maintain the great and real
sovereignty of the Union, by upholding the flag unsullied, and by
enforcing everywhere within its jurisdiction the supreme law of the

At the close of an argument already too long drawn out, I shall not
stop to array the considerations of reason and expediency in behalf
of this jurisdiction; nor shall I dwell on the inevitable influence
it must exercise over Slavery, which is the motive of the Rebellion.
To my mind nothing can be clearer, as a proposition of Constitutional
Law, than that everywhere within the exclusive jurisdiction of the
National Government Slavery is impossible. The argument is as brief
as it is unanswerable. Slavery is so odious that it can exist only by
virtue of positive law, plain and unequivocal; but no such words can
be found in the Constitution; therefore Slavery is impossible within
the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Government. For many years
I have had this conviction, and have constantly maintained it. I am
glad to believe that it is implied, if not expressed, in the Chicago
Platform. Mr. Chase, among our public men, is known to accept it
sincerely. Thus Slavery in the Territories is unconstitutional; but
if the Rebel territory falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the
National Government, then Slavery becomes impossible there. In a legal
and constitutional sense, it must die at once. The air is too pure
for a slave. I cannot doubt that this great triumph has been already
won. The moment that the States fell, Slavery fell also; so that, even
without any proclamation of the President, Slavery ceased to have legal
and constitutional existence in every Rebel State.

Even if we hesitate to accept this important conclusion, which
treats Slavery within the Rebel States as already dead in law
and Constitution, it cannot be doubted that by the extension of
Congressional jurisdiction, as now proposed, many difficulties will be
removed. Holding every acre of soil and every inhabitant within its
jurisdiction, Congress can easily do whatever is needful within Rebel
limits to assure freedom and save society. The soil may be divided
among patriot soldiers, poor whites, and freedmen; but above all things
the inhabitants may be saved from harm. Those citizens in the Rebel
States who throughout the darkness of the Rebellion have kept their
faith will be protected, and the freedmen rescued from hands that
threaten to cast them back into Slavery.

This jurisdiction, which is so completely practical, is grandly
conservative also. Had it been early recognized that Slavery depends
exclusively upon the local government, and falls with that government,
who can doubt that every Rebel movement would have been checked?
Tennessee and Virginia would never have stirred; Maryland and Kentucky
would never have thought of stirring; there would have been no talk
of neutrality between the Constitution and the Rebellion; and every
Border State would have been fixed in loyalty. Let it be established
in advance, as an inseparable incident to every Act of Secession,
that it is not only impotent against the National Constitution, but
that, on its occurrence, both soil and inhabitants lapse beneath the
jurisdiction of Congress, and no State will ever again pretend to
secede. The word “territory,” according to old and quaint etymology,
is said to come from _terreo_, to terrify, because it was a bulwark
against the enemy: _Territorium est quidquid hostis terrendi causâ
constitutum est_,[210]--“A territory is anything established for the
purpose of terrifying an enemy”; but I know of no way in which our
Rebel enemy would have been more terrified than by being told that
his course would inevitably precipitate his State into a territorial
condition. Let this principle be adopted, and it will contribute
essentially to that consolidation of the Union which was so near the
heart of Washington.

The necessity of this principle is apparent as a restraint upon the
lawless vindictiveness and inhumanity of the Rebel States, whether
against Union men or against freedmen. Union men in Virginia already
tremble at the thought of being delivered over to a State government
wielded by original Rebels pretending to be patriots; but the freedmen,
who have only recently gained their birthright, are justified in keener
anxiety, lest it should be lost as soon as won. Mr. Saulsbury, a
Senator from Delaware, with most instructive frankness, has announced
in public debate what the restored State governments will do. Assuming
that the local governments will be preserved, he predicts that in 1870
there will be more slaves in the United States than there were in 1860,
and then unfolds the reason as follows, all of which will be found in
the “Congressional Globe.”

    “By your Acts you attempt to free the slaves. You will not have
    them among you. You leave them where they are. Then what is
    to be the result? I presume that local State governments will
    be preserved. If they are, if the people have a right to make
    their own laws and to govern themselves, they will not only
    reënslave every person that you attempt to set free, but they
    will reënslave the whole race.”[211]

Nor has the horrid menace of reënslavement proceeded from the Senator
from Delaware alone. It has been uttered even by Mr. Willey, the mild
Senator from Virginia, speaking in the name of State Rights. Newspapers
have taken up and repeated the revolting strain. That is to say, no
matter what may be done for Emancipation, whether by proclamation of
the President, or by Congress even, the State, resuming its place in
the Union, will, in the exercise of its sovereign power, reënslave
every colored person within its jurisdiction; and this is the menace
from Delaware, and even from regenerated Western Virginia! I am obliged
to Senators for their frankness. If additional motive were needed
for the urgency with which I assert the power of Congress, it would
be found in the pretensions thus savagely proclaimed. In the name of
Heaven, let us spare no effort to save the country from such shame, and
an oppressed people from the additional outrage.

As I quote Mr. Willey, I desire his precise words should be understood,
that the country may see the necessity of Congressional action. In
opposing Emancipation in the District of Columbia, he depicted the
unhappy fate of the freedman.

    “Suppose they are emancipated, what then? Are they freemen in
    fact? Will they have the rights of freemen? Sir, such an idea
    is utterly fallacious. It will practically amount to nothing.
    You cannot enact the slave into a freeman by bill in Congress.
    A charter of his liberty may be engrossed, enrolled, and passed
    into a law, with all the formalities of legislation, _and still
    he must remain virtually a slave_.”[212]

Pursuing this same strain in a later debate on the Confiscation Bill,
which provided for Emancipation in certain cases, the Senator said:--

    “Sir, what will be the necessary and inevitable result of this
    policy, if it be carried into effect? It will be that Virginia,
    by this increase of the free negro population under the
    operation of this bill, will be driven not only to reënslave
    those who may be manumitted under the operation of the present
    bill, but also to reënslave the sixty thousand free negroes
    already there.… Sir, the evil will be unendurable, and the
    result will be the reënslavement of the slaves thus manumitted,
    as well as those already free in our State.”[213]

I quote these words with extreme pain. Their author is not known as a
fanatic of Slavery. Therefore do they reveal the terrible peril against
which Congress must provide.

“Once free, always free.” This is a rule of law and an instinct
of humanity. It is a self-evident axiom, which only tyrants and
slave-traders have denied. The brutal pretension thus flamingly
advanced already puts us all on our guard. There must be no chance or
loophole for such intolerable, Heaven-defying iniquity. Alas! there
have been crimes in human history, but I know of none blacker than
this. There have been acts of baseness, but I know of none more utterly
vile. Against the possibility of such a sacrifice we must take a bond
which cannot be set aside; and this can be found only in the powers of

Congress has already done much. Besides its noble Act of Emancipation,
it has provided that every person guilty of treason, or of inciting
or assisting the Rebellion, shall be “disqualified to hold any office
under the United States”[214]; and by another Act it has provided,
that every person, elected or appointed to any office of honor or
profit under the Government of the United States, shall, before
entering upon its duties, _take and subscribe an oath or affirmation_
that he has “never voluntarily borne arms against the United States
since he has been a citizen thereof,” or “voluntarily given aid,
countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed
hostility thereto,” or “sought, or accepted, or attempted to exercise
the functions of any office whatever, under any authority or pretended
authority in hostility to the United States.”[215] This oath is a bar
against return to _national office_ of any taking part with the Rebels.
It shuts out in advance the whole criminal company. But these same
persons, rejected by the National Government, are left free to hold
office in the States; and here is another motive to further action by
Congress. The oath is well as far as it goes; more must be done in the
same spirit.

But enough. The case is clear. Behold the Rebel States in arms
against that paternal government to which, as the supreme condition
of constitutional existence, they owe duty and love; and behold all
legitimate powers, executive, legislative, and judicial, in these
States, abandoned and vacated. _It only remains that Congress should
enter and assume the proper jurisdiction._ If we are not ready to
exclaim with Burke, speaking of revolutionary France, “It is but an
empty space on the political map,” we may at least adopt the response
hurled back by Mirabeau, that this empty space is a volcano red with
flames and overflowing with lava-floods. But whether we deal with it as
“empty space” or as “volcano,” the jurisdiction, civil and military,
centres in Congress, to be employed for the happiness, welfare, and
renown of the American people,--changing Slavery into Freedom, and
present Chaos into a Cosmos of perpetual beauty and power.



    This article appeared originally under the title, “Monograph
    from an Old Note-Book.” Beyond the curiosity of the discussion
    was the object, at a critical moment, of contrasting the
    diplomatic representative of our fathers at Paris and that of
    Rebel Slavery, with a new appeal to France. It was in the same
    vein with the recent speech on Our Foreign Relations.[216]

In a famous speech, made in the House of Lords, March 6, 1838, against
the Eastern slave-trade, Lord Brougham arrests the current of his
eloquence by the following illustrative diversion.

    “I have often heard it disputed among critics, which of
    all quotations was the most appropriate, the most closely
    applicable to the subject-matter illustrated; _and the palm is
    generally awarded to that which applied to Dr. Franklin the
    line in Claudian_,--

        ‘Eripuit fulmen cœlo, mox sceptra tyrannis’;

    yet still there is a difference of opinion, and even that
    citation, admirably close as it is, has rivals.”[217]

The British orator errs in attributing this remarkable verse to
Claudian, misled, perhaps, by reminiscence of like-sounding words by
that poet,--

    “Rapiat fulmen sceptrumque Typhœus.”[218]

And he errs also in the quotation of the verse itself, which he fails
to give with entire accuracy. And this double mistake becomes more
noticeable, when it appears in the carefully prepared collection of
speeches, revised at leisure, and preserved in permanent volumes.

The beauty of this verse, even in its least accurate form, will not be
questioned, especially as applied to Franklin, who, before the American
Revolution, in which he performed so illustrious a part, had already
awakened the world’s admiration by drawing the lightning from the
skies. But, beyond its acknowledged beauty, this verse has an historic
interest which has never been adequately appreciated. Appearing at the
moment it did, it is closely associated with the acknowledgment of
American Independence. Plainly interpreted, it calls George the Third
“tyrant,” and announces that the sceptre has been snatched from his
hands. It was a happy ally to Franklin in France, and has ever since
been an inspiring voice. Latterly it has been adopted by the city of
Boston, and engraved on granite in letters of gold, in honor of its
greatest son and citizen. It may not be entirely superfluous to recount
the history of a verse which has justly attracted so much attention,
and in the history of Civilization has been of more value than the
whole State of South Carolina.

From its first application to Franklin, this verse has excited
something more than curiosity. Lord Brougham tells us that it is
often discussed in private circles. There is other evidence of the
interest it has created. For instance, in an early number of “Notes and
Queries,” is the following inquiry:--

    “Can you inform me who wrote the line on Franklin,

        ‘Eripuit cœlo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis’?

                                                       “HENRY H. BREEN.

    “ST. LUCIA.”[219]

A subsequent writer in this same work, after calling the verse
“a parody” of a certain line of Antiquity, says: “I am unable,
however, to say who adapted these words to Franklin’s career. Was it
Condorcet?”[220] Another writer in the same work says: “The inscription
was written by Mirabeau.”[221]

I remember well a social entertainment in Boston, where a distinguished
scholar of our country,[222] in reply to an inquiry at the table,
said that the verse was founded on a line from the “Astronomicon” of
Manilius, which he repeated:--

    “Eripuitque Jovi fulmen, viresque tonandi.”[223]

John Quincy Adams, who was present, seemed to concur. Mr. Sparks, in
his notes to the correspondence of Franklin, attributes to it the
same origin.[224] But there are other places where its origin is
traced with more precision. One of the correspondents of “Notes and
Queries” says that he has read, but does not remember where, “that
this line was _immediately_ taken from one in the ‘Anti-Lucretius’ of
Cardinal Polignac.”[225] Another correspondent shows the intermediate
authority.[226] My own notes were made without any knowledge of these
studies, which, while fixing its literary origin, fail to exhibit its
important character, especially as illustrating an historical epoch.

       *       *       *       *       *

The verse cannot be found in any ancient writer,--not Claudian or
anybody else. It is clear that it does not come from Antiquity, unless
indirectly; nor does it appear that at the time of its first production
it was referred to any ancient writer. Manilius was not mentioned. It
is of modern invention, and was composed after the arrival of Franklin
in Paris on his eventful mission. At first it was anonymous, but was
attributed sometimes to D’Alembert and sometimes to Turgot. Beyond
question, it was not the production of D’Alembert, while it is found in
the Works of Turgot, published after his death, in the following form:--

    “Eripuit cœlo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis.”[227]

There is no explanation by the editor of the circumstances under which
the verse was written; but it is given among poetical miscellanies
of the author, immediately after a translation into French of Pope’s
“Essay on Man,” in connection with the following French composition,
entitled “Verses beneath the Portrait of Benjamin Franklin”:--

    “Le voilà ce mortel dont l’heureuse industrie
    Sut enchaîner la Foudre et lui donner des loix,
    Dont la sagesse active et l’éloquente voix
    D’un pouvoir oppresseur affranchit sa Patrie,
    Qui désarma les Dieux, qui réprime les Rois.”

The single Latin verse is a marvellous substitute for these diffuse and
feeble lines.

If there were any doubt upon its authorship, it would be removed by the
positive statement of Condorcet, who, in his Life of Turgot, written
shortly after the death of this great man, says: “There is known from
Turgot but one Latin verse, designed for the portrait of Franklin”; and
he gives the verse in this form:--

    “Eripuit cœlo fulmen, mox sceptra tyrannis.”[228]

But Sparks and Mignet,[229] and so also both the biographical
dictionaries of France,--that of Michaud and that of Didot,--while
ascribing it to Turgot, concur in the form already quoted from Turgot’s
Works, which was likewise adopted by Ginguené, the scholar who has done
so much to illustrate Italian literature, on the title-page of his
“Science du Bon-Homme Richard,” with an abridged Life of Franklin, in
1794, and by Cabanis, who lived in such intimacy with Franklin.[230] It
cannot be doubted that this was the final form the verse assumed,--as
it is unquestionably the best.

       *       *       *       *       *

This verse was no common event. It was a new expression of the French
alliance, and an assurance of independence. After its appearance and
general adoption, there was no retreat for France.

To appreciate its importance in marking and helping a great epoch,
certain dates must be borne in mind. Franklin reached Paris on
his mission towards the close of 1776. He had already signed the
Declaration of Independence, and his present duty was to obtain the
recognition of France for the new power. The very clever Madame du
Deffand, in her amusing correspondence with Horace Walpole, describes
him in a visit to her “with a fur cap on his head and spectacles on
his nose,” in the same small circle with Madame de Luxembourg, a
great lady of the time, the Abbé Barthélemy, and the Duc de Choiseul,
late Prime-Minister. This was on the 31st of December, 1776.[231] A
pretty good beginning. More than a year of effort and anxiety ensued,
brightened at last by the Burgoyne surrender at Saratoga. On the 6th of
February, 1778, the work of the American Plenipotentiary was crowned
by the signature of the two Treaties of Alliance and Commerce, by
which France acknowledged our independence and pledged her belligerent
support. On the 13th of March, one of these treaties, with a diplomatic
note announcing that the Colonies were free and independent States,
was communicated to the British Government, at London, which promptly
encountered it by a declaration of war. On the 20th of March, Franklin
was received by the King at Versailles, and this remarkable scene is
described by the same feminine pen to which we are indebted for the
early glimpse of him on his arrival in Paris.[232] But throughout this
intervening period he had not lived unknown. Indeed, he had become at
once a celebrity. Lacretelle, the eminent French historian, says: “By
the effect which Franklin produced in France he might have been said
to have fulfilled his mission, not to a court, but to a free people.…
His virtues and renown negotiated for him.”[233]

Condorcet, who was part of that intellectual society which welcomed the
new Plenipotentiary, has left a record of his reception. “The celebrity
of Franklin in the sciences,” he says, “gave him the friendship of
all who love or cultivate them, that is, of all who exert a real
and durable influence upon public opinion. At his arrival he became
an object of veneration to all enlightened men, and of curiosity to
others. He submitted to this curiosity with the natural facility of his
character, and with the conviction that he thereby served the cause of
his country. It was an honor to have seen him. People repeated what
they had heard him say. Every _fête_ which he was willing to receive,
every house where he consented to go, spread in society new admirers,
_who became so many partisans of the American Revolution_.… Men whom
the reading of philosophical books had secretly disposed to the love of
Liberty became enthusiastic for that of a strange people.… A general
cry was soon raised in favor of the American War, and the friends of
peace dared not even complain that peace was sacrificed to the cause
of Liberty.”[234] This is an animated picture by an eye-witness. But
all authorities concur in its truthfulness. Even Capefigue, whose
business is to belittle all that is truly great, and especially to
efface the names associated with human liberty, while, like another
Old Mortality, he furbishes the tombstones of royal mistresses, is yet
constrained to attest the popularity and influence which Franklin
achieved. The critic dwells on what he styles his “Quaker garb,” his
“linen so white under his brown clothes,” and also the elaborate art of
the philosopher, who understood France and knew well “that a popular
man became soon more powerful than power itself”; but he cannot deny
that the philosopher “fulfilled his duties with great superiority,” or
that he became at once famous.[235] The rosewater biographer of Diane
de Poitiers, Madame de Pompadour, and Madame du Barry would naturally
disparage the representative of Science and Revolution.

From other quarters proceeds concurring testimony. A correspondent
at Paris wrote: “He now engrosses the whole attention of the public.
People of all ranks pay their court to him. His affability and
complaisant behavior have gained him the esteem of the greatest people
in this kingdom.”[236] Another wrote a little later: “When Dr. Franklin
appears abroad, it is more like a public than a private gentleman,
and the curiosity of the people to see him is so great that he may be
said to be followed by a genteel mob.”[237] His mysterious power was
asserted by an American newspaper, in announcing his intention “shortly
to produce an electrical machine of such wonderful force, that,
instead of giving a slight stroke to the elbows of fifty or a hundred
thousand men who are joined hand in hand, it will give a violent shock
even to Nature herself, so as to disunite kingdoms, join islands to
continents, and render men of the same nation strangers and enemies to
each other.”[238] The London paper which spoke of him as “the old fox”
acknowledged his power.[239]

The influence of Franklin was great beyond that of any American in
Europe since. His presence gave character to the cause he represented,
and was a standing recommendation of our country. Jefferson, who served
two years with him at Paris, describes his influence there, and, in
reply to the charge of subservience, says, in pregnant words: “He
possessed the confidence of that Government in the highest degree,
insomuch that it may truly be said that they were more under his
influence than he under theirs. The fact is, that his temper was
so amiable and conciliatory, his conduct so rational, never urging
impossibilities, or even things unreasonably inconvenient to them, in
short, so moderate and attentive to their difficulties, as well as our
own, that what his enemies called subserviency I saw was only that
reasonable disposition which, sensible that advantages are not all to
be on one side, yielding what is just and liberal, is the more certain
of obtaining liberality and justice.”[240] It is easy to see how such
a character obtained from the French people the fame of snatching the
sceptre from the tyrant.

The arrival of Franklin was followed very soon by the departure of the
youthful Lafayette, who crossed the sea to offer his inspired sword to
the service of American Liberty. Our cause was now widely known. In
the thronged _cafés_ and the places of public resort it was discussed
with sympathy and admiration.[241] And so completely was Franklin
recognized as the representative of new ideas, that the Emperor
Joseph the Second of Austria, professed reformer as he was, visiting
France under the travelling name of Count Falkenstein, is reported
to have remarked, when asked to see him, “My business is to be a
royalist,”--thus doing homage to the real character of him in whom the
Republic was personified.

Franklin became at once, by natural attraction, the welcome guest of
that brilliant company of philosophers who exercised such influence
over the eighteenth century. The “Encyclopédie” was their work, and
they were masters at the Academy. He was received into their guild. At
the famous table of the Baron D’Holbach, where twice a week, Sunday
and Thursday, at dinner, lasting from two till seven o’clock, were
gathered the wits of the time, he found a hospitable chair. But he
was most at home with Madame Helvétius, the widow of the rich and
handsome philosopher, whose name, derived from Switzerland, is now
almost unknown. At her house he met in social familiarity D’Alembert,
Diderot, D’Holbach, Morellet, Cabanis, and Condorcet, with their
compeers. There, also, was Turgot, greatest of all. There was another,
famous in some respects as any of these, but leading a different life,
whom Franklin saw often,--Caron Beaumarchais, author already of the
“Barbier de Séville,” as he was afterwards of the “Mariage de Figaro,”
who, turning aside from an unsurpassed success at the theatre, exerted
his peculiar genius to enlist the French Government on the side of
the struggling Colonies, predicted their triumph, and at last, under
the assumed name of a mercantile house, became the agent of the Comte
de Vergennes in furnishing clandestine supplies of arms before the
recognition of independence. It is supposed that through this popular
dramatist Franklin maintained communications with the French Government
until the mask was thrown aside.[242]

       *       *       *       *       *

Beyond all doubt, Turgot is one of the most remarkable intelligences
that France has produced. He was by nature a philosopher and a
reformer; but he was also a statesman, with a seat in the Cabinet of
Louis the Sixteenth, first as Minister of the Marine, and then as
Comptroller-General of the Finances. Perhaps no minister ever studied
more completely the good of the people. His administration was one
constant benefaction. But he was too good for the age,--or, rather,
the age was not good enough for him. The King was induced to part with
him, forgetting his earlier words, “You and I are the only two persons
who really love the people.” This was some time in May, 1776; so that
Franklin, on his arrival, found this eminent Frenchman free from all
constraints of ministerial position. The character of Turgot shows how
naturally he sympathized with the Colonies struggling for independence,
especially when represented by a person like Franklin. In a prize essay
of his youth, written in 1750, when he was only twenty-three years of
age, he foretold the American Revolution. These are his remarkable

    “Colonies are like fruits, which hold to the tree only till
    their maturity. Having become sufficient to themselves, they
    do that which Carthage did, _that which America will one day

One of his last acts before leaving the Ministry was to prepare a
memoir on the American War, for the information and at the request of
the King, where he says, that “the idea of the absolute separation of
the Colonies and the mother country seems infinitely probable,--that,
when the independence of the Colonies shall be entire and acknowledged
by the English themselves, there will be a total revolution in the
political and commercial relations of Europe and America,--and that
all the parent states will be forced to abandon all empire over
their colonies, to leave them entire liberty of commerce with all
nations, and to be content in sharing with others this liberty, and in
preserving with their colonies the bonds of amity and fraternity.”[244]
This memoir of the French statesman bears date the 6th of April, 1776,
nearly three months before the Declaration of Independence.

Leaving the Ministry, Turgot devoted himself to literature, science,
and charity, translating Odes of Horace and portions of Virgil,
studying geometry with Bossut, chemistry with Lavoisier, astronomy with
Rochon, and interesting himself in everything by which human welfare
is advanced. Such a character, with such experience of government, and
the prophet of American independence, was naturally prepared to welcome
Franklin, not only as philosopher, but also as statesman.

The classical welcome was partially anticipated,--at least in an
unsuccessful attempt. Baron Grimm, in that interesting and instructive
“Correspondance,” prepared originally for the advantage of distant
courts, but now constituting a literary and social monument of the
period, mentions, under date of October, 1777, that the following
French verses were made for the portrait of Franklin by Cochin,
engraved by St. Aubin:--

    “C’est l’honneur et l’appui du nouvel hémisphère;
    Les flots de l’Océan s’abaissent à sa voix;
    Il réprime ou dirige à son gré le tonnerre:
    Qui désarme les dieux, peut-il craindre les rois?”[245]

These lines seem to contain the very idea in the verse of Turgot. But
they were suppressed at the time by the censor, on the ground that they
were “blasphemous,” although it is added in a note that “they concerned
only the King of England.” Was it that the negotiations with Franklin
were not yet sufficiently advanced? And here mark the dates.

It was only after the communication to Great Britain of the Treaty of
Alliance and the reception of Franklin at Versailles, that the seal
seems to have been broken. Baron Grimm, in his “Correspondance,” under
date of April, 1778, makes the following entry.

    “A very beautiful Latin verse has been made for the portrait of
    Dr. Franklin,--

    ‘Eripuit cœlo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis.’

    It is a happy imitation of a verse of the ‘Anti-Lucretius,’--

        ‘Eripuitque Jovi fulmen, Phœboque sagittas.’”[246]

Here is the earliest notice of this verse, authenticating its origin.
Nothing further is said of the “Anti-Lucretius”; for in that day it was
familiar to every lettered person. But I shall speak of it before I

Only a few days later the verse appears in the correspondence of Madame
D’Épinay, whose intimate relations with Baron Grimm--the subject of
curiosity and scandal--will explain her early knowledge of it. She
records it in a letter to the very remarkable Italian Abbé Galiani,
under date of May 3, 1778. And she proceeds to give a translation in
French verse, which she says “D’Alembert made the other morning on
waking.”[247] Galiani, who was himself a master of Latin versification,
and followed closely the fortunes of America, must have enjoyed the
tribute. In a letter written shortly afterwards, he enters into all the
grandeur of the occasion. “You have,” says he, “at this hour decided
the greatest revolution of the globe,--the question whether America
shall rule Europe, or Europe shall continue to rule America. I would
wager in favor of America.”[248] In these words the Neapolitan said as
much as Turgot.

I cannot quote Galiani without adding that nobody saw America with
more prophetic eye than this inspired Pulcinello of Naples. As far
back as May 18, 1776, several weeks even before the Declaration of
Independence, and much longer before it was known in Europe, he wrote:
“The epoch is come for the total fall of Europe and for transmigration
to America.… Do not, then, buy your house in the Chaussée d’Antin, but
at Philadelphia. The misfortune for me is that there are no abbeys in
America.”[249] Once a favorite in the very circle where Franklin was
welcomed, he left Paris for Italy before the arrival of the negotiator,
so that he knew the tribute only through a faithful correspondence.

Shortly afterwards the verse appears in a different scene. It had
reached the _salons_ of Madame Doublet, whence it was transferred to
the “Mémoires Secrets” of Bachaumont, under date of June 8, 1778, as “a
very beautiful verse, quite proper to characterize M. Franklin and to
serve as an inscription for his portrait.”[250] These Memoirs, as is
well known, are the record of news and town-talk gathered in the circle
of that venerable Egeria of gossip;[251] and here is evidence of the
publicity this welcome had promptly obtained.

The verse was now fairly launched. War was flagrant between France and
Great Britain. No longer was there any reason why the new alliance
between France and the United States should not be placed under the
auspices of genius, and why the same hand that had snatched the
lightning from the skies should not have the fame of snatching the
sceptre from King George the Third. The time for free speech had come.
It was no longer “blasphemous.”

It will be observed that these records of this verse fail to mention
the immediate author. Was he unknown at the time? or did the fact
that he was recently a Cabinet Minister induce him to hide behind
a mask? Turgot was a master of epigram,--as witness the terrible
lines on Frederick of Prussia;[252] but he was very prudent in
conduct. “Nobody,” said Voltaire, “so skilful to launch the shaft
without showing the hand.” There is a letter from no less a person
than D’Alembert, which reveals something of the “filing” which the
verse underwent, and something of the persons consulted. Unhappily,
the letter is without date; nor does it appear to whom it was
addressed, except that the “_cher confrère_” seems to imply that
it was to a brother of the Academy. This letter is found in a work
now known to have been the compilation of the Marquis Gaëtan de la
Rochefoucauld,[253] entitled “Mémoires de Condorcet sur la Révolution
Française, extraits de sa Correspondance et de celles de ses Amis,” and
is introduced by the following words from the Marquis:--

    “It is known how Franklin was fêted when he came to Paris,
    because he was the representative of a republic. The
    philosophers, especially, received him with enthusiasm. It may
    be said, among other things, that D’Alembert lost his sleep;
    and we are going to prove it by a letter which he wrote, while
    racking his brain to versify in honor of Franklin.”

The letter is then given as follows:--

                                                       “FRIDAY MORNING.

    “MY DEAR COLLEAGUE,-- … You are acquainted with the Franklin

        ‘Eripuit cœlo fulmen, _mox sceptra_ tyrannis.’

    You should surely cause it to be put in the Paris paper, if it
    is not there already.

    “I am inclined to agree with La Harpe that _sceptrumque_ is
    better: first, because _mox sceptra_ is a little hard, and then
    because _mox_, according to the dictionary of Gesner, who
    adduces examples, signifies equally _statim_ or _deinde_, which
    makes an ambiguity, _mox eripuit_ or _mox eripiet_.

    “Be that as it may, here is how I have attempted to translate
    this verse for the portrait of Franklin:--

        ‘Tu vois le sage courageux
          Dont l’heureux et mâle génie
        Arracha le tonnerre aux dieux
          Et le sceptre à la tyrannie.’

    If you find these verses sufficiently tolerable, so that people
    will not laugh at me, you can have them put into the Paris
    paper, even with my name. I shall honor myself in rendering
    this homage to Franklin, but on condition once more that you
    find the verses _printable_. As I make little pretension on
    account of them, I shall be perfectly content, if you reject
    them as bad.

    “The third verse might be put, _A ravi le tonnerre aux cieux_
    or _aux dieux_. I should prefer the other; but you shall

From this letter it appears that the critical judgment of La Harpe,
confirmed by D’Alembert, sided for _sceptrumque_ as better than _mox

The verse of Turgot was not alone in its testimony. An incident
precisely contemporaneous shows how completely France had fallen under
the fascination of the American cause. Voltaire, the acknowledged chief
of French literature in the brilliant eighteenth century, after many
years of busy exile at Ferney, in the neighborhood of Geneva, where he
had wielded his far-reaching sceptre, was induced in old age to visit
Paris once again before he died. He left his Swiss retreat on the 6th
of February, 1778, the very day on which Franklin signed the alliance
with France, and, after a journey which resembled the progress of
a sovereign, reached Paris on the 10th of February. He was at once
surrounded by the homage of all most illustrious in literature and
science, while the Theatre, grateful for his contributions, vied with
the Academy. There were two characters on whom the patriarch, as he was
fondly called, lavished a homage of his own. He had already addressed
to Turgot a most remarkable epistle in verse, the mood of which may be
seen in its title, “Épître à un Homme”; but on seeing the discarded
statesman, who had been so true to benevolent ideas, he came forward
to meet him, saying, with his whole soul, “Let me kiss the hand which
signed the salvation of the people.” The scene with Franklin was more
touching still. Voltaire began in English, which he had spoken early in
life, but, having lost the habit, soon changed to French, saying that
he “could not resist the desire of speaking for one moment the language
of Franklin.” The latter had brought with him his grandson, for whom
he asked a benediction. “God and Liberty,” said Voltaire, putting his
hands upon the head of the child; “this is the only benediction proper
for the grandson of Franklin.” A few weeks afterward, at a public
session of the Academy, they were placed side by side, when, amidst
the applause of the enlightened company, the two old men rose and
embraced. The political triumphs of Franklin and the dramatic triumphs
of Voltaire caused the exclamation, “Solon and Sophocles embrace!” It
was more than this. It was France and America embracing beneath the
benediction of “God and Liberty.” Only a month later Voltaire died. But
the alliance with France had received new assurance, and the cause of
American independence an immutable impulse.

Turgot did not live to enjoy the final triumph to which he had given
such remarkable expression. He died March 20, 1781, several months
before that “crowning mercy,” the capture of Cornwallis, and nearly two
years before the Provisional Articles of Peace, by which the Colonies
were recognized as free and independent States. But his attachment to
Franklin was one of the enjoyments of his latter years.[255] Besides
the verse to which so much reference has been made, there is an
interesting incident attesting the communion of ideas between them,
if not the direct influence of Turgot. Captain Cook, the eminent
navigator, who “steered Britain’s oak into a world unknown,” was in
distant seas on a voyage of discovery. Such an enterprise naturally
interested Franklin, and, in the spirit of a refined humanity, he
sought to save it from the chances of war. Accordingly, he issued a
passport, addressed “To all captains and commanders of armed ships
acting by commission from the Congress of the United States of America,
now in war with Great Britain,” where, after setting forth the nature
of the voyage of the English navigator, he proceeded to say: “This
is most earnestly to recommend to every one of you, that, in case
the said ship, which is now expected to be soon in the European seas
on her return, should happen to fall into your hands, you would
not consider her as an enemy, nor suffer any plunder to be made of
the effects contained in her, nor obstruct her immediate return to
England by detaining her or sending her into any other part of Europe
or to America, but that you would treat the said Captain Cook and
his people with all civility and kindness, affording them, as common
friends to mankind, all the assistance in your power which they may
happen to stand in need of.”[256] This document bears date March 10,
1779. But Turgot had anticipated Franklin. At the first menace of
war he had submitted a memoir to the French Government, on which it
was ordered that Captain Cook should not be treated as an enemy, but
as a benefactor of all European nations.[257] Here was a triumph of
Civilization by which we, too, have been gainers; for such an example
is universal and immortal in influence.

There is yet another circumstance which should be mentioned as
revealing an identity of sympathies in these two eminent persons. Each
sought to marry Madame Helvétius: Turgot early in life, while she was
still Mademoiselle Ligniville, belonging to a family of twenty-one
children, from a château in Lorraine, and a niece of Madame de
Graffigny, author of the “Peruvian Letters”; Franklin in his old age,
while a welcome guest in the intellectual company which this widowed
lady continued to gather about her at Auteuil, in the neighborhood of
Paris, and not far from his own house at Passy. Throughout his stay in
France he continued in unbroken relations with this circle, dining with
it very often, and adding much to its gayety, while Madame Helvétius,
with her friends, dined with him once a week. It was with tears in
his eyes that he parted from her, whom he never expected to see again
in this life; and on reaching his American home he addressed her in
words of touching tenderness: “I stretch out my arms towards you,
notwithstanding the immensity of the seas which separate us, while I
wait the heavenly kiss which I firmly trust one day to give you.”[258]

In the permanent group about Madame Helvétius were Cabanis and
Morellet, both living for many years under her hospitable roof. To
the former we are indebted for the interesting extract last quoted.
The intimacy with Franklin is attested in other ways. Nobody who has
visited the Imperial[259] Library at Paris can forget his very pleasant
autograph note in French concerning Madame Helvétius, exhibited in
the same case with an autograph note of Henry the Fourth to Gabrielle

Another glimpse is furnished by Mrs. Adams, who, in her family
correspondence, reports a scene at the house of Franklin. “The
Doctor entered at one door, she [Madame Helvétius] at the other;
upon which she ran forward to him, caught him by the hand, ‘Hélas,
Franklin!’--then gave him a double kiss, one upon each cheek,
and another upon his forehead.… She carried on the chief of the
conversation at dinner, frequently locking her hand into the Doctor’s.”
Franklin spoke of her as “a genuine Frenchwoman, wholly free from
affectation or stiffness of behavior, and one of the best women in the
world.”[260] Madame Helvétius died at Auteuil, August 12, 1800, aged
eighty-one, and, according to her desire, was buried in her garden. A
few years later the same house became the home of Benjamin Thompson,
Count Rumford, who died there, and was buried in the neighboring

But the story of the verse is not yet finished. And here it mingles
with the history of Franklin in Paris, constituting an episode of the
American Revolution. The verse was written for a portrait. And now
that the costly first step had been taken, the portrait of Franklin
was seen everywhere,--in painting, in sculpture, and in engraving. I
have counted in the superb collection of the Bibliothèque Impériale,
at Paris, forty-seven engraved heads of him. At the royal exhibition
of pictures the republican portrait found place, and the name of
Franklin was printed at length in the catalogue,--a circumstance which
did not pass unobserved at the time; for the “Espion Anglais,” in
recording it, treats it as “announcing that he began to come out of
his obscurity.”[261] The same curious authority, describing a festival
at Marseilles, says, under date of March 20, 1779, “I was struck, on
entering the hall, to observe a crowd of portraits representing the
insurgents; but that of M. Franklin especially drew my attention, on
account of the device, ‘_Eripuit cœlo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis_.’
This was inscribed recently, and _every one admired the sublime
truth_.”[262] Thus completely was France, not merely in its social
centre, where fashion gives the law, but in its distant borders,
pledged to the cause of which Franklin was the representative.

As in halls of science and popular resorts, so was our Plenipotentiary
even in the palace of princes. The biographer of the Prince de
Condé dwells with admiration upon the illustrious character, who,
during the great debate and the negotiations that ensued, had
fixed the regards of Paris, of Versailles, of the whole kingdom
indeed,--although in simple and farmer-like exterior, so unlike those
gilded plenipotentiaries to whom France was accustomed,--and he
recounts, most sympathetically, that the Prince, after an interview
of two hours, declared that “Franklin appeared to him above even
his reputation.”[263] And here we encounter again the unwilling
testimony of Capefigue, who says that he was followed everywhere,
taking possession of “hearts and minds,” and that “his picture, in his
simple Quaker dress, was suspended at the hearth of the poor and in
the boudoir of the fashionable,”[264]--all of which is in harmony with
the more sympathetic record of Lacretelle, who says that “portraits
of Franklin were to be seen everywhere, with this inscription, _which
the Court itself found just and sublime_, ‘_Eripuit cœlo fulmen,
sceptrumque tyrannis_.’”[265]

Fragonard, the King’s painter, united in this adulation. A French
paper describes the artist as displaying his utmost efforts “in an
elegant picture dedicated to the genius of Franklin, who is represented
with one hand opposing the ægis of Minerva to the thunderbolt, which
he first knew how to fix by his conductors, and with the other
commanding the God of War to fight against Avarice and Tyranny,
whilst America, nobly reclining upon him, and holding in her hand the
fasces, true emblem of the union of the American States, looks down
with tranquillity on her defeated enemies.” It is then said, that
“the painter, in this picture, most beautifully expressed the idea of
the Latin verse which has been so justly applied to M. Franklin.” The
enthusiastic journalist, not content with the picture and the verse,
proceeded to claim him as of French ancestry. “Franklin appears rather
to be of French than of English origin. It is certain that the name of
Franklin, or Franquelin, is very common in Picardy, especially in the
districts of Vimeux and Ponthieu. It is very probable that one of the
Doctor’s ancestors was an inhabitant of this country, and went over to
England with the fleet of Jean de Biencourt, or that which was fitted
out by the nobility of this province.”[266] The story of Homer seems

The tribute of Madame d’Houdetot was most peculiar. This lady, one of
the riddles of French society in the eighteenth century, whom Rousseau
depicted in a passage of surpassing fervor and made the inspiration of
his “Nouvelle Éloïse,” received Franklin at her château, near Paris, in
a brilliant circle, with banquet and verses in his honor. The famous
guest, at his arrival, and then at dinner, with every glass of wine
was saluted by a new verse, the whole ending with the ascription of
Turgot.[267] Whether to admire or pity the philosopher on this occasion
is the question.

In the minds of Frenchmen Franklin was associated always with this
verse; but such association was no common fame. The Marquis de
Chastellux, while on board the French frigate in the Chesapeake Bay,
on which he was about to leave, after those travels which did so much
to make our country known in Europe, addressed a communication to
Professor Madison, of Virginia, on the fine arts in America, where he
recommends for all the great towns a portrait of Franklin, “with the
Latin verse inscribed in France below his portrait.”[268] Thus, while
teaching our fathers the homage due to the great citizen, the generous
Frenchman did not forget the testimony of his countryman.

French invention stopped not with Turgot. Other verses were pitched on
the same key. An engraving of Franklin by Chevillet, after a portrait
by Duplessis, has this tribute:--

    “Honneur du Nouveau Monde et de l’Humanité,
    Ce Sage aimable et vrai les guide et les éclaire;
    Comme un autre Mentor, il cache à l’œil vulgaire,
      Sous les traits d’un mortel, une Divinité.”

Under another engraving, by F. N. Martinet, where Franklin is seated in
a chair, are these lines:--

      “Il a ravi le feu des cieux,
    Il fait fleurir les arts en des climats sauvages;
      L’Amérique le place à la tête des sages,
    La Grèce l’auroit mis au nombre de ses Dieux.”

It was at Court, even in the palatial precincts of Versailles, that
the portrait and its famous inscription had their most remarkable
experience. Of this there is authentic account in the Memoirs of Marie
Antoinette by her attendant, Madame Campan. This feminine chronicler
relates that Franklin appeared at court in the dress of an American
farmer. His flat hair without powder, his round hat, his coat of brown
cloth contrasted with the bespangled and embroidered dresses, the
powdered and perfumed coiffures of the courtiers. The novelty charmed
the lively imagination of the French ladies. Elegant _fêtes_ were given
to the man who was said to unite in himself the renown of one of the
greatest of natural philosophers with “those patriotic virtues which
had made him embrace the noble part of Apostle of Liberty.” Madame
Campan records that she assisted at one of these _fêtes_, where the
most beautiful among three hundred ladies was designated to place a
crown of laurel upon the white head of the American philosopher, and
two kisses upon the cheeks of the old man. Even in the palace, at the
exposition of the Sèvres porcelain, the medallion of Franklin, with the
legend, “_Eripuit cœlo_,” etc., was sold directly under the eyes of the
King. Madame Campan adds, however, that the King avoided expressing
himself on this enthusiasm, which, “without doubt, his sound sense
led him to blame.” But an incident, called “a pleasantry,” which has
remained quite unknown, goes beyond speech in explaining the secret
sentiments of Louis the Sixteenth. The Comtesse Diane de Polignac,
devoted to Marie Antoinette, shared warmly the “infatuation” with
regard to Franklin. The King observed it. But here the story shall
be told in the language of the eminent lady who records it: “Il fit
faire à la manufacture de Sèvres un vase de nuit, au fond duquel était
placé le médaillon avec la légende _si fort en vogue_, et l’envoya en
présent d’étrennes à la Comtesse Diane.”[269] Such was the exceptional
treatment of Franklin, and of the inscription in his honor which was
“so much in vogue.” Giving to this incident its natural interpretation,
it is impossible to resist the conclusion, that the French people, and
not the King, sanctioned American independence.

The conduct of the Queen on this occasion is not recorded, although
we are told by the same communicative chronicler, who had been her
Majesty’s companion, that she did not hesitate to express herself more
openly than the King on the part taken by France in favor of American
independence, to which she was constantly opposed. A letter from Marie
Antoinette, addressed to Madame de Polignac, under date of April 9,
1787, declares unavailing regret in memorable words: “The time of
illusions is past, and to-day we pay dear on account of our infatuation
and enthusiasm for the American War.”[270] Evidently, Marie Antoinette,
like her brother Joseph, thought that her “business was to be a

But the name of Franklin triumphed in France. So long as his residence
continued there he was received with honor; and when, after the
achievement of independence, and the final fulfilment of all that
was declared in the verse of Turgot, he undertook to return home,
the Queen--who had looked with so little favor upon the cause he
so grandly represented--sent a litter to receive his sick body and
carry him gently to the sea. As the great Revolution began to show
itself, his name was hailed with new honor; and this was natural; for
the French Revolution was an outbreak of the spirit that had risen
to welcome him. In snatching the sceptre from a tyrant he had given
a lesson to France. His death, when at last it occurred, was the
occasion of a magnificent eulogy from Mirabeau, who, borrowing the
idea of Turgot, exclaimed from the tribune of the National Assembly,
“Antiquity would have raised altars to the powerful genius, who, to
the benefit of mankind, embracing in his thought both heaven and
earth, _could subdue lightning and tyrants_.” On his motion, France
went into mourning for Franklin.[271] His bust became a favorite
ornament, and, during the festival of Liberty, it was carried, with the
busts of Sidney, Rousseau, and Voltaire, before the people to receive
their veneration.[272] A little later, the eminent medical character,
Cabanis, who had lived in intimate association with Franklin, added
his testimony, saying, that the enfranchisement of the United States
was in many respects his work, and that the Revolution, the most
important to the happiness of men which had then been accomplished on
earth, united with one of the most brilliant discoveries of physical
science to consecrate his memory; and he concludes by quoting the verse
of Turgot.[273] Long afterwards, his last surviving companion in the
cheerful circle of Madame Helvétius, still loyal to the idea of Turgot,
hailed him as “that great man who placed his country in the number of
independent states, and made one of the most important discoveries of
the age.”[274]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is time to look at this verse in its literary relations, from which
I have been diverted by its commanding import as a political event;
but this naturally enhances the interest in its origin.

The poem which furnished the prototype of the famous verse was
“Anti-Lucretius, sive de Deo et Natura,” by the Cardinal Melchior de
Polignac. Its author was of that patrician house associated so closely
with Marie Antoinette in the earlier Revolution, and with Charles the
Tenth in the later Revolution, having its cradle in the mountains of
Auvergne, near the cradle of Lafayette, and its present tomb in the
historic cemetery of Picpus, near the tomb of Lafayette, so that these
two great names, representing opposite ideas, begin and end side by
side. He was not merely author, but statesman and diplomatist also,
under Louis the Fourteenth and Fifteenth. Through his diplomacy a
French prince was elected King of Poland. He represented France at
the Peace of Utrecht, where he bore himself very proudly towards the
Dutch. By the nomination of the Pretender, at that time in France,
he obtained the hat of a cardinal. At Rome he was a favorite, and
also at Versailles, with some interruptions. His personal appearance,
his distinguished manners, his genius, and his accomplishments, all
commended him. Literary honors were superadded to political and
ecclesiastical. He succeeded to the chair of Bossuet at the Academy.
But he was not without the vicissitudes of political life. Falling into
disgrace at court, he was banished to the abbacy of Bonport. There the
lettered Prince of the Church occupied himself with a refutation of
Lucretius, in Latin verse.

The origin of the poem is not without interest. Meeting Bayle
in Holland, the Frenchman found the indefatigable skeptic most
persistently citing Lucretius, in whose elaborate verse the atheistic
materialism of Epicurus is developed and exalted. Others had answered
the philosopher directly; but the indignant Christian was moved to
answer the poet through whom the dangerous system was proclaimed. His
poem was, therefore, a vindication of God and religion, in direct
response to a master-poem of antiquity in which these are assailed. The
attempt was lofty, especially when the champion adopted the language
of Lucretius. Perhaps no writer of Latin verse since the admired
Sannazaro, found equal success. Even before its publication, in 1747,
it was read at court, and was admired in the princely circle of Sceaux.
It appeared in elegant editions, was translated into French prose
by Bougainville, and into French verse by Jeanty-Laurans, also most
successfully into Italian verse by Ricci. At the latter part of the
last century, when Franklin reached Paris, it was hardly less known
in literary circles than a volume of Grote’s History in our own day.
Voltaire, the contemporary arbiter of literary fame, regarding the
author only on the side of literature, said of him, in his “Temple du

    “Le Cardinal, oracle de la France,
    Réunissant Virgile avec Platon,
    _Vengeur du Ciel et vainqueur de Lucrèce_.”[275]

The last line of this remarkable eulogy has a movement and balance not
unlike the Latin verse of Turgot, or that which suggested it in the
poem of Polignac; but the praise it so pointedly offers attests the
fame of the author. Nor was this praise limited to the “fine frenzy”
of verse. The “Anti-Lucretius” was gravely pronounced the “rival of
one of the greatest poems of ancient Rome,”--“with verses as flowing
as Ovid, sometimes approaching the elegant simplicity of Horace and
sometimes the nobleness of Virgil,”--and then again, with a philosophy
and a poetry combined which “would not be disavowed either by Descartes
or by Virgil.”[276]

Turning now to the poem itself, we see how completely the verse of
Turgot finds its prototype. Epicurus is indignantly described as
denying to the gods all power, and declaring man independent, so as
to act for himself; and here the poet says: “Assailing the thundering
temples of heaven, _he snatched the lightning from Jove and the
arrows from Apollo_, and, liberating the human race, bade it dare all

                “Cœli et tonitralia templa lacessens,
    _Eripuit fulmenque Jovi, Phœboque sagittas_;
    Et mortale manumittens genus, omnia jussit

To deny the power of God, and to declare independence of His commands,
which the poet here holds up to judgment, is very unlike the life of
Franklin, all whose service was in obedience to God’s laws, whether in
snatching the lightning from the skies or the sceptre from tyrants;
and yet it is evident that the verse picturing Epicurus in his impiety
suggested the image of the American plenipotentiary in his double
labors of science and statesmanship.

The present story will not be complete without further reference to
the poem of Antiquity supposed to have suggested the verse of Turgot,
and which doubtless did suggest the verse of the “Anti-Lucretius.”
Manilius is a poet little known. It is difficult to say when he lived
or what he was. He is sometimes imagined to have lived under Augustus,
and sometimes under Theodosius. He is sometimes imagined to have been
a Roman slave, and sometimes a Roman senator. His poem, under the name
of “Astronomicon,” is a treatise on astronomy in verse, recounting
the origin of the material universe, exhibiting the relations of the
heavenly bodies, and vindicating this ancient science. While describing
the growth of knowledge, gradually mastering Nature, the poet says,--

    “Eripuitque Jovi fulmen, viresque tonandi.”[278]

The meaning of this line is seen in the context, which, for plainness
as well as curiosity, I quote from a metrical version of the first
book, entitled “The Sphere of Marcus Manilius made an English Poem, by
Edward Sherburne, Esquire,” and dedicated to Charles the Second:--

    “Nor put they to their curious search an end,
    Till reason had scaled heaven, thence viewed this round,
    And Nature latent in its causes found:
    Why thunder does the suffering clouds assail;
    Why winter’s snow’s more soft than summer’s hail;
    Whence earthquakes come, and subterranean fires;
    Why showers descend; what force the wind inspires:
    From error thus she wondering minds uncharmed,
    _Unsceptred Jove, the Thunderer disarmed_.”

Enough has been said on the question of origin; but there is yet one
other aspect of the story.

The verse was hardly divulged when it became the occasion of various
efforts in the way of translation. Turgot had already done it into
French; so had D’Alembert. M. Nogaret wrote to Franklin, inclosing an
attempted translation, and says in his letter: “The French have done
their best to translate this Latin verse, where justice is done you
in so few words. They have appeared as jealous of transporting this
eulogy into their language as they are of possessing you. But nobody
has succeeded, and I think nobody will succeed.” He then quotes a
translation which he thinks defective, although it appeared in the
“Almanach des Muses” as the best:--

    “Cet homme que tu vois, sublime en tous les tems,
    Dérobe aux dieux la foudre et le sceptre aux tyrans.”[279]

To this communication Dr. Franklin made the following reply.

                                                 “PASSY, 8 March, 1781.

    “SIR,--I received the letter you have done me the honor of
    writing to me the 2d instant, wherein, after overwhelming me
    with a flood of compliments, which I can never hope to merit,
    you request my opinion of your translation of a Latin verse
    that has been applied to me. If I were, which I really am not,
    sufficiently skilled in your excellent language to be a proper
    judge of its poesy, the supposition of my being the subject
    must restrain me from giving any opinion on that line, except
    that it ascribes too much to me, especially in what relates
    to the tyrant,--the Revolution having been the work of many
    able and brave men, wherein it is sufficient honor for me, if
    I am allowed a small share. I am much obliged by the favorable
    sentiments you are pleased to entertain of me.…

        “With regard, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.,

            “B. FRANKLIN.”[280]

In acknowledgment, M. Nogaret says: “Paris is pleased with the
translation of your ‘_Eripuit_,’ and your portrait, as I had foreseen,
makes the fortune of the engraver.”[281] But it does not appear to
which translation he refers.

Here is an attempt preserved in the Works of Turgot:--

    “Il a, par ses travaux toujours plus étonnans,
    Ravi la foudre aux Dieux et le sceptre aux Tyrans.”[282]

Mr. Sparks found among Franklin’s papers the following paraphrastic

    “Franklin sut arrêter la foudre dans les airs,
    Et c’est le moindre bien qu’il fit à sa patrie;
        Au milieu de climats divers,
        Où dominait la tyrannie,
    Il fit régner les arts, les mœurs, et le génie;
    Et voilà le héros que j’offre à l’univers.”[283]

Nor should I omit a translation into English by Mr. Elphinston:--

    “He snatched the bolt from Heaven’s avenging hand,
    Disarmed and drove the tyrant from the land.”[284]

A song, by the Abbé Morellet, written for one of the dinners of Madame
Helvétius, adopts, in some of its verses, the idea of Turgot.

    “Comme un aigle audacieux,
    Il a volé jusqu’aux cieux,
    _Et dérobé le tonnerre_
    Dont ils effrayaient la terre,
        Heureux larcin
    De l’habile Benjamin.

    “L’Américain indompté
    _Recouvre sa liberté_;
    Et ce généreux ouvrage,
    Autre exploit de notre sage,
        Est mis à fin
    Par Louis et Benjamin.”

These verses are characteristic of that intimate circle. _L’habile

Nothing with regard to Franklin is more curious than the Memoirs
of the long-lived Abbé,[285] including especially the humorous
engraving illustrating the benevolence of Nature in the construction
of the elbow, from a design by the lightning-and-sceptre-seizer.
In some copies this engraving is wanting. Franklin is represented
as fond especially of Scottish airs and _chansons à boire_, which
he accompanied sometimes on the harmonica, “an instrument, as is
known, of his invention.” The scandalous whispers with regard to him,
strangely adopted by a German traveller in our country,[286] had no
better authority, probably, than these hilarities and the well-known
“infatuation” of the court ladies. But the good Abbé, who saw him
so freely with the friends he loved, dwells on his exquisite social
qualities, his perfect good-nature, his simplicity of manners, his
uprightness of soul, which made itself felt in the smallest things, his
extreme tolerance, and, above all, his sweet serenity, changing easily
into gayety; and he describes the great void made in that circle when
he left for America.

       *       *       *       *       *

In concluding this sketch, I wish to say that the literary
associations of the subject did not tempt me; but I could not resist
the inducement to present in proper light an interesting incident,
which is truly comprehended only when seen in its political relations.
Its history, even in details, becomes important, so that the verse
which occupied so much attention should be recognized not only in
its scholarly fascination, but in its wide-spread influence among
the learned and even the fashionable in Paris and throughout France,
binding this great nation by an unchangeable vow to the support of
American Liberty. Words are sometimes deeds; but never were words so
completely deeds as those with which Turgot welcomed Franklin. The
memory of that welcome cannot be forgotten in America. Can it ever be
forgotten in France?

       *       *       *       *       *

And now the country is amazed by the report that the original welcome
of France to America, and the inspired welcome of Turgot to Franklin,
are forgotten by the France of this day, or, rather let me say,
forgotten by the Emperor, whose memory for the time is the memory of
France. It is said that Louis Napoleon is concerting alliance with the
Rebel Slavemongers of our country, founded on the recognition of their
independence, so that they may take their place as a new power in the
Family of Nations. Indeed, we have been told, through the columns of
the official organ, the “Moniteur,” that he wishes to do this thing.
Can he imagine that he follows the great example of the last century?

What madness!

The two cases are in conspicuous contrast,--as opposite as the poles,
as unlike as Liberty and Slavery.

The struggle for American independence was for Liberty, and was
elevated throughout by this holy cause. But the struggle for
Slavemonger independence is necessarily and plainly for Slavery, and
is degraded throughout by the unutterable vileness of its undisguised

The earlier struggle, adopted by the enlightened genius of France, was
solemnly placed under the benediction of “God and Liberty.” The present
struggle, happily thus far discarded by that same enlightened genius,
can have no other benediction than “Satan and Slavery.”

The earlier struggle was to snatch the sceptre from a kingly tyrant.
The present struggle is to put whips in the hands of Rebel Slavemongers
with which _to compel work without wages_, thus giving wicked power to
vulgar tyrants without number.

The earlier struggle was fitly pictured by the welcome of Turgot to
Franklin. But another feeling must be found, and other words invented,
to portray the struggle now seeking the protection of France.

The earlier struggle was grandly represented by Benjamin Franklin,
who was already known by a sublime discovery in science. The present
struggle is characteristically represented by John Slidell,[287] whose
great fame is from electioneering frauds to control a Presidential
election; so that his character is fitly drawn, when it is said that he
thrust fraudulent votes into the ballot-box, and whips into the hands
of taskmasters.

The earlier struggle was predicted by Turgot, who said, that, in the
course of Nature, colonies must drop from the parent stem, like ripe
fruit. But where is the Turgot who has predicted, that, in the course
of Nature, the great Republic must be broken to found a new power on
the corner-stone of Slavery?

The earlier struggle gathered about it the sympathy of the learned,
the good, and the wise, while the people of France rose up to call it
blessed. The present struggle can expect nothing but detestation from
all not lost to duty and honor, while the people of France must cover
it with curses.

The earlier struggle enjoyed the favor of France, whether in assemblies
of learning or of fashion, in spite of its King. It remains to be seen
if the present struggle must not ignobly fail in France, still mindful
of its early vows, in spite of its Emperor.

Where duty and honor are so plain, it is painful to think that even for
a moment there can be hesitation.

Alas for France!



                                         WASHINGTON, December 18, 1863.

  GENTLEMEN,--It is not in my power to be present at your festival
  in honor of the Proclamation of Emancipation. But, wherever I may
  be, I shall celebrate it in my heart.

  That Proclamation was the key to open the gates of victory and
  peace. Without it victory would have been doubtful, and peace
  impossible. And now both are certain.

  Accept my best wishes, and believe me, Gentlemen,

      Faithfully yours,





    At the anniversary of the Society speeches were made by Rev.
    Dr. Hitchcock, Mayor Opdyke, General Dix, General Burnside,
    General Sickles, Senator Hale, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, and
    James T. Brady, Esq. Among the letters read was one from Mr.

                                     SENATE CHAMBER, December 21, 1863.

  MY DEAR SIR,--I had counted on partaking of your patriotic,
  invigorating, and gratifying festival, where New-Englanders away
  from home annually meet for fellowship; but the Senate is in
  session, and you know it is not a habit with me to leave my post.
  I must put off to another occasion the pleasure I had promised

  Never before, since the Mayflower landed its precious cargo, have
  New-Englanders had more reason for pride and gratulation than
  now. We are told that a little leaven shall leaven the whole
  lump, and that saying is verified. The principles and ideas which
  constitute the strength and glory of New England have spread
  against opposition and contumely, till at last their influence is
  visible in a regenerated country,--tried, it may be, by murderous
  conspiracy and rebellion, but aroused and stimulated to the manly
  support of Human Rights.

  Amid all the sorrows of a conflict without precedent, let us
  hold fast to the consolation that it is in simple obedience to
  the spirit in which New England was founded that we are now
  resisting the bloody efforts to raise a wicked power on the
  corner-stone of Human Slavery, and that as New-Englanders we
  could not do otherwise.

  If such a wicked power can be raised on this continent, the
  Mayflower traversed its wintry sea in vain.

  We remember, too, that another ship crossed at the same time,
  buffeting the same sea. It was a Dutch ship, with twenty slaves,
  who were landed at Jamestown, in Virginia, and became the fatal
  seed of that Slavery which has threatened to overshadow the
  land. Thus the same ocean, in the same year, bore to the Western
  Continent the Pilgrim Fathers, consecrated to Human Liberty, and
  also a cargo of slaves. In the holds of those two ships were the
  germs of the present direful war, and the simple question now
  is between the Mayflower and the slave ship. Who that has not
  forgotten God can doubt the result? The Mayflower must prevail.

      Believe me, with much regard, my dear Sir,

          Very faithfully yours,

              CHARLES SUMNER.



JANUARY 8, 12, AND JUNE 20, 1864, AND FEBRUARY 7, 1865.

    January 8, 1864, the Senate having under consideration a bill
    to amend an act entitled “An Act for enrolling and calling out
    the national forces and for other purposes,” approved March 3,
    1863, Mr. Sumner moved an amendment, afterwards modified as

        “That, in addition to the substitute furnished by a drafted
        person, or, where no substitute is furnished, then in
        addition to the sum fixed by the Secretary of War for the
        procuration of a substitute, every such drafted person
        shall, before his discharge from the draft, be held to
        contribute a certain proportion, in the nature of a tithe,
        of his annual gains, profits, or income, whether derived
        from any kind of property, dividends, salary, or from
        any profession, trade, or employment whatever, according
        to the following rates, to wit: on all income over one
        thousand dollars and not over two thousand dollars, five
        per centum; over two thousand dollars and not over five
        thousand dollars, ten per centum; and on all income over
        five thousand dollars, twenty per centum. And it shall be
        the duty of every such person, seeking to be discharged,
        to make return, either by himself or his guardian, to the
        provost-marshal of his district, of the amount of his
        income, according to the requirements of the Act to provide
        internal revenue, of July 1, 1862. And it is further
        provided, That the contribution thus made shall be employed
        by the Secretary of War, in his discretion, to promote
        enlistments, or for the benefit of enlisted men.”

    January 8th, Mr. Sumner explained his amendment, remarking as

MR. PRESIDENT,--I presume that I do not exaggerate, if I say, that,
of all the questions connected with this bill, that relating to
commutation for service is the most difficult and the most sensitive.
It is the question which has most occupied the attention of the
country. It has been most discussed in the newspapers, and also in
conversation. I presume it is the ground of objection most often made
against the draft.

Now I think all Senators will unite in any proposition that promises in
any way to smooth these difficulties,--in short, to popularize a part
of the bill which has been open to so much objection among the people.

    January 12th, in the course of debate, Mr. Sumner replied to
    Mr. Sherman, of Ohio.

The Senator from Ohio, not contenting himself with opposing the
amendment, introduced other and extraneous matter, which has been under
discussion since, diverting our minds from the original proposition.
But if I can have his attention for a few minutes, it seems to me--I
do not know--- I may even satisfy him that his argument was not well

If I understand the Senator, he objects to my proposition on the
ground, in the first place, that it is an unusual tax. Sir, what is the
draft but a tax? The draft compels all persons drafted to contribute
strength, muscle, life, to the defence of the Republic. That, if I am
not mistaken, is the highest tax the country can impose. But, still
further, what is the commutation which the statute positively requires
but a tax? If, then, there be anything in the argument of the Senator,
both the draft itself and the commutation of three hundred dollars
are a tax, and both are therefore objectionable. But neither the one
nor the other is a tax in a received sense, because neither the one
nor the other is an imposition for revenue; and I ask the attention
of the Senator to the distinction, neither the one nor the other is
an imposition for revenue. Not on any such ground do I present this
amendment, but simply and distinctly on the duty of equalizing this
burden, that it shall bear, so far as we can make it, with something
like equality upon the rich and the poor. Now I have to say that at
present the burden is not equalized, and that it does not bear with
anything like equality upon the rich and the poor. You make the poor
man pay three hundred dollars; but the rich man pays no more. Is this

But the Senator went further. Not satisfied with objecting to the
amendment on the ground that it was a tax, he complained that it was
an exorbitant tax, and asked me whether in all history I could point
to any instance of a tax of thirty per cent on income. It seems to me
that it should be the pride of our country, at this moment and on an
occasion like this, that it is not to be deterred by history from an
endeavor to equalize a burden upon the rich and the poor. Because other
nations have not undertaken to equalize this burden, is that a reason
why we should not set the example? But is the tax exorbitant? I will
read it.

    “On all income over six hundred dollars and not over two
    thousand dollars, ten per cent; over two thousand dollars and
    not over five thousand dollars, twenty per cent; and on all
    income over five thousand dollars, thirty per cent.”[288]

Now the Senator complains of the thirty per cent, that is, thirty per
cent on an income over five thousand dollars. Suppose a person drafted
with an income over five thousand dollars, I put it to the Senator,
what sum would be too great for him to pay for exemption, carrying with
it, as the draft does, exposure to death, disease, wounds, with the
absolute consumption of time during the period of one, two, or three
years, according to the duration of the service? Is thirty per cent
on an income above five thousand dollars too much for the exemption?
Is it exorbitant? Is that the estimate the Senator puts upon such
exposure? He requires three hundred dollars from the poor man who has
no income, but he thinks it exorbitant to require thirty per cent on an
income over five thousand dollars. Sir, I do not think that even in the
requirement of this amendment there is equality. If any objection can
be brought forward, it is that it is too lenient, that it does not go
far enough.

I am sure, eminent as the Senator is, and justly representing his own
State, that he does not represent on this question every citizen of
that State. I have in my hand a letter, received since this amendment
was first mentioned, from a most respectable citizen of Cincinnati,
and with your permission I will read three or four sentences from
it. I read simply to show how this proposition strikes citizens at a
distance, yet having the same interest in it that we have.

    “Permit a stranger to address a few words to you, expressive of
    approbation of your bill”--

He calls it a bill, when it is only an amendment.

    --“providing for a revision of the Enrolment Act, so as to
    afford a sliding scale of commutation for the draft, the object
    being to rate commutation according to the means of the
    drafted individual. I quote from telegrams of this morning’s
    news. In my humble opinion you have hit the nail on the head.
    I think this is the only method to equalize the burden, and
    satisfy all claims for justice and equitable dealing. When any
    fixed sum is indicated as the commutation fee to exempt from
    actual military duty, it needs but little reflection to see
    that it indirectly imposes a premium upon property while it
    taxes the poor.”

Then he goes on to suppose a case, somewhat at length, quite
elaborately indeed, between two citizens of Cincinnati, neighbors,
whom he minutely describes, and finally winds up that part of his
communication by saying,--

    “Suppose the latter person [whom he calls John Smith] is
    drafted. Why, three hundred dollars is no more to him than a
    three-penny loaf to the other person. Am I not right, that a
    fixed sum for exemption imposes a tax upon honest poverty and a
    premium upon wealth?”

This intelligent constituent of the Senator objects to his whole theory
as a tax upon honest poverty and a premium upon wealth. The Senator
opposes my amendment as a tax upon wealth. Call it, if you please, a
tax upon wealth. The time has come when it should be levied. But I
put aside such language. I put aside the idea, except in the general
sense, that the draft itself is a tax, and the amendment simply aims to
equalize that tax.

    The amendment was lost,--Yeas 15, Nays 25.

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 15th, Mr. Sumner moved his amendment as an additional
    section. Again it was lost,--Yeas 16, Nays 28.

       *       *       *       *       *

    June 20th, the Senate having under consideration a bill to
    prohibit the discharge of persons from liability to military
    duty by reason of the payment of money, Mr. Sumner moved again
    the former amendment, with the further proviso:--

        “That the contributions thus made shall be employed by the
        Secretary of War as a fund for bounties to be paid to the
        men actually drafted and mustered into the service under
        any call subsequent to the date of this Act, whenever they
        shall be honorably discharged, or, in the case of death, to
        the widow and minor children of any such man, according to
        rules and regulations established by the War Department.”

    Mr. Sumner again vindicated his amendment. In the course of his
    remarks, he said:--

When a citizen is drafted as a soldier, and the question arises of his
ransom by a pecuniary contribution, there is no element of equity which
is not shocked, so my conscience tells me, if you fail to regulate the
requirement of money according to the wealth of the individual. What
is there which a man will not give for his life? What is there which a
man, having the means, and indisposed to military exposure, will not
pay for his exemption? And yet, Sir, by the law as it now stands, you
compel the poor to pay the same as the rich. The rich man is drafted,
and he pays three hundred dollars, which to him is nothing; he puts
his hand into his purse, as you put yours into your pocket to find the
change for a newspaper; whereas the poor man, perhaps, is driven to
sell all that he has to save himself for his family. Sir, is that just?
To my mind it is not.


Suppose the Senator himself were drafted; indisposed, as he probably
would be, to the toils of war, what is there that he would not consent
to pay for exemption? To him, under such circumstances, the required
amount would be nothing; and yet to the poor man it is everything. In
short, there are many who have it not; and there are many, who, by
calling upon their friends, and exhausting every resource within their
reach, are not able to command that small sum; others, perhaps, just
able to command it, are compelled to burden their families and deny
comfort to wife and child.

Now, Sir, the rich man is under no such obligation. If he be drafted
under existing laws, he finds his substitute, or he tosses into the
Treasury the required amount; he draws his check, and it is all over.
Sir, there is no equity in the law as it stands. The proposition I
present has in it two elements: the first is that it seeks justice;
the second is that it provides a fund out of which bounties may be
distributed by the Secretary of War among the men drafted and mustered
into service. Here is another attraction to the service,--or, if it
be not another attraction, it is something which will mitigate its
hardships. The soldier, while on the field of battle, or on his weary
march, will bear in mind, that, when the time of honorable discharge
at last arrives, or should he be taken away by death, then, for the
benefit of his wife and minor children, he may look to the fund from
these contributions for a bounty which shall be to him or to them
something in the way of support. Therefore in the pending amendment
is an inducement which all confess is needed to carry forward our
enrolments, and also something more to mitigate them.

    On motion of Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, the bill was recommitted to
    the Committee on Military Affairs, who reported it without

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 7, 1865, the Senate having under consideration
    another bill in addition to the several acts for enrolling and
    calling out the national forces and for other purposes, Mr.
    Sumner seized the occasion to renew his amendment, and again
    vindicated it. In reply to Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, he

The Senator from Pennsylvania opposes my proposition, and treats
the Senate to a very elaborate disquisition on political economy in
general, on the depreciation of the currency in particular, also on
taxation, and still further on salaries.

Now, Sir, admitting all the honorable Senator has so ably said as
perfectly true, that it is according to just principles of political
economy and the experience of the world (for I am not disposed to go
at this moment into that discussion with the learned Senator), the
proposition that I have the honor to make is not touched by a hair’s
breadth. My proposition involves no question of political economy,
no question of the currency, or of taxation, or of salaries. It has
nothing to do with any of these matters. Its single and exclusive
object is to equalize the burden of the draft. There is no political
economy in it. There is nothing but justice. Therefore I propose that
every drafted person, before discharge from the draft, shall be held to
contribute not merely a substitute, but a certain tithe of his annual

I am not tenacious with regard to the percentage. If Senators suggest a
different rate, I shall be perfectly willing to yield. The proposition
is the best that, under the circumstances, I can devise. Other Senators
may improve it; it is open to improvement; but I submit that the
criticism of the Senator from Pennsylvania does not touch it in the
least. The proposition still stands, in its original character, as a
measure which, if adopted, would equalize this burden of the draft.
It would, if I may so express myself, temper this terrible draft to
the poor of the country. It would make them see that legislators here,
while imposing it, thought of the poor, and took such steps as they
could to the end that this burden should not press upon them with
undue severity,--so that it might, to a certain extent, be equalized
upon them and upon the rich. I know full well that this cannot be
accomplished completely; but, Sir, an endeavor in such direction is
something. I think that the Senate must make the endeavor. In the
name of the poor, who are liable to be enrolled, I ask it. Let it
appear to the country, that, while requiring this draft, we recognize
inequalities of condition,--that some are poor and some rich, and that
the same sum ought not to be exacted from all alike.

    The proposition was again lost,--Yeas 8, Nays 30. The war was
    near its close, and the Senate was not disposed at that late
    day to enter upon a change.



    Mr. Sumner submitted the following resolution, which was
    considered by unanimous consent and adopted.

RESOLVED, That a Special Committee of seven be appointed by the Chair
to take into consideration all propositions and papers concerning
Slavery and the treatment of Freedmen, with leave to report by bill or

    January 14th, the Vice-President appointed on this Special
    Committee, Mr. Sumner, Mr. Howard of Michigan, Mr. Carlile of
    Virginia, Mr. Pomeroy of Kansas, Mr. Buckalew of Pennsylvania,
    Mr. Brown of Missouri, and Mr. Conness of California. Reports
    from this Committee will appear in subsequent pages.



    In 1850, Hon. John P. Bigelow, Mayor of Boston, declined to
    receive a costly vase as a tribute to the faithful discharge of
    official duty, and suggested that the funds obtained for that
    purpose be devoted to founding a Free Public Library in Boston.
    Accordingly, one thousand dollars was paid to the city in the
    name of Mr. Bigelow, and this was the first contribution to
    this important object. There was a dinner at the Tremont House
    to commemorate this benefaction, with speeches and letters.
    Among the latter was the following.

                                      SENATE CHAMBER, January 20, 1864.

  MY DEAR SIR,--It is too late for me to send anything for your
  meeting to-morrow evening; but it is not too late for me to
  express the gratitude and admiration with which at the time I
  witnessed the appropriation of that first thousand dollars to a
  Free Public Library in Boston. The money collected as a testimony
  to a favorite mayor became the corner-stone of a favorite
  institution, destined to be cherished with pride so long as our
  beloved city endures.

      Believe me, dear Sir, faithfully yours,





    By an Act of Congress of July 2, 1862, a new oath of office was
    prescribed in the following terms:--

        “That hereafter every person elected or appointed to any
        office of honor or profit under the Government of the
        United States, either in the civil, military, or naval
        departments of the public service, excepting the President
        of the United States, shall, before entering upon the
        duties of such office, and before being entitled to any of
        the salary or other emoluments thereof, take and subscribe
        the following oath or affirmation.”

    Then follows the oath or affirmation, as follows:--

        “I, A. B., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have never
        voluntarily borne arms against the United States since
        I have been a citizen thereof; that I have voluntarily
        given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to
        persons engaged in armed hostility thereto; that I have
        neither sought nor accepted nor attempted to exercise the
        functions of any office whatever, under any authority or
        pretended authority in hostility to the United States; that
        I have not yielded a voluntary support to any pretended
        government, authority, power, or constitution, within
        the United States, hostile or inimical thereto. And I do
        further swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge
        and ability I will support and defend the Constitution
        of the United States against all enemies, foreign and
        domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to
        the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any
        mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will
        well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on
        which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    The Act then provides:--

         “Which said oath, so taken and signed, shall be preserved
        among the files of the Court, House of Congress, or
        Department to which the said office may appertain.”[289]

    This oath was popularly known as “the Iron-Clad Oath.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    On the organization of the Senate, March 4, 1863, being the
    first organization after the statute requiring the oath, it
    became necessary to consider its applicability to the Senate.
    Debate ensued, which can be understood only by a preliminary

    The Senate was organized, in the absence of the Vice-President,
    by the choice of Hon. Solomon Foot, of Vermont, as President
    _pro tempore_. The oath to support the Constitution was
    administered to him by Mr. Foster, of Connecticut, but the
    additional oath was omitted. The President _pro tempore_ then
    proceeded to say:--

        “Senators elect and Senators whose term commences under a
        reëlection at this time _will receive the oath of office
        in the order in which their names will be called by the

    The Secretary then called the names of a long list of Senators,
    who came forward and took the customary oath. But the President
    _pro tempore_ did not offer to administer the additional
    oath; nor, at the time of qualification, was anything said
    with regard to it. After the conclusion of the ceremony, Mr.
    Trumbull, of Illinois, said:--

        “I desire to call the attention of the President of the
        Senate, and of the Senate itself, to an Act of Congress
        approved 2d July, 1862.”

    Then, reading the Act, he added:--

        “I do not know that any motion in regard to it is
        necessary, further than calling the attention of the
        presiding officer and of the Senate to the law.”

    The President _pro tempore_ said:--

        “The Chair presumes it is sufficient to call the attention
        of Senators to that duty, and that that duty will be
        performed as required by law.”

    Nothing, however, was done by the Chair or by Senators.

    The next day, 5th March, two other Senators, Mr. Hendricks and
    Mr. Sprague, came forward to be qualified. The Chair proceeded
    to administer to these Senators the usual oath to support the
    Constitution, but did not administer the additional oath, and
    these Senators took their seats. Shortly afterwards, during the
    session of that day, on a call of the yeas and nays, all these
    Senators were called, and answered to their names.

    Immediately after this call, Mr. Sumner moved an additional
    rule of the Senate, requiring that the oath or affirmation
    prescribed by Act of Congress of July 2, 1862, should be taken
    and subscribed by every Senator in open Senate before entering
    upon his duties.

    On the next day, 6th of March, Mr. Bayard, of Delaware, who had
    been absent before, came forward to be qualified. The Chair,
    as in the other cases, administered the oath to support the
    Constitution, but omitted the additional oath, and Mr. Bayard
    took his seat. Afterwards, on this day, Mr. Sumner called
    up the proposed rule for consideration, and objected to an
    executive session until the question of the rule was settled,
    as follows.

        “Here is a statute of Congress, and the question is,
        whether the Senate is going to set an example of obedience
        to it or of disobedience; that is all.… If the Senate
        now choose to go into executive session, they choose to
        enter upon most important duties in disregard of an Act
        of Congress which they have assisted in putting upon the

    On coming out of executive session, which was ordered, the
    Senate proceeded with the consideration of the proposed rule,
    when Mr. Sumner spoke in vindication of it, concluding as

        “And now, Sir, as I conclude, let me say that I desire to
        take and subscribe the new oath in open Senate, that I may
        in all respects qualify myself for the discharge of my
        duties as a Senator. Others will do as they please, or as
        the Senate shall require. But I hope that I may appeal to
        the Chair to administer that oath to myself, or to direct
        that it shall be administered. With the expression of this
        desire I take my seat.”

    The President _pro tempore_ made no offer to administer the
    oath, but said simply:--

        “The subject is under debate.”

    The debate was continued until the Senator from Illinois [Mr.
    TRUMBULL] proposed that the Chair should proceed to administer
    the oath, while Mr. Sumner expressed a hope that the Chair
    would consent to administer the oath to him.

    Shortly afterwards the President _pro tempore_ said:--

        “The Chair proposes now to take and subscribe this oath, in
        pursuance of the law of 2d July last, and, that being done,
        the Chair will administer the oath _to such members as will
        voluntarily take it_.”

    The oath was then administered to Mr. Foot by Mr. Foster.
    Resuming the chair, the President _pro tempore_ then said:--

        “The Chair will now direct the Clerk to call, in
        alphabetical order, the names of all Senators who have been
        elected or reëlected since the 2d July, 1862, that being
        the day of the approval of the Act; and _such Senators
        present_, whose names shall be called, _as choose to do
        so_, will come forward to the Secretary’s desk and receive
        the oath of office administered by the Chair, _after which
        they will have an opportunity to subscribe the oath_.”

    The Senators present, whose names were called, some of them
    after delay, came forward and took the oath; and then, at the
    suggestion of the Chair, Mr. Sumner withdrew the resolution.
    The Senator from Delaware [Mr. BAYARD] was not then present.

    Before withdrawing the resolution, Mr. Sumner, in reply to Mr.
    Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, again vindicated the proposed
    rule, insisting that the statute was applicable to Senators as
    “civil officers,” concluding as follows.

It is our duty to guard the loyalty of this Chamber. In requiring that
a person shall purge himself with regard to the past, we simply take
a new assurance of fidelity for the present. Others may think that
Jefferson Davis, Robert Toombs, or Judah Benjamin may resume his seat
in this body, on taking a simple oath to support the Constitution. I
do not think so; and I gladly seize the earliest opportunity, since
the commentary of the Senator from Maryland, to declare my conviction
that no person, whose loyalty is not manifest to the Senate, can be
allowed to approach your desk and take the oath of a Senator. The
Senate must shut the door upon him. This is not the first time that I
have made this declaration: nor have I contented myself with making
the declaration; I have argued it. Nothing is clearer than this: a
traitor cannot be a member of the Senate. But a person who cannot take
this oath, retroactive though it be, must have been a traitor. Once a
traitor, always a traitor, unless where changed by pardon or amnesty.

I know not what changes may be required by changing events. For myself,
I shall always welcome every act of just clemency or condonation. But
for the present the statute is wise and conservative. It only remains
that we should stand by it.

    At the next session of Congress Mr. Sumner returned to this
    question. December 17, 1863, he submitted a resolution
    proposing a new rule.

        “_Resolved_, That the following be added to the rules of
        the Senate:--

        “The oath or affirmation prescribed by Act of Congress of
        July 2, 1862, to be taken and subscribed before entering
        upon the duties of office, shall be taken and subscribed
        by every Senator in open Senate before entering upon his
        duties. It shall also be taken and subscribed in the same
        way by the Secretary of the Senate; but the other officers
        of the Senate may take and subscribe it in the office of
        the Secretary.”

    December 18th, the resolution came up for consideration, when
    Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, moved as a substitute that the
    Judiciary Committee be directed to inquire whether Senators and
    Representatives are included within the provisions of the Act
    prescribing the oath, and whether the Act is constitutional.
    Subsequently, he moved that the whole subject, including the
    resolution and the substitute, be referred to the Judiciary
    Committee, which, after debate, was rejected,--Yeas 15, Nays
    26. The debate was continued, in the course of which Mr.
    Bayard, of Delaware, Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, and Mr.
    Collamer, of Vermont, spoke at length.

    January 25, 1864, Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--There is a time for all things; but there are times
when certain things are out of place; and this principle is especially
applicable to the present debate. The question is on the adoption of a
rule of the Senate to carry out an existing statute. It is not on the
passage of the statute, or on its proposed repeal, but it is simply
on its recognition as an existing statute, and the enforcement of its
plain requirement. Considering the simplicity of the question, well may
we be astonished at much that has been intruded into this debate.

The Senate is a branch of the legislative power, in conjunction with
the House of Representatives and the President. Neither alone can
make or unmake a law. The concurrence of all three is essential,
whether in making or unmaking. So long as the law exists, there is no
difference between the obligations of the Senate and the obligations of
the humblest citizen, except, perhaps, that the Senate, which helped
to make the law, is bound to set an example of obedience beyond any

Therefore I put aside, as entirely irrelevant, much that we have
heard against the proposed rule. This is not the time to say that the
oath is unconstitutional, or that it is _ex post facto_. These are
considerations properly arising on the passage of the statute, or on
a proposition for its repeal. The Senator from Delaware [Mr. BAYARD]
and the Senator from Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON], who have argued these
topics so exhaustively, were either too late or too early. The statute
is already the law of the land, and there is no bill pending for its

On a former occasion I vindicated the constitutionality of the statute,
and I now willingly leave that topic to the judgment of Senators,
enlightened by the wisdom of the Senator from Vermont [Mr. COLLAMER],
whose argument has not been answered. But I repeat that this objection
is utterly out of place at this moment.

A Senator over the way [Mr. HENDRICKS] has gone so far as to introduce
my course on a former occasion as an apology for not taking the
oath.[290] Because I denounced an infamous statute, which was a
scandal to civilization, as unconstitutional and utterly unworthy the
support of virtuous citizens, it is argued that the Slave-Drivers, then
in power, were more lenient to me than we are now to them. In other
words, the Slave-Drivers required of me an oath to support a statute
which I abhorred, and therefore we are wrong in requiring the proposed
oath. But this argument confounds two cases which are wide apart as the
poles. While denouncing an outrageous statute, and refusing to play the
part of slave-hunter, I never joined in rebellion against my country,
or uttered one word except in loyalty. But here are persons with bloody
hands, in battle array, striking at all we hold dear,--or others who
have acted with them. Such persons will be justly brought to the test
of an oath, and they can claim no immunity from the example of those
patriot citizens who, recognizing the crime of Slavery, refused to
become in any way its tools.

And another Senator [Mr. JOHNSON] has taken this occasion to arraign
me for certain opinions on another question, and he complained that I
place them under the protection of a judgment of the Supreme Court.
This is not the time for the discussion of “Reconstruction.” It has
nothing to do with the matter before the Senate. I may think that the
Government of the United States has _belligerent rights_, as well
as _the right of sovereignty_, over the Rebel States,--that it is
especially the duty of Congress to take care that these rights are so
exercised as to crush the Rebellion, and to prevent its breaking out
again,--and that, to this end, Congress must take all possible bonds
for the future. These opinions, which the Senator chose to characterize
harshly, may be wrong, but they have nothing to do with the business in
hand. At a proper time I shall be ready to defend them. At present I
choose not to be diverted from the issue before us.

Putting aside irrelevant questions, and presenting the single point
in issue, the case becomes too plain for argument. It is simply this:
Will the Senate obey an existing statute? But here we must consider the
meaning of the statute.

That the Senate will openly refuse obedience to an existing statute,
recently enacted, in support of loyalty, is not to be supposed without
impeachment of the loyalty of the Senate. Only because the question of
obedience has been complicated with other questions has there been for
a moment any doubt on this head. Clearly, the Senate will not disobey
an existing statute. It is, then, on the statute alone, and nothing
else, that any question can arise.

And here I ask leave to recall the Senate from the learned commentary
and elaborate diversion of the Senator from Delaware. The actual
question is one which may be treated without learning and without
effort. It arises on the following words of the statute:--

     “Hereafter every person _elected_ or appointed to any
    _office_ of honor or profit under the Government of the
    United States, _either in the civil_, _military_, _or naval
    departments of the public service_, excepting the President of
    the United States, shall, before entering upon the duties of
    _such office_, and before being entitled to any of the salary
    or other emoluments thereof, take and subscribe the following
    oath or affirmation [_here follows the oath_]; which said oath,
    so taken and signed, shall be preserved among the files of the
    Court, _House of Congress_, or Department to which the said
    office may appertain.”[291]

It cannot fail to be observed here that the language is plain rather
than technical. Every person “elected” or “appointed” to any “office”
in the “_civil_, military, or naval departments of the public service”
must take the oath. What words could be broader than “departments” and
“public service”?

Obviously, and beyond all question, a Senator is “elected.” Therefore
on this point there is no question.

The inquiry recurs, Is a Senator an “officer” in the “civil department
of the public service”?

Is he an “officer”?

Is he in the “civil department”?

To raise these questions seems absurd. But I have not raised them. This
is done by others. You might as well raise the question, if a man is a
creature, and belongs to the human family.

Look now at these questions in their order.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. Is a Senator an “officer”? Here please to consult the dictionary. I
turn to Webster.

    “OFFICE.--_Offices_ are civil, judicial, ministerial,
    executive, _legislative_, political, municipal, diplomatic,
    military, ecclesiastical, &c.”

Thus, plainly, offices are _legislative_. But why summon the
dictionary? And yet the zeal of the other side leaves no alternative.

Not content with the dictionary, I call attention to the use of the
word in other authoritative places,--and pardon me, if I begin with the
Constitution of Massachusetts, written originally by John Adams.

In the Bill of Rights of this Constitution it is declared:--

    “All power residing originally in the people, and being
    derived from them, the several magistrates and _officers_ of
    government, vested with authority, whether _legislative_,
    executive, or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and
    are at all times accountable to them.”[292]

Members of the _Legislature_ are classed among _officers_, and thus
this word received its interpretation.

In another part of the same Constitution it is provided:--

    “Any person chosen Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Councillor,
    _Senator_, or _Representative_, and accepting the _trust_,
    shall, before he proceed to execute the duties of his _place_
    or _office_, make and subscribe the following declaration.”[293]

Here the _place_ or _trust_ of a _Senator_ or _Representative_ is
called an _office_. And this same use of these terms, as synonymous,
and applicable to the post of _Senator_ or _Representative_, is

    “Every person chosen to either of the places or
    _offices_ aforesaid [meaning the _offices_ of Governor,
    Lieutenant-Governor, Councillor, _Senator_, or
    _Representative_] … shall, before he enters on the discharge
    of the business of his place or _office_, take and
    subscribe,”[294] &c.

The authority of New Hampshire is like that of Massachusetts. Her
Constitution declares:--

    “All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the
    people, all the magistrates and _officers_ of government are
    their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to

Here the word “officers” obviously means the _substitutes_ and _agents_
of the people. But who are substitutes and agents of the people more
than _Senators_?

Then again, in the same Constitution, it is declared:--

    “No _office_ or place whatsoever in government shall be

Here the word “office” is made synonymous with “place.”

The Constitution of Vermont testifies:--

    “All power being originally inherent in, and consequently
    derived from, the people, therefore all _officers_ of
    government, whether _legislative_ or executive, are their
    trustees and servants.”[297]

Thus, in Vermont, members of the Legislature are “officers.”

The old Constitution of New Jersey testifies also, in the clause
prescribing the qualifications entitling a person to vote:--

    “For representatives in Council and Assembly, and also for all
    _other_ public _officers_ that shall be elected by the people
    of the county at large.”[298]

Here again members of the _Legislature_ are treated as “public

The Constitution of Pennsylvania testifies:--

     “Members of the General Assembly, and _all officers_,
    executive and judicial, shall be bound by oath or affirmation
    to support the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and to
    perform the duties of their respective _offices_ with

Here members of the General Assembly are classed with those holding

The original Constitution of New York is more positive:--

    “The chancellor and judges of the Supreme Court shall not
    at the same time hold _any other office_, excepting that of
    Delegate to the General Congress upon special occasions; and
    the first judges of the county courts in the several counties
    shall not at the same time hold any other _office_, excepting
    that of _Senator_ or Delegate to the General Congress.”[300]

Here the post of Delegate to the General Congress, and also of
“Senator,” is treated as an “office.”

Surely this is enough. The post of Senator is an office of honor or
profit, and a “Senator” is an “officer.”

       *       *       *       *       *

2. But, assuming that the post of Senator is an “office,” and that a
Senator is an “officer,” the question occurs, To what “department of
the public service” does he belong?

Clearly he is not of the “military” or “naval” department. But if not
“military” or “naval,” he must be “civil.” Here again consult the
dictionary. I cite Webster.

     “_Civil._ It is distinguished from _ecclesiastical_, which
    respects the Church, and from _military_, which respects the
    army and navy.--This term is often employed in contrast with
    _military_: as, a _civil_ hospital, the _civil_ service, &c.”

    “_Civil List._ In England, formerly, a list of the entire
    expenses of the _civil_ government; hence the officers of
    _civil_ government, who are paid from the public treasury;
    also, the revenue appropriated to support the _civil_

    “_Civil State._ The whole body of the laity or citizens, not
    included under the military, maritime, and ecclesiastical

To say that a Senator is not included under this comprehensive, but
distinctive term, is simply an absurdity.

It is evident that Congress adopted the words of the statute because
they were comprehensive and distinctive. They obviously comprehended
all “officers” in the “public service,” whether “elected,” like a
Senator, or “appointed,” like a judge. But, beyond their plainness,
these words had this added advantage, that already for more than a
generation they had received a practical interpretation from Congress.

Here is the familiar Blue Book. Its title-page begins:--

    “Register of _officers and agents_, _civil_, military, and
    naval, _in the service of the United States_.”

Turning to the contents, we find in this list Members of Congress,
including Senators and Representatives, with the “officers and agents”
of the two Houses.

If we go back to the Blue Book for 1820, which is now in my hands,
we find the same title, and the same enumeration of Senators and

This Blue Book is still published, in pursuance of a joint resolution
by Congress, originally adopted as long ago as 27th April, 1816, with
the following title:--

     “Resolution requiring the Secretary of State to compile and
    print, once in every two years, _a register of all officers and
    agents_, _civil_, military, and naval, in the service of the
    United States.”

If Senators are properly included in such a register, it is only as
belonging to the “_civil_ department of the public service,” which is
precisely where they have been placed by the recent Act of Congress.

The only apology for the objection urged from the beginning of this
debate with so much pertinacity is founded on the case of Mr. Blount,
the Senator expelled and afterwards impeached, at the close of the
last century. I shall not take time to consider this case. It has been
amply done by others. On former occasions I have done it at length. And
yet I will not leave it without protesting again that it is absolutely
inapplicable to the present occasion. If that case were out of the way,
nobody would have suggested that a “Senator” was not an “_officer_ in
the _civil_ department of the public service.” Now what did this case
decide? Let another give the summary. I quote the words of Mr. Wharton,
in the notes to his edition of the State Trials.

    “_In a legal point of view_, all that this case decides is,
    that a Senator of the United States, who has been expelled from
    his seat, is not, after such expulsion, subject to impeachment;
    and _perhaps_ from this the broader proposition may be drawn,
    that none are liable to impeachment except officers of the
    government, in the technical sense, excluding thereby members
    of the National Legislature.”[301]

The case of Mr. Blount has no application to the present question. It
is not an interpretation of the statute, and so far as it illustrates
the Constitution it simply concerns the liability to impeachment. But
even this case has often been drawn into doubt. And if we look into the
proceedings of the time, we find that the decision, such as it was,
encountered an able and earnest opposition.

Among those who took a distinguished part on that occasion was James
A. Bayard,[302] of Delaware, the eminent Representative who conducted
the impeachment as Manager on the part of the House of Representatives.
In his effective argument he has set forth the true signification of
the Constitution. From the argument of the Senator from Delaware [Mr.
BAYARD] in the present debate I confidently appeal to that of the
earlier Mr. Bayard. Here is a passage.

    “I have submitted, in the course of my argument, that the sound
    principle of construction to be adopted, in relation to the
    construction of an instrument having in view the vast object
    of settling the powers of the Government and the rights of
    the people, is to give it such an interpretation as is best
    calculated to give effect generally to all its parts according
    to its true design. If I am supported in this principle, I
    shall be able to show, by strong cases under the Constitution,
    that its undeniable intention must be frustrated, if a Senator
    be not considered an officer of the United States.

    “I find it provided in the seventh clause of the third
    section of the first article, that conviction on impeachment
    disqualifies the party convicted from holding any _office_ of
    honor, trust, or profit under the United States. If a seat in
    the Senate be not an office, the disqualification does not
    extend to it. And yet can it reasonably be contended that
    the policy which incapacitates a citizen, if convicted on
    impeachment, from holding an office the most mean and humble,
    does not apply to the case of a Senator? The wisdom of the
    Constitution, Sir, has considered a conviction as an evidence
    of moral unfitness for public trust. It never can happen but
    in the case of a great national offence. And shall such an
    offender, degraded from the capacity of even being doorkeeper
    of this Chamber, yet retain the capacity of being a member of
    a body of the most dignity, trust, and power in the country?
    This is a solecism in politics, an absurdity in reason, which
    I trust this honorable court will not willingly by their act
    attach to an instrument so highly and justly revered as the
    Constitution of our Government.

    “I find also a provision in the seventh [eighth] clause of the
    ninth section of the first article, that ‘no person holding
    any office of profit or trust under the United States shall,
    without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present,
    emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any
    king, prince, or foreign state.’ If a Senator holds no office
    of profit or trust under the United States, it is _lawful_ for
    him to accept a present, title, or office from any king or
    foreign state. Can it be possible that a public functionary,
    of all others the peculiar object of this jealous restriction,
    is, in fact, the sole object of exemption from its operation?
    Can it be imagined that a Senator, upon whom the Constitution
    has heaped the powers and trusts of legislator, judge, and
    executive magistrate, is the only person who is left exposed to
    the seductions of foreign influence? It can never be admitted
    that a situation which from its trust and importance most
    invites corruption is the only one which the Constitution has
    not guarded against. If, Sir, a Senator be not an officer
    under this clause, it might happen that the Senate of the
    United States might become a House of Lords. It would be in
    the power of any king in Europe to change our free government,
    and to convert one branch, at least, from a republican into an
    aristocratic form. You will not suffer an ensign in your army
    to accept the humble title of Chevalier, and yet you will allow
    an integral part of the Government to be composed of earls and
    dukes. And let me pray the honorable Court to remember, at the
    same time, that the Constitution has provided that a member of
    either House shall not be allowed to retain his seat and hold
    any commission, civil or military, under the United States.
    The President has no titles to grant, nor offices of great
    emolument to confer; and yet the chaste republicanism of the
    Constitution will not allow a Senator to feel the influence of
    his patronage; and yet, at the same time, he may _lawfully_ be
    the pensioner or the titular noble of a foreign power. Such a
    doctrine is not simply absurd, but infinitely dangerous.”[303]

In view of these emphatic words, it is difficult to see how any person
can insist that a “Senator” is not a “civil officer,” even according to
the text of the Constitution. Conceding to the judgment on the trial
of impeachment all the authority which can belong to it, you cannot
properly deduce from it any conclusion, except that a Senator already
expelled is not a “civil officer” liable to impeachment: nothing beyond

But whatever the signification of this word in the Constitution, even
conceding all that is claimed for it there, the instance is entirely
inapplicable to the interpretation of the statute in question. If
there be doubt on the Constitution, there is none on the statute. The
latter is plain, and there are no associate words to interfere with its
natural and unequivocal signification.

I conclude this branch of the subject as I began, by putting aside
all irrelevant matter, all superfluous questions, all surplusage, all
topics not properly germane to the debate. There is no question of the
Constitution, no question of _ex post facto_, but a simple question on
the meaning of a statute.

The oath is prescribed by Congress. It is too late to debate its
constitutionality thus incidentally. It only remains for us to take it,
promptly, patriotically. The procrastination of this debate is of evil
example. How can we expect the alacrity of loyalty among the people, if
the Senate hesitates?

       *       *       *       *       *

Another objection to the proposed rule has been brought forward by
the Senator from Vermont [Mr. FOOT]. According to him, the statute
is obligatory, and the oath must be taken by Senators, but a rule
requiring the oath is superfluous and without precedent. The argument
of the Senator is plausible, but it is answered by a simple statement
of facts, in which, as presiding officer of the Senate, he bore a
conspicuous part.

From this statement it will appear that the rule, or some equivalent
action of the Senate, is not superfluous.

    Here Mr. Sumner set forth the facts substantially as presented
    in the Introduction, showing the necessity of the proposed
    rule, and then proceeded.

The language of the Chair, when inviting Senators to take the oath,
left a loophole through which they might avoid the oath. It was,
“Such Senators present _as choose to do so_ will come forward,” and
then “they will have _an opportunity to subscribe the oath_.” In such
terms Senators were invited to do as they pleased, thus making a
discrimination between the earlier oath, which they were obliged to
take in order to be qualified, and the additional oath, which they were
free to neglect.

Such is a plain statement of facts, which I make in no spirit of
personal criticism, but simply that you may see the occasion for the
proposed rule.

Had the Chair at the beginning proceeded to administer the additional
oath, as the earlier oath, there would have been no occasion for a
rule. Or had the Chair afterwards, when attention was called to the
omission, administered the additional oath according to the requirement
of the statute, there would have been no occasion for a rule.

The Chair did no such thing, but left the taking of the oath to the
conscience or will of each Senator. And though the statute solemnly
declares that “every person _elected_ or appointed to any office of
honor or profit under the Government of the United States … shall,
_before entering upon the duties of such office, and before being
entitled to any of the salary or other emoluments thereof_, take
and subscribe” the oath in question, yet the Senator from Delaware
[Mr. BAYARD] has not only “entered upon the duties” of his office as
Senator, but he has continued to discharge these duties, and to draw
his salary, although he has never taken and subscribed the oath.

Evidently something must be done to correct this incongruity, and to
rehabilitate, if I may so say, the Act of Congress. I know no better
way than by the proposed rule. But I have no partiality for this mode.
I am ready for any other proposition which will lift the statute from
the desuetude and neglect into which it was allowed to fall, and will
secure its enforcement. In the events at hand this statute will be a
safeguard of the Republic, and its enforcement here will secure its
enforcement everywhere. To the traitor seeking office it will be a
touchstone, while, with guardian force, it thrusts away from these
Chambers all those brutal enemies, who, for the sake of Slavery, have
helped to fill our land with mourning.

    On the Yeas and Nays, the vote stood, Yeas 28, Nays 11. So the
    resolution was adopted.

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 26th Mr. Bayard took the prescribed oath, and on the
    29th resigned his seat in the Senate.

    January 25th, Mr. Sumner asked, and by unanimous consent
    obtained, leave to bring in a bill supplementary to an Act
    entitled “An Act to prescribe an oath of office and for other
    purposes,” approved July 2, 1862, which was read the first
    and second times by unanimous consent, and referred to the
    Committee on the Judiciary. It provided that no person should
    be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United
    States, or of any Circuit or District Court of the United
    States, or of the Court of Claims, as an attorney or counsellor
    of such court, or should be allowed to appear and be heard in
    any such court, by virtue of any previous admission or any
    special power of attorney, unless he should have first taken
    the oath prescribed by the Act of July 2, 1862.

    June 28th, Mr. Trumbull, from the Judiciary Committee, reported
    adversely on this bill.

    December 22d, on motion of Mr. Sumner, the Senate proceeded
    to consider this bill, and it was passed,--Yeas 27, Nays 4.
    January 23, 1865, it passed the House of Representatives, and
    January 24th was approved by the President.



MR. PRESIDENT,--The personal acquaintance which I had with Mr. Noell
was very slight; but I honored him much, as a public servant who at a
critical moment discerned clearly the path of duty and had the courage
to tread it.

Born among slaves and living always under the shadow of Slavery, his
character was not corrupted, nor was his judgment obscured. All of us,
although born among freemen, and living far away from that influence
so unhappily disturbing our country, might take counsel from his
intelligent alacrity. While others hesitated, he was prompt. While
others surrendered to procrastination, he grappled at once with the
giant evil. Such a man was exceptional, and now that he is dead he
deserves exceptional honors.

There are men in history who by a single effort fix public attention.
A member of Parliament in the last century was known as “Single-Speech
Hamilton.” Others have become famous from the support of a single
measure. Perhaps Mr. Noell may find place in this class. But no
“Single-Speech Hamilton” could claim the homage which belongs to him.

There have been many in Congress from the Slave States, but he was the
first in our history inspired to bring in a bill for the abolition of
Slavery in a State. Rejecting the palpable sophistries by which it was
sought to postpone an act of unquestionable justice, and discarding
the idea that wrong was to be dealt with tardily, gradually, or
prospectively, he proposed Immediate Emancipation. Let it be spoken
in his praise. Let it be carved on his tombstone. His bill passed the
House. It was lost in the Senate.[304] But it was not lost to his fame.
He died without beholding the fulfilment of his desires, but the cause
with which his name is associated cannot die.

Among the human benefactors of Missouri, so rich in natural resources,
he must always be numbered; and his memory will be appreciated there
just in proportion as men discern what contributes most to the wealth,
the character, and the true nobility of a State. Hereafter, when the
present conflict is ended and peace once more blesses our wide-spread
land, he will be mentioned gratefully with those who saw truly how this
blessing was to be secured, and bravely strove for it. Better in that
day to have been a doorkeeper in the house of Freedom than a dweller
in the tents of the ungodly: and what ungodliness can compare with the
ungodliness of Slavery, whether in the lash of the taskmaster or in the
speech of its apologist?



    In the Senate, February 8, 1864, the following resolutions,
    submitted by Mr. Sumner, were read and ordered to be printed.

  Resolutions defining the character of the national contest, and
      protesting against any premature restoration of Rebel States,
      without proper guaranties and safeguards against Slavery and
      for the protection of Freedmen.

RESOLVED, That, in determining the duties of the National Government,
it is of first importance that we should see and understand the real
character of the contest forced upon the United States, for failure
to appreciate this contest must end in failure of those proper
efforts essential to the reëstablishment of unity and concord; that,
recognizing the contest in its real character, as it must be recorded
by history, it is apparent that it is not an ordinary rebellion or an
ordinary war, but that it is absolutely without precedent, differing
from every other rebellion and every other war, inasmuch as it is an
audacious attempt, for the first time in history, to found a wicked
power on the corner-stone of Slavery; and that such an attempt, having
this single object,--whether regarded as rebellion or war,--is so
completely penetrated and absorbed, so entirely filled and possessed
by Slavery, that it can be regarded as nothing else than the huge
impersonation of this crime, at once rebel and belligerent, or, in
other words, as _Slavery in arms_.

2. That, recognizing the identity of the Rebellion and Slavery, so
that each is to the other as another self, it becomes plain that the
Rebellion cannot be crushed without crushing Slavery, as Slavery cannot
be crushed without crushing the Rebellion; that every forbearance
to the one is forbearance to the other, and every blow at the one
is a blow at the other; that all who tolerate Slavery tolerate the
Rebellion, and all who strike at Slavery strike at the Rebellion; and
that, therefore, it is our supreme duty, in which all other present
duties are contained, to take care that the barbarism of Slavery,
in which alone the Rebellion has its origin and life, is so utterly
trampled out that it can never spring up again anywhere in the Rebel
and belligerent region; for, leaving this duty undone, nothing is done,
and all our blood and treasure are lavished in vain.

3. That, in dealing with the Rebel War, the National Government is
invested with two classes of rights,--one the _Rights of Sovereignty_,
inherent and indefeasible everywhere within the national limits, and
the other the _Rights of War_, or belligerent rights, superinduced by
the nature and extent of the contest; that, by virtue of the Rights of
Sovereignty, the Rebel and belligerent region is now subject to the
nation as its only rightful government, bound under the Constitution
to all the duties of sovereignty, and by special mandate bound also
to guaranty to every State a republican form of government, and to
protect it against invasion; that, by virtue of the Rights of War, this
same region is subject to all the conditions and incidents of war,
according to the established usages of Christian nations, out of which
is derived the familiar maxim of public duty, “Indemnity for the past
and security for the future.”

4. That, in seeking restoration of the States to their proper places
as members of the Republic, so that every State shall enjoy again its
constitutional functions, and every star on the national flag shall
represent a State in reality as well as in name, care must be taken
that the Rebellion is not allowed, through any negligence or mistaken
concession, to retain the least foothold for future activity, or the
least germ of future life; that, whether proceeding by the exercise
of sovereign rights or of belligerent rights, the same precautions
must be exacted against future peril; that, therefore, any system
of “Reconstruction” must be rejected which does not provide by
irreversible guaranties against the continued existence or possible
revival of Slavery, and that such guaranties can be primarily obtained
only through the agency of the National Government, which to this end
must assert a temporary supremacy, military or civil, throughout the
Rebel and belligerent region, of sufficient duration to stamp upon this
region the character of Freedom.

5. That, in the exercise of this essential supremacy of the nation,
a solemn duty is cast upon Congress to see that no Rebel State is
prematurely restored to its constitutional functions until within
its borders all proper safeguards are established, so that loyal
citizens, including the new-made freedmen, cannot at any time be
molested by evil-disposed persons, and especially that no man there
may be made a slave; that this solemn duty belongs to Congress under
the Constitution, whether in the exercise of Rights of Sovereignty
or Rights of War, and that in its performance that system of
“Reconstruction” will be best, howsoever named, which promises most
surely to accomplish the desired end, so that Slavery, which is the
synonym of the Rebellion, shall absolutely cease throughout the
whole Rebel and belligerent region, and the land it has maddened,
impoverished, and degraded shall become safe, fertile, and glorious
from assured Emancipation.

6. That, in the process of “Reconstruction,” it is not enough to secure
the death of Slavery throughout the Rebel and belligerent region
only; that experience testifies against Slavery wherever it exists,
not only as crime against humanity, but as disturber of the public
peace and spoiler of the public liberties, including liberty of the
press, liberty of speech, and liberty of travel and transit; that, in
the progress of civilization, it has become incompatible with good
government, and especially with that “republican form of government”
which the United States are bound to guaranty to every State; that from
the outbreak of this Rebel war, even in States professing loyalty, it
has been an open check upon patriotic duty and an open accessory to
the Rebellion, so as to be a source of unquestionable weakness to the
national cause; that the defiant pretensions of the master claiming
control of his slave are in direct conflict with paramount rights of
the nation; and that, therefore, it is the further duty of Congress, in
the exercise of its double powers under the Constitution, as guardian
of the national safety, to take all needful steps for the extinction
of Slavery, even in States professing loyalty, so that this crime
against humanity, this disturber of the public peace, and this spoiler
of the public liberties shall no longer exist anywhere to menace the
general harmony, that civilization may be no longer shocked, that the
constitutional guaranty of a republican form of government to every
State may be fulfilled, that the Rebellion may be deprived of the
traitorous aid and comfort Slavery has instinctively volunteered, and
that the master claiming an unnatural property in human flesh may no
longer defy the nation.

7. That, in addition to the guaranties stipulated by Congress, and
as the cap-stone to its work of restoration and reconciliation,
the Constitution itself must be so amended as to prohibit Slavery
everywhere within the limits of the Republic; that such prohibition,
leaving all personal claims, whether of slave or master, to the
legislation of Congress and of the States, will be a sacred and
inviolable guaranty, representing the collective will of the people of
the United States, and placing Universal Emancipation under sanction of
the Constitution, so that Freedom shall be engraved on every foot of
the national soil and be woven into every star of the national flag,
while it elevates and inspires our whole national existence, and the
Constitution, so often invoked for Slavery, but at last in harmony
with the Declaration of Independence, will become, according to the
aspirations of its founders, sublime guardian of the inalienable right
of every human being to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness:
all of which must be done in the name of the Union, in duty to
humanity, and for the sake of permanent peace.



MR. PRESIDENT,--I offer the petition now on the desk before me. It is
too bulky for me to take up. I need not add that it is too bulky for
any of our pages to carry.

This petition marks a stage of public opinion in the history of
Slavery, and also in the suppression of the Rebellion. As it is short,
I will read it.

    “_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United

    “The undersigned, women of the United States above the age of
    eighteen years, earnestly pray that your honorable body will
    pass, at the earliest practicable day, an act emancipating all
    persons of African descent held to involuntary service or labor
    in the United States.”

There is also a duplicate of the petition, signed by “men above the age
of eighteen years.”

It will be perceived that the petition is in rolls. Each roll
represents a State. For instance, here is New York with a list of
seventeen thousand seven hundred and six names, Illinois with fifteen
thousand three hundred and eighty, and Massachusetts with eleven
thousand six hundred and forty-one. But I will read the abstract with
which I have been furnished.

      State.                                Men.  Women.   Total.
    New York                               6,519  11,187   17,706
    Illinois                               6,382   8,998   15,380
    Massachusetts                          4,249   7,392   11,641
    Pennsylvania                           2,259   6,366    8,625
    Ohio                                   3,676   4,654    8,330
    Michigan                               1,741   4,441    6,182
    Iowa                                   2,025   4,014    6,039
    Maine                                  1,225   4,362    5,587
    Wisconsin                              1,639   2,391    4,030
    Indiana                                1,075   2,591    3,666
    New Hampshire                            393   2,261    2,654
    New Jersey                               824   1,709    2,533
    Rhode Island                             827   1,451    2,278
    Vermont                                  375   1,183    1,558
    Connecticut                              393   1,162    1,555
    Minnesota                                396   1,094    1,490
    West Virginia                             82     100      182
    Maryland                                 115      50      165
    Kansas                                    84      74      158
    Delaware                                  67      70      137
    Nebraska                                  13      20       33
    Kentucky                                  21      ..       21
    Louisiana                                 ..      14       14
    Citizens of the United States living in
      New Brunswick                           19      17       36
                                          ------  ------   ------
                                          34,399  65,601  100,000

These several petitions are consolidated into one, being another
illustration of the motto on our coin,--_E pluribus unum_.

This unprecedented petition is signed by one hundred thousand men and
women, who unite in this unparalleled number to support its prayer.
They are from all parts of the country, and from every condition of
life: from the seaboard, fanned by the free airs of the ocean, and
from the Mississippi and the prairies of the West, fanned by the free
airs which vitalize that extensive region; from the families of the
educated and uneducated, rich and poor, of every profession, business,
and calling in life, representing every sentiment, thought, hope,
passion, activity, intelligence, that inspires, strengthens, and adorns
our social system. Here they are, a mighty army, one hundred thousand
strong, without arms or banners, the advance-guard of a yet larger army.

Though memorable for numbers, these petitioners are more memorable for
the prayer in which they unite. They ask nothing less than Universal
Emancipation; and this they ask directly at the hands of Congress.
No reason is assigned. The prayer speaks. It is simple, positive. So
far as it proceeds from the women of the country, it is naturally a
petition and not an argument. But I need not remind the Senate that
there is no reason so strong as the reason of the heart. Do not all
great thoughts come from the heart?

It is not for me at this moment to offer reasons which the one hundred
thousand petitioners have forborne. But I may properly add, that,
naturally and obviously, they all feel in their hearts, what reason
and knowledge confirm, not only that Slavery _as a Unit_, one and
indivisible, is the guilty origin of the Rebellion, but that its
influence everywhere, even outside the Rebel States, is hostile to the
Union, always impairing loyalty, and sometimes openly menacing the
national cause. It requires no difficult logic to conclude that such
a monster, wherever it shows its head, is a _National Enemy_, to be
pursued and destroyed as such, or at least a nuisance to the national
cause, to be abated as such.

The petitioners know well that Congress is the depository of those
supreme powers by which rebellion, alike in its root and distant
offshoots, may be surely crushed, while unity and peace are permanently
assured. They know well that the action of Congress may be with the
coöperation of the Slave-Masters, or even without their coöperation,
under the overruling law of military necessity, or the commanding
precept of the Constitution to guaranty a republican form of
government. Above all, they know well that to save the country from
peril, especially to save the national life, there is no power in the
ample arsenal of self-defence which Congress may not grasp; for to
Congress, under the Constitution, belongs the prerogative of the Roman
Dictator, to see that the Republic receives no detriment. Therefore to
Congress these petitioners appeal.

I ask the reference of the petition to the Select Committee on Slavery
and Freedmen.

    An earnest debate ensued, which ended in the reference of the


JUNE 11, 1864.

    February 3d, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, reported a joint
    resolution to equalize the pay of soldiers in the United
    States army, which provided that all persons of color, who
    have been or may be mustered into the military service of
    the United States, shall receive the same uniform, clothing,
    arms, equipments, camp equipage, rations, medical and hospital
    attendance, pay and emoluments, other than bounty, as other
    soldiers of the regular or volunteer forces of the United
    States of like arm of service, during the whole term in which
    they shall be or shall have been in such service, and every
    person of color who shall hereafter be mustered into the
    service shall receive such sums in bounty as the President
    shall order in the different States and parts of the United
    States, not exceeding one hundred dollars.

    February 4th, the Senate considered the joint resolution. Mr.
    Fessenden, of Maine, “wished to inquire what propriety there is
    in our going back and paying them this increase for services
    already rendered.” Mr. Wilson thought, “as an act of justice,
    the bill should be retrospective,”--that “the gross injustice
    done by the country toward these men ought to be corrected.”
    Mr. Fessenden was in favor, and had ever been in favor, of
    putting colored soldiers on a level with white, but he was
    opposed to paying men for services already rendered, unless
    the men were promised full pay by orders emanating from the
    War Department. Mr. Sumner, after stating that there were two
    classes of enlistments, first, under the statute of 1861, and,
    secondly, under the statute of 1862, insisted that under the
    former statute any person of African descent might be enlisted
    and entitled to the same pay as a white soldier. “There was
    no limitation in the statute. There was no color there. There
    was nothing against the enlistment of colored men under that
    statute, except a blind prejudice which we ought to forget.”
    He concluded: “I wish to see our colored troops treated like
    white troops in every respect. But I would not press this first
    principle by any retroactive proposition, unless where the
    faith of the Government is committed, and there I would not
    hesitate. The Treasury can bear any additional burden better
    than the country can bear to do an injustice.”

    February 10th, the subject being still under consideration, Mr.
    Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am grateful to the Senator from Connecticut [Mr.
FOSTER] for his admirable argument on this question; and yet it seems
to me, if he will pardon me, that even in point of law he has not
stated the case as strongly in favor of this obligation as it might be
stated. It may be remembered, that, when this discussion was closing,
the other day, I ventured to throw out the remark, that there were
evidently two classes of cases: the first, where enlistments in good
faith were made under the statute of 1861; and the second, where they
were made under the statute of 1862.

In point of law, it seems obvious, if enlistments were made in good
faith under the statute of 1861, and there was no legal objection
to those enlistments, then the United States are bound. If, on the
contrary, they were made under the subsequent statute, then it is
simply a question of policy and expediency whether we shall make this
payment. The whole subject is open to discussion,--first, in the light
of sentiment, which may involve expediency and policy, and, secondly,
in the light of law. I shall not say anything upon it in the first
aspect, except to make one remark,--that our country at this moment can
ill afford to take the responsibility of refusing justice to colored
soldiers whom it has allowed to shed their blood in its cause. The soul
repudiates any such sacrifice,--for sacrifice it will be, at once of
honor and of interest. I do not follow out this idea, but pass at once
to the second aspect, which I called the question of law; and there I
differ from my learned friend from Connecticut, when I say that there
are certain colored regiments in the field who in point of law are
entitled to the full wages of thirteen dollars a month.

    MR. FOSTER. If the Senator will pardon me, I insisted on that
    fact, and said they were enlisted, not under the law, but under
    instructions from the Department, authorizing the officers to
    enlist them on the same terms that white troops were enlisted,
    which would be thirteen dollars per month.

MR. SUMNER. Very well. I still understood the Senator to imply
that perhaps in point of law there might be some doubt whether the
Government was liable for the thirteen dollars a month. I propose to
carry the argument a little further, and show, by calling attention for
one moment to the statutes,--not at any great length,--that, under the
statutes themselves, the Government is obliged to pay certain regiments
thirteen dollars a month.

I begin with the Massachusetts fifty-fourth and fifty-fifth regiments;
and these may be taken as examples. I have before me the actual order
under which those two regiments were raised.

                    “WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, January 26, 1863.

    “_Ordered_, That Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, is
    authorized, until further orders, to raise such number of
    volunteer companies of artillery for duty in the forts of
    Massachusetts and elsewhere, and such corps of infantry for the
    volunteer military service, as he may find convenient; _such
    volunteers to be enlisted for three years_,”--

Mark, Sir, if you please, the period of service,--“for three years,”--

    “or until sooner discharged, _and may include persons of
    African descent_, organized into separate corps. He will make
    the usual needful requisitions on the appropriate staff bureaus
    and officers for the proper transportation, organization,
    supplies, subsistence, arms, and equipments, of such volunteers.

        “EDWIN M. STANTON, _Secretary of War_.”

Now, on the face of this order, the Governor of Massachusetts is
empowered to raise certain regiments in the volunteer service of the
United States for three years. Under what statute? Under no other,
surely, than the statute of 1861, for it was under that statute that
the organization for three years was authorized. If you come to the
later statute--and to that I ask particular attention--of July 17,
1862, which contains a special provision with reference to African
troops, you will find that it is to raise troops for nine months.

    “SEC. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That the President be,
    and he is hereby, authorized, in addition to the volunteer
    forces which he is now authorized by law to raise, to accept
    the services of any number of volunteers, not exceeding one
    hundred thousand, as infantry, for a period of nine months,
    unless sooner discharged.”

And then, Sir, in section twelve of this same statute, the President
is further empowered to employ persons of African descent. In section
fifteen we come to the question of pay.

    “_And be it further enacted_, That all persons who have been or
    shall be hereafter enrolled in the service of the United States
    under this Act”--

“Under this Act,”--an Act authorizing enrolments for nine months, not
for three years--

    “shall receive the pay and rations now allowed by law to
    soldiers, according to their respective grades: _Provided_,
    That persons of African descent, _who under this law shall be
    employed_, shall receive ten dollars per month and one ration,
    three dollars of which monthly pay may be in clothing.”

Now, Sir, you have the question precisely: Under what statute were
these enlistments made? Were they under the nine months’ statute, or
under the three years’ statute? To answer that question, look at the
order of the War Department:--

    “_Ordered_, That Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, is
    authorized, until further orders, to raise such number of
    volunteer companies of artillery for duty in the forts of
    Massachusetts and elsewhere, and such corps of infantry for the
    volunteer military service, as he may find convenient; _such
    volunteers to be enlisted for three years, or until sooner

Here are no nine months’ men. There is nobody under the second statute,
but all are clearly under the first by the plain language of the order.
And this is none the less so, even if the second statute, so far as
Africans are concerned, may be interpreted to sanction a longer term of

Mark well, that “all persons who have been or _shall be hereafter
enrolled in the service of the United States_ under this Act shall
receive the pay and rations now allowed by law to soldiers.” (§
15.) But were not the soldiers of the fifty-fourth and fifty-fifth
Massachusetts regiments “enrolled in the service of the United States”?
Unquestionably, if troops ever were enrolled.

But it is the _proviso_ that follows which causes the mischief.
“Persons of African descent, _who under this law shall be employed_,
shall receive ten dollars,” &c.

It is said that these colored soldiers were “employed,”--that is
all,--not “enrolled,” but “employed”; and on this distinction the
promise of Governor Andrew in the name of the National Government, and
the honest expectations of the soldiers, are set aside.

The order of the Secretary of War is for “volunteer companies of
artillery,” also for “corps of infantry,” “_to be enlisted for three
years_,” “and may include persons of African descent.” The persons
of African descent are to be included in the artillery or infantry
“enlisted.” Such persons are in advance declared men to be _enlisted_.
And yet the argument which denies them their well-earned wages asserts
that they are only “employed,” and not enlisted. But if they are
“employed,” then are the “corps of infantry” in which they are included
“employed” also.

To me the conclusion seems irresistible, on the face of these facts,
that these troops were enrolled or enlisted under the earlier statute.
It is clear that Governor Andrew thought so at the time, and it is
equally clear that the troops themselves thought so at the time.

But there remains behind another question. Is there anything in
existing legislation to prevent the enlistment of a colored person
under the statute of 1861? To this I answer positively in the negative,
and I challenge contradiction. There is no color in that statute.
There is no color in any statute raising troops for the army of the
United States, nor any color in any statute raising sailors for the
navy of the United States. Only in our militia statutes do you find
the word “white.” In all our army and navy statutes there is no such
limitation. The statute of 1861, therefore, in point of law embraced
all persons, whether black or white, and it was entirely at the option
of the President, before the passage of the statute of 1862, to
organize or receive colored troops under that statute. He hesitated.
I regretted at the time his hesitation. I thought it an error by
which the country suffered. We endeavored to repair that error by the
amendment introduced by the brave Senator from New York, who is no
longer here [Mr. KING], which you will find in the statutes of 1862.
But I doubt if any person at the time, who had given attention to the
subject, supposed this amendment necessary, except as an encouragement
to a policy which the Government was too slow to adopt. For myself, I
remember well my own feelings in voting for it. I accepted it as notice
to the Administration that in the opinion of Congress the time had come
when colored troops must be used. In point of law it was plain that it
could not stand in the way of an enrolment under the earlier statute.

And the Secretary of War seems to have acted on this interpretation;
for, in undertaking to raise colored troops, no allusion was made
to the statute of 1862, but the language of his order in every
particular pointed to the statute of 1861. Am I wrong, then, if I say
that in point of law these colored troops have just the same right
to the full pay of a soldier that any Senator on this floor has to
his compensation? It is by just as good title, and as firm in the
statute-book, as your own pay, Sir.

I suggested, the other day, that there were two classes of cases,--one
where the enlistments had been made in good faith under the earlier
statute, and a second class where they had been made under the later
statute; and I suggested, that, if we were disposed to recognize the
difference between these two classes, it might afford a solution to our
present difficulties. I am not disposed, on any ground of sentiment,
to impose an unnecessary tax upon the burdened treasury of my country,
although there is no tax required by justice that I would hesitate to
impose. If there are colored troops in our service, who, at the time
they were mustered, had no reason to suppose that they were enlisted
under the statute of 1861, who were led to believe that they came under
the statute of 1862, that is, for the pay of ten dollars, I am not
disposed to press for them any claim on ground of sentiment,--that is,
for the past. I take the past as it is; but for the future I insist
that they shall be put upon an equality. True equality in the past is
for the National Government to redeem its pledges, whether direct or
only implied,--whether there is an absolute promise, of which you have
a record, or only an inference or understanding, founded, it may be, in
misconception, but still embraced in good faith by innocent parties.
On this ground, at a proper moment, I shall be ready to propose an
amendment something like the following, to come in immediately after
the word “service”:--

    “_Provided_, That, with regard to all past service, it shall
    appear to the satisfaction of the Secretary of War that such
    persons, at the time of being mustered into service, were led
    to suppose that they were enlisted under the Act of Congress
    approved July 22, 1861, as volunteers in the army of the United

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Fessenden could not concur in Mr. Sumner’s construction of
    the Act of 1862. Mr. Lane, of Indiana, thought, “if we place
    colored troops hereafter on an equality with the white troops,
    it is surely as much as they can ask, either from the justice
    or the generosity of this Senate; for no man, in his sober
    senses, will say that their services are worth as much, or that
    they are as good soldiers.” Mr. Sumner replied:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I hope the Senator from Indiana will pardon me, if I
refer to him for one minute. He is so uniformly generous and just that
I was the more surprised, when I listened to his remarks just now. I
was surprised at his lack of generosity and his lack of justice--he
will pardon me--toward these colored soldiers. I was surprised--he will
pardon me--at his injustice to the State of Massachusetts. He spoke
disparagingly of the colored soldiers. He thought they had been paid
enough. He thought that the gallant blood shed on the parapets of Fort
Wagner had been paid enough; and he failed to see that the men who died
for us on that bloody night, and were buried in the same grave with the
devoted colonel who led them, now stood alive in this presence to plead
for the equality of their race. How can I help regret that the Senator
was led into such remark?

Also, in the ardor of his utterance,--he will pardon me still
further,--the Senator undertook to say, that, if we entered on this
payment, we should charge the Treasury with some one or two hundred
millions in addition to its present burden. Why, Sir, that is an entire
mistake. Even if we pay everything contemplated by the resolution, I am
told that the whole will be little more than a million: much, I admit,
to charge unnecessarily upon the Treasury, but not the very large sum
which seemed to fill the patriotic vision of the Senator.

    MR. LANE, of Indiana. The Senator misunderstood my statement
    altogether. My statement was, that, if we were called upon now
    to go back and increase the pay of the colored troops three
    dollars a month more than the law provided, with the same
    propriety we might be called upon to go back and increase the
    pay of our white soldiers because they thought that their pay
    had not been enough; and that would add to the burdens of the
    Treasury to a very large amount.

MR. SUMNER. I accept the correction gladly. Certainly I have no
disposition to press anything beyond the meaning of the Senator. But
he will allow me to say that I was hardly mistaken in his argument.
It was, that we should charge the Treasury with a burden it could ill
bear. Now, if this money is due, let us charge the Treasury with the
burden; and that brings me again to the direct question, Is not the
money due? The Senator denies it; but he will pardon me again, if I
say he hardly went into an argument on that head. I repeat, then, is
the money due? I dislike to trouble the Senate by going over topics
already too much discussed; but I trust they will excuse me, if I state
the case yet once more. On many accounts I confess a special interest
in it; not the least is that I would have my country above doing
injustice, least of all injustice to people of a race too long crushed
by injustice.

The argument need not be long. In the first place, the statute of 1861
contains no words which can be interpreted in any way to exclude the
enrolment of persons of color under it. I challenge any Senator to
mention a single word in that statute authorizing any such exclusion.
You have, then, the statute in the case. That is the first point. Then
you have the order from the Secretary of War to Governor Andrew,
authorizing an enrolment for three years, making no discrimination
between persons of African descent and white soldiers. That is the
second point. You have, in the third place, the open promises and
pledges of Governor Andrew, under that order, and for the time being
the agent of the United States, solemnly promising the full pay of
thirteen dollars a month to these colored persons as soldiers of the
United States. And, in the last place, you have the very terms of
enlistment subscribed by these soldiers at the time of enlistment,
which I read the other day, where it is expressly stated that they
entered into service under the statute of 1861.

These four points,--the statute of 1861, the order of the Secretary,
the promise of Governor Andrew in behalf of the United States, and the
terms of enlistment,--all these make a case by which, as it seems to
me, the Government is bound. In face of these, how can it be said that
these colored troops were “employed” under the statute of 1862? There
is no ingenuity of interpretation which can place them there.

That I am not mistaken in the facts on which I found this argument is
apparent from a letter which I hold in my hand, written by one of these
soldiers, now on Morris Island. I content myself with a brief extract.

     “In the month of February, 1863, Governor John A. Andrew
    announced that he had permission from the War Department to
    raise a regiment of infantry to be composed of men of color.
    Enlisting began immediately, and the fifty-fourth regiment was
    filled to overflowing in three months. The only inducement he
    offered to these men was an acknowledgment of their manhood;
    for he promised that the United States Government would treat
    them, in _every_ particular, the same as other volunteer
    regiments from the State of Massachusetts.”

    MR. LANE. Will the Senator pardon me a moment just there?

MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. LANE. They were to be treated in every respect as the
    volunteer troops from Massachusetts. Will the Senator contend
    that the commissioned officers of colored regiments might be
    drawn from the colored troops themselves, after the passage of
    the law of 1862? Was not that a disparity? Was that treating
    them like other troops?

MR. SUMNER. Of course the order is applicable simply to the enlisted
men. It is not applicable to the officers.

The letter goes on to say,--

    “The enlistment rolls signed by these men bound them to obey
    the President,” &c.


    “In pursuance of the law passed in July, 1861, calling for

Such was the understanding. By this lure you won these men to the field
of sacrifice.

I have already said too much, but before I sit down I cannot forget
that the Senator from Indiana, in his impetuous movement, brushed
against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I do not remember his
precise words, nor do I care to remember them. But he more than
intimated that there was on the part of this State something else than
a patriotic motive in pressing this obligation. I think he said this
whole effort is to save the payment of this extra money. Does not the
Senator know that Massachusetts has already provided for the payment
of this sum, so far as its own two regiments are concerned, and that
those regiments have refused to receive it? These colored troops
declare that they were enlisted as soldiers of the United States, and
as such are entitled to the pay of soldiers of the United States from
the Government of the United States. If it be wrong to maintain their
claim, then is Massachusetts wrong, then am I wrong. If the claim is
maintained earnestly, it is because, both in law and in sentiment, and
on every ground of policy or expediency, it commends itself to those
who represent Massachusetts. And now, since this State has been called
in question, I shall not content myself with merely giving my own
opinions and arguments, but I ask you to listen to her honored Governor.

In an official communication to the Legislature of Massachusetts,
Governor Andrew has discussed this whole question with his accustomed
lucidity and thoroughness. Here is something of what he says.

    “To my own mind, the right of these men, under the existing
    statutes, to the lawful pay and allowances of volunteers is
    demonstrably clear. But if it is doubtful, it is agreed, I
    believe, in all quarters, that it will be the duty and the
    pleasure of Congress to embrace an early opportunity to
    prevent by positive legislation the continuance of that doubt.
    Meantime I must embrace the earliest occasion to invoke the
    Legislature of Massachusetts to render justice to the men of
    these regiments beyond the possibility of a doubt, by the
    appropriation of the needful means out of our own treasury
    until the National Congress or the Executive Department shall
    correct the error.”[305]

The Governor, after considering some details of the argument, proceeds
as follows.

    “I think there can be no proposition of law more clear than
    this, namely, that colored men are competent to be enlisted
    into the regular army of the United States, into the volunteer
    army of the United States, into the navy of the United States,
    and to be employed in any arm of either service.

    “The Military Enlistment Law of 1814 required only that the
    recruit shall be a ‘free, effective, able-bodied man, between
    the ages of eighteen and fifty years.’ (_See Act of December
    10, 1814._) It did not require a man to be under forty-five,
    nor a citizen, nor white, in which three respects it differs
    from the old Militia Act. The Naval Act of 1813 is not less

Such is the statement of the Governor on this question in point of law.
At the time these regiments were mustered into the service he believed
that he was acting legally under the statutes of the United States. He
so instructed these men; and these men naturally believed him, and gave
themselves, generously, nobly, beautifully, to the public service. Will
the country now disown them? Will the country now fasten a ban upon
them, and lead them to say in their hearts that they have been duped?

    February 13th, the subject being still before the Senate,
    Mr. Sumner offered the proviso of which he had already given
    notice at the close of his first remarks; but, after debate,
    he withdrew it at the request of Mr. Wilson, who, seeing
    the opposition to the joint resolution, proposed to abandon
    all that part making it retroactive. In withdrawing it, Mr.
    Sumner again vindicated it, saying, in conclusion: “I am
    unwilling to withdraw the proposition. I shall do it, if my
    colleague desires it. At any rate, I should rather, for my own
    satisfaction, have a vote upon it.”

    In the debate that ensued, Mr. Reverdy Johnson said: “If the
    Governor of Massachusetts has made a promise which the law did
    not authorize, if he has created, as between the Massachusetts
    soldiers and the Governor of Massachusetts, an obligation which
    ought to be redeemed, let Massachusetts redeem it.” “They have
    passed a law to redeem it,” said Mr. Fessenden, “but these
    regiments refuse to receive it from Massachusetts.”

    Mr. Wilson moved to insert words making the resolution
    applicable only “from and after the first day of January,
    1864,” which was agreed to. After debate, Mr. Sumner again
    moved his proviso, which was lost,--Yeas 16, Nays 21. Other
    amendments were moved, and the debate continued for days.

    February 23d, Mr. Davis moved as a substitute three
    resolutions,--that all negroes and mulattoes, by whatever term
    designated, in the military service of the United States, be
    discharged and disarmed, and also providing for payment to
    loyal owners on account of slaves taken into the service.
    Lost,--Yeas 7, Nays 30.

    Mr. Collamer, of Vermont, having moved an amendment providing
    for a certain class of cases, Mr. Sumner, February 25th,
    brought forward his amendment in the following terms:--

        “_Provided, also_, That all persons whose papers of
        enlistment shall show that they were enlisted under the Act
        of Congress of July, 1861, shall receive from the time of
        their enlistment the pay promised by that statute.”

    In proposing this again, he said: “I believe, if any persons
    have enlisted in the national service, and, through any
    ambiguity or misinterpretation of legislation, their rights
    have been drawn in question, it belongs to Congress, as
    guardian and conservator of the rights of every citizen, to
    see that they have the proper remedy.” The amendment was
    adopted,--Yeas 19, Nays 18.

    February 29th, Mr. Fessenden addressed the Senate in
    explanation of his position. He had been from the beginning in
    favor of placing colored soldiers on the same footing as white;
    but he objected to the attempt to provide for exceptional cases
    on this general bill, and he asked, “whether we should have had
    such an uproar throughout the country, if this amendment had
    been in regard to three or four or more white regiments, to
    go back and pay them an additional sum from the time of their
    enlistment, and the principle had been objected to.”

    Mr. Sumner, in reply, reviewed the case, and in conclusion

From the question of law I pass to that other question which occupied
the attention of the Senator from Maine, as to when and where we should
meet this obligation. He says, Bring in a separate bill. That was said
the other day. I say, Meet it whenever it appears. It is in itself a
case of such absolute and overwhelming justice that the Senate ought
not to postpone it for a single day,--especially ought not to postpone
it, when it has under consideration a bill so entirely germane as the
present. If it were a bill concerning the Pacific Railroad or the sale
of gold, it might be questionable whether the proposition should be
ingrafted upon it; but, as it is a bill to put colored troops on an
equality with other troops in the national service, I say that the
pending proposition is perfectly germane, and, being in itself of
commanding justice, ought not to be postponed. It is a common device of
enemies to object to a measure on a particular bill. For myself, I wish
it understood that I am for the proposition on any bill and at any time.

    Then, on motion of Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, the joint resolution
    was recommitted to the Committee on Military Affairs.

    March 2d, Mr. Wilson reported a new bill, in lieu of the
    original joint resolution so much discussed, which, besides
    the provision in the joint resolution, contained an additional
    section in substantial conformity with Mr. Sumner’s proviso,
    giving to all persons of color enlisted and mustered into the
    service of the United States the pay allowed by law to other
    volunteers in the service, from the date of their muster, if it
    had been pledged or promised to them by any officer or person,
    who, in making such pledge or promise, acted by authority of
    the War Department; and the Secretary of War was to determine
    any question of fact arising under this provision.

    March 8th, the bill being under consideration, Mr. Davis moved
    an additional section, giving to loyal owners of slaves taken
    into service compensation to be determined by commissioners
    appointed by the Circuit Court of the United States.

    March 9th, Mr. Davis made an elaborate speech vindicating
    property in slaves.

    March 10th, after further debate, the additional section of
    Mr. Davis was rejected,--Yeas 6, Nays 31,--and also another
    amendment moved by him. The bill then passed the Senate,--Yeas
    31, Nays 6. In the House of Representatives other matters were
    substituted for the provisions which had occupied the attention
    of the Senate, as the object was already accomplished in
    another way.

    April 22d, the Army Appropriation Bill being under
    consideration, Mr. Wilson moved, as an amendment, the bill to
    equalize the pay of soldiers which had passed the Senate. Mr.
    Fessenden thought that “the measure ought to be passed, and
    passed at once.” If the Senate would waive the objection to
    putting it on the Appropriation Bill, he would not object. The
    amendment was agreed to,--Yeas 31, Nays 5.

    Then followed another series of struggles. The House of
    Representatives made amendments which were disagreed to by the
    Senate. Then came no less than three different Committees of
    Conference. The report of the last Committee, which was made
    June 10th, contained the following substitute for the Senate

        “That all persons of color who were free on the nineteenth
        day of April, 1861, and who have been enlisted and mustered
        into the military service of the United States, shall,
        from the time of their enlistment, be entitled to receive
        the pay, bounty, and clothing allowed to such persons
        by the laws existing at the time of their enlistment.
        And the Attorney-General of the United States is hereby
        authorized to determine any question of law arising under
        this provision. And if the Attorney-General aforesaid shall
        determine that any of such enlisted persons are entitled to
        receive any pay, bounty, or clothing in addition to what
        they have already received, the Secretary of War shall make
        all necessary regulations to enable the pay department to
        make payment in accordance with such determination.”

    Mr. Sumner observed that the report did not seem to settle the
    question in issue; that, if he were merely looking after the
    interests of his own constituents and the regiments organized
    in Massachusetts, he might rest satisfied; but that he was
    unwilling to sanction a settlement which did not embrace all
    the colored troops. The debate extended into the next day, when
    Mr. Sumner remarked:--

I stated last night that in my opinion this report undertook to
conclude something, but did not conclude it. On further consideration,
I am satisfied that I was not much mistaken. It is a conclusion in
which nothing is concluded. I may say, too, that it is not entirely
creditable to Congress, and, so far as I now accept the result, it
will be with much reluctance. It would have better become Congress to
recognize a solemn obligation toward those now baring their breasts for
us in battle, and falling on the ramparts of the enemy, rather than
question their title to pay as soldiers, which I believe as strong
for them as for any white soldiers. I regret sincerely that their
title has not been positively recognized in the text of a statute;
but, after effort in both branches, and the appointment of several
committees of conference, such recognition has failed. I despair of
obtaining it, at least on the present bill. On that account I am
induced to look critically at the proposition before us, to see whether
this affords any measure of justice. In one sense it affords nothing;
and I believe the Senator from Maine [Mr. MORRILL], who was on the
last committee, will not differ from me on that point; but it does
distinctly and unequivocally refer the question to the judgment of the
Attorney-General of the United States. Substantially Congress agrees
to take his opinion. He has already given it. I have it in my hand,
in a communication dated April 23, 1864, on a case submitted by the

    “I do not know that any rule of law, constitutional or
    statutory, ever prohibited the acceptance, organization, and
    muster of ‘persons of African descent’ into the military
    service of the United States as enlisted men or volunteers. But
    whatever doubt might have existed on the subject had been fully
    resolved before this order was issued, by the 11th section
    of the Act of July 17, 1862, chap. 195, which authorized the
    President to employ as many persons of African descent as he
    might deem necessary and proper for the suppression of the
    Rebellion, and for that purpose to organize and use them in
    such manner as he might judge best for the public welfare.”

And then again he says:--

    “I have already said that I knew of no provision of law,
    constitutional or statutory, which prohibited the acceptance
    of persons of African descent into the military service of
    the United States; and if they could be lawfully accepted as
    private soldiers, so also might they be lawfully accepted as
    commissioned officers, if otherwise qualified therefor. But the
    express power conferred on the President by the 11th section of
    the Act of July 17, 1862, chap. 195, before cited, to employ
    this class of persons for the suppression of the Rebellion as
    he may judge best for the public welfare, furnishes all needed
    sanction of law to the employment of a colored chaplain for a
    volunteer regiment of his own race.”[307]

By the report before the Senate, it is declared as follows: “And the
Attorney-General is hereby authorized to determine any question of law
arising under this provision.” In the full confidence that we shall at
last, through the Attorney-General, obtain that justice which Congress
has denied, I consent to give my vote for the report.

    The report was concurred in.[308] The Attorney-General, Mr.
    Bates, as Mr. Sumner anticipated, affirmed the equal rights of
    the colored soldiers.[309]


JUNE 21, 1864.

    The opening of the street-cars in Washington constitutes a
    special chapter of effort, which, beyond its local influence,
    was important as an example to the country.

    February 27, 1863, the Senate having under consideration the
    bill to authorize the Alexandria and Washington Railroad
    Company to extend their road across the Potomac River and
    through the city of Washington to the Baltimore and Ohio
    Railroad station, Mr. Sumner moved an amendment in the
    following words:--

        “_And provided, also_, That no person shall be excluded
        from the cars on account of color.”

    In making this motion, he called attention to what seemed to
    him a new illustration of the barbarism of Slavery. An aged
    colored person had been excluded from the cars and dropped in
    the mud. He thought the incident discreditable, and that it was
    the duty of Congress to interfere. The following dialogue then

        MR. HOWE (of Wisconsin). I should like to ask the Senator
        from Massachusetts, as a question of law, whether, if
        this railroad company, being common carriers, should drop
        any person or refuse to carry any person who offered them
        their fare, they would not be liable as the law now stands,
        without any express enactment?

        MR. SUMNER. If you ask me the question as a lawyer, I
        should say they would be liable; but the experience here,
        as I believe, is, that this liability is not recognized.
        The Senator knows well, that, under the influence of
        Slavery, human rights are disregarded, and those principles
        of law which he recognizes are set aside. Therefore it
        becomes the duty of Congress to interfere and specially
        declare them.

        MR. HOWE. Would the effect of the amendment be any more
        than a reënactment of the existing law?

        MR. SUMNER. That was said of the Wilmot Proviso, as the
        Senator will remember.

    The question being taken by yeas and nays, resulted, Yeas 19,
    Nays 18; so the amendment was agreed to. It was concurred in by
    the House, and approved by the President, March 3, 1863.

    This provision, though applicable to a single road, seemed to
    decide the principle. But it was not so regarded by the other
    railroads in Washington, which continued to exclude colored
    persons, often under painful circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 10, 1864, Mr. Sumner called attention to this subject
    by the following resolution:--

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on the District of Columbia
        be directed to consider the expediency of further providing
        by law against the exclusion of colored persons from the
        equal enjoyment of all railroad privileges in the District
        of Columbia.”

    Mr. Sumner explained the resolution.

MR. PRESIDENT,--It is necessary that I should call attention to a
recent outrage which has occurred in this District. I do it with great
hesitation. At one moment I was inclined to keep silence, believing
that the good name of our country required silence; but since it has
already found its way into the journals, I cannot doubt that it ought
to find its way into this Chamber.

An officer of the United States, with the commission of Major, with the
national uniform, has been pushed from a car on Pennsylvania Avenue
for no other offence than that he was black. Now, Sir, I desire to say
openly that we had better give up railroads in the national capital, if
we cannot have them without such an outrage upon humanity, and upon the
national character. An incident like that, Sir, is worse at this moment
than defeat in battle. It makes enemies for our cause abroad, and sows
distrust. I hope, therefore, that the Committee on the District of
Columbia,--I know the disposition of my honorable friend, the Chairman
of that Committee,--in the bills we are to consider relative to the
railroads in this District, will take care that such safeguards are
established as will prevent the repetition of any such wrong.

    In reply to Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, Mr. Sumner spoke again.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am sure that the Senator from Indiana [Mr. HENDRICKS]
is mistaken in regard to the provision for colored people. There may be
here and there, now and then, once in a long interval of time, a car
which colored people may enter; but any person traversing the avenue
will see that those cars appear very rarely; and if any person takes
the trouble to acquaint himself with the actual condition of things,
he will learn that there are great abuses and hardships, particularly
among women, growing out of this outrage. I use plain language, Sir,
for it is an outrage. It is a disgrace to this city, and a disgrace
also to the National Government, which permits it under its eyes. It is
a mere offshoot of the Slavery which, happily, we have banished from

Now go back to the facts on which I predicated my motion. The Senator
from Iowa [Mr. GRIMES] has referred to the colored officer. I have in
my hand his letter, addressed to his military superior, making a report
of the case, and, as it is very brief, I will read it.

                                  “WASHINGTON, D. C., February 1, 1864.

    “SIR,--I have the honor to report that I have been obstructed
    in getting to the Court this morning by the conductor of car
    No. 32 of the Fourteenth Street line of the city railway.

    “I started from my lodgings to go to the hospital I formerly
    had charge of, to get some notes of the case I was to give
    evidence in, and hailed the car at the corner of Fourteenth
    and I Streets. It was stopped for me, and, when I attempted to
    enter, the conductor pulled me back, and informed me that I
    must ride on the front with the driver, as it was against the
    rules for colored persons to ride inside. I told him I would
    not ride on the front, and he said I should not ride at all.
    He then ejected me from the platform, and at the same time
    gave orders to the driver to go on. I have, therefore, been
    compelled to walk the distance in the mud and rain, and have
    also been delayed in my attendance upon the Court.

    “I therefore most respectfully request that the offender may be
    arrested and brought to punishment.

        “I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,

            “A. T. AUGUSTA, M. B.,
          “_Surgeon Seventh U. S. Colored Troops_.

    “CAPTAIN C. W. CLIPPINGTON, _Judge Advocate_.”

In my opinion, the writer of this letter had just as much right in
that car as the Senator from Indiana, and it was as great an outrage
to eject him as it would be to eject that Senator. I go further, and
I say--pardon the illustration--that the ejection of that Senator
would not bring upon this capital half the shame that the ejection of
this colored officer necessarily brings upon the capital. I do not
mean, of course, to make the remark personal; but, as the Senator from
Indiana has entered into this discussion, and chooses to vindicate this
inhumanity, I allude to him personally.

    The resolution was adopted,--Yeas 30, Nays 10.

    February 24th, Mr. Willey, of West Virginia, from the Committee
    on the District of Columbia, made a report in the following

        “That the Act entitled ‘An Act to incorporate the
        Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company,’ approved May
        17, 1862, makes no distinction as to passengers over said
        road, or as to any of the privileges of said road, on
        account of the color of the passenger, and that, in the
        opinion of the Committee, colored persons are entitled to
        all the privileges of said road which any other persons
        have, and to all the remedies for any denial or breach of
        such privileges which belong to any other persons. The
        Committee, therefore, ask to be discharged from the further
        consideration of the premises.”

    February 25th, Mr. Sumner called attention to this report, and
    moved to reconsider the vote accepting it. Mr. Grimes stated
    that “the Committee hold that every person has a right to ride
    in the cars, and that a colored person has the same remedies
    open to him for any infringement of his rights by the Company
    as anybody else.” Mr. Sumner then inquired, “whether it was
    the understanding of the Committee that the ejection of a
    colored person from a car was illegal.” Mr. Grimes replied,
    “As I understood it.” Mr. Sumner. “That the ejection was
    illegal?” Mr. Grimes. “Yes, Sir.” Mr. Reverdy Johnson united
    in this conclusion. Mr. Willey said: “The law is now full and
    perfect in all its provisions and adaptations to secure the
    colored persons in the enjoyment of the privileges of this
    railroad.” Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, said: “I think in law
    he is right, but in practice it is an undeniable fact that the
    spirit of the old law and the old practices still lingers to
    some extent here in the District.” Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware,
    followed: “I most heartily approve of the action of the officer
    on board that railroad-car. I think he deserved the thanks
    of the community. When these negroes go about sticking their
    heads into railroad-cars, and among white people, and into the
    Supreme Court Room, I think an officer is perfectly right in
    telling them they have no business there.” Mr. Sumner remarked
    as follows.

After the declarations made to-day, I am, at least for the present,
satisfied, and shall not proceed further with my motion. I was
particularly grateful to the Senator from Maryland for his very
explicit statement of the law. I do not doubt he is entirely right.
It has always been my opinion. I am glad to have it confirmed by that
distinguished Senator and lawyer. I am also grateful to the Senator
from West Virginia, who made the report, and who has so explicitly
stated his own convictions, and, as I understand him, also the
unanimous opinion of the Committee, to the effect that these people
have legal rights precisely as white persons to the full enjoyment of
all the privileges of the railroad in this District. If they have such
legal rights, they are at this moment unquestionably exposed to what
I must call outrage. If a white person were ejected from the cars on
account of his skin, we should all feel that it was an outrage. Is it
any less an outrage because the person ejected is simply guilty of a
different skin? I confess, that, to my mind, it is a greater outrage,
because obligations are greater in proportion to the humility and
weakness of those with whom we deal.

But, Sir, I have no desire to proceed further in this question. I am
for the present satisfied. My hope, however, is, that the railroad
corporation will at once take notice, and act according to law.

    Mr. Sumner then withdrew his motion.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In the face of this report, the exclusion of colored persons
    continued, often attended by intolerable outrage. Aged persons
    were thrust into the street. At last an opportunity occurred of
    bringing this question to a vote in the Senate.

    March 16, 1864, the Senate had under consideration a bill to
    incorporate the Metropolitan Railroad Company in the District
    of Columbia, sometimes known as the F Street Road, when Mr.
    Sumner moved the following amendment:--

        “_Provided_, That there shall be no regulation excluding
        any person from any car on account of color.”

    A debate ensued, in which Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, and Mr.
    Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, earnestly opposed the amendment.
    March 17th, the latter, while acknowledging that there was
    nothing in the bill giving “authority to exclude passengers
    at all,” insisted that colored persons so excluded should
    be remitted to the courts, and he did not see “why it is
    necessary to provide more special guaranties for the black
    man than are provided for the white man”; “if the black man
    is improperly excluded from one of these cars, … he has the
    right to go to the courts and seek his remedy there, and the
    white man has no greater right”; that Mr. Sumner “might just
    as well propose to pass a law providing that these black
    men and black women shall have the same right to visit the
    Presidential mansion on public occasions as the white men and
    the white women”; and he then discussed the questions of social
    and political equality, insisting that those just escaped from
    Slavery “are not the people to exercise the elective franchise,
    and to mix in society with the educated classes, of which and
    from which the public councils of the country should always be
    composed and taken.”

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The question before the Senate is very simple. It is
plain as one of the Ten Commandments. But the Senator from Maryland,
with that nimbleness of speech which belongs to him, while undertaking
to discuss it, has ranged over a very extensive field. He has treated
the Senate to a discourse on almost everything, and something else
also,--the elective franchise, social privileges of the Presidential
mansion, the equality of races, the intermarriage of races, the state
of Slavery in Maryland, also in some other States, and then the state
of Slavery generally. Now, Sir, I shall not follow him on any of those
topics. My desire is to present the precise point in issue. The Senate
will then be prepared to vote.

But the Senator from Maryland will allow me to remind him that he seems
to exhibit a rare inconsistency,--first, in declaring the absolute
right of colored people to a seat in the cars, and then arguing, that,
on every consideration of social life and of principle, they ought
not to be admitted to any such privilege. The two parts do not go
together. If colored people have the legal right to enter these cars,
why does the Senator argue that they ought not to have that right? I
agree with the Senator in the first point. They have the legal right
to enter these cars, and the proprietors are trespassers, when they
exclude them. Here I agreed with the Senator the other day. To my mind
it is clear, because any other conclusion authorizes a corporation to
establish a caste offensive to religion and humanity, injurious to a
whole race now dwelling among us, and bringing shame upon our country.

The Senator asks, why, as I accept this conclusion, do I bring forward
the present proposition? To this there are two answers, either of which
is sufficient. The first is, that in the last railroad statute passed
by Congress this provision was introduced, and I have heard of no
complaint or trouble from it. In that now before us let us introduce
the same provision, and make the two uniform. That is one reason. But
the better reason is, that, while, beyond all question, colored persons
have the legal right, even without this amendment, yet that legal right
has been drawn in question. In point of fact, they are excluded from
the cars. The Senator from Maryland refers to one case, because it
has become well known. I am familiar with many other cases. They are
brought to my attention almost daily. There is, then, at this moment,
an existing abuse. Colored persons are kept out of their rights. But we
cannot afford, at this crisis of our history, to sanction injustice.
Every such act rises in judgment against us, and hangs on the movements
of our armies, checking even the currents of victory.

The Senator admits their rights, but he says, Let them go to the
courts. Sir, what is that for a poor, humble person, without means and
without consideration? The Senator knows something of the law’s delay
and the law’s expense; and I ask him whether it is just to subject an
oppressed people to this additional oppression, when, by a few words,
Congress, now in session, can overturn the wrong.

    MR. JOHNSON. Will the Senator permit me to ask him a question
    by way of reply? Suppose the amendment is adopted; if it will
    not give them a greater right than they have now, and the
    Company refuse to let them enjoy the right, what is their
    remedy? They must go to the courts. I suppose there is no other
    remedy. You do not provide that the charter shall be forfeited
    at once.

MR. SUMNER. I know very well that they may, in the last resort, be
obliged to go to the courts; but I know that it will be more difficult
for the Company to exclude them in the face of a positive statute than
when their rights are simply founded on _inference_. The positive words
which I propose leave no loophole for doubt. They must be obeyed.

There is nothing more common in legislation than, in case of doubt as
to the meaning of a statute, or of the Common Law, to remove it by what
is well known as a “declaratory” statute. I have in my hands a work
of authority, which the Senator knows well, Dwarris on Statutes, from
which I read:--

    “And first of declaratory acts. These are made where the old
    custom of the kingdom is almost fallen into disuse or become
    disputable, in which case the Parliament has thought proper,
    _in perpetuum rei testimonium_, and for avoiding all doubts and
    difficulties, to declare what the Common Law is and ever hath

Are not these words completely applicable to the case before us? What
should be the custom is, according to these words, “almost fallen into
disuse, or become disputable.” I say, therefore, again, following these
words, “for avoiding all doubts and difficulties,” it is the duty of
Congress “to declare” what the law of the land is.

Again, in another place, this same authority, speaking still further of
declaratory statutes, says:--

    “Acts to explain laws are properly acts of interpretation
    by legislative authority,--or, to borrow an expression from
    the writers on the Roman Law, they are acts of _authentic

I ask the attention of the Senator to the expression, “they are acts
of _authentic interpretation_.” Now, Sir, what I desire is, that the
Senate shall give an authentic interpretation to the law. To do this it
is not needful to range over the whole field of history, of morals, or
of politics, in imitation of the Senator, or to discuss the equality
of races, or their fortunes in the future; but it is enough for us to
become acquainted with the existing abuse, every day under our own
eyes, in the streets of this capital, and then to apply the remedy.
Beyond all question, there is an abuse. The remedy is simple, and I
cannot doubt that it will be effective.

Listening to the objections which this measure has encountered, I
am reminded of those so often brought against the Wilmot Proviso.
Sometimes it was said that Slavery could not go into the Territories
without positive statute, and that therefore the prohibition was
unnecessary. But it generally happened that those who opposed the
positive prohibition were indifferent to the great question. No, Sir;
there can be but one true rule. It is this: the rights of colored
persons must be placed under the protection of positive statute,
warning their oppressors against continued outrage.

    The question being taken on Mr. Sumner’s amendment, it was
    adopted,--Yeas 19, Nays 17. The House concurred, and the
    President approved the bill.

    Thus was another road brought within the sphere of this
    prohibition. But the exclusion was continued on the main road
    in Pennsylvania Avenue.

       *       *       *       *       *

    June 21st, the Senate having under consideration a bill to
    amend the charter of the Washington and Georgetown Railroad
    Company, Mr. Sumner moved the following amendment:--

        “_And provided, further_, That there shall be no exclusion
        of any person from any car on account of color.”

    Debate ensued. Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, thought “the amendment
    ought not to be adopted.” Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, thought it
    tended to depreciate the value of investments made on the faith
    of former legislation. Mr. Willey, of West Virginia, declared
    his opposition, saying, “It is a matter to be regulated by the
    interests of the Company, the convenience of the people, and
    especially the tastes of the people.” Mr. Powell, of Kentucky,
    said: “If the Senator from Massachusetts is such a vehement
    friend of this down-trodden race, as he is a lawyer, why did
    he not undertake their case, and propose to argue it for them
    before the courts? That would have indicated that he really
    felt for the negro.… The Senator shows his devotion to this
    down-trodden race here, and only in words.… The Senator’s
    staple is this fanatical idea. He wants this little hobby to
    ride through Massachusetts on, and to feed a fanatical flame
    there. He can fool nobody here with this kind of thing. Take
    the negro out of the Senator’s vocabulary, and, rich as it is,
    it would be exceedingly barren.” Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois,
    also opposed the amendment. In the course of the debate, Mr.
    Sumner spoke as follows, especially in reply to Mr. Trumbull.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL], in former
days, was a sincere, intelligent, devoted supporter of the Wilmot
Proviso. As I understand that Proviso, it was simply a prohibition
of Slavery in the Territories. Now I know not whether the Senator
held, as I did, that, even without that prohibition, yet, by a strict
interpretation of the Constitution, Slavery could not go into the
Territories. I presume he did; most of us did. For myself, I held
it resolutely and sincerely. I always regarded the Wilmot Proviso,
if the Constitution were properly interpreted, as mere surplusage,
sheer supererogation; and yet I never hesitated, in season or out of
season, to vindicate it; and I believe the Senator never hesitated, in
season or out of season, to do the same. I remember that my earliest
admiration of that Senator was founded on his brave and able support
of that very prohibition. Not then was he deterred from a humane
provision because without it, according to his interpretation of the
Constitution, Slavery could not enter the Territories. Nor was he
deterred because the provision might be offensive to persons of weak
nerves. No, Sir; openly and courageously he maintained the principle
that Slavery must be prohibited. And on the same principle--if I may
pass from great things to smaller, I admit, but not small--I insist
that this proviso should also be adopted.

Our experience shows that the law as the Senator expounds it is not
so accepted by this railroad corporation. He knows as well as I that
colored persons are daily insulted. Some of these victims will compare
in respectability of conduct with any whom I now have the honor to
address. My colleague alluded to a colored clergyman whom he saw thrust
out only the other day. We know of an officer of the United States,
wearing the national uniform, thrust out; and the Senator from Illinois
will allow all these things to be done, and not interfere. He tells
us that it is contrary to law, and yet he allows it to proceed under
the very eyes of the Senate. Sir, I insist that the Senate, when
such outrage occurs, shall show that it has power, and is willing to
exercise it on the side of justice.

But the Senator reminds us that in other days the Fugitive Act was
passed here, and made especially offensive; and he pleads with us
not to imitate that bad example, by introducing anything that may be
offensive. I do not like the comparison of the Senator. Does he not
know well that everything introduced into the Fugitive Slave Bill
was in the interest of Slavery, and contrary to every sentiment of
humanity, and that it was intended to give offence? The proposition
now moved is opposite in character. It is to sustain the principles of
humanity, to uphold human rights, to vindicate human equality, and with
no purpose of offence,--none, not the least. The illustration of the
Senator is entirely out of place. True it is that in those other days
we were offended, and it was part of the hardships to which we were
exposed. As, in the days which preceded our Revolution, the British
officers said they would cram the stamps down the throats of the
American people, so, in the same malignant spirit, the Slave-Masters
insisted upon cramming Slavery down the throats of the Senate and the
country. There was nothing but brutality then. Slavery in all its
features is bad, but one of its most odious manifestations was the
revolting insensibility to every sentiment of delicacy and humanity
which it created in its supporters.

Sir, the Senator from Illinois knows well that it is in a very
different spirit that propositions like the present are brought
forward. It is always in the interest of human rights, and I need
not say to that Senator, so far as I am concerned, with no other
purpose than that patent in the proposition itself, and with no idea
of offending any human being,--on the contrary, with a desire to avoid
offence, if I possibly can. In that spirit I wish to do my duty on this
floor. I would never give offence to any one, here or elsewhere, if I
knew how to avoid it, while in all things I faithfully discharge my
public duty.

    The debate continued, when Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, said he should
    like to have Mr. Sumner answer one question. “Suppose we pass
    this amendment and put it into the law, and the Company goes
    on and does exactly as it has been doing, excluding these men,
    what are these colored men going to do? Have they not got to
    go to law then? Will they not be compelled to enforce their
    rights in court? Will they not be compelled to employ lawyers?
    If that be so, what advantage will it be to them to adopt this
    amendment under the present condition of things?”

    MR. SUMNER. I will answer. Because the Company will not dare
    to continue this outrage in the face and eyes of a positive
    provision of statute. That is the answer.

    On the Yeas and Nays, the amendment was lost,--Yeas 14, Nays
    16,--several Republicans uniting with the Democrats against it.

    At the next stage of the bill, Mr. Sumner renewed his
    amendment, when it was adopted,--Yeas 17, Nays 16. The bill
    passed the Senate, and was the subject of conference between
    the two Houses, but it never became a law.

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 17, 1865, the Senate having under consideration the
    bill to incorporate the Baltimore and Washington Depot and
    Potomac Ferry Railway Company, Mr. Sumner moved the same
    amendment, which was adopted,--Yeas 24, Nays 6. This bill was
    passed by the Senate, but it never became a law.

    February 4, 1865, the Senate having under consideration a bill
    to amend the charter of the Metropolitan Railroad Company, Mr.
    Sumner moved the following amendment:--

        “That the provision prohibiting any exclusion from any car
        on account of color, already applicable to the Metropolitan
        Railroad, is hereby extended to every other railroad in the
        District of Columbia.”

    This amendment became necessary in order to reach the
    Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company. It was opposed by
    Mr. Dixon, of Connecticut, Mr. Conness, of California, and Mr.
    Hale, of New Hampshire, the last regarding it in the nature
    of general legislation on a private act. Mr. Sumner replied,
    that it was needed, in order to bring the Metropolitan Railroad
    on an equality with the other roads, inasmuch as Congress had
    already imposed the prohibition upon that road; and, secondly,
    that it was germane, inasmuch as the Senate might engraft upon
    any railroad charter any proposition, special or general,
    concerning the subject-matter.

    The amendment was lost,--Yeas 19, Nays 20.

    At the next stage of the bill, Mr. Sumner renewed his
    amendment. February 6th, Mr. Dixon, Chairman of the Committee
    on the District of Columbia, withdrew his opposition, saying:
    “I opposed it on the ground that it seemed to conflict with
    the rights of another Company, not now before the Senate
    [the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company]; but since
    that time I have seen the managers and controllers of that
    Company, and find that they are unwilling to contend on this
    subject with what they consider to be the public opinion. They
    therefore make no objection to it, and I shall make none.”

    The amendment was adopted,--Yeas 26, Nays 10. The bill as
    amended passed the House and was approved by the President,
    so that it became illegal for any railroad in the District of
    Columbia to exclude any person from any car on account of color.

    The Washington and Georgetown Railroad did not promptly
    recognize the law. Colored persons were excluded from their
    cars, when Mr. Sumner addressed a letter to the President of
    the road, calling attention to the contumacy of the Company,
    and announcing his purpose, if it continued, to move, at the
    next session of Congress, the forfeiture of the charter. At
    the same time he addressed a communication to the District
    Attorney, asking him to proceed against the Company. At last
    the law was recognized, and from that date all the street-cars
    of Washington have been open to colored persons.


29, 1864.

    February 29, 1864, Mr. Sumner reported from the Committee
    on Slavery and Freedmen a bill to repeal all acts for the
    rendition of fugitive slaves. Accompanying this bill was the
    following report, of which ten thousand extra copies were
    ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate, together with
    the views of the minority, by Mr. Buckalew.

    The debate on this subject, and the final repeal of all
    Fugitive Slave Acts, appear at a later date.[312]

  The Select Committee on Slavery and the Treatment of Freedmen,
      to whom were referred sundry petitions asking for the repeal of
      the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and also asking for the repeal
      of all acts for the rendition of fugitive slaves, have had the
      same under consideration, and ask leave to make the following

Two Fugitive Slave Acts still exist unrepealed on our statute-book.
The first, dated as long ago as 1793, was preceded by an official
correspondence, supposed to show necessity for legislation.[313] The
second, belonging to the compromises of 1850, was introduced by a
report from Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, at that time Chairman of the
Judiciary Committee of the Senate.[314] In proposing the repeal of
all legislation on the subject, it seems not improper to imitate the
latter precedent by a report assigning briefly the reasons governing
the Committee.


These Acts may be viewed as part of the system of Slavery, and
therefore obnoxious to the judgment which Civilization is accumulating
against this Barbarism; or they may be viewed as independent agencies.
But it is difficult to consider them in the latter character alone; for
if Slavery be the offence which it doubtless is, then must it infect
all the agencies it employs. Especially at this moment, when, by common
consent, Slavery is recognized as the origin and life of the Rebellion,
must all its agencies be regarded with more than ordinary repugnance.

If in time of peace all Fugitive Slave Acts were offensive, as
requiring what humanity and religion both condemn, they must at this
moment be still more offensive, when Slavery, in whose behalf they
were made, has risen in arms against the National Government. It is
bad enough, at any time, to thrust an escaped slave back into bondage:
it is absurd to thrust him back at a moment when Slavery is rallying
all its forces for the conflict it has madly challenged. The crime of
such a transaction is not diminished by its absurdity. A slave with
courage and address to escape from his master has the qualities needed
for a soldier of Freedom; but existing statutes require his arrest and
sentence to bondage.

In annulling these statutes, Congress simply withdraws an irrational
support from Slavery. It does nothing against Slavery, but merely
refuses to do anything for it. In this respect the present proposition
differs from all preceding measures of Abolition, as refusal to help an
offender on the highway differs from an attempt to take his life.

And yet it cannot be doubted that the withdrawal of Congressional
support must contribute effectively to the abolition of Slavery:
not that, at the present moment, Congressional support is of
any considerable value, but because its withdrawal would be an
encouragement to that universal public opinion which must soon sweep
this Barbarism from our country. It is one of the felicities of our
present position, that by repealing all acts for the restitution of
slaves we may hasten the happy day of Freedom and of Peace.

Regarding this question in association with the broader question of
Universal Emancipation, we find that every sentiment or reason or
argument for the latter pleads for the repeal of these obnoxious
statutes, but that the difficulties sometimes supposed to beset
Emancipation do not touch the proposed repeal, so that we might well
insist upon the latter, even if we hesitated with regard to the former.
The Committee find new motive to the recommendation they now make, when
they see how important its adoption must be in securing the extinction
of Slavery.

It is not enough to consider the proposed measure in its relations to
Emancipation. Even if Congress be not ready to make an end of Slavery,
it cannot hesitate to make an end of all Fugitive Slave Acts. Against
the latter there are cumulative arguments of Constitutional Law and of
duty, beyond any to be arrayed against Slavery itself. A man may even
support Slavery, and yet reject the Fugitive Slave Acts.


These Acts profess to be founded upon certain words of the
Constitution. On this account we must consider these words with a
certain degree of care. They are as follows.

    “_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, but _shall be delivered up on claim of the party to
    whom such service or labor may be due_.”[315]

John Quincy Adams has already remarked that in this much debated
clause the laws of grammar are violated in order to assert the claim
of property in man; for the verb “shall be delivered up” has for
nominative “no person,” and thus the grammatical interpretation
actually forbids the rendition. It is on this jumble and muddle of
words that a superstructure of wrong is built. Even bad grammar may be
disregarded, especially in behalf of human rights; but it is worthy of
remark, that, in this clause of the Constitution, an outrage on human
rights was begun by an outrage on language.

Assuming that the clause is not invalidated by bad grammar, it is
often insisted, and here the Committee concur, that, according to
authoritative rules of interpretation, it cannot be considered
applicable to fugitive slaves; since, whatever the intention of its
authors, no words were employed positively describing fugitive slaves
_and nobody else_. Obviously, this clause, on its face, is applicable
to apprentices, and it is known historically that under it apprentices
have been delivered up on the claim of the party to whom “such service
or labor” was due. It is therefore only by discarding its primary
signification, and adopting a secondary signification, that it can be
made to embrace fugitive slaves. On any common occasion, not involving
a question of human rights, such secondary signification might be
supplied by intendment; but it cannot be supplied to limit or deny
human rights, especially to defeat Liberty, without a violation of
fundamental rules which constitute the glory of the law.

This principle is common to every system of civilized jurisprudence;
but it has been nowhere expressed with more force than in the maxims
of the Common Law and the decisions of its courts. It entered into the
remarkable argument of Granville Sharp, which preceded the judgment
extorted from Lord Mansfield, and led him to exclaim, in words
strictly applicable to the Constitution of the United States, “The
word _slaves_, or anything that can justify the enslaving of others,
is not to be found, God be thanked,” in the British Constitution.[316]
It entered into the judgment pronounced at last by Lord Mansfield,
under the benevolent pressure of Granville Sharp, in the renowned
Somerset case, where this great magistrate grandly declared that
Slavery could not exist in England. His words cannot be too often
quoted as an illustration of the true rule of interpretation. “The
state of Slavery,” he said, “is of such a nature, that it is incapable
of being introduced on any reasons moral or political, _but only by
positive law_.… It is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to
support it _but positive law_.”[317] Therefore the authority for
Slavery cannot be derived from any words of doubtful import. Such words
are not “positive.” And clearly, by the same rule, _if the words are
susceptible of two different significations, that must be adopted which
is hostile to Slavery_. This same cardinal principle, thus announced
by the Chief Justice of England, has been echoed by the Chief Justice
of the United States, being none other than Marshall, speaking for our
own Supreme Court, when he said, “_Where rights are infringed_, … the
legislative intention must be expressed with _irresistible clearness_
to induce a court of justice to suppose a design to effect such
objects.”[318] In a clause capable of _two meanings_ there can be no
such “irresistible clearness” as would justify an infringement of human

But Lord Mansfield and Chief Justice Marshall were simply giving
practical application to those venerable maxims cherished in America
as in England. It is not necessary to repeat them at length. They
are substantially embodied in the words, _Angliæ jura in omni casu
Libertati dant favorem_,--“The Laws of England, _in every case_, show
favor to Liberty”; and also in those other vigorous words of Fortescue,
_Impius et crudelis judicandus est qui Libertati non favet_,--“He is
to be adjudged impious and cruel who does not favor Liberty.”[319] By
such lessons have all who administer justice been warned for centuries
against the sacrifice of human rights. Even Blackstone, whose personal
sympathies were with power, was led to declare, in most suggestive
words, worthy of a commentator on English Law, that “the law is always
ready to catch at anything in favor of Liberty.”[320] And Hallam, whose
instincts were always for Freedom, has adopted and vindicated this rule
of interpretation as a pole-star of Constitutional Liberty. “It was,”
says this great author, “by dwelling on all authorities in favor of
Liberty, _and by setting aside those which made against it_, that our
ancestors overthrew the claims of unbounded prerogative.”[321] Nor can
it be doubted that this conduct helped to build those great English
safeguards of Freedom which have been an example to mankind.

This rule has never received plainer illustration than in the writings
of Dr. Webster, the eminent lexicographer. In a tract bearing date
1795, long before the heats engendered by the Fugitive Slave Act,
he used language which, if applied to our Constitution, must defeat
every interpretation favorable to Slavery. “Where there are two
constructions,” he says, “the one favorable, the other odious, _that
which is odious is always to be rejected_.”[322] This principle, thus
sententiously expressed by the American lexicographer, may be found
also in the judgments of courts and the writings of civilians without
number. It is one of the commonplaces of interpretation. Lord Coke,
our master in English law, tells us, that, where words “may have a
double intendment, and the one standeth with law and right, and the
other is wrongful and against law, the intendment that standeth with
law shall be taken.”[323] And Vattel, a master in International Law,
says that “we should particularly regard the famous distinction of
things _favorable_ and things _odious_,” and then he assumes that we
must “consider as _odious_ everything that in its own nature is rather
hurtful than of use to the human race.”[324] But the clause of the
Constitution which has been made the apology of the Fugitive Slave
Act is clearly open to “two constructions,” according to the language
of Dr. Webster, or “a double intendment,” according to the language
of Lord Coke, or one “favorable” and the other “odious,” according
to Vattel. Thus far in our history, under the malignant influence of
Slavery, the odious construction or intendment has prevailed.

There is also another voice to be heard in determining the meaning of a
doubtful clause. It is the Preamble, which, on the threshold, proclaims
the spirit in which the Constitution was framed, and furnishes a
rule of interpretation. To “_establish justice_, insure domestic
tranquillity, provide for the common defence, _promote the general
welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty_ to ourselves and our
posterity”: such are the declared objects of the Constitution, which
must be kept present to the mind as we read its various provisions. And
every word must be so interpreted as best to uphold these objects. The
Preamble would be powerless against any “positive” sanction of Slavery
by unequivocal words; but, on the other hand, any attempted sanction of
Slavery by words not “positive” and not unequivocal, must be powerless
against the Preamble, which, in this respect, is in harmony with the
ancient maxims of the law.


Looking more minutely at the precise words of this clause, we see how
completely it is stamped with equivocation from beginning to end.
_Every descriptive word it contains is double in signification._ The
clause may be seen, first, in what it does not contain; and, secondly,
in what it does contain. It does not contain the word “slave” or
“slavery,” which singly and exclusively denotes the idea of property in
man. Had either of these fatal words been employed, there would have
been no uncertainty or duplicity. But in abandoning these words, all
idea of property in man was abandoned also. Other words were adopted,
simply because they might mean something else, and therefore would not
render the Constitution on its face “odious.” But the unquestionable
fact that these words might mean something else makes it impossible
for them to mean “slave” or “slavery,” unless in this behalf we set
aside the most commanding rules of interpretation. It is clear that
the authors of this clause attempted an impossibility. They wished
to secure Slavery without plainly saying so; but such is Slavery
that it cannot be secured without plainly saying so. Naturally and
inevitably they failed, as if they had attempted to describe _black_ by
words which might mean _white_, or to authorize crime by words which
naturally mean something that is not crime. The thing could not be
done. The attempt to square the circle is not more absurd.

The clause begins with the descriptive words, “No _person_ held to
service or labor in one State under the laws thereof.” Now a slave
is not a “person,” with the rights of persons, but a _chattel_ or
_thing_. Such is the received definition of the Slave States, handed
down from Aristotle. He is not “held to service or labor,” but he is
held as property. The terms employed describe an apprentice, but not
a slave. And he must be held “under the laws” of a State. Here again
is the case of an apprentice, who is clearly held “under the laws”
of a State. But we have the authority of Mr. Mason, recently of the
Senate from Virginia, for saying that no proof can be produced that
Slavery in any State “is established by _existing laws_.”[325] The
person thus described shall not “be _discharged_ from such service or
labor.” Clearly an apprentice is discharged, but a slave is manumitted
or emancipated. This undischarged person “shall be delivered up on
_claim_ of the party to whom such service or labor may be _due_.” But
all these words imply _contract_, or at least _debt_, as in the case of
an apprentice. The slave can _owe_ no “service or labor” to his master.
There is nothing in their relations out of which any such obligation
can spring. The whole condition stands on force and nothing else. It is
robbery tempered by the lash,--not merely robbery of all the fruits of
industry, but robbery of wife and child. To such terrible assumption
the language of _contract_ or _debt_ is totally inapplicable. Nothing
can be “due” from slave to master, unless it be that “resistance to
tyrants” which is “obedience to God.” It is absurd to say that “labor
or service,” in any sense, whether of justice or of law, can be “due”
from the slave. The same power which takes wife and child may exact
this further sacrifice, but not because it is “due.”

Such is the simple truth touching this much debated clause. At the
touchstone of unquestioned rules of interpretation its _odious_
character disappears, and astonishment prevails that the public mind
for so long a period could have been perverted with regard to its true
meaning. Nobody can doubt that this clause _may_ be interpreted in
favor of Freedom, so as to exclude all idea of property in man. But if
it _may_, then such is the voice of Freedom that it _must_.


Here it is important to consider, that, besides apprentices, there
was a class of “indented servants” embraced by this clause. From
Bancroft we learn that this species of servitude, under indentures
or covenants, had from the first existed in Virginia. According to
the historian, “the servant stood to his master in the relation of a
_debtor_,” which, be it observed, is not the condition of a slave. From
the same authority we learn that “the supply of white servants became
a regular business,”--that, “like negroes, they were to be purchased
on shipboard, as men buy horses at a fair,”--that “in 1672 the average
price in the Colonies, where five years of service were due, was about
ten pounds, while a negro was worth twenty or twenty-five pounds.”[326]
The Scots captured on the field of Dunbar, royalist prisoners of the
Battle of Worcester, and companions of Monmouth in his ill-starred
insurrection were sent to the Colonies as a merchantable commodity, and
there held in slavery for life or for years.

The other historian of our country, Hildreth, contributes to
our knowledge of this class of servants. According to him, the
importation of indented white persons, called “servants,” or sometimes
“redemptioners,” in contradistinction to negroes, known as slaves,
was extensively carried on as late as 1750, especially in the Middle
States; and he mentions, that the Colonial enactments for keeping
them in order, and especially for preventing their escape, were often
very harsh and severe. They were put, for the most part, on a level
with slaves, but their case in other respects was different. Except
in very young persons, the term of service seldom or never exceeded
seven years, and in all cases it was limited by law.[327] Even during
the Revolution these indented servants appear on the stage. Many
were enlisted in the army, and, yielding to the earnest request of
Washington, Congress relinquished a plan already adopted of stopping a
portion of their pay for the benefit of their masters.[328]

An English Colonial official, Eddis, in a letter from America, dated
September 20, 1770, describes four different denominations of persons
“in a state of servitude”: first, the “negroes,” who are the entire
property of their respective owners; secondly, “convicts,” transported
from the mother country for a limited term; “indented servants,”
engaged for five years previous to leaving England; and “free-willers,”
supposed from their situation to possess superior advantages. These
he proceeds to describe. Of the last class he says, they are received
under express condition, that, on arrival in America, they are to
be allowed a number of days to dispose of themselves most to their
advantage, but, in fact, they are rarely permitted to set foot on shore
until they have bound themselves.[329]

If, happily, at the formation of the Constitution, these servants had
diminished in number, or had ceased to exist as a class, the condition
was not unknown. They were persons “held to service or labor,” and the
provision of the Constitution was strictly applicable to them.

Rejecting the odious application involving the support of Slavery,
we follow received rules and the undoubted genius of the Common Law.
How anxiously judges seek to evade an obnoxious penal statute is
illustrated by a curious case mentioned by Lord Campbell. It was proved
that the defendant, being in a stubble-field with a pointer, fired his
gun at a covey of partridges, and shot two, when the judge, disliking
to enforce the Game Laws, objected that there was no evidence that
the gun was loaded with shot, and advised the jury to conclude that
the birds fell dead from fright.[330] But a clause for the rendition
of fugitive slaves is entitled to as little respect as the Game Laws,
and, when the words employed are applicable to others than slaves, they
should not be applied to slaves.


Against this interpretation, so overpowering in reason and authority,
it is no objection that thus far Slavery has prevailed. There is
no statute of limitation and no prescription against the undying
claims of Liberty. Rejected or neglected in one generation, they
revive in another; nor can they be impaired by any desuetude. This
objection was impotent to prevent Lord Mansfield from declaring that
Slavery could not exist in England, although practically, under a
false interpretation of the British Constitution, sustained by the
professional opinions of Talbot and Yorke, and by the judgment of the
latter on the bench, under the name of Lord Hardwicke, African slaves
were sold in the streets of London, and advertised for sale in English
papers, for a period full as long as that which has witnessed the false
interpretation of our Constitution. As length of time did not prevail
against a true interpretation of the British Constitution in the case
of Somerset, it ought not to prevail against a true interpretation of
our Constitution now.

There is no chemistry in time to transmute wrong into right. Therefore
the whole question on the Constitution is still open, as on the day of
its adoption. The cases of misinterpretation are of no value,--at least
they cannot settle the question against Liberty. Such was the noble
declaration of Charles James Fox in the British Parliament, when, in
words strictly pertinent now, he said: “Wherever any usage appeared
subversive of the Constitution, if it had lasted for one or for two
hundred years, _it was not a precedent, but an usurpation_.”[331] And
such is the character of every instance in which our Constitution has
been perverted to sanction Slavery.


A slight examination will show prevailing perversions with regard to
the origin and history of this clause. Not content with imparting to it
a meaning which it cannot bear, the partisans of Slavery have given to
this clause an origin and history having no foundation in truth.

It is common to assert that the clause was intended to remove or
counteract some difficulty which had occurred anterior to the
Convention. But there is no evidence of any such difficulty. There was
no complaint. Not a single voice was raised in advance to ask any such

It is also asserted, with peculiar confidence, that this clause,
interpreted to require the rendition of fugitive slaves, constituted
one of the original compromises of the Constitution, without which
the Union could not have been formed. This pretension makes an
asserted stipulation for the rendition of fugitive slaves one of the
corner-stones of the Union. To this discreditable imputation upon the
fathers of the Republic the Supreme Court seems to have lent sanction,
when it declared, in the famous Prigg case, not only that “the object
of this clause was to secure to the citizens of the slaveholding States
the complete right and title of ownership in their slaves _as property_
in every State in the Union into which they might escape,” but that
“the full recognition of this right and title … was so vital to the
preservation of their domestic interests and institutions, that it
cannot be doubted _that it constituted a fundamental article, without
the adoption of which the Union could not have been formed_.”[332]
Mark the way in which this extraordinary statement is ushered in,--“It
cannot be doubted”! But it is doubted, and more too. Chief Justice
Taney, at a later day, put forth the statement, that, during the
Revolution, it was an accepted truth that colored men “had no rights
which the white man was bound to respect,”[333]--and this statement
was said to stand on authentic history; but it is now exploded, and
the other statement must share the same fate. A careful inquiry shows
that it is utterly without support in the records of the Convention,
where the real compromises are revealed; nor is there a single
contemporary pamphlet, speech, article, or published letter, out of
which any such thing can be inferred. Surely, had this provision been
of such controlling importance, it could not have escaped notice, at
least, in the “Federalist,” when its writers undertook to describe and
group the powers of Congress “which provide for the harmony and proper
intercourse among the States”;[334] but the “Federalist” is entirely
silent with regard to it. And yet we are gravely told “it cannot be
doubted” that this provision “constituted a fundamental article,
without the adoption of which the Union could not have been formed.”
Frequent repetition has caused the common belief that this was history,
instead of fable.

The actual compromises of the Constitution are well known. They were
three in number. One established the equality of all the States in
the Union, by securing equal representation in the Senate for the
small States and large States. Another allowed representatives to the
Slave States according to the whole number of free persons and “three
fifths of all other persons,” in consideration that direct taxes
should be apportioned in the same way. Another was the toleration
of the slave-trade for twenty years, in consideration of commercial
concessions to the “Eastern members.” Such are the actual compromises
of the Constitution, with regard to which there is evidence. But
imagination or falsehood is the only authority for adding the rendition
of fugitive slaves to this list.


The debates of the Convention attest the little contemporary interest
in this clause. In all the general propositions or plans successively
brought forward, from the meeting on the 25th of May, 1787, there was
no allusion to fugitive slaves; nor was there any allusion to them,
even in debate, till as late as the 28th of August, when, as the
Convention was drawing to a close, they were incidentally mentioned
in a discussion on another subject. The question was on the article
providing for the privileges of citizens in different States. Here is
the authentic report by Mr. Madison of what was said.

    “General [Charles Cotesworth] Pinckney was not satisfied with
    it. _He seemed to wish some provision should be included in
    favor of property in slaves._”[335]

But he made no proposition. Mark the modesty of the suggestion.
Here was no offer of compromise,--not even a complaint, much less a
suggestion of corner-stone. The next article under discussion provided
for the surrender of fugitives from justice. Mr. Butler and Mr. Charles
Pinckney, both from South Carolina, now moved openly, but without any
offer of compromise, to require “fugitive slaves and servants to be
delivered up like criminals.” But the very boldness of the proposition
drew attention and aroused opposition. Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania,
afterwards the eminent judge and lecturer on Law, promptly remarked:
“This would oblige the executive of the State to do it, _at the public
expense_.” Mr. Sherman, of Connecticut, followed in apt words, saying
that he “saw no more propriety in the public seizing and surrendering
a slave or servant than a horse.” Under this proper pressure the
offensive proposition was withdrawn. The article for the surrender of
criminals was then adopted. On the next day, August 29th, Mr. Butler
showed that the lovers of Liberty had not spoken in vain. Abandoning
the idea of any proposition openly requiring the surrender of fugitive
slaves, he moved an _equivocal_ clause, substantially like that now
found in the Constitution, which, without debate or opposition of any
kind, was unanimously adopted,--or, according to the report of Mr.
Madison, _nem. con._[336] What could not be done directly was attempted
indirectly; and the partisans of Slavery contented themselves,
according to the teachings of old Polonius, with language which only
“by indirections finds directions out.” But no “indirection” can
find Slavery out. The language which sanctions such a wrong must be
“direct.” Therefore, at the moment of seeming triumph, the partisans of
Slavery failed.

Such is the indubitable origin of a clause latterly declared a
compromise of the Constitution and a corner-stone of the Republic.
That a clause for the hunting of slaves was recognized at the time as
compromise or corner-stone is an absurdity disowned alike by history
and by reason. That the clause was adopted, _nem. con._, with the
idea, that, _according to any received rules of interpretation_, it
could authorize the hunting of slaves, it is difficult to believe.
The very statement that it was adopted _nem. con._ shows that it must
have been regarded, _according to received rules of interpretation_,
as having no “positive” character; for there were eminent members of
the Convention whose declared opinions must have prevented them from
consenting to any such proposition, if it were supposed for a moment
to turn the Republic which they were then organizing into a mighty
Slave-Hunter. There sat Gouverneur Morris, who only a short time before
exclaimed in the Convention: “_He never would concur in upholding
domestic Slavery._ It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse
of Heaven on the States where it prevailed.”[337] There sat Oliver
Ellsworth, afterwards Chief Justice, who said, in words which strike
at all support of Slavery by the National Government: “The morality
or wisdom of Slavery are considerations belonging to the States
themselves.”[338] There sat Elbridge Gerry, afterwards Vice-President,
who openly declared that “we had nothing to do with the conduct of the
States as to slaves, _but ought to be careful not to give any sanction
to it_.”[339] There sat Roger Sherman, who avowed that he was “opposed
to a tax on slaves imported, as making the matter worse, _because it
implied they were property_.”[340] And, greatest of all, there sat
Benjamin Franklin, who, by character and conviction, in every fibre of
his moral and intellectual being, was pledged against any sanction of
Slavery. Who can suppose that these wise and illustrious patriarchs of
Liberty all consented, _nem. con._, not only to sanction Slavery and to
recognize property in man, but to put a kennel of bloodhounds into the
Constitution, ready to hunt the flying bondman? They did no such thing;
or, if it is insisted, _contrary to received rules of interpretation_,
that such must be the signification of their language, clearly they did
not understand it so. Doubtless there were members of the Convention
who, in passion for Slavery, cheered themselves with the delusion that
they had adequately described, in “positive” terms, the pretension
they hoped to embody in the Constitution; but the _legal meaning_ of
this provision must be determined, not by the passion of such members,
but by the actual language employed, according to received rules of
interpretation, from which there is no appeal. Other rules may be set
aside as inapplicable; but the rule, which, in presence of any doubtful
phrase, any indirect language, or any word capable of a double sense,
requires that the interpretation shall be _in favor of Liberty_, is the
most commanding of all.

Thus, when this clause took its place in the Constitution, _nem.
con._, it was clearly a cipher. It meant nothing, or at least nothing
“odious.” This conclusion becomes still more apparent in the light of
two special incidents, which cannot be forgotten in determining the
validity of any claim for Slavery under equivocal words. The first
is the saying of Mr. Madison, which he has recorded in the report
of the Convention, that it was “wrong to admit in the Constitution
the idea that there could be property in men.”[341] Admirable words,
constituting a binding rule of interpretation. And yet, in the face
of this declaration, it is insisted that the “idea that there could
be property in men” is embodied in the double-faced words of the
fugitive clause. But as the words are susceptible of two meanings,
clearly they should be interpreted so as to exclude what is “wrong.”
The other incident furnishes the same lesson in a manner more pointed
still. It appears that on the 13th of September, 1787, a fortnight
after the fugitive clause was adopted in its earliest form, and while
the Convention was considering the report of its committee on style
and arrangement, “On motion of Mr. Randolph, the word ‘_servitude_’
was struck out and ‘_service_’ unanimously inserted, the former being
thought to express the condition of slaves, _and the latter the
obligations of free persons_.”[342] Thus the word “service” ceases
even to be equivocal, for it was unanimously adopted as expressing
“the obligations of free persons.” And such it would have continued
to express always, if Slavery had not unhappily triumphed over the
National Government in all departments, executive, legislative, and

It is not doubted that at home in the Slave States the fugitive clause
was interpreted as embracing slaves, and that this asserted license was
at times mentioned as a reason for the adoption of the Constitution.
Even Mr. Madison, who had declared in the National Convention that
it was “wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could
be property in men,” argued afterwards, in the Virginia Convention,
that “this clause was expressly inserted to enable owners of slaves to
reclaim them,”[343]--all of which was doubtless true, but the question
still occurs as to the constitutional efficacy of the clause. Mr.
Iredell, who was not a member of the National Convention, undertook, in
the North Carolina Convention, to explain what it had done. Announcing
that the clause was intended to include slaves, he added: “The Northern
delegates, _owing to their particular scruples_ on the subject of
Slavery, did not choose the word _slave_ to be mentioned,”[344]--so
that, on the very statement of this expositor, the question naturally
arose whether slaves were really included. In the South Carolina
Convention, General Pinckney, who in the National Convention first
started the idea of “some provision in favor of property in slaves,”
boasted that this had been obtained; but he added, in suggestive
words, “We have made the best terms for the security of this species
of property it was in our power to make. _We would have made better,
if we could._”[345] True enough. The Slave-Masters got all they could:
if possible, they would have got more. But the question still recurs,
whether in this equivocal provision they got anything. In the National
Convention they adopted a clause which was only another illustration
of “Mr. Facing-both-ways.” At home, in their local conventions, they
courageously insisted that it faced only one way. Without dwelling
on old sayings about “a villain outwitting himself,” and wit failing
when “upon an ill employ,” clearly the wit of the Slave-Masters was
“upon an ill employ” when it sought to foist Slavery into the text of
the Constitution; and it is easy to see that all who engaged in the
work were like “a villain outwitting himself.” Whatever they may have
thought or boasted, the thing was not done.

From the origin of the fugitive clause, and the circumstances attending
its adoption, it is apparent that it has been the occasion of infinite
exaggeration and misrepresentation. Like a Pagan idol, it has been
worshipped and covered with gifts; but the prevailing superstition
which sustained the imposture has at last disappeared, and we see
nothing but a vulgar image of painted wood.


From the clause in the Constitution, the Committee pass to a
consideration of the legislation founded upon it. Of course, if the
clause is misunderstood, no legislation can derive any validity from
it. _Nothing can come out of nothing_; and since there is nothing in
the Constitution positively requiring rendition of fugitive slaves by
the National Government, there can be no authority for any legislation
by Congress on the subject. Therefore the argument against the existing
statutes is complete. But, since it is proposed to reverse an early
policy of the Government, the Committee are unwilling to stop here.
These statutes must be considered in their history and character.

As early as 1793, while Congress was sitting in Philadelphia,
provisions for the surrender of fugitive slaves were fastened upon a
bill for the surrender of fugitives from justice, and the whole was
adopted, apparently with little consideration. Thus, accidentally,
Congress assumed the _odious_ power to organize slave-hunting. But the
Act was scarcely passed, before the conscience of people, not only at
the North, but even in Maryland, began to be aroused. Granville Sharp,
who in England so bravely maintained the national cause as well as the
cause of the slave, addressed a letter to the “Maryland Society for
Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes and
others unlawfully held in Bondage,” where he set forth elaborately
those binding rules of interpretation, which, according to English
law, require a court to incline always in favor of Liberty. This
letter purports to have been published, as a pamphlet, by order of the
Society, and to have been printed at “Baltimore, in Calvert Street,
near the Court-House, by D. Graham, L. Yundt, and W. Patton,” in 1793.
In a brief preface, the Maryland Society thus reveals the trials
attending the new Fugitive Slave Act:--

    “Still Slavery exists, and, _in the case of slaves escaping
    from their masters_, the friends of Universal Liberty are
    often embarrassed in their conduct by a conflict between their
    principles and _the obligations imposed by unwise and perhaps
    unconstitutional laws_.”

Such is a contemporary record of sensibilities in a Slave State; and
let it be mentioned to the honor of Maryland. But it is reasonable
to suppose that sensibilities in States further north were touched
still more. Mr. Quincy, whose living memory embraces this early
period, reports, that, when an enforcement of this Act was attempted
in Boston, the crowd thronging the room of the magistrate quietly and
spontaneously opened a lane for the fugitive, who was thus enabled to
save himself from Slavery, and also save the country from the dishonor
of such a sacrifice. Almost at the same time, in patriotic Vermont,
a judge of the Supreme Court of the State, on application for the
surrender of an alleged slave, accompanied by documentary evidence,
refused to comply, _unless the master could show a bill of sale
from the Almighty_. Such was the popular feeling which this earlier
legislation encountered.

There is authentic evidence that this popular feeling was recognized
by President Washington as a proper guide, where he was personally
interested. A slave of Mrs. Washington had escaped to New Hampshire.
The President, in an autograph letter, which has been produced in the
Senate,[346] addressed to Mr. Whipple, the collector at Portsmouth, and
dated at Philadelphia, November 28, 1796, after expressing the desire
of “her mistress” for the return of the slave, lays down the following
rule of conduct:--

    “I do not mean, however, by this request, that _such violent
    measures_ should be used as _would excite_ a mob or riot,
    which might be the case, if she has adherents, _or even uneasy
    sensations in the minds of well-disposed citizens_. Rather than
    either of these should happen, I would forego her services
    altogether,--and the example, also, which is of infinite more

The fugitive never was returned, but survived to a good old age, down
to a recent period,--a living witness to that public opinion which made
even the mildest of Fugitive Slave Acts a dead letter.

At last, in 1850, after the subject of Slavery had been agitated in
Congress without interruption for nearly twenty years, a series of
propositions was adopted, and solemnly declared to be _compromises_, by
which all the questions concerning Slavery were permanently settled,
so as never again to vex the country,--as if any question could be
permanently settled except on principles of justice. But the “gruel”
was made, and among its ingredients “for a charm of powerful trouble”
was a new Fugitive Slave Act, first reported from the Committee on the
Judiciary by Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, but afterwards amended by a
substitute from Mr. Mason, of Virginia, so as to become substantially
his measure. It is needless to mention its details. Suffice it to
say, that in these, as in general conception, it was harsh, cruel,
and vindictive. Few statutes in history have been so utterly inhuman,
not excepting even those British statutes for the oppression of the
Irish Catholics, which are pictured by Edmund Burke in words strictly
applicable to the monstrosity of our country:--

    “That truly barbarous system, where almost all the parts were
    outrages on the rights of humanity and the laws of Nature,”--“a
    machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, and as well fitted
    for the oppression, impoverishment, and degradation of a
    people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as
    ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”[347]

Such, unquestionably, was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which is
still allowed to remain on the statute-book, a blot upon our country
and age.

Where a measure is so plainly repugnant to reason and authority, and on
its face has so little foundation in the Constitution, any elaborate
argument seems superfluous, especially at this moment, when Slavery
everywhere is yielding to Freedom. The general conscience condemns the
inhuman statute, and this is enough.

But it is important to show how the country has been deceived.
Therefore, briefly, the Committee call attention to the constitutional


Forgetting, then, for the moment, the Preamble of the Constitution,
which speaks always for Justice and Liberty,--forgetting, also, the
venerable maxim of the law, that “we must incline always in favor of
Freedom,” and likewise that other maxim, that “he is impious and cruel
who does not favor Freedom,”--refusing, according to the requirement
of law, “to catch at anything in favor of Liberty,” and, in spite of
all received rules of interpretation, assuming that the words of the
fugitive clause adequately define fugitive slaves,--the question then
arises, if this clause, thus defiantly interpreted, confers any power
upon Congress.

Clearly not.

Search the Constitution, and you will find no grant, general or
special, conferring upon Congress power to legislate with regard to
fugitives from service or labor. In the general catalogue of powers
this is not mentioned; nor does it appear in any special grant.
There is nothing in the clause itself, there is nothing in any other
clause, applicable to this pretended power. The whole subject is
left to stand on a clause which, whatever its meaning otherwise,
plainly on its face is only a _compact_, and not a grant of power.
And in this respect it differs on its face from other provisions of
the Constitution. For instance, Congress is expressly empowered “_to
establish an uniform rule_ of naturalization, and _uniform laws_ on
the subject of bankruptcies, _throughout the United States_.” Without
this grant, these two important subjects would have fallen within
the control of the States, the nation having no power _to establish
a uniform rule_ thereupon. Now, instead of the existing compact on
fugitives from service or labor, it would have been easy, had any such
desire prevailed, to add this case to the provision on naturalization
and bankruptcy, and empowered Congress _to establish a uniform rule for
the surrender of fugitives from service or labor throughout the United
States_. Then would Congress have had unquestionable jurisdiction. But
nobody in the Convention, not one of the hardiest partisans of Slavery,
presumed to make this proposition. Had it been made, it is easy to see
that it must have been most unceremoniously dismissed.

The genius of the Common Law, to which our ancestors were devoted,
cried out against any such concession. If we refer to its great
master, Lord Coke, from whose teachings in that day there was no
appeal, we find its living voice. In the Third Institute he thus
expresses himself: “It is holden, and so it hath been resolved, _that
divided kingdoms, under several kings in league one with another,
are sanctuaries for servants_ or subjects flying for safety from one
kingdom to another, and, upon demand made by them, are not, _by the
laws and liberties of kingdoms_, to be delivered.”[348] Unquestionably,
if such “sanctuaries” may be overturned, it can be only in a manner
consistent with “laws and liberties” of the States where the fugitive
is found, and not through the exercise of a domineering prerogative by

Whatever the real meaning of the clause in other respects, plainly
it is a _compact_, with a _prohibition_ on the States, _conferring
no power on the nation_. In natural signification it is a compact.
According to examples of other countries and principles of
jurisprudence, it is a compact. All arrangements for surrender of
fugitives are customarily compacts. Except under express obligations
of treaty, no nation is bound to surrender fugitives. Especially
has this been the case with fugitives for Freedom. Bodin asserted
the freedom of all foreign slaves just so soon as they crossed into
France.[349] In mediæval Europe cities set up the same immunity, even
against claimants under the same national government. In 1531, while
the Netherlands and Spain were united under Charles the Fifth, the
supreme council of Mechlin rejected an application from Spain for the
surrender of a fugitive slave. By express compact alone could this be
secured. But the provision of the Constitution was borrowed from the
Ordinance of the Northwestern Territory, which is expressly declared
to be a “compact,”[350] and this Ordinance, finally drawn by Nathan
Dane, of Massachusetts, was again borrowed, in some of its distinctive
features, from the early institutions of Massachusetts, among which, as
far back as 1643, was a compact of like nature with other New England
States. Thus this provision is a compact in language, a compact in
nature, and a compact in its whole history; as we have already seen, it
is a compact according to the intentions of our fathers and the genius
of our institutions.

There are two instances in history of compacts which illustrate the
present words. The first is found in a treaty of peace between Leo the
Sixth, Greek Emperor of Constantinople, and Oleg, Regent of Russia, in
the year of the Christian era 906, as follows:--

    “If a Russian slave take flight, or even if he is carried away
    under pretence of having been bought, his master can pursue him
    and take him wherever he shall find him, and any man who shall
    oppose him in his search _shall be deemed guilty_.”[351]

This compact, made in the unequivocal language of a barbarous age, has
long since ceased to exist; and now, in our own day, Russia disdains to
own a slave.

The other instance is the compact between the New England colonies
in 1643, being one of the “Articles of Confederation between the
Plantations under the Government of the Massachusetts, the Plantations
under the Government of New Plymouth, the Plantations under the
Government of Connecticut and the Government of New Haven, with the
Plantations in combination therewith.” Here it is:--

     “_It is also agreed_, That, if any servant run away from his
    master into any other of these confederated jurisdictions, that
    in such case, upon the certificate of one magistrate in the
    jurisdiction out of which the said servant fled, or upon other
    due proof, the said servant _shall be delivered_ either to his
    master or any other that pursues and brings such certificate or

Here, by words of _agreement_, less frank and unequivocal than those of
the earlier time, fugitives are restored. But this compact, like its
Russian prototype, long since ceased to exist.

Unquestionably the fugitive clause of the Constitution, whether
applicable to fugitive slaves or not, was never intended to confer
power upon Congress, but was simply a _compact_, to receive such
interpretation as the States where it was enforced might choose to


The Committee do not leave this conclusion to rest merely on
unanswerable reason. Authorities add to the testimony.

Here is the judgment of Chancellor Walworth, of New York, pronounced in
1835, before this subject had become the occasion of political strife.
The testimony of the learned Chancellor is the more important, when it
is considered that he has always acted politically with the Democracy,
which has been the support of Slavery.

    “I have looked in vain among the powers delegated to Congress
    by the Constitution for any general authority to that body to
    legislate on this subject. It certainly is not contained in any
    express grant of power, and it does not appear to be embraced
    in the general grant of incidental powers contained in the last
    clause of the Constitution relative to the powers of Congress.
    The law of the United States respecting fugitives from justice
    and fugitive slaves is not a law to carry into effect any of
    the powers expressly granted to Congress, ‘or any other power
    vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United
    States, or any department or officer thereof.’”[353]

Here, also, is the judgment of Chief Justice Hornblower, of New Jersey,
pronounced in 1836. Having shown that the clause in question confers no
power on Congress, he proceeds as follows.

     “In short, if the power of legislation upon this subject
    is not given to Congress in the second section of the fourth
    article of the Constitution, it cannot, I think, be found in
    that instrument. The last clause of the eighth section of the
    first article gives to Congress a right to make all laws which
    shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution _all
    the powers_ vested by the Constitution in the Government of
    the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
    But the provisions of the second section of the fourth article
    of the Constitution cover no grant to, confide no trust, and
    vest _no powers_ in, the Government of the United States. The
    language of the whole of that section is to establish certain
    principles and rules of action by which the contracting parties
    are to be governed in certain specified cases. The stipulations
    respecting the rights of citizenship, and the delivery of
    persons fleeing from justice or escaping from bondage, _are
    not grants of power_ to the General Government, to be executed
    by it in derogation of State authority, but they are in the
    nature of treaty stipulations, resting for their fulfilment
    upon the enlightened patriotism and good faith of the several
    States. The argument in favor of Congressional legislation,
    founded on the suggestion that some of the States might refuse
    a compliance with these constitutional provisions, or neglect
    to pass any laws to carry them into effect, _is entitled to no

Afterwards, in a published letter of 1852, the Chief Justice says:--

    “Be assured, my dear Sir, my judgment, whatever it may be
    worth, has been for years, and now is, in perfect accordance
    with yours in relation to the unconstitutionality of the
    Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850.”[355]

Other judicial opinions might be adduced; but, as they have been
pronounced since controversy on this question, they would be less

There are opinions, pronounced in the Senate, which, from the
characters of their authors, are entitled to peculiar consideration.

It will be remembered that Mr. Webster gave his support to the
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; but, whatever may have been his vote,
so far as his personal authority could go, _he condemned the Act as
unconstitutional_. Here is his opinion, in the famous speech of the 7th
March, 1850.

    “I have always thought that the Constitution addressed itself
    to the Legislatures of the States, or to the States themselves.
    It says that those persons escaping to other States ‘shall be
    delivered up,’ and I confess I have always been of the opinion
    that it was an injunction upon the States themselves. When it
    is said that a person escaping into another State, and coming,
    therefore, within the jurisdiction of that State, shall be
    delivered up, _it seems to me the import of the clause is, that
    the State itself, in obedience to the Constitution, shall cause
    him to be delivered up_. _That is my judgment. I have always
    entertained that opinion, and I entertain it now._”[356]

“I have always entertained that opinion, and I entertain it now.” Such
are the emphatic words by which Mr. Webster declares his judgment of
the unconstitutionality of this Act.

He was not alone. Mr. Mason, the actual author of the Act of Congress,
exposed its unconstitutionality in the very speech by which he
introduced it.

    “In my reading of these clauses of the Constitution for
    extradition of fugitives of both classes, _I advance the
    confident opinion_ that it devolves upon the States the duty
    of providing by law both for their capture and delivery.… I
    say, then, Sir, that the true intent of the Constitution was
    to devolve it upon the States, as a federal duty, to enforce,
    by their own laws, within their respective limits, both these
    clauses of extradition.”[357]

And Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, at a later day, said:--

    “Under the Constitution, each State of itself ought to provide
    for the rendition of all fugitives from labor to their masters.
    _This was certainly the design of the Constitution._”[358]

Such are some of the authorities, judicial and political, by which
Congressional power over this subject is denied. And yet, in the face
of all authority, and in defiance of reason, Congress assumed this
power. It was done at the demand of Slavery, and for the protection
of Slavery. Of course, such an assumption of undelegated power was a
usurpation at the time, and is a usurpation still,--doubly hateful,
when it is considered that it is a usurpation in the name of Slavery.
It is hard to think that Congress was driven to unconstitutional
assumption in such a cause, and that, contrary to sovereign rules of
interpretation, it leaned to Slavery rather than to Freedom. But the
time has come at last when it may recover the attitude belonging to it
under the Constitution.

In advising the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, it is enough to show
that it is founded on usurpation by Congress of power not granted by
the Constitution. But, even admitting the power, a slight examination
will show that it has been executed in defiance of the Constitution.

The constitutional objections to the Fugitive Slave Act are abundant.
It is not too much to say, that in every section and at every point it
is repugnant to admitted principles of Constitutional Law.


Foremost among these objections it is proper to put the denial of
trial by jury to the fugitive whose liberty is in question. It is well
known that Judge Story, who pronounced the opinion of the Supreme
Court affirming the constitutionality of the early Fugitive Slave Act,
declared that the necessity of a trial by jury had not been argued
before the Court, and that in his opinion this was still “an open
question.”[359] It has never been argued since; but it is difficult
to say that it is still “an open question.” The battles of Freedom are
never lost, and the longer this right is denied the more its justice
has become apparent, until at last it shines resplendent beyond all
contradiction. Even if there were doubt of the obligation of Congress,
there can be no doubt of the power. Nobody denies that Congress, if it
legislates on this matter, _may_ allow trial by jury. But here again,
if it _may_, so overwhelming is the claim of justice, it MUST.

The text of the Constitution leaves the case beyond question. And here,
on the threshold, two necessary incidents of the delivery are observed:
first, it must be made in the State where the fugitive is found;
and, secondly, it restores to the claimant complete control over the
person, so that the victim may be conveyed to any part of the country
where it is possible to hold a slave, or he may be sold on the way.
The proceedings, therefore, cannot be regarded, in any just sense, as
preliminary or auxiliary to some future formal trial, as in the case
of a fugitive from justice, but as complete in themselves, final and

It is because of the contempt with which, under the teachings of
Slavery, to the shame of our country, men have thus far regarded the
rights of colored persons, that courts have been willing for a moment
to recognize the constitutional right to hurl a human being into
bondage without trial by jury. Had the victims been white, it is easy
to see that the rule would have been different. But it is obvious,
that, under the Constitution, the rule must be the same for all,
whether black or white.

On the one side is a question of property; on the other side is the
vital question of Human Freedom in its most transcendent form,--not
merely Freedom for a day or a year, but for life, and the freedom of
generations that shall succeed so long as Slavery endures. Whether
viewed as a question of property or a question of Human Freedom, the
requirement of the Constitution is equally explicit, and it becomes
more explicit as we examine its history. It is well known, that,
at the close of the National Convention, Elbridge Gerry refused to
sign the Constitution, because, among other things, it sanctioned
the establishment of “a tribunal _without juries_,--a Star-Chamber
as to civil cases.”[360] Many united in this opposition, and on the
recommendation of the First Congress an additional safeguard was added
in the following words: “In _suits at Common Law_, where the value in
controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, _the right of trial by jury
shall be preserved_.” Words cannot be more positive.

Three conditions, according to this Amendment, are necessary. _First_,
there must be “a suit.” But the Supreme Court, in the case of _Cohens_
v. _Virginia_, have defined a suit to be “the prosecution, or pursuit,
of some _claim_, demand, or request,”[361]--thus affirming that the
“claim” for a fugitive is “a suit.” _Secondly_, there must be a
suit “at Common Law.” But here again the Supreme Court, in the case
of _Parsons_ v. _Bedford_, while considering this very clause, has
declared that “in a just sense the Amendment may well be construed to
embrace all suits which are not of Equity and Admiralty jurisdiction,
_whatever may be the peculiar form which they may assume to settle
legal rights_”;[362] and clearly, since the claim for a fugitive is
not a suit in Equity or Admiralty, but a suit to settle what are
culled “legal rights,” it must, of course, be “a suit at Common Law.”
_Thirdly_, the value in controversy must “exceed twenty dollars.” But
here again the Supreme Court, in the case of _Lee_ v. _Lee_, on a
question as to jurisdiction, founded on “the value in controversy,” has
declared that the freedom of the petitioners, which was the matter in
dispute, was “not susceptible of a pecuniary valuation,”[363]--showing,
that, since Liberty is above price, the claim to a fugitive always
necessarily presumes that “the value in controversy exceeds twenty

Thus, by a series of separate decisions of the Supreme Court on the
three points involved in the interpretation of this clause, it is
clear beyond question that the claim to a fugitive is, first, “a
suit,”--secondly, “at Common Law,”--thirdly, “where the value in
controversy exceeds twenty dollars”: so that trial by jury is expressly

Even if the Supreme Court had been silent on this question, the
argument from the old books of the Common Law would be unanswerable.
We are told that there is nothing new under the sun. Certainly, long
before our Constitution, the claim for a fugitive slave was known to
the Common Law. In early history, and down even to a late period, the
slave in England was generally called _villein_, though in the original
Latin judicial forms _nativus_, implying slavery by birth. Of course,
then as now, he sometimes ventured to _escape_ from his master; but the
Common Law supplied the appropriate remedy. The claim was prosecuted
by “a suit at Common Law,” to which, as to every suit at Common
Law, the trial by jury was necessarily attached. Blackstone, in his
Commentaries, in words which must have been known to all the lawyers of
the Convention, said of _villeins_: “They could not leave their lord
without his permission, but, _if they ran away_, or were purloined from
him, _might be claimed and recovered by action, like beasts or other
chattels_.”[364] But this word “action” of itself implies “a suit at
Common Law,” with trial by jury.

The forms of proceeding in such cases are carefully preserved in those
books which constitute the authoritative precedents of the Common Law.
There are writs, counts, pleadings, and judgments, all ending in trial
by jury. They will be found in Fitzherbert’s “Natura Brevium.”[365]
The Year Books and Books of Entries are full of them. Clearly and
indisputably, in England, where the Common Law has its origin, a claim
for a fugitive slave was “a suit at Common Law,” recognized as such
among its old and settled proceedings, as much as a writ of replevin
for a horse or a writ of right for land. It follows, then, that the
requirement of the Constitution, read in the illumination of the Common
Law, naturally and necessarily embraces proceedings for the recovery of
fugitive slaves, _so far as any such are instituted or allowed under
the Constitution_.

And this irresistible conclusion had the support of a Senator from
South Carolina in an earlier period of our history, before passion had
obscured reason and conspiracy against the Union had blotted out all
loyalty to truth. In reply to a proposition, in 1818, to refer the
claim of the master to a judge without a jury, Mr. Smith, speaking
solely in the interests of property, thus expressed himself:--

    “This would give a judge the sole power of deciding _the right
    of property the master claims in his slave, instead of trying
    that right by a jury, as prescribed by the Constitution_. He
    would be judge of matters of law and matters of fact,--clothed
    with all the powers of a jury, as well as the powers of
    a court. Such a principle is unknown in your system of
    jurisprudence. _Your Constitution has forbid it._ It preserves
    the right of trial by jury in all cases where the value in
    controversy exceeds twenty dollars.”[366]

Thus, in those days, a partisan of Slavery, while asserting its divine
origin, and vindicating the rendition of fugitive slaves, recognized
the claim of the master as “a suit at Common Law,” to be tried by a
jury; and this he _insisted_ was prescribed by the Constitution. But
if this Senator could claim trial by jury for the protection of his
pretended property, with much greater reason might the fugitive claim
trial by jury for the protection of his liberty. Surely, now, when
Liberty is regaining her lost foothold, this protection will not be


To this array of reason and authority there are but two attempts at
reply, so far as the Committee is informed.

(1.) The first asserts that the rendition of the slave under the
Act of Congress is a “preliminary” proceeding, in the nature of
_extradition_, which does not establish any right between the parties,
but simply hands the slave over to the local jurisdiction from which
he escaped, and therefore trial by jury is unnecessary. But this
pretension is founded on a plain misapprehension. It forgets, in the
first place, that by ancient authority a “claim” for a fugitive slave
is unquestionably a “suit at Common Law,” to be determined by a jury
_before the judgment of rendition_. And it forgets, in the second
place, that the proceedings are in no respect “preliminary”; that they
do not contemplate any other trial between the parties, but that they
fix absolutely the relations of the parties, making one of them master
and the other slave; that the certificate of rendition is absolute
and unimpeachable by any human tribunal, so that the claimant, from
the moment of its issue, may assert unqualified ownership over the
fugitive; that, under this certificate, he may proceed at once to
demand service and labor, and enforce his demand by the lash; and that,
instead of returning the victim to that local jurisdiction from which
he is alleged to have escaped, the claimant may hurry him, chained
and manacled, to some distant plantation, where the only judge will
be an overseer, and the only jury the creatures who aid in enforcing
a terrible power. And the argument forgets, also, that this cruel
judgment may be inflicted upon a freeman, who, perhaps, has never left
his Northern home, but whose fate will be fixed beyond appeal by the
mere certificate of a commissioner. Surely this simple statement is

The very word “preliminary” suggests the inquiry, To what?
_Preliminary_ is not an adjective that supports itself. It requires
an adjunct, or an abutment on which to rest. It is the beginning or
introduction to some further proceeding. It is something incomplete
or unfinished. If it be judicial, it contemplates necessarily some
further judicial proceeding. The judge who pronounces a preliminary
judgment must necessarily have in mind the judgment to follow, and must
recognize his relation to it. But if there is no judgment to follow, if
there is no contemplation of any further judicial proceeding, if the
actual proceeding is complete and finished, if it is not the beginning
or introduction to any further proceeding, if there is nothing on
which the adjective “preliminary” can rest, it is absurd to call the
proceeding by this name. Such proceeding is essentially final, and this
is the unquestionable character of that under the Fugitive Slave Act.
To call it “preliminary,” and on this ground set up apology for denial
of trial by jury, is only another illustration of devices employed by
Slavery to baffle the demands of Freedom.

But it is still said that there may be another trial in the State
whither the slave is conveyed. On this assumption it has been well
remarked, that, if, contrary to general principles of law attaching to
the decision of a competent tribunal a conclusive force as to the same
right between the same parties, there could be any trial in the Slave
State, then it is _another trial_, and in no respect a continuation
and completion of the proceedings before the commissioner. The only
trial possible would be an original suit by the alleged slave against
his _actual_ master, whosoever he might be; for the claimant may have
already sold him to another. But there can be no legal connection
between the two proceedings. Each is original, and must be decided on
its own merits. In the one case, the _actual_ claimant, whosoever he
may be, is plaintiff, and the slave is defendant; and in the other case
the slave is plaintiff, and the _actual_ master, whosoever he may be,
is defendant. And the first proceeding is preliminary to the other only
as an illegal imprisonment is preliminary to a suit for damages. The
whole pretension is lost in its absurdity.

(2.) The second attempt at reply to the argument for trial by jury may
be given in the words of the author of the Fugitive Slave Act himself.
In the debate which occurred on its passage, Mr. Mason thus expressed

    “If you pass a law which shall require a trial by jury, not
    one man in twenty whose slave escapes will incur the risks
    or expense of going after the fugitive. It proposes a trial
    according to all the forms of the court. _A trial by jury
    necessarily carries with it a trial of the whole right_, and
    a trial of the right to service will be gone into according
    to all the forms of the court in determining upon any other
    fact.… This involves the detention of the fugitive in the mean
    time,--a detention that is purely informal; and whether the
    jury should or should not render a righteous verdict in the
    end is a matter I will not inquire into, for it is perfectly
    immaterial, _as the delay itself would effectually defeat the
    right of reclamation_.”[367]

Thus, in a question of Human Freedom, the delay incident to trial by
jury was unblushingly asserted as a sufficient reason for denial of
the right. On a pretension so repulsive, it is enough to say that its
feebleness is exceeded only by its audacity.

The Committee, therefore, put aside the attempts at reply, and
confidently rest in the conclusion that the denial of trial by jury
to a person claimed as slave is an unquestionable violation of the


There is still another objection from unconstitutionality, which may
be treated more briefly; but it is not less decisive than the two
objections already considered. It is founded on the character of the
magistrate to whom is committed the adjudication of the great question
of Human Freedom, than which none greater is known to the law.

If it were a question merely of property above twenty dollars,--if it
were a question of crime, involving imprisonment under the laws of the
United States,--especially if it were a question involving life,--the
trial must be before a judge duly appointed by the President by and
with the advice and consent of the Senate, holding office during good
behavior, receiving for his services a fixed compensation, and bound
by solemn oath of office. But this great question of Human Freedom
is committed to the unaided judgment of a petty magistrate, called
a commissioner, appointed by the Court instead of the President,
holding his office during the will of the Court instead of during good
behavior, paid by fees according to each individual case, instead of
receiving for his services a fixed compensation, and not bound by any
oath of office.

A claim for the rendition of a fugitive from service or labor,
constituting as it does “a suit at Common Law,” and also “a case
arising under the Constitution,” must be determined by a _judicial
tribunal_. But a commissioner is not a judicial tribunal, nor is he in
any sense a judge; so that he is not entitled, under the Constitution,
to exercise this extraordinary jurisdiction.

As “a suit at Common Law,” the claim must be tried by the tribunal
which has jurisdiction of such suits. But a commissioner can have no
such jurisdiction.

As “a case arising under the Constitution,” it falls under the judicial
power of the United States. But a commissioner is no part of this power.

Two provisions of the Constitution place this conclusion beyond
question. _First_, by article three, section one, it is declared that
“_the judicial power of the United States_ shall be vested in one
supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from
time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme
and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior,
and shall at stated times receive for their services a compensation
which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”
_Secondly_, by article three, section two, it is declared that “_the
judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising
under this Constitution, the laws of the United States_, and treaties
made, or which shall be made, under their authority.” Here it appears,
first, who are the judges constituting the judicial power of the
United States, and, secondly, what is the extent of this power. But a
commissioner clearly is not a judge, or any part of the judicial power.
Therefore, by inevitable conclusion, he cannot have jurisdiction of
any “case arising under the Constitution.” But the Supreme Court has
expressly decided that the proceeding by a claimant for the delivery
of an alleged slave “constitutes in the strictest sense a controversy
between the parties, and _a case arising under the Constitution_ of the
United States, within the express delegation of judicial power given by
that instrument.”[368]

And yet a commissioner, dressed in the smallest and briefest authority,
is put forward to determine this great case under the Constitution,
and his judgment is declared final, and even without appeal. The
Fugitive Slave Act proclaims expressly that he “shall have _concurrent
jurisdiction_ with the judges of the Circuit and District Courts of
the United States”; that he shall “hear and determine the case of
the claimant in a summary manner”; and that his certificate “shall
be conclusive of the right of the person or persons in whose favor
granted to remove such fugitive to the State or Territory from which he
escaped, _and shall prevent all molestation of such person or persons
by any process issued by any court, judge, magistrate, or other person
whomsoever_.”[369] Such are the plenary powers conferred upon the
commissioner, together with an eminent jurisdiction concurrent with
judges of the Circuit and District Courts. This Act, as originally
introduced by Mr. Butler, before the substitute of Mr. Mason, intrusted
this _concurrent jurisdiction_ to the whole army of postmasters; but a
trumpery commissioner, appointed by a court, is as little entitled to
exercise it as a postmaster. It is not doubted, that, under existing
statutes, a commissioner may be appointed to take depositions and
acknowledgments of bail, and also to arrest, examine, and detain
offenders for trial. Thus much a court may authorize; _but a court
cannot delegate to a commissioner the power of trying a cause_, whether
“a suit at Common Law,” or “a case arising under the Constitution”;
_nor can Congress authorize a court to delegate this power_. The whole
pretension is a discredit to the jurisprudence of the country.

Such are three principal objections to the constitutionality of this
Act. One alone is enough. The three together are more than enough.


But there are other objections, to which the Committee merely allude.

The offensive Act, defying the whole Law of Evidence, authorizes a
judgment which despoils a man of his liberty on _ex parte_ testimony,
by affidavit, without the sanction of cross-examination.

It practically denies the writ of _Habeas Corpus_, ever known as the
palladium of the citizen.

Contrary to the purposes declared by the framers of the Constitution,
it sends the fugitive back “at the public expense.”[370]

Adding meanness to violation of the Constitution, it bribes the
commissioner by a double fee to pronounce against Freedom. If he dooms
a man to Slavery, the reward is ten dollars; but saving him to Freedom,
his dole is five dollars.

As it is for the public weal that there should be an end of suits, so,
by the consent of civilized nations, these must be instituted within
fixed limitations of time; but the Fugitive Act, exalting Slavery above
even this practical principle of universal justice, ordains proceedings
against Freedom without reference to lapse of time.

Careless of the feelings and conscientious convictions of good men who
cannot help the work of thrusting a fellow-being back into bondage,
this Act declares that “all good citizens are hereby commanded to aid
and assist in the prompt and efficient execution of this law”;[371]
and this injunction is addressed to all alike, not excepting those
who religiously believe that the Divine mandate is as binding now as
when it was first given to the Hebrews of old: “THOU SHALT NOT DELIVER
_unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto
thee_: he shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which
he shall choose, in one of thy gates where it liketh him best: thou
shalt not oppress him.”[372] The thunder of Sinai is silent, and the
ancient judgments have ceased; but an Act of Congress, which, besides
its direct violation of this early law, offends every sentiment of
Christianity, must expect the judgments of men, even if it escapes
those of Heaven. Perhaps the sorrows and funerals of this war are so
many warnings to do justice.

But this Act is to be seen not merely in its open defiance of the
Constitution, and of all legislative decencies; it must be considered,
also, in two other aspects: first, in its consequences; and, secondly,
in the character of its authors. The time has come, at last, when each
of these may be exposed.


And, first, as to its consequences. In the history of the African race
these can never be forgotten. Since the first authorization of the
slave-trade, nothing so terrible had fallen upon this unhappy people,
whether we contemplate its cruelty to individuals or the wide-spread
proscription which it launched against all whose skins were not white.

It is sad to know of suffering anywhere, even by a single lowly person.
But our feelings are enhanced, when individual sorrows are multiplied,
and the blow descends upon a whole race. History, too, takes up the
grief. The Jews expelled from Spain by merciless decree, the Huguenots
driven from France by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, our own
Puritan fathers compelled to exile for religious Freedom,--all these
receive a gushing sympathy, and we detest the tyrants. These were
persecutions for religion, in days of religious bigotry and darkness.
But an American Congress, in this age of Christian light, not in the
fanaticism of religion, but in the fanaticism of Slavery, did a deed
that finds companionship only with these enormities of the past. The
Fugitive Slave Act carried distress and terror to every person with
African blood in the Free States. All were fluttered, as the arbitrary
edict commenced its swoop over the land. The very rumor that a
slave-hunter was in town so shook the nerves of a sensitive freeman on
whom was the ban of color, that he died. To large numbers the Act was a
decree of instant expulsion from the Republic, under penalty of Slavery
to them and their posterity forever. Driven by despair, as many as six
thousand Christian men and women, meritorious persons,--a larger band
than that of the escaping Puritans,--precipitately fled from homes they
had established, opportunities of usefulness they had found, and the
regard of fellow-citizens, until, at last, in an unwelcome Northern
climate, beneath the British flag, with glad voices of Freedom on their
lips, though with the yearnings of exile in their hearts, they were
happy in swelling the chant, “God save the Queen!”

Such an injustice cannot be restricted in influence. Everywhere it is
an extension of Slavery, with all the wrong, violence, and brutality
which are the natural outgrowth of Slavery. The Free States became
little better than a huge outlying plantation quivering under the lash
of the overseer; or rather, they were a diversified hunting-ground
for the flying bondmen, resounding always with the “halloo” of the
huntsman. There seemed no rest. The chase was hardly over at Boston
before it was started at Philadelphia, Syracuse, or Buffalo, and
then again raged furiously across the prairies of the West. Not an
instance occurred which did not shock the conscience of the country and
sting it with anger. Records of the time attest the accuracy of this
statement. Perhaps there is no example in history where human passion
showed itself in grander forms, or eloquence lent all her gifts more
completely to the demands of Liberty, than the speech of an eminent
character, now dead and buried in a foreign land,[373] denouncing the
capture of Thomas Sims at Boston, and invoking the judgment of God and
man upon the agents in this wickedness. In the history of Humanity
this great effort cannot be forgotten. But every case pleaded with an
eloquence of its own, until, at last, occurred one of those tragedies
darkening the heavens and crying out with a voice that will be heard.
It was the voice of a mother standing over her murdered child. Margaret
Garner escaped from Slavery with three children, but was overtaken
at Cincinnati. Unwilling to behold her offspring returned to the
shambles of the South, this unhappy person, described in the testimony
as “a womanly, amiable, affectionate mother,” determined to save them
in the only way within her power. With a butcher-knife, coolly and
deliberately, she took the life of one of the children, “almost white,
and a little girl of rare beauty,” and attempted, without success, to
take the life of the other two. To the preacher who interrogated her
she exclaimed: “The child was my own, given me of God to do the best
a mother could in its behalf. I have done the best I could; I would
have done more and better for the rest; I knew it was better for them
to go home to God than back to Slavery.” But she was restrained in her
purpose. The Fugitive Slave Act triumphed, and, after the determination
of sundry questions of jurisdiction, this devoted historic mother, with
the two children remaining to her, and the dead body of the little one
just emancipated, under a national escort of armed men, was hurried
to the doom of Slavery. Her case did not end with this revolting
sacrifice. So long as the human heart is moved by human suffering, the
story of this mother will be read with alternate anger and grief, while
it is studied as a perpetual witness to the slaveholding tyranny which
then ruled the Republic with execrable exactions, destined at last to
break out in war,--as the sacrifice of Virginia by her father is a
perpetual witness to the decemviral tyranny which ruled Rome.

But Liberty is always priceless. There are other instances, less known,
where kindred wrong has been done. Every case is a tragedy, under the
forms of law. Worse than poisoned bowl or dagger was the certificate
of a commissioner, allowed, without interruption, to continue his
dreadful trade. Even since the Rebellion has raged in blood, the
pretension of returning slaves to their masters is not abandoned. The
piety of Abraham, who offered up Isaac as a sacrifice to Jehovah, is
imitated, and the country continues to offer up fugitive bondmen as
a sacrifice to Slavery. It is reported on good authority, that among
slaves thus sacrificed was one who by communications to the Government
had been the means of saving upwards of one hundred thousand dollars.
Here in Washington, since the beneficent Act of Emancipation, even in
sight of the flag floating from the National Capitol, the Fugitive
Slave Act has been made a scourge and a terror to innocent men and

If all these pains and sorrows had redounded in any respect to the
honor of the country, or had contributed in any way to the strength
of the Union, then we might confess, perhaps, that something at least
had been gained. But, alas! there has been nothing but unmixed evil.
The country has suffered in good name, while foreign nations have
pointed with scorn to a republic which could legalize such indecencies.
Not a case occurred which was not greedily chronicled in Europe, and
circulated there by the enemies of liberal institutions. Even since the
Rebellion began in the name of Slavery, the existence of this odious
enactment unrepealed on our statute-book has been quoted abroad to show
that the supporters of the Union are as little deserving of sympathy
as Rebel Slavemongers. By the enforcement of this odious Act the Union
has suffered from the beginning; for not a slave is thrust back into
bondage without weakening those patriotic sympathies, North and South,
which are its best support. The natural irritation of the North, as
it beheld all safeguards of Freedom overthrown and Slavery triumphant
in its very streets, was answered by savage exultation in the South,
which seemed to dance about its victims. Each instance was the occasion
of new exasperations on both sides, which were skilfully employed by
wicked conspirators “to fire the Southern heart.”


Such are some of the consequences of this ill-fated measure. But the
duty of the Committee cannot be performed without glancing at its
authors also. By an easy transition we pass from one to the other, for
the two are in natural harmony. Each may be read in the light of the

And who were the authors of this Fugitive Slave Act? The answer may be
general or special.

If general, it may be said that its authors were the representatives of
Slavery, constituting that same Oligarchy, or Slave Power, which has
madly plunged this country into civil war. Some of them, even at the
time of its enactment, were already engaged in treasonable conspiracy
against the Union. They thought little of any pretended interests in
property; but they were occupied with two controlling ideas: first,
how to unite their own people at home; and, secondly, how to insult
and subjugate the Free States. The Fugitive Slave Act furnished a
convenient agency for this double purpose, and was naturally adopted by
men who had lost the power of blushing as well as the power of feeling.

Unquestionable facts show how little real occasion there was for this
barbarous statute. It is now established by the report of the census in
1860, that the loss of slaves by escape was trivial. According to this
document, “the whole annual loss to the Southern States from this cause
bears less proportion to the amount of capital involved than the daily
variations which, in ordinary times, occur in the fluctuations of State
or Government securities in the city of New York alone.”[374] Such a
statement is most suggestive. Official tables furnish confirmatory
details. From these it appears that during the year ending June 1,
1860, out of 3,949,557 slaves, only 803 were able to escape, being
one to about five thousand, or at the rate of one fiftieth of one per
cent. Then again, out of more than one million of slaves in the Border
States in 1860, fewer than five hundred escaped. Such are authentic
facts. Nor is this all. The slave who succeeded in escaping, even when
reënslaved, was never afterwards regarded as good property. All the
work he could do would not compensate for his bad example. Jefferson
Davis, in the frankness of an address to his constituents at home in
Mississippi, on the 11th July, 1851, said openly that he did not want
any fugitive slaves sent into his State; that “such stock would be
a curse to the land,--for, with the knowledge they had gained, they
would ruin the rest of the slaves, and very probably give rise to the
most dreadful consequences”; and he concluded by announcing, that “he
would not have in his quarters a negro brought from the North on any
account whatever.”[375] And yet, in face of such authentic facts,
showing how few escaped, and in face of an instinctive repugnance to
any commingling with other slaves by those who had once tasted Liberty,
this atrocious statute was enacted, and its enforcement was maintained
at the point of the bayonet, while Jefferson Davis was Secretary of War.

There have been wars of _pretext_; but here was an act of legislation,
which, whenever enforced, was a _Petty War_, and its origin
was a pretext. It was nothing but a pretext, through which the
representatives of Slavery sought to enforce a flagitious power. The
pretext was worthy of the legislation, and both pretext and legislation
were in harmony with the authors, who drew their motives of conduct
from Slavery and nothing else. The same spirit which triumphed in
this Fugitive Slave Act, on a pretext, has at last broken forth in
rebellion, on a pretext also. Each was under pretext of maintaining
Slavery, and each proceeded from the same influence.

Speaking, then, in general terms, the authors of the Fugitive Slave Act
were the authors of the Rebellion. The one and the other have the same
paternity, as unquestionably they have a family likeness.

If, however, we go still further, and seek the individual authors of
this odious measure, the forerunner of the Rebellion, it is easy to
point them out.

The bill was reported to the Senate by Mr. Butler, of South Carolina,
so that in origin it may be traced directly to the hot-house of
nullification, treason, and rebellion. But Mr. Mason, of Virginia,
subsequently moved a substitute, which, being adopted, became the
existing statute, and this enormity stalked into life under the
patronage of a Senator from Virginia. Public report, which is entitled
to belief, attributes this substitute to the cunning hand of Mr.
Faulkner, also of Virginia; but, on moving it in the Senate, Mr. Mason
made it his own, and pressed it with untiring pertinacity, as the
“Globe” amply attests, until it became the law of the land, so far as
such a measure can in any just sense be “law.”

But whether its authors be found in States or individuals, there is
in it the same pernicious virus, which, breaking out first in South
Carolina, inoculated Virginia, like the Rebellion itself. A Senator
from Virginia took from South Carolina the final responsibility, as an
aged madman from Virginia asked and obtained permission to point the
first gun at Fort Sumter. Nor are the two events unlike in character.
The Fugitive Slave Act was levelled at the Union hardly less than the
batteries at Charleston, when they opened upon Fort Sumter.

Such are the authors, general and special, of this wickedness. The
Senator from South Carolina is dead; but the representatives of Slavery
still live, and so also do the two madmen from Virginia. Thus the
representatives of Slavery, though now in open rebellion, continue,
through unrepealed statute, to insult the loyal States, to degrade the
Republic, and to rule the country which they tried to ruin. And thus
two audacious Rebels, one the pretended Minister of the Rebellion at
London, and the other an officer in the Rebel forces, still exert among
us a malignant power, while, with a long arm not yet amputated, they
reach even into the streets of Washington, and fasten the chains of the


To all this there is one simple answer, and Congress must make it.

A clause of the Constitution, contrary to all commanding rules of
jurisprudence, has been interpreted to sanction the hunting of slaves;
and the same clause, thus interpreted, has been declared, contrary
to all testimony of history, to have been an original compromise of
the Constitution and a corner-stone of the Union. On this clause,
thus misinterpreted and thus misrepresented, an Act of Congress is
founded, which, even assuming that the clause is strictly applicable
to fugitive slaves, is many times unconstitutional, but especially in
three several particulars: (1.) as a usurpation by Congress of powers
not granted by the Constitution; (2.) as a denial of trial by jury in
a case of personal liberty and a suit at Common Law; and (3.) as a
concession of the case of personal liberty to the unaided judgment of
a single petty magistrate, without any oath of office, constituting no
part of the judicial power,--appointed, not by the President with the
consent of the Senate, but by the court,--holding office, not during
good behavior, but merely during the will of the court,--and receiving,
not a regular salary, but fees according to each individual case. But
even if this Act were strictly constitutional in all respects, yet,
regarding it in its painful consequences and in its Rebel authors, it
is none the less offensive; for from the beginning it was a scourge
to the African race and a grievance to the whole country, a scandal
abroad and a dead-weight upon the Union at home, while it was the arch
contrivance of men who at the time were rebel at heart and are now
in open rebellion, devised as an insult to the Free States and as a
badge of subjugation. Such a statute, thus utterly unconstitutional
in every respect, and utterly mischievous in all its consequences and
influences, while peculiarly obnoxious in its well-known authors, ought
to be repealed without delay. If possible to parliamentary usage, it
ought to be torn from the volumes of the law, so that there should be
no record of such an abuse and such a shame.

Unhappily, the statute must always remain in the pages of our history.
But every day of delay in its repeal is hurtful to the national cause
and to the national name. Would you put down the Rebellion? Would
you uphold our fame abroad? Would you save the Constitution from
outrage? Would you extinguish Slavery? Above all, would you follow the
Constitution and establish justice? Then repeal the statute at once.


[1] This Introduction is copied from the pamphlet edition published in
New York by the Young Men’s Republican Union.

[2] Speech on the King’s Message relative to the Affairs of Portugal,
December 12, 1826: Speeches, Vol. VI. p. 79.

[3] Papers relating to Foreign Affairs, 1861, p. 84: Executive
Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 1.

[4] Debate on the Queen’s Proclamation, May 16, 1861: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXII. col. 2084.

[5] The cynical frankness of Earl Russell reveals the prominence of
this consideration. In autobiographical comments, at a later day,
he says: “During the discussion of the questions relating to the
Alabama and the Shenandoah, it was the great object of the British
Government to preserve for the subject the security of Trial by
Jury, _and for the nation the legitimate and lucrative trade of
ship-building_.”--_Selections from Speeches of Earl Russell, 1817 to
1841, and from Despatches, 1859 to 1865_, with Introductions by Earl
Russell, Vol. II. p. 266.

[6] “Apud Agathiam legimus, hostem esse qui faciat quod hosti
placet.”--GROTIUS, _De Jure Belli ac Pacis_, Lib. III. cap. xvii. § 3,

[7] Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams: Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess.,
Senate, No. 8, pp. 2, 3.

[8] Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward, October 14, 1861: Papers relating to
Foreign Affairs, 1861, p. 169: Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d
Sess., Senate, No. 1.

[9] Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. C. col. 714.

[10] Spectator, January 4, 1862, p. 17.

[11] Sir Walter Scott, in correspondence with his friend Ellis,
undertook to explain how a whole edition of Godwin’s Life of Chaucer
had vanished, by conjecturing, that, “as the heaviest materials to be
come at, they have been sent on the secret expedition, planned by Mr.
Phillips and adopted by our sapient Government, for blocking up the
mouth of our enemy’s harbors.”--_Letter to George Ellis, Esq., March
19, 1804_: Lockhart’s Life of Scott, Vol. I. p. 414.

[12] Letter to Lord Mulgrave, April 3, 1809: Autobiography of a Seaman,
Vol. I. pp. 363, 364.

[13] Earl of Malmesbury, Speech in the House of Lords, February 5,
1863: Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLIX. col. 53.

[14] Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, Vol. X. col. 695.

[15] Letter of January 17, 1863: Correspondence relating to the Civil
War in the United States, pp. 51, 52: Parliamentary Papers, 1863, Vol.

[16] Earl Russell to Mr. Stuart, October 10, 1862: Correspondence
respecting Instructions given to Naval Officers of the United States in
regard to Neutral Vessels and Mails, p. 5: Parliamentary Papers, 1863,

[17] See, _post_, Appendix, p. 490.

[18] Earl Russell to Lord Lyons, April 24, 1863: Correspondence
respecting Trade with Matamoras, p. 1: Parliamentary Papers, 1863, Vol.

[19] Wicquefort, L’Ambassadeur et ses Fonctions, Liv. II. sec. 11.

[20] “La neutralité n’existe plus dès qu’elle n’est pas
parfaite.”--_Réponse du Comte de Bernstorff à M. Hailes, Envoyé
Britannique à Copenhague, le 28 Juillet, 1793_: Cussy, Phases et Causes
Célèbres du Droit Maritime des Nations, Tom. II. p. 177.

[21] Speech on the Repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Bill, April 16,
1823: Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 2d Ser., Vol. VIII. col. 1036.

[22] The Ways and Means whereby an Equal and Lasting Commonwealth may
be suddenly introduced and perfectly founded, with the free Consent and
actual Confirmation of the Whole People of England. Feb. 6, 1659. First
printed at London 1660. Harrington, Oceana and other Works, (London,
1747,) pp. 539, 540, xlv.

[23] De Rerum Natura, Lib. II. 6.

[24] “Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.”

                                   TERENCE, _Heaut._, Act I. Sc. i. 25.

[25] The recent British Foreign Enlistment Act, passed August 9, 1870,
entitled “An Act to regulate the conduct of her Majesty’s subjects
during the existence of hostilities between foreign states with which
her Majesty is at peace,” makes it illegal, if any person within her
Majesty’s dominions “builds, or agrees to build, or causes to be built,
any ship, _with intent, or knowledge, or having reasonable cause to
believe_ that the same shall or will be employed in the military or
naval service of any foreign state at war with any friendly state.”
(Papers relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States,
transmitted to Congress December 5, 1870, p. 159.) Lord Westbury, an
ex-Chancellor, said in the House of Lords, March 27, 1868, “It was not
a question whether armed ships had actually left our shores, but it was
a question whether ships _with a view to war_ had been built in our
ports by one of two belligerents.”--Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d
Ser., Vol. CXCI. col. 346.

[26] United States _v._ Quincy, 6 Peters, S. C. R., 465, 466.

[27] The Gran Para, 7 Wheaton, R., 471; also four other cases in same

[28] Speech on Repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Bill, April 16, 1823:
Speeches, Vol. V. p. 51.

[29] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 22.

[30] Mr. Jefferson to M. Ternant, May 15, 1793: Ibid., p. 148.

[31] Wharton’s State Trials, p. 50.

[32] Acts 3d Cong. Ch. 37, June 5, 1794: Statutes at Large, Vol. I. p.

[33] Acts 15th Cong. 1st Sess. Ch. 88, April 20, 1818: Statutes at
Large, Vol. III. p. 447.

[34] Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, Vol. XL. col. 369, 907, May 13,
June 3, 1819.

[35] Ibid., 2d Ser. Vol. VIII. col. 1056, April 16, 1823.

[36] Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox, January 5, 1838: Executive Documents, 25th
Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., No. 74, p. 28. President’s Message, January
5, 1838: Ibid., No. 64. Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol.
XL. col. 716, February 2, 1838. Acts 25th Cong. 2d Sess. Ch. 31, March
10, 1838: United States Statutes at Large, Vol. V. p. 212.

[37] Mr. Crampton to Mr. Marcy, April 21, 1854; Count de Sartiges to
Mr. Marcy, April 28, 1854: Executive Documents, 33d Cong. 1st Sess., H.
of R., No. 103, pp. 2, 4.

[38] Treaty of 1794, Art. 21: United States Statutes at Large, Vol.
VIII. p. 127.

[39] Speech on the Consolidated Fund Bill, July 23, 1863: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXXII. col. 1270.

[40] Earl Russell to Mr. Adams, April 16, 1863: Correspondence
respecting Enlistment of British Subjects in the Federal Army, p. 2:
Parliamentary Papers, 1863, Vol. LXXII.

[41] Treaty of 1794, Art. 7.

[42] Twee Gebroeders, 3 Robinson, R., 165.

[43] Burlamaqui, Principles of Natural and Politic Law, tr. Nugent
(London, 1763): Politic Law, Part IV. ch. 3, §§ 21, 22, pp. 255, 256.

[44] Commentaries upon International Law (London, 1854), Vol. I. p. 231.

[45] Lord Lyons to Earl Russell, January 13, 1863: Correspondence
relating to the Civil War in the United States, p. 53: Parliamentary
Papers, 1863, Vol. LXXII.

[46] M. Prévost-Paradol, the eminent writer, and afterwards Minister
of France at Washington, justifies this statement. “If the civil war,”
says he, “had not broken out, or if the French Government had foreseen
the final victory of the North and the reconstruction of the American
power, never would the idea of founding a throne in Mexico by European
arms have entered into its head.… The fall of the American Republic
was, from the beginning of this great trouble, among the aspirations of
the French Government, and its most accredited organs made no mystery
of it.” Attributing to England the same desire and the same judgment
on the probable issue of the war, the distinguished writer says the
English Government simply waited events, “in a malevolent neutrality
towards the North.”--KÉRATRY, _L’Elévation et la Chute de l’Empereur
Maximilien_: Préface de Prévost-Paradol.

[47] See, _ante_, p. 309.

[48] Barbé-Marbois, Histoire de la Louisiane, p. 335.

[49] From a despatch of Mr. Benjamin, the Rebel Secretary of State,
it seems that the French Emperor embraced Texas in his Mexican plot.
(Lawrence, Commentaire sur les Éléments du Droit International, Tom.
II. p. 360, Part. II. ch. 1.) In European diplomatic circles it was
reported that he had tried to seduce a prince of Portugal by tender of
the throne of Mexico with the promise of Texas.

[50] Flassan, Histoire de la Diplomatie Française, Tom. VII. p 125.

[51] The Mexican crown was voted to the Archduke Maximilian by the
Assembly of Notables, 10th July, 1863, and formally tendered to him at
Miramar, 3d October, twenty-three days after this speech, but he did
not enter the City of Mexico till 12th June, 1864. The new Empire was
acknowledged by all the European powers. The United States refused to
acknowledge it. The suppression of our Rebellion was followed by the
withdrawal of the French troops, and the execution of Maximilian, who
was condemned to death and shot by the Mexicans, 19th June, 1867.

[52] Wicquefort, L’Ambassadeur et ses Fonctions, Liv. II. sec. 11.

[53] Speech on the Treaty of Peace with America, April 11, 1815:
Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, Vol. XXX. col. 525.

[54] L’Ambassadeur et ses Fonctions, Liv. II. sec. 4.

[55] Vol. I. pp. 51-55.

[56] Guizot, History of Oliver Cromwell (London, 1854), Vol. II. p. 210.

[57] Martens, Causes Célèbres (2me édit.), Tom. II. pp. 40-51.

[58] History of the Rebellion (Oxford, 1826), Book X. Vol. V. p. 409.

[59] Parliamentary History of England, Vol. XV. p. 51 (London, 1763).
Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IV. pp. 622, 623, 624, July 22,

[60] Burnet, History of his Own Time, Vol. I. p. 81.

[61] Letters of State,--The Protector to Charles Gustavus, and to the
Consuls and Senators of Breme, October 26, 1654: Milton’s Prose Works
(ed. Symmons), Vol. IV. pp. 375-377.

[62] Secretary Thurloe to Mr. Pell, May 11, 1655: Vaughan’s
Protectorate, Vol. I. p. 176.

[63] Letters of State,--The Protector to the Duke of Savoy, May, 1655:
Milton’s Prose Works (ed. Symmons), Vol. IV. p. 379.

[64] The Protector to Charles Gustavus: Ibid., p. 383.

[65] Morland, History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys of
Piemont (London, 1658), p. 575. Guizot, History of Oliver Cromwell
(London, 1854), Vol. II. p. 219.

[66] Merlin, Répertoire Universel et Raisonné de Jurisprudence, art.

[67] Martens, Causes Célèbres (2me édit.), Tom. III. p. 196.

[68] Hints for a Memorial to be delivered to Monsieur de M. M.: Works
(London, 1801), Vol. VII. pp. 3-5.

[69] Speech of General Fitzpatrick in the House of Commons, March 17,
1794: Hansard, Parliamentary History, Vol. XXXI. col. 37, 38. See also
Vol. XXXII. col. 1348 seqq.

[70] Garden, Histoire des Traités de Paix, Tom. VIII. pp. 21-23.

[71] Phillimore’s International Law, Vol. III. pp. 757, 760, 763.

[72] Speech on Intervention in Portugal, June 11, 1847: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. XCIII. col. 466.

[73] Viscount Palmerston to Sir Hamilton Seymour, February 16,
1847: Correspondence relating to the Affairs of Portugal, p. 192:
Parliamentary Papers, 1847, Vol. LXVIII.

[74] Phillimore, International Law, Vol. II. p. 676.

[75] Ibid., p. 448.

[76] Ibid., p. 676.

[77] Annual Register for 1856, pp. 236], 237].

[78] Ibid., p. 219].

[79] Montgomery, The West Indies, Part I. 1-4.

[80] Osler’s Life of Exmouth, pp. 298, 333, 432.

[81] Wheaton, History of the Law of Nations, p. 605.

[82] Speech on the Treaty with Spain, February 9, 1818: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, Vol. XXXVII. col. 248.

[83] Congrès de Vérone (2me édit.), Tom. I. p. 78.

[84] Martens et Cussy, Recueil de Traités, Conventions, etc., Tom. V.
p. 440.

[85] Cussy, Phases et Causes Célèbres, Tom. I. p. 157; Tom. II. pp.
362, 363.

[86] Report from Select Committee of the House of Lords on the African
Slave-Trade, July 23, 1849: Parliamentary Papers, 1850, Vol. IX. pp.

[87] Parliamentary Papers, 1841, Vol. XXX.: Correspondence relating to
the Slave-Trade, Class B, Nos. 41, 178, 201; Class C, No. 45; Class D,
No. 25.

[88] Parliamentary Papers, 1841, Vol. XXX.: Correspondence relating to
the Slave-Trade, Class A, No. 143.

[89] Ibid.: Correspondence, Class B, No. 116.

[90] Ibid.: Correspondence, Class A, No. 143.

[91] Parliamentary Papers, 1842, Vol. XLIII.: Correspondence relating
to the Slave-Trade, Class B, Nos. 525, 526.

[92] Ibid.: Correspondence, Class B, No. 120.

[93] Parliamentary Papers, 1842, Vol. XLIII.: Correspondence relating
to the Slave-Trade, Class B, No. 47; Vol. XLIV., Class C, Nos. 17-27.

[94] Ibid., Vol. XLIV.: Correspondence, Class D, No. 90.

[95] Parliamentary Papers, 1841, Vol. XXX.: Correspondence relating to
the Slave-Trade, Class D, No. 30; 1842, Vol. XLIV., Class D, No. 94.

[96] Ibid., 1841, Vol. XXX.: Correspondence, Class D, No. 27.

[97] Speech in the House of Commons, on the Sugar Duties, May 18, 1841:
Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. LVIII. col. 654, 655.

[98] Life and Times of Charles James Fox, Vol. I. p. 365.

[99] Speech on the Sugar Duties, February 26, 1845: Speeches (London,
1854), p. 351.

[100] To the United States of North America.

[101] Speech on the Address in Reply to the King’s Speech, February 3,
1825: Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 2d Ser., Vol. XII. col. 77, 78.

[102] Art. VI. VII.: United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VIII. p. 16.

[103] Martens, Causes Célèbres, Tom. III. pp. 171, 172.

[104] Speech in the House of Lords, March 15, 1824: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 2d Ser., Vol. X. col. 999.

[105] Speech in the House of Commons, June 15, 1824: Miscellaneous
Works (London, 1846), Vol. III. pp. 462, 463.

[106] Art. I. sec. 9.

[107] Art. IV. sec. 3.

[108] Speech at Savannah, March 21, 1861: Rebellion Record, Vol. I.,
Diary, p. 19, Doc. 48. See, also, A Constitutional View of the Late War
between the States, by Alexander H. Stephens, Vol. II. pp. 85, 521, 522.

[109] Message of Governor Bonham: Rebellion Record, Vol. VI. Doc. 157.

[110] “Juris consensu et utilitatis communione sociatus.”--_De
Republica_, Lib. I. c. 25.

[111] De Republica, cited by Augustine, De Civitate Dei, Lib. II. cap.
xxi. § 2. See also De Republica, Lib. III. c. 31.

[112] De Jure Belli ac Pacis, Lib. I. Cap. I. § xiv. 1.

[113] Ibid., Lib. III. Cap. III. § ii. 1, 3.

[114] International Law, Vol. I. p. 79.

[115] Amedie, 1 Acton, R., 250.

[116] La Jeune Eugénie, 2 Mason, R., 451.

[117] Life and Letters of Joseph Story, Vol. I. pp. 357, 359.

[118] “Lex est ratio summa, insita in natura, quæ jubet ea quæ facienda
sunt, prohibetque contraria.”--_De Legibus_, Lib. I. c. 6.

[119] System des heutigen Römischen Rechts, B. I. c. 2, § 11.

[120] De Jure Belli ac Pacis, Lib. II. Cap. XV. § ix. 10.

[121] Ibid., § xi. 3.

[122] Sallust, Fragm., Lib. IV.: _Rex Mithridates Regi Arsaci_.

[123] 2 Chron., xix. 2.

[124] Molloy, De Jure Maritimo et Navali (6th edit.), Book I. ch. 4, §
4. Phillimore, International Law, Vol. I. p. 80.

[125] Wicquefort, L’Ambassadeur et ses Fonctions, Liv. I. sec. 3.

[126] Thoughts on French Affairs, 1791: Works (London, 1801), Vol. VII.
pp. 11, 12.

[127] Speech on the Address of Thanks, December 14, 1792: Hansard’s
Parliamentary History, Vol. XXX. col. 72.

[128] Works, Vol. VI. p. 86.

[129] Miscellaneous Works (London, 1846), Vol. III. pp. 476, 477.

[130] Note Verbale en Réponse au Memorandum sur les Colonies Espagnoles
en Amérique du 24 Novembre, 1822: Congrès de Vérone (2me édit.), Tom.
I. p. 93.

[131] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. II. ch. 5, § 70.

[132] Ibid.

[133] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. II. ch. 4, § 56.

[134] Ibid.

[135] Ibid., ch. 12, § 162.

[136] Forbes _v._ Cochrane et al., 2 Barnwall and Creswell, R., 448,

[137] Wilkie, The Epigoniad, Book I. 403, 404.

[138] Odyssey, tr. Pope, Book IX. 329-332.

[139] Odyssey, tr. Pope, Book X. 133.

Other verses, by Richard Owen Cambridge, the satirist, and contemporary
of Dr. Johnson, picture this Slavemonger Government:--

    “Polypheme was a cannibal,
      And most voracious glutton;
    Poor shipwrecked tars he smoused for fish,
      And munched marines for mutton.”

[140] Regicide Peace, Second Letter: Works (London, 1801), Vol. VIII.
p. 161.

[141] Deuteronomy, xxviii. 65-67. See, _ante_, Vol. V. pp. 304,
305, where the fate of the Flying Dutchman is predicted for our
Disunionists. The remarkable story of Peter Rugg, always on the road,
driving furiously, but unable to find his way to Boston, illustrates
the same blasted condition. Chaucer foreshadows a similar doom:--

    “And breakers of the law, soth to saine,
      … after that they been dede,
    Shall whirle about the world, alway in paine,
      Till many a world be passed out of drede.”

                                       _The Assembly of Foules_, 78-81.

[142] Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol: Works (London, 1801), Vol.
III. p. 144.

[143] Bas _v._ Tingy, Dallas, R., Vol. IV. pp. 43-45, Chase, J., and
Paterson, J.

[144] Despatch, October 12, 1825,--quoted in Speech of Lord John
Russell, on the Blockade of Southern Ports, May 6, 1861: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXII. col. 1566.

[145] Statutes at Large, ed. Pickering, Vol. III. p. 20.

[146] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. I. p. 494.

[147] Des Droits et des Devoirs des Nations Neutres, Tom. III. pp. 299,
323, 352.

[148] Le Droit Maritime International, Tom. I. pp. 65, 66.

[149] Wheaton’s Elements of International Law, ed. Lawrence, p. 1024.

[150] Speech in the House of Commons, May 6, 1861: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, Vol. CLXII. col. 1566. At a later day, in a
communication to Mr. Adams, on the seizure of the steamer Georgia
by a United States steamer, Earl Russell said, that “her Majesty’s
Government of course expects that a vessel seized under the British
flag and claimed by British owners will be brought, with as little
delay as possible, _for adjudication into the proper Prize Court_,
in which the claim of one of her Majesty’s subjects will be tried
according to those recognized principles of International Law which
govern the relations of the belligerent toward the neutral.”--_Earl
Russell to Mr. Adams, September 6, 1864_: Papers relating to Foreign
Affairs, Part II. p. 298: Executive Documents, 38th Cong. 2d Sess., H.
of R., No. 1.

[151] The Winter’s Tale, Act III. Scene 3: “_A Desert Country near the

                “Our ship hath touched upon
    The deserts of Bohemia?”

[152] Phillimore, International Law, Vol. I. pp. 400, 401.

[153] Speech in the House of Lords, May 16, 1861: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXII. col. 2084.

[154] Hargrave’s State Trials, Vol. V. col. 314, 315.

[155] Annual Message, December 3, 1805: American State Papers, Foreign
Affairs, Vol. I. p. 66.

[156] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. IV. ch. 5, § 60.

[157] Proclamation, January 1, 1863: Statutes at Large, Vol. XII.,
Appendix, p. 1269.

[158] Jeremiah, xlvi. 9.

[159] Herodotus, Book III. ch. 114.

[160] “Pax est tranquilla libertas; servitus postremum malorum omnium,
non modo bello, sed morte etiam repellendum.”--CICERO, _Orat. Philipp.
II._ c. 44.

[161] Papers relating to Foreign Affairs, 1862-63, Part I. pp. 361,
362: Executive Documents, 38th Cong. 1st Sess., H. of R. No. 1.

[162] Ibid., p. 412.

[163] Ibid., p. 414.

[164] Ibid., p. 418.

[165] Papers relating to Foreign Affairs, 1862-63, Part I. pp. 416, 417.

[166] Charles C. Beaman, Jr., The National and Private Alabama Claims,
p. 165.

[167] Papers relating to Foreign Affairs, 1862-63, Part I. p. 419.

[168] Papers relating to Foreign Affairs, 1862-63, Part I., Supplement,
p. iv.

[169] On Foreign Jurisdiction and the Extradition of Criminals, p. 65.

[170] Ibid., pp. 59, 60.

[171] Ibid., pp. 66, 73.

[172] _Ante_, p. 457.

[173] See, also, Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXXI.
col. 882, 883.

[174] Papers relating to Foreign Affairs, 1862-63, Part I. p. 434.

[175] Act of March 2, 1867: Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 428, 429.

[176] Writings, Vol. VIII. p. 5.

[177] Constitutional History of England (London, 1850), Vol. I. p. 668.

[178] Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches, Part IX. May 28, 1655.

[179] Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow (London, 1751), p. 213.

[180] Ibid., p. 221.

[181] Ibid., pp. 221, 222.

[182] Commentaries on American Law (6th edit., 1848), Vol. I. p. 92,
note _a_.

[183] Journal of the Assembly of New York, July 21, 1782.

[184] August 1, 1786: Writings of Washington, ed. Sparks, Vol. IX. pp.
187, 188.

[185] Elliot’s Debates (2d edit.), Vol. III. p. 22.

[186] Elliot’s Debates (2d edit.), Vol. III. p. 44.

[187] Ibid., p. 29.

[188] Yates’s Minutes, June 29, 1787: Ibid., Vol. I. p. 461.

[189] Yates’s Minutes, June 29, 1787: Elliot’s Debates (2d edit.), Vol.
I. p. 464.

[190] Letter to Edmund Randolph, April 8, 1787: Madison Papers, Vol.
II. p. 631.

[191] Yates’s Minutes, June 30, 1787: Elliot’s Debates, Vol. I. p. 467.

[192] Rushworth’s Historical Collections, Vol. I. p. 562.

[193] Abridgment of American Law, Appendix to Vol. IX. p. 10.

[194] Whitelocke, Notes upon the King’s Writ for Choosing Members of
Parliament, ed. Morton, Ch. 96.

[195] Sir William Jones, Ode in Imitation of Alcæus: Works, Vol. X. p.

[196] Act II. Scene 2.

[197] Commentaries upon International Law, Vol. I. p. 147.

[198] Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs: Works (London, 1801), Vol.
VI. pp. 210, 211.

[199] Commentaries, Vol. IV. p. 382.

[200] Commons’ Journals, Vol. X. p. 14, Jan. 28, 1688-9. Lords’
Journals, Vol. XIV. p. 119, Feb. 6, 1688-9.

[201] Speeches, p. 455.

[202] History of England (3d edit., London, 1849), Vol. II. p. 630.

[203] Notes of Debates in the Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776:
Works of John Adams, Vol. II. pp. 489, 490.

[204] Autobiography of John Adams: Works, Vol. III. pp. 17, 18, 44, 46.

[205] The Rhode Island Government: Works, Vol. VI. pp. 225-231.

[206] Gorgias, tr. Cary, c. 64.

[207] American Insurance Company _v._ Canter, 1 Peters, S. C. R., p.

[208] Democracy in America (ed. Bowen, Cambridge, 1863), Vol. II. ch.
26, p. 353, note.

[209] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1808, April 24,
1862.--The paper here quoted, entitled “Notes on the Confederacy,” has
since appeared in a collection, in four volumes, of Letters and other
Writings of Madison, published in 1865 by order of Congress. See Vol.
I. pp. 320-328.

[210] Frontinus, De Controversiis, ed. Blume, etc., (Berlin,
1848,) Lib. I. p. 20. Grotius says the same thing: “Et hæc non
minus probabilis videtur nominis territorii origo _a terrendis
hostibus_.”--_De Jure Belli ac Pacis_, Lib. III. cap. vi. § 4, 2.

[211] Speech on the Confiscation Bill, May 2, 1862: Congressional
Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1923.

[212] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., March 20, 1862, p. 1301.

[213] Ibid., April 10, 1862, pp. 1604, 1605.

[214] Acts of 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Ch. 190, sec. 3: Statutes at Large,
Vol. XII. p. 590.

[215] Ibid., Ch. 128: Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 502.

[216] See, _ante_, Vol. VII. p. 327.

[217] Speeches of Henry Lord Brougham upon Questions relating to Public
Rights, Duties, and Interests (Edinburgh, 1838), Vol. II. pp. 233, 234.

[218] Gigantomachia, ver. 32.

[219] Notes and Queries, Vol. IV. p. 443, Dec. 6, 1851.

[220] Ibid., Vol. V. p. 17, Jan. 3, 1852.

[221] Ibid.

[222] Hon. Edward Everett.

[223] Lib. I. 104.

[224] Works of Franklin, Vol. VIII. pp. 537, 538, note.

[225] Notes and Queries, Vol. V. p. 549, June 5, 1852.

[226] Ibid., Vol. V. p. 140. See, also, Ibid., Vol. V. p. 571; Vol. VI.
p. 88; Dublin Review for March, 1847, p. 212, note; Quarterly Review
for June, 1850, Vol. LXXXVII. p. 17.

[227] Œuvres (Paris, 1808-10), Tom. IX. p. 140.

[228] Œuvres, ed. O’Connor et Arago, (Paris, 1847,) Tom. V. p. 162.

[229] Sparks, Works of Franklin, Vol. VIII. p. 537, note; Mignet,
Portraits et Notices Historiques et Littéraires (2me édit.), Tom. II.
p. 449, note.

[230] Cabanis, Œuvres Posthumes, Tom. V. p. 220.

[231] Letters to Horace Walpole (London, 1810), Vol. III. p. 215.

[232] Ibid., p. 348, 22 Mars, 1778.

[233] Histoire de France pendant le Dix-huitième Siècle (5me édit.),
Tom. V. pp. 84, 86.

[234] Œuvres, éd. O’Connor et Arago, Tom. III. pp. 406, 407.

[235] Capefigue, Louis XVI., Tom. II. pp. 12, 13, 42, 49, 50.

[236] Moore’s Diary of the American Revolution, Vol. I. p. 387, note,
February 1, 1777.

[237] Ibid., pp. 503, 504, October 2, 1777.

[238] New Jersey Gazette, December 31, 1777: Ibid.

[239] Moore’s Diary of the American Revolution, Vol. II. p. 5, January
3, 1778.

[240] Anecdotes of Dr. Franklin: Jefferson’s Writings, Vol. VIII. p.
498, note.

[241] Mignet, Portraits et Notices Historiques et Littéraires (2me
édit.), Tom. II. p. 400.

[242] La Gazette Secrète, 15 Jan., 1777. Capefigue, Louis XVI., Tom.
II. p. 15.

[243] Discours sur les Progrès successifs de l’Esprit Humain: Œuvres,
Tom. II. p. 66.

[244] Mémoire sur la manière dont la France et l’Espagne devoient
envisager les suites de la querelle entre la Grande-Bretagne et ses
Colonies, 6 Avril, 1776: Œuvres, Tom. VIII. p. 496.

[245] Correspondance (2de édit.), Tom. X. p. 96.

[246] Ibid., p. 197.

[247] Mémoires et Correspondance de Madame D’Épinay (3me édit.), Tom.
III. p. 431.

[248] Lettre à Madame D’Épinay, 25 Juillet, 1778: Correspondance, Tom.
II. p. 280.

[249] Ibid., p. 203. See, also, Grimm, Correspondance, Oct., 1776, Tom.
IX. p. 285.

[250] Tom. XII. p. 9 (Londres, 1780).

[251] The dictionaries of Michaud and Didot concur in the date of her
death; but there is reason to suppose that they are both mistaken.


    “Haï du Dieu d’Amour, cher an Dieu des Combats,
    Il inonda de sang l’Europe et sa patrie:
    Cent mille hommes par lui reçurent le trépas,
      Et pas un n’en reçut la vie.”

        _Biographie Universelle_, Tom. XLVII. p. 67, note, art. TURGOT.

[253] See Quérard, La France Littéraire, art. LA

[254] Mémoires de Condorcet, Tom. I. pp. 165-167.

[255] Œuvres de Turgot, Tom. I. p. 416.

[256] Franklin’s Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. V. pp. 123, 124.

[257] Œuvres de Turgot, Tom. I. p. 414; Tom. IX. p. 416. Œuvres de
Condorcet, Tom. V. p. 163.

[258] Cabanis, Notice sur Benjamin Franklin: Œuvres Posthumes, Tom. V.
p. 261. Mignet, Portraits et Notices (2me édit.), Tom. II. p. 442. See,
also, Morellet, Mémoires, Tom. I. p. 291.

[259] The triumph of the Republic since this article was written makes
this magnificent library National instead of Imperial.

[260] Letter to Miss Lucy Cranch, September 5, 1784: Letters of Mrs.
Adams (2d edit.), Vol. II. pp. 55, 56.

[261] Tom. II. p. 83. See, also, p. 337.

[262] Tom. II. p. 465.

[263] Chambelland, Vie du Prince de Bourbon-Condé, Tom. I. p. 376.

[264] Capefigue, Louis XVI., Tom. II. p. 49.

[265] Lacretelle, Histoire de France pendant le 18me Siècle (2me
édit.), Tom. V. p. 85. The historian errs in putting this success in
1777, before the date of the Treaty; and he errs also with regard to
the Court, if he meant to embrace the King and Queen.

[266] Gazette d’Amiens, Avril, 1780: Moore’s Diary of the American
Revolution, Vol. II. p. 283.

[267] The account of this unique _fête_, with the verses, was reprinted
in America, and is in the collection of the Zenger Club, of New York.
Parton, Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. II. pp. 430-434.

[268] Chastellux, Travels in North America, Vol. II. p. 372, January
12, 1783.

[269] Mémoires sur la Vie privée de Marie Antoinette, par Madame
Campan, Tom. I. p. 234.

[270] Bulletin de l’Alliance des Arts, 10 Octobre, 1843. See, also,
Goncourt, Histoire de Marie Antoinette, p. 221.

[271] Grimm, Correspondance, Tom. XVI. pp. 427, 428.

[272] Louis Blanc, Histoire de la Révolution Française, Tom. VI. p. 316.

[273] Notice sur Benjamin Franklin: Œuvres Posthumes, Tom. V. p. 220.

[274] Morellet, Mémoires, Tom. I. p. 290. Nothing but Franklin’s
eminence could have obtained the place he has in the spiteful work,
“Histoire d’un Pou Français, ou l’Espion d’une nouvelle Espèce, tant
en France qu’en Angleterre, contenant les Portraits des Personnages
intéressans de ces deux Royaumes,” which appeared at Paris in 1781. See
Chapters VIII. and XIV.

[275] Le Temple du Goût, 1, 11, 12: Œuvres (édit. 1784), Tom. XII. p.

[276] L’Anti-Lucrèce, traduit par M. de Bougainville, (Paris, 1754,)
Épistre Dédicatoire, Discours Préliminaire, pp. 2, 16, 91.

[277] Anti-Lucretius, Lib. I. 95-98.

[278] Lib. I. v. 104. _Tonandi_ is sometimes changed to _tonantis_, and
also _tonanti_.

[279] Works of Franklin, ed. Sparks, Vol. VIII. p. 538, note.

[280] Ibid., p. 537.

[281] Works of Franklin, ed. Sparks, Vol. VIII. p. 539, note.

[282] Œuvres de Turgot, Tom. IX. p. 140.

[283] Works of Franklin, ed. Sparks, Vol. VIII. p. 539, note.

[284] Ibid.

[285] Mémoires de l’Abbé Morellet, Ch. XV. Tom. I. pp. 286 seqq. This
chapter was translated some years ago for a Philadelphia periodical,
“The Bizarre,” by William Duane, great-grandson of Franklin, and is
preserved by Parton, in his “Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin,” Vol.
II. pp. 422-429.

[286] Julius, Nordamerikas Sittliche Zustände, Band I. p. 98.

[287] Mr. Slidell never returned to the United States. On his death,
in Europe, July, 1871, the London “Daily Telegraph” of August 2d
recognized the parallel with Franklin. After remarking that “during the
whole of 1862, and the first six months of 1863, it was the general
belief of the most far-seeing statesmen in Europe--among them Lord
Palmerston and the ex-Emperor of the French--that the Confederate
States would succeed in establishing their independence,” this journal
proceeds to say: “Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell were therefore invested,
during these brief and halcyon days of Secession’s prosperity, with
something of the diplomatic influence which between 1776 and 1783
attached to Benjamin Franklin, when accredited by our insurgent North
American Colonies to the French Court.”

[288] Afterwards modified according to the text in the Introduction to
these Remarks. _Ante_, p. 42.

[289] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 502.

[290] Only a few days before, Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, had touched
the same key. After alluding to the aid supplied by the President
in enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act, he said: “It matters not who
did the deed. It was a noble one, and I only wish the Senator from
Massachusetts could even approximate to the true loyalty of such
deeds.” MR. SUMNER. “I hope I never shall.” MR. DAVIS. “Yes, Sir; and
yet you advance to that seat [the seat of the President of the Senate],
and, with that treason in your heart and upon your lips, you take the
oath to support the Constitution of the United States.”--_Congressional
Globe_, 38th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 179, January 13, 1864.

[291] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 502.

[292] Art. V.

[293] Ch. VI. § 1.

[294] Ibid.

[295] Bill of Rights, Art. VIII.

[296] Ibid., Art. IX.

[297] Declaration of Rights, Art. VI.

[298] Art. IV.

[299] Art. VIII.

[300] Art. XXV.

[301] State Trials of the United States during the Administrations of
Washington and Adams, p. 317, note.

[302] Father of Mr. Bayard, Senator of Delaware, who took part in this

[303] Annals of Congress, 5th Cong., col. 2259, 2260, January 3, 1799.

[304] _Ante_, Vol. VII. p. 266.

[305] Address to the two Branches of the Legislature, November 11,
1863: Senate Documents, Extra Session, 1863, No. 1, pp. 16, 17.

[306] Address to the two Branches of the Legislature, November 11,
1863: Senate Documents, Extra Session, 1863, No. 1, pp. 18, 19.

[307] Opinions of the Attorneys-General, Vol. XI. pp. 38-40.

[308] See Acts of 38th Cong. 1st Sess., Ch. 124, Sec. 4: Statutes at
Large, Vol. XIII. p. 129.

[309] Opinions of the Attorneys-General, Vol. XI. p. 53, July 14, 1864.

[310] Treatise on Statutes (2d edit.), Part II. p. 473.

[311] Dwarris, Treatise on Statutes (2d edit.), Part II. p. 478.

[312] _Post_, pp. 403-418.

[313] American State Papers, Miscellaneous, Vol. I. pp. 38-43.

[314] Senate Reports, 31st Cong. 1st Sess., No. 12.

[315] Art. IV. Sec. 2, Par. 3.

[316] Hoare’s Memoirs of Sharp, p. 38.

[317] Howell’s State Trials, Vol. XX. col. 82.

[318] Fisher _v._ Blight, 2 Cranch, S. C. R., 390.

[319] De Laudibus Legum Angliæ, Cap. XLII.

[320] Commentaries, Vol. II. p. 94.

[321] Constitutional History of England (London, 1829), Ch. XVI. Vol.
III. p. 380.

[322] Vindication of the Treaty with Great Britain, No. 2: Papers on
Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects, p. 185.

[323] Coke upon Littleton, 42. b.

[324] Law of Nations, Book II. ch. 17, §§ 300, 302.

[325] Congressional Globe, 31st Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, pp. 1583,
1584, August 19, 1850.

[326] Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol. I. p. 175.

[327] Hildreth, History of the United States, Vol. II. p. 428.

[328] Ibid., Vol. III. p. 190.

[329] Letters from America, Historical and Descriptive, comprising
Occurrences from 1769 to 1777, inclusive, by William Eddis, late
Surveyor of the Customs, &c., at Annapolis, in Maryland, (London,
1792,) pp. 63, 64, 71, 72, 74.

[330] Lives of the Chief Justices, Vol. II. p. 515, note. See, also,
Atcheson _v._ Everitt, Cowper, R., 382.

[331] Speech, December 23, 1790: Speeches in the House of Commons, Vol.
IV. p. 131.

[332] Prigg _v._ The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 16 Peters, S. C. R.,

[333] Dred Scott _v._ Sandford, 19 Howard, S. C. R., 407.

[334] No. XLII.

[335] Debates in the Federal Convention: Madison Papers, p. 1447.

[336] Debates in the Federal Convention: Madison Papers, pp. 1447,
1448, 1456.

[337] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 8, 1787: Madison
Papers, p. 1263.

[338] Ibid., August 21, p. 1389.

[339] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 22, 1787: Madison
Papers, p. 1394.

[340] Ibid., p. 1396.

[341] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 25, 1787: Madison
Papers, pp. 1429, 1430.

[342] Ibid., p. 1569.

[343] Elliot’s Debates (2d edit.), Vol. III. p. 453.

[344] Ibid., Vol. IV. p. 176.

[345] Ibid., p. 286.

[346] See, _ante_, Vol. III. p. 178.

[347] Letter to a Peer of Ireland on the Penal Laws against Irish
Catholics; and Letter to Sir Hercules Langrishe on the Subject of the
Roman Catholics of Ireland: Works (London, 1801), Vol. VI. pp. 292, 375.

[348] Third Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England, p. 180.

[349] “Servi peregrini, ut primum Galliæ fines penetraverunt, eodem
momento liberi fiunt.”--_De Republica._ Lib. I. cap. 5, p. 41 C.

[350] Preamble to Articles of Ordinance.

[351] Karamsin, Histoire de l’Empire de Russie, traduite par MM.
St.-Thomas et Jauffret, Tom. I. p. 172.

[352] Art. VIII. [VII.]: Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Vol.
IX. pp. 6, 7. See, also, Charters and General Laws of the Colony and
Province of Massachusetts Bay, p. 724.

[353] Jack _v._ Martin, 14 Wendell, R., 525, 526.

[354] Opinion of Chief Justice Hornblower on the Fugitive Slave Law:
The State _v._ The Sheriff of Burlington, in _Habeas Corpus_, New
Jersey Superior Court, February Term, 1836, p. 5.

[355] Ibid., p. 7.

[356] Works, Vol. V. p. 354.

[357] Congressional Globe, 31st Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 234, 235, January
28, 1850.

[358] New York Daily Times, June 27, 1854. Congressional Globe, 33d
Cong. 1st Sess., p. 1516.

[359] Story’s Life and Letters, Vol. II. p. 396.

[360] Debates in the Federal Convention, September 15, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. p. 1595.

[361] 6 Wheaton, R., 407.

[362] 3 Peters, S. C. R., 447.

[363] 8 Ibid., 48.

[364] Vol. II. p. 93.

[365] Pp. 77-79.

[366] Annals of Congress, 15th Cong. 1st Sess., col. 232, March 6, 1818.

[367] Congressional Globe, 31st Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 1584,
August 19, 1850.

[368] Prigg _v._ The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 16 Peters, S. C. R.,

[369] Act of September 18, 1850, Sections 4, 6.

[370] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 28, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. p. 1447.

[371] Act of September 18, 1850, Sec. 5.

[372] Deuteronomy, xxiii. 15, 16.

[373] Rev. Theodore Parker, buried in the Protestant Cemetery at

[374] Preliminary Report on the Eighth Census, 1860, p. 12.

[375] Southern Press, August 8, 1851.

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