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Title: Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 12 (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
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                [Illustration: WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON]

                Statesman Edition             Vol. XII

                            Charles Sumner

                          HIS COMPLETE WORKS

                           With Introduction
                       HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR


                            LEE AND SHEPARD

                           COPYRIGHT, 1874,
                            CHARLES SUMNER.

                           COPYRIGHT, 1900,
                           LEE AND SHEPARD.

                          Statesman Edition.
                           OF WHICH THIS IS
                                No. 259

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



    Meeting at Faneuil Hall, Boston, November 8, 1864                    1

    JUBILEE OF LIBERTY. Letter to the Young Men’s Republican Union
    of New York, November 10, 1864                                       5

    MR. ASHLEY AND RECONSTRUCTION. Letter to a Public Banquet in
    Honor of Hon. James M. Ashley, at Toledo, Ohio, November 18,
    1864                                                                 7

    IN NEUTRAL WATERS. Articles in the Boston Daily Advertiser,
    November 29, 1864, and January 17, 1865                              9

    Senate, on a Bill for Fortifications and Batteries on the Lakes,
    December 19, 1864                                                   42

    Senate, on the Joint Resolution giving Notice for the Termination
    of the Canadian Reciprocity Treaty, December 21, 1864, January
    11 and 12, 1865                                                     46

    Public Meeting in Philadelphia, December 26, 1864                   60

    Senate, on a Joint Resolution for this Purpose, January 5, 1865     61

    MASSACRE OF THE CHEYENNE INDIANS. Remarks in the Senate,
    on a Joint Resolution relating thereto, January 13, 1865            66

    THE LATE HON. EDWARD EVERETT. Telegraphic Despatch to Joint
    Committee of the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 16, 1865     68

    TERMINATION OF TREATIES BY NOTICE. Remarks in the Senate, on a
    Joint Resolution to terminate the Treaty of 1817 regulating the
    Naval Force on the Lakes, January 18, 1865                          69

    Senate, on a Joint Resolution advising Retaliation, January 24
    and 29, 1865                                                        74

    THE UNITED STATES. Motion in the Supreme Court, February 1, 1865    97

    CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. Declaratory Resolutions in the Senate,
    February 4, 1865                                                   101

    Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, February 6,
    1865                                                               104

    RAILROAD USURPATION IN NEW JERSEY. Speech in the Senate, on a Bill
    to regulate Commerce among the Several States, February 14, 1865   105

    on the Credentials of Hon. Joseph Segar, of Virginia, February 17,
    1865                                                               134

    REPUDIATION OF THE REBEL DEBT. Concurrent Resolution in the
    Senate, February 17, 1865                                          137

    on a Bill providing for a Bust of the Late Chief Justice Taney,
    February 23, 1865                                                  138

    Senate, on the Resolution recognizing the New State Government of
    Louisiana, February 24, 25, and 27, 1865                           179

    Resolutions in the Senate, February 25, 1865                       197

    in the Senate, on Joint Resolution authorizing a Contract with
    William H. Powell, February 27, 1865                               201

    FREE SCHOOLS AND FREE BOOKS. Remarks in the Senate, on an
    Amendment to the Internal Revenue Act, making Books free,
    February 27, 1865                                                  204

    REBEL STATE. Resolution in the Senate, March 8, 1865               208

    and Opinion on the Case of the Messrs. Smith Brothers, March 17,
    1865                                                               209

    a Meeting of Senators and Representatives, April 17, 1865          229

    GOVERNMENT. Letter to Colored Citizens of North Carolina, May 13,
    1865                                                               231

    Editor of “The Leader,” in Charleston, S. C., May, 1865            234

    Eulogy on Abraham Lincoln, before the Municipal Authorities of
    the City of Boston, June 1, 1865                                   235

    of Boston, on the Celebration of National Independence, July 4,
    1865                                                               297

    TO COLORED CITIZENS. Letter to a Committee of Colored Citizens at
    Savannah, July 8, 1865                                             298

    JUSTICE TO THE COLORED RACE. Letter to a Trustee for Colored
    Schools in the District of Columbia, August 16, 1865               300

    THE LATE GEORGE LIVERMORE, ESQ. Article in the Boston Daily
    Advertiser, September 2, 1865                                      301

    the Republican State Convention, in Worcester, Massachusetts,
    September 14, 1865. With Appendix                                  305

    AMENDMENT. Letter to the New York Evening Post, September 28,
    1865                                                               357

    the Boston Daily Advertiser, October 2, 1865                       361

    THE LATE RICHARD COBDEN. Letter to Mrs. Cobden, covering
    Resolutions of the Republican State Convention of Massachusetts,
    October 5, 1865                                                    366

    Letter to the New York Independent, October 29, 1865               368

    MORAL. Article in the Atlantic Monthly, December, 1865             371



    At an impromptu meeting for congratulation, on the evening of
    the Presidential election, as the votes were announced, there
    were speeches by Mr. Hooper, Mr. Sumner, Dr. Loring, Mr. Rice,
    and Mr. Everett. Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.

FELLOW-CITIZENS,--The trumpet of victory is now sounding through the
land, “Glory, Hallelujah!” [_Loud cheers._] It is the silver trumpet
of an archangel, echoing in valleys, traversing mountains, and filling
the whole country with immortal melodies, destined to awaken other
echoes in the most distant places [_cheers_], as it proclaims “Liberty
throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.” [_Great

Such is the victory we celebrate, marking an epoch in our history and
in the history of the world. But beyond immediate victory are two
things not usually occurring together,--a funeral and a birth. [_Great
laughter and applause._] The funeral we celebrate is of the Democratic
party, which we bury to-night with all the dishonors that belong to it.
Loathsome with corruption while still above ground, let it be hurried
out of sight, where it will no longer be a nuisance. [_Tremendous

The Democratic party had ceased to be patriotic. It was in sympathy
with the Rebellion, so much so as to be its _Northern wing_. Such a
party could not exist in a country that had determined to exist. It was
an outrage and a shame, and hereafter it can never be mentioned except
with judgment. [_Cries of “That’s so!” and cheers._]

The extent of its degradation is seen in the frauds it has perpetrated
to influence this election. Nothing so mean as these. Fraud is always
odious; but it becomes more so in proportion to the occasion on which
it is employed. It is odious in small things,--doubly odious in greater
things. To cheat one man is crime; to cheat a whole class of men is
greater far. But if these men be citizen soldiers fighting for their
country, and it is proposed to cheat them of their votes by barefaced
fraud, I know no language to depict the despicable and most intolerable
enormity of the offence. And yet this is the fraud attempted,--happily
the last and dying fraud of the Democratic party. [_Applause._] Do you
inquire the origin of this fraud, and its vicious energy? I answer, It
is Slavery. Men who make up their minds to sustain Slavery stick at
nothing. If willing to forge chains, they will not hesitate to forge
votes. If ready to enslave their fellow-men, they will not hesitate to
cheat soldiers. Therefore all these recent frauds are derived naturally
out of that baseness and insensibility to right bred of Slavery.
[_Applause._] But these frauds testify against the Democratic party,
that undertook to perpetrate them.

There was an English monarch, whose head, as it dropped from the block,
was held up to the people, while a voice cried, “This is the head of a
traitor!” Thus do I hold up the head of the Democratic party, and say,
“This is the head of a traitor!” Let it be buried out of sight, and let
the people dance at its funeral. [_Tremendous applause._]

I have said that we celebrate a birth, as well as a funeral. The birth
is the new life of our country, born to-day into assured freedom, with
all its attendant glory. The voice of the people at the ballot-box
has echoed back that great letter of the President, “To whom it may
concern” [_laughter and loud cheers_], declaring the integrity of the
Union and the abandonment of Slavery the two essential conditions of
peace. [_Loud applause._] Let the glad tidings go forth, “to whom
it may concern,”--to all the people of the United States, at length
now made wholly free,--to foreign countries,--to the whole family of
man,--to posterity,--to the martyred band who have fallen in battle
for their country,--to the angels above,--ay, and to the devils
below,--that this Republic shall live, for Slavery is dead. This is
the great joy we now announce to the world. [_Here there was a perfect
torrent of approving cheers._]

From this time forward, the Rebellion is subdued. Patriot Unionists in
the Rebel States, take courage! Freedmen, slaves no longer, be of good
cheer! The hour of deliverance has arrived. [_Renewed cheering._]



    A public meeting, called a Jubilee, was held at the Cooper
    Institute, New York, to celebrate the recent victory at the
    polls. Among the letters read was the following.

                                             BOSTON, November 10, 1864.

  DEAR SIR,--It will not be in my power to meet with the Union
  citizens of New York at the “Jubilee” of Friday evening,
  according to the invitation with which you honor me. But my joy
  will mingle with theirs.

  The occasion you celebrate is worthy of jubilee, which in the
  Hebrew language is simply “the blast of a trumpet,” and now, in
  all languages, signifies “rejoicing.”

  The occasion is kindred to that famous jubilee in sacred history,
  when the mandate went forth, “_Proclaim Liberty throughout
  all the land_, unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be
  a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his
  possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.”
  And now this same mandate has gone forth, assuring the return
  of patriot Unionists to their possessions, and the return of
  patriot soldiers to their families, and crowning all with
  Universal Emancipation, sign and seal of union and peace. Such
  is the mandate of the American people in the reëlection of
  Abraham Lincoln. I pray that it may all be executed promptly and

  Thank God, the pettifoggers of compromise are answered by the
  people, who demand peace on the everlasting foundations of Union
  and Liberty. The political barbers, who undertake to prescribe,
  when they can only shave, are warned that their quackery is at an

  Accept my thanks and best wishes, and believe me, dear Sir, very
  faithfully yours,


  FRANK W. BALLARD, Esq., _Corresponding Secretary of the Young
  Men’s Republican Union_.


OHIO, NOVEMBER 18, 1864.

                                             BOSTON, November 18, 1864.

  DEAR SIR,--It will not be in my power to unite in the banquet to
  your most faithful Representative.

  I know Mr. Ashley well, and honor him much. He has been firm
  when others have hesitated, and from an early day saw the secret
  of this war, and, I may add, the secret of victory also. In all
  questions of statesmanship, which will soon supersede military
  questions, he has already given assurance of practical wisdom.
  His various indefatigable labors and his elaborate speech on
  “Reconstruction” show that he sees well what is to be done in
  order to place peace and liberty under impregnable safeguards.

  For myself, I have no hesitation in saying, that, next to the
  Rebellion itself, I most deprecate a premature State Government
  in a Rebel State. Such a Government will be a source of sorrow
  and weakness incalculable. But I am sure that your Representative
  will fail in no effort to prevent such a calamity.

  There is also the Amendment of the Constitution prohibiting
  Slavery throughout the United States. Nobody has done more for
  it, practically, than Mr. Ashley.

  Accept my thanks for the invitation with which you have honored
  me, and believe me, dear Sir,

      Faithfully yours,




17, 1865.

    The case of the Florida attracted attention at the time, and
    aroused the British press. Especially to meet the criticism of
    the latter the first of the following articles was written.
    Though published in a newspaper anonymously, its authorship was
    recognized and acknowledged, and it was reprinted in a pamphlet
    by the Young Men’s Republican Union of New York.

    The Florida was a Rebel war-steamer, built in England, which
    had done damage to our commerce. After capturing and burning
    the bark Mondamon off Pernambuco, it arrived at Bahia Bay,
    October 5, 1864, where the United States steamer Wachusett,
    with Captain Napoleon Collins as commander, was then lying.
    The Florida at first anchored in the offing, but, at the
    invitation of the Brazilian admiral, came inside in the
    midst of the Brazilian fleet, and close under the guns of
    the principal fort. At about three o’clock on the morning
    of October 7th, the Wachusett slipped her cables, and, with
    full head of steam, bore down upon the Rebel war-vessel, one
    half of whose officers and crew, including Captain Morris,
    were on shore, and the remainder, having just returned, were
    in no condition to repel an assault. The officer of the
    deck, supposing the collision which he saw imminent merely
    accidental, cried out, “You will run into us, if you don’t
    look out.” The design of Captain Collins was to strike the
    Florida amidships, crush in her side, and send her at once
    to the bottom; but this was not accomplished; the Wachusett
    struck only the stern, carrying away the mizzen-mast and
    main-yard, so that the Rebel vessel was not seriously
    injured, but the broken spars fell across the awning over the
    hatchway, and thus prevented her crew from getting on deck.
    In the confusion that ensued several pistol-shots were fired
    from both vessels, at random and without effect. Two of the
    Wachusett’s guns were discharged,--by accident, according to
    one report, or, as another had it, by order of a lieutenant.
    The shots did not strike the Florida. Captain Collins cried
    out immediately, “Surrender, or I will blow you out of the
    water!” The lieutenant in charge of the Florida replied, “Under
    the circumstances I surrender.” In an instant the vessel was
    boarded by men from the Wachusett, who made her fast by a
    hawser to their own vessel, which at once turned her course
    seaward, moving at the top of her speed and towing the Florida
    in her wake.

    The Wachusett was challenged from the Brazilian fleet, but
    there was no reply. The Florida, when commanded to stop,
    answered that she was towed by the vessel in front. Shortly
    afterward the heavy guns of the fort opened fire. Three shots
    passed harmlessly above the pennant of the Wachusett, striking
    the water beyond. Two vessels of the Brazilian fleet gave
    chase, but soon abandoned it, and the Florida was brought to
    Hampton Roads, where it was anchored.

    Meanwhile the case passed into diplomacy. Mr. Seward
    addressed a note, under date of November 11th, to Mr. Webb,
    the minister of the United States at Rio Janeiro, directing
    him to say that the Government of the United States was not
    indisposed to examine the subject upon its merits carefully,
    and to consider whatever questions might arise out of it in a
    becoming and friendly spirit, if that spirit was adopted by his
    Imperial Majesty’s Government. The Brazilian representative
    at Washington, in a note dated December 12th, expressed the
    belief that the Government of the United States would give
    the explanations and reparation which, in conformity with
    international laws, are due to a power that maintains friendly
    and pacific relations with it. Mr. Seward, in his reply, dated
    December 26th, disallowed the assumption that the Rebels were
    “a lawful naval belligerent,” and asserted, that, being still
    “destitute of naval forces, ports, and courts,” the ascription
    of that character to them by Brazil “is an act of intervention
    in derogation of the Law of Nations, and unfriendly and
    wrongful, as it is manifestly injurious, to the United States.”
    He also disallowed the assumption that the Florida belonged
    to the Rebels, and maintained, “on the contrary, that that
    vessel, like the Alabama, was a pirate, belonging to no nation
    or lawful belligerent.” He added, that it did not belong to
    captains of ships-of-war of the United States, acting without
    authority, to assert the rights and redress the wrongs of the
    country. The captured crew, being unlawfully brought into the
    national custody, could not be lawfully subjected here to the
    punishment they deserved, and were therefore set at liberty.
    Then follows this statement with regard to the vessel: “The
    Florida was brought into American waters, and was anchored
    under naval surveillance and protection at Hampton Roads. While
    awaiting the representation of the Brazilian Government, on
    the 28th of November, she sunk, owing to a leak which could
    not be seasonably stopped. The leak was at first represented
    to have been caused, or at least increased, by a collision
    with a war transport.” After stating that there were courts
    of inquiry on the subject, he concluded: “In the mean time it
    is assumed that the loss of the Florida was a consequence of
    some unforeseen accident, which cast no responsibility upon the
    United States.”[1] Nothing further occurred in this case.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The _Advertiser_, in a leader on this article, after alluding
    to the author as “a gentleman whose position and pursuits have
    led him to give great attention to questions of International
    Law,” says:--

        “We ask attention to his view of the precedents, therefore,
        and to the connection which he establishes between them
        and the present case, as being both interesting and
        instructive, and as deserving no small weight in settling
        our views upon this important subject. He makes it clear,
        that, whatever Brazil may feel herself called upon to say
        in the matter, it does not lie in the mouth of England,
        either by her press or her ministry, to intermeddle by
        lecturing the United States.… The most embarrassing feature
        in the Florida case, however, has been removed within a few
        hours by the fortuitous collision of an army transport with
        this steamer, in the crowded roadstead at Fortress Monroe.”

    Admiral Porter’s despatch reports this incident.

                                 “FORTRESS MONROE, November 28, 1864.

        “HON. GIDEON WELLES, _Secretary of the Navy_:--

        “I have just received a telegram from the commander of
        the prize steamer Florida, informing me that she had
        sunk in nine fathoms of water. She had been run into by
        an army steamer, and badly damaged. I have not heard the
        particulars. I will inform the Department, when I receive
        the written report.

            “DAVID D. PORTER, _Rear-Admiral_.”

If we may judge from recent English newspapers, there is to be another
cry against us, on account of the Florida, not unlike that on account
of the Trent. One paper says the seizure was “most flagrantly
lawless”; another, that “the precedent will establish a claim to
the right to pursue and destroy every such vessel, whatever may be
the port in which she may seek shelter or supplies”; another, that
“the outrage cannot be permitted to pass unnoticed by other powers”;
and still another, that “events such as these will speedily force
European nations to interfere in the American difficulty for their own
security.” Such are specimens of British criticism, before the facts in
the case have been ascertained in any authentic form, and before our
Government has had opportunity to declare itself on the subject.

The same swiftness occurred in the matter of the Trent. The parallel
will be complete, if Earl Russell sends us a letter of complaint.

As in that remarkable instance, there is the same indifference to
_historic precedents_. I do not refer to cases decided in prize
courts, where the question is of _strict law_, which must prevail,--as
where Sir William Scott decreed restitution of a vessel captured by a
British privateer stationed among the mud islands at the mouth of the
Mississippi, and within the neutral territory of the United States.
I refer to another class of precedents, not to be found in judicial
decisions, but in the history of Great Britain. And as, in the instance
of the Trent, it appeared that this power had for several generations,
under a pretended claim, entered on board foreign ships and forcibly
dragged away persons from the protection of their flag, thus doing
on a large scale what was done by Commodore Wilkes on a very small
scale,--so it appears that this same power, whose newspapers are now
swift to condemn the act of Captain Collins, has for many generations
been in the habit of seizing or destroying vessels in neutral waters.

_Judicial decisions_ exhibit the strict law obligatory on courts.
_Historic precedents_ exhibit the practice of nations, where strict law
is often modified by considerations of necessity or policy. The first,
as a general rule, concern private rights; the second, as a general
rule, concern public rights. The first are questions for the court;
the second are questions for executive deliberation and for diplomacy.
It is needless to add that the case of the Florida is not a case of
private rights. It is an historic incident, destined hereafter to be
a precedent, which will be determined by the executive, and not by
the judiciary. If the Florida were an ordinary private ship, claimed
by private individuals, it would naturally fall under the cognizance
of a prize court. But it is claimed as a public ship, which, as is
well known, is not subject to the jurisdiction of a prize court. Or,
assuming its private character by reason of its piratical origin, there
are questions involved which must ultimately come under the cognizance
of the Executive, and which belong to the history of the country.

Of course, the general principle of International Law applicable to
such an incident is beyond question. It is found in the authoritative
words of the Dutch publicist, Bynkershoek, when he says, “Certainly
it is by no means lawful to attack or take an enemy in the port of
a neutral who is in amity with both parties.”[2] Chancellor Kent,
a great authority, enforces the same principle, when he says, “It
is not lawful to make neutral territory the scene of hostility, or
to attack an enemy while within it.”[3] General Halleck, in his
excellent work on International Law, says: “Hostilities cannot be
lawfully exercised within the territorial jurisdiction of the neutral
state which is the common friend of both parties.” And he follows
this compendious statement with the remark, that “the Government of
the United States has invariably claimed the absolute inviolability
of neutral territory.”[4] As early as 1793, our Government gave its
adhesion to this principle in a case where Great Britain and France
were the hostile parties. The British merchant-ship Grange was captured
in Delaware Bay by a French frigate, and brought into Philadelphia,
to which port she was bound. Mr. Jefferson, in a gossiping letter to
Mr. Monroe, under date of May 5, 1793, says: “Upon her coming into
sight, thousands and thousands of the yeomanry of the city crowded and
covered the wharves. Never before was such a crowd seen there; and when
the British colors were seen reversed, and the French flying above
them, they burst into peals of exultation.”[5] The British minister,
addressing himself at once to our Government, demanded restitution of
the captured vessel, then within our jurisdiction. The French minister
insisted that Delaware Bay was an open sea, so that the original
capture was lawful. _But the ship was restored._ Washington was at
the time President, and Jefferson Secretary of State. It is not known
that there was any appearance in the prize court with reference to the
Grange. It was settled by diplomacy, as will be seen by a formal letter
of the Secretary of State addressed to the French minister, where he
says: “I am charged by the President of the United States to express
to you his expectation, and at the same time his confidence, that you
will be pleased to take immediate and effectual measures for having
the ship Grange and her cargo restored to the British owners, and the
persons taken on board her set at liberty.”[6] The general principle
illustrated by this striking case has been maintained by our Government
ever since. If any reader is curious to see an elaborate vindication of
it, I refer him to a very animated article in the “Boston Gazette” for
1814, transferred to “Niles’s Register,”[7] where the inviolability of
neutral territory is upheld, especially against the open pretensions of
Great Britain.

This general principle may seem at first view conclusive with regard
to the Florida. If this vessel, now lying within the jurisdiction of
the United States, were an ordinary private ship, cognizable in a
prize court, or if it were still within the jurisdiction of Brazil, it
might be so. But it remains to be seen whether there are not decisive
considerations, _distinguishing this case from every other_, which will
justify our Government, while recognizing the violation of Brazilian
territory, and making all proper apologies, _at least in declining any
restitution of the ship_. On this point it is not necessary to express
an opinion. I began by allusion to the reckless judgments of British
journals, tending to excite a cry against our country; and my present
object will be accomplished, if I exhibit those _historic precedents_
which must close the British mouth, whenever it opens to condemn a
capture like that of the Florida.

1. It was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth that England began to contest
the supremacy of the seas; and it was in this same reign that this
domineering power began those pretensions under which neutral rights
of all kinds were set at nought. As early as 1567, Hawkins, fresh
from a slave-trading voyage in the ship “Jesus,” fired at a Spanish
ship in the harbor of Plymouth, and forced her to lower her flag. The
Spanish ambassador said indignantly to Elizabeth: “Your mariners rob my
master’s subjects on the sea; they plunder our people in the streets of
your towns; _they attack our vessels in your very harbors_. I entreat
your Majesty to punish this last outrage at Plymouth, and to preserve
the peace between the two nations.”[8] Elizabeth gave a smooth answer,
and that was all.

2. Not long afterwards Admiral Drake entered the harbor of Cadiz, where
he scattered, sunk, and burned an immense fleet of Spanish transports,
and then did the same thing in the harbor of Lisbon. There were
apologies on the part of Elizabeth; Burleigh wrote a crafty letter;
the Admiral was disavowed; but this was all.[9] Among the ships seized
at Lisbon were no less than sixty belonging to the Hanse Towns. _These
towns vainly demanded their restitution._ Philip of Spain, at that time
sovereign of Portugal, was equally unsuccessful, although, by way of
retaliation, he drove from Lisbon the factors of the Company of English

Such are some of the earliest historic precedents.

3. In similar defiance of unquestionable right, the Dutch East India
fleet, in 1665, which had put into Bergen in Norway, was attacked by
the English in this neutral port. On this outrage Vattel remarks:
“But the Governor of Bergen fired on the assailants, and the Court of
Denmark complained, perhaps too faintly, of an enterprise so injurious
to its dignity and its rights.”[11]

4. Throughout the seventeenth century numerous incidents illustrate
the pretensions of Great Britain; and so also in the next century.
Émérigon, the famous French authority on the Law of Insurance, mentions
one which deserves notice. In 1757, a French bark, La Victoire,
chased by a British privateer, sought refuge in the neutral waters
of Majorca, where she anchored within pistol-shot of the shore. The
British privateer seized the bark, notwithstanding three shots fired
from the castle. A few days later the prize was recaptured by a French
privateer. The original owners of the bark claimed her, on the ground
that her capture was null; but the court of prizes awarded one third to
the recaptor.[12] The learned author fails to record any reparation by
Great Britain.

Advancing to later times, the historic precedents multiply. I pass over
a considerable period, not without examples, and come at once to those
occurring in the protracted war against the French Revolution.

5. War had hardly begun, when, in 1793, the port of Genoa was the
scene of an incident differing from that in Bahia only in its very
aggravating circumstances, and in the bloodshed that ensued. The French
frigate La Modeste was quietly at anchor in this neutral harbor when a
British ship-of-the-line came alongside. Suddenly the British commander
summoned the Frenchman to surrender. On his refusal, the frigate was
boarded, and three hundred of the unarmed crew were massacred. The
frigate was carried to England. Such is the account given by a French
author, who complains bitterly that the British Government did nothing
to punish the outrage. The Genoese Government was powerless; and the
French Convention, in a decree marked by great moderation, proceeded to
release it from all responsibility, although at a later day it appears
to have paid two millions of francs as an indemnity.[13] The reader
curious in dates will not fail to observe that it was in the very year
when the neutrality of Genoa was thus set at defiance that the British
minister in the United States claimed the surrender of a ship seized
by a French frigate in defiance of our neutrality. Such are famous
contradictions of national conduct. A British ship captured by France
in neutral waters was surrendered at the demand of Great Britain; a
French ship captured by Great Britain in neutral waters was hurried off
by the captor as prize of war.

6. The same author who has described the outrage in the harbor of Genoa
adds that Admiral Nelson afterwards carried off another French vessel
in full view of the Genoese batteries.[14]

7. Another instance appears, where Admiral Nelson, in 1798, entered
the neutral port of Leghorn, and seized a fleet of Genoese ships
with rich cargoes. The author who records this outrage makes it “yet
otherwise culpable on account of the high position of the personage,
who, without respect for the independence and dignity of a friendly and
neutral nation, assumed the moral responsibility of it.”[15]

8. The same lawlessness governing British commanders in Leghorn and
Genoa appeared also this side of the Atlantic. In August, 1795, an
audacious attempt was made by the British ship-of-war Africa to seize
the French minister, M. Fauchet, when on his way from New York to
Newport, on board the sloop Peggy, within the waters of the United
States. The sloop was boarded at the entrance of Newport harbor,
and within two miles of the light-house, and the trunks of the
minister were overhauled; but he had already left at an intermediate
port, so that the trespassers were disappointed. M. Fauchet, in a
communication to his successor, M. Adet, says: “I shall express to you
but one afflicting sentiment, which is, that in a free State, with
a government in which England has just acquired a friend, there is
no safety for myself or my papers; for, in a word, as it was from _a
public packet-boat in a neutral port_ that I was to have been carried
off, there is no reason why I should not be taken on the highway or
in an inn, if it could be done with impunity.” Our Government vainly
endeavored to obtain reparation from Great Britain for this outrage,
while France, on her part, mentioned the “impunity” of its authors
among her causes of complaint against us. It is only recently that the
facts of this remarkable case have appeared in a document printed by
order of the Senate.[16] They help swell the present testimony.

9. Taking these instances in the order of time, we come next to
outrages on the coast of Norway. The British frigate Squirrel, on
entering the Norwegian port of Oster-Risoer, in 1801, then belonging
to Denmark, seized a Swedish ship, and put its pilot in irons. Then
coming to anchor, it deliberately captured three other Swedish
vessels, and, sending on shore, kidnapped several pilots. Two or three
days afterwards, a boat from another British man-of-war, the cutter
Achilles, entered the Norwegian port of Egvang, and seized a French
prize at anchor there, while the cutter’s crew fired upon a bark having
on board peaceable inhabitants, wounding one of them. The Danish
Government promptly demanded reparation for these accumulated outrages,
and especially the restitution of the vessels. The British minister,
Lord Hawkesbury, at once declared that the guilty individuals should
receive the strongest marks of disapprobation from his Government, _but
that, with regard to the restitution of the vessels, it was impossible
for him, in the existing circumstances of the two countries, to enter
into any explanation_,--that, if the present misunderstanding should
be amicably adjusted, “these cases would naturally be carried, without
loss of time, _before the regular and impartial tribunals_ established
for the decision of such causes, according to principles of justice
and the Law of Nations.” The Danish minister at once replied, that his
sovereign would never consent that the open violation of his ports
and his territory should become, under any pretext, the subject
of deliberation and decision in any tribunals whatever,--that his
sovereign and territorial rights were assured, and he would not abandon
them. Lord Hawkesbury was moved, in reply, to disapprove the conduct
of the British officers, _and to order the restitution of the Swedish
vessels captured in the port of Oster-Risoer_. At the very moment of
this “incomplete reparation,” as it has been called, Great Britain was
preparing her first expedition against Copenhagen.[17]

10. The same French author, who, in ardor for neutral rights, has
exposed the conduct of Great Britain, mentions the instance of an
English frigate, in 1803, which, after capturing a Swedish vessel in a
Norwegian port, entered the neutral port of Bergen, where her commander
attempted to seize a Dutch vessel and two French privateers. These
three vessels were saved by crawling, with permission of the Governor,
under the guns of the fortress; but the attempt was a violation of the
neutral waters of Bergen, which passed without reparation.[18]

11. M. de Cussy also mentions, that, during this same year, a British
man-of-war insulted a French vessel in the neutral port of Lisbon.[19]

12. The next instance was again on this side of the Atlantic, and
in the neutral waters of our own coast. The French ship-of-the-line
L’Impétueux, separated in a storm from the fleet to which she belonged,
and much disabled, was discovered, September, 1806, by several British
men-of-war off Cape Henry. The French ship turned her head to the
land, and was actually aground before the British ships came within
cannon-shot. But, though in this disabled condition, and on the very
shores of the United States, she received a British broadside. The
French commander vainly protested that he was on neutral territory.
His crew were taken prisoners, and his ship was burned. This act was
a violation of the Law of Nations doubly noticeable, as the immunity
of our coast “within cannon-shot” had been expressly recognized in the
Treaty of 1794 between Great Britain and the United States. As the ship
was burned, there could be no question of its restitution. But it does
not appear that there was reparation of any kind,--not even apology.[20]

13. The outrage upon the frigate Chesapeake properly belongs to
this list, for it was a barefaced and most insulting violation of
territorial jurisdiction. This was in June, 1807, while the United
States were at peace with all the world. The Chesapeake, having
proceeded to sea, was followed by the British frigate Leopard, lying
at Hampton Roads, which, after ranging alongside, commenced a heavy
fire, until the commander of the Chesapeake felt it his duty to strike
his colors and to inform the British commander that the Chesapeake was
his prize. It is needless to mention the details of this unparalleled
enormity, or the mingled anger and humiliation which ensued in the
country, as they became known. A demand for reparation was made at
once; but it was only after four years of negotiation that the terms
of adjustment were mutually accepted. There was no ship to restore;
but the men forcibly taken from the Chesapeake were, “as far as
circumstances would admit,” returned to that frigate, then lying in the
harbor of Boston.[21]

14. At the time these outrages were perpetrated on our coast, another,
on a larger scale, was planned and executed in the Baltic. Denmark had
been “scrupulously neutral”; but the British Government feared that
its fleet at Copenhagen might in some way be appropriated by Napoleon,
whose Continental supremacy had recently culminated at the Peace of
Tilsit. It was determined to seize this fleet, and a naval expedition
of corresponding force was directed against Copenhagen. The Danes made
a brave resistance; but at last, on the 7th of September, 1807, they
were compelled to capitulate. The Danish fleet was surrendered to the
British admiral.[22]

15. Then came the American frigate Essex, under Captain Porter,
captured by a superior British force in the neutral waters of
Valparaiso. The Essex had made a very successful cruise, and become a
terror to British navigation. It was important to stop her victories.
The newspapers of the time assert that “an Admiralty order was issued,
commanding the officers of British ships in the South Seas _not to
respect any port as neutral where the Essex should be found_.” It is
certain that the British commander acted in this spirit. With two
frigates, the Phœbe and the Cherub, March 28, 1814, he opened fire upon
the Essex, then at anchor, according to her log-book, “in nine and an
half fathoms water, within half-pistol shot of the shore.” After a
desperate battle of two hours and a half, Captain Porter was compelled
to surrender. The people glowed with admiration of his gallantry, and
indignation at what was called “this glaring defiance of the clearest
principle of National Law.” It was said, that, “though the country
had lost a ship, it had lost nothing else.”[23] But here the matter
ended. The ship was never restored; nor does it appear to have been
the subject of reclamation, either by our Government upon Spain, or by
Spain upon Great Britain. The President’s message at the opening of
the next Congress, while commending the gallantry of Captain Porter,
does not even allude to the violation of International Law in his
capture. But it will be remarked, that at this time the South American
colonies were beginning to be convulsed by that long revolutionary war
which closed with their independence, so that there was a practical
difficulty in obtaining any remedy for this outrage. We could not apply
directly to England, and neither Spain nor Chile was in condition to
receive any such application. Silence on our part was the only policy.
But the act is not forgotten among the precedents of British history.

16. Then came the General Armstrong, an American privateer, destroyed
by a British squadron in the neutral waters of Fayal, in September,
1814. There is a dispute as to certain facts in this case. On the
British side it is said that the privateer fired first and killed
several men. But it is clear that the privateer was pursued and
attacked under the very guns of the Portuguese fortress, and, after
being abandoned by her crew, was burned by the British. As war at
that time existed between Great Britain and the United States, our
Government was compelled to resort for reparation to Portugal, whose
neutral territory had been violated. After a protracted negotiation for
more than a generation, the question was submitted to the arbitration
of Louis Napoleon, while President of the French Republic, who
decided that nothing was due from Portugal. This was on the ground of
exceptional circumstances, and among other things, that the American
commander “had not applied from the beginning for the intervention
of the neutral sovereign, and that, by having recourse to arms to
repel an unjust aggression of which he pretended to be the object, he
had himself failed to respect the neutrality of the territory of the
foreign sovereign, and had thereby released that sovereign from the
obligation in which he was to afford him protection by any other means
than that of a pacific intervention.”[24] In this case the ship was
destroyed, so that there was no question of restitution. But Great
Britain made no reparation of any kind.

Such are some of the seizures actually made by Great Britain, in
defiance of neutral rights, during the wars against the French
Revolution and against us.

17. There is another incident, belonging to the latter period, which,
though not a consummated seizure, is in the nature of testimony,
especially as it concerns the very port of Bahia where the Florida was
taken. Commodore Bainbridge, of the Navy of the United States, after
capture of the British frigate Java, left Captain Lawrence in the
Hornet to cruise off the port of Bahia, instructing him as follows:
“You will cruise off here as long as in your judgment you may deem
it necessary.… Be on your guard against the arrival of the Montague,
seventy-four; _and I advise you not to rely too much on the protection
of the neutral port of Bahia against the [British] Admiral’s influence
to capture you even in port_.”[25] Captain Lawrence followed these
instructions, and, though driven by the Montague into the port, at once
took advantage of the night and escaped to sea, thus eluding British
violence in neutral waters. The Hornet was not “gobbled up,” as her
capture of the Peacock shortly afterwards amply attests; but it is
evident that the will was not wanting.

18. The long interval of peace after the outrages last mentioned
caused a lull in British pretensions,--to be awakened by the blast
of war. In 1837, Canada was disturbed by a rebellion, soon followed
by the invasion of our territorial jurisdiction at Niagara. I refer
to the case of the steamboat Caroline, which, while moored to the
American shore, was entered in the darkness of night by a British
expedition from Canada, set on fire, and pushed into the rapids to be
precipitated over the cataract. Some persons on board were killed and
others wounded. For this unquestionable violation of our territory
there was no offer of reparation,--“no acknowledgment, no explanation,
no apology,” as Mr. Webster expressed it,--until, nearly five years
afterwards, Lord Ashburton, on his special mission, expressed regret
“that some explanation and apology was not immediately made.” The
amiable language of the British minister was promptly accepted by Mr.
Webster, who was at the time Secretary of State, and the controversy
subsided. The steamboat had been destroyed; but there was no offer to
restore its value, nor was this question raised by our Government.[26]

19. The latest instance, in point of time, worth while to name in
this list, is that of the Brazilian ship Santa Cruz, which, in 1850,
was seized and burned, with all her lading and papers, by a British
cruiser in the Brazilian waters. The excuse for the seizure was that
the ship was engaged in the slave-trade, and for the burning that she
was unseaworthy; but both these assertions were denied point-blank by
the Brazilian Government, which branded the transaction as “Vandalism,”
and gave notice that it would demand indemnity for the loss of the
ship. As the ship was destroyed, there was no question of restitution.
But there was formal protest against what was called “a violation of
every principle of the Law of Nations by acts highly derogatory to the
dignity, the sovereignty, and the independence of Brazil,--a nation as
sovereign and independent as Great Britain, although it may not have
the power to prevent such proceedings.”[27]

20. There is another instance, which, though earlier in time, I have
reserved for the last, on account of the authentic declarations of
an eminent British minister, bearing on the question now in issue
between Brazil and the United States: I refer to the case of the French
ships burnt or captured at Lagos, in 1759, within the territorial
jurisdiction of Portugal. A British fleet under Admiral Boscawen
falling in with an inferior French fleet, the latter took refuge near
the coast. What ensued is thus described in the contemporary Memoirs
of Horace Walpole. “They made a running fight, but could not escape
the vigilance and bravery of Boscawen. Two of their largest ships were
taken; two others forced on shore and burnt, in one of which was the
commander, who was wounded in both legs, and expired soon after. The
action passed on the 18th of August.”[28] This incident took its place
among the victories of the year, which, according to the lively remark
of Walpole in another place, were so numerous as to force him “to ask
every morning what victory there was, for fear of missing one.”[29]
But this victory was followed by an unexpected drawback. Pombal, a man
of genius and courage, and the greatest administrator Portugal has
produced, was at the time Prime-Minister. He complained vehemently
that the Portuguese territory had been violated, and demanded
satisfaction of Great Britain according to the Law of Nations.[30] In
Great Britain, William Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham, was at the head
of affairs, teaching his country success in war as in commerce, and
filling the world with English renown. He met this question promptly.
In instructions to the British minister at Lisbon, written before the
Portuguese complaint had reached him, dated at Whitehall, September 12,
1759, and marked “Most secret,” he says:--

    “In case you shall find that any violence has actually been
    committed by his Majesty’s ships against the immunities of
    the coasts of Portugal, it is the King’s pleasure that you
    should express in the strongest terms to the Count de Oeyras
    [afterwards Marquis of Pombal], and to the other ministers,
    the extreme pain which such a most unfortunate incident must
    give to the King as soon as the certain knowledge of it
    shall reach his Majesty.… At the same time, in case there
    has actually been a violation of territory on our part, you
    will take care to avail yourself of all the circumstances of
    extenuation, of a nature to soften the impressions which the
    first sense of any insult on that coast may have made. But you
    will be particularly attentive not to employ any favorable
    circumstances to justify what the Law of Nations condemns, but
    you will insensibly throw the same into your conversation with
    insinuations and address, as considerations of alleviation,
    which it is to be hoped may prevent all asperity between two
    courts so mutually well disposed to each other, and whose
    interests are so inseparable.”

And the letter closes by declaring that

    “His Majesty has nothing more really at heart than to give,
    as far as he can with honor, to the King of Portugal all
    reasonable satisfaction that one power in amity can desire from
    another upon an incident so totally unforeseen and without
    intention of offence.”

Then follows this postscript:--

     “P. S. Though it be sufficiently implied by the above words,
    _all reasonable satisfaction, as far as his Majesty can with
    honor_, that there are things which his Majesty could not
    possibly on any account comply with, I have thought it may
    not be improper, for your more certain guidance, expressly
    to signify to you that any personal mark on a great Admiral
    who has done so essential a service to his country, or on
    any one under his command, is totally inadmissible, _as well
    as the idea of restoring the ships of war taken_. You will
    therefore, in case, in your conversation with the Portuguese
    ministers, any suggestion pointing to either of those methods
    of satisfaction should be thrown out, _take especial care to
    say enough to shut the door entirely against any expectation
    of that kind_,--being at the same time particularly attentive
    to avoid, in the manner, everything that can carry the air of
    peremptoriness or harshness which may interest the delicacy of
    the King of Portugal. I am further to give you to understand,
    for your private information, that, if the circumstances of
    the supposed grievance should come out to be of sufficient
    magnitude, such is the King’s strong desire to give the most
    public and ostensible satisfaction to the King of Portugal,
    that his Majesty will not, I believe, even be averse to sending
    an extraordinary mission on this occasion.”[31]

The extraordinary embassy promised in this postscript was despatched
to Lisbon; and here we have another letter of Mr. Pitt, dated at
Whitehall, May 30, 1760, and marked “Most secret,” where he declares
anew “the King’s immutable and affectionate concern for the dignity
and independence of the crown of Portugal,” and enjoins upon his
ambassador to “forbear entering into much controversial reasoning,” and
to “accompany his answer with all possible gentleness and cordiality of
manner, and with the most conciliating and amicable expressions.” It
seems that the Portuguese minister had demanded the restitution of the
ships, but accompanied by “the friendly and confidential declaration
_that a compliance therewith was not expected_.” Mr. Pitt was anxious
to avoid any such demand, as “an invidious use would not fail to be
made of it by enemies, and perhaps by neutral powers.”[32] From the
Memoirs of Pombal we learn how the British ambassador acquitted himself.

    “The King of England sent an ambassador extraordinary to
    Lisbon to give the satisfaction which was demanded. It was
    Lord Kinnoul who was charged with it, and who acquitted
    himself of this commission as the Count de Oeyras [Marquis
    of Pombal] required. This lord declared openly and in full
    audience, composed of the foreign ministers, that the English
    officers who burnt the French vessels on the coast of Lagos
    were reprehensible, and that on this account the King, his
    master, sent him to Lisbon, in order to testify that he had
    no part in it, and that it was contrary to his orders that
    they had committed that act of hostility for which he made

_The ships were not restored_, nor was there any indemnity. But the
case did not end here. In 1762 France declared war against Portugal,
and in its declaration made the failure to obtain restoration of these
ships one of the causes of war. These are the words:--

     “Every one knows the utmost and violent attack made by the
    English in 1759 on some of the [French] King’s ships under
    the cannon of the Portuguese forts at Lagos. His Majesty
    demanded of the Most Faithful King to procure him restitution
    of those ships; but that Prince’s ministers, in contempt of
    what was due to the rules of justice, the laws of the sea,
    the sovereignty and territory of their master (all which were
    indecently violated by the most scandalous infraction of the
    rights of sovereigns and of nations), in answer to the repeated
    requisitions of the King’s ambassador on this head, made only
    vague speeches, with an air of indifference that bordered on

Thus, while Great Britain was saved from the restitution of the ships,
Portugal was compelled to suffer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are historic precedents furnished by Great Britain to illustrate
the case of the Florida. In face of this long array, it is difficult to
see how British critics or British ministers can venture to reproach us.

From this review it appears, that, where ships have been captured
in neutral waters, their restitution was at least on one occasion
positively refused by a British minister of commanding authority, while
on other occasions it was avoided from destruction of the ships. If
the American commander who undertook this business at Bahia had done
it completely, there would be little difficulty now. There were fire
and water both at his service. He might have burned the Florida or
scuttled her at once, and his offence would have been no greater than
now, while, according to the precedents, his Government would have been
relieved from embarrassment.

But there are peculiar circumstances which distinguish this instance
from every other. They may be mentioned under two heads: I shall only
allude to them.

_First._ The Florida was illegitimate and piratical in origin and
conduct, being little more than a lawless gypsy of the sea,--born
contrary to the Law of Nations, and living in constant defiance of that

_Secondly._ The Florida pretended to belong to a Rebel combination
of slave-masters, now engaged in rebellion for the sake of Slavery.
Though certain foreign powers, including Brazil, have conceded to
this Rebel combination what are called “belligerent rights,” yet the
extent of this concession is undecided. Of course, it is much less
than a recognition of national independence. Every presumption must be
against such a Rebel combination, having such an object. The indecent
haste with which “belligerent rights” were originally conceded cannot
be forgotten now; nor can we neglect the well-founded argument, that,
in the absence of prize courts belonging to the pretended power, any
such concession _on the ocean_ was flagrantly unjust, and, when we
consider its wide-spread consequences, to be reprehended always by
our Government, as it must be by impartial history. Assuming that the
restitution of a ship belonging to an independent power, as to France
or England, might be properly required, it does not follow that such
restitution should be required in a case like the present, where the
pretended owner is not an independent power, and where the ship was
lawless in origin and conduct,--or, in other words, that Brazil should
expect the United States to restore the Florida, that it might be
handed over again to the support of a slaveholding Rebellion and to
burn more ships.

       *       *       *       *       *

I call attention to these considerations without expressing any final
opinion. The case of Koszta, forcibly taken by an American frigate from
an Austrian ship-of-war in the territorial waters of Turkey, shows
how the conduct of governments is sometimes inconsistent with strict
law. An explanation and apology were promptly offered to Turkey, whose
neutrality had been violated; but this was all. There was no offer on
our part to surrender Koszta; nor was there any demand by Turkey for
his restitution. But the present case is stronger than that of Koszta.

It is well understood that the seizure of the Florida was wrong only
with respect to Brazil, and not with respect to the Rebel enemy. There
can be no demand, therefore, unless Brazil steps forward. Whatever is
done must be in her name and at her instance. The enlightened Emperor
of Brazil is of the royal house of Braganza, which reigned in Portugal
when her great minister, Pombal, forbore to press the restitution of
ships captured by the British in Portuguese waters. Here is a precedent
of his own family, completely applicable. I venture to add that he
would do an inconsiderate and unfriendly act, if he should press the
restitution of a ship obnoxious not only as a public enemy, but as the
piratical agent of a wicked Rebellion. Even admitting that the capture
was null by the Law of Nations, yet the nature of the reparation to
be demanded rests absolutely in the discretion of Brazil, and in this
age no power can be justified in any exercise of discretion adverse to
human freedom.


    The article was answered by an able writer in the _Advertiser_
    of December 13th, who assumed that Mr. Sumner was the apologist
    of seizures in neutral waters. It was also severely criticized
    by Professor Goldwin Smith, then travelling among us, in a
    letter which was given to the newspapers. Mr. Sumner, whose
    special object was to anticipate British criticism and to
    smooth the way with Brazil, said nothing until the case
    was understood to be settled, when he reappeared in the
    _Advertiser_ of January 17, 1865.


The recent correspondence between Mr. Seward and the Brazilian Chargé
d’Affaires at Washington seems to bring the case of the Florida to
a close. Our Government has distinctly recognized the inviolability
of territorial sovereignty, and made reparation for the original act
of violence, so much discussed. The vessel itself, out of which the
question arose, was no longer in existence; so that the only important
point not already settled by principle and precedent was eliminated
from the case. There was no vessel to be claimed on the one side or
refused on the other, and nothing was said of damages on account of its
loss. Of course, had the Florida belonged to Brazil, any reparation
would have been incomplete which did not embrace the vessel or its

But Mr. Seward has been careful to exclude the assumption that the
Rebels have belligerent rights on the ocean, and also the other
assumption that the Florida was anything but a pirate. It is clear
that the position taken on these two points must have influenced any
decision with regard to the vessel itself, or damages on account of its

As the case is now settled, it is unnecessary to consider objections
adduced against the view presented by me in the “Advertiser” some weeks
ago. What is now certain was then uncertain. The Government has spoken,
and the country accepts the result. But it may not be unprofitable to
return for one moment to the original discussion.

My object at that time was to furnish materials for final judgment,
and especially to repel British objurgations which befogged the
whole question. It was important that our national conduct should be
determined calmly, according to the best principles, and with perfect
knowledge of the past. But it is difficult to deal with this or any
kindred question without repairing to British history. There are
precedents to be shunned as well as to be followed, and both should
be studied. It is strange that such an attempt should have been
misunderstood. Perhaps it is stranger still that anybody should have
insisted on our humble submission to the most opprobrious epithets,
without reminding the objurgators of the history of their own country,
bristling with incidents _having in them all that was indefensible in
the Florida case without any of its exceptional circumstances_. A Roman
poet exclaims:--

    “Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes?”[35]

And another authority, which will not be questioned, expressly enjoins
on the censor to extract the beam from his own eye before he complains
of the mote in the eye of another.

In the excess of dissent from what I said, it was even suggested that
the vessel should be surrendered to Brazil,--of course as trustee
of Rebel Slavery. But this was a very hasty suggestion, forgetting
the piratical origin of the vessel, and forgetting the piratical
slavemonger character of its pretended owners, having no _ocean_
rights. Admitting the inviolability of neutral waters, it does not
follow that such a vessel could be claimed, or, if Brazil were so
ill-advised as to make such a claim, that our Government could
hearken to it. It was because I saw this clearly that I sought to set
up a breakwater against such claim, and to prepare public opinion on
the subject. It is noble in a nation to acknowledge wrong; but it is
weakness to sacrifice a great cause.

The Statute of Limitations has been set up against some of the historic
instances adduced, and the very recent date of the Congress of Paris,
at the close of the Crimean War in 1856, is declared to fix the line
of demarcation, marking an altered policy in Great Britain. As a
lover of peace and a student of International Law, anxious for its
advancement,--yielding to nobody in this regard,--I wish that such an
alteration could be shown. Joyfully should I welcome it, as one of
the signs of a new order of ages. Unhappily, it cannot be shown, and
I feel sure that it can be brought about only by a frank exhibition
of transactions demonstrating its necessity. Truth is illustrated by
error, health is maintained by knowledge of disease, and crime itself
is made repulsive by bringing its perpetrators to judgment.

It is an old adage of the law, that no statute of limitations runs
against the sovereign,--_Nullum tempus occurrit regi_. This, of course,
is for the protection of his interests. But, assuming that such a
statute may be pleaded against British responsibility for historic
precedents more than eight years old, there is no question with regard
to what has occurred since. Here the responsibility is admitted. Now,
confining ourselves to the brief period since the Crimean Peace,
there are instances identical in character with those which occurred
previously; and these are the more remarkable as Great Britain had not
the apology of war to disturb her equanimity.

A well-informed person, writing from Berlin, furnishes the following
instance, which occurred as late as 1860. “Two British men-of-war took,
or at least threatened to take, the Paraguayan war-steamer Tacuaril,
in the port of Buenos Ayres. They laid themselves on each side of
the Paraguayan war-steamer, in order to enforce a claim which proved
afterwards to be fallacious.” The writer adds, that “this case, if
looked into closely, will probably serve as a counter argument, should
England have anything to say on the Florida-Bahia affair.” True enough;
and such is the recent judgment of a German publicist.

There is also that other historic instance which has among its
incidents the suspension of diplomatic relations between Brazil
and Great Britain. It began with a demand by the latter power for
reparation on account of a vessel pillaged after shipwreck on the coast
of Brazil, in June, 1861. This was complicated soon after by a quarrel
between certain officers of a British frigate in the harbor of Rio
Janeiro and a sentry on shore, which ended in taking the officers into
custody. The British minister demanded reparation for these two alleged
wrongs; and the British admiral, who was at hand, seized five Brazilian
merchant-vessels in the harbor of Rio Janeiro, declaring that he would
not release them until £6,500 had been paid on account of the pillaged
vessel, and satisfaction afforded for the detention of the officers.
Thus, in time of peace, without any declaration of war, the British
admiral performed an act of war, like that in the case of the Florida,
but without the apology of the captors of the latter vessel. In short,
he undertook, within the territorial jurisdiction of Brazil, to seize,
not one vessel, but five vessels,--and all these innocent, neither
piratical in origin nor belonging to people without _ocean_ rights.
Brazil, succumbing to superior force, paid the money demanded, and
referred the question of reparation in the case of the officers to the
arbitration of King Leopold of Belgium, who has since rendered judgment
for the weaker power. The question of responsibility for the five
innocent vessels seized within the territorial jurisdiction of Brazil
was left unsettled. The mild and accomplished minister of Brazil in
London, M. Carvalho Moreira, made a reclamation on this account, in a
careful note, dated May 5, 1863, where he submitted, that “the English
Government should express its regret at the acts which accompanied the
reprisals, and declare that it had no intention to offend the dignity
or to violate the territorial sovereignty of the empire,” and that
it should consent to refer the question of damages to arbitration.
Earl Russell declining to reopen any part of the questions between
the two Governments, or to enter into any explanations, the Brazilian
minister at once demanded his passports and left London. This case
will be found at length in an authentic publication, which has only
recently appeared.[36] I leave it, simply quoting from the work these
pertinent words: “The question was with regard to the reparation and
compensation which Brazil demanded from England for the seizure of her
merchant-vessels and for the violation of her territorial waters.… It
was, unhappily, easy to foresee the issue of this question,--England
being always more disposed to demand reparation and indemnities than to
accord them.”[37] Such is the recent judgment of a French publicist.

There is another case, which has not yet found its way into the books,
nor did it occur after the Crimean War; but it is so very recent,
and so curious, that I venture to adduce it. I am indebted for it to
the Hon. John B. Alley, one of our Representatives in Congress, to
whom it was communicated by one of his constituents.[38] The bark
Home, of Boston, was on her way from Calcutta to Boston, when, on
or about August 22, 1849, she fell in with a vessel, first supposed
to be a pirate, but at last proved to be the Polka, prize to the
British steamer Sharpshooter, with the crew in a starving condition.
The prize-master, on coming aboard, said that the prize was taken
in Port Macahé, near Cape Frio, in Brazil, for being engaged in the
slave-trade; that, to escape the fire of the fort, which opened on
the captors, they slipped the cable, and cut adrift the boat which
was made fast astern; that at the time of the capture there was no
person aboard, except a single negro; and that a midshipman with ten
men was put aboard to take her to St. Helena. The famished crew were
supplied by the American bark with bread, beef, water, and other small
stores, for which the British Government paid, in 1852, the cost price,
being all that was asked. On this case the master of the bark, in his
communication to Mr. Alley, remarks: “This is another instance where
a vessel was taken in a port by the British, and this in a time of
profound peace; and as the fort fired on them, I presume the capture
was not made by consent of the Brazilian Government.” Such is the mild
conclusion of an American shipmaster, who seems to see the conduct
of Great Britain in the same light as it is seen by the publicist of
Germany and the publicist of France.

Such instances, so recent, show how little the injunction of
International Law has been regarded by Great Britain, whether before
or after the Crimean War; and yet British censors have not hesitated
to arraign the United States in brutal terms. I do not admit their
competency to sit in judgment on us; I plead to the jurisdiction. If
they would teach correct principles, they must begin by a correct
example. Meanwhile the abuses for which Great Britain is responsible
cannot be forgotten by those who sincerely desire a new era in
International Law. I say this in no spirit of reproach or controversy,
but simply to serve the cause of my country and of truth.




    December 19th, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, introduced a bill
    to enable the President to expend the sum of ten million
    dollars, or so much thereof as might be necessary, in his
    opinion, in building fortifications and floating-batteries to
    defend our northern frontier and the commerce of the Lakes
    against the attacks of piratical and hostile expeditions
    organized in the British provinces by the enemies of the
    United States; and he moved the reference of the bill to the
    Committee on Finance, which, at the suggestion of Mr. Sumner,
    he changed to the Committee on Foreign Relations. A debate
    ensued, involving what were called the troubles on the border,
    and especially the “St. Albans Raid,” when a hostile expedition
    crossed from Canada into Vermont, and committed acts of
    violence in that town. Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The question before the Senate is simply on the
reference of this bill. It is a question of the order of business.

Looking at its character, it is plain that it concerns primarily
and essentially our foreign relations. This circumstance gives it a
peculiar interest. If it concerned only an additional levy of troops,
or the building of new forts, or a change in our commercial policy,
there would be no question with regard to its reference, nor would
the Senator from Maryland [Mr. REVERDY JOHNSON] have followed it by
remarks on the outrage at St. Albans. I assume, then, that it concerns
our foreign relations, and therefore, according to the usages of the
Senate, should be referred to the committee having that subject in

This is all I have to say on the question of reference; but the
Senate will pardon me, if I glance for one moment at the outrage to
which the Senator referred. Only a few weeks ago, the village of St.
Albans, in Vermont, was disturbed by a band of murderers, highwaymen,
house-breakers, horse-thieves, and bank-robbers, from Canada. After
breaking open the banks and obtaining a certain amount of spoil,
attended by the murder of a citizen, they succeeded in making their
way back to Canada, where they declared themselves agents of the Rebel
Government. Such are the main facts. Now, Mr. President, does any one
suppose that these agents of the Rebel Government were moved to this
criminal enterprise merely by considerations of plunder?--that they
risked life and everything merely to rob a bank? No such thing. Their
object was much higher and more comprehensive. It was to embroil the
Government of the United States with the Government of Great Britain.
I cannot doubt that such was their object. To my mind it is plain as

These agents, or rather the men behind who set them on, knew the
sensitiveness of our people, and how naturally they would be aroused
against the foreign country where the enterprise had its origin. They
saw that excitement, passion, anger on our part were inevitable, that
out of these some complication or collision might ensue, and that any
such complication or collision must necessarily help the Rebellion more
than a victory on the field of battle. All this they saw, and acted
accordingly. The whole proceeding was a trap in which to catch the
Government of our country. It was hoped that in this way the Rebellion
might gain that powerful British intervention which would restore its
failing fortunes.

For myself, Sir, I am determined not to be caught in any such trap.
There are many things Great Britain has done, since the outbreak of our
Rebellion, which to my mind are most unfriendly; but I am unwilling
that there should be anything on our side to furnish seeming apology
for that foreign intervention so constantly menaced, and originally
foreshadowed in the most hasty and utterly unjustifiable concession
of ocean belligerence to Rebel Slavemongers who had not a single port
or prize court. Nobody sees the wrongs we have suffered more clearly
than I do; but I see other wrongs also. While never ceasing to claim
all our just rights, and reminding this power always of duties plainly
neglected, I cannot forget that we are engaged in a war for the
suppression of a long-continued and most virulent Rebellion, which
has thus far tasked our best energies. To this work let us dedicate
ourselves, without arousing another enemy, through whose alliance the
Rebellion may be encouraged and strengthened. Let us put down the
Rebellion. Do this, and we shall do everything.

Meanwhile I trust the Senate will not be moved by passion into hasty
action on any of the measures before it, but that each will be
considered carefully and calmly on its merits, according to the usage
of this body. This surely is the dictate of prudence, and I cannot
doubt that it is the dictate of patriotism also.

Washington, in his Farewell Address, warns against “the insidious
wiles of foreign influence”; but the “insidious wiles” of our Rebels,
seeking to embroil us with foreign powers, are as deadly as any
influence brought against us. Forewarned is forearmed. Let us be
steadfast against them.

    After further debate, in which Mr. Sumner considered the order
    of General Dix, authorizing our troops to pursue a hostile
    expedition into Canada, according to writers on International
    Law, the bill was referred to the Committee on Foreign
    Relations, where, with other similar measures, it was allowed
    to sleep.


JANUARY 11 AND 12, 1865.

    A joint resolution passed the House of Representatives,
    December 13, 1864, which, after an argumentative preamble,
    authorized and requested the President of the United States to
    give the British Government the notice required by the fifth
    article of the Reciprocity Treaty of the 5th June, 1854, for
    the termination of the same; and in the Senate the same was
    duly referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

    December 20, 1864, Mr. Sumner reported from the Committee the
    House resolution, with the following substitute as an amendment.

        “JOINT RESOLUTION providing for the termination of the
        Reciprocity Treaty of fifth June, eighteen hundred and
        fifty-four, between the United States and Great Britain.

        “Whereas it is provided in the Reciprocity Treaty concluded
        at Washington the 5th of June, 1854, between the United
        States, of the one part, and the United Kingdom of Great
        Britain and Ireland, of the other part, that this treaty
        ‘shall remain in force for ten years from the date at
        which it may come into operation, and further until the
        expiration of twelve months after either of the high
        contracting parties shall give notice to the other of its
        wish to terminate the same’; and whereas it appears, by a
        proclamation of the President of the United States, bearing
        date 16th March, 1855, that the treaty came into operation
        on that day; and whereas, further, it is no longer for the
        interests of the United States to continue the same in
        force: Therefore

        “_Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives
        of the United States of America, in Congress assembled_,
        That notice be given of the termination of the Reciprocity
        Treaty, according to the provision therein contained for
        the termination of the same; and the President of the
        United States is hereby charged with the communication of
        such notice to the Government of the United Kingdom of
        Great Britain and Ireland.”

    December 21st, the joint resolution was, on motion of Mr.
    Sumner, taken up for consideration, when the substitute was
    adopted as an amendment. The question occurring on the passage
    of the joint resolution as amended, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I had originally intended, when this joint resolution
came up, to review the whole subject, and to exhibit at length the
history of the Reciprocity Treaty, and existing reasons for its
termination. But, after the debate of a few days ago, and considering
the apparent unanimity in the Senate, I feel unwilling to occupy time
by any protracted remarks. They are not needed.

The people of the United States have been uneasy under the Reciprocity
Treaty for several years,--I may almost say from its date. A feeling
early showed itself that the treaty was more advantageous to Canada
than to the United States,--that, in short, it was unilateral. This
feeling has of late ripened into something like conviction. At the
same time the exigencies of the present war, requiring so large an
expenditure, make it unreasonable for us to continue a treaty by which
the revenues of the country suffer. Such considerations have brought
the public mind to its present position. The unamiable feelings
manifested toward us by the people of Canada have had little influence
on the question, unless, perhaps, they may conspire to make us look at
it in the light of reason rather than of sentiment.

The subject of the fisheries is included in this treaty. But it is not
doubted that before the termination of the treaty some arrangement can
be made in regard to it, either by reciprocal legislation or by further

The Committee, after careful consideration at a full meeting, was
unanimous in its report. And as the Committee represents all parts
of the country and all sentiments of the Senate, I have thought that
perhaps there might be a similar unanimity among Senators. Therefore I
forbear all further remarks, and ask for a vote.

    On motion of Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, the further
    consideration of the question was postponed.

    January 11, 1865, it was resumed, when Mr. Hale spoke against
    the notice. He was followed by Mr. Sumner.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Reciprocity Treaty has a beautiful name. It
suggests at once exchange, equality, equity; and it is because it
was supposed to advance these ideas practically that this treaty was
originally accepted by the people of the United States. If, however, it
shall appear, that, while organizing an exchange, it forgets equality
and equity in any essential respect, then must a modification be made
in conformity with just principles.

I mean to be brief, but I hope, though brief, to make the proper
conclusion apparent. It is a question for reason, and not for passion
or sentiment, and in this spirit I enter upon the discussion.

The treaty may be seen under four different heads, as it concerns,
first, the fisheries,--secondly, the navigation of the St.
Lawrence,--thirdly, the commerce between the United States and the
British provinces,--and, fourthly, the revenue of the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. The fisheries have been a source of anxiety throughout our history,
even from the beginning, and for several years previous to the
Reciprocity Treaty they had been the occasion of mutual irritation,
verging at times on positive outbreak. The treaty was followed by
entire tranquillity, which has not been for a moment disturbed. This is
a plain advantage not to be denied. But, so far as I have been able to
examine official returns, I do not find any further evidence showing
the value of the treaty in this connection, while opinions, even
among those most interested in the fisheries, are divided. There are
partisans for it in Gloucester, and partisans against it in Maine.

If the treaty related exclusively to the fisheries, I should not be
willing to touch it,--although the circumstance that representatives
of these interests differ with regard to its value may leave it
open to debate. But the practical question remains, whether any
seeming advantage in this respect is sufficient to counterbalance the
disadvantage in other respects.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. Next comes the navigation of the St. Lawrence. This plausible
concession has proved to be little more than a name. It appears that
during the first six years of the treaty only forty American vessels,
containing 12,550 tons, passed seaward through the St. Lawrence, and
during the same time only nineteen vessels, containing 5,446 tons,
returned by the same open highway.[39] These are very petty amounts,
when we consider the commerce on the Lakes, which in 1856 was estimated
at $587,197,320,[40] or when we, consider the carrying trade between
the United States and the British provinces. Take the years 1857-62,
and we find that during this period the shipping of the United States
clearing for the British provinces was 10,707,329 tons, and the foreign
shipping clearing during this same period was 7,391,399 tons, while
the shipping of the United States entering at our custom-houses from
the British provinces was 10,056,183 tons, and the foreign shipping
entering was 6,453,520 tons.[41] I mention these things by way of
contrast. In comparison with these grand movements of value, the
business we have been able to do on the St. Lawrence is trivial. It
need not be considered an element in the present discussion.

       *       *       *       *       *

3. The treaty may be seen next in its bearing on the commerce between
the two countries. This has increased immensely; but it is difficult
to say how much of this increase is due to the treaty, and how much to
the natural growth of population, and the facilities of transportation
in both countries. If it could be traced exclusively or in any large
measure to the treaty, it would be an element not to be disregarded.
But it does not follow from the occurrence of this increase _after_ the
treaty that it was _on account_ of the treaty. _Post hoc, ergo propter
hoc_, is too loose a rule for our Government on the present occasion.

The census of the United States and of the British provinces shows an
increase of population which must not be disregarded in determining the
origin of this increase of commerce.

There are also the railroads, with prompt and constant means of
intercommunication, which have come into successful operation only
since the treaty. It would be difficult to exaggerate the influence
they have exercised in quickening and extending commerce. I cannot
doubt that the railroad system of the two countries has been in itself
a Reciprocity Treaty more comprehensive and equal than any written on

The extent of trade before and after the treaty is seen in a few

In the three years immediately preceding the treaty the total exports
to Canada and the other British provinces were $48,216,518, and the
total imports were $22,588,577,--being of exports to imports in the
proportion of one hundred to forty-six.

In the ten years of the treaty the total exports to Canada and the
other British provinces were $256,350,931, and the total imports were
$200,399,786. According to these amounts the exports were to the
imports in the proportion of one hundred to seventy-eight. Taking
Canada alone, we find the change in this proportion greater still. The
total exports to Canada in the three years immediately preceding the
treaty were $31,846,865, and the total imports were $16,589,624, being
in the proportion of one hundred to fifty-two,--while the total exports
to Canada alone during the ten years of the treaty were $170,371,911,
and the total imports were $161,474,349, being in the proportion of one
hundred to ninety-four.

I present these tables simply to lay before you the extent and nature
of the change in the commerce between the two countries. I forbear
embarking on the much debated inquiry as to the effect of a difference
between the amount of exports and of imports, involving, as it does,
the most delicate question of the balance of trade. In the comparison I
am making, it is not necessary to consider it. The Reciprocity Treaty
cannot be maintained or overturned on any contested principle of
political economy.

       *       *       *       *       *

4. I come, in the last place, to the influence of the treaty on the
revenue of our country; and here the custom-house is our principal
witness. The means of determining this question are found in the
authentic tables published from time to time in Reports of the
Treasury, and especially in the report to Congress at this session,
which I have in my hand.

Looking at these tables, we find certain unanswerable points. I begin
with an estimate founded on the trade before the treaty. From this it
appears, that, if no treaty had been made, and the trade had increased
in the same ratio as before the treaty, Canada would have paid to the
United States in the ten years of the treaty at least $16,373,880, from
which she has been relieved. This sum is actually lost to the revenue
of the United States. In return, Canada has given up $2,650,890, being
the amount it would have collected, if no treaty had been made. This
vast disproportion is to the detriment of the national revenue.

Here is another illustration, derived from the tables. During the ten
years of the treaty the United States have actually paid in duties to
Canada alone $16,802,962, while during this same period Canada has paid
in duties to the United States the very moderate sum of $930,447. Here
again is vast disproportion, to the detriment of the national revenue.

The same inequality is seen in another way. During the ten years of
the treaty _dutiable_ products of the United States have entered Canada
and the other provinces to the amount of $84,347,019, while during this
same period _dutiable_ products of Canada and the other provinces have
entered the United States only to the amount of $7,750,482. During
this same period _free products_ of the United States have entered
Canada and the other provinces to the amount of $118,853,972, while
_free products_ of Canada and the other provinces have entered the
United States to the amount of $178,500,184. Here, again, is vast
disproportion to the detriment of the national revenue.

Add to these various results the statement of the Secretary of the
Treasury, just laid on our tables, in the following words:--

    “The treaty [during the eight fiscal years 1855-63] has
    released from duty a total sum of $42,333,257 in value of
    goods of Canada more than of goods the produce of the United

This conclusion is in substantial harmony with that reached from an
independent examination of the tables.

These various illustrations show that the revenue of the United States
has suffered by the treaty, and that in this important particular its
advantages are not shared equally by the two countries. Here, at least,
it loses title to its name.

But its onerous character has become manifest in other forms since
the adoption of our system of internal revenue. I need not remind the
Senate of the extent to which we have gone in seeking out objects of
excise,--and there are pending propositions in the same direction,
seeking new objects; but it is notorious that such taxation is always
graduated with reference to the tariff on the same objects, when
imported from abroad. But here the Reciprocity Treaty steps forward
with imperative veto. Thus, for instance, the lumber of our country
is left free from excise, though I am assured it might well bear it,
simply because no countervailing tax can be imposed upon lumber from
the British provinces. Had a tax of five per cent been imposed upon
the lumber of our country, I am assured, by those familiar with the
subject, that we should have received at least $5,000,000,--all of
which is lost to our annual revenue. This is only a single illustration.

There are other ways in which the treaty and our excise system come
into conflict. Practical difficulties, I am assured, have already
occurred in the Bureau of Internal Revenue. This conflict is seen
in the extent to which the business of the country, and even its
agriculture, is taxed now. Everything is taxed. Even the farmer works
now with taxed tools. These considerations, with the increased value of
labor among us, must give new advantages to the productive interests
of Canada as compared with ours, and tend still further to the unequal
operation of the treaty. Even admitting its original equality, you
cannot deny that the vicissitudes of war, in these latter days, have
worked changes requiring new arrangements and adaptations.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, such is the result of a candid inquiry into the
operation of this treaty, as it concerns the fisheries, the navigation
of the St. Lawrence, the commerce of the two countries, and the revenue
of the United States. I have kept back nothing favorable to the treaty
that could be adequately stated in the brief space I have allowed
myself, nor have I exaggerated its unequal operation.

And now the question is, Shall this condition of things be readjusted?
The treaty itself, as if anticipating this exigency, furnishes the
opportunity, by expressly providing for its termination at the
expiration of ten years, on notice of one year from either party.
Great Britain is free to give this notice; so are the United States.
Considering the present state of the country, it would seem improvident
not to give the notice. We must husband our resources; nor can a
foreign Government justly expect us to continue a treaty which is a
drain upon our revenue. We are turning in all directions for subjects
of taxation. Our own people are contributing largely in every way.
Commerce, manufactures in every form, come to the assistance of the
country. I know no reason why the large amounts enfranchised by this
treaty should enjoy the immunity thus far conceded. An inequality which
in ordinary times might escape observation becomes too apparent in the
blaze of present responsibilities.

Something has been said about accompanying the proposed notice with
instructions to negotiate a new treaty. This is unnecessary. A new
treaty may not be advisable. It is possible that the whole matter may
be settled by Congress under general laws. At all events, there is a
full year from the 16th of March next in which to provide a substitute,
either by diplomacy or by legislation. And this remark is applicable
to the fisheries, as well as to every other interest touched by the
treaty. I cannot doubt that the two contracting parties will approach
the whole business in the determination to settle it on the permanent
foundations of justice and equity; but the first step in this direction
is the notice to terminate the existing treaty.

    In the debate which ensued, Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, Mr. Collamer,
    of Vermont, Mr. Morrill, of Maine, Mr. Chandler, of Michigan,
    Mr. Foot, of Vermont, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, Mr.
    Farwell, of Maine, Mr. Conness, of California, Mr. Wilson,
    of Massachusetts, Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Riddle, of
    Delaware, and Mr. Richardson, of Illinois, spoke in favor of
    the notice; Mr. Ramsey, of Minnesota, Mr. Howe, of Wisconsin,
    Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, and Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana,
    spoke against it.

    January 12th, Mr. Sumner spoke again.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The proposition to terminate the Reciprocity Treaty has
been mystified in various ways. There has been mystification because it
came from the Committee on Foreign Relations, as if that committee, to
which are referred all treaties and questions with foreign powers, was
not the proper committee to consider it, according to the usages and
traditions of the Senate. Pray, what other committee could so justly
deal with it?

There has also been illusiveness in argument, by accumulation
of statistics and figures without end. We have been treated to
calculations, showing the increase of commerce since the treaty,
and also the relative increase of exports and imports. To these
calculations I am no stranger; but, after careful study, I am satisfied
that it is impossible to find in them any _terra firma_ on which to
stand. They are little better than quicksand, or a deceptive mirage.

In the remarks which I submitted to the Senate yesterday I declined to
dwell on these calculations, for I saw, that, while involving large
amounts, they were uncertain, inconclusive, and inapplicable. With
one theory of political economy they seemed to point one way, and with
another to point another way. If, for instance, you accept the early
theory that commerce is disadvantageous where imports exceed exports,
they tell against the treaty; but if you accept the opposite theory of
later writers, they tell the other way. All this assumes that they are
applicable. But nobody is able to show that the general increase of
commerce since the treaty has been caused by the treaty. Other agencies
have had their influence; and it is difficult to say what is due to
them, and what to the treaty.

In this uncertainty, I prefer to rest the proposition on the simple
ground that the national revenue is impaired by this treaty. Authentic
figures place this beyond controversy.

I forbear now all details, and content myself with stating the
indubitable conclusion. The national revenue is impaired in two ways:
first, at the custom-house on our frontier, which, under the operation
of the treaty, yields little or nothing, when it might yield much;
and, secondly, it is impaired through the check and embarrassment the
treaty causes in our internal taxation. There is failure of duties
and of excise. It is not enough to say that there is a countervailing
advantage in the increase of our commerce. The conclusion is none the
less exact, that the national revenue is impaired. And the question is
distinctly presented, whether, at this critical moment, in a period of
war, when the whole country in its wealth and labor is contributing
to the support of Government, any good reason can be assigned why
the commerce of Canada should be exempt from contribution. Commerce
elsewhere, manufactures, business, income, tea, coffee, books, all
pay tribute. The tax-gatherer is everywhere except on the Canadian
frontier. At home there is not an interest, hardly a sentiment, free
from taxation. Surely there is nothing in the recent conduct of
Canadians to make us treat them better than we treat ourselves.

There is another consideration which is decisive, even if others fail.
In view of existing Public Opinion, and considering the criticisms
of the treaty, it is important that our relations with Canada should
be carefully revised in the light of experience. The treaty, in
authorizing its termination at the end of ten years, has anticipated
this very exigency. But such revision cannot be made advantageously
without the proposed notice. In the case of a lease, with a right to
terminate it at the end of ten years on a year’s notice, the landlord,
if the character of the lease had been called in question, would not
hesitate to give the notice, if for no other reason, that he might
revise the terms anew on a footing of equality. For like reason we must
give the notice to Great Britain. We must untie ourselves now, even if
we would tie ourselves again for the future. The notice will leave us
“master of the situation” to this extent at least, that we shall be
free to act according to the requirements of the public good. Without
this notice there will be no foothold for diplomacy or legislation; but
the notice will be a foothold from which we may accomplish whatever
is proper and just. The treaty may be reconsidered and then adopted
anew, or it may be entirely changed, and we shall have a year for this
purpose,--so that, when the Old expires, the New may begin.

    The joint resolution directing the notice was adopted in the
    Senate,--Yeas 33, Nays 8,--and was at once adopted by the House
    of Representatives, and approved by the President January 18,
    1865. It was then communicated by Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, our
    minister at London, who, under date of March 17th, addressed a
    note to Earl Russell, “giving formal notice of the termination
    of the Reciprocity Treaty, and inclosing at the same time a
    certified copy of the resolution expressing the sense of both
    Houses of Congress on that subject.” Mr. Adams adds, in his
    letter to Mr. Seward: “This note was delivered by the messenger
    of this Legation at the Foreign Office at 2 P. M., notice of
    which was entered by him on the envelope, and also reported
    to me on his return. Not long afterwards I received from his
    Lordship his own acknowledgment of the reception of it.”[43]



                                     SENATE CHAMBER, December 26, 1864.

  DEAR SIR,--It will not be in my power to be present at the
  celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation by the Banneker
  Institute. But, wherever I may be, I shall not forget this great
  and good deed.

  That proclamation has done more than any military success to save
  the country. It has already saved the national character. The
  future historian will confess that it saved everything.

  It remains for us to uphold it faithfully, so that it may not be
  impaired a single jot or tittle.

  In the spirit of the Proclamation, and taught by its example, we
  must press forward in the work of justice to the colored race,
  until abuse and outrage have ceased, and all are equal before the

  The astronomer, Banneker, whose honored name you bear, would be
  shut out of the street cars in some of our cities; but such petty
  meanness cannot last long.

      Accept my best wishes, and believe me, dear Sir, faithfully




5, 1865.

    As early as January 8, 1864, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts,
    embodied in a bill to promote enlistments a clause declaring,
    that, when any man or boy of African descent, owing service
    or labor in any State, under its laws, shall be mustered into
    the military or naval service of the United States, he and his
    mother, wife, and children shall be forever free. This bill
    was considered from time to time. March 18th, Mr. Sherman, of
    Ohio, moved to postpone the bill, “with a view that we may act
    upon the main proposition, the Amendment to the Constitution to
    abolish Slavery in the United States.” Mr. Sumner replied: “The
    Senator speaks about acting on ‘the main proposition.’ The main
    proposition, Sir, is to strike Slavery wherever you can hit
    it.” That session closed without final action on the question.

    December 13, 1864, Mr. Wilson brought it forward again, in
    a joint resolution to encourage enlistments and promote the
    efficiency of the military and naval forces, by making free the
    wives and children of persons who had been or might be mustered
    into the service of the United States.

    January 5, 1865, in the debate which ensued, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--Only a few days ago there was a call for three hundred
thousand more troops. The country needs them, and it is the duty of
Congress to supply them. To this end there must be no difficulty,
impediment, or embarrassment in the way. All these must be removed.
This is not all. There must be encouragement of every kind; and such
is the character of the present proposition.

There can be no delay. The country cannot wait the slow action of
Constitutional Amendment, as proposed by the Senator from Wisconsin
[Mr. DOOLITTLE]. Congress must act to the extent of its power, and any
neglect of power on this question would be injurious to the public

All will confess the humanity of the proposition to enfranchise the
families of colored persons who have borne arms for their country. All
will confess the hardship of continuing them in Slavery.

But the question is asked by many, and even by the Senator from
Wisconsin, What power has Congress to set the families free?

    MR. DOOLITTLE. I did not ask that question.

MR. SUMNER. The question has been put again and again, and the purport
of the speech of the Senator was in that sense. He argued that we
were about to have a Constitutional Amendment which would supersede
everything; that therefore this proposition was unnecessary, if not
injurious. I so understood the argument of the Senator, and that
it pointed directly to the question of power,--because I know the
patriotism of the Senator too well to suppose, that, if in his opinion
the power of Congress was beyond doubt, he would hesitate. I do not do
the Senator injustice. I say, then, the question is asked, What power
has Congress to set the families free? This is the single point on
which I shall express an opinion.

My answer is, that Congress has precisely the same power to enfranchise
the families that it has to enfranchise the colored soldier. The two
powers are coincident, and from the same source.

It is assumed that Congress may enfranchise the colored soldier.
This has been done by solemn statute, without reference to the
conduct of his pretended owner. If we are asked the reason for such
enfranchisement, it must be found, first, in its practical necessity,
that we may secure the best service of the slaves, and, secondly, in
its intrinsic justice and humanity. In brief, Government cannot be
so improvident and so foolish as to seek the service of the slave
at the hazard of life, without securing to him the boon of freedom.
Nor, if Government were so bereft of common sense as to forego this
temptation to enlistment and efficient service, can it be guilty of
the unutterable meanness of using the slave in the national defence
and then returning him to bondage. Therefore the slave who fights is

But every argument, every consideration, which pleads for the
enfranchisement of the slave, pleads also for the enfranchisement of
the family. There is the same practical necessity for doing it, and the
same unspeakable shabbiness in not doing it.

There is no principle of law better established than this, that an
acknowledged right carries with it all incidents essential to its
exercise. I do not employ technical language; but I give the idea,
founded in reason and the nature of things. It would be vain to confer
a right or a power, if the means for its enjoyment were denied. From
this simple statement the conclusion is irresistible.

In conferring upon Congress the power to create an army, the
Constitution conferred therewith all the powers essential to the
exercise of the principal power. If Congress can authorize the
enlistment of slaves, as it indubitably can, it may at the same
time authorize their enfranchisement, and by the same reason it may
authorize the enfranchisement of their families,--and all this from the
necessity of the case, and to prevent an intolerable baseness.

A Scottish patriot, nearly two centuries ago, exclaimed in memorable
words, which I am always glad to quote, that he would give his life
to serve his country, but would not do _a base thing_ to save it.[44]
If there be any value in this declaration, it may be invoked, when
it is deliberately argued that the National Government can create an
army, and in this service can enfranchise the slave it enlists, but is
impotent to enfranchise his family. I know not how we can use his right
arm and ask him to shed his blood in our defence, and then hand over
his wife and child to bondage. The thought is too vile. The human heart
rejects the insufferable wrong.

But it is said the slave has no family. Such is the argument of
Slavery. For all that he has, as well as all that he is, even wife
and child, belong to another. Surely this unrighteous pretension will
not be made the apology for a denial of rights. If the family of the
slave be not designated by law, or by the forms of legal marriage,
_then it must be ascertained by the next best evidence possible_,--that
is, by cohabitation and mutual recognition as man and wife. And any
uncertainty in this evidence can only be regarded as a natural incident
of Slavery. As men cannot take advantage of their own wrong, so
slave-masters cannot take advantage of Slavery. Any other rule would
practically unite with Slavery in denying to the slave wife and child.

There is a well-known French maxim, that “it is only the first step
which costs”; and here permit me to say, it is only the first stage
of the argument which merits attention. Concede that the soldier may
be enfranchised, and then by the same constitutional power his family
may be admitted to an equal liberty. Any other conclusion would be
illogical as inhuman, discreditable alike to head and heart. There is
no argument, whether of reason or humanity, for the enfranchisement of
the soldier, which does not plead equally for that of his family. Nay,
more,--I know not how we can expect a blessing on our arms while we
fail to perform this duty.

I cannot close without declaring again my opinion, that Congress
at this moment is complete master of the whole subject of Slavery
everywhere in the United States, even without any Constitutional
Amendment. It can sweep all out of existence, precisely as it can
remove any other obstruction to the national defence, and all this
by virtue of a power as indisputable as the power to raise armies or
to suspend the _Habeas Corpus_. Future generations will read with
amazement, that a great people, when national life was assailed,
hesitated to exercise a power so simple and beneficent; and this
amazement will know no bounds, as they learn that Congress higgled for
months on the question whether the wives and children of our colored
soldiers should be admitted to freedom.

    January 9th, after further debate, the joint resolution passed
    the Senate,--Yeas 27, Nays 10. February 22d, it passed the
    House of Representatives,--Yeas 74, Nays 63; and March 3d, it
    was approved by the President.


13, 1865.

    January 13th, the Senate considered a joint resolution reported
    by Mr. Harlan, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, in
    relation to the massacre of the Cheyenne Indians. It proposed
    to direct the Secretary of War to cause the suspension of all
    pay and allowances to each of the members of the Third Colorado
    Regiment, officers, privates, and employees, and all others
    engaged in the recent attack made on the Cheyenne Indians in
    their village near Fort Lyon, in the Territory of Colorado,
    under the command of Colonel Chivington, until the conduct of
    the colonel and the regiment, and all others engaged in that
    attack, should receive the approval of the Secretary of War;
    and he was to cause all ponies, blankets, money, jewels, furs,
    and other property captured from the Indians, to be seized and
    held for the use of the United States, or for restitution to
    the Indians, if it should hereafter appear that the attack was

       *       *       *       *       *

    In the debate which ensued, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--Exceptional crimes require exceptional remedies. Here
is an exceptional crime,--one of the most atrocious in the history of
any country. There must be a remedy commensurate with the crime. And,
Sir, the remedy, in order to be anything but a name, should be swift.
It cannot wait the slow ceremony of ordinary proceedings. It must
have promptitude such as can be imparted by the proposition now under
consideration. I thank the Senator from Iowa for bringing it forward.
Let us vote upon it, put it on its passage, speed it on its way; for
only by doing so can we wash our hands of this blood.

    The resolution was adopted without a division.



                                           BOSTON, January 16, 1865.


        A Joint Committee of the Legislature invoke you to deliver
        a Eulogy upon Hon. Edward Everett before the State
        authorities at such time as meets your convenience during
        the session of the Legislature. Please answer at once by

            MOSES KIMBALL.

    Mr. Sumner answered by telegraph as follows.

  Sharing the general grief in the loss of a rare and pure patriot,
  I regret that public duties here seem to prevent me from uniting
  with the Legislature in the honors they propose to his memory.
  I am grateful to the Joint Committee for the opportunity they
  offer me of commemorating a great example of genius, learning,
  and eloquence, consecrated to patriotic service; but the probable
  session of the Senate and the exigencies of public business
  (which are always my first duty) make me fear that I cannot
  respond to their summons. I mention with hesitation, but to
  explain the rule which is with me obligatory, that, during my
  long term in the Senate, I have never left my seat for a single
  day, except while an invalid. Be good enough to accept my thanks
  and sympathies.




    January 18th, the Senate considered a joint resolution passed
    by the House of Representatives, for the termination of the
    treaty between the United States and Great Britain regulating
    the naval force on the Lakes.

    The resolution, as it was passed by the House of
    Representatives, recited, that the Treaty of 1817, as to
    the naval force upon the Lakes, was designed as a temporary
    arrangement only, and, although equal and just at the time it
    was made, has become greatly unequal through the construction
    by Great Britain of sundry ship-canals,--that the vast
    interests of commerce upon the Northwestern Lakes, and the
    security of cities and towns situated on their American
    borders, manifestly require the establishment of one or more
    navy-yards wherein ships may be fitted and prepared for naval
    warfare,--and that the United States Government, unlike that of
    Great Britain, is destitute of ship-canals for the transmission
    of gunboats from the Atlantic Ocean to the Western Lakes,--and
    therefore proposed to direct the President of the United States
    to give notice to the Government of Great Britain that it is
    the wish and intention of the Government of the United States
    to terminate the arrangement of 1817, in respect to the naval
    force upon the Lakes, at the end of six months from and after
    giving the notice.

    Mr. Sumner, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, reported
    the following substitute.

        “JOINT RESOLUTION to terminate the Treaty of 1817,
        regulating the Naval Force on the Lakes.

        “_Whereas_ the United States, of the one part, and the
        United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, of the other
        part, by a treaty bearing date April, 1817, have regulated
        the naval force upon the Lakes, and it was further
        provided, that, ‘if either party should hereafter be
        desirous of annulling this stipulation, and should give
        notice to that effect to the other party, it shall cease
        to be binding after the expiration of six months from
        the date of such notice’; and whereas the peace of our
        frontier is now endangered by hostile expeditions against
        the commerce of the Lakes, and by other acts of lawless
        persons, which the naval force of the two countries allowed
        by the existing treaty may be insufficient to prevent; and
        whereas, further, the President of the United States has
        proceeded to give the notice required for the termination
        of the treaty by a communication which took effect on the
        23d November, 1864: Therefore,

        “_Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives
        of the United States of America in Congress assembled_,
        That the notice given by the President of the United States
        to the Government of Great Britain and Ireland to terminate
        the Treaty of 1817, regulating the naval force upon the
        Lakes, is hereby adopted and ratified, as if the same had
        been authorized by Congress.”

    The substitute was adopted, and the question was on the passage
    of the resolution as amended.

    As appears from the amended resolution, the President had
    already given the notice for the termination of the treaty.

    Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, opposed the resolution, on the ground
    that the notice to terminate a treaty can be given only by
    Congress,--that the President had no more power to give the
    notice than the Judiciary,--and that his interference with the
    legislative power ought to be condemned, instead of approved by
    adopting it.

    Mr. Sumner replied, that the difference between the Senator
    and the Committee was of form; and he proceeded to read a
    communication, bearing date November 23, 1864, from Mr. Adams
    to Earl Russell, setting forth the grievances on our northern
    frontier, and giving formal notice, that, “in conformity with
    the treaty reservation of the right, at the expiration of six
    months from the date of this note the United States will deem
    themselves at liberty to increase the naval armament upon the
    Lakes, if in their judgment the condition of affairs in that
    quarter shall then require it.” On this note was minuted:
    “Delivered at the Foreign Office at fifteen minutes past six
    o’clock, P. M.” In considering the validity of the notice by
    the President, he referred to authorities, showing that a
    treaty, like a law, could be repealed only by the legislative
    power,[45] and argued that notice to terminate it must be given
    by the same power. Mr. Sumner further said:--

But the Senator from Kentucky tells us that the original defect in
the notice by the President is of such a character that it cannot
be cured by any subsequent ratification; and he proceeds to present
what he will excuse me if I call imaginary cases, which I think could
hardly occur, and are widely different from that under consideration.
I express no opinion on the cases he does present,--as, for instance,
if the President, during the recess of Congress, should undertake to
involve the country in war. Let that case take care of itself, when
it arises for judgment. The case before us is more simple, and is one
with regard to which there are no private rights or interests. It is
a domestic question between Congress and the President. He has given
the notice. As regards the Government of Great Britain, that notice, I
cannot doubt, is perfectly valid. That Government will never call it
in question. For our own security, and that our precedents may conform
to just principles, we now propose by formal Act of Congress to throw
over this notice of the President the shield of Congressional sanction;
and the question is, Can this be done? Can Congress, by an act of
ratification, impart to the original notice of the President that power
and character which, without subsequent ratification, it would not
have? On that point I content myself with reading the authoritative
words of the Supreme Court of the United States in the decisions known
as the _Prize Cases_. There the Court express themselves as follows.

     “Without admitting that such an act was necessary under the
    circumstances, it is plain, that, if the President had in any
    manner assumed powers which it was necessary should have the
    authority or sanction of Congress, that, on the well-known
    principle of law, ‘_Omnis ratihabitio retrotrahitur et mandato
    æquiparatur_,’ this ratification has operated to perfectly
    cure the defect. In the case of _Brown_ v. _United States_,
    (8 Cranch, 131, 132, 133,) Mr. Justice Story treats of this
    subject, and cites numerous authorities, to which we may
    refer, to prove this position, and concludes: ‘I am perfectly
    satisfied that no subject can legally commit hostilities
    or capture property of an enemy, when, either expressly or
    constructively, the sovereign has prohibited it. But suppose
    he does, I would ask if the sovereign may not ratify his
    proceedings, and thus, by a retroactive operation, give
    validity to them?’”[46]

All now proposed is that Congress shall ratify the notice to the
British Government, and by retroactive operation give validity to it.


Mr. President, if this concerned private rights,--if, according to
the language of the Senator from Kentucky, there were any question
of _meum_ and _tuum_,--there might be force in his argument. But no
private rights are involved, and there are no private individuals
affected in any way by the proposed ratification of the notice already
given. Therefore I put out of view that suggestion. It is, then, simply
a question of power on the part of Congress, with no question of
private rights.

I conclude that Congress has the power, and I put my conclusion
on two distinct grounds. The first is the reason of the case, its
common sense; for without this power I can imagine difficulties or
embarrassments in the administration of government. I say the power
must exist in Congress of ratifying, if it sees fit, certain executive
acts. The second ground is judicial authority. The Supreme Court of
the United States, after careful consideration in recent cases which
the country knows received the amplest attention and were most fully
argued, has affirmed the power of Congress to ratify an executive act
which without such ratification might otherwise be invalid. But I do
not content myself with referring to that single decision, recent
and authoritative as it is; I recall attention also to that earlier
decision which is adduced in the Prize Cases, the case of _Brown_ v.
_The United States_, which is well known to all lawyers as one of the
best-reasoned judgments in our books, and in that case you will find
the same power attributed to Congress.

Therefore, on grounds of reason and of authority, I am not permitted to
doubt that Congress may exercise this power.

    The resolution was adopted without a division, and communicated
    to Mr. Adams in a despatch of Mr. Seward, under date of
    February 13, 1865.[47]


JANUARY 24 AND 29, 1865.

    January 18th, Mr. Howard, of Michigan, from the Committee on
    Military Affairs, reported the following joint resolution.

        “JOINT RESOLUTION, advising Retaliation for the Cruel
        Treatment of Prisoners by the Insurgents.

        “_Whereas_ it has come to the knowledge of Congress
        that great numbers of our soldiers, who have fallen as
        prisoners of war into the hands of the insurgents, have
        been subjected to treatment unexampled for cruelty in the
        history of civilized war, and finding its parallels only
        in the conduct of savage tribes,--a treatment resulting
        in the death of multitudes by the slow, but designed,
        process of starvation, and by mortal diseases occasioned
        by insufficient and unhealthy food, by wanton exposure of
        their persons to the inclemency of the weather, and by
        deliberate assassination of innocent and unoffending men,
        and the murder in cold blood of prisoners after surrender;
        and whereas a continuance of these barbarities, in contempt
        of the laws of war, and in disregard of the remonstrances
        of the national authorities, has presented to us the
        alternative of suffering our brave soldiers thus to be
        destroyed, or to apply the principle of retaliation for
        their protection; Therefore,

        “_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of
        the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That
        in the judgment of Congress it has become justifiable and
        necessary that the President should, in order to prevent
        the continuance and recurrence of such barbarities, and
        to insure the observance by the insurgents of the laws of
        civilized war, resort at once to measures of retaliation;
        that in our opinion such retaliation ought to be inflicted
        upon the insurgent officers now in our hands, or hereafter
        to fall into our hands, as prisoners; that such officers
        ought to be subjected to like treatment practised towards
        our officers or soldiers in the hands of the insurgents,
        in respect to quantity and quality of food, clothing,
        fuel, medicine, medical attendance, personal exposure,
        or other mode of dealing with them; that, with a view
        to the same ends, the insurgent prisoners in our hands
        ought to be placed under the control and in the keeping
        of officers and men who have themselves been prisoners
        in the hands of the insurgents, and have thus acquired a
        knowledge of their mode of treating Union prisoners; that
        explicit instructions ought to be given to the forces
        having the charge of such insurgent prisoners, requiring
        them to carry out strictly and promptly the principles of
        this resolution in every case, until the President, having
        received satisfactory information of the abandonment by the
        insurgents of such barbarous practices, shall revoke or
        modify said instructions. Congress do not, however, intend
        by this resolution to limit or restrict the power of the
        President to the modes or principles of retaliation herein
        mentioned, but only to advise a resort to them as demanded
        by the occasion.”

    January 23d, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, moved to proceed with its
    consideration, when the following passage occurred.

        MR. WADE. I move to take up Senate resolution No. 97

        MR. SUMNER. What is it about?

        MR. WADE. About retaliation.

        MR. SUMNER. I would not go on with that to-day.

        MR. WADE. You would, if you were in prison. [_Laughter._]

    The resolution was taken up and debated.

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 24th, Mr. Sumner moved the following resolutions as a

        “_Resolved_, That retaliation is harsh always, even in the
        simplest cases, and is permissible only where, in the first
        place, it may be reasonably expected to effect its object,
        and where, in the second place, it is consistent with the
        usages of civilized society; and in the absence of these
        essential conditions, it is a useless barbarism, having
        no other end than vengeance, which is forbidden alike to
        nations and to men.

        “_Resolved_, That the treatment of our officers and
        soldiers in Rebel prisons is cruel, savage, and
        heart-rending beyond precedent; that it is shocking to
        morals; that it is an offence against human nature itself;
        that it adds new guilt to the crime of the Rebellion, and
        constitutes an example from which history will turn with
        sorrow and disgust.

        “_Resolved_, That any attempted imitation of Rebel
        barbarism in the treatment of prisoners is plainly
        impracticable, on account of its inconsistency with the
        prevailing sentiments of humanity among us; that it would
        be injurious at home, for it would barbarize the whole
        community; that it would be utterly useless, for it could
        not affect the cruel authors of the revolting conduct we
        seek to overcome; that it would be immoral, inasmuch as
        it proceeded from vengeance alone; that it could have no
        other result than to degrade the national character and
        the national name, and to bring down upon our country the
        reprobation of history; and that, being thus impracticable,
        useless, immoral, and degrading, it must be rejected as
        a measure of retaliation, precisely as the barbarism
        of roasting or eating prisoners is always rejected by
        civilized powers.

        “_Resolved_, That the United States, filled with grief and
        sympathy for cherished fellow-citizens who, as officers
        and soldiers, have become the victims of Heaven-defying
        outrage, hereby declare their solemn determination to
        end this great iniquity by ending the Rebellion of which
        it is the natural fruit; that, to secure this humane
        and righteous consummation, they pledge anew their best
        energies and the resources of the whole people; and they
        call upon all to bear witness that in this necessary
        warfare with barbarism they renounce all vengeance and
        every evil example, and plant themselves firmly on the
        sacred landmarks of Christian civilization, under the
        protection of that God who is present with every prisoner,
        and enables heroic souls to suffer for their country.”

    Mr. Sumner addressed the Senate in support of his resolutions.
    After analyzing the resolution of the Committee, and exhibiting
    its character, he proceeded:--

Now, Sir, I believe that the Senate will not venture, in this age
of Christian light, under any inducement, under any provocation, to
counsel the Executive Government to enter into such open competition
with barbarism. Sir, the thing is impossible; it must not be
entertained. We cannot be cruel, or barbarous, or savage, because the
Rebels we now meet in warfare are cruel, barbarous, and savage. We
cannot imitate the detested example. We find no precedent for such
retaliation in our own history nor in the history of other nations.
We find no precedent, I say, in our own history. This question was
one of the earliest presented to General Washington after taking
command of the American forces at Cambridge. From his headquarters
there, under date of August 11, 1775, he addressed a letter to General
Gage, commander of the British forces in Boston, which, as I believe,
contains the full extent to which a nation can honorably go; and I must
say, that, as I read it, I felt new pride in that commander who thus
early in the discharge of his great duties showed such insight into
their proper limits and responsibilities. Addressing General Gage, he

    “SIR,--I understand that the officers engaged in the cause
    of Liberty and their country, who by the fortune of war have
    fallen into your hands, have been thrown indiscriminately into
    a common jail appropriated for felons; that no consideration
    has been had for those of the most respectable rank, when
    languishing with wounds and sickness; and that some have been
    even amputated in this unworthy situation.”

Then, reminding the British commander of the cause in which he was
engaged, Washington continued:--

    “My duty now makes it necessary to apprise you that for the
    future I shall regulate all my conduct towards those gentlemen
    who are or may be in our possession exactly by the rule you
    shall observe towards those of ours now in your custody. If
    severity and hardship mark the line of your conduct, painful as
    it may be to me, your prisoners will feel its effects; but if
    kindness and humanity are shown to ours, I shall with pleasure
    consider those in our hands only as unfortunate, and they shall
    receive from me that treatment to which the unfortunate are
    ever entitled.”[48]

Senators about me say, “That is sound.” I am glad they say so; and
if they can find in this correspondence any sanction of the savage
system now inaugurated in Rebel prisons, let them point it out. The
correspondence has its own limitations in the statement of facts on
which it proceeds, which you will please observe. Prisoners had been
thrown indiscriminately into a common jail for felons, and with
no consideration for those of the most respectable rank, even when
languishing with wounds and sickness; and some of them had limbs
amputated in this unworthy situation. But there is, Sir, no such
painful suggestion as that in our resolution: they had not “been
subjected to treatment unexampled for cruelty in the history of
civilized war, and finding its parallels only in the conduct of savage
tribes,--a treatment resulting in the death of multitudes by the slow,
but designed, process of starvation”: no such thing appears in the
case; and the judgment of Washington was applied strictly to the facts
before him.

This is not all. Search the history of our country, and you find that
the practice is fixed, while the rule has received an accuracy of
statement from which there can be no escape. I have before me the words
of Chancellor Kent, in his valuable Commentaries:--

    “Instances of resolutions to retaliate on innocent prisoners of
    war occurred in this country during the Revolutionary War, as
    well as during the War of 1812; but there was no instance in
    which retaliation, beyond the measure of severe confinement,
    took place in respect to prisoners of war.”[49]

There you have the authoritative testimony of that great expounder
of our history and of our jurisprudence, the late Chancellor Kent. I
add also the testimony of another American writer, whom I have quoted
more than once in this Chamber, General Halleck, who, in his work on
International Law, thus expresses himself:--

     “Retaliation should be limited to such punishments as may be
    requisite for our own safety and the good of society; beyond
    this it cannot be justified. We have no right to mutilate the
    ambassador of a barbarous power because his sovereign has
    treated our ambassador in that manner, nor to put prisoners
    and hostages to death, and to destroy private property, merely
    because our enemy has done this to us; for no individual is
    justly chargeable with the guilt of a personal crime for the
    acts of the community of which he is a member.”[50]

I said, Sir, the practice proposed was without precedent in the history
of other nations. I believe that I am right. I am confident that no
authentic record can be shown where such savage treatment has been
imitated in retaliation by a Christian power. One of the most learned
writers on the Law of Nations, Vattel, dealing with this very subject,
aptly puts the following question:--

    “By what right will you cause the nose and ears of the
    ambassador of a barbarian to be cut off who shall have treated
    your ambassador in this manner?”[51]

That question strikes at the heart of this whole subject. What right
have you to adopt any barbarous conduct because the barbarous enemy
with whom you deal has set the example? This same eminent publicist, in
another place, says:--

    “The Roman Senate held it as a maxim, that war was to be
    carried on with arms, and not with poison.… The Senate, and
    Tiberius himself, thought it not permissible to employ poison,
    even against a perfidious enemy, and as a kind of retortion or

That statement covers the whole case. Why is it unlawful in
retaliation to adopt poison? Because it is barbarous. And for the same
reason it is unlawful for us to adopt starvation, to adopt all that
cruel system of treatment so emphatically set forth in the preamble
to this resolution. And while, Sir, I concede that by the Laws of War
retaliation is permissible, yet it has its limits; and those limits, as
I venture to say in the resolutions sent to the Chair as a substitute,
are at least twofold: first, the retaliation must be useful, it must
reasonably promise some practical result; and, in the second place,
it must be in harmony with the usages of civilized nations. The
retaliation now proposed is useless, for it can have no practical
result; and it is not in harmony with the usages of civilized nations.

I have said that the Laws of War recognize retaliation, as appears in
the recent most formal and explicit declaration to be found in the very
elaborate “Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United
States in the Field,”[53] prepared since this war began, under the
direction of a learned commission, and by the pen of one of the ablest
and most accomplished publicists of our age. I refer to Dr. Lieber, for
many years professor in South Carolina College, and now professor in
Columbia College, New York. In these Instructions the general law of
retaliation is affirmed.

    “The Law of War can no more wholly dispense with retaliation
    than can the Law of Nations, of which it is a branch. Yet
    civilized nations acknowledge retaliation as the sternest
    feature of war. A reckless enemy often leaves to his opponent
    no other means of securing himself against the repetition of
    barbarous outrage.”[54]

Such is the general principle, officially declared. And now, Sir, I
shall read the commentary of this same learned publicist on these very
Instructions in a private letter which I have received from him this
morning. Bear in mind, Sir, that the writer is a student of the Laws
of War, that he vindicates their exercise, and that in proper cases
he asserts the right of retaliation; and now allow me to present his
criticism on the retaliation proposed.

    “I am unqualifiedly against the retaliation resolutions
    concerning prisoners of war. The provision that the Southerners
    in our hands shall be watched over by national soldiers who
    have been in Southern pens is unworthy of any great people
    or high-minded statesman. I am not opposed to retaliation
    because it strikes those who are not or may not be guilty of
    the outrage we wish to put an end to. That is the terrible
    character of almost all retaliation in war. I abhor this
    revenge on prisoners of war, because we would sink thereby to
    the level of the enemy’s shame and dishonor. All retaliation
    has some limit. If we fight with Indians who slowly roast
    their prisoners, we cannot roast in turn the Indians whom we
    may capture. And what is more, I defy Congress or Government
    to make the Northern people treat captured Southerners as our
    sons are treated by them. God be thanked, you could not do it;
    and if you could, how it would brutalize our own people! I feel
    the cruelty as keenly as any one; I grieve most bitterly that
    people whom we and all the world have taken to possess the
    common attributes of humanity, and who, after all, are our kin,
    have sunk so loathsomely low; I feel the hardship of seeing no
    immediate and direct remedy, except conquering and trampling
    out the vile Rebellion; but I maintain that the proposed (yet
    unfeasible) retaliation is not the remedy. Indeed, calmly to
    maintain our ground would do us in the end far more good.
    Revenge is passion, and ought never to enter the sphere of
    public action. Passion always detracts from power.

    “I believe that the ineffable cruelty practised against our men
    has been equalled in the history of our race by the Spanish
    treatment of the Indians, and by the Inquisition; but counter
    cruelty would not mend matters. Those who can allow such crimes
    would not be moved by cruelties inflicted upon their soldiers
    in our hands. These cruelties, therefore, would be simply
    revenge, not retaliation; for retaliation, as an element of
    the Law of War, and of Nations in general, implies the idea of
    thereby stopping a certain evil. But no mortal shall indulge in

    “I am, indeed, against all dainty treatment of the prisoners
    in our hands; but, for the love of our country and the great
    destiny of our people, do not sink, even in single cases, to
    the level of our unhappy, shameless enemy.”

I have read this letter, and I quote it as authority, because it is
by the very pen which embodied retaliation in the Instructions to the
Armies of the United States.

There is another authority which I quote. It is Phillimore, the
accomplished publicist, whose elaborate work on the Law of Nations has
a learning second only to that of Grotius in treating the same subject.
Recording excesses of war by the French, this Englishman says:--

    “At the beginning of the wars of the first French Revolution,
    the French general announced his intention of giving no quarter
    to English prisoners. The English did not retaliate, and the
    Laws of War upon this subject were soon restored.”[55]

In other words, the Laws of War are essentially humane, and not to be
changed by any spasm of barbarism in an enemy.

    A debate of several days ensued, in which Mr. Wade and Mr.
    Howard argued earnestly for the resolution of the Committee,
    and they were sustained by Mr. Gratz Brown, of Missouri, Mr.
    Howe, of Wisconsin, Mr. Harlan, of Iowa, Mr. Clark, of New
    Hampshire, Mr. Wilkinson, of Minnesota, Mr. Chandler, of
    Michigan, and Mr. Lane, of Indiana. On the other side were
    Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, Mr.
    Henderson, of Missouri, Mr. Foster, of Connecticut, Mr. Davis,
    of Kentucky, Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, Mr. Richardson,
    of Illinois, Mr. McDougall, of California, and Mr. Doolittle,
    of Wisconsin. Mr. Chandler especially condemned the position of
    Mr. Sumner. Here he said:--

        “Sir, the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. SUMNER] has
        brought in a sublimated specimen of humanitarianism that
        does not apply to these accursed Rebels at this time. They
        do not appreciate that kind of humanitarianism. I expected
        those men who desire that the Rebellion should succeed to
        oppose retaliation, and to oppose it to the bitter end; but
        I did not expect the Senator from Massachusetts to come
        in here and say that it was inexpedient to protect our
        suffering prisoners.”

        MR. SUMNER. “I have not said so.”

    Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, moved as a substitute for Mr.
    Sumner’s amendment a simple resolution requiring the President
    “to appoint two commissioners to confer with the Confederate
    authorities, with a view of devising some practicable plan for
    the relief and better treatment of our prisoners of war.” Mr.
    Clark, of New Hampshire, offered still another substitute, to
    be considered when in order:--

        “That Congress earnestly calls the attention of the
        President to the condition and treatment of our prisoners
        of war in Rebel prisons and camps; and if, for reasons
        satisfactory to or controlling the Executive, they cannot
        be exchanged, desires that he should employ every means
        in his power, embracing retaliation to such a degree as
        may be proper and effectual, to prevent the continuance
        and recurrence of such barbarities, and to compel the
        insurgents to observe the laws of civilized warfare.”

    Mr. Wade, who was urging the original resolution, also gave
    notice of an amendment, to strike out all after the word
    “retaliation,” and insert as follows:--

        “That the executive and military authorities of the United
        States are hereby directed to retaliate upon the prisoners
        of the enemy in such manner _and kind_ as shall be
        effective in deterring him from the perpetration in future
        of cruel and barbarous treatment of our soldiers.”

    Mr. Wade recognized the change so far as to say, “Now, if a
    Senator is for retaliation, if he is for the principle of
    it, he cannot have it in a milder form than it is there.”
    Mr. Morrill proposed to strike out the words “and kind,” and
    insert, instead, “in conformity to the Laws of Nations,” which
    amendment was accepted by Mr. Wade.

    January 28th, in the course of the debate, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--Listening with interest to this debate, and noting
the various propositions to modify the original resolution of the
Committee, especially that of the Senator [Mr. WADE] who has urged
it so vehemently, and then again the modification even of this
modification, I have been reminded of the story told by Byron[56] of
Mr. Fox, afterwards British minister at Washington, and now sleeping
in our Congressional burial-ground, who said of himself, after an
illness in Naples, that he was “so changed that his oldest creditors
would hardly know him.” But no illness could work a greater change
than is promised in the resolution of the Committee. In the form it
is about to assume, its oldest supporter will hardly know it. The
ancient legend of the ship of Theseus is revived. That famous ship,
which bore the Athenian hero on his adventurous expedition to Crete,
was piously preserved in the arsenal of Athens, where its decaying
timbers were renewed, until, in the lapse of time, every part of the
original ship had disappeared, and nothing but the name remained. Are
we not witnessing a similar process, to end, I trust, in a similar

In its original form, the resolution so earnestly maintained by my
friends from Ohio and Michigan called for retaliation in kind,--eye
for eye, tooth for tooth, cruelty for cruelty, freezing for freezing,
starvation for starvation, death for death. The President was commanded
to imitate Rebel barbarism in all respects, point by point. This
command I felt it my duty to resist. I said nothing against retaliation
according to the laws and usages of civilized nations, for that I know
is one of the terrible incidents of war; but I resisted a principle
which civilization disowns. The resolutions I offered as a substitute
were intended as a sort of “earthwork” in support of this resistance.
Perhaps they have already accomplished their purpose, inasmuch as
Senators have evacuated their original position.

The question is solemn enough, and yet, as I recall the original
resolution, I am reminded of an incident, more comic than serious,
which occurred at Paris, while occupied by the conquering Prussians,
in 1814. A Prussian soldier was brought before the Governor, charged
with unmercifully beating a Frenchman, at whose house he was billeted,
for not supplying a bottle of Berlin _weissbier_, which the Prussian
insisted upon drinking. The Governor spoke of unreasonableness in
the demand, and declared that he should be obliged to inflict severe
punishment, when the Prussian soldier set up the Law of Retaliation.
“I was a little boy,” said he, “when a French dragoon beat my father
because he was unable to find a bottle of claret in our whole village,
and I then swore, that, if ever I reached France, I would beat a
Frenchman for not getting me a bottle of _weissbier_. Am I not right?”
This was retaliation in kind, and retrospective in operation, like
that of the original resolution.

Much as this resolution is changed, so that it no longer requires
retaliation in kind, I think it might be changed still further. It
is not enough, on such an occasion, and especially after avowals
made in this Chamber, to say that retaliation shall be according to
the principles of Public Law. Montesquieu, in his “Spirit of Laws,”
exhibits the uncertainty of this language. These are his words:--

    “All nations have a Law of Nations,--even the Iroquois, who
    eat their prisoners. They send and receive ambassadors; they
    know the Laws of War and Peace. The evil is, that their Law of
    Nations is not founded on true principles.”[57]

The resolution, therefore, for the sake of certainty, and to give
double assurance that humanity shall not suffer, ought to be still
further amended, by limiting the retaliation to the usages of civilized
society. This amendment becomes the more needful since Senators argue
that by the principles of public law the intolerable cruelties of the
Rebellion may be retaliated.

I desire to repeat my unalterable conviction that these cruelties
cannot be retaliated in kind. And here I call attention to the opinions
of an illustrious citizen, only recently removed from the duties of
this world. I refer to the late Edward Everett, who, in a speech at
Faneuil Hall, a few days before his lamented death, thus testifies in
what may be called his dying words:--

     “I believe the best way in which we can retaliate upon the
    South for the cruel treatment of our prisoners is for us to
    continue to treat their prisoners with entire humanity and
    all reasonable kindness,--and not only so, but to seize every
    opportunity like the present to go beyond this. Indeed, it is
    no more than our duty to treat the prisoner well. The Law of
    Nations requires it. The Government that refuses or neglects it
    does not deserve the name of civilized. Even inability is no
    justification. If you are yourself so exhausted that you cannot
    supply your prisoner with a sufficient quantity of wholesome
    food, you are bound, with or without exchange, to set him free.
    You have no more right to starve than to poison him. It will,
    however, be borne in mind, that, while the hard fare of our
    prisoners is defended by the Southern leaders, on the ground
    that it is as good as that of their own soldiers, at the same
    time they maintain that their harvests are abundant and their
    armies well fed. There is no merit in treating a prisoner with
    common humanity; it is simply infamous and wicked to treat him

You will not fail to observe how positive is his opinion on the limits
of retaliation, and its character when carried beyond proper limits.
And here it is proper to remark, that Mr. Everett was not only a
patriot, who, in the latter trials of the Republic, devoted himself
ably, purely, and successfully to the vindication and advancement of
the national cause, but he was a publicist, who had profoundly studied
the Law of Nations. Few in our history have understood it better. His
last labors were devoted to this important subject. At the time of his
death he was preparing a course of lectures upon it. Therefore, when,
in the name of Public Law, he speaks against any imitation of Rebel
barbarism, it is with the voice of authority.

From one eminent publicist I pass to another. On a former occasion
I took the liberty of introducing a familiar letter from Professor
Lieber, once of South Carolina, now of New York. The Senator from
Michigan [Mr. HOWARD], not content with attempting an answer to the
learned professor, proceeded to language with regard to him which I
am sure his careful judgment cannot approve. The friend whose letter
I read needs no praise as a practical writer and thinker on questions
of International Law. On account of his acknowledged fitness as a
master of this science, he was selected as commissioner to prepare
instructions for the armies of the United States, constituting a most
important chapter of the Law of Nations. Those instructions are the
evidence of his ability and judgment. So long as they are followed by
our Government, it will be difficult for the Senator, learned as he
unquestionably is, to impeach their distinguished author. There is no
Senator, not excepting the Senator from Michigan, who might not be
proud to have such a monument of fame. But he is no mere theorist. It
was on the field of battle, where, as a youthful soldier, he was left
for dead, that he began a practical acquaintance with those Laws of War
which he has done so much to expound.

And now let me read a commentary on the Law of Retaliation by this
authority. I quote from an article which has already appeared in the
New York “Times.”

    “No mawkish sentimentality has induced the writer to express
    his views. He has had dear friends in those Southern pens,
    which have become the very symbols of revolting barbarity; but
    he desires, for this very reason, that the subject be weighed
    without passion, which never counsels well,--especially without
    the passion of mere vengeance. Let us bring down this general
    call for retaliation to practical and detailed measures. It is
    supposed, then, that retaliation is resolved upon; what next?
    The order is given to harass, starve, expose, and torture,
    say twenty thousand prisoners in our hands, until their bones
    pierce the skin, and they die idiots in their filth. Why should
    things be demanded which every one knows the Northern man is
    incapable of doing?

    “If, however, by retaliation he meant that captured Rebels
    in our hands should be cut off from the pleasant comforts
    of life which Northerners subservient to the South love to
    extend to them, then, indeed, we fully agree. This treasonable
    over-kindness ought never to have been permitted. It has had
    the worst effect on the arrogance of our enemy; but prohibiting
    it is not, and cannot be called, retaliation.

    “Let us not be driven from the position of manly calmness and
    moral dignity; and let us, on the other hand, be stern, so
    stern that our severity shall impress the prisoners that they
    are such. But let us not follow Rebel examples. It is too
    sickening, too vile.”

Such is the testimony of Francis Lieber, in entire, but independent,
harmony with the testimony of Edward Everett. As authority, nothing
further can be desired. And yet the question is still debated, and
grave Senators take counsel of their indignation rather than of the law.

The earnestness which has characterized this discussion attests the
interest of the subject, and the interest here is only a reflection of
that throughout the country. When you speak of our brave officers and
soldiers suffering, languishing, pining, dying in Rebel prisons, you
touch a chord which vibrates in every patriot bosom. He must be cold,
sluggish, and inhuman,--so cold “that nought can warm his blood, Sir,
but a fever,”[59]--who is not moved to every possible effort for their

I am happy to see that the Secretary of War is not insensible to this
commanding duty. Here is an extract from a communication which he sent
to the House of Representatives as late as January 21st:--

    “On the 15th October the subject of exchanges was placed under
    the direction of Lieutenant-General Grant, with full authority
    to take any steps he might deem proper to effect the release
    and exchange of our soldiers, and of loyal persons, held as
    prisoners by the Rebel authorities. He was instructed that it
    was the desire of the President that no efforts consistent
    with national safety and honor should be spared to effect the
    prompt release of all soldiers and loyal persons in captivity
    to the Rebels as prisoners of war, or on any other grounds, and
    the subject was committed to him with full authority to act in
    the premises as he should deem right and proper. Under this
    authority the subject of exchanges has from that time continued
    in his charge, and such efforts have been made as he deemed
    proper to obtain the release of our prisoners.

    “An arrangement was made for the supply of our prisoners,--the
    articles to be distributed under the direction of our own
    officers, paroled for that purpose; and the corresponding
    privilege was extended to the Rebel authorities. In order to
    afford every facility for relief, special exchanges have been
    offered, whenever desired on behalf of our prisoners. Such
    exchanges have in a few instances been permitted by the Rebel
    authorities, but in many others they have been denied.

    “A large number of exchanges, including all the sick, has
    been effected within a recent period. The Commissary General
    of Prisoners has been directed to make a detailed report of
    all the exchanges that have been accomplished since the
    general exchange ceased. It will be furnished to the House of
    Representatives as soon as completed.

    “The last communication of General Grant gives reason to
    believe that a full and complete exchange of all prisoners
    will speedily be made. It also appears from his statement that
    weekly supplies are furnished to our prisoners, and distributed
    by officers of our own selection.”[60]

Let these instructions be followed, and it is difficult to see what
remains to be done. Exchange, retaliation, and every other agency
“right and proper,” are fully authorized in the discretion of the
commanding general. There is nothing in the arsenal of war he may
not employ. What more is needed? But this brings me again to the
proposition before the Senate.

The Committee, not content with what has been done,--distrustful,
perhaps, of the commanding general,--propose that Congress shall
instruct the President to enter upon a system of retaliation, _where
we shall imitate as precisely as possible Rebel barbarism_, and make
our prisons the scenes of torments we here denounce. Why, Sir, to state
the case is to answer it. The Senator from Michigan, who advocates so
eloquently this _unprecedented retaliation_, attempted a description
of the torments making the Rebel prisons horrible, but language
failed him. After speaking of their “immeasurable criminality,”
and “the horrors of those scenes,” which he said were “absolutely
indescribable,” beggaring even his affluence of language and of
passion, he proceeded to ask that we should do these same things,--that
we should take the lives of prisoners, even by freezing and starvation,
or turn them into living skeletons,--by Act of Congress.

Sir, the Law of Retaliation, which he invokes, has its limits, and
these are found in the laws of civilized society. Admit the Law of
Retaliation; yet you cannot escape from its circumscription. As well
escape from the planet on which we live. What civilization forbids
cannot be done. Your enemy may be barbarous and cruel, but you cannot
be barbarous and cruel. The rule is clear and unquestionable. Perhaps
the true principle of law on this precise point was never better
expressed than by one of our masters, William Shakespeare, natural
jurist as well as poet, when he makes Macbeth exclaim,--

    “I dare do all that may become a man;
    Who dares do more is none.”

So with us now. We are permitted to do all that may become men, but
nothing more.

Surely nobody will argue that the “barbarities of Andersonville,” and
all those tortures we deplore, can behoove men. As well undertake,
by way of retaliation, to revive the boot and thumb-screw of the
Inquisition, the fires of Smithfield, “Luke’s iron crown and Damien’s
bed of steel,” or to repeat that execrable crime pictured by Dante, in
one of his most admired passages, where Ugolino and his children were
shut up in a tower, without food or water, and left to die slowly,
cruelly, wickedly, by starvation:--

    “Thou modern Thebes! what though, as Fame hath said,
      Count Ugolino did thy forts betray?
    His sons deserved not punishment so dread.”[61]

Thanks to the immortal poet who has blasted forever this sickening
enormity, and rendered its imitation impossible! Thanks to that mighty
voice which has given new sanction to the mandate of Public Law. And
yet in this terrible case there was retaliation, and the famished
victim is revealed as ferociously gnawing the skull of his tormentor.
But this was not on earth.

It is when we consider precisely the conduct of the Rebels, as
represented,--when we read the stories of their atrocities,--when we
call to mind the sufferings of our men in their hands,--when we look on
the pictures introduced into this discussion, where photographic art
has sought to exhibit the living skeletons,--when the whole scene in
all its horror is before us, and our souls are filled with unutterable
anguish, that we confess how difficult, how absolutely impossible, it
is for us to follow this savage example. And just in proportion as this
treatment of our soldiers transcends the usages of civilized society
must the example be rejected. Such is the law you cannot disobey.

Nor am I to be considered indifferent to the condition of those
unhappy prisoners. I do not yield to the Committee, or to any Senator,
in ardor or anxiety for their protection. Whatever can be done I am
ready to do. But, as American citizens, they have an interest that we
should do nothing by which our country shall forfeit the great place
belonging to it in the vanguard of nations. It cannot be best for them
that our country should do an unworthy thing. It cannot be best for
them that the national destiny should be thus darkened. Duties are in
proportion to destinies, and from the very heights of our example I
argue again that we cannot allow ourselves, under any passing passion
or resentment, to accept a policy which history must condemn. There is
not a patriot soldier who would not cry out, “Let me suffer, but save
my country!”

Even if you make up your minds to do this thing, you cannot. The whole
idea is impracticable. The attempt must fail, because human nature
is against you. “_Nemo repente turpissimus._” A humane and civilized
people cannot suddenly become inhuman and uncivilized. Conscience,
heart, soul and body, will all rise against you. From every side will
be repeated that generous cry which comes to us from the darkest day of
French history, when the courageous governor said to the monarch who
ordered the massacre of St. Bartholomew, “Sire, I have under me good
citizens and brave soldiers, but not a single executioner”; or that
other later cry, when the French Convention, under the lead of Barère,
decreed that all English prisoners should be shot,--“We will not shoot
them,” said a stout-hearted sergeant; “if the Convention takes pleasure
in killing prisoners, let members kill them and eat them, like savages
as they are.” But the citizens and soldiers of the armies of the United
States are not less generous. They, too, would cry out, “Let members of
Congress do this work, if it is to be done; but do not impose it upon a

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, with pain I differ from valued friends whose friendship
is among the treasures of my life. But I cannot help it. I cannot do
otherwise. It is long since I first raised my voice in this Chamber
against the “Barbarism of Slavery,” and I have never ceased to denounce
it in season and out of season. But the Rebellion is nothing but that
very barbarism armed for battle. Plainly it is our duty to overcome it,
not to imitate it. Here I stand.

    January 31st, on motion of Mr. Sumner, it was still further
    amended so as to read, “in conformity with the laws _and usages
    of war among civilized_ nations,”--Yeas 27, Nays 13. Mr. Sumner
    then withdrew his substitute, remarking that he did so because
    the original resolution had undergone such modification as
    to be in substantial harmony with the resolutions introduced
    by him. After other amendments, the original resolution was
    passed by the Senate; but it was never acted on in the House of

       *       *       *       *       *

    This effort against Retaliation attracted attention and
    sympathy at the time.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Hon. Israel Washburn, formerly a Representative in Congress
    from Maine, being in Washington, wrote:--

        “I shall not see you again before leaving the city, but
        I will not go without thanking you from my heart’s heart
        for the glorious resolutions upon Retaliation which you
        offered in the Senate yesterday. Our country must live in
        the atmosphere of those resolutions, or bear no life worth

    John B. Kettell wrote from Boston:--

        “I have read in the papers of this morning a telegraphic
        report of the proceedings of the Senate on the resolution
        in relation to retaliation upon Rebel prisoners for
        cruel treatment to Union prisoners, and especially the
        resolutions offered by you as a substitute for the
        resolution before the Senate. Although not approving the
        policy of the Administration, and therefore conscientiously
        opposed to most of its measures, allow me to thank you
        from the bottom of my heart for the manly tone and lofty
        Christian sentiment which pervade the resolutions offered
        and so ably defended by yourself.”

    Hon. Daniel W. Alvord wrote from Greenfield, Massachusetts:--

        “I wish also to thank you for your resolutions on
        Retaliation. I am the more impelled to do this because I
        think it probable that some of our friends in the State
        will remonstrate with you for having offered them. I have
        heard retaliation in kind vehemently advocated by good men
        in Boston. But it seems to me that it would be an indelible
        blot upon our fame, if, in a war with savages, we should
        imitate their savage cruelties. I know that retaliation by
        inflicting death for death may sometimes be necessary in
        war. But the torture of prisoners nothing can justify. If
        they may be tortured by hunger or cold, so they may, as
        well, by fire, or by the rack.”

    M. T. Johnstone, of the United States Coast Survey, wrote from

        “A copy of your speech on the treatment of prisoners of war
        has just fallen into my hands. I think the country under
        deep obligations to you for that speech, and for saving it
        from either acknowledging or practising the principle of

    The following communication from General Robert Anderson, of
    the Army of the United States, who commanded at Fort Sumter
    when South Carolina madly fired upon that national stronghold,
    contains the testimony of a soldier.

                                      “NEW YORK CITY, January 25, 1865.

        “HON. CHARLES SUMNER, U. S. Senate.

        “HONORED SIR,--The approbation of strangers is sometimes, I
        know, not unacceptable. I trust, therefore, that you will
        pardon me for giving vent to the promptings of my heart, in
        offering you my thanks for the noble, manly, and Christian
        sentiments which characterize your resolutions introduced
        in the Senate yesterday, in reference to the subject of
        Retaliation. No one would go farther than I would, to put
        down, with a vigorous and resolute hand, this most accursed
        Rebellion. But, in God’s name, Sir, let it be done in such
        a manner that those who live after us may be able to say,
        that, in all this time of trial, not one act was sanctioned
        or permitted by our Government which was not becoming us as
        a civilized and Christian nation. And God will bless and
        prosper us only as we do so act. My earnest prayer is, that
        He will endue our rulers with wisdom, and soon give peace
        and prosperity and happiness to our bleeding land.

        “With the renewal of my thanks for your having so
        beautifully, so ably, so nobly advocated the cause of
        humanity, which is the cause of Christ,

            “I am, Sir, with high respect, your obedient servant,

                “ROBERT ANDERSON.”

    In a later letter General Anderson returned to the subject:--

        “The sentiments you express in your speech are such as
        become a Christian and a patriot. We, as a nation, are
        not at liberty to follow the example of men who claim
        to owe allegiance to a Government not recognized among
        nations,--the self-assumed name of which will, by God’s
        blessing, soon sink into oblivion.”

    General Donaldson, of the Army of the Cumberland, and of
    the staff of the distinguished General Thomas, wrote from

        “Though but slightly acquainted with Mr. Sumner, I trust he
        will allow me to tender my thanks as an American for his
        noble resolutions on the subject of Retaliation. They are
        greater than any speech, and such as a Howard might have
        written, had he lived in the days of the mighty crime.”

    Such were some of the voices, not only from citizens, but from
    the Army.



    John S. Rock, Esq., was a colored lawyer in Boston, who, after
    studying medicine, accomplished himself in the law, and visited
    Europe. In the hope of advancing his race and of overturning an
    obnoxious precedent, he formed the idea of being admitted to
    the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, even during
    the life of Chief Justice Taney; but Mr. Sumner, to whom he
    applied, could not encourage him, while the author of the Dred
    Scott decision presided over the Court. With Mr. Chase as Chief
    Justice it was otherwise. Before presenting him, Mr. Sumner
    communicated with the Chief Justice, who undertook to sound
    his brethren and smooth the way. After some delay he let Mr.
    Sumner know that the motion might be made. It seems, that, by
    usage of the Court, the Chief Justice acted on the admission of
    counsellors without consulting the rest of the bench, and it
    was understood that the usage would be recognized in this case.

    As only a citizen could be a counsellor of the Supreme Court,
    and, according to the Dred Scott decision, a colored person was
    not a citizen, the admission of Mr. Rock was regarded by the
    country as tantamount to a reversal of that decision.

       *       *       *       *       *

    An informal and intimate correspondence between Mr. Sumner and
    the Chief Justice belongs to the history of this case.

       *       *       *       *       *

    On the receipt of a letter from Mr. Rock, saying, “We now have
    a great and good man for our Chief Justice, and with him I
    think my color will not be a bar to my admission,” Mr. Sumner
    wrote to the Chief Justice, inclosing the letter.

                              “SENATE CHAMBER, 21st December, 1864.

        “MY DEAR CHASE,--Please read the inclosed letter, and let
        me know what I shall do with regard to it.

        “Mr. Rock is an estimable colored lawyer, who, as you will
        see, is cordially recommended by Governor Andrew and
        others in the public service. He is one of several colored
        lawyers in Massachusetts, who practise in all our courts,
        and are always received with courtesy.

        “Before I came into the Senate, now several years ago, I
        was counsel in a case before our Massachusetts Supreme
        Court,[62] where one of these colored lawyers was my
        associate, and I remember well the very great kindness and
        attention with which he was received by Chief Justice Shaw
        and all the bench.

        “I mention these things that you may see something of Mr.
        Rock’s title to admission to the Supreme Court of the
        United States.

        “I know not how far the Dred Scott decision may stand in
        the way.

        “Of course, the admission of a colored lawyer to the bar
        of the Supreme Court would make it difficult for any
        restriction on account of color to be maintained anywhere.
        Street cars would be open afterwards.[63]

            “Ever yours,

                “CHARLES SUMNER.”

    The following note, written in pencil, and sent to Mr. Sumner
    at his seat in the Senate, was the prompt answer:--

                            “SUPREME COURT ROOM, December 21, 1864.

        “DEAR SUMNER,--I will confer with the Judges on Saturday,
        which is consultation day. It is not likely that any, or
        any serious, objection will be made.

            “Yours faithfully,

                “S. P. CHASE.”

    Not hearing from the Chief Justice, Mr. Sumner sent the
    following reminder:--

        “_In re_ John S. Rock, Counsellor at Law, Massachusetts.

        “What say you?

            “C. S.”

        “Senate Chamber, Thursday, 15th January, 1865.”

    This was returned with the following reply, written in pencil
    on the same paper:--

        “Nothing at present,--except not forgotten.

            “S. P. C.”

    Another note, written also in pencil, opened the door.

                                                “January 23, 1865.

        “DEAR SUMNER,--You can make your motion for Mr. Rock’s
        admission at any time which suits your convenience.

            “Yours ever,

                “S. P. CHASE.”

    Mr. Rock, who was waiting in Boston, appeared February 1st,
    and was at once presented by Mr. Sumner. The few formal words
    which passed on this occasion are not without interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

    As soon as the judges had taken their seats, Mr. Sumner rose,
    and, with Mr. Rock standing by his side, said:--


I ask leave to present John S. Rock, Esq., a Counsellor at Law of the
Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and now move that he be admitted as a
Counsellor of this Court.

    The Chief Justice bowed, and said:--

        “Let him come forward and take the oath.”

    The oath was then administered by Mr. Middleton, Clerk of the
    Court. At the same time, on motion of Mr. Sumner, Francis
    V. Balch, Esq., of Boston, his private secretary, was also

       *       *       *       *       *

    This incident, marking a stage in the battle for Equal Rights,
    was extensively noticed at home and abroad. It occurred on the
    day after the final passage in the House of Representatives
    of the Constitutional Amendment abolishing Slavery, and the
    correspondent of the _Boston Journal_ remarked the association
    of the two events.

        “The Slave Power, which received its constitutional
        death-blow yesterday in Congress, writhes this morning on
        account of the admission of a colored lawyer, John S. Rock,
        of Boston, as a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of
        the United States.… The rage depicted in the countenances
        of some of the old Hunkers present at this invasion of
        their citadel beggars description.”

    The correspondent of the _New York Tribune_ announced the event
    as “The Dred Scott Decision buried in the Supreme Court,” and
    then broke forth enthusiastically:--

        “O augustly simple funeral _cortège_! O dead, wrapped in
        the cerements that the divine hand of Revolution folds
        its victims with, augustly exciting in your stormy birth,
        transcendently mischievous in your little life!--Senator
        Charles Sumner and Negro Lawyer John S. Rock the
        pall-bearers,--the room of the Supreme Court of the United
        States the Potter’s Field,--the corpse the Dred Scott

        “Through the door that was too narrow to freely let out
        the bearers that bore Charles Sumner’s inanimate form from
        the Senate Chamber, where he had been stricken down by
        the assassins of the Slave Power, Charles Sumner to-day
        marched back, leading a negro by the hand, and, standing
        upon the very spot that had been stained with his blood for
        demanding freedom and equality for the blacks in America,
        demanded of the Supreme Court of the United States to
        enroll among its members an African lawyer, and to license
        him to practise at its bar. The black man was admitted.”

    Then mentioning the motion of Mr. Sumner, the same
    correspondent says:--

        “The grave to bury the Dred Scott decision was in that
        one sentence dug, and it yawned there, wide open, under
        the very eyes of some of the judges who had participated
        in the juridical crime against Democracy and Humanity.
        The assenting nod of the great head of the Chief Justice
        tumbled in the corse and filled up the pit, and the black
        counsellor of the Supreme Court got on to it and stamped it
        down, and smoothed the earth for his walk to the rolls of
        the Court.

        “… A few lawyers of the old _régime_ looked on, stunned
        somewhat, but rapidly growing in wisdom, and mixing
        deference to destiny with their instinctive reluctance to
        this revolutionary intrusion.”

    Mr. Cobden, writing from England, also associated this event
    with the Constitutional Amendment. In a letter shortly before
    his much lamented death, he said:--

        “I feel it a pleasant duty to give you my best
        congratulations on the recent proceedings within and
        without your Halls of Congress. The vote on the Amendment
        of the Constitution was a memorable and glorious event in
        your history. Another incident--that of your introduction
        of a colored man to the Supreme Court--was hardly less
        interesting. In all these proceedings at Washington _you_
        ought to be allowed to indulge the feelings of a triumphant
        general. You served as a volunteer in the forlorn hope,
        when the battle of Emancipation seemed a hopeless struggle.
        _Your_ position within the Halls of Congress was very
        different from that of the agitators out of doors,
        meritorious as were their labors. I have served in both
        capacities, and know the difference between addressing an
        audience of partisans at a public meeting and a hostile
        parliamentary assembly.… I heartily congratulate you.”

    Doubtless the admission of a colored lawyer to the Supreme
    Court helped prepare the way for admission of his race to the
    rights of citizenship, and especially the right to vote.



    Concurrent Resolutions declaring the rule in ascertaining
    the three fourths of the several States required in the
    ratification of a Constitutional Amendment.

Whereas Congress, by a vote of two thirds of both Houses, has proposed
an Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting Slavery throughout
the United States, which, according to existing requirement of the
Constitution, will be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of
the Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of
the several States; and

Whereas, in the present condition of the country, with certain States
in arms against the National Government, it becomes necessary to
determine what number of States constitutes the three fourths required
by the Constitution: Therefore,

_Resolved by the Senate_ (the House of Representatives concurring),
That the rule followed in ascertaining the two thirds of both Houses
proposing the Amendment to the Constitution should be followed in
ascertaining the three fourths of the several States ratifying the
Amendment; that, as in the first case the two thirds are founded on the
simple fact of representation in the two Houses, so in the second case
the three fourths must be founded on the simple fact of representation
in the Government of the country and the support thereof; and that any
other rule establishes one basis for the proposition of amendment and
another for its ratification, placing one on a simple fact and the
other on a claim of right, while it also recognizes the power of Rebels
in arms to interpose a veto upon the National Government in one of its
highest functions.

_Resolved_, That all acts, executive and legislative, in pursuance
of the Constitution, and all treaties made under the authority of
the United States, are valid to all intents and purposes throughout
the United States, although certain Rebel States fail to participate
therein, and that the same rule is equally applicable to an Amendment
of the Constitution.

_Resolved_, That the Amendment of the Constitution prohibiting Slavery
throughout the United States will be valid to all intents and purposes
as part of the Constitution, whenever ratified by three fourths of the
States _de facto_, exercising the powers and prerogatives of the United
States under the Constitution thereof.

_Resolved_, That any other rule, requiring the participation of the
Rebel States, while illogical and unreasonable, is dangerous in its
consequences, inasmuch as all recent Presidential proclamations,
including that of Emancipation, also all recent Acts of Congress,
including those creating the national debt and establishing a national
currency, and also all recent treaties, including the treaty with Great
Britain for the extinction of the slave-trade, have been made, enacted,
or ratified, respectively, without any participation of the Rebel

_Resolved_, That any other rule must tend to postpone the great day
when the prohibition of Slavery will be valid to all intents and
purposes as part of the Constitution of the United States; but the
rule herewith declared will assure the immediate ratification of the
prohibition, and the consummation of the national desires.

    On motion of Mr. Sumner, these resolutions were printed and
    laid on the table. Besides hastening the adoption of the
    Constitutional Amendment, it was hoped that they would help
    prepare the way for Reconstruction.


6, 1865.

    In the Senate, February 6, 1865, Mr. Sumner submitted the
    following Amendment to the Constitution, which, on his motion,
    was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which may
be included within this Union according to the number of male citizens
of age having in each State the qualifications requisite for electors
of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature. The actual
enumeration of such citizens shall be made by the census of the United

    This Amendment was a first attempt to meet the new exigency
    from the abolition of Slavery. One of two alternatives was
    open: the extension of suffrage to the new-made freedmen by
    the action of Congress, which Mr. Sumner insisted was the just
    course; or the apportionment of Representatives according
    to voters, which would make it for the interest of a State
    to extend the franchise. Without one of these measures the
    political power of the former slave-masters would be enlarged
    by Emancipation.

    This subject occupied much attention at the next session of



    April 25, 1864, Mr. Sumner asked, and by unanimous consent
    obtained, leave to bring in the following joint resolution,
    which was read twice, and referred to the Committee on Military

        “A Joint Resolution to facilitate commercial, postal, and
        military communication among the several States.

        “Whereas the Constitution of the United States confers upon
        Congress, in express terms, the power to regulate commerce
        among the several States, to establish post-roads, and to
        raise and support armies: Therefore,

        “_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of
        the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That
        every railroad company in the United States, whose road
        is operated by steam, its successors and assigns, be, and
        is hereby, authorized to carry upon and over its road,
        connections, boats, bridges, and ferries, all freight,
        property, mails, passengers, troops, and Government
        supplies, on their way from any State to any other State,
        and to receive compensation therefor.”

    May 12th, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, from the Committee,
    reported it without amendment.

    Meanwhile the House of Representatives had under consideration
    a bill to declare certain roads military roads and post-roads,
    and to regulate commerce, which was much debated, when, on
    motion of Mr. Wilson, of Iowa, Mr. Sumner’s joint resolution,
    without the preamble, and with the title, “A Bill to regulate
    commerce among the several States,” was adopted as a
    substitute, and the bill thus amended passed the House,--Yeas
    63, Nays 58.

    In the Senate the bill was elaborately discussed, especially by
    Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland; but its friends were never
    able to press it to a vote, and it expired with the session. In
    one of these efforts Mr. Sumner said: “There are two ways of
    killing a measure: one is by voting it down; the other is by
    postponing it until you lose an opportunity of voting on it;
    and the latter is the policy of certain Senators now.”

    March 3, 1865, failing to obtain a vote on the bill, Mr. Sumner
    moved it as an amendment to the Post-Route Bill, but without

    February 14th, while the bill was under consideration, Mr.
    Sumner spoke.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The question before us concerns the public convenience
to a remarkable degree. But it concerns also the unity of this
Republic. Look at it in its simplest form, and you will confess its
importance. Look at it in its political aspect, and you will recognize
how vital it is to the integrity of the Union itself. On one side we
encounter a formidable Usurpation with all the pretensions of State
Rights, hardly less flagrant and pernicious than those which ripened
in bloody rebellion. On the other side are the simple and legitimate
claims of the Union under the Constitution of the United States.

Thus stands the question at the outset: public convenience and
the Union itself in its beneficent powers on the one side; public
inconvenience and all the discord of intolerable State pretensions on
the other side.

The proposition on its face is applicable to all the States throughout
the Union, and in its vital principle concerns every lover of his
country. But it cannot be disguised that the interest it has excited
in the other House, and also in the Senate, must be referred to its
bearing on the railroads of New Jersey. Out of this circumstance
springs the ardor of opposition,--perhaps, also, something of the
ardor of support. Therefore pardon me, if I glance one moment at the
geographical position of this State, and its Railroad Usurpation in
the name of State Rights.

Look on the map, or, better still, consult your own personal experience
in the journey from Washington to New York, and you will find that New
Jersey lies on the great line of travel between the two capitals of the
country, political and commercial. There it is, directly in the path.
It cannot be avoided, except by circuitous journey. On this single
line commerce, passengers, mails, troops, all must move. In the chain
of communication by which capital is bound to capital,--nay, more, by
which the Union itself is bound together,--there is no single link
of equal importance. Strike it out, and where are you? Your capitals
will be separated, and the Union itself loosened. But the evil sure to
follow, if this link were struck out, must follow also in proportionate
extent from every interference with that perfect freedom of transit
through New Jersey which I now ask in behalf of commerce, passengers,
mails, and troops.

Such is the geographical position of New Jersey. And on this highway
pernicious pretensions are set up which can be overthrown only by the
power of Congress. The case is plain.

New Jersey, in the exercise of pretended State rights, has undertaken
to invest the Delaware and Raritan Canal and the Camden and Amboy
Railroad and Transportation Companies with unprecedented prerogatives.
These are the words of the Legislature: “It shall not be lawful, at
any time during the said railroad charter, to construct any other
railroad or railroads in this State, without the consent of the said
companies, which shall be intended or used for the transportation
of passengers or merchandise _between the cities of New York
and Philadelphia_, or to compete in business with the railroad
authorized by the Act to which this supplement is relative.”[64]
Here, in barefaced terms, is the grant of monopoly in all railroad
transportation, whether of commerce, passengers, mails, or troops,
between _New York_, a city _outside_ of New Jersey, and _Philadelphia_,
another city _outside_ of New Jersey. Or, looking at this grant of
monopoly again, we find, that, _while leaving the local transportation
of New Jersey untouched_, it undertakes to regulate and appropriate
the transportation between two great cities outside of New Jersey,
constituting, from geographical position, the gates through which the
whole immense movement, north and south, must pass.

       *       *       *       *       *

If this monopoly is offensive on its face, it becomes still more
offensive, when we consider the motive in which it had its origin.
By confession of its supporters, it was granted in order to raise a
revenue for the State out of men and business not of the State. It was
an ingenious device to tax commerce, passengers, mails, and troops in
transit across New Jersey, from State to State. I quote a confession
from the Legislative Journal of New Jersey, as long ago as 1841, in
a document by the executive committee of the coalesced railroads,
represented by the Camden and Amboy Company.

     “It seems plain, from the acts incorporating these companies,
    and the testimony of those best conversant with the history
    of their incorporations, that it was the policy of the State,
    _taking advantage of the geographical position of New Jersey_,
    between the two largest States and cities of the Union, _to
    create a revenue by imposing a tax or transit duty upon every
    person who should pass on the railroad across the State_
    between these cities from the Delaware River to the Raritan
    Bay; but that it was not their design to impose any tax upon
    citizens of their own State for travelling between intermediate
    places.… Here, again, the policy and intention of the State is
    most clearly indicated in exempting her own citizens from the
    operation of this system of taxation.”[65]

I quote the words of another functionary, equally frank, belonging to
the same railroad connection.

    “The Company believe that a careful consideration of the whole
    matter, as well from the provisions of the charter as from a
    recurrence to the period when it was granted, will produce
    the conviction that _the transit duty was intended to be
    levied only on citizens of other States passing through New

The spirit in which this tax has been laid appears from another
incident, not without interest to the Senators from New York. The Erie
Railroad, so important to transportation in the great State which they
represent, has been compelled, in addition to the usual tax on that
part of the road in New Jersey, to pay an extra tax in the shape of “a
transit duty of three cents on every passenger and two cents on every
ton of goods, wares, and merchandise, _except passengers and freight
transported exclusively within_ this State.” This imposition was as
late as 1862, and is part of that same system which constitutes the
Railroad Usurpation of New Jersey to this day.

This Usurpation becomes still more apparent in the conduct adopted
toward another railroad in New Jersey. It appears that a succession
of railroads has been constructed, under charters of this State, from
Raritan Bay, opposite New York, to Camden, opposite Philadelphia,
constituting a continuous line, suitable for transportation, across New
Jersey and between the two great cities of New York and Philadelphia.
The continuous line is known as the Raritan and Delaware Bay Railroad.
On the breaking out of the Rebellion, when Washington was menaced by
a wicked enemy, and the patriots of the land were aroused to sudden
effort, the Quartermaster General of the United States directed the
transportation of troops, horses, baggage, and munitions of war from
New York to Philadelphia over this line. The other railroad, claiming
a monopoly, filed a bill in equity, praying that the Raritan and
Delaware Bay Railroad “be decreed to desist and refrain” from such
transportation, and also praying “that _an account_ may be taken to
ascertain the amount of damages.” The counsel of the monopoly openly
insisted that by this transportation the State was “robbed of her
ten cents a passenger,” and then cried out: “I say it is no defence
whatever, if they have succeeded in obtaining an order of the Secretary
of War, _when we call upon them to give us the money they made by it_;
and that is one of our calls. They have no right to get an order to
deprive the State of New Jersey of the right of transit duty, _which is
her adopted policy_.” Such was the argument of Mr. Stockton, counsel
for the monopoly, November 12, 1863. The _transit duty_ is vindicated
as the _adopted policy_ of New Jersey.

Nor is it modern in time. It may be traced to the beginning of the
National Government, under the administration of Washington, when
it awakened the indignant comment of Timothy Pickering, Postmaster
General. This patriot citizen, in a communication to the House of
Representatives, under date of February 9, 1793, and entitled “Tax on
Mail Stages in New Jersey,” says, “The avowed design is to increase the
revenues of that State,” precisely as now; and he adds, what may be
repeated: “And thus the citizens of the United States have to purchase
permission to travel on the highways of New Jersey.” Then, calling the
tax “an annual tribute,” which the United States are to pay, he says:
“And from the example of New Jersey they may erelong become tributary
to all the States from Virginia to New Hampshire, inclusively; for so
far the mail is carried in stage-wagons.”[67] But our “stage-wagons”
are on railroads now.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, Sir, are the pretensions of New Jersey to interfere with
commerce, passengers, mails, and troops _from other States_, on the
way, it may be, to the National Capital, even with necessary succors at
a moment of national peril. Such pretensions, persistently maintained
and vindicated, constitute a Usurpation, not only hostile to the public
interests, but menacing to the Union itself. Here is no question
of local taxation or local immunity under State laws, but an open
assumption by a State to tax the commerce of the United States on the
way from State to State.

From the nature of the case, and according to every rule of reason,
there ought to be a remedy for such a grievance. No usurping monopoly
should be allowed to establish itself in any State across the national
highway, and, like a baron of the Middle Ages perched in his rocky
fastness, levy toll and tribute from the wayfarers of business,
pleasure, or duty. The Usurpation should be overthrown. The nuisance
should be abated. And, happily, the powers are ample under the National
Constitution. Following unquestionable principles and authentic
precedents, the Committee propose a remedy which I proceed to discuss.

       *       *       *       *       *

The measure under consideration was originally introduced by me into
the Senate. It was afterward adopted and passed by the other House as
the substitute for a kindred bill pending there. Beyond the general
interest which I take in the public business, this is my special reason
for entering into this discussion.

The bill is arraigned as unconstitutional. But this objection is a
commonplace of opposition. When all other reasons fail, then is the
Constitution invoked. Such an attempt, on such an occasion, attests the
weakness of the cause. It is little better than the assertion of an
_alias_ in a criminal case.

The entire and unimpeachable constitutionality of the present measure
is apparent in certain familiar precepts of the Constitution, brought
to view in the title and preamble of the measure as introduced by me,
but omitted in the bill now before us. The title, as introduced by
me, was, “A joint resolution to facilitate commercial, postal, and
military communication among the several States.” This opens the whole
constitutional question. Then came the preamble:--

    “Whereas the Constitution of the United States confers upon
    Congress, in express terms, the power to regulate commerce
    among the several States, to establish post-roads, and to raise
    and support armies: Therefore, _Resolved_,” &c.

In these few words three sources of power are clearly indicated, either
of which is ample; but the three together constitute an overrunning

_First._ There is the power “to regulate commerce among the several
States.” Look at the Constitution and you find these identical words.
From the great sensitiveness of States, this power is always exercised
by Congress with peculiar caution; but it still lives to be employed by
an enfranchised Government.

Asserting this power, I follow not only the text of the Constitution,
but also authoritative decisions of the Supreme Court. Perhaps there
is no question in our constitutional history more clearly interpreted
by our greatest authority, Chief Justice Marshall. In the well-known
case where the State of New York undertook to grant an exclusive right
to navigate the waters of New York by vessels propelled by steam,
the illustrious Chief Justice, speaking for the Court, declared the
restriction illegal, because it interfered with commerce between
the States, precisely as is now done by New Jersey. In his opinion
commerce was something more than traffic or the transportation of
property. It was also “the commercial intercourse between nations and
parts of nations in all its branches”; and it embraced, by necessary
inference, _all inter-State communications_, and the whole subject of
intercourse between the people of the several States. It was declared
that the power of Congress over the subject was not limited by State
lines, but was coëxtensive with commerce itself, according to the
enlarged signification of the term. Here are the words of Chief Justice

    “But in regulating commerce with foreign nations, the power
    of Congress does not stop at the jurisdictional lines of
    the several States. It would be a very useless power, if
    it could not pass those lines.… Every district has a right
    to participate in it. The deep streams which penetrate our
    country in every direction pass through the interior of almost
    every State in the Union, and furnish the means of exercising
    this right. _If Congress has the power to regulate it, that
    power must be exercised whenever the subject exists._ If it
    exists within the States, if a foreign voyage may commence or
    terminate at a port within a State, then the power of Congress
    may be exercised within a State.”[68]

This important decision was before railroads. It grew out of an attempt
to appropriate certain navigable thoroughfares of the Union. But it
is equally applicable to those other thoroughfares of the Union where
the railroad is the substitute for water. According to the genius of
jurisprudence, a rule once established governs all cases within the
original reason on which it was founded. Therefore I conclude that the
power of Congress over internal commerce by railroad is identical with
that over internal commerce by water. But this decision does not stand

Mr. Justice Story, a member of the Supreme Court at that time, in a
later decision explained the extent of the power.

    “It does not stop at the mere boundary-line of a State; nor
    is it confined to acts done on the water, or in the necessary
    course of the navigation thereof. _It extends to such acts done
    on land which interfere with, obstruct, or prevent the due
    exercise of the power to regulate commerce_ and navigation with
    foreign nations and _among the States_.”[69]

From various cases illustrating this power I call attention to those
known as the _Passenger Cases_, where the Supreme Court declared that
the statutes of New York and Massachusetts, imposing taxes upon alien
passengers arriving at the ports of those States, were in derogation of
the Constitution. On this occasion Mr. Justice McLean said:--

    “Shall passengers, admitted by Act of Congress without a tax,
    be taxed by a State? The supposition of such a power in a
    State is utterly inconsistent with a commercial power, either
    paramount or exclusive, in Congress.”[70]

Mr. Justice Grier said, with great point:--

    “To what purpose commit to Congress the power of regulating
    our intercourse with foreign nations and among the States, _if
    these regulations may be changed at the discretion of each
    State_?… It is, therefore, not left to the discretion of each
    State in the Union either to refuse a right of passage to
    persons or property through her territory, or to exact a duty
    for permission to exercise it.”[71]

But this is the very thing now done by New Jersey, which “exacts a
duty” from passengers across the State.

I call attention also to the case of the Wheeling Bridge, where
Congress, under peculiar circumstances, exercised this identical power.
In this case the State of Pennsylvania denied the power of Virginia to
authorize a bridge across the Ohio River obstructing navigation; but,
under the pressure of public demand, and in the exercise of the very
powers now invoked, Congress declared the Wheeling Bridge a lawful
structure, anything in any State law to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Supreme Court, after the passage of this Act, denied a motion to
punish the owners of the bridge for contempt in rebuilding it, and
affirmed that the Act declaring the Wheeling Bridge a lawful structure
was within the legitimate exercise by Congress of its constitutional
power to regulate commerce.[72] This very power is here invoked in
a case more important and far more urgent than that of the Wheeling

There is also another case. I refer to the Steubenville Bridge and
Holliday’s Cove Railroad across the Ohio, in what is called the
Panhandle of Virginia. This bridge was first attempted under a charter
granted by Ohio; but Congress at last interfered, and enacted,--

    “That the bridge partly constructed across the Ohio River at
    Steubenville, in the State of Ohio, abutting on the Virginia
    shore of said river, is hereby declared to be _a lawful

    “That the said bridge and Holliday’s Cove Railroad are hereby
    declared a public highway, and established a _post-road_ for
    the purpose of transmission of mails of the United States.”[73]

Such are precedents of courts and of statutes, showing how completely
this power belongs to Congress in the regulation of internal commerce.
The authorities are plain and explicit. They cannot be denied. They
cannot be explained away. It would be superfluous to dwell on them.
There they stand like so many granite columns, fit supports of that
internal commerce, in itself a chief support of the Union.

_Secondly._ There is also the power “to establish post-roads,” which
is equally explicit. Here, too, the words are plain, and they have
received authoritative exposition. It is with reference to these words
that Mr. Justice Story remarks that “constitutions of government do not
turn upon ingenious subtleties, but are adapted to the business and
exigencies of human society; and the powers given are understood in
a large sense, in order to secure the public interests. Common sense
becomes the guide, and prevents men from dealing with mere logical
abstractions.”[74] The same learned authority, in considering the text
of the Constitution, seems to have anticipated the very question before
us. Here is a passage which may fitly close the argument on this head:--

    “Let a case be taken _when State policy_”--

as, for instance, in New Jersey at this time,--

     “or State hostility shall lead the Legislature to close up
    or discontinue a road, the nearest and the best between two
    great States, rivals, perhaps, for the trade and intercourse of
    a third State; shall it be said that Congress has no right to
    make or repair a road for keeping open for the mail the best
    means of communication between those States? May the National
    Government be compelled to take the most inconvenient and
    indirect routes for the mail? _In other words, have the States
    a power to say how and upon what roads the mails shall and
    shall not travel?_ If so, then, in relation to post-roads, the
    States, and not the Union, are supreme.”[75]

_Thirdly._ Then comes the power “to raise and support armies,”--an
unquestionable power lodged in Congress. But this grant carries with
it, of course, all incidental powers necessary to the execution of
the principal power. It would be absurd to suppose that Congress was
empowered to raise an army, but could not authorize the agencies
required for its transportation from place to place. Congress has not
been guilty of any such absurdity of abnegation. Already by formal Act
it has proceeded “to authorize the President of the United States in
certain cases to take possession of railroad and telegraph lines.” By
this Act the President is empowered “to take possession of any or all
the railroad lines in the United States, their rolling stock, their
offices, shops, buildings, and all their appendages and appurtenances,”
and it is declared that any such railroad “shall be considered as
a post-road and a part of the military establishment of the United
States.”[76] Here is the exercise of a broader power than any now
proposed. The less must be contained in the greater.

Such are the three sources of power in the Constitution, each and all
applicable to the present case. Each is indisputable. Therefore the
conclusion, sustained by each, is threefold indisputable.

So plain is this power, that it has been admitted by New Jersey in a
legislative act, as follows:--

    “That, when any other rail road or roads for the transportation
    of passengers and property between New York and Philadelphia
    across this State shall be constructed and used for that
    purpose, under or by virtue of _any law of this State or the
    United States authorizing or recognizing said road_, that then
    and in that case the said dividends shall be no longer payable
    to the State, and the said stock shall be re-transferred to the
    Company by the Treasurer of this State.”[77]

Thus, in formal words, has New Jersey actually anticipated the very
measure under consideration. All that is now proposed, so far as
concerns New Jersey, is simply to recognize other railroads for
the transportation of passengers and property between New York and
Philadelphia across this State.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the argument in brief for the constitutionality of the
present bill, whether regarded as a general measure applicable to all
railroads, or only applicable to the railroads of New Jersey. The case
is so plain and absolutely unassailable that I should leave it on this
simple exhibition, if the Senator from Maryland [Mr. REVERDY JOHNSON],
who always brings to these questions the authority of professional
reputation, had not most zealously argued the other way. According
to him the bill is unconstitutional. Let me say, however, that the
conclusion of the learned Senator is only slightly sustained by the
reasons he assigns. Indeed, his whole elaborate argument, if brought to
the touchstone, is found inconclusive and unsatisfactory.

The Senator opened with the proposition, that the internal commerce of
a State is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the State, and from
this he argued that the present bill is unconstitutional. But the
Senator will allow me to say that his proposition is not sufficiently
broad for his conclusion. The present bill does not touch the internal
commerce of a State, except so far as it is a link in the chain
of “commerce among States,” committed by the Constitution to the
jurisdiction of Congress. This distinction must be made; for it is
essential to a right understanding of the case.

From this inapplicable proposition the Senator passed to another
equally inapplicable. He asserted that the jurisdiction of a State
over all territory within its limits was exclusive, so that the
United States cannot obtain jurisdiction over any portion thereof,
except by assent of the State; and from this again he argued the
unconstitutionality of the present bill. But this very illustration
seems to have been anticipated by Mr. Justice Story in his excellent
Commentaries, where he shows conclusively, first, that it is
inapplicable, and, secondly, that, if it were applicable, it would be
favorable to the power. Here are his words:--

     “The clause respecting cessions of territory for the seat
    of Government, and for forts, arsenals, dock-yards, &c., has
    nothing to do with the point. _But if it had, it is favorable
    to the power.…_ But surely it will not be pretended that
    Congress could not erect a fort or magazine in a place within
    a State, unless the State should cede the territory. The only
    effect would be that the jurisdiction in such a case would not
    be exclusive. Suppose a State should prohibit a sale of any of
    the lands within its boundaries by its own citizens, for any
    public purposes indispensable for the Union, either military
    or civil; would not Congress possess a constitutional right to
    demand and appropriate land within the State for such purposes,
    making a just compensation? _Exclusive jurisdiction over a
    road is one thing; the right to make it is quite another._ A
    turnpike company may be authorized to make a road, and yet may
    have no jurisdiction, or at least no exclusive jurisdiction,
    over it.”[78]

Had the distinguished Commentator anticipated the argument of the
Senator, he could not have answered it more completely.

Passing from these constitutional generalities, the Senator came at
once to an assumption, which, if sustained, would limit essentially the
national power with regard to post-roads. According to him, the words
of the Constitution authorizing Congress “to establish post-roads”
mean only that it shall “designate roads already existing”; and in
support of this assumption he relied upon the message of Mr. Monroe,
in 1822, on the Cumberland Road. The learned Senator adds, that this
is “the received opinion, uniformly acted upon, and since recognized
as the correct opinion by the judiciary.” Of course his testimony on
this head is important; but it is overruled at once by the authority
I have already cited, which says that “the power to establish
post-offices and post-roads has never been understood to include no
more than the power to _point out_ and _designate_ post-offices and
post-roads.”[79] In the face of Mr. Justice Story’s dissent, expressed
in his authoritative Commentaries, it is impossible to say that it is
“the received opinion,” as asserted by the Senator. But the much quoted
Commentator insists that “the Constitution itself uniformly uses the
word ‘established’ in the general sense, and never in this peculiar
and narrow sense,” and, after enumerating various places where it
occurs, says, “It is plain that to construe the word in any of these
cases as equivalent to _designate_ or _point out_ would be absolutely
absurd. The clear import of the word is to create, and form, and fix
in a settled manner.… To establish post-offices and post-roads is
to frame and pass laws to erect, make, form, regulate, and preserve
them. Whatever is necessary, whatever is appropriate to this purpose,
is within the power.”[80] I might quote other words from the same
authority; but this is enough to vindicate the power the Senator has

Here it is my duty to remind the Senate that the argument of the
Senator on this head is not only false in assumption, but that the
assumption, even if correct, is entirely inapplicable. The bill before
the Senate does not undertake to create, but simply to _designate_
or _point out_, certain roads. Therefore it does not fall under
the objection the Senator makes. Even by his own admission it is

But, not content with an erroneous assumption concerning post-roads,
which, even if correct, is entirely inapplicable, the Senator makes
another assumption concerning another clause of the Constitution,
equally erroneous and inapplicable. He argues that the railroad
charters in New Jersey were grants in the nature of a contract, and
were protected by “the constitutional inhibition upon the States
interfering with contracts”; and here he refers to several decisions of
the Supreme Court of the United States. I do not trouble you with the
decisions. It is enough, if I call attention to the precise text of the
Constitution, which is, “_No State_ shall pass any law impairing the
obligation of contracts.”

Look at these words, and it appears, in the first place, that this
inhibition is addressed to the States, and not to Congress, whose
powers are not touched by it. Look still further at the railroad
charters, and, even admitting that they were grants in the nature of
contract, you cannot deny that the contract must be interpreted with
reference to the Constitution of the United States. Learned judges
have held that the law of the place where a contract is made not
only regulates and governs it, _but constitutes part of the contract
itself_. But if the law constitutes part of the contract, still more
must the Constitution. Apply this principle and the case is clear.
Every railroad charter has been framed subject to the exercise of
the acknowledged powers of Congress, all of which are implied in the
grant as essential conditions, not less than if set forth expressly.
The Supreme Court has decided that all contracts are made subject to
the right of _eminent domain_, so that they cannot be considered as
violated by the exercise of this right.[81] But the powers of Congress,
invoked to regulate commerce among the several States, to establish
post-roads, and to raise and equip armies, are in the nature of
_eminent domain_, to which all local charters are subject. Therefore,
I repeat, nothing is proposed “impairing the obligation of contracts,”
even if that well-known inhibition were applicable to Congress.

From these details of criticism the Senator jumped to a broader
proposition. He asserted that the pending measure destroyed what he
called the sovereignty of the States, and he even went so far as to
say that it was the same as if you said that all State legislation
is null and void. These, Sir, were his exact words. How the Senator,
even in any ardor of advocacy, could venture on such assertion, it is
difficult to comprehend. Here is a measure, founded, as I have already
demonstrated, on three different texts of the Constitution, upheld by
three unassailable supports, and also in essential harmony with the
Union itself; and yet we are told that it destroys the sovereignty of
the States. Such an assumption seems uttered in the very wantonness
of unhesitating championship. If anything but a phrase, it must be
condemned, not only as without foundation, but as hostile to the best
interests of the country.

Sir, the pending measure is in no respect destructive of any rights of
the States; nor does it in any sense say that all State legislation
is null and void. On the contrary, it simply asserts a plain and
unquestionable power under the National Constitution. If in any way it
seems to touch what is invoked as State sovereignty, or to set aside
any State legislation, it is only in pursuance of the Constitution.
It is simply because the Constitution, and the laws made in pursuance
thereof, are _the supreme law of the land_.

The assumptions of the Senator bring me back to the vital principle
with which I began. After exhibiting the public convenience involved
in the present question, I said that it concerned still more the unity
of the Republic. It is, in short, that identical question which has so
often entered this Chamber, and is now convulsing the land with bloody
war. It is the question of the Union itself. In his ardor for that
vampire monopoly, which, brooding over New Jersey, sucks the life-blood
of the whole country, the Senator from Maryland sets up most dangerous
pretensions in the name of State Rights. Sir, the Senator flings into
one scale the pretensions of State Rights: into the other scale I fling
the Union itself.

Sir, the Senator from Maryland is a practised lawyer, and he cannot
have forgotten that Nathan Dane, whose name is an authority in our
courts, tells us plainly that the terms “sovereign States,” “State
sovereignty,” “State rights,” and “rights of States” are “not
constitutional expressions.”[82] Others of equal weight in the early
history of the country have said the same thing. Mr. Madison, in
the Convention which framed the Constitution, said: “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 Congress.”[83] Elbridge Gerry,
of Massachusetts, in the same Convention, said: “It appears to me that
the States never were independent. They had only corporate rights.”[84]
Gouverneur Morris, of Pennsylvania, with the same distinct language he
used in denouncing Slavery, said of the States: “They were originally
nothing more than colonial corporations.”[85] Both Patrick Henry and
George Mason, in the Virginia Convention, opposed the Constitution
on the very ground that it superseded State rights. But perhaps the
true intention of the authors of the Constitution may be best found
in the letter of General Washington, as President of the Convention,
transmitting it to Congress. Here are his words:--

    “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.… In all our deliberations
    on this subject we kept steadily in our view that which
    appeared 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

I am content, when I find myself with the support of this great name.

By the adoption of the Constitution the people of the United States
constituted themselves _a Nation_, one and indivisible, with all the
unity and power of a nation. They were no longer a confederation,
subject to the disturbing pretensions, prejudices, and whims of
component parts; but they became a body politic, where every part
was subordinate to the Constitution, as every part of the natural
body is subordinate to the principle of life. The sovereignty of the
United States, where all are but parts of one vivifying whole, was the
controlling unit. The powers then and there conferred upon the nation
were supreme. And those very powers I now invoke, in the name of the
Union, and to the end that pretensions in the name of State Rights may
be overthrown.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have thus presented a picture of these intolerable pretensions. But
they must be examined more minutely. They may be seen, _first_, in
their character as a monopoly, and, _secondly_, in their character as a
Usurpation under the Constitution of the United States. I need not say
that in each they are equally indefensible.

If you go back to the earliest days of English history, you find that
monopolies have from the beginning been odious, as contrary to the
ancient and fundamental laws of the realm. A writer who is often quoted
in the courts says: “All grants of this kind relating to any known
trade are made void by the Common Law, as being against the freedom of
trade, and discouraging labor and industry, and restraining persons
from getting an honest livelihood by a lawful employment, and putting
it in the power of particular persons to set what prices they please
on a commodity.”[87] But, without claiming that the present monopoly
is void at Common Law, it is enough to show its inconsistency with
the Constitution. Here I borrow Mr. Webster’s language in his famous
argument against the monopoly of steam navigation granted by the State
of New York:--

    “Now I think it very reasonable to say that _the Constitution
    never intended to leave with the States the power of granting_
    monopolies either of trade or of navigation,--and therefore,
    that, as to this, the commercial power is exclusive in

Then again he says:--

     “I insist that the nature of the case and of the power did
    imperiously require that such important authority as that of
    granting monopolies of trade and navigation _should not be
    considered as still retained by the States_.”[89]

And, yet again, he adduces an authority which ought to be conclusive on
the present occasion: it is that of New Jersey, on the formation of the

    “The New Jersey resolutions complain that the regulation of
    trade was in the power of the several States, within their
    separate jurisdiction, to such a degree as to involve many
    difficulties and embarrassments; and they express an earnest
    opinion that _the sole and exclusive power of regulating trade
    with foreign states ought to be in Congress_.”[90]

But the power of regulating trade “among the States” stands on the same
reason, and also on the same text of the Constitution.

And yet, in face of these principles, we have a gigantic monopoly
organized by New Jersey, composed of several confederate
corporations, whose capital massed together is said to reach upwards
of $27,537,977,--a capital not much inferior to that of the United
States Bank, which once seemed to hold “divided empire” with the
National Government itself. And this transcendent monopoly, thus
vast in resources, undertakes to levy a toll on the commerce, the
passengers, the mails, and the troops of the Union in transit between
two great cities, both outside New Jersey. In attitude and pretension
the grasping monopoly is not unlike Apollyon, in Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s
Progress,” whose usurpation is thus described:--

    “But now in this Valley of Humiliation poor Christian was hard
    put to it; for he had gone but a little way before he espied
    a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him: his name is
    Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in
    his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground.…

    “Now the monster was hideous to behold: he was clothed with
    scales like a fish, and they are his pride; he had wings like
    a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire
    and smoke, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he
    was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful
    countenance, and thus began to question with him.

    “APOLLYON. Whence come you, and whither are you bound?

    “CHRISTIAN. I am come from the City of Destruction, which is
    the place of all evil, and am going to the City of Zion.

    “APOLLYON. By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects; for
    all that country is mine, and I am the prince and god of it.”

New Jersey is the Valley of Humiliation through which all travellers
north and south from the city of New York to the city of Washington
must pass; and the monopoly, like Apollyon, claims them all as
“subjects,” saying, “For all that country is mine, and I am the prince
and god of it.”

The enormity of the Usurpation is seen in its natural consequences. New
Jersey claims the right to levy a tax for State revenue on passengers
and freight in transit across her territory from State to State,--in
other words, to levy a tax on “commerce among the several States.” Of
course the right to tax is the right to prohibit. The same power which
can exact “ten cents from every passenger,” according to the cry of the
Camden and Amboy Railroad, by the voice of its counsel, may exact ten
dollars, or any other sum, and thus effectively close this great avenue
of communication.

Again, if New Jersey can successfully play this game of taxation, and
compel tribute from the domestic commerce of the Union traversing
her territory on the way from State to State, then may every other
State do likewise. New York, with her central power, may build up an
overshadowing monopoly and a boundless revenue, while all the products
and population of the West traversing her territory on the way to
the sea, and all the products and population of the East, with the
contributions of foreign commerce, traversing her territory on the
way to the West, are compelled to pay tribute. Pennsylvania, holding
a great highway of the Union,--Maryland, constituting an essential
link in the chain of communication with the national capital,--Ohio,
spanning from lake to river, and forming a mighty ligament of
States, east and west,--Indiana, enjoying the same unsurpassed
opportunities,--Illinois, girdled by States with all of which it is
dovetailed by railroads, east and west, north and south,--Kentucky,
guarding the gates of the Southwest,--and, finally, any one of the
States on the long line of the Pacific Railroad,--may enter upon a
similar career of unscrupulous exaction, until anarchy sits supreme,
and there are as many different tributes as there are States. If
the Union should continue to exist, it would be only as a name. The
national unity would be destroyed.

The taste of revenue is to a government like the taste of blood to a
wild beast, exciting and maddening the energies, so that it becomes
deaf to suggestions of justice; and the difficulties must increase,
where this taxation is enforced by a comprehensive monopoly. The
State, once tasting this blood, sees only an easy way of obtaining the
means it desires; and other States will yield to the same temptation.
The poet, after picturing vice as a monster of frightful mien, tells us
in familiar words,--

    “Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
    We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

A profitable Usurpation, like that of New Jersey, would be a tempting
example to other States. “It is only the first step that costs.” Let
this Usurpation be sanctioned by Congress, and you hand over the
domestic commerce of the Union to a succession of local imposts. Each
State will be a tax-gatherer at the expense of the Union. Each State
will play the part of Don Quixote, and the Union will be Sancho Panza,
not only bound to contributions, but driven to receive on bare back the
lashes which were the penance of the knightly adventurer. If there be
any single fruit of our national unity, if there be any single element
of the Union, if there be any single triumph of the Constitution to
be placed above all others, it is the freedom of commerce between the
States, under which _free trade_, the aspiration of philosophy, is
assured to all citizens of the Union, as they circulate through our
whole broad country, without hindrance from any State. But this vital
principle is now in jeopardy.

Keep in mind that it is the tax imposed on commerce between New York
and Philadelphia, two cities outside the State of New Jersey, which I
denounce. I have denounced it as hostile to the Union. I also denounce
it as hostile to the spirit of the age, which is everywhere overturning
the barriers of commerce. The robber castles, once compelling payment
of toll on the Rhine, were long ago dismantled, and exist now only as
monuments of picturesque beauty. Kindred pretensions in other places
have been overthrown or trampled out. Duties levied by Denmark on all
vessels passing through the Sound and the Belts, duties levied by
Hanover on the goods of all nations at Stade on the Elbe, tolls exacted
on the Danube in its protracted course, tolls exacted by Holland on
the busy waters of the Scheldt, and transit imposts within the great
Zollverein of Germany, have all been abolished; and in this work of
enfranchisement the Government of the United States led the way,
insisting, in the words of President Pierce, in his Annual Message,
“on the right of _free transit_ into and from the Baltic.”[91] But the
right of free transit across the States of the Union is now assailed.
Can you who reached so far to secure _free transit_ in the Baltic now
hesitate in its defence here at home?

Thank God, within the bounds of the Union, under the National
Constitution, commerce is made free. As the _open sea_ is the highway
of nations, so is this Union made the highway of the States, with all
their commerce, and no State can claim any exclusive property therein.
The Union is a _mare liberum_, beyond the power of any State, and not a
_mare clausum_, subject to as many tyrannies as there are States. And
yet the State of New Jersey asserts the power of closing a highway of
the Union.

Such a pretension, so irrational and destructive, cannot be dealt with
tenderly. Like the serpent, it must be bruised on the head. Nor can
there be wise delay. Every moment of life yielded to such a Usurpation
is like the concession once in an evil hour yielded to Nullification,
kindred in origin and character. The present pretension of New Jersey
belongs to the same school with that abhorred and blood-bespattered
pretension of South Carolina.

Perhaps, Sir, it is not unnatural that the doctrines of South Carolina
on State Rights should obtain shelter in New Jersey. Like sees like.
There is a common bond among the sciences, among the virtues, among the
vices,--and so, also, among the monopolies. The monopoly founded on
the hideous pretension of property in man obtained responsive sympathy
in that other monopoly founded on the greed of unjust taxation, and
both were naturally upheld in the name of State Rights. Both must
be overthrown in the name of the Union. South Carolina must cease
to be a Slave State, and New Jersey must also cease her disturbing
pretension. All hail to the genius of Universal Emancipation! All hail
to the Union, victorious over the Rebellion,--victorious, also, over a
Usurpation which menaces the unity of the Republic!



    February 17th, Mr. Willey, of West Virginia, presented the
    credentials of Hon. Joseph Segar, appointed Senator by a State
    Government of Virginia, sitting at Alexandria. Mr. Sumner moved
    their reference to the Committee on the Judiciary, and during
    the discussion that ensued said:--

I regret that a question of this magnitude has been precipitated
upon the Senate at this late period of the session, when there is
so much public business which has not yet received the attention of
either House of Congress. The Senator from Michigan [Mr. HOWARD]
does not exaggerate its magnitude. Sir, it is much to be a Senator
of the United States, with all the powers and privileges pertaining
to that office, legislative, diplomatic, and executive; and the
question is, whether all these shall be recognized in the gentleman
whose certificate has been sent to the Chair. I thought it my duty,
on hearing the certificate read as I entered the Chamber, to move its
reference to the Committee on the Judiciary. I am astonished that
there can be any hesitation in that reference. Senators who hesitate
show insensibility to the character of the question. Will the Senate
act blindfold, or with eyes open? I insist that on such a question it
shall act with eyes open, wide open; and I know no way in which this
can be accomplished, except through the intervention of a responsible
Committee. Therefore, Sir, I proposed that the credentials should be
referred. It will be the duty of the Committee, as my friend from
Michigan suggests, to consider, in the first place, whether a State in
armed rebellion, like Virginia, can have Senators on this floor. That
is a great question, constitutional, political, practical. It will be
their duty then to consider whether the gentleman whose credentials
are before us is the legal choice of any State under the National
Constitution. Now, Sir, I do not intend to prejudge either of these
questions. I simply open them for consideration.

I say, Sir, I do not mean to prejudge these questions; but I do insist
that a measure of this importance shall not be acted on without due
consideration, and in absolute indifference to facts staring us in the
face, glaring upon us every day in every newspaper that we read. Sir,
you cannot be insensible to facts. It is in vain that Senators say that
Virginia, now in war against the Union, is entitled to representation
on this floor, when you have before you the inexorable fact that the
greater part of the State is at this moment in the possession of an
armed Rebellion, and that other fact, repeated by the newspapers of
the land, that the body of men who have undertaken to send a Senator
to Congress are little more than the Common Council of Alexandria.
The question is distinctly presented, whether a representative of the
Common Council of Alexandria is to enter this Chamber, and share the
powers and privileges of my honorable friend near me, the Senator from
New York [Mr. MORGAN], or my friend farther from me, the Senator
from Pennsylvania [Mr. COWAN]. I merely open these points, without
undertaking to decide them, but simply as an unanswerable argument in
favor of the reference.

    Afterwards, in reply to Mr. Foster, of Connecticut, Mr. Sumner

Suppose it was matter of public notoriety that I came into this Chamber
with a certificate from a body of men in Boston, little more in number
and character than the Common Council of that city, not in fact
supposed to represent the State; suppose this fact much received in the
country; then I submit to the Senator whether it would not be the duty
of the Senate, before receiving my credentials, to inquire into their

    The debate continued, when Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, moved that the
    credentials lie on the table. The motion was adopted,--Yeas 29,
    Nays 13. Mr. Segar’s claim to a seat was never prosecuted.



    February 17th, Mr. Sumner introduced the following concurrent
    resolution, and asked its immediate consideration.

Whereas certain persons have put in circulation the report, that,
on the suppression of the Rebellion, the Rebel debt or loan may be
recognized in whole or in part by the United States; and

Whereas such a report is calculated to give a false value to such Rebel
debt or loan: Therefore,

_Resolved by the Senate_ (the House of Representatives concurring),
That Congress hereby declares that the Rebel debt or loan is simply an
agency of the Rebellion, which the United States can never, under any
circumstances, recognize in any part or in any way.

    Mr. Saulsbury and Mr. McDougall objecting, its consideration
    was postponed. In the evening of the same day the resolution
    was taken up, on motion of Mr. Sumner, and adopted without a

    March 3d, the resolution was concurred in by the House of
    Representatives without a division.

    This resolution was a direct answer to a pretension set up in



    February 23d, Mr. Trumbull moved to proceed with the
    consideration of a bill from the House of Representatives
    requiring the Joint Committee of the two Houses on the Library
    to contract with a suitable artist for the execution in marble,
    and delivery in the Supreme Court Room of the United States,
    in the Capitol, of a bust of the late Chief Justice Taney,
    and appropriating one thousand dollars for this purpose. On
    the question of taking it up, Mr. Sumner said: “I object. An
    emancipated country should not make a bust of the author of the
    Dred Scott decision.” The motion to take up prevailed, when Mr.
    Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I objected to this joint resolution, when it was
reported by the Senator from Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL], and he was
disposed to hurry it upon the Senate, to the exclusion of important
business. I objected to it again to-day; but it was from no
indisposition to discuss it.

I know well the trivial apology which may be made for this proposition,
and the Senator from Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON] has already shown something
of the hardihood with which it may be defended. In the performance of
public duty I am indifferent to both.

The apology is too obvious. “Nothing but good of the dead.” This is a
familiar saying, which, to a certain extent, is acknowledged. But it
is entirely inapplicable, when statues and busts are proposed in honor
of the dead. Then, at least, truth must prevail.

If a man has done evil during life, he must not be complimented in
marble. And if indiscreetly it is proposed to decree this signal honor,
then the evil he has done must be exposed; nor shall any false delicacy
seal my lips. It is not enough that he held high place, that he enjoyed
worldly honors, or was endowed with intellectual gifts.

    “Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave,
    Is but the more a fool, the more a knave.”

What is the office of Chief Justice, if it has been used to betray
Human Rights? The crime is great according to the position of the

If asked, Sir, to mention the incident of our history, previous to
the Rebellion, most worthy of condemnation, most calculated to cause
the blush of shame, and most deadly in its consequences, I do not
doubt that you would name the Dred Scott decision, and especially the
unhallowed assertion of the Chief Justice. I say this with pain. I
do not seek this debate. But when a proposition is made to honor the
author of this enormity with a commemorative bust, at the expense of
the country, I am obliged to speak plainly.

I am not aware that the English judges who decided contrary to Liberty
in the case of ship-money, sustaining the king in those pretensions
which ended in Civil War, have ever been commemorated in marble. I
am not aware that Jeffreys, Chief Justice and Chancellor of England,
famous for talents as for crimes, has found any niche in Westminster
Hall. No, Sir. They have been left to the judgment of history; and
there I insist that Taney shall be left in sympathetic companionship.
Each was the tool of unjust power. But the power Taney served was none
other than that Slave Power which has involved the country in hideous

I speak what cannot be denied, when I declare that the opinion of the
Chief Justice in the case of Dred Scott was more thoroughly abominable
than anything of the kind in the history of courts. Then and there
judicial baseness reached its lowest point. You have not forgotten
that terrible decision, where an unrighteous judgment was sustained
by falsification of history. Of course the Constitution of the United
States and every principle of Liberty were falsified; but historical
truth was falsified also. I have here the authentic report of the case,
where it appears that the Chief Justice, while enforcing his unjust
conclusion, blasting a whole race, used the following language.

    “It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public
    opinion in relation to that unfortunate race, which prevailed
    in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world _at
    the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the
    Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted. But
    the public history of every European nation displays it in a
    manner too plain to be mistaken._

    “They had for more than a century before been regarded
    as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to
    associate with the white race, either in social or political
    relations,--_and so far inferior, that they had no rights which
    the white man was bound to respect_, and that the negro might
    justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He
    was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of
    merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by
    it. _This opinion was at that time fixed and universal in the
    civilized portion of the white race._ It was regarded as an
    axiom in morals as well as in politics, which no one thought of
    disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute.”[92]

In these words, solemnly and authoritatively uttered by the Chief
Justice of the United States, humanity and truth were set at nought,
and the whole country was humbled. “Then I and you and all of us fell
down, whilst bloody _Slavery_ flourished over us.”

I quote his words fully, so that there can be no mistake. Here, then,
is his expressed assertion, that at the Declaration of Independence in
1776, and the adoption of the National Constitution in 1789, in Europe
as well as in our own country, colored men were regarded as having
“no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Now, Sir, this
is false,--terribly false. It is notorious that there were States of
the Union, where, at the adoption of the Constitution, colored persons
were free, and even in the enjoyment of the electoral franchise, while
in England the Somerset case had already decided that there could be
no distinction of persons on account of color, and Scotland, France,
and Holland had all declared the same rule. Even Spain had spoken by
the voice of some of her best children. So had Portugal. So also had
Italy, and the Catholic Church. On this point there is no question. And
yet this Chief Justice, whom you would honor with a marble bust, had
the strange effrontery to declare that at that time, as well abroad
as at home, colored men were regarded as having “no rights which the
white man was bound to respect”; and this he said to justify a brutal
interpretation of the Constitution. Search judicial annals and you
find no perversion of truth more flagrant.

Sir, it is not fit, it is not decent, that such a person should be
commemorated by a vote of Congress,--especially at this time, when
Liberty is at last recognized. If you have money to commemorate the
dead, let it be in honor of the defenders of Liberty gathered to
their fathers. There was John Quincy Adams. There, also, was Joshua
R. Giddings. Let their busts be placed in the Court-Room, where with
marble lips they can plead always for human rights, teaching judge
and advocate the glory and the beauty of justice. Then will you do
something not entirely unworthy of a regenerated land, something to
be an example for future times, something to help fix the standard of

I know that in the Court-Room there are busts of the other Chief
Justices. Very well. So in the Hall of the Doges, at Venice, there are
pictures of all who filled that high office in unbroken succession,
with the exception of Marino Falieri, who, although as venerable from
years as Taney, was deemed unworthy of a place in the historic line.
Where his picture should have been is a vacant space, testifying
always to the justice of the Republic. Let such a vacant space in our
Court-Room testify to the justice of our Republic, and may it speak in
warning to every one who would betray Liberty!

    The appropriation was vindicated by Mr. Trumbull, Mr. Reverdy
    Johnson, of Maryland, and Mr. Carlile, of West Virginia. It
    was opposed by Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, Mr. Wilson, of
    Massachusetts, and Mr. Wade, of Ohio. Mr. Sumner then obtained
    the floor.

At last I have the floor again. I rose at once to reply to the Senator
from Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON], when he made his objurgatory vindication
of the proposed bust; but the floor was given to others. And now, as I
look at the clock, I see that I can only begin what I have to say.

Again let me declare that I am sorry to be drawn into this debate. But
they who seek to canonize one of the tools of Slavery are responsible.
Taney shall not be recognized as a saint by any vote of Congress, if I
can help it.

The Senator has a bad cause, and I inferred that he thought so
himself,--first, because he talked so loud, and, secondly, because
he became personal. A good cause would have been discussed in softer
voice, and without personality. The Senator becomes personal easily.
In the sweep of his movement, he brushed against my distinguished
friend from New Hampshire [Mr. HALE], and also against my colleague
and myself, simply because we could not join in this oblation to the
author of the Dred Scott decision. The Senator from New Hampshire and
my colleague have already answered him in proper terms. But I say for
my colleague what he could not say for himself. He can bear gibes for
not being a lawyer. He is not, like the Senator, a counsellor of the
Supreme Court of the United States, but in all the duties of Senator he
is in every respect the equal of the Senator from Maryland.----

    Here Mr. Sumner was arrested by the Vice-President announcing
    that the hour fixed for a recess had arrived. The consideration
    of the bill was never resumed, and it expired with the session.
    Had opportunity occurred, Mr. Sumner would have continued:--

I have already said that Chief Justice Taney, in pronouncing that
fatal judgment, falsified history. Judicial error is aggravated by
such a falsification; and here the evidence is complete. His statement
is precise, that for more than a century before the Declaration of
Independence and the adoption of our Constitution people of the African
race had “been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether
unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political
relations”; and this unhappy asseveration culminates in the words, “and
so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound
to respect, and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced
to slavery for his benefit.” And he adds: “_This opinion was at that
time fixed and universal_ in the civilized portion of the white race.
It was regarded as an axiom in morals, as well as in politics, which
no one thought of disputing or _supposed to be open to dispute_.” This
is plain, though failing in the precision which belongs to the bench.
But how untrue! All this naturally ends in shutting out the unhappy
African from citizenship, involving the right to sue in the courts of
the United States.

Unhappily, at that time Slavery prevailed extensively; but it had
already received many blows, while the rights of the African were
asserted not only by individuals, but by communities. Nay, more, from
the beginning, the axiom of the Chief Justice, which, according to him,
no one supposed open to dispute, had been assailed. Great authorities,
great names, together with legislative and judicial bodies, stood forth
against it.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is Massachusetts, my own honored Commonwealth. From the earliest
days of her history Slavery found little favor with her Legislature
or her people. As early as 1645 the Legislature sent back two negroes
brought from Guinea in a Boston ship, and the next year repeated its
testimony against “the heinous and crying sin of man-stealing.”[93]
In the same spirit, John Eliot, the apostle to the Indians, presented
a memorial to the Governor and Council against selling captured
Indians into slavery, saying, “To sell souls for money seemeth to me a
dangerous merchandise.”[94] In 1701, Boston desired her Representatives
in the General Court “to promote the encouraging the bringing of
white servants, and to put a period to negroes being slaves.”[95] At
the same time Chief Justice Sewall, of a family constant in warfare
with Slavery, published a tract entitled “The Selling of Joseph a
Memorial,” where he maintained that “originally and naturally there
is no such thing as Slavery,” and that “these Ethiopians, as black
as they are, seeing they are the sons and daughters of the first
Adam, the brethren and sisters of the last Adam, and the offspring of
God, they ought to be treated with a respect agreeable.”[96] In this
spirit, the judicature of Massachusetts, in 1770, made haste against
Slavery, by declaring the principle of Emancipation,--according to one
authority, two years before the famous Somerset case in England.[97]
This was followed, in 1780, by the Declaration of Rights, announcing
that “all men are born free and equal,” which the same judicature
interpreted as abolishing Slavery; so that at the adoption of the
National Constitution Slavery did not exist in Massachusetts. That
this undoubted history should have been disregarded by the Chief
Justice is more astonishing, when it is considered that the conclusion
belonged to the jurisprudence of our country. In a case well known
to all interested in the history of Slavery, and especially to
lawyers, decided in 1836, Chief Justice Shaw said: “How, or by what
act particularly, Slavery was abolished in Massachusetts, whether by
the adoption of the opinion in Somerset’s case, as a declaration and
modification of the Common Law, or by the Declaration of Independence,
or by the [State] Constitution of 1780, it is not now very easy to
determine; and it is rather a matter of curiosity than of utility, _it
being agreed on all hands_, that, if not abolished before, it was so by
the Declaration of Rights.”[98] And yet even these words are forgotten
in this fatal decision.

Here we must mention Rhode Island with honor. This State, planted by
Roger Williams, may point with pride to her early record on Slavery. At
a General Court held May 19, 1652, after setting forth, that “there is
a common course practised amongst Englishmen to buy negroes, to that
end they may have them for service or slaves forever,” it was ordered,
“that no black mankind, or white, being forced by covenant bond, or
otherwise, to serve any man or his assigns longer than ten years, or
until they come to be twenty-four years of age, if they be taken in
under fourteen, from the time of their coming within the liberties of
this colony.”[99] If Rhode Island afterwards departed from this law,
it existed, nevertheless, as an example not to be forgotten by the
Chief Justice. Nor should he have forgotten that Pennsylvania, as early
as 1712, passed an act to prevent the increase of slaves, although it
was annulled by the Crown,[100] and that this same State enacted, March
1, 1780, that all persons born in that State after that day were free
at the age of twenty-eight years.[101] But all this is inconsistent
with the famous “axiom” on which the Chief Justice founded his fearful

I need go no further than the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Curtis,
on this very occasion, to find, that, “at the time of the ratification
of the Articles of Confederation, all free native-born inhabitants of
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina,
though descended from African slaves, were not only citizens of those
States, but such of them as had the other necessary qualifications
possessed the franchise of electors on equal terms with other
citizens.”[102] Was all this forgotten by the Chief Justice? But how
could he forget the decision of the admirable Judge Gaston, of North
Carolina, who, describing the State Constitution of 1776, says, that
it “extended the elective franchise to every freeman who had arrived
at the age of twenty-one and paid a public tax; and it is a matter of
universal notoriety, that, under it, free persons, without regard to
color, claimed and exercised the franchise, until it was taken from
free men of color a few years since by our amended Constitution”?[103]

Strangely, he forgets also an important passage of history, being
nothing less than the point-blank refusal of the Continental Congress
to insert the word “white” in the Articles of Confederation. The
question came up June 25, 1778, on these words: “The _Free Inhabitants_
of each of these States (paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice
excepted) shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of _free
citizens_ in the several States.” The delegates from South Carolina,
acting in the spirit of the Dred Scott decision, moved, in behalf of
their State, to limit this guaranty to “free _white_ inhabitants.” On
the question of inserting the word “white,” eleven States voted, two
in favor of the insertion, one was divided, and eight were against
it. South Carolina, not disheartened, made another attempt, by moving
to add, after the words “the several States,” the further clause,
“according to the law of such States respectively for the government
of their own _free white_ inhabitants,” thus seeking again to limit
the operation of this guaranty. This proposition was also voted down
by the same decisive majority of eight to three.[104] Such was the
authoritative testimony of our fathers. And in harmony with this
action was the Resolution for the Temporary Government of the Western
Territory “ceded or to be ceded by individual States to the United
States,” dated April 23, 1784, and drawn by Jefferson, and also the
famous Ordinance for the Government of the Northwestern Territory,
drawn by Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, adopted by the Confederation
July 13, 1787, in both of which the voters were without distinction of

Still more incomprehensible is the assertion of the Chief Justice,
when we glance at the political literature of our country. Not only
in Massachusetts, but elsewhere, the “axiom” of the Chief Justice,
“which no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute,”
was denied. Nobody did this in more energetic terms than General
Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, who, in a letter to Granville
Sharp, wrote, under date of October 13, 1776: “My friends and I settled
the colony of Georgia, and by charter were established trustees, to
make laws, &c. We determined not to suffer Slavery there.… We would not
suffer Slavery (which is against the Gospel, as well as the fundamental
law of England) to be authorized under our authority; we refused, as
trustees, to make a law permitting such a horrid crime.”[105] In the
same spirit, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who had witnessed
the workings of Slavery on our continent and in the West Indies,
declared “American Slavery the vilest that ever saw the sun,” and
the “execrable sum of all villanies.” “Men-buyers” he stigmatizes as
“exactly on a level with men-stealers,” the slaveholder as “partaker
with a thief, and not a jot honester,” and the means whereby slaves
are procured as “nothing near so innocent as picking of pockets,
housebreaking, or robbery upon the highway.”[106] So also spoke James
Otis, in his famous pamphlet entitled “The Rights of the British
Colonists Asserted and Proved,” first published in 1764, and reprinted
in London, when he said: “The Colonists are, by the Law of Nature,
free-born, as, indeed, all men are, white or black.… Does it follow
that it is right to enslave a man because he is black? Will short
curled hair, like wool, instead of Christian hair, as it is called
by those whose hearts are as hard as the nether millstone, help the
argument? Can any logical inference in favor of Slavery be drawn from
a flat nose, a long or a short face?”[107] And so spoke Benjamin
Rush, the patriot physician of Philadelphia, in “An Address to the
Inhabitants of the British Settlements on the Slavery of the Negroes
in America,” where Slavery is exhibited as “repugnant to the genius of
Christianity” and inconsistent with “the justice and goodness of the
Supreme Being,” and “a Christian slave” is called “a contradiction in
terms.”[108] To these testimonies add the familiar words of statesmen,
especially of Patrick Henry, “It is a debt that we owe to the purity
of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law that
warrants Slavery,”[109]--and of Jefferson, in that memorable utterance,
prompted by Slavery, “I tremble for my country, when I reflect that
God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”[110] All these
sayings, directly repellent to the allegation of the Chief Justice,
have often been cited in public speech, and most of them appear in a
work entitled “Slavery and Antislavery,” by that devoted Abolitionist,
William Goodell, published several years before the opinion of the
Chief Justice.

Forgetting laws, judicial decisions, history, and political
literature, it was easy for the Chief Justice to forget how the
religious sects of the country testified for the rights of the African,
sometimes by individuals, and sometimes by corporate acts. Here the
Quakers took the lead. As far back as 1688, a small body of German
Quakers at Germantown, Pennsylvania, presented a protest to the Yearly
Meeting against “buying, selling, and holding men in slavery,”[111]
which was followed in 1696 by formal advice from this body that the
members should “be careful not to encourage the bringing in of any more
negroes, and that such that have negroes be careful of them.”[112]
One of their number, George Keith, denounced Slavery with especial
vigor, as “contrary to the religion of Christ, the rights of man, and
sound reason and policy.”[113] At the beginning of the last century
the Quakers of New England were agitated. In 1716, they sent forth a
declaration from Nantucket, that “it is not agreeable to truth for
Friends to purchase slaves and keep them term of life;”[114] and in
1730, Elihu Coleman, of Nantucket, wrote a tract in reprobation of
Slavery as “anti-Christian,” and “very opposite both to Grace and
Nature.”[115] In 1729, at Philadelphia, Ralph Sandiford exposed it in
a pamphlet entitled “The Mystery of Iniquity”; and in 1737, Benjamin
Lay gave to the world his work with the expressive title, “All
Slave-Keepers, that keep the Innocent in Bondage, Apostates,”--and this
was printed by Benjamin Franklin.[116] Then came the extraordinary
labors of John Woolman, who, from 1746 to 1768, travelled through
the Middle and Southern Colonies, an avowed Abolitionist, testifying
against Slavery,--and of Anthony Benezet, who, by various writings,
and by gratuitous instruction of negroes at an evening school, showed
his sense of their common humanity. Meanwhile at their Yearly Meetings
Slavery was condemned. In 1754, there was a recommendation “to advise
and deal with such as engage” in the traffic, with the declared desire
to guard against “promoting the bondage of such unhappy people.”[117]
In 1776, it was declared “that the owners of slaves who refused to
execute proper instruments for giving them their freedom were to
be disowned.”[118] There are also reports of meetings,--in Rhode
Island, in 1717, 1727, 1760, 1769, and thence, nearly every year, to
1787,--in New York, previous to 1759, and in 1767, 1771, 1772, 1774,
1775, 1776, 1777, 1781, 1782, 1784, 1785, 1787,--and in Virginia, in
1757, 1764, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1773, 1780, and thence annually, with
but one intermission, to 1787,--where the rights of the African were
recognized, and in most of them Slavery was condemned.[119] The meeting
of 1782, in Rhode Island, spoke of “that iniquitous practice of holding
or dealing with mankind as slaves.”[120] The meeting of 1776, in New
York, refused “to employ or accept the services in the church, or
receive the collections,” of those “who continue these poor people in
bondage.”[121] The meeting of 1773, in Virginia, earnestly recommended
manumissions, and quoted the words of the Prophet, “The people of
the land have used oppression and exercised robbery.”[122] These are
only illustrations of the extent to which the pretension of the Chief
Justice was disowned.

More tardily, but with equal force, the Methodists declared against
Slavery, speaking by such great preachers as George Whitefield and John
Wesley. From the historian Hildreth, whose work appeared some time
before the Dred Scott decision, we learn that the Methodist Episcopal
Church, just before the adoption of the Constitution, disqualified
slaveholders from being members, and that Coke, the first bishop, was
exceedingly jealous on this subject, although, unhappily, the rule
was afterwards relaxed.[123] The Presbyterians of the United Synod of
New York and Philadelphia, in 1787, proposed nothing less than “to
procure eventually the final Abolition of Slavery in America.”[124]
The Baptists of Virginia, in 1789, declared Slavery “a violent
deprivation of the rights of Nature, and inconsistent with republican
government.”[125] The Congregationalists of New England testified most
brilliantly by the celebrated theologian, Samuel Hopkins, who brought
his church at Newport to declare “the slave-trade and the slavery of
the Africans, as it has taken place among us, is a gross violation of
the righteousness and benevolence which are so much inculcated in the
Gospel, and therefore we will not tolerate it in this church.”[126]
Already, in 1776, he had put forth a tract, showing it to be the duty
and interest of the American Colonies to emancipate all their African
slaves, and declaring that Slavery is “in every instance wrong,
unrighteousness, and oppression, a very great and crying sin, there
being nothing of the kind equal to it on the face of the earth”;[127]
and in 1791, soon after the adoption of the National Constitution,
the second Jonathan Edwards, a twice-honored name, joined in this
testimony.[128] But all this was forgotten by the Chief Justice.

Nor did he remember how, before the National Constitution, the
opposition to Slavery, and sympathy with the African, found expression
in Abolition Societies. That of Pennsylvania was formed in 1775, and
bore the honorable title, “Society for the Abolition of Slavery,
the Relief of Free Negroes unlawfully held in Bondage, and for
improving the African Race.” Its President at the very adoption of the
Constitution was Benjamin Franklin, who, in this post, as elsewhere,
bore his testimony that the African had rights which the white man was
bound to respect. In 1785 began in New York a “Society for promoting
the Manumission of Slaves, and protecting such of them as have been or
may be liberated,” with John Jay as President, who, like Franklin, bore
his testimony in this post, as elsewhere. In 1786, this distinguished
individual drafted and signed a memorial to the Legislature of New
York against Slavery, declaring that the men held as slaves by the
laws of the State were free by the law of God; and this memorial was
signed by Robert R. Livingston and Alexander Hamilton. In Maryland, the
State of the Chief Justice, an Abolition Society was formed in 1789,
and among its officers were Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration
of Independence, and Luther Martin, a member of the Convention that
framed the National Constitution. How active these societies were in
petitioning Congress, shortly afterwards, belongs to the history of
our country. A petition was headed by Franklin, which, after pleading
for the rights of all, “without distinction of color,” entreated
Congress that it would “step to the very verge of the power vested in
it, for discouraging every species of traffic in the persons of our
fellow-men.”[129] All this is found in so common a book as the history
by William Goodell, already quoted; but the Chief Justice knew it not.

I call attention especially to Maryland, where, at the very date of the
Constitution, and in the Legislature of the State, a generous voice
was lifted against Slavery by no less a person than William Pinkney,
so famous as diplomatist, Senator, and consummate lawyer. He did
not spare words. According to him, Slavery was “iniquitous and most
dishonorable,” “founded in a disgraceful traffic,” “its continuance
as shameful as its origin,”--and he bravely declared, that, “by the
eternal principles of natural justice, no master in the State has a
right to hold his slave in bondage for a single hour.”[130] There
also was the neighbor State of Delaware, where, at the beginning of
our Revolution, under date of “Wilmington, Sixth Month 20th, 1775,”
Daniel Byrnes put forth a broadside entitled “A Short Address to the
English Colonies in North America,” where he exposes the wrong to the
African, and inquires, “How can any have the confidence to put up their
addresses to a God of impartial justice, and ask of Him success in a
struggle for freedom, who at the same time are keeping others in a
state of abject slavery?” But the Chief Justice, whose long life was
passed near the home of Pinkney and of Byrnes, yet, in face of their
unanswerable testimony, utters his strange extravagance.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pass now to England, and here the falsification is kindred to that I
have exposed with regard to our own country; and when we consider how
English law, English history, and English literature are familiar to
all educated lawyers among us, it is painful to observe the strange
oblivion that overcame the Chief Justice with regard to their most
brilliant chapters.

As early as 1569, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, occurred the famous
case of the slave brought from Russia, whose master sought to scourge
him, when it was grandly resolved that “England was too pure an air for
slaves to breathe in.”[131] This case was cited by the managers of the
Commons, during the Long Parliament, on the impeachment of the judges
for their proceedings against John Lilburn and John Wharton;[132] so
that it took a conspicuous place, not only in English law, but also in
political history. The same principle is also found in the Introduction
to Holinshed’s Chronicles, written in 1586, where, describing England,
it is said: “As for slaves and bondmen, we have none; nay, such is
the privilege of our country, by the especial grace of God and bounty
of our princes, that, if any come hither from other realms, so soon
as they set foot on land they become so free of condition as their
masters, whereby all note of servile bondage is utterly removed from
them.”[133] Such was English law at that early day, according to great
authorities. And in the reign of Charles the First the same humanity
appeared in literature, when Fuller, describing “the Good Sea-Captain,”
says, “In taking a prize, he most prizeth the men’s lives whom he
takes, though some of them may chance to be negroes or savages”; and
then, “But our captain counts the image of God nevertheless His image
cut in ebony, as if done in ivory.”[134]

Other cases followed. In the time of Queen Anne, Lord Chief Justice
Holt decided that “as soon as a negro comes into England he becomes
free: one may be a villein in England, but not a slave”; and Mr.
Justice Powell, his associate, said, “The law takes no notice of a
negro,”[135]--in other words, recognizes no difference between him
and a white man. As early as 1696, the same eminent Chief Justice,
giving judgment in another case, said, “Trover will not lie for a
negro.”[136] In 1706, in still another case, he said, “The Common Law
takes no notice of negroes being different from other men.”[137] Lord
Campbell, referring to some of these authorities, in his Life of the
Chief Justice, says that he “was the first to lay down the doctrine,
which was afterwards fully established in the case of Somerset the
Negro, that the _status_ of Slavery cannot exist in England, and that
as soon as a slave breathes the air of England he is free.”[138] In
1762, Lord Northington, deciding a case in Chancery where the master
claimed the benefit in donation to a negro, said: “As soon as a man
puts foot on English ground he is free; a negro may maintain an action
against his master for ill usage, and may have a _Habeas Corpus_,
if restrained of his liberty.”[139] These cases were crowned by the
immortal judgment of Lord Mansfield in the Somerset case, where, after
elaborate argument at the bar, and protracted adjournments of the
court, it was solemnly decided, in 1772, that Slavery “is so odious
that nothing can be suffered to support it but _positive law_,”[140]
and since no such law could be shown in England, Slavery was impossible
there. This case, besides constituting an epoch in the history of
Liberty, is memorable for the argument of that learned lawyer, Francis
Hargrave, undoubtedly a masterpiece of the English bar. It has been
cited so constantly since,[141] that nothing short of the waters of
Lethe can account for the forgetfulness of the Chief Justice with
regard to it.

Scotland, although having a different jurisprudence, asserted the same
principle, side by side with England. Sir Thomas Craig, in his work
on Feudal Law, one of the chief monuments of Scottish jurisprudence,
testifies that Slavery was unknown in his country in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth, when he also flourished, and that there were no laws to
regulate it.[142] In 1778, the question was presented to the courts
on the claim of a master over a negro and it was found, on appeal,
“that the dominion assumed over this negro under the law of Jamaica,
being unjust, could not be supported in this country to any extent;
that, therefore, the defendant had no right to the negro’s service
for any space of time, nor to send him out of the country against his

       *       *       *       *       *

The literature of both countries was in harmony with the jurisprudence.
Here I give the words of two Englishmen, John Locke and Samuel
Johnson, and two Scotchmen, Adam Smith and David Hume. John Locke
portrayed Slavery as “so vile and miserable an estate of man, and so
directly opposite to the generous temper and courage of our nation,
that it is hardly to be conceived that an Englishman, much less a
gentleman, should plead for it.”[144] Samuel Johnson exhibited “the
planters of America” as “a race of mortals whom no other man wishes to
resemble.”[145] Adam Smith wrote: “There is not a negro from the coast
of Africa who does not, in respect to contempt of death and torture,
possess a degree of magnanimity which the soul of his sordid master is
too often scarce capable of conceiving.”[146] I quote David Hume at
length, because his testimony is less known.

    “The remains which are found of Domestic Slavery in the
    American colonies and among some European nations would never,
    surely, create a desire of rendering it more universal. The
    little humanity commonly observed in persons accustomed from
    their infancy to exercise so great authority over their
    fellow-creatures, and to trample upon human nature, were
    sufficient alone to disgust us with that unbounded dominion.
    Nor can a more probable reason be assigned for the severe, I
    might say barbarous, manners of ancient times than the practice
    of domestic slavery, by which every man of rank was rendered a
    petty tyrant, and educated amidst the flattery, submission, and
    low debasement of his slaves.”[147]

It is not improbable that this passage suggested to Colonel Mason,
of Virginia, his condemnation of Slavery, as producing “the most
pernicious effect on manners; every master of slaves is born a petty
tyrant”;[148] and also the remarkable representation by Jefferson of
the effect on “manners,” when he says, “The whole commerce between
master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous
passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading
submission on the other.”[149]

To this increasing testimony, where philosophy and literature unite,
against the “axiom” of our Chief Justice, I add that of Granville
Sharp, England’s earliest Abolitionist, who, more than any other
person, was inspired to bear witness. Through his persistent purpose
the case of Somerset was presented for hearing and pressed to judgment.
The “axiom” was rejected by his life. In 1769, he wrote a tract
entitled “A Representation of the Injustice and Dangerous Tendency of
tolerating Slavery, or of admitting the least Claim of Private Property
in the Persons of Men, in England.” Others followed. At the same time
he was the watchful guardian of colored persons, offering them friendly

       *       *       *       *       *

Poetry and eloquence gave expression to the proud declaration of
English law. Cowper’s “Task” appeared in 1785, with the exulting

    “Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
    Receive our air, that moment they are free;
    They touch our country and their shackles fall.”[150]

Sheridan took up the strain, and in one of his best utterances said:--

    “Allegiance to that Power that gives us the _forms_ of men
    commands us to maintain the _rights_ of men; and never yet was
    this truth dismissed from the human heart,--never in any time,
    in any age,--never in any clime where rude man ever had any
    social feeling, or where corrupt refinement had subdued all
    feelings; never was this one unextinguishable truth destroyed
    from the heart of man, placed as it is in the core and centre
    of it by his Maker, that man was not made the property of

The same sentiment reappeared in the immortal outburst of Curran,
which was the highest testimony to English law. And yet none of these
are recognized by our Chief Justice.

       *       *       *       *       *

In assertion of the general principle, France was not behind England.
Schoell, in his “History of Treaties of Peace,” referring to this
principle, says that in France “the beautiful maxim has always been
followed, that whoever sets foot on French soil in Europe is free,--a
maxim which, as we have said, the English tribunals did not adopt
till 1772.”[152] Doubtless the general principle may be traced to an
early period of French history. It was a frequent boast, and there are
instances of its application. An edict of Louis the Tenth, called _Le
Hutin_, or The Quarreller, in 1315, and another of Henry the Second, in
1553, are quoted as declaring the right of all men to liberty by the
Law of Nature. At the siege of Metz, in 1552, the Spanish general of
cavalry applied to the French commander for the return of a fugitive
slave; but the latter replied, that the freedom acquired by the slave,
according to the ancient and good custom of France, did not permit
his rendition. In 1571, the same principle was maintained against an
ambassador, although by the Law of Nations the persons an ambassador
brings with him do not change their condition.[153]

These cases are mentioned in the “Causes Célèbres,” a well-known French
collection of important trials; and the principle is attested by
French authorities in jurisprudence, among which may be named Lebret,
and also Loysel, whose works are found in the Library of Congress. I
mention especially the “Institutes Coutumières” of Loysel, with the
various notes of Laurière, Dupin, and Laboulaye, the last being the
very loyal ally of our country, where this principle is stated and

The case of the slave at Metz deserves further mention. He had escaped
from the besieging general, and taken with him a Spanish horse. The
Duke of Guise, who commanded in the city, returned for answer to the
application for his surrender, that he could not comply; that his hands
were tied by the law of France from time immemorial; that, entirely
free as it had been and is, it would not receive a slave: and so it
would be, if he were the most barbarous and foreign in the world;
having only set foot on the land of France, he is immediately at
liberty and beyond all slavery and captivity, and is free as in his own
country. The slave could not be returned; but the horse was sent back.
The gay and lively Brantôme, who lived for pleasure, was struck by this
incident, and, after repeating it “among other beautiful actions,”

    “Truly, we must praise and admire that noble freedom, beautiful
    and Christian, in France, not to admit such servitudes and
    slaveries, too cruel, and which savor more of the Pagan and
    Turk than of the Christian.”[155]

Bodin, in his work on Government, which first appeared in French in
1576, must be quoted also. I copy from the old translation by Knolles,
published in 1606.

    “But in France, although there be some remembrance of old
    servitude, yet is it not lawful there to make any slave, or to
    buy any of others: insomuch that the slaves of strangers, so
    soon as they set their foot within France, become frank and
    free; as was by an old decree of the Court of Paris determined
    against an ambassador of Spain, who had brought a slave with
    him into France. And I remember that of late a Genoa merchant,
    having brought with him unto Toulouse a slave whom he had
    bought in Spain, the host of the house, understanding the
    matter, persuaded the slave to appeal unto his liberty. The
    matter being brought before the magistrates, the merchant was
    called for. The Attorney General out of the records showed
    certain ancient privileges given (as is said) unto them of
    Toulouse by Theodosius the Great, wherein he had granted, that
    slaves, so soon as they came into Toulouse, should be free: the
    merchant alleging for himself, that he had truly bought his
    slave in Spain, and so was afterward come to Toulouse, from
    thence to go home to Genoa, and so not to be bound to the laws
    of France. In the end, he requested, that, if they would needs
    deal so hardly with him as to set at liberty another man’s
    slave, yet they should at least restore unto him the money he
    cost him: whereunto the judges answered, that it was a matter
    to be considered of. In the mean time, the merchant, fearing
    lest he should lose both his dutiful slave and his money also,
    of himself set him at liberty, yet covenanting with him that he
    should serve him so long as he lived.”[156]

Nor was the principle restricted in application to persons of a white
skin. The fugitive slave at Metz was a Moor or Turk. And there are
other cases. In 1571, a merchant of Normandy brought to Bordeaux
several Moors for sale; but the Parliament of Guienne, by a solemn
decree, discharged them from slavery, “because France, the mother of
Liberty, does not permit any slaves.” Another case occurred in the
reign of Henry the Third, who, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the
Spanish ambassador, refused to surrender two or three hundred “Turks,
Moors, and Barbarians” who had escaped from a Spanish galley, but sent
them all to Constantinople, each with a crown-piece in his pocket.
These cases also appear in the authoritative pages to which I have
already referred.[157]

That the African was no exception to the prevailing principle in its
original vigor appears in subsequent cases. Unhappily, Slavery, exiled
from France, found a home in the French colonies, and then succeeded in
obtaining certain privileges even in France. By the Edict of 1716 and
the supplementary Declaration of 1738, the rights of the master over
his slave in France were recognized in certain cases. A slave escaping
from the colonies was surrendered, and the officers of the Admiralty,
and others whom it concerned, were enjoined to assist the master in his
recovery; but where a master voluntarily brought or sent a slave into
France, he was obliged first to obtain permission from the colonial
governor, and register the same both at his place of residence and the
port of disembarkation. With these considerable limitations the great
rule of France prevailed. The master was not permitted to sell or
exchange his slave in France; nor could he hold him, if he had failed
to comply with the required formalities.[158]

In 1738, the liberty of a slave brought from San Domingo, and without
compliance with prescribed formalities, was recognized after an
elaborate hearing by the Admiralty. The general principle was presented
with much force. One of the counsel exclaimed: “In France there
are no slaves; and the custom is such that not only Frenchmen, but
also foreigners entering a port of France, and crying, ‘_France and
Liberty!_’ are out of the power of him who possessed them, who loses
the purchase-money and the service of the slave, if the slave refuse to
serve him.”[159] This case, which testifies against our Chief Justice,
is found in a French collection of Celebrated Trials, and there is a
full abstract of it in the notes to the case of Somerset in Howell’s
edition of the State Trials.[160]

In 1776, there was a case, entitled “A Negro and a Negress who claimed
their liberty against a Jew,”[161] where, after elaborate hearing,
the Admiralty decreed the liberty of the claimants. Here also, while
insisting upon failure to comply with the prescribed formalities, the
original rule of France was eloquently declared. The counsel of the
slaves began by saying: “Two slaves have had the happiness to land in
France; they have heard that the air breathed here is that of Liberty.”
Proceeding in his argument, the counsel refutes the Dred Scott
decision. “Those,” said he, “who have thought to perceive a natural
imprint of servitude on the countenances of certain people, instead of
consulting reason, have taken for guide only the prejudices engendered
by vanity and pride. Had they listened in silence to the powerful voice
which cries at the bottom of the heart of all men, their own heart
would have contradicted the error of the mind. They would then have
recognized that daring to pretend that all men are not born free is to
calumniate Nature.”[162]

In these cases there was an evident disposition to follow the teachings
of Justice and Humanity. In another case, finally decided in 1759, it
was suggested, that, even where the prescribed formalities had been
complied with, the great rule of Liberty was not restricted, inasmuch
as the Code Noir had never been registered in the Parliament of Paris.
On appeal to this Parliament, the highest tribunal of France, the slave
was ordered to be set free; upon which counsel, quoting the case,
observed: “This decree attests that the jurisprudence of the Parliament
of Paris is favorable to Liberty.”[163]

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far I have adduced only the jurisprudence of France. But French
literature also cries out. The famous Encyclopædia, edited by those
leaders of thought, Diderot and D’Alembert, in the middle of the
last century, says at the end of an elaborate article on Slavery:
“We conclude that Slavery, founded by force, by violence, and in
certain climates by excess of servitude, cannot perpetuate itself in
the universe but by the same means.”[164] Almost contemporaneously,
Montesquieu, in his “Spirit of Laws,” exposed with admirable irony the
wrongs of the African. “It is impossible,” says the philosopher, “that
we should suppose that these people are men; because, if we supposed
them men, people would begin to think that we ourselves were not

No Abolitionist of our day has denounced Slavery with more power,
or vindicated the rights of the African with more sympathy, than
Condorcet. In his notes to the “_Pensées_” of Pascal, which appeared
in 1776, and gave such satisfaction to Voltaire, he steps aside to

    “And let it not be said, that, in suppressing Slavery,
    Government would violate the property of the colonists. How
    could usage, or even a positive law, ever give a man a true
    right of property in the labor, in the liberty, in the entire
    being of another innocent man who had never consented to it?
    In declaring the negroes free, we should not take from the
    colonist his property,--we should prevent him from committing a
    crime; and the money paid for a crime has never given the right
    to commit it.”

Then, in reply to those who charge the negroes with vices, he says

    “Make them free, and nearer Nature than yourselves, they will
    be superior to you.”[166]

So does the French philosopher testify against the Chief Justice.

Strange that the Chief Justice, forgetting the jurisprudence and
literature of France, forgot also the brilliant testimony of Lafayette,
who, communicating to Congress at Philadelphia the great news that the
Treaty with England acknowledging our Independence was signed, wrote
by the same packet, and under the same date, February 5, 1783,[167]
to Washington, calling upon the commander of our armies to unite with
him in the purchase of a small property, where they might make the
experiment of emancipating the negroes, and of employing them simply
as farm laborers. Although Washington failed to unite with his French
friend, the appeal exists as testimony against the Chief Justice. There
is also the letter of Lafayette to Hamilton, April 13, 1785, asking to
be enrolled in what he calls the “Association against the Slavery of
Negroes,” in New York, and declaring that he has ever been “partial to
his brethren of that color.”[168] This should have been remembered by
the Chief Justice.

       *       *       *       *       *

From France I pass to Holland, including Belgium. Here an authority
so familiar as Bynkershoek tells us that the Belgians, capturing
Algerines, Tunisians, and Tripolitans, on the ocean or in the
Mediterranean, are accustomed to sell them into Slavery in Spain; “for
the Belgians themselves have no slaves except in Asia, Africa, and
America.”[169] Like France, the country at home was free, and Slavery
was exiled to the colonies. The efficacy of this rule is curiously
attested by an incident recorded by Diderot, the Frenchman so eminent
in science and literature, and of universal knowledge. It is in his
Tour in Holland, made in 1773. It is well known that Peter of Russia,
called the Great, served as a shipwright in the docks of Holland.
Afterwards visiting the country as Czar, he was attracted by the
apparatus for execution, but, not comprehending its operation clearly,
he said, “It is only necessary to take one of my slaves, and try it
on him.” It was represented, that, besides the revolting atrocity of
this act, it would not be possible to allow it. “Ah! why not?” said the
Czar. “Am I not master of my slave, and can I not dispose of him at my
will?” “In your own country, perhaps,” replied the burgomaster, “but
not here. Every slave who sets foot in Holland becomes free there, and
belongs only to himself.”[170] This visit of the Czar was early in the
last century, though recorded by Diderot later, and then Holland was
already ranged with countries that would not tolerate Slavery; but the
Chief Justice remembers not the testimony.

       *       *       *       *       *

Spain also cries out against the Chief Justice. Her favorite monarch,
Isabella, was aroused against the discoverer of the New World at the
report that slaves from the Indies had been introduced into Spain with
his sanction, and she exclaimed, “By what authority does Columbus
venture thus to dispose of my subjects?” Instant proclamation was made
by her order, that all who had Indian slaves in their possession,
granted by the Admiral, should forthwith provide for their return to
their own country, while the few held by the Crown were restored to
freedom in like manner. Las Casas records, that, “so great was the
Queen’s indignation at the Admiral’s misconduct in this particular,
that nothing but the consideration of his great public services saved
him from immediate disgrace.”[171] Whatever the legislation and
jurisprudence of Spain, this historic incident must not be forgotten.
It was the voice of the sovereign, and therefore, for the time, the
voice of the nation.

There are other eminent Spaniards to be included in the cloud of
witnesses, especially Las Casas, whose story I give on the authority
of our own historian, just quoted, whose works were in every library
of the country when the Chief Justice launched his decree: I mean my
much valued friend, the late William H. Prescott. In his “History of
the Conquest of Mexico” is a description of the good Bishop, who, to
relieve the Indian natives from slavery in the islands of the West
Indies, proposed the introduction of Africans, and in an evil hour his
advice was followed. At a later period he regretted keenly the wrong he
had done, since, to use his own words, “the same law applies equally to
the Negro and the Indian.” Afterwards, at a hearing before the Emperor,
Charles the Fifth, he denounced Slavery in words of fervid eloquence,
worthy of any Abolitionist, saying: “The Christian religion is equal
in its operation, and is accommodated to every nation on the globe.
It robs no one of his freedom, violates none of his inherent rights,
on the ground that he is a slave by nature, as pretended; and it well
becomes your Majesty to banish so monstrous an oppression from your
kingdoms in the beginning of your reign, that the Almighty may make it
long and glorious.”[172] In an elaborate memorial prepared in 1542,
the same upright churchman denounces Slavery, saying, “God forbids us
to do evil that good may come of it”; and the historian adds, “The
whole argument, which comprehends the sum of what has been since
said more diffusely in defence of Abolition, is singularly acute and
cogent.”[173] But the Chief Justice forgot all these things.

And he forgot also the dying testimony of Cortés, the conqueror
of Mexico, who, in his testament, revealed his anxieties as a
slave-master, in the following direction to his son: “It has long been
a question, whether one can conscientiously hold property in Indian
slaves. Since this point has not yet been determined, I enjoin it on
my son Martin and his heirs, that they spare no pains to come to an
exact knowledge of the truth, as a matter which deeply concerns the
conscience of each of them, no less than mine.” The historian from whom
I copy this passage adds: “The state of opinion in respect to the great
question of Slavery in the sixteenth century, at the commencement of
the system, bears some resemblance to that which exists in our time,
when we may hope it is approaching its conclusion. Las Casas and the
Dominicans of the former age, the Abolitionists of their day, thundered
out their uncompromising invectives against the system, on the broad
ground of natural equity and the rights of man.”[174] Thus in advance
did the historian answer the Chief Justice.

Associated with Las Casas in lofty truth was the Dominican, Dominic
Soto, the confessor of Charles the Fifth, and the oracle of the
Council of Trent, to whom, it is said, that assembly was indebted for
much of the precision, and even elegance, recognized in its doctrinal
decrees. His Treatise on Justice and Law is not unknown to students
of philosophy, and it has been commended by Sir James Mackintosh, who
rejoices in bringing forward the remarkable testimony it furnishes
against Slavery. “It is affirmed,” says the Dominican, “that the
unhappy Ethiopians are by fraud or force carried away and sold as
slaves. If this is true, neither those who have taken them, nor those
who purchased them, nor those who hold them in bondage can ever have a
quiet conscience, till they emancipate them, _even if no compensation
should be obtained_.”[175] This testimony has not been left to slumber
in the Latin text of the author. I take it from a favorite production
in our own language. Not content with quoting it, Mackintosh adds: “As
the work which contains this memorable condemnation of Man-Stealing
and Slavery was the substance of lectures for many years delivered
at Salamanca, Philosophy and Religion appear, by the hand of their
faithful minister, to have thus smitten the monsters in their earliest
infancy.”[176] But the Chief Justice ignored all this.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nor is Portugal to be omitted in this catalogue; and here the testimony
is from a familiar authority, being none other than the History of
Brazil, by Robert Southey. In this elaborate work, the author, an
English classic of the present century, dwells on the unsurpassed
eloquence of the Father Vieyra, in the early settlement of Brazil,
while he denounced Slavery. No modern Abolitionist has ever used
stronger language. Born at Lisbon, in 1608, and dying at Bahia, in
1697, he was called by his countrymen “the last of the mediæval
preachers,” and is the most celebrated of Portuguese divines. Thus he
spoke: “Oh, what a market! a negro for a soul, and the soul the blacker
of the two! ‘This negro shall be your slave for the few days that you
may have to live, and your soul shall be my slave through all eternity,
as long as God is God!’--this is the bargain which the Devil makes with
you.” Then again the fierce orator said: “My brethren, if there be any
who doubt upon this matter, here are the laws, here are the lawyers;
let the question be asked.… Go to Turkey, go to Hell: for there can
neither be Turk so beturked in Turkey, nor Devil so bedevilled in Hell,
as to affirm that a free man may be a slave.… We ought to support
ourselves with our own hands; for better is it to be supported by
the sweat of one’s own brow than by another’s blood. O ye riches of
Maranham! What if these mantles and cloaks were to be wrung? They would
drop blood!”[177] Surely here is testimony worthy of memory; but our
Chief Justice knew it not.

Nor has he regarded official acts by which Portugal at an early day set
herself against Slavery. The years 1570, 1587, 1595, 1661, and 1680
were marked by Portuguese to secure the liberty of native Indians. At
a later day, but anterior to our Constitution, the African began to
feel the same recognition. On the 19th September, 1761, it was enacted,
that “all black slaves who should henceforward come to the ports of
the kingdom of Portugal and Algarve from Africa or America should be
free”; and this was followed by royal order of the 2d January, 1767,
extending “this beneficent measure to mulattoes of both sexes who were
not mentioned in preceding laws.” Then came the law of 16th January,
1773, which determined that “the children of male and female slaves,
who might be born in the kingdom of Portugal after the above date,
should be free, and _capable of holding office, honors, and dignities_,
without the stigma of freedmen, which the superstition of the Romans
established in their customs, and which Christian union and civil
society now render intolerable in the kingdom.” These important facts I
have from the Portuguese Legation at Washington. Note, if you please,
the dates; yet the Chief Justice knew nothing of this important and
honorable testimony.

       *       *       *       *       *

The evidence may well be closed with Italy and the Catholic Church.
Surely Bancroft’s History of the United States should have taught the
Chief Justice at least to hesitate. In his learned chapter on Slavery
the historian records, that, “by the Venetian law, no slave might enter
a Venetian ship, and to tread the deck of an argosy of Venice became
the privilege and the evidence of freedom.” Then, again, the Chief
Justice might have learned from him, that in the twelfth century Pope
Alexander the Third became the guardian of the oppressed, and wrote:
“But since Nature created all free, no one by condition of Nature was
subjected to slavery”; and he might have learned also how even Pope Leo
the Tenth, in the midst of his luxurious life, making his pontificate
a carnival, declared that “not the Christian religion only, but Nature
herself, cries out against the state of Slavery.”[178]

       *       *       *       *       *

But how could our Chief Justice, belonging and faithful to the Roman
Church, forget the testimony of that Church as presented by Balmés,
the remarkable Spanish writer, in his work entitled “Protestantism and
Catholicity compared in their Effects on the Civilization of Europe”?
Here is found an eloquent vindication of the Church, which, according
to its defender, rejected the assumptions of the Chief Justice. The
famous bull against the slave-trade by Gregory the Sixteenth, in 1839,
sets forth what was done to this end by Paul the Third in 1537, by
Urban the Eighth in 1639, and by Benedict the Fourteenth in 1741,
casting “the most severe censures upon those who venture to reduce
the inhabitants of the East or West Indies into slavery, buy, sell,
give, or exchange them, separate them from their wives and children,
strip them of their property, take or send them into strange places, or
deprive them of their liberty in any way, to retain them in slavery,
or aid, counsel, succor, or favor those who do these things under any
color or pretence whatever, or preach or teach that this is lawful,
and, in fine, coöperate therewith in any way whatever.”[179] But, in
face of this arraignment by successive pontiffs, where is the Chief
Justice? Thus does his own Church testify against him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I suspend the testimony, leaving several famous countries
unvisited. But there is enough for conviction; nor is argument
needed. The witnesses are before you, excellent and unanswerable, in
long array,--witnesses from our own country, witnesses from England,
witnesses from Scotland, witnesses from France, witnesses from Holland,
witnesses from Spain, witnesses from Portugal, witnesses from Italy,
witnesses from the Catholic Church, all rising up to testify against
that “opinion” which the Chief Justice announces as “fixed and
universal in the civilized portion of the white race,”--against that
“axiom in morals as well as in politics” which he says “no one thought
of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute.” They rejected his
“opinion”; they disputed his “axiom.” Did he forget? or, for the sake
of Slavery, did he pervert judgment? But such forgetfulness was akin to
such perversion. And when it is considered that this was to put Slavery
in the National Constitution, it was nothing less than a criminal
falsification; nor should ignorance be an excuse.

Plainly, the Chief Justice who could do this deserves no marble bust
by vote of Congress. His comprehensive office was Justice; his special
duty was Liberty. But these he sacrificed, making Law and Constitution
hideous. The old maxim of Law cries out against him: _Impius et
crudelis judicandus est, qui Libertati non favet._ Such is the
terrible judgment. Again the Law speaks: _Execrandus est, qui Libertati
non favet_: “Accursed is he who does not favor Liberty.” This is the
ancient voice of the Law, older than Constitution and Declaration of
Independence, which must not be disobeyed.



    February 18th, Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, Chairman of the
    Committee on the Judiciary, reported the following resolution,
    which, at the request of Mr. Sumner, was read:--

        “_Resolved, &c._, That the United States do hereby
        recognize the Government of the State of Louisiana,
        inaugurated under and by the Convention which assembled
        on the 6th day of April, A. D. 1864, at the city of New
        Orleans, as the legitimate Government of the said State,
        and entitled to the guaranties and all other rights of
        a State Government under the Constitution of the United

    The admission of the State, as here proposed, had the favor of
    President Lincoln. It was earnestly opposed by Mr. Sumner, as
    not republican in origin or form, and furnishing no security
    for the rights of colored persons.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 23d, on motion of Mr. Trumbull, the Senate proceeded
    to consider the resolution, when Mr. Sumner moved the following

        “That neither the people nor the Legislature of any State,
        the people of which were declared to be in insurrection
        against the United States by the Proclamation of the
        President, dated August 16, 1861, shall hereafter elect
        Representatives or Senators to the Congress of the United
        States, until the President, by proclamation, shall have
        declared that armed hostility to the Government of the
        United States within such State has ceased, nor until the
        people of such State shall have adopted a Constitution
        of Government not repugnant to the Constitution and laws
        of the United States, nor until, by a law of Congress,
        such State shall have been declared to be entitled to
        representation in the Congress of the United States of

    This was lost,--Yeas 8, Nays 29.

    February 24th, Mr. Lane, of Kansas, moved that the resolution
    be made the special order for the next day at one o’clock. In
    the debate on this motion the following colloquy occurred.

        MR. SUMNER. If we are to make any special order for
        to-morrow, I think it should be the bill which the Senate
        has most maturely considered, and on which it is most
        prepared to vote, known as the Railroad Bill, in charge of
        my friend from Michigan [Mr. CHANDLER]. The Senator from
        Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL] came forward with his measure----

        MR. CONNESS. Will my friend permit me--I know he will--to
        appeal to him not to waste the fifteen minutes we have left
        in discussing the order of business, but let us take a

        SEVERAL SENATORS (to Mr. SUMNER). Give up.

        MR. SUMNER. Senators say, “Give up.” That is not my habit.

        MR. CONNESS. We know that. [_Laughter._]

        MR. LANE (of Kansas). Will the Senator from Massachusetts
        permit me to withdraw my motion?

        MR. SUMNER. If the motion is withdrawn, I have nothing
        further to say.

        MR. LANE. I withdraw the motion.

    The motion to postpone was not pressed, and the resolution came
    up in regular order. After an elaborate speech against it by
    Mr. Powell, of Kentucky, Mr. Howard, of Michigan, obtained the
    floor, when his colleague, Mr. Chandler, moved to proceed with
    the bill to regulate commerce among the States, known as the
    Railroad Bill. In the debate that ensued, Mr. Sumner spoke of
    the latter bill as “a reality,” and called the resolution “a
    shadow.” Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, vindicated the resolution
    as “the great measure of this Congress,” and said, “It is not
    for the Senator from Massachusetts, with all his boastful
    friendship for Freedom and free States, to join hands with the
    Senator from Kentucky, and undertake to prevent the recognition
    of the free State of Louisiana.” In reply, Mr. Sumner said:--

This measure, I say, Sir, is a shadow. So far as it is calculated to
exercise any influence, it is to bring disaster. Sir, I do not stand
here as a prophet, and I will not at this moment, on this incidental
question, be carried into debate; but I warn the Senator from
Wisconsin, as he loves Human Freedom, ay, Sir, as he represents a State
dedicated to Freedom, to hesitate, before he throws his influence on
the side of such a proposition, opening the way to an ominous future.

Sir, I am not disposed to go on, and yet there is one other remark
of the Senator to which I must reply. The Senator insists constantly
upon foisting an unconstitutional idea in the way of establishing
Emancipation throughout this country. He says the vote of Louisiana is
needed to the Constitutional Amendment. Sir, the vote of Louisiana is
not needed; and when the Senator makes the assertion, he interposes an
obstacle to the Amendment. Is he a friend to it? Why, then, interpose
an obstacle by an untenable and erroneous interpretation of the
Constitution? The Constitution declares that an Amendment shall become
to all intents and purposes a part of the Constitution, when ratified
by the Legislatures of three fourths of the States.

    MR. DOOLITTLE. “When ratified by the Legislatures of three
    fourths of the several States.”

MR. SUMNER. Very well,--“when ratified by the Legislatures of three
fourths of the several States”; but if no Legislatures exist in States,
will the Senator make that an excuse for avoiding the establishment of
the Amendment? I will not recognize the Rebellion to such extent; I
will not recognize the independence of the Rebel States, as the Senator
does. I insist, Sir, that these States shall not control the National
Government at this moment, in this great period of our history, and
thwart the establishment of human freedom throughout the land.

    After remarks from other Senators, the motion to take up the
    Railroad Bill was lost,--Yeas 10, Nays 25. Mr. Henderson, of
    Missouri, made an elaborate speech in favor of the admission,
    claiming that its Constitution was republican in form, in the
    course of which the following colloquy occurred.

        MR. HENDERSON. The Senator from Kentucky thinks the
        Constitution of Louisiana is the offspring of military
        usurpation, but he does not say that the Constitution
        itself is antirepublican.

        MR. SUMNER. I do.

        MR. HENDERSON. You do?

        MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

        MR. HENDERSON. In what particular? Mr. President, I have
        been in the Senate for nearly four years, and I believe now
        candidly that the Rebellion is about at an end, and, if
        there were no other evidence of it, that evidence would be
        presented to-night in the close alliance and affiliation of
        my friend from Massachusetts and my friend from Kentucky.
        Truly, the lion and the lamb have lain down together.

        MR. JOHNSON (of Maryland). Who is the lion, and who is the

        MR. HENDERSON. That is for the gentlemen themselves to
        settle. [_Laughter._] The Senator from Massachusetts says
        that these State Constitutions are not republican in form.
        Will he tell me in what respect?

        MR. SUMNER. Because they do not follow out the principles
        of the Constitution of the United States.

        MR. HENDERSON. I should like to know in what particular.
        The answer is a very general one, indeed. He refuses,
        then, to specify. The Senator can answer more particularly
        hereafter, if he chooses. He says these Constitutions do
        not follow the Constitution of the United States. I have
        looked over them, and I find no objection to them.… The
        Senator from Massachusetts says the act of secession took
        the States out. In the name of sense, cannot the act of the
        loyal men bring them back?…

        MR. SUMNER. Does the Senator refer to me as having ever
        said that the act of secession took a State out?

        MR. HENDERSON. I understand the Senator to claim that these
        States are in a territorial condition,--that they are not
        States,--that, by losing their State Governments in the act
        of secession, they lose their specific identity as States.

        MR. SUMNER. I would rather the Senator should use my
        language than his own, when he undertakes to state my
        position. I have never said that any act of secession
        took a State out. I have always said just the contrary.
        No act of secession can take a State out of this Union.
        Whatever may be attempted, the State continues under the
        Constitution of the United States, subject to all its
        requirements and behests. The Government of the State is
        subverted by secession; the Senator does not recognize the
        existing Government as legal or constitutional, any more
        than I do. Where, then, is the difference between us? There
        is no Government which he or I recognize; but we do hold
        that the whole region, the whole territory, is under the
        Constitution, to be protected and governed by it.

        MR. HENDERSON. The Senator, then, admits that the States
        are in the Union. Now I ask him if we can restore the Union
        without restoring State Governments in the seceded States.

        MR. SUMNER. That is the desire I have most at heart. I wish
        to restore State Governments in those States.

        MR. HENDERSON. Then I desire to ask the Senator, if
        the loyal men in one of those States acquiesce in the
        Constitution presented here, are they not entitled to
        govern the State under it?

        MR. SUMNER. _If the loyal men, white and black, recognize
        it, then it will be republican in form. Unless that is
        done, it will not be._

        MR. HENDERSON. Now, Mr. President, I desire to ask the
        Senator if the Congress of the United States can interfere
        with the right of suffrage in one of the American States of
        this Union. I put the question to him as a constitutional

        MR. SUMNER. I answer at once, as a constitutional
        lawyer, that at the present time, under the words of the
        Constitution of the United States, declaring that the
        United States shall guaranty to every State a republican
        form of government, it is the bounden duty of the United
        States by Act of Congress to guaranty complete freedom to
        every citizen, immunity from all oppression, and absolute
        equality before the law. No Government failing to guaranty
        these things can be recognized as republican in form, when
        the United States are called to enforce the constitutional

    In the course of the speech of Mr. Henderson, this further
    colloquy occurred.

        MR. HENDERSON. To secure national supremacy, you must have
        the aid of State authority. For legitimate State authority
        you must rely upon the _loyal voters_.

        MR. SUMNER. _There is where I agree precisely with the
        Senator; and I should like to hold him to it._ He says the
        loyal men must form the Government, and we should recognize
        that Government; and yet he insists upon a mere oligarchy
        forming it, and an oligarchy of the skin.

        MR. HENDERSON. The Senator says he agrees with me in my
        position, but insists that I am in favor of an oligarchy.
        If I am in favor of an oligarchy, and he agrees with me,
        then he also wants an oligarchy. [_Laughter._]

        MR. SUMNER. The Senator plays upon words.

    Mr. Henderson continued at length, answering various objections
    to the Louisiana State Government on account of irregularity
    in the proceedings. Upon his statement that the failure of
    the Rebels to vote did not harm the great principles of
    Republicanism, the following passage occurred.

        MR. SUMNER. It was the failure of loyal citizens to vote
        that did the damage.

        MR. HENDERSON. I answer that by asking, What loyal men did
        General Banks prevent from voting?

        MR. SUMNER. _All the colored race._

    At a late hour Mr. Henderson concluded, and the Senate

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 25th, the Senate proceeded with the resolution, when
    Mr. Sumner sent to the Chair resolutions which he proposed to
    offer as a substitute, declaring the duty of the States to
    guaranty republican governments in the Rebel States on the
    basis of the Declaration of Independence,--being the next
    article in this volume.

    Mr. Howard, of Michigan, made an elaborate speech against the
    resolution, and Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, for it. The
    latter asked: “Are these States to be governed as provinces?
    That is the idea of the honorable member from Massachusetts.…
    Will the honorable member deny that it would be in the power
    of Massachusetts now to exclude the black? I suppose not; and
    yet, if by an Act of Congress you place it out of the power of
    the seceded States, when they come back, under the authority of
    that Act, to change the qualifications of electors, they will
    not come back as the equals of Massachusetts.” Then ensued a

        MR. SUMNER. Allow me to ask the Senator, whether, in his
        opinion, the Ordinance governing the Northwest Territory,
        prohibiting Slavery, and declared to be a perpetual
        compact, could be set aside by any one of the States formed
        out of the Territory now.

        MR. JOHNSON. I certainly think they can, except so far as
        rights are vested.

        MR. SUMNER. The Senator, then, thinks Ohio can enslave a

        MR. JOHNSON. Just as much as Massachusetts can.

        MR. SUMNER. Massachusetts cannot.

        MR. JOHNSON. Why not?

        MR. SUMNER. Massachusetts cannot do an act of injustice.

        MR. JOHNSON. Oh, indeed! I did not know that. [_Laughter._]

        MR. SUMNER. The Senator ought to know it.

        MR. JOHNSON. I do not think that is in the Constitution.

        MR. SUMNER. I beg the Senator’s pardon; it is in the

        MR. JOHNSON. The United States Constitution, or your State

        MR. SUMNER. Yes, Sir,--in our State Constitution.

        MR. JOHNSON. But it is not in the constitution of your
        people. You sometimes do, or have done, acts of injustice.
        What I mean to say is this,--and I am sure the honorable
        member will not be able successfully to controvert it,
        certainly not by authority,--that there is no difference
        between the State of Massachusetts and any other State in
        the Union with reference to its State powers. That is what
        I mean to say.

        MR. SUMNER. I mean to say that the State of Massachusetts
        has no power to do an act of wrong,--no power
        constitutionally, morally, politically, or in any way.

        MR. JOHNSON. What is an act of wrong? Who is to judge of it?

        MR. SUMNER. To enslave a fellow-man.

        MR. JOHNSON. You had them there.

        MR. SUMNER. Not since the Constitution.

    Afterwards came the following question and answer.

        MR. SUMNER. Does the Senator from Maryland, who now
        calls in question the validity of the Proclamation of
        Emancipation, question that the Supreme Court of the United
        States, with its present Chief Justice, would affirm the
        complete validity of that Proclamation everywhere within
        the Rebel States strictly according to its letter?

        MR. JOHNSON. If I am perfectly satisfied, as I am, that the
        Chief Justice is abundantly capable of filling the high
        office he has, I do not think he would; but whether he
        would or not does not settle the question, what the Court
        would do. He is but one of ten.

    At the close of Mr. Johnson’s speech, Mr. Sumner offered the
    following proviso, to come at the end of the resolution:--

        “_Provided_, That this shall not take effect, except upon
        the fundamental condition that within the State there shall
        be no denial of the electoral franchise, or of any other
        rights, on account of color or race, but all persons shall
        be equal before the law. And the Legislature of the State,
        by a solemn public act, shall declare the assent of the
        State to this fundamental condition, and shall transmit to
        the President of the United States an authentic copy of
        such assent, whenever the same shall be adopted; upon the
        receipt whereof, he shall, by proclamation, announce the
        fact; whereupon, without any further proceedings on the
        part of Congress, this joint resolution shall take effect.”

    Mr. Sumner remarked, that he desired to call attention to
    the precedent on which this proviso was modelled, and he was
    induced to do so from the very elaborate way in which Mr.
    Johnson had seemed to anticipate it. He has announced that it
    would be futile; but those who preceded us did not think so;
    and Mr. Sumner then read the resolution for the admission of
    Missouri into the Union on a certain condition, where is a
    proviso, as he insisted, similar in character.

    Mr. Henderson moved to amend the proviso by inserting after the
    word “race” the words “or sex.” Meanwhile occurred a desultory
    debate, in which the proviso was opposed by Mr. Henderson
    and Mr. Johnson,--also by Mr. Pomeroy, of Kansas. The latter
    said: “I usually vote for everything that the Senator from
    Massachusetts brings forward on the Antislavery question; but
    I am opposed to this amendment,--in the first place, because I
    do not suppose that we have the right to say what shall be the
    qualifications of voters in any State in the Union.… I shall
    vote against all amendments that look like dictation on the
    part of Congress to any State, whether they will let the right
    of suffrage be enjoyed by a whole or a part of the people.”

    After some time, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, remarked, that it had “got
    now to be pretty late in the evening,” and he moved that the
    resolution be postponed till the first Monday in December next.
    While this was pending, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, moved an
    adjournment, which was lost,--Yeas 11, Nays not counted. After
    debate, the question was put on the motion of Mr. Wade, which
    was lost,--Yeas 12, Nays 17. Mr. Howard, of Michigan, then
    moved an adjournment, which was lost,--Yeas 12, Nays 19. Mr.
    Howard then moved that the whole subject be laid on the table,
    which was lost,--Yeas 12, Nays 18.

MR. SUMNER. I agree with the Senator from Michigan in the impropriety
of pressing a measure of this importance. Perhaps it is the most
important measure we have had before us. I shall regard its passage
as a national calamity. It will be the political Bull Run of this
Administration, sacrificing a great cause and the great destinies of
the Republic. I will not go into debate at this time. I think the
Senate is not in a condition to vote finally upon it. There are many
who would unquestionably like to record their names upon it who are not
here. We ought to give them an opportunity. We ought also to give an
opportunity for further discussion. It never has been the habit of the
Senate, except in those days which we ought not to imitate,----

    MR. FOSTER (of Connecticut). Will the honorable Senator allow
    me to ask him a question?

    MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. FOSTER. I will ask the honorable Senator if he is not fully
    prepared to vote on the question.

    MR. SUMNER. I certainly am prepared to vote on it.

    MR. FOSTER. I will merely say I am.

MR. SUMNER. … I think, on his account, it would be well that the
question should be postponed for another day. It is never too late to
mend; and it is not impossible that even the Senator, coming from New
England, representing, as I doubt not he does, liberal ideas, devoted
as he must be to the cause of Human Freedom and of his country, may
think there is something in this question to justify the most mature
consideration,--something on which the Senate ought to deliberate
carefully, without rushing precipitately to a vote. Sir, this question
ought not to be closed to-night, and I therefore move an adjournment;
and on that I ask for the yeas and nays.

    The motion was lost,--Yeas 11, Nays 18.

    Mr. Trumbull then appealed for a vote, saying: “The Senator
    from Massachusetts has fought it day after day to prevent
    it coming up; and when a large majority of the Senate has
    overruled him time and again, and decided that it should come
    up, he stands here, at half after ten o’clock on Saturday
    night, making dilatory motions.” He also protested against what
    he called “manifestations of a determination to browbeat the
    Senate on the part of a minority.” Mr. Sumner followed.

The Senator from Illinois draws upon his imagination, which, on this
occasion, is peculiarly lively. I know not that anybody has undertaken
to browbeat. Certainly nobody on the side with which I am associated
has done any such thing, or, I believe, imagined doing it.

    MR. TRUMBULL. I heard it said that there should be no vote

    MR. SUMNER. Well, Sir, is that browbeating?

    MR. TRUMBULL. I think it is undertaking to decide for the

MR. SUMNER. Is that browbeating? No, Sir; it is only undertaking to
decide the conduct of an individual Senator with regard to an important
public measure. The question between the Senator from Illinois and
myself is simply this: he wishes to pass the measure, and I do not wish
to pass it. He thinks the measure innocent; I think it dangerous, and,
thinking it dangerous, I am justified in opposing it, and in employing
all the means to be found in our arsenal. But, Sir, I mean to employ
them properly and in a parliamentary way. In no other way can I act in
this Chamber.

The Senator is entirely mistaken, if he supposes that this measure can
be passed to-night. I tell him it cannot. Parliamentary Law is against
him; and the importance of the question justifies a resort to every
instrument that Parliamentary Law supplies. The Senator knows it well.
I need not even suggest it.

And now, Sir, I have to counsel the Senator,--perhaps he would say
that I am taking too great a liberty, and even dictating,--but I would
first advise the Senator to look at the clock. He will see that on this
evening of Saturday it is twenty-five minutes of eleven,--that it is
approaching Sunday. Then let him remember that we have been here all
day, and ask himself whether, all things considered, it is advisable
to press such a revolutionary measure after this protracted session,
and at this late hour. I think his better judgment will come to the
conclusion that it is not. At any rate, should he not come to that
conclusion, I think he will make a mistake, and all his efforts will
be fruitless. There is a certain character of Antiquity who was found
sowing salt in the sand by the sea-shore, and ploughing it in. The
Senator will be engaged in an occupation just about as profitable.

    Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, then moved a call of the Senate, which
    being ruled out of order, as never entertained by the Senate,
    Mr. Sumner moved an adjournment, which was lost,--Yeas 8, Nays
    19. In the desultory debate that ensued, Mr. Doolittle, of
    Wisconsin, criticized Mr. Sumner, who replied. Mr. Hendricks,
    of Indiana, followed, and, in the course of his remarks, said:
    “The question is, What is to be done with the four million
    negroes, when they are set free? There are Senators upon
    the Republican side who feel that it is a very troublesome
    question. That is the trouble here to-night.… The Senator from
    Massachusetts is determined that none of these States shall
    ever be heard in the Halls of Congress, until the men who speak
    from those States speak the voice of the negroes as well as
    of the white men. Other Senators say that shall not be. We
    Democrats are a unit upon that question.” On motion of Mr.
    Lane, of Kansas, the Senate adjourned shortly before midnight,
    leaving the resolution pending.

    February 27th, the resolution came up in regular order, when
    Mr. Sherman moved to proceed with the Internal Revenue Bill,
    and then called attention to the Indian Appropriation Bill,
    the Civil Appropriation Bill, the Tariff Bill, also the Army
    and Navy Appropriation Bills, all of which must be considered
    before March 4th, when the session closed. In the debate that
    followed, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I remember that good fortune last summer threw me in
the path of a distinguished gentleman just returned from Louisiana. I
think he had been present at the sittings of the Convention whose work
finds such an advocate in my friend from Illinois; at any rate, he had
been in New Orleans at the time, in the discharge of important public
duties. In reply to an inquiry with regard to that Convention, he said
compendiously, that it was “nothing but a stupendous hoax,”--yes, Sir,
nothing but a stupendous hoax, and the product of that Convention----

    Here Mr. Sumner was called to order by Mr. Sherman, for
    discussing the merits of the measure, when only the order of
    business was in question. He was also interrupted by Mr.
    Grimes, of Iowa, who said, that, if the Senate would give him a
    committee, he would show fraudulent voting.

MR. SUMNER. I doubt not that my friend from Iowa is right; but I am
aware that it is not proper to discuss the merits of the question on
this preliminary motion, and I shall not. I was simply characterizing
it, and I was going on to say that in my opinion the resolution the
Senator from Illinois so earnestly presses upon the Senate, when we
consider its origin and character, is itself very little different
from “a stupendous hoax.” I say nothing about the Convention, for
I was not there, I did not see it. On that point I simply cite the
testimony of another. But the resolution of the Senator is before
us; we are familiar with its nature. Every moment gives new glimpses
of the violence and fraud with which it is associated. Perhaps the
expression I have quoted is hardly grave enough in speaking of such a
matter, where, in forming the Constitution of a State, military power
and injustice to a whole race have been enlisted in defiance of the
self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence. The United
States are bound by the Constitution to “guaranty to every State in
this Union a republican form of government.” Being called to perform
this guaranty, you are asked to recognize an oligarchy of the skin, and
on this very question the Senate is now called to vote.

The pretended State Government in Louisiana is utterly indefensible,
whether you look at its origin or its character. To describe it, I
must use plain language. It is a mere seven-month’ abortion, begotten
by the bayonet in criminal conjunction with the spirit of caste, and
born before its time, rickety, unformed, unfinished,--whose continued
existence will be a burden, a reproach, and a wrong. That is the whole
case; and yet the Senator from Illinois now presses it upon the Senate,
to the exclusion of the important public business of the country. For

    Here Mr. Sherman insisted on confining the debate to the
    pending motion. The vote was then taken, and resulted,--Yeas
    34, Nays 12; so the resolution for the admission of Louisiana
    was postponed, never to be resumed.

    During the next Congress, Mr. Sumner urged a bill for the
    organization of Louisiana, with safeguards for Equal Rights,
    including suffrage without distinction of color; but the Senate
    was not inclined to consider it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The failure of the Louisiana resolution attracted attention
    at the time. Some journals spoke of Mr. Sumner’s course with
    severity; others were rejoiced at the result. The New York
    _Herald_ said:--

        “The factious opposition of Mr. Sumner has probably
        defeated the recognition of the new government of Louisiana
        by the Senate at the present session, … although probably
        two thirds of the Senate are in favor of recognition.”

    One journal said, in figurative language, that Mr. Sumner
    had “kicked the pet scheme of the President down the marble
    steps of the Senate Chamber,” and that, as a consequence, the
    intimate relations which he had sustained with the President
    must cease.

    President Lincoln was too good a man to be influenced by an
    honest opposition on political grounds. A few days later, Mr.
    Sumner received from him the following note.

                     “EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 5, 1865.

        “HON. C. SUMNER.

        “My dear Sir,--I should be pleased for you to accompany
        us to-morrow evening, at ten o’clock, on a visit of half
        an hour to the Inaugural Ball. I enclose a ticket. Our
        carriage will call for you at half past nine.

            “Yours truly,

                “A. LINCOLN.”

    At the appointed time the carriage was at Mr. Sumner’s
    lodgings. During the ball he was with the Presidential
    party, which gave occasion to comment; the New York _Herald_
    remarking, “It was presumed that the President had indorsed
    his Reconstruction theories.” There is reason to believe that
    he had not; but he recognized the right of Mr. Sumner to his
    own individual judgment.

    The following extract from the letter of a newspaper
    correspondent at Washington illustrates the course of the
    President towards Mr. Sumner.

        “Mrs. Lincoln went down the Potomac this morning for City
        Point and Richmond, escorted by Mr. Sumner, who remains in
        Washington to exert his influence in the right direction
        in closing up the war. Nor let any man suppose that Mr.
        Sumner’s influence is slight over this Administration, when
        Congress is in session. I know of no man who has more. The
        President disagrees entirely with Mr. Sumner in his views
        respecting Reconstruction. He was almost indignant at the
        Senator’s course towards Louisiana, adverting to it over
        and over again in the presence of strangers. But still he
        respects Mr. Sumner, confers with him, and perhaps fears
        him. Besides, the Senator has great influence with Mr.
        Stanton and Mr. Welles. Mr. Sumner is a clever diplomatist,
        and has always been friendly with Mr. Lincoln. So long as
        ‘peace negotiations’ are talked of, Mr. Sumner will not
        leave Washington but for a day or two, I presume.”

    The effort of Mr. Sumner on the Louisiana question found a warm
    and cordial response, as amply appears from letters at the time.

    Wendell Phillips wrote from Boston:--

        “Though I have but half an hour at home, I cannot let it
        pass without thanking you for your gallant fight against
        Louisiana. Your tireless patience in carrying in detail one
        point after another of the enemy’s defences, all winter
        long, has not passed without our grateful admiration; the
        masterly strategy of the last week is the grand and fitting
        climax,--all the more grateful, because we had been told
        you felt the resistance so hopeless as to fear you must
        succumb to the dictation of the Cabinet. We have watched
        your white plume with fearful delight. Could we only hope
        this defeat would be final, our joy would be unmixed. At
        any rate, the effort will bear fruit thousand-fold.”

    Hon. Francis W. Bird wrote from Boston:--

        “Let me thank you most heartily for your gallant fight
        against Louisiana. I hope it will be powerful to the end.
        I can see it was against fearful odds, and all the more

    Dr. Estes Howe wrote from Cambridge:--

        “I don’t trouble you much with letters, but I must thank
        and congratulate you most warmly on your splendid fight
        and great victory in the Bogus Louisiana struggle. Some
        weak-kneed Republicans who rejoice at the result did not
        know at first whether to rejoice or not, when they saw what
        tools you had to work with; but your true friends, who have
        their eyes open, are full of joy, and all the rest will
        fall into line as soon as the great truth becomes apparent
        to them.”

    Hon. Edward L. Pierce wrote from Boston:--

        “God bless you a thousand times for your indomitable
        resistance to the admission of Louisiana with her caste
        system! This afternoon some forty gentlemen dined at Bird’s
        room, and all, _nemine dissentiente_, approved it, and with
        full praise.”

    Joel P. Bishop, the learned law-writer, and author of a much
    used work on Criminal Law, wrote from Boston:--

        “Blessings on you! You have done in this Louisiana matter
        an excellent work, for which some of your friends thank you
        less now than they will by-and-by.”

    Hon. Charles W. Slack, an Antislavery journalist, wrote from

        “Thanks!--hearty, cordial, continued thanks!--for your
        brave and persistent opposition to Louisiana.

        “There is a very much larger share of the community who
        will sustain you than at first thought may be supposed.

        “The idea of negro suffrage in the disloyal States grows
        daily in favor and advocacy among business men.”

    William S. Robinson, the journalist, known as “Warrington,”

        “I cannot sit down to my work this morning, albeit pressed
        for time, without giving you the homage of my sincere
        admiration and respect for killing Louisiana, at least _pro
        tempore_. Thanks! thanks! thanks!”

    General William L. Burt, afterwards Postmaster of Boston, who
    had served in Louisiana during the Rebellion, wrote:--

        “I congratulate you upon your defeat of the Louisiana
        Bill. Your action was not only justifiable, but
        commendable,--doubly so in view of the fact of your
        concession upon the Reconstruction Bill.… The complaints
        made by the Administration, or its friends, of the means
        you took to prevent the fraud upon you and the people, are
        a compliment, first, to your sagacity, and, secondly, to
        your skill and ability. You will be vindicated a hundred
        times before December.”

    Colonel Albert J. Wright, having great influence in the local
    politics of Boston, wrote:--

        “Something must be done in Boston. Some of your admiring
        friends here, who at first, in the midst of the muddle
        of telegraphic despatches, had some misgivings in regard
        to your action on ‘Reconstruction’ questions before the
        Senate, have had their eyes opened, and now feel that you
        have rendered a great service to the country in battling
        manfully for the rights of humanity,--that you have done
        right, and saved us from a new disaster. Of course we must
        have a great meeting at the Music Hall, and give you an
        ovation: nothing less will satisfy us.”

    F. B. Sanborn wrote from Concord, Massachusetts:--

        “Allow me to add my congratulations to those of your other
        friends on your successful opposition to the Louisiana
        scheme of Reconstruction. I look upon you as the real
        destroyer of that fine web of intrigue and absurdity so
        carefully spun.”

    Henry O. Stone wrote from Framingham, Massachusetts:--

        “Although an humble and obscure individual, I cannot
        refrain from thanking you for your persistent resistance to
        the admission into Congress of the Louisiana claimants. I
        feel as if you ought to have personal acknowledgment from
        every one in Massachusetts who can appreciate your just and
        patriotic motives and wise statesmanship. I know you will
        be accused of factious opposition to the Administration
        and the President; but there are those who believe your
        opposition comes from a desire to do justice, not only to
        the blacks, but to the poor whites, and to establish the
        Government upon the only permanent and safe foundation on
        true democratic principles.”

    Hon. Adin Thayer wrote from Worcester:--

        “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your heroic
        and successful opposition to the Louisiana fraud. Nothing
        you have ever done better deserves the gratitude of the
        country and of mankind.”

    Elizur Wright, one of our earliest Abolitionists, wrote from

        “Your keeping out the _sham_ State of Louisiana is worth,
        in my estimation, any three average military victories.
        I would give the United States Treasury half I am worth
        to have Congress, the next thing it does on the subject,
        decide black suffrage as the ‘inexorable condition’ of

    Rev. A. P. Marvin wrote from Winchendon, Massachusetts:--

        “I have just risen from reading in the telegraphic
        despatch of the noble stand made by you in the Senate last
        night, by which the admission of Louisiana is staved off
        for the present. I have often fervently thanked God that
        you were in your present position, and enabled to do so
        much to prevent evil and accomplish good,--but never more
        earnestly than now. I know it must be hard to withstand
        so many of the supporters of the Administration, but the
        battle _must_ be fought on the very question involved in
        this measure. It will not only be wicked and infamous,
        but suicidal, for us to let the greater part of the rank
        and file of the Rebels come back and be voters, while we
        exclude our colored countrymen. I hope strength will be
        given to you, according to your day; as to your zeal,
        courage, ability, and prudence, nothing is wanting.”

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

        “I have just been reading, with my wife, some account of
        your course on the Louisiana question; and we can’t help
        sending you our thanks for your persistent efforts to
        avert the very possible evils likely to come from a wrong
        decision in this case. God grant you success in preventing
        here a precedent that _may_ lead to irretrievable mischief!”

    Rev. George B. Cheever, the constant Abolitionist, wrote from
    New York:--

        “Permit me the pleasure of congratulating you on the firm
        and noble stand you are maintaining in the Senate for
        the rights of loyal men in Louisiana, irrespective of
        color, and for the prerogative of Congress, as well as its
        obligation, to settle the government of that State as a
        republican government. Your efforts are so much the more
        admirable and important as they are opposed by mistaken
        Senators, such as Trumbull and Doolittle, and by some of
        our editors, as of the _Times_. The heart of the country
        goes with you, not with your opponents. It would be a
        terrible disaster to have the precedent set of a State
        readmitted to the Union with the sacrifice of the rights of
        the blacks. Your resolutions of Saturday, as well as the
        amendment you proposed, were admirable. The victory will be
        worth everything, if you can carry something of that kind.”

    A. P. Hayden wrote from New York:--

        “I cannot let this opportunity pass of thanking you for the
        manner in which you have stood by the colored people of
        Louisiana,--almost the only out-and-out Loyalists of that
        State. I agree with you that any settlement of the question
        that will not put the ballot into their hands will create
        mischief that will take a long time to remedy. When I read
        in this morning’s _Tribune_ of the vote to postpone the
        Louisiana matter until December, I felt as if a great moral
        as well as political battle had been won by our side.”

    Dr. J. B. Smith, giving expression to the feelings of colored
    citizens in a letter from Boston, said:--

        “I know of no words of any language adequate to convey to
        you the gratitude I feel in my inmost soul towards you for
        your efforts and final success in defeating the bill for
        the readmission of Louisiana as a State into the Union,
        with the present flagrantly unjust and proscriptive laws
        and Constitution. _The white people of this country have
        been so accustomed to regard and treat us as their natural
        inferiors_, that we dread the very thought of submitting to
        them the adjustment of our rights after their own are made
        secure. What is not gained for us now will not be obtained
        for a quarter of a century after peace is declared.”

    Frederick Douglass, the watchful orator of his race, wrote from
    Rochester, New York:--

        “The friends of Freedom all over the country have looked
        to you, and confided in you, of all men in the United
        States Senate, during all this terrible war. They will
        look to you all the more, now that peace dawns, and the
        final settlement of our national troubles is at hand. God
        grant you strength equal to your day and your duties! is my
        prayer and that of millions.”

    In harmony with these expressions, the following resolution
    was adopted unanimously by the Worcester Freedom Club, and
    communicated to Mr. Sumner:--

        “_Resolved_, That the ‘Worcester Freedom Club’ tenders to
        the Hon. Charles Sumner their gratitude as freemen, for the
        able manner in which he met the question for the admission
        of Louisiana, and for his noble defence of the ‘Equality of
        all men before the Law.’”

    Evidently Mr. Sumner was not alone. The right of colored
    fellow-citizens was recognized as next in order for discussion
    and judgment. The Antislavery fires were flaming forth anew.



    While the resolution recognizing the existing State government
    of Louisiana was under consideration, Mr. Sumner introduced the
    following resolutions, which, on his motion, were ordered to be
    printed. He gave notice that at the proper time he should move
    them as a substitute for the pending resolution. But before the
    proper time the Louisiana resolution was postponed, and it fell
    with the session.

Resolutions declaring the duty of the United States to guaranty
Republican Governments in the Rebel States, on the basis of the
Declaration of Independence; so that the new Governments shall be
founded on the consent of the governed, and the Equality of all persons
before the Law.

_Resolved_, That it is the duty of the United States, by Act of
Congress, at the earliest practicable moment consistent with the common
defence and the general welfare, to reëstablish republican governments
in those States where loyal governments have been vacated by the
existing Rebellion, and thus, to the full extent of their power, fulfil
the requirement of the Constitution, that “the United States shall
guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form of government.”

2. That this important duty is positively imposed by the Constitution
on “the United States,” and not on individuals or classes of
individuals, or on any military commander or executive officer, and
cannot be intrusted to any such persons, acting, it may be, for an
oligarchical class, and in disregard of large numbers of loyal people;
but it must be performed by the United States, represented by the
President and both Houses of Congress, acting for the whole people.

3. That, in determining the extent of this duty, and in the absence of
any precise definition of the term “republican in form,” we cannot err,
if, when called to perform this guaranty, we adopt the self-evident
truths of the Declaration of Independence as an authoritative rule, and
insist that in every reëstablished State the consent of the governed
shall be the only just foundation of government, and all persons shall
be equal before the law.

4. That, outside the Declaration of Independence, it is plain that any
duty imposed by the Constitution must be performed in conformity with
justice and reason, and in the light of existing facts; that therefore,
in the performance of this guaranty, there can be no power under the
Constitution to disfranchise loyal people, or to recognize any such
disfranchisement, especially when it may hand over the loyal majority
to the government of the disloyal minority; nor can there be any power
under the Constitution to discriminate in favor of the Rebellion by
admitting to the electoral franchise Rebels who have forfeited all
rights, and excluding loyal persons who have never forfeited any right.

5. That the United States, now at a crisis of history called to perform
this guaranty, will fail in duty under the Constitution, should they
allow the reëstablishment of any State without proper safeguards
for the rights of all the citizens, and especially without making
it impossible for Rebels in arms against the National Government to
trample upon the rights of those fighting the battles of the Union.

6. That the path of justice is also the path of peace, and that for the
sake of peace it is better to obey the Constitution, and, in conformity
with the guaranty, to reëstablish State governments on the consent of
the governed, and the equality of all persons before the law, to the
end that the foundations may be permanent, and that no loyal majorities
may be again overthrown or ruled by any oligarchical class.

7. That a government founded on military power, or having its origin
in military orders, cannot be “republican in form,” according to
the requirement of the Constitution; and that its recognition
will be contrary, not only to the Constitution, but also to that
essential principle of our Government which, in the language of
Jefferson, establishes “the supremacy of the civil over the military

8. That, in the States whose governments have already been vacated,
a government founded on an oligarchical class, even if erroneously
recognized as “republican in form” under the guaranty of the
Constitution, cannot sustain itself securely without national support;
that such an oligarchical government is not competent at this moment to
discharge the duties and execute the powers of a State; and that its
recognition as a legitimate government will tend to enfeeble the Union,
to postpone the day of reconciliation, and to endanger the national

9. That considerations of expediency are in harmony with the
requirements of the Constitution and the dictates of justice and
reason, especially now, when colored soldiers have shown their military
value; that, as their muskets are needed for the national defence
against Rebels in the field, so are their ballots yet more needed
against the subtle enemies of the Union at home; and that without their
support at the ballot-box the cause of human rights and of the Union
itself will be in constant peril.



    February 27th, the Senate having under consideration a joint
    resolution from the House of Representatives, authorizing a
    contract with William H. Powell for a picture at the Capitol,
    not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars in amount, Mr.
    Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am sorry that my friend from Vermont [Mr. COLLAMER]
feels obliged to press this proposition. I do not like to vote against
it. Still more, I am reluctant to speak against it. But, satisfied as
I am, after careful reflection, that it ought not to pass, I shall
express briefly the grounds of my opposition. When it was called up
the other day, I ventured to say that I did not think this the time
for us to enter upon the patronage of art. Of course such patronage
is beautiful and most tempting. It may seem ungracious to arrest it;
but I submit confidently, that at this moment, with the national
debt accumulating at the rate of millions a day, with brave soldiers
still unpaid, with a drain upon our resources at every point, it is
not advisable to enter upon the patronage of art, beautiful and most
tempting as it is.

There is much to be done to complete the National Capitol in all its
parts. Let the work proceed, until the sublime structure stands forth
worthy in everything of the destinies it enshrines. But I think we may
hesitate at this time to enter upon any ornamentation not essential to
the work. If you order one costly picture, you will be called to order
another; and where will this expenditure stop? Better wait for the days
of peace, soon to come, I trust, when your means will be greater, and
you will approach the question in a calmer mood.

Thus far I have said nothing of the artist. But the vote proposed
selects one artist for especial honor, and leaves all others unnoticed.
It is like a vote of thanks to an officer in the army or navy. Are
the merits of this artist so peculiar and commanding that he should
be taken and all others left? I doubt. At least, I know that there
are other artists in the country who deserve well of those who assume
the patronage of art. Are you ready, in this off-hand way, without
inquiry, without even hearing their names, to discriminate against them
all? I put these questions in no spirit of criticism, and certainly in
no unkindness to the artist, for whom, let me say, I have a sincere
regard. There is already one picture by him in the Capitol. A second
would be more than enough.

Then, again, are you sure that the subject selected at the present time
would be such as a maturer and more chastened taste could approve? This
is a period of war. We are all under its influence. But I doubt if it
be desirable to keep before us any picture of war, especially of a war
with fellow-citizens. There are moral triumphs to which art may better
lend its charms. I need only refer to the Proclamation of Emancipation,
which belongs to the great events of history.

I send to the Chair an amendment, to come in at the end of the

    “_Provided_, That in the National Capitol, dedicated to the
    National Union, there shall be no picture of a victory in
    battle with our own fellow-citizens.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    In the debate that ensued, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts,
    said: “I rise more especially to say that I disagree with
    my colleague altogether in the proposition that no work of
    art shall grace the Capitol of this country that represents
    anything of the present war of a military or naval character.
    I do not believe in that doctrine.” Mr. Howe, of Wisconsin,
    said: “If there were any one proposition which could make
    the original resolution more distasteful to me than it is in
    itself, it would be the proviso moved by the Senator from

    February 28th, the amendment of Mr. Sumner was rejected without
    a division.

    Mr. Sumner then offered another:--

        “_Provided_, That no contract shall be made, until after
        a competition among the artists of the country, all of
        whom shall have an opportunity of offering themselves as
        candidates, and of exhibiting designs for the proposed
        picture; and the committee shall postpone any contract
        with Mr. Powell, until they shall be satisfied, after such
        competition, that he is the most meritorious artist.”

    This also was lost,--Yeas 15, Nays 23,--as also another
    amendment, to purchase of F. B. Carpenter his picture of “The
    Emancipation Proclamation,” instead of a picture from Mr.
    Powell, for which there were only two votes. The resolution was
    then passed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Among those who expressed sympathy with Mr. Sumner on this
    occasion was General Robert Anderson, who commanded at Fort
    Sumter. He wrote:--

        “I am glad to see that you, like myself, are looking
        forward to the time when this Rebellion shall end, and do
        not wish to see perpetuated, on canvas or in marble, a
        trace of its having existed.”[181]



    February 27th, the Senate had under consideration a bill
    to amend the Internal Revenue Act, by striking out of the
    clause relating to printed books the word “magazines,” and by
    inserting after the word “newspapers” the words “and periodical
    magazines,” so that it would read: “On all printed books,
    pamphlets, reviews, and all other similar printed books, except
    newspapers and periodical magazines, a duty of five per cent
    ad valorem.” In commenting on this proposition and another
    adopted by the House, Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, remarked: “I almost
    became a convert to the idea of the Senator from Massachusetts,
    and that it would be better to strike out the whole clause,
    rather than to attempt to make these discriminations and
    qualifications and exceptions.” Mr. Sumner followed.

I am very glad to hear the Senator from Ohio say that he had become
almost a convert to the idea of removing all tax on books. He reminded
me of a certain person who was “almost persuaded to be a Christian.”
I think it would be better for the Senator, had he become a complete
convert. I am sure his influence would be better for the country.

I speak from no motive of self, and from no personal interest whatever,
but from a profound conviction that for the best interests of the
country there should be no tax on books. What you can extort out of
this tax, in any event, is very small; and it is always a tax on
knowledge. Look at it as you will, to that complexion it comes at last.
I do not think it worth while for Congress to adopt such a tax. It is
the boast of our institutions that they stand upon the intelligence of
the people, and it is a further boast that we supply education for all
at the public cost; but books are indispensable in this benefaction.
Every tax upon books, therefore, is an impediment to that education
which is the pride of our country. Plainly it is inconsistent with the
genius of our institutions. The result of this tax will be petty, but,
to the extent of its influence, prejudicial.

    Mr. Sumner moved to strike out the whole clause. Then, in reply
    to Mr. Clark, of New Hampshire, he remarked:--

The Senator from New Hampshire does not quite like to tax the Bible.
Sir, I do not like to tax it. My proposition is broader than his; but
he knows very well that the real signification of _Bible_ is _book_.

    MR. CLARK. Not in our language.

MR. SUMNER. I do not know about that. The Senator does plead, however,
for the manufacturer of the shirt, whose shop is by the side of the
bookseller; but the difference between the two cases is, as I have
indicated: that, if you tax the book, you tax knowledge; if you tax
the shirt, you but tax one of the general manufactures of the country.
The distinction may not be accepted by all; and yet to my mind it is
perfectly clear. You cannot tax a book without taxing knowledge. But it
is said there are books that might very well be taxed out of existence.
Where run the line? How make the discrimination? The trouble is more
than it is worth. Better, therefore, have no such tax than run any
such line or make any such discrimination. A book is a book; and there
should be no tax on a book.

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

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

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

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

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

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



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

_Resolved_, That, where a State has been declared to be in
insurrection, no person can be recognized as Senator from such State,
or as claimant of a seat as Senator from such State, until after the
occurrence of three several conditions: first, the cessation of all
armed hostility to the United States within the limits of such State;
secondly, the adoption by such State of a constitution of government
republican in form and not repugnant to the Constitution and laws of
the United States; and, thirdly, an Act of Congress declaring that the
people of such State are entitled to representation in the Congress of
the United States.[182]


17, 1865.

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

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


The undersigned, Senators and Representatives in Congress from
Massachusetts, ask leave to call your serious attention to the
proceedings initiated by the Navy Department against Benjamin G. Smith
and Franklin W. Smith, of Boston, of the firm of Smith Brothers & Co.,
a much respected firm, which has hitherto enjoyed the confidence,
personal and mercantile, of the community where they reside. Among
their neighbors and friends these proceedings have already attracted
much attention, and awakened corresponding feeling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The undersigned, on reviewing these circumstances, which are so
inconsistent with the administration of justice in its most ordinary
forms, have been at a loss to account for the spirit manifested in
the prosecution. If they look at the trivial character of many of the
specifications against the defendants, they are still more at a loss.
It is difficult to account for such elaborate and persistent harshness,
without yielding to the prevailing belief that other motives than the
vindication of justice have entered into this case.

The undersigned are not strangers to the fact, that one of these
defendants, in the discharge of what he believed to be his duty as a
good citizen, has, by correspondence and testimony before committees
of Congress, been brought into collision with officers of the Navy
Department; and there is too much reason to believe that some of these
officers have allowed themselves to be governed by personal feelings
throughout these strange proceedings.

Under such circumstances, the undersigned most respectfully ask your
assistance in securing justice to these defendants, according to the
common course of proceedings at law. They are acquainted with the
statute which provides court-martial for contractors in certain cases,
and they are unwilling to make any suggestion which shall interfere
with its efficiency; but they have no hesitation in saying that such
a statute, intended for extreme cases, should not be applied to a
case like the present, where, with a single exception, the questions
are simply whether the defendants complied with their _contract_, and
therefore, from their nature, can be better considered by the ordinary
tribunals accustomed to such questions than by a naval tribunal
composed of officers who have no familiarity with them.

If the pending proceedings against the Messrs. Smith should be
continued, there are two courses with regard to them which may be

_First_, That they should be transferred at once to the United States
Court in Massachusetts, and be placed under the direction of the
learned Attorney of the United States for that District.

_Secondly_, If the foregoing order is not deemed expedient, on the
existing evidence, then a commission or commissioner might be appointed
by the President to inquire into the circumstances attending the arrest
of the defendants, and also into the nature of the charges against
them, in order to ascertain and report if there is any sufficient
reason for the singular harshness to which they have been already
subjected, and also for the exceptional proceedings instituted against

For the sake of justice, and to relieve the Government from all
suspicion of undue harshness, the undersigned protest against the
spirit in which these proceedings have been conducted, and appeal to
you for such remedy as shall seem best, to the end that the public
interests may be adequately protected without any sacrifice of the
rights of the citizen, and without needless interference with the order
of business.

    S. HOOPER,
    JOHN B. ALLEY, _by C. Sumner, as by letter_,[183]
    D. W. GOOCH,

[BOSTON, August 15, 1864.]

    The trial proceeded at Charlestown, lasting several months,
    with able counsel for the defendants, and it ended in judgment
    against the defendants, who were sentenced to imprisonment for
    two years and a fine of twenty thousand dollars. This judgment
    and sentence were approved by the Secretary of the Navy, and
    it only remained for the President to give them his sanction.
    Before this was done, Mr. Sumner saw him. The President
    listened to his appeal, and at once put into his hands the
    elaborate report from the Secretary of the Navy, setting forth
    the facts in the case and approving the conclusion of the
    court-martial,--asking him to read it carefully and give his
    opinion upon it, which he did without delay.


This case has been pending since 17th June, 1864, when the Messrs.
Smith Brothers, who, as merchants, enjoyed an enviable reputation, were
suddenly arrested by military authority, and, without any opportunity
of conferring with counsel or friends, were hurried off to Fort
Warren. During all this period, running over nine months, I have kept
myself aloof from the case, so far as possible, knowing that I was
not so circumstanced as to consider it on its merits, and under the
conviction, that, at last, justice would be done.

On certain matters independent of the merits I have with others been
called to speak. One of these was the manner of the arrest and the
bail required. At the time of the arrest, all the books and papers of
the parties were seized and sequestered. The hardship of the arrest
was aggravated by the bail required, which was fixed at half a million
of dollars. “Excessive bail” is forbidden by the Constitution; but it
would be difficult to say what bail could be “excessive,” if this was

The other matter on which I was called to speak was the order for the
trial of the Messrs. Smith Brothers by court-martial at Philadelphia,
when it was notorious that the proceedings must be protracted, and that
numerous witnesses must be summoned from Boston, at great expense:
the whole constituting a plain oppression, not unlike the demand of
“excessive bail.”

The hardship in these preliminary proceedings seemed to justify an
appeal to the President, in which I joined, for his intervention at
least to change the place of trial. Perhaps they illustrate also the
temper which entered into this prosecution.

It is only since the President has put into my hands the report on
the findings of the Court, adopted by the Secretary of the Navy, that
I have looked into the case on its merits. I have read that report
carefully, and also the arguments of the counsel on both sides; but
I have not had any opportunity to examine the whole record. From the
fulness of the report, and of the arguments, this was hardly necessary.
The record is extensively cited in the report and the arguments, and
also in a pamphlet by one of the respondents, which I have read.

The more I have examined the case, the more I have been surprised
by the preliminary proceedings, the continued prosecution, and the
findings of the Court. I can well understand how they were used in the
House of Representatives as an argument for the total repeal of the
Act of Congress authorizing the trial of civilians by courts-martial.
Such a case must make us fear, that, under this Act, justice may be
sacrificed. It might make honest merchants hesitate to enter into
business relations with the Government.

On careful examination, it seems that the whole prosecution, so
far as proof is seriously pretended, is reduced to one single
specification,--to wit, the sale and delivery of five thousand pounds
of a tin called Revely, instead of a tin called Banca, by which,
at most, the Government lost one hundred dollars. There are other
specifications; but the report adopted by the Secretary of the Navy
forbears to dwell on them; and I do not think they can be made the
foundation of any judgment against the respondents. They did not seem
to have impressed the President, in the conversation which I had with
him on the subject. I put them aside as unproved or irrelevant. There
only remains the single specification with regard to tin.

Look at this carefully, and the wonder increases that these proceedings
were ever instituted.

1. The first remark to make is, that, even according to the finding
of the Court, the Government has suffered only to the amount of one
hundred dollars,--being the difference in price between the two
kinds of tin at the date of delivery. _The pettiness of this loss_
is still more apparent, when it is considered that the transactions
of the respondents with the Government reached the sum of more than
twelve hundred thousand dollars, having such infinite details that
they covered twelve hundred and five pages of sales. Surely, on
every principle of reason or evidence, the insignificance of this
loss, in transactions on so large a scale, and extending over three
years of time, constitutes an unanswerable presumption in favor of
the respondents, excluding, as it does, any adequate motive for the
perpetration of fraud. Even assuming that the supply of tin was
questionable, it would be reasonable to call it ill-considered, hasty,
or mistaken, rather than criminal, according to the finding of the
Court. Certainly it could be no justification of the vindictive arrest
and bail with which the proceedings began, and it is frightful that it
should be made the pretence for a sentence of two year’ imprisonment
and twenty thousand dollar’ fine. If a mountain in labor ever brought
forth a mouse, it is this mountainous prosecution, whose only offspring
yet crawling on earth is an allegation of loss to the United States of
one hundred dollars! But, if we look further at this transaction, it
will be seen that it is absolutely unimpeachable.

2. Much confusion has been caused by _ignorance with regard to the two
tins in question_. The report adopted by the Secretary of the Navy
says of them, that, “in the course of commerce, _the two are never
confounded by dealers_”; then, again, that “Banca tin is _one article_,
having a certain price, and that Revely tin is _another and a different
article_, having a different price.” The repetition of this assumption
again and again shows how important it was regarded in support of the
accusation. But this assumption is founded on mistake.

I call attention to the letter of Hon. S. Hooper, addressed to myself,
under date of 14th March instant, in which he testifies from his
experience as an importer, for many years, of these two tins. He
says: “If the only charge against Messrs. Smith Brothers & Co. is the
delivery of Revely tin, on a contract to supply the Government with
Banca tin, it is an absurdity, and it is evident to me that the Court
did not know what Banca tin was.” He then proceeds to say, that the
tin of the East passes under the _general name_ of Banca tin, which is
applicable to the Revely or Straits tin as well as to the Dutch; and he
adduces the authority of the Commercial Dictionaries. Thus, McCulloch,
under the word “Tin,” after speaking of the tin of Great Britain, says,
“Tin, Oriental, in commercial language usually called Banca tin,”
produced, according to this authority, in China, the Malay countries,
and the islands lying toward Java. He also cites Simmonds’s “Dictionary
of Trade,” published in London as late as 1858, which, under the term
“Banca-Tin,” says, “A valuable kind of tin, equal to English refined,
obtained in the Eastern Archipelago, originally from the island of
Banca exclusively; but much is now procured in Malacca, and sent to
Singapore for shipment.” The latter, it will be borne in mind, is what
has been treated in this case as Revely.

Certainly, the testimony of Mr. Hooper, in concurrence with the
Commercial Dictionaries, must tend to show that the report is mistaken,
when it so confidently asserts, that, “in the course of commerce, the
two tins are never confounded by dealers.” On the contrary, they have
been treated by “dealers,” and by authoritative writers on commerce,
as substantially the same. It is almost superfluous for me to add,
that, according to the ruling of our courts, such testimony would
be decisive. Thus, where certain words were used in the tariff, Mr.
Justice Story decided, that, “the tariff being a statute regulating
commerce, the terms of it must be construed _according to commercial
usage and understanding_.”[184] Common sense is in harmony with this

As if to put this _commercial usage_ beyond question, we have the
testimony of Mr. Richards, a witness _for the prosecution_, as follows.

    “_Cross-Question 18._ Do you ever have orders from customers
    for Banca tin, that you execute by the delivery of Revely or
    Straits?--_Ans. We have._”

    “_Cross-Question 22._ Suppose you had an order from a
    foundry--say Hooper & Co.--for five thousand pounds of Banca
    tin, which you knew was to be used for castings, how would you
    fill such an order?--_Ans. We should not hesitate to give him

    “_Re-Cross-Question 1._ Would you not deliver to a party five
    thousand pounds of Revely tin, upon a contract for Banca tin,
    if you had never known them to buy such a quantity of any kind
    but Revely or Straits, if you had repeatedly sold them Revely
    or Straits acceptably, and you considered the tin was to be
    used for castings?--_Ans. I should._”

3. The _usage at the Navy Yard_ was in harmony with commercial
usage, as the testimony abundantly shows. For _at least seven years_
previous to the contract of the respondents, the tin known as Revely
had been received at the yard as Banca. Edward Cody, witness for the
prosecution, and the master founder, on cross-examination, puts this
beyond question.

    “_Cross-Question 4._ During these seven years [past], has not
    the Revely tin been the standard article in use in your bureau
    or foundry?--_Ans. It has._”

    “_Cross-Question 11._ If you had been inquired of by them
    [Smith Brothers & Co.] what kind of tin you required, what
    would have been your reply?--_Ans. I should have had the same
    as I have had._

    “_Cross-Question 12._ What is that?--_Ans. Revely._”

Another witness, the Hon. Eugene L. Norton, the Navy Agent at Boston,
testifies, that, having occasion to buy tin on a requisition from the
Ordnance Office, he sent to inquire of Captain Green, the Ordnance
Officer, what brand was required. The answer was, “that, in all cases
where it was foundry work, Revely or Straits would be the kind that
would be received; that, in those cases where it was wanted in small
quantities, for solder, Banca would be preferred, as Revely or Straits
was somewhat cheaper than Banca.” And he added, that the quantity named
in the requisition, as a ton, or a pig, would indicate the kind he
should buy. Add to the testimony of these two witnesses the undisputed
fact, that, when, in May, 1863, C. W. Schofield, being under contract
to deliver five thousand pounds of Banca, failed to perform his
contract, the Government, although entitled to purchase the desired
article in open market at his expense, _bought Revely_. Here was a
practical interpretation of the contract, which establishes the usage
of the Navy Yard.

4. The _openness of the transaction_ and of the delivery testify also
to the _usage_. The tin, when delivered, was stamped upon its face
“Revely & Co.” This stamp, which was open to the observation of all
officers, workmen, and passers-by, is an incontrovertible witness,
which no argument of counsel or ingenious commentary can neutralize.
Calmly, but unanswerably, it shows two things: first, the usage at the
Navy Yard; and, secondly, the good faith of the transaction. But I
refer to it now simply to illustrate the usage.

5. Then comes _the acceptance of the tin_ marked as Revely, and the
approval of the bills by the officers of the Government, in performance
of the contract. It is not denied that the tin was accepted by Mr.
Merriam, the master machinist at the Navy Yard, and that the bills were
approved by Mr. Kimball, the inspecting officer of Government,--an
inspector who is said to have been unfriendly to the respondents. This
double fact is beyond question. An attempt is made to throw doubt on
the integrity of one of these witnesses, by charging complicity; but
it does not appear that there is a scrap of evidence in the record
to sustain the imputation, and I need not say it is outrageous to
imagine it, in order to increase the pressure upon the respondents.
Mr. Merriam, in his testimony, says: “I was influenced, undoubtedly,
_from my knowledge of the practice which had existed heretofore_, and
also from my belief that the article answered every purpose in the
department which Banca tin was required for. _The previous practice
of the department_, of which I had been informed, in addition to my
own judgment _as to the substantial equality of the articles_, were
reasons for my approving the bill.” Nothing could be more explicit or

The report adopted by the Secretary of the Navy seeks to parry the
force of this approval by the allegation, that “there is not a particle
of proof on the record that any one of the officers or other persons
employed at the Navy Yard, or in the transaction of its business,
had ever received from the Government any sort of authority to make
such inspection, approval, and payment as appears in the case.” The
report forgets _the usage of seven years_ at the Navy Yard, and _the
commercial usage_ besides, which were ample to justify them.

6. As it is evident that the Government did not expect to receive other
than Revely, so it is proved that _the respondents never expected to
supply other than Revely_, unless in cases of small quantities, where,
as we have seen, the Banca was supposed to be desired. Such is the
testimony of Benjamin G. Smith, one of the respondents, and also of Mr.
Dunnells, their clerk. The latter states, that his instructions from
the respondents were to deliver Banca when small lots were required,
but Revely when large lots of one thousand pounds and upwards were
required, and that, as far as his knowledge went, this had always been
done. Therefore the contract was performed according to _the mutual
understanding of the two parties_.

7. _The price_, according to the contract, shows that the tin called
Revely was intended. This can be demonstrated.

At the date of the contract, 30th March, 1863, the price of Banca in
the market was fifty-seven to fifty-eight cents a pound. Revely was
less. The price stipulated in the contract was fifty-seven cents.
But it is plain that the respondents could not undertake to supply
an article at less than its market price. This would be absurd. Of
course, as merchants, they expected a profit. Therefore, in their bid,
they would naturally take into consideration the various elements
which would enter into the final price. These would be, first, the
original price; secondly, the commission; thirdly, the condition of
the currency, which at that time had begun to depreciate; fourthly,
the variation of the market for a month; fifthly, store expenses and
interest; sixthly, postponement of payment; and, seventhly, risks of a
contractor in placing himself within the unhesitating grasp of military
power. So far as these can be estimated, they are as follows:--

    Original price                                 .52
    Store expenses and interest at 5 per cent      .0260
    Commission at 5 per cent                       .0273

But the price was fifty-seven cents.

Now can any person, not to say any merchant, assert that fifty-seven
cents a pound was a high price for the tin called Revely? Would anybody
but a fool offer to supply the tin which in this prosecution is called
Banca at fifty-seven cents a pound, when its original price was more
than this, and the contractor must lose store expenses and interest,
with the risks of currency, market, postponement of payment, and
military tribunals, without the possibility of a mill for commissions?
Clearly not. It is evident, therefore, that, in offering to supply
Banca tin at fifty-seven cents a pound, they must have intended that
species of Banca tin known as Revely, which, according to the usage of
the Navy Yard and of merchants, had been recognized as Banca tin.

On this point we have the testimony of Mr. Richards, a witness for
the Government, whose cross-examination thus confirms the foregoing

    “_Cross-Question 37._ What would it be worth to give a party
    the refusal for, say, five thousand pounds of tin for twenty or
    thirty days?--_Ans. At least fifteen per cent._”

    “_Cross-Question 44._ During the year 1863, how much, in
    addition to the cash market price, would you have considered
    should be added for a refusal of thirty days?--_Ans. From, ten
    to fifteen per cent._

    “_Cross-Question 45._ Tin being sold to us at fifty and
    three-fourths cents net cash in the market, would fifty-seven
    cents be an improper sum for us to charge the Government on a
    time refusal?--_Ans. I should think not._

    “_Cross-Question 46._ If you were to be subject to a delay of
    vouchers for merchandise delivered for thirty days, if there
    should be a reservation of twenty per cent until the contract
    was closed, and if then you were liable to be compelled to
    receive certificates of indebtedness that would not sell in
    the market at par, what, in addition to the cash market price,
    would you consider should be added?--_Ans. From five to ten per
    cent, I should think._”

    “_Cross-Question 50._ Upon a Government contract, to run three
    months or one year, with a reservation of twenty per cent, a
    bid being made which amounts to a refusal for twenty or thirty
    days, and subject to terms of Government payment, what would
    you consider a fair addition to the cash market price on a sale
    to the Government?--_Ans. At least ten per cent._”

    “_Cross-Question 52._ Among Boston merchants what is the
    character of the house of Smith Brothers & Co. for integrity
    and fair dealing?--_Ans. A No. 1._”

Such is the testimony of a Government witness. In the face of this
testimony, concurring with the reason of the case, it is hard to
tolerate the allegation against these respondents founded on price.
Indeed, it is hard to tolerate the allegation on any ground.

Under these seven heads, this whole case, so far as concerns the
contract for tin, may be considered. It appears that the loss to the
United States, from the delivery of Revely instead of what is called
Banca, was not more than one hundred dollars in a mass of transactions
amounting to more than one million two hundred thousand dollars; that,
according to extensive and long-continued usage, Revely is included
under Banca; that, according to usage at the Navy Yard, it was treated
as Banca; that the whole transaction and the delivery were open and
without any concealment; that Revely was actually accepted by the
officers of the Government in performance of the contract; that the
respondents never expected to supply other than Revely; and, lastly,
that the price paid shows that Revely was intended. This is enough. I
forbear to go into the evidence of founders and plumbers, derived from
experience, of assayers and chemists, derived from analysis of the two
tins, and also of business men, as to their comparative value,--for all
this is superfluous. To charge fraud against the respondents under such
circumstances is cruel, irrational, preposterous. Their conduct cannot
be tortured or twisted into fraud. As well undertake to spin sunbeams
into cables, or extract oil from Massachusetts granite.

It is difficult to imagine the origin of these unfortunate proceedings,
which, beginning in unheard-of harshness, threaten to end in unexampled
injustice, unless arrested by the President. But there are certain
facts which may shed light upon some of the hidden springs. Nobody
supposes that the able and candid Head of the Navy Department became
acquainted with this prosecution until after it had been already
conceived, shaped, and set in motion. Others in the Department used its
great powers, if not for purposes of oppression, at least recklessly
and unaccountably.

It appears that Franklin W. Smith, one of the respondents, published
a pamphlet, in which he exposed abuses in the contract system of the
Navy Department; and it is understood that sundry officials felt
aggrieved by these disclosures. The spirit of these officials appears
sufficiently in the following extract from a letter of a Government
witness, holding an important position in the Navy Department,
addressed to another witness, himself also an official.

     “I have been summoned before the Select Committee of the
    Senate for investigating frauds in Naval Supplies; and _if the
    wool don’t fly, it won’t be my fault_. Norton, the Navy Agent,
    has complained that I have interfered with his business: he and
    his friend Smith are _dead cocks in the pit. We have got a sure
    thing on them in the tin business._ They that dance must pay
    the fiddler.”

The writer of this letter, after appearing before the Senate Committee
at a later day, came on from Washington to appear before the
court-martial at Charlestown as a witness against the respondents,
where he underwent a cross-examination on which I forbear to comment.
If the prosecution did not originate in the spirit which fills his
letter, it is evident that this spirit entered into it. “If the wool
don’t fly, it won’t be my fault”; “Dead cocks in the pit”; “A sure
thing on them in the tin business”: such are the countersigns adopted
by the agent of this dark proceeding, showing clearly two things:
first, the foregone conclusion, that these respondents were to be
sacrificed; and, secondly, that the case turned on “the tin business.”

It is hard that citizens enjoying a good name, who had the misfortune
to come into business relations with the Government, should be exposed
to such a spirit; that they should be dragged from their homes, and
hurried to a military prison; that, though civilians, they should
be treated as military offenders; that they should be compelled to
undergo a protracted trial by court-martial, damaging their good name,
destroying their peace, breaking up their business, and subjecting
them to untold expense,--when, at the slightest touch, the whole case
vanishes into thin air, leaving behind nothing but the incomprehensible
spirit in which it had its origin.

Of course, the findings and sentence of the Court ought, without
delay, to be set aside. But this is only the beginning of justice. Some
positive reparation should be made to citizens who have been so deeply


WASHINGTON, March 17, 1865.


    The President promptly overruled the judgment and sentence. The
    result was received with manifestations of joy. The defendants,
    whose cruel prosecution had been protracted for six months,
    had an ovation in the congratulations of their friends and
    fellow-citizens. Strangers at a distance, feeling that public
    liberty had suffered through them, sent their sympathy. The
    press gave expression to the prevailing sentiment. Nor was Mr.
    Sumner forgotten. The defendants made haste by telegraph to
    say: “Accept the lasting gratitude of Smith Brothers, their
    families, and their many friends.” Others wrote in the same
    spirit,--as, for instance, J. C. Hoadley, of New Bedford, who,
    though not knowing the sufferers, said: “I thank you, in the
    name of all fair dealing, for your opinion upon the case of
    Franklin W. Smith”; and John Clark, who, having been connected
    with the press in Boston, had passed into the public service,
    wrote from Norfolk:--

        “Will you permit me to thank you for your able exposition
        of the case of the Smith Brothers? I do not know those
        parties; but I am interested in public liberty, and I have
        seen no abler defender of it, since the beginning of the
        war, than you have shown yourself to be on this occasion. I
        thank you, Sir.”

    From these expressions it appears that the effort of Mr. Sumner
    was regarded as not only a defence of the individual citizen,
    but a contribution to good government. The testimony of Mr.
    Clark was of the more value, as he had not been accustomed to
    sympathize with Mr. Sumner in his public course.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Independent of its character, this case has an incidental
    interest. It was one of the last, if not the last, having a
    personal relation, that ever occupied the mind of President
    Lincoln. His indorsement, overruling the judgment and sentence,
    bears date March 18th. This was Saturday. Meanwhile the
    Rebellion was about to fall, and the President left Washington,
    by boat, Thursday, March 23d, for City Point, the headquarters
    of the Army of Virginia, where he remained till after the
    surrender of Richmond, returning to Washington Sunday evening,
    April 9th, and being assassinated Friday evening, April 14th.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Some circumstances associated with this case help exhibit the
    character of the President. They will be stated briefly. As
    soon as Mr. Sumner had prepared his Opinion, he hurried to
    the President. It was late in the afternoon, and the latter
    was about entering his carriage for a drive, when Mr. Sumner
    arrived with the papers in his hand. He at once mentioned the
    result he had reached, and added that it was a case for instant
    action. The President proposed that he should return the next
    day, when he would consider it with him. Mr. Sumner rejoined,
    that, in his opinion, the President ought not to sleep on
    the case,--that he should interfere promptly for the relief
    of innocent fellow-citizens,--and urged, that, if Abraham
    Lincoln had suffered unjust imprisonment as a criminal, with
    degradation before his neighbors, an immense bill of expense,
    a trial by court-martial, and an unjust condemnation, he would
    cry out against any postponement of justice for a single day.
    The President, apparently impressed by Mr. Sumner’s earnestness
    and his personal appeal, appointed eleven o’clock that evening,
    when he would go over the case, and hear Mr. Sumner’s Opinion.

    Accordingly, at eleven o’clock that evening, in the midst of a
    thunder-storm, filling the streets with water, and threatening
    chimneys, Mr. Sumner made his way to the Presidential mansion.
    At the very hour named he was received, and at the request
    of the President proceeded to read his Opinion. The latter
    listened attentively, with occasional comments, and at the
    close showed his sympathy with the respondents. It was now
    twenty minutes after midnight, when the President said that
    he would write his conclusion at once, and that Mr. Sumner
    must come and hear it the next morning,--“when I open shop,”
    said he. “And when do you open shop?” Mr. Sumner inquired.
    “At nine o’clock,” was the reply. At that hour Mr. Sumner was
    in the office he had left after midnight, when the President
    came running in, and read at once the indorsement in his own
    handwriting, as follows:--

        “I am unwilling for the sentence to stand and be
        executed, to any extent, in this case. In the absence
        of a more adequate motive than the evidence discloses,
        I am wholly unable to believe in the existence of
        criminal or fraudulent intent on the part of one of such
        well-established good character as is the accused. If the
        evidence went as far toward establishing a guilty profit
        of one or two hundred thousand dollars, as it does of one
        or two hundred dollars, the case would, on the question of
        guilt, bear a far different aspect. That on this contract,
        involving from one million to twelve hundred thousand
        dollars, the contractors should attempt a fraud which at
        the most could profit them only one or two hundred, or even
        one thousand dollars, is to my mind beyond the power of
        rational belief. That they did not, in such a case, strike
        for greater gains proves that they did not, with guilty or
        fraudulent intent, strike at all. The judgment and sentence
        are disapproved and declared null, and the accused ordered
        to be discharged.

            “A. LINCOLN.

        “March 18, 1865.”

    Then followed an incident as original as anything in the
    life of Henry the Fourth, of France, or of a Lacedæmonian
    king. As Mr. Sumner was making an abstract of the indorsement
    for communication by telegraph to the anxious parties, the
    President broke into quotation from Petroleum V. Nasby, and,
    seeing that his visitor was less at home than himself in this
    patriotic literature, he said, “I must initiate you,” and then
    repeated with enthusiasm the message he had sent to the author:
    “For the genius to write these things I would gladly give up
    my office.” Then rising and turning to a standing-desk behind,
    he opened it and took out a pamphlet collection of the letters
    already published, which he proceeded to read aloud, evidently
    enjoying it much. For the time he seemed to forget the case
    he had just decided, and Presidential duties. This continued
    more than twenty minutes, when Mr. Sumner, thinking there must
    be many at the door waiting to see the President on graver
    matters, took advantage of a pause, and, thanking him for the
    lesson of the morning, left. Some thirty persons, including
    Senators and Representatives, were in the anteroom as he passed

    Though with the President much during the intervening days
    before his death, this was the last business Mr. Sumner
    transacted with him.


17, 1865.

    President Lincoln breathed his last on the morning of Saturday,
    April 15th. Congress not being in session, there was a meeting
    of Senators and Representatives then in Washington, April
    17th, at noon, when Hon. Lafayette S. Foster, President _pro
    tempore_ of the Senate, was called to the Chair, and Hon.
    Schuyler Colfax was chosen Secretary. Senator Foot, of Vermont,
    stated the object of the meeting. On motion of Mr. Sumner, a
    Committee of five from each House was ordered to report at
    four o’clock, P. M., on the action proper for the meeting.
    The Chair appointed Mr. Sumner, Mr. Harris, of New York, Mr.
    Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, Mr. Ramsey, of Minnesota, and Mr.
    Conness, of California, on the part of the Senate, also Mr.
    Washburne, of Illinois, Mr. Smith, of Kentucky, Mr. Schenck, of
    Ohio, Mr. Pike, of Maine, and Mr. Coffroth, of Pennsylvania,
    on the part of the House of Representatives. On motion of Mr.
    Schenck, the Chairman and Secretary of the meeting were added
    to the Committee.

    The Committee reported a list of pall-bearers for the funeral,
    and also a Congressional Committee of one from each State to
    accompany the remains of the late President to Illinois, which
    were adopted by the meeting.

    They also reported the following resolution, drawn by Mr.
    Sumner, which was unanimously agreed to.

The members of the Senate and House of Representatives now assembled in
Washington, humbly confessing their dependence upon Almighty God, who
rules all that is done for human good, make haste, at this informal
meeting, to express the emotions with which they have been filled by
the appalling tragedy that has deprived the nation of its head and
covered the land with mourning, and, in further declaration of their
sentiments, resolve unanimously,--

1. That, in testimony of their veneration and affection for the
illustrious dead, who has been permitted, under Providence, to do so
much for his country and for Liberty, they will unite in the funeral
services, and by an appropriate committee will accompany his remains
to their place of burial in the State from which he was taken for the
national service.

2. That in the life of Abraham Lincoln, who, by the benignant favor
of republican institutions, rose from humble beginnings to the height
of power and fame, they recognize an example of purity, simplicity,
and virtue which should be a lesson to mankind; while in his death
they acknowledge a martyr whose memory will become more precious as
men learn to prize those principles of constitutional order, and those
rights, civil, political, and human, for which he was made a sacrifice.

3. That they invite the President of the United States, by solemn
proclamation, to recommend that the people of the United States should
assemble on a day appointed by him, in public testimony of their grief,
and to dwell on the good that has been done on earth by him we now

4. That a copy of these resolutions be communicated to the President
of the United States, and also to the afflicted widow of the late
President, as an expression of sympathy in her great bereavement.



    The letter to Mr. Sumner by colored citizens is the first
    public expression of their interest in the suffrage. The answer
    was according to the sentiments Mr. Sumner had early declared.

                                 WILMINGTON, N. C., April 29, 1865.

        HON. CHARLES SUMNER, _Washington_.

        DEAR SIR,--We, the undersigned citizens, Executive Board of
        the Colored Union Leagues of this city, respectfully ask
        your attention to the subject of Reconstruction in this
        State, and for a few plain directions in relation to a
        proper stand for us to make.

        We forward also a copy of the _Herald_, containing an
        article on Reconstruction, which causes us much anxiety,
        in connection with other facts that are constantly pressed
        upon our attention in this Rebel State, although much
        is said concerning its loyalty that is unreliable and
        untrue. Many of us have done service for the United States
        Government, at Fort Fisher and elsewhere, and we shrink
        with horror at the thought that we may be left to the
        tender mercies of our former Rebel masters, who have taken
        the oath, but are filled with malice, and swear vengeance
        against us as soon as the military are withdrawn.

        We are loyal colored citizens, and strive in all things so
        to conduct ourselves that no just cause of complaint may
        exist, although we suffer much from the unwillingness of
        the Secessionists to regard us as _freemen_, and look up
        to the flag of our country with trembling anxiety, knowing
        that the _franchise_ alone can give us security for the

        We speak with moderation and care, we lay no charges, but
        we fear that an ill-judged lenity to Rebels in this State
        will leave little to us and our children but the bare name
        of freedmen. We remember Louisiana! Better “smash the egg”
        than permit it to produce a viper.

        We beg an early answer. Direct, simply, “Alfred Howe,
        Wilmington, North Carolina.” Do not frank your letter: I
        send a stamp. For reference, Jonathan C. Gibbs mentions
        the name of Rev. H. H. Garnett, a colored Presbyterian
        minister in Washington, and Hon. Judge Kelley, from

            ALFRED HOWE, _President_.
            D. SADGENAR,
            H. D. SAMPSON,
            JONATHAN C. GIBBS,
            OWEN BURNEY,
            HENRY TAYLOR,
            RICHARD REED.

                                          WASHINGTON, May 13, 1865.

  GENTLEMEN,--I am glad that the colored citizens of North Carolina
  are ready to take part in the organization of government. It is
  unquestionably their right and duty.

  I see little chance of peace or tranquillity in any Rebel State,
  unless the rights of all are recognized without distinction of
  color. On this foundation we must build.

  The article on Reconstruction to which you call my attention
  proceeds on the idea, born of Slavery, that persons with a white
  skin are the only “citizens.” This is a mistake.

  As you do me the honor to ask me the proper stand for you to
  make, I have no hesitation in replying that you must insist on
  all the rights and privileges of a citizen. They belong to you.
  They are yours; and whoever undertakes to rob you of them is a
  usurper and impostor.

  Of course you will take part in any primary meetings for
  political organization, open to citizens generally, and will not
  miss any opportunity to show your loyalty and fidelity.

      Accept my best wishes, and believe me, Gentlemen,

          Faithfully yours,

              CHARLES SUMNER.

    This letter was extensively circulated. The New York _Herald_
    printed it in an editorial article entitled “The Chase-Sumner
    Political Movement--Social War Threatened,” where it said:--

        “As soon as Mr. Johnson assumed the reins of the
        Government, Mr. Sumner made an effort to control his
        official action and secure his assistance in carrying on
        this appendix warfare to the Abolition question, and thus
        plunge the country into a sanguinary social war. Finding it
        impossible to draw President Johnson into his schemes, he
        at once plants himself in opposition.…

        “This letter, although short, is explicit and unmistakable
        in its meaning. Its purpose is evident to the most
        casual observer. Knowing, as he must, at the time, that
        the President held that the question of conferring the
        privilege of suffrage upon the colored people of the South
        rested exclusively with the States, he endeavors to stir
        up a feud and create a dissatisfaction among this class.
        Like the speech of Chief Justice Chase, its whole tendency
        is to incite the negroes to insurrection, by giving them
        the impression that the Government is against them. There
        is not a word in the communication counselling obedience
        or respect to the laws of the Government. They ask him for
        direction, and he, in response, counsels them to take part
        in the organization of the Government,--that it is their
        right and duty. In the face of the fact that there is no
        law in their State or in the Constitution of the United
        States recognizing that right, he tells them that those who
        oppose them are usurpers and impostors.”



    The following brief note appeared in the first number of _The
    Leader_, a weekly paper which began at Charleston, 1865.

  I trust that you will do everything possible to arouse hope and
  encouragement in the colored people. Let them know that their
  friends will stand by them. All white persons who have any regard
  for the Declaration of Independence ought to unite in favor of
  its principles, and insist that they shall be made the foundation
  of the new order of things. Courage! the cause cannot fail.

      Believe me, dear Sir, faithfully yours,



OF BOSTON, JUNE 1, 1865.

    Think nothing of me, take no thought for the political fate of
    any man whomsoever, but come back to the truths that are in the
    Declaration of Independence. You may do anything with me you
    choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles. You may
    not only defeat me for the Senate, _but you may take me and put
    me to death_.--ABRAHAM LINCOLN: _Crosby’s Life of Lincoln_, p.

       *       *       *       *       *

    They [colored people having the ballot] would probably help,
    in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of Liberty in
    the family of Freedom.--IBID., _Letter to Michael Hahn, of
    Louisiana, March 13, 1864_: _McPherson’s Political History of
    the United States during Reconstruction_, p. 20, note.

    Omnia incrementa sua sibi debuit, vir novitatis
    nobilissimæ.--VELLEIUS PATERCULUS, _Historia_, Lib. II. cap.
    34, § 3.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Offensarum inimicitiarumque minime memor
    executorve.--SUETONIUS, _Vespasianus_, Cap. XIV.


In the universe of God there are no accidents. From the fall of a
sparrow to the fall of an empire or the sweep of a planet, all is
according to Divine Providence, whose laws are everlasting. No accident
gave to his country the patriot we now honor. No accident snatched this
patriot, so suddenly and so cruelly, from his sublime duties. Death
is as little an accident as life. Never, perhaps, in history has this
Providence been more conspicuous than in that recent procession of
events, where the final triumph is wrapped in the gloom of tragedy. It
is our present duty to find the moral of the stupendous drama.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the second time in our annals, the country is summoned by the
President to unite, on an appointed day, in commemorating the life and
character of the dead. The first was on the death of GEORGE WASHINGTON,
when, as now, a day was set apart for simultaneous eulogy throughout
the land, and cities, towns, and villages all vied in tribute. Since
this early observance for the Father of his Country more than half
a century has passed, and now it is repeated in tribute to ABRAHAM

Thus are WASHINGTON and LINCOLN associated in the grandeur of their
obsequies. But this association is not accidental. It is from the
nature of things, and because the part Lincoln was called to perform
resembled in character the part performed by Washington. The work left
undone by Washington was continued by Lincoln. Kindred in service,
kindred in patriotism, each is surrounded in death by kindred homage.
One sleeps in the East, the other sleeps in the West; and thus, in
death, as in life, one is the complement of the other.

The two might be compared after the manner of Plutarch; but it must
suffice for the present to glance only at points of resemblance and of
contrast, so as to recall the parts they respectively performed.

Each was head of the Republic during a period of surpassing trial; and
each thought only of the public good, simply, purely, constantly, so
that single-hearted devotion to country will always find a synonym in
their names. Each was national chief during a time of successful war.
Each was representative of his country at a great epoch of history.
Here, perhaps, resemblance ends and contrast begins. Unlike in origin,
conversation, and character, they were unlike also in the _ideas_ they
served, except as each was servant of his country. The war conducted by
Washington was unlike the war conducted by Lincoln, as the peace which
crowned the arms of the one was unlike the peace which began to smile
upon the other. The two wars did not differ in scale of operations and
in tramp of mustered hosts more than in the ideas involved. The first
was for National Independence; the second was to make the Republic
one and indivisible, on the indestructible foundation of Liberty and
Equality. The first cut the connection with the mother country, and
opened the way to the duties and advantages of Popular Government;
_the second will have failed, unless it consummates all the original
promises of the Declaration our fathers took upon their lips when
they became a Nation_. In the relation of cause and effect the first
was natural precursor and herald of the second. National Independence
became the first epoch in our history, whose mighty import was
exhibited when Lafayette boasted to the First Consul of France, that,
though its battles were but skirmishes, they decided the fate of the

The Declaration of our fathers, entitled simply “The Unanimous
Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America,” is known
familiarly as the Declaration of Independence, because the remarkable
words with which it concludes made independence the final idea, to
which all else was tributary. Thus did the representatives of the
United States of America in General Congress assembled solemnly publish
and declare “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be,
free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance
to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them
and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved;
… and for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our
lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” To sustain this mutual
pledge Washington drew his sword and led the national armies, until at
last, by the Treaty of Peace in 1783, Independence was acknowledged.

Had the Declaration been confined to this pledge, it would have been
less grand. Much as it might have been to us, it would have been
less of a warning and trumpet-note to the world. There were two other
pledges it made. One was proclaimed in the designation “United States
of America,” which it adopted as the national name; and the other
was proclaimed in those great words, fit for the baptismal vows of a
Republic,--“We hold these truths to be self-evident: _that all men are
created equal_; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted
among men, _deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed_.” By the sword of Washington Independence was secured; but
the Unity of the Republic and the principles of the Declaration were
left exposed to question. From that early day, through various chances,
they were assailed and openly dishonored, until at last the Republic
was constrained to take up arms in their defence. And yet, since enmity
to the Union proceeded entirely from enmity to the great ideas of the
Declaration, history must record that the question of the Union itself
was absorbed in the grander conflict to uphold the primal truths our
fathers had solemnly proclaimed.

Such are the two great wars where these two chiefs bore each his part.
Washington fought for National Independence, and triumphed, making his
country an example to mankind. Lincoln drew a reluctant sword to save
those great ideas, essential to the life and character of the Republic,
which unhappily the sword of Washington failed to put beyond the reach
of assault.

By no accident did these two great men become representatives of
their country at these two different epochs, so alike in peril,
and yet so unlike in the principles involved. Washington was the
natural representative of National Independence. He might also have
represented National Unity, had this principle been challenged to
bloody battle during his life; for nothing was nearer his heart than
the consolidation of our Union, which, in his letter to Congress
transmitting the Constitution, he declares to be “the greatest interest
of every true American.”[187] Then again, in a remarkable letter to
John Jay, he plainly says that he does “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.”[188] But another person
was needed, of different birth and simpler life, to represent the ideas
now impugned.

Washington was of ancient family, traced in English heraldry. Some
of his ancestors sleep in close companionship with the noble name of
Spencer. By inheritance and marriage he was rich in lands, and, let it
be said in respectful sorrow, rich also in slaves, so far as slaves
breed riches rather than curses. At the age of fourteen he refused a
commission as midshipman in the British Navy. At the age of nineteen he
was Adjutant General, with the rank of major. At the age of twenty-one
he was selected by the British Governor of Virginia as Commissioner
to the French posts. At the age of twenty-two he was at the head
of a regiment, and was thanked by the House of Burgesses. Early in
life he became an observer of form and ceremony. Always strictly
just, according to prevailing principles, and at his death ordering
the emancipation of his slaves, he was more a general and statesman
than philanthropist; nor did he seem inspired, beyond the duties of
patriotism, to active sympathy with Human Rights. In the ample record
of what he wrote or said there is no word of adhesion to the great
ideas of the Declaration. Such an origin, such an early life, such
opportunities, such a condition, such a character, were all in contrast
with the origin, early life, opportunities, condition, and character of
him we commemorate to-day.

       *       *       *       *       *

Abraham Lincoln was born, and, until he became President, always lived
in a part of the country which at the period of the Declaration of
Independence was a savage wilderness. Strange, but happy, Providence,
that a voice from that savage wilderness, now fertile in men, was
inspired to uphold the pledges and promises of the Declaration! The
Unity of the Republic, on the indestructible foundation of Liberty and
Equality, was vindicated by the citizen of a community which had no
existence when the Republic was formed.

His family may be traced to Quaker stock in Pennsylvania, but it
removed first to Virginia, and then, as early as 1780, to the wilds
of Kentucky, which at that time was only an outlying territory of
Virginia. His grandfather and father both lived in peril from Indians,
and the former perished by their knife. The future President was born
in a log-house. His mother could read, and perhaps write. His father
could do neither, except so far as to sign his name rudely, like a
noble of Charlemagne. Trial, privation, and labor entered into his
early life. Only at seven years of age, for a very brief period, could
he enjoy school, carrying with him Dilworth’s Spelling-Book, one of
the three volumes that formed the family library. Shortly afterwards
his father turned his back upon that Slavery which disfigured
Kentucky, and with his poor effects and the future chief-magistrate
set his face towards Indiana, already guarded against Slavery by the
famous Northwestern Ordinance. Reaching the chosen home in a land of
Liberty, the son, who was less than eight years old, aided his father
in building a shelter of poles, fastened together by notches, and
filled in with mud. This preceded the log cabin, where for twelve
years afterwards he grew in character and knowledge, as in stature,
learning to write as well as read, and especially enjoying Bunyan’s
Pilgrim’s Progress, Æsop’s Fables, Weems’s Life of Washington, and the
Life of Henry Clay. At the age of ten he lost his mother. At the age
of nineteen he became a hired hand, at eight dollars a month, on a
flatboat laden with stores for plantations on the Mississippi, and in
this way floated on that lordly river to New Orleans, little dreaming
that only a few years later iron-clad navies would at his command float
on that same proud stream. Here also was he learner. From the slaves he
saw on the banks he took a lesson of Liberty, which gained new charms
by comparison with Slavery.

In 1830 the father removed to Illinois, transporting his goods in a
wagon drawn by oxen, and the future President, then twenty-one years
of age, drove the team. Another cabin was built in primitive rudeness,
and the future President split the rails to inclose the lot. In our
history these became classical, and the name of rail-splitter more
than the degree of a college,--not that the splitting of rails is any
way meritorious, but because the people are proud to trace aspiring
talent back to humble beginnings, and they found in this tribute new
opportunity to vindicate the dignity of free labor, and repel the
insolent pretensions of Slavery.

His youth was now spent, and at the age of twenty-one he left his
father’s house to begin the world. A small bundle, a laughing face, and
an honest heart,--these were his simple possessions, together with that
unconscious character and intelligence which his country learned to
prize. In the long history of worth depressed there is no instance of
such contrast between the depression and the triumph,--unless, perhaps,
his successor as President may share with him this distinction. No
academy, no university, no Alma Mater of science or learning nourished
him. No government took him by the hand and gave him the gift of
opportunity. No inheritance of land or money fell to him. No friend
stood by his side. He was alone in poverty: and yet not all alone.
There was God above, who watches all, and does not desert the lowly.
Plain in person, life, and manners, and knowing absolutely nothing of
form or ceremony, for six months with a village schoolmaster as his
only teacher, he grew up in companionship with the people, with Nature,
with trees, with the fruitful corn, and with the stars. While yet a
child, his father had borne him away from a soil wasted by Slavery, and
he was now citizen of a Free State, where Free Labor had been placed
under safeguard of irreversible compact and fundamental law. And thus
he took leave of youth, happy at least that he could go forth under the
day-star of Liberty.

The early hardships were prolonged into manhood. He labored on a
farm as hired hand, and then a second time in a flatboat measured
the winding Mississippi to its mouth. At the call of the Governor of
Illinois for troops against Black Hawk, the Indian chief, he sprang
forward with patriotic ardor, most prompt to enlist at the recruiting
station in his neighborhood. The choice of his associates made him
captain. After the war he became surveyor, and to his death retained
a practical and scientific knowledge of this business. Here again was
a parallel with Washington. In 1834 he was elected to the Legislature
of Illinois, and three years later was admitted to the practice of
the law. He was now twenty-eight years old, and, under the benignant
influence of republican institutions, he had already entered upon
the double career of lawyer and legislator, with the gates of the
mysterious Future slowly opening before him.

How well he served in these two characters I pause not to tell. It is
enough, if I exhibit the stages of advance, that you may understand
how he became representative of his country at so grand a moment.
It is needless to say that his opportunities of study as a lawyer
were small, but he was industrious in each individual case, and thus
daily added to his stores of professional experience. Faithful in
all things, most conscientious in conduct at the bar, so that he
could not be unfair to the other side, and admirably sensitive to the
behests of justice, so that he could not argue on the wrong side, he
acquired a name for honesty, which, beginning with the community where
he lived, became proverbial throughout his State,--while his genial,
mirthful, overflowing nature, apt at anecdote and story, made him,
where personally known, a favorite companion. His opinions on public
questions were formed early, under the example and teaching of Henry
Clay, and he never departed from them, though constantly tempted, or
pressed by local majorities, in the name of a false democracy. It is
interesting to know that thus early he espoused those two ideas which
entered so largely into the terrible responsibilities of his last
years,--I mean the Unity of the Republic, and the supreme value of
Liberty. He did not believe that a State, in its own mad will, had a
right to break up this Union. As reader of Congressional speeches, and
student of what was said by the political teachers of that day, he was
no stranger to those marvellous efforts of Daniel Webster, when, in
reply to the treasonable pretensions of Nullification, the great orator
of Massachusetts asserted the indestructibility of the Union, and the
folly of those who assail it. On the subject of Slavery, he had the
experience of his own family and the warnings of his own conscience.
Naturally, one of his earliest acts in the Legislature of Illinois was
a protest in the name of Liberty.

At a later day, he was in Congress for a single term, beginning in
December, 1847, being the only Whig Representative from Illinois. His
speeches during this brief period have the characteristics of his
later productions. They are argumentative, logical, and spirited,
with quaint humor and sinewy sententiousness. His votes were constant
against Slavery. For the Wilmot Proviso he voted, according to his
own statement, “in one way and another, about forty times.” His vote
is recorded against the pretence that slaves are property under the
Constitution. From Congress he passed again to his profession. The day
was at hand, when all his powers, enlarged by experience and quickened
to highest activity, would be needed to repel that haughty domination
already overshadowing the Republic.

The next field of conflict was in his own State, with no less an
antagonist than Stephen A. Douglas, at that time in alliance with
the Slave Power. The too famous Kansas and Nebraska Bill, introduced
by the latter into the Senate, assumed to set aside the venerable
safeguard of Freedom in the territory west of Missouri, under pretence
of allowing the inhabitants “to vote Slavery up or to vote it down,”
and this barbarous privilege was called by the fancy name of Popular
Sovereignty. The champion of Liberty did not hesitate to denounce this
most baleful measure in a series of popular addresses, where truth,
sentiment, humor, and argument all blended. As the conflict continued,
he was brought forward for the Senate against its able author. The
debate that ensued is one of the most memorable in our political
history, whether we consider the principles involved or the way it was

It commenced with a close, well-woven speech from the Republican
candidate, showing insight into the actual condition of things, in
which were these memorable words: “‘A house divided against itself
cannot stand.’ I believe this Government cannot endure permanently
half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved, I
do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be
divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”[189] Here was
the true starting-point. Only a few days before his death, in reply to
my inquiry, if at the time he had any doubt about this declaration, he
said, “Not in the least. It was clearly true, and time has justified
me.” With like plainness he exposed the Douglas pretence of Popular
Sovereignty as meaning simply, “that, if any _one_ man choose to
enslave _another_, no _third_ man shall be allowed to object,”[190] and
he announced his belief in the existence of a conspiracy to perpetuate
and nationalize Slavery, of which the Kansas and Nebraska Bill and the
Dred Scott decision were essential parts. Such was the character of
this debate at the beginning, and so it continued on the lips of our
champion to the end.

The inevitable topic to which he returned with most frequency, and
to which he clung with all the grasp of his soul, was _the practical
character of the Declaration of Independence in announcing the Liberty
and Equality of all Men_. No idle words were there, but substantial
truth, binding on the conscience of mankind. I know not if this grand
pertinacity has been noticed before; but I deem it a duty to declare
that to my mind it is by far the most important incident of that
controversy, and perhaps the most interesting in the biography of the
speaker. Nothing previous to his nomination for the Presidency is
comparable to it. Plainly his whole subsequent career took impulse and
complexion from that championship. And here, too, is our first debt of
gratitude. The words he then uttered live after him, and nobody now
hears how he then battled without feeling a new motive to fidelity in
support of Human Rights.

As early as 1854, in a speech at Peoria against the Kansas and Nebraska
Bill, after denouncing Slavery as a “monstrous injustice,” which
“enables the enemies of free institutions to taunt us as hypocrites,”
and “causes the real friends of Freedom to doubt our sincerity,” he
complains especially that “it forces so many really good men amongst
ourselves _into open war with the very fundamental principles of civil
liberty, criticizing the Declaration of Independence_.”[191] Thus,
according to him, criticism of the Declaration was the climax of
infidelity as citizen.

Mr. Douglas opened the debate, on his side, at Chicago, July 9, 1858,
by a speech, where he said, among other things, “I am opposed to negro
equality. I repeat, that this nation is a white people.… I am opposed
to taking any step that recognizes the negro man or the Indian as the
equal of the white man. I am opposed to giving him a voice in the
administration of the Government.”[192] Thus was the case stated for

To this speech the Republican candidate replied promptly, and did not
forget his championship. Quoting the great words, “We hold these truths
to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” he proceeds:--

    “That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the
    hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will
    link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom
    exists in the minds of men throughout the world.… I should
    like to know, if, taking this old Declaration of Independence,
    which declares that all men are equal, upon principle, and
    making exceptions to it, where will it stop? If one man says
    it does not mean a negro, why not another say it does not mean
    some other man? If that Declaration is not the truth, let us
    get the statute-book in which we find it and tear it out. Who
    is so bold as to do it? If it is not true, let us tear it out.
    [_Cries of “No, no!”_] _Let us stick to it, then; let us stand
    firmly by it, then._”

Noble utterance, worthy of perpetual memory! And he finished his
speech with a farewell truly apostolic:--

    “I leave you, hoping that the lamp of Liberty will burn in your
    bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are
    created free and equal.”[193]

He has left us now, and for the last time. I catch the closing
benediction of that speech, already sounding through the ages like a
choral harmony.

The debate continued from place to place. At Bloomington, July 16th,
Mr. Douglas denied again that colored persons could be citizens, and
then broke forth upon the champion:--

    “I will not quarrel with Mr. Lincoln for his views on that
    subject. I have no doubt he is conscientious in them. I have
    not the slightest idea but that he conscientiously believes
    that a negro ought to enjoy and exercise all the rights and
    privileges given to white men; but I do not agree with him.…
    _I believe that this government of ours was founded on the
    white basis._ I believe that it was established by white men.…
    I do not believe that it was the design or intention of the
    signers of the Declaration of Independence or the framers of
    the Constitution to include negroes, Indians, or other inferior
    races, with white men, as citizens.… _He wants them to vote.
    I am opposed to it. If they had a vote, I reckon they would
    all vote for him in preference to me, entertaining the views I

Then again at Springfield, the next day, Mr. Douglas repeated his
denial that the colored man was embraced by the Declaration, and thus
argued for the exclusion:--

    “Remember that at the time the Declaration was put forth, every
    one of the Thirteen Colonies were slaveholding colonies,--every
    man who signed that Declaration represented slaveholding
    constituents. Did those signers mean by that act to charge
    themselves and all their constituents with having violated the
    law of God in holding the negro in an inferior condition to
    the white man? And yet, if they included negroes in that term,
    they were bound, as conscientious men, that day and that hour,
    not only to have abolished Slavery throughout the land, _but to
    have conferred political rights and privileges on the negro,
    and elevated him to an equality with the white man_.… The
    Declaration of Independence only included the white people of
    the United States.”[195]

On the same evening, at Springfield, the Republican candidate, while
admitting that negroes are not “our equal in color,” thus again spoke
for the comprehensive humanity of the Declaration:--

     “_I adhere to the Declaration of Independence. If Judge
    Douglas and his friends are not willing to stand by it, let
    them come up and amend it. Let them make it read, that all men
    are created equal except negroes._ Let us have it decided,
    whether the Declaration of Independence, in this blessed year
    of 1858, shall be thus amended. In his construction of the
    Declaration last year, he said it only meant that Americans
    in America were equal to Englishmen in England. Then, when I
    pointed out to him that by that rule he excludes the Germans,
    the Irish, the Portuguese, and all the other people who
    have come amongst us since the Revolution, he reconstructs
    his construction. In his last speech he tells us it meant
    Europeans. I press him a little further, and ask if it meant
    to include the Russians in Asia. Or does he mean to exclude
    that vast population from the principles of our Declaration
    of Independence? I expect erelong he will introduce another
    amendment to his definition. He is not at all particular.… _It
    may draw white men down, but it must not lift negroes up._”[196]

Words like these are gratefully remembered. They make the Declaration,
what the Fathers intended, no mean proclamation of oligarchic egotism,
but a charter and freehold for all mankind.

At Ottawa, August 21st, Mr. Douglas, still excluding the colored men
from the Declaration, exclaimed:--

    “I believe this Government was made on the white basis. I
    believe it was made by white men, for the benefit of white men
    and their posterity forever.”[197]

Again the Republican champion took up the strain.

    “Henry Clay once said of a class of men who would repress
    all tendencies to Liberty and ultimate Emancipation, that
    they must, if they would do this, go back to the era of our
    Independence, and muzzle the cannon which thunders its annual
    joyous return,--they must blow out the moral lights around
    us,--they must penetrate the human soul, and eradicate there
    the love of Liberty; and then, and not till then, could they
    perpetuate Slavery in this country. To my thinking, Judge
    Douglas is, by his example and vast influence, doing that
    very thing in this community, when he says that the negro has
    nothing in the Declaration of Independence.”[198]

At Jonesboro’, September 15th, Mr. Douglas once more assailed the
rights of the colored race.

     “I am aware that all the Abolition lecturers that you find
    travelling about through the country are in the habit of
    reading the Declaration of Independence to prove that all men
    were created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain
    inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the
    pursuit of happiness. Mr. Lincoln is very much in the habit
    of following in the track of Lovejoy in this particular,
    by reading that part of the Declaration of Independence to
    prove that the negro was endowed by the Almighty with the
    inalienable right of equality with white men. Now I say to you,
    my fellow-citizens, that, in my opinion, the signers of the
    Declaration had no reference to the negro whatever, when they
    declared all men to be created equal.”[199]

At Galesburg, October 7th, his faithful opponent answered:--

    “The Judge has alluded to the Declaration of Independence, and
    insisted that negroes are not included in that Declaration, and
    that it is a slander upon the framers of that instrument to
    suppose that negroes were meant therein; and he asks you, Is it
    possible to believe that Mr. Jefferson, who penned the immortal
    paper, could have supposed himself applying the language of
    that instrument to the negro race, and yet held a portion of
    that race in slavery? Would he not at once have freed them? I
    only have to remark upon this part of the Judge’s speech, that
    I believe the entire records of the world, from the date of the
    Declaration of Independence up to within three years ago, may
    be searched in vain for one single affirmation from one single
    man, that the negro was not included in the Declaration. And I
    will remind Judge Douglas and this audience, that, while Mr.
    Jefferson was the owner of slaves, as undoubtedly he was, in
    speaking upon this very subject, he used the strong language,
    that ‘he trembled for his country when he remembered that God
    was just.’”[200]

And at Alton, October 15th, he renewed this same testimony.

    “I assert that Judge Douglas and all his friends may search
    the whole records of the country, and it will be a matter of
    great astonishment to me, if they shall be able to find that
    one human being three years ago had ever uttered the astounding
    sentiment that the term ‘all men’ in the Declaration did not
    include the negro. Do not let me be misunderstood. I know that
    more than three years ago there were men, who, finding this
    assertion constantly in the way of their schemes to bring about
    the ascendency and perpetuation of Slavery, denied the truth
    of it. I know that Mr. Calhoun, and all the politicians of his
    school, denied the truth of the Declaration. I know that it
    ran along in the mouth of some Southern men for a period of
    years, ending at last in that shameful, though rather forcible,
    declaration of Pettit, of Indiana, upon the floor of the United
    States Senate, that the Declaration of Independence was, in
    that respect, ‘a self-evident lie,’ rather than a self-evident
    truth. But I say, with a perfect knowledge of all this hawking
    at the Declaration without directly attacking it, that three
    years ago there never had lived a man who had ventured to
    assail it in _the sneaking way of pretending to believe it, and
    then asserting it did not include the negro_.”[201]

In another speech, during the same political contest, the champion
spoke immortal words. After setting forth the sublime opening of the
Declaration by our fathers, he said:--

    “This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the
    universe. This was their lofty and wise and noble understanding
    of the justice of the Creator to His creatures,--yes,
    Gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of

Then, lifted by his cause, he appealed to his fellow-countrymen in
tones of pathetic eloquence:--

    “Think nothing of me, take no thought for the political fate
    of any man whomsoever, but come back to the truths that are in
    the Declaration of Independence. You may do anything with me
    you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles. You
    may not only defeat me for the Senate, _but you may take me and
    put me to death_. While pretending no indifference to earthly
    honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest by something
    higher than an anxiety for office. I charge you to drop every
    paltry and insignificant thought for any man’s success. It is
    nothing. I am nothing. Judge Douglas is nothing. _But do not
    destroy that immortal emblem of humanity, the Declaration of
    American Independence_.”[202]

Thus, at that early day, before war had overshadowed the land, was he
ready for the sacrifice. “Take me and put me to death,” said he, “but
do not destroy that immortal emblem of humanity, the Declaration of
American Independence.” He has been put to death by the enemies of the
Declaration; but, though dead, he will continue to guard that great
title-deed of the human race.

The debate ended. An immense vote was cast. There were 126,084 votes
for the Republican candidates, 121,940 for the Douglas candidates, and
5,091 for the Lecompton candidates, another class of Democrats; but the
supporters of Mr. Douglas had a majority of eight on joint ballot in
the Legislature, and he was reëlected to the Senate.

Again returned to his profession, our champion cherished the
Declaration. To the Republicans of Boston, who had invited him to unite
with them in celebrating the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, he sent
an answer, under date of April 6, 1859, which is a gem in political
literature, and here also he asserts the supremacy of those truths
for which he had battled so well. In him the West spoke to the East,
pleading for Human Rights, as declared by our fathers.

    “But, soberly, it is now no child’s play to save the principles
    of Jefferson from total overthrow in this nation.

    “One would state with great confidence that he could convince
    any sane child that the simpler propositions of Euclid are
    true; but, nevertheless, he would fail utterly with one who
    should deny the definitions and axioms. The principles of
    Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society, and
    yet they are denied and evaded with no small show of success.
    One dashingly calls them ‘glittering generalities’; another
    bluntly calls them ‘self-evident lies’; and others insidiously
    argue that they apply only to ‘superior races.’

    “These expressions, differing in form, are identical in object
    and effect,--the supplanting the principles of free government,
    and restoring those of classification, caste, and legitimacy.
    They would delight a convocation of crowned heads plotting
    against the people. They are the vanguard, the miners and
    sappers, of returning despotism. We must repulse them, or they
    will subjugate us.

    “This is a world of compensations; and he who would _be_ no
    slave must consent to _have_ no slave. Those who deny freedom
    to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God,
    cannot long retain it.

    “All honor to Jefferson,--the man who, in the concrete pressure
    of a struggle for national independence by a single people,
    had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a
    merely revolutionary document _an abstract truth, applicable
    to all men and all times_, and so to embalm it there, that
    to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a
    stumbling-block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny
    and oppression!”[203]

Next winter the Western champion appeared at New York, and in a
remarkable address at the Cooper Institute, February 27, 1860,
vindicated the policy of the Fathers and the principles of the
Republican party. Showing with curious skill and minuteness the
original understanding on the power of Congress over Slavery in the
Territories, he demonstrated that the Republican party was not in any
just sense sectional; and then exposed the perils from the pretensions
of slave-masters, who, not content with requiring that “we must arrest
and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure,” insisted that
the Constitution must be so interpreted as to uphold the idea of
property in man. The whole address was subdued and argumentative, while
each sentence was like a driven nail, with a concluding rally that was
a bugle-call to the lovers of right. “Let us have faith,” said he,
“that _right makes might_, and in that faith let us to the end dare to
do our duty as we understand it.”

       *       *       *       *       *

A few months later, this champion of the Right, who would not see the
colored man shut out from the promises of the Declaration, and insisted
upon the exclusion of Slavery from the Territories, after summoning
his countrymen to their duty, was nominated by a great political party
as candidate for President. Local considerations, securing to him the
support of certain States beyond any other candidate, exercised a final
influence in determining this selection; but it is easy to see how,
from position, character, and origin, he was at that moment especially
the representative of his country. The Unity of the Republic was
menaced: he was from that vast controlling Northwest which would never
renounce its communications with the sea, whether by the Mississippi
or by eastern avenues. The birthday Declaration of the Republic was
dishonored in the denial of its primal truths: he was already known as
a volunteer in its defence. Republican institutions were in jeopardy:
he was the child of humble life, through whom republican institutions
would stand confessed. These things, so obvious now in the light of
history, were less apparent then in the turmoil of party. But that
Providence in whose hands are the destinies of nations, which had found
out Washington to conduct his country through the War of Independence,
now found out Lincoln to wage the new battle for the Unity of the
Republic on the foundation of Human Rights.

The election took place. Of the popular votes, Abraham Lincoln received
1,866,452, carrying 180 electoral ballots; Stephen A. Douglas received
1,375,157, carrying 12 electoral ballots; John C. Breckinridge received
847,953, carrying 72 electoral ballots; and John Bell received 590,631,
carrying 39 electoral ballots. By this vote Abraham Lincoln became
President. The triumph at the ballot-box was flashed by telegraph
over the whole country, from north to south, from east to west. It
was answered by defiance from the Slave-Masters, speaking in the name
of State Rights and for the sake of Slavery. The declared will of the
American people, registered at the ballot-box, was set at nought.
The conspiracy of years blazed into day. The National Government,
which Alexander H. Stephens characterized as “the best and freest
government, the most equal in its rights, the most just in its
decisions, the most lenient in its measures, and the most aspiring in
its principles to elevate the race of men, that the sun of heaven ever
shone upon,”[204] and which Jefferson Davis himself pronounced “the
best government which has ever been instituted by man,”[205]--that
National Government, thus painted even by its enemies, was spurned.
South Carolina jumped forward first in crime; and before the elected
President turned his face from the beautiful Western prairies to enter
upon his dangerous duties, State after State had undertaken to abandon
its place in the Union, Senator after Senator had dropped from his
seat, fort after fort had been seized, and the mutterings of war had
begun to fill the air, while the actual President, besotted by Slavery,
tranquilly witnessed the gigantic treason, as he sat at ease in the
Executive Mansion, and did nothing.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was time for another to come upon the scene. You cannot forget how
he left his village home, never to return, except under the escort
of Death. In words of farewell to neighbors thronging about him, he
dedicated himself to his country and solemnly invoked the aid of Divine
Providence. “I know not,” he said, “how soon I shall see you again”;
and then, with prophetic voice, announced that a duty devolved upon him
“greater than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days
of Washington,” and asked his friends to pray that he might receive
that Divine assistance, without which he could not succeed, but with
which success was certain. To power and fame others have gone forth
with gladness and with song: he went forth prayerfully, as to sacrifice.

Nor can you forget how at each resting-place on the road he renewed his
vows, and when at Independence Hall his soul broke forth in homage to
the vital truths there declared. Of all that he said on the journey to
the National Capital, after farewell to his neighbors, there is nothing
so prophetic as these unpremeditated words:--

    “All the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so
    far as I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which
    originated in, and were given to the world from, this Hall. I
    have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from
    the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence.…
    Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If
    it can, I shall consider myself one of the happiest men in the
    world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved upon
    that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country
    cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about
    to say _I would rather be assassinated on this spot than
    surrender it_.”[206]

Then, after adding that he had not expected to say a word, he repeated
the consecration of his life, exclaiming, “I have said nothing but what
I am willing to live by, _and, if it be the pleasure of Almighty God,
to die by_.”[207]

He was about to raise the national banner over the old Hall. But before
this service, he took up the strain he loved so well, saying: “It is
on such an occasion as this that we can reason together, _reaffirm
our devotion to the country and the principles of the Declaration of

Thus constantly did he bear testimony. Surely this grand fidelity will
be ever counted among his chief glories. I know nothing in history
more touching, especially when we consider that this devotion caused
his sacrifice. “Were there as many devils in Worms as there are tiles
upon the roofs, I would enter,”[209] said Luther. Our reformer was less
defiant, but hardly less determined. Three times had he announced that
for the great truths of the Declaration he was willing to die; three
times had he offered himself on that altar; three times had he vowed
himself to this martyrdom.

Slavery was already pursuing his life. An attempt was made to throw his
train from the track, while a secreted hand-grenade further betrayed
the diabolical purpose. Baltimore, directly on his way, was the seat of
a murderous plot. Avoiding the conspirators, he came from Philadelphia
to Washington unexpectedly in the night,--and thus, for the moment
cheating Assassination of its victim, entered the National Capital.

       *       *       *       *       *

From this time forward his career broadens into the history of his
country and of the age. You all know it. Therefore a few glimpses will
be enough, that I may exhibit its moral rather than its story.

The Inaugural Address, the formation of his Cabinet, his earliest
acts, his daily conversation, all attested the spirit of moderation
with which he approached his perilous position. At the same time he
declared openly, that, in contemplation of universal law and of the
Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual,--that no State,
upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union,--that
resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void,--that acts of
violence within any State are insurrectionary or revolutionary,--and
that, to the extent of his ability, he should take care, according to
express injunction of the Constitution, that the laws of the Union be
faithfully executed in all the States. While thus positive in upholding
the National Unity, he was resolved that on his part there should be
no act of offence,--that there should be no bloodshed or violence,
unless forced upon the country,--that it was his duty to hold, occupy,
and possess the property and places belonging to the Government,--but,
beyond what was necessary for this object, there should be no exercise
of force, and the people everywhere should be left in that perfect
security most favorable to calm thought and reflection.

But the madness of Slavery knew no bound. It was determined from the
beginning that the Union should be broken, and no moderation could
change this wicked purpose. A pretended power was organized, in the
form of a Confederacy, with Slavery as the declared corner-stone. You
know what ensued. Fort Sumter was attacked, and, after a fiery storm of
shot and shell for thirty-four hours, the national flag fell. This was
13th April, 1861. War had begun.

War is always a scourge. Never can it be regarded without sadness. It
is one of the mysteries of Providence, that such an evil is allowed to
vex mankind. Few deprecated it more than the President. From Quaker
blood and from reflection, he was essentially a man of peace. In one
of his speeches during his short service in Congress, he arraigned
military glory as “that rainbow that rises in showers of blood,--that
serpent’s eye that charms but to destroy”;[210] and when charged with
the terrible responsibility of Government, he was none the less earnest
for peace. He was not willing to see his beloved country torn by bloody
battle, with fellow-citizens striking at each other. But after the
criminal assault on Fort Sumter there was no alternative. The Republic
was in peril, and every man, from President to citizen, was summoned
to the defence. Nor was this all. An attempt was made to invest
Slavery with national independence, and the President, who disliked
both Slavery and War, described his own condition, when, addressing
a member of the Society of Friends, he said, “Your people have had,
and are having, very great trials. On principle and faith opposed to
both war and oppression, _they can only practically oppose oppression
by war_.”[211] In these few words the whole case is stated,--inasmuch
as, whatever might be the pretension of State Rights, the war became
necessary to overcome the baleful ambition of Slavery.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Slave-Masters put in execution a conspiracy long contrived, for
which they had prepared the way,--first, by teaching that any State
might at its own will break from the Union, and, secondly, by teaching
that colored persons were so far inferior as not to be embraced in
the promises of the Declaration of Independence, but were justly held
as slaves. The Mephistopheles of Slavery, Mr. Calhoun, inculcated for
years both these pretensions. But the pretension of State Rights was a
cover for Slavery.

Therefore, in determining that the Slave-Masters should be
encountered, two things were resolved: first, that this Republic
is one and indivisible; and, secondly, that no hideous power, with
Slavery blazoned on its front, shall be created on our soil. Here was
affirmation and denial: first, _affirmation_ of the National Unity;
and, secondly, _denial_ of any independent foothold to Rebel Slavery.
Accepting the challenge at Fort Sumter, the President became the voice
of the Nation, which, with stern resolve, insisted that the Rebellion
should be overcome by war. The people were in earnest, and would not
brook hesitation. If ever in history war was necessary, if ever in
history war was holy, it was the war then and there begun for the
arrest and overthrow of Rebel Slavery.

The case between the two sides is stated first in the words of
Jefferson Davis, and then in the words of Abraham Lincoln.

The representative of Slavery said:--

    “The time for compromise has now passed, and the South is
    determined to maintain her position, and make all who oppose
    her smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel, if coercion
    is persisted in.… Our separation from the old Union is now
    complete. No compromise, no reconstruction, is now to be

Abraham Lincoln said:--

     “In my view of the present aspect of affairs, there need be
    no bloodshed or war. I am not in favor of such a course; and I
    may say in advance that there will be no bloodshed, unless it
    be forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled to
    act in self-defence.”[213]

And so issue was joined.

It was plain from the first cannon-shot, that the Rebellion was nothing
but Slavery in arms; but such was the power of Slavery, even in the
Free States, that months elapsed before the giant criminal was directly
assailed. Generals in the field were tender towards it, as if it were a
church, or a work of the fine arts. Only under the teaching of disaster
was the country moved. The first step in Congress followed the defeat
at Bull Run. Still the President hesitated. Disasters thickened and
graves opened, until at last the country saw that by justice only could
we hope for Divine favor, and the President, who leaned so closely
upon the popular heart, pronounced that great word by which slaves
were set free. Let it be named forever to his glory, that even tardily
he grasped the thunderbolt under which the Rebellion staggered to its
fall; that, following up the blow, he enlisted colored citizens as
soldiers, and declared his final purpose never to retract or modify the
Emancipation Proclamation, nor to return into Slavery any person free
by the terms of that instrument, or by any Act of Congress,--saying,
grandly, “If the people should, by whatever mode or means, make it an
Executive duty to reënslave such persons, another, and not I, must be
their instrument to perform it.”[214]

It is sometimes said that the Proclamation was of doubtful
constitutionality. If such criticism does not proceed from sympathy
with Slavery, it evidently proceeds from prevailing superstition with
regard to this idol. Future jurists will read with astonishment that
such a flagrant wrong could be considered at any time as having any
rights which a court was bound to respect, and especially that rebels
in arms could be considered as having any title to the services of
people whose allegiance was primarily due to the United States. But,
turning from these conclusions, it seems obvious that Slavery, standing
exclusively on local law, without support in natural law, must have
fallen with the local government, both legally and constitutionally:
_legally_, inasmuch as it ceased to have any valid legal support; and
_constitutionally_, inasmuch as it came at once within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Constitution, where Liberty is the supreme law.
The President did not act upon these principles, but, speaking with
the voice of authority, said, “Let the slaves be free.” What Court and
Congress hesitated to declare he proclaimed, and thus enrolled himself
among the world’s Emancipators.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the Proclamation of Emancipation, placing its author so far above
human approach that human envy cannot reach him, I carry you for one
moment to our Foreign Relations. The convulsion here was felt in the
most distant places,--as at the great earthquake of Lisbon, when that
capital seemed about to be submerged, there was commotion of the
waters in our Northern lakes. All Europe was stirred. There, too, was
the Slavery question in another form. In an unhappy moment, under an
ill-considered allegation of “necessity,”--which Milton tells us was
the plea by which the Fiend “excused his devilish deeds,”--England
accorded to Rebel Slavery the rights of belligerence on the ocean,
and then proceeded to open her ports, to surrender her workshops, and
to let loose her merchant ships in aid of this wickedness: forgetting
all relations of alliance and amity with the United States, forgetting
all logic of English history, forgetting all distinctions of right and
wrong, and forgetting, also, that a New Power founded on Slavery was
a moral monster, with which a just nation could have nothing to do.
To appreciate the character of this concession, we must comprehend
clearly the whole, vast, unprecedented crime of the Rebellion, taking
its complexion from Slavery. Undoubtedly it was criminal to assail
the Unity of this Republic, and thus destroy its peace and impair its
example in the world; but the attempt to build a New Power on Slavery
as a corner-stone, and with no other declared object of separate
existence, was more than criminal,--or rather it was a crime of that
untold, unspeakable guilt, which no language can depict and no judgment
can be too swift to condemn. The associates in this terrible apostasy
might rebuke each other in the words of an old dramatist:--

                      “Thou must do, then,
    What no malevolent star will dare to look on,
    It is so wicked; for which men will curse thee
    For being the instrument, and the blest angels
    Forsake me at my need for being the author;
    For ’tis a deed of night, of night, Francisco!
    In which the memory of all good actions
    We can pretend to shall be buried quick;
    Or, if we be remembered, it shall be
    To fright posterity by our example,
    That have outgone all precedents of villains
    That were before us.”[215]

Recognizing such a power, entering into _semi-alliance_ with such a
power, investing such a power with rights, opening ports to such a
power, surrendering workshops to such a power, building ships for such
a power, driving a busy commerce with such a power,--all this, or any
part of this, is positive and plain complicity with the original guilt,
and must be judged as we judge any other complicity with Slavery. To
say that it was a _necessity_ is only to repeat the perpetual plea by
which slave-masters and slave-traders from the earliest moment have
sought to vindicate their crime. A generous Englishman, the ornament
of letters, from whom we learn in memorable lines “what constitutes a
State,” has denounced all complicity with Slavery in words which strike
directly at this plea of necessity. “Let sugar be as dear as it may,”
wrote Sir William Jones to the freeholders of Middlesex, “it is better
to eat none,--to eat honey, if sweetness only be palatable,--better
to eat aloes or coloquintida, than violate a primary law of Nature
impressed on every heart not imbruted by avarice, than rob one human
creature of those eternal rights of which no law upon earth can justly
deprive him.”[216]

England led in concession of belligerent rights to Rebel Slavery.
No event of the Rebellion compares with this, in encouragement to
transcendent crime, or in prejudice to the United States. Out of
English ports and English workshops Rebel Slavery drew its supplies.
In English ship-yards the cruisers of Rebel Slavery were built and
equipped. From English foundries and arsenals Rebel Slavery was armed.
And all this was made easy, when her Majesty’s Government, under
pretence of an impossible neutrality, lifted Rebel Slavery to equality
with the National Government, and gave to it _belligerent power_ on the
ocean. The early legend was verified. King Arthur was without sword,
when suddenly one appeared, thrust out from a lake. “Lo!” said Merlin,
the enchanter, “yonder is that sword I spake of: it belongeth to the
Lady of the Lake, and _if she will, thou mayest take it; but if she
will not, it will not be in thy power to take it_.”[217] And the Lady
of the Lake yielded the sword, so says the legend, even as England
yielded the sword to Rebel Slavery.

The President saw the painful consequence of this concession, and
especially that it was the first step towards acknowledgment of Rebel
Slavery as an Independent Power. Clearly, if it were proper for a
foreign power to acknowledge Belligerence, it might, at a later stage,
be proper to acknowledge Independence; and any objection vital to
Independence would, if applicable, be equally vital to Belligerence.
Solemn resolutions of Congress on this question were communicated to
foreign powers;[218] but the unanswerable argument against any possible
recognition of a New Power founded on Slavery, whether Independent or
Belligerent, was stated by the President in a paper which I hold in
my hand, and which has never before seen the light. It is a copy of
a resolution drawn by himself, which he consigned to me, in his own
autograph, for transmission to one of our valued friends abroad,[219]
as an expression of opinion on the great question involved, and a
guide to public duty.

    “_Whereas_, while _heretofore_ states and nations have
    tolerated Slavery, _recently_, for the first [time] in the
    world, an attempt has been made to construct a New Nation
    upon the basis of Human Slavery, and with the primary and
    fundamental object to maintain, enlarge, and perpetuate the
    same: Therefore

    “_Resolved_, That no such embryo state should ever be
    recognized by or admitted into the family of Christian and
    civilized nations, and that all Christian and civilized men
    everywhere should by all lawful means resist to the utmost such
    recognition or admission.”

Observe how distinctly any recognition of Rebel Slavery as an
Independent Power is branded, and how “all Christian and civilized men
everywhere” are summoned to “resist to the utmost such recognition”;
and precisely for the same reason such “Christian and civilized men
everywhere” should have resisted to the utmost any recognition of Rebel
Slavery as a Belligerent Power. Had this benign spirit entered into the
counsels of England when Slavery first took arms, this great historic
nation would have shrunk at all hazard from that fatal concession, in
itself a plain contribution to Slavery, and opening the way to infinite
contributions, without which the criminal pretender must have speedily
succumbed. There would have been no plea of “necessity.” But Divine
Providence willed it otherwise. Perhaps it was essential to the full
revelation of its boundless capacities, that the Republic should stand
forth alone, in sublime solitude, warring for Human Rights, and thus
become an example to mankind.

Meanwhile the war continued with proverbial vicissitudes. Battles were
fought and lost. Other battles were fought and won. Rebel Slavery stood
face to face in deadly conflict with the Declaration of Independence,
when the President, with unconscious power, dealt another blow, second
only to the Proclamation of Emancipation. This was at the blood-soaked
field of Gettysburg, where the armies of the Republic encountered the
armies of Slavery, and, after a conflict of three days, drove them
back with destructive slaughter,--as at that decisive battle of Tours,
on which hung the destinies of Christianity in Western Europe, the
invading Mahometans, after prolonged conflict, were driven back by
Charles “the Hammer.” No battle of the present war was more important.
Few battles in history compare with it. A brief space later occurred
another meeting on that same field. It was of grateful fellow-citizens,
gathered from all parts of the Union for its consecration to the memory
of those who had fallen there. Eminent men of our own country and from
foreign lands united in the service. There, too, was your classic
orator,[220] whose finished address was a model of literary excellence.
The President spoke very briefly; but his few words will live as long
as Time. Since Simonides wrote the epitaph for those who died at
Thermopylæ, nothing equal has ever been breathed over the fallen dead.
Thus he began: “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth
upon this continent a New Nation, _conceived in Liberty and dedicated
to the proposition that all men are created equal_.” How grandly, and
yet simply, is the New Nation announced, with the Equality of All Men
as its frontlet! The truths of the Declaration, so often proclaimed by
him, and for which he was willing to die, are inscribed on the altar
of the slain, while the country is summoned to their support, that our
duty may not be left undone.

    “It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the
    _unfinished work_ which they who fought here have thus far so
    nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the
    great task remaining before us; that from these honored dead we
    take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the
    last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that
    these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under
    God, shall have a new birth of Freedom; and that government of
    the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish
    from the earth.”[221]

That speech, uttered at the field of Gettysburg, and now sanctified by
the martyrdom of its author, is a monumental act. In the modesty of his
nature, he said: “The world will little note, nor long remember, what
we say here; but it can never forget what they did here.”[222] He was
mistaken. The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease
to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.
Ideas are more than battles.

Among events assuring to him the general confidence against all party
clamor and prejudice, this speech cannot be placed too high. To some
who doubted his earnestness it was touching proof of their error.
Others who followed with indifference were warmed with grateful
sympathy. Many felt its exquisite genius, as well as lofty character.
There were none to criticize.

His reëlection was not only a personal triumph, but a triumph
of the Republic. For himself personally, it was much to find
his administration ratified; but for republican ideas it was of
incalculable value that at such a time the plume of the soldier had
not prevailed. In the midst of war, the people at the ballot-box
deliberately selected the civilian. Ye who doubt the destinies of the
Republic, who fear the ambition of a military chief, or suspect the
popular will, do not forget that at this moment, when the noise of
battle filled the whole land, the country quietly appointed for its
ruler this man of peace.

The Inaugural Address which signalized his entry for a second time
upon his great duties was briefer than any in our history; but it has
already gone further, and it will live longer, than any other. It was
a continuation of the Gettysburg speech, with the same sublimity and
gentleness. Its concluding words were like an angelic benediction.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now there was surfeit of battle and of victory. Calmly he saw
the land of Slavery enveloped by the national forces,--saw the great
coil bent by his generals about it,--saw the mighty _garrote_, as it
tightened against the neck of the Rebellion. Good news came from all
quarters. Everywhere the army was doing its duty. One was conquering in
Tennessee; another was advancing in Georgia and Carolina; another was
watching at Richmond. The navy echoed back the thunders of the army.
Place after place was falling,--Savannah, Charleston, Fort Fisher,
Wilmington. The President left the National Capital to be near the
Lieutenant-General. Then came the capture of Petersburg and Richmond,
with the flight of Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet. Without pomp or
military escort, the President entered the Capital of the Rebellion,
and walked its streets, from which Slavery had fled forever. Then came
the surrender of Lee; that of Johnston was at hand. The military power
of Rebel Slavery was broken like a Prince-Rupert’s drop, and everywhere
within its confines the barbarous government tumbled in crash and ruin.
The country was in ecstasy. All this he beheld without elation, while
his soul was brooding on thoughts of peace and clemency. On the morning
of Friday, 14th April, his youthful son, who had been on the staff of
the Lieutenant-General, returned to resume his interrupted studies. The
father was happy in the sound of his footsteps, and felt the augury
of peace. During the same day the Lieutenant-General returned. In the
intimacy of his family the President said, “This day the war is over.”
In the evening he sought relaxation, and you know the rest. Alas! the
war was not over. The minions of Slavery were dogging him with unabated
animosity, and that night he became a martyr.

The country rose at once in agony of grief, and everywhere strong men
wept. City, town, and village were darkened by the general obsequies.
Every street was draped. Only ensigns of woe were seen. He had become,
as it were, the inmate of every house, and the families of the land
were in mourning. Not in the Executive mansion only, but in uncounted
homes, was his vacant chair. Never before such universal sorrow.
Already the voice of lamentation is returning from Europe, where candor
towards him had begun even before his tragical death. A short time ago
he was unknown, except in his own State. A short time ago he visited
New York as a stranger, and was shown about its streets by youthful
companions. Five years later he was borne through those streets with
funeral pomp such as the world never witnessed before. Space and
speed were forgotten in the offering of hearts; and as the surpassing
pageant, with more than “sceptred pall,” moved on iron highways, over
Counties and States, from ocean-side to prairie, the whole afflicted
people bowed their uncovered heads.

It was hard to comprehend this blow, and many cried in despair. But the
rule of God is too visible to allow doubt of His constant presence.
Did not our martyr in his last address remind us that the judgments
of the Lord are true and righteous altogether? And who will say that
his death was not a judgment of the Lord? Perhaps it was needed to
lift the country into a more perfect justice and to inspire a sublimer
faith. Perhaps it was sent in love, to set a sacred, irreversible seal
upon the good he had done, and to put Emancipation beyond all mortal
question. Perhaps it was the sacrificial consecration of those primal
truths embodied in the birthday Declaration of the Republic, which he
had so often vindicated, and for which he had announced his willingness
to die.

He is gone, and he has been mourned sincerely. Only private sorrow
would recall the dead. He is now removed beyond earthly vicissitudes.
Life and death are both past. He had been happy in life: he was not
less happy in death. In death, as in life, he was still under the
guardianship of that Divine Providence, which, taking him early by the
hand, led him from obscurity to power and fame. The blow was sudden,
but not unprepared for. Only on the Sunday preceding, as he was
coming from the front on board the steamer, with a beautiful quarto
Shakespeare in his hands, he read aloud the well-remembered words of
his favorite “Macbeth”:--

                          “Duncan is in his grave;
    After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well.
    Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison,
    Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
    Can touch him further.”[223]

Impressed by their beauty, or by some presentiment unuttered, he read
them aloud a second time. As the friends about listened to his reading,
they little thought how in a few days what was said of the murdered
Duncan would be said of him. “Nothing can touch him further.” He is
saved from the trials that were gathering. He had fought the good
fight of Emancipation. He had borne the brunt of war with embattled
hosts, and conquered. He had made the name of Republic a triumph and
a joy in foreign lands. Now that the strife of blood was ended, it
remained to be seen how he could confront those machinations which
are only _prolongation of the war_, and more dangerous because more
subtle,--where recent Rebels, with professions of Union on the lips,
but still denying the birthday Declaration of the Republic, vainly seek
to organize peace on _another Oligarchy of the skin_. From all these
trials he was saved. But his testimony lives, and will live forever,
speaking by his life, speaking yet again by his death. Invisible to
mortal sight, and now above all human weakness, he is still champion,
as in his early conflict, summoning his countrymen _back to the
truths in the Declaration of Independence_. Dead, he speaks with more
than living voice. But the author of Emancipation cannot die. His
immortality on earth has begun. Country and age are already enshrined
in his example, as if he were the great poet gathered to his fathers.

    “Back to the living hath he turned him,
      And all of death has passed away;
    The age that thought him dead and mourned him
      Itself now lives but in his lay.”[224]

If the President were on earth, he would protest against any monotony
of panegyric. He never exaggerated. He was always cautious in praise,
as in censure. In endeavor to estimate his character, we shall be
nearer him in proportion as we cultivate the same spirit.

In person he was tall and bony, with little resemblance to any
historic portrait, unless he might seem in one respect to justify the
epithet given to an early English king.[225] As he stood, his form
was angular, with something of that straightness in lines so peculiar
in the figure of Dante by Flaxman. His countenance had more of rugged
strength than his person, and, while in repose, inclined to sadness;
yet it lighted easily. Perhaps the quality that struck most at first
was his constant simplicity of manner and conversation, without form
or ceremony beyond that among neighbors. His handwriting had the same
simplicity. It was clear as that of Washington, but less florid. Each
had been surveyor, and was perhaps indebted to this experience. But
the son of the Western pioneer was more simple in nature, and the man
appeared in the autograph. An integrity which has become a proverb
belonged to the same quality. The most perfect honesty must be the
most perfect simplicity. Words by which an ancient Roman was described
picture him,--“_Vita innocentissimus, proposito sanctissimus_.”[226]
He was naturally humane, inclined to pardon, and never remembered hard
things against himself. He was always good to the poor, and in dealings
with them was full of those “kind little words which are of the same
blood as great and holy deeds.” On the Saturday before his death I saw
him shake hands with more than five thousand soldier patients in the
tent-hospitals at City Point, and he told me afterwards that his arm
was not tired. Such a character awakened the instinctive sympathy of
the people. They saw his fellow-feeling, and felt the kinship. With him
as President, the idea of Republican Institutions, where no place is
too high for the humblest, was perpetually apparent; so that his simple
presence was like a Proclamation of Human Equality.

While social in nature and enjoying the flow of conversation, he was
often reticent. Modesty was natural to such a character. Without
affectation, so was he without pretension or jealousy. No person,
civil or military, complains that he appropriated to himself any
honor belonging to another. To each and all he gave the credit that
was due. And this same spirit appeared in smaller things. In a sally
of Congressional debate, he exclaimed, that a fiery slave-master of
Georgia, who had just spoken, was “an eloquent man, and a man of
learning, so far as he could judge, not being learned himself.”[227]

His humor, like his integrity, has become a proverb. Sometimes he
insisted that he had no invention, but only memory. Good things heard
he did not forget, and he was never without a familiar story. When he
spoke, the recent West seemed to vie with the ancient East in apologue
and fable. His ideas moved, as the beasts entered Noah’s ark, in pairs.
His illustrations had a homely felicity, and seemed not less important
to him than the argument, which he always enforced with a certain
emphasis of manner and voice. This same humor was often displayed where
there was no story, and with a point that might recall Franklin. I
know not how the indifference to Slavery exhibited by so many could be
exposed more effectively than when he said of a political antagonist
thus offending, “I suppose the institution of Slavery really looks
small to him. He is so put up by nature, that a lash upon his back
would hurt him, but a lash upon anybody else’s back does not hurt
him.” And then again there is a bit of reply to Mr. Douglas, most
characteristic not only for humor, but as showing how little at that
time he was looking to the great place he reached so soon afterwards.
“Senator Douglas,” said he, “is of world-wide renown. All the anxious
politicians of his party, or who have been of his party for years past,
have been looking upon him as certainly, at no distant day, to be the
President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly,
fruitful face post-offices, land-offices, marshalships and cabinet
appointments, chargéships and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting
out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of by their greedy
hands.… _On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President._
In my poor, lean, lank face nobody has ever seen that any cabbages
were sprouting out. These are disadvantages, all taken together,
that the Republicans labor under. We have to fight this battle upon
principle, and upon principle alone.”[228] Here is a glimpse of
himself, as honorable as curious. In a different vein, he said, while
President, “The United States Government must not undertake to run the
churches.”[229] Here wisdom and humor vie with each other.

He was original in mind as in character. His style was his own, having
no model, but springing directly from himself. Failing often in
correctness, it is sometimes unique in beauty and sentiment. There are
passages which will live always. It is no exaggeration to say, that,
in weight and pith, suffused in a certain poetical color, they call to
mind Bacon’s Essays. Theirs also was a touching reality and unconscious
power, without form or apparent effort. Nothing similar can be found in
state-papers. How poor are kings’ speeches and Presidential messages
by the side of such utterances, fit harbingers of the sublime era of

He was placed by Providence at the head of his country during an
unprecedented crisis, when the fountains of the great deep were broken
up, and men turned for protection to military power. Multitudinous
armies were mustered. Great navies were created. Of all these he was
constitutional commander-in-chief. As the war proceeded, prerogatives
enlarged and others sprang into being, until the sway of a Republican
President became imperatorial, imperial. But not for one moment did the
modesty of his nature desert. His constant thought was his country,
and how to serve it. He saw the certain greatness of the Republic, and
was pleased in looking forward to that early day, when, according to
assured calculation, its millions of people will count by the hundred;
but this prodigious sway was commended to him only by the good of man.
Personal ambition at the expense of patriotism was as far removed from
the simple purity of his nature as poison from a strawberry. And thus,
with equal courage in the darkest hours, he continued on, heeding as
little the warnings of danger as the temptations of power. “It would
not do for a President,” he said, “to have guards with drawn sabres
at his door, as if he fancied he were, or were trying to be, or were
assuming to be, an Emperor.” In the same homeliness he spoke of his
morning return to daily duty as “opening shop.” Though commissioning
officers in multitudes beyond any other person of authentic history,
he never learned the mystery of shoulder-straps or of buttons in the
military and naval uniforms, except that he noticed three stars on the
shoulders of the Lieutenant-General.

When he became President, he was without any considerable experience
in public affairs; nor was he much versed in history, whose lessons
would have been valuable. Becoming more familiar with the place, his
facility increased. He had “learned the ropes,” so he said. But his
habits of business were irregular, and never those of despatch. He did
not see at once the just proportions of things, and allowed himself to
be occupied by details. Even in small affairs, as well as great, there
was in him a certain resistance to be overcome. Moments occurred when
this delay excited impatience, and the transcendent question seemed to
suffer. But when the blow fell, there was nothing but gratitude, and
all confessed the singleness with which he sought the public good. A
conviction prevailed, that, though slow to reach his conclusion, he
was inflexible in maintaining it. Pompey boasted that by the stamp of
his foot he could raise an army. The President did this by a word, and
more: according to his own saying, he “put his foot down,” and saved a

This firmness in the right, as he saw it, was an anchor which held
always. Emancipation, once adopted, was safe against recall or change.
From time to time his determination was repeated in terms which
awakened a throb in every liberty-loving bosom,--as when, in the
summer before the Presidential election, in his letter “To whom it may
concern,” he announced “the abandonment of Slavery” as an essential
condition of peace,[230] and thus again proclaimed Emancipation,--or
when, on another occasion, he said, in simple words, “And the promise,
being made, must be kept,”[231]--and then again exclaimed, loftily, in
words good to repeat, “If the people should, by whatever mode or means,
make it an Executive duty to reënslave such persons, another, and not
I, must be their instrument to perform it.”[232] All this was beautiful
and grand. Sodom was burning, but there was no disposition to look back.

In statement of moral truth and exposure of wrong he was at times
singularly cogent. There was fire as well as light in his words. Nobody
more clearly exhibited Slavery in its enormity. On one occasion, he
branded it as a “monstrous injustice”; on another, he pictured the
slave-masters as “wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s
faces”; and then, on still another, he said, with fine simplicity
of diction, “If Slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.” Would
you find condemnation more complete, you must go to John Brown, or
to those famous words of John Wesley, where the great Methodist held
up Slavery as the “execrable sum of all villanies.” Another mind,
more submissive to the truth he recognized, and less disposed to take
counsel of to-morrow, would have hesitated less in carrying this
judgment forward to its natural conclusion. His courage to apply truth
was not always equal to his clearness in seeing it. The heights he
gained in conscience were not always sustained in conduct. And have
we not been told that the soul can gain heights it cannot keep? Thus,
while condemning Slavery, he still waited, till many feared that with
him judgment would “lose the name of action.” Even while exalting Human
Equality, assailed and derided by one of our ablest debaters, and
insisting, with admirable constancy, that all, without distinction of
color, are within the birthday promises of the Republic, he yet allowed
himself to be pressed by his adversary to an illogical limitation of
political rights. But he was willing at all times to learn, and not
ashamed to change. Before death he expressed a desire that suffrage
should be accorded to colored persons in certain cases; yet here
again he failed to apply the great Declaration for which he so often
contended. If suffrage be accorded to colored persons only in certain
cases, then, of course, it can be accorded to whites only in the same
cases,--or Equality ceases.

It was his own frank confession that he had not controlled events,
but they had controlled him. At the important stages of the war, he
followed rather than led. The people, under God, were masters. Let it
not be forgotten that the national triumphs, and even Emancipation
itself, sprang from the great heart of the American people. Individual
services have been important, but there is no man who was necessary.

On one theme he inclined latterly to guide the public mind: it was the
treatment of the Rebel leaders. His policy was never announced, and of
course would have been subject to modification always in the light of
experience. But it is known that at the moment of his assassination he
was occupied by thoughts of lenity and pardon. He was never harsh, even
in speaking of Jefferson Davis; and only a few days before his end,
when one who was privileged to address him in that way said, “Do not
allow him to escape the law, he must be hanged,” the President replied
calmly, in the words so beautifully adopted in his last Inaugural
Address, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”; and when pressed again by
the remark that the sight of Libby Prison made it impossible to pardon
him, the President repeated twice over the same words. The question
of clemency to our Rebels is the very theme so ably debated between
Cæsar and Cato, while the Roman Senate was considering how to treat
the confederates of Catiline. Cæsar consented to confiscation and
imprisonment, but pleaded for life. Cato was sterner. It is probable
that the President, who was a Cato in patriotism, would have followed
the counsels of Cæsar.

Good-will to all men was with him a science as well as a sentiment. His
nature was pacific, and throughout the terrible conflict his thoughts
were always turned on peace. He wished peace among ourselves, and
he wished peace with foreign powers. While abounding in gratitude
to returned officers and men, who had fought the national battle so
well, he longed to see the sword in its scabbard, never again to flash
against the sky. His prudence found expression in the saying, “One war
at a time”; but his whole nature seemed to say, “Peace always.” And yet
it was his fortune to conduct one of the greatest wars in all time.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the
right, as God gives us to see the right,”[233]--so he worked and lived;
and these words of his own might be his honest epitaph.

       *       *       *       *       *

His place in history may be seen from the transcendent events with
which his name must be forever associated. The pyramids of our country
are built by the people more than by any ruler; but the ruler of the
people at such a moment cannot be forgotten.

It is impossible to exaggerate the Proclamation of Emancipation as
an historic event. Its influence cannot be limited to the present in
place or time. It will reach beyond the national jurisdiction, and
beyond the present age. Besides its immediate efficacy in liberating
slaves at home, it rises already a landmark of Human Progress. From the
solidarity of Slavery, the fall of this abomination among us must cause
its fall everywhere,--so that in Cuba, Porto Rico, Brazil, or wherever
else a slave now wears a chain, that Proclamation will be felt. Proudly
will it be recognized always in the destinies of the Republic. Only a
short time before, the Czar of Russia, also by proclamation, raised
twenty millions of serfs to the dignity of freemen; but even this
eminent act was less historic. Though of incalculable importance to
the serfs, it was not the triumph of Popular Government, and it came
from the East instead of the West. It is to the West that the world
now looks for sunrise. “_Video solem orientem in occidente._”[234] But
the Emancipation Proclamation itself was an agency in the military
overthrow of the Rebellion, which, if regarded as an achievement of
war, is one of the greatest in the annals of war, but, if regarded
in political consequences, is an epoch of history. Here, again, the
magnitude of the event is fully appreciated only when it is considered
that the triumph of the Republic is the triumph of Popular Institutions
everywhere. It is much that the Republic has become impregnable,
whether against “malice domestic” or “foreign levy”; but it is more
that it has become an example to the world. That all this should be
done under a President representing especially the people, speaking
always in sympathy with the people in words of power never to be
forgotten, and sealing his devotion with life, adds to the splendor of
the example.

His are great heralds, such as few have had as they entered the lofty
portals. Our martyred dead is seen also in the company to which
he is admitted, among the purest of all time,--martyrs, patriots,
philanthropists, servants of truth and duty. Milton, Hampden, Sidney,
Wilberforce, all welcome the new-comer. Washington leads the hosts of
his own country, from the Pilgrims of the Mayflower to the thronging
crowds who have laid down their lives for the Republic.

By the association of a similar death he passes into the same galaxy
with Cæsar, William of Orange, and Henry the Fourth of France, all of
whom were assassinated,--and his star will not pale by the side of
theirs. Cæsar was a contrast in everything, unless in clemency, and the
coincidence that each at the time of sacrifice was fifty-six years of
age. How unlike in all else! Cæsar was of brilliant lineage, which he
traced on one side to the immortal gods, and on the other to a recent
chief of Rome,--of completest education,--of amplest means,--of rarest
experience,--of acknowledged genius as statesman, soldier, orator, and
writer, being in himself the most finished man of Antiquity; but he was
the enslaver of his country, whose personal ambition took the place of
patriotism, and whose name has become the synonym of imperial power.
Of princely birth and great riches, William of Orange began as page in
the household of Charles the Fifth, on whose wide-spread dominions, the
largest of modern history, the sun never set. The youthful page became
companion and intimate of the powerful Emperor. Unawed and unseduced,
he upheld the liberties of his country, which he conducted wisely,
surely, grandly,--anticipating the example of Washington. His name of
“Silent” suggests the reticence of his American parallel, like whom he
was also a liberator. Henry the Fourth, of the House of Bourbon, was a
king memorable for practical sense, anecdote, and pregnant wit, with a
certain Gallic salt. He, too, knew the trials of civil war, which he
closed in peace and crowned with mercy. The National Unity prevailed in
him. The age of fifty-six witnessed also his death, leaving great plans
unfulfilled, and his career emblazoned by the popular epic of his
country, “La Henriade” of Voltaire. These are illustrious names; but
there is nothing in them to eclipse the simple life of our President,
whose example, commemorated by history and by song, will be the pride
of humanity and a rebuke to every usurper. The cause he served was more
than empire. The motive of his conduct was higher than success,--as
devotion to Human Rights is higher than genius or power, as man is
higher than aught else on earth.

More like him in certain aspects was the Roman Emperor Vespasian,
whose just sway was prolonged in Titus, his son. Without ancestry or
rank, he rose to the loftiest power, and, when on these heights, never
dissembled the humility of his origin. The simplicity and frugality of
early life were continued on the throne of the world. There was in the
Emperor a kindred humanity, and the same fondness for story and jest.
But the common feature, bringing the two into one historic family, was
generous indulgence to political opponents. It belongs to the fame
of our President that in selections for the public service he forgot
all personal differences. Capacity and devotion to the country were
controlling recommendations, before which every thought of opposition
or rivalry, or even of injury, disappeared. Here the Roman Emperor
anticipated the American President; for the contemporary historian,
in his brief record, presents him as “very little mindful of affronts
and enmities, or vindictive on their account.”[235] Such a character,
whether at Rome or Washington, is an example for all.

There is another character, taken away close upon the age of
fifty-six,[236] who seems to have revived in the President. Do not be
astonished, when I mention St. Louis of France. Difference of epoch and
of objects occupying attention cannot obscure certain kindred features,
and especially the common consecration of their lives. The French
monarch, though at the head of a military power, was a lover of peace,
and cultivated justice towards his neighbors. Through him a barbarous
institution was overthrown, and France advanced in civilization. The
Trial by Battle, against which he launched a noble ordinance, was a
curse not inferior to our Slavery. In an age of violence he was gentle.
In an age of privilege, and wearing a crown, he was moved to the
practice of Equality. History recalls with undisguised applause the
simple justice he delighted to administer, sitting under an oak in the
park of Vincennes. Our President launched his ordinance at a barbarous
institution, and advanced his country. He, too, practised Equality. And
he, also, had his oak of Vincennes. It was that plain room where he
was always so accessible as to make his example difficult for future
Presidents. At stated times he was open to all who came with petitions,
and they flocked across the continent. The transactions of that simple
court of last resort would show how much was done to temper the law,
to assuage sorrow, and to care for the widow and orphan; but its only
record is in heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, fellow-citizens, are the Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln.
You have discerned his simple beginnings,--have watched his early
struggles,--have gratefully followed his dedication to the truths our
fathers declared,--have hailed him twice-elected head of the Republic,
through whom it was known in foreign lands,--have recognized him at
a period of national peril as representative of the _unfulfilled
promises_ made by our fathers, even as Washington was representative
of National Independence,--and you have beheld him struck down at
the moment of victory, when Rebel Slavery was everywhere succumbing.
Reverently we acknowledge the finger of the Almighty, and pray that our
great trials may not fail, to the end that the promises of the Fathers
may be fulfilled,--those promises, so great and glorious, which make
the Declaration a title-deed of mankind.

Traitorous Assassination struck him down. Yet be not vindictive
towards the poor atom that held the weapon. Reserve your rage for the
responsible power, which, not content with assailing the life of the
Republic, outraged all law, human and divine,--organized Barbarism
as a principle of conduct,--took the lives of faithful Unionists at
home,--prepared robbery and murder on the northern borders,--fired
hotels, the home of women and children,--plotted to scatter pestilence
and poison,--perpetrated piracy and ship-burning at sea,--starved
American citizens in prolonged captivity,--inflicted the slow torture
of Andersonville and Libby,--menaced assassination always,--and now,
at last, true to itself, has assassinated our President: and this
responsible power is none other than Slavery. It is Slavery that has
taken the life of our beloved Chief Magistrate; and here is another
triumph of its Barbarism. On Slavery let vengeance fall. Spare, if you
please, the worm it employs; but do not, I entreat you, yield amnesty
to this murderous wickedness. Ravaillac, who took the life of the
French Henry, was torn in pieces on the public square before the City
Hall by four powerful horses, each fastened to one of his limbs, and
rending in opposite directions, until, at last, after fearful struggle,
nothing of the wretched assassin remained to the executioner except his
bloody shirt, which was at once handed over to be burned. Such be our
vengeance; and let Slavery be the victim.

And not only Slavery, which is another name for property in man, but
also that other pretension, not less irrational and hateful, that Human
Rights can depend on color. This is the bloody shirt of the assassin;
let it be handed over to be burned.

Such a vengeance will be a kiss of reconciliation; for it will remove
every obstacle to peace and harmony. The people where Slavery once
ruled will bless the blow that destroyed it. The people where the
kindred tyranny of Caste once prevailed will rejoice that this fell
under the same blow. They will yet confess that it was dealt in no
harshness, in no unkindness, in no desire to humiliate, but simply and
solemnly, in the name of the Republic and of Human Nature, for their
good as well as ours,--ay, for their good more than ours.

By ideas, more than by armies, we have conquered. The sword of the
Archangel was less mighty than the mission he bore from the Lord. But
if the ideas giving us the victory are now neglected, if the pledges
of the Declaration, which the Rebellion openly assailed, are left
unredeemed, then have blood and treasure been lavished for nought. Alas
for the dead who gave themselves so bravely to their country, alas for
the living left to mourn the dead, if any relic of Slavery is allowed
to continue!--especially if this bloody imposture, defeated in the
pretension of property in man, is allowed to perpetuate an oligarchy of
the skin!

How shall these ideas be saved? How shall the war waged by Abraham
Lincoln be brought to an end, so as to assure peace, tranquillity, and
reconciliation? All turns on the colored suffrage. This is the centre
and pivot of national safety. A mistake now is worse than the loss of
a battle. And yet here again we encounter the Rebellion in its odious
pretensions, hardly less audacious than when it took up arms. Amidst
its expiring camp-fires, the men who have trimmed them--with fresh
oaths of allegiance on the lips--renew their early activity in plotting
how to preserve an oligarchical power. The demon of Caste follows
the demon of Slavery. In setting ourselves against this accursed
succession, we follow the solemn behests of the Great Declaration, so
constantly championed by the martyred President. And now, as I close
this humble tribute, let me ask you to adopt that championship, which
was his first title to national gratitude, and is now his best. Let
each be standard-bearer of the Declaration. I cannot err, if, speaking
at his funeral, I detain you to insist upon this absorbing duty, where
for the moment all other duties are swallowed up.

       *       *       *       *       *

The argument for colored suffrage is overwhelming. It springs from the
necessity of the case, as well as from the Rights of Man. This suffrage
is needed for the security of the colored people, for the stability of
the local government, and for the strength of the Union. Without it
there is nothing but insecurity for the colored people, instability for
the local government, and weakness for the Union, involving of course
the national credit. Without it the Rebellion will break forth under a
new _alias_, unarmed it may be, but with white votes to take possession
of the local government and wield it at will, whether at home or in the
national councils. If it be said that the colored people are unfit,
then do I show that they are more fit than their recent masters, or
than the “poor whites.” They have been loyal always; and who is he,
that, under any pretence, exalts the prejudices of the disloyal above
the rights of the loyal? Their suffrage is now needed,--more even than
you ever needed their muskets or sabres. An English statesman, after
the acknowledgment of the Spanish Colonies as Independent States,
boasted that he had called a new world into existence to redress the
balance of the old. In similar spirit, we, too, must call a new ballot
into existence to redress the tyranny that refuses justice to the
colored race.

The same national authority that destroyed Slavery must see that this
other pretension is not permitted to survive; nor is there any doubt
that the authority which destroyed Slavery is competent to the kindred
duty. Each belongs to that great policy of justice through which
alone can peace become permanent and immutable. Nor may the Republic
shirk this remaining service, without leaving Emancipation unfinished
and the early promises of the Fathers unfulfilled. Vain the gift of
Liberty, if you surrender the rights of the freedman to be judged
by recent assertors of property in man. Burke, in his day, saw the
flagrant inconsistency, and denounced it, saying that whatever such
people did on this subject was “arrant trifling,” and, notwithstanding
its plausible form, always wanted what he aptly called “the executory
principle.”[237] These words of warning were adopted and repeated by
two later statesmen, George Canning and Henry Brougham; but they are so
clear as not to need support of names. The infant must not be handed
over to be suckled by the wolf; it must be carefully nursed by its
parent; and since the Republic is parent of Emancipation, the Republic
must nurse the immortal infant into maturity and strength. The Republic
at the beginning took up this great work: the Republic must finish what
it began; and it cannot err, if, in anxious care, it holds nothing
done so long as anything remains undone. The Republic, with matchless
energy, hurled forward victorious armies: the Republic must exact that
“security for the future” without which this unparalleled war will
have been waged in vain. The Republic to-day, with one consenting
voice, commemorates the martyred victim: the same Republic, prompt in
this service, must require that his promises to an oppressed race be
maintained in all their integrity and completeness, in letter and in
spirit, so that the cause for which he became a sacrifice shall not
fail; his martyrdom was a new pledge, beyond any even in life.

The colored suffrage is an overwhelming necessity. In making it an
essential condition of restoration, we follow, first, the law of reason
and of Nature, and, secondly, the Constitution, not only in its text,
but in the light of the Declaration. By reason and Nature there can be
no denial of rights on account of color; and we can do nothing thus
irrational and unnatural. By the Constitution it is stipulated that
“the United States shall guaranty to every State _a republican form of
government_”; but the meaning of this guaranty must be found in the
birthday Declaration of the Republic, which is the controlling preamble
of the Constitution. Beyond all question, the United States, when
called to enforce the guaranty, must insist on _the equality of all
before the law_, and _the consent of the governed_. Such is the true
idea of republican government according to American institutions.

The Slave-Masters, driven from their first intrenchments, occupy inner
defences. Property in man is abandoned; but they now insist that the
freedman shall not enjoy political rights. Liberty has been won. The
battle for Equality is still pending. And now a new compromise is
proposed, in the name of State Rights. Sad that it should be so. But I
do not despair. The victory may be delayed, but not lost. All who set
themselves against Equality will be overborne; for it is the cause of
Humanity. Not the rich and proud, but the poor and lowly, will be the
favorites of an enfranchised Republic. The words of the Prophet must be
fulfilled: “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked
for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to
cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I WILL MAKE
OF OPHIR.”[238] I accept these sublime promises, and echo them back as
assurance of triumph. Then will the Republic be all that heart can
desire or imagination paint,--“_supremely lovely and serenely great,
majestic mother_” of a free, happy, and united people, with Slavery
and all its tyranny beaten down under foot, so that no man shall call
another master, and all shall be equal before the law.

In this great victory death is swallowed up, and before us is the
vision of the Republic performing all that was promised. How easy,
then, the passage from sorrow to exultation!

       *       *       *       *       *

Fellow-citizens, be happy in what you have. Mourn not the dead, but
rejoice in his life and example. Rejoice, as you point to this child of
the people, who was lifted so high that Republican Institutions became
manifest in him. Rejoice that through him Emancipation was proclaimed.
Rejoice that under him “government of the people, by the people, and
for the people” obtained a final verdict never to be set aside or
questioned. Above all, see to it that his constant vows are performed,
and the promises of the Fathers maintained, so that no person in the
upright form of man is shut out from their protection. Do this, and the
Unity of the Republic will be fixed on a foundation that cannot fail.
The corner-stone of National Independence is already in its place, and
on it is inscribed the name of GEORGE WASHINGTON. Another stone must
also have place at the corner. It is the great Declaration itself,
once a promise, at last a reality. On this adamantine block we will
gratefully inscribe the name of ABRAHAM LINCOLN.



                                              BOSTON, July 4, 1865.

  MY DEAR SIR,--It will not be in my power to unite with my
  fellow-citizens of Boston in celebrating the anniversary of our
  National Independence; but I rejoice that we can celebrate it so
  happily, with Victory as the master of ceremonies.

  Do not, I pray you, Mr. Mayor, let the great day pass without
  reminding our fellow-citizens that victory on the field of battle
  is not enough. There must be the further victory found in the
  recognition, everywhere throughout the country, of the ideas of
  the Declaration of Independence.

  It must be confessed, that, according to these ideas, republican
  government can be founded only on “the consent of the governed”
  and the equality of all before the law. And why not dedicate
  ourselves to the work of establishing these ideas?

  Then will our fathers be vindicated, and our country be
  glorified. God save the Republic!

      Accept my thanks for the invitation with which you have
      honored me,

          And believe me, dear Sir, faithfully yours,

              CHARLES SUMNER.



                                           SAVANNAH, June 15, 1865.


    SIR,--We, the undersigned, Committee of the Union League of
    Savannah, Ga., have the honor to present to you these our
    petitions to his Excellency Andrew Johnson, President of the
    United States, signed personally by the hands of some three
    hundred and fifty loyal citizens. We respectfully ask that you
    will present them to his Excellency the President, and we beg
    that your Honor will use all of your influence in our behalf,
    and oblige,

    Very respectfully, your humble servants,

        JOS. C. JACKSON, _Chairman_,
        GEORGE R. J. DOLLY, _Cor. Sec._,
        BENJ. W. ROBERTS,
        JOSEPH S. TISON.

                                            BOSTON, 8th July, 1865.

  GENTLEMEN,--Your petition asking for the right to vote has been
  forwarded to me here, with the request that I would present it to
  the President. I regret much that my absence from Washington has
  prevented me from doing this in person; but I have lost no time
  in forwarding the petition to the President, with my most earnest

  You need not beg me to use influence in your behalf. I cannot
  help doing so to the extent of my ability.

  Allow me to add, that you must not be impatient. You have borne
  the heavier burdens of Slavery; and as these are now removed,
  believe the others surely will be also. This enfranchised
  Republic, setting an example to mankind, cannot continue to
  sanction an odious Oligarchy, whose single distinctive element
  is color. I have no doubt that you will be admitted to the
  privileges of citizens.

  It is impossible to suppose that Congress will sanction
  governments in the Rebel States which are not founded on “the
  consent of the governed.” This is the corner-stone of republican
  institutions. Of course, by the “governed” is meant all the loyal
  citizens, without distinction of color. Anything else is mockery.

  Never neglect your work; but meanwhile prepare yourselves for
  the privileges of citizens. They are yours of right, and I do
  not doubt that they will be yours soon in reality. The prejudice
  of caste and a false interpretation of the Constitution cannot
  prevail against justice and common sense, both of which are on
  your side; and I may add the Constitution also, which, when
  properly interpreted, is clearly on your side.

      Accept my best wishes, and believe me, fellow-citizens,

          Faithfully yours,

              CHARLES SUMNER.



AUGUST 16, 1865.

    In reply to a representation that there was a little scheme in
    Washington to deprive the colored schools of their proportion
    of the school funds arising from taxation, Mr. Sumner wrote the
    following letter, which was published in Washington.

                                           BOSTON, August 16, 1865.

  DEAR SIR,--I had already noticed the article on the Washington
  “Ostrich” before I received the paper you kindly sent me.

  The Lord reigns, and I am sure the diabolism at Washington cannot
  continue to prevail. You will not weary in counteracting it.

  Work on. Fight on. When Congress meets, we shall insist upon
  JUSTICE. This is the talisman by which our country is to be saved.

      Accept my best wishes, and believe me, dear Sir, faithfully




In the death of Mr. Livermore we have all lost a friend. He was
naturally and essentially kind. He was also most conscientious and
sincere. He was exquisite in simplicity. He was pure in heart. Though
retiring and modest, he was outspoken and courageous for the Right.
His instinctive earnestness was always on the side of virtue. These
qualities marked him in all the walks of life. To these must be added a
general intelligence, much acquired information, business talents of no
common order, and an immense love of books.

He was a merchant always, and his name will hereafter be inscribed
proudly among those who have done honor to the commercial life
of Boston. Men are remembered most by what they do outside their
profession. Although not unsuccessful in business, Mr. Livermore will
be commemorated as a merchant who excelled in refined tastes, in
generous sympathies, and in literary studies. He was an example of what
a merchant may be, not only at his counting-house, but at home, in
association with men, in the Sunday school, in counsel to the young,
and especially in his library.

Among his schoolmates was one whose reputation in the medical
profession is enhanced by acknowledged fame as writer and as poet,
who cheered him during his late illness.[239] I had not the advantage
of acquaintance with Mr. Livermore at that early day. I knew him first
as he was about to visit Europe, and I cannot forget his absorbing
interest at that time in the family of William Roscoe. He admired the
accomplished author of the history of Lorenzo de’ Medici and of Leo the
Tenth, because he was a merchant who cultivated letters, and while in
England one of his peculiar pleasures was to study on the spot the life
and character of this merchant author. His interest in bibliography was
recognized by Dibdin, the great professor of the science, who conceived
a friendship for his American disciple.

On his return, our merchant, while engaged in all the activities of
business, renewed his devotion to those other pursuits which made
him so dear to a large and growing circle. His library increased.
His specialty was Bibles, of which he formed a precious collection.
Among these is one which once belonged to Melancthon, with notes in
the autograph of this mild and scholarly Reformer. There is also a
very rare copy of “The Soldier’s Pocket Bible,” in antique print
and spelling, as published for the God-fearing Ironsides of Oliver
Cromwell. In other departments the library is rich and interesting.
Mr. Livermore read his books, but he had a true pleasure in looking
at them. He was choice in editions, and careful in bindings. Anything
in vellum or large paper had a fascination for him, showing that he
had not conversed with Dibdin in vain. This library, after overflowing
the rooms of his house, was gathered into a beautiful apartment,
built expressly for it. There, at the close of the day, after the
cares of business were over, he found a pleasant retreat, interrupted
only by the welcome visit of friends. His moderate desires were amply
gratified, and he was happy. The library of Prospero was not more to
him, when he “prized it above his dukedom.”

As a member of learned societies and of charitable associations, Mr.
Livermore was indefatigable. Perhaps nobody in our community was more
felt in these quiet and unobtrusive labors. His interest in public
affairs was constant also, and this became intense as the great issue
presented by the Rebellion loomed into sight. He busied himself to
raise troops. More important still, at a critical moment, before the
Government had determined to enlist colored soldiers, he prepared and
printed at his own expense a most instructive elucidation of this
question, founded on our Revolutionary history, which he entitled “An
Historical Research respecting the Opinions of the Founders of the
Republic on Negroes, as Slaves, as Citizens, and as Soldiers.” This was
read to the Massachusetts Historical Society, 14th August, 1862, two
months before the first Proclamation of Emancipation, and nine months
before the famous Fifty-fourth Regiment, of Massachusetts, commanded
by Colonel Shaw, sailed from Boston. Among the agencies which swayed
the public mind at that time, this work is conspicuous, and it is
within my own knowledge that it much interested President Lincoln.
While preparing the final Proclamation of Emancipation, the President
expressed a desire to consult it, and, as his own copy was mislaid,
he requested me to send him mine, which I did. But while performing
this patriotic service, our merchant did not forget his bibliographical
tastes. The many editions were all remarkable for faultless paper and
type, and one of them, now before me, is on large paper.

At the time of his death Mr. Livermore was fifty-six years of age,
which was also the age of President Lincoln, for whom he entertained
unbounded regard, deepening into affectionate reverence. By the
bedside, in his last illness, hung a copy of the immortal Proclamation,
signed by its author in his own autograph. There also within reach were
good books, which he enjoyed as long as he could enjoy anything, and
even after he began to lose hold of life.

The death of such a man must make many sad. To family, friends, and
neighbors it will be irreparable. To the whole community it is a
calamity. There is more than one mourner who will repeat, from the
bottom of his heart, the words of the great poet:--

    “Farewell, too little and too lately known,
    Whom I began to think and call my own!”[240]



    Nor was civil society established merely for the sake of
    living, but rather for the sake of living well.--ARISTOTLE,
    _Politics_, tr. Taylor, Book III. Ch. 9.

       *       *       *       *       *

    This, Sir, is a cause that would be dishonored and betrayed, if
    I contented myself with appealing only to the understanding. It
    is too cold, and its processes are too slow for the occasion. I
    desire to thank God, that, since He has given me an intellect
    so fallible, He has impressed upon me an instinct that is
    sure. On a question of shame and honor reasoning is sometimes
    useless, and worse. I feel the decision in my pulse: if it
    throws no light upon the brain, it kindles a fire at the
    heart.--FISHER AMES, _Speech in Congress on the Treaty with
    Great Britain, April 28, 1796_: Works, Vol. II. p. 56.

       *       *       *       *       *

    A spider in his natural size is only a spider, ugly and
    loathsome, and his flimsy net is only fit for catching flies.
    But, good God! suppose a spider as large as an ox, and that
    he spread cables about us; all the wilds of Africa would not
    produce anything so dreadful.--EDMUND BURKE, _Speech on the
    Petition of the Unitarians, May 11, 1792_: Works (London,
    1801-27), Vol. X. p. 53.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Convention was organized with the following officers.

    _President_, Hon. Charles Sumner, Boston.

    _Vice-Presidents_, Hon. F. W. Lincoln, Jr., Boston; Gen. B.
    F. Butler, Lowell. At large, Caleb Swan, Easton; E. F. Stone,
    Newburyport; R. L. Pease, Edgartown; W. P. Phillips, Salem;
    Eliphalet Trask, Springfield; Tully Crosby, Brewster; W. B.
    Spooner, Boston; Alvah Crocker, Fitchburg; Rev. L. A. Grimes,
    Boston; G. L. Davis, North Andover; E. L. Pierce, Milton; S. E.
    Sewall, Melrose; C. O. Rogers, Boston; W. S. Clark, Amherst.
    District 1, F. Hooper, Fall River; E. L. Barney, New Bedford.
    2, F. M. Johnson, Quincy; G. B. Weston, Duxbury. 3, Ginery
    Twichell, Brookline; A. J. Wright, Boston. 4, Charles Beck,
    Cambridge; E. C. Fitz, Chelsea. 5, B. H. Smith, Gloucester;
    William Howland, Lynn. 6, O. R. Clark, Winchester; Milton
    Bonney, Lawrence. 7, C. R. Train, Framingham; John Nesmith,
    Lowell. 8, A. M. Bigelow, Grafton; Caleb Thayer, Blackstone.
    9, Henry Smith, Templeton; Joseph Hartwell, Ware. 10, Joseph
    Tucker, Great Barrington; G. M. Fisk, Palmer.

    _Secretaries_, C. W. Slack, Boston; S. N. Stockwell, Boston;
    Thomas White, Randolph; G. F. Stetson, Hanson; H. S. Gere,
    Northampton; G. S. Sullivan, Boston; Samuel Chism, Newton;
    James Pierce, Malden.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Hon. Tappan Wentworth, of Lowell, and Hon. William Brigham,
    of Boston, were appointed to conduct Mr. Sumner to the chair.
    Enthusiastic applause greeted his appearance on the platform.
    He then made the speech which follows.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The report of the Boston _Daily Advertiser_ says: “Mr. Sumner’s
    Address, which we give on our second page, was heard with the
    most profound attention, and was at many points greeted with
    the most enthusiastic expressions of approval. The argument for
    the exclusion of Rebels from political power was especially
    applauded, and there could be no doubt of the sentiments of
    the Republican party of Massachusetts on this question. When
    Mr. Sumner concluded, the manifestations of applause were
    vehemently renewed.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    After the speech, Hon. Amasa Walker offered resolutions in
    tribute to Richard Cobden, recently deceased, in whom “our
    country has lost one of its most earnest and devoted friends,
    and England one of her ablest statesmen,” and tendering to his
    family sincere and heartfelt sympathy in their bereavement,
    which were adopted unanimously, and afterwards communicated by
    Mr. Sumner to Mrs. Cobden.

    A letter was read from Governor Andrew, declaring his purpose
    to retire from office at the close of the present year, when
    Hon. Alexander H. Bullock, of Worcester, was unanimously
    nominated as the candidate for Governor. Hon. William Claflin,
    of Newton, was unanimously nominated as candidate for

    On the adjournment for dinner Mr. Sumner left for Boston,
    and in the afternoon the chair was taken by Gen. Butler,
    who addressed the Convention, declaring himself in favor of
    Equality of Rights and justice for all. “We hope,” said he,
    “that hereafter the great Massachusetts idea--that every man
    has a right to be the equal of every other man--shall become
    a vital essence of government upon this continent forever.”

    Mr. Bullock, the nominee for Governor, followed in a brief
    address, in which he said:--

        “MR. PRESIDENT,--You cannot wish that I should enter upon
        the discussion of national topics, overwhelming as they
        are, at this hour. The distinguished Senator, who has so
        long and so well represented the people of the State,--how
        long and how well you all know [_applause_],--and the other
        gentleman who has preceded me this afternoon, and who
        has served with equal ability in the civil and military
        departments of the Government [_applause_], have rendered
        any words of mine superfluous. Only let me say that I
        choose to abide by the Massachusetts doctrines, and that I
        trust that some familiarity has taught me what they are.”

    Hon. William Claflin, the nominee for Lieutenant-Governor,
    spoke in the same strain.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Resolutions, which were unanimously adopted, declared,--

        “And we call upon Congress, before whom must speedily
        come the whole question of reorganizing the Southern
        communities, to see to it that the loyal people, white and
        black, shall have the most perfect guaranties for safety,
        before any final steps are taken toward the readmission of
        the revolted people of the South to their forfeited rights.”

    The Convention adjourned after a day of utmost harmony.


FELLOW-CITIZENS,--Called to preside over this Annual Convention, where
are brought together the intelligence, the heart, and the conscience
of Massachusetts, (God bless her!) I begin by asking you to accept my
thanks. Gladly would I leave this post of honor to another; but I obey
your will. In all I have to say I must speak frankly. What has with
me become a habit is at this moment more than ever a duty. Who can
see peril to his country, and not cry out? Who can see that good ship
which carries the Republic and its fortunes driving directly upon a
lee-shore, and not shout to the pilot, “Mind your helm”? Apologies or
roundabout phrases are out of place, whenever danger threatens.

       *       *       *       *       *

When last I addressed my fellow-citizens, at the close of the late
Presidential canvass, as we were about to vote for Abraham Lincoln
and Andrew Johnson, I undertook to show the absolute identity between
Slavery and the Rebellion, so that one could not end without the other.
Finished that address, I said to friends near me, “This is my last
Antislavery speech.” I so thought at the time; for I anticipated the
speedy downfall of the Rebellion, carrying with it Slavery. I was
mistaken. Neither the Rebellion nor Slavery is yet ended. The Rebellion
has been disarmed; but that is all. Slavery has been abolished in name;
but that is all. As there is still a _quasi_ Rebellion, so is there
still a _quasi_ Slavery. The work of liberation is not yet completed.
Nor can it be, until the Equal Rights of every person once claimed as a
slave are placed under the safeguard of irreversible guaranties. It is
not enough to prostrate the master; you must also lift up the slave. It
is not enough to declare Emancipation; the whole Black Code, which is
the supplement of Slavery, must give place to that Equality before the
Law which is the very essence of Liberty. It is an old principle of the
Common Law, recognized by all our courts, as announced by Lord Coke,
that, “where the law granteth anything to any one, that also is granted
without which the thing itself cannot be.” So, also, where a piece of
land is conveyed which is enclosed by the possessions of the grantor,
_a right of way_ is implied from common justice and the necessity of
the case. And then again, where the reason of a law ceases, the law
itself ceases. So, also, where the principal falls to the ground, the
incident falls also. But all these unquestionable principles are fatal
to the Black Code. The Liberty that has been granted “cannot be,” if
the Black Code exists. The piece of land conveyed is useless without
that right of way which is stopped up by the Black Code. The reason for
the Black Code is Slavery; and with the cessation of the reason, the
whole Black Code itself must cease also. The Black Code is the incident
of Slavery, and as such it must fall with the principal. Unless this
is accomplished, you will keep the word of promise to the ear and
break it to the sense; you will imitate those cruel quibbles, of
which history makes mention, where, by subtle equivocations, faith has
been violated; you will do little better than the Turk, who stipulated
with a certain person that his head should be safe, and straightway
proceeded to cut him in two at the middle,--or than those false Greeks,
who, after promising to restore their captives, kept their promise by
restoring them dead.

Slavery begins by denying the right of a man to himself; and the Black
Code continues this denial by its cruel exclusions. Every freedman
must be secured in this right by admission to the full panoply of

Slavery sets at nought the relation of husband and wife. Every freedman
must be able to claim his wife as his own.

Slavery sets at nought the parental relation. Every freedman must be
able to call his child his own.

Slavery shuts the gates of knowledge. Every freedman must be assured in
all the privileges of education.

Slavery takes from its victim the hard-earned fruits of his toil. Every
freedman must be protected in his industry.

Slavery denies justice to the colored man by cruelly rejecting his
testimony. Every freedman must enter the courts freely, as witness or
as party.

Until all this is done, in every particular, and beyond possibility of
question, it is vain to say that Emancipation has been accomplished.
The good work is only half done. It must be continued to assured
consummation, under the powerful auspices of the Nation. The same
national authority which began it must take care that it is maintained
and completed, in letter and in spirit, everywhere throughout the
Rebel States,--in conventions of the people, in legislative assemblies,
in courts, in the city, in the country, in streets, on highways, on
by-ways, in retired places, on plantations, in houses,--so that no man
shall be despoiled of any of his rights, but all shall be equal before
the law.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a glorious instance in our own day, which is an example
for us, when the Emperor of Russia, by proclamation, fulfilling the
aspirations of his predecessors, set free twenty-three millions of
serfs, and then completed his work by _supplementary provisions_
investing the freedmen with civil and political rights, including the
right to testify in court, the right of suffrage, and the right to
hold office. I have in my hand this immortal Proclamation, dated at
St. Petersburg, 19th February, 1861,--promulgated amidst prayers and
thanksgivings in all the churches of the national capital, and at once
expedited to every part of the widely extended empire by the hands of
generals and staff-officers of the Emperor himself. Here it is, in an
official document entitled “Affranchissement des Serfs,” and issued
at St. Petersburg. After reciting that earlier measures in behalf of
the serfs had failed, because they had been left to “the spontaneous
initiative of the proprietors,” the Emperor proceeds to take the work
in hand as a sacred legacy from his ancestors, and declares the serfs,
after an interval of two years, “entirely enfranchised.” Meanwhile,
that nothing might fail, “a special court” for serfs was created in
each province, charged with the organization of local governments, the
adjustment of boundaries, and generally to superintend the transition
from the Old to the New, with “justices of the peace” in each district
to examine on the spot all questions arising from Emancipation. Had the
work stopped here, it would have been incomplete, it would have been
only half done; but no such fatal mistake was made.[241]

Accompanying the Proclamation are supplementary provisions, called
“Regulations,” prepared with care, and divided into chapters and
sections,--occupying no less than ninety-one pages in double columns
and small type,--by which the rights of the freedmen are secured beyond
question. Beginning with the declaration that the freedmen “acquire the
rights belonging to the condition of free farmers,” they then proceed
in formal words to fix and assure these rights, civil and political.
By one section it is provided that “the articles of the Civil Code on
the rights and obligations of the family are extended to the freedmen;
that consequently they acquire the right, without authorization of the
proprietor, to contract marriage, and to make any arrangement whatever
concerning their family affairs; that they can equally enter into all
agreements and obligations authorized by the laws, as well with the
State as with individuals, on the conditions established for free
farmers; that they can inscribe themselves in the guilds, and exercise
their trades in the villages; and they can found and conduct factories
and establishments of commerce.” Another section secures to the
freedmen the right of acquiring and alienating property of all kinds,
according to the general law, and, besides, guaranties, on certain
conditions, “the possession of their homesteads,” with the grounds
appurtenant. An additional section secures them complete _Equality in
the courts_, with “the right of action, whether civilly or criminally,
to commence process, and to answer personally or by attorney, to make
complaint, and to defend their rights by all the means known to the
law, _and to appear as witnesses and as bail, conformably to the common
law_.” Other sections secure to the freedmen _Equality in political
rights_, by providing, that, “on the organization of the towns, they
shall be entitled to take part in the meetings and elections for the
towns, and to vote on town affairs, and to exercise divers functions”;
that they shall also “take part in the assemblies for the district, and
shall vote on district affairs, and choose the chairman,” and generally
enjoy all rights to elect local officers and to be elected in turn. And
still another section authorizes the freedmen “to place their children
in the establishments for public education, to embrace the career of
instruction, or the scientific career, or to take service in the corps
of surveyors.” And it is further provided, that they “cannot lose their
rights, or be restrained in their exercise, except after judgment of
the town, according to fixed rules”; and still further, that they
“cannot be subjected to any punishment, otherwise than by virtue of a
judgment, or according to the legal decision of the town to which they
belong.” Such are the safeguards by which Emancipation in Russia is
completed and assured. Such is the lesson of the great Empire to the
great Republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

In asking that we shall do likewise, I follow the plain suggestions of
reason, whether we regard the interest of the freedmen or our own.
For justice to the freedmen is now intimately linked with the national
security. Be just, and the Republic will be strong. Be just, and you
will erect a barrier against returning Rebellion. Here Massachusetts
has a duty to perform. Now, as in times past, her place is in the
front. You will not, I trust, be disturbed by criticism, even if it
become invective. Throughout the long conflict with Slavery, and the
earlier conflict with the mother country, Massachusetts has been
accustomed to hard words; and even at a more ancient day, as far back
in colonial history as 1691, we find an ill-tempered critic, with a
strange jumble of metaphors, crying out against our fathers: “All the
frame of heaven moves upon one axis; and the whole of New England
interests seem designed to be loaden on one bottom, and her particular
motions to be concentric to the Massachusetts tropic. You know who are
wont to trot after the Bay horse.”[242] If others trot after the Bay
horse, it is simply because Massachusetts means always to keep on the
right road, and by unerring instinct knows the way. Error proceeds
oftener from ignorance than from malice. Obviously, at this moment, the
great difficulty is that people do not see clearly what ought to be

       *       *       *       *       *

Fellow-citizens, as peace seems about to smile on our country,
convulsed by most cruel and costly war, there is one simple duty on
which all can unite, when it is understood. It is the duty expressed
in at least one part of the familiar saying, “Indemnity for the past
and _security for the future_.” Indemnity, alas! we can never have. Who
can repay the millions of lost treasure? Who can repair the shattered
and mutilated forms returned from the terrible battle with Slavery?
Who can recall the dead? Indemnity we renounce. There are no scales on
earth in which it can be weighed. There are no possible accumulations
of wealth that would not be exhausted before its first instalment
was counted out. But no such difficulty can occur in adjusting
security for the future. And the very vastness of our sacrifice is
an irresistible reason why this should be fixed beyond question, so
that the appalling judgment shall not visit us again. Indemnity we
renounce; _but security we will have_. This is the one thing needful.
This is the charity embracing all other charities. This is the pivot
of the national Hereafter. This is at once corner-stone and key-stone
of that reconstructed Union to which we look for tranquil peace and
reconciliation. There are none so high, and there are none so low, as
not to be concerned in obtaining this security; for without it all that
we hold most dear will be in jeopardy. Without security, agriculture
and commerce must languish and die; without security, the whole country
must be impoverished in resources, while the rich become poor and the
poor become poorer; without security, rights of property and rights of
person will lose their value; and without security, the Union, justice,
domestic tranquillity, the common defence, the general welfare, and
the blessings of Liberty, for which the Constitution was ordained and
established, must all fail. What is government, or country, or home, or
life itself, without security?

There is another object, kindred to security, or, perhaps, embraced
in security,--and that is the _national faith_. This, too, must be
placed beyond cavil, or even suspicion. No nation can be powerful
enough to disregard this sacred bond. Character, fame, and prosperity
itself are all dependent on its observance. But the national faith
is solemnly engaged, first, to the national freedman, and, secondly,
to the national creditor. No undertaking can be more complete and
inviolable, because it constituted the consideration for those services
and supplies by which the life of the Republic has been preserved. The
national faith is pledged to the national freedman, not only by the act
of Emancipation, which, in its very essence, and from the nature of
the case, is a “warranty of title,” but also by the plain and positive
promises of the Proclamation, that they “_are and henceforward shall
be free_, and that the Executive Government of the United States,
including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize
and _maintain the freedom of said persons_.” Words could not be more
binding, and the history of their introduction testifies to their
significance and efficacy. They were not in the original draught by
President Lincoln, but were inserted, at the suggestion of Mr. Seward,
when the Proclamation was read to the Cabinet; and there they stand
without limitation of place or time, binding this Republic in its
national character, through its Executive, including the military and
naval authority, not only to recognize, but to _maintain_, the freedom
of the emancipated slave; and this is to be done, not in any special
locality, but everywhere,--and not for a day or a year, but for all
time. Our obligation to the national creditors is of the same validity,
approved by successive Acts of Congress, ratified by the popular will,
and fixed beyond recall by the actual enjoyment of those precious
fruits for which the debt was incurred. Repudiation of our bonds,
whether to the national creditor or to the national freedman, would be
a shame and a crime; and the national faith is irrevocably plighted to
the two alike. Here is the Proclamation, and here is a Treasury Note.
[_Here Mr. Sumner held up an official copy of the Proclamation, and
also a Treasury Note._] Look at the signature, and look at the terms.
The former is signed by the President himself, Abraham Lincoln; the
latter is signed by an unknown clerk, whose name I cannot decipher.
The former is stronger and more positive in terms than the latter. The
Treasury Note simply says: “It is hereby certified that the United
States are indebted unto ____ or bearer in the sum of $100, redeemable”
after a certain date, and that “this debt is authorized by Act of
Congress.” The binding terms of the Proclamation, which I have read,
are solemnly enforced by that memorable invocation at the close: “And
upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice warranted
by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate
judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.” Thus
religion comes to confirm the pledge with sanctions of its own. That
pledge is as enduring as the Republic.

Such are the supreme objects now at heart: the National Security and
the National Faith, or the two absorbed into one,--_Security for the

And here allow me to present an illustration, which, unless I mistake,
will make our duty clear. You all remember the immense and costly dikes
built by Holland against the sea; but perhaps you may not recall their
origin and importance. Before these embankments the whole country was
in constant danger. At an early period an irruption swallowed up no
less than forty-four villages, followed very soon by another, which
destroyed eighty thousand lives. In the fifteenth century still another
swept away one hundred thousand persons,--a terrible sacrifice, even
greater in proportion to the population of Holland at that time than
we have been called to bear from the bloody irruption of Slavery.
At last dikes were constructed as safeguards, and down to this day
they are preserved at large annual cost. Precautions of all kinds
are superadded. A special corps of engineers, educated at Delft, is
constantly employed in the work of renovation. Watchmen patrol the
walls, and alarm-bells are ready to ring. The gratitude of the people
is manifest even to unconscious protectors; and the stork, resting
here on his flight from Africa, is held in veneration for his precious
service in destroying the vermin that weaken and sap the dikes; so that
to kill a stork is little less than crime. Such are defences by which
Holland is guarded against dangers from the sea. But how petty is her
peril, compared with ours! We, too, must have our dikes, with engineers
to keep them strong, with watchmen to patrol, with alarm-bells to ring;
and we, too, must have our storks to destroy the vermin that weaken and
sap our embankments.

What shall be our defences? How shall we guard against destructive
irruptions? And where shall we establish our security for the future?
Our embankments cannot be of earth. Walls of stone will not do. Towers,
ramparts, and buttresses are impotent against our vindictive tide.
The security we seek must be found in _irreversible guaranties,
coëxtensive with the danger_.

       *       *       *       *       *

It becomes us, then, to consider carefully the elements of
danger,--bearing in mind always that a danger clearly foreseen will not
happen, unless prudence has ceased to prevail. These may be considered
in general and in detail. They may be considered in certain general
influences, applicable to all our relations with the Rebellion, or in
certain specific points, obviously requiring specific guaranties.

If we look at the Rebel States generally, there is little to inspire
trust. They rose against a paternal government simply for the sake of
Slavery, planting themselves upon two postulates furnished by John C.
Calhoun,--first, State Rights, and, secondly, the alleged falsehood
of our fathers, when, at the birth of our nation, they declared that
all men are born equal. Since that early war when Satan “in proud
rebellious arms drew after him the third part of heaven’s sons,”
nothing so utterly wicked has occurred. And the spirit of Satan entered
into the Rebellion, and continued with it to the end. It was present on
the battle-field; it was present in the treatment of Union prisoners;
it was present in the piracies of the ocean. I know not that these
devils have yet been cast out. I know not that any swine into which
they entered have rushed headlong into the sea. But I do know, that,
according to concurring and unimpeachable testimony from all quarters
of the Rebel States, from North Carolina to Texas, there is one sullen,
defiant voice, which, in the very words of Satan, when driven from the
skies, thus speaks:--

            “What though the field be lost?
    All is not lost: the unconquerable will,
    And study of revenge, immortal hate,
    And courage never to submit or yield.
    Since, through experience of this great event,
    In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
    We may with more successful hope resolve
    To wage by force _or guile_ eternal war,
    Irreconcilable to our grand foe.”

Such is their spirit. Grounding arms, they now resort to other means.
Cunning takes the place of war. As they precipitated themselves out
of the Union, they now seek to precipitate themselves back. A “wooden
horse” is constructed, which is stuffed with hidden foes, and thus they
seek to enter Troy. Already the rattle of arms is heard, and ominous
voices, as the treacherous engine is advanced; but, beyond these
sounds, there is the record of the past and the present. Who does not
know that the South is full of spirits who have sworn undying hatred,
not only to the Union, but to reason itself, and whose policy is a
perpetual conspiracy against the principles of our Government? Painful
proofs come to demonstrate the prevailing frenzy. The freedmen are
trodden down, and the land is filled with tragedies. History stands
aghast at the Massacre of Glencoe in a retired Scotch valley, and
our sympathies overflow at the murder of a solitary traveller by the
merciless Indian; but these scenes are now repeated. The barbarism of
Slavery rages still. The lash and the bloodhound are at large. Life
is of little value, if it beats under a colored skin. Citizens in the
national uniform are insulted, mutilated, murdered,--especially if in
command of colored troops. And these criminals, besmeared with patriot
blood, and boiling with concentrated rage, now strive to envelop
themselves in the immunities of State Independence, with two special
objects: first, that they may deal with the freedman as they please,
without check from the national authority; and, secondly, that they
may send a solid representation of more than eighty votes, pledged to
Southern pretensions, which, in combination with treacherous votes from
the North, may reassert that ancient monopoly and masterdom under which
the country suffered so long,--

                  “and once more
    Erect the standard there of ancient Night.”

Reading the proceedings of the Convention in Mississippi, we seem again
to hear the ancient voice,--

    “To claim our just inheritance of old,
    Whether by open war or _covert guile_,
    We now debate.”

One of their orators said plainly, that “he was opposed to fighting
the General Government, or anybody else,--_that he was ready to submit
to its wishes, as he would to a highway robber whose power he was not
able to resist_.” Another, less frank, thought it policy to accept
the present condition of affairs, until the control of the State is
restored into the hands of its people, and “to submit _for a time_ to
evils which cannot be remedied.” And still another, much more wily,
when urging seeming acceptance of the Union, thus lured his brother
conspirators: “_If we act wisely, we shall be joined by what is called
the Copperhead party_, and even by many of the Black Republicans.”
Such is the plot, and such the disastrous alliance foreshadowed. But,
thank God, in encouraging his comrades, the conspirator has warned us.
Forewarned, forearmed.

From all quarters comes the warning, “Trust not their presents,
nor admit the horse!” The voice of the Grecian Sinon was not more
treacherous. The testimony is concurring. Military officers returning
from the South, public functionaries, intelligent travellers, loyal
residents, each and all speak with one voice. By conversation and by
letter I have gathered the proofs, which are complete. Persons who
have had peculiar opportunities unite in report that the rebel spirit
still prevails, that the treatment of the freedmen is beastly, and that
the national debt is denounced. Two eminent gentlemen, whose official
positions have made them familiar with public opinion in two different
States, have expressed to me the conviction that there is not a single
ex-Rebel who would vote to pay the interest on the national debt. A
trustworthy traveller, who has just visited Louisiana, Mississippi, and
Alabama, with which he was already familiar, writes me: “The former
masters exhibit a most cruel, remorseless, and vindictive spirit
towards the colored people. In parts where there are no Union soldiers,
I saw colored women treated in the most outrageous manner. They have
no rights that are respected. They are killed, and their bodies thrown
into ponds or mud-holes. They are mutilated by having ears and noses
cut off.” A loyalist from Texas declares: “What we of the South fear
is that President Johnson’s course will, by its _precipitancy_, enable
the old set to reorganize themselves into place and power. For Heaven’s
sake preserve us, if you can, from this calamity.” A loyal resident of
North Carolina breaks forth: “I tell you, Sir, the only difference now
and one year ago is that the flag is acknowledged as supreme, and there
is some fear manifested, and they have no arms. The sentiment is the
same. If anything otherwise, more hatred exists towards the Government.
I know there is more towards Union men, both black and white.” It is
natural that such a people should already talk of repudiating the
national debt. Here is a bit on this vital point. A young man in gray
was asked: “Would it be safe to trust white men at the South with the
power to repudiate the national debt?” To which he replied at once:
“Repudiate? I should hope they would! I’m whipped, and I’ll own it; but
I’m not so fond of a whipping that I’m going to pay a man’s expenses
while he gives it to me. Of course, there are not ten men in the whole
South that wouldn’t repudiate!” Thus spoke the Rebel uniform. But here
are the grave words of a candidate for Congress in Virginia, in his
address to the people:--

    “I am opposed to the Southern States being taxed at all for
    the redemption of this debt, either directly or indirectly;
    and if elected to Congress, I will oppose all such measures,
    and I will vote to repeal all laws that have heretofore been
    passed for that purpose; and in doing so, I do not consider
    that I violate any obligations to which the South was a party.
    We have never plighted our faith for the redemption of the war
    debt. The people will be borne down with taxes for years to
    come, even if the war debt is repudiated. It will be the duty
    of the Government to support the maimed and disabled soldiers,
    and this will be a great expense; and if the United States
    Government requires the South to be taxed for the support of
    Union soldiers, we should insist that all disabled soldiers
    should be maintained by the United States Government, without
    regard to the side they had taken in the war.”

Again I say, Forewarned, forearmed. Surely there can be no limits to
our resistance, when such spirits are seeking to capture the National
Government; but beyond that general resistance, which must make us
postpone the day of surrender, and invoke the protection of Congress,
we must insist upon _special guaranties_ in the organic law.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. As the Rebellion began with the pretension that a State might
withdraw from the Union, it is plain that the _Unity of the Republic_
must be affirmed,--not indirectly, but directly,--not, as in
Mississippi, by simply declaring the late Act of Secession null and
void, but as in Missouri, where the relations of the State to the
Union are thus frankly stated: “That this State shall ever remain a
member of the American Union; _that the people thereof are a part of
the American Nation_; that every citizen owes paramount allegiance to
the Constitution and Government of the United States; and that no law
or ordinance of this State in contravention or subversion thereof can
have any binding force.” In contrast with this plain renunciation, the
proceedings of Mississippi have no more significance than the vulgar
saying, “Big as a piece of chalk.” As security for the future, they
are nothing, absolutely nothing. And permit me to say, that the whole
Convention, so far as we have been informed, was little better than a
Rebel conspiracy to obtain political power.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. As the Rebellion was waged in denial of the _Equal Rights_ of
the colored race, it is essential not only that Slavery should be
renounced, but also that all men should be hailed as equal before
the law; and this enfranchisement must be both civil and political.
Unless this is done, the condition of the freedman will be deplorable.
Exposed to every brutality, he will not be heard as a witness against
his oppressor. Compelled to pay taxes, he will be excluded from all
representation in the government. Without this security, Emancipation
is illusory. It is a jack-o’-lantern, which the poor slave will pursue
in vain. Even if Slavery cease to exist, it will give place to a
condition hardly less galling. There will be serfdom, apprenticeship,
peonage, or some other device of Slavery. According to the poet, there
are different “circles” in Hell, each with its own terrible torments;
and the unhappy African will only escape from one of these into
another. And all this will be beyond correction or remedy, if not at
the outset guarded against by organic law.

       *       *       *       *       *

3. As the _national debt_ was incurred for the suppression of the
Rebellion, this, too, must be fixed beyond repeal. Unless this is
done, it is evident, from reason as well as from testimony, that the
representatives of the Rebel States will coalesce with others for
its repudiation. Mississippi, which leads in the present effort to
capture the national capital, is the original author of repudiation.
Out of the legislative halls of this State the monster sprang. There
was its birth. It will be simply true to its past history, as well as
to its present animosities, when this State leads in the repudiation
of the national debt. Nothing short of madness will allow any such
opportunity. No Rebel State should be readmitted, unless bound
irrevocably to the support of the national debt and the payment of the

       *       *       *       *       *

4. The _assumption of the Rebel debt_ must be positively forbidden.
Already ex-Rebels insist upon its payment. Such voices come from
Mississippi and Virginia. Ex-Rebel newspapers, whose editors have taken
the oath of allegiance, uphold this debt. But Congress has already
led the way in denouncing it. For a State to assume this criminal
obligation would be oppressive to the people, and especially to the
freedmen. It would be a drain upon the resources of the State. It
would be an insult to the whole country. This debt, whether at home or
abroad, has been incurred for the support of the Rebellion, and must be
treated accordingly. It is part of the crime. Here, too, there must be
a guaranty.

       *       *       *       *       *

5. As the _national peace and tranquillity_ depend essentially upon the
overthrow of monopoly and tyranny, here is another occasion for special
guaranty against the whole pretension of color. No Rebel State can
be readmitted with this controversy still raging, and ready to break
forth. So long as it continues, the land will be barren. Agriculture
and business of all kinds will be uncertain, and the country will be
handed over to a fearful struggle, with the terrors of San Domingo to
darken the prospect. In shutting out the freedman from his equal rights
at the ballot-box, you open the doors of discontent and insurrection.
Cavaignac, the patriotic President of the French Republic, met the
present case, when, speaking for France, he said: “I do not believe
repose possible, either in the present or the future, except so far
as you found your political condition on universal suffrage, loyally,
sincerely, completely accepted and observed.”[243] It is _impartial
suffrage_ that I claim, without distinction of color, so that there
shall be one equal rule for all men. And this, too, must be placed
under the safeguard of Constitutional Law.

       *       *       *       *       *

6. As the _education of the people_ is essential to the national
welfare, and especially to the development of those principles of
justice and morality which constitute the only sure foundation of a
Republican Government, and as, according to the census, an immense
proportion of the people of the Rebel States, without distinction of
color, cannot read and write, it is obvious that public schools must
be established for the equal good of all. The example of Massachusetts
must be followed, which, after declaring in its Constitution that
“wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the
body of the people, are necessary for the preservation of their rights
and liberties,” proceeds to direct the Legislature and magistrates, in
all future periods, “to cherish the interests of literature and the
sciences,” and especially “public schools and grammar schools in the
towns.” All this must enter into our work of reconstruction, and become
one of our guaranties.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are six capital subjects of special guaranty: the unity of the
Republic; the national obligations to the national freedmen; the
national obligations to the national creditors; the rejection of the
Rebel debt; the establishment of national peace and tranquillity, so
that it cannot be disturbed by any monopoly and tyranny founded on
color; and, lastly, the education of the people. All these are too
important, too transcendent, too essential to the national safety, to
be left the prey or sport of Rebel passions; nor can they be abandoned
to any vague promise or inference of any kind. They must be fixed in
characters clear as the sky and firm as the earth. Not to require
this protection is unpardonable weakness. “If Philip dies,” said the
Athenian orator, “you will soon raise another Philip; since it is not
so much by his own power as by your carelessness that he grew to such
greatness.” And so do I say now, even if the Rebellion is dead, you
will soon raise another, unless you learn to be wise. Believe me, that
man is dangerous who does not see danger in this Rebel Oligarchy, now
conspiring to hoist itself into power.

       *       *       *       *       *

Therefore I lay down one undeniable, essential principle,--that these
guaranties must be established; and I appeal to my fellow-citizens
throughout the country to insist upon them. As they concern the
National Security and the National Faith, it is clear that they should
be established by the Nation. The object is national. The power to
establish them is national also. It is part of that great instinctive
right of _self-defence_, common to nations and to men, which has no
limits, except in the benign constraints of a Christian civilization.
It is a right not only from the Constitution of the United States, but
also from the constitution of civil society itself. There is no nation
without it. In the weakest it is as manifest as in the mightiest. Never
before was the occasion for its exercise plainer. And who shall say
that the nation may defend itself on the murderous battle-field, and
may not, when the battle has been won, require that “Security for the
Future” which is the declared object of war?

Do you ask where in the Constitution this unquestionable power is
found? I answer, in the same clause where you find the power to raise
armies, and hurl them upon the Rebel enemy,--in the same clause where
you find the power to erect fortifications, bastions, and bulwarks for
the national defence,--in the same clause where you find the power to
incur the national debt for the national defence,--and also in the same
clause where President Lincoln found the power to emancipate the slave.
It is a national power for the protection of the nation, and it may be
exercised to any extent needed. It is idle to say that the war is over,
and therefore the power is suspended. In one sense the war is over, and
in another it is not. Battles have ceased; but Security for the Future
is not yet obtained, and this security is found only in irreversible

This national power is still in full operation, and as completely
constitutional as the power to raise armies. It assumes for the present
purpose two forms: first, the power to hold military possession of
the Rebel States, so long as required for security,--whether months
or years; and, secondly, the power to affix the terms of peace and
restoration. As it is idle to say that the war is over, so it is
equally idle to say that this power, in either of its forms, is limited
by the Constitution. This same mistake was made by James Buchanan,
when, at the beginning of the Rebellion, he weakly declared, that,
under the Constitution, he could not “coerce a State,” and his Cabinet
assented. God forbid that now, at another moment not less critical,
the same pretension should triumph again. Of course all patriots
see now how the golden opportunity was lost at first. May no such
golden opportunity be lost again! Nobody doubts now that a State in
rebellion may be “coerced.” Nobody doubts now that the victories of
Grant, the march of Sherman, and the charge of Sheridan were strictly
constitutional. But this “coercion” must endure just so long as may be
needed to obtain Security for the Future,--it may be for months, or it
may be for years. There is no argument for it at the beginning which
is not equally strong for it now. There is nothing in the Constitution
against it. Everything in the Constitution is for it. The rules or
limitations which the Constitution may establish for a condition of
peace are entirely inapplicable to a condition of rebellion in any
of its stages, whether at beginning, middle, or end. Whatever is
needed for the suppression of the Rebellion and the establishment of
safeguards against its recurrence is constitutional. It is failure to
exercise this power that is unconstitutional.

But beyond this ample, are two other powers in the Constitution, under
which all needful guaranties can be secured. The first is that vast
untried power springing from the injunction that “the United States
shall guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form of
government.” This power, long dormant, sprang into activity with the
Acts of Secession. Loyal government being overthrown _in fact_, so that
the whole region was like “a clean slate,” it became the duty of the
national authority to set up loyal governments, and at the same time to
see that they were republican in form,--which must mean at least that
they are governments of the majority, and not of the minority; and I
think I cannot err, if I add, that, according to fundamental principles
of the Declaration of Independence, they must be founded on the equal
rights of all men and “the consent of the governed.” It is very clear
that in this clause of guaranty there is an inexhaustible power, by
virtue of which the national authority can not only exact all needful
guaranties, but can mould these rebel communities according to the
model of a Christian Commonwealth.

There is still another source of power under the Constitution; and
this is according to the analogies of the Territories. Since all loyal
government has ceased to exist, the whole region, in all its divisions
and subdivisions, has, _from the necessity of the case_, lapsed under
the national jurisdiction, which is as complete for all practical
purposes as that same jurisdiction over the District of Columbia.

I do not stop to dwell on these sources of power. Elsewhere I have
vindicated them; and I have never been answered, except by the phrase
that a State cannot go out of the Union: as if, in presence of _the
fact of rebellion_, this was anything more than a phrase. It is
indisputable, that, _in fact_, the Rebel States have ceased to be, as
President Lincoln expressed it, in “proper practical relation with
the Union,” and, still further, that they have long been without any
government we can recognize. Surely this is enough to open the door for
the national authority. When loyal government ceased, the jurisdiction
of the National Government began, whether military or civil; and
this jurisdiction still continues, complete in all respects, without
hindrance or limitation from the Constitution.

Thus, out of three inexhaustible fountains may the National Government
derive its authority: first, from the war powers, which do not expire
except with the establishment of Security for the Future; secondly,
from the injunction to guaranty a republican form of government, which
is at once a power and a duty; and, thirdly, from the necessity of the
case, as with outlying Territories, which have no other government.
Under each and all of these the guaranties can be obtained.

       *       *       *       *       *

In obtaining the needed guaranties there are certain practical points
which cannot be disregarded. Knowing what we need, and satisfied
concerning the powers of the National Government, the path is easy.
As there are ways to obtain guaranties, so also there are ways not to
obtain them.

And, first, of ways not to obtain them.

1. Irreversible guaranties cannot be obtained by _haste_. No State
must be precipitated back into the Union. Precipitation back will be
hardly less fatal than that original precipitation which plunged the
country into the abyss of war. When a State is readmitted, it becomes
practically independent. Therefore prudence, care, and watchfulness are
needed to see that the national interests are not imperilled by any
sudden transformation.

2. Irreversible guaranties cannot be obtained merely by _Executive
action_. Something more is needed. No President can truly say, “The
State--it is I.” He is only part of the State; and on this account
there is a new motive to reserve. What he does is subject to the
correction of Congress, and therefore cannot be final. But it is
difficult to see under what authority the President can appoint
officers not known to the Constitution or laws, as is the case
with Provisional Governors. The Act of Congress authorizing their
appointment failed to become a law; so that no such office is
“established by law,” according to the requirement of the Constitution.

3. Irreversible guaranties cannot be obtained by _yielding to the
prejudice of color_, and _insisting upon a separation of the races_. A
voice from the West--God save the West!--revives the exploded theory
of Colonization, perhaps to divert attention from the great question
of Equal Rights. To that voice I reply, first, You ought not to do
it, and, secondly, You cannot do it. You ought not to do it, because,
besides its intrinsic and fatal injustice, you will deprive the country
of what it most needs, which is labor. Those freedmen on the spot are
better even than mineral wealth. Each is a mine, out of whom riches
can be drawn, provided you let him share the product. And through
him that general industry will be established which is better than
anything but virtue, and is, indeed, a form of virtue. It is vain to
say that this is the country of the “white man.” It is the country of
Man. Whoever disowns any member of the Human Family as Brother disowns
God as Father, and thus becomes impious as well as inhuman. It is the
glory of republican institutions that they give practical form to this
irresistible principle. If anybody is to be sent away, let it be the
guilty, and not the innocent. Expatriation of leading Rebels will be
a public good. As long as they continue here, they will resist the
establishment of guaranties; but it is little short of madness to think
of exiling loyal persons, whose strong arms are needed, not only for
the cultivation of the soil, but also for protection of the Government

4. Irreversible guaranties cannot be obtained by _oaths_. All oaths
are uncertain. It has been said, “The strongest oaths are straw.”
Political oaths have become a proverb, whether in England or France.
They have been taken freely, and have been broken without hesitation.
The Milanese, in reply to the Emperor Barbarossa, said, “You had our
oath, but we never swore to keep it.” Our Rebels are openly taught the
same duplicity. They have been told authoritatively, that the oath
was unconstitutional, and therefore not binding; and so they take it
easily. But who can find a guaranty in such a performance? A Swedish
priest lately poisoned the sacramental wine; and so these counsellors
have poisoned this sacred obligation. But if an oath be taken, it must
not stop with support of the Proclamation of Emancipation. It must
embrace all those other objects of guaranty, including especially
the national freedman and the national creditor. Each of these will
be a test of loyalty. But at a moment like the present, at the close
of a ferocious rebellion, when hatred and passion are only pent up
and not extinguished, an oath is little better than a cotton thread
to hold a frigate scourged by a northwester. The Hollanders might as
well undertake to swear each individual wave that beats upon their
coast. They did better. They made dikes. “Gone to swear a peace,” says
Constance, most scornfully, as she denounced an oath of pretended
reconciliation. And shall we be content when our Rebels merely “swear a

5. Irreversible guaranties cannot be obtained by _pardons_. It is
enough to state the proposition; for all must see at once that rights
will be very uncertain, if with no protection except the gratitude
of a pardoned Rebel. A jail-delivery is not a guaranty. Such a
breakwater would be impotent against the malignant sea. Without
accepting absolutely the dogma of Cardinal Mazarin, that human beings
are governed more through hope than gratitude, it is clear, that,
until security is won, we cannot afford to part with any influence or
agency through which control may be established. Mercy is a beautiful
prerogative, exercised always with inexpressible delight; but on this
account we must guard against its fascination, and not, in the generous
luxury, imperil a whole community. This is very clear. A pardon is
in form an act of grace, but in reality a letter of license. This is
all. It leaves the criminal free to renew his crime, whether by force
or guile. It has in it no single point of security. As well defend a
citadel by kisses or by flowers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are some of the modes to be rejected. And now, in the second
place, consider the ways in which guaranties may be obtained.

1. _Time is necessary._ There must be no precipitation. Time is the
gentlest, but most powerful revolutionist. Time is the surest reformer.
Time is peacemaker. Time is necessary to growth, and it is an element
of change. For thirty years and more this wickedness was maturing. Who
can say that the same time will not be needed to mature the conditions
of permanent peace? Who can say that a generation must not elapse
before these Rebel communities have been so far changed as to become
safe associates in a common government? Plainly, this cannot be wrought
at once. Wellington exclaimed at Waterloo, “Would that night or Blücher
were come!” Time alone was substitute for a powerful ally. It was
more through time than battle that La Vendée was changed to loyalty.
Time, therefore, we must have. Through time all other guaranties may be
obtained; but time itself is a guaranty.

2. _Meanwhile follow Congress in the present exclusion of Rebels from
political power._ They must not be voted for, and they must not vote.
On this principle I take my stand. Let them buy and sell; let them
till the ground; and may they be industrious and successful. These
things they may do; but they must not be admitted at once into the
copartnership of our Government. As well might the respectable banker
reïnstate his son at once in the firm he has betrayed, and invest him
again with all the powers of a partner. The father received his son
with parental affection, and forgave him; but he did not invite the
criminal to resume his former desk in Wall Street. And yet the son, who
had robbed and forged on an unprecedented scale, is as worthy of trust
in the old banking-house as one of our Rebels in the government of the
country. A long probation will be needed before either can be admitted
to former fellowship. The state of outlawry is the present condition of
each, and this condition must not be hastily relaxed.

Congress has already set the example by excluding from “any office of
honor or profit under the Government of the United States,” and also
by excluding, as attorney or counsellor, from any court of the United
States, every person who has voluntarily given “aid, countenance,
counsel, or encouragement” to the Rebellion, or who has “sought or
accepted any office whatever” under it, or who has yielded to it any
“voluntary support.” By this and the supplementary Act,[244] all Rebels
are debarred from holding office under the United States, or from
practising in the courts of the United States. This exclusion, thus
sanctioned by Congress, must be the pole-star of our national policy.
If Rebels cannot be officers under our Government, they ought not to be
voters. They should be politically disfranchised, purely and simply as
a measure of necessary precaution, and in order to prepare the way for
those guaranties which we seek. “Vipers cannot use their venom in the
cold.” These are words of political wisdom, as of scientific truth; and
a great Italian writer did not hesitate to inculcate from them the same
lesson that I do now.

3. Surely, recent Rebels, who led in secession, and held office under
the Rebellion, are poor professors to rally these communities to
the support of the national freedman and the national creditor, and
generally to the establishment of the guaranties essential to safety.
Reason and experience warn us to postpone trust in such persons.
Overcome in battle, they wrap themselves in a mantle of loyalty, tied
by an oath, as

          “they who, to be sure of Paradise,
    Dying, put on the weeds of Dominic,
    Or in Franciscan think to pass disguised.”

But character is not changed in a day; and that “Southern heart,”
which was “fired” against the Union, still preserves its vindictive
violence. Even if for a moment controlled, who can tell how long it
will continue in this mood? There is an ancient well-known fable, where
a cat was transformed into a beautiful woman; but, on the night of her
marriage, hearing the sound of a mouse, she sprang from bed with all
her original feline nature. And so a Rebel, transformed by political
necromancy into a loyalist, will suddenly start in full cry to run
down a national freedman or national creditor. So strong is nature.
Horace tells us, “Drive it out with a pitchfork, and it will return.”
Therefore do I insist, put not political trust in the man who has
been engaged in warring upon his country. I ask not his punishment.
I would not be harsh. There is nothing humane that I would reject.
Nothing in hate. Nothing in vengeance. Nothing in passion. I am for
gentleness. I am for a velvet glove; but for a while I wish the hand
of iron. I confess that I have little sympathy with those hypocrites
of magnanimity whose appeal for the Rebel master is only a barbarous
indifference towards the slave; and yet they cannot more than I desire
the day of reconciliation. To this end I am with them, _so far as is
consistent with safety_; but I cannot see my country sacrificed to a
false idea. Pardon, if you will. Nobody shall outdo me in clemency. But
do not trust the Rebel politically. The words of Shakespeare are not
too strong to picture the danger of such attempt:--

        “Thou may’st hold a serpent by the tongue,
    A chafèd lion by the mortal paw,
    A fasting tiger safer by the tooth,
    Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.”

4. In obtaining guaranties we must rely upon acts rather than
professions, and light our footsteps by “the lamp of experience.”
Therefore we turn from recent rebels to _constant loyalists_. This
is only ordinary prudence. As those who fought against us should be
for the present disfranchised, so those who fought for us should be
at once enfranchised, and thus a renovated state will be built secure
on an unfaltering and natural loyalty. For a while the freedman will
take the place of the master, verifying the saying that the last shall
be first and the first shall be last. In the pious books of the East
it is declared that the greatest mortification at the Day of Judgment
will be when the faithful slave is carried to Paradise and the wicked
master is sent to Hell; and this same reversal of conditions appears
in the Gospel, where Dives is exhibited as suffering the pains of
damnation while the beggar of other days is sheltered in Abraham’s
bosom. Therefore, in organizing this change, we follow divine justice.
Surely nobody can doubt that Robert Small, the heroic slave who carried
a Rebel steamer to our fleet and then became our pilot, deserves more
of the Republic than a South Carolina official occupied at that very
time as commissioner to regulate impressments in the Rebel army. To
accept the latter and to reject the former will be not only the height
of injustice, but the height of meanness. It will be a deed “to make
heaven weep, all earth amazed.”

5. Still further, in obtaining guaranties we must _look confidently to
Congress_, which has plenary powers over the whole subject. Congress
can do everything needful. It has already begun by excluding Rebels
from office. It must continue its jurisdiction; whether through the
war powers, or the duty to guaranty a republican form of government,
or the necessity of the case, as in Territories, is a matter of little
importance. It is of less importance under which of its powers this
is done than that it is done. Continuing its jurisdiction, Congress
must supervise and fix the conditions of order, so that the National
Security and National Faith shall not suffer. Here is a sacred
obligation which cannot be postponed.

6. All these guaranties should be completed and crowned by _an
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States_, especially
providing that hereafter there shall be no denial of the electoral
franchise or any exclusion of any kind on account of race or color,
but all persons shall be equal before the law. At this moment, under a
just interpretation of the Constitution, three fourths of the States
actually coöperating in the National Government are sufficient for this
change. The words of the Constitution are, that Amendments shall be
valid to all intents and purposes, “when ratified by the Legislatures
of three fourths of the several States,” or, according to practical
sense, _by three fourths of the States that have Legislatures_. If a
State has no Legislature, it cannot be counted in determining this
quorum, as it is not counted in determining the quorum of either House
of Congress, where precisely the same question occurs. Any other
interpretation recognizes the Rebellion, and plays into its hands, by
conceding its power, through rebellious contrivance, to prevent an
Amendment of the Constitution essential to the general welfare.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are practical points to be observed in obtaining the much needed
guaranties. Congress will soon be in session; and to its courageous
conduct, in the exercise of unquestionable powers, we all look with
hope and trust. Meanwhile the President, as commander-in-chief, has
large military powers, which may be exercised without control until
the meeting of Congress. To him I now appeal. Speaking from this
platform, surrounded by this concourse of his friends, and giving
voice to the sentiments of my heart, in harmony with the sentiments of
Massachusetts, I cannot fail in respect or honor, while I address him
with that plainness which belongs to republican institutions:--

Sir, your power is vast. A word from you may make an epoch. It may
advance at once the cause of Universal Civilization, or quicken anew
the Satanic energies of a fearful barbarism. It may give assurance
of security and reconciliation for the future, or it may scatter
uncertainty and distrust, while it postpones that _Truce of God_
which is the longing of our hearts. As your power is vast, so is your
responsibility. Act, we entreat you, so that our country may have
no fresh sorrow. Do not hazard Emancipation, which is the day-star
of our age, and the special jewel in the crown of your martyred
predecessor, by any concession to its enemies. Do not put in jeopardy
all that we hold most dear, by untimely attempt to bring back into
the national copartnership any of those ancient associates who have
warred upon their country. Let them wait. You have said that treason
is “crime,” and not merely difference of opinion. Do not let the
criminals bear sway. The patriot dead cry out against such surrender,
and all their wounds bleed afresh. Congress has set the example, by
declaring that no person engaged in the Rebellion shall hold office.
For the present, follow Congress. Follow the Constitution also, which
knows no distinction of color, and do not sacrifice a whole race by
resuscitating an offensive Black Code, inconsistent with the National
Security and the National Faith. There also is the Declaration of
Independence, which now shines like the sun in the heavens, rejoicing
to penetrate every by-way and every cabin, if you will not stand in
its light. Let it shine, until the Republic has completely dispelled
that disgusting pretension which is at once a stupendous monopoly and
an impious caste. Above all, do not take from the loyal black man and
give to the disloyal white man; do not confiscate the political rights
of the freedman, who has shed his blood for us, and lavish them upon
his Rebel master. And remember that justice to the colored race is the
sheet-anchor of the national credit.

Speaking always with the same frankness, I ask leave to address the
Secretary of War very briefly:--

Sir, there is yet room for your energies. That region won to Union and
Liberty by the victory you organized must not be allowed to lapse under
its ancient masters, the perjured assertors of property in man. It
must not be abandoned. Let it be held by arms until it smiles with the
charities of life, and all its people are guarded by an impenetrable

And still speaking with equal plainness, I venture to press one
controlling consideration upon the Secretary of the Treasury:--

Sir, you are the guardian of the national finances. Use the peculiar
influence belonging to this position so that nothing shall be done
to impair the National Credit. See to it especially that no person
is admitted to political power in any Rebel community who spurns the
National Faith, sacredly plighted to the national freedman as well as
to the national creditor. Such is the ordinance of Providence, that
the fortunes of the two are joined inseparably together. Credit is
sensitive. It needs that all the resources of the country should be
brought into activity,--that agriculture should be fostered, that
commerce should be revived, that emigration should be encouraged;
but this cannot be done without that _security_ which is found in
equal laws and a contented people. The farmer, the merchant, the
emigrant must each feel secure. Land, capital, and labor are of little
value, except on this essential condition. The loyal people who have
contributed so much, and now hold your bonds, trust that this essential
condition will not fail through any failure on your part, and that
you will not consent to open a political volcano, spouting smoke and
red-hot lava, in an extended region whose first necessity is peace.
There is an order in all things; and any concession to the criminal
enemies of our country, until after the confirmation of the National
Security and the National Faith, is simply an illustration, on a
gigantic scale, of the cart before the horse.

       *       *       *       *       *

For myself, fellow-citizens, pardon me, if I say that my course is
fixed. Many may hesitate; many may turn away from those great truths
which make the far-reaching brightness of the Republic; many may seek
a temporary favor by untimely surrender: I shall not. The victory of
blood, which has been so painfully won, must be confirmed by a greater
victory of ideas, so that the renowned words of Abraham Lincoln may
be fulfilled, and “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of
Freedom; and government of the people, _by the people_, and for the
people, shall not perish from the earth.”[245] To this end I seek no
merely formal Union, seething with smothered curses, but a practical,
moral, and political Unity, founded on common rights, knit together
by common interests, inspired by a common faith, and throbbing with
a common love of country,--where our Constitution, interpreted anew,
shall be a covenant with Life and a league with Heaven,[246] and
Liberty shall be everywhere not only a right, but a duty. John Brown,
on his way to the scaffold, stooped to take up a slave child. That
closing example was the legacy of the dying man to his country. That
benediction we must continue and fulfil. The last shall be first;
and so, in this new order, Equality, long postponed, shall become
the master principle of our system and the very frontispiece of our
Constitution. The Rebellion was to beat down this principle, by
founding a government on the alleged inferiority of a race. The attempt
has failed, but not, alas! the insolent assumption of the conspirators.
Pursuing our victory, I now insist that this assumption shall be
trampled out. A righteous government cannot be founded on any exclusion
of race. This is not the first time that I have battled with the
barbarism of Slavery. I battle still, as the bloody monster retreats to
its last citadel; and, God willing, I mean to hold on, if it takes what
remains to me of life.


    The appearance and condition of Andrew Johnson before the
    Senate, and representatives of foreign powers, when taking
    the oath as Vice-President, March 4, 1865, was not calculated
    to inspire general confidence. But, in the absence of further
    display of the same kind, the public had become silent, hoping
    something better. The memory of that incident threw a shadow
    over the great office he was called to assume. Some were
    favorably affected by the avowals of patriotism in numerous
    off-hand speeches, although touching but a single chord.
    Nothing was said of the great principles of Reconstruction,
    but treason was to be made “odious.” The repetition of himself
    impressed Chief Justice Chase, as well as Mr. Sumner, and he
    said to the latter, “Let us see the President, and try to give
    him another topic.” So, in company, at an early hour of the
    evening, about a week after the commencement of his Presidency,
    they called, and united in urging him to say something for the
    equal rights of our colored fellow-citizens. Though reserved in
    language, he was not unsympathetic in manner, so that, after
    the interview, the Chief Justice, on reaching the street,
    said: “Did you see how his face lighted at your appeal to
    carry out the Declaration of Independence?” A few days later
    Mr. Sumner called alone, and received from the President
    positive assurance of agreement on the suffrage question.
    His words were, “On this question, Mr. Sumner, there is no
    difference between us,--you and I are alike.” An account of
    these interviews, and the sequel, was subsequently given in an
    address at Boston, October 2, 1866.

    Very soon it was too apparent that the President had adopted an
    opposite course. States were to be hurried back by Presidential
    prerogative on the electoral basis anterior to the war. Mr.
    Sumner from the beginning had regarded the votes of colored
    fellow-citizens necessary to a proper reconstruction,--first,
    as an act of justice to them, and, secondly, as a counterpoise
    to the disloyal. He had urged this solution in the Senate, and
    had repeatedly presented it to President Lincoln. The Diary of
    Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, according to an
    article published by him,[247] shows how Mr. Sumner pressed
    this duty in the most intimate councils. It appears that this
    Secretary was at the War Department, Sunday evening, April
    16th, the day after President Lincoln’s death, where he met
    Speaker Colfax, Mr. Covode, the very earnest Representative
    from Pennsylvania, Messrs. Dawes and Gooch, Representatives of
    Massachusetts, and Mr. Sumner. After stating that Mr. Stanton
    read to them the drafts of orders for the reorganization of
    Virginia and North Carolina, the article proceeds:--

        “Before concluding that which related to North Carolina,
        Mr. Sumner interrupted the reading, and requested Mr.
        Stanton to stop until he could understand whether any
        provision was made for enfranchising the colored man.
        Unless, said he, the black man is given the right to vote,
        his freedom is mockery.

        “Mr. Stanton said there were differences among our friends
        on that subject, and it would be unwise, in his judgment,
        to press it in this stage of the proceedings.

        “Mr. Sumner declared he would not proceed a step, unless
        the black man had his rights. He considered the black man’s
        right to vote the essence, the great essential.”

    In conformity with this declaration Mr. Sumner continued to
    act, as appears in correspondence and speech. His Eulogy on
    President Lincoln, at the request of the municipal authorities
    of Boston, was an appeal for the black man. So also was his
    private correspondence, during this summer, with Secretary
    Stanton, Secretary McCulloch, Secretary Welles, Secretary
    Harlan, and Attorney-General Speed, all of the Cabinet.

    Meanwhile the President went forward in his “policy.” The
    country was alarmed. Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, the acknowledged
    leader of the House of Representatives, partook of the anxiety
    which ensued. Though not yet prepared to press the ballot for
    all, he was strenuous against the assumption and precipitation
    of the President.

    As early as May 10th he wrote to Mr. Sumner, from

        “I see the President is precipitating things. Virginia is
        recognized. I fear before Congress meets he will have so
        bedevilled matters as to render them incurable. It would be
        well, if he would call an extra session of Congress. But I
        almost despair of resisting Executive influence.”

    This was followed by another letter, under date of June 3d,
    from Caledonia, Penn., where were his iron-works:--

        “Is it possible to devise any plan to arrest the Government
        in its mad career? When will you be in Washington? Can’t we
        enlist bold men enough to lay the foundation of a party to
        take the helm of this Government and keep it off the rocks?”

    Then, under date of June 14th, another, also from Caledonia:--

        “Is there no way to arrest the insane course of the
        President in ‘reorganization’? Can you get up a movement
        in Massachusetts? I have thought of trying it in our State
        Convention. If something is not done, the President will
        be crowned king before Congress meets. How absurd his
        interfering with the internal regulations of the States,
        and yet considering them as ‘States in the Union’!”

    Also, under date of August 17th, from Caledonia:--

        “I have written very plainly to the President, urging
        delay. But I fear he will pursue his wrong course. With
        illegal courts and usurping ‘reconstruction,’ I know not
        where you and I shall be. While we can hardly approve all
        the acts of the Government, we must try and keep out of the
        ranks of the Opposition. The danger is that so much success
        will reconcile the people to almost anything.”

    August 26th, Mr. Stevens wrote from his home at Lancaster,

        “I am glad you are laboring to avert the President’s fatal
        policy. I wish the prospect of success were better. I
        have twice written him, urging him to stay his hand until
        Congress meets. Of course he pays no attention to it. Our
        editors are generally cowardly sycophants. I would make a
        speech, as you suggest, if a fair occasion offered. Our
        views (‘Reconstruction and Confiscation’) were embodied
        in our resolutions [in the Republican State Convention,
        recently held] at Harrisburg, amidst much chaff. Negro
        suffrage was passed over, as heavy and premature. Get the
        Rebel States into a territorial condition, and it can be
        easily dealt with. That, I think, should be our great aim.
        Then Congress can manage it.”

    In the same spirit, Hon. B. F. Wade, of the Senate of the
    United States, July 29th, wrote from his home at Jefferson,

        “I regret to say, that, with regard to the policy resolved
        upon by the President, I have no consolation to impart.
        To me all appears gloomy.… The salvation of the country
        devolves upon Congress and against the Executive. Will
        they be able to resist the downward tendency of events? My
        experience is not calculated to inspire me with confidence.”

    Hon. Henry Winter Davis, the able, eloquent, and courageous
    Representative in Congress from Baltimore, June 20th, in a long
    letter to Mr. Sumner, on our perils and duties, wrote:--

        “One way is to pass a law by two-thirds over the
        President’s veto, prescribing the conditions of
        reconstruction of any State government, and declaring
        _none_ republican in form which excludes negroes from
        voting. Such a law the President will be obliged to obey
        and execute.… The other mode of solving the problem, over
        the head of the President, is to pass an Amendment of the
        Constitution prescribing universal suffrage.… We have the
        requisite majority to pursue either of these plans; but
        is there nerve for the work? I have too often failed to
        inspire my political friends with that elevated sense of
        their own authority to dictate the course of affairs, to
        be sanguine of success in measures which require so much
        unity, energy, and singleness of purpose as these. The last
        Congress was not equal to it; is the present Congress?…
        Now do me the favor to give me your views as fully as I
        have given you mine. I trust you are not, as I am, in

    In the course of the summer a pamphlet was published in
    Boston, entitled “Security and Reconciliation for the Future:
    Propositions and Arguments on the Reorganization of the Rebel
    States,”--being a collection of resolutions by Mr. Sumner,
    with the article in the _Atlantic Monthly_,[249] the speech
    on the admission of Senators from Arkansas,[250] and the
    Louisiana debate.[251] The large edition of this collection
    drew attention, and helped prepare for the speech at the State
    Convention. A few extracts will show its reception.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Dr. George B. Loring, the agriculturist, afterwards Chairman of
    the State Committee of the Republican party in Massachusetts,
    and President of the Massachusetts Senate, wrote from Salem:--

        “I only wish all our statesmen had taken the ground adopted
        by yourself; it would have saved us infinite trouble. It
        entitles you to eternal thanks, and receives daily more and
        more assent.”

    Hon. John C. Underwood, District Judge of the United States,
    wrote from Alexandria, Va.:--

        “I have read your collected arguments on the subject of
        Reconstruction with great pleasure and profit. Let me thank
        you for convincing me, very much against my will, that to
        allow immediate representation to the Rebel States would
        be a cruel breach of faith and honor to the freedmen, and
        that we of the South must be just to these poor people,
        and submit to a genuine republican government, before
        we deserve admission again into the American family. I
        trust no petty personal ambition will prevent my full
        appreciation of the immensely important work for our
        country and humanity which you have so well performed.”

    Hon. Charles Eames, the able lawyer and scholar, former
    Commissioner to the Sandwich Islands, and Minister at
    Venezuela, residing in Washington, wrote from the sea-shore at
    Long Branch:--

        “It is a noble monumental record, worthy both of the
        subject and of the Senator, and which will stand a landmark
        in our parliamentary history. Every new day, as it comes,
        brings new attestation of your wisdom and foresight, and
        of the truthful views which from the first, and almost, if
        not altogether, alone in Congress, you took and faithfully
        expounded on the whole question of Reconstruction. The
        idea of hurrying these lately Rebel communities into
        participation in the enactment and administration of our
        laws seems to me the most absurd blunder ever perpetrated
        in history, with the possible exception of that earlier and
        still more monstrous enormity of error which assigned to
        them the right to give by silence a negative vote on the
        purposed change of our fundamental law.”

    Hon. John Y. Smith, an able and independent thinker, wrote from
    Madison, Wisconsin:--

        “Pray, honored Sir, do not be discouraged by the stupid
        prejudices with which you have to contend, but fight it
        out, and you may save the nation; for at no time during the
        war was it in greater peril than it is at this moment. The
        Ship of State has gallantly borne up through the storms
        of war, but I fear that President Johnson, with the best
        intentions, is running her straight upon the rocks.”

    A few extracts from newspapers attest the impression made by
    the Speech.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Boston _Transcript_, which reported the speech on the
    afternoon of its delivery, said:--

        “Mr. Sumner has made many powerful addresses, on many
        important occasions; but we think our readers will admit
        that he has never presented a more masterly argument, on a
        more important occasion, than that which he has urged on
        the Union Republicans in his speech of to-day. Clear and
        pointed in statement, felicitous in illustration, admirable
        in arrangement, cogent in logic, affluent in learning,
        with occasional bursts of eloquence which light up and
        animate, but never disturb, the course of the argument,
        the speech cannot fail to exert an immense influence on
        the formation of that public opinion which is to determine
        the mode by which one of the most momentous questions ever
        brought before the American people shall be definitely
        settled.… Mr. Sumner does not merely attempt to convince
        the understanding; he strikes through it to the national
        conscience and sense of humanity and honor. His sentences
        are full of heat, as well as light,--will lodge in the
        minds they inform, and influence the will which votes, as
        well as the judgment which assents.”

    The Albany _Morning Express_ said:--

        “Let us call Senator Sumner a fanatic, if we will; let us
        pronounce him a man of one idea, if we choose; but let
        us at least award him the honor he deserves.… If Charles
        Sumner is wrong, his example is right. We have not so
        many politicians true to eternal principle, we have not
        so many statesmen devoted with a single purpose even to
        their own conception of the best interests of the country,
        we have not so many counsellors studious only of strict
        justice, that we can afford to throw away the Senator from
        Massachusetts. Whether we regard him as right or wrong,
        there is something sublime in his steady, persistent,
        unwavering devotion to his idea. Such honesty cannot be
        impugned. Such fidelity cannot be misinterpreted.… Senator
        Sumner has always been in advance of the mass. He is a
        leader a long way ahead, a pioneer through trackless mazes.
        It is his mission to discover a path where the throng shall

    With different spirit, the New York _Herald_, in an article
    entitled “Senator Sumner on the Rampage,” said:--

        “We now have an essay from Senator Sumner, who, mounted on
        his ‘Bay horse,’ makes a furious assault upon the President
        and his policy, and, in fact, everybody, except the blacks
        in the South.… He is determined to fight it out, if it
        takes the remainder of his life. The public now know his
        position, and just what the Jacobins intend to do. The
        President can also understand the nature of the opposition
        which he is to have arrayed against him in the next
        Congress.… The Rebellion, he declares, is not ended, nor
        Slavery abolished. If he means by the former term Northern
        rebellion, he is not far out of the way; for it is very
        evident that a rebellion has commenced in the North, and
        has been inaugurated in Massachusetts, with Senator Sumner
        as high-priest and prophet.”

    The New York _World_, in an article entitled “The Massachusetts
    Declaration of War against the President,” said:--

        “It is not worth while to spend words on the formal
        resolves of the Massachusetts Convention. They but
        condense, in more staid and decorous language, the
        sentiments of Mr. Sumner’s speech; and we prefer to dip
        out of the fountain. The unanimous election of Mr. Sumner
        as the presiding officer, the applause which greeted his
        speech, the panegyrics lavished upon it by the Republican
        press of Boston, and its harmony with every public
        utterance in Massachusetts, from the Faneuil Hall meeting
        in May down, are so many seals of its authentication as a
        true exposition of the purposes of the Republican party.
        Charles Sumner is the Republican platform incarnate.”

    Other papers show how it was received in States lately in

    The Memphis _Argus_, of Tennessee, said:--

        “Yesterday we received, under the frank of ‘C. Sumner,’ his
        recent infamous speech at Worcester, Massachusetts. We use
        the word _infamous_ advisedly, temperately; for viler or
        more wilful and malicious slanders of a great, suffering,
        and submissive people, vanquished in war by overwhelming
        odds, but honestly accepting all the legitimate results of
        their defeat, and patriotically anxious to resume their old
        places in a full, restored Union, were never published to
        the world by the filthiest political scavenger that ever
        plied his trade in the foul services of party.”

    The Augusta _Transcript_, of Georgia, said:--

        “To show the infamous slanders to which the fanatical
        leaders are obliged to resort, in order to goad on their
        followers to the new crusade against the South, we
        republish an extract from Mr. Sumner’s last speech in

    In England, Colonel T. Perronet Thompson, the Freetrader, and
    former Member of Parliament, in his series of articles in the
    Bradford _Advertiser_, after enumerating the topics, said:--

        “The man who has no curiosity to know what the first
        statesman in America says on all these heads would go to
        bed without asking whether the fire in the next street was
        put out, or if the house next his own began to smoke. The
        very jobbers in Rebel bonds, or builders of the Shenandoah,
        might feel a desire to know which way the thing was going.”

    The _Scotsman_, a foremost journal at Edinburgh, commenced a
    leader on this speech as follows:--

        “It would be at least difficult to name a man in the United
        States, or rather the States now under process of being
        reunited, who is better entitled to a respectful hearing,
        all the world over, than Mr. Charles Sumner. He has had but
        one object,--a noble object, worthy any calculable amount
        of struggle and sacrifice; and he has pursued it ardently,
        bravely, disregarding both party and personal consequences,
        and letting no other object stand in the way or turn him
        aside for a moment from the straight path. He has sought
        only the Abolition of Slavery, and has deemed nothing else
        worth fighting for.”

    The response by correspondence was prompt and earnest from
    various parts of the country. The letters from which extracts
    are taken, with the exception of that from Great Salt Lake
    City, were received immediately after the delivery of the

       *       *       *       *       *

    Charles Stearns, ardently against Slavery, and familiar with
    the Rebel States, wrote from Springfield:--

        “After an absence from good old Massachusetts of eleven
        years, my heart was made glad, the other day, by seeing
        a notice in the papers that you were to speak at the
        Republican Convention at Worcester. I immediately hastened
        thither, and felt happy beyond measure, as I listened to
        the deafening applause with which your appearance upon the
        platform was greeted.”

    Rev. John T. Sargent, the Liberal clergyman, wrote from

        “That noble speech of yours at the Worcester Convention,
        so complete in its analysis of our national condition,
        dangers, and duties, ought to be printed in letters of
        gold, and emblazoned henceforth as the established moral
        code of every one of our States.”

    David A. Wasson, the honest thinker and student of philosophy,
    wrote from Boston:--

        “God bless you, and make you strong for the arduous and
        immense work that is immediately before you! The coming
        session of Congress will, I think, be preëminently the
        critical and cardinal day in all American legislation. I
        look forward to it with unspeakable anxiety. If only your
        counsels had been accepted, how clear, how easy, all would
        be! Now the situation is fearfully complicated.”

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

        “Let me express the earnest hope that you will economize
        your strength for the great conflict soon to come during
        the approaching Congress. I never doubted the final success
        of our arms; but when the sword should be sheathed, I have
        always expected to see our worst crisis in our last grapple
        with slaveholders. We shall quite need all your prudence,
        forecast, energy, courage, and decision, to meet the
        dangers ahead from returning Rebels.”

    Rev. Charles Brooks, eminent for his services to education,
    wrote from Medford:--

        “I thank you, I thank you a thousand times, for your
        sound, comprehensive, and patriotic speech at Worcester.
        Shakespeare says, ‘Things by season seasoned are.’ Never
        was a word more fitly spoken. It is the best speech I have
        read for years, and will become historic.”

    William I. Bowditch, the able conveyancer and Abolitionist,
    wrote from Boston:--

        “I read your speech yesterday morning with great
        satisfaction, and yet with considerable misgiving as to
        whether its truths will be acted on. I doubt if the North
        has been punished enough to induce it to forego the attempt
        of trying again to circumvent God.”

    P. R. Guiney, on the day the speech was delivered, wrote from

        “I am under an overwhelming conviction, that, unless the
        views which you express are substantially adhered to,
        Despotism will have gained all that Liberty won in our
        recent war. The Battle of Gettysburg was not more of a
        crisis than this. May God prosper you!”

    Professor George W. Greene, scholar and author, wrote from East
    Greenwich, R. I.:--

        “I received your Worcester speech this morning. I
        must write a line to say I have read it carefully and
        thoughtfully, and say ‘Amen’ to it all. God grant it may go
        into every house and every heart! I look with deep anxiety
        for the opening of Congress. You have yet your hardest
        fight to win; but it is the fight of God and Humanity, and
        you will win it.”

    Professor Charles D. Cleveland, an ardent Abolitionist and
    successful teacher, recently Consul at Cardiff in Wales, wrote
    from Philadelphia:--

        “Many, many thanks to you for your noble speech at the
        Worcester Convention. Oh that your words might unite with
        the heart of the President and bring forth appropriate
        fruits! For the last two or three months I have been quite
        desponding as to his course.”

    John Penington, the scholarly bookseller, wrote from

        “With its matter I fully sympathize; but I was particularly
        struck with the aptitude and felicity of your illustrations
        of the various points of your argument.”

    William Goodell, the early and constant Abolitionist, author
    of “Slavery and Anti-Slavery,” a history also of the “American
    Slave Code,” wrote from Bozrahville, Connecticut, where he was
    then residing:--

        “In my rural retreat, where I am for the present
        recruiting my health, a copy of the _Commonwealth_
        containing your great speech at Worcester, September 14th,
        providentially falls into my hands, and I cannot forbear
        trespassing upon your time one moment to congratulate and
        to thank you, which I do most heartily, upon your great
        achievement, and for your signal service to your country,
        in the hour of its greatest peril,--_greatest_ I say,
        because, as I fear, so little perceived and so little
        understood.… If you had spent the whole summer in preparing
        that speech, I see not how you could have improved it, nor
        how your time and talents could have been more worthily
        or more usefully employed.… You well say, ‘We must look
        confidently to Congress’; to which permit me to add, that
        for the leadership of Congress the country must look to
        _you_, whose ‘course is fixed,’ who ‘will not hesitate,’
        who ‘will not surrender.’”

    Hon. Wayne MacVeagh, Chairman of the Republican State Committee
    of Pennsylvania, afterwards Minister at Constantinople, wrote
    from West Chester, Pennsylvania:--

        “I have just finished reading your superb speech at
        Worcester, in the complete form in which you sent it to
        me, and cannot go to bed without thanking you for it. The
        right word, in the right time, by the right man,--what more
        should we ask?”

    William Hickey, Chief Clerk of the Senate, where he had been
    a life-long officer, and author of a well-known edition of
    the Constitution with accompanying documents, wrote from

        “Your speech ably maintains the consistency, ability, and
        patriotism which have uniformly distinguished your course,
        from your first essay in the sacred cause of Liberty, which
        has elicited so much of disinterested zeal and indomitable
        courage and perseverance on your part as to call forth,
        in my hearing, from the most honorable and intelligent
        of your political opponents from the South, declarations
        attributing those qualities to you in an eminent degree,
        giving you credit for consistency and unmistakable
        integrity of purpose. Your exertions have in a very great
        degree contributed towards the defeat of the Rebellion and
        the victory of the Government over its enemies, and you
        have now the satisfaction of enjoying the fruits of your
        labors and the exercise of your literary superiority and
        transcendent talents.”

    Hon. John C. Underwood, who had written shortly before on
    Reconstruction,[252] wrote from Alexandria, Virginia:--

        “I thank you for your Convention speech. Its positions and
        arguments are so overwhelming that I feel almost certain
        that your efforts will succeed with our people, and that
        you will be acknowledged the wise statesman and enlightened
        Christian patriot that I know you are.”

    General Saxton, an Antislavery army officer, commanding in
    South Carolina, wrote from Charleston:--

        “I most fully sympathize with and cordially indorse every
        word and line. In the future, the wisdom of your position
        will be fully established and vindicated.”

    Hon. Charles D. Drake, an eminent lawyer and law-writer,
    afterwards United States Senator from Missouri, and Chief
    Justice of the Court of Claims, wrote:--

        “Being detained at home by indisposition, I was glad of the
        privilege of at once reading your latest views on the great
        questions of the day in connection with Reconstruction.
        For them, and for the heroic spirit with which you take
        your stand, and determine ‘to fight it out on that line,’
        I offer you my most sincere and fervent thanks. May God
        preserve your life and health, and enable you to fight it
        out to a complete victory!”

    Hon. Charles Durkee, formerly Senator of the United States from
    Wisconsin, and then Governor of Utah, wrote from Salt Lake City
    to Governor Farwell, of Wisconsin:--

        “I have just finished reading Mr. Sumner’s great speech
        delivered at the Massachusetts State Convention. What a
        masterly argument! It embodies the condensation of Calhoun,
        the strength of Webster, and more than the eloquence of
        Clay. In logic, in illustration, in simplicity of truth, I
        have never read a state-paper that equals it. Its timely
        utterance how fortunate for the country! He inspires
        some of the most vital parts of the Constitution (which
        heretofore have been a dead letter) with new life and
        activity. Washington and Lincoln led in the first and
        second revolutions, but it was left for Charles Sumner to
        lead in the third,--a revolution in _Constitutional and
        Republican ideas_. Be so kind as to thank him, in my name,
        for this timely effort in behalf of his country and in the
        cause of the oppressed.”

    Such words from distant places were an encouragement to the
    speaker. Evidently he was not alone, nor had he spoken in vain.




  As a faithful reader of the “Evening Post” for many years, I
  have perused your article insisting that all present effort
  for guaranties of national security and national faith must
  be postponed, in order to obtain the ratification of the
  Constitutional Amendment by which slavery is abolished throughout
  the United States. If the Constitutional Amendment were not
  already ratified by the requisite number of States, I should
  doubt if even this most desirable object could be a sufficient
  excuse for leaving the national freedman and the national
  creditor exposed to peril, when exertions now can save them.
  But allow me to inquire if you do not forget, that, according
  to usage of the National Government in analogous cases, this
  Amendment has been already ratified by the requisite number of
  States, so that at this moment it is valid, to all intents and
  purposes, as part of the Constitution? There was a butcher once
  who looked everywhere for his knife, forgetting that he held it
  between his teeth; there also was the good Dr. Dove, who was in
  love without knowing it; and you have laughed, I am sure, at the
  story told by Southey to illustrate this condition, where the
  traveller, asking how far it was to a place called “The Pan,” was
  answered directly, “You be in the Pan now.” It seems to me, that,
  like the traveller, the doctor, and the butcher, you already have
  what you desire; so that, even according to your programme, the
  way is clear for insisting upon those other things embraced under
  “Security for the Future.”

  The Constitution of the United States decides that “the Congress,
  whenever _two thirds of both Houses_ shall deem it necessary,
  shall propose amendments to this Constitution, … which shall be
  valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution,
  when ratified by _the Legislatures of three fourths of the
  several States_.” On these words the simple question arises, What
  constitutes the quorum?

  But the usage of the National Government in analogous cases has
  determined that the quorum is founded on the States _actually
  participating in the Government_. This has been decided in both
  Houses of Congress. The House of Representatives led the way
  in fixing its quorum _according to actual representation_, or,
  in other words, at “a majority of the members chosen.”[253]
  The Senate, after careful consideration and protracted debate,
  followed in establishing a similar rule.[254] The Constitutional
  Amendment was adopted by both houses _organized according to
  this rule_. The national debt has been sanctioned by both houses
  _thus organized_. Treaties also with foreign powers have been
  sanctioned in the Senate _thus organized_.

  Applying this rule, the quorum of States requisite for the
  ratification of the Constitutional Amendment is plainly three
  fourths of the States _actually participating in the Government_,
  or, in other words, three fourths of the States having
  “Legislatures.” Where a State has no Legislature, it may be still
  a State, but it cannot be practically counted in the organization
  of Congress; and I submit that the same rule must prevail in
  the ratification of the Constitutional Amendment. The reason of
  the rule is the same in each case. If you insist upon counting
  a rebel State, having no Legislature, you make a concession
  to rebellion. You concede to a mutinous State the power to
  arrest, it may be, the organization of Congress, or, it may be,
  amendments to the Constitution important to the general welfare.
  This is not reasonable. Therefore, on grounds of reason as well
  as usage, I prefer the accepted rule.

  If this conclusion needed the support of authority, it would find
  it in the declared opinion of one of our best law-writers, who
  is cited with respect in all the courts of the country. I refer
  to Mr. Bishop, who, in the third edition of his “Commentaries
  on the Criminal Law,” published within a few days, discusses
  this question at length. In the course of his remarks he uses
  the following language: “If the matter were one relating to
  any other subject than Slavery, no legal person would ever
  doubt, that, when there are States with Legislatures and States
  without Legislatures, and the Constitution submits a question
  to the determination of ‘the Legislatures of three fourths of
  the several States,’ the meaning is, three fourths of the States
  which have Legislatures. In fact, it does not require either
  legal wisdom or legal acumen to see this, provided we look at the
  point disconnected from the peculiar subject of Slavery.”[255]
  The learned author then proceeds to illustrate this statement in
  a manner to which I can see no answer.

  To my mind all this seems so plain that I am disposed to ask
  pardon for arguing it. Of course there is no question whether a
  State is _in_ the Union or _out of_ the Union. It is enough that
  it is without a Legislature, and on this point there can be no
  question. Being without a Legislature, it cannot be counted in
  determining the quorum.

  Therefore, beyond all dispute, the Constitutional Amendment has
  been already ratified by the requisite number of States; so
  that Slavery is now constitutionally abolished twice,--first,
  by the Proclamation of President Lincoln, under the war powers
  of the National Constitution; and, secondly, by Constitutional
  Amendment. It remains that we should provide supplementary
  safeguards, and complete the good work that has been begun,
  by taking care that Slavery is abolished in spirit as well as
  letter, and that the freedmen are protected by further needed
  guaranties. Without this additional provision, I see small
  prospect of that peace and reconciliation which are the object so
  near our hearts.

      I am, Sir, your obedient servant,


  BOSTON, 28th September, 1865.



The two colored regiments enlisted, equipped, and sent forth by
Massachusetts have returned home and been mustered out. Officers and
privates are now dispersed. The last music has died away. Of these
two famous regiments, which made such a mark on the times, nothing
now remains but the memory. This cannot die; for it belongs to the
history of a race. But all who went have not returned. The youthful
hero, so gentle and true, who was selected by the Governor to command
the Fifty-Fourth Regiment, fell at the head of his men on the very
parapets of the Rebel enemy, and was buried in the sand with his humble
companions in arms,--thus in death, as in life, sharing their fortunes.
Family, parents, wife, were left to mourn. As was said of “Bonnie
George Campbell,” in the beautiful Scotch ballad,--

    “Hame cam’ his gude horse,
      But never cam’ he.”

Few who were in Boston at the time can forget that pleasant day in
May, when this colored regiment, with Colonel Shaw riding proudly at
its head, passed by the State-House, where it had been equipped and
inspired. Cheers and the waving of handkerchiefs greeted it. There
were tears also. It was a joyous and a sad sight to see this new
legion, acquired to the national service, promptly marching to its
distant and perilous duty, under a commander who, turning away from
the blandishments of life, consecrates himself to his country. Nor was
another consecration forgotten. It was to the redemption of a race.
Massachusetts had sent forth many brave regiments; but here was the
first regiment of colored soldiers marshalled at the North. It was an
experiment, destined to be an epoch. By the success of this regiment a
whole race was elevated. As he went forth, it became less an incident
of war than an act of magnanimity and moral grandeur. Sidney, who
refused the cup of cold water, was one of our young hero’s predecessors.

Not long after came tidings of the bloody assault on Fort Wagner,
when, by an advance without parallel over an open beach, exposed to a
storm of shot and shell, these new-made soldiers of a despised color,
sleepless, dinnerless, supperless, vindicated their title as bravest of
the brave. They had done what no other troops had done during the war.
This was their Bunker Hill, and Shaw was their martyred Warren. Though
defeated, they were yet victorious. The regiment was driven back; but
the cause was advanced. The country learned to know colored troops,
and they learned to know themselves. From that day of conflict nobody
doubted their capacity or courage as soldiers. There was sorrow in
Massachusetts as we were told how many had fallen, and that the beloved
officer so recently admired in our streets was sleeping in an unknown
grave; but even this sorrow did not blind an intelligent people to the
magnitude of the event. Grief was chastened by honest pride. Swelling
hearts were soothed by the thought that much had been done for humanity.

A desire arose at once for a monument to commemorate alike the hero
and the event. But the Rebellion was then raging. It was no time for
monuments. At last, with the overthrow of the Rebel arms, the time
seems to have arrived. The youthful commander still sleeps with his
comrades in death. There let him sleep. Westminster Abbey has no
resting-place more honorable. But his patriotic sacrifice and the great
event deserve commemoration, as well for gratitude as for example. Some
propose a monument on the spot where he fell. This may be made; but
it can be only a mound or pile of stones, to be seen by ships as they
enter the harbor of Charleston. This is not enough. It will not tell
the whole story.

The monument should be in Massachusetts, where the hero was born, and
where the regiment was also born. Each belonged to Massachusetts,--the
martyr by double title: first, as he drew his breath here, and,
secondly, as he commanded this regiment of Massachusetts. Let the
monument be here. Of course, no common stone or shaft will be
sufficient. It must be of bronze. It must be an equestrian statue. And
there is a place for it. Let it stand on one of the stone terraces
of the steps ascending from Beacon Street to the State-House. It was
in the State-House that the regiment was equipped and inspired. It
was from the State-House that the devoted commander rode to death.
Let future generations, as long as bronze shall endure, look upon
him there riding always, and be taught by his example to succor the
oppressed and to surrender life for duty. Especially let legislators of
Massachusetts, by daily sight of the symbolic statue, be gratefully led
to constant support of the cause for which he died. Here is a theme for
Art, and its elements are youth, beauty, self-sacrifice, death, and a
great cause.

On the Continent of Europe, by general usage, only members of a
royal family are allowed the honor of an equestrian statue. In the
unequalled monument by Rauch, at Berlin, the royal Fritz is mounted,
but his generals are about him standing. Near by is Blücher, who was
prince and marshal, also standing. In England there are equestrian
statues of kings, and of the Duke of Wellington. But this is no reason
why a grateful people should not decree an equestrian statue to a
youthful hero, whose duty was on horseback, and who was last seen in
our streets on horseback. As an American citizen he belonged to our
sovereignty, and we fitly celebrate him with the highest honors. Few
belonging to any royal family have so good a title. In the Republics
of Italy, during the early ages, when royalty did not exist, there
were equestrian statues. The first of these in merit, and one of the
first in time, was the renowned statue in bronze of the _condottiere_
Bartolommeo Coleoni, who, after a lapse of centuries, is still admired
as he rides bravely in a public square of Venice, while the artist has
secured the immortality of his own name by engraving it upon the girth
of the saddle. It is sometimes said, on doubtful authority, that this
early chieftain was the first to mount cannon on wheels, so that they
could be used in the field. But our chieftain did more than mount
cannon, and the triumphant experiment with which his name is linked
surpasses far anything in the life of an Italian trooper. His act was
above any triumph of battle. It was a victory of ideas, and belongs to
the sacred history of Humanity.

Let the monument be made. Boston has a sculptor without a superior
among living artists, whose soul and genius would be in the work.
Already a colored person, well known among us, with a heart full of
gratitude, has subscribed five hundred dollars. Other colored persons
are contributing in smaller sums, according to their means. They
properly lead now in tribute to him who died in leading them. But
others of ampler means must see that this generous effort does not
fail. I should not suggest this, if I thought that I should take away
from other things deserving aid. The present charity is so peculiar,
that it appeals equally to all who are moved by patriotism, by
gratitude, by sympathy, or by Art.

    This article was followed by a public meeting in the Council
    Chamber of the State-House, at the invitation of Governor
    Andrew, to consider the proposition of an equestrian statue in
    honor of Colonel Shaw. The following committee was appointed
    to collect subscriptions and superintend the erection of the
    statue: John A. Andrew, Charles Sumner, Joshua B. Smith,
    Charles R. Codman, Samuel G. Howe, Robert B. Storer, Frederick
    W. Lincoln, Jr., James L. Little, William W. Clapp, Jr.,
    Charles Beck, Rev. Leonard A. Grimes, Peleg W. Chandler,
    William G. Weld, Edward Atkinson, Charles W. Slack, Robert E.
    Apthorp, Henry Lee, Jr., Edward W. Kinsley, George B. Loring,
    LeBaron Russell, Henry I. Bowditch.

    At a meeting of this committee, Charles Sumner, Samuel G. Howe,
    Charles Beck, George B. Loring, LeBaron Russell, Henry I.
    Bowditch, and Charles R. Codman were appointed a sub-committee
    to select an artist, to contract with him, to secure a proper
    place for the statue, and to superintend its erection.



    The letter of Mr. Sumner first appeared in the London papers.

                                           BOSTON, October 5, 1865.

  MY DEAR MADAM,--I have been charged by the State Convention of
  the Republicans of Massachusetts, over which I had the honor of
  presiding, to communicate to you resolutions unanimously adopted
  by them, expressing their grateful regard for the memory of your
  late husband, and their sympathy in your bereavement.[256]

  Knowing Mr. Cobden personally, as I did for many years, and
  corresponding with him on public questions, I confess a sense
  of personal loss beyond even that of my fellow-citizens. He was
  the good friend of my country, and he was my own private friend.
  Therefore, in making this communication, I desire to express my
  own individual grief.

  His lamented death has caused a chasm not only in his own home
  and country, but here in the United States. We all miss him and
  mourn him. He was a wise and good man. An Englishman by birth,
  his heart and all his faculties were given to mankind, knowing
  well that the welfare and true glory of his own great country
  were best assured by such a dedication.

  Hoping that you may be consoled in your sorrow, and that your
  children may be blessed in life, I ask you to accept the respect
  with which I have the honor to be, dear Madam,

      Your very faithful servant,


    The following reply was received from Mrs. Cobden.

                              DUNFORD, MIDHURST, December 27, 1865.

        MY DEAR MR. SUMNER,--On behalf of myself and my children,
        I beg most kindly to thank you, and the members of the
        Republican State Convention of Massachusetts, for the
        resolutions, passed by them, of sympathy with us in our
        terrible bereavement.

        These resolutions are rendered more valuable by the letter
        from yourself which accompanies them.

        The expressions of sympathy and condolence which have
        reached us from public bodies and private individuals, in
        your and other countries, have been deeply grateful to
        my stricken heart; for they assure me of the wide-spread
        appreciation of the efforts of my beloved husband to
        promote the cause of international prosperity and peace.

        From America they are especially grateful; for his sympathy
        with the cause of liberty to the slave was undoubted and
        intense. And it was on his way to Parliament, to speak
        on the Canadian question in its relation to the American
        Union, that he contracted the illness which ended his dear
        and noble life.

        Pray accept the kindest remembrances of myself and
        children, and believe me to remain,

            My dear Mr. Sumner,

                Yours very sincerely,

                    C. A. COBDEN.



                                          BOSTON, October 29, 1865.

  DEAR MR. EDITOR,--I rejoice that “The Independent” has planted
  itself firmly on the sure ground of Equal Rights. It is natural
  that a journal which has from the beginning so bravely and
  constantly opposed Slavery in all its pretensions should now
  insist that these pretensions shall be trampled out, so that
  nothing shall be left to breed future trouble. This can be done
  only through the establishment of Equal Rights.

  To my mind, there never was a duty plainer or more instinctive.
  It is plain as the Moral Law, and it is instinctive as
  self-defence. If the country fails to do this justice now,
  it will commit a crime where guilt and meanness strive for
  mastery. On this head it is enough to say that it is a debt we
  owe to saviours and benefactors. But here all the instincts of
  self-defence harmonize with justice.

  For the sake of the whole country, which suffers from weakness
  in any part,--for the sake of the States lately distracted by
  war, which above all things need security and repose,--for the
  sake of agriculture, which is neglected there,--for the sake
  of commerce, which has fled,--for the sake of the national
  creditor, whose generous trust is exposed to repudiation,--and,
  finally, for the sake of reconciliation, which can be complete
  only when justice prevails, we must insist upon Equal Rights
  as the condition of the new order of things. So long as this
  question remains unsettled, there can be no true peace. Therefore
  I would say to the merchant, who wishes to open trade with this
  region,--to the capitalist, who would send his money there,--to
  the emigrant, who seeks to find a home there,--begin by assuring
  justice to all men. This is the one essential condition of
  prosperity, of credit, and of tranquillity. Without this,
  mercantile houses, banks, and emigration societies, having
  anything to do with this region, must all fail, or at least
  suffer in business and resources.

  To Congress we must look as guardian, under the Constitution, of
  the national safety. I do not doubt its full power over the whole
  subject; nor do I doubt its duty to see that every pretended
  government organized by recent Rebels is treated as a present
  nullity. President Johnson then spoke well, when in Tennessee he
  said that “in the work of reorganization Rebels must take back
  seats, leaving place to those who have been truly loyal.” There
  is the key-note of a just policy, which I trust Congress will

  It is difficult to measure the mischief already accumulating
  from the policy that has been pursued. Looking at the positive
  loss to business and the productive industry of the country, it
  is painful. Looking at the distress it has caused among loyal
  people by the revival of the Rebel spirit, it is heart-rending.
  Looking at it in any way, it is a terrible failure. It will be
  for Congress to apply the remedy.

  Meanwhile you have the thanks of good people for your loyalty to
  the cause, and your strenuous efforts in its behalf. Go on, I
  entreat you, nor ever hesitate.

      I am, dear Sir,

          Your grateful fellow-laborer,

              CHARLES SUMNER.



    “Instabile est regnum quod non clementia firmat.”

    “Incidis in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim.”

Here are two famous verses, both often quoted, and one a commonplace
of literature. That they have passed into proverbs attests their merit
both in substance and in form. Something more than truth is needed for
a proverb. And so, also, something more than form is needed. Both must
concur. The truth must be expressed in such form as to satisfy the
requirements of Art.

Most persons, who have not occasionally indulged in such diversions,
if asked where these verses are to be found, would say at once that
it was in some familiar poet of school-boy days. Both have a sound
as of something heard in childhood. The latter is Virgilian in tone
and movement. More than once I have heard it insisted that it was by
Virgil. But nobody is able to find it there, although the opposite
dangers are represented in the voyage of Æneas:--

    “Dextrum Scylla latus, lævum implacata Charybdis Obsidet.”[257]

Another poet shows the peril without the contrast:--

    “Scylla, et Charybdis Sicula contorquens freta
    Minus est timenda: nulla non melior fera est.”[258]

Thinking of the historical proverb, I am reminded of the eminent
character who first showed it to me in the heroic poem where it
appears. I refer to the late Dr. Maltby, Bishop of Durham, who had been
a favorite pupil of Dr. Parr, and was unquestionably among the best
scholars of England. His amenity was equal to his scholarship. I was
his guest at Auckland Castle early in the autumn of 1838. Conversation
turned much upon books and the curiosities of study. One morning, after
breakfast, the learned Bishop came to me with a small volume in his
hand, printed in the Italian character, and remarking, “You seem to
be interested in such things,” he pointed to this much quoted verse.
It was the Latin epic, “Alexandreïs, sive Gesta Alexandri Magni,” by
Philippus Gualterus, a mediæval poet of France.

Of course the fable of Scylla and Charybdis is ancient; but this verse
cannot be traced to antiquity. For the fable Homer is our highest
authority, and he represents the Sirens as unfriendly accessories,
playing their part to tempt the victim.

These fronting terrors belong to mythology and to geography.
Mythologically, they were two voracious monsters, dwelling opposite
to each other,--Charybdis on the coast of Sicily, and Scylla on the
coast of Italy. Geographically, they were dangers to the navigator in
the narrow strait between Sicily and Italy. Charybdis was a whirlpool,
where ships were often sucked to destruction; Scylla was a rock, on
which ships were often dashed to pieces.

Ulysses in his wanderings encountered these terrors, but by prudence
and the counsels of Circe he was enabled to steer clear between them,
although the Sirens strove to lure him on the rock. The story is
too long; but there are passages like pictures, and they have been
illustrated by the genius of Flaxman. The first danger on the Sicilian
side is described in the Odyssey:--

    “Beneath, Charybdis holds her boisterous reign
    ’Midst roaring whirlpools, and absorbs the main;
    Thrice in her gulfs the boiling seas subside,
    Thrice in dire thunders she refunds the tide.”[259]

Endeavoring to shun this peril, the navigator encounters the other:--

    “Here Scylla bellows from her dire abodes,
    Tremendous pest, abhorred by man and gods!
    Six horrid necks she rears, and six terrific heads;
    Her jaws grin dreadful with three rows of teeth;
    Jaggy they stand, the gaping den of Death.”[260]

Not far off were the Sirens, who strove by their music to draw the
navigator to certain doom:--

    “Their song is death, and makes destruction please.
    Unblest the man whom music wins to stay
    Nigh the cursed shore and listen to the lay:
    No more that wretch shall view the joys of life,
    His blooming offspring or his beauteous wife!”[261]

Forewarned, the wise Ulysses took all precautions against the fatal
perils. Avoiding the Sicilian whirlpool, he did not run upon the
Italian rock or yield to the voice of the charmer. And yet he could
not renounce the opportunity of hearing the melody. Stuffing the ears
of his companions with wax, so that they could not be entranced by the
Sirens, or comprehend any countermanding order which his weakness might
induce him to utter, he had himself tied to the mast,--like another
Farragut,--and directed that the ship should be steered straight on. It
was steered straight on, although he cried out to stop. His deafened
companions heard nothing of the song or the countermand,--

    “Till, dying off, the distant sounds decay.”

The dangers of both coasts were at length passed, not without the loss
of six men, “chiefs of renown,” who became the prey of Scylla. But
the Sirens, humbled by defeat, dashed themselves upon the rocks and
disappeared forever.

Few stories have been more popular. It was natural that it should enter
into poetry and suggest a proverb. St. Augustine uses it, when he says,
“_Ne iterum, quasi fugiens Charybdim, in Scyllam incurras_.”[262]
Milton more than once alludes to it. Thus, in the exquisite “Comus,” he
shows these opposite terrors subdued by another power:--

                          “Scylla wept
    And chid her barking waves into attention,
    And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause.”[263]

In the “Paradise Lost,” while portraying Sin, the terrible portress at
the gates of Hell, the poet repairs to this story for illustration:--

          “Far less abhorred than these,
    Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts
    Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore.”[264]

And then again, when picturing Satan escaping from pursuit, he shows him

                            “harder beset,
    And more endangered, than when Argo passed
    Through Bosphorus betwixt the justling rocks;
    Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned
    Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steered.”[265]

But, though frequently employing the story, Milton did not use the
proverb, and here transforms at least one of the dangers.

Not only the story, but the proverb, was known to Shakespeare, who
makes Launcelot use it in his plain talk with Jessica:--“Truly, then,
I fear you are damned both by father and mother: thus, when I shun
Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother: well, you are
gone both ways.”[266] Malone, in his note, written in the last century,
says: “Alluding to the well-known line of a modern Latin poet, Philippe
Gualtier, in his poem entitled ‘Alexandreïs.’” To this testimony of
Malone’s, another editor, George Steevens, whose early bibliographical
tastes excited the praise of Dibdin, adds: “Several translations of
this adage were obvious to Shakespeare. Among other places, it is found
in an ancient poem entitled ‘A Dialogue between _Custom and Veritie_,
concerning the use and abuse of Dauncing and Minstrelsie’:--

    “‘While Silla they do seem to shun,
      In Charibd they do fall.’”

But this proverb had already passed into tradition and speech. That
Shakespeare should seize and use it was natural. He was the universal

It did not require a Shakespeare to appropriate it. Brantôme, who
wrote rather from hearing than study, so that his style is a record of
contemporary language, in describing a great lady who escaped from
Turks to fall into the hands of domestic robbers, likens the case to
falling from Scylla to Charybdis.[267] A similar illustration drops
from La Fontaine:--

    “La vieille, au lieu du coq, les fit tomber par là
      De Charybde en Scylla.”[268]

Thomson shows that it was a common illustration, when he describes
Dunkirk as

                  “the Scylla since
    And fell Charybdis of the British seas.”[269]

Mr. Webster, in an argument before the Supreme Court of the United
States, quotes and applies the words of Virgil describing these
opposite perils, and warns against Charybdis.[270] The great orator of
ancient Rome, in his second Philippic, where Mark Antony is assailed
with all his splendid ability, after picturing the culprit as seizing
and squandering an enormous property, exclaims: “What Charybdis was
ever so voracious? Charybdis do I say?--who, if she existed at all, was
a single animal.”[271] Antony is worse than Charybdis, but there is no
allusion to the sister peril. The proverb had no existence at that time.

The history of this verse seemed for a while forgotten. Like the
Wandering Jew, it was a vagrant, unknown in origin, but having
perpetual life. Erasmus, with learning so vast, quotes it, with the
variation _Incidit_, for _Incidis_, in his great work on Proverbs, and
owns that he does not remember its author. Here is the confession:
“_Celebratur apud Latinos hic versiculus, quocunque natus auctore,
nam in præsentia non occurrit_”: “This little verse is a commonplace
among Latin writers, whoever the author,--for he does not at present
occur to me.”[272] But, though unable to recall its origin, it is clear
that the idea it embodies found much favor with this representative of
moderation. He dwells on it with particular sympathy, and reproduces
it in various forms. This is the equivalent on which he hangs his
commentary: “_Evitata Charybdi, in Scyllam incidi_.”[273] It is
easy to see how inferior in form is this to the much quoted verse.
It seems to be a rendering of some Greek iambics, also of uncertain
origin, preserved by Apostolius,[274] one of the learned Greeks
scattered over Europe by the fall of Constantinople. Erasmus quotes
also another proverb with the same signification: “_Fumum fugiens,
in ignem incidi_,”[275] which warns against running into the fire to
avoid the smoke; and yet another, rendered from the Greek of Lucian:
“_Ignoraveram autem quod, juxta proverbium, ex fumo in ipsum ignem
compellerer_”: “But I didn’t know, that, according to the proverb, I
should be driven from the smoke into the fire itself.”[276] Horace
teaches that fools shunning vices run upon the opposite:--

    “Dum vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currunt”;

and then he describes one man as smelling of pastils, and another of
the goat:--

    “Pastilles Rufillus olet, Gorgonius hircum.”[277]

Erasmus quotes words of kindred sentiment from the “Phormio” of
Terence: “_Ita fugias, ne præter casam_”: which he tells us means that
we should not so fly from any vice as to be incautiously carried into
a greater.[278] In his letters the ancient fable recurs more than
once. On one occasion he warns against the dangers of youth, and says,
“Instead of the ears with wax, as in the Homeric story, the mind must
be carefully sealed by the precepts of Philosophy.”[279] Again he avows
fear, lest, shunning Scylla, he fall on a much worse Charybdis: “_Nunc
vereor ne sic vitemus hanc Scyllam, ut incidamus in Charybdim multo
perniciosiorem_.”[280] And the same fear appears yet again, where he
describes his straits: “_In has angustias protrusus sum, ut mihi, si
Scyllam fugero, in Charybdim sit incidendum_.”[281] On another occasion
he pictures himself as exposed in his expenses to the most voracious
Charybdises: “_Ex his conjecturam facias licebit, quemadmodum hic
dilabantur nummi, ubi nihil non meo sumptu geritur, et est mihi res
cum duabus Charybdibus voracissimis_.”[282] The following is cited by
Jortin from another letter of Erasmus: “Some say slanderously that I
keep a medium. I confess it is a very impious thing to keep a medium
between Christ and Belial; but I think it prudential to keep a medium
between Scylla and Charybdis.”[283] Thus did his instinctive prudence
find expression in this favorite illustration.

If Erasmus were less illustrious for learning, perhaps if his
countenance were less interesting, as we look upon it in the immortal
portraits by two great artists, Hans Holbein and Albert Dürer, I should
not be tempted to dwell on this confession of ignorance. And yet it
belongs to the history of this verse, which has had strange ups and
downs. The poem from which it is taken, after enjoying early renown,
was forgotten,--and then again, after a revival, was forgotten, again
to enjoy another revival. The last time it was revived through this
solitary verse, without which, I cannot doubt, it would have expired

Even before the days of Erasmus, who died in 1536, this verse had been
lost and found. It was circulated as a proverb of unknown origin,
when Galeotto Marzio--an Italian of infinite wit and learning,[284]
who flourished in the latter half of the fifteenth century, and was
for some time instructor of the children of Matthias Corvinus, King
of Hungary--pointed out its author. In a work of _Ana_, amusing and
instructive, entitled “De Doctrina Promiscua,” which first saw the
light in Latin, and was afterwards translated into Italian, the learned
author says: “_Hoc carmen est Gualteri Galli de Gestis Alexandri, et
non vagum proverbium, ut quidam non omnino indocti meminerunt_.” It was
not a vague proverb, as some persons not altogether unlearned have
supposed, but a verse of the “Alexandreïs.” And yet shortly afterwards
the great master of proverbs, whose learning seemed to know no bounds,
could not fix its origin. At a later day, Pasquier, in his “Recherches
de la France,” made substantially the same remark as Marzio. After
alluding to the early fame of its author, he says: “_C’est luy dans
les œuvres duquel nous trouvons un vers souvent par nous allegué,
sans que plusieurs sçachient qui en fut l’auteur_.” In quoting the
verse, the French author uses _Decidit_ instead of _Incidis_.[285] The
discovery by Marzio, and the repetition of this discovery by Pasquier,
are chronicled at a later day in the Conversations of Ménage,[286] who
found a French Boswell before that of Dr. Johnson was born. Jortin, in
the elaborate notes to his Life of Erasmus, borrows from Ménage, and
gives the same history.[287]

When Galeotto Marzio made his discovery, the poem was still in
manuscript; but there were printed editions before the “Adagia” of
Erasmus. An eminent authority--the “Histoire Littéraire de la France,”
that great work, commenced by the Benedictines, and continued by
the French Academy--says that it was printed for the first time at
Strasbourg, in 1513.[288] This is a mistake which has been repeated by
Warton.[289] Brunet, in his “Manuel du Libraire,” mentions an edition,
without place or date, with the cipher of Guillaume Le Talleur, a
printer at Rouen in 1487.[290] Panzer, in his “Annales Typographici,”
describes another edition, with the monogram of Richard Pynson, the
London printer at the close of the fifteenth century.[291] Beloe, in
his “Anecdotes of Literature,” also speaks of an edition with the
imprint of Pynson.[292] There also appears to have been an edition
under date of 1496. Then came the Strasbourg edition of 1513, by J.
Adelphus. All these are in black letter. Next was the Ingolstadt
edition, in 1541, in Italic, or, as it is called by the French,
“cursive characters,” with a brief life of the poet, by Sebastian
Link. This was followed, in 1558, by an edition at Lyons, also in
Italic, announced as now for the first time appearing in France,
“_nunc primum in Gallia_,” which was a mistake. This edition seems
to have enjoyed peculiar favor. It has been strangely confounded
with imaginary editions which never existed: thus, the Italian
Quadrio notes especially one at London, in 1558;[293] and the French
Millin assures us that the best was at Leyden, in 1558.[294] No such
editions appeared; and the only edition of that year was at Lyons.
After the lapse of a century, in 1659, there was another edition, by
Athanasius Gugger, a monk of the Monastery of St. Gall, published at
the Monastery itself, from manuscripts there, and with its own types,
“_formis ejusdem_.” The editor was ignorant of the previous editions,
and in his preface announces the poem as _a new work_, although
ancient,--never before printed, to his knowledge,--eagerly regarded
and desired by many,--and not less venerable for antiquity than for
erudition: “_En tibi, candide Lector, opus novum, ut sit antiquum,
nusquam, quod sciam, editum, a multis cupide inspectum et desideratum,
non minus antiquitate quam eruditione venerabile_.”[295] This edition
seems to have been repeated at St. Gall in 1693; and these two, which
were the last, appear to have been the best. From that time the poem
rested undisturbed until our own day, when it found a place in that
magnificent collection of patristic learning, the “Patrologiæ Cursus
Completus” of Migne.[296] Such an edition ought to be useful in
determining the text, for there must be numerous manuscripts in the
Paris libraries. As long ago as 1795 there were no less than nineteen
in the National Library, and also a manuscript at Tours, which had
drawn forth a curious commentary by M. de Foncemagne.[297]

I ought not to forget here that in 1537 a passage from this poem
was rendered into English blank verse, and is an early monument
of our language. This was by Nicholas Grimoald, a native of
Huntingdonshire, whose translation is entitled “The Death of Zoroas,
an Egyptian Astronomer, in the First Fight that Alexander had with
the Persians.”[298] This is not the only token of the attention it
awakened in England. Alexander Ross, chaplain of Charles the First,
and author, famous from a couplet of “Hudibras,” made preparations for
an edition. His dedicatory letter was written, bearing date 1644, with
two different sets of dedicatory verses, and verses from his friend
David Echlin, the scholarly physician to the king,[299] who had given
him this “great treasure.” But the work failed to appear. The identical
copy presented by Echlin, with many marginal notes from Quintus Curtius
and others, is mentioned as belonging to the Bishop of Ely at the
beginning of the present century.[300] But the homage of the Scotchman
still exists in his Dedicatory Epistle: “_Si materiam consideres,
elegantissimam utilissimamque historiam gestorum Alexandri magni
continet; certe, sive stylum, sive subjectum inspicias, dignam invenies
quæ omnium teratur manibus, quamque adolescentes_

    ‘Nocturna versentque manu, versentque diurna.’”[301]

It will be observed that he borrows superlatives to praise this poem as
“most elegant and most useful,” and by style and subject worthy of the
daily and nightly study of youth. In his verses Ross declares Alexander
not less fortunate in his poet than the Greek chieftain in Homer:--

    “Si felix præcone fuit dux Græcus Homero,
      Felix nonne tuo est carmine dux Macedo?”[302]

There was also another edition planned in France, during the latter
part of the last century, by M. Daire, the librarian of the Celestines
in Paris, founded on the Latin text, according to the various
manuscripts, with a French translation; but this never appeared.[303]

Until its late appearance in the collection of Migne, it was only
in ancient editions that this poem could be found. Of course these
are rare. The British Museum, in its immense treasure-house, has the
most important, one of which belonged to the invaluable legacy of the
late Mr. Grenville. The copy in the library of Lord Spencer is the
Lyons edition of 1558. By a singular fortune, this volume was missing
some time ago from its place on the shelves; but it has since been
found; and I have now before me a tracing from its title-page. My own
copy--and the only one which I know this side of the Atlantic--is the
Ingolstadt edition. It once belonged to John Mitford, and has on the
fly-leaves notes in the autograph of this honored lover of books.

Bibliography dwells with delight upon this poem, although latterly
the interest centres in a single line. Brunet does full justice to
it. So does his jealous rival, Graesse, except where he blunders.
Watt, in his “Bibliotheca Britannica,” under the name “Galtherus,
Philip,” mentions the Lyons edition of 1558, on which he remarks, “The
typography is very singular”; and then, under the name “Gualterus, de
Castelliona,” he mentions the edition of St. Gall in 1659. Curiously,
the learned bibliographer seems to suppose these two editions to be
different works, by different authors,--as they stand far apart, and
without reference from one to the other. Clarke, in his “Repertorium
Bibliographicum,” bearing date 1819, where he gives an account of the
most celebrated British libraries, mentions a copy of the first edition
in the library of Mr. Steevens,[304] who showed his knowledge of the
poem in his notes to Shakespeare; also a copy of the Lyons edition of
1558 in the library of the Marquis of Blandford, afterwards Duke of
Marlborough. This learned bibliographer has a note calling attention
to the fact that “there are variations in the famous disputed line in
different editions of this poem,”--that in the first edition the line
begins “_Corruis in Syllam_” but in the Lyons edition “_Incidis in
Scyllam_” while, as we have already seen, Pasquier says, “_Decidit
in Scyllam_.”[305] Lowndes, in his “Bibliographer’s Manual,” says of
the poem, “In it will be found that trite verse so often repeated,
‘_Incidis_,’” etc.,--words which seem borrowed from Beloe.[306] “Trite”
is hardly respectful.

Very little is known of the author. He is called in Latin Philippus
Gualterus or Galterus; in French it is sometimes Gaultier and sometimes
Gautier. The French biographical dictionaries, whether of Michaud or
Didot, attest the number of persons with this name, of all degrees
and professions. There was the Norman knight _sans Avoir_, a chief of
the first Crusade. There also was another Gautier, known as the Sire
d’Yvetot, stabbed to death by his sovereign, Clotaire, who is said
afterwards in penitence to have erected the lordship of Yvetot into
that kingdom which Béranger has immortalized. And there have been
others in every walk of life. Fabricius, in his “Bibliotheca Latina
Mediæ et Infimæ Ætatis,”[307] mentions no less than seventy-two Latin
authors of this name. A single verse has saved one of these from the
oblivion that has overtaken the multitude.

He was born at Lille, but at what precise date is uncertain. Speaking
generally, it may be said that he lived and wrote during the second
half of the twelfth century, while Louis the Seventh and Philip
Augustus were kings of France, and Henry the Second and Richard
Cœur-de-Lion ruled England, one century after Abélard, and one century
before Dante. After studying at Paris, he went to establish himself at
Châtillon,--but it is not known at which of the numerous towns of this
name in France. Here he was charged with the direction of the schools,
and became known by the name of the town, as appears in the epitaph,
ambitiously suggestive of Virgil, which he wrote for himself:--

    “Insula me genuit, rapuit Castellio nomen;
      Perstrepuit modulis Gallia tota meis.”

But he is known sometimes by his birthplace, and sometimes by his early
residence. The highest French authority calls him “Gaultier of Lille,
or of Châtillon.”[308] He has been sometimes confounded with Gaultier
of Coutances, Archbishop of Rouen, who was born in the island of
Jersey,[309]--and sometimes with the Bishop of Maguelonne of the same
name, reputed author of an Exposition of the Psalter, whose see was on
an island in the Mediterranean, near the coast of France.[310]

Not content with residence at Châtillon, he repaired to Bologna, in
Italy, where he studied the Civil and Canon Law. Returning to France,
he became secretary of two successive Archbishops of Rheims, the latter
of whom, by the name of William,--a descendant by his grandmother from
William the Conqueror,--occupied this place of power from 1176 to 1201.
The secretary enjoyed the favor of the Archbishop, who seems to have
been fond of letters. It was during this period that he composed, or
at least finished, his poem. Its date is sometimes placed at 1180; and
there is an allusion in its text which makes it near this time. Thomas
à Becket was assassinated before the altar of Canterbury in 1170;
and this event, so important in the history of the age, is mentioned
as recent: “_Nuper … cæsum dolet Anglia Thomam._”[311] The poem was
dedicated to the Archbishop, who was to live immortal in companionship
with his secretary:--

    “Vivemus pariter, vivet cum vate superstes
    Gloria Guillermi, nullum moritura per ævum.”[312]

The grateful Archbishop bestowed upon the poet a stall in the cathedral
of Amiens, where he died of the plague at the commencement of the
thirteenth century.[313]

This does not appear to have been his only work. Others are attributed
to him. There are dialogues _adversus Judæos_, which Oudin publishes in
his collection entitled “Veterum aliquot Galliæ et Belgii Scriptorum
Opuscula Sacra nunquam edita.” This same Oudin, in another publication,
speaks of “Opuscula Varia,” preserved among the manuscripts in the
Imperial Library[314] of France, as by Gaultier, although the larger
part of these Opuscula have been ascribed to a very different person,
Gaultier Mapes, chaplain to Henry the Second, King of England, and
Archdeacon of Oxford.[315] But more recent researches would restore
them to Philip Gaultier. An edition appeared at Hanover, in Germany, in
1859, by W. Müldener, after the Paris manuscripts, with the following
title: “Die zehn Gedichte des Walther von Lille genannt von Châtillon,
zum ersten Male vollständig herausgegeben.” Among these are satirical
songs in Latin on the World, and also on Prelates, which, it is said,
were sung in England as well as throughout France.[316] Indeed, the
second verse of the epitaph already quoted may point to these satires:--

    “Perstrepuit _modulis_ Gallia tota _meis_.”

Here, as in the “Alexandreïs,” we encounter the indignant sentiments
inspired by the assassination of Becket. The victim is called “the
flower of priests,” and the king “_Neronior est ipso Nerone_” which
may be translated by Shakespeare’s “out-Herods Herod.” But these
poems, whether by Walter Mapes or Philip Gaultier, are forgotten. The
“Alexandreïs” has a different fortune.

       *       *       *       *       *

The poem became at once famous. It had the success of Victor
Hugo or Byron. Its author took rank, not only at the head of his
contemporaries, but even among classics of antiquity. Leyser chronicles
no less than ninety-nine Latin poets in the twelfth century,[317] but
we are assured that not one of them is comparable to Gaultier.[318] M.
Édélestand du Méril, who has given especial attention to this period,
speaks of the “Alexandreïs” as a “great poem,” and remarks that its
“Latinity is very elegant for the time.”[319] Another authority calls
him “the first of the modern Latin poets who appears to have had a
spark of true poetic genius.”[320] And still another says, that,
“notwithstanding all its defects, we must regard this poem, and the
‘Philippis’ of William of Brittany, which appeared about sixty years
later, as two brilliant phenomena in the midst of the thick darkness
which covered Europe, from the decline of the Roman Empire to the
revival of letters in Italy.”[321] Pasquier, to whom I have already
referred, goes so far, in his chapter on the University of Paris, as
to illustrate its founder, Peter Lombard, as having for a contemporary
“one Galterus, an eminent poet, who wrote in Latin verses the life
of Alexander, under the title of the ‘Alexandreïs,’ a great imitator
of Lucan”; and the learned writer then adds, that it is in his work
that we find a verse often quoted without knowing the author.[322]
These testimonies show his position among contemporaries; but there is
something more.

An anonymous Latin poet of the next century, who has left a poem
on the life and miracles of Saint Oswald, calls Homer, Gaultier,
and Lucan the three capital heroic poets. Homer, he says, has
celebrated Hercules,--Gaultier, the son of Philip,--and Lucan, so he
declares, swells the praises of Cæsar; but these heroes deserve to be
immortalized in verse much less than the holy confessor Oswald.[323]
In England, the Abbot of Peterborough transcribed Seneca, Terence,
Martial, Claudian, and the “Gesta Alexandri.”[324] Even in Iceland
there was an early version, edited at a later day by Arnas Magnæus
(the Latin for Arne Magnussen), Secretary and Antiquary to the King of
Denmark, and Professor in the University of Copenhagen, who, styling
the poem the “Gualterian Alexandreïs,” characterizes the Icelandic
version as “the incomparable monument of Northern antiquity.”[325]
The new poem was studied, even to the exclusion of ancient masters and
of Virgil himself. Henry of Ghent, who wrote about 1280, says that it
“was of such dignity in the schools of the grammarians that the reading
of the ancient poets was comparatively neglected.”[326] This testimony
is curiously confirmed by the condition of the manuscripts that have
come down to us, most of which are loaded with glosses and interlinear
explanations, doubtless for public use in the schools.[327] It is
sometimes supposed that Dante repaired to Paris. It is certain that
his excellent master, Brunetto Latini, passed much time there. This
must have been at the very period when the new poem was taught in the
schools. Perhaps it may be traced in the “Divina Commedia.”

Next after the tale of Troy, the career of Alexander was at this period
the most popular subject for poetry, romance, or chronicle. The Grecian
conqueror filled a vast space in the imagination. He was the centre
of marvel and of history. Every modern literature, according to its
development, testifies to this predominance. Even dialects testify,
and so does art. Wood engraving is supposed to have been invented in
Italy, somewhere about 1285, by the two Cunio, and their earliest work
was a representation, in eight parts, of the actions of Alexander,
with explanatory verses in Latin beneath the prints.[328] In France,
the professors of grammar at Toulouse were directed by statutes of
the University, dated 1328, to read to their pupils “De Historiis
Alexandri.”[329] In England, during the reign of Henry the Third, the
sheriff was ordered to procure the Queen’s chamber at Nottingham to be
painted with the history of Alexander,--“_Depingi facias historiam,
Alexandri circumquaque_.”[330] Chaucer, in his “House of Fame,” places
Alexander with Hercules,[331] and then again shows the universality of
his renown:--

    “The storie of Alexandre is so commune,
    That every wight that hath discretioun
    Hath herd somwhat or all of his fortune.”[332]

We have the excellent authority of the poet Gray for the remark, that
the Alexandrine verse, which “like a wounded snake drags its slow
length along,” took its name from an early poem in this measure,
called “La Vie d’Alexandre.” There was also the “Roman d’Alexandre,”
contemporary with the “Alexandreïs,” which Gray thinks was borrowed
from the latter, apparently because the authors say that they took it
from the Latin.[333] There was also “The Life and Actions of Alexander
the Macedonian,” originally written in Greek, by Simeon Seth, magister,
and protovestiary or wardrobe-keeper of the palace at Constantinople,
in 1070, and translated from Greek into Latin, and thence into French,
Italian, and German.[334] Other forms have been perpetuated by the
bibliographical care of the Roxburghe Club and the Bannatyne Club.
Arabia contributed her stories, and the Grecian conqueror became a
hero of romance. Like Charlemagne, he had his twelve peers; and he
also had a horn to proclaim his word of command, which took sixty men
to blow, and was heard sixty miles,--being the same which Orlando
sounded afterwards at Roncesvalles. That great career, which was one
of the epochs of mankind, which carried in its victorious march the
Greek language and Greek civilization, which at the time enlarged the
geography of the world, opening the way to India, and which Plutarch
in his “Morals” makes so Christian, was overlaid by an incongruous
mass of fable and anachronism, so that the real story disappeared.
Times, titles, and places were confounded. Monks and convents, churches
and confessors, were mixed with achievements of the hero; and in an
early Spanish History of Alexander, by Juan Lorenzo Segura, we meet
such characters as Don Phœbus, the Emperor Jupiter, and the Count Don
Demosthenes, and others with the constant prefix of Don; and the mother
of Achilles is represented as placing him, when a child, in a convent
of Benedictine nuns,--thus subjecting the early hero as the later to
the same jumble of Heathen and Christian mythology.[335]

       *       *       *       *       *

Philip Gaultier, with all his genius, has incongruities and
anachronisms; but his poem is founded substantially upon the History
of Quintus Curtius, which he has done into Latin hexameters, with
the addition of long speeches and some few inventions. Aristotle
is represented with a hideous exterior, face and body lean, hair
neglected, and the air of a pedant exhausted by study. The soldiers of
Alexander are called Quirites, as if they were Romans. The month of
June in Greece is described as if it were in Rome:--

    “Mensis erat, cujus juvenum de nomine nomen.”[336]

Events connected with the passion of Jesus Christ are treated as having
already passed in the time of Alexander.

The poem is divided into ten books, corresponding to the number in the
original of Curtius,[337] and the ten initial letters of the books,
when put together like an acrostic, spell the name of the Archbishop,
_Guillermus_, the equivalent for William at that time, the patron of
the poet. Besides this conceit, there is a dedication both at the
beginning and the end. Quantity, especially in Greek or Asiatic words,
is disregarded; and there are affectations in style, of which the very
beginning is an instance:--

    “_Gesta_ ducis Macepûm totum _digesta_ per orbem,
    Musa, refer.”[338]

In the same vein is the verse,--

    “Inclitus ille Clitus,” etc.;[339]

and another verse, describing the violence of the soldiers after

    “Extorquent torques, et inaures perdidit auris.”[340]

A rapid analysis will at least exhibit the order of events in the poem,
and its topics, with something of its character.

Alexander appears, in the first book, a youth panting for combat with
the Persians, enemies of his country and of his father. There also is
his teacher, Aristotle. Philip dies, and the son repairs to Corinth
for coronation. Under the counsels of Demosthenes, the Athenians
declare against him. The young king arrives under the walls of Athens.
Demosthenes speaks for war; Æschines for peace. The party of peace
prevails; and the Macedonian turns to Thebes, which he besieges and
captures by assault. The poet Cloades, approaching the conqueror,
chants in lyric verses an appeal for pardon, and reminds him that
without clemency a kingdom is unstable:--

    “_Instabile est regnum quod non clementia firmat._”[341]

And the words of this chant are still resounding. But Alexander,
angry and inexorable, will not relent. He levels the towers, which
had first risen to the music of Amphion, and delivers the city to the
flames,--thus adding a new act to that tragic history which made Dante
select Thebes as the synonym of misfortune.[342] Turning from these
smoking ruins, he gathers men and ships against Persia. Traversing the
sea, he lands in Asia; and here the poet describes geographically the
different states of that continent,--Assyria, Media, Persia, Arabia,
with its Sabæan frankincense and its single phœnix,--ending with
Palestine, where a God was born of a Virgin, at whose death the world
shook with fear. Commencing his march through Cilicia and Phrygia, the
ambitious youth stops at Troy, and visits the tomb of Achilles, where
he makes a long speech.

The second book opens with the impression on the mind of Darius,
menaced by his Macedonian enemy. He writes an insolent letter, which
Alexander answers by moving forward. At Sardes he cuts the Gordian
knot, and then advances rapidly. Darius quits the Euphrates with his
vast army, which is described. Alexander bathes in the cold waters of
the Cydnus, is seized with illness, and shows his generous trust in the
physician that attended him,--drinking the handed cup, although said
to be poisoned. Restored to health, he shows himself to his troops,
who are transported with joy. Meanwhile the Persians advance. Darius
harangues. Alexander also. The two armies prepare for battle.

The third book is of battle and victory at Issus, described with
minuteness and warmth. Here dies Zoroas, the Egyptian astronomer, than
whom nobody was more skilled in the stars, the origin of winter’s cold
or summer’s heat, or in the mystery of squaring the circle,--“_circulus
an possit quadrari_.”[343] The Persians are overcome. Darius seeks
shelter in Babylon. His treasures are the prey of the conqueror. Horses
are laden with spoils, and the sacks are so full that they cannot be
tied. Rich ornaments are torn from the women, who are surrendered
to the brutality of the soldiers. Only the royal family is spared.
Conducted to the presence of Alexander, they are received with the
regard due to their sex and misfortune. The siege and destruction of
Tyre follow; then the expedition to Egypt and the temple of Jupiter
Ammon. Here is a description of the Desert, which is said, like the
sea, to have its perils, with its Scylla and its Charybdis of sand:--

                            “Hic altera sicco
    Scylla mari latrat; hic pulverulenta Charybdis.”[344]

Meanwhile Darius assembles new forces. Alexander leaves Egypt and
rushes to meet him. An eclipse of the moon causes sedition among his
soldiers, who dare to accuse their king. The phenomenon is explained by
soothsayers, and the sedition is appeased.

The fourth book opens with a funeral. It is of the Persian queen.
Alexander laments her with tears. Darius learns at the same time her
death and the generosity of his enemy. He addresses prayers to the gods
for the latter, and offers propositions of peace. Alexander refuses
these, and proceeds to bestow funeral honors upon the spouse of him he
was about to meet in battle. Then comes an invention of the poet, which
may have suggested afterwards to Dante that most beautiful passage of
the “Purgatorio,” where great scenes are sculptured on the walls.[345]
At the summit of a mountain a tomb is constructed by the skilful Hebrew
Apelles, to receive the remains of the Persian queen; and on this tomb
are carved, not only kings and names of Greek renown, but histories
from the beginning of the world:--

    “Nec solum reges et nomina gentis Achææ,
    Sed generis notat historias, ab origine mundi

Here in breathing gold is the creation in six days; the fall of man,
seduced by the serpent; Cain a wanderer; the increase of the human
race; vice prevailing over virtue; the deluge; the intoxication of
Noah; the story of Esau, of Jacob, of Joseph; the plagues of Egypt,--

    “Hic dolet Ægyptus denis percussa flagellis”;[347]

the flight of the Israelites,--

    “Et puro livescit pontus in auro”;[348]

the manna in the Desert; the giving of the Law; the gushing of water
from the rock; and then the succession of Hebrew history, stretching to
the time of Esdras,--

    “Totaque picturæ series finitur in Esdra.”[349]

At once, after these great obsequies, Alexander marches against Darius.
And here the poet dwells on the scene of the Persian army watching by
its camp-fires. Helmets rival the stars; the firmament is surprised
to see fires like its own reflected from bucklers, and fears lest the
earth be changed into sky and the night become day. Instead of the sun,
there is the helmet of Darius, which shines like Phœbus himself, and at
its top a gem of flame, obscuring the stars and yielding only to the
rays of the sun; for, as much as it yields to the latter, so much does
it prevail over the former. The youthful chieftain, under protection of
a benignant divinity, passes the night in profound repose. His army is
all marshalled for the day, and he still sleeps. He is waked, harangues
his men, and gives the order for battle. The victory of Arbela is at

The fifth book is occupied with a description of this battle. Here are
episodes in imitation of the ancients, with repetitions or parodies of
Virgil. The poet apostrophizes the unhappy, defeated Darius, as he is
about to flee, saying,--“Whither do you go, O King, about to perish in
useless flight? You do not know, alas! lost one, you do not know whom
you flee. While you flee from one enemy, you run upon other enemies.
Desiring to escape Charybdis, you fall upon Scylla.”

                            “Quo tendis inerti,
    Rex periture, fuga? Nescis, heu! perdite, nescis
    Quem fugias; hostesque incurris, dum fugis hostem;
    _Incidis in Scyllam, cupiens vitare Charybdim_.”[350]

The Persian monarch finds safety at last in Media, and Alexander
enters Babylon in triumph, surpassing all other triumphs, even those
of ancient Rome: and this is merited,--so sings the poet,--for his
exploits are above those of the most celebrated warriors, whether sung
by Lucan in magnificent style, or by Claudian in pompous verse. The
poet closes the book by referring to the condition of Christianity in
his own age, exclaiming, that, if God, touched by the groans and the
longings of his people, would accord to the French such a king, the
true faith would soon shine throughout the universe. Had he witnessed
either Bonaparte on the throne of France, it is doubtful if he would
not have regretted his supplicatory prophecy, or rejected them as
unworthy of Alexander.

The sixth book glows with the luxury of Alexander at Babylon, the
capture of Susa, the pillage of Persepolis. Here the poet forgets the
recorded excesses of his hero, with Thaïs by his side, and the final
orgy, when the celebrated city was handed to the flames at the bidding
of a courtesan; but he dwells on an incident of his own invention,
calculated to excite emotions of honor rather than of condemnation.
Alexander meets three thousand Greek prisoners, wretchedly mutilated
by the Persians, and delivers them. He leaves to them the choice of
returning to Greece, or of fixing themselves in the country there
on lands he promises to distribute. Some propose to go back. Others
insist, that, in their hideous condition, they cannot return to the
eyes of their families and friends, when an orator declares that it
is always pleasant to see again one’s country, that there is nothing
shameful in the condition caused by a barbarous enemy, and that it is
unjust to those who love them to think that they will not be glad to
see them. A few follow the orator; but the larger part remain behind,
and receive from their liberator the land he had promised, also money,
flocks, and whatever was necessary for farmers.

In the seventh book we meet the treason of Bessus substantially as in
Quintus Curtius. Darius, with chains of gold on his feet, is carried
in a closed vehicle to be delivered up. Alexander, who was still in
pursuit of his enemy, is horror-struck. With more rapidity he moves
to deliver or to avenge the Persian monarch than he ever moved to his
defeat. He is aroused against the criminals, like Jupiter pursuing the
Giants with his thunder. Darius is found in his carriage covered with
wounds and bathed in his blood. With the little breath that remains,
and yet struggling on the last confines of life, he makes a long
speech, which the poet follows with bitter exclamations against his own
age, beginning with venal Simon and his followers, and ending with the
assassins of Thomas à Becket:--

    “Non adeo ambiret cathedræ venalis honorem
    Jam vetus ille Simon, non incentiva malorum
    Pollueret sacras funesta pecunia sedes.”[351]

Thus here again the poet precedes Dante, whose terrible condemnation of
Simon has a kindred bitterness:--

    “O Simon mago, o miseri seguaci,
      Che le cose di Dio, che di bontate
      Denno essere spose, voi rapaci
    Per oro e per argento adulterate.”[352]

These ejaculations are closed by an address to the manes of Darius,
and a promise to immortalize him in the verse of the poet. The grief
of Alexander for the Persian queen is renewed for the sovereign. The
Hebrew Apelles is charged to erect in his honor a lofty pyramid in
white marble, with sculptures in gold. Four columns of silver, with
base and capital of gold, support with admirable art a concave vault,
where are represented the three continents of the terrestrial globe,
with their rivers, forests, mountains, cities, and people. In the
characteristic description of each nation, France has soldiers and
Italy wine:--

    “Francia militibus, celebri Campania Bacco.”[353]

From funeral the poet passes to festival, and portrays the banquets
and indulgence to which Alexander now invites his army. Sedition
ensues. The soldiers ask return to their country. Alexander harangues
and awakens the love of glory. They swear to confront all dangers,
following him to the end of the world.

The eighth book chronicles the march into Hyrcania; the visit of
Talestris, queen of the Amazons, and her Amazonian life, with one
breast burnt so as to accommodate the bent bow; then the voluntary
sacrifice of all the immense booty of the conqueror, as an example for
the troops; then the conspiracy against Alexander in his own camp,
with the examination and torture of the son of Parmenio, suspected of
complicity; and then the doom of Bessus, the murderer of Darius, who
is delivered by Alexander to the brother of his victim. Then comes the
expedition to Scythia. The Macedonian, on the banks of the Tanaïs,
receives an embassy. The ambassador fails to delay him; he crosses
the river, and reduces the deserts and mountains of Scythia. And here
the poet likens this people, which, after resisting so many powerful
nations, now falls under the yoke, to a lofty, star-seeking Alpine
fir, “_astra petens abies_,”[354] which, after resisting for ages all
the winds of the East, of the West, and of the South, falls under the
blows of Boreas. The name of the conqueror becomes a terror, and other
nations in this distant region submit voluntarily, without a blow.

The ninth book commences with a mild allusion to the murder of Clitus,
and other incidents, teaching that the friendships of kings are not

                      “Etenim testatur eorum
    Finis amicitias regum non esse perennes.”[355]

Here comes the march upon India. Kings successively submit. Porus alone
dares to resist. With a numerous army he awaits the Macedonian on the
Hydaspes. The two armies stand face to face on the opposite banks. Then
occurs the episode of two youthful Greeks, Nicanor and Symmachus, born
the same day, and attached like Nisus and Euryalus. Their perilous
expedition fails, under pressure of numbers, and the two friends, cut
off and wounded, after prodigies of valor, at last embrace, and die
in each other’s arms. Then comes the great battle. Porus, vanquished,
wounded, and a prisoner, is brought before Alexander. His noble
spirit touches the generous heart of the conqueror, who restores his
dominions, increases them, and places him in the number of friends:--

    “Odium clementia vicit.”[356]

The gates of the East are now open. His movement has the terror of
thunder breaking in the middle of the night,--

    “Quem sequitur fragor, et fractæ collisio nubis.”[357]

A single city arrests the triumphant march. Alexander besieges it, and
himself mounts the first to the assault. His men are driven back. Then
from the top of the ladder, instead of leaping back, he throws himself
into the city, and alone encounters the foe. Surrounded, belabored,
wounded, he is about to perish, when his men, learning his peril,
redouble their efforts, burst open the gates, inundate the place, and
massacre the inhabitants. After a painful operation, Alexander is
restored to his army and to his great plans of conquest. The joy of the
soldiers, succeeding sorrow, is likened to that of sailors, who, after
seeing the pilot overboard, and ready to be ingulfed by the raging
floods, as Boreas plays the Bacchanal, “_Borea bacchante_,”[358] at
last behold him rescued from the abyss and again at the helm. But the
army is disturbed by preparation for distant maritime expeditions.
Alexander avows that the world is too small for him; that, when it is
all conquered, he will push on to subjugate another universe; that he
will lead them to the Antipodes, and to another Nature; and that, if
they refuse to accompany him, he will go forth alone, and offer himself
as chief to other people. The army is on fire with this answer, and vow
again never to abandon their king.

The tenth book is the last. Nature, indignant that a mortal should
venture to penetrate her hidden places, suspends unfinished works, and
descends to the lower world for succor against the conqueror. Before
the gates of Erebus, under the walls of the Stygian city,--

    “Ante fores Erebi, Stygiæ sub mœnibus urbis,”[359]--

are sisters, monsters of the earth, representing every vice,--thirst of
gold, drunkenness, gluttony, treachery, detraction, envy, hypocrisy,
adulation. In a distant recess is a perpetual furnace, where crimes are
punished, but not with equal flames, as some are tormented more lightly
and others more severely. Leviathan is in the midst of his furnace; but
he drops his serpent form, and assumes the divine aspect he had worn
when wishing to share the high Olympus,--

                            “Cum sidere solis
    Clarior intumuit, tantamque superbia mentem
    Extulit, ut summum partiri vellet Olympum.”[360]

To him the stranger appeals against the projects of Alexander, which
extend on one side to the unknown sources of the Nile and the Garden
of Paradise, and on the other to the Antipodes and ancient Chaos. The
infernal monarch convenes his assembly on the plains where agonize the
souls of the wicked in undying torments,--

                        “quibus mors
    Est non posse mori,”[361]--

and where, as in the Inferno of Dante, ice and snow, as well as fire,
are punishments. The satraps of Styx are collected, and the ancient
Serpent addresses sibilations from his hoarse throat:--

    “Hic ubi collecti satrapæ Stygis et tenebrarum,
    Consedere duces, et gutture sibila rauco
    Edidit antiquus serpens.”[362]

He commands the death of the Macedonian king before his plans can be
executed. Treason rises and proposes poison. All Hell applauds; and
Treason, in disguise, fares forth to instruct the agent. The whole
scene suggests sometimes Dante and sometimes Milton. Each was doubtless
familiar with it. Meanwhile Alexander returns to Babylon. The universe
is in suspense, not knowing to which side he will direct his arms. From
all quarters ambassadors come to his feet. In the pride of power he is
universal lord. At a feast, surrounded by friends, he drinks the fatal
cup. His end approaches, showing to the last grandeur and courage. The
poet closes, as he began, with salutation to his patron.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the sketch of a curiosity of literature. It is interesting to
look upon this little book, which for a time played so considerable
a part; to imagine the youthful students once nurtured by it; to
recognize its relations to an age when darkness was slowly yielding to
light; to note its possible suggestions to great poets who followed,
especially to Dante; and to behold it lost from human knowledge, and
absolutely forgotten, until saved by a single verse, which, from its
completeness of form and its proverbial character, must live as long as
the Latin language. The verse does not occupy much room; but it is a
sure fee-simple for the poet. And are we not told by an ancient, that
it is something, in whatsoever place or corner, to have made one’s self
master of a spot big enough for a single lizard?

    “Est aliquid, quocumque loco, quocumque recessu,
    Unius sese dominum fecisse lacertæ.”[363]

A poem of ten books shrinks to a very petty space. There is a balm of a
thousand flowers, and here a single hexameter is the express essence
of many times a thousand verses. It was the jest of Hamlet, conversing
with Horatio in the churchyard, that the noble Alexander, returning
to dust and loam, had stopped a bung-hole. But the memorable poem
celebrating him, while reduced as much, may be put to far higher and
more enduring use.


At the conclusion of a fable there is a moral, or, as sometimes
called, the application. There is a moral now, or, if you please, the
application. And, believe me, in these serious days, I should have
little heart for literary diversion, if I did not hope to make it help
those just principles which are essential to the well-being, if not the
safety, of the Republic. To this end I have written. This article is
only a long whip with a snapper.

Two verses rescued from the wreck of a once popular poem have become
proverbs, and one of these is very famous. They inculcate clemency,
and the common sense found in not running upon one danger to avoid
another. Never was the lesson more needed than now, when, in the
name of clemency to belligerent traitors, the National Government is
preparing to abandon the freedman, to whom it is bound by the most
sacred ties,--is preparing to abandon the national creditor also, with
whose security the national welfare is indissolubly associated,--and
is even preparing, without probation or trial, to invest belligerent
traitors, who for four bloody years have murdered our fellow-citizens,
with those Equal Rights in the Republic which are denied to friends and
allies, so that the former shall rule over the latter. Verily, here is
a case for common sense.

The lesson of clemency is of perpetual obligation. Thanks to the
mediæval poet for teaching it! Harshness is bad. Cruelty is detestable.
Even justice may relent at the prompting of mercy. Fail not, then,
to cultivate the grace of clemency. Perhaps no scene in history is
more charming than that of Cæsar, who, after vows against an enemy,
listened calmly to the appeal for pardon, and, listening, let the
guilty papers fall from his hand. Early in life he had pleaded in the
Senate for the lives of conspirators; and afterwards, when supreme
ruler of the Roman world, practised the clemency he had once defended,
except where enemies were incorrigible, and then he knew how to be
rigorous and firm. By example we are instructed; and from the great
master of clemency we may well learn that the general welfare must not
be sacrificed to this indulgence. And also from the Divine Teacher
we may learn, that, even while forgiving enemies, there are Scribes
and Pharisees to be exposed, and money-changers who must be scourged
from the temple. But with us are Scribes and Pharisees, and there are
also criminals, worse than any money-changers, now trying to establish
themselves in the very temple of our Government.

Cultivate clemency. But consider well what is embraced in this charity.
It is not required that you surrender the Republic into the hands of
pardoned criminals. It is not required that you surrender friends
and allies to the tender mercies of these same pardoned criminals.
Clearly not. Clemency has limitations; and when it transcends these,
it ceases to be a virtue, and is only a mischievous indulgence. Of
course, one of these limitations, never to be disregarded, is _the
general security_, which is the first duty of Government. No pardon
can be allowed to imperil the nation; nor can any pardon be allowed to
imperil those rightfully looking to us for protection. There must be no
vengeance upon enemies; but there must be no sacrifice of friends. And
here is the distinction never to be forgotten. _Nothing for vengeance;
everything for justice._ Follow this rule, and the Republic will be
safe and glorious. Words attributed to Marcus Aurelius in a letter to
his colleague in empire, Lucius Verus, are worthy to be repeated now by
the chief of the Republic:--

                  “Ever since the Fates
    Placed me upon the throne, two aims have I
    Kept fixed before my eyes; and they are these,--
    Not to revenge me on my enemies,
    _And not to be ungrateful to my friends_.”[364]

It is easy for the individual to forgive. It is easy, also, for the
Republic to be generous. But forgiveness of offences must not be a
letter of license to crime; it must not be recognition of an ancient
tyranny, and it must not be stupendous ingratitude. There is a familiar
saying, with the salt of ages, that is addressed to us now: “Be just
before you are generous.” Be just to all before you are generous to
the few. Be just to the millions _only half rescued_ from oppression,
before you are generous to their cruel taskmasters. Do not imitate
that precious character in the gallery of old Tallemant des Réaux,
“who built churches without paying his debts.” Our foremost duties now
are to pay our debts, and these are twofold,--first, to the national
freedman, and, secondly, to the national creditor.

Apply these obvious principles practically. A child can do it. No
duty of clemency can justify injustice. Therefore, in exercising the
beautiful power of pardon at this moment, several conditions must be

1. As a general rule, belligerent traitors, who have battled against
the country, must not be permitted _at once_, without probation or
trial, to resume old places of trust and power. Such a concession would
be clearly against every suggestion of common sense, and President
Johnson doubtless saw it so, when, addressing his fellow-citizens of
Tennessee, June 9, 1864, he said: “I say that traitors should take a
back seat in the work of restoration. If there be but five thousand
men in Tennessee loyal to the Constitution, loyal to freedom, loyal
to justice, these true and faithful men should control the work of
reorganization and reformation absolutely.”[365] Let belligerent
traitors be received slowly and cautiously back into the sovereignty of
citizenship. Better that they should wait than the general security be
imperilled, or our solemn obligations, whether to the national freedman
or the national creditor, impaired.

2. Especially are we bound, by every obligation of justice and by every
sentiment of honor, to see that belligerent traitors, who have battled
against their country, are not allowed to rule the constant loyalists,
whether white or black, embracing the recent freedmen, our friends and

3. Let pardons issue only on satisfactory assurance that the applicant,
who has been engaged for four years in murdering our fellow-citizens,
shall sustain the Equal Rights, civil and political, of all men,
according to the principles of the Declaration of Independence; that he
shall pledge himself to the support of the national debt; and, if he be
among the large holders of land, that he shall set apart homesteads for
all his freedmen.

Following these simple rules, clemency will be a Christian virtue, and
not a perilous folly.

       *       *       *       *       *

The other proverb has its voice also, saying plainly, Follow common
sense, and do not, while escaping one danger, rush upon another. You
are now escaping from the whirlpool of war, which threatened to absorb
and ingulf the Republic. Rush not upon the opposite terror, where
another shipwreck of a different kind awaits you, while Sirens tempt
with “song of death.” Take warning: _Seeking to escape Charybdis, do
not drive upon Scylla_.

Alas! the Scylla on which the Republic now drives is that old rock
of _concession and compromise_ which from the beginning has been a
constant peril. It appeared in the Convention that framed the National
Constitution, and ever afterwards, from year to year, showed itself
in Congress, until at last the Oligarchy, nursed by our indulgence,
rebelled. And now that the war is over, it is proposed to invest the
same Rebel Oligarchy with a new lease of immense power, involving
control over loyal citizens, whose fidelity to the Republic has been
beyond question. Here, too, are Sirens, in the shape of belligerent
traitors, suing softly that the Republic may be lured to the old
concession and compromise. _Alas, that, escaping Charybdis, we drive
upon Scylla!_

The Oligarchy conducted all its operations in the name of State Rights,
and in this name it rebelled. And when the Republic sought to suppress
the Rebellion, it was replied, that a State could not be coerced.
Now that the Rebellion is overthrown, and a just effort is made to
obtain that “security for the future” without which the war will have
been in vain, the same cry of State Rights is raised, and we are told
again that a State cannot be coerced,--as if the same mighty power
which directed armies upon the Rebellion could be impotent to exact
all needful safeguards. To overcome these pretensions, and stamp _E
Pluribus Unum_ ineffaceably upon the Republic, we contended in war; and
now we surrender again to these tyrannical pretensions. Escaping from
war, we drive upon the opposite peril,--_as from Charybdis to Scylla_.

Again, we are told gravely, that the national power which decreed
Emancipation cannot maintain it by assuring universal enfranchisement,
because an imperial government must be discountenanced,--as if the
whole suggestion of “imperialism” or “centralism” were not out of place
until the national security is established, and our debts, whether to
the national freedman or the national creditor, are placed where they
cannot be repudiated. A phantom is created, and, to avoid this phantom,
we drive towards concession and compromise,--_as from Charybdis to

Again, we are reminded that military power must yield to the civil
power and to the rights of self-government. Therefore the Rebel
States must be left to themselves, each with full control over all,
whether white or black, within its borders, and empowered to keep
alive a Black Code abhorrent to civilization and dangerous to liberty.
Here, again, we drive from one peril upon another. Every exercise of
military power is to be regretted, and yet there are occasions when
it cannot be avoided. War itself is the transcendent example of this
power. But transition from war to peace must be assured by all possible
safeguards. Civil power and self-government cannot be conceded to
belligerent enemies until after the establishment of “security for the
future.” Such security is an indispensable safeguard, without which
there will be new disaster. Therefore, in escaping from military power,
care must be taken not to run upon the opposite danger,--_as from
Charybdis to Scylla_.

Again, it is said solemnly, that “we must trust each other”; which,
being interpreted, means that the Republic must proceed at once
to trust belligerent enemies who have for long years murdered our
fellow-citizens. Of course, this is only another form of surrender. In
trusting them, we concede political power, including license to oppress
loyal persons, whether white or black, and especially the freedmen. For
four years we have met them in battle; and now we run to trust them,
and commit into their keeping the happiness and well-being of others.
There is peril in trusting such an enemy, more even than in meeting him
on the field. God forbid that we drive now upon this rock,--_as from
Charybdis to Scylla_!

The true way is easy. Follow common sense. Seeking to avoid one peril,
steer clear of another. Consider how everything of worth or honor is
bound up with the national security and the national faith,--and
that, until these are fixed beyond change, agriculture, commerce, and
industry of all kinds must suffer. Capital cannot stay where justice is
denied. Emigration must avoid a land blasted by the spirit of caste.
Cotton itself will refuse to grow until labor is assured its just
reward. By natural consequence, the same Barbarism which has drenched
the land in blood will continue to prevail, with wrong, outrage, and
the insurrections of an oppressed race; the national name will be
dishonored, and the national power weakened. But the way is plain to
avoid these calamities. _Follow common sense; and obtain guaranties
commensurate with the danger._ Do this without delay, so that security
and reconciliation may not be postponed. Every day’s delay is a loss
to the national wealth and an injury to the national treasury. But
if adequate guaranties cannot be obtained at once, then at least
_postpone all present surrender to the Oligarchy_, trusting meanwhile
to Providence for protection, and to time for that awakened sense of
justice and humanity which must in the end prevail. And, finally, _be
careful not to drive, under any pretence, from Charybdis to Scylla_.


[1] Appleton’s Annual Cyclopædia, 1864, art., _Diplomatic
Correspondence_, pp. 364-366.

[2] Quæstiones Juris Publici, tr. Du Ponceau, Lib. I. cap. 8.

[3] Commentaries on American Law, Vol. I. p. 117.

[4] International Law, pp. 517, 520.

[5] Writings, Vol. III. p. 548.

[6] To M. de Ternant, May 15, 1793: Jefferson’s Writings, Vol. III. p.

[7] Vol. VI. pp. 348, 352, July 23, 1814.

[8] Froude, History of England (London, 1863), Vol. VIII. pp. 481-483.

[9] Motley, History of the Netherlands, Vol. II. pp. 284, 285.

[10] Cussy, Phases et Causes Célèbres du Droit Maritime des Nations,
Tom. II. p. 60.

[11] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. III. ch. 7, § 132.

[12] Émérigon, Traité des Assurances (Marseille, 1783), Tom. I. p. 500,
Ch. 12, § 23. See, also, Azuni, Droit Maritime de l’Europe (Paris, An
VI.), Tom. II. p. 306, note, Part. II. ch. 4, art. 4, § 5.

[13] Cussy, Phases et Causes Célèbres du Droit Maritime, Tom. II. pp.
70, 71.

[14] Ibid., Tom. II. p. 71.

[15] Cussy, Phases et Causes Célèbres du Droit Maritime, Tom. II. p. 70.

[16] Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 3d Sess., Senate, No. 4.

[17] Cussy, Phases et Causes Célèbres, Tom. II. pp. 222-224.

[18] Ibid., p. 238.

[19] Ibid., p. 240.

[20] Cussy, Phases et Causes Célèbres, Tom. II. pp. 81, 82.

[21] American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III. pp. 6, 183,
499, 500.

[22] Thiers, Histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire, Tom. VIII. Liv. 28,
pp. 185-199.

[23] Niles’s Register, Vol. VI. pp. 338-344, 347-353. Porter’s Journal
(New York, 1822), Ch. XVIII.

[24] Wheaton’s Elements of International Law, ed. Lawrence, note 217,
p. 721. Executive Documents, 32d Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 24. Cussy,
Phases et Causes Célèbres, Tom. II. p. 82.

[25] Harris’s Life of Bainbridge, pp. 157, 158.

[26] Executive Documents, 25th Cong. 3d Sess., H. of R. No. 183.
Webster’s Works, Vol. V. p. 116; Vol. VI. pp. 261, 300.

[27] Cussy, Phases et Causes Célèbres, Tom. II. p. 370.

[28] Memoirs of George II., Vol. II. p. 378.

[29] Letter to Sir Horace Mann, December 13, 1759: Letters of Horace
Walpole, ed. Cunningham, (London, 1857,) Vol. III. p. 271.

[30] Hautefeuille, Des Droits et des Devoirs des Nations Neutres (2me
édit.), Tom. I. p. 329.

[31] Mahon’s History of England, Vol. IV. p. 148; Appendix, pp.

[32] Mahon, History of England, Vol. IV., Appendix, pp. xxxvii-xli.

[33] Desoteux, Mémoires sur l’Administration de Pombal, Tom. II. p. 13.

[34] Annual Register, 1762, p. 220.

[35] Juvenal, Sat. II. 24.

[36] Annuaire des Deux Mondes, 1862-63, pp. 920-926. See also
Parliamentary Papers for 1863, Vol. LXXIII., where Earl Russell’s note
is without an offensive clause which appears in the French authority.

[37] Annuaire des Deux Mondes, 1862-63, p. 925.

[38] MS. Letter of Henry A. Hopner, Lynn, December 2, 1864.

[39] Reciprocity Treaty: Executive Documents, 36th Cong. 1st Sess., H.
of R., No. 96, pp. 28, 29.

[40] Navigation of the Northern and Northwestern Lakes: Reports of
House Committees, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 316, p. 10.

[41] Reciprocity Treaty: Reports of House Committees, 38th Cong. 1st
Sess., No. 39, p. 6.

[42] Foreign and Domestic Commerce: Executive Documents, 38th Cong. 1st
Sess., Senate, No. 55, p. 93.

[43] Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward, March 23, 1865: Papers relating to
Foreign Affairs, 39th Cong. 1st Sess.: Diplomatic Correspondence,
1865-66, Part I. p. 258.

[44] Andrew Fletcher, of Saltoun: Preface to Political Works (Glasgow,
1749), p. viii.

[45] Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II. § 1838; Ware
_v._ Hylton, 3 Dallas, R., 261. See also, _ante_, Speech on the
Abrogation of Treaties, Vol. V. pp. 102, 103.

[46] 2 Black, R., 671.

[47] Diplomatic Correspondence, 1865-66, Part I. p. 164: Papers
relating to Foreign Affairs, 39th Cong. 1st Sess.

[48] Writings, ed. Sparks, Vol. III. pp. 59, 60.

[49] Commentaries on American Law, Vol. I. p. 94.

[50] International Law, p. 296.

[51] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. II. ch. 18, § 339.

[52] Ibid., Liv. III. ch. 8, § 155.

[53] General Orders, Adjutant General’s Office, 1863, No. 100.

[54] Instructions, Sec. I. art. 27.

[55] Commentaries upon International Law, Vol. III. p. 149, Part IX.
ch. 8, § 103.

[56] Letter to Mr. Murray, Rome, May 9, 1817: Moore’s Life of Byron
(London, 1847), p. 355.

[57] De l’Esprit des Lois, Liv. I. ch. 3.

[58] Speech in Faneuil Hall, January 9, 1865: Boston Daily Advertiser,
January 10, 1865; Orations and Speeches, Vol. IV. pp. 757, 758.

[59] Ben Jonson, The Fox, Act II. Sc. 6.

[60] Executive Documents, 38th Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., No. 32, pp. 1,

[61] Inferno, tr. Wright, Canto XXXIII. 85-87.

[62] _Ante_, Vol. III. p. 51.

[63] That question was then under discussion. _Ante_, Vol. X. pp. 336,

[64] Acts of the General Assembly of New Jersey, 1831-2, p. 80.

[65] Memorial of the Executive Committee of the Delaware and Raritan
Canal and Camden and Amboy Railroad and Transportation Companies:
Documents accompanying the Governor’s Message to the Legislature of New
Jersey, October, 1841: Proceedings of the General Assembly, 1841-2, pp.
29, 30.

[66] Memorial of the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company:
Ibid., p. 32.

[67] American State Papers, Post-Office Department, p. 15.

[68] Gibbons _v._ Ogden, 9 Wheaton, R., 195.

[69] United States _v._ Coombs, 12 Peters, S. C. R., 78.

[70] 7 Howard, R., 400.

[71] Ibid., 462, 464.

[72] State of Pennsylvania _v._ Wheeling and Belmont Bridge Company: 18
Howard, R., 421.

[73] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. pp. 569, 570.

[74] Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II. § 1134.

[75] Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II. § 1144.

[76] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 334.

[77] Acts of the General Assembly of New Jersey, 1830-31, p. 75.

[78] Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II. § 1146.

[79] Ibid., § 1136.

[80] Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II. § 1131.

[81] The West River Bridge Company _v._ Dix et al., 6 Howard, R., 507.

[82] Abridgment of American Law, Appendix to Vol. IX. p. 10.

[83] Yates’s Minutes, June 29, 1787: Elliot’s Debates (2d edit.), Vol.
I. p. 461.

[84] Ibid., p. 464.

[85] Madison’s Debates, July 7, 1787: Madison Papers, Vol. II. p. 1049.

[86] Madison’s Debates, September 12, 1787.

[87] Hawkins, Pleas of the Crown, Book I. ch. 79, sec. 1.

[88] Works, Vol. VI. p. 8.

[89] Works, Vol. VI. p. 11.

[90] Ibid., pp. 9, 10.

[91] Annual Message, December 31, 1855.

[92] Dred Scott _v._ Sandford, 19 Howard, R., 407.

[93] Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay, Vol.
III. pp. 49, 84.

[94] Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Vol. X. p. 452, Appendix.

[95] Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., 2d Ser. Vol. VIII. p. 184.

[96] Historical Magazine, June, 1864, Vol. VIII. pp. 195, 197: first
printed Boston, 1700.

[97] Washburn, Judicial History of Massachusetts, p. 202.

[98] Commonwealth _v._ Aves, 18 Pickering, R., 209.

[99] Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,
Vol. I. p. 243.

[100] Act to prevent the Importation of Negroes and Indians, June 7,
1712: Laws, ed. Dallas (Philadelphia, 1797), Vol. I. p. 93; Archives,
ed. Hazard, Vol. I. pp. 160, 162.

[101] Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery: Laws, ed. Dallas, Vol.
I. p. 838.

[102] Dred Scott _v._ Sandford, 19 Howard, R., 572, 573.

[103] State _v._ Manuel, 4 Devereux & Battle, R., 25.

[104] Journals of Congress, Vol. III. p. 503; Vol. IV. pp. 379, 380.

[105] Hoare’s Memoirs of Granville Sharp (London, 1820), p. 157.

[106] Letter to a Friend, February 26, 1791; Journal, February 12,
1772; Thoughts upon Slavery, V. 5: Works (New York, 1856), Vol. VII. p.
237; Vol. IV. p. 366; Vol. VI. p. 292.

[107] Rights of the British Colonies, p. 43.

[108] Address (Philadelphia, 1773, 2d edit.), with a Vindication of the
same, pp. 8, 15, 52.

[109] Letter to Robert Pleasants, January 18, 1773: Goodell’s Slavery
and Antislavery, p. 70, note.

[110] Notes on Virginia, Query XVIII.

[111] Clarkson, History of the Abolition of the African Slave-Trade
(Philadelphia, 1808), Ch. V., Vol. I. p. 112.

[112] Brief Statement of the Rise and Progress of the Testimony of
the Religious Society of Friends against Slavery and the Slave-Trade
(Philadelphia, 1843), p. 8.

[113] Notices of Negro Slavery as connected with Pennsylvania, by
Edward Bettle: Mem. Hist. Soc. Penn., Vol. I. pp. 366, 367.

[114] Brief Statement, p. 43.

[115] A Testimony against that Anti-Christian Practice of making Slaves
of Men: Macy’s History of Nantucket, p. 279.

[116] Memoirs of Benjamin Lay and Ralph Sandiford, by Roberts Vaux, pp.
29, 64. Goodell, Slavery and Antislavery, p. 40.

[117] Clarkson, Vol. I. p. 113. Brief Statement, p. 17.

[118] Clarkson, Vol. I. p. 119. Brief Statement, p. 30.

[119] Brief Statement, pp. 43-56.

[120] Ibid., p. 47.

[121] Brief Statement, p. 50.

[122] Ezekiel, xxii. 29. Brief Statement, p. 53.

[123] History of the United States, Vol. IV. p. 176.

[124] Records of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, from
1716 to 1788, (Philadelphia, 1841,) p. 540.

[125] Goodell, Slavery and Antislavery, p. 108.

[126] Newport Church Records, March 5, 1784: Memoir of Dr. Hopkins,
prefixed to his Works, ed. Parks, (Boston, 1854,) Vol. I. p. 157.

[127] Slavery of the Africans, a Dialogue: Works, Vol. II. p. 552.

[128] Sermon on the Injustice and Impolicy of the Slave-Trade, and of
the Slavery of the Africans, September 15, 1791.

[129] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess., col. 1197, 1198.

[130] Speeches in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1788 and 1789:
American Museum, Vol. VI. p. 75, July, 1789; Wheaton’s Life of Pinkney,
p. 11.

[131] Rushworth’s Historical Collections, Vol. II. p. 468.

[132] Howell’s State Trials, Vol. III. col. 1315.

[133] Holinshed’s Chronicles (London, 1807-8), Introduction, Historical
Description of Britain, by William Harrison, Book II. ch. 5, Vol. I. p.

[134] Holy and Profane State, Book II. ch. 21.

[135] Smith _v._ Brown and Cooper, 2 Salkeld, R., 666.

[136] Chamberlain _v._ Harvey, 1 Lord Raymond, R., 147.

[137] Smith _v._ Gould, 2 Lord Raymond, R., 1274.

[138] Lives of the Chief Justices of England, Vol. II. p. 138.

[139] Shanley _v._ Hervey, cited by Hargrave, arguing in the Somerset
case: Howell’s State Trials, Vol. XX. col. 56.

[140] Ibid., col. 82.

[141] See Brougham’s Speeches (Edinburgh, 1838), Vol. II. pp. 6, 631.

[142] Cragii Jus Feudale, Lib. I. Dieg. 11, § 32.

[143] Knight _v._ Wedderburn, in note to the Somerset case: Howell’s
State Trials, Vol. XX. col. 2-7.

[144] Two Treatises of Government, Book I. ch. 1, § 1.

[145] Letter to William Drummond, August 13, 1766: Boswell’s Life of
Johnson, ed. Croker, (London, 1848,) Vol. III. p. 11.

[146] Theory of Moral Sentiments (Edinburgh, 1808), Part V. ch. 2, Vol.
II. p. 34.

[147] Essays, Part II. No. XI.; Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations:
Philosophical Works (Edinburgh, 1826), Vol. III. p. 427.

[148] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 22, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. p. 1391.

[149] Notes on Virginia, Query XVIII.

[150] The Task, Book II. 40-42.

[151] Speech on the Trial of Warren Hastings, June 6, 1788: Moore’s
Memoirs of Sheridan (London, 1825), Vol. I. p. 505.

[152] Koch et Schoell, Histoire Abrégée des Traités de Paix, Tom. XI.
p. 178.

[153] Causes Célèbres (Paris, 1739-53), Tom. XIII. pp. 502-505: Liberté
réclamée par un Nègre contre son maître.

[154] Institutes Coutumières, Liv. I. § 24, Tom. I. pp. 38-41.

[155] Vies des Hommes Illustres et Grands Capitaines François, Discours
LXXVIII.: Œuvres (Paris, 1822-23), Tom. III. p. 184.

[156] Commonweal, tr. Knolles, Book I. ch. 5, p. 42.

[157] Causes Célèbres, Tom. XIII. pp. 549, 550.

[158] Recueil d’Édits, etc., concernant l’Administration de la Justice
et la Police des Colonies Françaises de l’Amérique (Paris, 1765), pp.
67, 89, 128.

[159] Causes Célèbres, Tom. XIII. p. 549.

[160] Vol. XX. col. 12-16, note.

[161] Un Nègre et une Négresse qui réclamoient leur liberté contre un
Juif: Causes Célèbres (Paris, 1775-87), Tom. XXXVI. pp. 49-110.

[162] Un Nègre et une Négresse, etc.: Causes Célèbres, Tom. XXXVI. pp.
50, 51, 66.

[163] Ibid., pp. 82, 83.

[164] Encyclopédie (Paris, 1751-72), art. _Esclavage_, Tom. V. p. 939.

[165] De l’Esprit des Lois, Liv. XV. ch. 5.

[166] Remarques sur les Pensées de Pascal: Œuvres de Condorcet, par
O’Connor et Arago, Tom. III. p. 650.

[167] See, _ante_, Lecture on Lafayette, Vol. V. pp. 392, 398.

[168] Ibid., p. 398.

[169] “Nam ipsi Belgæ servos non habent, nisi in Asia, Africa, et
America.”--_Quæstiones Juris Publici_, Lib. I. cap. 3.

[170] Voyage de Hollande, 1773: Œuvres de Diderot (Paris, 1821), Tom.
XXI. p. 294.

[171] Prescott, History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, Vol.
II. pp. 471, 472.

[172] Prescott, History of the Conquest of Mexico, Vol. I. p. 379.

[173] Ibid., History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, Vol. III.
p. 476, note.

[174] Ibid., History of the Conquest of Mexico, Vol. III. pp. 345, 346.

[175] Soto, De Justitia et Jure, Lib. IV. Quæst. 2, Art. 2.

[176] Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy, Sec. 3:
Miscellaneous Works (London, 1851), p. 24.

[177] Southey, History of Brazil (London, 1810-19), Vol. II. ch. 26,
pp. 476, 479.

[178] Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol. I. pp. 163, 172.

[179] Balmés, Protestantism and Catholicity (London, 1849), Note XV. §
7, p. 378.

[180] First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801: Writings, Vol. VIII., p.

[181] See, _ante_, Vol. VIII. p. 361.

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

[183] Hon. Alexander H. Rice, a Representative of Boston, being absent
from Boston, addressed a letter to the President.

[184] Bacon _v._ Bancroft, 3 Law Reporter, 387. See, also, Lee _v._
Lincoln, 1 Story, R., 610.

[185] This incident is related by Mr. Sumner in his Introduction to the
Boston edition of the Nasby Letters, in 1872.

[186] “Ce furent les plus grands intérêts de l’univers décidés par des
rencontres de patrouilles.”--_Mémoires_, publiés par sa Famille, Tom.
V. p. 167.

[187] Journal of the Federal Convention, September 12, 1787, p. 368.

[188] Letter, August 1, 1786: Writings, ed. Sparks, Vol. IX. pp. 187,

[189] Speech at Springfield, June 17, 1858: Political Debates between
Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas in 1858, p. 1.

[190] Speech at Springfield, June 17, 1858: Political Debates, p. 2.

[191] Political Debates, p. 75.

[192] Ibid., p. 12.

[193] Speech at Chicago, July 10, 1858: Political Debates, pp. 23, 24.

[194] Ibid., pp. 35, 36.

[195] Political Debates, pp. 51, 52.

[196] Political Debates, p. 63.

[197] Ibid., p. 71.

[198] Ibid., p. 83.

[199] Political Debates, p. 116.

[200] Ibid., p. 178.

[201] Political Debates, p. 225.

[202] Crosby’s Life of Lincoln, pp. 32, 33.

[203] Boston Daily Advertiser, April 14, 1859.

[204] Speech before the State Convention of Georgia, January 18, 1861:
McPherson’s Political History of the United States during the Great
Rebellion (2d edit.), p. 26.

[205] Speech in the Senate of the United States, December 10, 1860:
Congressional Globe, 36th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 29.

[206] Raymond’s Life of Lincoln, pp. 154, 155.

[207] Ibid., p. 155.

[208] Ibid.

[209] “Wenn so viel Teufel zu Worms wären als Ziegel auf den Dächern,
noch wollt ich hinein!”--MERLE D’AUBIGNÉ, _History of the Reformation_,
(Glasgow, 1846,) Vol. II. pp. 167, 168, Book VII. ch. 7.

[210] Speech on the Mexican War, January 12, 1848: Congressional Globe,
30th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 156.

[211] Letter to Mrs. Eliza P. Gurney: Raymond’s Life of Lincoln, p. 617.

[212] Speech at Montgomery, February 16, 1861: Appleton’s Annual
Cyclopædia, 1861, p. 127; art. CONFEDERATE STATES.

[213] Speech at Philadelphia, February 21, 1861: Raymond’s Life of
Lincoln, p. 155. See, also, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861: Ibid., p.

[214] Annual Message, December 6, 1864: Executive Documents, H. of R.,
38th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 14.

[215] Massinger, The Duke of Milan, Act I. Sc. 3.

[216] Speech intended to be delivered at a Meeting of the Freeholders
of Middlesex, September 9, 1780: Memoir, by Lord Teignmouth, (London,
1806,) p. 187.

[217] The Age of Chivalry, by Thomas Bulfinch, p. 84.

[218] Drawn by Mr. Sumner. _Ante_, Vol. IX. pp. 307-312.

[219] It was sent to Mr. Bright.

[220] Hon. Edward Everett.

[221] Raymond’s Life of Lincoln, pp. 412, 413.

[222] Ibid.

[223] Macbeth, Act III. Sc. 2.

[224] Uhland, The Minstrel’s Return, tr. W. H. Furness: The Dial, p.
412, July, 1860.

[225] Edward the First, called the English Justinian, is also known as

[226] Tiberius Gracchus.--VELLEIUS PATERCULUS, _Historia Romana_, Lib.
II. c. 2, § 2.

[227] Congressional Globe, 30th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 1042.

[228] Speech in Springfield, July 17, 1858: Political Debates, p. 55.

[229] Letter to General Curtis, January 2, 1863: McPherson’s Political
History of the United States during the Rebellion (2d edit.), Appendix,
p. 534.

[230] July 18, 1864. McPherson’s Political History of the United States
during the Rebellion (2d edit.), p. 301.

[231] Letter to the Union Convention in Illinois, August 26, 1863:
Ibid., p. 335.

[232] Fourth Annual Message, Dec. 6, 1864.

[233] Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865.

[234] Bacon, Of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Britain: Works,
ed. Spedding, (London, 1857-59,) Vol. VII. p. 47.

[235] Suetonius, Vespasianus, Cap. XIV.

[236] Dante died at this age; also Pliny the philosopher, Pope the
poet, Gibbon the historian; and at this age Charles the Fifth resigned
his empire and withdrew to a monastery.

[237] Letter to Henry Dundas, April 9, 1792: Works (London, 1801-27),
Vol. IX. p. 281.

[238] Isaiah, xiii. 11, 12.

[239] Oliver Wendell Holmes.

[240] Dryden, To the Memory of Mr. Oldham.

[241] At this stage of his speech Mr. Sumner called attention to M.
Kapnist, a Russian gentleman belonging to the Chancery of the Emperor,
who was on the platform. The allusion was received by the Convention
with applause, which M. Kapnist acknowledged by rising and bowing.

[242] Rev. Ichabod Wiswall to Gov. Thomas Hinckley, of Plymouth,
November 5, 1691: Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts, Vol. I. p.
413; Hinckley Papers, Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., 4th Ser. Vol. V. p. 301.

[243] Moniteur, May 21, 1850, p. 1761.

[244] Acts of July 2, 1862, and January 24, 1865: Statutes at Large,
Vol. XII. p. 502; Vol. XIII. p. 424.

[245] Address at the Consecration of the National Cemetery at
Gettysburg, November 19, 1863.

[246] William Lloyd Garrison was in the habit of calling it “a covenant
with Death and a league with Hell.”

[247] Lincoln and Johnson, their Plan of Reconstruction and the
Resumption of National Authority; First Paper: Hartford Daily Times,
March 19, 1872.

[248] Mr. Davis’s brilliant life was closed by an early death, December
30, 1865, which deprived the country of his inestimable services in
Reconstruction. See _post_, Vol. XIII. p. 104.

[249] _Ante_, Vol. X. p. 167.

[250] _Ante_, Vol. XI. p. 351.

[251] _Ante_, p. 179.

[252] _Ante_, p. 349.

[253] Thirty-seventh Cong. 1st Sess., July 19, 1861: House Journal, p.
117; Cong. Globe, p. 210.

[254] Thirty-eighth Cong. 1st Sess., May 4, 1864: Senate Journal, p.
401; Cong. Globe, p. 2087. See, _ante_, Vol. IX. pp. 169-175, Speech on
the Constitutional Quorum of the Senate.

[255] Vol. I. § 776, note.

[256] _Ante_, pp. 307, 308.

[257] Æneïs, Lib. III. 420, 421.

[258] Seneca, Hercules Œtæus, 235, 236.

[259] Odyssey, tr. Pope, Book XII. 129-132.

[260] Ibid., 107-114.

[261] Ibid., 52-56.

[262] In Joannis Evangelium Tract. XXXVI. § 9.

[263] Comus, 257-259.

[264] Book II. 659-661.

[265] Book II. 1016-1020.

[266] Merchant of Venice, Act III. Sc. 5.

[267] “Mais le malheur de la dame fut que, tumbant de Scylle en
Carybde,” etc.--_Vies des Dames Illustres_, Discours VI. art. 2: Œuvres
(Paris, 1822-23), Tom. V. p. 201.

[268] La Vieille et les Deux Servantes: Fables, Liv. V. 6.

[269] Liberty, Part IV. 1075, 1076.

[270] Argument in the Rhode Island Case, January 27, 1848: Works, Vol.
VI. p. 242.

[271] “Quæ Charybdis tam vorax? Charybdin dico? quæ, si fuit, fuit
animal unum.”--_Philippica II._ c. 27. See, also, In Verrem Act. II.
Lib. V. c. 56; De Oratore, Lib. III. c. 41.

[272] Adagia, Chil. I. Cent. V. Prov. 4: Opera (Lugd. Batav., 1703),
Tom. II. col. 184.

[273] Ibid., col. 183.

[274] Cent. XVI. Prov. 49: Leutsch, Parœmiographi Græci (Gottingæ,
1851), Tom. II. p. 672.

[275] Adagia, Chil. I. Cent. V. Prov. 5: Opera, Tom. II. col. 184.

[276] Ibid., Lucian, Necyomant., 4.

[277] Satiræ, I. ii. 24, 27.

[278] Adagia, Chil. I. Cent. V. Prov. 3: Opera, Tom. II. col. 182.
Terent., Phormio, 767.

[279] Epist. MCCLXI., Joanni Vergaræ, Nov. 19, 1533: Opera, Tom. III.
col. 1483.

[280] Epist. DLXXIV., Gulielmo Waramo, Archiepiscopo Cantuariensi, Maii
24, 1521: Ibid., col. 645.

[281] Epist. XIII., Joanni Sixtino Frisio, Oxoniæ, Oct. 28, 1497:
Ibid., col. 11.

[282] Epist. CLXV., Rogerio Wentfordo, 1514: Ibid., col. 141.

[283] Jortin’s Life of Erasmus (London, 1808), Vol. II. p. 183.

[284] For a glimpse of this interesting character, see Tiraboschi,
Storia della Letteratura Italiana (Modena, 1787-94), Tom. VI. pp.
384-393; Michaud, Biographie Universelle, _nom._ GALEOTTO (MARZIO).

[285] Liv. III. ch. 29: Œuvres (Amsterdam, 1723), Tom. I. col. 276.

[286] Menagiana (Paris, 1715), Tom. I. p. 174.

[287] Vol. II. p. 285.

[288] Tom. XV. p. 117.

[289] History of English Poetry (London, 1824), Vol. I. p. clxvii, note.

[290] Tom. II. col. 1470, 5me édit.

[291] Vol. I. p. 510.

[292] Vol. V. p. 255.

[293] Della Storia e della Ragione d’ogni Poesia, Vol. IV. p. 480.

[294] Magazin Encyclopédique, Tom. II. p. 52.

[295] Histoire Littéraire de la France, Tom. XV. pp. 117, 118.

[296] Tom. CCIX.

[297] Millin, Magazin Encyclopédique, Tom. III. p. 181. Journal des
Savans, Avril, 1760.

[298] Ritson’s Bibliographia Poetica, p. 228.

[299] For a list of his works, see Watt’s Bibliotheca Britannica,
_nom._ ECHLIN.

[300] Beloe’s Anecdotes of Literature, Vol. V. pp. 255-260.

[301] Ibid., p. 256.

[302] Ibid., p. 257.

[303] Millin, Magazin Encyclopédique, Tom. III. p. 181.

[304] At the sale of Mr. Steevens’s library in 1800, it appears from
a priced Catalogue that this copy brought £2 2s.--Clarke, Repert.
Bibliog., p. 546; Graesse, Trésor de Livres Rares, _nom._ GALTHERUS.

[305] Repertorium Bibliographicum, p. 244, note. _Ante_, p. 380.

[306] Anecdotes of Literature, Vol. V. p. 258.

[307] Tom. III. pp. 324-347.

[308] Histoire Littéraire, Tom. XV. p. 100. The article on Gaultier in
this famous work was contributed by Ginguené, the well-known author of
_Histoire Littéraire d’Italie_.

[309] Ibid., Tom. XVI. p. 536.

[310] The latter mistake is gravely made by Quadrio, in his great
jumble of literary history, Tom. IV. p. 480; also by Peerlkamp, De
Poetis Latinis Nederlandiarum, p. 15. See also Édélestand du Méril,
Poésies Populaires Latines du Moyen Age, p. 149.

[311] Alexandreïs, Lib. VII. 339-341.

[312] Ibid., Lib. X. _ad finem_.

[313] Graesse, in his _Trésor de Livres Rares_, which ought to be
accurate, makes a strange mistake in calling Gualterus “Episcopus
Insulanus.” He was never more than canon, and held no post at Lille.
Fabricius entitles him simply “Magister Philippus Gualterus de
Castellione, Insulanus.” (Bib. Lat. Mediæ et Infimæ Ætatis, Tom. III.
p. 328.) See also Wright’s Early Mysteries and other Latin Poems of the
Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, Preface, p. xviii.

[314] It is pleasant to call this magnificent library National.

[315] Histoire Littéraire, Tom. XV. p. 101.

[316] Édélestand du Méril, Poésies Populaires Latines du Moyen Age, pp.
144-163. Wright, Latin Poems commonly attributed to Walter Mapes.

[317] Historia Poetarum et Poematum Medii Ævi, pp. 367-763.

[318] Histoire Littéraire, Tom. XVI. p. 183.

[319] Poésies Populaires Latines du Moyen Age, pp. 149, 150.

[320] Millin, Magazin Encyclopédique, Tom. II. p. 51.

[321] Michaud, Biographie Universelle, _nom._ GAULTIER.

[322] Recherches de la France, Liv. III. ch. 29: Œuvres, Tom. I. col.

[323] Warton, History of English Poetry, Vol. I. p. clxix, Dissertation

[324] Ibid., p. cxlvi.

[325] “Veterem Islandicam versionem Alexandreïdos Gualterianæ,
incomparabile antiquitatis septentrionalis monumentum.”--FABRICIUS,
_Bibliotheca Latina_, (Venetiis, 1728), Tom. II. p. 256, Lib. IV. c. 2,
§ 3.

[326] Fabricius, Bib. Lat. Mediæ et Infimæ Ætatis (Hamburgi, 1735),
Tom. III. p. 328. Leyser, Historia Poetarum et Poematum Medii Ævi, p.

[327] Histoire Littéraire, Tom. XV. p. 118.

[328] Papillon, Traité Historique et Pratique de la Gravure en Bois,
Tom. I. p. 84. Ottley, History of Engraving, Vol. I. pp. 10-21, 255.

[329] Warton, History of English Poetry, Vol. I. p. clxix.

[330] Madox, History of the Exchequer (London, 1769), Vol. I. p. 377.

[331] Book III. 323.

[332] The Monk’s Tale: _Alexander_.

[333] Observations on English Metre: Works (London, 1843), Vol. V. p.
258, note.

[334] Warton, History of English Poetry, Vol. I. pp. 133, 134.

[335] Poema de Alexandro Magno, Coplas 190, 275, 342, 387; also
Prólogo, § 38: Sanchez, Coleccion de Poesias Castellanas anteriores al
Siglo XV. (Madrid, 1782), Tom. III.

[336] Lib. I. 249.

[337] Vossius (De Poetis Latinis, Cap. VI.) is mistaken in saying that
it had nine books, instead of ten. See also Menagiana, Tom. I. p. 174.

[338] Lib. I. 11-15.

[339] Lib. V. 87.

[340] Lib. III. 237.

[341] Lib. I. 352.

[342] Inferno, Canto XXXIII. 89.

[343] Lib. III. 157. This is the passage translated into blank verse by
the early English poet, Nicholas Grimoald. See Ritson, Bibliographia
Poetica, p. 228.

[344] Lib. III. 389, 390. There is a contemporary poem in leonine
verses on the death of Thomas à Becket, with the same allusion to
opposite dangers:--

    “Ut post Syrtes mittitur in Charybdim navis,
    Flatibus et fluctibus transitis tranquille,
    Tutum portus impulit in latratus Scyllæ.”

DU MÉRIL, _Poésies Pop. Lat. du Moyen Age_, p. 82.

[345] Canto X.

[346] Lib. IV. 190, 192.

[347] Lib. IV. 218.

[348] Ibid., 220.

[349] Ibid., 284.

[350] Lib. V. 308-311. Some of the expressions of this passage may be
compared with other writers. See Burmanni Anthologia Veterum Latinorum
Epigrammatum et Poematum, Lib. I. Ep. CLXXVIII. 44, 199, Tom. I. pp.
152, 163; Ovidii Metam., Lib. I. 514, 515.

[351] Lib. VII. 327-329.

[352] Inferno, Canto XIX. 1-4.

[353] Lib. VII. 420.

[354] Lib. VIII. 493.

[355] Lib. IX. 17, 18.

[356] Lib. IX. 303.

[357] Ibid., 348.

[358] Ibid., 503.

[359] Lib. X. 41.

[360] Ibid., 89-91.

[361] Ibid., 123, 124.

[362] Ibid., 131-133.

[363] Juvenal, Sat. III. 230, 231.

[364] Blackwood’s Magazine, Vol. XCVIII. p. 346, September, 1865.

[365] McPherson’s Political History of the United States during
Reconstruction, p. 46, note.

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