By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 13 (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 13 (of 20)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

                    [Illustration: JAMES G. BLAINE]

                Statesman Edition             VOL. XIII

                            Charles Sumner

                          HIS COMPLETE WORKS

                           With Introduction
                       HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR


                            LEE AND SHEPARD

                           COPYRIGHT, 1874,
                      FRANCIS V. BALCH, EXECUTOR.

                           COPYRIGHT, 1900,
                           LEE AND SHEPARD.

                          Statesman Edition.
                           OF WHICH THIS IS
                                No. 565

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



    ESSENTIAL CONDITION OF PEACE. Bills and Resolutions in the
    Senate, at the Opening of the Session of Congress,
    December 4, 1865                                                      1

    Senate, December 4, 1865                                              5

    December 4, 1865                                                     10

    STATES. Bill in the Senate, December 4, 1865                         12

    GOVERNMENT. Bill in the Senate, December 4, 1865                     14

    COURTS. Bill in the Senate, to enforce the Constitutional
    Amendment abolishing Slavery, December 4, 1865                       16

    Senate, to amend the Constitution, December 4, 1865                  19

    the Senate, to enforce the Guaranty of a Republican Form of
    Government in Certain States, December 4, 1865                       21

    Concurrent Resolutions in the Senate, declaring the Adoption,
    December 4, 1865                                                     30

    FIVE CONDITIONS OF RECONSTRUCTION. Resolutions in respect to
    Guaranties of the National Security and the National Faith,
    December 4, 1865                                                     33

    Resolutions in the Senate, declaring the Duty of Congress,
    December 4, 1865                                                     35

    THE LATE SENATOR COLLAMER. Speech in the Senate, on his Death,
    December 14, 1865                                                    38

    “WHITEWASHING” BY THE PRESIDENT. Remarks in the Senate, on a
    Message of President Johnson on the Condition of the Southern
    States, December 19, 1865                                            47

    THE REBEL STATES. Speech in the Senate, on a Bill to maintain
    Freedom in those States, December 20, 1865                           55

    Remarks in the Senate, on presenting a Petition from Citizens
    of the District, December 21, 1865                                   98

    DEBT. Constitutional Amendment in the Senate, January 5, 1866        99

    KIDNAPPING OF FREEDMEN. Remarks in the Senate, on a Resolution
    of Inquiry, January 9, 1866                                         101

    THE LATE HENRY WINTER DAVIS. Article in the New York
    Independent, January 11, 1866                                       104

    Remarks in the Senate, on the Credentials of a Senator from
    Florida, January 19, 1866                                           109

    the Senate, on a Bill removing Certain Objections to Jurors,
    January 22, 1866                                                    111

    the Senate, February 2, 1866                                        113

    A REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT. Speech in the Senate, on the
    Proposed Amendment of the Constitution fixing the Basis of
    Representation, February 5 and 6, 1866. With Appendix               115

    Senate, February 6, 1866                                            270

    PROTECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS. Remarks in the Senate, February
    9, 1866                                                             271

    THE CITY OF BOSTON AND MR. SUMNER. Letter to the Mayor of
    Boston, in Acknowledgment of a Resolution of the Board of
    Aldermen, March 5, 1866                                             280

    OF HUMAN RIGHTS. Second Speech in the Senate on the
    Proposed Amendment of the Constitution fixing the Basis of
    Representation, March 7, 1866                                       282

    AMENDMENT. Final Speech in the Senate on this Amendment, March
    9, 1866                                                             338

    Speeches in the Senate, on the Bill for the Admission of the
    State of Colorado into the Union, March 12 and 13, April 17,
    19, and 24, and May 21, 1866                                        346

    REPRESENTATION. Letter to the Boston Daily Advertiser, March
    15, 1866                                                            375



    This session of Congress was occupied by Reconstruction,
    especially the question of suffrage for the colored race, with
    differences between Congress and President Johnson, culminating
    at the next Congress in his impeachment.

    Mr. Sumner, on the first day of the session, as soon as he
    could obtain the floor, introduced the following measures.

A bill to carry out the principles of a republican form of government
in the District of Columbia.

A bill to preserve the right of jury trial, by securing impartial
jurors in the courts of the United States.

A bill to prescribe an oath to maintain a republican form of government
in the Rebel States.

A bill in part execution of the guaranty of a republican form of
government in the Constitution of the United States.

A bill supplying appropriate legislation to enforce the Amendment to
the Constitution prohibiting Slavery.

A bill to enforce the guaranty of a republican form of government in
certain States whose governments have been usurped or overthrown.

A joint resolution proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States.

Concurrent resolutions declaring the adoption of the Constitutional
Amendment abolishing Slavery.

Resolutions declaring the duties of Congress in respect to guaranties
of the National Security and the National Faith in the Rebel States.

Resolutions declaring the duty of Congress, especially in respect to
loyal citizens in the Rebel States.

    This series of propositions attracted the attention of the
    country. Expressions of sympathy and gratitude were abundant.
    Colored fellow-citizens at Philadelphia addressed Mr. Sumner in
    earnest words.

                               “PHILADELPHIA, PA., December 6, 1865.


        “DEAR SIR,--At a large and enthusiastic meeting of the
        colored citizens of this city, held in the Philadelphia
        Institute this evening, the undersigned were charged with
        the duty of conveying to you, in behalf of twenty-five
        thousand disfranchised Americans here, their most heartfelt
        gratitude for the noble, fearless, patriotic stand taken
        by you at the opening of the present Congress. No day of
        our lives seems brighter than that upon which the foremost
        champion of Freedom boldly directs the attention of the
        nation to a series of clear, sound, statesmanlike measures
        looking to the complete enfranchisement of America.

        “We speak but faintly, though truthfully, when we say
        that four millions of Americans will ever cherish with
        the warmest gratitude of their hearts, and hand down as
        a precious legacy to their children, the name of Charles
        Sumner,--Charles Sumner, who has at all times and under all
        circumstances, even when friends faltered and foes exulted,
        stood firm, unflinching, immovable, _uncompromising_, on
        the rock of Justice and Liberty.

        “God bless the Christian gentleman and scholar, the ablest
        of American statesmen! God bless the noble, spotless man,
        Charles Sumner! is the fervent prayer of four millions of
        disfranchised Americans, not less than of

            “Yours, admiringly and sincerely,

                “EBENEZER D. BASSETT,[1]
                ISAIAH C. WEAR,
                NATHANIEL W. DEPEE.”

    Parker Pillsbury, the devoted Abolitionist, wrote at once from
    the office of the _Antislavery Standard_, in New York:--

        “No need of many words to-day. Your openings yesterday were
        sublime,--a genuine Apocalypse! God grant it be but the
        key-note to the grandest oratorio ever performed by less
        than the morning stars and all the sons of God shouting

    Rev. Joshua Leavitt, an editor of the New York _Independent_,
    and a constant Abolitionist of great practical sense, wrote
    from New York:--

        “We look to you to forbear when necessary, and to dare when
        the time is right.”

    William Lloyd Garrison, an honored leader in the long warfare
    with Slavery, who had just returned from a lecture tour in the
    West as far as the Mississippi, wrote from Boston:--

        “I have found but one opinion, whether the test was made
        publicly or privately, in regard to that _questio vexata_,
        Reconstruction,--and that is, that not one of the revolted
        States should be admitted into the Union without being put
        under a longer probation.… Thanks for your prompt action
        and untiring vigilance in this matter, in the series of
        resolutions presented by you to the Senate.”

    William E. Walker wrote from Trenton, New Jersey:--

        “You have ever been in the foremost rank in guarding and
        defending the rights of the colored people of this country
        with a sacred jealousy. I hail with inexpressible joy
        your manly, bold, and intelligent avowal of their civil
        and political rights, on the opening of the session of
        Congress. I feel assured that they will be opposed, and
        strongly opposed; but God grant to you, and the other
        fearless champions of Freedom’s cause, strength and ability
        to successfully defeat all opposition!”

    Hon. Theophilus Parsons, the learned Law Professor and law
    writer, wrote from Cambridge:--

        “Congress has hard work before it,--about as hard as
        Grant had to take Richmond; but I suppose it will be done

    Hon. Charles W. Upham, a scholar and writer, formerly
    Representative in Congress from the Essex District in
    Massachusetts, wrote from Salem:--

        “Stick to the noble ground you have taken, and let reason
        and events put the President in harmony with you and the

    With such voices from the people the great work of the session

    The bad spirit which belonged to the days of Slavery seemed
    also to return. The following, to Mr. Sumner from ----, dated
    “Paymaster General’s Office, Washington, December 11, 1865,”
    recalled other days.

        “I conceive it to be my duty to impart the following
        information, in which you may be interested.

        “Calling your name yesterday, in conversation with a
        citizen of this city, he casually remarked that you
        would probably be killed before the expiration of this
        session,--that two or three were sworn against you.

        “I paid no apparent attention to the remark at the time,
        nor asked any question with regard to it; but, if I can
        serve you in the matter any further, I am at your command.”

    Mr. Sumner did not notice this letter, or follow it with any
    inquiry. He was accustomed to such reports.



A Bill to carry out the principles of a Republican form of Government
in the District of Columbia.

_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled_, That no person, in other
respects qualified to vote within the District of Columbia, shall be
excluded from that right by reason of race or color.

SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That any person whose duty it
shall be to receive votes at any election within the District of
Columbia, who shall refuse to receive or shall reject the vote of
any person entitled to such right under this Act, shall be liable to
an action of tort by the person injured, and shall be liable, upon
indictment and conviction, if such act was done knowingly, to a fine
not exceeding five thousand dollars, or to imprisonment for a term
not exceeding one year, or to both. And where the person injured is
of African descent, one half the jury impanelled to try the action or
indictment shall be of African descent.

SEC. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That any person who shall molest
any person entitled to vote under this Act, in the exercise of such
right, shall, upon indictment and conviction, be liable to a fine not
exceeding three thousand dollars, or to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding six months, or to both; and if the person molested was of
African descent, one half the jury impanelled to try the indictment
shall be of African descent.

    This bill was read, passed to a second reading, and ordered to
    be printed.

    December 6th, on motion of Mr. Sumner, it was referred to the
    Committee on the District of Columbia.

       *       *       *       *       *

    At the formation of the Committee, Mr. Sumner became, for
    the first time, a member of the Standing Committee on the
    District of Columbia. According to usage in the Senate, the
    Standing Committees are formed in a caucus of the predominant
    political party, acting on the report of a Nominating Committee
    appointed by the caucus. At the opening of the present
    session Mr. Sumner was a member of the Nominating Committee.
    While occupied in arranging the Committee on the District
    of Columbia, he remarked that his only wish with regard to
    this Committee was, that it should be so constituted as to
    report in favor of suffrage without distinction of color in
    the District. Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, who was a member of the
    Nominating Committee, said at once, “Then you must go on it.”
    Mr. Sumner replied, that he was much occupied on the Committee
    on Foreign Relations, of which he was Chairman, but that, if
    the Nominating Committee chose to assign him this new duty,
    he could not decline it. He was accordingly placed on this
    Committee, where he continued until the opening of the session
    in December, 1872, when, at his own request, founded on ill
    health, he was excused from all service on committees.

    The members of the Committee were Mr. Morrill, of Maine,
    Chairman, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, Mr. Willey, of West Virginia, Mr.
    Sumner, Mr. Henderson, of Missouri, Mr. Yates, of Illinois,
    and Mr. Riddle, of Delaware. At the earliest meeting of the
    Committee, Mr. Wade’s bill to regulate the franchise in
    the District of Columbia, being first on the calendar, was
    proceeded with. At once the question arose of a general bill
    regulating suffrage in the District. To relieve the Committee
    from this embarrassment, and reach a prompt conclusion on
    the main question, Mr. Sumner moved, “That the Committee
    will report a bill simply prohibiting any exclusion from the
    elective franchise on account of color, with proper provisions
    to carry out this prohibition, and without undertaking to
    regulate the qualifications.” This motion was adopted.

       *       *       *       *       *

    December 20th, Mr. Morrill reported Mr. Wade’s bill with
    amendments, and, in reply to inquiry from Mr. Sumner, said that
    he was “inclined to call it up at the earliest possible time,
    but probably not before the contemplated adjournment [for the
    holidays].” Mr. Sumner then said:--

        “I am very glad my excellent friend proposes to proceed
        with the consideration of that measure at an early day. I
        believe the country requires promptitude in such act of

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 10, 1866, the Senate, on motion of Mr. Morrill,
    proceeded with the bill, and adopted several of the amendments.
    An amendment providing that the elector “shall be able to read
    the Constitution of the United States in the English language,
    and write his name,” excited discussion, when the bill, on
    motion of Mr. Yates, was recommitted.

    January 12th, Mr. Morrill reported the original bill with an
    amendment as a substitute. January 16th, it was taken up for
    consideration, when Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, spoke at length
    against it. From that date until June 27th it was not resumed,
    but the Senate during this interval heard suffrage discussed,
    especially on the Constitutional Amendment concerning
    representation. At the latter date it was taken up, on motion
    of Mr. Morrill. In the substitute there was no requirement of
    reading and writing as a qualification; but Mr. Morrill moved
    the amendment on this subject which had been reported before.
    On this important proposition the vote stood, Yeas 15, Nays 19.
    So it was rejected. After an elaborate speech from Mr. Willey,
    in which he proposed a qualified suffrage, the bill went over
    to another day, but was not resumed until the next session of
    Congress. The pressure of business, the fact that there would
    be no election until after the next session, the growing sense
    that the suffrage must be without educational qualification,
    and the uncertainty of carrying such a bill over the veto of
    the President, were the reasons for this delay.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Meanwhile, after a debate of several days, the House of
    Representatives, on the 18th of January, passed a short bill,
    striking the word “white” from the election laws of the
    District, and declaring that no person should be disqualified
    on account of color.

       *       *       *       *       *

    December 3, 1866, being the first day of the session, Mr.
    Sumner moved that the Senate proceed with the consideration of
    the Suffrage Bill, and then remarked:--

        “It will be remembered that this bill was introduced on the
        first day of the last session,--that it was the subject of
        repeated debate in this Chamber,--that it was more than
        once referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia,
        by whose chairman it was reported back to the Senate. At
        several different stages it was supposed that we were about
        to reach a final vote. The country expected that vote. It
        was not had. It ought to have been had. And now, Sir, I
        think it best for the Senate, in this very first hour of
        its coming together, to put that bill on its passage. It
        has been thoroughly debated. Every Senator has made up his
        mind. There is nothing more to be said on either side. So
        far as I am concerned, I am perfectly willing that the vote
        shall be taken without one further word; but I think that
        the Senate ought not to allow the bill to be postponed. We
        should seize this first occasion to put the bill on its
        passage. The country expects it; the country will rejoice
        and be grateful, if you will signalize this first day of
        your coming together by this beautiful and generous act.”

    The Chair, after recognizing the motion, ruled it not in order,
    according to a former precedent.

       *       *       *       *       *

    December 10th, on motion of Mr. Morrill, the Senate proceeded
    with the Suffrage Bill. Mr. Sumner joined in urging it:--

        “Let us, so far as the Senate can do it, give suffrage to
        the colored race in the District; let us signalize this
        first day of actual business by finishing this great act.”

    Debate ensued for four days, in which Mr. Morrill, Mr. Willey,
    of West Virginia, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, Mr. Pomeroy, of
    Kansas, Mr. Anthony, of Rhode Island, Mr. Williams, of Oregon,
    Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, Mr. Yates, of
    Illinois, Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, Mr. Gratz Brown, of
    Missouri, Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, Mr. Sprague, of Rhode Island,
    Mr. Buckalew, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin,
    Mr. Dixon, of Connecticut, Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, Mr.
    Foster, of Connecticut, Mr. Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, Mr.
    Hendricks, of Indiana, Mr. Lane, of Indiana, and Mr. Sumner,
    took part. The remarks of the last will appear in their proper
    place, according to date.[2] Among the amendments considered
    was one by Mr. Cowan to strike out the word “male,” so as to
    open suffrage to women, which was rejected,--Yeas 9, Nays
    37. The amendment by Mr. Dixon, making reading and writing a
    qualification, was also rejected,--Yeas 11, Nays 34.

    December 13th, the bill passed the Senate,--Yeas 32, Nays
    13. The announcement of its passage was followed by applause
    in the galleries. On the next day the bill passed the other
    House,--Yeas 128, Nays 46.

    January 7, 1867, the bill passed the Senate over the veto of
    President Johnson, by a two-thirds vote,--Yeas 29, Nays 10.
    On the next day it passed the other House by a two-thirds
    vote,--Yeas 113, Nays 38. And so it became a law, and also a
    model for similar legislation in the reconstruction of the
    Rebel States.



    A Bill to preserve the right of trial by jury, by securing
    impartial jurors in the Courts of the United States.

_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled_, That in the courts
of the United States in any State, whereof, according to the census
Anno Domini eighteen hundred and sixty, one sixth part or more of the
population was of African descent, every grand jury shall consist
one half of persons of African descent who shall possess the other
qualifications now required by law; and when the matter to be tried
relates to any injury inflicted by a person of African descent upon a
person not of such descent, or _vice versa_, or to any claim, suit, or
demand between a person of such descent and one not of such descent,
every petit jury shall consist one half of persons of African descent
possessing the other qualifications now required by law. Upon any
such trial, prejudice against persons of African descent, or against
persons not of such descent, shall be ground of challenge, and, being
established by proof, to the satisfaction of the judge, shall exclude
the juror. And upon any such trial, inability to read or write shall
be ground of challenge, and, the fact being found by the judge, shall
exclude the juror.

    This bill was read, passed to a second reading, and ordered to
    be printed.

    December 13th, it was read a second time, and, on motion of Mr.
    Sumner, referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    Towards the end of the session, July 7, 1866, it was reported
    adversely by Mr. Trumbull, and, on his motion, indefinitely

       *       *       *       *       *

    This effort to secure recognition of colored persons on juries
    was suggested by the ancient jury _de Medietate Linguæ_, first
    given by the statute of 28th Edward III., cap. 13, and used in
    cases where one party was a foreigner and the other a denizen.
    There were other cases where an analogous jury was impanelled,
    as in a criminal trial in the University courts, where the
    jury was half freeholders of the county, and half matriculated
    laymen of the University.[3]



    A Bill prescribing an oath to maintain a Republican form of
    Government in the Rebel States.

_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled_, That hereafter every
person in any State lately declared to be in rebellion, before he
shall be allowed to vote at any election, State or National, or before
he shall enter upon the duties of any office, State or National, or
become entitled to the salary or other emoluments thereof, shall take
and subscribe an oath or affirmation to maintain a republican form of
government, as follows: “I do hereby swear (or affirm) that I will
at all times hereafter use my best endeavors to maintain a republican
form of government in the State of which I am an inhabitant, and in
the Union of the United States; that I will at all times recognize the
indissoluble unity of the Republic, and will always discountenance and
resist any endeavor to break away or secede from the Union; that I
will give my influence and vote at all times to strengthen and sustain
the national credit; that I will always discountenance and resist any
attempt, directly or indirectly, to repudiate or postpone, in any
part or in any way, either the debt contracted by the United States
in subduing the late Rebellion or the obligation assumed to the Union
soldiers; that I will always discountenance and resist any laws making
any distinction of race or color; and that in all ways I will strive to
maintain a State government completely loyal to the Union, where all
men shall enjoy equal protection and equal rights”: which, so taken
and subscribed, shall be preserved in the proper office or department,
according to regulations made by the President of the United States.
Any person who shall falsely take such oath shall be guilty of perjury,
and, on conviction, in addition to the penalties now prescribed for
that offence, shall be deprived of his office, and rendered incapable
forever after of holding any office under the United States.

    This bill was read, passed to a second reading, and ordered
    to be printed. The same oath appears in the Scheme of



    A Bill in part execution of the guaranty of a Republican form
    of Government in the Constitution of the United States.

Whereas it is declared in the Constitution that the United States shall
guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form of government;
and whereas certain States have allowed their governments to be
subverted by rebellion, so that the duty is now cast upon Congress of
executing this guaranty: Now, therefore,

_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled_, That in all States lately
declared to be in rebellion there shall be no oligarchy invested with
peculiar privileges and powers, and there shall be no denial of rights,
civil or political, on account of race or color; but all persons
shall be equal before the law, whether in the court-room or at the
ballot-box. And this statute, made in pursuance of the Constitution,
shall be the supreme law of the land, anything in the Constitution or
laws of any such State to the contrary notwithstanding.

    This bill was read, passed to a second reading, and ordered to
    be printed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The same bill, in another form, was introduced by Mr. Sumner,
    February 2, 1866, and afterwards moved as a substitute for the
    Constitutional Amendment on Representation.[5]



    A Bill supplying appropriate legislation to enforce the
    Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting Slavery.

_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled_, That neither slavery nor
involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the
party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United
States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That, if any person shall attempt
to control, or shall by act or word claim any right to control, the
services of any other person, contrary to the provisions of the
foregoing section, the person so offending shall, upon indictment and
conviction in the District Court of the United States for the district
where the crime was committed, be punished by a fine not exceeding
ten thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten
years, or by both, to be inflicted at the discretion of the court; and
it shall be no defence, nor cause of mitigation of sentence, that such
claim or attempt is sanctioned by any pretended law of a State, or any
judgment of a State court. But nothing herein contained shall be held
to impair any other remedy now existing by _Habeas Corpus_ or otherwise.

SEC. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That, in further enforcement
of the provision of the Constitution prohibiting Slavery, and in
order to remove all relics of this wrong from the States where this
Constitutional prohibition takes effect, it is hereby declared that
all laws or customs in such States, establishing any oligarchical
privileges and any distinction of rights on account of race or color,
are hereby annulled, and all persons in such States are recognized as
equal before the law; and the penalties provided in the last section
are hereby made applicable to any violation of this provision, which is
made in pursuance of the Constitution of the United States.

SEC. 4. _And be it further enacted_, That, in further enforcement of
the provision of the Constitution, the courts of the United States in
the States shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all offences committed
by persons not of African descent upon persons of African descent; also
of all offences committed by persons of African descent; and also of
all causes, suits, and demands to which any person of African descent
shall be a party; and it is hereby declared that all such cases are to
be treated as cases arising under the Constitution of the United States.

    This bill was read, passed to a second reading, and ordered to
    be printed.

    December 21st, it was read a second time, and, on motion of Mr.
    Sumner, referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    January 11, 1866, Mr. Trumbull, from this Committee, reported
    the “Bill to protect all persons in the United States in their
    civil rights, and furnish the means of their vindication,”
    which was passed, covering in part the ground of Mr. Sumner’s



    Joint Resolution proposing an Amendment of the Constitution of
    the United States.

_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled_ (two thirds of both Houses
concurring), That the following Article be proposed to the Legislatures
of the several States as an Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States, which, when ratified by three fourths of such Legislatures,
shall become a part of the Constitution, to wit:--

“Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States which
may be included within this Union according to the number of male
citizens of the age of twenty-one years 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 States.”

    This was the first resolution of the session. It was read,
    passed to a second reading, and ordered to be printed.

    December 13th, on motion of Mr. Sumner, it was read a second
    time, and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    June 20, 1866, in company with other resolutions proposing
    Amendments to the Constitution, it was reported adversely by
    Mr. Trumbull, and on his motion indefinitely postponed.

    Meanwhile the proposition had entered largely into debate,
    and had been discussed by Mr. Sumner.[7] It was superseded by
    the provision on Representation in the Fourteenth Amendment
    of the Constitution. When moved, June 6th, by Mr. Doolittle,
    of Wisconsin, as a substitute for that clause, it was
    rejected,--Yeas 7, Nays 31. The yeas were Messrs. Cowan, of
    Pennsylvania, Davis, of Kentucky, Doolittle, Guthrie, of
    Kentucky, Hendricks, of Indiana, Johnson, of Maryland, and
    Riddle, of Delaware. It was no longer satisfactory to Mr.
    Sumner, who hoped for something better. When brought forward by
    him, it was in the nature of a tentative process.



    A Bill to enforce the guaranty of a Republican form of
    Government in certain States whose governments have been
    usurped or overthrown.

_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America, in Congress assembled_, That, in the States lately
declared in rebellion against the United States, the President shall,
by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint for each a
provisional governor, with pay and emoluments not exceeding those of a
brigadier-general of volunteers, who shall be charged with the civil
administration of such State, until a State government therein shall be
recognized as hereinafter provided.

SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That the provisional governor of
each of such States shall direct the marshal of the United States, as
speedily as may be, to name a sufficient number of deputies, and to
enroll all male citizens of the United States resident in the State
in their respective counties, and to request each one to take the
oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and the oath
to maintain a republican form of government, and in his enrolment to
designate those who take and those who refuse to take the oaths, which
rolls shall be forthwith returned to the provisional governor; and if
the persons taking the oaths shall amount to a majority of the persons
enrolled in the State, he shall by proclamation invite the loyal people
of the State to elect delegates to a convention charged to declare the
will of the people of the State relative to the reëstablishment of a
State government, subject to and in conformity with the Constitution of
the United States.

SEC. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That the oath to maintain a
republican form of government shall be as follows: “I do hereby swear
(or affirm) that I will at all times hereafter use my best endeavors
to maintain a republican form of government in the State of which
I am an inhabitant, and in the Union of the United States; that I
will at all times recognize the indissoluble unity of the Republic,
and will always discountenance and resist any endeavor to break away
or secede from the Union; that I will give my influence and vote at
all times to strengthen and sustain the national credit; that I will
always discountenance and resist any attempt, directly or indirectly,
to repudiate or postpone, in any part or in any way, either the debt
contracted by the United States in subduing the late rebellion or
the obligation assumed to the Union soldiers; that I will always
discountenance and resist any laws making any distinction of race
or color; and that in all ways I will strive to maintain a State
government completely loyal to the Union, where all men shall enjoy
equal protection and equal rights.”[8]

SEC. 4. _And be it further enacted_, That the convention shall
consist of as many members as both Houses of the last constitutional
State Legislature, apportioned by the provisional governor among the
counties, parishes, or districts of the State, in proportion to the
population returned as electors by the marshal, in compliance with the
provisions of this Act. The provisional governor shall by proclamation
declare the number of delegates to be elected by each county, parish,
or election district; name a day of election, not less than thirty days
thereafter; designate the places of voting in each county, parish, or
district, conforming, as nearly as may be convenient, to the places
used in the State elections next preceding the Rebellion; appoint one
or more commissioners to hold the election at each place of voting; and
provide an adequate force to keep the peace during the election.

SEC. 5. _And be it further enacted_, That the delegates shall be
elected by the loyal male citizens of the United States of the age of
twenty-one years, and resident at the time in the county, parish, or
district in which they shall offer to vote, and enrolled as aforesaid,
or absent in the military service of the United States, and who shall
take and subscribe the oath of allegiance to the United States in
the form contained in the Act of Congress of July 2, 1862, and the
before recited oath to maintain a republican form of government;
and all such citizens of the United States who are in the military
service of the United States shall vote at the head-quarters of their
respective commands, under such regulations as may be prescribed by the
provisional governor for the taking and return of their votes; but no
person who has held or exercised any office, civil or military, State
or otherwise, under the Rebel usurpation, or who has voluntarily borne
arms against the United States, shall vote or be eligible as delegate
at such election.

SEC. 6. _And be it further enacted_, That the commissioners, or either
of them, shall hold the election in conformity with this Act, and,
so far as may be consistent therewith, shall proceed in the manner
used in the State prior to the Rebellion. The oath of allegiance and
the oath to maintain a republican form of government shall be taken
and subscribed on the poll-book by every voter in the form above
prescribed; but every person known by or proved to the commissioners
to have held or exercised any office, civil or military, State or
otherwise, under the Rebel usurpation, or to have voluntarily borne
arms against the United States, shall be excluded, though he offer
to take the oath; and in case any person who shall have borne arms
against the United States shall offer to vote, he shall be deemed to
have borne arms voluntarily, unless he shall prove the contrary by the
testimony of a qualified voter. The poll-book showing the name and
oath of each voter shall be returned to the provisional governor by
the commissioners of election, or the one acting, and the provisional
governor shall canvass such returns, and declare the person having the
highest number of votes elected.

SEC. 7. _And be it further enacted_, That the provisional governor
shall by proclamation convene the delegates duly elected, at the
capital of the State, on a day not more than three months after the
election, giving at least thirty days’ notice of such day. In case the
capital shall in his judgment be unfit, he shall in his proclamation
appoint another place. He shall preside over the deliberations of the
convention, and administer to each delegate, before taking his seat in
the convention, the oath of allegiance to the United States, and the
oath to maintain a republican form of government, in the form above

SEC. 8. _And be it further enacted_, That the convention shall
declare, on behalf of the people of the State, their submission to
the Constitution and laws of the United States, and shall adopt the
following provisions, hereby prescribed by the United States in the
execution of the constitutional duty to guaranty a republican form of
government to every State, and incorporate them in the Constitution of
the State, that is to say:--

First. No person who has held or exercised any office, civil or
military, except offices merely ministerial and military offices below
the grade of colonel, State or otherwise, under the usurping power,
shall vote for or be a member of the legislature or governor.

Secondly. Involuntary servitude is forever prohibited, and the freedom
of all persons is guarantied in such State.

Thirdly. No debt, State or otherwise, created by or under the sanction
of the usurping power, shall be recognized or paid by the State.

Fourthly. No person shall enter upon any office within the gift of the
people of this State, until he has first taken the oath to support the
Constitution of the United States and the oath to maintain a republican
form of government. And the Constitution shall prescribe forms for
these oaths substantially in accordance with the forms herein provided.

Fifthly. There shall be no distinction among the inhabitants of
this State founded on race, former condition, or color. Every such
inhabitant shall be entitled to all the privileges before the law
enjoyed by the most favored class of such inhabitants.

Sixthly. These provisions shall be perpetual, not to be abolished or
changed hereafter.

SEC. 9. _And be it further enacted_, That, when the convention shall
have adopted those provisions, it shall proceed to reëstablish a
republican form of government, and ordain a constitution containing
those provisions, which, when adopted, the convention shall by
ordinance provide for submitting to the people of the State entitled to
vote under this law, at an election to be held in the manner prescribed
by the act for the election of delegates, but at a time and place named
by the convention, at which election the electors described above, and
none others, shall vote directly for or against such constitution and
form of State government. And the returns of such election shall be
made to the provisional governor, who shall canvass the same in the
presence of the electors, and if a majority of the votes cast shall
be for the constitution and form of government, he shall certify the
same, with a copy thereof, to the President of the United States, who,
after obtaining the assent of Congress, shall by proclamation recognize
the government so established, and none other, as the constitutional
government of the State; and from the date of such recognition, and
after its legislature shall have ratified the Amendment to the United
States Constitution abolishing slavery and prohibiting involuntary
servitude, and not before, Senators and Representatives, and Electors
for President and Vice-President, may be elected in such State,
according to the laws of the State and of the United States.

SEC. 10. _And be it further enacted_, That, if the convention shall
refuse to reëstablish the State government on the foregoing conditions,
the provisional governor shall declare it dissolved; but it shall be
the duty of the President, whenever he shall have reason to believe
that a sufficient number of the people of the State entitled to vote
under this Act, in number not less than a majority of those enrolled
as aforesaid, are willing to reëstablish a State government on the
foregoing conditions, to direct the provisional governor to order
another election of delegates to a convention for the purpose and in
the manner prescribed in this Act, and to proceed in all respects
as herein before provided, either to dissolve the convention, or to
certify the State government reëstablished by it to the President.

SEC. 11. _And be it further enacted_, That, until the United States
shall have recognized a republican form of State government, the
provisional governor in each of such States shall see that this Act,
and the laws of the United States, and the laws of the State in
force when the State government was overthrown by the Rebellion, are
faithfully executed within the State; but no law or usage contrary
to any of the provisions herein directed to be inserted in the
constitution of the State shall be recognized or enforced by any court
or officer in such State, and such provisions shall be regarded as
already incorporated into the law of the State; and the laws for the
trial and punishment of white persons shall extend to all persons,
and jurors shall have the qualifications of voters under this law
for delegates to the convention. The President shall appoint such
officers, provided for by the laws of the State when its government
was overthrown, as he may find necessary to the civil administration
of the State, all which officers shall be entitled to receive the fees
and emoluments provided by the State laws for such officers. And he
may permit, when he deems it expedient, elections to be made of such
officers by the people entitled to vote according to the provisions of
this Act; such officers to have the qualifications required for voters
under this Act, and to hold their offices subject to removal by him.
And all such officers, whether appointed by the President or elected
by the people, shall, before entering on the duties of their offices,
take the oaths to support the Constitution of the United States, and to
maintain a republican form of government.

SEC. 12. _And be it further enacted_, That, until the recognition of a
State government as aforesaid, the provisional governor shall, under
such regulations as he may prescribe, cause to be assessed, levied, and
collected, for the year eighteen hundred and sixty-four, and every year
thereafter, the taxes provided by the laws of such State to be levied
during the fiscal year preceding the overthrow of the State government
thereof, in the manner prescribed by the laws of the State, as nearly
as may be; and the officers appointed as aforesaid are vested with all
powers of levying and collecting such taxes, by distress or sale, as
were vested in any officers or tribunal of the State government for
those purposes. The proceeds of such taxes shall be accounted for to
the provisional governor, and be by him applied to the expenses of the
administration of the laws in such State, subject to the direction of
the President; and the surplus shall be deposited in the treasury of
the United States to the credit of such State, to be paid to the State
upon an appropriation therefor, to be made when a republican form of
government shall be recognized therein by the United States.

    This was read, passed to a second reading, and ordered to be

    December 21st, it was, on motion of Mr. Sumner, referred to the
    Joint Committee “to inquire into the condition of the States
    which formed the so-called Confederate States of America,”
    known as the Reconstruction Committee, of which Mr. Fessenden
    was Senate Chairman, and Mr. Stevens House Chairman.

    Nothing as systematic and complete as this measure was ever
    adopted. The work of Reconstruction was piecemeal.


4, 1865.

    Concurrent Resolutions declaring the adoption of the
    Constitutional Amendment abolishing Slavery.

Whereas Congress, by a vote of two thirds of both Houses, did
heretofore propose to the Legislatures of the several States for
ratification an Amendment to the Constitution in the following words,
to wit:--

    “ARTICLE XIII. _Section 1._ Neither slavery nor involuntary
    servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party
    shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United
    States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    “_Section 2._ Congress shall have power to enforce this Article
    by appropriate legislation.”

And whereas, at the time when such Amendment was submitted, as well
as since, there were sundry States which, by reason of rebellion,
were without Legislatures, so that, while the submission was made in
due constitutional form to “the Legislatures of the several States,”
in obedience both to the letter and spirit of the provision of the
Constitution authorizing Amendments, it was not, as it could not be,
made to all the States, there being a less number of Legislatures of
States than there were States;

And whereas, since the Constitution expressly authorizes Amendments
to be made, any construction which would render the making of them at
times impossible must violate both its letter and its spirit;

And whereas, to require the ratification by States without Legislatures
as well as by “the Legislatures of the States,” in order to be valid,
would put it in the power of long-continued rebellion to suspend not
only the peace of the nation, but its Constitution also;

And whereas the count of States in rebellion enables such States by
silence to vote against the Constitutional Amendment, thus giving to
their silence the same effect as a vote;

And whereas, from the terms of the Constitution and the nature of the
case, it belongs to the two Houses of Congress to determine when such
ratification is complete;

And whereas more than three fourths of the Legislatures to which the
proposition was made have ratified such Amendment: Now, therefore,

_Be it resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives
concurring)_, That the Amendment abolishing Slavery has become and is
part of the Constitution of the United States.

_Resolved_, That, notwithstanding the foregoing resolution, yet,
considering the great public interest which attaches to this question,
the Legislatures which have not ratified the Amendment be permitted
to express their concurrence by the usual form of ratification, to be
returned in the usual manner.

_Resolved_, That no one of the States, to the Legislatures of which
such Amendment could not be submitted, by reason of rebellion against
the United States and having no Legislatures, be permitted to resume
its relations, and have its Legislature acknowledged and its Senators
and Representatives admitted, until its Legislature has first ratified
such Amendment in recognition of the accomplished fact.

    These resolutions were read and ordered to be printed. They
    were also entered at length on the Journal of the Senate.



    Resolutions declaring the duty of Congress in respect to
    guaranties of the national security and the national faith in
    the Rebel States.

_Resolved_, That in order to provide proper guaranties for security
in the future, so that peace and prosperity shall surely prevail, and
the plighted faith of the nation be preserved, it is the first duty
of Congress to take care that no State declared in rebellion shall be
allowed to resume its relations with the Union until after satisfactory
performance of five several conditions, which conditions precedent must
be submitted to a popular vote, and be sanctioned by a majority of the
people of each State respectively, as follows.

1. The complete reëstablishment of loyalty, as shown by honest
recognition of the unity of the Republic, and the duty of allegiance to
it at all times, without mental reservation or equivocation of any kind.

2. The complete suppression of all oligarchical pretensions, and the
complete enfranchisement of all citizens, so that there shall be no
denial of rights on account of race or color, but justice shall be
impartial, and all shall be equal before the law.

3. The rejection of the Rebel debt, and at the same time the adoption,
in just proportion, of the national debt and the national obligations
to Union soldiers, with solemn pledges never to join in any measure,
direct or indirect, for their repudiation, or in any way tending to
impair the national credit.

4. The organization of an educational system for the equal benefit of
all, without distinction of race or color.

5. The choice of citizens for office, whether State or National, of
constant and undoubted loyalty, whose conduct and conversation shall
give assurance of peace and reconciliation.

_Resolved_, That to provide these essential safeguards, without which
the national security and the national faith will be imperilled, States
cannot be precipitated back to political power and independence; but
they must wait until these conditions are in all respects fulfilled.

    These resolutions were read and ordered to be printed. They
    were also entered at length on the Journal of the Senate.



    Resolutions declaring the duty of Congress, especially towards
    loyal citizens in the Rebel States.

Whereas it is provided by the Constitution that “the United States
shall guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form of

And whereas there are certain States where, by reason of rebellion, no
State governments are recognized by Congress;

And whereas, because of the failure of such States respectively to
maintain State governments, it has become the duty of Congress,
standing in the place of guarantor, where the principal has made a
lapse, to provide governments republican in form for such States
respectively: Now, therefore, in order to declare the duty of

1. _Resolved_, That, whenever a convention is called in any such State
for the organization of a government, the following persons have a
right to be represented therein, namely: the citizens of the State
who have taken no part in the Rebellion, especially all those whose
exclusion from the ballot enabled others to carry the State into the
Rebellion, and still more especially those who became soldiers in the
armies of the Union, and by valor on the battle-field helped turn the
tide of war, making the Union triumphant; and Congress must refuse
to sanction the proceedings of any convention composed of delegates
chosen by men recently in arms against the Union, and excluding men who
perilled life in its defence, unless its proceedings have been first
approved by those entitled to participate therein, as hereby declared.

2. _Resolved_, That the Constitution of the United States, being
supreme over State laws and State constitutions on those matters upon
which it speaks, and the duty being now imposed by it on Congress to
legislate for the establishment of government in the States where
government is overthrown, it is hereby declared that no supposed
State law or State constitution can be set up as an impediment to the
national power in the discharge of its duty.

3. _Resolved_, That, since also it has become the duty of Congress
to determine what is a republican form of government, it is hereby
declared that no government of a State recently in rebellion can be
accepted as republican, where large masses of citizens always loyal
to the United States are excluded from the elective franchise, and
especially where wounded soldiers of the Union, with kindred and race,
and also the kindred of others whose bones whiten battle-fields on
which they died for country, are thrust from the polls to make place
for the men by whose hands came wounds and death; more particularly
where, as in some of those States, the result would be to disfranchise
the majority of citizens always loyal, and give to the oligarchical
minority recently engaged in rebellion power to oppress the loyal
majority, even to the extent of driving them from home, and depriving
them of all opportunity of livelihood.

4. _Resolved_, That, where, by reason of rebellion, there is a lapse
in the State government, and it becomes the duty of Congress to
provide a government, none can be accepted as “a republican form of
government,” where numerous native-born citizens, charged with no
crime and no failure of duty, and compelled to pay taxes, are left
wholly unrepresented; and especially where a particular race is singled
out and denied representation, although compelled to pay taxes; more
especially where such race constitutes the majority of the citizens,
and the enfranchised minority has for the time forfeited its rights
by rebellion; and more especially still, where by such exclusion the
oligarchical enemies of the Republic can practically compel it to
break faith with national soldiers and national creditors, to whose
generosity it was indebted during a period of peril.

    These resolutions were read and ordered to be printed. They
    were also entered at length on the Journal of the Senate.



MR. PRESIDENT,--Since Henry Clay left this Chamber by the gate of
death, no Senator has passed that way crowned with the same honorable
years as Mr. Collamer; nor has any Senator passed that way whose
departure created such a blank in the public councils, unless we
except Mr. Douglas. He was our most venerable associate; but his place
here had not shrunk with time. Nor was he, when we last saw him, less
important to our debates and to our conclusions than ever before. He
still possessed all those peculiar powers of argument and illustration,
seasoned with a New England salt, which he had from the beginning. He
was not so old that he was not often the life of the body.

When he came into the Senate, it was after long and various experience
as lawyer, judge, representative in the other House, member of the
Cabinet, and then again as judge, in all which characters he had been
single, pure, honest, faithful, and laborious. Though little of a
traveller, he had seen much. He had also read much, and he had done
much. But all the results of observation, study, and action had so
passed into his nature as to become part of himself. If he expressed
an opinion, even on law, it seemed to come from himself, and not from
books. He was the authority. And yet he was fond of books, whether in
his own profession or in other departments of study.

His fidelity assumed the form of accuracy in all that he said or did.
He spoke accurately, and he was especially accurate with his pen.
Perhaps nobody was apter in the style or language of legislation. He
was an expert draughtsman, although, without doubt, too professional
for a taste not exclusively professional,--indulging in traditional
phrases, and those favorite superfluities of the lawyer, “said” and
“aforesaid.” The great Act of July 13, 1861,[9] which gave to the war
for the suppression of the Rebellion its first Congressional sanction,
and invested the President with new powers, was drawn by him. It was
he that set in place the great ban, not yet lifted, by which the
Rebel States were shut out from the communion of the Union. This is a
landmark in our history, and it might properly be known by the name of
its author, as “Collamer’s statute.”

All who ever sat with him in the committee-room will long remember the
carefulness with which he gave his counsels, and the completeness with
which he explained them. Perhaps his wisdom and facility in business
were nowhere more manifest. I seize this occasion to confess most
gratefully my own personal obligations to him in this interesting

The same character which appeared in the committee-room showed itself
in conversation, enlivened by constant humor. He, too, had his “little
story” for illustration; but in this respect he differed from the
late President as one of his own Vermont mountains differs from an
outstretched laughing prairie of the West. In manner he was Socratic.
The curious observer, fond of tracing resemblances, might fancy that
in the form of his head, and even of his person, he was not unlike the
received image of Socrates, while his colloquial powers might again
recall Socrates, as pictured by the affectionate Xenophon, “handling
all who conversed with him just as he pleased.” He had also the same
antique simplicity, and I doubt not he would have followed the wise
man of Athens barefoot in the waters of the Ilissus. I would not push
the resemblance too far, and I use it only for illustration, not for
parallel; and yet, as I bring to mind our departed friend, he seems to
assume this classical figure. Call him, then, if you please, the Green
Mountain Socrates.

Debate, except on the highest occasions, is only conversation in
public. With him it was conversation always. He spoke as he conversed,
with the same pith and humor, and with the same facility. But his
facility did not tempt him. In this gilded amphitheatre,[10] where
the speaker is sacrificed to the galleries, as of old the gladiator
was offered up to make a Roman holiday, he declined all display, and
simply conversed; and such was the desire to hear him, that we gathered
near to catch his words. He was not a frequent speaker, and he never
spoke except when he had something to say; nor did he speak for effect
abroad, but only for effect in the debate. Of course, he was too honest
and too considerate of the Senate to speak without the preparation of
reflection and study. Though at times earnest, he was never bitter. He
never dropped into the debate any poisoned ingredients.

Sometimes he spoke with much effect, especially on law, or finance, or
business. On the great question which for a generation overshadowed all
others, and finally wrapped the country in the “living cloud of war,”
he was sincerely antislavery, but with certain shortcomings which in
this impartial tribute ought not to be concealed. His lenity toward our
monster enemy showed itself unconsciously when he spoke of malignant
Rebels as “those Southern gentlemen who had seceded,” and then again,
when, at an earlier date, he spoke of “two civilizations”; but he bore
kindly the reply, that civilization was only on one side. And yet on
two occasions in this Chamber he strove for the Right very bravely, so
that his position became historic. One of these was many years ago,
shortly after he came into the Senate; the other was only last year.
The historian and the biographer will describe these scenes. One of
them is the fit subject of Art.

The earliest of these occasions was when, under the influence of the
President of that day, backed by Jefferson Davis in the Cabinet,
an illegal government was set up in a distant Territory, which, in
defiance of the people there, proceeded to institute an infamous Black
Code borrowed from Slavery. The President countenanced the illegal
government, and smiled upon the Black Code. The representatives of
Slavery in both Houses of Congress, with their Northern allies,
indifferent to human rights, and greedy only of political power,
sustained the President in his disregard of a fundamental principle of
the Declaration of Independence, that governments derive “their just
powers from the consent of the governed.” The contest was unequal.
On one side was a struggling people, insulted and despoiled of their
rights; on the other side was the President, with all the vast powers
of the Republic, with patronage less than now, but very prevailing,
and with a great political party yielding an unhesitating support. The
contest reached this Chamber. Naturally it came before the Committee
on Territories, where happily the good cause was represented by Jacob
Collamer, of Vermont. The interest increased with each day; and when
the Committee reported, a scene ensued without example among us.

The reports of committees are usually handed in and ordered to be
printed; but now, at the impassioned call of a Senator from South
Carolina,[11] the report of the Committee, whitewashing incredible
outrages, was read by the Chairman at the desk of the Secretary of the
Senate. The Chairman left his seat for this purpose, and stood face to
face with the Senate.[12] For two hours the apology for that usurpation
which had fastened a Black Code upon an inoffensive people sounded in
this Chamber, while the partisans of Slavery gloated over the seeming
triumph. There was a hush of silence, and there was sadness also with
some, who saw clearly the unpardonable turpitude of the sacrifice. Mr.
Collamer followed with a minority report, signed by himself alone,
which he read at the desk of the Secretary, standing face to face with
the Senate. Jesse D. Bright was at the time our President, but he had
installed in the chair on that momentous occasion none other than
that most determined artificer of treason and drill-sergeant of the
Rebellion, John Slidell, who sat behind, like Mephistopheles looking
over the shoulder of Truth,[13] while the patriot Senator, standing
before, gravely unfolded the enormities that had been perpetrated.
Few then present now remain; but none then present can fail to recall
the scene. The report which Mr. Collamer read belongs to the history
of the country. But the scene comes clearly within the domain of Art.
In the long life of our departed friend it was his brightest and most
glorious moment,--beyond anything of honor or power, whether in the
cabinet or on the bench. For what is office, compared to the priceless
opportunity, nobly employed, of standing as a buttress for human rights?

The other signal occasion, when he showed much of the same character,
and was surely inspired by the same sentiment, was during the last
year, when the illustrious President, who now reposes in immortality,
undertook, in disregard of Congress, and solely by executive power, to
institute civil governments throughout that region of the Union where
civil governments had been overthrown,--imitating, in the agencies
he employed, the Cromwellian system of ruling by “major-generals.”
The case of distant and oppressed Kansas was revived. Who can forget
the awakened leonine energy of the aged Senator, when, contrary to
his custom, he interrupted another in debate to declare his judgment
against the power of the President to institute permanent civil
governments “to last beyond the war”?[14] The dividing line was clear.
The President might exercise a temporary military power, but Congress
must lay the foundations of permanent peace. This simple principle was,
of course, only the corollary of that rule of Jefferson, which has
become one of the commonplaces of our political system, asserting “the
supremacy of the civil over the military authority.”[15] The eggs of
crocodiles can produce only crocodiles; and it is not easy to see how
eggs laid by military power can be hatched into an American State.

This interjected judgment was afterward developed in a speech, which
for sententious wisdom and solid sense is, perhaps, the best he ever
delivered. It is not long, but, like the Roman sword, it is effective
from its very shortness. He spoke with the authority of years, but he
spoke also with another peculiar authority; for it was he who drew
the Act of Congress which placed the Rebel States under the ban.[16]
Positively, earnestly, and most persuasively, he insisted that Congress
should not abdicate its control of this question. His conclusion was
repeated again and again. It was for Congress, he said, to say when
that state of things existed which would entitle the Rebel States to
perform their functions as integral parts of the Union. It was for
Congress to decide this question, and not for the President, except so
far as the President unites in an Act of Congress by his signature.
And he asked, “When will and when ought Congress to admit these States
as being in their normal condition?” To which he answers: “It is not
enough that they stop their hostility and are repentant. They should
present fruits meet for repentance. They should furnish to us, by their
actions, some evidence that the condition of loyalty and obedience is
their true condition again, and Congress must pass upon it; _otherwise
we have no securities_.… And I insist that the President, making peace
with them, if you please, by surceasing military operations, _does
not alter their status, until Congress passes upon it_.” Then, again,
filled with the thought, he exclaims, “The great and essential thing
now to insist upon is, that Congress shall do nothing which can in
any way create _a doubt_ about our power over the subject.” And still
pleading against executive interference, he says: “I believe, that,
when reëstablishing the condition of peace with that people, Congress,
representing the United States, has power, in ending this war, as any
other war, to get some security for the future. It would be a strange
thing, if it were not true that this nation, in ending a civil as well
as a foreign war, could close it and make peace by obtaining, if not
indemnity for the past, _at least some security for future peace_.”[17]
This was among the last utterances of our patriot Senator. It is his
dying legacy to his country. Let all, from President to citizen, heed
its words. The aspiration so often expressed to-day, that he were
now alive to take part in the restoration of the Rebel States, is
fulfilled. He lives in his declared opinions, echoed from the tomb.

Say not that I err, because here at his funeral, seeking to do him
honor, I exhibit him bravely standing front to front with executive
power wielded by a President instigated by Jefferson Davis, and then
again bravely standing front to front with executive power wielded by
the gentle hand of Abraham Lincoln. In the first case it was to save
an outraged people; in the other it was to vindicate the powers of the
people of the United States in Congress assembled to provide guaranties
and safeguards against the wickedness and perjury which had deluged
his beloved country with blood. Say not that I err, because now, at
his funeral, anxious that his best actions should not be forgotten,
I commemorate this championship. He is dead, but the good he has done
cannot die. And hereafter faithful Senators, struggling with executive
power, will catch a new inspiration from his example. A bishop of the
Church tells us that “all is not over, while there is a man left to
reprove error and bear testimony to the truth; and a man who does it
with becoming spirit may stop a prince or senate when in full career,
and recover the day.”[18] Where this spirit has been shown, where an
honored associate has earned this title to fame, I insist that it shall
be made known.



    December 19th, a message was read from President Johnson
    with regard to the condition of the Southern States, which
    was represented as “more promising than, in view of all the
    circumstances, could well have been expected.” The President

        “From all the information in my possession, and from that
        which I have recently derived from the most reliable
        authority, I am induced to cherish the belief that
        sectional animosity is surely and rapidly merging itself
        into a spirit of nationality, and that representation,
        connected with a properly adjusted system of taxation, will
        result in a harmonious restoration of the relations of the
        States to the National Union.”

    Accompanying the message was a report to the President by
    Lieutenant-General Grant, who had recently made a tour of
    inspection through several of the States lately in rebellion,
    where he said, “I am satisfied that the mass of thinking men
    of the South accept the present situation of affairs in good
    faith.” In this spirit the report speaks of the “universal
    acquiescence in the authority of the General Government”; it
    declares that “the good of the country and economy require that
    the force kept in the interior, where there are many freedmen,
    should all be white troops,”--that “the presence of black
    troops, lately slaves, demoralizes labor, both by their advice
    and by furnishing in their camps a resort for the freedmen for
    long distances around,”--that “the citizens of the Southern
    States are anxious to return to self-government within the
    Union as soon as possible”; and it adds, that “they are in
    earnest in wishing to do what they think is required by the
    Government, not humiliating to them as citizens.”

    Nothing was said in the message or the report of the condition
    of the freedmen, or of the continued denial of their rights.

    Both these documents were read at length by the Secretary of
    the Senate. A report by Major-General Carl Schurz was also
    communicated; but this was not read. It was understood that
    this report was elaborate, and that it set forth the condition
    of the freedmen. Mr. Sumner, ascertaining that it accompanied
    the message, said: “If it is there, I think it had better be

        SEVERAL SENATORS. It is very long.

        MR. SUMNER. At any rate, we can begin it.

        THE PRESIDENT _pro tempore_. The reading of the report of
        General Carl Schurz is called for. It will be read, if
        there be no objection.

        MR. JOHNSON [of Maryland]. I have no objection to the
        reading of the report; I should like to hear it; but the
        reading will take a good while, and it can all be printed
        in a day or two.

        MR. SUMNER. Let the reading be begun.

        MR. JOHNSON. I submit to the Senator from Massachusetts
        that the printing of it, perhaps, will answer every
        purpose. It is a very long report, I see; at least, it
        seems to be so. I have, personally, not the slightest
        objection to its being read.

    MR. SUMNER. It is a very important document. The Senate will
    remember, that, when the report was made on the condition of
    Kansas, every word of it was read at the desk.[19] Now the
    question before the country is immeasurably more important
    than that of Kansas. We have a message from the President
    which is like the whitewashing message of Franklin Pierce with
    regard to the enormities in Kansas. Such is its parallel. I
    think the Senate had better at least listen to the opening of
    Major-General Schurz’s report.

        MR. JOHNSON. I have no objection, if the Senate think they
        have time to listen to it; but I did not expect to hear any
        assault, direct or indirect, upon the President at this

        MR. SUMNER. No assault at all.

    Mr. Johnson then said: “I have seen nothing in the message
    which would warrant a reflection that any improper purpose had
    actuated the President in sending it here. He does not mean, as
    I suppose, to whitewash anybody who has offended.”

    The Secretary proceeded to read the introductory paragraphs
    of General Schurz’s report, in which he states through what
    portion of the South he travelled, the points at which he
    stopped, his facilities for obtaining information, and the
    order in which the results of his observation would be detailed.

    Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, “would much prefer to read this document
    in print,” and he moved to dispense with its further reading.

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

I shall not object, if the Senator from Ohio thinks it proper, on
this important occasion, to dispense with the reading. In my judgment
the Senate cannot listen to anything of more consequence than this
accurate, authentic, most authoritative report with regard to the
actual condition of things in the States lately in rebellion. Here
is an eminent citizen, lately a major-general in the army of the
United States, sent by the President on a special mission to visit
those States and to report upon their condition. The visit has been
made,--not a hasty one, like that of General Grant, for instance,
or of other officers or citizens, but a sojourn occupying time,
extending through different States,--and the results are recorded in a
careful document. Now, Sir, if the question were trivial, if it were
transitory, I should think the Senator was right; but, if he persists
in his motion, I shall not oppose it.

    Mr. Sherman insisted upon his motion, and said: “It is unusual
    to read documents in this way.” Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin,
    called attention to a remark of Mr. Sumner, which he thought
    he ought “to qualify at least, if not altogether retract.” The
    objectionable remark was then stated. “Speaking of the message
    just received from the President of the United States, he said
    that it was like the whitewashing message of Franklin Pierce,
    to cover up the transactions in Kansas.… Now, Mr. President, I
    think the Senator from Massachusetts must have let fall that
    expression without due consideration”; and he concluded by
    saying: “I believe, Sir, certainly I think I ought to believe,
    that the honorable Senator from Massachusetts will at least
    modify or qualify, if he does not wholly retract, this strong

    Mr. Sumner followed:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I have nothing to retract, nothing to modify, nothing
to qualify. In former days there was one Kansas suffering under illegal
power; there are now eleven Kansases suffering as that one; therefore,
as eleven is more than one, so is the enormity of the present time more
than the enormity in the day of Franklin Pierce.

    Mr. Dixon, of Connecticut, said: “A charge has been directly
    made here by the Senator that the President has sent in a
    whitewashing report.… When such a charge as that is brought
    in the Senate, I think it calls for some notice, and I
    take the liberty, with all my respect for the Senator from
    Massachusetts, to deny that there is anything in that report
    of a whitewashing character.” Mr. Doolittle spoke again:
    “I was not pained because the honorable Senator differed
    from the President; I knew he differed from the President
    on this question; but I was pained, and I confess very much
    disappointed, to hear that Senator, as I should be to hear any
    other Senator on the floor of the Senate, question the truth,
    the integrity, or the patriotism of the President, however much
    he might disagree with me in opinion.”

    Mr. Sumner spoke again:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am sorry that I have given pain to honorable friends.
I certainly did not intend it. They suggest that a question has been
raised as to the policy of the President. I have raised no such
question, and have expressed no opinion in regard to it. The Senator
from Wisconsin dwells on that point, and reminds the Senate that the
policy of the President was not in question. I knew it was not in
question, and therefore I expressed no opinion upon it; for, when I
speak here, I try to speak directly to the question. There was then
no question on the policy of the President. Had there been, I should
have been ready to meet it. At the proper time I shall meet it fully,
plainly, unequivocally, I trust, as becomes a member of this body.

The only question, then, was on the character of the document just
read; and that I exhibited, compendiously, as whitewashing; and
then my honorable friends rise, one after the other, and, like two
lexicographers, proceed with a definition of “whitewash.” I do not
accept their definition. I intended no such thing as either the
Senator from Connecticut or the Senator from Wisconsin attempted to
impute. I have no reflection to make on the patriotism or the truth
of the President. Never, in public or in private, have I made any
such reflection, and I do not begin now. When I spoke, it was of the
document read at the desk. I characterized it as I thought I ought.

My memory goes back in this Chamber further than that of many about
me. I remember that other scene, when a whitewashing message came from
Franklin Pierce. We all at that time called it whitewashing; and I
am not aware that any one, even on the other side, undertook to play
the part that my honorable friends from Wisconsin and Connecticut
undertake to perform. The message was so called because we all felt
that it was whitewashing; and I undertook at once, to-day, on listening
to the document read at the desk, to characterize it precisely as the
patriotic party of 1856 characterized the message of Franklin Pierce.

    Mr. Dixon added, that, if Mr. Sumner had said that he did
    not intend his remarks in an offensive tone, but considered
    “whitewashing” a polite and proper word to apply to the message
    of the President, he should have accepted his explanation.
    Mr. Trumbull expressed a hope “that this unprofitable debate
    might cease.” Mr. Fessenden remarked: “This is a mere matter
    of definitions, and it ought to be referred to some maker of

    The motion of Mr. Sherman prevailed without a division, and the
    message and accompanying documents were ordered to be printed.

    The report of General Schurz was a remarkable document, founded
    on an official visit, at the appointment of President Johnson,
    and with its accompanying papers occupied more than a hundred
    pages.[20] It bristled with testimony, not only from his own
    observation, but from that of generals and other officers on
    the spot. “An utter absence of national feeling”; “an entire
    absence of that national spirit which forms the basis of
    true loyalty and patriotism”; “although the freedman is no
    longer considered the property of the individual master, he is
    considered the slave of society,” with the notion “that the
    elevation of the blacks will be the degradation of the whites”;
    “the practice of corporal punishment is still continued to a
    great extent”; “the habit is so inveterate with a great many
    persons as to render, on the least provocation, the impulse to
    whip a negro almost irresistible”; “the maiming and killing of
    colored men seems to be looked upon by many as one of those
    venial offences which must be forgiven to the outraged feelings
    of a wronged and robbed people”; “the number of murders and
    assaults perpetrated upon negroes is very great”: these are
    words of General Schurz. The accompanying testimony supplies
    fearful details. All this was painfully inconsistent with the
    message of the President and the report of General Grant.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The marked effect of this incident shows the sensitive
    condition of the public mind. The word “whitewashing” became a
    text for the press on opposite sides. The interest also found
    expression in letters.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Wendell Phillips, the orator, always sympathizing with every
    earnest word for Human Rights, wrote from Boston:--

        “Glorious! just the truth, and just the time and place to
        speak it, was your graphic and most effective description
        of the President’s message. I say this, not that you need
        confirmation, but because, hearing the clamor against you,
        it seems right you should have the ‘cheers’ as well as the

    Rev. Justin D. Fulton, a successful Baptist preacher, wrote
    from Boston:--

        “Before I can begin my sermon, I want to send you my thanks
        for your noble stand in the Senate of the United States
        against the President and for the country. Last Sabbath,
        in the great congregation, I publicly thanked God that
        you used the word ‘whitewashing.’ The same thing I did in
        Albany; the same thing I do now.”

    Hon. Thomas Russell, Judge of the Superior Court, and
    afterwards Collector of the port of Boston, wrote from Boston:--

        “I only write to thank you heartily for your courage and
        fidelity. I would say, ‘Go on,’ but that is needless.”

    Edward W. Kinsley, a merchant, who never forgot the claims of
    Human Rights or of personal friendship, wrote from Boston:--

        “I know you are too busy to read any letter from me; but I
        cannot let the day pass without thanking you for the course
        you are taking in the Senate this session. Thank God, we
        have one man on the watch-tower who will not slumber or

    Hon. Samuel E. Sewall, the able lawyer and Abolitionist, wrote
    from Boston:--

        “I do not know any man who is doing so much for the
        country, in the present crisis, as you are by your speeches
        and writings. We are all here watching the course of
        Congress with the deepest anxiety.”

    Nathaniel Moody, always on the side of Humanity, wrote from
    Chelsea, Massachusetts:--

        “Permit me, as one of your constituents, to thank you for
        the noble stand you have taken in regard to Reconstruction,
        which I regard of quite as much importance as was the
        persistent prosecution of the war just brought to a
        successful conclusion. I did expect no less from you,
        considering your former great efforts in the true cause of

    Mrs. John Davis, widow of Mr. Sumner’s first colleague in the
    Senate, wrote from Worcester, Massachusetts:--

        “We hope the whitewashing is over, and that common sense,
        to say nothing of justice, will resume the sway.”

    Rev. George N. Richardson wrote from Westborough,

        “You are bearing yourself so bravely and faithfully in
        behalf of a cause very dear to me, that it is the impulse
        of my heart to thank and bless you.”

    Rev. Richard S. Storrs, the eminent Congregational clergyman,
    wrote from Braintree, Massachusetts:--

        “It must be a great satisfaction to you to know that
        you have the unlimited confidence and sympathy of your
        constituents; and I am sure you have the approval of all
        loyal men and _angels_, while struggling against the
        devices of the arch enemy of God and man.”

    Rev. J. R. W. Sloane, a pastor of the Presbyterian Church,
    wrote from New York:--

         “To yourself and Thaddeus Stevens the nation is now
        looking as the defenders of Truth and Justice. Thanks for
        your just rebuke of the President’s ‘whitewashing’ message.
        The statements of this paper are directly in the face of
        what I know to be the state of things in the South. I
        rejoice that it did not pass unrebuked.”

    E. Burt wrote earnestly from Cleveland, Ohio:--

        “Thanks be to our Heavenly Father, dear Sir, that there are
        no Brookses in Congress this year, to raise their canes
        over any man’s head. Now, Sir, my prayer is, that God may
        give you strength to do your duty this year, as no other
        man in or out of Congress can do it; for no other man has
        shown up the barbarism of Slavery like yourself. Sir, when
        but a few days ago you asked the reading of Carl Schurz’s
        report, and it was not granted, my blood started with such
        a rush in my veins that I could hardly contain myself.
        ‘What!’ said I, ‘has it come to this, after the loss of so
        many of the most valuable lives of our dear countrymen, so
        much of blood and treasure?’”

    Thomas D. Hoxsey wrote from Paterson, New Jersey:--

        “You have to fight your old battle over again, and I only
        hope and trust that you may have the physical health to
        stand firm where your late speeches place you.”

    Colonel Wentworth Higginson, who served so well at the head of
    colored troops, and does such honor to American literature,
    in a letter from Newport, Rhode Island, thanking Mr. Sumner
    for speeches, added, “especially that one word _whitewashing_,
    which was the best speech of all.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    These brief utterances illustrate the sentiment beginning to
    prevail. The issue with the President, already foreseen, had



DECEMBER 20, 1865.

    On the day after the “whitewashing” incident, Mr. Sumner
    seized an opportunity of setting forth the actual condition
    of the States lately in rebellion, and the duty of Congress
    with regard to them. He took the floor on a bill, introduced
    by his colleague, Mr. Wilson, “to maintain the freedom of
    the inhabitants in the States declared in insurrection and
    rebellion by the Proclamation of the President of the first of
    July, 1862,” and spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--When I think of what occurred yesterday in this
Chamber, when I call to mind the attempt to whitewash the unhappy
condition of the Rebel States, and to throw the mantle of official
oblivion over sickening and heartrending outrages, where Human Rights
are sacrificed and Rebel Barbarism receives a new letter of license,
I feel that I ought to speak of nothing else. Years ago, in the days
of Kansas, I stood here when one small community was surrendered to
the machinations of slave-masters. I stand here again, when, alas!
an immense region, with millions of people, is surrendered to the
machinations of slave-masters. Sir, it is the duty of Congress to
arrest this fatal fury. Congress must dare to be brave; it must dare
to be just. I shall not be diverted from the question before the
Senate, although, in unfolding the necessity of present legislation for
the protection of freedmen, I shall be led necessarily and logically to
speak of the condition of the Rebel States.

All must admit that the bill of my colleague is excellent in purpose.
It proposes nothing less than to establish Equality before the Law,
at least so far as civil rights are concerned, in the Rebel States.
This is done simply to carry out and maintain the Proclamation of
Emancipation, by which the Republic is solemnly pledged to “maintain”
the emancipated slave in freedom. Here is our pledge: “The Executive
Government of the United States, including the military and naval
authorities thereof, will recognize and _maintain the freedom of said
persons_.” The pledge is without limitation in space or time. It is as
extended and as immortal as the Republic itself. Does anybody call it
vain words? I trust not. To that pledge we are solemnly bound. Wherever
our flag floats, as long as time endures, we must see that it is
sacredly observed.

The performance of this pledge cannot be intrusted to another; least
of all can it be intrusted to ancient slave-masters, embittered
against the slave. It must be performed by the National Government.
The power that gave freedom must see that freedom is maintained. This
is according to reason. It is also according to examples of history.
In the British West Indies we find this teaching. Three of England’s
greatest orators and statesmen, Burke, Canning, and Brougham, at
successive periods united in declaring, from experience in the British
West Indies, that whatever the slave-masters undertook to do for their
slaves was always “arrant trifling,” and that, whatever might be its
plausible form, it always wanted “an executory principle.”[21] More
recently the Emperor of Russia, when ordering Emancipation, declared
that all efforts of his predecessors in this direction had failed,
because left to “the spontaneous initiative of the proprietors.” I
might say much more on this head, but this is enough. I assume that no
such blunder will be made by us,--that we shall not leave to the old
proprietors the maintenance of that freedom to which we are pledged,
and thus break our own promises and sacrifice a race.

       *       *       *       *       *

Elsewhere I have alluded to Emancipation in Russia.[22] But the example
is worthy our deepest study, unless we purposely reject history. All
know that in 1861 the Emperor by solemn proclamation gave freedom to
upward of twenty-three million serfs; but it is not generally known by
what supplementary provisions this freedom was assured.

I have in my hands an official copy of this great act, published at St.
Petersburg, by which it is declared that the serfs, after an interval
of two years, are “entirely enfranchised.”[23] Under this Proclamation,
a new set of local magistrates is constituted, with “special court” and
“justices of the peace” in each district, to superintend the working of
the Proclamation, and to examine on the spot all questions arising from
Emancipation. The provision is not unlike our Bureau of Freedmen, which
is vindicated by this example.

The good work did not stop here. The Emperor did not leave the
freedmen without protection, handed over to the tender mercies of
former owners. By a careful series of “Regulations” accompanying the
Proclamation, prepared with minutest care, and divided into chapters
and sections, their rights are secured beyond question. A copy of this
remarkable document shows it to be a model for generous imitation.

These “Regulations” begin with a formal declaration, that the freedmen
by the act of Emancipation “acquire the rights belonging to free
farmers.” The language is general. It is “the rights of free farmers,”
not in certain particulars, but in all particulars,--not merely
in exemption from the authority of their masters, but in complete
enfranchisement. Surely this is an example for us.

The “Regulations” then proceed in formal words to fix and assure these
rights, civil and political. They are not left to inference or to
future discussion, but positively declared with all possible detail.

By one section the freedman is secured in all his _rights of family_
and _rights of contract_, as follows:--

    “The articles of the Civil Code on the rights and obligations
    of the family are extended to the freedmen; consequently they
    acquire the right, without the authorization of the proprietor,
    to contract marriage, and to make any arrangement whatever
    concerning their family affairs; 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; 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.”

Here is a beautiful example for us.

By another section the freedman is secured in _rights of property_.
He may acquire and alienate property of all kinds, according to the
general law; and, besides, “the possession of the homestead” on which
he has lived is guarantied to him on certain conditions. Here is
another example for us.

By further provision the freedman is secured complete _Equality in the

    “He shall have the right of action, whether civilly or
    criminally, to commence process, and to answer personally or by
    attorney, to make complaint, and to defend his rights by all
    the means known to the law, _and to appear as witness and as
    bail conformably to the common law_.”

Mark these words. He may appear “as witness and as bail.” It is an
example for us.

By other provisions the freedman is secured _Equality in political
rights_, according to the measure of such rights in Russia, thus:--

    “On the organization of the towns, he 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; and he shall
    also take part in assemblies for the district, and shall vote
    on district affairs, and choose the chairman.”

From all the provisions on this head it appears that the freedman
enjoys rights to choose local officers, and to be chosen in turn. Here
also is an example for us.

By still another section the freedman is secured _Equality at school
and in education_, thus:--

     “He may place his 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

Here again is an example for us.

Then, still further, for the general protection of the freedman, it
is provided that he “cannot lose his rights, or be restrained in
their exercise, except after the judgment of the town according to
fixed rules”; and still further, that he “cannot be subjected to any
punishment, otherwise than by notice of a judgment, or according to
the legal decision of the town to which he belongs.” Here, too, is an
example for us.

Thus does Russia, by careful provisions, supplementary to the act of
Emancipation, assure her freedmen in all their rights: first, the right
of family and the right of contract; secondly, the right of property,
including a homestead; thirdly, complete Equality in the courts;
fourthly, Equality in political rights; fifthly, Equality at school and
in education; and, finally, all these precious safeguards are crowned
by declaring that they cannot lose their rights, or be punished, except
after judgment according to fixed rules: thus completely fulfilling
that requirement of our fathers, that government should be “a
government of laws, and not of men.”[24]

I trust that this grand example is none the less worthy of imitation
because from an empire which is not supposed to sympathize with
liberal ideas. The Republic cannot in this respect lag behind the
Empire. Besides, all that we hear shows that the experiment has been
successful. An experiment inspired so completely by the spirit of
justice cannot fail.

My colleague is right in introducing his bill and pressing it to a
vote. The argument for it is irresistible. It is essential to complete
Emancipation. Without it Emancipation will be only _half done_. It is
our duty to see that it is wholly done. Slavery must be abolished not
in form only, but in substance, so that there shall be no Black Code,
but all shall be Equal before the Law.

As to the power of Congress over this question, I cannot doubt it.
My colleague assumes the power, without tracing it to any particular
source. It may be a military power, precisely as the Proclamation
of Emancipation,--and here the authority is as clear and absolute
as in the District of Columbia; or it may be in pursuance of the
Constitutional Amendment, which provides that Congress may “enforce
this Article by appropriate legislation”; or it may be to carry out the
guaranty of a republican form of government.

There are measures of my own, already introduced by me, now on your
table, looking to the same result as the pending bill, which proceed
specifically on the two latter grounds.

One of these is entitled “A bill supplying appropriate legislation to
enforce the Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting Slavery,” from
which I read two sections.

    Here Mr. Sumner read sections 3 and 4, as given on a previous

This bill proceeds on the idea that the Amendment is now part of
the Constitution to all intents and purposes. And who can doubt
this? Already it is adopted by three fourths of the States having
Legislatures,--in other words, by “the Legislatures of three fourths
of the several States.” The States having no Legislatures at the time
of its proposition by Congress cannot be counted. Of what value is the
enforced consent of disloyal and barbarous bodies pretending to act for
certain States at the dictation of military power? Military power may
govern during the war; but it is impotent to make a republican State,
or to adopt an Amendment of the Constitution.

Another bill introduced by me, and now on the table, is founded on the
guaranty clause. I give its title: “A bill in part execution of the
guaranty of a Republican form of Government in the Constitution of the
United States.”[26]

Both these bills are broader even than that of my colleague; for
they point to the absolute obliteration of all legal discriminations
founded on color, whether in the court-room or at the ballot-box; and
to this conclusion we must come at last. But I confess that I feel the
dignity, the grandeur, and the substantial value which would be found
in a declaration of Congress, that an oligarchical government, denying
rights to a whole race, undertaking to tax without representation, and
discarding “the consent of the governed” as its just foundation, cannot
be “republican.”

The most explicit, the most positive, the most mandatory words in the
Constitution are, “The United States shall guaranty to every State
in this Union a republican form of government.” This great duty is
thrown not upon any individual branch of the Government, but upon
the United States. It is a duty to “guaranty”--which in itself is a
strong term--what? A republican form of government. Now, by the lapse
of State governments in the Rebel States, this duty is cast upon the
United States. But the United States are represented in Congress, or
rather by Act of Congress, which in itself is the embodied will of
both Houses and of the President. Congress must, therefore, determine
what is a republican form of government. Into this question I do not
now enter. At the proper time I hope to consider it.[27] For the
present I content myself with the remark, that it is absurd to say
that a community founded on oligarchical pretensions, excluding from
all participation in the government any considerable proportion of its
tax-paying citizens, and ignoring the consent of the governed, can be
considered a republican form of government. On this proposition I hope
to be heard at an early day. Here is one of the greatest questions of
our history.

       *       *       *       *       *

After this brief review of the object to be accomplished, I am brought
to consider the practical necessity of such legislation; and here it is
my duty to expose the actual condition of the Rebel States, especially
as regards loyalty and the treatment of the freedmen. On this head I
shall adduce evidence in my possession. In the endeavor to bring what
I say within reasonable proportions, I shall adduce only a small part
of what has passed under my eye; but it will be more than enough. In
bringing it forward, the difficulty is of selection and abridgment.

I begin with something relating to the condition of the Rebel States
generally, and shall then consider the different States successively.

And now, first, as to the Rebel States generally. I know no testimony
that has found its way to the public, with regard to the general
condition of the South, which will compare in value with a series
of letters by A. Warren Kelsey, a business agent of character and
intelligence above question, who has travelled through the Rebel
States. His communications with his employers show singular powers of
observation, and are expressed with great clearness. Of course I can
give only a few extracts.

    “In travelling about, as I have, from one section of the
    country to the other, I have been able to compare opinions,
    and, as you know, I have had peculiar and favorable
    opportunities for ascertaining the views they have in common.
    I have endeavored to trace the motives from which they have
    acted and which now animate them, and their _real_ purpose
    for the future, if they have one. In giving you my opinion
    now, it is proper to say that I have taken no one individual
    as a criterion of the whole, and have judged them only by
    the opinions I find they are generally agreed upon; neither
    have I any one’s statement for their thoughts and actions. My
    opinions, deductions, and conclusions are derived from my own
    experience and observation among them, and, whether they shall
    be confirmed or denied by others, are, notwithstanding, my
    honest and sincere convictions.


    “While I am able to say that they have made up their minds
    that Emancipation is a fact, and not to be avoided, I am
    obliged to state my earnest opinion, that, so far as secession
    is concerned,--that is, the doctrine of State Rights,--it is
    more deeply rooted than ever among them. They are perfectly
    united in the belief that the division of this country is
    both right from a moral stand-point and politic as a measure
    of expediency. They have simply changed their base from the
    battle-field to the ballot-box, believing, as they very frankly
    admit, that greater triumphs await them there than they could
    ever hope for in the field. In almost every house hangs the
    old, worn Confederate uniform, which is displayed with pride
    and satisfaction to all comers. So far from repenting of the
    stand they took, they glory in it. They regret the result, and
    their non-success, it is true, but not one in a thousand will
    admit they were in the wrong.


    “They argue that at least ninety-five in every two hundred
    votes at the North are sure to be thrown in their favor, and
    they can now rule the Union by giving up, which is cheaper
    than to persist in their idea of a separate government. That
    idea, however, is only laid aside for a time. Every boy at the
    South is being educated in the belief that the relations the
    South to-day sustains toward the North are the same as those of
    Hungary or Venetia toward Austria, or of Poland to Russia. They
    bide their time. They have adopted for their motto, ‘Patience,
    and shuffle the cards.’ The snake, so far from being killed, is
    barely ‘scotched.’ Meantime they deem it better to rule in the
    Union than to serve in the Confederate army.


    “As to their affection for their military leaders, you will
    find proof in the elections at Richmond and South Carolina.
    No man has a better claim to their sympathy, and none stand a
    better chance of election, than those who were the last to give
    up. Motives of policy may induce them to nominate others, but
    the fact remains as I have stated. I repeat, that General Lee
    and Wade Hampton are the two most popular and best loved men in
    the South to-day. I have heard but one disparaging remark made
    of General Lee since I was at the South, and that was in this
    connection. I was riding one night in a hack across the gap
    in a railway, made by Wilson, and, as usual, the conversation
    turned on political affairs and the condition and prospects of
    the Southern people. One man said that General Lee stood the
    best chance for the next Presidency,--by the way, that is a
    very prevalent idea here at the South,--when another remarked
    that he would rather have Andrew Johnson. I was curious to
    know why, and inquired. He replied, that ‘he had but little
    confidence in Lee since he favored negro soldiers, and in his
    opinion he was not much better than a Black Republican.’


    “At present every one at the South is occupied in his personal
    and family interests. There are no political parties,--very
    little coherence of opinion as to the policy best to be
    pursued. But I find among the knowing ones, particularly
    those who have been on to the North, and remained some time
    in New York or Washington, a sanguine belief that they can
    easily resume the reins of office; and these men are the only
    Unionists in the South to-day. You can depend upon it, that
    the Southern States in the future will present one solid,
    unanimous front; their leaders have them well in hand. And
    this is precisely what ninety-nine in every hundred of the
    men, women, and children believe sincerely as to the situation
    to-day: first, that the South of right possesses, and always
    possessed, the right of secession; secondly, that the war only
    proved that the North was the strongest; thirdly, that Negro
    Slavery was and is right, but has been abolished by the war.
    The Southerners are too smart not to see that Slavery is dead,
    but many of them hope as long as the black race exists here
    to be able to hold it in a condition of practical serfdom.
    All expect the negro will be killed in one way or another by
    Emancipation. The policy of those who will eventually become
    the leaders here at the South is, for the present, to accept
    the best they can get, to acquiesce in anything and everything,
    but to strain every nerve to regain the political power and
    ascendency they held under Buchanan. This they believe cannot
    be postponed longer than up to the next Presidential election.
    They will do all in their power to resist Negro Suffrage,
    to reduce taxation and expenditures, and would attack the
    national debt, if they saw any reason to believe repudiation
    possible. They will continue to assert the inferiority of the
    African; and they would to-day, if possible, precipitate the
    United States into a foreign war, believing they could then
    reassert and obtain their independence. They will, most of
    them, take any oaths you may cause to be adopted, and break
    them immediately, and without scruple. In one word, this people
    have placed themselves in resolute antagonism to the North,
    and _this_ generation, at least, will always hate the Northern
    people, while the boys are being educated to the same idea.


    “On the whole, looking at the affair from all sides, it amounts
    to just this: if the Northern people are content to be ruled
    over by the Southerners, they will continue in the Union; if
    not, the first chance they get, they will rise again.”[28]

Other testimony is in harmony. For instance, a trustworthy traveller,
who has recently traversed the Gulf States, thus writes in a private
letter to myself:--

    “The former masters exhibit a most cruel, remorseless, and
    vindictive spirit toward 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

Such a people already talk of repudiating the national debt. To the
question, “Would it be safe to trust white men at the South with the
power to repudiate the national debt?” a person in gray uniform at once
replied: “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.” Such is the spirit of these
States. But a candidate for Congress in Virginia undertook to speak for
the Rebel States.

    “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_.”

A late writer, who within a few days has returned from an extensive
tour in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and who now enjoys
a seat in your Reporters’ Gallery, thus testifies with regard to the
national debt:--

     “The national debt doubtless seems to you beyond the reach
    of any hand. Yet I regard it as very probable that one or
    two or all of three things will be attempted within three
    years after the Southern members of Congress are admitted to
    seats,--the repudiation of the National debt, the assumption
    of the Confederate debt, or the payment of several hundred
    million dollars to the South for property destroyed and slaves
    emancipated. I met several shrewd and intelligent men who
    expressed the belief that Confederate bonds will be worth
    something in two or three years. One told me that large amounts
    were held in New York and England, and he expected steps would
    be taken within five years toward paying them from the National
    Treasury. I heard no man openly advocate the repudiation of the
    National debt, but scores argued to me that it would not be
    fair to make the South pay any part of it; and one man said he
    believed, if the case were only carried up, that the Supreme
    Court would so decide. The idea that the nation will pay the
    South for her slaves extensively prevails both in Georgia and
    South Carolina. It is incorporated into the new Constitution
    of Georgia, and is openly advocated by many influential men
    in South Carolina. Wherefore, I say, the national debt needs

Let the Secretary of the Treasury[29] take notice, and not expose the
national finances to the peril which menaces them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Passing from this testimony, which is general, I come to the neighbor
State of Virginia. I read from a private letter received by myself from
a Government officer there:--

     “We who are here have a much better opportunity of knowing
    the feeling of the people than you at a distance, for they will
    not speak as freely before you as they will before us here
    and among themselves. The feeling of disloyalty is as strong
    here now as it was during the war, but they cannot show it as
    they did then; and with regard to the freedmen there is every
    disposition on their part to make them odious. They constantly
    talk of insurrection, insubordination, thieving, idleness, and
    every species of crime and vice; all of which I assure you is
    entirely false. They are perfectly subordinate to every law,
    and, so far as thieving is concerned, such an assertion is
    gratuitous or false; for all cases of thieving, certainly, I am
    sorry to say, are done by the whites.”

I also read from another private letter:--

    “The clash of arms has subsided, the serried hosts of Rebels
    have been disbanded, and the huge paraphernalia of war have
    been scattered; but, notwithstanding these facts, the low
    mutterings of sullen discontent are yet heard, and the desire
    to persecute and break down all truly loyal men is exhibited on
    every hand with even more sly ferocity than while the war of
    sections raged.

    “We are residents of this city, each engaged in public
    business, and consequently thrown into contact with all classes
    of citizens. Hourly we hear denunciations of the Government,
    and prayers for the removal of the military. And why these
    denunciations and these prayers, if the oath of allegiance had
    been honestly taken, to be sacredly observed? No, Gentlemen,
    the spirit of rebellion is not dead, and will never die while
    Democratic leaders in the South are relieved of their treachery
    and turned loose to stir up sedition and to incite rebellion.
    The men make loud professions of loyalty, and their press
    reverberates the echo from hill and valley; but you have only
    to read their fanfaronades on loyalty to satisfy yourselves of
    the bitter hatred that fills their breasts against the Union,
    and the burning hate with which they will proceed to pour out
    the vials of their wrath upon all Union men, when once they
    can secure seats in Congress and get possession of the reins
    of State government. In their hearts they cling as ardently to
    State sovereignty as ever, and once give them the power and
    they will tax the loyal people to the full value of the slave
    property destroyed by the war. Mark this prediction.”

Another private letter, from a person so situated as to be singularly
well informed, thus foreshadows a system of Peonage:--

    “The necessity of the courts is beyond all question. Even with
    these courts it requires watchfulness to protect the blacks.
    If they were left without these courts, the whites would keep
    them forever in bondage, by keeping them in debt; and I am
    afraid that the legislation of the States will be to the effect
    to establish here the Mexican system of Peonage, by using
    some very extraordinary terms to coerce ‘hatched-up’ accounts
    against the blacks.”

To this I might add indefinitely, exhibiting the bad temper and
disloyal spirit which prevail throughout Virginia. Bayonets are no
longer flashing there; bullets are no longer whizzing there; but the
traitorous soul that inspired the Rebellion still fills the State with
its malignant breath. Give it not, I entreat you, the power to rule.

       *       *       *       *       *

From Virginia pass to North Carolina. Here the testimony is the same.
During this week I have seen Government officers who have been in
service, one since 1863, who report that it is not safe to speak one’s
sentiments there; that liberty of speech does not exist; that the
freedmen, so far from being lazy or remiss, are willing to work, but
that they are exposed to unutterable hardship and cruelty. On these
points the testimony is explicit. A loyal resident of North Carolina
writes me:--

    “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 toward the
    Government. _I know there is more toward Union men, both black
    and white._”

More hatred toward the Union men, both white and black, than one year
ago! Such is the condition of North Carolina.

In accordance with this is other testimony.

    “Two women, school-teachers, who were recently sent from
    Wilmington to Fayetteville to establish a school for colored
    children, were informed by the sheriff of the county that they
    would not be allowed to start their schools, nor would they be
    allowed to land; but they might remain on the steamer until her
    return to Wilmington, inasmuch as they were women; if they were
    men, they would receive such treatment as was awarded to such
    meddlesome characters before the war.

    “Mr. Dickinson says, that, while he was in Fayetteville, a
    negro was strung up by the thumbs in the public square, and
    received forty-nine lashes from a civil officer recently
    appointed by Governor Holden.”

A Wilmington paper makes the following report.

    “General Ames, General Duncan, and Colonel Donnelson have
    returned from an official visit to Fayetteville, where they
    went to ascertain the truth of the reports coming from there in
    regard to the treatment of the colored people.

    “The result of their visit substantiates the fact that the
    negroes have been cruelly treated, not only by the civilians,
    but also by the civil authorities there.

    “Two negroes were tied up and publicly whipped by the sheriff,
    on the sentence of a magistrate.

    “Other negroes were tied up to trees and whipped, and left tied
    to the trees until a storm came up and prostrated the trees,
    and the poor negroes fell with them.

    “Citizens exercised the authority of masters over the negroes,
    and punished them at their will with such severity as to them
    seemed fit.

    “It is even reported that negroes have been killed in the most
    cruel manner.”

Why heap instances? They might be piled high; but why pain the heart by
such an exhibition?

       *       *       *       *       *

From North Carolina pass to South Carolina, where the testimony is,
if possible, still more explicit. The spirit of this Rebel State, yet
rebel in heart, appears in the well-known letter from Wade Hampton,
which I do not stop to quote. It is especially manifest in the frank
speech of James R. Campbell in the Convention, from which I read an

     “I believe, that, when our votes are admitted into that
    Congress, if we are tolerably wise, governed by a moderate
    share of common sense, we will have our own way. I am speaking
    now not to be reported. We will have our own way yet, if we
    are true to ourselves. We know the past; we know not what is
    to be our future. Are we not in a condition to accept what we
    cannot help? Are we not in a condition where it is the part of
    wisdom to wait and give what we cannot avoid giving? I believe
    as surely as we are a people, so surely, if we are guided by
    wisdom, we will by the beginning of the next Presidential
    election, which is all that is known of the Constitution, (for,
    when you talk of the Constitution of the United States, it
    means the Presidential election, and the share of the spoils,)
    I believe then we may hold the balance of power.”

That Mr. Campbell spoke according to the sentiments of the prevailing
politicians is attested by a private letter which I have received from
a Government officer so situated there as to know the real condition of
things. I read extracts only.

    “The speeches in Convention and Legislature are doubtless known
    to you, and the _animus_ pervading all action of these bodies.
    Mr. Campbell expressed it exactly. Let us do what we _have to_,
    as little as we are obliged to, get into Congress somehow, and
    _then_ pay off the score. One or two minor matters in this
    connection I mention as showing how the current sets.

    “1. _The election for members of Convention, 4th September._
    The favorites in every contested case were those most prominent
    in Secession proceedings of past years. The majority of them
    did not take the amnesty oath.…

    “2. Not even the prospect of securing a favorable recognition
    in Congress could secure the election of any man tainted with
    Unionism, in opposition to any candidate thoroughly established
    as an opponent to the Government in past time.

    “3. And yet, strange as it may seem, _the people_--by
    which I mean the planters generally, exclusive of the
    _politicians_--are not savagely disloyal; and this is one main
    point to which I desire earnestly to testify. It is a fact
    that the political working of the State is in the hands of one
    hundred and fifty to one hundred and eighty men. It has taken
    me six months to appreciate the _entireness_ of the fact,
    though of course I had heard it stated.

    “It seems to me a most Providential opportunity is now
    offered to break up this maladministration of politics.
    The people among whom I move are becoming restive under
    present disadvantages, and criticize sharply the acts of the
    Legislature, which seem to delay Reconstruction. If the State
    is refused representation in the present Congress, and the
    acts of the State Legislature, its speeches, its Black Code,
    its general fractious and combative attitude, its spirit
    in accepting the Constitutional Amendment and refusing the
    annulment of Secession Ordinances are brought to light,--if, in
    a word, it can be shown that the long recognized politicians
    of the State have thoroughly damaged the State by taking her
    out of the Union, and have also kept her from coming in, _there
    will be a political revolution in the State in less than two
    months_. The Rebels so promptly pardoned by the President will
    meet no such complacency from the people. I _know_ this to be
    true,--am taught it anew every day.

    “If the State authority is to be recognized, and the present
    Legislature triumphs by forcing the State into the Union, I
    anticipate very disastrous consequences. The freed people are
    well enough; they do not know as much as could be desired,
    but they know quite as much as could be expected, and are
    open to instruction. But that instruction must come from
    _the Government, through the military_, untrammelled by any
    fractious jobbing of State Legislatures. There is no confidence
    on the part of the freed people in the _State_; they only know
    the United States Government, and no other will answer.”

Here is a letter from a South-Carolinian who served in the Rebel army,
but who now sees the error of his ways.

    “I am sorry to say Governor Orr’s inaugural yesterday received
    no applause at all from the audience: its sentiments were
    too Union-loving for them. I am sorry also to say that the
    South-Carolinians generally entertain to a great extent their
    old ideas and prejudices, so disastrous of late to the State.
    One is almost compelled to think they insanely wish to bring
    upon themselves more and greater mortifications. Witness the
    vote given Hampton, who refused to be a candidate. What an
    unwise display of a factious and discontented spirit! Few seem
    willing to admit the simple proposition that all causes of
    ill-feeling between North and South have been settled by the
    arbitrament of the sword, and we must submit sincerely. They
    seek rather to keep alive the ill-feeling that has made us
    unhappy for so many years, _and that ill-advised disposition to
    supervise the actions of the United States Government_.

    “If this war does not settle all issues, and settle them
    forever, _it will be because the General Government fails
    to use the power it has obtained_. I am as dear a lover of
    South Carolina as any man in it, and for that reason I wish
    to see peace and harmony restored throughout its borders.
    But that can never be, if the men who tried hardest to break
    up the Government are, immediately they find themselves
    unsuccessful with the sword, _allowed to take seats in Congress
    and recommence the agitation with their tongues and by their
    arguments and votes. More inflammatory speeches were not made
    in 1860 than have been delivered during the late canvass. If
    examples are not made, if leading men are not made to feel some
    ill effects from an unsuccessful attempt to revolutionize, then
    agitation will never cease, but will be kept up by ambitious
    men of mean talents, who can hope to rise only in times of
    disorder, or by operating upon and influencing the passions of
    the multitude._”

To cap the climax of this iniquity, a body of men calling themselves
the Legislature, but having small title to be considered a legal body,
have undertaken to enact a Black Code, separating the two races, in
defiance of every principle of Equality. I quote a provision fastening
apprenticeship or serfdom in new form upon the unhappy freedman.

    “Colored children, between the ages mentioned [males two and
    twenty-one, females two and eighteen], who have neither father
    nor mother _living in the district in which they are found_,
    or whose parents are paupers, or unable to afford to them
    maintenance, _or whose parents are not teaching them habits
    of industry and honesty_, or are persons of notoriously bad
    character, or are vagrants, or have been, either of them,
    convicted of an infamous offence, may be bound as apprentices
    by the District Judge, or one of the magistrates, for the
    aforesaid term.”[30]

Under these words no colored minor in the State is safe for one moment
from compulsory serfdom.

The lash is also prescribed as a means of enforcing contracts.[31] The
lash once more is to resound.

The planters at their public meetings give utterance to the same brutal
spirit. Here is a series of resolutions, where, after calling for the
withdrawal of the troops of the United States, and declaring themselves
pledged to the existing state of things, and that it is their “honest
purpose to abide thereby,” they proceed as follows.

    “_Resolved_, That, if inconsistent with the views of the
    authorities to remove the military, we express the opinion that
    the plan of the military _to compel the freedman_ to contract
    with his former owner, when desired by the latter, is wise,
    prudent, and absolutely necessary.

    “_Resolved_, That we, the planters of the district, pledge
    ourselves not to contract with any freedman, unless he can
    produce a certificate of regular discharge from his former

    “_Resolved_, That under no circumstances whatsoever will we
    rent land to any freedmen, nor will we permit them to live on
    our premises as employees.”

Thus is the freedman, whose liberty the United States are bound
to maintain, handed over to _compulsory service_, and under no
circumstances is land to be rented to him. And yet these people
announce that they accept the existing state of things, and that it is
their honest purpose to abide thereby! Of course they accept a state of
things which leaves them once more “masters” of their former slaves. Of
course they will abide by this. Be it our function to teach them the
duty and necessity of Equal Rights.

       *       *       *       *       *

From South Carolina pass to Georgia, and there is the same wretched
story. The spirit of the State appears in the language of Mr. Simmons
in the Convention:--

    “Let us repudiate only under the lash and the application of
    military power; and then, as soon as we are an independent
    sovereignty, restored to our equal rights and privileges in the
    Union, let us immediately call another Convention and resume
    the debt.”

Testimony from various quarters shows the same spirit. A recent writer,
of unimpeachable authority, now sitting as reporter in your galleries,
thus testifies:--

    “In the stage between Augusta and Milledgeville I rode with
    two gentlemen of considerable local weight and prominence,
    who were both anti-secessionists in 1860-61. They talked of
    the approaching Convention, and of its probable action in
    redistricting the State for Representatives. ‘Well, Colonel,’
    said the younger, himself a man of over forty years,--‘well,
    Colonel, what will be our proper course, when we are once more
    fully restored to the Union?’ The answer came, after a moment’s
    consideration: ‘_We must strike hands with the Democratic party
    of the North, and manage them as we always have._’ There was a
    pause while we rattled down the hill, and then the questioner
    responded: ‘That is just it; _they were ready enough to give us
    control, if we gave them the offices, and I reckon they have
    not changed very much yet_.’ There was then conversation on
    other matters; but half an hour later, after a mile or so of
    silence, the Colonel suddenly resumed: ‘Yes, Sir, our duty is
    plain; we shall be without weight, now that Slavery is gone,
    unless we do join hands with them. Andy Johnson will want a
    reëlection, and the united _Democratic party must take him up.
    It shall be a fair division: we want the power, and they want
    the spoils._’”

The same writer, in another letter, shows how Rebels were honored in
the Convention.

    “‘I’ll be d--d, if I vote for any man who did not go with
    the State,’ said one of the delegates, while the canvass for
    officers was going on; in accordance with which spirit the
    secretary is a gentleman who was a colonel in the Rebel army,
    and the doorkeeper a gentleman who lost an arm in the service.”

Where such a spirit prevails, the freedmen fare badly. In Georgia they
are treated cruelly. A traveller writes:--

    “The hatred toward the negro as a freeman is intense among the
    low and brutal, who are the vast majority. Murders, shootings,
    whippings, robbing, and brutal treatment of every kind are
    daily inflicted upon them, and I am sorry to say in most cases
    they can get no redress. They don’t know where to complain or
    how to seek justice, after they have been abused and cheated.
    The habitual deference toward the white man makes them fearful
    of his anger and revenge.”

An official of the Government, after traversing Mississippi and
Alabama, writes from Georgia in a very recent letter:--

    “Every day the press of the South testifies to the outrages
    that are being perpetrated upon unoffending colored people by
    the State militia. These outrages are particularly flagrant
    in the States of Alabama and Mississippi, and are of such a
    character as to demand most imperatively the interposition of
    the National Executive. These men are rapidly inaugurating a
    condition of things, a feeling among the freedmen, that will,
    if not checked, ultimate in insurrection. The freedmen are
    peaceable and inoffensive; yet, if the whites continue to make
    it all their lives are worth to go through the country, as free
    people have a right to do, they will goad them to that point at
    which submission and patience cease to be a virtue.


    “I call your attention to this matter, after reading and
    hearing from the most authentic sources, officers and others,
    for weeks, of the continuance of the militia robbing the
    colored people of their property,--arms,--shooting them in the
    public highways, if they refuse to halt, when so commanded,
    and lodging them in jail, if found from home without _passes_,
    and ask, as a matter of simple justice to an unoffending and
    downtrodden people, that you use your influence to induce
    the President to issue an order or proclamation forbidding
    such wicked and unlawful proceedings, and, if he deem it
    prudent, forbidding the organization of State militia. _The
    only military force_ NEEDED _in the South is more regular and
    volunteer troops to keep in proper subjection those lately in
    rebellion, and to teach them to treat the freed people in a
    manner becoming a civilized community_.”

Another witness, himself a Georgian, with ample opportunities of
information, testifies:--

    “I have personal and friendly relations with many leading men
    of this section: I had before the war. I have met many of them
    in New York and in Washington within the past few months, and
    have, as a citizen of the South, had frequent conversations
    with them upon our future, and the means that should be
    employed to begin it auspiciously. These interviews have been
    free and open in interchange of opinion, and I must believe
    that I had laid before me the intentions of those who must
    and will again assume the leadership here. If they are not so
    honored, their opinions will show how they _would_ lead, had
    they the power.

    “Among these were four ex-governors of three different
    States, who had received pardons from President Johnson. Our
    conversation naturally and necessarily turned to the future of
    the emancipated negroes. Their past and present condition was
    discussed, and their chances as well as our own were of course
    considered, and everything that could bear upon their future
    was canvassed. The course to be pursued by the Legislatures
    of the reconstructed States, and the laws to be enacted, in
    order to obtain the fulfilment of contracts with the freedmen
    employed, occupied no small portion of consideration. In this
    way I had full opportunity to learn the opinions of those who
    have been and will be again looked up to as the leaders and
    directors of Southern opinion and sentiment.

    “The unanimity of all was not the least singular thing,
    especially regarding the _status_ of the freedmen and their
    rights hereafter. If legal chicanery can avail, those rights
    will be but nominal, and they will remain, as they have ever
    been, isolated and apart,--free in name, but slaves in fact.”

It seems that in Georgia there is a body of men known as “Regulators,”
who are thus described by a correspondent of that journal which has for
years whitewashed the enormities of Slavery, the “New York Herald”:--

    “Springing naturally out of this disordered state of affairs
    is an organization of ‘Regulators,’ so called. Their numbers
    include many ex-Confederate cavaliers of the country, and their
    mission is to visit summary justice upon any offenders against
    the public peace. It is needless to say that their attention
    is largely directed to maintaining quiet and submission among
    the blacks. _The shooting or stringing up of some obstreperous
    ‘nigger’ by the ‘Regulators’ is so common an occurrence as to
    excite little remark. Nor is the work of proscription confined
    to the freedmen only._ The ‘Regulators’ go to the bottom of the
    matter, and strive to make it uncomfortably warm for any new
    settler with demoralizing innovations of wages for ‘niggers.’”

Such is the unimaginable atrocity which, according to friendly
authority, prevails in Georgia. The poor freedman is sacrificed. The
Northern settler, believing in Human Rights, is sacrificed also. Alas
that such scenes should disgrace our country and age! Alas that there
should be hesitation in applying the necessary remedy!

Surely this is enough. I do not stop to dwell on instances of frightful
barbarism. One is authenticated in the court of the provost-marshal,
where a colored girl was roasted alive! And another writer, in a
letter just received, describes a system of “burning” in Wilkes
County, Georgia, as “a mild means of extorting from the freed people a
confession as to where they have their arms and money concealed.” He
says, “They were held in the blaze.” Think of it, Sir, here, in this
Republic, they are held in a blaze! And the National Government looks

       *       *       *       *       *

From Georgia pass to Alabama, only to find the same evil spirit and the
same succession of enormities, intensified, if possible. Here again I
am embarrassed by the variety and extent of evidence.

A recent private letter from Mobile testifies:--

    “The press and people here, with one voice, are loud in their
    praise of President Johnson, for his wholesale manner of
    dispensing pardons. But I have yet to see the first signs of
    repentance on the part of those who have received clemency from
    the Chief Magistrate of the Government. The existing feeling
    is, that no man who did not support the Confederacy is worthy
    of trust; and all offices are given to those who did their best
    to break up the country. President Johnson will find in the end
    that he has been too liberal in the exercise of clemency. And
    unless he changes his course, or is checked by Congress, the
    most corrupt men in the South will again get into power, and
    sway the destinies of this section of the country.


    “And until the labor question is adjusted between the
    planters and the freedmen, we cannot look forward to a time
    of prosperity. The indications at present are not favorable
    to a satisfactory solution of this difficult problem. The
    planters hate the negro, and the latter class distrust the
    former; and while this state of things continues, there
    cannot be harmonious action in developing the resources of
    the country. Besides, a good many men are unwilling yet to
    believe that the ‘peculiar institution’ of the South has been
    actually abolished, and still have the lingering hope that
    Slavery, though not in name, will yet in some form practically
    exist. And hence the great anxiety to get back into the Union,
    which being accomplished, they will then, as I have heard it
    expressed, ‘fix the negro.’


    “I look forward with deep solicitude to the approaching
    session of Congress. I hope there will be strength and moral
    courage enough in that body to keep the ship of state right.
    The President has a difficult position to fill, and needs all
    the sympathy and aid he can get from right-minded citizens.
    But there is no question that he has been most sadly imposed
    upon within the past few months by designing and corrupt

Another private letter, from a person so situated as to be accurately
informed, makes this painful report:--

    “The Government, in taking the responsibility of freeing this
    people, tacitly engaged to protect them in their freedom. The
    various departments of Government have solemnly declared the
    black man entitled to equal rights before the law with the
    white man. Yet it is the simple fact, capable of indefinite
    proof, that the black man does not receive the faintest shadow
    of justice. I aver that in nine cases out of ten within my own
    observation, where a white man has provoked an affray with
    a black, and savagely misused him, the black man has been
    fined for insolent language, because he did not receive the
    chastisement in submissive silence, while the white man has
    gone free. It is the simple truth that the most flagrant crimes
    against the blacks are not noticed at all; and, indeed, a man
    loses caste, if he interests himself about them.

    “It is the simple truth that black men are not allowed to use
    their own property to the best advantage, or in any way to make
    such use of their capabilities as would be likely to elevate
    them in social position.


    “The above are but specimen facts, and they are facts. Every
    provost-marshal who has been in office here will testify to the
    truthfulness of the picture. Meantime companies are forming
    to import coolies and European immigrants to drive the black
    man from the little chance that is left him. The whole thing
    may be summed up in one word: _The South is determined to have
    Slavery,--the thing, if not the name._ And if all restraint
    is removed, it is as certain as fate that their condition
    will be far worse than it ever was before. It will be the old
    system, with all its mitigations rescinded and all its horrors


    “The prospect for the coming winter is overwhelming in its
    horrors, at best. If the freedmen are left friendless, it will
    be the very valley of the shadow of death. Let Congress keep
    these States out of the Union till the shape and tone of their
    legislation is seen and understood as relating to freedmen, and
    then keep them out until it is clearly shown whether the people
    will obey the legislation or make it a dead letter from the

And still another letter furnishes these revelations:--

    “Do not let yourselves be deceived by the influences which
    reach you. These influences are energetic, active, spare no
    pains or expense to accomplish certain purposes. I know this
    people well; I was born and reared with them; they are far more
    hostile to the Government to-day than they were in 1860. Every
    demonstration in the State since the surrender has been, in one
    shape or another, that of hostility to the Union; and every new
    concession they make is simply made with the hope of thereby
    obtaining that degree of independence which follows, as they
    understand and expect it, the resumption of the _status_ as
    States again.

    “The elections are just over. The Secessionists were united
    to a man,--hopeful, active; the Union party disorganized,
    discouraged, and dispersed among the Secessionists. President
    Johnson and Governor Parsons are responsible for it. The
    enemies of the Union have defeated us, horse, foot, and
    dragoons, in all parts of the State. The stanch favorites of
    our party are defeated everywhere.


    “In a word, the friends of the Union are completely under; the
    successful party are the Secessionists and renegade Unionists,
    enemies of the Government. It is to the Union party of the
    North that we are to-day indebted for being able to _live

The person who is styled Provisional Governor of Alabama thus in a
late message alludes to Rebel trophies, and stirs the ashes of the

    “Several of these had been deposited in the executive
    department, and were not removed when the Capitol was
    evacuated. They were not destroyed, however, by those who took
    possession of it, but came to my hands as the representative of
    the State for the time being, and are now carefully preserved
    and ready to be delivered to the governor elected under the
    Constitution. We should preserve these sacred souvenirs of
    the courage and endurance of those who went forth to battle
    under their folds, and who manfully upheld them with their

With such a person in high office, we could expect little else than the
barbarism which rages there.

       *       *       *       *       *

From Alabama pass to Mississippi, and there the same hideous scenes
are renewed. Here is the testimony of a citizen of that State, once a
slave-master, in a private letter:--

    “In respectful earnestness I must say, that, if, at the end of
    all the blood that has been shed and the treasure expended,
    the unfortunate negro is to be left in the hands of his
    infuriated and disappointed former owners to legislate and fix
    his _status_, God help him! for his cup of bitterness will
    overflow indeed. Was ever such a policy conceived in the brain
    of men before? After a great step and a mighty victory, you
    are expected by President Johnson to withdraw your protection
    from this people and turn their destiny over to those who for
    centuries have ground them into the dust. Truly, by such a
    course will your fruits become bitter ashes.

    “As a man who has been deprived of a large number of persons he
    once claimed as slaves, I protest against such a course. If it
    is intended to follow up the abolition of Slavery by a liberal
    and enlightened policy, by which I mean bestowing upon them the
    full rights of other citizens, then I can give this movement my
    heart and hand. But if the negro is to be left in a helpless
    condition, far more miserable than that of Slavery, I would
    ask, What was the object of taking him from those who claimed
    his services? As things seem now approaching the position of
    rendering loyalty at the South a disgrace, and those who,
    amid many dangers and trials, stood true to the Union and the
    Constitution are to be left to suffer the scorn, contempt, and
    oppressions of Secessionist traitors,--I say, as this seems
    to be the settled policy of the Government to the whites so
    situated, I fear there will remain but little hope for them or
    the negroes, unless the true men of the country will present a
    barrier between them and those who are anxious to punish and
    destroy them.”

The pretended Governor of Mississippi, like the pretended Governor
of Alabama, exults in Rebel victories, and fans the Rebel flame.
Both Convention and Legislature abounded in bitter treason. In the
Convention, one of the speakers declared it good policy to accept
the present condition of affairs, until the control of the State is
returned into the hands of the people, and “to submit _for a time_ to
evils which cannot be remedied.” Another speaker, urging the acceptance
of the Union, revealed the plot:--

    “_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 voice of Mississippi.

Naturally the freedmen are exposed to untold hardships and atrocities.
Here is testimony:--

    “A Superintendent of the Bureau reports the poor creatures
    coming in with cruel grievances that are unredressed by
    these magistrates. General Chetlain tells us, that, while
    he was in command, for two months, of the Jackson district,
    containing nine counties, there was an average of one black
    man killed every day, and that, in moving out forty miles on
    an expedition, he found seven negroes wantonly butchered; and
    Colonel Thomas, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau for this
    State, tells us that there is now a daily average of two or
    three black men killed in Mississippi: the sable patriots in
    blue, as they return, are the objects of especial spite.”

There is another authority of peculiar value. It is a letter dated at
Webb’s Ranch, Issaquena County, Mississippi, November 13, 1865.

    “I regret to state, that, under the civil power, now deemed
    by all the inhabitants of Mississippi (since the order of
    President Johnson revoking General Slocum’s decree in relation
    to the State militia) to be paramount, the condition of the
    freedmen in many portions of the country has become deplorable
    and painful in the extreme. _I must give it as my deliberate
    opinion, that the freedmen are to-day, in the vicinity of
    where I am now writing, worse off in most respects than
    when they were held as slaves._ If matters are permitted to
    continue as they now seem likely to be, it needs no prophet to
    predict a rising on the part of the colored population, and a
    terrible scene of bloodshed and desolation; nor can one blame
    the negroes, if this proves to be the result. _I have heard,
    since my arrival here, of numberless atrocities that have been
    perpetrated against the freedmen._ It is sufficient to state
    that the old overseers are in power again. The agents of the
    Freedmen’s Bureau are almost powerless. Just as soon as the
    United States troops are withdrawn, it will be unsafe for the
    agents of the Bureau to remain. The object of the Southerners
    appears to be to make good their often repeated assertions, to
    the effect that the negroes would die, if they were freed. To
    make it so, they seem determined to goad them to desperation,
    in order to have an excuse to turn upon and annihilate them.
    There are, within a few miles of where I sit writing, several
    Northern men, who have settled here, designing to work
    plantations. _They all assure me that they do not consider
    themselves safe in the country_; and two of them, ex-colonels
    in the United States army, are afraid to leave their places
    without an armed escort. Other Northern lessees do not dare
    remain on their places.”

These are grave words, opening in fearful vista the tragical condition
of the freedmen, and the perils of Northern settlers.

And now the pretended Legislature is engaged in fashioning an infamous
Black Code; but I do not dwell on this, as it has been already exposed
by my colleague.

       *       *       *       *       *

From Mississippi pass to Louisiana, where anarchy is beginning under
the sway of returning Rebels emboldened from Washington. Unionists are
menaced in safety. The story is so familiar that I content myself with
a glimpse. I give the testimony of a responsible person.

    “During the canvass, I made a tour through the northern portion
    of the State, where I have resided for many years and have a
    large acquaintance among the people, and was surprised to find
    the spirit of the people more hostile to the Government than at
    the breaking out of the war. This is especially the case with
    the leaders, who asserted to me in private conversation that
    they were more impressed with the truth of Secession than they
    ever were; that the war against the United States was a just
    one; that they would not support any man for office who did not
    participate in that war; and that the only true policy for the
    Southern people to adopt is to support the Democratic party in
    opposition to the Republican party of the North. They say that
    the whole war was an aggression on the part of the Government,
    and that they intend to use every means in their power to
    destroy the Government.

    “A prominent member of the Legislature, now convened in this
    city, said to me a short time before the election, that he
    was a stronger Secessionist now than he ever was, and that he
    hated the United States Government, and intended to do all in
    his power to destroy it. This man is a leading member of the
    Legislature, which, in the House at least, is composed of more
    than eight tenths who entertain the same feeling, and are now
    legislating for the loyal citizens of this State.

    “There are several respectable men now in this city who are
    refugees from their homes in the interior of the State, being
    recently expelled on account of their Union sentiments.”

Here is a private letter from an interior town of Louisiana, written by
a lady to a lady in New Orleans and communicated to me:--

    “The poor colored people are in a constant state of alarm.
    There is a Mrs. ---- in this place, who teaches the colored
    children; but the inhabitants, I suppose, not liking their
    having the advantages of education, expressed their disapproval
    by shooting at the teacher. At one time she was nursing a sick
    baby, when a shot passed over her shoulder. No attempts were
    made to discover the guilty party. Of course all in office here
    are Rebels. The teacher, who is a poor widow, became so much
    alarmed for her safety that she petitioned the officers to
    allow the troops to remain, which they did for a few days. The
    attempts on her life not being renewed, the troops were obliged
    to leave, and it was only on her account that they remained as
    long as they did.”

Enough of this. Nor is it all. The pretended Legislature is plotting,
like such bodies elsewhere, against the freedman. But I forbear to
dwell on the elaborate machination. And yet how can I fail to denounce,
with all the energy of my soul, these most cruel and most vindictive
attempts to oppress the freedman, to despoil him of rights, and to
nullify the great Act of Emancipation? Talk of Nullification! What
Nullification in our history comparable to this most wicked attempt?
The difference between a revenue law and the great statute of Freedom
is as wide as the space between earth and heaven.

Where such things are done, there can be small security for those
faithful Unionists who fondly hoped for protection under the national
flag. Already they talk of abandoning the State and finding in exile
the safety denied at home. The flag they had longed for is now
prostituted to the purposes of Rebels, and they are thrust out from the
shadow of its folds. Hard fate, almost without parallel in history!
For myself, I know nothing more touching than the story of Unionists,
loving their country and loving freedom, tyrannized by returning Rebels.

       *       *       *       *       *

In Texas there seemed more hope than anywhere, because a sincerely
loyal person had been placed in power there.[32] But a private letter
from a loyal Texan cries out:--

    “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.”

Surely you will preserve them.

But there is special evidence, not to be forgotten. The same authority
adduced with regard to the general condition of the Rebel States writes
from Galveston, in Texas:--

    “If any man from the North comes down here expecting to hold
    and maintain ‘Radical’ or ‘Abolition’ sentiments, _let him
    expect to be shot down from behind, the first time he leaves
    his house, and know that his murderer, if ever brought to
    justice, will be acquitted by the jury_. If the _military_ are
    withdrawn, his house even will be no protection, and he may
    expect to be hung from his own chamber window. I tell you,
    Mr. ----, these men are only taking breath and recuperating.
    Not that there is the _slightest_ danger of any _immediate_
    outbreak. No,--the Southern people are too smart for _that_.
    They will _never_ again measure strength with the North, unless
    their success be assured beforehand. In case of foreign war, or
    a domestic convulsion at the North, they will rise; but they
    will never try it alone and without assistance. Meantime they
    propose to ‘take it out in _hating_.’ Already our officers are
    the subject of a social ostracism. I repeat, that any man of
    Radical views who comes down here to plant cotton will be in
    constant danger, night and day, unless he holds his tongue. The
    ministers of the Gospel, of all denominations, the instructors
    of the youth of the country, the women, and the young men,
    all hate the North with a degree of intensity that cannot be

Small temptation here to the Northern capitalist! Small welcome to the
Northern emigrant! The first condition of prosperity is security; but
this is absolutely wanting throughout the unhappy region.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is also Tennessee, where authentic testimony shows a painful
condition of things. I content myself with official documents. It seems
that a committee was appointed to consider what could be done to arrest
crimes and disorders in this State. Addressing Governor Brownlow, they

    “In the discharge of this duty, we would respectfully and
    earnestly call the attention of your Excellency to the many
    dreadful crimes that are becoming so common, not only in and
    immediately around the capital of the State, but _over the
    whole country_.

    “Quiet and peaceful citizens are met on our most public
    highways and robbed of their money and property, often cruelly
    beaten and abused, and in many cases murdered outright. This
    state of things is not only greatly injurious to the business
    of the country, but shocking to all sincere advocates of law
    and order, and to humanity itself.

    “We, therefore, with the earnest desire to see security
    restored to life and property, and the majesty of law
    reasserted, appeal to your Excellency, who are the chief
    representative of power in the State, to exercise your power,
    and give the weight of your great influence to correct these
    sore evils, of which _the whole country_ so justly complain.”

The Governor communicated this paper to the Legislature by the
following message.

                         “STATE OF TENNESSEE.

                                             “EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
                                      NASHVILLE, November 22, 1865.

    “_Gentlemen of the Legislature_: The reputation being
    acquired by Nashville, the capital of your State and the
    great commercial emporium of Middle Tennessee, is humiliating
    to every friend of law and order. Murders, robberies, and
    burglaries are the order of the day. No man is safe, day or
    night, within a circuit around Nashville whose radius is eight
    or ten miles. The most of these outrages grow out of the
    abundant use of intoxicating spirits, connected with those
    gambling hells to be found in full blast on every street in the
    city. The same may be said, to a considerable extent, of all
    the larger cities and towns in the State. Life and property
    must be protected, or the country will go to ruin. I therefore
    call upon you, most respectfully, but earnestly, by prompt and
    decisive legislation, to remedy this growing and alarming evil.
    Should you fail to apply the necessary remedy, my next appeal
    will be made to Major-General Thomas to close up all these dens
    of wickedness, so prolific of fights, murders, and robberies of
    every description. The Sabbath is violated, the sanctuary of
    the Lord is ruthlessly invaded, and ladies and gentlemen are
    insulted at every corner and on every highway. Again I appeal
    to you, Gentlemen, to relieve the suffering people from this
    outrageous condition of affairs.

        “W. G. BROWNLOW.”[33]

I add a few sentences from a Tennessee paper, “The Southern Loyalist.”

    “Do the authorities at Washington realize the fact that there
    is very great danger of wide-spread anarchy and bloodshed?
    Do they realize that it is the supineness and imbecility, or
    worse, with which the Freedmen’s Bureau has been conducted at
    this point, that is the cause of danger, and, it may be, of
    much bloodshed? God knows we speak in all sincerity, and we
    believe we speak the sentiment of nine tenths of the loyal men
    of Memphis.

    “When colored men have remonstrated against injustice,--against
    the very discriminations against freedmen that the War
    Department declared should not exist,--they have been told,
    ‘If you damned niggers think I am going to give you any rights
    that you had not under the old State laws, you are damnably
    mistaken.’ This may not be exactly literal, but it is very
    nearly so. When colored people have asked for wages hardly
    earned in the cotton-field, but not paid by rascally employers,
    they have been in very many cases told to go about their
    business, or left to get their claims as they could.”

Such is Tennessee, the most advanced of the States claiming recognition
in the government of the country. Besides this testimony, there is
other derived from its own statute-book. Tennessee refuses to the
colored citizen his right at the ballot-box, and even his right of
testimony in court. I quote from the ignoble statute.

    “A negro, mulatto, _Indian_, or person of mixed blood descended
    from negro or Indian ancestors, to the third generation
    inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been
    a white person, whether bond or free, is incapable of being a
    witness in any cause, civil or criminal, except for or against
    each other.”[34]

I say nothing of Florida and Arkansas, for the special testimony which
has come to me with regard to these States is not at hand. But it is
not needed. The same tragical report proceeds from these States also.
But, even without any report, all this must be inferred. How could it
be otherwise? Abandoned to themselves, with unchecked power, ancient
slave-masters naturally continue the barbarism in which they have so
long excelled.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, I bring this plain story to a close. I regret that I
have been constrained to present it. I wish it were otherwise. But
I should fail in duty, did I fail to speak. Not in anger, not in
vengeance, not in harshness, have I spoken, but solemnly, carefully,
for the sake of my country and humanity, that peace and reconciliation
may again prevail. I have spoken especially for the loyal citizens
now trodden down by Rebel power, and without representation on this
floor. Would that my voice could help them to security and justice!
I can only state the case. It is for you to decide. It is for you to
determine how long these things shall continue to shock mankind. You
have before you the actual condition of the Rebel region. You have
heard the terrible testimony. The blood curdles at the thought of such
enormities, and especially at the thought that the poor freedmen, to
whom we owe protection, are left to the unrestrained will of such
a people, smarting with defeat, and ready to wreak vengeance upon
these representatives of a true loyalty. In the name of God, let
us protect them. Insist upon guaranties. Pass the bill now under
consideration,--pass any bill,--but do not let this crying injustice
rage any longer. An avenging God cannot sleep while such things find
countenance. If you are not ready to be the Moses of an oppressed
people, do not become its Pharaoh.

    Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, followed Mr. Sumner. Then came Mr.
    Cowan, of Pennsylvania, who said he was “not disposed to allow
    the speech of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts to go
    to the country without a very brief reply. If that speech be
    true, and if it be a correct picture of the South, then God
    help us! then this Republic, this Union, is at an end.” He then
    vindicated President Johnson and General Grant against the
    charge of “whitewashing,” quoting passages from them. In the
    course of his speech, he said:--

        “If the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, and those who
        think with him, desire that these people should have the
        right of suffrage, why not say so broadly?”

        MR. SUMNER. I do say so.

        MR. COWAN. Very well; that is so much that is clear. Make
        it broadly; we may differ from him, but the people will

    Here again was issue joined on the great political question
    which awaited judgment.

    The debate continued another day, but after that Mr. Wilson’s
    bill was never resumed. The object proposed was accomplished by
    other measures.



I offer a petition of citizens of the District of Columbia, similar to
petitions presented by me yesterday, calling upon Congress to provide
irreversible guaranties in the work of Reconstruction, so that there
shall be such security for the future, and, among such guaranties,
proposing the enfranchisement of the colored race.

Sir, I am glad to present this petition from citizens of the District,
because it shows that there are good people here who are not entirely
indifferent to the great cause of Equal Rights. I am more disposed to
make this remark because I see notice of a public meeting of whites
here in the hope of arresting this cause. The whites can meet, if
they please, and such a meeting, called under such auspices, may vote
to continue their unjust pretensions; but any vote by them will be,
under the circumstances, little better than an absurdity. The whites
of the District of Columbia, in respect to the colored people, are no
better than squatters, and those who for generations have squatted on
the rights of others do not quietly give up. But it is our duty to
dispossess them. Hereafter nobody should be allowed to squat on the
rights of others, civil or political.

I move the reference of this petition to the Joint Committee on



Mr. Sumner asked, and by unanimous consent obtained, leave to bring in
the following joint resolution, which was read twice, referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary, and ordered to be printed.

    Joint Resolution proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of
    the United States for the protection of the National Debt and
    the rejection of any Rebel Debt.

_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, (two thirds of both
Houses concurring,)_ That the following Article be proposed to the
Legislatures of the several States as an Amendment to the Constitution
of the United States, which, when ratified by three fourths of such
Legislatures, shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the
Constitution, namely:--


SECTION 1. The national debt is hereby declared to be of paramount
obligation, to which the faith of the nation is pledged; and Congress
shall not, at any time, do anything, directly or indirectly, to impair
this obligation in any part, but shall in all ways maintain it in full
force and virtue.

SECTION 2. Debts and liabilities incurred in aid of rebellion are
without any just consideration, and void; and no tax, duty, or impost
shall be laid, nor shall any appropriation of money be made by the
United States, or by any one of the States, or by any county, town, or
corporation therein, for the payment of any such debt or liability, or
any part thereof.

    June 20th, Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, from the Committee on the
    Judiciary, reported this to the Senate, with the recommendation
    that it be indefinitely postponed, and it was so postponed.
    Meanwhile both Houses had adopted the Fourteenth Constitutional
    Amendment, reported by the Joint Select Committee on
    Reconstruction, which contains a kindred proposition.



    January 9th, Mr. Sumner offered the following resolution:--

        “Whereas it is reported that persons declared free by the
        Proclamation of Emancipation and by the recent Amendment of
        the Constitution are now kidnapped and transported to Cuba
        and Brazil, to be held as slaves, and that in this way a
        new slave-trade has been commenced on our southern coast:

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on the Judiciary be
        directed to inquire if any further legislation is needed to
        prevent the kidnapping of freedmen and the revival of the
        slave-trade on our southern coast.”

    The Senate proceeded to its consideration, when Mr. Sumner
    explained it.

Before the vote is taken, I desire to state some of the information
that has come to my possession. For instance, here is a letter from
Alabama, from which I will read a short extract.

    “Another big trade is going on,--that of running negroes to
    Cuba and Brazil. They are running through the country, dressed
    in Yankee clothes, hiring men, giving them any price they
    ask, to make turpentine on the bay, sometimes on the rivers,
    sometimes to make sugar. They get them on the cars. Of course
    the negro don’t know where he is going. They get him to the
    bay, and tell him to go on the steamer to go around the coast,
    and away goes poor Cuffee to slavery again. They are just
    cleaning out this section of the country of the likeliest men
    and women in it. Federal officers are mixed up in it, too.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    MR. JOHNSON [of Maryland]. Who writes the letter? Give the name
    of the writer.

MR. SUMNER. It is from a person in Alabama, whose name I am requested
not to communicate; but the writer is well known to members of
the other House. I have also a letter from the District Judge of
Florida,--his name is familiar, and will be found in the official lists
of the country,--communicating a letter received from a person well
known to him, and for whom he vouches, in Florida, dated December 14,
1865, from which I read a brief extract.

    “I am advised that certain parties here intend to make a
    business of importing negroes into Cuba. It is said that there
    have gone two vessel-loads of them already. Titus & Co. have
    bought a steamer for the ostensible purpose of carrying fish
    from Indian River to Charleston, but most people think that his
    will be carried the other way. There have been more gunboats
    ordered down in that region to look out for the fishmongers.”

Here are two letters from different States, Alabama and Florida. Add
also verbal communications received during the last week from Texas,
from Louisiana, and from Mississippi, three other States, all to the
same effect, that in each of those States a system of kidnapping has
already been commenced, and a new slave-trade started on that coast. I
do not know that the laws on our statute-book are sufficient to meet
this untold enormity. I desire that our Committee, in which we repose
such confidence, should apply themselves to it, and see if there is any
remedy for this terrible crime. I desire, also, that every branch of
the Government should do its duty in this business: that the Department
of State should address all its agents in Cuba and in Brazil, requiring
them to look after the liberty of these people, to which we are
pledged; that the Navy Department should forward proper instructions to
our cruisers; that the War Department should send proper instructions
to our troops in that region; and that the President himself should
take notice of this unexpected enormity of outrage, and see to it that
everything possible is done to arrest it.

    Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, thought it “altogether probable that
    the Yankees have reopened the slave-trade.”

    The resolution was adopted.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 7th, Mr. Clark, of New Hampshire, from the Judiciary
    Committee, reported “A Bill to prevent and punish Kidnapping,”
    which he stated was upon a resolution introduced by Mr. Sumner.
    February 15th, the Senate proceeded to its consideration, and
    it passed that body.

    May 18th, the bill passed the House of Representatives, and,
    May 21st, it was approved by the President.[35]



The death of Henry Winter Davis at this moment is a national calamity.
His rare powers were in their perfect prime, and he had dedicated all
to his country. At this crisis, when the best statesmanship, inspired
by the best courage, is so much needed, it is hard to part with him.

He was born at Annapolis, Maryland, August 16, 1817; was a
Representative of Baltimore in the Thirty-Fourth, Thirty-Fifth,
Thirty-Sixth, and Thirty-Eighth Congresses; died in Baltimore, December
30, 1865. His career in Congress made him famous.

Nature had done much for this remarkable man. Elegant in person,
elastic in step, and winning in manner, he arrested the attention
of all who saw him, and when he spoke, the first impressions were
confirmed. He was rapid and direct. He went straight to the point. He
abounded in ideas. Language lent her charms. Among the living orators
of the country he had few peers. Professional studies and political
experience added to his powers. Had he lived, I know not what height
he might have reached. Never before had he been so completely master
of himself, and never before did he see so clear and glorious a line
of duty. As the occasion was vast, so I doubt not would have been his
efforts. He looked to nothing less than the complete enfranchisement of
his country, and the redemption of all the promises of our fathers in
the Declaration of Independence. In this cause he was a leader.

In a recent publication[36] he had touched this great question to the
quick, when he said that a State which denied the elective franchise
to a considerable portion of its citizens could not be considered “a
republican government,” and he earnestly insisted that all such States
should be reformed. He was right. All honor to the champion! Alas that
he is not here to help in the battle now at hand! With what force and
beauty, with what intensity and eloquence, he would have illustrated
the congenial theme!

He was zealous, and, like all zealous men, when great questions are
in issue, sometimes gave offence. It is hard to strike strong blows
without leaving bruises. It is hard to restrain the rage of a generous
indignation so that it will not seem severe. There are times when
justice is severity. There are times when gentleness will not do.
Falkland, in England, and Barnave, in France, were gentle in nature.
Honor them for their virtues, but do not expect everybody to carry into
the deadly controversy with Slavery that softness which must surely
fail. Sterner stuff is needed. Fox had a heart which overflowed with
human kindness, like that of our friend; but when duty called, he was
terrible in debate. Words boiled and bubbled from his wrought soul,
and he did not hesitate to call things by their right names. On one
occasion this great parliamentary orator exclaimed: “I state it to be
my firm opinion that there is not one fact asserted in his Majesty’s
speech which is not false, not one assertion or insinuation which is
not unfounded.”[37] On another occasion he said, in words which I seem
almost to hear from the lips of the late Representative of Baltimore:
“Oh for the good old parliamentary word _jealousy_, instead of its
modern substitute, _confidence_!” This was the exclamation of Charles
James Fox. It embodies the spirit of Henry Winter Davis. There were
things he could not bear. His warm nature glowed at the thought of
wrong or usurpation; nor could he check the currents of his soul,
even if they threatened to dash against persons powerful in place or
influence. A President like Abraham Lincoln was not above his honest,
fearless criticism.

His country owes much to him. Living in a State which panted with the
throes of the Rebellion, and surrounded by a disloyal population, he
was from the beginning austere in patriotism. He made no compromises.
He stood by the flag at all hazards. And as the conflict deepened,
he was among the foremost to see that Slavery was the great Rebel.
Against Slavery he struck. He had the inexpressible satisfaction to
witness the first stages of its overthrow, and he was girding himself
for the final battle with the transcendent offender under the new form
it assumed. In striking against Slavery, he set an example to his
fellow-citizens everywhere. If he, whose home was in a Slave State, and
whose friends were slave-masters, could strike such blows, it was hard
to see how citizens of other places, where Slavery did not prevail,
could hesitate. Hereafter, when recent events are recorded in faithful
annals, his name will be mentioned proudly and gratefully.

There is one community that will cherish his memory with especial
reverence. It is his native State of Maryland. Among all the sons she
has given to the country, there is none who can be named before him. I
do not forget William Pinkney, the finished lawyer, or Charles Carroll,
the signer of the Declaration of Independence; but there is nothing in
the career of either of these to evince superiority over that of Henry
Winter Davis. Hereafter, when Maryland is fully redeemed, and a happy
people rejoices in all the manifold blessings secured, then will hearts
throb and eyes glisten at the mention of this noble name. Better for
his memory than any triumph of genius at the bar will be his devoted
championship of Human Freedom. Maryland may not now be ready to do fit
honor to her departed son; but the time cannot be long postponed. Her
advance in civilization may well be measured by sympathy with his name.


Since writing this tribute to an heroic spirit, I have received a
journal from Baltimore, published by colored persons, which contains
his best eulogy. Such praise is more than any other praise, for it
comes from neighbors and wards who knew him well, and it is the voice
of that oppressed race he had served so faithfully. Better than any
official order of mourning are these artless, feeling words:--

    “We are sorely grieved to chronicle the death of so great and
    good a man as Hon. Henry Winter Davis, who departed this life
    on Saturday, 30th ult., 1865, after a short illness of about
    three days. Mr. Davis was an accomplished gentleman, a true
    patriot, and a finished statesman. He was true to his country,
    and _a tried friend_ to the colored people,--_never_ faltering
    in the time of need. In Congress he fought as a hero for our
    people, and at home he labored assiduously for the bondman, and
    espoused the cause of _Liberty, Justice, and Truth_, up to the
    time of his death. The memory of Henry Winter Davis should live
    in every colored American’s heart for ages to come, and _all_
    loyal citizens should give his very interesting family their
    full sympathy; for Henry Winter Davis, at _his own_ peril,
    stood invincible for his country, knew no flag but the flag of
    _free_ America, even when his nearest friend would impeach him
    for his acts, and almost threaten his life. Henry Winter Davis
    was _firm_, defying all prejudiced parties to dare advance;
    but he was such a statesman and elocutionist, he kept them at
    bay, until God, in His own time, has seen it His pleasure to
    remove him from our midst; and we humble beings can do nothing
    but trust that God, in His all-wise and tender mercy, may raise
    erelong another Henry Winter Davis.”


JANUARY 19, 1866.

    January 19th, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, presented the
    credentials of Hon. William Marvin as Senator of Florida. Mr.
    Sumner, seizing the occasion to declare what he thought an
    essential element of republican government to be observed in
    Reconstruction, said:--

I have no desire to discuss the question arising on the presentation
of these credentials, and I may say that there are reasons for the
expression of personal respect toward the gentleman who appears as
Senator from Florida. In many particulars--not in all, unhappily--he
has done well where he was placed. I say, unhappily not in all
particulars; for no person can read his speeches and say that in
everything he has done what a governor of one of those States at this
time should do. But I have no desire to discuss his case.

The Senator has alluded to the actual condition of Florida. I also ask
attention to the actual condition of things there, as represented by
thoroughly competent witnesses, whose character is vouched by the first
citizens of that State.

    Mr. Sumner here read two communications, mentioning that
    four fifths of the Legislature were Rebel officers, and
    setting forth the programme of the Rebel States hostile to
    Reconstruction, and declaring that the only hope of Union men
    was in Congress. He then said:--

There, Sir, is testimony direct from Florida. Besides, we have the
Constitution which the recent pretended Convention has put forward,--a
Constitution which, after recognizing the abolition of Slavery, and
therefore the citizenship of those once slaves, proceeds to decree
their disfranchisement; and Senators are expected to receive this
document as creating a republican form of government,--a Constitution
which begins by the denial of equality to nearly one half its citizens!
The question is entirely changed since the abolition of Slavery, for
all are now citizens; and I insist, and at a proper time shall argue
the question, that no State, where the government has lapsed, can be
recognized as republican in form, while disfranchising any considerable
portion of its citizens, especially if it founds any right, immunity,
or privilege on color.

    The credentials were laid on the table, and never afterwards


JANUARY 22, 1866.

    Mr. Clark, of New Hampshire, called up a bill, reported by
    the Judiciary Committee, “in relation to the qualifications
    of jurors and to writs of error in certain cases.” The first
    section removed the objection to jurors serving in certain
    cases by reason of having formed or expressed an opinion
    founded upon common notoriety, public rumor, or statements in
    public journals. The other section provided a writ of error on
    questions of law, where the punishment was death.

    Mr. Sumner remarked:--

I see no objection to the second section. Here I agree with the
Senator from New Hampshire. I am not so sure about the first section.
There seem to me two objections to it. Whether they are sufficiently
strong to justify the rejection of the bill will be for the Senate to
determine. I simply call attention to them.

The first is, that it positively sets aside what, down to this day, on
the ruling of the highest magistrate of our country, has been the law
in impanelling juries. To this the Senator aptly replies, that it is
important to obtain uniformity of practice in the United States courts.
There I agree with him. If the proposition involved nothing else, I
should not venture even a suggestion with regard to it; but it reaches
further. It sets aside what my friend, the learned Senator from
Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON] knows well was the decision of Chief Justice
Marshall, and what has been also the practice in many States of the
Union. It is the practice in my own State. It is the practice also in
the District of Columbia. Against that practice I can venture only with
a certain hesitation.

Then comes another consideration of greater importance. So far as I
comprehend the special bearing of this provision, it is to meet an
actual case of unprecedented historical importance; it is to prepare
the way for the trial of that grandest criminal in the world’s history,
now in the custody of the National Government. Sir, that trial should
be approached carefully, most discreetly, and I humbly submit, unless
reasons to the contrary are found of the strongest character, with
absolute reference to the existing law of the land. I shrink from
any change in the law to meet an individual case, even though of
transcendent importance, like that to which I refer. Indeed, the very
importance of the case, and especially its political character, puts us
on our guard.

I would also ask whether there is not in the proposition something of
an _ex post facto_ character. I am not going to argue against the power
of Congress to make changes in modes of procedure and of trial after
the crime has been perpetrated; but I cannot doubt, that, in view of
the positive limitation of the Constitution, it is a very doubtful
course to enter upon.

    Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, who was not disposed to agree with
    Mr. Sumner, said: “I certainly very heartily approve of
    the opinions and sentiments expressed by the Senator from

    The bill was postponed, and allowed to drop.



    The following joint resolution, introduced February 2d, is
    a modification of a bill introduced at the beginning of the

Joint Resolution carrying out the guaranty of a Republican Form of
Government in the Constitution of the United States, and enforcing the
Constitutional Amendment for the Prohibition of Slavery.

Whereas it is provided in the Constitution, that the United States
shall guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form of

And whereas, by reason of the failure of certain States to maintain
governments which Congress can recognize, it has become the duty
of the United States, standing in the place of guarantor where the
principal has made a lapse, to secure to such States, according to the
requirement of the guaranty, governments republican in form;

And whereas, further, it is provided in a recent Constitutional
Amendment, that Congress may “enforce” the prohibition of Slavery by
“appropriate legislation,” and it is important to this end that all
relics of Slavery should be removed, including all distinction of
rights on account of color:

Now, therefore, to carry out the guaranty of a republican form of
government, and to enforce the prohibition of Slavery,

_Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled_, That in all States
lately declared to be in rebellion there shall be no oligarchy,
aristocracy, caste, or monopoly invested with peculiar privileges or
powers, and there shall be no denial of rights, civil or political, on
account of race or color; but all persons shall be equal before the
law, whether in the court-room or at the ballot-box. And this statute,
made in pursuance of the Constitution, shall be the supreme law of the
land, anything in the Constitution or laws of any such State to the
contrary notwithstanding.

    The joint resolution was printed and laid on the table. Mr.
    Sumner gave notice that at the proper time he should move it
    as a counter proposition to the resolution of the House of
    Representatives proposing a Constitutional Amendment.[39]



    Taxation without representation is Tyranny.--THE REVOLUTIONARY

       *       *       *       *       *

        Remember, O my friends, the laws, the rights,
        The generous plan of power delivered down
        From age to age by your renowned forefathers,
        So dearly bought, the price of so much blood:
        Oh, let it never perish in your hands!”

                                 ADDISON, _Cato_, Act III. Scene 5.

       *       *       *       *       *

    But if any among you thinks that Philip will maintain his
    power by having occupied forts and havens and the like, this
    is a mistake.… Impossible is it, impossible, Athenians, to
    acquire a solid power by injustice and perjury and falsehood.
    Such things last for once, or for a short period; maybe, they
    blossom fairly with hope; but in time they are discovered and
    drop away. As a house, a ship, or the like, ought to have the
    lower parts firmest, so in human conduct, I ween, the principle
    and foundation should be just and true.--DEMOSTHENES, _Second
    Olynthiac_, tr. Kennedy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O
    house of Israel! Is not my way equal? are not your ways
    unequal?--EZEKIEL, xviii. 25.

       *       *       *       *       *

                    ’Twere better, O my son,
        To cultivate Equality, who joins
        Friends, cities, heroes in one steadfast league;
        For by the laws of Nature through the world
        Equality was established: …
        Equality, among the human race,
        Measures and weights and numbers hath ordained.

                   EURIPIDES, _The Phœnician Damsels_, tr. Wodhull.

       *       *       *       *       *

        That all might free and equal all remain.

                        LUCAN, _Pharsalia_, tr. Rowe, Book IX. 336.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed
    in the representation? Are they men? Then make them citizens,
    and let them vote.--GOUVERNEUR MORRIS: _Debates in the Federal
    Convention_, August 8, 1787: Madison Papers, Vol. III. p. 1264.

       *       *       *       *       *

    He took his ground carefully, and propounded only what he felt
    sure that Hardy himself would at once accept,--what no man
    of any worth could possibly take exception to. He meant much
    more, he said, than this, but for the present purpose it would
    be enough for him to say, that, whatever else it might mean,
    _Democracy in his mouth always meant that every man should have
    a share in the government of his country_.--HUGHES, _Tom Brown
    at Oxford_, Vol. II. Chap. XIX.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Equal Rights of the colored race occupied the constant
    attention of Congress in different forms. One measure was
    known as the Civil Rights Bill, securing the right to sue and
    testify in court, introduced by Mr. Trumbull January 5, and
    passed April 9, 1866. Others were intended to secure suffrage
    for colored citizens in the District of Columbia and generally
    in the Rebel States. The efforts of Mr. Sumner were applicable
    to all these measures. He insisted always upon the equal title
    of all to rights of white citizens, whether civil or political,
    and he wished to act directly. Not doubting the plenary powers
    of Congress to provide for the equal rights of all, political
    as well as civil, especially since the Constitutional Amendment
    prohibiting Slavery, he pressed action by “appropriate

    Meanwhile the House of Representatives undertook to meet
    the Suffrage question indirectly, and by a proposition for
    an Amendment of the Constitution, reported by Hon. Thaddeus
    Stevens from the Joint Committee on Reconstruction. Proceeding
    originally from Hon. James G. Blaine, a Representative from
    Maine, afterwards Speaker, it was known familiarly as “the
    Blaine Amendment.” After elaborate discussion, the joint
    resolution containing the Amendment was adopted by the House,
    January 31st,--Yeas 120, Nays 46,--in the following terms:--

        “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several
        States which may be included within this Union according
        to their respective numbers, counting the whole number
        of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed:
        _Provided_, That, whenever the elective franchise shall
        be denied or abridged in any State on account of race or
        color, all persons therein of such race or color shall be
        excluded from the basis of representation.”

    Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, who was the Senate Chairman of the
    Joint Committee on Reconstruction, promptly gave notice that
    he should call for its consideration in the Senate February
    5th. This opened the whole subject in all its branches, and Mr.
    Sumner seized the earliest opportunity to discuss it, beginning
    the important debate. His speech, after asserting the equal
    rights of all, vindicated the plenary powers of Congress,
    especially under the clause requiring the United States to
    guaranty a republican form of government. Though made on the
    Constitutional Amendment, it was equally applicable to Mr.
    Trumbull’s Civil Rights Bill, then pending, as also to the Bill
    for Enfranchisement in the District of Columbia, and to all
    measures of Reconstruction.


MR. PRESIDENT,--I begin by expressing my acknowledgments to the Senator
from Maine, who yields the floor to-day, and also my sincere regret
that anything should interfere with the opening of this debate by him.
It is his right, and I enter upon it now only by his indulgence.

I am not insensible to the responsibility assumed in setting myself
against a proposition already adopted in the other House, and having
the recommendation of a Committee to which the country looks with
such just expectation, and to which, let me say, I look with so much
trust. But, after careful reflection, I do not feel that I can do
otherwise. Knowing, as I do, the eminent character of the Committee,
its intelligence, its patriotism, and the moral instincts by which it
is moved, I am at a loss to understand the origin of an attempt which
seems to me nothing else than another compromise of Human Rights, as
if the country had not already paid enough in costly treasure and more
costly blood for such compromises in the past. I had hoped the day of
compromise with wrong had gone forever. Ample experience shows that
it is the least practical mode of settling questions involving moral
principle. A moral principle cannot be compromised.

Here are important words of the Amendment:--

    “_Provided_, That, whenever the elective franchise shall be
    denied or abridged in any State on account of race or color,
    all persons therein of such race or color shall be excluded
    from the basis of representation.”

I may be mistaken, Sir, but I think it difficult to read this
proposition without being painfully impressed by the discord and
defilement it will introduce into the National Constitution, having
among specific objects the guaranty of a republican form of government.
The discord appears on the face. The defilement is none the less
apparent. Go back, if you please, to the adoption of the Constitution,
and you will gratefully acknowledge that the finest saying of the
times was when Madison, evidently inspired by the Declaration of
Independence, and determined to keep the Constitution in harmony with
it, insisted, in well-known words, that it was “WRONG to admit in the
Constitution the idea that there could be property in men.”[40] Of all
that has come to us from that historic Convention, where Washington
sat as President, and Franklin and Hamilton sat as members, there is
nothing with so much of imperishable charm. It was wrong to admit
in the Constitution the idea that man could hold property in man.
In this spirit the Constitution was framed. This offensive idea was
not admitted. The text, at least, was kept blameless. And now, after
generations have passed, surrounded by the light of Christian truth
and in the full blaze of Human Freedom, it is proposed to admit in the
Constitution a twin idea of Inequality in Rights, and thus openly set
at nought the first principles of the Declaration of Independence, and
the guaranty of a republican government itself, while you blot out a
whole race politically. For some time we have been carefully expunging
from the statute-book the word “white,” and now it is proposed to
insert in the Constitution itself a distinction of color. An amendment,
according to the dictionaries, is “an improvement,” “a change for the
better.” Surely the present proposition is an amendment which, like the
crab, goes backward.

Such is the appearance, when you regard it merely in form, without
penetrating its substance; but here it is none the less offensive. The
case is plain. Still among us are four million citizens robbed of all
share in the government of a common country, while, at the same time,
according to their means, they are taxed, directly and indirectly, for
the support of the Government. Nobody will question the statement. And
this bare-faced tyranny of taxation without representation it is now
proposed to recognize as not inconsistent with fundamental right and
the guaranty of a republican government. Instead of blasting it, you go
forward to embrace it as an element of political power.

If you expect to induce the recent slave-master to confer suffrage
without distinction of color, you will find the proposition a delusion
and a snare. He will do no such thing. Even the bribe offered cannot
tempt him. If, on the other hand, you expect to accomplish a reduction
of his political power, permit me to say that success is more than
doubtful, while the means employed are unworthy. Tricks and evasions
are possible, and the cunning slave-master will drive his coach and six
through your Amendment, stuffed with all his representatives. Should
he cheat you, it will only be a proper return for the endeavor on your
part to circumvent him at the expense of fellow-citizens to whom you
are bound by every obligation of public faith.

I know not if others will see this uncertainty as I see it; but
there are two practical consequences, having direct influence on the
times, which all must discern as following at once from the adoption
of the so-called Amendment. In the first place, it will be a present
renunciation of all power under the Constitution to apply the remedy
for a grievous wrong, when the remedy, even according to your own
recent example, is actually in your hands. You have already in this
Chamber, only last Friday, decreed civil rights without distinction
of color.[41] Who can doubt that by the same title you may decree
political rights, also, without distinction of color? But, having
the power, it is your duty to exercise it. You cannot evade this
duty without becoming partakers in wrong. And this brings me to the
second practical consequence that must ensue from the adoption of
this proposition. You hand over wards and allies, through whom the
Republic has been saved, and therefore our saviours, to the control of
vindictive enemies, to be taxed and governed without their own consent;
and this you do for a consideration “nominated in the bond,” by virtue
of which men may do a great wrong, provided they submit, as a _quid pro
quo_, to a proportionate abridgment of political power. Who does not
admire the Scottish patriot of whom it was said that he “would lose
his life readily to _serve_ his country, but would not do a base thing
to _save_ it”?[42] I hope we may act in this spirit. Above all, do not
copy the example of Pontius Pilate, who surrendered the Saviour of the
World, in whom he found no fault at all, to be scourged and crucified,
while he set at large Barabbas, of whom the Gospel says in simple
words, “Now Barabbas was a robber.”

I speak with sincere deference for cherished friends from whom I
differ; but I submit that the time has come, at last, when we should
deal directly, and not indirectly, with the great question before us,
and when all compromise of Human Rights should cease, and especially
there should be no thought of a three-headed compromise, which, after
degrading the Constitution, renounces a beneficent power essential to
the safety of the Republic, and, lastly, borrowing an example from
Pontius Pilate, turns over a whole race to sacrifice. These objections
I present briefly on the threshold, without argument, and advance to
the main question which must dominate this whole debate. By way of
introduction, I send to the Chair a counter proposition, which I wish
read. It is entitled “A joint resolution carrying out the guaranty
of a republican form of government in the Constitution of the United
States, and enforcing the Constitutional Amendment for the prohibition
of Slavery.”

    This was the joint resolution introduced February 2d,[43] in
    anticipation of this debate, but made applicable “anywhere
    within the limits of the United States or the jurisdiction
    thereof.” After its reading by the Secretary of the Senate, Mr.
    Sumner proceeded.

MR. PRESIDENT,--In opening this great question, I begin by expressing a
heartfelt aspiration that the day may soon come, when the States lately
in rebellion may be received again into the copartnership of political
power and the full fellowship of the Union. But I see too well that it
is vain to expect this day, so much longed for, until we have obtained
that security for the future which is found only in the Equal Rights
of All, at the ballot-box as in the court-room. This is the Great
Guaranty without which all other guaranties will fail. This is the sole
solution of present troubles and anxieties. This is the only sufficient
assurance of peace and reconciliation. To the establishment of this
Great Guaranty, as a measure of safety and of justice, I now ask your
best attention.

       *       *       *       *       *

The powers of Congress over this subject are ample as they are
beneficent. From four specific fountains they flow, each sufficient,
all four swelling into an irresistible current, and tending to one
conclusion: first, the necessity of the case, by which, according
to analogy of the Territories, disloyal States, having no local
government, lapse under the authority of Congress; secondly, the
Rights of War, which do not expire or lose their grasp, except
with the establishment of all needful guaranties; thirdly, the
constitutional injunction to guaranty a republican form of government;
and, fourthly, the Constitutional Amendment, by which Congress, in
words of peculiar energy, is empowered to “enforce” the abolition of
Slavery by “appropriate legislation.” According to the proverb of
Catholic Europe, all roads lead to Rome; and so do all these powers
lead to the jurisdiction of Congress over this whole subject. No
matter which road you take, you arrive at the same point. The first
two have already been discussed exhaustively.[44] The two latter have
been considered less, and it is on these that I shall speak especially
to-day. I propose, with the permission of the Senate, to show the
necessity and duty of exercising the jurisdiction of Congress so as
to secure that essential condition of a republican government, the
Equal Rights of All. And I put aside, at the outset, the metaphysical
question, worthy of schoolmen in the Dark Ages, whether certain
States are _in_ the Union or _out of_ the Union. That is a question
of form, and not of substance,--of words only, and not of facts;
for the substance is clear, and the facts are unanswerable. All are
agreed, according to the authority of President Lincoln, in his latest
utterance before his lamented death, that these States have ceased to
be in “practical relation with the Union”;[45] and this is enough to
sustain the jurisdiction of Congress, even without the plain words of
the Constitution in two separate texts.

The time has passed for phrases, which have been the chief resource in
opposition to a just reconstruction. It is not enough to say “a State
cannot secede,” “a State cannot get out of the Union,” “Louisiana
is a State in the Union.” These are mere words, having no positive
meaning, and improper for this debate. So far as they have meaning,
they confound law and fact. It is very obvious that a State may, in
point of _law_, be still in the list of States, and yet, in point of
_fact_, its relations to the Union may have ceased through violence,
foreign or domestic. In point of law, no man can commit suicide; but
in point of fact, men do. The absurdity of denying that a man has
committed suicide, because it is unlawful, is equalled by the kindred
absurdity of saying that a State cannot do a certain thing, because
it is unlawful. Unhappily, in this world, the fact is not always in
conformity with the law.

Therefore I put aside all fine-spun theories running into the
metaphysics of Constitutional Law. All such subtilties are absolutely
futile. They must end in nothing. I found myself on existing facts,
which are undeniable. Of these I select two.

Whatever may have been the effect of the acts of Secession in point
of law, it is plain that _de facto_ the Rebel States have ceased to
take any part in the National Government. All loyal government in
those States has been _de facto_ subverted. They are all without
magistrates or officers bound by oath to support the National
Constitution according to its requirement, so that _de facto_ there
are no magistrates or officers of the Union in these States; nor are
there any _de facto_ Senators or Representatives in Congress from those
States. Such are unquestionable facts, all of which concentre in the
great unquestionable _fact_, that for the time being there are no State
Governments in these States which the National Government can recognize
as such.

There is another fact equally unquestionable. It is that the Rebel
States have been _de facto_ in war against the National Government.
Armies have been mustered, battles have been fought, and the whole
country has been convulsed by this war. An immense national debt,
mourning families, widows and orphans, attest this terrible fact.

Everything has a natural consequence, and the consequence of this
condition of things is that necessity which I have announced. These
States cannot subsist without legal governments in just correlation
with the other States and with the Nation.

Necessity and duty commingle. If what is necessary is not always
according to duty, surely duty is always a necessity. On the present
occasion they unite in one voice for the Great Guaranty. It is at once
necessity and duty. Glancing at the promises of the Fathers, I shall

_First_, the overruling necessity of the times;

And, _secondly_, the positive mandate of the Constitution, compelling
us to guaranty “a republican form of government,” and thus to determine
what is meant by this requirement; all of which has been fortified
by continuing Rights of War, and by the Constitutional Amendment
authorizing Congress to enforce the abolition of Slavery.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the life of a nation, as in that of an individual, there are moments
when outstanding promises must be performed under peril of ruin and
dishonor. Such is the present moment in the life of the Republic.
Sacred promises, beginning with our history, are yet unperformed,
although the hour has sounded when continued failure on our part
will open the door to a long train of woes. And there are yet other
promises, recently made, for the national defence against a wicked
rebellion, which, like those of earlier date, are also unperformed. But
the latter are all included in the former; so that our whole present
duty centres in the performance of sacred promises coëval with the
national life.

Our fathers solemnly announced the Equal Rights of all men, and
that government had no just foundation except in the consent of the
governed; and to the support of the Declaration heralding these
self-evident truths they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their
sacred honor. Looking at this Declaration now, it is chiefly memorable
for the promises it made. Mighty words! Fit utterance for the infant
giant then born! Fit device for the great Republic taking its place in
the family of kings! Fit lesson for mankind! And now the moment has
come when these vows must be fulfilled to the letter. In securing the
Equal Rights of the freedman, and his participation in the Government
which he is taxed to support, we shall perform the early promises of
the Fathers, and at the same time supplementary promises only recently
made to the freedman as the condition of alliance and aid against
the Rebellion. Failure here is moral and political bankruptcy. It is
repudiation of moral and political duties, ending in repudiation of the
financial obligations. So are duties to the national freedman linked
with obligations to the national creditor, that you cannot repudiate
the former without impairing the latter. Whoever disowns any of the
promises of the Republic leads the way in repudiation.

But you cannot be thus guilty. Even if indifferent to the vows of
the Fathers, necessity, in harmony with the plain injunction of the
Constitution, will constrain you. On this there can be no doubt. You
must perform these promises; and this brings me to the overruling
necessity of the times.


Necessity is a peremptory instructor. It gives the law which no man can
disregard. It will not hearken to apology or postponement. With a voice
of command it insists that its behests shall be obeyed. And now this
very necessity speaks with familiar tones.

Twice already, since Rebel Slavery rose against the Republic, it has
spoken, insisting, first, that the slaves should be declared free, and,
secondly, that muskets should be put into their hands for the common
defence. Yielding to necessity, these two things were done. Reason,
humanity, justice were powerless; but necessity was irresistible.
And the result testifies how wisely the Republic acted. Without
Emancipation, followed by arming the slaves, Rebel Slavery would not
have been overcome. With these, victory was easy.

At last the same necessity, which insisted first upon Emancipation and
then upon arming the slaves, insists with the same unanswerable force
upon admission of the freedman to complete equality before the law, so
that there shall be no ban of color in court-room or at the ballot-box,
and government shall be fixed on its only rightful foundation, the
consent of the governed. Reason, humanity, and justice, all of which
are clear for the admission of the freedman, may fail to move you;
but you must yield to necessity, now requiring these promises to be

The demand I make stands on necessity. You must grant it, or you will
peril the peace of the Republic, and postpone indefinitely the great
day of security and reconciliation. Therefore, in the name of that
national safety which is the supreme law, I begin my appeal. Whatever
is required for the national safety is constitutional. Not only it
_may_ be done, but it _must_ be done. Not to do it is to fail in duty.
The Republic must be saved.

When I speak of necessity, I mean that overruling compulsion which
cannot be disobeyed. In the present case it is compounded of moral duty
and the instinct of self-preservation. The moral duty to perform these
promises is plain as the Decalogue. The instinct of self-preservation,
impelling us to save the Republic, is in harmony with the requirement
of moral duty. In denying justice now, you are not only guilty of
grievous wrong, but you expose your country to incalculable calamity.
The case is too clear for debate.

The irresistible argument for Emancipation was always twofold,--first,
its intrinsic justice, and, secondly, its necessity for the safety of
the Republic; all of which was expressed by President Lincoln in the
closing words of his great Proclamation:--

    “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.”

But the argument for Enfranchisement, which is nothing but the
complement of Emancipation, is the same. Enfranchisement is not only
intrinsically just, but necessary to the safety of the Republic. There
is no reason, point, or argument once urged for Emancipation which may
not be urged now for Enfranchisement. I do not err, when I say that
Emancipation itself will fail without Enfranchisement.

By Enfranchisement I mean the establishment of the Equal Rights
of All, so that there shall be no exclusion of any kind, civil or
political, founded on color, and the promises of the Fathers shall be
fulfilled. Such a measure will be, in the words of President Lincoln,
“an act of justice warranted by the Constitution upon military

As an act of justice, Enfranchisement has a necessity of its own. No
individual and no people can afford to be unjust. Such an offence
carries a curse, which, sooner or later, must drag its perpetrator to
ruin. But here necessity from considerations of justice is completed
and intensified by positive requirements of the national safety,
plainly involved in the performance of these promises.

Look at the unhappy freedman blasted by the ban of exclusion. He has
always been loyal, and now it is he, and not the Rebel master, who pays
the penalty. From the nature of the case, he must be discontented,
restless, anxious, smarting with sense of wrong and consciousness of
rights denied. He does not work as if taken by the hand and made to
feel the grasp of friendship. He is idle, thriftless, unproductive.
Industry suffers. Cotton does not grow. Commerce does not thrive.
Credit fails; nay, it dies before it is born. On the other hand, his
Rebel master, with hands still red with the blood of fellow-countrymen,
is encouraged in that assumption of superiority which is part of the
Barbarism of Slavery; he dominates as in times past; he is exacting as
of old; he is harsh, cruel, and vindictive; he makes the unprotected
and trembling freedman suffer for the losses and disappointments of the
Rebellion; he continues to insult and prostitute the wife and children,
who, ceasing to be chattels, have not ceased to be dependants; he
follows the freedman to by-ways and obscure places, where once again he
plays master and asserts his ancient title as lord of the lash. Scenes
of savage brutality and blood ensue. All this, which reason foretells,
the short experience of a few months already confirms. And all this you
sanction, when you leave the freedman despoiled of his rights.

But the freedman, though forbearing and slow to anger, will not always
submit to outrage. He will resist. Resistance will be organized. And
here begins the terrible war of races foreseen by Jefferson, where
God, in all His attributes, has none which can take part with the
oppressor. The tragedy of San Domingo will be renewed on a wider
theatre, with bloodier incidents. Be warned, I entreat you, by this
historic example. It was the denial of rights to colored people, upon
successive promises, which caused that fearful insurrection. After
various vicissitudes, during which the rights of citizenship were
conferred on free people of color and then resumed, the slaves at last
rose; and here the soul sickens at the recital. Then came Toussaint
l’Ouverture, a black of unmixed blood, who placed himself at the head
of his race, showing the genius of war, and the genius of statesmanship
also. Under his magnanimous rule the beautiful island began to smile
once more: agriculture revived; commerce took a new start; the whites
were protected in person and property; and a Constitution was adopted
acknowledging the authority of France, but making no distinction of
race or color. In an evil hour this policy was reversed by a decree
of Napoleon Bonaparte. War revived, and the French army was compelled
to succumb. The connection of San Domingo with France was broken,
and this island became a black republic. All this dreary catalogue
of murder, battle, sorrow, and woe began in denial of justice to the
colored race. And only recently we have listened to a similar tragedy
from Jamaica, thus swelling the terrible testimony. Like causes produce
like effects; therefore all this will be ours, if we madly persist in
the same denial. The freedmen among us are not unlike the freedmen of
San Domingo or Jamaica; they have the same “organs, dimensions, senses,
affections, passions,” and, above all, the same sense of wrong, and the
same revenge.

To avoid insurrection and servile war, big with measureless calamity,
and even to obtain the security essential to industry, agriculture,
commerce, and the national credit, you must perform the promises of
the Republic, originally made by our fathers, and recently renewed by
ourselves. But duty done will not only save you from calamity and give
you security; it will also prepare the way for the great triumphs of
the future, when through assured peace there shall be tranquillity,
prosperity, and reconciliation, all of which it is vain to expect
without justice.

The freedman must be protected. To this you are solemnly pledged by
the Proclamation of President Lincoln, which, after declaring him
“free,” promises to _maintain_ this freedom, not for any limited
period, but for all time. But this cannot be, so long as you deny him
the shield of _impartial laws_. Let him be heard in court, and let him
vote. Let these rights be guarded sacredly. Beyond even the shield of
_impartial laws_, he will then have the protection which comes from
the consciousness of manhood. Clad in the full panoply of citizenship,
he will feel at last that he is a man. At present he is only a recent
chattel, awaiting your justice to be transmuted into manhood. Would
you have him respected in his rights, you must begin by respecting him
in your laws. Would you maintain him in freedom, you must begin by
maintaining him in the equal rights of citizenship.

And now the national safety is staked on this act of justice. You
cannot sacrifice the freedman without endangering the peace of the
country and the stability of our institutions. Everything will be kept
in jeopardy. The national credit will suffer. Business of all kinds
will feel the insecurity. The whole land will gape with volcanic fire,
ready to burst forth in fatal flood. The irrepressible conflict will
be prolonged. The house will continue divided against itself. From all
these things, Good Lord, deliver us! But, under God, there is but one
deliverance, and this is through justice.

I have said that the national credit will suffer; but this does
not disclose the whole financial calamity. It is idle to suppose
that recent rebels, restored to privileges of citizenship, will
vote cordially for the national debt incurred in the suppression
of their rebellion, or that they will willingly tax themselves for
interest on the enormous outlays by which their darling Slavery has
been overthrown. The evidence shows them already set against any
such contribution. As time advances, and their power is assured, in
conjunction with Northern sympathizers, they will openly oppose it; or,
if they consent to recognize it, they will impose the condition that
the Rebel debt shall be recognized also. All this is inevitable, if you
give them the power; it is madness to tempt them. But they will not
have the power, if the promises to the freedman are performed. Here
again justice to the freedman becomes a necessity.

Sometimes it is said that we must not require justice to the freedman,
because justice is still denied to the colored citizen in Connecticut
and New York. Idle words, of inconceivable utterance! as if the two
cases bore any imaginable resemblance! There are rivers in the North
and rivers in the South, but who says that on this account the two
regions are alike? The denial of justice to the colored citizens in
Connecticut and New York is wrong and mean; but it is on so small a
scale that it is not perilous to the Republic, nor is it vital to the
protection of the colored citizen and the protection of the national
creditor. You are moved to Enfranchisement in Connecticut and New York
for justice to a few individuals only; but you are moved to it in the
Rebel States for justice to multitudes, also to save the Republic,
imperilled by injustice on a gigantic scale, and to supply needful
protection to the national freedman and the national creditor. From
failure on our part, there is in one case little more than shame,
while in the other there is positive danger, involving the fate of
the national freedman and the national creditor, to whom we are bound
by the most solemn ties. To a good man, injustice, even on a small
scale, is not tolerable; he feels the necessity of resisting it; but
where the victims are counted by millions, this necessity becomes a
transcendent duty, quickened and invigorated by all the instincts of
self-preservation. Therefore, I say again, for the national safety,
redeem these promises of the Fathers, and your own.

It is sometimes asserted that the National Constitution expressly
reserves to the States the power of determining who shall vote,
because it declares that “the electors in each State shall have the
_qualifications_ requisite for electors of the most numerous branch
of the State Legislature.” But this assumption proceeds on the fatal
error, that, at any time under the Constitution, which makes no
distinction of color, there can be any such oligarchical distinction
as a “qualification” founded on color. Even assuming that in a period
of peace this might be done, yet, beyond all doubt, at the present
moment, from the necessity of the case, from the Rights of War, from
the Constitutional clause of guaranty, and from the Constitutional
Amendment, Congress, by its quadruple powers, is completely authorized
to do all it thinks best for the national security and the national
faith in the Rebel States. As well question Farragut in the maintop of
his steamer, Sherman in his march across Georgia, or Grant in the field
before Richmond, as question the authority of Congress in the present
crisis. But, if the authority exists, it must be exercised.


And this brings me to the next form of this necessity and duty, as they
appear in the guaranty clause of the Constitution. It is expressly
declared that “the United States shall guaranty to every State in this
Union a republican form of government.” These words, when properly
understood, leave no alternative. They speak to us with no uncertain
voice. But they must be understood. The Rebel States, while providing
constitutional safeguards for property in man, and, according to the
vaunt of their Vice-President, making Slavery the corner-stone of the
new Government, yet follow our Constitution in the formal guaranty
of a republican form of government.[46] Defiantly they assume that
Slavery is not inconsistent with such a government. To this degrading
assumption we must reply, not only for the national cause, but that
republican governments may not suffer.

The magnitude of the question before us is seen in the postulate with
which I begin. Assuming that there has been a lapse of government in
any State, so as to impose upon the United States the duty of executing
this guaranty, then do I insist that it is a bounden duty to see that
such State has a “republican form of government,” and, in the discharge
of this bounden duty, we must declare that a State, which, in the
foundation of its government, sets aside “the consent of the governed,”
which imposes taxation without representation, which discards the
principle of Equal Rights, and lodges power exclusively with an
Oligarchy, Aristocracy, Caste, or Monopoly, cannot be recognized as
a “republican form of government,” according to the requirement of
American institutions. Even if it may satisfy some definition handed
down from antiquity or invented in monarchical Europe, it cannot
satisfy the solemn injunction of our Constitution. For this question
I now ask a hearing. Nothing in the present debate can equal it in
importance. Its correct determination will be an epoch for our country
and for mankind.

Believe me, Sir, this is no question of theory or abstraction. It is
a practical question, which you are summoned to decide. Here is the
positive text of the Constitution, and you must affix its meaning. You
cannot evade it, you cannot forget it, without abandonment of duty.
Others in vision or aspiration have dwelt on the idea of a Republic,
and they have been lifted in soul. You must consider it not merely
in vision or aspiration, but practically, as legislators, seeking a
precise definition, to the end that the constitutional “guaranty” may
be performed. Your powers and duties are involved in this definition.
The character of the Government founded by our fathers is also involved
in it.

There is another consideration not to be forgotten. In affixing the
proper meaning to the text, and determining what is a “republican form
of government,” you act as a court in the last resort, from which there
is no appeal. You are sole and exclusive judges. You may decide as you
please. Rarely in history has such an opportunity been offered to the
statesman. You may raise the name of Republic to majestic heights of
justice and truth, or you may let it drag low down in the depths of
wrong and falsehood. You may make it fulfil the idea of John Milton,
when he said that “a commonwealth ought to be but as one huge Christian
personage, one mighty growth and stature of an honest man, as big and
compact in virtue as in body”;[47] or you may let it shrink into the
ignoble form of a pretender, with the name of Republic, but without its

Before considering this vital question, it is proper to regard the
origin of this “guaranty,” and see how it obtained place in the
Constitution. Perhaps there was no clause more cordially welcomed; nor
does it appear that it was subjected to any serious criticism in the
National Convention or in any State Convention. It is not found in
the Articles of Confederation; but we learn from the “Federalist”[48]
that the want of this provision was felt as a capital defect in the
plan of the Confederation. Mr. Madison, in a private record, made
in advance of the National Convention, and which has only recently
seen the light, enumerates among defects of the Confederation what he
calls “want of guaranty to the States of their Constitutions and laws
_against internal violence_”; and he then proceeds to anticipate danger
from Slavery, which could be counteracted only by such “guaranty.”
Showing why this was needed, he says, that, “according to _republican
theory_, right and power, being both vested in the majority, are held
to be synonymous; according to fact and experience, a minority may, in
an appeal to force, be an overmatch for the majority”; and he remarks,
in words which furnish a key to the “guaranty” afterwards adopted,
“Where Slavery exists, the _republican theory_ becomes still more
fallacious,”--thus showing, that, at its very origin, it was regarded
as a check upon Slavery.[49]

Hamilton was not less positive than Madison. In his sketch of a
Constitution, communicated to Madison, and preserved by him,[50]
this “guaranty” is found; and in the elaborate brief of his argument
on the Constitution, it is specified as one of its “miscellaneous
advantages.” The last words of this remarkable paper are “guaranty of
republican governments.”[51] Randolph, of Virginia, in his sketch of a
Constitution, proposed the “guaranty,” and, in a speech setting forth
the evils of the old system, he said of the remedy, that “the basis
must be the _republican principle_.”[52] Colonel Mason, of Virginia,
taking up the same strain, said, that, though the people might be
unsettled on some points, they were settled as to others, among which
he put foremost “an attachment to _republican government_.”[53]

The proposition in its earliest form was, “that a republican
government, and the territory of each State, except in the instance
of a voluntary junction of government and territory, ought to be
guarantied by the United States to each State.”[54] This was afterward
altered so as to read, “that a republican Constitution and its existing
laws ought to be guarantied to each State by the United States.”
Gouverneur Morris thought that the proposition in this form was “very
objectionable,” and he added, that “he should be very unwilling
that such laws as exist in Rhode Island should be guarantied.” On
discussion, it was amended, at the motion of Mr. Wilson, the learned
and philosophical delegate from Pennsylvania, afterward of the Supreme
Court of the United States, so as to read, “that _a republican form
of government_ shall be guarantied to each State, and that each State
shall be protected against foreign and domestic violence,” and in
this form it was unanimously adopted.[55] Afterward it underwent
modification in the Convention and in the Committees of Detail
and Revision, until it received the final form it now has in the

    “_The United States shall guaranty to every State in this Union
    a republican form of government_, and shall protect each of
    them against invasion, and, on application of the Legislature,
    or of the Executive, when the Legislature cannot be convened,
    against domestic violence.”

Thus stands the “guaranty.” If further reason be required for its
introduction into the Constitution, it will be found in the prophetic
language of the “Federalist”:--

    “It may possibly be asked, what need there could be of such
    a precaution, and whether it may not become a pretext for
    alterations in the State governments without the concurrence of
    the States themselves. These questions admit of ready answers.
    If the interposition of the General Government should not be
    needed, the provision for such an event will be a harmless
    superfluity only in the Constitution. _But who can say what
    experiments may be produced by the caprice of particular
    States, by the ambition of enterprising leaders, or by the
    intrigues and influence of foreign powers?_”[57]

The very crisis anticipated has arrived. “The caprice of particular
States,” and “the ambition of enterprising leaders” have done their
worst. And now the “guaranty” must be performed, not only for the sake
of individual States, but for the sake of the Union to which they
all belong, and to advance the declared objects of the Constitution,
specified in its preamble.

The text of this great contract is worthy of study. No stronger or
more comprehensive words could be employed, whether we regard the
object, the party guarantying, or the party guarantied. The express
object is “a republican form of government.” This is plain. The party
guarantying is not merely the Executive or some specified branch of the
National Government, but “the United States,” or, in other words, the
Nation. The Republic, which is the impersonation of all, guaranties
“a republican form of government”; and every branch of the National
Government must sustain the guaranty, including especially Congress,
where is the collected will of the people. The obligation is not less
broad, when we consider the party guarantied. Here there can be no
evasion. The guaranty is not merely for the advantage of individual
States, but for the common defence and the general welfare. It is a
guaranty to each in the interest of all, and therefore a guaranty
to all. And such is the solidarity of States in the Union, that the
good of all is involved in the good of each. For each and all, then,
this guaranty must be performed, when the _casus fœderis_ arrives. As
guarantor, the Republic, according to a familiar principle, is to act
on default of the party guarantied; and then the duty is fixed in all
its amplitude.

The testimony is complete. This clause was no hasty or accidental
amendment, creeping into the Constitution by stealth or compromise,
obscure in language and open to various interpretation, but a solemn
act, couched in few, lucid, unmistakable words; and its precise purpose
was just what so plainly appears,--to keep all the States truly
“republican,” and make the whole numerous people, in the development
of the future, homogeneous and one. By these words the Nation is not
only empowered, but commanded, to perform the great guaranty. Power and
duty here concur. Mr. Webster was right, when he called this provision
“a very stringent article, drawing after it the most important
consequences, and all of them good consequences.”[58]

The question, then, returns, What is “a republican form of government,”
according to the requirement of the National Constitution? Mark, if
you please, that it is not the meaning of this term according to Plato
and Cicero, not even according to examples of history, nor according
to definitions of monarchical writers or lexicographers,--but what
is “a republican form of government” according to the requirements
of the National Constitution? Of course these important words were
not introduced and unanimously adopted without purpose. They must be
interpreted so as to have real meaning. Any interpretation rendering
them insignificant must be discarded as irrational and valueless,
if not dishonest. They cannot be treated as a phrase only, nor a
dead letter, nor an empty figure-head. Nor can they be treated as
profession and nothing more, so that the Constitution shall merely
_seem_ to be republican, reversing the old injunction, “To be rather
than to seem,”--_Esse quam videri_. They must be treated as real.
Thus interpreted, they become at once a support of Human Rights and a
balance-wheel to our whole political system.

In determining their signification, I begin by putting aside what is
vague, unsatisfactory, and inapplicable, in order to bring the inquiry
directly to American institutions.

I put aside all illustration derived from the speculations of ancient
philosophers, because, on careful examination, it appears that the
term “Republic,” as used by them, was so absolutely different from any
idea among us as to exclude their definition from the debate. This
captivating term is of Roman origin. It is the same as “commonwealth,”
and means the public interest. As originally employed, it was not
a specific term, describing a particular form of government, but a
general term, embracing all governments, whether kingly, aristocratic,
democratic, or mixed. Its equivalent in Greece was “polity,” being
the general term for all governments. Therefore the definition of a
Republic, according to these ancients, is simply the definition of
an organized government, whether kingly, aristocratic, democratic,
or mixed. Following this definition, the words of the Constitution
are only the guaranty of an organized government, without determining
its character. This, of course, leaves open the very question under

While the ancient nomenclature cannot be cited in determining the
definition of a Republic, we may be encouraged by it in demanding
that all government, whatever name it bears, shall be designed to
establish justice and secure the general welfare. Thus, Plato, who
commenced these interesting speculations, likens government to a just
man, delighting in justice always, however treated by others; and
the philosopher insists that every man is a government to himself as
every community is a government to itself. His ideal commonwealth
appears in a good man, and this analogy testifies to the government he
conceived. Aristotle, in a different vein, and with more precision,
opens by declaring that “every state is a certain community” or
“partnership.”[59] This idea appears again when he says, “Nothing more
characterizes a complete citizen than _having a share_ in the judicial
and executive part of the government.”[60] In various places he speaks
of “the common good” as a special object,--as, “when the One, the Few,
or the Many govern for the common good, theirs must be called a good
government”[61]; and he defines a democracy as “where the freemen and
the poor, being the majority, are masters of the government.”[62]
The same ideas find new fervor and expansion, when Cicero says, “A
republic is the interest of the people. But by the people I do not mean
every assemblage of men, gathered together anyhow, but a body of men
associated through agreement in right and community of interest.”[63]
And then again, in another place, the Roman philosopher says, “Only
in a state where the power of the people is supreme has Liberty any
abode, and, _where not equal_, it is not really Liberty.”[64] But all
these requirements or aspirations are applicable to any government, of
whatever form; and it is well known that Cicero recorded his preference
for a government tempered by admixture of the three different kinds;
so that we are not advanced in our definition, unless we insist
that our Republic should have all the virtues accorded to the ideal
commonwealth. And yet there are two principles which all these
philosophers teach: the first is justice; and the second is the duty of
seeking the general welfare.

I next put aside the examples of history, as absolutely fallacious and
inapplicable. In all ages, governments have been called Republics.
Tacitus speaks of Rome under the tyranny of the Empire as the Republic;
and Marcus Aurelius, while Emperor, pledges himself to the Republic.
Indeed, there is hardly a government, from that of the great hunter
Nimrod down to insulted and partitioned Poland, which has not been
called Republic. In 1773, only a few years before the adoption of the
National Constitution, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, after dividing
Poland, undertook to establish fundamental laws for this conquered
country, where was this declaration:--

    “The government of Poland shall be forever free, independent,
    _and of a republican form_: the true principle of said
    government consisting in the strict execution of its laws, and
    the equilibrium of the three estates, namely, the king, the
    senate, and the equestrian order.”[65]

But a government thus composed cannot be recognized in this debate as
“of a republican form.”

At the adoption of the Constitution, the most competent persons,
who disagreed on other things, agreed in discarding these examples.
Alexander Hamilton and John Adams met here on common ground. The
former, in the Brief of his Argument, exhibits the various forms of
government to which the term “Republic” has been applied.

    “A Republic, a word used in various senses. Has been applied
    to aristocracies and monarchies. (1.) To Rome under the
    Kings. (2.) To Sparta, though a Senate for life. (3.) To
    Carthage, though the same. (4.) To United Netherlands, though
    Stadtholder, hereditary nobles. (5.) To Poland, though
    aristocracy and monarchy. (6.) To Great Britain, though
    monarchy, &c.”[66]

John Adams, in his Defence of the American Constitutions, written
immediately anterior to the National Constitution, concurs with

    “But, of all the words in all languages, perhaps there has
    been none so much abused in this way as the words _Republic_,
    Commonwealth, and Popular State. In the _Rerum-Publicarum
    Collectio_, of which there are fifty and odd volumes, and many
    of them very incorrect, France, Spain, and Portugal, the four
    great Empires, the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman, and
    even the Ottoman, are all denominated Republics.”[67]

In his old age the patriarch expressed himself in the same sense, and
with equal force.

    “The customary meanings of the words _Republic_ and
    _Commonwealth_ have been infinite. They have been applied to
    every government under heaven: that of Turkey, and that of
    Spain, as well as that of Athens and of Rome, of Geneva and San

And then again he said:--

    “In some writing or other of mine, I happened, _currente
    calamo_, to drop the phrase, ‘The word _Republic_, as it is
    used, may signify anything, everything, or nothing.’ For this
    escape I have been pelted, for twenty or thirty years, with as
    many stones as ever were thrown at St. Stephen, when St. Paul
    held the clothes of the stoners. But the aphorism is literal,
    strict, solemn truth. To speak technically, or scientifically,
    if you will, there are monarchical, aristocratical, and
    democratical republics. The government of Great Britain and
    that of Poland are as strictly republics as that of Rhode
    Island or Connecticut under their old charters.”[69]

In the latter remark, Mr. Adams simply repeats his treatise, where he
calls England and Poland “monarchical or regal _republics_.”[70]

It is plain that our fathers, when they adopted the “guaranty” of “a
republican form of government,” intended something certain, or which,
if not certain on the face, could be made certain. But this excludes
the authority of incongruous and inconsistent examples. They did not
use words to signify “anything, everything, or nothing”; nor did they
use words which were as applicable to England and Poland as to the
United States. Therefore I cannot err in putting aside examples which,
however they illustrate republican government in times past, are
utterly out of place as a guide to the interpretation of the National
Constitution. Something better must be found: nor is it wanting.

I put aside, also, definitions of European writers and lexicographers
anterior to the National Constitution; for all these have the vagueness
and uncertainty of political truth at that time in Europe. Among these,
none is of higher authority than Montesquieu, who brought to political
science study, genius, and a liberal spirit. But even this great
writer, who profited by all his predecessors, quickens and elevates
without furnishing a satisfactory guide. He taught that “Virtue” was
the inspiring principle of a republic, and by “virtue” he means the
love of country, which, he says, is the love of equality.[71] This is
beautiful, and makes Equality a foremost principle; but, with curious
inconsistency, he includes “democracy” and “aristocracy” under the
term “Republic,”--the former being where the people in mass have the
sovereign power, and the latter “where the sovereign power is in the
hands of _part of the people_.” When defining “democracy,” he expresses
the importance of the suffrage as a fundamental of government,
saying, among other things, that it is as important to regulate _by
whom_ the suffrage shall be given as in a monarchy to know who is
the monarch.[72] But among all these glimpses of truth there is no
definition of “a republican form of government” which can help us in
interpreting the National Constitution. Surely an aristocracy, “where
the sovereign power is in the hands of _part of the people_,” cannot
find a just place in our political system. It may be “a republican form
of government” according to Montesquieu, but it cannot be according to
American institutions.

One of the ablest among the modern predecessors of Montesquieu was
John Bodin, also a Frenchman, who wrote nearly two centuries earlier.
Like the ancient writers, he uses the term “republic” to embrace
monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, which he calls “three kinds of
republics,”--_tria rerumpublicarum genera_. If the republic is in the
power of one, _penes unum_, it is a monarchy; if in the power of a
few, _penes paucos_, it is an aristocracy; if in the power of all,
_penes universos_, it is a democracy. Proceeding further, he says
that a democracy is “where all or the major part of all the citizens,
_omnes aut major pars omnium civium_, collected together, have the
supreme power.”[73] Here the philosopher plainly follows the rule of
jurisprudence in regard to corporations; but this definition seems to
sanction the exclusion of part of the citizens, less than a majority,
while it is inadequate in other respects. It says nothing of equality
of rights, or of that great touchstone of the republican idea, the
dependence of taxation upon representation.

But in his day the word was general, and not specific, as appears
in other instances. The easy-going and very natural Brantôme, a
contemporary of Bodin, quotes a book of his day which in its title
speaks of “the Republic of France.”[74] This was while the most
unrepublican house of Valois ruled. The great Chancellor l’Hospital
uses the word in the same sense, when in his famous testament he speaks
of yielding to “the necessity of the Republic.”[75] We have also
the authority of Henri Martin, in his admirable History of France,
who says that the word in Bodin “means only the State in its broad
signification.”[76] Plainly, from writers of this period there is
little help in the present inquiry.

There are later definitions to be put aside also. Thus, for instance,
it is often said that a republic is “a government of laws, and not
of men”; and this saying found favor with some among our fathers.[77]
Long before, Aristotle had declared that such a government would be
the kingdom of God.[78] But this condition, though marking an advanced
degree of civilization, and of course essential to a republic,
cannot be recognized as decisive. On its face it is vague from
comprehensiveness. It is enough to say that it would embrace England,
whose government our fathers renounced in order to build a republic.
And still further, it would throw its shield over a government which
“frameth mischief by a law.” This will not do.

There is also a plausible definition by Millar, the learned author of
the work on the British Constitution, who states, hypothetically, that
by Republic may be meant “a government in which there is no king or
hereditary chief magistrate.”[79] But this, again, must be rejected, as
leaving aristocracies and oligarchies in the category of republics.

Sometimes we hear that a government with an elective chief magistrate
is a republic. Here, again, nothing is said of aristocracy or
oligarchy, which coexist with an elective chief magistrate,--as in
Venice, where the elected Doge was surrounded by an oligarchy of
nobles, and in Holland, where the elected Stadtholder was a prince
surrounded by princes. But there are other instances which make this
definition unsatisfactory, if not absurd. The Pope of Rome is an
elective chief magistrate; so also is the Grand Lama; but surely the
States of the Church are not republican, nor is Thibet.

Rejecting the definition founded on the elective character of the
chief magistrate, we must also reject another, founded on “the
sovereignty of more than one man.” It has been said positively, by
an eminent person who has written much on the subject, that “the
strict definition of a republic is that in which the sovereignty
resides in more than one man.”[80] But this strict definition embraces
aristocracies and oligarchies.

I conclude these rejected specimens with that of Dr. Johnson in his
Dictionary, which appeared before American Independence:--

    “REPUBLIC. (1.) Commonwealth; state in which the power is
    lodged in more than one. (2.) Common interest; the public.”

These definitions are all as little to the purpose as the “vulgar
error,” chronicled by Sir Thomas Browne, “that storks are to be found
and will only live in republics,”[81]--or the saying of Rousseau,
at a later day, that, “were there a nation of gods, it would govern
itself democratically,”[82]--or the remark of John Adams, that “all
good government is republican.”[83] It is evident that we must turn
elsewhere for the illumination we need. If others thus far have failed,
it is because they have looked across the sea instead of at home, and
have searched foreign history and example instead of simply recognizing
the history and example of their own country. They have imported
inapplicable and uncertain definitions, forgetting that the Fathers,
by positive conduct, by solemn utterances, by declared opinions,
and by public acts, all in harmony and constituting one overwhelming
testimony, exhibited their idea of a republican government in a way at
once applicable and certain. They are the natural interpreters of their
own Constitution. Mr. Fox, the eminent English statesman, exclaimed in
debate, that, “if, by a peculiar interposition of Divine power, all
the wisest men of every age and of every country could be collected
into one assembly, he did not believe that their united wisdom would
be capable of forming even a tolerable constitution,”[84]--meaning,
of course, that a constitution must be derived from habits and
convictions, and not from any invention. There is sound sense in the
remark; and it is in this spirit that I turn from a discussion having
only this value, that it shows how little there is in the past to
interpret the meaning of the Fathers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every constitution embodies the principles of its framers. It is a
transcript of their minds. If its meaning in any place is open to
doubt, or if words are used which seem to have no fixed signification,
we cannot err in turning to the framers; and their authority increases
in proportion to the evidence they have left on the question. By
“a republican form of government” our fathers plainly intended a
government representing the principles for which they had struggled.
Now, if it appears that through years of controversy they insisted
on certain principles as vital to free government, even to the
extent of encountering the mother country in war,--that afterward,
on solemn occasions, they heralded these principles to the world
as “self-evident truths,”--that also, in declared opinions, they
sustained these principles,--and that in public acts they embodied
these principles,--then is it beyond dispute that these principles must
have entered into the idea of the government they took pains to place
under the guaranty of the nation. But all these things can be shown

In these words of hypothesis I foreshadow the four different heads
under which these principles may be seen.

_First_, as asserted by the Fathers throughout the long radical
controversy which culminated in war.

_Secondly_, as announced in solemn declarations.

_Thirdly_, as sustained in declared opinions.

_Fourthly_, as embodied in public acts.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. I begin with _the principles asserted by our fathers throughout
the protracted controversy that preceded the Revolution_. If Senators
ask why our fathers struggled so long in controversy with the mother
country, and then went forth to battle, they will find that it was to
establish the very principles for which I now contend. To secure the
natural rights of men, and especially to vindicate the controlling
maxim that there can be no taxation without representation, they fought
with argument and then with arms. Had these been conceded, there would
have been no Lexington or Bunker Hill, and the Colonies would have
continued yet longer under transatlantic rule. The first object was
not independence, but the establishment of these principles; and when
at last independence began, it was because these principles could be
secured in no other way. Therefore the triumph of independence was the
triumph of these principles, which necessarily entered into and became
the animating soul of the Republic then and there born. The evidence is
complete, and, if I dwell on it with minuteness, it is because of its
decisive character.

The great controversy opened with the pretension of Parliament to tax
the Colonies, first disclosed to Benjamin Franklin as early as 1754. It
was at the time a profound secret; but the patriot philosopher, whose
rare intelligence embraced the natural laws of government not less than
those of science, in a few masterly sentences exposed the injustice of
taxation without representation.[85] For a moment the Ministry shrank
back; but at last, when the power of France had been humbled, and the
Colonies were no longer needed as allies in war, George Grenville,
blind to principle and only seeing an increase of revenue, renewed
the irrational claim. The Colonies were to be taxed by the Parliament
in which they had no representation. Two millions and a half of
people--for such was the population then--were to pay taxes without
voice in determining them. The men of that day listened to the tidings
with dismay. In this ministerial outrage they saw the overthrow of
their liberties, whether founded on natural rights or on the rights of
British subjects. In their conclusions they were confirmed by two names
of authority in British history, Algernon Sidney and John Locke, each
of whom solemnly asserted the liberties now in danger. One had borne
his testimony on the scaffold, the other in exile.

Sidney, in his Discourses on Government, did not hesitate to say, that
“God leaves to man the choice of forms in government,”--and then
again, that “all just magistratical power is from the people.”[86] Such
words were calculated to strengthen the sentiment of human freedom.
But it was Locke who gave formal expression to the very principles now
assailed. In a famous passage of his work on Civil Government, inspired
and tempered by his exile in Holland, this eminent Englishman bore his

    “It is true governments cannot be supported without great
    charge, and it is fit every one who enjoys his share of the
    protection should pay out of his estate his proportion for the
    maintenance of it. But still it must be with his own consent,
    i. e. the consent of the majority, _giving it either by
    themselves or their representatives chosen by them_; for, if
    any one shall claim a power to lay and levy taxes on the people
    by his own authority _and without such consent of the people_,
    he thereby invades the fundamental law of property and subverts
    the end of government; for what property have I in that which
    another may by right take, when he pleases, to himself?”[87]

Here is a plain enunciation of two capital truths: first, that all
political society stands only on the consent of the governed; and,
secondly, that taxation without representation is an invasion of
fundamental right. It was these truths that our fathers embraced in the
controversy before them; and these same truths, happily characterized
by Hallam as “fertile of great revolutions and perhaps pregnant with
more,”[88] are as fertile and as pregnant now as then.

But even this illumination did not begin with these illustrious
Englishmen. Two centuries before their testimony, Philippe de Comines,
a minister of Louis the Eleventh, in his Memoirs, marking an epoch
in historical literature, announced the same principle; so that here
France antedates England.

    “Is there king or lord on earth who has power, outside his
    domain [personal estate], to impose a penny upon his subjects,
    _without grant and consent of those who must pay it_, unless by
    tyranny or violence?”[89]

That good man, who excelled so much as teacher, and did so much for
scholarship and history, Arnold of Rugby, records a conclusion hardly
less important than that of his earlier compatriots.

    “It seems to be assumed in modern times that the being born of
    free parents within the territory of any particular state, and
    the paying towards the support of its government, _conveys a
    natural claim to the rights of citizenship_.”[90]

Others had said there could be taxation only with the consent of the
people taxed. The last authority exhibits citizenship associated with
contribution to the support of the government. This same political
truth appeared in Virginia as early as 1655-6, where, by solemn
enactment, repealing a restriction upon suffrage, it was declared
“something hard and unagreeable to reason that any persons shall pay
equal taxes and yet have no votes in elections.”[91] And it reappears
in the famous Declaration of Rights, adopted unanimously June 12,
1776, which announces that men “cannot be taxed or deprived of their
property for public uses without their own consent or that of their
representatives so elected.”[92]

Sidney and Locke unquestionably exercised more influence over the
popular mind, preceding the Revolution, than any other writers. They
were constantly quoted, and their names were held in reverence. But
their authority has not ceased. As they spoke to our fathers, they now
speak to us: _Sicut patribus, sic nobis_.

The cause of Human Liberty, in this great controversy, found voice in
James Otis, a young lawyer of eloquence, learning, and courage, whose
early words, like the notes of the morning bugle mingling with the
dawn, awakened the whole country. Asked by the merchants of Boston
to speak at the bar against Writs of Assistance, issued to enforce
ancient Acts of Parliament, he spoke both as lawyer and as patriot,
and so doing became a statesman. His speech was the most important,
down to that occasion, ever made on this side of the ocean. An earnest
contemporary, who was present, says, “No harangue of Demosthenes or
Cicero ever had such effects upon this globe as that speech.”[93] It
was the harbinger of a new era. For five hours the brilliant orator
unfolded the character of these Acts of Parliament; for five hours he
held the court-room in rapt and astonished admiration; but his effort
ascended into statesmanship, when, after showing that the colonists
were without representation in Parliament, he cried out, that,
notwithstanding this exclusion, Parliament had undertaken to “impose
taxes, and enormous taxes, burdensome taxes, oppressive, ruinous,
intolerable taxes”; and then, glowing with generous indignation at
this injustice, he launched that thunderbolt of political truth,
“Taxation without representation is Tyranny.”[94] From the narrow
court-room where he spoke, the thunderbolt passed, smiting and blasting
the intolerable pretension. It was the idea of John Locke; but the
fervid orator, with tongue of flame, gave to it the intensity of his
own genius. He found it in a book of philosophy; but he sent it forth a
winged messenger blazing in the sky.

John Adams, then a young man just admitted to the bar, was present at
the scene, and he dwells on it often with sympathetic delight. There,
in the Old Town-House of Boston, sat the five judges of the Province,
with Hutchinson as Chief Justice, in robes of scarlet, cambric bands,
and judicial wigs; and there, too, in gowns, bands, and tie-wigs, were
the barristers. Conspicuous on the wall were full-length portraits of
two British monarchs, Charles the Second and James the Second, while
in the corners were the likenesses of Massachusetts Governors. In
this presence the great oration was delivered. The patriot lawyer had
refused compensation. “In such a cause as this,” said he, “I despise a
fee.” He spoke for country and for mankind. Firmly he planted himself
on the Rights of Man, which he insisted were, by the everlasting
Law of Nature, inherent and inalienable; and these rights, he nobly
proclaimed, were common to all, without distinction of color. To
suppose them surrendered in any other way than by _equal rules and
general consent_ was to suppose men idiot or mad, whose acts are not
binding. But he especially flew at two arguments of tyranny: first,
that the colonists were “virtually” represented, and, secondly, that
there was such a difference between direct and indirect taxation,
that, while the former might be questionable, the latter was not.
To these two apologies he replied, first, that no such phrase as
“virtual representation” was known in Law or Constitution,--that it is
altogether subtilty and illusion, wholly unfounded and absurd,--and
that we must not be cheated by any such phantom, or other fiction
of law or politics, or any monkish trick of deceit and hypocrisy;
and then, with the same crushing force, he said, that, in absence of
representation, all taxation, whether direct or indirect, whether
internal or external, whether on land or trade, was equally obnoxious
to the same unhesitating condemnation.[95] The effect was electric. The
judges were stunned into silence, and postponed judgment. The people
were aroused to a frenzy of patriotism. “American Independence,” says
John Adams, in the record of his impressions, “was then and there
born; the seeds of patriots and heroes were then and there sown, to
defend the vigorous youth. Every man of a crowded audience appeared
to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against Writs of
Assistance. Then and there was the first scene of the first act of
opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the
child Independence was born.”[96] But this great birth is inseparably
associated with the principle, then and there declared, that “Taxation
without representation is Tyranny.”

From this time forward Otis dedicated himself singly to the cause he
had so bravely upheld, and the popular heart clove to him. He became
the favorite of his fellow-countrymen. His arguments were repeated,
his words were gratefully adopted, and the saying, “Taxation without
representation is tyranny,” became a maxim of patriotism. In May, 1761,
only a few weeks after this utterance, he was chosen a representative
of Boston in the Legislature by an almost unanimous vote. The Crown
officers were dismayed by this most significant election, and one of
them, speaking with prophetic lamentation, said it would “shake the
Province to its foundation”; on which John Adams remarked, many years
later, when some of its results were already visible, “That election
has shaken two continents, and will shake four.”[97] Of course this
was simply because it affirmed and invigorated a practical truth of
government by which all the people are confirmed in political power. At
his new post of duty, Otis became the acknowledged leader, constant,
fervid, eloquent, and, according to his own language, “daring to
speak plain English.” While still declaring unhesitating loyalty to
the Crown, and even pledging “the last penny and the last drop of
blood, rather than that by any backwardness of ours his Majesty’s
measures should be embarrassed,” he made haste to announce, in words
where humor blends with truth, that “God made all men naturally
equal,”--that “the ideas of earthly superiority, preëminence, and
grandeur are educational, at least acquired, not innate,”--that “no
government has a right to make hobby-horses, asses, and slaves of the
subject, Nature having made sufficient of the two former for all the
lawful purposes of man, from the harmless peasant in the field to the
most refined politician in the cabinet, but none of the last, which
infallibly proves they are unnecessary.” But the case would have been
imperfectly stated, if the patriot representative had not once more
cried out against taxation without representation, and warned against
the calamities that must follow from this unquestionable tyranny. This
early debate is preserved in a pamphlet, printed in 1762, and entitled
“A Vindication of the Conduct of the House of Representatives of the
Province of the Massachusetts Bay, etc., by James Otis, Esq.,” which,
we are told by an eminent authority, contains, in solid substance,
all that is found in the Declaration of Rights and Wrongs issued by
Congress in 1774, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the
subsequent writings of those political philosophers who upheld the
national cause.[98] Pardon me, if I dwell too minutely on this history.
I do it only to illustrate the issue of principle actually made with
the mother country.

The controversy still continued, when, in 1764, the orator, who by
voice and pen had so bravely maintained the cause of his country, put
forth another publication, entitled “The Rights of the British Colonies
Asserted and Proved.” Mark, if you please, the vigor of the title.
The rights of the Colonies are not only “asserted,” but “proved.”
Reprinted in London, this pamphlet was read by Lord Mansfield, Chief
Justice of England, and was answered by Soame Jenyns, a partisan
writer of the Crown. The copy I hold in my hand has the imprint of
London, and is marked “Third Edition.” All things considered, it is
the most remarkable pamphlet of our country, and one of the most
remarkable ever written. Recent events, verifying the truths it so
early announced, elevate its place in history. Here are the same vital
principles, enforced with learning and eloquence, which Otis announced
at the bar, and then again in the debates of the Legislature; and here
are not only the truths asserted by our fathers, but the unanswerable
arguments by which they were vindicated. Even an abstract would be too
long for this debate; but the character of this Defence of the American
People, not unlike Milton’s famous “Defensio pro Populo Anglicano,”
will appear in a few passages, where, as in gleams, may be discerned
the _Idea of a Republic_.

I do not pause on the assertion, “that every man of a sound mind should
have his vote,” or the authority he invokes, when he says, “Lord Coke
declares that it is against Magna Charta and against the franchises of
the land, for freemen to be taxed but by their own consent,” both of
which, sounded by him elsewhere,[99] are important premises. Nor do I
dwell on that admirable statement of much in little, “The first simple
principle is Equality and the Power of the Whole.”[100] The Equality of
All and the Power of All!--the two buttresses of a just government. I
come at once to the plain statement of fundamental right.

    “The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his
    property _without his consent in person or by representation_.”

    “Taxes are not to be laid on the people _but by their consent
    in person or by deputation_.”[101]

Such are “the first principles of law and justice, and the great
barriers of a free state”; and then he adds, “I ask, I want no
more.”[102] And these principles he claims for all, without distinction
of color.

    “The colonists are by the Law of Nature free-born, as indeed
    all men are, white or black.… Does it follow that ‘tis right
    to enslave a man because he is black? Will short, curled hair,
    like wool, instead of Christian hair, as ’tis 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?”[103]

Assuming these rights as common to all, whether white or black,
he insists that any taxation, whether direct or indirect, without
representation, is only another form of Slavery.

    “I can see no reason to doubt but that the imposition of taxes,
    whether on trade, or on land, or houses, or ships, on real
    or personal, fixed or floating property, in the Colonies, is
    absolutely irreconcilable with the rights of the colonists,
    as British subjects, _and as men_. I say men, for in a state
    of Nature no man can take my property from me without my
    consent. _If he does, he deprives me of my liberty and makes
    me a slave.…_ The very act of taxing, exercised over those who
    are not represented, appears to me to be depriving them of one
    of their most essential rights as freemen, and, if continued,
    seems to be in effect _an entire disfranchisement of every
    civil right_. For what one civil right is worth a rush, after
    a man’s property is subject to be taken from him at pleasure,
    without his consent?”[104]

Such was the voice of James Otis, who was our John the Baptist. It was
he who went before in this great controversy. He first stated the
case between the Colonies and the mother country, and first developed
the principles in issue. But, though first, he was not long alone.
Conspicuous among his followers was Samuel Adams, that austere patriot,
always faithful and true, who desired to make Puritan Boston “a
Christian Sparta.” He was remarkable for the simplicity, accuracy, and
harmony of his style, and on this account often held the pen for the
Legislature or the town-meeting. In obedience to the latter, he drew
up instructions to the Representatives of Boston, afterward adopted in
Faneuil Hall, where, repeating the very arguments of Otis, he says, “If
our trade may be taxed, why not our lands, why not the produce of our
lands, and everything we possess or make use of?” And then, advancing
in the subject, he asks: “If taxes are laid upon us in any shape
_without our having a legal representation where they are laid_, are we
not reduced from the character of free subjects to the miserable state
of tributary slaves?”[105] In proposing this question, he leaves no
room to doubt the answer it deserved.

Soon thereafter, Franklin, as agent of Pennsylvania, maintained the
same principles in England. But the ministry, hurried on by fatal folly
leading to destruction, persevered in their pretension. The Stamp Act
was passed, and for the first time in our history papers bore stamps,
to swell the revenue of the Crown. Massachusetts remonstrated in formal
resolutions, “particularly considered,” wherein it is declared, “That
there are certain essential rights of the British Constitution of
Government, which are founded in the law of God and Nature, and are
the common rights of mankind,--therefore, … that no man can justly take
the property of another without his consent,-- … that all acts made by
any power whatever, other than the General Assembly of this Province,
imposing taxes on the inhabitants, are infringements of our inherent
and unalienable rights as men and British subjects, and render void the
most valuable declarations of our Charter.”[106] In an address to the
Royal Governor, the Legislature, after setting forth the injustice of
the Stamp Act, proceeded to say, “We must beg your Excellency to excuse
us from doing anything to assist in the execution of it.”[107] The
people in town-meetings took up the strain, and all united against the
Act. But Massachusetts was not alone.

Virginia, by positive statute, as early as 1655-6 recognized the just
principle, as we have already seen;[108] and now a writer of that
State, catching the spirit of Otis, declared, in an elaborate pamphlet,
that it was “an essential principle of the English Constitution that
the subject shall not be taxed _without his consent_”; and then again,
quoting the words of another, “All men have natural, and freemen legal
rights, which they may justly maintain, and no legislative authority
can deprive them of.”[109] The Legislature of Virginia, even before
Massachusetts, adopted resolutions kindred in spirit, which were moved
by Patrick Henry, and heroically carried by his eloquent voice, even
against the menacing cry of “Treason.” Thus spoke Virginia, exposing
the true issue, and insisting on the inseparability of taxation and

    “_Resolved_, That the taxation of the people by themselves,
    or _by persons chosen by themselves to represent them_, who
    can only know what taxes the people are able to bear, or the
    easiest method of raising them, and must themselves be affected
    by every tax laid on the people, _is the only security against
    a burdensome taxation_ and the distinguishing characteristic of
    British freedom, without which the ancient Constitution cannot

Pennsylvania, by her House of Assembly, spoke also to the same effect:--

“_Resolved, N. C. D._, That this House think it their duty thus firmly
to assert with modesty and decency their _inherent rights_, that their
posterity may learn and know that it was not with their consent and
acquiescence that _any taxes_ should be levied on them by any persons
but their own representatives.”[111]

The controversy proceeded. At the invitation of Massachusetts, moved
by Otis, a Congress assembled at New York in October, 1765, having
delegates from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina, which,
after a prolonged session, adopted a declaration of colonial rights and
grievances, where it is declared:--

    “That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people,
    and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be
    imposed on them _but with their own consent, given personally
    or by their representatives_.

    “That the people of these Colonies are not, and from their
    local circumstances cannot be, represented in the House of
    Commons in Great Britain.”[112]

At last the Stamp Act was repealed. But the pretension of taxation was
suspended rather than abandoned. A ministerial partisan continued to
urge the scheme in unscrupulous language:--

    “All countries unaccustomed to taxes are at first violently
    prepossessed against them, though the price which they give for
    their liberty: like an ox untamed to the yoke, they show at
    first a very stubborn neck, but by degrees become docile and
    yield a willing obedience.… America must be taxed.”[113]

As time advanced, the old audacity was revived, and, under the lead
of the reckless Charles Townshend, taxes were imposed by Parliament
on tea, glass, lead, paper, and painters’ colors. The old opposition
in the Colonies was revived also, and taxation without representation
was again denounced. Committees of correspondence were established,
and the work of organization began. The whole country was in a fever.
Massachusetts, as in times past, did not hesitate to proclaim the true
principle. At a town-meeting of Boston in 1772, there was a declaration
of rights, “which no man or body of men, consistently with their own
rights as men and citizens or members of society, can for themselves
give up or take away from others”; and here we meet again familiar

    “The supreme power cannot justly take from any man any part
    of his property without his consent in person or by his

Against all Parliamentary taxation, as often as it showed itself, this
impenetrable buckler was lifted. But the mother country was perverse.
Ship-loads of tea arrived. At Boston the tea was thrown into the dock.
The Colonies entered into an agreement of non-importation. Then came
troops, and the Boston Port Bill, by which this harbor was vindictively
closed against commerce. The whole country, including even South
Carolina, made common cause with Massachusetts. Gadsden exclaimed,
“Massachusetts sounded the trumpet, but to Carolina is it owing that it
was attended to.”[115] And Virginia exclaimed, “_We will never be taxed
but by our own representatives._ This is the great badge of Freedom.…
Whether the people in Boston were warranted by justice, when they
destroyed the tea, we know not; but this we know, that the Parliament,
by their proceedings, have made us and all North America parties in
the present dispute.”[116] Meanwhile more troops arrived. All things
portended strife; and yet the colonists did not ask for independence.
They only asked for rights, insisting always that there should be no
taxation without representation. “The patriots of this Province,” said
John Adams in 1774, “desire nothing new; they wish only to keep their
old privileges. They were for one hundred and fifty years allowed to
tax themselves, and govern their internal concerns as they thought
best. Parliament governed their trade as they thought fit. This plan
they wish may continue forever.”[117] Thus stood the two parties face
to face.

Then came the Continental Congress, which at once put forth
resolutions, where, after claiming the enjoyment of life, liberty, and
property, as natural rights, it was insisted that the colonists could
be bound by no law to which they had not consented by representatives.
Here was the original programme of James Otis: first, the rights of
men, according to Natural Law; and, secondly, the principle that
government, including of course taxation, depended on the consent of
the governed. “_The foundation_ of English Liberty and _of all free
government_,” said these resolutions, “is a right in the people to
participate in their legislative council.”[118] In harmony with these
resolutions were the several addresses of the Continental Congress,--to
the people of Great Britain, to the inhabitants of the Province of
Quebec, and to the king himself,--always pleading for Human Rights in
the largest sense. The address to the people of Great Britain begins
by an appeal for “the rights of men and the blessings of Liberty,” and
then insists “that no power on earth has a right to take our property
from us without our consent.”[119] The address to the inhabitants of
the Province of Quebec, in similar spirit, says: “_The first grand
right is that of the people having a share in their own government by
their representatives chosen by themselves_, and, in consequence, of
being ruled by laws which they themselves approve, not by edicts of
men over whom they have no control. This is a bulwark surrounding and
defending their property.”[120] And the petition to the king has the
same key-note: “Duty to your Majesty, and regard for the preservation
of ourselves and our posterity, _the primary obligations of Nature
and society_, command us to entreat your royal attention.”[121] Thus
constantly, down to the last moment, did our fathers set forth the
principles they sought to establish as essential to free government.
Thus constantly did they testify to the cause for which I now plead.

Answering voices came back from England, announcing the principles in
issue. The right of taxation was asserted; but there were many who
disguised the tyranny by assuming that the Colonies were “virtually
represented.” Perhaps that spirit of legal technicality which is
satisfied by form at the expense of reason was never more strikingly
illustrated than in the argument of Sir James Marriott, the Admiralty
Judge, who gravely insisted, in the House of Commons, that England
“had an undoubted right to tax America, because she was represented by
the members for the County of Kent, of which the thirteen provinces
were a part or parcel, for in their charters they were to hold of
the manor of Greenwich in Kent.”[122] The whole pretension had been
scouted by the indignant eloquence of Mr. Pitt, afterward Lord Chatham.
“The idea,” said he, “of a _virtual representation_ of America in
this House is the most contemptible idea that ever entered into the
head of a man. It does not deserve a serious refutation.”[123] As
the controversy continued, and especially as those masterly state
papers, the addresses of the Continental Congress, reached England,
the ministers of the king were put on the defensive. They retained as
advocate none other than Samuel Johnson, who, for “small hire,” lent
the pen which had written “Rasselas,” “The Vanity of Human Wishes,”
and the English Dictionary, to a rancorous attack on the principles of
our fathers. Its concentrated venom was all expressed in the title,
“Taxation no Tyranny.” Another pamphlet appeared in reply, with the
epigram, “Resistance no Rebellion,” embodying the idea, that, where
there is taxation without representation, resistance is justifiable;
and thus was issue joined at London. This was in 1775. Already the
“embattled farmers” had gathered at Lexington and Bunker Hill; already
Washington had drawn his sword at Cambridge, as commander-in-chief and
generalissimo of the new-born armies; already war had begun. At last,
to the defiant watchword, “Taxation no Tyranny,” hurled from London,
our fathers returned that other defiant watchword, “Independence.” But
they did not turn their backs upon the principles asserted throughout
the long controversy. Independence was the means to an end, and that
end was nothing less than a Republic, with Liberty and Equality as
animating principles, where government stood on the consent of the
governed, or, which is the same thing, where there should be no
taxation without representation: for here was the distinctive feature
of American institutions.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. The principles heralded through fifteen years of controversy were
not forgotten when Independence was declared: and here I come to the
national declarations of the Fathers.

It sometimes happens that men fail in support of the cause to which
they are pledged, or content themselves with something less than
the truth. But not so with our fathers. In declaring Independence
they continued loyal to their constant vows. The natural rights of
all men, and the consent of the people as the only just foundation
of government, which James Otis first announced, which Samuel Adams
maintained with severe simplicity, which Patrick Henry vindicated
even against the cry of “Treason,” and which had been affirmed by
legislative bodies and public meetings, were embodied in the opening
words of the Declaration. There they stand, like a sublime overture
to the new Republic, interpreting, inspiring, and filling it with
transforming power.

    “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_.”

Nor did these declarations proceed from the National Congress alone.
The States spoke also in their Bills of Rights.

Foremost is the Equality of All Men. Of course, in a declaration of
rights, no such supreme folly was intended as that all men are created
equal in form or capacity, bodily or mental,--but simply that they are
created equal in rights. This is grandest of the self-evident truths
announced, leading and governing all the rest. Life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness are among inalienable rights; but they are all
in subordination to that primal truth. Here is the starting-point of
the whole; and the end is like the starting-point. Announcing that
governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,
the Declaration repeats the same proclamation of Equal Rights. Thus
is Equality the Alpha and the Omega, wherein all other rights are
embraced. Men may not have a natural right to certain things, but most
clearly they have a natural right to _impartial laws_, without which
justice, being the end and aim of government, must fail. Equality in
rights is the first of rights. Because these self-evident truths,
beginning with Equality, had been set at nought by Great Britain, in
her relations with our fathers, Independence was declared. To these
truths, therefore, was the new Government solemnly dedicated, as it
assumed its separate and equal station among the powers of the earth.
Do you ask for the definition of Republic? Here it is, by patriot
lexicographers, whose authority none of us can question.

As the War of Independence began with a declaration of principles,
so it ended with a like declaration. At its successful close, the
Continental Congress, in an Address to the States, by the pen of James
Madison, thus announced the objects for which it had been waged, and
thus supplied another definition of the new government:--

    “Let it be remembered that it has ever been the pride and boast
    of America, _that the rights for which she contended were
    the rights of human nature_. By the blessing of the Author
    of these rights on the means exerted for their defence, they
    have prevailed against all opposition, and _form the basis_
    of thirteen independent States. No instance has heretofore
    occurred, nor can any instance be expected hereafter to occur,
    in which the _unadulterated forms of Republican Government_ can
    pretend to so fair an opportunity of justifying themselves by
    their fruits. In this view, the citizens of the United States
    are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a
    political society.”[124]

Such, also, was the sublime sentiment promulgated by Washington from
his camp, in a general order, near the same date, announcing the close
of the war, where he declares his “rapture” in the national prospects,
and the three-fold happiness for all “who have assisted in protecting
_the rights of human nature_.”[125] It was for “the rights of human
nature” that our fathers went forth to battle, and these rights are
proclaimed to “form the basis of thirteen independent States.” But
supreme among these is Equality, including of course the equal right of
all to a voice in the Government. And this is the Republic which our
fathers, with pride and boast, then gave as an example to mankind.

The same spirit appears in the National Constitution, which, by its
preamble, asserts practically similar sentiments:--

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

Thus was the National Constitution ordained, not to create an oligarchy
or aristocracy, not to exclude certain persons from the pale of its
privileges, not to organize _inequality of rights_ in any form,
but to “establish justice,” which is Equality,--to “insure domestic
tranquillity,” which is vain without justice,--to “provide for the
common defence,” which is the defence of all,--to “promote the general
welfare,” which is the welfare of all,--and to “secure the blessings of
liberty” to all the people and their posterity, which is giving to all
the complete enjoyment of rights central among which is Equality. Here,
then, is another authoritative definition.

Thus has our country testified to its idea of a Republic, not only
throughout long days of controversy, but in national declarations,
being in themselves monumental acts.

       *       *       *       *       *

3. From these national declarations I come now to the _Opinions of the
Fathers_. Here you see how these same principles have been sustained
by eminent characters, whose names are historic, all testifying to the
government they founded and upheld. In their weighty words you find a
definition, constantly repeated, in harmony with all the promises of
the Fathers, whether in controversy or in solemn instruments which are
the very title-deeds of the Republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

I begin with Benjamin Franklin, who saw all questions of Government
with a surer instinct than any other person in our history. As early as
1736, while still a young man, he wrote an article, which was published
in the Pennsylvania Gazette, containing these words:--

    “Popular Governments have not been framed without the wisest
    reasons. It seemed highly fitting that the conduct of
    magistrates, _created by and for the good of the whole_, should
    be made liable to the inspection and animadversion of _the

It is for _the good of the whole_, and not for an odious oligarchy or
an aristocratic class, that our patriot speaks, and in these words
is foreshadowed the idea of a republican government. But it was in
discussions, after Otis had hurled his flaming bolt, that we find a
fuller and more precise definition. Here it is, as adopted, if not
written, by Franklin:--

    “That _every man_ of the commonalty (excepting infants, insane
    persons, and criminals) is, of common right, and by the laws of
    God, a freeman, and entitled to the free enjoyment of liberty.

    “_That liberty, or freedom, consists in having an actual share
    in the appointment of those who frame the laws_, and who are to
    be the guardians of every man’s life, property, and peace: for
    the _all_ of one man is as dear to him as the _all_ of another;
    and the poor man has an _equal_ right, but _more_ need, to have
    representatives in the Legislature than the rich one.

    “That they who have no voice nor vote in the electing
    of representatives _do not enjoy liberty, but are
    absolutely enslaved to those who have votes, and to their
    representatives_: for to be enslaved is to have governors
    whom _other men have set over us_, and be subject to laws
    _made by the representatives of others_, without having
    had representatives of our own to give consent in _our_

In these emphatic words is a complete vindication of the _equal right_
of representation, as essential to free government,--so much so, that,
where this does not exist, Liberty does not exist.

Jefferson followed Franklin in the same vein, but with greater fervor.
The author of the Declaration of Independence could not do otherwise.
Constantly he testifies to his idea of a Republic. Thus he wrote to
Alexander von Humboldt, under date of June 13, 1817, affirming the
rights of the majority as “the first principle of Republicanism,” and
assuming the principle of Equal Rights:--

    “The first principle of Republicanism is, that the _lex majoris
    partis_ is the fundamental law of every society of individuals
    _of equal rights_. To consider the will of the society enounced
    by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is
    the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which
    is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other
    remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military

In another letter, to John Taylor, of Caroline, dated May 28, 1816, he
thus defines a Republic:--

    “Indeed, it must be acknowledged that the term _Republic_
    is of very vague application in every language. Witness the
    self-styled Republics of Holland, Switzerland, Genoa, Venice,
    Poland. Were I to assign to this term a precise and definite
    idea, I would say, purely and simply, it means _a government
    by its citizens in mass_, acting directly and personally,
    _according to rules established by the majority_,--and that
    every other government is more or less republican in proportion
    as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of
    the direct action of the citizens.”[129]

Here again, while confessing the unquestionable vagueness of the term
according to old examples, he assumes that in a republic all citizens
must have a voice. And again, in the same letter, he thus indignantly
condemns denial of representation:--

    “And also that one half of our brethren who fight and pay taxes
    are excluded, like Helots, from the rights of representation,
    as if society were instituted for the soil, and not for
    the men inhabiting it, _or one half of these could dispose
    of the rights and the will of the other half without their

Thus did he scout the whole wretched pretension of oligarchy and
monopoly by which citizens are deprived of equal rights.

To these may be added his earliest and latest declarations on this
important question. The earliest is in his “Notes on Virginia,” written
in 1781, where he recognizes “a reciprocation of right” as a presiding

    “When arguing for ourselves, we lay it down as a fundamental,
    that laws, to be just, must give _a reciprocation of right_:
    that without this they are mere arbitrary rules of conduct,
    founded in force, and not in conscience.”[131]

The latest declaration was in 1826, the year of his death. It is in
a paper containing some of his most intimate opinions. Here he bears
testimony to “_equality_ among our citizens” as “essential to the
maintenance of republican government.”[132] These are among his dying

       *       *       *       *       *

Madison was colder in nature than Jefferson; but they were associates
in opinion, as in political life. In the debates on the National
Constitution the former condemned the denial of rights on account of

    “We have seen the mere distinction of color made, in the most
    enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive
    dominion ever exercised by man over man.”[133]

Speaking directly of the right of suffrage, he uses the following

    “_The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental
    articles of republican government_, and ought not to be left
    to be regulated by the legislature. A gradual abridgment of
    this right has been the mode in which _aristocracies_ have been
    built on the ruins of popular forms.”[134]

Thus declaring himself against “aristocracies,” he naturally recognized
the true idea; and here he was perplexed by the question of a property
qualification, and the effort to reconcile it with “the right of
suffrage,” which he calls “a fundamental article in republican
constitutions.”[135] In another place, he says of “confining the right
of suffrage to freeholders”: “It violates _the vital principle_ of free
government, that those who are to be bound by laws ought to have a
voice in making them; and the violation would be more strikingly unjust
as the lawmakers become the minority.”[136] Completely recognizing the
great American principle, that just government can stand only on “the
consent of the governed,” he is brought to this conclusion:--

    “Under every view of the subject, it seems indispensable
    that the mass of citizens should not be without a voice in
    making the laws which they are to obey, and in choosing the
    magistrates who are to administer them.”[137]

In one of the most remarkable chapters of the “Federalist,” Madison
gives expansion to this idea in his formal definition of a Republic:--

    “If we resort for a criterion to the different principles
    on which different forms of government are established, we
    may define a Republic to be, or at least may bestow that
    name on, _a government which derives all its powers directly
    or indirectly from the great body of the people_, and is
    administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure,
    for a limited period, or during good behavior. _It is essential
    to such a government that it be derived from the great body
    of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion_, OR A
    FAVORED CLASS OF IT: otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles,
    exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers,
    might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their
    government the honorable title of Republic.”[138]

Thus, in few significant words, does this authority teach that a
Republic is a government derived from “the great body of the people,”
and not from “a favored class of it.” Better words could not be found
for the American definition.

I repeat these two conditions of republican government according to
Madison: _First_, the government must be derived from the _great body_
of the people; and, _secondly_, it cannot spring from any _favored

That the colored race should not be excluded from this definition may
be justly inferred from his remark, already quoted, that “where Slavery
exists the _republican_ theory becomes still more fallacious,”[139]
and also from his correspondence at a later day with Lafayette, whose
devotion to the great principle of Equal Rights was blazoned before
the world. Writing to the latter, November 25, 1820, he said:--

    “The Constitutions and laws of the different States are much
    at variance in the civic character given to free persons of
    color: those of most of the States, not excepting such as have
    abolished Slavery, imposing _various disqualifications_, which
    _degrade_ them from the rank and rights of white persons.
    _All these perplexities develop more and more the dreadful
    fruitfulness of the original sin of the African trade._”[140]

“Various disqualifications which degrade them”; “dreadful
fruitfulness”: such are some of the terms in which judgment is
recorded. Another letter, also to Lafayette, written as late as
February 1, 1830, says:--

    “Outlets for the freed blacks are alone wanted for a rapid
    erasure of the blot [of Slavery] from our _Republican

Thus, in his opinion, was the treatment of this unhappy people
inconsistent with the “Republican character.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Hamilton follows with perhaps equal authority. Though approaching
political questions from opposite points of view, we find him uniting
with Franklin, Jefferson, and Madison. Here is a glimpse of the
definition he would supply:--

    “As long as offices are _open to all men_ and _no
    constitutional rank_ is established, it is pure

Not for an oligarchy, but for _all_, is a Republic created. Then again
he testifies for Equal Rights, and against _partial distinctions_:--

    “There can be no truer principle than this, that _every
    individual of the community at large has an equal right to the
    protection of Government_.… We propose _a free government_. Can
    it be so, if _partial distinctions_ are maintained?”[143]

Again he says, in positive words:--

    “A share in the sovereignty of the State, which is exercised
    by the citizens at large in voting at elections, is one of the
    most important rights of the subject, _and in a Republic ought
    to stand foremost in the estimation of the law_. It is that
    right by which we exist a free people.”[144]

He then exhibits the crowning lesson:--

    “The principles of the Revolution taught the inhabitants of
    this country to risk their lives and fortunes in asserting
    their liberty, or, in other words, _their right to a share in
    the government_. That portion of the sovereignty to which each
    individual is entitled can never be too highly prized. It is
    that for which we have fought and bled.”[145]

More could not be said in the few words. But it is when Hamilton comes
to consider the National Constitution and to expound its provisions,
that, while recognizing the anomalous condition of Slavery, and
exposing what he calls “the compromising expedient of the Constitution”
by which “_the slave_ is divested of two fifths of _the man_,” he yet
declares “the equal level of free inhabitants,” and announces, “that,
if the laws were to restore the rights which have been taken away, _the
negroes could no longer be refused an equal share of representation
with the other inhabitants_.” Here is this important text,--which has
additional authority when it is considered that it was attributed also
to Madison, and indeed claimed by him, who thus acknowledged the
sentiments as his own:--

    “It is only under the pretext that the laws have transformed
    the negroes into subjects of property, that a place is denied
    to them in the computation of numbers; AND IT IS ADMITTED,

Thus, according to Hamilton, if the slaves are restored to the
rights which have been taken away,--in other words, if they become
freemen,--they will be on the same _equal level_, and entitled to
the same _equal share_ of representation with the other inhabitants.
The two ideas of Equality and a Right to Representation, so early
and constantly avowed by the Fathers, are here again recognized as
essential conditions of government; and this is the true definition of
a Republic.

With these great representative names to illustrate the American idea
I might close the catalogue. Surely this is sufficient. But there are
others, whose authority cannot be disregarded.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is the testimony of that inflexible spirit, who had thought and
acted much, Samuel Adams, in a letter to his kinsman, John Adams:--

    “That the sovereignty _resides in the people_ is a political
    doctrine which I have never heard an American politician
    seriously deny.… _We, the people_, is the style of the Federal
    Constitution. They adopted it; and, conformably to it, they
    delegate the exercise of the powers of government to particular
    persons, who, after short intervals, resign their powers _to
    the people_, and they will reëlect them, or appoint others, as
    they think fit.”[147]

Here also is the testimony of another Republican, who signed the
Declaration of Independence, Roger Sherman, in a letter to John Adams:--

    “What especially denominates it a _Republic_ is its dependence
    on the _public_ or _people at large_, without any hereditary
    powers. But it is not of so much importance by what appellation
    the government is distinguished as to have it well constituted
    _to secure the rights and advance the happiness of the

There also was John Adams himself, who was the least distinct of all
the Fathers on this question; but we find in the Preface to his Defence
of the American Constitutions a passage full of prophetic meaning:--

    “Thirteen governments, thus founded on _the natural authority
    of the people alone_, without a pretence of miracle or mystery,
    and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that
    whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor
    of _the rights of mankind_.”[149]

Here is a plain assertion that our Thirteen States were founded “on the
natural authority of the people alone,” and that they were destined to
spread over all North America.

Charles Pinckney, in a speech on the adoption of the Constitution,
speaks for South Carolina:--

    “The doctrine of representation is the fundamental of a
    republic.… As to the United Netherlands, it is such a confusion
    of states and assemblies, that I have always been at loss what
    species of government to term it. According to my idea of the
    word, it is not a republic; for I conceive it as indispensable
    in a republic that all authority should flow from the people.…
    A republic is _where the people at large_, either collectively
    or by representation, form the Legislature.”[150]

Luther Martin, an able representative of Maryland in the Convention,
while vindicating a prohibition or tax on the importation of slaves,

    “The privilege of importing them was unreasonable; and it
    was inconsistent with the principles of the Revolution, and
    dishonorable to the American character, to have such a feature
    in the Constitution.”[151]

Afterwards, in his address to the Legislature of Maryland, he announced
that both in the Committee and in the Convention he was influenced by
the argument,--

    “that Slavery is inconsistent with _the genius of
    republicanism_, and has a tendency to destroy those principles
    on which it is supported, _as it lessens the sense of the
    Equal Rights of mankind_, and habituates us to tyranny and

Thus was a “sense of the Equal Rights of mankind” one of the principles
on which Republicanism rested.

And here is one more word from Virginia: it is Colonel Mason, who
always spoke with so much point:--

    “The true idea, in his opinion, was, that _every man_, having
    evidence of attachment to and permanent common interest
    with the society, ought to share in all its rights and

Again we have a plain recognition of the Revolutionary idea.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, also, is another authority. I quote a Virginia writer on
Government,--John Taylor, of Caroline:--

    “The end of the guaranty is ‘a republican form of government.’
    The meaning of this expression is not so unsettled here as
    in other countries, because we agree in one descriptive
    character as essential to the existence of a republican
    form of government. _This is representation. We do not
    admit a government to be even in its origin republican,
    unless it is instituted by representation_; nor do we allow
    it to be so, unless its legislation is also founded upon

I close this array, illustrative of opinion, with the words of Daniel
Webster, in harmony with the rest:--

    “Now, fellow-citizens, I will venture to state, in a few
    words, what I take these American political principles in
    substance to be. They consist, as I think, in the first place,
    in the establishment of popular governments on the basis of
    representation.… _This representation is to be made as equal as
    circumstances will allow._”[155]

Then again, on another occasion, he said:--

    “This is the true idea of a State. It is an organized
    government, representing _the collected will of the people_, as
    far as they see fit to invest that government with power.”[156]

Thus, at every stage, from the opening, when Otis announced the master
principle, “Taxation without representation is Tyranny,” all along to
Daniel Webster, we find “Representation” an essential element in the
American definition of republican government.

       *       *       *       *       *

4. From authoritative opinions I pass to _public acts_, which testify
to the true idea of republican government. These are of two classes:
first, by the United States, in their collective character; and,
secondly, by the States individually.

       *       *       *       *       *

Looking at the States in their collective character, we find that at
the adoption of the National Constitution they refused to recognize any
exclusion from the elective franchise on account of race or color. The
Fathers knew too well the requirements of a republican government to
sanction such exclusion. Recognizing Slavery as a transitory condition,
soon to cease, they threw over it a careful oblivion; but they were
none the less jealous of the rights of all freemen. _The slave did
not pay taxes_, and, so far as he was a person and not property, he
was part of the family of his master, by whom he was represented, so
that in his case the commanding principle of the Revolution was not
disturbed. But, becoming a freeman, the slave stepped at once within
the pale of taxation, and therefore necessarily of representation,
since the two are inseparable. And this consideration was the guide to
our fathers.

The Continental Congress refused point-blank 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 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 the
guaranty. This proposition was voted down by the same decisive majority
of eight to three. And thus did our fathers testify to the right of
representation without distinction of color. On other occasions, for
successive years, they constantly gave the same testimony.

A resolution of Congress in April, 1783, seconded by the report of a
Grand Committee, of which Mr. Jefferson was Chairman, in April, 1784,
recommended an Amendment of the Articles of Confederation, whereby
the war expenses should be apportioned among the several States
according to “the whole number of white and _other free citizens and
inhabitants_,”--thus positively embracing colored persons. In the
Act for the Temporary Government of the Territory “ceded or to be
ceded” to the United States, April 23, 1784, and drawn by Jefferson,
the voters are declared to be the “free males of full age,” without
distinction of color. In the famous Ordinance for the Government of the
Northwestern Territory, drawn by Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, adopted
by the Confederation July 13, 1787, and then reënacted by our Congress
after the adoption of the Constitution, the voters are declared to
be “free male inhabitants of full age,”--again without distinction
of color. Then came successive Acts of Congress for the government
of Territories, where the rule in the Ordinance for the Northwestern
Territory was followed, and there was no distinction of color. If this
rule changed, it was only when the partakers in the Revolution and the
authors of the Constitution ceased to exercise influence over public
affairs. The testimony of the Fathers was constant, and it is only of
this that I speak.

       *       *       *       *       *

Turning from the States collectively, and looking at them individually,
we find the same testimony. By the Constitution of New Hampshire,
at the adoption of the National Constitution, the suffrage was
vested in “every male inhabitant of each town and parish,” with
certain qualifications, but without exclusion on account of color.
By the Constitution of Massachusetts the suffrage was vested in
“every male inhabitant,” with certain specified qualifications, but
without distinction of color. Rhode Island, at the adoption of the
Constitution, was under her original colonial charter, which provided
for elections by “the major part of the freemen of the respective towns
or places,” without distinction of color. Connecticut was likewise
under her original colonial charter, which also provided for elections
by “the major part of the freemen of the respective towns, cities, and
places,” without distinction of color. By the Constitution of New York
the suffrage was vested in “every male inhabitant of full age,” with
certain specified qualifications, but without distinction of color. By
the Constitution of New Jersey it was vested in “all inhabitants of
this Colony of full age,” with certain specified qualifications, but
without distinction of color. By the Constitution of Pennsylvania it
was vested in “every freeman of the full age of twenty-one years,” with
certain specified qualifications, but without distinction of color.
By the Declaration of Rights prefixed to the Constitution of Delaware
it was announced that “every freeman, having sufficient evidence of
a permanent common interest with and attachment to the community,
hath a right of suffrage,” without distinction of color; and in the
Constitution the suffrage was vested in “the freemen and inhabitants
of the respective counties,” with certain specified exceptions,
but without distinction of color. By the Constitution of Maryland
the suffrage was vested in “all freemen above twenty-one years of
age,” with certain specified qualifications, but without distinction
of color. By the Constitution of North Carolina the suffrage was
vested in “all freemen of the age of twenty-one years,” with certain
specified qualifications, but without distinction of color; and this
rule continued down to 1836, when the Constitution was amended, or
rather, let me say, perverted. That eminent citizen, Judge Gaston,
of North Carolina, in giving judgment at a later day, said: “It is a
matter of universal notoriety, that _free persons, without regard to
color, claimed and exercised the franchise_.”[157] To these States I
add Tennessee, which was carved out of North Carolina, and followed
her benign example. Her Constitution, adopted in 1796, vested the
suffrage in “every freeman of the age of twenty-one years,” with
certain qualifications, but without distinction of color; and this rule
continued down to the perversion of the Constitution in 1834. Mr. Cave
Johnson, of Tennessee, once Postmaster General, is reported to have
said that he was originally elected to Congress by the votes of colored
persons, and I have heard Mr. John Bell make the same confession with
regard to himself.

Virginia was inconsistent and uncandid. By the Declaration of Rights
prefixed to her Constitution it was announced that “ALL MEN, having
sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with and attachment
to the community, have the right of suffrage,” without distinction
of color; and it is added, that they “_cannot be taxed or deprived
of their property for public uses without their own consent_ or that
of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which
they have not in like manner assented for the public good.” This was
entirely worthy of the eminent citizens who adorned that State. But
a subsequent provision of the Constitution preserved the right of
suffrage “as exercised at present”: thus embodying, without naming,
the legislative exclusion of free negroes, mulattoes, and Indians,
“although such persons be freeholders.” This discreditable manœuvre
becomes more notable in view of an incident in the early history of
Virginia, curious and important, and also applicable to all the States
during their colonial existence. It was on the enactment of a statute
in 1723, “that no free negro, mulatto, or Indian whatsoever shall
hereafter have any vote at the election of burgesses, or any other
election whatsoever,”[158] when the tyranny here manifest was rebuked
with unexpected plainness. The legal authority in England, to whom this
colonial statute was submitted for review and approval, reported, in
admirable words:--

    “I cannot see why one freeman should be used worse than another
    _merely upon account of his complexion_.… To vote at elections
    of officers, either for a county or parish, &c., is incident
    to every freeman who is possessed of a certain amount of

Georgia was fitful. By her Constitution of 1777, in existence
immediately anterior to the National Constitution, suffrage was
confined to “male _white_ inhabitants.” But a Constitution adopted
May 6, 1789, and another adopted May 30, 1798, accorded suffrage to
“citizens and inhabitants,” with certain specified qualifications, but
without the word “white.”

It only remains to speak of South Carolina, the persistent marplot of
republican institutions, where, by the Constitution, the suffrage was
vested in “every free _white_ man, and no other person,” with certain
specified qualifications. This was the only State among the original
Thirteen, unless Georgia be grouped with South Carolina, which at that
time allowed a color discrimination in its Constitution. It was the
only State which, after uniting in a National Declaration that “all
men are created equal,” openly and audaciously commenced the example
of “a white man’s government.” This apostate idea, which has since
played such a part as a disturber of the national peace, was then and
there born, as the opposite idea was born in Massachusetts, under
the inspiring words of James Otis. And the other States, in their
Constitutions, followed this patriot voice. They spoke of “persons,”
“inhabitants,” “freemen,” or, better still, “men,” without prefix of
“white.” Color was not mentioned. But even in South Carolina, which
introduced the discreditable tyranny into her Constitution, this
exclusion was more apparent than real. In point of fact, even as late
as 1790, when the first census was taken, there were in this State
only one thousand eight hundred and one free colored citizens. Of
course their exclusion was wrong, mean, and unrepublican; but I do not
assert that it was such a case as to justify the interference of the
nation to reform it, especially where there was no lapse of the State
Government. On the other hand, its sufferance cannot be interpreted
as a waiver of the principles for which the Revolution was fought.
But even in South Carolina there had been a spasm of virtue. In 1757
there was a “flourishing negro school” at Charleston, and in 1709 we
find a complaint that “even negroes” had been admitted to vote. Though
denounced as an abuse, the precedent is authenticated by a disgusted

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are the public acts of the States, collectively and individually,
at the adoption of the National Constitution, illustrating with rare
harmony the American idea of a Republic, and testifying against
any exclusion founded on color. Add to these, that the National
Constitution, carefully excepting from the basis of Representation
“Indians _not taxed_,” pays open homage to the principle that there
can be no taxation without representation; add then that it expressly
founds the Government upon “the people,” not only in the preamble,
which begins “We the people,” but also in providing that the House of
Representatives shall be “chosen by the people of the several States”;
add also the crowning fact, that it recognizes no distinction of color,
that it treats all with the same impartial justice, that the word
“white” does not appear there, and who are we, Sir, who dare foist into
this Magna Charta an oligarchical idea which finds no sanction in its
republican text?

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I bring this part of the argument to a close. We have seen the
origin of the controversy which led to the Revolution, when Otis,
with such solid claim, insisted upon Equal Rights, and then, giving
practical effect to the grand demand, sounded the battle-cry, “Taxation
without Representation is Tyranny”; we have followed the controversy
in its anxious stages, where these principles were constantly asserted
and constantly denied, until it broke forth in battle; we have seen
these principles adopted as the very frontlet of the Republic, when
it assumed its place in the family of nations, and then again when it
ordained its Constitution; we have seen them avowed and illustrated in
memorable words by the greatest authorities of our history; lastly,
we have seen them embodied in public acts of the States collectively
and individually; and now, out of this concurring, cumulative,
and unimpeachable testimony, constituting a speaking aggregation
absolutely without precedent, I offer you the American definition of
a Republican form of government. In vain do you cite philosophers
or publicists, or the examples of former history. Against these I
put the early and constant postulates of the Fathers, the corporate
declarations of the Fathers, the avowed opinions of the Fathers, and
the public acts of the Fathers, all with one voice proclaiming, first,
that all men are equal in rights, and, secondly, that government
derives its just powers from the consent of the governed; and here
is the American idea of a Republic, which must be adopted in the
interpretation of the National Constitution. You cannot reject it. As
well reject the Decalogue in determining moral duties, or reject the
multiplication-table in determining a question of arithmetic.

Counter to this irresistible conclusion there can be only one
suggestion having any seeming plausibility, and this is founded on
the contemporary recognition of Slavery. On this point, it is enough,
if I remind you, first, that our fathers did not recognize Slavery
as a permanent part of our system, but treated it as exceptional and
transitory, while they concealed it from view by words which might
mean something else; secondly, that the slave was always regarded,
legally and politically, as part of the family of his master, according
to the nomenclature of Blackstone’s Commentaries, much read at the
time, where master and servant are grouped with husband and wife,
parent and child, and, as in the case of wife and child, _the slave
is represented by the head of the family, who also paid taxes on his
account_, so that in his case the cardinal principle of the Revolution,
associating representation and taxation together, was not essentially
violated; and, thirdly, that by the acts of the Continental Congress,
and generally by the State Constitutions, all distinction of color was
discarded in determining the elective franchise, and that illustrious
expounders of the National Constitution, as if anticipating the very
question before us, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, announced
the understanding, and such the promise, at the adoption of the
Constitution. Such was the declared meaning of our fathers, according
to the concurrent contemporary testimony of Hamilton and Madison.
Therefore, while confessing sorrowfully the terrible inconsistency in
recognizing Slavery, and throwing over their shame the mantle which the
son of Noah threw over his father, we must reject every argument or
inference on this account against the true idea of a Republic, which
is none other than a government where all citizens have an _equal
voice_. As Washington, by divine example, gave to mankind a new idea
of political greatness, so did the Fathers, by inspired teaching, give
to mankind a new idea of Government. Do you ask again for authority?
I offer it in its many forms. It is the early Vocabulary of James
Otis, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and Benjamin Franklin; it is the
Dictionary of the Revolution; it is the Lexicon of our National
History; it is the Thesaurus of Public Acts. This new idea was the
great discovery of our fathers. Rob them of this, and you take their
highest title to gratitude. Columbus, venturing into an unknown sea,
discovered a New World of Space; but our fathers, venturing likewise,
discovered a New World of Public Duty. It is for us, their children, to
profit by their discovery.

       *       *       *       *       *

For determining the meaning of our own Constitution in a momentous
requirement without precedent, American authority and example are
enough; but I would not have you forget that the conclusion on which I
rest is grandly sustained by France. Here I shall be brief.

I cannot begin with a higher name than Montaigne, who, though never
defining a Republic, let drop words which, coming from such a master,
are invaluable:--

    “Popular rule seems to me the most natural and equitable.”
    “Equality is the first part of equity.”[161]

In the same spirit, Montesquieu, while failing to supply a precise
definition, helped to elevate the idea of republican government, when
he declared “virtue” its inspiration, and that virtue is the love of
equality.[162] A kindred thought is expressed by a publicist of our
time, in a remarkable study on Montesquieu, when he says, that “the
true principle of democracy is justice.”[163] But justice is equality.

Contemporary with Montesquieu was the Marquis d’Argenson, a minister of
Louis the Fifteenth and the friend of Voltaire. In a work written as
early as 1739, but not seeing the light till 1764, some time after his
death, when it was attributed to Rousseau, this remarkable character
gives utterance to words worthy of perpetual memory:--

    “It is only necessary to lay aside the most stupid prejudice,
    to admit that two things are chiefly to be desired for the
    good of the State: one, that all the citizens shall be equal
    among themselves; the other, that each shall be the son of his

A government where these two things are assured would be a Republic

Voltaire, though not professing to define a Republic, taught its
dependence _upon equality_:--

    “Civil government is _the will of all_, executed by one
    or by many _in virtue of laws for which all have voted_.”
    “The republican is undoubtedly the most tolerable of all
    governments, because it is that which brings men most nearly to
    natural equality.”[165]

In another place the same illustrious teacher said:--

    “The people never desire, and never can desire, anything but
    Liberty and Equality.”[166]

Advancing in time, the Republic becomes more manifest. Omitting the
fervid words of Jean Jacques Rousseau, I adduce Condorcet, whose
consecration to truth was sealed by a tragical death:--

    “I have ever thought that a Republican Constitution, _having
    Equality for its basis_, was the only one in conformity with
    Nature, with reason, and with justice,--the only one which
    could preserve the liberty of the citizens and the dignity of
    the human race.”[167]

Belonging to the ancient system of France, and, like Lafayette, with
the rank of Marquis, Condorcet, again like Lafayette, not only accepted
the Republic, but declared its true basis.

Another French authority, of eminent experience in diplomacy, who wrote
coldly and only according to the requirement of reason, Gérard de
Rayneval, asserts the same law of Equality:--

    “Political Liberty consists in the right to participate in
    public affairs. This participation is direct or indirect,
    and it is more or less extended according to the form of
    government. It is, then, necessarily unequal. For example, _in
    a Democracy all the citizens participate in the legislative
    power_. If they delegate it, they have only a very indirect
    part in it; but all can become delegates or representatives,
    all can arrive at administrative employments, and all have the
    right to protest against abuses. In aristocratic republics
    political liberty is exclusively concentrated in the body of
    Notables; they alone exercise all the power; subjects have only
    civil liberty.”[168]

Such, in France, is the voice of political science.

It is also the voice of the French Revolution. The one idea which that
great event taught with prevailing influence was the Equal Rights of
All, explained and defined by the new-born formula, that “all are equal
before the Law.” Napoleon recognized the supremacy of this principle,
when, in an official address to the Council of State, he said, “France
loves Equality above everything”;[169] and he sought to enforce it,
when, in an early proclamation, he declared, “Let there be no head
which does not bend under the empire of Equality.”[170] Such is human
inconsistency, that shortly afterwards his own ambition refused to bend
under this empire, which none the less disowned the sceptre he assumed
and the nobles he created. But the great truth, though trampled down,
survived in the hearts of the French people, to rise again and resume
its heritage.

As the Provisional Government of 1848 proclaimed the Republic, it
was careful, after proper deliberation, to proclaim at the same time
“universal suffrage,” which Lamartine, standing on the steps of the
Hôtel de Ville, and speaking in the name of the Government, said was
“the first truth and only basis of every National Republic.”[171] This
proclamation was itself submitted to the vote of “all the citizens”;
and on the terms of this submission another member of the Government,
of solid sense and perfect fidelity, thus expresses himself:--

    “By these words--_all the citizens_--the Provisional Government
    intended to consecrate definitively the fundamental principle
    of democracy; it intended to proclaim boldly and forever the
    inalienable, imprescriptible right inherent in each member
    of society to participate directly in the government of his
    country; it intended to put in practice really and loyally the
    great principles hitherto shut up in the domain of the abstract
    theories of philosophy.”[172]

The same person, M. Garnier-Pagès, who was at once an eminent actor in
these scenes and their most authentic historian, thus again dwells on
the true idea of a Republic:--

    “The Republic, that government of _all by all_, where each has
    his place, his duty, and his right; the Republic, that is to
    say, Liberty itself, the liberty to do every act and to give
    utterance to every thought not prejudicial to others; the
    Republic, that fraternal ground where are admitted all parties,
    the representatives of the past as well as of the future, where
    all minds, all associations, can have free scope.”[173]

This precise definition is fitly crowned by the remarkable words
revealing the soul of De Tocqueville:--

    “I should, I think, have loved Liberty at all times, but in the
    times in which we live I feel inclined to adore it.… There is
    no legislator sufficiently wise and sufficiently powerful to
    maintain free institutions, _if he does not take Equality for
    first principle and symbol_. All our contemporaries, then, who
    would create or assure the independence and dignity of their
    fellow-men, must show themselves the friends of Equality; and
    the only worthy way of showing themselves such is to be so.
    Upon this depends the success of their holy enterprise.”[174]

To the authentic testimony of modern France, in harmony with our own
country, I add the definition of a very recent foreign publicist, who,
after dwelling on Equality as the idol sentiment of a Republic, says:--

    “This shows us the nature and the end of republican government.
    It is a government founded on the general interest and

Admirable words!--in themselves a definition. And here, before
closing this testimony, let me call attention to two authorities,
contemporary with our fathers, which stand apart,--one English, and the
other German. The first is that of Dr. Richard Price, the friend of
John Adams, who very early appreciated the American Revolution, and
vindicated it before the world. Here is his idea of good government,
compendiously expressed:--

    “Legitimate government, as opposed to oppression and tyranny,
    consists only in the dominion of _Equal Laws_ made with _common
    consent_, or of men over _themselves_; and not in the dominion
    of communities over communities, or of any men over other

The German was none other than the great thinker, Emanuel Kant, who, in
his speculations on Perpetual Peace, says, that to this end every state
should be a Republic, which he defines:--

    “That form of government where _every citizen_ participates by
    his representatives in the exercise of the legislative power,
    and especially in that of deciding on the questions of peace
    and war.”[177]

The statement of Kant is as simple as Pure Reason, which is the title
of his great work. It claims plainly for “every citizen” a share in the
government, and is the deliberate conclusion furnished by this eminent
philosopher, whose name, rarely quoted in politics, is an unimpeachable

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the definition of a republican form of government, as found in
the history, declarations, opinions, and public acts of the Fathers of
our country, reinforced by the authority of foreign intelligence and
the example of France. From this presentation of authorities not to be
questioned we pass easily to another stage of the discussion, where the
conclusion is the easy and irresistible sequence.


Bringing these lapsed States to the touchstone, we see at once their
small title to recognition as republican in form. Authentic figures are
not wanting. The census of 1860 discloses the population of the States
in question.

    |                |                    |  Colored Population,  |
    |  States.       | White Population.  |    Slave and Free,    |
    |                |                    |    including Indians. |
    |Alabama         |      526,271       |         437,930       |
    |Arkansas        |      324,143       |         111,307       |
    |Florida         |       77,747       |          62,677       |
    |Georgia         |      591,550       |         465,736       |
    |Louisiana       |      357,456       |         350,546       |
    |Mississippi     |      353,899       |         437,406       |
    |North Carolina  |      629,942       |         362,680       |
    |South Carolina  |      291,300       |         412,408       |
    |Tennessee       |      826,722       |         283,079       |
    |Texas           |      420,891       |         183,324       |
    |Virginia        |    1,047,299       |         549,019       |
    |                +--------------------+-----------------------+
    |                |    5,447,220       |       3,656,112       |

A glance at this table is enough. Taking the sum total of population
in the eleven States, we find 5,447,220 whites to 3,656,112 colored
persons; and you are now to decide, whether, in the discharge of
imperative duties under the National Constitution, and bound to
guaranty a republican form of government, you will disfranchise this
latter mass, shutting them out from those Equal Rights promised by our
fathers, and from all copartnership in the government of their country.
They surpass in numbers, by at least a million, the whole population
of the Colonies at the time our fathers raised the cry, “Taxation
without Representation is Tyranny”; and now you are to decide whether
to strip them of representation, while you subject them to grinding
taxation by tariff and excise, acting directly and indirectly, dwarfing
into insignificance everything attempted by the British Parliament.
Our fathers could not bear a Stamp Act in making which they had no
voice, and they braved terrible war with the most formidable power
of the globe rather than pay a tax of threepence on tea imposed by a
Parliament in which they were unrepresented. Are you ready, Sir, in
disregard of this great precedent, and in disregard of all promises
and examples of past history, to thrust a single citizen out of all
representation in the Government, while you consume his substance
with taxation, subject him to Stamp Acts, compel him to pay a duty of
twenty-five cents a pound on tea, and then follow him with imposts in
all the business of life? Clearly, if you do not recognize his title to
representation, you must at least by careful legislation relieve him
from this intolerable taxation. Some of the millions you thrust out
already contribute largely to the public revenue. How, then, can you
deny them representation? Their money is not rejected. Why reject their
votes? But if you reject their votes, you cannot take their money. As
you detect no color in their money, you ought to detect no color in
their votes.

In this denial of the right to vote there is a surpassing tyranny,
being nothing less than a confiscation of the highest property the
citizen can possess. To take his money is robbery; to appropriate his
house or land is spoliation; but house and land are less than the
right by which the citizen is assured in all other rights. Lord Chief
Justice Holt spoke as became one of England’s greatest magistrates,
when he said from the bench: “A right that a man has to give his vote
at the election of a person to represent him in Parliament, there
to concur to the making of laws which are to bind his liberty and
property, is a most transcendent thing and of an high nature.”[178] But
this “most transcendent thing” is taken from a whole race on an excuse
insulting to them as members of the human family.

Unhappily, too many people discern the wrong only when they personally
feel its sting. Suppose now the case reversed, and white citizens in
South Carolina despoiled of this “most transcendent thing” by the
predominance of the colored race, so that “black” instead of “white”
marks participation in government. But, if such discrimination is just
where the white prevails, it would be equally just where the black
prevails, and it would be as constitutional in one case as in the
other. Unquestionably a black man’s government is as constitutional as
a white man’s government. But the white man could not easily endure the
degradation; nor can it be doubted that Congress would promptly insist
that it was inconsistent with republican government, and would apply
the proper remedy. Failing in this duty, what other discrimination
could it arrest? The Anglo-Saxon might exclude the Celt; the Celt might
exclude the Anglo-Saxon; both might exclude the German, and the fearful
antagonisms of race would have full play. Other battles than the Boyne
would be the signal of discord, and other parties than Orangemen would
stalk upon the scene.

If, looking at these States together, the case is clear, it becomes
clearer when we look at them separately. Begin with Tennessee, which
disfranchises 283,079 citizens, being more than a quarter of its
whole “people.” Thus violating a distinctive principle of republican
government, how can this State be recognized as republican? The
question is easier asked than answered. But Tennessee is the least
offensive on the list. There is Virginia, which disfranchises 549,019
citizens, being more than a third its whole “people.” There is Alabama,
which disfranchises 437,930 citizens, being nearly one half its whole
“people.” There is Louisiana, which disfranchises 350,546 citizens,
being one half its whole “people.” There is Mississippi, which
disfranchises 437,406 citizens, being much more than one half its whole
“people.” And there is South Carolina, which disfranchises 412,408
citizens, being nearly three fifths its whole “people.” A republic is a
pyramid standing on the broad mass of the people as a base; but here is
a pyramid balanced on its apex. To call such a government “republican”
is a mockery of sense and decency. A monarch “surrounded by republican
institutions,” as at one time was the boast of France, would be less
offensive to correct principles, and give more security to Human Rights.

Plainly such a government is not a “democracy,” where all the people
assemble and govern in person; nor is it a “republic,” where they
assemble and govern by representatives, according to the distinction
presented by Madison in the “Federalist.”[179] A representative
government is a government by the people, not less than a democracy,
provided all the people are represented. Representation is a modern
invention of incalculable value to embody the will of the people. A
republic, like a democracy, cannot tolerate inequality. Wherever a
favored class appears, whether in one or the other, its republican
character ceases. It may be an aristocracy or oligarchy, but it is not
a democracy or a republic.

It is not difficult to classify our Rebel States. They are
aristocracies or oligarchies. Aristocracy, according to etymology, is
the government of the best. Oligarchy is the government of the few,
being not even aristocracy, but an abuse of aristocracy, as despotism
is the abuse of monarchy. Perhaps these States may be characterized in
either way; and yet aristocracy, especially in origin, has something
respectable, which cannot be attributed to a combination whose single
distinctive element is color of the skin.

The eminent French publicist, Bodin, in his definition of aristocracy,
says that it exists _where a smaller body of citizens governs the
greater_;[180] and this definition has been adopted by others,
especially by Montesquieu. But it is not satisfactory. Hallam, whose
judgment is of the highest value, after discussing its merits, proposes
the following most suggestive substitute:--

    “We might better say, that the distinguishing characteristic
    of an _aristocracy_ is the enjoyment of privileges _which are
    not communicable to other citizens simply by anything they can
    themselves do to obtain them_.”[181]

These words completely characterize the aristocracy of color; for this
aristocracy is plainly in the enjoyment of privileges not communicable
to other citizens by anything they can themselves do to obtain them.
Are we not reminded that “the Ethiopian cannot change his skin,”
neither can we “make one hair white or black,” and “which of you
by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature”? Aristotle,
the great intelligence of Antiquity, whose illumination has reached
everywhere, used congenial language, when, in reply to those who would
have magistracy and power distributed unequally, according to some
rule of personal superiority, he said, “If this is a correct rule,
then complexion, or stature, or some similar advantage, might be made
the excuse for superiority in civil rights”; and he illustrates the
unreasonableness of such a rule by showing, that, in a company of
musicians, the best flute is not given to the most noble, but to the
artist who will use it best; thus making merit the only qualification,
and discarding color, which is accidental and unchangeable.[182]

The famous French founder of the school of Doctrinaires, Royer-Collard,
so remarkable for sententious thought, was in the habit of saying
that “the sovereignty of Reason is superior to the sovereignty of
the people.” But both declare the equal rights of all. The rule
of inequality is plainly unreasonable; and what a mockery is that
sovereignty of the people which sanctions any denial of equal rights!
In different spirit, the consummate French writer, Louis Blanc,
devoted to reform, has declared that “the republic is above universal
suffrage,”--meaning that even universal suffrage cannot subvert it. But
in each is Equality. Universal suffrage openly proclaims this right;
and what is the republic without it?

To show that our Rebel States are aristocracies or oligarchies might
suffice. But we must not forget, that, born of Slavery, they have the
spirit of that iniquity, so that they are essentially of a low type.
Founded on color of the skin, they are, beyond question, the most
senseless and disgusting of all history. Would you learn to what they
must incline? Listen to the frank words of the Venetian master, the
famous Father Paul, while, in a state refined by art and elevated by
glory, he counsels the privileged class how to use their powers. “If a
noble,” says he, “injure a plebeian, justify him by all possible means;
but should that be found quite impossible, punish more in appearance
than in reality. If a plebeian insult a noble, punish him with the
greatest severity, that the commonalty may know how perilous it is to
insult a noble.”[183] Such is the terrible rule announced in a document
which taught how to make the power of Venice perpetual. But this same
spirit predominates still in the Rebel States. It rages there with
more revolting cruelty than Venice ever witnessed. And such is the
government now claiming recognition as “republican.”

The pretension is hateful on another ground. It is nothing less than
a caste, which is irreligious as well as unrepublican. A caste exists
only in defiance of the first principles of Christianity and the first
principles of a republic. It is heathenism in religion and tyranny in
government. The Brahmins and the Sudras in India, from generation to
generation, have been separated, as the two races are still separated
in these States. If a Sudra presumed to sit on a Brahmin’s carpet, he
was punished with banishment. But our recent Rebels undertake to play
the part of Brahmins, and exclude citizens, with better title than
themselves, from essential rights, simply on the ground of caste,
which, according to its Portuguese origin (_casta_), is only another
term for race.

But the pretension is yet otherwise hostile to good government. Here
is a monopoly on a gigantic scale and with an unprecedented field, in
a country which sets its face against all monopolies as unequal and
immoral. If any monopoly deserves unhesitating judgment, it must be
that which absorbs the rights of others and engrosses political power.
How vain to condemn the petty monopoly of commerce, while allowing this
vast, all-embracing monopoly of Human Rights!

Clearly, most clearly, and beyond all question, such a government is
not “republican in form.” Call it oligarchy, call it aristocracy, call
it caste, call it monopoly; but never call it a republic.


Of course such a government can exist only in defiance of the National
Constitution, and it is _the duty of Congress_ to interfere against it.

The guaranty is by the United States; therefore Congress must perform
it; and, in the discharge of this eminent duty, it must affix the true
meaning to the requirement, declaring what is a republican government,
and supplying the long-sought definition. Here Congress is sole and
final arbiter, binding all other branches of Government. Let a State
make office hereditary,--let it shut from the courts all who have not
the “blue blood” of ancient ancestry,--let it accord to a favored class
controlling power and influence,--let it apply any discrimination
on account of race or color, whether against Anglo-Saxons, Celts,
or Germans, whether against black or white,--let it do any of these
things, all so plainly inconsistent with constitutional requirement,
and the legislative power of the nation must recall the State from its
aberration, and bring it home to the republican standard.

President Johnson, in his recent annual message, says:--

    “In case of the usurpation of the government of a State by one
    man or an _oligarchy_, it becomes a duty of the United States
    to make good the guaranty to that State of a republican form of

The President forgets to mention an aristocracy, and does not add,
what is true, that the authority bound to make good the guaranty is
the sole judge of the exigency. To this end everything centres in
Congress, whose powers are commensurate with the occasion. In aid of
the guaranty are those other words providing that Congress “shall
have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for
carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the
Government of the United States.” Under this ample provision there is
a duty to be performed, by any means that seem best. The jurisdiction
is complete, and it is in Congress. If any authority were needed for
this proposition, it would be found in the words of Chief Justice Taney
himself, speaking for the Supreme Court of the United States:--

    “The fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution
    of the United States provides that the United States shall
    guaranty to every State in the Union a republican form of
    government, and shall protect each of them against invasion,
    and, on the application of the Legislature, or of the Executive
    (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic

    “_Under this article of the Constitution, it rests with
    Congress to decide what government is the established one in
    a State. For, as the United States guaranty to each State a
    republican government, Congress must necessarily decide what
    government is established in the State, before it can determine
    whether it is republican or not._”[184]

In the exercise of this power two courses are open. One is to impose an
irrepealable condition upon the unrepublican States, requiring them,
before recognition, to re-form their governments to the satisfaction
of Congress. The other, and more direct, is by Act of Congress, in
performance of the guaranty, and according to the plenary authority
“for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in
the Government of the United States,” to provide all needful safeguards
in the unrepublican States, and especially to place the Equal Rights of
All under the guardianship of National Law.

Against the exercise of this power there are but two arguments. First,
that the Constitution, by providing that “the electors in each State
shall have the _qualifications_ requisite for electors of the most
numerous branch of the State Legislature,” has reserved to each State
the power of excluding citizens merely on account of color, even though
constituting more than a majority of the population. The other argument
is, that, since certain States at the North have disfranchised the few
colored persons within their borders, the United States are so far
constrained by this example that they cannot protect the millions of
freedmen in the Rebel States from disfranchisement, and cannot save the
Republic from the peril of crying injustice. I know not which of these
two arguments is the least reasonable, or rather, which is the most
reprehensible. They are both unreasonable, and both reprehensible. They
both do violence to the true principles of the National Constitution,
if not to common sense.

It is true, that, according to the text of the Constitution, each State
may determine the “qualifications” of electors; but this can have no
application to an exigency like the present, where, at the close of a
prolonged and desperate rebellion, the United States are obliged to
guaranty to certain States a republican form of government. In the
performance of this guaranty, the United States will look only at the
essential elements of such a government, nor more nor less, without
regard to State laws. But I am unwilling to rest the argument here.
Even assuming that there has been no lapse of State governments, so
as to bring the guaranty into operation,--assuming that we are in
a condition of assured peace,--then I utterly deny that the power
to determine the “qualifications” of electors can give any power to
disfranchise actual citizens. It is “qualifications” only which the
States can determine,--meaning by this limited term those requirements
of personal condition regarded as essential to the security of the
franchise. These “qualifications” cannot be in nature permanent or
insurmountable. Color cannot be a “qualification,” any more than size,
or quality of hair. A permanent or insurmountable “qualification”
is equivalent to deprivation of suffrage; in other words, it is the
tyranny of taxation without representation, and this tyranny, I
insist, is not intrusted to any State. This is the very ground taken by
Mr. Madison, when defending the National Constitution in the Virginia

    “Some States might regulate the elections on the principles of
    _Equality_, and others might regulate them otherwise.… Should
    the people of any State, by any means, be deprived of the right
    of suffrage, _it was judged proper that it should be remedied
    by the General Government_.… If the elections be regulated
    properly by the State Legislatures, the Congressional control
    will very probably never be exercised. The power appears to
    me satisfactory, and unlikely to be abused as any part of the

With these decisive words from a chief framer of the National
Constitution, backed by the reason of the case, I dismiss this
objection to the little consideration it deserves. And I dismiss to
the same indifference the other objection, that our hands are tied
because certain Northern States have done a wrong and mean thing. Pray,
Sir, how can the failure of these States affect the power of Congress
in a great exigency under the National Constitution? Duty here is
identical with power. No matter if the power has been long dormant, it
is none the less vital. It is like the slumbering statute which Cicero
describes as a sword in the scabbard, _tanquam gladius in vagina_. It
only remains that it be drawn forth.

       *       *       *       *       *

This duty is fortified by the Constitutional Amendment, which, after
providing for the abolition of Slavery, empowers Congress to “enforce”
it by “appropriate legislation,” thus heaping Ossa upon Pelion.
Clearly, under these words, Congress may do what in its discretion
seems “appropriate” to this end, and there is no power to call its
action in question. On this point the authority of the Supreme Court,
in the weighty judgment of Chief Justice Marshall, is explicit.

    “The government which has a right to do an act, and has imposed
    on it the duty of performing that act, must, according to the
    dictates of reason, be allowed to select the means; and those
    who contend that it may not select _any appropriate means_,
    that one particular mode of effecting the object is excepted,
    take upon themselves the burden of establishing that exception.…

    “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the
    Constitution, and _all means_ which are appropriate, which are
    plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but
    consist with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are

These words of the Chief Justice are reinforced by a kindred
declaration from another great authority, Mr. Justice Story, speaking
also for the Supreme Court, on an important occasion.

    “The Constitution unavoidably deals in general language.…
    The instrument was not intended to provide merely for the
    exigencies of a few years, but was to endure through a long
    lapse of ages, the events of which were locked up in the
    inscrutable purposes of Providence.… Hence its powers are
    expressed in general terms, leaving to the Legislature from
    time to time _to adopt its own means to effectuate legitimate

Apply these words to the present case, and the conclusion is
irresistible. Whatever legislation seems “appropriate” to “enforce” the
abolition of Slavery, whatever means seem proper to this end, must be
within the powers of Congress under the Constitutional Amendment. You
cannot deny this principle without setting aside those most remarkable
judgments which stand as landmarks of constitutional history. But
who can doubt that the abolition of the whole Black Code, in all its
oligarchical pretensions, civil and political, is “appropriate” to
“enforce” the abolition of Slavery? Mark the language of the grant.
Congress may “enforce” abolition, and nobody can question the “means”
it thinks best to employ. Let it not hesitate to adopt the “means” that
promise to be most effective. As the occasion is extraordinary, so the
“means” employed must be extraordinary.

But the Senate has already by solemn vote affirmed this very
jurisdiction. You have, Sir, decreed that blacks shall enjoy the same
civil rights as whites,--in other words, that with regard to civil
rights there shall be no oligarchy, aristocracy, caste, or monopoly,
but that all shall be equal before the law, without distinction
of color. And this great decree you have made, as “appropriate
legislation” under the Constitutional Amendment, to “enforce” the
abolition of Slavery. Surely you have not erred. Beyond all question,
the protection of the colored race in civil rights is essential to
complete the abolition of Slavery; but the protection of the colored
race in political rights is not less essential, and the power is as
ample in one case as in the other. In each you legislate for the
maintenance of that Liberty so tardily accorded, and the legislation is
just as “appropriate” in one case as in the other. Protection in civil
rights by Act of Congress will be a great event. It will be great in
itself. It will be greater still, because it establishes the power
of Congress, without further amendment of the National Constitution,
to protect every citizen in all his rights, including of course the
elective franchise. There are precedents of Congress, as well as of
courts, which are landmarks; and this is one of them.

Therefore, as authority for Congress, you have two sources in the
Constitution itself,--first, the guaranty clause, and, secondly,
the Constitutional Amendment, each sufficient, the two together a
twofold sufficiency. To establish the Equal Rights of All, no further
Amendment is needed. The actual text is exuberant. Instead of adding
new words, it will be enough, if you give those that exist the natural
force belonging to them. Instead of neglecting, use them. Instead of
supplementing, interpret them. An illustrious magistrate once retorted
upon an advocate, who, dissatisfied with a ruling of the court,
threatened to burn his books, “Better read them”; and so would I say
now to all who think the Constitution needs amendment, Better read it.
Yes, Sir, read it in the principles proclaimed by the Fathers before
the Revolution, read it in the declarations of the Fathers when they
took their place as a Republic, read it in the avowed opinions of the
Fathers, read it in the public acts of the Fathers; and in all this
beaming, diffusive light you will discern the true meaning. Then again
read it in that other light which, as from another sun, newly risen
at midday, streams from the obligation of Congress to “enforce” the
abolition of Slavery. And yet again read it in the glowing illumination
of the war. In whichever light you read it, you will find always the
same irresistible meaning. Even if the text were doubtful, the war
makes it clear. The victory which overthrew Slavery carried away all
those glosses and constructions by which this wrong was originally
fastened upon it. For generations the National Constitution has been
interpreted for Slavery. From this time forward it must be interpreted
in harmony with the Declaration of Independence, so that Human Rights
shall always prevail. The promises of the Fathers must be sacredly
fulfilled. This is the commanding rule, superseding all other rules.
This is a great victory of the war,--perhaps the greatest. It is
nothing less than the emancipation of the Constitution itself.


MR. PRESIDENT, such is the testimony of history, authority, and
Constitution, binding the judgment, and leaving no alternative. Thus
far I have done little but bring together the diversified testimony and
weave it into one body. It is not I who speak. I am nothing. It is the
cause, whose voice I am, that addresses you. But there are yet other
things, even at this late hour, craving utterance. And here, after this
long review, I am brought back to more general considerations, and end
as I began, by showing the necessity of Enfranchisement for the sake of
public security and public faith. I plead now for the ballot, as the
great guaranty, and _the only sufficient guaranty_,--being in itself
peacemaker, reconciler, schoolmaster, and protector,--to which we are
bound by every necessity and every reason; and I speak also for the
good of the States lately in rebellion, as well as for the glory and
safety of the Republic, that it may be an example to mankind.

Let me be understood. What I ask especially is impartial suffrage,
which is, of course, embraced in universal suffrage. What is universal
is necessarily impartial. For the present, I simply insist that all
shall be equal before the law, so that in the enjoyment of this
right there shall be no restriction not equally applicable to all.
Any further question in the nature of “qualification” belongs to
another stage of the debate. And yet I have no hesitation in saying
that universal suffrage is a universal right, subject only to such
regulations as the safety of society may require. These may concern
(1.) age, (2.) character, (3.) registration, (4.) residence. In ancient
Greece there was what is called a Timocracy, where a certain amount
of property was required; and this condition has modern example,
even among us. But it is entirely out of place now. Nobody doubts
that minors may be excluded, and so also persons of infamous life.
Registration and residence are both prudential requirements for the
safeguard of the ballot-box against the Nomads and Bohemians of
politics, and to compel the exercise of this franchise among neighbors
and friends, where a person is known. Education also, under certain
circumstances, may be a requirement of prudence, particularly valuable
in a republic, where so much depends on the intelligence of the people;
but it is of doubtful value, especially where patriotic votes are
needed to crush treason or counteract fraud. There is something worse
than inability to read and write. These temporary restrictions do not
in any way interfere with the right of suffrage, for they leave it
_absolutely accessible to all_. Even if impediments, they are easily
overcome. At all events, they are not in any sense insurmountable;
and this is the essential requirement of republican institutions. No
matter under what depression of poverty, in what depth of obscurity,
or with what diversity of complexion a man has been born, he is
nevertheless a citizen, the peer of every other citizen, and the ballot
is his inalienable right.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ballot is _peacemaker_; and is it not said, “Blessed are the
peacemakers”? High among the Beatitudes let it be placed, for there
it belongs. Deny it, and the freedman will be the victim of perpetual
warfare. Ceasing to be a slave, he only becomes a sacrifice. Grant it,
and he is admitted to those equal rights which allow no sacrifice.
Plutarch records that the wise man of Athens charmed the people by
saying that _Equality causes no War_, and this “pleased both the
rich and the poor.”[188] In another place the same ancient records
the wise man as declaring it “that which would occasion no tumult or
faction.”[189] But this is peace. How god-like in transforming power
alike on master and slave! The master will recognize the new citizen.
The slave will stand with tranquil self-respect in presence of the
master. Brute force disappears. Distrust is at an end. The master is no
longer tyrant. The freedman is no longer dependant. The ballot comes to
him in his depression, and says, “Use me, and be elevated.” It comes to
him in his passion, and says, “Use me, and do not fight.” It comes to
him in his daily thoughts, filling him with the strength and glory of

       *       *       *       *       *

The ballot is _reconciler_. Next after peace is reconciliation. But
reconciliation is more than peace. It is concord. Parties long
estranged are brought into harmony. They learn to live together. They
learn to work together. They are kind to each other, even if only as
the Arab and his horse; and this mutual kindness is mutual advantage.
Unquestionably the ballot promises this great boon, because it brings
all into natural relations of justice, without which reconciliation
is a vain thing. Do you wish to see harmony truly prevail, so that
industry, society, government, civilization may all prosper, and the
Republic wear a crown of true greatness? Then do not neglect the ballot.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ballot is _schoolmaster_. Reading and writing are of inestimable
value, but the ballot teaches what these cannot teach. It teaches
manhood. Especially is it important to a race whose manhood has been
denied. The work of redemption cannot be complete, if the ballot is
left in doubt. The freedman already knows his friend by the unerring
instinct of the heart. Give him the ballot, and he will be educated
into the principles of government. Deny him the ballot, and he will
continue alien in knowledge as in rights. His claim is exceptional, as
your injustice is exceptional. For generations you have shut him out
from all education, making it a crime to teach him to read the Book of
Life. Let not the tyranny of the past be apology for further exclusion.
Prisoners long immured in a dungeon are sometimes blinded, as they come
forth into day; but this is no reason for continued imprisonment. To
every freedman the ballot is the light of day.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ballot is _protector_. Perhaps, at the present moment, this is
its highest function. Slavery has ceased in name; but this is all.
The old master still asserts an inhuman power, and now by positive
statutes seeks to bind his victim in new chains. Let this conspiracy
proceed unchecked, and the freedman will be more unhappy than the early
Puritan, who, seeking liberty of conscience, escaped from the “lords
bishops” only to fall under the “lords elders.” The master will still
be master, under another name,--as, according to Milton,

    “New presbyter is but old priest writ large.”

Serfdom or apprenticeship is slavery in another guise. To save the
freedman from this tyranny, with all its accumulated outrage, is a
solemn duty. For this we are now devising guaranties; but, believe me,
the only sufficient guaranty is the ballot. Let the freedman vote,
and he will have in himself under the law a constant, ever-present,
self-protecting power. The armor of citizenship will be his best
security. The ballot will be to him sword and buckler,--sword with
which to pierce his enemies, and buckler on which to receive their
assault. Its possession will be a terror and a defence. The law, which
is the highest reason, boasts that every man’s house is his castle; but
the freedman can have no castle without the ballot. When the master
knows that he may be voted down, he will know that he must be just, and
everything is contained in justice. The ballot is like charity, which
never faileth, and without which man is only as sounding brass or a
tinkling cymbal. The ballot is the one thing needful, wanting which,
rights of testimony and all other rights are no better than cobwebs,
which the master will break through with impunity. To him who has the
ballot all other things shall be given,--protection, opportunity,
education, a homestead. The ballot is the Horn of Abundance, out of
which overflow rights of every kind, with corn, cotton, rice, and
all the fruits of the earth. Or, better still, it is like the hand
of the body, without which, man, who is now only a little lower than
the angels, must have continued only a little above the brutes. We
are fearfully and wonderfully made; but as is the hand in the work of
civilization, so is the ballot in the work of government. “Give me
the ballot and I will move the world” may be the exclamation of the
race despoiled of this right. There is nothing it cannot open with
almost fabulous power, like that golden bough which in the hands of the
classical adventurer unclosed the regions of another world, while, like
that magic rod, it is renewed as in the verse,--

    “One plucked away, a second branch you see
    Shoot forth in gold and glitter through the tree.”[190]

If I crowd these illustrations, it is only that I may bring home
that supreme efficacy which cannot be exaggerated. Though simple in
character, there is nothing the ballot may not accomplish,--like
the homely household lamp in Arabian story, which, at call of its
possessor, evoked a spirit that did all things, from the building
of a palace to the rocking of a cradle, and filled the air with an
invisible presence. As protector it is of immeasurable power,--like a
fifteen-inch Columbiad pointed from a Monitor. Ay, Sir, the ballot is
the Columbiad of our political life, and every citizen who has it is a
full-armed Monitor.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having pleaded for the freedman, I now plead for the Republic; for
to each alike the ballot is a _necessity_. It is idle to expect
any true peace while the freedman is robbed of this transcendent
right, and left a prey to a vengeance too ready to wreak upon him
the disappointment of defeat. The country, sympathetic with him,
will be in perpetual unrest. With him it will suffer; with him alone
can it cease to suffer. Only through him can you redress the balance
of our political system and assure the safety of patriot citizens.
Only through him can you save the national debt from the inevitable
repudiation awaiting it, when recent Rebels in conjunction with
Northern allies once more bear sway. He is our best guaranty. Use him.
He was once your fellow-soldier; he has always been your fellow-man.
If he was willing to die for the Republic, he is surely good enough to
vote. And now that he is ready to uphold the Republic, it is madness
to reject him. Had he voted originally, the Acts of Secession must
have failed, treason would have been voted down. You owe this tragical
war, and the debt now fastened upon the country, to the denial of this
right. Vacant chairs in once happy homes, innumerable graves, saddened
hearts, mothers, fathers, wives, sisters, brothers, all mourning lost
ones, the poor ground by taxation never known before, all testify
against the injustice by which the present freedman was not allowed to
vote. Had he voted, there would have been peace. If he votes now, there
will be peace. Without this you must have a standing army, which is a
sorry substitute for justice. Before you is the plain alternative of
the ballot-box or the cartridge-box: choose ye between them.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Reason_, too, in every way and with every voice, cries out in unison
with necessity. All policies, all expediencies, all economies take
up the cry. Nothing so impolitic as wrong; nothing so inexpedient
as tyranny; nothing so little economical as the spirit of caste.
Justice is the highest policy, the truest expediency, and the most
comprehensive economy. In this inspiration act. Do you wish to save the
national credit, still imperilled by fatal injustice, and to secure
gold as the national currency? Then do not let the question of Equal
Rights disturb the country with volcanic throes. You complain that
labor is unorganized, and that the cotton crop fails. Do you wish labor
to smile and cotton to grow? Then sow the land with Human Rights, and
encircle it round about with Justice. The freedman will not, cannot
work, while you deny his rights. Cotton will not, cannot grow in such
an atmosphere. Absurd to expect it. Using the freedman as you now
do, you imitate those barbarous Irish who insisted upon ploughing by
the horse’s tail, until an Act of Parliament interfered to require
ploughing by harness. The infinite folly must be corrected, if for no
higher reason than because it is unprofitable. But it is contrary to
Nature, and on this account renders the whole social system insecure.
Where Human Rights are set at nought, there can be no tranquillity
except that of force, which is despotism. The philosophy of history,
speaking by one of its oracles, the great Italian Vico, confirms this
lesson, when it says, most sententiously, that “nothing out of its
natural state can either easily subsist or last long.” Truer words were
never uttered, as statement of philosophy, or warning to injustice
enacted into law.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Gratitude_, in unison with necessity and reason, takes up the cry,
insisting that we shall not fail in duty to benefactors. It is
difficult to measure the extent of this obligation, which is vast in
proportion to regard for Human Rights and the value set upon the Union.
By their strong arms and patriot example the national strength was
aggrandized. As Freedom stamped her foot, black armies sprang from the
ground. To save the Republic they toiled, digging trenches and making
of their bodies breastworks; for the Republic they bled. Toiling and
fighting, they became copartners in the government. And shall we now
disown the copartnership? Receiving them into our embattled lines, the
Republic is estopped against all denial of their Equal Rights. Acts
stronger than words created the unimpeachable estoppel. They aided
the victories by which the Republic was assured in unity. Is there no
assurance for them also?

If that “more perfect union” proclaimed in the National Constitution
as a primary object has been obtained at last, it is through them.
If the terrible crime of Slavery, for which the Republic suffered in
strength and good name, is ended, and the Republic thereby exalted,
it is through them. They helped our deliverance. To them, therefore,
are we bound as debtor to creditor, as just man to benefactor. By
their undoubted service we are under perpetual obligation of doing to
them as they did to us. We must deliver them. Here justice commands;
but another sentiment, proceeding from the heart, lends persuasive
influence. Failing in present duty, the Republic will lose a precious
possession, as full of sweetness as of strength.

    “Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
    The bee’s collected treasures sweet,
    Sweet music’s melting fall; but sweeter yet
    The still, small voice of Gratitude.”[191]

Mr. President, already I have taken too much time, and still the great
theme, in various and multitudinous relations, continues to open before
us. At each step it rises in some new aspect, assuming every shape of
interest and of duty,--now with voice of command, and then with voice
of persuasion. The national security, the national faith, the good of
the freedman, the concerns of business, agriculture, justice, peace,
reconciliation, obedience to God,--these are among the forms it takes.
In the name of all these I speak to-day, hoping to do something for
my country, and especially for that unhappy portion which has been
arrayed in arms against us. The people there are my fellow-citizens,
and gladly would I hail them, if they would permit, as no longer a
“section,” no longer “the South,” but an integral part of the Republic,
under a Constitution which, knowing no North and no South, cannot
tolerate “sectional” pretension. Gladly, in all sincerity, do I offer
my best effort for their welfare. But I see clearly that there is
nothing in the compass of mortal power so important to them in every
respect, morally, politically, and economically, that there is nothing
with such certain promise to them of beneficent result, that there is
nothing so sure to make their land smile with industry and fertility,
as the decree of Equal Rights I now invoke. Let the judgment go forth
to cover them with blessings, sure to descend upon their children in
successive generations. They have given us war: we offer them peace.
They have raged against us in the name of Slavery: we send them back
the benediction of justice for all. They menace hate: we ask them to
accept in return all the sacred charities of country, together with
oblivion of the past. This is our “Measure for Measure.” This is our
retaliation. This is our only revenge.

All omens are with the Republic, destined yet to win its sublimest
triumphs. Timid or perverse counsels may postpone the gladsome
consummation; but the contest now begun can end only when Slavery
is completely transformed by a metamorphosis which shall substitute
justice for injustice, riches for poverty, and beauty for deformity.
From history we learn not only the past, but the future. By the study
of what has been we know what must be, according to unerring law.
Call it, if you please, the logic of events, and infer the inevitable
conclusion. Or call it, if you please, the Rule of Three, and from
the result of certain forces determine the proportionate result of
increased forces. There can be no mistake in the answer. And so it
is plain that the Equal Rights of All will be established. Amid
all seeming vicissitudes the work proceeds. Soon or late the final
victory will be won,--I believe soon. Speeches cannot stop it; crafty
machinations cannot change it. Against its irresistible movement
politicians are as impotent as those old conjurers who imagined that

    “By rhymes they could pull down full soon
    From lofty sky the wandering moon.”[192]

These verses, which shine on the black-letter page of the great
lawyer, Sir Edward Coke, aptly describe the incantations of our day
to pull down Justice from her lofty sky. It cannot be done. In this
conviction I observe what comes to pass without losing faith. I listen
with composure to arguments which ought not to be made, and I see with
equal composure how individual opinions swing between Congress and
the President. It is not to the oscillations of the pendulum that we
look for the measure of time, but to the face of the public clock and
the striking of the church bell. The indications of that clock and the
striking of that bell leave little room for doubt.

In the fearful tragedy drawing to a close there is a destiny, stern
and irresistible as that of the Greek drama, which seems to master all
that is done, hurrying on the death of Slavery and its whole brood of
sin. There is also a Christian Providence which watches this battle
for right, caring especially for the poor and downtrodden who have no
helper. The freedman, still writhing under cruel oppression, lifts his
voice to God the Avenger. It is for us to save ourselves from righteous
judgment. Never with impunity can you outrage human nature. Our
country, which is guilty still, is paying still the grievous penalty.
Therefore by every motive of self-preservation we are summoned to be
just. And thus is the cause associated indissolubly with the national

But, saving the Republic, we elevate it. Overthrowing an oppressive
injustice, we give full scope to the principles of the National
Government, and fulfil the “idea of a perfect commonwealth” which has
charmed the visions of philosophy and poetry. “I am all that has been,
that is, and that shall be, and none among mortals has hitherto lifted
my veil”: such was the enigma cut on the pavement of the Temple of the
Egyptian Minerva.[193] For ages it remained unanswered; but the answer
is at hand. The Republic is all that has been, that is, and that shall
be; and it is your duty to lift the veil. To do less were failure; for
such was the aspiration and promise of the Fathers, assuming their
first vows in the family of nations. To do this will fix the example of
American institutions. So long as Slavery endured, it was impossible;
so long as the Black Code, wretched counterpart of Slavery, endures
in any form, it is impossible. To attain this idea we must proclaim
the rule of justice. Slavery thus far has been the very pivot round
which the Republic revolved, while all its policy at home and abroad
has radiated from this terrible centre. Hereafter the Equal Rights of
All will take the place of Slavery, and the Republic will revolve on
this glorious centre, whose countless, far-reaching radiations will
be the happiness of the people. There is nothing the imagination can
picture which will not be ours. Where justice is supreme, nothing
can be wanting. There will be room for every business and for every
charity. The fields will nod with increase, industry will be quickened
to unimagined triumph, and life itself raised to higher service. There
will be that repose which comes from harmony, and also that simplicity
which comes from one prevailing law, both essential to the idea of
Republic. Our country will cease to be a patchwork where different
States vary in the rights they accord, and will become a Plural Unit,
with one Constitution, one liberty, and one franchise. With all these
things the Republic will be the synonym for justice and peace, since
these things will be inseparable from its name. In our longings we
need not repair to philosophy or poetry. Nor need we go back to the
memorable sage who declared that the best government was where every
citizen rushed to the defence of the humblest as if he were the state,
for all this will be ours. Nor need we go back to the patriot king, in
ancient tragedy, who, inspired by the republican idea, called for the
vote of the people:--

              “For them I made supreme,
    And on this city, _with an equal right_
    _For all to vote_, its freedom have bestowed.”[194]

Here, at last, among us all this will be assured, and the Republic will
be of such renown and virtue that all at home or abroad who bear the
American name may exclaim with more than Roman pride, “I am an American
citizen!”--and if danger approaches, they may repeat the same cry with
more than Roman confidence, knowing well that this title will be a
sufficient protection. Then will be renewed the story of the two sticks
in the prophecy of Ezekiel: “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph,
which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows,
and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them
one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.”[195]

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir, it is for you now to determine if all this shall be fulfilled. The
whole case is before you in its grandeur and its humanity, infinite
as human aspiration, beautiful as the vision of a republic. Turn
not away from it. Vindicate the great cause, I entreat you, by the
suppression of all oligarchical pretensions, and the establishment of
those equal rights without which republican government is a name, and
nothing more. Strike at the Black Code, as you have already struck
at the Slave Code. There is little to choose between them. Strike at
once; strike hard. You have already proclaimed Emancipation; proclaim
Enfranchisement also. Nor longer stultify yourselves by setting at
nought the practical principle of the Fathers, that all just government
stands only on the consent of the governed, and its inseparable
corollary, that _taxation without representation is tyranny_. What was
once true is true forever, although we may for a time lose sight of
it; and this is the case with those imperishable truths to which you
have been, alas! so indifferent. Thus far the work is only _half done_.
See that it is finished. Save the freedman from the outrage which is
his daily life. As a slave he was “a tool without a soul.” If you have
ceased to treat him according to this ancient definition, it is only
because you treat him even as something less. In your cruel arithmetic
he is only a “cipher,” without the protection which the slave sometimes
found in the self-interest of the master; or rather let me say he is
only a “cipher” where rights are concerned, but a numeral counted by
millions where taxes are to be paid. Not only is the freedman compelled
to pay, he must fight also, and he must obey the laws,--three things
he cannot escape. But, according to the primal principle of republican
government, he has an indefeasible right to a voice in determining how
to be taxed, when to fight, and what laws to obey,--all of which can
be secured only through the ballot. Thus again do I bring you to the
same conclusion, confronting us at every point and at every stage, as a
commandment not to be disobeyed.

Would you secure all the just fruits of this terrible war, and
trample out the Rebellion in its pernicious assumptions, as in its
arms? You cannot hesitate; and this is the last stage of the argument.
The Rebellion began in two assumptions, both proceeding from South
Carolina: first, the sovereignty of the States, with the pretended
right of secession; and, secondly, the superiority of the white race,
with the pretended right of caste, oligarchy, and monopoly, on account
of color. The first was often announced in many ways. The second
showed itself at the beginning, when South Carolina, conspicuous among
the Thirteen States, allowed her Constitution to be degraded by an
exclusion on account of color; but it did not receive authoritative
statement until a later day, when that false evangelist, Mr. Calhoun,
taking issue with the Declaration of Independence, audaciously
announced in the Senate that to declare all born free and equal was
“the most dangerous of all political errors”; that it had “done more
to retard the cause of liberty and civilization, and is doing more at
present, than all other causes combined”; and that “we now begin to
experience the danger of admitting so great an error to have a place in
the Declaration of our Independence.”[196] These two assumptions are
kindred in effrontery. All agree that the dogma of State sovereignty
must be repelled; but this is less offensive than the other, having
the same origin, that the Declaration of Independence is “the most
dangerous of all political errors.” To repel such effrontery is not
enough; it must be scorned.

The Gospel according to Calhoun is only another statement of the
imposture, that this august Republic, founded to sustain the rights
of Human Nature, is nothing but “a white man’s government.” The whole
assumption is ignoble, utterly unsupported by history, and insulting
to the Fathers, while offensively illogical and irreligious. It is
illogical, inasmuch as our fathers, when they declared that all men
are created equal, gave expression to a truth of political science,
which, from the nature of the case, admits no exception. As axiom it
is without exception; for it is the essence of an axiom, whether in
geometry or morals, to be universal. As abstract truth it is also
without exception, according to the requirement of such truth. And,
finally, as self-evident truth, so announced in the great Declaration,
it is without exception; for only such truth can be self-evident.
Thus, whether axiom, abstract truth, or self-evident truth, it is
always universal. But the assumption is not only illogical, it is
irreligious, inasmuch as it flies in the face of that living truth
which appears twice at the Creation: first, when God said, “Let us
make man in our image”; and, secondly, in the unity of the race, then
divinely appointed, and which appears again in the Gospel, when it
said, “God, that made the world, and all things therein, hath made of
one blood all nations of men.” According to the best testimony, the
present population of the earth--embracing Caucasians, Mongolians,
Malays, Africans, and Americans--is about thirteen hundred millions,
of whom only three hundred and seventy-five millions are “white,” or
little more than one fourth; so that, in claiming exclusive rights for
“white,” you degrade nearly three quarters of the human family, made
in the “image of God” and declared to be of “one blood,” while you
sanction a caste offensive to religion, an oligarchy inconsistent with
republican government, and a monopoly which has the Human Family as
the subject of its tyrannical usurpation.

Against this assumption I protest with mind, soul, and heart. It is
false in religion, false in statesmanship, and false in economy. It
is an extravagance, which, if enforced, is foolish tyranny. Show me a
creature, with lifted countenance looking to heaven, made in the image
of God, and I show you A MAN, who, of whatever country or race, whether
browned by equatorial sun or blanched by northern cold, is with you
a child of the Heavenly Father, and equal with you in all the rights
of Human Nature. You cannot deny these rights without impiety. And
so, as God linked the national welfare with national duty, you cannot
deny these rights without peril to the Republic. It is not enough that
you have given Liberty. By the same title that we claim Liberty do we
claim Equality also. One cannot be denied without the other. What is
Equality without Liberty? What is Liberty without Equality? One is the
complement of the other. The two are necessary to begin and complete
the circle of American citizenship. They are the inseparable organs
through which the people have their national life. They are the two
vital principles of republican government, without which, government,
although republican in name, cannot be republican in fact. These two
vital principles belong to those divine statutes graven on the soul of
Universal Man, even of the slave who forgets them, and of the master
who denies them, and, whether forgotten or denied, more enduring than
marble or brass, for they share the perpetuity of the human family.

The Roman Cato, after declaring his belief in the immortality of the
soul, added, that, if this were an error, it was an error he loved.
And now, declaring my belief in Liberty and Equality as the God-given
birthright of all men, let me say, in the same spirit, if this be an
error, it is an error I love,--if this be a fault, it is a fault I
shall be slow to renounce,--if this be an illusion, it is an illusion
which I pray may wrap the world in its angelic forms.


    The sequel of this speech, which occupied two days in the
    delivery, will appear, _first_, in the Debate and Votes that
    ensued, and, _secondly_, in its reception by the country, as
    illustrated by the Press and Correspondence.


    The speech of Mr. Sumner was followed by a succession of
    speeches extending over a month, with considerable variation
    by a concurrent resolution from the House of Representatives
    involving the same questions.

    Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, on the day after Mr. Sumner, spoke at
    length. In the course of his remarks he said:--

        “I take it no one contends, I think the honorable Senator
        from Massachusetts himself, who is the great champion of
        Universal Suffrage, would hardly contend, that now, at this
        time, the whole mass of the population of the recent Slave
        States is fit to be admitted to the exercise of the right
        of suffrage.”

    Then again:--

        “While the honorable Senator from Massachusetts argued, and
        argued with great force, that every man should have that
        right, and that he should only be subject to disabilities
        which he could overcome, his argument, connected with the
        other principle that he laid down, and the application of
        it that he made, that taxation and representation should go
        together, would just as well apply to women as to men; but
        I noticed that the honorable Senator dodged that part of
        the proposition very carefully.”

    He criticized the substitute offered by Mr. Sumner, when the
    latter remarked:--

        “Last Friday this Senate solemnly declared, that, under
        the Constitutional Amendment abolishing Slavery, it had
        power to decree the equal rights of all persons everywhere
        throughout the United States, without distinction of
        color. The moment that was declared, I said to friends
        about me that the duty of Congress was fixed with regard
        to political rights also. If Congress can decree equality
        in civil rights, by the same reason, if not _a fortiori_,
        it can decree equality in political rights; and as the
        preamble to my proposition recited two reasons or moving
        causes, one the guaranty clause, and the other the
        Constitutional Amendment, I felt it my duty, acting upon
        the vote of the Senate, to insist that the declaration of
        equality for all should be coextensive with the Republic,
        claiming as I do under the guaranty clause that it operates
        within all the States where there has been a lapse of
        government, and that under the Constitutional Amendment it
        operates everywhere within the limits of the Republic.”

    In confining the guaranty clause to States that had “lapsed,”
    Mr. Sumner was cautious not to make his proposition too
    broad, although his judgment was that it was applicable to
    all the States, and authorized a prohibition by Congress of
    unrepublican provisions in any State.

    Mr. Fessenden said: “The Senator says we may secure it in the
    States which have lapsed. That is a new phrase, but perhaps it
    is as good as any other.” But he was unwilling to accept this

    Mr. Lane, of Indiana, said, in answer to Mr. Sumner:--

        “If Congress had the undoubted and unquestionable authority
        to pass such a law, it gets at the result more readily than
        does the Constitutional Amendment; but it is doubtful to my
        mind whether Congress has this power. I believe, under the
        Constitution, the right to determine the qualifications of
        electors is left with the several States.”

    Then of the counter proposition he said:--

        “It is a noble declaration, but a simple declaration,--a
        paper bullet, that kills no one, and fixes and maintains
        the rights of no one.”

    Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, Mr. Henderson, of Missouri, Mr.
    Clark, of New Hampshire, Mr. Williams, of Oregon, Mr.
    Hendricks, of Indiana, Mr. Yates, of Illinois, Mr. Buckalew,
    of Pennsylvania, Mr. Pomeroy, of Kansas, Mr. Saulsbury,
    of Delaware, Mr. Morrill, of Maine, and Mr. Wilson, of
    Massachusetts, all spoke at length. Of these, Mr. Henderson,
    Mr. Yates, and Mr. Pomeroy sustained Mr. Sumner, in opposition
    to the House expedient, although the first preferred to assure
    suffrage by a Constitutional Amendment ordaining it: while
    insisting upon the ballot for the colored citizen, he doubted
    the power of Congress. Mr. Johnson thought the claim of our
    fathers, in their cry against Taxation without Representation,
    was for communities, and not for individuals. Mr. Sumner
    afterwards replied at length to this opinion.[197] In the
    course of Mr. Henderson’s speech, occupying two days, the
    following colloquy occurred.

        MR. SUMNER. Do I understand my friend as insisting that the
        denial of the franchise is consistent with a republican
        government? Take the State of South Carolina, which denies
        the franchise to more than half its population.

        MR. HENDERSON. In theory it is not. Under the Constitution
        it was regarded as a republican State at the time of the
        adoption of the instrument.

        MR. SUMNER. It did not deny the franchise to half its
        citizens and more. I say citizens. Most excluded were

        MR. HENDERSON. It then had only one hundred and forty
        thousand whites, and had one hundred and seven thousand
        slaves. It also had eighteen hundred free negroes. I
        think it more nearly a republican State now than then.
        Practically, the question of suffrage was left to the

        MR. SUMNER. But that is the question, whether they were
        left to deny suffrage to any freeman on account of color.

        MR. HENDERSON. If that be the question, then the point is
        against my friend; for both South Carolina and Virginia did
        deny the suffrage to the free negroes on account of color
        only, at the time when the Constitution was made, and when
        it was adopted. Virginia had upward of twelve thousand free
        negroes thus denied.

        MR. SUMNER. But the question is--I cannot anticipate my
        friend’s conclusion on that point----

        MR. HENDERSON. My conclusion is, that a mistake was made
        in recognizing a Constitution as republican that permitted
        Slavery. I know of no way to get rid of it except by
        Constitutional Amendment. I think another mistake was
        committed in leaving each State to so far abridge the right
        of suffrage as to change, in theory, the republican form.
        But such is the Constitution, and you cannot change it by
        Act of Congress. That is my conclusion.

        MR. SUMNER. You are wrong. It is a question of theory
        with regard to republican government, and I say that the
        Constitution must be interpreted according to this theory.

        MR. HENDERSON. But our fathers did not deal with it in the
        Constitution as a question of theory, but as a question of
        fact. Whatever may have been their theories, I mean only to
        say that the text of the Constitution does not carry them

        MR. SUMNER. The practical point is, Did our fathers concede
        to any State the power of disfranchising citizens on
        account of color? I utterly deny it, and I challenge my
        friend to show any authority for it.

        MR. HENDERSON. Why, Mr. President, if I have already
        failed to show it, I must fail in the future. I have shown
        that the suffrage was left to the States, and that they
        did exclude their negroes,--that they held in slavery
        in Virginia almost half of their population,[198] and
        that Virginia was called a republican State. Indeed, she
        was most prominent in making the very provisions we are
        discussing. She excluded the slaves and----

        MR. SUMNER. Ah! slaves. That is another thing. The question
        is, whether you are allowed to disfranchise freemen on
        account of color,--whether you are allowed to deny freemen
        rights as citizens. That I deny. The exception was slaves,
        who were not regarded as members of the “body politic.”
        They were treated as minors, or as women, represented
        by their masters. But every freeman, no matter what his
        color, was recognized as entitled to all the privileges of
        citizenship; he was one of the sovereigns. The proposition
        cannot be met, if my friend will consult the history of his

        MR. HENDERSON. It was not slaves only that were
        disfranchised, but I have shown that free negroes were also
        disfranchised. But I have no controversy with the Senator
        in what we mutually aim at.

        MR. SUMNER. I know that, and I concede to my excellent
        friend all that I claim for myself. We are in search of the
        best. I applaud his zeal, and thank him for his courtesy.

        MR. HENDERSON. I am certainly very much obliged to the
        Senator from Massachusetts. I feel now ten times better
        than I did before. [_Laughter._]--I cannot longer detain
        the Senate in presenting objections to the exercise
        of legislative power under the guaranty clause. It is
        sufficient to control my own action, that I believe by the
        letter, and even spirit of the Constitution, the suffrage
        was placed exclusively under the control of State action.
        I think that the error of so placing it is as clear as the
        error made in tolerating Slavery. To rid ourselves of the
        evil, however, we must amend the Constitution.

        MR. SUMNER. Do I understand my friend that a State might
        adopt a rule founded on the color of the hair, so that
        all men with light hair should be excluded from suffrage?
        I insist that a State is not authorized, under the
        Constitution, to make any exclusion on account of color.

        MR. HENDERSON. It ought not to be, you mean.

        MR. SUMNER. No,--it cannot be. Color cannot be a
        qualification. There may be a qualification founded on age,
        or residence, or knowledge, or crime.

        MR. HENDERSON. You are now coming in conflict with the
        Committee of Fifteen, who declare by their resolution
        that the States now have the power, and may yet exclude
        everybody of a particular race or color.

        MR. SUMNER. The Committee propose to place that in the
        Constitution, which is one reason why I object to their
        report. I say that they propose to do what our fathers
        never did.

        MR. HENDERSON. The Senator from Massachusetts is in theory,
        perhaps, correct. He is speaking, however, of an ideal

    The following colloquy also occurred.

        MR. HENDERSON. The Senator from Massachusetts proposes to
        do by an Act of Congress what I think can only be done by
        a Constitutional Amendment. That is the difference now
        between the Senator from Illinois [Mr. YATES] and myself.
        I think the Amendment can be adopted. Indeed, I feel
        confident of it.

        MR. SUMNER. What Amendment?

        MR. HENDERSON. An Amendment to the Constitution preventing
        any discrimination against the negro in the right of
        suffrage because of color.

        MR. SUMNER. It cannot.

        MR. HENDERSON. I thought in the bright lexicon of the
        Senator from Massachusetts there was no such word as “fail.”

        MR. SUMNER. I thought the Senator meant that this
        proposition of the Reconstruction Committee could be

        MR. HENDERSON. Oh, no! I never thought that.

        MR. SUMNER. I believe that the Senator’s proposition can be
        adopted--gratefully adopted--by the country; but the other
        cannot be.

    Mr. Williams, of Oregon, hesitated with regard to Mr. Sumner’s
    substitute, although he seemed to sympathize with the speech.

        “Sir, I listened with profound admiration to the speech
        which the Senator delivered in favor of the proposed
        substitute. It was worthy of the subject, worthy of the
        occasion, worthy of the author; and when those who heard it
        shall be forgotten, the echoes of its lofty and majestic
        periods will linger and repeat themselves among the
        corridors of History. I cordially indorse the prevailing
        sentiment of that speech. I believe that the founders of
        this Republic intended that all freemen should participate
        in the political and civil rights of the country. I think
        the distinction which they made was not between white men
        and black men: that distinction is of modern origin: but
        the distinction which they made was between freemen and

    He took objection to the substitute.

        “Pass that law at this session, and it becomes an issue
        in the next political campaign; and those who sustain it
        and pass it here will be committed to its support, and
        those who oppose it will strive to elect men in favor of
        its repeal. A majority of this Congress may believe in the
        constitutionality and expediency of such legislation; but
        another Congress, if a majority should happen to sympathize
        with the honorable Senator from Kentucky, would abrogate
        the law, and so the political rights of millions of people
        would be as varying as the capricious fortunes of the
        political parties of the country.”

    In the intervening debate on the Reconstruction Resolution
    of the House of Representatives, Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania,
    made an elaborate speech on the pending Amendment, in which he
    pictured the compromise involved in it.

        “This Committee proposes in this Amendment to sell out four
        million (radical count) negroes to the bad people of those
        States forever and ever. In consideration of what? I am
        asked. O shame, where is thy blush? I answer, in dust and
        ashes, For about sixteen members of Congress. Has there
        ever been before, Sir, in the history of this or any other
        country, such a stupendous sale of negroes as that? Never!
        never! It is saying to the Southern States, You may have
        these millions of human beings, whom we love so dearly, and
        about whom we have said so much, and for whom we have done
        so much,--you may do with them as you please in the way of
        legislative discrimination against them, if you will only
        agree not to count them at the next census, except as your
        sheep and oxen are counted; waive your right to sixteen
        members of Congress, and the great compromise is sealed,
        the long agony is over, the nation’s dead are avenged, the
        nation’s tears are dried, and the nation’s politics are
        relieved of the negro.”

    March 7th, Mr. Sumner spoke at length in reply to Mr. Fessenden
    and others who had opposed his substitute. This speech appears
    in the present volume, according to its date.[199] He was
    followed by his colleague, Mr. Wilson, who was strenuous for
    the House Amendment.

        “Mr. President, there are indications, not to be mistaken,
        that this Amendment is doomed to defeat. To me this result
        will be a subject of sincere and profound regret. My heart,
        my conscience, and my judgment approve of this Amendment,
        and I support it without qualification or reservation.”

    March 9th, Mr. Fessenden spoke again, criticizing especially
    Mr. Yates and Mr. Sumner.

    Mr. Sumner followed Mr. Fessenden in a brief reply, which will
    be found under its date.[200]

    Mr. Wilson declared again his adhesion to the pending
    Amendment, saying: “I would go to the scaffold joyfully before
    the sun goes down, if I could put this proposed Amendment into
    the Constitution of my country; for, if it were there, there
    would be but one result and one end to it, and that is the
    enfranchisement of every black man within the bounds of the
    United States.”

    The voting then commenced on the various substitutes for the
    Amendment adopted by the House of Representatives.

    First came the counter proposition of Mr. Sumner, altered,
    in conformity with the original draught,[201] so as to be
    applicable only to States that had lapsed, being “lately
    declared to be in rebellion,” without republican government.

    Mr. Henderson moved to strike out all of the counter
    proposition, and in lieu of it insert a Constitutional
    Amendment securing the suffrage to colored citizens:--

        “ARTICLE 14. No State, in prescribing the qualifications
        requisite for electors therein, shall discriminate against
        any person on account of color or race.”

    Mr. Henderson felt obliged to move his amendment as a
    substitute for the counter proposition of Mr. Sumner in order
    to compel a vote upon it.

    Mr. Sumner stated that he was for this proposition, and that he
    should vote for it, and, on its failure, press his own.

    The question, being taken by yeas and nays on Mr. Henderson’s
    amendment, resulted--Yeas 10, Nays 37--as follows:--

    YEAS,--Messrs. Brown, Chandler, Clark, Henderson, Howe,
    Pomeroy, Sumner, Wade, Wilson, and Yates.

    NAYS,--Messrs. Anthony, Buckalew, Conness, Cowan, Cragin,
    Creswell, Davis, Dixon, Doolittle, Fessenden, Foster, Grimes,
    Guthrie, Harris, Hendricks, Johnson, Kirkwood, Lane of Indiana,
    Lane of Kansas, McDougall, Morgan, Morrill, Nesmith, Norton,
    Nye, Poland, Ramsey, Riddle, Saulsbury, Sherman, Sprague,
    Stewart, Stockton, Trumbull, Van Winkle, Willey, and Williams.

    ABSENT,--Messrs. Foot, Howard, and Wright.

    So the amendment to the amendment was rejected.

    The question then recurred on the substitute of Mr. Sumner,
    when the vote stood,--Yeas 8, Nays 39; so it was rejected.
    Those voting in the affirmative were Messrs. Gratz Brown, of
    Missouri, Chandler, of Michigan, Howe, of Wisconsin, Pomeroy,
    of Kansas, Sumner, Wade, of Ohio, Wilson, of Massachusetts, and
    Yates, of Illinois.

    Mr. Clark, of New Hampshire, then moved to amend the House
    proposition by striking out the proviso and inserting these
    words, being an amplification of the proviso:--

        “Whenever the elective franchise shall be denied or
        abridged in any State in the election of Representatives
        to Congress, or of any other officer, municipal, State,
        or national, on account of race, color, descent, or
        previous condition of servitude, or by any provision of
        law not equally applicable to all races and descents,
        all persons of such race, color, descent, and condition
        shall be excluded from the basis of representation, as
        prescribed in the second section of the first article of
        the Constitution.”

    This amendment was adopted,--Yeas 26, Nays 20. It was
    afterwards withdrawn by the mover, with the unanimous consent
    of the Senate.

    The next question was on a legislative substitute, not unlike
    that of Mr. Sumner, moved by Mr. Yates:--

        “That no State or Territory of the United States shall,
        by any constitution, law, or other regulation whatever,
        heretofore in force or hereafter to be adopted, make,
        or enforce, or in any manner recognize, any distinction
        between citizens of the United States, or of any State
        or Territory, on account of race or color or previous
        condition of slavery; and that hereafter all citizens,
        without distinction of race, color, or previous condition
        of slavery, shall be protected in the full and equal
        enjoyment and exercise of all their civil and political
        rights, including the right of suffrage.”

    This was rejected,--Yeas 7, Nays 38.

    Mr. Davis, of Kentucky, then moved to amend the proposition
    of the House of Representatives by inserting after the word
    “legislatures” the words “next hereafter to be chosen in each
    State.” The motion was rejected,--Yeas 12, Nays 31.

    Mr. Sumner then moved to strike out the proviso in the House
    proposition, as amended on the motion of Mr. Clark, and in lieu
    thereof insert,--

        “And the elective franchise shall not be denied or abridged
        in any State on account of race or color.”

    In moving this Constitutional Amendment, Mr. Sumner remarked
    that it was “a direct, positive proposition, slightly different
    from that [Mr. HENDERSON’S] on which the Senate had voted.” It
    was rejected,--Yeas 8, Nays 38.

    Mr. Sumner then moved to add at the end of the House
    proposition the words, “And they shall be exempt from taxation
    of all kinds.”

    Before the vote he remarked:--

        “It is proposed, by a solemn provision of the Constitution,
        to declare that certain persons shall not be included
        in the basis of representation. I think, in justice to
        them, they should not be taxed. You ought not to repeat
        in the Constitution the tyranny of taxation without
        representation. In so many words, you are about to despoil
        fellow-citizens of representation, and I say, that, not to
        be inconsistent with your own institutions and with the
        principles upon which your government is founded, you must
        exempt them from taxation.”

    The amendment was rejected.

    The question then came on the passage of the House proposition,
    when the vote stood,--

    YEAS,--Messrs. Anthony, Chandler, Clark, Conness, Cragin,
    Creswell, Fessenden, Foster, Grimes, Harris, Howe, Kirkwood,
    Lane of Indiana, McDougall, Morgan, Morrill, Nye, Poland,
    Ramsey, Sherman, Sprague, Trumbull, Wade, Williams, and Wilson.

    NAYS,--Messrs. Brown, Buckalew, Cowan, Davis, Dixon, Doolittle,
    Guthrie, Henderson, Hendricks, Johnson, Lane of Kansas,
    Nesmith, Norton, Pomeroy, Riddle, Saulsbury, Stewart, Stockton,
    Sumner, Van Winkle, Willey, and Yates.

    ABSENT,--Messrs. Foot, Howard, and Wright.

    The Chair then declared: “On this question the Yeas are 25 and
    the Nays 22. Two thirds of the Senators present not having
    voted for the joint resolution, it is not agreed to.”

    This vote showed the judgment of the Senate at that time. But,
    in order to keep the question open, it was, on motion of Mr.
    Henderson, reconsidered. Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, then
    moved a substitute, basing representation on qualified voters,
    and also regulating direct taxes. Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, offered
    another substitute, founded on qualified voters, but with
    nothing on direct taxes. While these were pending, the subject
    was postponed on motion of Mr. Fessenden, and never resumed.

    Much feeling was manifested by some of the supporters of the
    House attempt at amendment, when its defeat was known. Mr.
    Stevens, of Pennsylvania, took an early occasion to say:--

        “It was slaughtered by a puerile and pedantic criticism, by
        a perversion of philological definition, which, if, when
        I taught school, a lad who had studied Lindley Murray had
        assumed, I would have expelled him from the institution
        as unfit to waste education upon.… The murderers must
        answer to the suffering race. I would not have been the
        perpetrator. A load of misery must sit heavy on their
        souls.… Let us again try and see whether we cannot devise
        some way to overcome the united forces of self-righteous
        Republicans and unrighteous Copperheads.”[202]

    The Fourteenth Amendment followed, and was adopted by
    both Houses of Congress during the present session. While
    undertaking to regulate representation, this Amendment had
    no recognition of exclusion from the elective franchise on
    account of “race or color.” Though failing in directness, there
    was nothing in it to injure the text of the Constitution, or
    impair the idea of a republican form of government, always with
    Mr. Sumner a cardinal point. There were also other important
    clauses, defining citizenship, assuring for all “the equal
    protection of the laws,” disqualifying certain persons from
    office until the removal of such disability by a vote of two
    thirds of each House of Congress, protecting the public debt of
    the United States, and annulling all debts in aid of rebellion
    or on account of the loss or emancipation of any slave.

    The original object of the clause relating to representation
    was accomplished directly, before its ratification as part of
    the Constitution. After much debate, Congress yielded to the
    claim of power, and took jurisdiction of the elective franchise
    in the Rebel States, requiring, that, in voting on any State
    constitution in the reconstruction of the Rebel States, there
    should be no exclusion on account of race or color, and
    that this prohibition should be embodied in the new State
    constitutions.[203] The Fifteenth Constitutional Amendment on
    equal suffrage followed.

    Unquestionably the establishment of the equal rights of colored
    citizens at the ballot-box was one of the most important events
    in our political history. With few supporters at first, the
    cause grew in interest and strength until final success in
    the Acts of Reconstruction, and then in the Constitutional
    Amendment. This great result was accomplished by discussion and
    the gradual recognition of the national exigency.


    Mr. Sumner’s speech was extensively circulated, and awakened
    much attention. The response of the country will be seen in
    the contemporary press and in letters addressed to him, which,
    while illustrating the speech, reflect light on the times.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Washington correspondents concurred in accounts of the
    speech, and of the interest it created.

    Henry C. Bowen, proprietor of the New York _Independent_, then
    on a visit to Washington, wrote to his paper of the first day
    of the speech:--

                                                  “SENATE CHAMBER,
                                                  Monday Afternoon.

        “Whatever may be said in regard to the political opinions
        of Hon. Charles Sumner, no one can deny his eminent ability
        as an orator and scholar, and to-day this world-renowned
        friend of the poor and the oppressed is speaking in the
        Senate,--I had almost said as orator and scholar never
        spoke before. His theme is the Rights of Man. The floor
        and galleries of the Senate Chamber are crowded with most
        attentive listeners, and such a spectacle as it is now my
        unspeakable privilege to witness is worthy of a thousand
        miles’ journey.… Never before have I heard in these
        halls such solemn appeals, never such noble and eloquent
        utterances. May the great Author of truth and justice
        continue to inspire the great Senator now speaking to do
        His will to the glory of His name!”

    So also the correspondent of the Boston _Daily Advertiser_:--

        “The finest audience of the session came out to-day to
        hear Mr. Sumner’s great speech on the Amendment to the
        Constitution. Many persons were in the galleries before the
        Senate was called together at noon, and long before one
        o’clock, the hour at which the proposition was to be taken
        up, they were crowded to their utmost capacity. The morning
        hour was occupied with minor business, and it was a
        quarter past one when Mr. Fessenden called for the special
        order. He of course was entitled to open the debate, but,
        being unwell to-day, he yielded the floor to Mr. Sumner.

        “The scene, when he rose to speak, was one that could not
        fail to touch the most indifferent heart. One fourth of
        the gentlemen’s gallery was filled with colored soldiers,
        and the other seats and aisles of the remaining part of
        the galleries were closely packed with an intent and
        appreciative auditory, while on the floor were a large
        number of members from the House and several members of the
        foreign delegations resident in the city.”

    So also the correspondent of the Pittsburg _Commercial_:--

        “The great event of the day and of the session in the
        Senate was Mr. Sumner’s speech. The galleries were crowded
        to excess, as they have not been on any occasion before
        in a long time. Frederick Douglass was in the gallery,
        one of the most attentive listeners, and evidently
        the best-pleased man in the Chamber, as he heard the
        distinguished champion of his race plead so eloquently in
        its behalf. Nearly every member of the Senate listened with
        rapt attention to Mr. Sumner.”

    So also the correspondent of the Boston _Commonwealth_:--

        “Mr. Sumner’s great speech upon what constitutes a
        republican government is now being delivered in the Senate.
        It is the most powerful oration of his life,--the crowning
        glory of his scholarship and statesmanship. Never yet has
        any American statesman swept so wide a range of learning,
        so complete a circle of public law, history, philosophy,
        and jurisprudence, in support of so noble a principle as
        the one underlying republican government. Mr. Sumner spoke
        two hours yesterday, and will occupy about the same time
        to-day. The galleries were filled to overflowing. The
        Senatorial chairs were all occupied, while the floor was
        thronged by Representatives and others having the _entrée_.”

    The correspondent of the Boston _Journal_ wrote of the second

        “Senator Sumner was honored to-day by such an audience
        as is rarely seen in the Senate Chamber. The Senators,
        wheeling around their chairs so as to face the speaker,
        listened with marked attention. Scores of Representatives
        filled the sofas or the floor and stood in groups, and the
        galleries were literally packed with earnest men and women,
        who drank in every word as the gifted orator proceeded.
        When he closed, the galleries applauded loudly, until
        Senator Pomeroy, who occupied the chair, secured order,
        while those on the floor crowded around Senator Sumner to
        offer earnest congratulations.”

    So also the correspondent of the New York _Tribune_:--

        “Senator Sumner concluded his great effort at fifty-five
        minutes past two, having commenced at one. Diplomats,
        two Cabinet Ministers, and a much larger number of
        Congressmen than yesterday were on the floor, while
        all the galleries and approaches were densely packed
        with attentive listeners. As the argument of the speaker
        culminated, he became grandly eloquent, and his elaborate
        plea, which might rather be denominated an essay than a
        speech, for negro enfranchisement, unquestionably made a
        profound impression upon every intelligent listener. At its
        conclusion the floor and galleries broke forth in applause.”

    A few days later, the correspondent of the New York _Tribune_,
    after mentioning President Johnson’s interview with the
    delegation of colored people headed by Frederick Douglass and
    George T. Downing, wrote:--

        “As to Mr. Sumner’s grand vindication of the fundamental
        principles underlying republicanism, it is unnecessary
        to repeat what has been said of the immediate effect it
        produced upon those who listened to it,--of the overcrowded
        galleries, the silent attention of the Senate, the members
        of the House who had left their own seats and eagerly
        thronged the floor of the Senate Chamber.… And even now,
        since the sound has died away and there has been ample time
        for searching criticism, you can hear men who are not in
        the habit of following Mr. Sumner’s views of policy say
        with heartfelt satisfaction, it was a grand speech, worthy
        of the Senate, worthy of the cause it defended, worthy of
        this Republic. I have hardly seen a Republican here who was
        not as proud of it as if he had made it himself. Even Mr.
        Sumner’s opponents, the Democrats of the Senate and the
        House, yielded to it the tribute of their respect. That
        respect will go all over this country, and even beyond its
        boundaries; and while no thinking man in this Republic will
        take it up without feeling the irresistible weight of its
        logic and the ennobling power of its sentiments, it will
        abroad do more honor to American republicanism than any
        public act since the decree of Emancipation.”

    The correspondent of the New Orleans _Tribune_ wrote:--

        “You will of course give to your readers the great speech
        of Senator Sumner. His speech is one of the best ever
        delivered in the Senate, and it was delivered in the
        greatest of causes,--that of Human Liberty. It differs from
        the tone so common among so-called ‘Democratic’ orators for
        years past, both North and South, inasmuch as it contained
        neither abusive, personal, nor vindictive language. But it
        was calm, manly, dignified,--full of the subject in hand,
        treating it with frankness,--alluding to the opposite
        view with fairness, and even respect, while showing up
        their errors and weaknesses as one would those of a
        wayward child. For historical and legal research, critical
        analysis, and logical argument, it is unsurpassed. Concise,
        pithy, full of effective and happy illustrations, it was
        admirably conceived and presented.”

    The correspondent of the Richmond _Republic_, with equal
    appreciation, but less faith, wrote:--

        “In the Senate, the day was devoted to Sumner. He began
        speaking about one o’clock, and concluded his exhaustive
        argument in an hour and forty minutes. The burden of the
        whole of it was the absolute political and civil equality
        of all men, and his peroration was a loftier flight of
        majestic eloquence than the Senate has heard since the
        best days of Clay and Webster. While very few agree with
        Sumner in the present practicability of his ideas, and
        still fewer indorse them at all as tenets of political
        faith, yet there is but one opinion of the speech he has
        been making for two days,--that, simply as a monument of
        laborious research and good English, it is unsurpassed.
        When he concluded to-night, the densely crowded galleries
        could not be restrained, and burst out into vehement
        applause; but it was a tribute to the grandly classical
        language in which his ideas were clothed, and not to the
        ideas themselves. Charles Sumner may possibly be a patriot,
        but he is certainly a political philanthropist, and as such
        there is no probability that he will live to see his tenets
        practically enforced in the legislation of the country.”

    The correspondent of the New York _Times_ wrote:--

        “He exhausted ancient and modern history in gathering
        maxims and examples for the illustration of the points
        which he made. Portions of the speech were marked by great
        felicity of language and beauty of imagery. It exhibited,
        perhaps, more of the speculative theorist than of the
        practical statesman. Though he took pains to disavow
        everything of this character, and to present his views as
        the basis and guide of practical action, it was by far the
        most elaborate and comprehensive speech made in Congress
        for many years, and was heard with great attention by the
        Senate and crowded galleries.”

    A few extracts from newspapers will show how the speech was
    received at a distance.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The _Independent_, of New York, in printing the speech, thus
    noticed it:--

        “Charles Sumner’s argument for the Rights of Men ought to
        be printed by the hundred thousand, and scattered like
        seed-grain throughout the nation. It is a speech worth
        a lifetime to have achieved,--the greatest of all Mr.
        Sumner’s great speeches. Standing in some respects almost
        alone in the Senate, his position is all the more morally
        grand for his isolation, and his plea all the more eloquent
        for his moral heroism. Generous readers will overlook
        their minor differences of opinion from Mr. Sumner, for
        the sake of agreeing with him to the full in the masterly,
        unanswerable, and incomparable argument which he has made
        in behalf of securing to every American citizen his just
        rights before the law.”

    The New York _Tribune_ said:--

        “Mr. Sumner concluded yesterday a great speech on the
        true basis of a Republic. We believe it will exalt his
        reputation as a statesman, a scholar, and a devotee of
        Liberty. It is elaborate; but his theme demanded thorough
        treatment, and we think very few who read the speech will
        find it too long. He will not convince the majority that
        the Federal Constitution, as it stands, empowers Congress
        to extend and guaranty the right of suffrage in the States
        lately in revolt to the black race, and especially to the
        freedmen; but he has very clearly demonstrated that it
        _ought_ to be so extended,--that the rights of the humble,
        the hated, the scorned ought especially to be protected by
        their right to vote. Hear what he says on this point.”

    The Boston _Daily Advertiser_ said:--

        “There has been a good deal of amusement expressed at
        the evidence of industry, during the recess of Congress,
        presented by the sheaf of bills and resolutions offered
        by Mr. Sumner at the opening of the session. The copious
        use of authorities in his speech of this week shows that
        these numerous measures were not prepared without a careful
        survey of the ground upon principle and in history,
        nor without very profound inquiry into the underlying
        doctrines upon which the true glory of our institutions is

    The Adams _Transcript_, of Massachusetts, said:--

        “In this work of clearing away the rubbish of lies which
        Slavery has heaped upon the real doctrines and purposes of
        the Fathers, and bringing out into clear, glorious relief
        the great truth and work of the Revolution, Mr. Sumner has
        performed a service which no public man of our politics
        has equalled. The whole of our history is searched and
        illumined, and the most overwhelming mass of evidence
        produced to the point, that a true construction of the
        Constitution gives all men who pay taxes representation and
        the ballot, thus basing free government upon the consent of
        the governed. No such argument for free government has been
        made in our day. For learning, cogency of logic, wealth of
        illustration, felicity and splendor of diction, nobility
        of tone and sentiment, and genuine eloquence, it will take
        rank with the highest of forensic efforts. Already its
        effect is visible in the political atmosphere. The public
        feeling and thought have received an obvious elevation.”

    The Rochester _Democrat_, of New York, said:--

        “It will be observed, as a remarkable characteristic of
        this great speech, that it is but slightly controversial
        in its character, but is devoted mainly to the elucidation
        of the general principles of republican government, which
        are discussed with an elevation of sentiment, a depth
        of learning, and a power of logic that entitle it to a
        place far above the transient expressions of the views
        and passions of the hour. It will stand for ages, a noble
        and enduring monument of the highest range and scope of
        American statesmanship, and will be read with profit and
        admiration long after the questions of the day have been
        settled and forgotten, or remembered only by students
        of history. Its immediate effect, however, on public
        sentiment cannot fail to be vast and beneficial.

    The Dayton _Journal_, of Ohio, said:--

        “As an exposition of the American theory of Republicanism,
        this speech is unsurpassed in the history of American
        oratory. It is a magnificent contribution to our political
        literature. It is candid and temperate, the speech of a
        statesman and patriot who earnestly seeks the welfare of
        all his countrymen. It abounds in splendid passages, and is
        a model of classic strength and elegant style. The partisan
        sneers of demagogues cannot prevail against it.”

    The Portland _Daily Press_, of Maine, said:--

        “It is not only _the_ great speech of Charles Sumner’s
        life, but it is the great speech of the age. It is
        perfectly exhaustive, free from all personalities, free
        from all idiosyncrasies, statesmanlike, philosophical, and
        calculated to become a lasting memorial of its author’s
        research, patient investigation, power of analysis, and,
        above all, his undying devotion to the cause of popular
        liberty and human rights.”

    The _Progressive Age_, of Belfast, Maine, said:--

        “It is beyond question the greatest effort of our most
        distinguished New England statesman, and will make his name
        dear to every friend of freedom and equal rights in all
        coming time. It is throughout the language of the calm,
        conscientious statesman. Avoiding all mere expedients and
        controversies concerning details, it fixes the attention
        upon the great principles of a free republican government;
        and never in our history have those principles been so
        clearly and forcibly elucidated.”

    The Bangor _Jeffersonian_, also of Maine, said:--

        “In the United States Senate, on Monday and Tuesday of last
        week, Mr. Sumner made a speech which will occupy a very
        conspicuous place in the history of the American Union,
        not so much for its advocacy of any merely formal plan or
        scheme of national legislation for Reconstruction as for
        its closer relations to the great fundamental principles
        which constitute the ideal of a truly republican government
        It goes to the very foundation of things.”

    In a leading article of more than two columns, the New York
    _Herald_ said, in a different vein:--

        Sumner, in his Senatorial pleading in the case of the
        negro, has given to the country an elaborate evidence of
        the utterly impracticable and visionary character of his
        political views. His oration is admirable in all purely
        literary respects, and indicates an abundant industry and
        research; but its theories of society, its interpretations
        of the Constitution, and its assumptions as to the history
        of the country and of the war are inadmissible, excepting
        only what is said of the Constitutional Amendment.…

        “Those parts of the oration which claim suffrage for the
        negro, as a necessary policy of the nation, will require
        but little answer by argument; for the country and the
        world--all men outside the Radical Republican party--will
        completely deny the truth of the points from which they

        “We quite agree with Mr. Sumner in the grand fact that
        the Constitutional Amendment gives Congress full power to
        settle the position of the negro in the Southern States,
        and even to give him the suffrage. We are quite sure that
        this oration has not shown the necessity, the justice,
        or even the expediency of this gift. Still it may be
        expedient, necessary, and just.”

    The speech attracted attention in Europe. In the _Revue
    des Deux Mondes_, of Paris, which is so comprehensive a
    representative of the French mind, a leading article by M.
    Forcade presents a parallel between Mr. Sumner’s speech and the
    famous speech of the time in the French Assembly by M. Thiers,
    where Liberty was the theme.

        “The very day when M. Thiers delivered his speech we were
        occupied in reading the remarkable speech which Mr. Sumner
        has just pronounced in the Senate at Washington, and which
        the last mail from America has brought us. The speech of
        Mr. Sumner is the recent political event in the United

        “The illustrious American Senator, the chief of the radical
        party in the Senate, proposed to himself to deduce from
        the most careful examination of the Constitution of his
        country those principles according to which should be
        settled that difficult problem which the Americans call
        Reconstruction,--that is to say, the return of the Rebel
        States into the Union. We shall not undertake to judge
        the practical bearing of the opinions of Mr. Sumner on
        the great question which agitates the United States;
        but it is impossible for us not to render homage to the
        patriotic piety which breathes in his beautiful discourse.
        As M. Thiers wished to derive the liberal destinies of
        France from the great principles of the Revolution, so
        Mr. Sumner applied himself to exhibit in the origin of
        the Constitution of the United States the fundamental
        principles of republican government of modern times.…

        “Is it not a remarkable coincidence, that these voices of
        two great patriots, who, almost at the same moment, without
        any concert, obey instinctively the mysterious law which
        moves the people destined to guide civilization, answer
        to each other with so much splendor from opposite sides
        of the Atlantic? All the news from the United States show
        that the effect produced by the speech of Mr. Sumner has
        been immense.… The habitual adversaries of Mr. Sumner,
        the Democrats in Congress, covered themselves with honor
        in uniting in the testimonials of respect which were so
        universally rendered to the radical Senator. In the pride
        inspired by this beautiful and good oratorical plea, the
        Americans turn in a friendly spirit toward our Old World,
        and do not dissemble the hope that this speech will do them
        more honor in Europe than any public act in their country
        since the decree of Emancipation. We are charmed, for our
        part, to justify this hope.”[204]


    Numerous letters, from various persons and quarters, attest the
    general interest, marked in many cases by feeling and personal
    gratitude seeking to express itself. Brief extracts from a
    portion only are given.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Theodore Tilton, editor of the New York _Independent_, wrote
    just before the speech:--

        “I protested with all my heart against the Amendment
        offered by the Committee of Fifteen. It don’t execute
        justice. It leaves the negro to the decision of the Rebel.
        It proves that a republic is ungrateful.

        “I am glad to notice by the _Tribune_ of this morning that
        you are to move an Amendment, or rather a substitute for
        that Amendment.”


    William Lloyd Garrison, the early Abolitionist, always
    persistent against Slavery, wrote from Boston:--

        “I have perused your eloquent and unanswerable speech on
        the Suffrage question, and need not say that it contains
        the noblest sentiments, to which all the faculties and
        powers which God has given me thrillingly respond. It will
        doubtless be more efficacious out of the Senate than in it,
        as it will help to educate the popular mind up to the point
        of abolishing all complexional distinctions before the law,
        North and South.… Your speech, based as it is upon absolute
        justice and eternal right, is an admirable elementary
        treatise, and I trust will have the widest circulation.…

        “What assiduity and perseverance, what courage and
        determination, what devotion and inflexible purpose
        you have shown, through fiery trials and at the risk
        of martyrdom, ‘in season and out of season,’ to effect
        the downfall of the atrocious slave system, and thereby
        elevate and save the Republic! If to this extent the year
        of jubilee has come, you have done much towards ushering
        it in, and have a right to be specially glad and grateful
        that Heaven has been pleased to make you so potential an
        instrumentality in bringing about its beneficent designs.”

    Wendell Phillips, who never failed to sympathize with efforts
    for Human Rights, wrote from Boston:--

        “We are all inexpressibly grateful for your brave position
        and words. You and half a dozen others redeem Congress.
        Your arguments have been grand and exhaustive. You never
        linked so many hearts to you as during the last two months.”

    Elizur Wright, the veteran Abolitionist, wrote from Boston:--

        “Your speech and vote on the Blaine Amendment ought to
        produce a thrill of life and joy and hope through every
        spinal column that supports a loyal soul. We can’t afford
        any of the old nonsense. We took our sable friends into our
        boat when it was _bulleting_; and if we allow them to be
        thrown overboard by the traitors now it is _balloting_, we
        sink, in short.”

    George Bemis, the eminent lawyer and publicist, wrote from

        “I think that you may justly rank it among your greatest
        efforts, and that it will go into history as the great
        statement of the Freedman’s claim to participate in the
        government of the country of which he makes part. The
        general student of governmental law and civil polity
        will also constantly refer to it as a new and important
        development of the connection between representation and
        executive sovereignty, and as a powerful _exposé_ of the
        true basis of republican institutions. You have done a
        great service to the colored race, to the science of
        statesmanship, and to your country, all at once.”

    Hon. Charles P. Huntington, for some time an able Judge of the
    Superior Court, wrote from Boston:--

        “If your opposition does not just now reflect the feeling
        of New England Republicans, it anticipates their sober
        judgment. Theoretically, at least, it deprives the black
        race of representation, and punishes them for acts of
        legislation in which they have no voice.”

    Hon. Theophilus P. Chandler, able lawyer and Assistant
    Treasurer, wrote from the United States Treasury, Boston:--

        “Eloquent, exhaustive, unanswerable.”

    Hon. George B. Loring, afterwards Chairman of the State
    Committee of the Republican party in Massachusetts, and
    President of the Massachusetts Senate, wrote from Salem:--

        “Your masterly speech will one day be reached by Congress
        and the people,--I trust, in your day and mine. The best
        minds believe in it; the best hearts take courage from it.”

    Hon. E. L. Pierce, afterwards Secretary of the Board of
    Charities in Massachusetts, wrote from Boston:--

        “I read last evening, at one session, your last speech in
        the Senate. It is a noble one, and right in all respects.
        One passage near the close reminds me of the famous
        passages of Curran and Brougham about Freedom. I agree with
        you about the proposed Amendment.”

    Thomas Sherwin, head master of the Boston High School, father
    of General Sherwin, and a tutor of Mr. Sumner at Harvard
    College, wrote from Dedham:--

        “Allow me, as an old friend, to congratulate you and to
        thank you for your noble speech in the Senate on the 5th.
        I obtained it last evening, and read the whole before I
        slept. In humanity of sentiment, in true patriotism, in
        completeness of argument, in fulness of illustration, you
        have left nothing to be desired.

        “This Reconstruction is, indeed, a momentous affair, and I
        feel a greater doubt of its just determination than I felt
        for that of arms while the war raged.”

    Rev. John T. Sargent, always swift to sympathize with Mr.
    Sumner, wrote from Boston:--

        “It is emphatically _the_ speech of the time and crisis,
        absorbing, superseding, and transcending every other. God
        bless you for these timely words! They ought to be widely
        circulated, and reprinted in every corner of our land,
        East, West, North, and South.”

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

        “Nothing but the constant feeling that you are constantly
        overtasked has kept me from writing you on several
        occasions. I will only just say now, that I owe you a
        thousand thanks for the great and noble services you
        are rendering. God give you strength and life and full
        opportunity to complete your work!”

    Rev. R. S. Storrs, the eminent Congregational clergyman, wrote
    from Braintree:--

        “I am sure that I express but the common sentiment of
        the people all about me, when I say that your own course
        meets with more than a hearty approval, even admiration
        and gratitude. May God give you wisdom and firmness equal
        to the emergency, and crown your arduous labors with the
        success they deserve!”

    E. E. Williamson, one of the earnest men of Massachusetts,
    wrote from Boston:--

        “Your whole argument is founded upon righteousness and
        justice, and cannot be overthrown. What a glorious
        record you are making for future generations to peruse
        with gladness, and by which record your name is made as
        imperishable as the hills of your native State! I hope God
        will spare you to finish the good work you are in, and many
        years after to reap a slight portion of your reward.”

    Nathaniel C. Nash, a merchant devoted to the national cause,
    wrote from Boston:--

        “The multitude who thronged to the Senate Chamber, together
        with the representatives of foreign governments, to listen
        to your speech (which I term the New Testament of the
        Nineteenth Century), was an exhibition of the world’s
        interest in how well or ill you finish the great battle for
        human freedom, not for one continent, but for civilized

    Hon. Charles G. Davis, a stanch Antislavery Republican, wrote
    from Plymouth:--

        “Your course is fully approved here by a majority of
        the Republicans, and by all who have opinions. Besides
        all this, you will be historically right, now that the
        Amendment is defeated.… It is the greatest work of your
        life, unless your opposition to Lincoln’s Louisiana scheme
        may prove such, if you even succeed in keeping out the
        mongrel States.”

    Augustine G. Stimson, desiring to express his sympathies as a
    constituent, wrote from Boston:--

        “Last evening I read your speech from beginning to end,
        with an interest that awakened admiration and gratitude.
        The Equal Rights of All is the only sure guaranty for the
        present and future of mankind.”

    William E. Chase, formerly a private in the national army,
    wrote from North Uxbridge:--

        “Please accept the thanks of a poor private for your noble,
        courageous, and Christian efforts in the great cause of
        Right, Justice, and Liberty, when Justice is unpopular, and
        you are obliged by duty to meet both friend and foe in this

    F. W. Pelton wrote from Boston:--

        “I desire to thank you for your late noble speech in favor
        of legal equality in this country. I read it with deep
        interest. Your propositions are sound, and the great lights
        of history you marshal up to sustain them impressed me

    William Plumer wrote from Lexington:--

        “Please accept my thanks for the copies of your very able
        and learned speech on the right of universal suffrage.
        Whatever may be the practicability of this principle at
        the present time, and however the country or Congress may
        settle the question in the future, your arguments are
        certainly unanswerable, and will ever remain an enduring
        monument of your earnest labors in behalf of the Freedman.”

    Richard L. Pease, Clerk of Courts, wrote from Edgartown:--

        “It was with feelings of intense satisfaction that I read
        the report of your recent speech on equal suffrage, as it
        appeared in the Boston _Journal_. The argument is so clear
        and able that it would seem that no intelligent man of
        candor could deny the conclusions. Adherence to the Right
        because it is the Right will never fail to commend itself
        to all right-thinking men.”

    Rev. Robert Crawford wrote from Deerfield:--

        “I thank you for that noble speech, … so logical, so
        happily illustrated, so full of earnestness and soul, and
        withal so convincing. I rejoice that there is one in our
        highest councils who feels as you do on the subject, and
        who has the ability and the courage to make such a speech.”

    Rev. Patrick V. Moyce, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church,
    wrote from Northampton:--

        “I am often reading your admirable speech of March 7th,
        and so much am I impressed with the justice of the
        principles it inculcates with so much classical ability and
        statesmanly wisdom and foresight, that I cannot possibly
        deny myself the honor of taking this method of testifying
        to you my heartfelt congratulations. You are the one man
        among many who seems to have studied the present exigencies
        of your noble country, and to have judged aright the
        requirements of the age you and we all live in at present.
        The benevolent qualities of heart which distinguish you in
        this great speech are in perfect keeping with the towering
        majesty of your well-cultivated intellect. Go on. Lead
        and triumph, and accept the blessing and prayers of a
        Roman Catholic priest, who begs to subscribe himself, with
        profound esteem and high consideration, your most humble
        and devoted servant.”

    The New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
    meeting at Chicopee, Massachusetts, March 28th, adopted a
    resolution, officially communicated to Mr. Sumner, which, after
    declaring approbation of both Houses of Congress, proceeds:--

        “Especially do we offer our sympathies and prayers for our
        own honored Senators, one of whom has endured in the past,
        with a martyr’s fortitude, the barbarous assaults upon his
        person of the champion of Slavery, and has lately been
        called to endure an equally unjustifiable assault upon his
        reputation by the present Chief Magistrate of the United


    Hon. Israel Washburn, Collector of the port of Portland,
    formerly Governor of Maine and a distinguished Representative
    in Congress, wrote from Portland:--

        “When I obtained Wilson’s bill, which prohibited the denial
        by the States of _civil_ rights to persons on account of
        color or race, I wrote him to inquire why he had not said
        also _political_. The authority is certainly as clear for
        the latter as for the former. So, when, last evening, I
        read your resolution and speech, I was strengthened and
        rejoiced. Your positions are impregnable, and your speech,
        I think, the greatest of your life. We must stand there, or
        not at all.”

    In another letter, Mr. Washburn wrote:--

        “When men as patriotic and sincere as I am, and a great
        deal wiser, sustain the Blaine Amendment, I am confounded,
        and don’t know what to make of it. To my mind it is most
        abhorrent, and I hope it will not receive the assent of

    Rev. Rufus P. Stebbins, a Unitarian clergyman, wrote from
    Portland, Maine:--

        “You have fought a good fight. The Amendment proposed was
        defeated. _Laus Deo!_ It was a blot too dark and foul to be
        permitted to stain the Constitution. To speak of ‘race and
        color’ in that instrument would be an insult to the men who
        framed it.”

    Rev. A. Battles wrote from Bangor, Maine:--

        “As a native of Massachusetts, and more than that, as a
        lover of my race, I want to thank you for your timely
        and eloquent words in behalf of universal and impartial
        justice. I thank you also for voting against the Blaine
        Amendment. Though it might accomplish one desirable object,
        it was a concession to prejudice against color. The black
        man could hope for nothing through it. We want no more

    Hon. William Greene, an enlightened citizen, who has held
    various public offices in Rhode Island, wrote from East

        “I beg to congratulate you as a friend, and to thank you
        as an American citizen, for the great speech recently
        delivered by you in the Senate. You have opened a new field
        of thought to American statesmen, and furnished a new book
        of elementary political lessons to the American people. It
        would seem almost impossible that such an effort should not
        tell grandly upon both.”

    Hon. Gerrit Smith, the devoted Abolitionist, formerly a
    Representative in Congress, wrote from Peterboro, New York:--

        “God bless you for this noble speech which you have made
        against the Apportionment Amendment! I have this day read
        the part of it in yesterday’s New York _Tribune_. I long to
        read the whole of it.”

    In another letter, Mr. Smith wrote:--

        “You are the keystone of our arch. If you fail, all falls.”

    Hon. N. Niles, formerly in the diplomatic service, wrote from
    New York:--

        “I admire and applaud the tenacity with which you advocate
        the equal rights of all men of all races under one
        Constitution and Government.… I hope you will stand up
        for the Asiatics as well as for the negroes. They are now
        treated as brutes in some of our States.”

    Cephas Brainerd, lawyer, and arbitrator under the last treaty
    with England against the Slave Trade, wrote from New York:--

        “Nearly all the copies of your great speech that I
        obtained have been circulated, and I don’t find any one
        who dares deny the correctness of the doctrines you lay
        down. It has my hearty assent, and I have subjected it
        to the examination which the argument of an opposing
        counsel receives from me. I consider that very many of
        your Senatorial speeches will be quite as permanent as
        any of Burke’s productions; but this last seems to be as
        enduring as the Constitution of our country, whether as the
        foundation of a government or as a matter of mere study.”

    Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, always on the watch-tower, wrote from
    Brooklyn, New York:--

        “Although I do not think with you on the specific change
        in the Amendment which you advocate, I cannot forbear
        expressing my thanks for your noble speech, which has the
        merit of rising far above the occasion and object for which
        it was uttered, and covering a ground which will abide
        after all temporary questions of special legislation have
        passed away.

        “I wish that your oration might be in every school library
        in the Union. May your life be prolonged, and every year
        add some new jewel to the crown of fame, that, when you go
        to a higher sphere, men will place upon your name!”

    Rev. A. P. Putnam, Unitarian clergyman, also wrote from
    Brooklyn, New York:--

        “I bless God for the firm and lofty stand you have taken,
        and the people will yet see, if they do not now see,
        that it is the only wise and sure one for Union- and
        Freedom-loving men to take. Would that all loyal men,
        especially the great Union party, could see it to be their
        duty and their interest to meet boldly and grandly the
        issue which the President seems determined to force upon

    Rev. F. C. Ewer, anxious against compromise, wrote from New

        “I am but one of thousands whom you little think of as
        watching you with anxiety, and to whom your present firm
        position has given great cheer and comfort. Of course there
        are many who have always stood with you, and who must be
        sources of encouragement; but we are new recruits, who
        have had enough of ‘compromise,’ and who see no hope of
        permanent peace ahead except under a thorough adjusting of
        the Constitution to the principles of the Declaration of

    James P. Lee and fourteen others united in a letter from
    Herkimer, New York:--

        “In this centre of the Empire State there are not a few
        who would express their thanks to you personally, if
        they could, but more especially to God, our Heavenly
        Father, for having endowed you, as Joshua of old, with the
        determination to lead His oppressed people to the promised
        land, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (not with
        disgrace), after their Moses had been taken from them.”

    F. Hawley wrote with much feeling, from Cazenovia, New York:--

        “In God’s name, in the name of Justice and Freedom, and
        in behalf of the millions of God’s outraged poor, I thank
        you for your noble speech. Brooks could not kill you. God
        predetermined that you should live to be mouth for Him,
        that this preëminently guilty nation might know their duty,
        and that the great idea that lies at the foundation of all
        righteous civil government might be vindicated. It is to be
        regretted that your proposition could not have been brought
        forward before the House had committed itself to that
        miserable Amendment.”

    Alexander Ostrander, a lawyer, wrote from New York:--

        “I thank God that we have a man in the Senate bold enough
        and capable enough to point the nation the road back to the
        foundation principles of the Government.”

    E. W. Stewart, originally of the Liberty party, wrote from
    North Evans, New York:--

        “Having read your truly noble plea for the ‘great guaranty’
        of personal and political rights under the Constitution,
        in the Senate, I write to thank you with my whole heart.
        It is the right word spoken at the right time and in the
        right place, and it will reach the hearts of the people
        and produce there a deep conviction, if it does not in
        Congress.… The positions in your speech are unanswerable.”

    Dr. Henry A. Hartt, a radical Abolitionist, wrote from New

        “I must tell you how proud I feel, as a man and as an
        American citizen, on account of the position you have
        taken. When the Amendment of the Committee was proposed, I
        felt chagrined and mortified beyond expression, and I did
        fervently pray that we might be saved from the intolerable
        infamy of putting into our Constitution a sanction,
        even by implication, of the right of a State to deny or
        abridge the franchise in consequence of race or color.
        You may, then, imagine my joy, when I saw you break loose
        from all considerations of policy and party, and place
        yourself immovably upon the elevated platform of a just and
        righteous statesmanship.

        “I have read the report of your speech in the extra of the
        _Tribune_, and I am sure that history will confirm the
        verdict which I give, when I say that it was equal to the
        great occasion.”

    Edward Cary, editor of the Brooklyn _Daily Union_, wrote from
    that place:--

        “The loyal people in Brooklyn have felt very keenly the
        outrage and insult you have suffered at the hands of Mr.
        Johnson. They honor and trust you, and will uphold you. The
        mention of your name by Mr. Garrison, on Tuesday evening,
        drew from the large audience rounds of applause, which died
        away only to be renewed, until it was the most prolonged I
        ever heard.”

    William Silvey, of New Jersey, earnest in patriotism and
    Antislavery, wrote from Alexandria, Virginia:--

        “How all the hearts of the true lovers of their country,
        even in this rebellious city, are thrilling with gratitude
        and thankfulness for your uniform noble efforts, which
        have opened and will continue to open the eyes of the
        citizens of our country and the whole world as to the true
        significance or meaning of what constitutes a republican
        government, which has been so sadly perverted by our
        practice as a nation!”

    W. H. Ashhurst, an eminent merchant, wrote from Philadelphia:--

        “I have read nothing for a long while that has moved me so
        much as your speech in the Senate on the 5th and 6th inst.”

    George D. Parrish, an earnest friend of peace, wrote from

        “I have written you more than once before, but, having
        no personal acquaintance, hesitated to thank you for the
        strength and instruction which really called for thanks and
        congratulations. You have done nobly, Sir, for your country
        and for this generation.”

    Joseph T. Thomas, of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives,
    wrote from Harrisburg:--

        “You may be vilified and abused, and no doubt are, as
        all great benefactors of their race are in their day and
        generation. But future ages will do you full justice,
        and your name will be illustrious when the names of your
        revilers will be consigned to the most ignoble oblivion.”

    T. E. Hall wrote from Galion, Ohio:--

        “In the joy of my heart I congratulate the people of this
        Government that the old ship of state has at its helm a
        statesman who, despite the storms, the howling tempests,
        the Cimmerian darkness which enshrouds us, stands boldly
        and fearlessly at his post, unawed, calm, self-possessed,
        ready for any emergency.

        “The great speech, portions of which it has been my
        privilege to peruse, is only second in importance to
        President Lincoln’s proclamation which liberated four
        millions of slaves; and, indeed, this speech carried out is
        virtually but the fulfilling of that proclamation.”

    Rev. George Duffield wrote from Detroit, Michigan:--

        “I feel constrained, though entirely unknown to you,
        to thank you most cordially for the intense pleasure I
        have enjoyed in the perusal of your great oration on the
        question of Universal Enfranchisement, as involved in
        the proposed Constitutional Amendment, looking towards
        universal suffrage. Its lucid didactic statements, its
        admirable analysis, its irresistible logic, and its
        glowing, brilliant eloquence, with its valuable historic
        instruction and its burning love of freedom and humanity,
        have both convinced my understanding and captivated my

    Rev. Charles H. Brigham, an accomplished Unitarian clergyman,
    in a letter describing an exhibition at the University of
    Michigan, wrote from Ann Arbor:--

        “But the most attractive piece on the programme, which
        brought the house down with the most prolonged and hearty
        applause, was Number Four [entitled “Charles Sumner”],
        in which a most glowing and animated tribute was paid to
        the scholarship, industry, fidelity, patriotism, love of
        justice, and love of man, of the Senator whom Massachusetts
        delights to honor. It was a delight, I assure you, to a
        Massachusetts man, and a friend of yours, to hear, out here
        in the West, among these ‘Fogies’ and ‘Copperheads,’ such
        noble words about the old Bay State and her representative
        man, and to hear the response to them from the great

    Hon. Charles V. Dyer, a Judge under the final treaty with
    England against the Slave Trade, wrote from Chicago:--

        “I am greatly your debtor for your two speeches, in a form
        for preservation and re-perusal, and any word of mine in
        regard to their ability or patriotism is quite needless.
        But I will say that the courage that can face cold looks
        of friends, cruel animadversions of one’s own party press,
        and, what is easier, the unceasing abuse and bullyism of
        the enemies of all good, is so rare that it commands my

    Jesse W. Fell wrote from Normal, Illinois:--

        “I have just finished reading your late speech on
        Reconstruction, and I cannot forbear dropping you a line
        to say how much I have been gratified by its perusal. I
        will not characterize it as under different circumstances
        I should be tempted to. Suffice it to say, in my poor
        judgment it is the noblest, ablest effort of your life, and
        is just the document to send broadcast over the land.”

    James H. Alderman wrote from Jacksonville, Illinois:--

        “A thousand thanks for your incomparable speech, expounding
        and defining the true theory of a republican government.
        Yes, I say a thousand thanks. I have always believed
        the Constitution was fully adequate for every exigency.
        Congress, therefore, must of necessity guaranty to every
        State a republican form of government.”

    Worthington G. Snethen, an Abolitionist, of Baltimore, wrote:--

        “Thanks, thanks for your two great speeches. They will live
        and breathe and stir the heart of humanity, when the memory
        of A. Johnson and his Republican renegade sycophants will
        be forgotten, or brought to mind only to be execrated.
        Millions of black men bless you now, and hundreds of
        millions of God’s dusky skins will bless you in the ages
        to come, for these two grand and eloquent vindications of
        human liberty from the assaults of despotism, caste, and
        the white man’s meanness; and the white world, too, far
        down in the future, will bless your name. The spirit of
        prophecy pervades every line of these speeches, and lights
        up every step you take with the blaze of logic and truth.…

        “Your resistance to the Trojan horse of the Apportionment
        Amendment I sincerely hope was crowned with success in
        to-day’s vote. That Amendment is the basest compromise that
        has yet bubbled to the surface of the cesspool of American

        “You must all come to it, sooner or later. Congress must
        legislate impartial suffrage into all the States by direct
        statute. Strange that the States in Congress cannot do what
        the States separately out of Congress can do!”

    Hon. R. Stockett Mathews, the orator and lawyer, wrote from

        “I thank you most profoundly for the seasonable courage
        which will admonish others of their duty, although I have
        but small hope of witnessing any immediate fruition of the
        good work you have done for us all.”

    F. W. Alexander, of Maryland, who served patriotically in the
    war, wrote from New York:--

        “I read your speech in the paper this morning, and I write
        to express my gratification that you have refused to accept
        any half-measures, but have sought to induce Congress to
        proceed in its work of Reconstruction on the only sure
        foundation, that of justice to all. Whether the measure is
        carried or not, your speech will not be lost, and it is a
        mere question of time.”

    S. F. Chapman wrote from Alexandria, Virginia:--

        “I thank you for your speech. I think it an honor to
        the age in which you live, and believe it will remain a
        monument to your genius and eloquence. I am proud of it,
        and that you sent it to me. I shall preserve it, and leave
        it to my children, as one of the noblest consecrations to
        Liberty and Man.”

    John W. Osborne, Hospital Steward of the United States Army,
    wrote from Washington:--

        “That elaborate exposition will endure for ages as a
        monument of your noble patriotism and unparalleled
        eloquence. Its sentences will be read with grateful emotion
        by the freedom-loving people of all nations, and their
        prayers for your welfare and warfare will daily ascend to

    Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, a colored clergyman and orator, for
    some time settled in New York, wrote from Washington, where he
    was on a visit:--

        “I was one of the many who heard your speech which you
        concluded yesterday afternoon in the Senate of the United
        States, and I take this opportunity to tender you my thanks
        and undying gratitude for that glorious and inspired
        production. I think that I may safely say that you have the
        gratitude of my entire race for your fearless and radical
        advocacy of the rights of all men, as I know you have their
        sincere and ardent love.

        “After having slept upon your speech, and the excitement
        which was produced at the moment of its delivery is
        somewhat subdued, I must say, that, if I were able, I would
        cause a million of copies to be printed and scattered over
        the land.”

    This was followed by the presentation of the Memorial Discourse
    by Mr. Garnet in the Hall of the House of Representatives,
    Washington, February 12, 1866, with the inscription, “To the
    Hon. Charles Sumner, as a small and humble token of respect,
    and admiration of the ablest speech ever delivered in the
    Senate of the United States.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    Among the most enlightened women of the country the pending
    question awakened a deep interest; nor was their testimony

    Mrs. Josephine S. Griffing, devoted to good works in
    Washington, and especially to the care and protection of poor
    colored people, young and old, wrote from Washington:--

        “I hope I shall not be considered intrusive in expressing
        to you my deep gratitude for and high estimation of your
        unparalleled speech, made in the United States Senate,
        February 5th and 6th, not only as contrasted with that of
        President Johnson to the colored delegation, but as an
        independent effort, the greatest, because the broadest
        in its application, of any ever made before the American

    Mrs. L. M. Worden, sister of the late Mrs. William H. Seward,
    and always a warm Abolitionist, wrote from Auburn, New York:--

        “Please accept my thanks for your noble speech of the 5th
        and 6th of February, which I have read and re-read with
        great attention and deep gratitude and admiration. This
        ‘testimony of the truth’ will add yet another bright page
        to the record of your undeviating fidelity to the cause of
        Justice and Humanity.”

    Mrs. Horace Mann, widow of the philanthropist, teacher, and
    Representative in Congress, wrote from Concord, Massachusetts:--

        “I presume you will receive a thousand letters expressive
        of the satisfaction and delight that your speech upon the
        Suffrage question has given; and yet I must add mine,
        for it is but rarely that one feels that a moral subject
        is exhausted, and you appear to have accomplished this
        astonishing result. It is difficult to conceive how
        Congress can act otherwise than in the highest manner,
        after listening to it and reading it.”

    Miss Susan B. Anthony, so earnest to secure suffrage for her
    own sex, was not less earnest for the colored race:--

        “A thousand thanks for your renewed, repeated protest
        against that proposed Amendment. You stand in the Senate
        almost the lone man to vindicate the absolute Right. May
        you be spared these many years, thus to stand and thus to


    An immediate effect of the speech was to hasten yet more the
    issue with President Johnson. On the day after its delivery he
    was visited by a delegation of colored citizens, who pleaded
    especially for the ballot. The President answered with feeling,
    that he had always been a friend of the colored race, and

        “I do not like to be arraigned by some who can get up
        handsomely rounded periods, and deal in rhetoric, and talk
        about abstract ideas of Liberty, who never perilled life,
        liberty, or property. This kind of theoretical, hollow,
        unpractical friendship amounts to but very little. While I
        say that I am a friend of the colored man, I do not want to
        adopt a policy that I believe will end in a contest between
        the races, which, if persisted in, will result in the
        extermination of one or the other.”

    The idea of “a contest between the races” recurred in stronger
    language, when, alluding to the colored man, he spoke of “the
    sacrifice of his life and the shedding of his blood.… I feel
    what I say, and I feel well assured, that, if the policy urged
    by some be persisted in, it will result in great injury to the
    white as well as to the colored man.… The query comes up right
    there, whether we don’t commence a war of races.… I do not want
    to be engaged in a work that will commence a war of races.… I
    feel a conviction that driving this matter upon the people,
    upon the community, will result in the injury of both races,
    and the ruin of one or the other.”[205]

    Shortly afterwards he was reported in the press as saying to a
    colored delegation of North Carolina, “I suppose Sumner is your
    God”; to which the spokesman replied, “We respect and love Mr.
    Sumner, Sir, but no man is our God.”

    Then came the incendiary speech of the 22d February, when the
    President, standing on the steps of the Executive Mansion,
    threw away all reserve.

        “I am opposed to the Davises, the Toombses, the Slidells,
        and the long list of such. But when I perceive, on the
        other hand, men [_A voice, “Call them off!”_]--I care not
        by what name you call them--still opposed to the Union,
        I am free to say to you that I am still with the people.
        I am still for the preservation of these States, for the
        preservation of this Union, and in favor of this great
        Government accomplishing its destiny.”

    Here the President was called upon to give the names of three
    of the Members of Congress to whom he had alluded as being
    opposed to the Union.

        “The gentleman calls for three names. I am talking to
        my friends and fellow-citizens here. Suppose I should
        name to you those whom I look upon as being opposed to
        the fundamental principles of this Government, and as
        now laboring to destroy them. I say Thaddeus Stevens, of
        Pennsylvania; I say Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts; I say
        Wendell Phillips, of Massachusetts.”

    Becoming excited in speech, the President followed the charge
    of opposition to the fundamental principles of this Government
    with an accusation of a different character.

        “Are those who want to destroy our institutions and change
        the character of the Government not satisfied with the
        blood that has been shed? Are they not satisfied with one
        martyr? Does not the blood of Lincoln appease the vengeance
        and wrath of the opponents of this Government? Is their
        thirst still unslaked? Do they want more blood? Have they
        not honor and courage enough to effect the removal of the
        Presidential obstacle otherwise than through the hands of
        the assassin?”[206]

    Mr. Sumner never made answer or allusion to this Presidential
    attack, but others did. It became the subject of debate in the
    House of Representatives of the Massachusetts Legislature,
    on resolutions by Hon. George B. Loring, the Representative
    of Salem, already mentioned in this Appendix.[207] His
    reasons for vindication of Mr. Sumner were private and public,
    according to the report of the debate.

        “The first men to congratulate him on his change [from the
        Democratic party] were John A. Andrew and Charles Sumner;
        and he should not forget that Mr. Sumner, against whom he
        had warred so long, was the first to extend sympathy to
        him, and had led him on till this day.

        “Passing now to the public reasons for his advocacy of
        the fourth resolution, Mr. Loring paid a high eulogium to
        Senator Sumner, who, he said, would live in history with
        Adams and Hancock, for his adherence to and courageous
        advocacy of great principles, and his remarkable record
        since the war of the Rebellion broke out. Men might say
        that Mr. Sumner was an impracticable theorist; but it
        was to him, more than to any other man, that we owed the
        defeat of the iniquitous Louisiana proposition in the last
        Congress, the success of which would have established a
        precedent fraught with great danger to the nation.”[208]

    The resolution, adopted by the House March 14, and the Senate
    April 7, 1866, was as follows:--

        “_Resolved_, That, while thus expressing our confidence in
        our Senatorial and Representative delegations in Congress,
        and the determination of the people to stand by them, we
        are also impelled to take notice of the recent charges
        made by name against one of the Senators of this State,
        Hon. Charles Sumner, in the lately published speech of the
        President of the United States, and to declare that the
        language used and the charges made by the President are
        unbecoming the elevated station occupied by him, an unjust
        reflection upon Massachusetts, and without the shadow of
        justification or defence founded upon the private or public
        record of our eminent Senator.”

    A copy of the resolutions, containing the foregoing, engrossed
    on parchment, was forwarded to Mr. Sumner by the Governor
    of Massachusetts, Hon. Alexander H. Bullock, with a letter,
    saying, “This I take great personal pleasure in asking you to
    accept and preserve.”

    The Aldermen of Boston, by a resolution, under date of March
    2d, interposed their “indignant conviction of the utter
    falsehood” of the charges against Mr. Sumner.[209]

    This testimony may be closed by that of a Massachusetts pen. In
    the New York _Independent_, Mrs. Lydia Maria Child, replying to
    the President, said:--

        “Let any man capable of forming an opinion independent
        of party prejudice look candidly at the whole course of
        the Hon. Charles Sumner, and say whether any nation was
        ever blessed with a public man intellectually more able
        and consistent, and morally more courageous, pure, and
        noble. What a tower of strength he has been in times of
        difficulty and danger! How brave and steadfast he has been
        in the midst of denunciations and threats! How much he
        has suffered in the cause of Freedom! and how calmly and
        heroically he suffered, never boasting or complaining!
        What herculean labor he has performed, and every particle
        of that labor to sustain and advance those principles of
        justice and freedom which form the only sure basis of a
        republic! I am glad to see that Boston has, at last, by the
        voice of its city government, shown due appreciation of the
        services rendered to the country by that truly great and
        good man.”

    Such was the conflict then raging, with Truth gaining new
    strength daily.


    From his first arrival in Washington as a Senator, as far back
    as 1851, Mr. Sumner had been pursued by menace of personal
    violence. At the beginning of the present session he received
    a warning,[210] while the head of the military police reported
    to him at least one conspiracy against his life, with regard to
    which he had evidence. The prevailing bitterness, especially
    after the speech of President Johnson, arrested the attention
    of Hon. A. P. Granger, a retired Representative in Congress
    from the State of New York, whose experience in the anxious
    days of Kansas, when Mr. Sumner suffered personal violence,
    put him on his guard. In a letter from Syracuse, New York, he
    expressed his present anxiety:--

        “Permit me to say a word as to your personal safety. There
        are many of our best men who think more of that than you
        do. No man living that Treason would so much rejoice to
        see struck down as yourself; and many there are who would
        strike, if they dared. I know you think little of danger;
        but fear for your country, if not for yourself. Do not
        keep your room alone, night or day. Seldom or never go out
        after nightfall, and let your painful experience and the
        character of the foe teach you to be ever on guard.”



    Dominica was a colored government, occupying part of the island
    of Hayti.

    In pursuance of a message from President Johnson, Mr. Sumner,
    from the Committee on Foreign Relations, reported the following
    bill, which was read and passed to a second reading.

A Bill to authorize the President of the United States to appoint a
diplomatic representative to the Republic of Dominica.

_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled_, That the President of the
United States be, and he is hereby, authorized, by and with the advice
and consent of the Senate, to appoint a diplomatic representative of
the United States to the Republic of Dominica, who shall be accredited
as Commissioner and Consul General, and shall receive the compensation
of a Commissioner, according to the Act of Congress approved August
eighteenth, eighteen hundred and fifty-six.

    The object of this bill was accomplished by specific
    appropriation in the Consular and Diplomatic Bill.[211]



    January 5, 1866, Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, introduced “a bill
    to protect all persons in the United States in their civil
    rights, and furnish the means of their vindication,” which was
    referred to the Judiciary Committee, of which he was Chairman.
    By this bill all courts, National and State, were opened to
    colored persons as parties and witnesses as to white citizens,
    and they were subject to like punishments. January 11th, he
    reported it to the Senate with amendments, and the next day
    the Senate proceeded to its consideration. The amendments were
    adopted, when, on motion of Mr. Trumbull, it was postponed.
    January 25th, its consideration was resumed, and continued
    until February 2d, when it passed the Senate,--Yeas 33, Nays 12.

    March 13th, the bill passed the House of Representatives, with
    amendments,--Yeas 111, Nays 38. The Senate promptly concurred
    in the House amendments.

    March 27th, President Johnson returned the bill to the Senate
    with his objections.

    April 6th, after debate of several days, the bill passed the
    Senate again, notwithstanding the veto of the President, two
    thirds agreeing,--Yeas 33, Nays 15.

    April 9th, it passed the House again, notwithstanding the veto
    of the President, two thirds agreeing,--Yeas 122, Nays 41.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Sumner, on the first day of the session, had introduced
    a “Bill supplying appropriate legislation to enforce the
    Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting Slavery.”[212] He
    had also succeeded at an earlier day in opening the courts
    of the District of Columbia,[213] and then the courts of the
    United States, to colored testimony.[214] The bill of Mr.
    Trumbull was introduced after consultation with Mr. Sumner,
    who watched its progress with absorbing interest, not doubting
    that it would be a precedent for a similar bill securing
    political rights. That the latter were embraced in civil
    rights was ably stated by Mr. Bingham, of Ohio, in the House
    of Representatives, while the Civil Rights Bill was under

        “A distinction is taken, I know very well, in modern
        times, between civil and political rights. I submit with
        all respect that the term ‘political rights’ is only a
        limitation of the term ‘civil rights,’ and by general
        acceptation signifies that class of civil rights which
        are more directly exercised by the citizen in connection
        with the government of his country. If this be so, are
        not political rights all embraced in the term ‘civil
        rights,’ and must it not of necessity be so interpreted?
        Blackstone, whose Commentaries on the Common Law are so
        exact in definition, uses in that classic of the law the
        terms ‘civil liberty’ and ‘political liberty’ everywhere
        as synonymous. It never occurred to him that there was a
        colorable distinction between them.”[215]

    Another point equally clear to Mr. Sumner was, that a bill
    to secure equal rights at the ballot-box was “appropriate
    legislation” in enforcement of the Constitutional Amendment
    abolishing Slavery, just as much as the Civil Rights Bill. If
    the latter was constitutional, so also was the former. This
    appears in the speech of February 5th and 6th, and also in that
    of March 7th. But he took care to present it briefly in the
    debate on the Constitutional Amendment.

    February 9th, interrupting Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland,
    with his permission, Mr. Sumner, after reading the operative
    words of the Civil Rights Bill, which had already passed the
    Senate and was then pending in the House, said:--

As I understand it, this bill, which, as the Senator will see, actually
annuls all State laws, everywhere throughout the United States, fixing
any inequality in civil rights, is founded upon the second clause of
the recent Amendment to the Constitution abolishing Slavery. Now the
point to which I ask the attention of the Senator, before he passes
from this branch of the discussion, is, whether, if we can annul all
State laws declaring inequality in civil rights, we cannot also annul
all State laws declaring inequality in political rights? whether,
if this bill is constitutional, as I believe it is, such a bill as
I propose would not also be constitutional? And in this connection
I call attention to the famous judgment of Chief Justice Marshall,
which the Senator remembers so well, in the case of _M’Culloch_ v.
_The State of Maryland_,[216] where the Chief Justice distinctly
announces, having the point before him, that it is within the power of
Congress to select its means, provided the means are appropriate to the
end, and it is not for the Supreme Court, or any other branch of the
Government, to sit in judgment on the means Congress chose to select.
Therefore, if Congress now think, that, to enforce the abolition of
Slavery, it is necessary, in the first place, to annul all inequality
of civil rights, and, in the second place, to annul all inequality of
political rights, I ask the Senator whether the latter proposition
can be called in question?--whether an Act of Congress annulling all
State laws declaring inequality of political rights is not absolutely
constitutional, being “appropriate legislation” to enforce the
Constitutional Amendment?

    Mr. Johnson replied, that he had stated more than once that the
    bill on which Mr. Sumner “now relies is unconstitutional,” and
    then said:--

        “But even supposing it to be within the power of Congress
        to pass a law of that kind, it by no means follows that
        I think it has power to pass a law placing all the
        inhabitants of the States on the same political ground.”

    Later in his speech Mr. Sumner interrupted Mr. Johnson again,
    with his permission:--

My argument is, that, if, to carry out the prohibition of Slavery,
and to complete the duty of Abolition, it shall be regarded necessary
to confer the franchise, it is within the power of Congress so
to do. And now I ask my honorable friend to give the Senate the
benefit of his opinion on this precise point. If Congress, under the
Constitutional Amendment, can secure equality of civil rights, may
it not, _a fortiori_, secure equality in political rights, under the
same clause? I do not ask the Senator whether in his opinion it may
under that clause confer equality in civil rights. I assume that it
can, and the Senator knows well that the Senate has acted accordingly.
Senators all about me assume that power; and now I ask the Senator, as
a Constitutional lawyer to whom we refer daily, whether, if you can do
the one, you cannot do the other?

    Mr. Johnson replied at once: “I answer that in the negative
    very decidedly, and have only time to give a few reasons for

       *       *       *       *       *

    The following remarks, sketched for a speech on the veto of the
    Civil Rights Bill, and not delivered, are presented here in
    illustration of opinion at that time.

If I have not taken part in this debate, it is not from lack of
interest in the question, but because on other occasions I have
expressed my views on our duty to maintain the freedmen in their
rights, civil and political, and since the cause, in the hands of the
able Chairman of the Judiciary Committee [Mr. TRUMBULL], needed no
assistance from me. I cannot disguise my joy that a measure like that
now pending should receive the support it does. This is an augury for
the future. If I were disposed to despair on other questions, I should
take heart, when I see how Senators, once lukewarm, indifferent, or
perhaps hostile, now generously unite in securing protection to the
freedman by Act of Congress.

But, Mr. President, I am unwilling that this debate should close
without at least one remark applicable to the future. You are about to
decree that colored persons shall enjoy the same civil rights as white
persons,--in other words, that with regard to civil rights there shall
be no distinction of color; and this you do under the Constitutional
Amendment by which Congress is empowered to “enforce” the prohibition
of Slavery by “appropriate legislation.” Rightly you regard the
present proposition as “appropriate legislation” to this end. It is
so, unquestionably. But I should fail in frankness, if I did not give
notice that at the proper time I shall insist that every reason,
every argument, every consideration, by which you assert the power of
Congress for the protection of colored persons in civil rights, is
equally strong for their protection in political rights. There is no
difference between the two cases. In each you legislate to the same
end,--that the freedman may be maintained in that liberty so tardily
accorded; and the legislation is just as appropriate in one case as in
the other.

All this, Sir, I have seen from the beginning; but I have been
unwilling to embarrass the present bill by any additional proposition.
The protection of colored persons in their civil rights by Act of
Congress will be a great event. It will be great in itself. It will be
greater still because it establishes the power of Congress, without
further Amendment of the Constitution, to protect colored persons in
all their rights, including of course the elective franchise. The
power is ample. I trust that you will not hesitate to exercise it.


The able and exhaustive argument of the Senator from Illinois [Mr.
TRUMBULL] has rendered all minute discussion of the veto superfluous.
He has taken it up paragraph by paragraph, and has shown how absolutely
unfounded it is in reason or authority. And then again, when the
Senator from Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON] attempted to vindicate it, he has
most successfully quoted that Senator against himself. If argument
could avail, the veto is already lost, even without a vote.

But there are considerations of a more general character, which I
desire to present very briefly; for at this stage of the debate I
cannot venture to trespass on your attention.

Sir, you do not forget the Dred Scott decision, pronounced just as
Mr. Buchanan was coming into power,--fit decision to inaugurate such
a Presidency. Take it all in all, that decision must always stand
forth in bad eminence, as perhaps the most thoroughly perverse and
reprehensible in judicial history. Whether regarded in the light of
morals or politics or jurisprudence, or of juridical history, it was
simply shocking. It was an insult to conscience, to reason, and to

The essential element of this decision was, that persons “guilty of
a skin not colored like our own” could not be citizens of the United
States; and this postulate was sustained by that remarkable assertion,
outrageously false in history, that at the adoption of the Constitution
colored persons were regarded as having no rights which the white
man was bound to respect,--when, in point of fact, at that time they
enjoyed the right of citizens in several States of the Union, while
in England, Scotland, France, and Holland, to say nothing of other
countries, it had been solemnly declared that all men within their
respective borders were free.

In the lapse of time this decision passed out of sight. It seemed to
be dead. Blasted at once by an indignant public sentiment, it received
a more formal condemnation on two separate occasions: first, when the
Attorney General, in an elaborate opinion, declared that a colored
person was a citizen of the United States;[217] and, secondly, when
the Supreme Court of the United States admitted a colored person as a
counsellor at its bar.[218] We all thought this decision dead, and the
whole practice of the Government was altered accordingly. Passports
were issued to colored persons as citizens, and licenses to enter into
the country trade were awarded to colored persons as citizens. For the
time being that ill-begotten decision was practically dead.

But now it is once more alive. Bursting the cerements of the grave, it
again stalks into this Chamber to fright us from our propriety. Not
now from the Supreme Court does it come, but from the President. That
public opinion which did not hesitate to condemn the Supreme Court
cannot hesitate now to condemn the President.

The veto does not undertake to declare precisely that colored
persons are not citizens under the Constitution, but it forbids all
legislation positively declaring this citizenship. It is the Dred
Scott decision in a new draught. It is the same thing, only with a
new shake of the kaleidoscope. You cannot adopt this veto without
practically overturning the recent practice of the Government, and
setting aside that opinion of Attorney-General Bates which is one of
the most illustrious acts in the Administration of President Lincoln.
For myself, I have always regarded that production as of the first
importance in our recent history. The future historian, as he records
the events by which the Republic has been elevated, must dwell with
pride upon that simple act, where a single officer of the Government
did so much to fix the liberties of a race.

I have said that this veto revives the Dred Scott decision. It does
more. It is bad to revive the worst decision in our history; but this
veto practically sets aside one of the best decisions in our history.
I refer to the case of _M’Culloch_ v. _Bank of Maryland_, where our
great magistrate, Chief Justice Marshall, expended all his marvellous
talent in expounding the powers of Congress under the Constitution. In
all the annals of the Supreme Court there is no decision more carefully
considered or wrought with a finer skill. In this remarkable judgment
it has been positively declared, that, where the Constitution confers
upon Congress certain powers, it is within the discretion of Congress
to determine when and how they shall be exercised. Here are the precise

    “The government which has a right to do an act, and has imposed
    on it the duty of performing that act, must, according to
    the dictates of reason, be allowed to select the means; and
    those who contend that it may not select _any appropriate
    means_, that one particular mode of effecting the object is
    excepted, take upon themselves the burden of establishing
    that exception.… Let the end be legitimate, let it be within
    the scope of the Constitution, and _all means_ which are
    appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are
    not prohibited, but consist with the letter and spirit of the
    Constitution, are constitutional.”[219]

According to this authoritative text, Congress must determine the
“means” it will employ in the exercise of its powers. But this veto
pretends to despoil Congress of this discretion.

In the exercise of its discretion, Congress has undertaken to assure
civil rights to colored persons. It has been moved to this especially
in pursuance of the second clause of the Thirteenth Amendment, where
it is empowered to enforce the prohibition of Slavery by appropriate
legislation. The present bill is regarded as essential to enforce the
prohibition of Slavery, and Congress, in the exercise of its discretion
under the Constitution, has passed it. But the veto comes to arrest
this discretion. So far as its influence goes, it will neutralize and
nullify the great Amendment by which Slavery has been abolished. It
leaves the letter in the Constitution, but it takes away the powers by
which that letter is made a living soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have said enough to condemn the veto. I have shown, first, that
it revives a most odious judgment, and, secondly, that it subverts
a received rule of interpretation, and degrades that Constitutional
Amendment which is the glory of our recent history. But I go further.




    March 2d, the Board of Aldermen of Boston adopted unanimously
    the following resolution, which was communicated to Mr. Sumner
    by the Mayor.

        “_Resolved_, That we deem it fitting time to express
        our profound sense of the eminent loyalty, patriotism,
        and statesmanship of our distinguished Senator, Charles
        Sumner,--to acknowledge the measureless debt of gratitude
        which the Commonwealth and the nation owe him for his wise
        counsels and constant and efficient services in this great
        struggle to establish justice and to secure the prosperity
        of the Union,--and our indignant conviction of the utter
        falsehood of any accusation, no matter by whom made, which
        likens him, either in theory or practice, to the traitor
        chiefs of the Rebellion, or which charges him with any
        lack of devotion or loyalty to that great cause of Freedom
        and Nationality which he has watched with such untiring
        vigilance and served with such masterly ability.

        “_Resolved_, That a copy of this resolution be forwarded by
        his Honor the Mayor to Mr. Sumner.”

    This resolution was plainly aimed at President Johnson on
    account of his speech of February 22d.[220]

    In reply Mr. Sumner wrote:--

                                                    SENATE CHAMBER,
                                                     March 5, 1866.

  DEAR SIR,--I have been honored by your communication of March 2d,
  covering a resolution of the Board of Aldermen of the city of
  Boston, expressing in most flattering terms the good feelings of
  the Board toward me.

  I have read with pride and gratification this emphatic token
  of confidence and regard. Coming as it does from the highest
  functionaries of the city where I was born, educated, and have
  always had my home, it has a value of its own. It is precious as
  the approbation of friends and neighbors.

  While disclaiming all title to the praise so generously accorded
  for the services I have been able to render in the discharge
  of public duties, I have no hesitation in claiming for myself
  such credit as may come from early, faithful, and persistent
  devotion to the principles of Republican Government, and
  especially to those ideas which from the beginning have been the
  glory of Massachusetts. For these principles and these ideas
  I have labored, and I shall continue to labor so long as life
  lasts. If at any moment I could hesitate, your words would be
  an encouragement to constancy. And permit me to add, the result
  cannot be doubtful. Even through the present darkness it is
  plainly visible.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Please tender to the Board of Aldermen my best thanks for the
  honor they have done me, and believe me, Mr. Mayor, with much

      Your faithful fellow-citizen,


  HON. F. W. LINCOLN, JR., Mayor, &c.




    This second speech was in continuation of the debate on the
    proposed Constitutional Amendment, and in reply to those who
    had spoken after Mr. Sumner, especially Mr. Fessenden. The
    history of the debate and its result appear in the Appendix to
    the speech of February 5th and 6th.[221]

MR. PRESIDENT,--I hesitate to intrude again into this debate, which
now, after the interposition of another debate on another question, is
again renewed. I do it with unfeigned reluctance, and I hope not to
trespass too much on your patience.

The question before us, even in its simplest form, is of incalculable
importance; but it has added interest, as opening the whole vast
subject of Reconstruction. Into this field I shall not be tempted,
except to express a brief opinion on the general principles we should
seek to establish. Treason must be made odious, and to this end power
should be secured to loyal fellow-citizens. In doing this, two
indispensable conditions cannot be forgotten: first, all who have been
untrue to the Republic must, for a certain time, constituting the
_transition period_, be excluded from the partnership of government;
and, secondly, all who have been true to the Republic must be admitted
into the partnership of government, according to the sovereign rule
of the Constitution, which knows no distinction of color. Following
these two simple commandments, there will be safety and peace, together
with power and renown; neglecting these two simple commandments, there
must be peril and distraction, together with imbecility and dishonor.
In the one way, Reconstruction is easy; in the other way, it is in
any just sense impossible. It may seem for the moment to succeed;
but it must fail in the end. This is all I have to say at present on
Reconstruction, and I turn at once to the precise question before us.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pardon me, Sir, if I remind you that there are two modes of debate.
One is to attack the previous speaker with personality of criticism
or manner. The other is to speak plainly on the question, and to deal
directly, according to your convictions, with the principles involved.
Sometimes the two modes are allowed to intermingle. If ever there was
occasion when the first should be carefully avoided, when the question
alone should be handled, and not the previous speaker, when attention
should be directed exclusively to principles involved, and not to any
subordinate point of mere form, it is now, when we are asked to insert
a new provision in the Constitution, fixing the basis of political
power at the expense of fellow-citizens counted by millions. In this
spirit I shall try to speak. To my mind, the occasion is too solemn for
personal controversy, and I shall not be drawn into it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The proposition before you is the most important ever brought into
Congress, unless, perhaps, we except the Amendment abolishing Slavery;
and to my mind it is the most reprehensible. The sentiment which
inspired us to hail the abolition of Slavery with gratitude, as the
triumph of justice, should make us reject with indignation a device
to crystallize into organic law the disfranchisement of a race. With
intense regret I differ from valued friends about me, but I cannot
do otherwise. I bespeak in advance their candor, and most cheerfully
concede to all from whom I differ the indulgence which I claim for
myself. With me there is no alternative. Seeing this proposition as I
do, I must speak frankly, as on other occasions, in exposing the crime
against Kansas, or the infamy of that enactment which turned the whole
North into a hunting-ground where man was the game. The attempt now
is on a larger scale, if not more essentially bad. Such a measure,
so obnoxious to every argument of reason, justice, and feeling, so
perilous to the national peace, and so injurious to the good name
of the Republic, must be encountered as a public enemy. There is no
language which can adequately depict its character. Thinking of it, I
am reminded of words of Chatham, where he held up to undying judgment
a barbarous measure of the British Ministry. The Englishman did not
hesitate, nor did he tame his words, but exclaimed:--

    “I am astonished, shocked, to hear such principles
    confessed,--to hear them avowed in this House, or in this
    country,--principles equally unconstitutional, inhuman, and
    un-christian.… I call upon your Lordships and the united powers
    of the State to stamp upon them an indelible stigma of the
    public abhorrence.”

Then, rising to still higher flight, he cried out:--

    “My Lords, I am old and weak, and at present unable to say
    more; but my feelings and indignation were too strong to
    have said less. I could not have slept this night in my bed,
    nor reposed my head on my pillow, without giving this vent
    to my eternal abhorrence of such preposterous and enormous

But what was the measure which thus aroused the veteran orator,
compared with that before us? It was only a transient act of wrong,
small in proportions. Here is an act of wrong permanent in influence,
colossal in proportions, operating in an extensive region, affecting
millions of citizens, positively endangering the peace of the country,
and covering its name with dishonor. Such is the character of the
present attempt. I exhibit it as I see it. Others may not see it so. Of
course, its supporters cannot see it so. The British Ministry did not
see the measure which Chatham denounced as he saw it, and as history
now sees it. Senators would not support the present proposition, if
they thought it disgraceful; nor would the British Ministry have
supported that earlier proposition, had they thought it disgraceful.
Unhappily, they did not think it so; but I trust you will be warned by
their example.

With the eloquence of Chatham, another also from his place in the House
of Lords held up to reprobation that apprentice system which, under
the sanction of both Houses of Parliament, followed Emancipation in
the British West Indies. I refer to Brougham. He did not hesitate to
exclaim, “Prodigious, portentous injustice!” And then, continuing, he
denounced it as “the gross, the foul, the outrageous, the monstrous,
the incredible injustice of which we are daily and hourly guilty
towards the whole of the ill-fated African race.”[223] But how small
the injustice which aroused his reprobation, compared with that you are
asked to perpetuate in Constitutional Law! The wrong he arraigned was
against eight hundred thousand persons in distant islands, to whom the
people of Great Britain were bound by no peculiar ties, and who were to
them only fellow-men. The wrong I now arraign is against four million
persons, constituting a considerable portion of the “people” of the
United States, to whom we are bound by ties of gratitude, and who are
to us fellow-citizens.

From the moment I heard this proposition first read at the desk I have
not been able to think of it without pain. The reflection that it
may find place in the National Constitution, or even that it may be
sanctioned by Congress, is intolerable. And this becomes more so, when
I call to mind the circumstances by which we are surrounded and the
exigency of the hour.

Lord Bacon tells us that the highest function which men can be called
to perform on earth is that of founders of states, or, as he expresses
it, _conditores imperiorum_.[224] Such is our present duty. We are to
help in this great work by a fundamental provision fixing the basis of
our political system for an indefinite future. There are none among the
great lawgivers of history who have had a sublimer task.

This duty is enhanced, when we consider that it is the consequence and
sequel of an unparalleled war. At a moment of peace such a duty would
be commanding; but it is now reinforced by exceptional considerations
arising from the exceptional condition of affairs. For four years,
Rebellion, of the greatest magnitude known to authentic history,
raged among us, threatening to rend the Republic in twain. Millions
of treasure were sacrificed. Lives more precious than any treasure
were heaped in hecatombs. Families were filled with mourning. In the
terrible struggle, while the country was bleeding at every pore and
the scales of battle hung doubtful, assistance came from an unexpected
quarter. Intermixed with the false men who warred on the Republic
were nearly four million slaves, shut out from rights of all kinds,
and compelled to do the bidding of masters. These slaves became our
benefactors. They were kind to our captive soldiers, sheltering them,
feeding them, supplying their wants, and guiding them to safety. Thus
in the very heart of the Rebellion there was a filial throb for the
Republic. At last arms were put into their hands, and two hundred
thousand brave allies, representatives of an unmustered host, leaped
forward in defence of the national cause. The Republic was saved. The
Rebellion was at an end. Meanwhile the good President who at that time
guided our affairs put forth his immortal Proclamation, declaring that
these slaves “are and henceforward shall be free”; and not stopping
with this declaration, he proceeded to announce that “the Executive
Government of the United States, including the military and naval
authorities thereof, will recognize and _maintain_ the freedom of said
persons.” Thus was the Republic solemnly pledged to these benefactors,
first, by ties of gratitude that should be enduring, and, secondly, by
an open promise in the face of the civilized world. And this pledge
was taken up and adopted by the people of the United States, when, by
Constitutional Amendment, they expressly empowered Congress to maintain
this freedom by appropriate legislation.

And now, Sir, called to readjust the foundations of political power,
which are naturally changed by the disappearance of Slavery, and
called also to perform sacred promises to benefactors, in harmony with
sacred promises of our fathers, while at the same time we save the
name of the Republic from dishonor and see that the national peace is
not imperilled, Congress is about to liquidate all these inviolable
obligations by a new compromise of Human Rights, and, so far as it
can, to place this compromise in the text of the Constitution, thus
establishing a false foundation of political power, violating the
national faith, dishonoring the name of Republic, and imperilling the
national peace. Others have dwelt on the inadequacy of this attempt,
even for its avowed purposes. This is plain. Conceived in a desire to
do indirectly what ought to be done directly, it must naturally share
the conditions of such a device.

Looking at the proposition in its most general aspect, it reminds me,
if you will pardon the illustration, of that leg of mutton, served
for dinner on the road from London to Oxford, which Dr. Johnson, with
characteristic pungency, described “as bad as bad could be,--ill-fed,
ill-killed, ill-kept, and ill-dressed.”[225] So this measure--I adopt
the saying of an eminent friend, who insists that it cannot be called
an “amendment,” but rather a “detriment,” to the Constitution--is as
bad as bad can be; and even for its avowed purpose uncertain, loose,
cracked, and rickety. _Regarding it as a proposition from Congress
to meet the unparalleled exigencies of the hour_, it is no better
than the “muscipular abortion” sent into the world by the “parturient
mountain.”[226] But only when we look at the chance of good is it
“muscipular.” In every other aspect it is gigantic, inasmuch as it
makes the Constitution a well-spring of insupportable thraldom, and
once more lifts the sluices of blood destined to run until it rises to
the horse’s bridle. Adopt it, and you put millions of fellow-citizens
under the ban of excommunication, you hand them over to a new anathema
maranatha, you declare that they have no _political_ rights “which
the white man is bound to respect,”--thus repeating in new form the
abomination that has blackened the name of Taney. Adopt it, and you
stimulate anew the war of race upon race. Slavery itself was a war of
race upon race, and this is only a new form of the terrible war. The
proposition is as hardy as gigantic; for it takes no account of the
moral sense of mankind, which is the same as if in rearing a monument
we took no account of the law of gravitation. It is the paragon and
master-piece of ingratitude, showing more than any other act of history
what is so often charged and we so fondly deny, that republics are
ungrateful. The freedmen ask for bread, and you send them a stone.
With piteous voice they ask for protection; you thrust them back
defenceless into the cruel den of former masters. Such an attempt,
thus bad as bad can be, thus abortive for all good, thus perilous,
thus pregnant with a war of race upon race, thus shocking to the moral
sense, and thus treacherous to those whom we are bound to protect,
cannot be otherwise than shameful.

I shall not content myself with describing the device. This is not
enough. You have seen it in its general character only. You shall see
it now in its guilty parts, each one of which is sufficient to arouse
the conscience against it.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. Of course you cannot fail to be struck by its language. Here words
become things. In express terms there is _admission of the idea of
Inequality of Rights founded on race or color_. That this unrepublican
idea should be allowed to find place in the text of the Constitution
must excite especial wonder, when it is considered how conscientiously
our fathers excluded from that text the kindred idea of property in
man. The saying of Mr. Madison cannot be too often repeated:--

    “He thought it _wrong_ to admit in the Constitution the idea
    that there could be property in men.”[227]

But is it less wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea of
Inequality of Rights founded on race or color? Surely the authors of
this proposition have acted inconsiderately and with little regard to
the spirit of the Fathers. Imagine it introduced into the Convention
which framed the Constitution. Not many words would have been used;
but evidently it would have found no place in that text, which, with
pious care, was to be guarded against degradation. And now mark the
change. After the lapse of generations, when our obligations have
increased with increasing light, at an epoch of history when mankind
are more than ever before sensitive to the claims of human rights,
and when among ourselves there is more than ever before a desire and
a duty to fulfil all the promises of the Declaration of Independence,
we are invited to make the Constitution disown the Declaration of
Independence, insult the conscience of mankind, and disregard all the
obligations pressing upon us. But this is a mild way of stating the
character of the attempt plainly apparent in the words. Its essential
uncleanness is not disclosed. Adopt this proposition, and you will
imitate those ancient birds who defiled the feast that was spread. The
Constitution is the feast spread for our country, and you hurry to drop
into its text a political obscenity, and to diffuse over its page a
disgusting ordure,--

                          “Defiling all you find,
    And parting leave a loathsome stench behind.”[228]

Only by plain language can this attempt be adequately exposed. Only
in this way can it be seen in its true character. Only in this way
can you be moved to shrink from it with proper repugnance. In this
spirit the religious press of the country is beginning to speak. The
Boston “Recorder,” the most venerable of all the religious papers of
New England, and perhaps of the whole country, which for more than
half a century has been a weekly teacher at uncounted firesides, thus
solemnly appeals to the conscience of patriots and of statesmen:--

    “The proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the United
    States, which passed the House of Representatives last week by
    a vote of 120 to 46, will, if it should become the fundamental
    law of the land, _inflict upon our free institutions greater
    infamy than anything contained in our written Constitution_.
    There are things there which were sufficiently disgraceful in
    their intent and purpose. That the slave-trade should not be
    prohibited before 1808, that three fifths of the slaves should
    be represented in Congress by the votes of their owners, that
    fugitive slaves should be returned to their owners,--these were
    scandalous provisions to which our noble fathers submitted
    only because without them we could have no common national
    existence. But they couched these offensive propositions
    in terms that, on the cessation of Slavery, would have no
    objectionable meaning. This event they anticipated much earlier
    than it has actually occurred. And now that it is a fact, no
    one wishes the clauses of the Constitution to which we have
    alluded to be stricken out.

    “But now it is proposed to ingraft upon this revered instrument
    a principle implying that a State may decree that all men are
    not born equal, and may disfranchise a majority of her citizens
    and their sons and their sons’ sons forever! Good jurists have
    declared that the Constitution, as it now stands, would forbid
    any such State action, and that all constitutions and laws
    disfranchising citizens because of their parentage, color,
    race, or descent, are null and void.… We are not aware of any
    attempt to refute this view with a shadow of success.

    “And now it cannot be that we shall give up our vantage-ground,
    _and stain the triumph_ bought with so much precious blood
    with _a concession which might be turned to so base a use_.

    “Let every patriot, to whom the good name of America is dear,
    bestir himself. Let every Christian who believes that God is no
    respecter of persons, let every father who would not leave to
    his children a legacy of national discord and a birthright in a
    nation yet to bleed in Helot conspiracies, let every statesman
    who believes that even justice is the only sure foundation of
    national tranquillity, arouse himself.”[229]

I have heard somewhere a strange apology for this amendment. It is said
that it is “punitive,” and that the idea of Inequality of Rights is to
be admitted into the Constitution for punishment, and not for sanction.
As well say that the term “three fifths of all other persons” in the
Constitution was “punitive.” It was no such thing. It was a compromise;
and such is the precise character of the present attempt, which, by its
very words, is a plain license to tyranny, in consideration that the
tyrants pay in political power. The primary element, standing out in
“darkness visible,” is the license; the secondary element is the pay.
Here is nothing less than a mighty house that shall be nameless, which
it is proposed to license constitutionally for a consideration. Even
if political power is curtailed, it is only as a consideration for the
license. It is a new sale of “indulgences,” on a larger scale than that
of Tetzel. The latter, returning from Rome into Germany, became vendor
of licenses for adultery, robbery, theft; but the outrage aroused
Martin Luther, and the Reformation began. As well say, that, since pay
was required, therefore the indulgences of Tetzel were “punitive.”

Thus far I have spoken of the attempt only as it appears in its words,
without analyzing it in detail.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. One of its elementary parts and consequences is that _it sanctions
the acknowledged tyranny of taxation without representation_. A
whole race, constituting a considerable part of the people of the
United States, and embraced under the words of the preamble to the
Constitution, “We the people,” are left without representation in the
Government, but nevertheless held within the grasp of taxation, direct
and indirect, tariff and excise, State and National. Sir, this is
tyranny,--or else our fathers were wrong, when they protested against a
kindred injustice. The principle is fundamental. You cannot violate it
without again dishonoring the Fathers.

To the application of this principle there have been two replies:
first, that in its origin it was a claim of representation for
communities only, and not for individuals; and, secondly, that
in its nature it embraces women as well as men. And from these
two considerations it is argued that it cannot be invoked for the
protection of four million people whose only offence is a dark skin.
Even if it had been originally a claim for communities only, and
not for individuals, it is difficult to see how it can be rejected
as a rule in determining the rights of fellow-citizens counted by
millions. Our fathers, when they cried out that taxation without
representation is tyranny, were not more than two millions and a half.
Our fellow-citizens now renewing the same cry are more than four
millions, possessing the weight of numbers, if not of organization. But
it is a mistake to suppose that the original claim was for communities
only, and not for individuals. This is a question of history, to be
considered with the gravity of history, and as such I ask attention to

In opening this debate, I carried you to that Provincial Court in
Massachusetts, where, in assailing Writs of Assistance, James Otis
first launched the thunderbolt, “Taxation without representation is
tyranny.” You remember how careful he was to insist that without
representation there could be no taxation of any kind, direct or
indirect, on land or on trade, and that the representation must be
substantial, real, and not merely imaginary, or, as it was expressed at
that time, “virtual.” In developing this principle, he announced the
equal rights of all, without distinction of color. On this ground he
stood, when he uttered those memorable words, which the whole country
adopted at once with patriotic frenzy, and which I insist you shall not
deny in our organic law.

But, to show more precisely the meaning of Otis, I let him be his own
interpreter. Again and again he asserts the equality of men. This was
his fundamental principle, which on an important occasion he thus
expressed: “The first simple principle is equality and the power of the
whole.”[230] Nor did he allow this to be limited in application by any
distinction of color. John Adams, who was present when the orator first
raised his great cry, says: “Nor were the poor negroes forgotten. Not
a Quaker in Philadelphia, or Mr. Jefferson, of Virginia, ever asserted
the rights of negroes in stronger terms.”[231] Otis, in another form,
assailed directly the distinction of color, saying: “Will short,
curled hair, like wool, instead of Christian hair, as ’tis called
by those whose hearts are as hard as the nether millstone, help the
argument?”[232] Such, then, were his premises,--the equal rights of
all, without distinction of color. From these his conclusion was easy:--

    “The very act of taxing, exercised over those who are not
    represented, appears to me to be depriving them of one of their
    most essential rights as freemen, and, _if continued, seems
    to be, in effect, an entire disfranchisement of every civil
    right_. For what one civil right is worth a rush, after a man’s
    property is subject to be taken from him at pleasure, without
    his consent? If a man is not _his own assessor_, in person or
    by deputy, his liberty is gone, or lays entirely at the mercy
    of others.”[233]

Stronger words for universal suffrage could not be employed. His
argument is, that, if men are taxed without being represented, they are
deprived of essential rights, and the continuance of this deprivation
despoils them of every civil right,--thus making the latter depend
upon the right of suffrage, which by curious neologism is known as
political instead of civil. Then, giving point to his argument, the
patriot insists, that, in determining taxation, “a man must be his
own _assessor_, in person or by deputy,” without which his liberty is
entirely at the mercy of others. Here, again, in different form, is the
original thunderbolt; and the claim is made not merely for communities,
but for “a man.”

Such a principle naturally encountered opposition at that time, even as
now in this Chamber; but Otis was ready at all points. To the argument,
that Manchester, Birmingham, and Sheffield, like America, returned no
members to Parliament, he flashed forth in reply:--

    “If they are not represented, they ought to be. _Every man of a
    sound mind should have his vote._”

And then again, taking up the reply, he exclaimed:--

    “Lord Coke declares that it is against Magna Charta, and
    against the franchises of the land, for freemen to be taxed but
    by their own consent.”[234]

Thus does he interpret again the flaming words, “Taxation without
representation is tyranny.”

But, while thus positive, there is reason to believe that Otis so far
yielded to prevailing sentiment, and especially to the opinions of
Harrington, whose “Oceana” was much read at that time, as sometimes
to recognize property in determining the basis of political power. On
one occasion he said that Government could not be “rightfully founded
on property alone,” thus seeming to intimate that property might enter
into the foundation, although, as he derisively remarks, “the possessor
of it may not have much more wit than a mole or a musquash.”[235] But
it was doubtless obvious to his clear intelligence that a claim of
power founded on property was very different from a claim of power
founded on color. Property may be acquired; but color, from its
nature, is an insurmountable condition. The original Constitution of
Massachusetts recognized property as an element of political power; but
it rejected all discrimination founded on color. If, therefore, under
the maxim of Otis, there may be discrimination founded on property,
most clearly, according to reason and early practice, there can be
none founded on color; so that at the present hour his maxim is of
vital force as a claim, not merely for the community, but for the
individual. Let the country now, as aforetime, take it up and repeat it
until it becomes the watchword of patriotism.

But Otis was not the only interpreter of this maxim of Liberty. The
Legislature of Massachusetts, on repeated occasions, made the same
claim. In solemn resolutions, drawn by Samuel Adams, and adopted
unanimously, it declared, in substance, that, “by the Law of Nature, no
man has a right to impose laws more than to levy taxes upon another”;
that “the freeman pays no tax, as the freeman submits to no law, but
such as emanates from the body in which he is represented.”[236] Surely
this claim is not merely for the community, but for the individual
freeman also.

Virginia was not behind Massachusetts. In her Declaration of Rights,
drawn by that determined patriot, George Mason, and adopted June 12,
1776, anterior to the Declaration of Independence, is the following
emphatic claim:--

    “All men having sufficient evidence of permanent common
    interest with and attachment to the community _have the right
    of suffrage, and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property
    for public uses without their own consent_ or that of their
    representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they
    have not in like manner assented for the public good.”[237]

Here again the claim is not merely for the community, but for “all
men,” and it is set forth thus positively in a Declaration of Rights.

And now listen to Benjamin Franklin. I quote a statement found
among his papers, and placed by his excellent editor under date of
1768-9, while the Colonists were echoing the cry, “Taxation without
representation is tyranny.”

    “That _every man_ of the commonalty, excepting infants, insane
    persons, and criminals, is of common right, and by the laws of
    God, a freeman, and entitled to the free enjoyment of liberty.

    “_That liberty or freedom, consists in having an actual share
    in the appointment of those who frame the laws_, and who are to
    be the guardians of every man’s life, property, and peace; for
    the _all_ of one man is as dear to him as the _all_ of another,
    and the poor man has an _equal_ right, but _more_ need, to have
    representatives in the Legislature than the rich one.

    “That they who have no voice nor vote in the electing of
    representatives _do not enjoy liberty, but are absolutely
    enslaved to those who have votes and to their representatives_;
    for to be enslaved is to have governors whom _other men
    have set over us_, and be subject to laws _made by the
    representatives of others_, without having had representatives
    of our own to give consent in our behalf.”[238]

Here is no claim for communities merely, but expressly for “every man,”
including especially “the poor man,” and without distinction of color.

This American testimony is fitly crowned by the Declaration of
Independence, which, beginning with the proclamation that “all men
are created equal,” proceeds to assert that governments “derive their
just powers from the consent of the governed.” Here again is no claim
for communities, but for “all men”; and this is the most authoritative
interpretation of the original claim thundered forth by Otis, and
echoed throughout the land. It is idle to show that in certain
instances the Fathers failed to apply the sublime principles they
declared. Their failure can be no apology for us, on whom the duty is
now cast.

But there is still another interpreter. The maxim of Otis was not
original with him. It is found in the writings of John Locke, so
remarkable for masculine sense and an exalted love of liberty. On a
former occasion I adduced his authority, which is plain and positive.
Pardon me, if I call attention to it once more. After asserting that
Government cannot take the property of any one without his own consent,
being the consent of the majority, the philosopher thus expresses

    “For, if any one shall claim a power to lay and levy taxes on
    the people by his own authority _and without such consent of
    the people_, he thereby invades the fundamental law of property
    and subverts the end of government; for what property have I
    in that which another may by right take, when he pleases, to

Mr. Hallam, commenting on this text, does not hesitate to say, that it
“in some measure seems to charge with usurpation all the established
governments of Europe,”--that “neither the Revolution of 1688 nor the
administration of William the Third could have borne the test by which
Locke has tried the legitimacy of government.”[240]

A later English writer, Mr. Tremenheere, commenting also on this text,
sets forth its two propositions as follows: “First, that a political
society can only be bound by the act of the majority; second, that
taxation without representation is tyranny.”[241] Such are the two
propositions this English writer finds in Locke, and which he cites
for condemnation. Thus, if we repair with Otis to the very source from
which he drew, we find that there was no claim for communities merely,
but for the individual man, without distinction of color.

Mr. Bright, our English friend, in one of his admirable speeches,[242]
has recently furnished an additional illustration. He has brought to
light a resolution from no less an authority than Lord Somers, on an
important occasion, kindred to the present, when it was proposed to
disfranchise all who were not of the Established Church, as it is now
proposed to disfranchise all who are not of a certain color. Speaking
for the House of Lords, in conference with the Commons, this great
constitutional lawyer insisted:--

    “That though the Lords allow that no man hath a place by
    birthright, or but few such examples in our Government, yet
    that _giving a vote for a Representative in Parliament is
    the essential privilege whereby every Englishman preserves
    his property_, and that whatsoever deprives him of such vote
    deprives him of his birthright.”[243]

Here again is the very cry of Otis; and you cannot fail to observe that
the claim is not for communities merely, but for “every Englishman,”
without distinction of color.

Surely this is enough. But it is said that the claim is as applicable
to women as to men, especially where women are tax-payers. To this I
reply, that Locke, Somers, Otis, and Franklin, in making the claim, did
not give it any such extent, and the question which I submit is simply
as to their meaning in the words “Taxation without representation is
tyranny.” Clearly their claim was for _men_, believing, as they did,
that _women_ were represented through men; and it is hardly candid to
embarrass the present debate, involving the rights of an oppressed
race, by another question entirely independent. In saying that the
claim was for men, I content myself with the authority of Theophilus
Parsons, afterward the eminent Chief Justice of Massachusetts, who,
in a masterly state-paper, known as the “Essex Result,” which was
the prelude to the Constitution of Massachusetts, thus discloses the
opinion of the Fathers on this precise point:--

    “Every freeman, who hath sufficient discretion, should have
    a voice in the election of his legislators.… All the members
    of the State are qualified to make the election, unless they
    have not sufficient discretion, or are so situated as to
    have no wills of their own. Persons not twenty-one years old
    are deemed of the former class, from their want of years and
    experience.… Women, what age soever they are of, are also
    considered as not having a sufficient acquired discretion,--not
    from a deficiency in their mental powers, but from the natural
    tenderness and delicacy of their minds, their retired mode of
    life, and various domestic duties. These, concurring, prevent
    that promiscuous intercourse with the world which is necessary
    to qualify them for electors. Slaves are of the latter class,
    and have no wills.”[244]

The reasons assigned for the exclusion of women may be very
unsatisfactory; but they show at least that the Fathers, when insisting
that taxation and representation must go together, did not regard
women, any more than minors, within the sphere of this commanding
principle. And here I leave this head of the argument, concluding as I
began, that you cannot adopt this pretended Amendment without setting
at defiance the great maxim of constitutional liberty which was the
rallying cry of our fathers.

       *       *       *       *       *

3. Continuing the dissection, I exhibit this proposition as a new form
of _concession to State Rights_. Such it is plainly on its face; such
it is in reality; and the more you examine it, the more complete the
concession appears. Already it has been announced as such by those who
seek to commend it in quarters of doubtful loyalty. Here, for instance,
is a speech of Hon. John E. King, claimant of a seat in Congress from
Louisiana, only a few days ago addressed to the Legislature of his
State, where, after calling attention to the present attempt, he exults
in what seemed to him the prospect of its adoption:--

    “The present Congress is proceeding to amend without the
    eleven States that are unrepresented in that body. _However,
    there is some good in all this evil._ If this Amendment should
    pass,--and the speaker said that himself and colleagues had no
    doubt that it would,--it will settle forever the right of the
    States to legislate, each for itself, as to who shall be the
    voters therein.”[245]

Thus, while deprecating Amendments to the Constitution in the absence
of the eleven Rebel States, the partisan of State Rights is reconciled
to the pending proposition, inasmuch as it is a triumph of this
sectional pretension. Alas, that now, at the close of a rebellion in
the name of State Rights, we should be considering calmly how to assure
this pernicious heresy new support in the Constitution itself!

Let me be understood. I suggest no interference with the just rights
of the States. These belong to the harmonies of the Union. But, in the
name of Justice, I insist that nothing further shall be done to invest
the States with peculiar local power. If not taught by the lessons
of the late war, then be taught by the principles avowed at the very
beginning of the Government.

The object of the Constitution was to ordain, under authority of
the people, a national government possessing unity and power. The
Confederation had been merely an agreement “between the States,”
styled “a league of firm friendship.” Found to be feeble and
inoperative, through the pretension of State Rights, it gave way to
the Constitution, which, instead of a “league,” created a “Union” in
the name of the people of the United States. Beginning with these
inspiring and enacting words, “We, the people,” it was popular and
national. Here was no concession to State Rights, but a recognition
of the power of the people, from whom the Constitution proceeded. The
States are acknowledged; but they are all treated as component parts of
the Union in which they are absorbed under the National Constitution,
which is the supreme law. There is but one sovereignty, and that is the
sovereignty of the people of the United States.

On this very account the adoption of the Constitution was opposed
by Patrick Henry and George Mason. The first pronounced: “That this
is a consolidated government is demonstrably clear.” “The question
turns on that poor little thing, the expression, ‘We, the people,’
instead of ‘the States’ of America.”[246] The second exclaimed:
“Whether the Constitution be good or bad, the present clause [‘We,
the people’] clearly discovers that it is a national government, and
no longer a confederation.”[247] But against this powerful opposition
the Constitution was adopted in the name of the people of the United
States. Throughout the discussion, State Rights were treated with
little favor. Madison said, the States were “only political societies,”
and “never possessed the essential rights of sovereignty.”[248]
Gerry said, the States had “only corporate rights.”[249] Wilson, the
philanthropic member from Pennsylvania, afterward a learned judge of
the Supreme Court of the United States, and author of the “Lectures on
Law,” said: “Will a regard to State Rights justify the sacrifice of the
Rights of Men? If we proceed on any other foundation than the last, our
building will neither be solid nor lasting.”[250] Such were the voices
at that heroic day. And now, at the end of an unparalleled war to abase
State Rights, we are asked to naturalize in the Constitution a new
provision confirming to the States an odious pretension, shocking to
the moral sense. But its character belongs to another head.

       *       *       *       *       *

4. Proceeding with the dissection, I now exhibit the proposition,
not only as a concession to State Rights, which is admitted by a
Louisiana supporter, but, if unhappily adopted, as the _constitutional
recognition of an Oligarchy, Aristocracy, Caste, and Monopoly founded
on color_. All this appears on the face; and as you examine it, the
intolerable consequence becomes still more apparent. Thus far we have
been saved from such shame. The proposition before us assumes that
the elective franchise may be denied or abridged constitutionally on
account of race or color, and thus sanctions the usurpation,--thereby
investing those who deny or abridge it with exclusive political
control, without regard to number, though they may be a minority
or even a small fraction of the people. What, Sir, is this rancid
pretension, if it be not an oligarchy, aristocracy, caste, and monopoly
founded on color, under sanction of the Constitution? It is all these
together, having beyond question the distinctive features of each and
the distinctive discredit of each,--therefore odious in government,
odious in religion, odious in economy, and altogether constituting an
outrageous indecency.

It is idle to say that this is done already in the States. It may be
done _in fact_. But now you propose to give this criminal fact the
support of the Constitution, and lift it into perpetual vigor.

The country has been harassed and degraded for generations by the Slave
Power, which was nothing but an oligarchy, aristocracy, caste, and
monopoly; and now, when this power has been overcome in battle, it is
proposed to inaugurate it anew, with slight change of name, but with
the same field of action, and the same malignant spirit to wield its
energies. By your concession it tyrannized before, and now by your
concession it will tyrannize again. The citizens it once trampled on as
slaves it will continue to trample on as outcasts, and it will set up
your permission emblazoned in the Constitution itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

5. Proceeding with this proposition, I exhibit it as petrifying in the
Constitution the wretched _pretension of a white man’s government_. At
this moment, when we are striking the word “white” from the national
statutes, when this word has disappeared even from Post-Office laws,
when, by a vote of the House of Representatives, it has been condemned
in the laws regulating the elective franchise in the District of
Columbia, it is proposed to insert an equivalent in the Constitution
itself. To exhibit this shame is surely enough to make you turn away
from it. Do not say that this is not proposed. What is the concession
that the elective franchise may be denied or abridged “on account of
race or color” but an insertion of the word “white” in the National
Constitution? In that text, as it still stands, from beginning to end,
from the preamble to the signature of George Washington, or the last
word of the last Amendment, there is no recognition of “color.” For the
sake of decency, keep it so.

       *       *       *       *       *

6. Proceeding still further with the proposition, I exhibit it as
assuming, what is false in Constitutional Law, _that color can be a
qualification for an elector_. The Constitution says that “the electors
in each State shall have the _qualifications_ requisite for electors
of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature.” Of course this
leaves open the question, What is meant by “qualifications”? But this
word must be interpreted in the light of the Constitution, which knows
no “color,” and again in the light of the Declaration of Independence,
which knows no “color,” and yet again in the light of common sense,
which refuses to recognize “color” as a “qualification,” in any just
sense of the term. Consult the dictionaries of the day, and you will
find it means “fitness,” “ability,” “accomplishment,” “the state of
being qualified”; but it does not mean “color.” It is applicable to
the conditions of age, residence, character, education, property, and
the payment of taxes; but it cannot be applicable to “color.” The
English dictionaries most in vogue at the time of our fathers were
those of Bailey and Johnson. According to Bailey, who was the earliest,
“qualification” is defined:--

    “(1.) That which fits any person or thing for any particular

    “(2.) A particular faculty or endowment, an accomplishment.”

According to Johnson, who is the highest authority, it is defined:--

    “(1.) That which makes any person or thing fit for anything.”

    “EXAMPLE.--It is in the power of the prince to make piety and
    virtue become the fashion, if he would make them necessary
    _qualifications_ for preferment.--SWIFT.”

    “(2.) Accomplishment.”

    “EXAMPLE.--Good _qualifications_ of mind enable a magistrate
    to perform his duty, and tend to create a public esteem of

According to these definitions “qualification” means “fitness” or
“accomplishment,” and according to examples from classical writers it
means qualities like “piety” and “virtue,” or like “mind.” Obviously
it cannot embrace color, which is a physical condition, insurmountable
in nature. An insurmountable condition is not a _qualification_, but
a _disfranchisement_. As well say that the quality of the hair or the
length of the foot should be a “qualification,” as the color of the
skin. The whole pretension is one of the false glosses fastened upon
the National Constitution by Slavery, which must now be sloughed off.

       *       *       *       *       *

7. Again, I exhibit the proposition as positively _tying the hands of
Congress in its interpretation of a republican government_, so that,
under the guaranty clause, it must recognize an oligarchy, aristocracy,
caste, and monopoly founded on color, with the tyranny of taxation
without representation, as _republican in character_, which I insist
they are not. At present the hands of Congress are not tied. Congress
is free to act generously, nobly, truly, according to the highest
idea of a republic, discountenancing all inequality of rights and the
tyranny of taxation without representation. Let this pretension find
place in the Constitution, and the guaranty clause will be restricted
in operation. The two clauses taken together, as they must be, will
read substantially: “The United States shall guaranty to every State in
this Union a republican form of government: it being understood that
the denial or abridgment of the elective franchise on account of race
or color, and the tyranny of taxation without representation, are not
inconsistent with a republican government.” In other words the denial
or abridgment of the elective franchise on account of race or color,
and the tyranny of taxation without representation, will be recognized
in the Constitution as republican in character. Of course all attempt
to enforce this guaranty against an oligarchy, aristocracy, caste, and
monopoly founded on color, or against the tyranny of taxation without
representation, will be from this time impossible. The precious power
now existing will be lost forever.

       *       *       *       *       *

8. Again, I exhibit the proposition as _positively tying the hands of
Congress in completing and consummating the abolition of Slavery_.
By the second clause of the recent Constitutional Amendment Congress
is expressly empowered to “enforce” the abolition of Slavery by
“appropriate legislation.” Accordingly, the Senate, by what is known
as the Civil Rights Bill, has already undertaken to establish equality
of civil rights in all the States and Territories, so that hereafter,
in our courts at least, there shall be no discrimination of color. It
was justly insisted that such “legislation” is needed to “enforce”
the abolition of Slavery, and on this account is constitutional. The
Senate acted accordingly. The bill has passed this body by more than
a two-thirds vote. Obviously by the same title equality in political
rights can be established also under this Amendment, if such equality
shall be deemed important to “enforce” the abolition of Slavery, or, in
other words, to complete and consummate the good work. In the exercise
of a granted power Congress is sole judge of the “means” it employs;
and this conclusion is sustained not only by reason, but by the Supreme
Court of the United States in solemn judgments. You will remember the
familiar precedents, which I insist are decisive. And now, in the face
of these judgments, in the face of reason, and with the authoritative
precedent of the Senate establishing equality of civil rights before
us, it is proposed to insert in the Constitution a provision despoiling
Congress of its power under the Constitutional Amendment, so that
hereafter that Amendment, which should be interpreted generously and to
advance Liberty, will be changed so as to read: “Congress shall have
power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation: it being
understood that it shall not interfere for this purpose with any denial
or abridgment of the elective franchise in any State on account of race
or color.” Thus again will a beneficent power be lost at a moment when
all is needed for the safety and renown of the Republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

9. Again, I exhibit this proposition as _installing recent rebels to
govern loyal citizens_ under sanction of the Constitution. The ruling
class began and sustained the Rebellion. The citizens you disfranchise
were loyal, and some of them poured out their red blood for the
Republic; and yet we are asked to intrench this ruling class in the
Constitution, so that they can wield unchecked power, while loyal
millions are humbled at their feet. The bare statement offends reason
and conscience.

Pray, who may justly look to the Republic for protection? Is it the
rebel or the loyal? Is it the citizen who has caused all your woes,
and now gnashes his teeth at your triumph,--or is it the citizen who
has watched your flag with sympathetic pride, and now rejoices in your
triumph? Who can hesitate? And yet the proposition before the Senate
gives the palm of power and honor to the rebel class, and fixes this
preëminence in the National Constitution. You cannot say, more than
Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” You are your brother’s keeper; and
you must see that he is saved from cruel oppression.

       *       *       *       *       *

10. And, lastly, I denounce this proposition as a _compromise of human
rights_, the most questionable of any in our history. Persons out of
the Senate have sought to vindicate it, as other compromises in times
past, by representing it as something which it is not. This is done
by exhibiting one side only of the compromise, and thus calling it
“punitive”; as if in 1850 the admission of California, which was one
side of the compromise, had been exhibited, while the unutterable
atrocity of the Fugitive Slave Bill, which was the other side, had been
concealed from view. The present compromise, like other compromises,
has two sides; in other words, it is a concession for a consideration.
On one side it is conceded that the States may, under the Constitution,
exclude citizens counted by the million from the body politic, and
practise the tyranny of taxation without representation, provided, on
the other side, there is a corresponding diminution of representative
power in the lower House of Congress, without, however, touching
the representative power in the Senate. The glaring feature of this
compromise is the criminal concession, constituting the sacrifice of
brave defenders, and even of a whole race, to whom we owe protection.
The consideration is small. It will be forgotten, when the monstrous
concession looms in history as a landmark of dishonor.

There have been other compromises of human rights in times past. But,
considering the grandeur of the occasion, the promises of the Fathers,
the extent of present obligations, the promptings of gratitude, the
demands of public faith, the exigencies of public security, and
the good name of the Republic, all now involved, I am sure that no
compromise so discreditable and disastrous was ever before proposed. A
feeble prototype may be found in that intolerable treaty known as the
Assiento, from which every Englishman turns with a blush, where, at the
end of an unprecedented war, England bartered all that had been won by
the victories of Marlborough for the privilege of supplying slaves to
the Spanish colonies. The slave-trade received solemn sanction, and
England pocketed the dishonest profits,--just as now a kindred offence
on a grander scale is to receive solemn sanction, and we who sanction
it are to pocket the profits in political power. Do not talk, Sir, of
this measure as “punitive,” unless you mean that it is punitive of
benefactors,--for this is the only character it can bear in history. On
a former occasion I entreated you not to copy the example of Pontius
Pilate, who handed over the Saviour of the world, in whom he found
no fault at all, to be scourged and crucified. It is my duty now to
remind you that you go further than Pontius Pilate. He was a mocker
and a jester;[251] but he received nothing for what he did. You do.
Not content with resolving the Senate into a Prætorium, I feel rather
that you imitate Judas, who betrayed the Saviour for thirty pieces of
silver, and imitate the soldiers who appropriated to themselves the
raiment of the Saviour. Do not answer me with a sneer. Has not the
Saviour himself told us that what we do to the least we do to Him?
Ay, Sir, in offering fellow-citizens to be sacrificed, in betraying
them for less than “thirty” Representatives in Congress, and in
appropriating their political raiment, you do all this to the Saviour
himself. Pardon this necessary plainness. I speak for my country,
which I seek to save from dishonor; I speak for fellow-citizens whom I
would save from outrage; and I speak for that public faith and public
security in which is bound up the welfare of all.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, such is the argument for the rejection of this pretended
Amendment. Following it from the beginning, you have seen, first, how
it carries into the Constitution the idea of Inequality of Rights, thus
defiling that unspotted text; secondly, how it is an express sanction
of the acknowledged tyranny of taxation without representation;
thirdly, how it is a concession to State Rights at a moment when we
are recovering from a terrible war waged against us in the name of
State Rights; fourthly, how it is the constitutional recognition of
an oligarchy, aristocracy, caste, and monopoly founded on color;
fifthly, how it petrifies in the Constitution the wretched pretension
of a white man’s government; sixthly, how it assumes, what is false in
Constitutional Law, that color can be a “qualification” for an elector;
seventhly, how it positively ties the hands of Congress in fixing the
meaning of a republican government, so that under the guaranty clause
it will be constrained to recognize an oligarchy, aristocracy, caste,
and monopoly founded on color, together with the tyranny of taxation
without representation, as not inconsistent with such a government;
eighthly, how it positively ties the hands of Congress in completing
and consummating the abolition of Slavery according to the second
clause of the Constitutional Amendment, so that it cannot for this
purpose interfere with the denial of the elective franchise on account
of color; ninthly, how it installs recent rebels in permanent power
over loyal citizens; and, tenthly, how it shows forth its unmistakable
character as a compromise of human rights, the most questionable of any
in our history.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now the question occurs, What shall be done? To this I answer,
Reject at once the pretended Amendment; show it no favor; give it no
quarter. Let the country see that you are impatient of its presence.
But there are other propositions, in the form of substitutes. For any
one of these I can vote. They may differ in efficiency, but there is
nothing in them immoral or shameful. There is, _first_, the proposition
to found representation on voters instead of population, and,
_secondly_, the proposition to secure equality in political rights by
Constitutional Amendment or by Act of Congress.

       *       *       *       *       *

The proposition to found representation on voters instead of population
was originally introduced by me during the last Congress. Almost at
the same time I presented a series of resolutions declaring not only
the power, but 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 should be founded on the
consent of the governed and the equality of all persons before the law.
Thus, while proposing to found representation on voters, I at the same
time asserted the power of Congress under the Constitution to secure
equality in political rights. The proposition with regard to voters
was much discussed during the recess of Congress. At the beginning of
the present session it seemed to find favor. But at last statistics
were adduced tending to show that it would transfer power from Eastern
States to Western States in proportion to the excess of females over
males in the former; and this abnormal circumstance was made an
argument against it. Since then it has given place to the offensive
attempt now pending.

The proposition to found representation on voters instead of population
may be seen, _first_, in what it does not, and, _secondly_, in what it

Seeing it in what it does not, all will confess that it does not
carry into the Constitution itself the idea of Inequality of Rights,
thus defiling that unspotted text; that it gives no sanction to the
acknowledged tyranny of taxation without representation; that it makes
no concession to State Rights, at a moment when we are recovering from
a terrible war waged against us in the name of State Rights; that it
does not recognize an oligarchy, aristocracy, caste, and monopoly
founded on color; that it does not petrify in the Constitution the
wretched pretension of a white man’s government; that it does not
assume, what is false in Constitutional Law, that color can be a
“qualification” for a voter; that it does not positively tie the
hands of Congress in fixing the meaning of a republican government,
so that under the guaranty clause it will be constrained to recognize
an oligarchy, aristocracy, caste, and monopoly founded on color,
together with the tyranny of taxation without representation, as not
inconsistent with such a government; that it does not positively tie
the hands of Congress in completing and consummating the abolition
of Slavery according to the second clause of the Constitutional
Amendment; that it does not install recent rebels in permanent power
over loyal citizens; that it does not show forth in unmistakable
character as a compromise of human rights, the most questionable of any
in our history. All these things, so offensive to the conscience and
the reason, this proposition avoids. In all these respects it is at
least blameless.

On the other hand, without inflicting any stigma upon the Constitution
or upon the Republic, without abandoning any principle, without making
any concession to the States, without tying the hands of Congress, and
without any compromise of human rights, it does rearrange the basis
of representation so as to accomplish all that is proposed even by
the most sanguine supporters of the other attempt, and it does this
effectually, without the opportunity for evasion afforded by the other
proposition. The alleged inequality in operation, owing to excess of
females over males in certain States, may make you hesitate; but better
take representation founded on voters, even with any such alleged
inequality, than do a grievous wrong. Better wrong yourselves than
wrong others.

Let me confess that I was tempted to this proposition by the conviction
that I was carrying out the cherished idea of Massachusetts embodied
in her own Constitution. According to a recent Amendment, the
representation in both branches of the Legislature is founded on “legal
voters,” and not on population. Here are the words.

    “A census of the _legal voters of each city and town_ on the
    first day of May shall be taken and returned into the office of
    the Secretary of the Commonwealth.… The enumeration aforesaid
    shall determine the apportionment of Representatives for the
    periods between the taking of the census.

    “The House of Representatives shall consist of two hundred and
    forty members, which shall be apportioned by the Legislature,
    at its first session after the return of each enumeration
    as aforesaid, to the several counties of the Commonwealth,
    _equally, as nearly as may be, according to their relative
    numbers of legal voters_, as ascertained by the next preceding
    special enumeration.…

    “The Senate shall consist of forty members. The General Court
    shall, at its first session after each next preceding special
    enumeration, divide the Commonwealth into forty districts
    of adjacent territory, _each district to contain, as nearly
    as may be, an equal number of legal voters_, according to
    the enumeration aforesaid.… Each district shall elect one

Obviously, in adopting this rule, Massachusetts has followed what seems
a correct principle. Representative government is an invention of
modern times. It was unknown in antiquity. Athens was a democracy where
the people met in public assembly for the government of the state:
there was no representative body chosen by the people for this purpose.
The public assembly was practicable in that age, as the state was
small, and the assembly seldom exceeded six thousand citizens,--a large
town meeting, or mass meeting, which Milton has termed “that fierce
democratie.” But where the territory was extensive and the population
scattered and numerous, there could be no assembly of the whole body
of citizens. To meet this precise difficulty the representative system
was devised. By a machinery so obvious that we are astonished it was
not employed in the ancient commonwealths, the people, though scattered
and numerous, are gathered, through their chosen representatives,
into a small and deliberative assembly, where, without tumult or
rashness, they may consider and determine all questions which concern
them. In every representative body properly constituted the people are
practically present.

If, then, the representative body is a substitute for the people
themselves meeting in primary assemblies, it would seem that it must
be founded upon the people who compose the primary assemblies,--in
other words, upon legal voters. Ordinarily there may be little
difference between the proportion of legal voters and the proportion
of population; but, strictly, the representative system is the agent
of legal voters, and therefore the logic of the case is better
satisfied, if it be founded on legal voters rather than on population.
With me this is no new idea. On another occasion, in my own State, I
asserted it. This was in a Convention for revising the Constitution
of Massachusetts, as long ago as 1853. Pardon me, if I read a brief
passage from a speech in that Convention, not from any importance which
I attach to it, but as showing how completely at that time this rule
seemed to me just.

    “A practical question arises here, whether this rule should
    be applied to the whole body of population, including women,
    children, and unnaturalized foreigners, or to those only who
    exercise the electoral franchise,--in other words, to voters.
    It is probable that the rule would produce nearly similar
    results in both cases, as voters, except in few places, would
    bear a uniform proportion to the whole population. But it is
    easy to determine what the principle of the Representative
    system requires. Since its object is to provide a practical
    substitute for meetings of the people, it should be founded,
    in just proportion, on the numbers of those who, according to
    our Constitution, can take part in those meetings,--that is,
    upon the qualified voters. The representative body should be a
    miniature or abridgment of the electoral body,--in other words,
    of those allowed to participate in public affairs.”[253]

In this view I found myself supported by two illustrious names in our
history. Mr. Jefferson, shortly after the victory at Yorktown had
rescued Virginia from invasion and secured national independence,
prepared the draught of a Constitution for his native State, which
expressly provided that “the number of delegates which each county
may send shall be _in proportion to the number of its qualified
electors_, and the whole number of delegates for the State shall be
_proportioned to the whole number of qualified electors in it_.”[254]
This proposition, which is substantially the Rule of Three applied to
voters, was not adopted, but it remains a record of opinion. Some time
afterward, in the debates in the Convention which framed the National
Constitution, Mr. Madison gave his authority to the same conclusion.

    “It had been very properly observed that representation was an
    expedient by which the meeting of the people themselves was
    rendered unnecessary, and _that the representatives ought,
    therefore, to bear a proportion to the voters which their
    constituents, if convened, would respectively have_.”[255]

Thus representation founded on voters seems commended by authority and
principle. Its adoption would at least give symmetry to our national
system, and make the representative more precisely the embodied
presence of his constituents, while at the same time it would tend to
enlarge the suffrage, and to harmonize sectional pretensions with the
national will, when exerted for human rights. If representation were
founded on voters, the States would care little, if Congress should
annul all inequality in the elective franchise on account of color. The
way would be open to Congress.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are other propositions to my mind more satisfactory, because they
reach the special necessity of the hour, and provide the only effectual
remedy. Speaking in the name of national justice and for the national
safety, they cannot be put aside with indifference; nor is it wise to
say that any measure of justice is not practical. I refer, of course,
to the propositions, in different forms, to secure that great guaranty,
_equality in political rights_, by Constitutional Amendment, or by Act
of Congress, or by both.

A Constitutional Amendment placing equality of political rights under
the safeguard of a specific text may be superfluous, but it is not
unconstitutional or immoral. It will be supplementary to provisions
already in the Constitution, and in the nature of a declaratory
statute removing all doubts and cavils. It will be like an additional
force in mechanics, or like a reinforcement in the field. It will be
reduplication in a new form. On such an occasion, where such a cause is
in issue, I welcome every alliance; and such I regard the proposition
of the Senator from Missouri [Mr. HENDERSON].

       *       *       *       *       *

The other proposition, looking to the direct action of Congress under
the National Constitution and existing Amendments, is obviously the
simplest and most practical, inasmuch as it deals with the exigency
promptly, frankly, and according to the necessities of the hour. It
does not undertake to act by indirection; nor does it postpone to an
indefinite future what cannot be postponed without detriment to the
Republic. Refusing to procrastinate, it saves all. Such a proposition
is commended by every argument of reason, humanity, and patriotism.
To say that it is not constitutional is to say that the Constitution
itself is not constitutional; for it is derived from the very heart of
the Constitution, and is filled with all its best life-blood.

Something has been said of the form in which the proposition is
presented. There is the bill of the Senator from Illinois [Mr.
YATES], which he has maintained in a speech of singular originality
and power, that has not been answered, and I do not hesitate to say
cannot be answered. By this bill it is provided that all citizens
in any State or Territory shall be protected in the full and equal
enjoyment and exercise of civil and political rights, including the
right of suffrage. This is founded on the consideration that by the
abolition of Slavery the slave became at once a citizen, subject only
to such disabilities as are common to other citizens, and that by the
second clause of the Constitutional Amendment Congress is empowered to
enforce the abolition of Slavery by appropriate legislation. On this
foundation the Senator places his bill, assuming, that, to complete
the abolition of Slavery, all restrictions, penalties, or deprivations
of right, resulting from Slavery in any State or Territory, must be
made to cease. The proposition that I have had the honor of presenting
is a joint resolution, which, after declaring the duty of Congress
to guaranty a republican form of government in States where the
governments have lapsed, and also the duty to complete the abolition
of Slavery by the removal of all relics of this wrong, proceeds to
provide that there shall be no oligarchy, aristocracy, caste, or
monopoly, nor any denial of rights, civil or political, on account of
race or color, but all persons shall be equal before the law, whether
in the court-room or at the ballot-box.[256] Not doubting the power of
Congress to carry out this principle everywhere within the jurisdiction
of the United States, I content myself for the present by asserting it
only in the lapsed States lately in rebellion, where the twofold duty
to guaranty a republican government and to enforce the abolition of
Slavery is beyond question. To that extent I now urge it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Both these propositions are opposed as informal and inoperative,
because without machinery or penalty. Such is the objection, if I
understand it. As it has been made, I answer it. Each on its face is
an Act of Congress prohibiting denial of certain rights on account of
color. In this respect each is at least a Congressional interpretation
of the Constitution, and it is by no means clear that it could not be
enforced in the courts. The bill which has already passed the House of
Representatives, striking out the word “white” in the electoral laws of
the District of Columbia, is without machinery or penalty; but it is at
least a Congressional declaration, to be followed, of course, by other
legislation with proper machinery and penalty; and this is the precise
character of the measures presented by the Senator from Illinois and
myself. Objection, if valid at all, must be equally valid against the
bill for enfranchisement in the District of Columbia, and against every
other Congressional declaration without machinery or penalty. It is,
at most, one of form, which I put aside and advance to the substance.
The question is too vast and the times are too serious for a special
demurrer. It must be tried on its merits. The question is on the power
of Congress to establish equality of political rights, at least in the
Rebel States. If Congress has this beneficent power, then exercise it
in such form as shall seem best, with machinery and penalty or without
machinery and penalty; but, in God’s name, exercise it, for the sake of
the country, which suffers from your delay.

Has Congress power to secure equality of political rights, at least in
the Rebel States? I do not at this time raise the question of its power
throughout the United States, but in the Rebel States. If this question
were less transcendent in its relations, or if it could be approached
calmly and without prejudice, in the light of reason, I cannot doubt
the judgment. But you must bring to its determination the same simple
desire for truth, undisturbed by external influences, which would
control a judicial tribunal; for, in the determination of your powers
under the Constitution, you are a judicial tribunal. It will not be
enough to deny the beneficent power, or to mock at those who find it in
the Constitution. You must answer their arguments.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. I need not dwell on what has been so often discussed and so much
misunderstood; and yet I must remind you of the power of Congress
over the Rebel States from _the necessity of the case_; because, after
the overthrow of legitimate governments, whose members were sworn to
support the Constitution of the United States, there was no other
rule possible for these States than that of Congress,--precisely as
the Territories, according to Chief Justice Marshall, in a famous
judgment, fell under “the power and jurisdiction of the United States”
from the necessity of the case.[257] I do not say that a State becomes
a technical Territory, as that term is understood among us; but I do
say, that, in the lapse of the Rebel States, and in the absence of
legitimate governments with members sworn to support the Constitution,
these States fell under “the power and jurisdiction of the United
States,”--meaning, practically, Congress,--until such time as they are
reorganized according to the requirement of the Constitution. In the
exercise of such a power and jurisdiction thus cast upon it, Congress
must see that all loyal citizens, without distinction of color, take
part in the formation of the new governments.[258]

       *       *       *       *       *

2. Nor need I dwell on another source of power, found in _the rights
of war_; but this, too, must be made plain. Nobody doubts that the
United States were justified in asserting supremacy in the Rebel States
by force of arms. But the war, when once begun, was subject to all
the conditions of war, according to the rights of war found in the
Law of Nations,--doubly obligatory on us, first, because we belong to
the family of nations, and, secondly, because the Law of Nations is
expressly recognized by the Constitution itself. Now, according to
the rights of war found in the Law of Nations, a conquering power is
justified in requiring not only indemnity for the past, but security
for the future. It depends upon the people of the United States,
represented in Congress, to determine the guaranties of this security.
In support of this conclusion, I ask attention to a familiar authority,
whose statement seems to cover the case. I read from Vattel:--

    “The whole right of the conqueror comes from that just
    self-defence which comprehends the maintenance and prosecution
    of his rights. When, therefore, he has entirely subdued a
    hostile nation, he may undoubtedly, in the first place, do
    himself justice with regard to that which gave rise to the
    war, and indemnify himself for the expenses and damages it has
    caused him; he may, according to the exigency of the case,
    impose penalties upon the conquered nation by way of example;
    he may even, if prudence require, _render it incapable of doing
    harm so easily in future_.”[259]

The offending party, when conquered, may be rendered incapable of doing
harm so easily in future. This is according to natural justice. Then
again the same familiar authority says:--

    “If the inhabitants have been personally guilty of any criminal
    attempt against the conqueror, _he may by way of punishment
    deprive them of their rights and franchises_. This, again, he
    may do, if the inhabitants have taken up arms against him and
    thus directly rendered themselves his enemies. He then owes
    them nothing more than what is due from a humane and equitable
    conqueror to subjugated enemies.”[260]

Surely, out of this ample power Congress cannot hesitate in requiring
justice to the wards and allies of the Republic through whom the
Rebellion was crushed, especially when without justice to them security
in the future is nothing but a mockery and a phantasmagoria.

       *       *       *       *       *

3. From these sources of power I pass to that other found in _the
constitutional obligation to guaranty to every State of the Union a
republican form of government_. Here is the text:--

    “The United States shall guaranty to every State in this Union
    a republican form of government.”

This obligation is peremptory, and not discretionary. It is _shall_,
and not _may_. The United States _must_ do it. Of course, in executing
the guaranty, you must affix a meaning to the term “republican form of
government.” To do this I have in this debate endeavored to show the
essential principles our fathers had at heart when they founded the
Republic. I shall not weary you again with the historic statement. It
is enough, if I present the conclusion. According to the Fathers, all
men are equal in rights, and, as corollaries from this truth, all just
government is founded on the consent of the governed, and taxation
without representation is tyranny. Such was their idea of a republican

It is idle to allege against this definition, that there were property
“qualifications” in most of the States, by which the number of voters
was essentially limited. This is true. But it must not be forgotten
that a property “qualification,” unless unreasonably large, is not
a disfranchisement. It is a condition, sometimes onerous, but not
in its nature insurmountable, as the condition of color, and it is
equally applicable to all. And yet it is apparent, from the recorded
opinions of the Fathers, that even this “qualification” was regarded as
inconsistent with the genius of republican institutions.

It is idle also to allege against this definition the toleration of
Slavery. This was sad enough; but the Fathers who tolerated Slavery
regarded it as absolutely exceptional. According to the definition
of a slave, he has no will of his own, and can give no “consent”
to government. Therefore he was not considered as belonging to the
“body politic.” But not being represented, he was not taxed, except
as property. Indeed, a careful examination of his relations to the
government shows how completely in his case the rights of “the people”
are left untouched. He was not regarded as one of “the people,” and
therefore was not under the safeguard of the rights of “the people.”
But all this was changed when he became a freeman. He was then one of
“the people,” whose property could not be taken by taxation without
representation, and whose consent was essential to government. The
difference was not between whites and blacks, but between slaves and
freemen. All freemen, without distinction of color, were citizens.
Listen, if you please, to the “Federalist,” in an article attributed
to each of the three eminent authors of that collection, and which the
Senator from Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON] assumed was by Madison, but which
is claimed for Hamilton, in the last edition of the “Federalist,” by
his son. I quote a second time the important words:--

    “It is only under the pretext that the laws have transformed
    the negroes into subjects of property, that a place is denied
    to them in the computation of numbers; AND IT IS ADMITTED,

Such is the exposition of the actual Constitution by Hamilton.
According to him, “If the laws were to restore the rights which have
been taken away, _the negroes could no longer be refused an equal share
of representation_ with the other inhabitants.” But this very hour has
sounded. The laws have restored the rights which had been taken away,
and it is now your duty to see that the people who have regained their
rights are no longer refused an equal share of representation. The
opinion of Hamilton on this vital question is still further attested
by his saying that the liberty for which our fathers fought was the
right of “each individual” to “a share in the government”;[262] that
“the electors are to be _the great body of the people_ of the United
States”;[263] and still further, by the proposition in his Plan of a

    “Representatives shall be chosen, except in the first instance,
    by _the free male citizens and inhabitants_ of the several
    States comprehended in the Union, all of whom, of the age of
    twenty-one years and upwards, _shall be entitled to an equal

In this proposition, which, though not adopted in terms, may be
regarded as the pole-star of our fathers, the distinguished author
followed the Continental Congress, which recommended the apportionment
of the war expenses among the “free citizens and inhabitants,” without
distinction of color.[265]

This rule is in entire conformity with that matured by ancient
experience, especially in Greece, where, according to the universal
master, Aristotle,--

    “The whole body of the inhabitants of a country enjoying the
    protection of its laws, including the young who are still under
    the legal age, and the very old who have passed the time of
    action, and all others under any other species of disability,
    are in a certain wide and general sense citizens; but the full
    and complete definition of a _citizen_ is confined to those who
    participate in the governing power.”[266]

Proving, as I have, that colored persons are citizens, this very
definition teaches that they cannot be refused participation in the
governing power.

The historian Thirlwall, in his studies of Greek polity, recognized
this rule, when he wrote:--

    “But a finished democracy, that which fully satisfied the Greek
    notion, was one in which every attribute of sovereignty might
    be shared, without respect to rank or property, by _every

In recognizing the right of “every freeman” to the full enjoyment of
the elective franchise, our fathers followed the early example.

Curiously enough, we find confirmation of the true principle, where
you would little expect it, in that very Dred Scott decision which
undertook to blast a race. Chief Justice Taney on that occasion laid
down a rule which at this moment is applicable to every “citizen,”
without distinction of color:--

    “The words, ‘people of the United States’ and ‘citizens’
    are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both
    describe the political body, who, according to our republican
    institutions, form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and
    conduct the government through their representatives. They are
    what we familiarly call the ‘sovereign people’; _and every
    citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this

This is strong enough; but Mr. Justice Daniel is still more precise:--

    “There is not, it is believed, to be found in the theories of
    writers on Government, or in any actual experiment heretofore
    tried, an exposition of the term _citizen_, which has not been
    understood as conferring _the actual possession and enjoyment,
    or the perfect right of acquisition and enjoyment, of an entire
    equality of privileges, civil and political_.”[269]

Thus does that terrible judgment, once a ban to the colored race, now
testify to their indisputable rights as “citizens.”

Therefore I cannot hesitate to say, that, when the slaves of our
country became “citizens,” they took their place in the “body politic”
as a component part of the “people,” entitled to equal rights, and
under protection of two guardian principles,--first, that all just
government stands on the consent of the governed, and, secondly, that
taxation without representation is tyranny; and these rights it is the
duty of Congress to guaranty as essential to the idea of a republic.
The aspiration of Abraham Lincoln, in his marvellous utterance at
Gettysburg, was, that “government of the people, by the people, and for
the people should not perish from the earth.” But who will venture to
exclude from the “people” millions of citizens?

If governments in the Rebel States are brought to this criterion,
they must fail. The departure from the true standard is not merely
theoretical, as it might be regarded in States where the disfranchised
are few in number, but there is an absolute failure to come within
the conditions required. It is not decent to call a State republican,
where more than a majority of its “people,” constituting the larger
part of the “body politic,” is permanently disfranchised; nor is it
decent to call a State republican, where any considerable portion of
the “people,” constituting an essential part of the “body politic,” is
permanently disfranchised. If in times past such a State could have
been treated as republican, it will not do to treat it so now. It lacks
the vital elements, and must be treated accordingly. I do not dwell on
this point, for it seems absurd to call it in question.

Clearly it is your duty to enforce the guaranty. By your oaths to
support the Constitution, you must take care that in all the States
where governments have lapsed this guaranty shall be carried out.
In performance of this duty you may proceed either by an _enabling
act_, establishing in advance the conditions of restoration to
“practical relation with the Union,” or by an act directly annulling
all constitutions and laws inconsistent with a republican government.
The power is in Congress. It has been recognized in formal terms
by the Supreme Court; and you are the final judge of the “means” to
be employed. To say that you have not the power is to abdicate at a
great exigency and renounce the very means of salvation. It is to
fling away your arms in the very face of the enemy. It is to spike the
Constitution at a moment when its full cannonade is needed for the
overthrow of wrong. Clearly the power is yours, and upon your heads
will be the fearful responsibility, if you fail to exercise it.

       *       *       *       *       *

4. From this power in the Constitution I pass to another, also in the
Constitution, supplied by the _second clause of the Constitutional
Amendment_. It is there provided that Congress shall “enforce” the
abolition of Slavery by “appropriate legislation.” Here, according to
all rules of interpretation and the judgments of the Supreme Court,
Congress is empowered to do what in its discretion seems best to this
end. It may adopt any “means” which seem “appropriate.” It may select
any weapon in the arsenal. I do not stop to cite judgments of the
Court, or to dwell on this power. The case is clear, and I challenge
contradiction. As the grant is recent, it is not open to any suggestion
of loss or waiver by desuetude or non-user. It is fresh as the
abolition of Slavery itself, and at this moment is just as vital. You
may as well deny the one as the other.

Here, even at the cost of repetition, allow me to remind you that
already, during the present session, the Senate, in pursuance of this
power, has undertaken to pass “a bill to _protect all persons in the
United States in their civil rights_, and furnish the means of their
vindication.” The declared object of the bill, in its very title, is
the protection of all persons in the United States in their civil
rights; and this object is carried out by the following provision:--

    “There shall be no discrimination in civil rights or immunities
    among the inhabitants of _any State or Territory of the United
    States_ on account of race, color, or previous condition of

The bill proceeds to provide machinery and penalties for the
enforcement of this prohibition. Mark, if you please, that this is
not merely in the Rebel States, nor even in the States where Slavery
was recently abolished, but everywhere throughout the United States.
All this is done by virtue of that very clause of the Constitutional
Amendment which I adduce. It is done by Congress, in the exercise of
its discretion, in order to “enforce” the abolition of Slavery. It is
the “means” which Congress adopts. It is the weapon which Congress
selects from the arsenal. But surely, if Congress, in order to
“enforce” the abolition of Slavery, can secure all persons throughout
the United States in _civil rights_, it can, out of the same abundant
power, secure all persons throughout the United States in _political
rights_; and this is precisely what is proposed by the bill of the
Senator from Illinois. My own proposition, as I now present it, aims
for the present at securing _political rights_ throughout the Rebel
States; but the irresistible argument is the same in each case. Each is
to “enforce” the abolition of Slavery.

I do not stop to exhibit the elective franchise as essential to the
security of the freedman, without which he will be the prey of Slavery
in some new form, and cannot rise to the stature of manhood. In opening
this debate I presented the argument fully. Suffice it to say, that
Emancipation will fail in beneficence, if you do not assure to the
former slave all the rights of the citizen. Until you do this, your
work will be only _half done_, and the freedman only _half a man_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, Sir, are four sources of power,--each ample: first, the necessity
of the case, as with Territories, where there is no other jurisdiction;
secondly, the rights of war, under which all needful safeguards for the
future may be required; thirdly, the duty to guaranty to every State in
the Union a republican form of government; and, fourthly, the authority
to “enforce” the abolition of Slavery by “appropriate legislation.” Out
of each and all Congress may derive its power. It only remains that it
should act as becomes the representatives of the American people.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, as I am about to close, allow me to remind you once
more, that, from the nature of the case and from the character of
your obligations, the work of Emancipation must be completed by the
National Government. It cannot be left to become the sport of sectional
prejudice or wayward passion. It began with you, and it is for you to
give it that final assurance to be found only in Enfranchisement. It
is for you to “maintain” the former slave in the liberty he received
at your hands. Such a duty cannot be renounced or delegated. It must
be sacredly performed by the National Government, according to its
original pledge in the Proclamation of Emancipation, and according to
all the suggestions of reason. Humanity, too, joins in the cry. You
cannot consent that the child Emancipation, born of your breath, shall
be surrendered to the custody of enemies. Take it in your arms, I
entreat you, and nurse it into strength. Be instructed by the examples
of history, teaching that the masters of slaves cannot be trusted
to legislate for them,--a conclusion announced by the best English
statesmen, speaking from their experience, in words which I have
often quoted. I refer to the concurring voice of Edmund Burke, George
Canning, and Henry Brougham. Thus, by testimony as well as by reason,
in harmony with the national pledge, we are admonished that the work
must be done by the Nation.

Do not say that you have not the power, when the will only is needed.
It is the part of a good judge to amplify his jurisdiction: _Boni
judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem_. Such is an approved maxim of law,
handed down from early days. Kindred in character are other maxims,
which enjoin the duty of inclining always in favor of Liberty, to
the extent of catching at anything, even a twine thread, by which to
save it. But on this occasion the good Congress need not amplify its
jurisdiction. Enough, if it enforces what plainly exists. It need not
catch at any twine thread to save Liberty. The great cables of the
Constitution, with mighty anchors, are at command.

Sir, the freedman must be protected, and not sacrificed. You can do it,
but only in one way. Paper will not do it. Parchment will not do it.
Compromise will not do it. Give him the strength which comes from the
fulness of citizenship, and he will then be protected. Only principles
can be followed. They are like Divine promises, which, when properly
understood and applied, answer every case of difficulty or distress,
and, as in the Pilgrim’s Progress, “will open any lock in Doubting
Castle.” Have faith. Before the earnest man difficulties disappear.
To the boatman who said it was impossible to brave the storm then
raging, William Tell, inspired by patriotic purpose, replied, “I know
not whether it be possible, but I know that it must be attempted,”--and
the deliverer reached his destination. The same courage is needed now.
The attempt at least must be made; and who can say that it will fail?
On its side will be Providence, the prayers of good men, Nature in her
manifold attributes, and the awakened judgment of the civilized world.
The time has gone by, when the spirit of caste can continue to bear
sway. See to it, Senators, that this spirit has no foothold in the
Constitution of our country. To this duty I summon you now, by every
obligation of statesmanship, for the sake of the Republic and for your
own sakes. To the spirit of caste answer back in the spirit of that
Christian truth which you have been taught. Recall the precious words
of the early English writer, who, describing “the Good Sea-Captain,”
tells us that he “counts the image of God nevertheless His image, cut
in ebony, as if done in ivory.”[270] The good statesman must be like
the good sea-captain. His ship is the State, which he keeps safe on its
track. He, too, must see the image of God in all his fellow-men, and,
in the discharge of his responsible duties, must set his face forever
against any recognition of inequality in human rights. Other things you
may do; but this you must not do.



    When Mr. Fessenden sat down, after his closing speech, Mr.
    Sumner took the floor and made the following remarks.

MR. PRESIDENT,--Allow me to remind you of that famous shield suspended
in the highway, and so often adduced as a lesson of candor. Two
travellers approaching from opposite quarters, and standing face to
face, read the inscription as each saw it. Straightway there was
difference and contest. Each insisted; but closer observation showed
that the two sides were different. So it is on the present occasion.
The measure before the Senate has two sides. The Senator from Maine
[Mr. FESSENDEN], as he approaches it, sees only the side which limits
the representation. As I approach it, I see the recognition of a caste
and the disfranchisement of a race. He defends it; I condemn it. But
he defends only what he sees; I condemn only what I see. It is the
misfortune of the measure that it has two sides with two opposite
inscriptions. This is especially unhappy at this moment, when we are
bound to be frank and loyal, and to do nothing which may be interpreted
in a double sense. Above all should this be the case with regard to
an Amendment of the Constitution. But the present proposition does
not fall within these conditions. It is enough that there are at this
moment two opposite opinions with regard to its meaning.

Now, Sir, it will not be denied that there are opposite opinions on its
meaning. The Senator from Maine affixes one meaning; I affix another.
The Senator sees nothing bad; I see nothing good,--or rather, all
that it proposes is absorbed, merged, and lost in the evil. Against
it I am earnest, and I speak so. For those from whom I differ I have
nothing but personal kindness; but I must condemn the text they seek
to inject into the Constitution. What is debate? It is the expression
of opinions, conclusions, and convictions. These must be expressed
fully, freely, and according to the conscience of the speaker. If a
measure is deemed bad, unjust, scandalous, founded in wrong principles,
and calculated to produce infinite mischief, all this must be said;
and it must be said with plainness, according to the nature of the
exigency. To this end language is given. The measure must be exposed.
There are no terms to be spared which may be needed in this exposition,
whether to reach the judgment or the feelings. Of course, on this
occasion I see only the subject. The Senator reminds you of the
friends whose votes I arraign,--cherished colleagues in both Houses,
valued associates in political opinion, and two thirds of the House of
Representatives. All this increases my sorrow. It gives me a pang; but
it cannot make me change convictions springing from the very depths of
conscience,--nor my course.

But I am not alone in my interpretation. Only the other day I
presented the petition of the editor of the Boston “Recorder,” in
which he was moved to protest against it in strongest terms, inasmuch
as it disfranchised a race and offended against the Declaration
of Independence. I have here papers and testimonies showing how
extensively this interpretation prevails. Here, for instance, is a
communication from an honored citizen of New York, once a member of the
other House, one of the Old Guard of Abolitionists, who, from the first
gun at Fort Sumter, has seen our duties with a sensitive conscience and
a patriotic soul: I mean Gerrit Smith. Mark, if you please, that I cite
his words simply as showing how an ingenuous nature is touched by this

    “I see that the House of Representatives approves, and by a
    very strong vote, the proposed Apportionment Amendment of
    the Constitution. I see, too, that nearly all the members
    who are the most radical friends of Freedom are included in
    this vote, and that there is, therefore, no room in the case
    for questioning motives. Freedom may, however, be wounded
    unwittingly. Nay, she may be wounded even in the house of her
    friends. Such is her fate in the present instance. And no
    less deep and dangerous is the wound, but, on the contrary,
    all the deeper and more dangerous, because inflicted by hands
    which aimed not to harm, but to help her. Moreover, though
    it is always consoling to be able to trace an error to the
    understanding, the error may, nevertheless, be quite as
    pernicious as if the heart were involved in it.


    “A disgraceful, if not indeed fatal, blot upon the Constitution
    and country will be this one. Disgraceful is it to a government
    to license the gambling-house, even though it be on the
    condition of being paid for the license. Disgraceful to it to
    license the brothel or the dram-shop, even though on such
    condition. But how emphatically disgraceful for a government
    to license Slavery, that crime of crimes, even though the
    consideration in return for the license be very great, and the
    pay very tempting! This, however, is the deep disgrace with
    which the Apportionment Amendment threatens the Constitution
    and the country.… It is true that Slavery is not literally in
    the Amendment. It is true, too, that proscription from the
    ballot-box does not always mean Slavery. But it is also true,
    that, where such proscription is of one race by another, there
    is an instance where the proscribed are enslaved. The power,
    therefore, which this Amendment will give the Southern whites
    to withhold the ballot from the Southern blacks will be the
    power to enslave them. If they shall withhold from them the
    ballot, they will also withhold from them freedom.


    “I notice that a common excuse among the friends of Freedom
    for favoring this Apportionment Amendment is, that we can get
    nothing better. I know not how that may be; but I do know that
    we can get nothing much worse, and that it would be far better
    to get nothing than to get this.”

I have also presented the petition of George T. Downing, Frederick
Douglass, and others, representing the colored race in Washington, in
which they give their opinions. Protesting against this proposition,
as authorizing disfranchisement on account of race or color, they pray

    “To favor no Amendment of the Constitution of the United States
    which will grant or allow any one or all of the States of this
    Union to disfranchise any class of citizens on the ground of
    race or color.”

They then proceed:--

    “In the Constitution, as it now stands, there is not a sentence
    nor syllable conveying any shadow of right or authority by
    which any State may make color or race a disqualification for
    the exercise of the right of suffrage, and the undersigned
    will regard as a real calamity the introduction of any words
    expressly or by implication giving any State or States such
    power; and we respectfully submit, that, if the Amendment now
    pending shall be adopted, it will enable any State to deprive
    any class of citizens of the elective franchise.”

Such is the testimony of these very intelligent representatives of
colored fellow-citizens. They speak with peculiar authority, from the
interest they necessarily have in the question. They speak for the

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, I do not wish to argue the main question again. I have
said enough,--the Senator has reminded you several times how much. I
am sorry to have trespassed so often and so long. I will not trespass
now. Of course, there is a radical difference between the Senator and
myself. We see opposite things, when we look at this proposition;
and permit me to say, we see opposite things, when we look at the
Constitution itself. I cannot see as he sees. I do not believe, that,
under the Constitution, even as it exists, the disfranchisement of a
considerable portion of fellow-citizens is consistent with a republican
government. Still further, I do not believe that “color” can be a
“qualification” for an elector. He does. And here is a point of
divergence which carries us far apart. He consents willingly to this
fatal text. I cannot.

I have listened to all that has been said. But the proposition is to me
as obnoxious as ever. I cannot see it otherwise. Feeling that caste
and disfranchisement on account of color are utterly irreligious,
unrepublican, and scandalous, you must pardon me, if I strive to
prevent their introduction into the Constitution of my country,
especially at a moment when we are under such obligations of gratitude
to these outcasts, and when injustice to them is so full of peril to
the Republic. I have spoken strongly; you will pardon it to the ardor
of my nature and to the strength of my convictions. I have fought a
long battle with Slavery, and I confess solicitude, when I see anything
looking like concession to this wrong. It is not enough to show me that
a measure is expedient; you must show me also that it is right. Ah,
Sir, can anything be expedient which is not right? From the beginning
of our history, the country has been afflicted with compromise. It is
by compromise that human rights have been abandoned. I insist that
this shall cease. After all its trials, the country needs repose,--it
deserves repose; but repose can be found only in everlasting
principles. It cannot be found by inserting in your Constitution the
disfranchisement of a race.

This proposition can be fully appreciated in its “bad eminence” only
when it is considered as the offering of Congress at this time for
the protection of fellow-citizens to whom we are under obligations of
gratitude. This is our panacea, our balm of Gilead. This is what we
are to do. And the Senate is warned not to give the protection found
in the elective franchise, either by Constitutional Amendment or by
Act of Congress,--that such a Constitutional Amendment would not be
adopted by the people, and therefore we ought not to present it,--and
that Congress has not the power to establish equality in political
rights. Sir, I do not despair of the Republic,--I will not, I cannot.
But, if ever I were disposed to despair, it would be when listening to
such arguments and excuses. The people are in advance, and will sustain
us, if we are courageous. They will adopt any Constitutional Amendment
that ought to be adopted. They will adopt anything that is true, just,
and noble, for the protection of benefactors, and to carry out the
principles of our Government; they will sustain any legislation having
such object. This is what they expect. It is what the freedmen expect.
It is what the Unionists of the South expect. Not willingly will they
be surrendered to the tender mercies of Rebels. They ask Congress to
protect them; and they see that this can be only by giving the ballot
to the freedmen. I have in my hand a letter from one Southern Unionist
addressed to another, and received only yesterday, dated February 25th,
and written in the very heart of Alabama, which thus speaks of this
very question:--

    “All men of common sense must now see that there can now be
    no loyal civil governments in these States, if the negroes
    are not permitted to neutralize with their votes the votes of
    Rebels. On this account I do hope the joint resolution recently
    introduced in the Senate by Mr. Sumner will prevail. Whatever
    may have been our former notions in regard to the negro, it is
    now very evident that practically they are better citizens than
    the majority of whites, in some portion of the Rebel States.
    The Declaration of Independence is the true and just basis upon
    which these State governments must be founded.”

Such is the voice of a Unionist of Alabama. He looks to Congress. God
forbid that Congress should abdicate its beneficent powers! They are
all needed for the safety and welfare of the Republic. I cannot, I dare
not, help in any such abdication.

    The history of the debate and its result appear in the Appendix
    to the Speech of February 5th and 6th.[271]


21, 1866.

    March 12th, in the Senate, the bill for the admission of the
    State of Colorado was taken up for consideration, when Mr.
    Sumner commenced an opposition, in which he persevered. The
    question was, in his judgment, of peculiar importance, as
    involving the true principle of Reconstruction; so that, while
    insisting upon equal rights in Colorado, he was contributing to
    the same cause.

    In a speech of some length he set forth “three distinct
    objections at this moment to the admission of Colorado as
    a State,” which he considered in their order: first, the
    irregularity of the proceedings, ending in the seeming adoption
    of the Constitution; secondly, the smallness of the population;
    and, thirdly, that its Constitution was not republican in form,
    and consistent with the Declaration of Independence, according
    to the requirement of the Enabling Act. In the course of his
    remarks on the two latter heads, he said:--

I have here a table of the total vote at the elections in different
years. In August, 1861, it was 10,580; in December, 1861, 9,354; in
October, 1862, 8,224; in September, 1864, 5,769; in September, 1865,
5,895: so that you will perceive from 1861 to 1865 the vote constantly
diminishing, being at the beginning upward of 10,000, and at the end
less than 6,000. And when the Constitution was submitted, only 3,025
voted for it, while 2,870 voted against it. The present question is,
whether 5,895 voters shall be invested with the powers of a State;
whether they shall send into this Chamber two Senators, whose votes
shall be equal to the vote of New York, of Pennsylvania, of Ohio, or of
Massachusetts. Is that just? Is it fair? When a State is once admitted
into the Union, we all know, that, under the National Constitution,
it is on a footing of perfect equality; therefore, in advance, before
we receive a State into that high equality, we should well consider
whether it is in its population entitled to such eminence.

It is no answer to say that Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and
Massachusetts have large political weight in the other House, which
this new State, if received, will not have. The question is, whether in
the Senate it will not have a weight to which such a number of voters
cannot be justly entitled. This leads me to consider for one moment the
functions of the Senate. The Senate of the United States is a peculiar
body, utterly without precedent or parallel in the history of any
other constitutional government, differing from the upper House of the
English Parliament, from the upper House of the French Chambers, from
the upper House in Prussia, from the upper House in Italy, inasmuch
as it has three functions,--one legislative, one diplomatic, and one
executive. By its legislative function, it acts, in coöperation with
the other House, in the making of laws; by its diplomatic function,
it acts, without coöperation with the other House, on treaties with
foreign powers; and by its executive function, it acts, without the
other House, on the nominations of the President. A preponderance of
power possessed by the larger States in the House of Representatives
cannot affect the last two functions, the diplomatic and the executive;
and the precise question is, whether a few voters, not numbering six
thousand, in a distant Territory, shall be organized so as to enter
this Chamber, and on questions of diplomacy and on executive questions
to neutralize the vote of a large State. Even conceding that on
legislative questions, through the preponderance of the large States
in the other House, there may be a certain remedy to this disorder,
there is no such remedy in the exercise of these two other important
functions of the Senate. I submit, therefore, that it is not advisable
at this moment to invest this small number of voters with these vast
political powers. They must wait a little longer,--wait until they are
more numerous,--at least until entitled to one Representative in the
other House. At the proper time we shall gladly welcome them; but the
time has not come.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is another objection, which stands forth on the face of their
constitution. It is not republican in form, or in harmony with the
Declaration of Independence. The requirement of the Enabling Act, under
which they pretend to proceed, but which, as I have shown, was already
exhausted before they entered upon these proceedings, has these words:--

    “That the Constitution, when formed, shall be republican, and
    not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the
    principles of the Declaration of Independence.”[272]

Look now at this Constitution. Article III., entitled “Suffrage and
Elections,” begins as follows:--

    “SECTION 1. Every _white male citizen_ of the age of
    twenty-one years and upwards, who is by birth, or has become
    by naturalization or by treaty, or shall have declared his
    intention to become, a citizen of the United States according
    to the laws thereof, and who shall have resided in the State
    of Colorado for six months preceding any election, and shall
    have been a resident for ten days of the precinct or election
    district where he offers to vote, shall be deemed a qualified
    elector, and entitled to vote at the same.”

Note well the text, “every white male citizen”: in other words, nobody
who is not “white,” under this constitution, is recognized as entitled
to the elective franchise. Now, Sir, I insist--and I here challenge
reply from any Senator on this floor--that such a constitution does
not comply with the requirement of the Enabling Act, that it is
not republican, and that it is repugnant to the principles of the
Declaration of Independence. I say that it is not republican; for the
first principle of republican government is equality. Let that be
denied, and you fail in republican government.

    MR. MCDOUGALL [of California]. In what age of the world was
    there a republic where there was equality? Please answer me
    that.… I would like to have the single instance where it
    existed in ancient times, in the middle ages, or in the modern

MR. SUMNER. Speaking on that subject lately, I took occasion to show
that there was no such case. The Senator is nearly right. There had
been no such case. It was for our fathers, it was left to them, when
they undertook to constitute a new government, to declare equality the
essential and cardinal principle of a republic. My answer is precise:
there had been no such case. But the true idea of a republican
government began with our fathers, and its definition is found in their
Declaration of Independence. Were they not sufficiently explicit? Is
their language vague? Call it “a glittering generality,”--but there it
is, in immortal text, whose truth will be recognized more and more as
time advances. You may not recognize it now, but others after you will
do it reverence.

I say, therefore, that this constitution is repugnant to the principles
of the Declaration of Independence. I say that the government which
it constitutes is not a republican government. And now the question
is, how that difficulty shall be met. I know well that Senators may
say, But there are States in the Union with the same discrimination.
Connecticut has it; New York also. But permit me to say, these
instances do not at all touch the argument. We are not called now to
review the constitution of Connecticut or New York, but we are called
at this moment, in the discharge of a solemn duty, to review the
constitution of this proposed State. If called in this Chamber, under
the responsibilities of official position, to review the constitution
of Connecticut or New York, my course would be clear to say that it was
not republican in form; but there is no such occasion, and therefore
we have no such responsibility. There are other States with regard
to which we have at this moment that responsibility, and I allude to
them for illustration: I mean the States lately in rebellion. Their
constitutions have been overthrown or subverted; new constitutions have
been set up, which it becomes the solemn duty of Congress to examine,
to see whether they are republican in form, and not repugnant to the
principles of the Declaration of Independence. We have, in relation
to those States, the very responsibility now pressing upon us with
regard to this new candidate, distant Colorado. We must examine the
constitutions, and see whether or not they are in conformity with those
sublime principles which enter into the true idea of a republican

Again, Sir, I would urge, that, at this moment, when the whole
country is agitated by the great question, What shall be done for the
protection of the colored race?--to what extent we shall exercise
the high powers of Congress to carry that protection into the Rebel
States,--it will be hardly decent for us, in reviewing the constitution
of a new State, not to apply the highest possible test. It will not do
for us now to recognize this constitution of Colorado as republican
in form. We owe it to ourselves to set an example, and to require
that in a State organized under our influence a good example shall
prevail. How many of us heard with regret the result last autumn in
Connecticut, and again in Wisconsin, by which suffrage to the colored
race was denied! We felt that by those two votes Liberty had suffered,
that an enfranchised race was placed in jeopardy, that its rights were
dishonored by those who ought to have upheld them; and now, Sir, you
have cast upon you in this Chamber that same identical responsibility.
You are, with reference to the constitution of Colorado, in the
precise position of the people of Connecticut with regard to their
own constitution, and the people of Wisconsin with regard to theirs.
Some of us have regretted poignantly the policy of those two States:
I hope there will be no occasion to regret any similar policy in this
Chamber. And now, Sir, in order to bring the Senate to a vote on that
question, I send to the Chair an amendment to the bill.

    The Secretary read the amendment, namely:--

        “Insert at the end of the second section the following

        “_Provided_, That this Act 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 race or color, but all persons
        shall be equal before the law. And the people of the
        Territory shall, by a majority of the voters, at public
        meetings to be convened by the Governor of the Territory,
        declare their assent to this fundamental condition; and
        the Governor shall transmit to the President of the United
        States an authentic statement of such assent, whenever
        the same shall be given, upon receipt whereof he shall by
        proclamation announce the fact; whereupon, without any
        other proceedings on the part of Congress, this Act shall
        take effect.”

    This amendment was similar to that offered by Mr. Sumner on the
    Louisiana Bill,[273] and was modelled on what is known as the
    Missouri precedent, which he proceeded to explain, and then

Possibly a question may arise as to the effect of such a fundamental
condition. I do not think there can be any question. I do not doubt
that such a fundamental condition, especially if sanctioned by the
popular vote according to the terms of the proviso, will be absolutely
obligatory on the State. I believe that you may apply to it the
language of Mr. Webster’s great speech in reply to Mr. Hayne, where,
describing and vindicating the Ordinance for the government of the
Northwest Territory, he used this very striking, and, to my mind,
exquisitely beautiful language, as simple as it is expressive:--

    “It laid the interdict against personal servitude in original
    compact, not only deeper than all local law, but deeper also
    than all local constitutions.”[274]

Now, Sir, I call upon the Senate to do for this far Western Territory
the same in kind as was done by our fathers for the whole vast
Northwest Territory,--to lay an interdict against all inequality of
rights in original compact, not only deeper than all local law, but
deeper than all local constitutions. Let that be done, and one of the
objections to the admission of Colorado will be removed.

    Mr. Stewart, of Nevada, followed Mr. Sumner.

    March 13th, the debate was resumed, when Mr. Pomeroy, of
    Kansas, Mr. Lane, of Kansas, Mr. McDougall, of California,
    Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, Mr. Cragin, of New Hampshire, Mr.
    Ramsey, of Minnesota, and Mr. Williams, of Oregon, spoke for
    the admission; Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, Mr. Grimes, of Iowa,
    Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, Mr. Doolittle, of
    Wisconsin, and Mr. Conness, of California, spoke against the
    admission. The chief topics were the Enabling Act and the want
    of population. In the course of the debate, Mr. Sumner insisted
    that the population had diminished, and then said:--

But, unhappily, this is not the only way in which this community has
fallen,--fallen in population, as my friend says,--fallen, as I shall
proceed to show positively, in another respect, far more important than

    He then showed[275] that the Legislative Assembly of the
    Territory, at its first session under the organic act, by an
    act approved November 6, 1861, had provided “that _every male
    person_” with qualification of residence should be deemed
    a qualified voter; but that was amended by another act,
    approved March 11, 1864, by inserting the words “not being a
    negro or mulatto,” which reappeared in the limitation of the
    constitution before the Senate. He then said:--

Between the introduction of the Enabling Act and the date of its
approval, the legislative body of this distant Territory undertook to
make this fundamental change in its electoral law; and then I say that
people fell more than in the fall of their population. Their population
has diminished; but they, unhappily, have deteriorated in political
character, and have not now the same noble elements of political life
by which they were once commended.

Sir, I might say more on the question, whether any power can be
derived under this Enabling Act. I think, however, that has been
enough discussed. All must see, that, whatever its original character,
whatever powers may have proceeded from it, they have all been
exhausted, and the act has practically expired; it is _functus
officio_,--it is a dead act; and this Territory is no more authorized
to proceed under it than any other Territory is authorized to proceed
under it. It is not in any respect applicable. It has ceased to have
any legislative potentiality. Therefore, Sir, whatever this people
have undertaken to do they have done without any Enabling Act;
they are a voluntary body, proceeding by voluntary action, without
previous sanction of Congress, and all that they do is submitted to
the judgment of Congress, which is in no respect bound or compromised
in the least by any previous proceeding. We approach the question now
precisely as if there had been no Enabling Act,--as if the name of
Colorado (a pleasant name I trust it may be hereafter in these Halls)
had never before found echo here. The whole question is absolutely
new from beginning to end; and we must approach it under all the
responsibilities of our position, looking at it on the evidence,
according to the facts, in order to determine whether now, at this
moment, under these circumstances, we shall be justified in ceding to
this community all these great powers.

There was one argument of the Senator from Kansas [Mr. LANE] which was
an appeal to us personally,--to my excellent friend from Ohio, to my
excellent colleague, and to other Senators who had been here in other
days, when Kansas was in danger, and in that

                  “well-foughten field
    We kept together in our chivalry.”

Sir, it is the pride of my life that at that time I was able to do
something for the State which the Senator represents on this floor. I
did it sincerely, honestly believing it my duty at the time, because I
saw well the peril of dependent condition, and that it could be saved
only by the interference of Congress, the swiftest intervention, which
would not brook delay. Therefore, Sir, for the sake of peace, and as I
would succor a fellow-man in agony, I exerted myself in every way to
invest Kansas with all the privileges and self-protecting powers of a
State. The case was peculiar and exceptional; it was also historic. It
cannot be cited as a precedent now. As well cite what you do to save a
drowning man just sinking for the last time, as a proper precedent for
conduct in daily life. The case of Colorado is to be met on the facts;
it is not an exceptional case; it is a simple case. Meet it, therefore,
on the facts and on its simplicity.

    At the suggestion of others, and in order to reach an immediate
    vote on the bill, Mr. Sumner withdrew his amendment.

    On the question of its engrossment for a third reading, the
    bill was rejected,--Yeas 14, Nays 21.

       *       *       *       *       *

    March 14th, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, who had voted with
    the majority, moved that the Senate reconsider the vote
    rejecting the bill, thus keeping the question open for further

       *       *       *       *       *

    April 17th, the motion to reconsider was taken up during
    the morning hour, when Mr. Sumner declared his continued
    opposition to the proposed State, and his sense of the mistake
    the Senate would make in reconsidering the late vote. In the
    course of these remarks, he said:--

I hope, therefore, that the Senate will not proceed to reconsider
the vote which, to their honor, they have already recorded. They
did well, when, after two days’ debate, by a large vote, they
deliberately refused to receive this Territory into the Union. Has
anything occurred since to cause a reversal of opinion? Is there any
new evidence? Are there new facts? Is there anything which can change
your responsibilities, or make you see your duty in a different light?
Has that constitution been amended? Has the word “white” been struck
out? Why, Sir, at this moment the most important practical question
before the country is, whether we shall allow the word “white” in the
constitutions of the late Rebel States. Sir, with what just weight can
you insist that this word shall be excluded from those constitutions,
when you deliberately receive into the Union a new State openly
announcing this rule of exclusion? I say, therefore, for the sake of my
country, for the sake of public tranquillity, and in loyalty to those
fundamental principles on which so much depends, and which, whether as
Senator or citizen, I can never forget, I appeal to you, Sir, and to
my associates on this floor, not to allow this question to be revived.
Let Colorado wait at least until she recognizes the Declaration of

    The morning hour expired as Mr. Sumner finished, and the
    question was dropped.

       *       *       *       *       *

    April 19th, Mr. Wilson moved that the Senate proceed with the
    motion to reconsider. Mr. Sumner then said:--

MR. PRESIDENT, I hope the Senate will not proceed with that question
to-day, and I assign two reasons. The first is, that, looking about
the Senate, I see many absent who ought to be here. The second is,
that this day, here in the national capital, is dedicated to the cause
of human freedom and human rights,--the great cause of Emancipation.
The streets to-day are filled with a happy people, emancipated by Act
of Congress, and now celebrating the anniversary of their rights. It
is, Sir, no proper day to recognize human inequality by receiving into
the Union a community which chooses to appear here with a constitution
setting at defiance the fundamental principles of the Declaration
of Independence. Sir, this is no day for the consideration of that
question. I insist that this day shall be kept sacred to human
rights,--not be given up to their overthrow.

I may be told, Sir, that there are but ninety colored persons in
this distant Territory,--only ninety to be sacrificed. If there were
but one, that would be enough to justify my opposition. Out of those
ninety, more than seventy-five have borne arms for you in the late
war; and yet these people are now positively disfranchised in the
constitution it is proposed to recognize. Sir, if you choose to do it,
if you do not hesitate to insult the public sentiment of the age by
such an act, do not do it to-day.

    Mr. Wilson followed. He said, that, on the 3d day of March,
    1863, his colleague voted that the people of Colorado should
    be authorized to frame a constitution; that he did not then
    propose that she should not make the offensive discrimination;
    that he never suggested it; that he did not dream of it; that
    he did not think it fair play to refuse the application of this
    Territory on account of a distinction they have made, when we
    imposed no conditions on them, and did not even suggest any.

    Mr. Lane, of Indiana, said: “I believe that there is no
    instance in the whole history of the admission of new States
    where that word ‘white’ has not been the prefix to the
    qualification for holding office and voting.”

        MR. SUMNER. Is it not time to begin?

        MR. LANE. It is perhaps time to begin; but we should have
        begun when we passed the Enabling Act, and the vigilance of
        the Senator from Massachusetts should not have slumbered on
        that occasion.

        MR. SUMNER. It did not, as I shall show you presently.

    Mr. Trumbull also insisted that in good faith Congress was
    committed to the people of Colorado by the Enabling Act. In the
    course of reply, Mr. Sumner said:--


What I did say, however, was this: that on that occasion the suggestion
was made, which my excellent colleague made to-day, that I was guilty
of inconsistency; and I said that then and there I answered that
argument. My colleague, not being here, did not hear the answer, and
therefore to-day, without knowing the facts, he has revived the charge.


I showed you, that, when the Enabling Act was pending in the Senate,
all persons, without distinction of color, were authorized to vote.
That was my answer before; it is my answer now. Therefore, Sir,
do I say that I did not vote with any idea that there could be a
discrimination founded on color; on the contrary, I voted with the
positive conviction that all possibility of such discrimination was
excluded,--and, still further, knowing that this Act contained words in
themselves an antidote to any such wrong:--

    “The constitution, when formed, shall be republican, and not
    repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the
    principles of the Declaration of Independence.”

Now, Sir, I insist that the constitution presented to us is not
republican; and I further insist that it is inconsistent with the
Declaration of Independence. My excellent colleague will certainly
not maintain the contrary. He will not say that a constitution which
undertakes to exclude persons from equal rights on account of color
is consistent with the fundamental principles of the Declaration of
Independence; and that, Sir, is the very requirement of the Enabling


I think it ought not to be proceeded with at all. I think the cause
of human rights suffers every moment you give to this question. But I
began this morning by simply opposing the consideration of it to-day.
If you choose to make a sacrifice of human rights, do it on some other
day than this.

    After interchange of opinion, the question was postponed till
    the next Tuesday, the 24th instant, when it was made the
    special order.

       *       *       *       *       *

    April 24th, the debate was renewed, when Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT, on the 13th of March last, after a debate of two days,
the Senate rejected a bill for the admission of Colorado as a State
into the Union. This was by a vote of 21 nays to 14 yeas, being a
majority of 7. And now, after an interval of more than a month, a
motion is brought forward to reconsider that vote. An attempt is made
to revive a question which at that time seemed buried. Of course, those
who press this motion have a right to do so, if they are satisfied in
their minds that it ought to be pressed. I do not complain of them.
But I meet the attempt on the threshold. I do not content myself with
waiting to another stage and entering into the discussion after we have
allowed the reconsideration. I oppose the reconsideration. I insist
that this subject, once closed by such a majority, and on such good
grounds, shall not again be opened here.

Sir, the proposition is nothing less than the admission of a State into
this Union. I need not remind you that in other days no such attempt
could be made in this Chamber without exciting great and wide-spread
interest. Some of the most remarkable debates in the Senate have been
on such occasions. The proposition has two aspects: first, as it
concerns the people in the Territory itself, who, I submit, are not
prepared to assume the responsibilities of a State government; and,
secondly, as it concerns the other States in the Union, who, I submit
also, ought not to be obliged at this moment to receive this community
into full equality as a State.

Formerly I felt it my duty to remind you of the position, the
responsibilities, the powers, and the prerogatives of a State in
this Union. I held up before you what you would convey to this small
community, if you invested it with the character of a State. I showed
you that you would impart to it a full equality in this Chamber with
the largest States in the Union,--with New York, with Pennsylvania,
with Ohio, with Massachusetts,--and that, in the exercise of this
constitutional equality, Senators from this small community, on all
questions of legislation, of diplomacy, and of appointments, might
counterbalance the Senators of one of these large States. Assuming
that this small community was already a State in the Union, I had no
criticism to make on that equality of power; but I did present to you
as an unanswerable argument, that a community so small in the proper
attributes of a State should not be admitted to the enjoyment of that
high equality.

Permit me to say, Sir, that you cannot adequately consider this
case without giving some attention to the present condition of the
country. We are, happily, at the close of a long, bloody, and most
expensive war, throughout which there was one question dominating
all others: it was the question of justice to the colored race. And
now, Sir, that the war is closed, and our soldiers are no longer in
the tented field, that same question enters perpetually into your
debates, challenging decision; it is before you at every stage of
legislation. With this question staring you in the face, what do we
behold? A small community in a remote part of the country, petty in
population,--even according to the statements of its friends not
amounting in numbers to more than twenty-five or thirty thousand
people, according to the statements of others even as few in numbers
as ten or fifteen thousand,--with agricultural products already
diminishing, with mining resources that during the last two or three
years have been constantly failing, with accounts at the Post-Office
which during the past year have been reduced,--we have this small
community coming forward and asking admission to equality as a State in
the Union, with a constitution that tramples on human rights. This new
candidate, pressing for recognition, holds up a constitution excluding
all persons from the electoral franchise who are not white; and the
question before you is, whether this small body, so slender in every
respect, of such inferior condition, and with a declaration of human
inequality in its constitution, shall be admitted to the equality of
States in this Union. You are not obliged to admit it. Your discretion
is ample. The language of the Constitution is plain: “New States _may_
be admitted into this Union,”--not must, but “may.” You may admit,
or you may reject. Therefore, when called to act, you must exercise
your discretion. You cannot decline to exercise it. You must bring
your judgment to bear upon the case; you must consider well all the
facts and all the elements which enter into the civilization of this
candidate community; you must consider, of course, its population, its
resources, and also the character of its constitution. In doing so,
you can have no feeling except of kindness and sympathy for the people
there. God knows that I wish them well from the bottom of my heart;
there is no aspiration which I do not offer for their welfare; but on
this occasion we must consider the requirements of duty. And here the
way is clear.

With these few words of introduction, I arrive at this proposition:
that such a community as now exists in Colorado, deficient in
population, declining already in agriculture, failing also in mineral
resources, and with a constitution which sets at defiance the first
principle of human rights, should not at this moment be recognized as a
State of the Union. Mark me, if you please,--I say at this moment, and
under these circumstances; for, whatever might be done at another time
and under other circumstances, I insist that this thing is impossible
now, when by every obligation we are solemnly bound to maintain the
rights of the colored race. Oh, no! we cannot give the hand to such a
community, so inferior in population and resources, with a constitution
audaciously denying those rights.

Thus much, Sir, I have to say by way of introduction; all this simply
opens in one word the magnitude of the question, and the general
principles which govern it; but before I sit down it will be my duty
to consider with some minuteness the actual condition and prospects of
this Territory.


Sir, consider, that, when this Territorial Act was passed, in March,
1864, the country was still struggling in that terrible war involving
the great question of justice to the colored race. At that moment,
this secluded people, already aspiring to be a State, undertook to
put their feet upon the colored population beginning to gather under
their jurisdiction. We are told they are few in number,--perhaps a
hundred; yet out of that hundred are some seventy who promptly went
forth as soldiers to do battle for your flag, but, returning to
their homes, they found the franchise they had enjoyed taken from
them,--that they who had perilled life to save the Republic and to
aid in establishing the rights of all, when once more at their own
firesides, were despoiled of their own. Sir, am I wrong, when I say
that here was retrogression in republican principles,--that here was
departure from those fundamental truths essential to our Government? It
was, I say, departure and retrogression,--because this community had
begun right. It began by recognizing these truths; but, as if blasted
by some evil genius, the same failure that attended it in population,
in agriculture, in mining, and in other respects, descended upon its
moral sense.

I do not use too strong language. I say it was a fall, when this
community, which had solemnly enacted justice, after the lapse of three
years reversed its own decree, and solemnly enacted injustice. There it
stands on the statute-book. You must recognize it. You cannot avoid it.
You cannot be insensible to such a thing. It is a fact in the history
of this Territory. No other Territory in our national history has ever
been thus guilty. No other Territory which has risen to the height of
justice has ever descended again so low. No other Territory which has
recognized the rights of man has afterward undertaken to overthrow them.

The Governor of the Territory, in the message which I hold in my hand,
speaking of this question, says, in language which does him honor:
“It seems incredible, and, were it not for the record, it would be
incredible, that such a measure could have been adopted at such a time.”

The Governor, in the same message, shows that these same colored men,
while despoiled of the elective franchise, are nevertheless compelled
by taxation to support the public schools, from which their children
are excluded. Some of the more prosperous, in order to secure education
for their children, have sent them to distant parts of the country, to
repair the wrong done by this churlish and unjust community. All this
is set forth by the Governor in his formal message. He then adds:--

    “I do not propose in this connection to discuss the question of
    equality of race, about which so many words and so much labor
    have been wasted; but I submit without argument the fact that
    the colored people in Denver and various parts of the Territory
    are taxed to pay for educating white children, while their own
    children are excluded from the public schools; and your action
    will determine how long the humiliating spectacle shall be
    presented to the world.”[276]

Could anything be more flagrant? Yet this community now appeals for
your favor and countenance and welcome as a State!

I have quoted from the message of the Governor. I cite another
authority, being a telegraphic despatch from a colored citizen of
Colorado, which has travelled over the wires a very long distance.

                                            “DENVER CITY, COLORADO,
                                                  January 15, 1866.

    “The law adopted by the Territorial Legislature in 1861 allowed
    all persons over twenty-one to vote, without distinction of
    color. The law passed in 1864, signed by Governor Evans,
    deprived colored citizens of the right, at the very time when
    appealing to them to help save the country. The admission
    of Colorado under her present constitution makes that law
    permanent. If not admitted now, this can be corrected.

        _A colored citizen_.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    After adducing additional evidence, Mr. Sumner proceeded to
    consider the obligations upon Congress from the Enabling Act,
    and here he said:--

If I understand the argument, it is, that Congress, by a statute,
pledged itself in advance to admit this community as a State into the
Union; that we are bound by such statute, so that we cannot escape the
obligation; that, in short, we are tied up by our own statute. This is
a strong assumption; but I believe it is an accurate statement of the
position of the other side.

Now, Sir, I think I can easily show that here is a great mistake. I
may remind you that the President, to whom the question was naturally
submitted, has expressly stated in a message to the Senate that in
his opinion the new constitution was not formed in pursuance of the
Enabling Act.


I have said that the Enabling Act had expired. These parties can claim
nothing under it. It is like an obsolete statute, which we read in the
statute-book, but never adduce for authority. It stands as a monument,
showing what Congress required, and showing also what this community
failed to perform. In adducing it, you bring authority against the
present pretension; for you show clearly that the pretension had no
foundation in the statute.

But, Sir, even assuming that the Enabling Act was in a condition to
be employed for the organization of this Territory,--which I claim it
was not,--then it is my duty to go further, and show you that these
parties, as the colored telegraphic correspondent from Denver alleges,
did not in any respect comply with the Enabling Act.[277] Why, Sir? By
the Enabling Act the Convention was to be called by the Governor. But
it was called by the executive committees of political parties, being
so many caucuses. Such was the origin of the convention to give you a
new State. What authority for that do you find in the Enabling Act? Be
good enough to point out a single word to justify any such transaction.
And yet we are gravely told that this strange political hocus-pocus
was by virtue of the Enabling Act,--as if in every respect it was not
plainly inconsistent with the Act.

But the Enabling Act declares that “the constitution, when formed,
shall be republican.” This is a fundamental condition. And here I
repeat what I have so often said, but which at this hour cannot be too
often sounded in the ears of the Senate. I affirm with confidence,
that a constitution which denies the first principle of human rights
cannot be republican in form. Do you answer, that there are States
having such constitutions? Then I reply: We are not called to sit in
judgment on those constitutions; we have no power to revise them; we
are not to vote upon them; but we are called to sit in judgment upon
this constitution, to revise it, and to vote upon it. You are now to
declare by your votes whether this constitution which tramples upon the
principle of human equality is republican in form. I insist that it is

Still further, this Enabling Act declares that “the constitution shall
not be repugnant to the principles of the Declaration of Independence.”
Need I ask you, What is the first principle of the Declaration of
Independence? Is it not, in solemn words, that “all men are created
equal,” and that all just government stands on “the consent of the
governed”? Does any one deny that these are the words? You know them by
heart; your children learn them in their earliest infancy; and whatever
is done in the Territory is to be brought to this great ordinance,
as to a touchstone. Such is the requirement of the Enabling Act.
Therefore, even if you argue that the Enabling Act is authority for
this proceeding, then do I reply, that this community has not in any
respect brought itself within its terms. It has not complied with its
requirements of principle or of proceeding. The proceedings were not
according to the Enabling Act; the principles are in defiance of the
Enabling Act. Tried by either standard, the whole effort must miserably

    Mr. Sumner was here interrupted by Mr. Trumbull, who, quoting
    from the Territorial election law of 1861 a provision requiring
    voters to be citizens, remarked, that, while he would not be
    understood as saying that in his opinion a colored person is
    not a citizen, such was the understanding in Colorado. Mr.
    Sumner replied:--

The Governor of the Territory, whose message I hold in my hand, does
not put upon the statute the interpretation the Senator does.[278] I
have great respect for the opinion of my friend, as he knows; but on
this matter I submit, that the Governor of the Territory, on the spot,
in a formal communication to the Legislature, is a better authority
even than my honorable friend.

    MR. TRUMBULL. Better than the statute?

MR. SUMNER. I am coming to that. The statute enumerates first in the
class of voters citizens of the United States; and my honorable friend
himself is obliged to confess that in his opinion colored persons are
citizens of the United States. He does not doubt it. If he did, it
would be my duty to remind him of an opinion by the Attorney-General
of the United States, in 1862, more than a year prior to the Enabling
Act, declaring colored persons citizens of the United States.[279]
I refer to this opinion with something more than respect: I refer to
it with reverence. I do think, humbly speaking, that this opinion was
one of the most remarkable and one of the grandest acts in the history
of the late Administration. I do not doubt that hereafter, when the
annals of these times are written, the historian will dwell with honest
pride upon that admirable document, where one man reversed the whole
policy of the Nation, fixing the law of this country forever,--that
all colored persons are citizens of the United States. And that was
the law of Colorado. The Senator from Illinois does not doubt it.
Therefore, when the Territorial Legislature added the words “citizens
of the United States,” it did not alter the case by a hair’s breadth:
all persons could vote, without distinction of color. The Senator is
informed that no colored persons did vote. I have been informed the
contrary. But I insist, that, beyond all question, by the Territorial
statute colored persons were entitled to vote.


Mr. President, such are the facts against the admission of Colorado as
a State into this Union. I do not see how you can admit it, without, in
the first place, injustice to its own population, at this moment unable
to bear the burdens of a State government; secondly, without injustice
to the other States, which ought not to find themselves “paired” in
this Chamber by two Senators from this small community; and, in the
third place, without sacrificing a principle which at this moment is of
incalculable importance to the peace of the country. In other times we
have heard the cry, _No more Slave States!_ There is kindred cry which
must be ours,--_No more States with inequality of rights!_ Against all
this I catch a whisper, not an argument. It is breathed that we need
two more votes on this floor. Sir, there is something that you need
more than two more votes. It is constancy in the support of that great
principle so essential to the harmony of the Republic. Better far than
any number of votes will be loyalty to this commanding cause. Tell me
not that it is expedient to create two more votes in this Chamber.
Nothing can be expedient that is not right. If I were now about to
pronounce the last words that I could ever utter in this Chamber, I
would say to you, Senators, do not forget that right is always the
highest expediency. You can never sacrifice the right without suffering
for it.

    April 25th, the question was taken on Mr. Wilson’s motion to
    reconsider, and was carried,--Yeas 19, Nays 13. The bill was
    again before the Senate.

    Mr. Sumner then moved his proviso, that the Act should not
    take effect except upon the fundamental condition that within
    the State there should be no denial of the elective franchise
    or of any other rights on account of color or race, which was
    lost,--Yeas 7, Nays 27.

    The bill was then passed by the Senate,--Yeas 19, Nays 13. Mr.
    Edmunds, of Vermont, Mr. Foster, of Connecticut, Mr. Grimes, of
    Iowa, Mr. Morgan, of New York, Mr. Poland, of Vermont, and Mr.
    Sumner were the only Republicans voting in the negative.

       *       *       *       *       *

    May 3d, the bill passed the House of Representatives,--Yeas 81,
    Nays 57,--among the latter Mr. Stevens,--and was duly presented
    to the President for his signature.

       *       *       *       *       *

    May 16th, the bill was returned to the Senate, with the
    objections of the President to its becoming a law. On motion
    of Mr. Wade, of Ohio, the message was laid on the table. May
    21st, on motion of Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, it was taken up
    and made the special order for May 29th. On this motion, Mr.
    Sumner, after discussing the order of business, remarked:--

I have said enough in answer to observations on the order of business
by Senators who have preceded me; but there seems to have been a
disposition to open the main question. Senators have expressed opinions
with more or less fulness on that. I shall not follow them. This is not
the time for such a discussion. That time may come. It has already been
in this Chamber, and then I had ample opportunity to say what I chose.
I may deem it proper to take another opportunity; but I am in no haste.
I have no disposition to press the matter.

I cannot take my seat, however, without one remark, in reply to my
friend from Ohio. He says that he is for the admission of Colorado
now, notwithstanding the veto of the President. I rejoin, that I am
against the admission of Colorado now, with or without the veto of the
President. If alone, I mean to insist always, that, from this time
forward, no State shall be received into the Union with a constitution
disavowing the first principle of the Declaration of Independence; and
I shall take advantage of every opportunity to uphold that principle,
whether given me by a Senator on this floor or by the President of the
United States.

    The veto was never considered, and the effort for the admission
    of Colorado expired for that session. Had the veto been
    considered, Mr. Sumner would have said:--

Months have passed since the application of Colorado was presented to
Congress, with a constitution disregarding that vital principle which
constitutes the essential element of republican government, without
which a republican government is a name and nothing more. For months
representatives of Colorado have struggled to triumph over this
benign principle. Meanwhile the popular voice has been heard, sounding
in the ears of members of Congress, and still the efforts of these
representatives of Colorado are continued. I regret this much. I regret
that they did not return home and crown their labors by making the new
State an example to the country.

On this occasion I shall sustain the veto of the President. I must
do this, because I agree with him, that Colorado should not now be
admitted as a State.

There are reasons assigned by the President which are applicable and
sufficient. There is at least one other assigned by him which is
inapplicable, and, of course, insufficient. When he objects to the
reception of a new State with so small a population as Colorado, to
exercise equal power, legislative, diplomatic, and executive, with New
York, in this Chamber,--and when again he objects to this new State on
the ground that the people there are not yet ripe and ready for the
responsibilities of a State government,--clearly, in these two cases
he has reason on his side. All that he says is at once applicable
and sufficient. But I must be pardoned, if I cannot adopt his other
reason,--that we should not undertake to admit new States while our
late Rebel States are still unrepresented in Congress. This reason is
obviously inapplicable, and, of course, insufficient. He might as well
object to the validity of elections because criminals have not been
let out of the prisons and penitentiaries to vote. States hardly yet
washed clean from the blood of rebellion cannot expect to be received
instantly into the great copartnership of the National Government. For
the present, the business must be done by the loyal members.

There is another reason, at once applicable and sufficient, which the
President has forgotten to assign. That he should forget it may seem
strange, when we consider, that, on an important occasion in Tennessee,
standing on the steps of the Capitol, he openly announced himself as
the “Moses” of an oppressed race. But, Sir, are we not told by the poet
that the soul can reach heights which it cannot keep? Clearly, in this
utterance, so grandiose in promise, our President reached heights he
has not been able to keep. He is mortal, and the early inspiration has
passed from him. Had it been otherwise, he would not have forgotten
to rebuke this young Colorado coming forward with a constitution that
openly sets at nought that equality of rights which attaches to the
loyal citizens of an oppressed race. Here is reason enough for the
rejection. As in times past there has been the cry, “No more Slave
States!” the cry now must be, “No more States with the word ‘white’!”
I trust the Territories west of the Mississippi will take notice, and
govern themselves accordingly.

    At the next session, another bill was promptly introduced
    by Mr. Wade, and then reported by him from the Committee on
    Territories. Meanwhile a bill for the admission of Nebraska
    was taken up, and, after a protracted discussion, in which Mr.
    Sumner took part, that Territory was admitted as a State, on
    the fundamental condition of Equal Rights.[280]

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 9, 1867, immediately on the passage of the Nebraska
    Bill in the Senate, the bill for the admission of Colorado was
    taken up. The proviso requiring equal rights as a fundamental
    condition was adopted,--Yeas 21, Nays 18,--and the bill then
    passed the Senate,--Yeas 23, Nays 11,--Mr. Sumner voting in the

    January 15th, in the House of Representatives, the proviso
    adopted by the Senate was changed so as to require the assent
    of the State Legislature,--Yeas 84, Nays 65,--and the bill then
    passed the House,--Yeas 90, Nays 60. The Senate concurred, but
    President Johnson returned the bill with his objections.

    March 1st, on the question of the passage of the bill,
    notwithstanding the objections of the President, the vote
    stood, Yeas 29, Nays 19. Two thirds not having voted for the
    bill, it did not become a law. Nebraska was more fortunate.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Although Colorado failed to be admitted as a State, the long
    and earnest debate was not without result. The power of
    Congress to require Equal Rights as a fundamental condition was



                                                    SENATE CHAMBER,
                                                    March 15, 1866.


  GENTLEMEN,--My attention has been called to an editorial article
  in your paper,[281] where you say that Mr. Sumner “aided in
  defeating” the proposed Constitutional Amendment, “because in his
  opinion it fell short of what was needed.”

  Permit me to say that this does not state my position accurately.

  My objection to the proposed Amendment was twofold: first, that
  it carried into the Constitution by express words the idea of
  inequality of rights, which, in my opinion, would be a defilement
  of the text; and, secondly, that it lent the sanction of the
  Constitution to a wholesale disfranchisement on account of race
  or color. Thus far, nothing of the kind had been allowed to find
  place in its text. To my mind it was clear that nothing of the
  kind could rightly be allowed to find place in its text.

  You will see, therefore, that my opposition was not because the
  proposed Amendment “fell short of what was needed,”--although
  this was too true,--but because it did what in my judgment ought
  not to be done. Its objectionable character became more apparent,
  when it was considered that it did this at a crisis when complete
  justice to the freedmen was at once the prompting of gratitude
  and the requirement of necessity for the sake of national peace
  and the good name of the Republic. But the special objection to
  the proposed Amendment was not that it “fell short,” but that it
  was bad in itself. It is sometimes said, “Half a loaf is better
  than no bread,” and this has been called “half a loaf.” But
  nobody would accept “half a loaf,” if it were poisoned. Here was
  a poisonous ingredient. The proposition to found representation
  on voters, besides being more surely effective to the same end,
  had no poison in it.

  Others did not see the proposed Amendment as I did. Had they seen
  it so, they must have voted against it. But, seeing it as I did,
  I think you will agree that I could not hesitate in opposition to

  I do not write now for any purpose of controversy, but simply
  that my position may not be misunderstood.

      I am, Gentlemen, your faithful servant,



[1] Afterwards Minister and Consul General to the Government of Hayti.

[2] _Post_, Vol. XIV. pp. 228-231.

[3] Blackstone, Commentaries, Vol. IV. p. 278.

[4] _Post_, p. 22.

[5] _Post_, pp. 113, 123.

[6] _Post_, p. 271.

[7] _Post_, pp. 315, seqq.

[8] This same oath appears in another bill, introduced by Mr. Sumner
on the same day, entitled “A Bill prescribing an oath to maintain a
republican form of government in the Rebel States”; this oath to be
taken by every person in any State lately declared to be in rebellion,
before he shall be allowed to vote at any election, State or National,
or before he shall enter upon the duties of any office, State or
National, or become entitled to the salary or other emoluments thereof.
See, _ante_, p. 12.

[9] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. pp. 255-258.

[10] The Senate Chamber.

[11] Mr. Butler.

[12] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 640, March 12, 1856.

[13] See the engraving of Retzsch.

[14] _Ante_, Vol. XI. p. 365: Speech of Mr. Sumner on the Recognition
of Arkansas, June 13, 1864.

[15] First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801: Writings, Vol. VIII. p. 4.

[16] Act of July 13, 1861: Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. pp. 255-258.

[17] Congressional Globe, 38th Cong. 2d Sess., February 4, 1865, p. 591.

[18] Horne, Commentary on the Psalms: Ps. xi. 3.

[19] See, _ante_, p. 42.

[20] Executive Documents, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., Senate, No. 1, pp.

[21] Burke, Letter to Henry Dundas, April 9, 1792: Works (Boston,
1865-67), Vol. VI. p. 261.

[22] _Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 312-314.

[23] Affranchissement des Serfs: Traduction des Documents Officiels,
Résumés Explicatifs et Annotations (St. Petersburg, 1861).

[24] Constitution of Massachusetts, Declaration of Rights, drawn by
John Adams.

[25] _Ante_, p. 17.

[26] _Ante_, p. 14.

[27] _Post_, pp. 136, seqq.

[28] Letters from New Orleans, October, 1865: Nation, October 26, 1865,
Vol. I. pp. 523, 524.

[29] He had already united with President Johnson in his “policy.”

[30] Act to establish and regulate the Domestic Relations of Persons of
Color, etc., Sec. XVII. [Approved December 21, 1865.]

[31] Ibid., Sections L., LII., LIII.

[32] Later evidence showed that this hope was without foundation.

[33] Senate Journal, 1865-66, p. 151.

[34] Code of Tennessee, § 3808.

[35] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 50.

[36] The Necessity of Universal Suffrage in Reconstruction; Letter
to the Editor of the New York _Nation_, October, 1865: Speeches and
Addresses, pp. 585-596.

[37] Speech in the House of Commons, on the Address of Thanks, December
13, 1792: Hansard’s Parliamentary History, Vol. XXX. col. 13.

[38] _Ante_, p. 14.

[39] _Post_, p. 123.

[40] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 25, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. pp. 1429, 1430.

[41] Act to protect all Persons in the United States in their Civil
Rights, and furnish the Means of their Vindication. It passed the
Senate February 2d, and became a law, notwithstanding the veto of
President Johnson, April 9th.--_Statutes at Large_, Vol. XIV. p. 27.

[42] Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun: Characters, prefixed to Political
Works, (Glasgow, 1749,) p. viii.

[43] _Ante_, p. 113.

[44] _Ante_, Vol. X. p. 167, Our Domestic Relations, Power of Congress
over the Rebel States; Vol. XII. p. 305, The National Security and the
National Faith. See, also, Vol. IX. p. 1, Rights of Sovereignty and
Rights of War.

[45] Speech in Washington, April 11, 1865: McPherson’s Political
History of the United States during the Rebellion, p. 609.

[46] Constitution of the Confederate States, Art. IV., Sec. 3, Clause
4: Statutes at Large (Richmond, 1864), p. 21. See, also, Appleton’s
Annual Cyclopædia, 1861, art. _Public Documents._

[47] Of Reformation in England, Book II.: Works (London, 1851), Vol.
III. p. 34.

[48] No. XXI.

[49] Notes on the Confederacy, April, 1787: Letters and other Writings,
Vol. I. p. 322.

[50] Madison Papers, Vol. III., Appendix, No. 5.

[51] Works, Vol. II. pp. 463-466.

[52] Debates in the Federal Convention, May 29, 1787: Madison Papers,
Vol. II. pp. 731, 734.

[53] Ibid., June 20, 1787, p. 913.

[54] Ibid., May 29, 1787, p. 734.

[55] Debates in the Federal Convention, June 11 and July 18, 1787:
Madison Papers, Vol. II. pp. 844, 1139, 1141.

[56] Ibid., August 6, 30, and September 12, 15, 1787: Madison Papers,
Vol. II. p. 1241, Vol. III. pp. 1466, 1467, 1558, 1590, 1621.

[57] The Federalist, No. XLIII. See, also, Story’s Commentaries on the
Constitution, Vol. III. § 1811.

[58] Argument in the Supreme Court of the United States, January 27,
1848, in the Case of Luther _v._ Borden et als.: Works, Vol. VI. p. 230.

[59] Politics, Book I. ch. 1.

[60] Ibid., Book III. ch. 1.

[61] Ibid., Book III. ch. 7.

[62] Politics, Book IV. ch. 4.

[63] De Republica, Lib. I. c. 25.

[64] Ibid., c. 31.

[65] John Adams, Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the
United States: Works, Vol. IV. p. 370.

[66] Brief of Argument on the Constitution of the United States: Works,
Vol. II. p. 463.

[67] Defence of the Constitutions: Works, Vol. V. p. 453.

[68] Letter to J. H. Tiffany, March 31, 1819: Ibid., Vol. X. pp. 377,

[69] Letter to J. H. Tiffany, April 30, 1819: Works, Vol. X. p. 378.

[70] Defence of the Constitutions: Ibid., Vol. IV. p. 358.

[71] De l’Esprit des Lois, Liv. III. ch. 3; IV. 5; V. 2, 3.

[72] Ibid., Liv. II. chs. 1, 2.

[73] De Republica, Lib. II. c. 1.

[74] Histoire de nostre Temps, de l’Estat de la Religion et _de la
République de France_, soubz le Roy Henry second, François second et
Charles neuviesme: Vies des Hommes Illustres et Capitaines François,
Discours LVIII.: Œuvres Complètes du Seigneur de Brantôme (Paris,
1822), Tom. II. p. 310.

[75] Brantôme, Vies des Hommes Illustres et Capitaines François,
Discours LXII.: Œuvres, Tom. II. p. 395.

[76] Histoire de France (4me édit.), Tom. IX. p. 391.

[77] John Adams, Novanglus: Works, Vol. IV. p. 106.

[78] Politics, Book III. ch. 16.

[79] Historical View of the English Government (London, 1818), Vol.
III. p. 326.

[80] John Adams, Letter to J. H. Tiffany, March 31, 1819: Works, Vol.
X. p. 378.

[81] Enquiry into Vulgar and Common Errors, Book III. ch. 27, § 3.

[82] Du Contrat Social, Liv. III. ch. 4: Œuvres (Paris, 1821), Tom. V.
p. 175.

[83] Letter to John Penn: Works, Vol. IV. p. 204. See also Letter to
George Wythe: Ibid., p. 194.

[84] Speech on Motion for a Reform in Parliament, May 7, 1793:
Hansard’s Parliamentary History, Vol. XXX. col. 915.

[85] Three Letters to Governor Shirley, December, 1754: Works, ed.
Sparks, Vol. III. pp. 56, seqq.

[86] Discourses concerning Government (London, 1751), pp. 14, 54, Ch.
I. §§ 6, 20.

[87] Two Treatises on Government, Book II. ch. 11, § 140: Works
(London, 1812), Vol. V. pp. 422, 423.

[88] Introduction to the Literature of Europe (London, 1847), Vol. III.
p. 445, Part IV. ch. 4, § 95.

[89] Mémoires, Liv. V. ch. 19: Petitot, Mémoires relatifs à l’Historie
de France, Tom. XII. p. 298.

[90] Preface to Vol. III. Thucydides, p. xv (Oxford, 1842).

[91] Hening, Statutes at Large, Vol. I. p. 403.

[92] Hening, Statutes at Large, Vol. IX. p. 110.

[93] John Adams, Letter to William Tudor, December 18, 1816: Works,
Vol. X. p. 233.

[94] John Adams, Letter to William Tudor, June 9, 1818: Works, Vol. X.
p. 319.

[95] John Adams, Works, Vol. II. pp. 521-525; Vol. X. pp. 244-249,
314-362. Tudor’s Life of Otis, Chs. V., VI.

[96] Letter to William Tudor, March 29, 1817: Works, Vol. X. pp. 247,

[97] Letter to William Tudor, March 29, 1817: Works, Vol. X. p. 248.

[98] John Adams, Letter to William Tudor, April 5, 1818: Works, Vol. X.
pp. 300-312.

[99] See Bancroft’s History of the United States, Vol. V. pp. 290, 291.

[100] Rights of the British Colonies, p. 14.

[101] Ibid., p. 37.

[102] Rights of the British Colonies, p. 37.

[103] Ibid., p. 29.

[104] Ibid., p. 38.

[105] Rights of the British Colonies, Appendix, p. 69. Wells’s Life of
Samuel Adams, Vol. I. pp. 46-48.

[106] Resolves, October 26, 1765: Journal of House of Representatives,
pp. 151-153; Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts, Vol. III. pp.
476-478, Appendix.

[107] Answer to Governor’s Speech, October 24, 1765: Journal of House
of Representatives, p. 135; Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts, Vol.
III. p. 474, Appendix.

[108] _Ante_, p. 157.

[109] Considerations on the Propriety of imposing Taxes in the British
Colonies (2d edit., London, 1766), p. 5 and Preface.

[110] Wirt’s Life of Patrick Henry (3d edit.), p. 63.

[111] Resolves, September 21, 1765: Votes and Proceedings of the House
of Representatives, Vol. V. p. 426.

[112] Authentic Account of the Proceedings of the Congress held at New
York in 1765 (London, 1767), pp. 5, 6.

[113] The Justice and Necessity of Taxing the American Colonies
Demonstrated (London, 1766), pp. 13, 14.

[114] Votes and Proceedings of the Town of Boston, October 28th and
November 2d, 20th, 1772, pp. 9, 10. Wells’s Life of Samuel Adams, Vol.
I. p. 506.

[115] Bancroft’s History of the United States, Vol. V. p. 294.

[116] Instructions to the Delegates from Hanover County to the Virginia
Convention, August 1, 1774: Wirt’s Life of Patrick Henry, p. 99, note.

[117] Novanglus, No. VIII.: Works, Vol. IV. p. 131.

[118] Journals of Congress, Vol. I. p. 29, October 12, 1774.

[119] Ibid., pp. 38, 39, October 21, 1774.

[120] Journals of Congress, Vol. I. p. 60, October 26, 1774.

[121] Ibid., p. 70, October 26, 1774.

[122] Speech on Motion for withdrawing Confidence from Ministers, March
15, 1782: Hansard’s Parliamentary History, Vol. XXII. col. 1184.

[123] Speech on the Address of Thanks, January 14, 1766: Ibid., Vol.
XVI. col. 100.

[124] Journal of Congress, April 26, 1783, Vol. VIII. p. 201.

[125] Writings, ed. Sparks, Vol. VIII. pp. 567, 568, Appendix, No. XIII.

[126] On Government, No. I.: Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. II. p. 279.

[127] Some Good Whig Principles: Ibid., pp. 372, 373.

[128] Writings, Vol. VII. p. 75.

[129] Ibid., Vol. VI. p. 605.

[130] Writings, Vol. VI. p. 607.

[131] Notes on Virginia, Query XIV.: Ibid., Vol. VIII. p. 385.

[132] Thoughts on Lotteries, February, 1826: Ibid., Vol. IX. p. 508.

[133] Debates in the Federal Convention, June 6, 1787: Madison Papers,
Vol. II. pp. 805, 806.

[134] Ibid., August 7, 1787, Vol. III. p. 1253.

[135] Ibid., Note to Speech of August 7, 1787, Appendix, No. 4, Vol.
III. p. ix.

[136] Ibid., p. xii.

[137] Ibid., p. xiii.

[138] Federalist, No. XXXIX.

[139] Letters and other Writings, Vol. I. p. 322.

[140] Letters and other Writings, Vol. III. p. 190.

[141] Ibid., Vol. IV. p. 60.

[142] Remarks in the Federal Convention: Works, Vol. II. pp. 416, 417.

[143] Remarks in the Federal Convention: Works, Vol. II. p. 418.

[144] Phocion, Letter II.: Ibid., pp. 315, 316.

[145] Ibid., p. 316.

[146] The Federalist, No. LIV.--J. C. Hamilton, in the Historical
Notice prefixed to his edition of the Federalist (Philadelphia, 1864),
furnishes strong grounds for ascribing this important paper to his
father. See pp. xcv-cvi, and cxix-cxxvii.

[147] Correspondence between John Adams and Samuel Adams on Government,
Letter IV., November 20, 1790: Works of John Adams, Vol. VI. p. 421.

[148] Correspondence on the Constitution, Letter I., July 20, 1789:
Ibid., p. 437.

[149] Works, Vol. IV. p. 293.

[150] Speech in the South Carolina Convention, May 14, 1788: Elliot’s
Debates (2d edit.), Vol. IV. pp. 326, 328.

[151] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 21, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. p. 1388.

[152] Elliot’s Debates, Vol. I. p. 374.

[153] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 7, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. p. 1252.

[154] Construction Construed, p. 312.

[155] Address at laying the Corner-Stone of the Addition to the
Capitol, July 4, 1851: Works, Vol. II. p. 601.

[156] Argument in the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Case
of Luther _v._ Borden, January 27, 1848: Works, Vol. VI. p. 222.

[157] The State _v._ Manuel, 4 Devereux and Battle, R., 25.

[158] Hening, Statutes at Large, Vol. IV. pp. 133, 134.

[159] Opinion of Richard West, January 16, 1723, addressed to the
Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, on
an Act of Virginia “tending to prevent free black men from voting at
elections.”--CHALMERS, _Opinions of Eminent Lawyers on Various Points
of English Jurisprudence, chiefly concerning the Colonies_, Vol. II. p.

[160] Petition of Joseph Boone to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina:
Dalcho, Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South
Carolina, p. 83. See, also, p. 178.

[161] Essais, Liv. I. chs. 3, 19.

[162] See, _ante_, p. 149.

[163] P. Janet, Histoire de la Philosophie Morale et Politique, Tom.
II. p. 371.

[164] Considérations sur le Gouvernement de la France, quoted by Henri
Martin, Histoire de France, Tom. XV. p. 358. See, also, his Mémoires,
Tom. III. p. 313, Tom. V. p. 312.

[165] Idées Républicaines, §§ 13, 43: Œuvres (1784), Tom. XXIX. pp.
190, 203.

[166] Dictionnaire Philosophique, art. DÉMOCRATIE: Ibid., Tom. XXXIX.
p. 254.

[167] Ce que les Citoyens ont Droit d’attendre de leurs Représentants,
10 Avril, 1793: Œuvres, par O’Connor et Arago, (Paris, 1847-49,) Tom.
XII. p. 567.

[168] Institutions du Droit de la Nature et des Gens (Paris, 1851),
Tom. I. pp. 51, 52, Liv. I. ch. 5, § 4.

[169] Buchez et Roux, Histoire Parlementaire de la Révolution
Française, Tom. XXXVIII. p. 458.

[170] Proclamation, 10 Juillet, 1802, pour l’Anniversaire du 14
Juillet, 1789: Correspondance du Napoléon I., No. 6180, (Paris, 1861,
Imprim. Impér. 4to,) Tom. VII. p. 660.

[171] Garnier-Pagès, Histoire de la Révolution de 1848, Tom. V. p. 338.

[172] Ibid., p. 348.

[173] Garnier-Pagès, Histoire de la Révolution de 1848, Tom. VII. p.

[174] De la Démocratie en Amérique (14me édit.), Tom. III. pp. 526,
527, Ch. 7.

[175] Block, Dictionnaire de la Politique, art. RÉPUBLIQUE.

[176] Additional Observations on the Nature and Value of Civil Liberty
(London, 1777), Introduction, p. ix.

[177] Wheaton, History of the Law of Nations (New York, 1845), p. 751.

[178] Ashby _v._ White et als., Lord Raymond, R., 953.

[179] No. XIV.

[180] De Republica, Lib. II. c. 6.

[181] Literature of Europe, Part II. ch. 4, § 52.

[182] Politics, Book III. ch. 7 [12].

[183] Sarpi, Opinione come debba governarsi internamente la Republica
di Venezia per avere il perpetuo Dominio, p. 13.

[184] Luther _v._ Borden et al.: 7 Howard, R., 42.

[185] Elliot’s Debates (2d edit.), Vol. III. p. 367.

[186] M’Culloch _v._ Bank of Maryland: 4 Wheaton, R., pp. 409, 421.

[187] Martin _v._ Hunter’s Lessee: 1 Wheaton, R., 326.

[188] Lives, tr. Langhorne: Solon, c. 14.

[189] Morals, ed. Goodwin: Of Brotherly Love, c. 12.

[190] Virgil, Æneid, tr. Pitt, Book VI., 204, 205 [143, 144].

[191] Gray, Ode for Music, st. v.

[192] Coke, Institutes, Third Part, p. 44.

[193] Plutarch, Of Isis and Osiris, Ch. IX.

[194] Euripides, The Suppliants: Tragedies, tr. Wodhull, Vol. II. p.
20.--Milton, in his Answer to Salmasius, has used this text; and in the
English repetition of that tract he has turned it into prose: “I have
advanced the people themselves into the throne, having freed the city
from slavery, and admitted the people to a share in the government, _by
giving them an equal right of suffrage_.”--_Defence of the People of
England, in Answer to Salmasius_, Ch. VI.: Works (London, 1851), Vol.
VIII. p. 163.

[195] Ezekiel, xxxvii. 19.

[196] Speech on the Bill to establish a Territorial Government in
Oregon, June 27, 1848: Works, Vol. IV. pp. 511, 512.

[197] _Post_, pp. 294, seqq.

[198] Less than two fifths. By census of 1790, whole population
748,308; slaves 293,427.

[199] _Post_, p. 282.

[200] _Post_, p. 338.

[201] _Ante_, p. 114.

[202] May 8, 1866: Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., pp.

[203] Act of March 2, 1867: Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 429.

[204] Revue des Deux Mondes, 1 Mars, 1866, Tom. LXII. pp. 245, 246.

[205] McPherson’s Political History of the United States during
Reconstruction, pp. 53-55.

[206] Ibid., p. 61.

[207] _Ante_, p. 255.

[208] Boston Daily Advertiser, March 3, 1866.

[209] See, _post_, p. 280.

[210] _Ante_, p. 4.

[211] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 225, 226.

[212] _Ante_, p. 2.

[213] _Ante_, Vol. VIII. pp. 305, seqq.

[214] _Ante_, Vol. XI. pp. 389, seqq.

[215] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 1291, March 9, 1866.

[216] 4 Wheaton, R., 316.

[217] Attorney-General Bates, On Citizenship, November 29, 1862:
Opinions of Attorneys General, Vol. X. pp. 382, seqq.

[218] See, _ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 97, seqq.

[219] 4 Wheaton, R., pp. 409-421.

[220] _Ante_, p. 267.

[221] _Ante_, pp. 238, seqq.

[222] Speech on the Employment of Indians in the American War, November
20, 1777: Hansard’s Parliamentary History, Vol. XIX. col. 368-370.

[223] Speech on Negro Emancipation, February 20, 1838: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser. Vol. XL. col. 1307, 1308.

[224] Essays: Of Honor and Reputation.

[225] Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ed. Croker, (London, 1853,) Vol. VIII.
p. 285, June 3, 1784.

[226] “Parturient mountains have ere now produced muscipular
abortions.”--_Johnson’s Ghost_: Rejected Addresses.

[227] Debates in the Federal Convention, August 25, 1787: Madison
Papers, Vol. III. pp. 1429, 1430.

[228] Æneid, tr. Dryden, Book III. 295, 296 [227, 228].

[229] Boston Recorder, February 9, 1866.

[230] Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved (Boston,
1764), p. 14.

[231] Letter to William Tudor, June 1, 1818: Works, Vol. X. p. 315.

[232] Rights of the British Colonies, p. 29.

[233] Ibid., p. 38.

[234] Hutchinson’s Correspondence, quoted by Bancroft, History of the
United States, Vol. V. pp. 290, 291.

[235] Rights of the British Colonies, p. 8.

[236] Life of John Adams, by C. F. Adams; Works, Vol. I. p. 78.

[237] Hening, Statutes at Large, Vol. IX. p. 110.

[238] Some Good Whig Principles: Works, ed. Sparks, Vol. II. p. 372.

[239] Two Treatises of Government: Of Civil Government, Book II. ch.
11, § 140: Works (London, 1812), Vol. V. p. 423.

[240] Introduction to the Literature of Europe (London, 1847), Vol.
III. pp. 445, 448, Part IV. ch. 4, §§ 95, 100.

[241] Political Experience of the Ancients, p. 129.

[242] Addressed to his constituents, and appearing in the newspapers.
See also a later speech, in the House of Commons, March 13, 1866:
Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXXXII. col. 223.

[243] Free Conference on the Bill of Occasional Conformity, December
16, 1702: Chandler’s History and Proceedings of the House of Commons,
Vol. III. p. 229; Hansard’s Parliamentary History, Vol. VI. col. 80.

[244] Memoirs of Theophilus Parsons by his Son, Appendix, pp. 375, 376.

[245] New Orleans Delta, February 13, 1866.

[246] Debates in the Virginia Convention, June 4 and 5, 1788: Elliot
(2d edit.), Vol. III. pp. 22, 44.

[247] Ibid., June 4, 1788: Elliot, Vol. III. p. 29.

[248] Yates’s Minutes of the Debates of the Federal Convention, June
29, 1787: Elliot, Vol. I. p. 461.

[249] Ibid., p. 464.

[250] Ibid., June 30, 1787, p. 467.

[251] “‘What is truth?’ said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an
answer.”--BACON, _Essays_: Of Truth.

[252] Articles of Amendment, XXI., XXII.

[253] Speech on the Representative System, July 7, 1853: _Ante_, Vol.
IV. p. 46.

[254] Notes on Virginia, Appendix, No. II.: Writings, Vol. VIII. p. 443.

[255] Debates in the Federal Convention, July 14, 1787: Madison Papers,
Vol. II. p. 1102.

[256] _Ante_, pp. 113, 114.

[257] American Insurance Co. _v._ Canter, 1 Peters, S. C. R., 542.

[258] This was done in the Act of March 2, 1867, “to provide for the
more efficient government of the Rebel States.”--_Statutes at Large_,
Vol. XIV. p. 428.

[259] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. III. ch. 13, § 201.

[260] Ibid., § 199.

[261] The Federalist, No. LIV.

[262] Phocion, Letter II.: Works, Vol. II. p. 316.

[263] The Federalist, No. LVII.

[264] Works, Vol. II. p. 396. Madison Papers, Vol. III., Appendix, No.
5, p. xxi.

[265] _Ante_, p. 189.

[266] Politics, Book III. ch. 1. See abstract by Tremenheere, Political
Experience of the Ancients, p. 11.

[267] History of Greece (London, 1835), Vol. I. p. 409, Ch. X.

[268] Dred Scott _v._ Sandford, 19 Howard, R., 404.

[269] Ibid., 476.

[270] Fuller, Holy State: The Good Sea-Captain.

[271] _Ante_, pp. 238, seqq.

[272] Section 4.

[273] _Ante_, Vol. XII. p. 185.

[274] Works, Vol. III. p. 264.

[275] From Acts of the Legislative Assembly, as quoted in Special
Message of the Governor, January 23, 1866, pp. 1, 2.

[276] Special Message of Governor Cummings to the Legislative Assembly,
Colorado Territory, January 23, 1866, pp. 2, 3.

[277] Despatch, January 18, 1866: Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st
Sess., p. 2139.

[278] See, _ante_, p. 353.

[279] Opinion of Attorney-General Bates, November 29, 1862: Official
Opinions of the Attorneys General of the United States, Vol. X. pp.
382, seqq.

[280] _Post_, Vol. XIV. p. 147.

[281] March 12, 1866.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 13 (of 20)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.