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Title: Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 14 (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
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       [Illustration: A. W. Elson & Co., Boston: ANDREW JOHNSON]

             Statesman Edition                 VOL. XIV

                            Charles Sumner

                          HIS COMPLETE WORKS

                           With Introduction
                       HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR


                            LEE AND SHEPARD

                       COPYRIGHT, 1874 AND 1875,
                      FRANCIS V. BALCH, EXECUTOR.

                           COPYRIGHT, 1900,
                           LEE AND SHEPARD.

                          Statesman Edition.
                           OF WHICH THIS IS
                                No. 565

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



    the Senate, on the Contested Election of Hon. John P. Stockton,
    of New Jersey, March 23, 1866                                         1

    A SENATOR CANNOT VOTE FOR HIMSELF. Speech in the Senate, on the
    Vote of Hon. John P. Stockton affirming his Seat in the Senate,
    March 26, 1866                                                       15

    in the Senate, on the Bill to reorganize the Judiciary of the
    United States, April 2, 1866                                         30

    Senate, on his Death, April 12, 1866                                 33

    Committee on the Celebration of Emancipation in the District of
    Columbia, April 14, 1866                                             41

    JUSTICE TO MECHANICS IN THE WAR. Speech in the Senate, on a
    Bill for the Relief of certain Contractors, April 17, 1866           43

    in the Senate, on a Resolution to print a Letter of the
    Commissioner of Agriculture on the Cattle-Plague,
    April 25, 1866                                                       49

    URGENT DUTY OF THE HOUR. Letter to the American Antislavery
    Society, May 1, 1866                                                 51

    TIME AND RECONSTRUCTION. Remarks in the Senate, on a Resolution
    to hasten Reconstruction, May 2, 1866                                52

    Resolution relative to Attempted Assassination of the Emperor,
    May 8, 1866                                                          56

    Speeches in the Senate, on a Joint Resolution to prevent the
    Introduction of Cholera into the Ports of the United States,
    May 9, 11, and 15, 1866                                              59

    Senate, on an Amendment to the Consular and Diplomatic Bill,
    authorizing Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary
    instead of Ministers Resident, May 16 and 17, 1866                   74

    in the Senate, on an Amendment to the Consular and Diplomatic
    Bill, creating the Office of Second Assistant Secretary of
    State, May 16 and 17, 1866                                           82

    May, 1866                                                            85

    INTERRUPTION OF RIGHT OF PETITION. Remarks in the Senate, on
    the Withdrawal of a Petition from Citizens of Virginia,
    May 24, 1866                                                         86

    OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE REBELLION. Remarks in the Senate, on a
    Joint Resolution to provide for the Publication of the Official
    History of the Rebellion, May 24, 1866                               88

    Senate to a Reconstruction Bill, May 29, 1866                        92

    on the Bill to facilitate Commercial, Postal, and Military
    Communication in the several States, May 29, 1866                    93

    ATTITUDE OF JUSTICE TOWARDS ENGLAND. Remarks in the Senate, on
    the Bill for the Relief of the Owners of the British Vessel
    Magicienne, June 26, 1866                                            96

    the Senate, on a Bill to incorporate the Niagara Ship-Canal,
    June 28, 1866                                                        99

    Senate, on a Joint Resolution to authorize the Purchase for
    Congress of the Law Library of the Late James L. Pettigru, of
    South Carolina, July 3, 1866                                        103

    POPULAR ELECTIONS. Speech in the Senate, on the Bill concerning
    the Election of Senators, July 11, 1866                             105

    ISLANDS. Speech in the Senate, on a Joint Resolution releasing
    the Pacific Mail Steamships from stopping at the Sandwich
    Islands on their Route to Japan and China, July 17, 1866            110

    on a Joint Resolution declaring Tennessee again entitled to
    Senators and Representatives in Congress, July 21, 1866             114

    Senate, on an Amendment to the Civil Appropriation Bill, July
    23, 1866                                                            119

    Senate, on an Amendment to the Civil Appropriation Bill, July
    25, 1866                                                            124

    Senate, on the Credentials of the Senator from Tennessee, July
    26, 1866                                                            126

    Speeches in the Senate, on the Admission of Nebraska as a
    State, July 27, December 14 and 19, 1866, and January 8, 1867       128

    Senate, on Two Bills and a Joint Resolution relating to the
    Metric System, July 27, 1866                                        148

    ART IN THE NATIONAL CAPITOL. Speech in the Senate, on a Joint
    Resolution authorizing a Contract with Vinnie Ream for a Statue
    of Abraham Lincoln, July 27, 1866                                   164

    Address at the Opening of the Annual Lectures of the Parker
    Fraternity, at the Music Hall, Boston, October 2, 1866              181

    Invitation to attend a Banquet at New York, in Honor of Cyrus
    W. Field, November 14, 1866                                         220

    Convention of Colored Citizens, December 2, 1866                    222

    GOVERNMENTS IN THE REBEL STATES. Resolutions and Remarks in the
    Senate, December 5, 1866                                            224

    Speech in the Senate, on Amendments to the Bill conferring
    Suffrage without Distinction of Color in the District of
    Columbia, December 13, 1866                                         228

    PROHIBITION OF PEONAGE. Resolution and Remarks in the Senate,
    January 3, 1867                                                     232

    Senate, on a Resolution and the Report of the Judiciary
    Committee, January 3 and February 20, 1867                          234

    PROTECTION AGAINST THE PRESIDENT. Speeches in the Senate, on an
    Amendment to the Tenure-of-Office Bill, January 15, 17, and
    18, 1867                                                            239

    DENUNCIATION OF THE COOLIE TRADE. Resolution in the Senate,
    from the Committee on Foreign Relations, January 16, 1867           262

    CHEAP BOOKS AND PUBLIC LIBRARIES. Remarks in the Senate, on
    Amendments to the Tariff Bill reducing the Tariff on Books,
    January 24, 1867                                                    263

    CHEAP COAL. Speech in the Senate, on an Amendment to the Tariff
    Bill, January 29, 1867                                              271

    OF THE PEOPLE. Remarks in the Senate, on an Amendment of the
    National Constitution, February 11, 1867                            278

    AGAINST REBEL INFLUENCE. Speeches in the Senate, on the Bill to
    provide for the more Efficient Government of the Rebel States,
    February 14, 19, and 20, 1867                                       282

    THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. Remarks in the Senate, on the Bill
    to establish a Department of Education, February 26, 1867           297

    MONUMENTS TO DECEASED SENATORS. Remarks in the Senate, on a
    Resolution directing the Erection of such Monuments, February
    27, 1867                                                            299

    A VICTORY OF PEACE. Speech in the Senate, on a Joint Resolution
    giving the Thanks of Congress to Cyrus W. Field, March 2, 1867      301

    OR PENALTY. Resolutions and Speeches in the Senate, March 7 and
    11, 1867                                                            304

    GENEROSITY FOR EDUCATION. Speech in the Senate, on a Joint
    Resolution giving the Thanks of Congress to George Peabody,
    March 8, 1867                                                       317

    TO ALL. Speeches in the Senate, on the Supplementary
    Reconstruction Bill, March 15 and 16, 1867                          321

    a Joint Resolution concerning the Uniform of Persons in the
    Diplomatic Service of the United States, March 20, 1867             344

    VIGILANCE AGAINST THE PRESIDENT. Remarks in the Senate, on
    Resolutions adjourning Congress, March 23, 26, 28, and 29, 1867     348

    THE REBEL STATES. Remarks in the Senate, on a Joint Resolution
    authorizing Surveys for the Reconstruction of the Levees of the
    Mississippi, March 29, 1867                                         358



    The seat of Hon. John P. Stockton, as Senator from New Jersey,
    was contested at this session of the Senate, on the ground of
    irregularity in the election. The Judiciary Committee, by their
    Chairman, Mr. Trumbull, reported that he “was duly elected, and
    is entitled to his seat,” and in their report stated the case:--

        “The only question involved in the decision of Mr.
        Stockton’s right to a seat is, whether an election by a
        plurality of votes of the members of the Legislature of
        New Jersey, in joint meeting assembled, in pursuance of
        a rule adopted by the joint meeting itself, is valid.
        The protestants insist that it is not; and they deny Mr.
        Stockton’s right to a seat, because, as they say, he was
        not appointed by a majority of the votes of the joint
        meeting of the Legislature.”

    The debate on this question showed earnestness and feeling. Mr.
    Fessenden, of Maine, used strong language: “I was exceedingly
    surprised--more so, I will say, than I ever was before, at a
    judicial decision, in my life--at the opinion to which the
    Committee on the Judiciary arrived in relation to this matter.”
    Mr. Trumbull defended the report. Mr. Sumner followed.

MR. PRESIDENT,--When the Senator from Illinois rose to speak, I had
made up my mind to say nothing in this debate; but topics have been
introduced by him which I am unwilling should pass without notice.

The Senator did not disguise that the case is without a precedent
in the history of the Senate. Never before has a Senator appeared in
this Chamber with the credentials of a minority. And I venture to say
further, that the rule of a majority has the constant consecration
of history in the proceedings of parliamentary or electoral bodies.
It is the rule of the House of Commons in the choice of Speaker; and
this is the most important precedent for us, for our Parliamentary
Law is derived from England. But it antedates the English Parliament.
The oldest electoral body in the world is the Conclave of Cardinals;
but who has heard that a Pope was ever elected by a minority? I ask
your attention to this example, that you may see how the rule of
the minority is constantly rejected, notwithstanding temptation,
inducement, and pressure to adopt it. There have been many contested
elections, during which the Cardinals, separated from the world, each
in a small apartment or cell of the Vatican or the Palace of the
Quirinal, have been imprisoned like a jury, sometimes for months,
waiting for the requisite majority. They did not undertake to change
the rule, and set up the will of a minority. There was Lambertini,
who shone as Pope Benedict the Fourteenth, conspicuous as statesman
and patron of letters, who was not chosen until after six months’
ineffectual efforts. Such instances stand like so many pillars, and I
refer to them now as proper to guide your conduct.

The question before us is of law, and nothing else. It is not a
question of politics or of sentiment, except so far as these enter into
the determination of law. It is a question for reason alone.

It lies in a nutshell. A brief text of the National Constitution, and
another brief text of a local statute, are all that need be considered.

The National Constitution provides as follows:--

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

    “The times, places, and _manner of holding elections for
    Senators_ and Representatives shall be _prescribed_ in each
    State by the _Legislature_ thereof; but the Congress may at any
    time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the
    places of choosing Senators.”

In carrying out this provision, the Legislature of New Jersey, by a
statute passed April 10, 1846, and copied from a statute passed in
1790, enacted as follows:--

    “Senators of the United States on the part of this State shall
    be appointed _by the Senate and General Assembly of this State
    in joint meeting assembled_.”

In pursuance of these two provisions of National Constitution and of
local statute, the Legislature of New Jersey has undertaken to elect a
Senator. From the statement of the case, it appears, that, on a certain
day, the two Houses assembled “in joint meeting”; that they proceeded
to act on a resolution declaring that “any candidate receiving a
_plurality_ of votes of the members present shall be declared duly
elected”; that this resolution was adopted by forty-one votes out of
eighty-one,--eleven Senators, being a majority of the Senate, and
thirty members of the House, being less than a majority of that body,
voting for it; that, in pursuance of this resolution, Mr. Stockton was
declared Senator, although he did not receive a majority of the votes
of either House or of the joint meeting. In point of fact, he received
forty votes, of which ten were from Senators and thirty from members of
the Assembly, while against him were forty-one votes; and the question
you are to decide is on the legality of this election.

The National Constitution is the original and highest source of light
on the question. Here we find, that, in the absence of any regulations
from Congress, the manner of choosing a Senator is referred to the
State Legislature. The Senator is to be chosen by the _Legislature_,
which is to _prescribe_, among other things, the _manner_ of holding
the election. Whatever the State can do must be derived from this
source, nor more nor less. The choice is by the Legislature, according
to a manner prescribed by the Legislature.

The National Constitution does not undertake to define a State
Legislature or its forms of proceeding. This is left to the State
itself. Notoriously, these Legislatures were modelled on the
Colonial Legislatures preceding them, which had been modelled on the
Parliament of the mother country. As a general rule, there were two
Chambers, upper and lower; but this was not universal. In Georgia and
Pennsylvania there was for a while only a single Chamber, constituting
the Legislature. I mention this to show how completely the State itself
was left to determine the conditions of its Legislature. But the State
speaks through the State Constitution, which fixes these conditions.
Where the Constitution is silent, can the Legislature itself venture to

Repairing to the Constitution of New Jersey, we find it providing
that “the _legislative power_ shall be vested in a Senate and General
Assembly”; that these bodies shall meet and organize separately”; that
“all bills and joint resolutions shall be read three times in each
House”; and “no bill or joint resolution shall pass, unless there be
a _majority_ of all the members of each body personally present and
agreeing thereto.” Such is the definition of a Legislature, and such
are the forms of legislative proceedings prescribed by the Constitution
of New Jersey.

The statute of New Jersey, to which I have referred as framed in 1790,
was entitled “An Act to _prescribe the manner_ of appointing Senators
of the United States and Electors of the President and Vice-President
of the United States on the part of this State.” This was in pursuance
of the National Constitution. It was the execution, on the part of the
State, of the power with which it was invested to prescribe the manner
of electing Senators.

I have no purpose of raising any question with regard to the validity
of this statute prescribing the election of Senators _in joint
meeting_. Constant usage is in its favor; and yet I have no hesitation
in saying that it has always seemed to me inconsistent with a just
construction of the National Constitution. Senators are to be “chosen
by the Legislature”; but the Legislature is composed of two separate
bodies, defined by the State Constitution. Senators, therefore, should
be chosen by the two bodies separately. So it has always seemed to
me, and the practice of my own State is accordingly. In this opinion
I am sustained by so eminent an authority as Chancellor Kent, who,
after setting forth the usage, proceeds to express his dissent from it
as a just construction of the National Constitution. His language is

    “I should think, if the question was a new one, that, when the
    Constitution directed that the Senators should be chosen by
    _the Legislature_, it meant, not the members of the Legislature
    _per capita_, but the Legislature in the true technical sense,
    being the two Houses acting in their separate and organized
    capacities, with the ordinary constitutional right of negative
    on each other’s proceedings.”[1]

It is difficult to resist this conclusion, especially when it is
considered that in any other way the smaller body is actually swamped
by the larger. In a joint meeting the Senate loses its relative power.
I adduce this, not for criticism, but only for illustration. Even
admitting that the received usage of choosing Senators in joint meeting
is consistent with the National Constitution, it is clear that it
should not be extended; and this is the precise question before us.
Contrary to all usage or precedent, and without any direct sanction
in the Constitution or statutes of New Jersey, the Legislature has
undertaken in joint meeting, not only to choose a Senator, but also to
prescribe the manner of choosing him. Finding that it could not choose
according to existing usage, it adopted the resolution declaring that
the election should be determined by a minority of votes instead of a

In this resolution two questions arise: first, can the Legislature
itself, by legislative act, substitute a minority for a majority in
the election of Senators, and thus set aside a great and traditional
principle? and, secondly, can it do this in a “joint meeting,” without
any previous legislative act? It is enough for the present occasion,
if I show, that, whatever may be the powers of the Legislature by
legislative act, it can have no such extraordinary power in the
questionable assembly known as “joint meeting.” But we shall better
understand the second question, after considering the first.

To what extent can a Legislature substitute a minority for a majority
in any of its proceedings? In most cases the question is controlled
by the express language of the State Constitution; but I present the
question now independently of any State Constitution.

In considering the power of the Legislature, it is important to put
aside any influence that may be attributed to the unquestioned usage
of choosing Representatives and other officers by plurality of votes.
Because the people choose by plurality, it does not follow that a
Legislature may. From time immemorial, the rule in the two cases has
been different, unless we except the New England States, where, until
recently, even popular elections were by a majority. But the origin of
the practice in New England testifies to the rule.

It is proper for us to interrogate the country from which our
institutions are derived, for the origin of the rule. Indeed, where a
word is used in the Constitution having a previous signification or
character in the institutions of England, we cannot err, if we consider
its import there. I think we do this habitually. Mr. Wirt, in his
masterly argument on the impeachment of Judge Peck, develops this idea.

    “The Constitution secures the trial by jury. Where do you get
    the meaning of _a trial by jury_? Certainly not from the Civil
    or Canon Law, or the Law of Nations. It is peculiar to the
    Common Law; and to the Common Law, therefore, the Constitution
    itself refers you for a description and explanation of
    this high privilege, _the trial by jury_, and _the mode of
    proceeding_ in those trials.… The very name by which it is
    called into being authorizes it to look at once to the English
    archetypes for its government.”[2]

Following this statement, so clearly expressed, the words “Legislature”
and “holding elections,” in the National Constitution, which belonged
to the political system of England, may be explained by that
system,--so, at least, that in case of doubt we shall find light in
this quarter.

Now, from the beginning, it appears that in England there have been
two different rules with regard to elections by the legislature and
elections by the people. Elections by the legislature, like legislative
acts, have been by majority; elections by the people for Parliament
have been by plurality. This distinction is found throughout English

The House of Commons chooses its Speaker by majority. It may be said,
also, that it chooses the Ministers of the Crown in the same way,
because the fate of a cabinet depends upon a majority. In short,
whatever it does, unless it be the nomination of committees, is by
majority. It is only through majority that it can act. The House of
Commons itself is found in the majority of its members,--never in a

On the other hand, members of Parliament are chosen by plurality. No
reason is assigned for the difference; but it may be found, perhaps, in
two considerations: first, the superior convenience, amounting almost
to necessity, of choosing members of Parliament in this way; and,
secondly, the fact that popular bodies were not embraced by the Law of
Corporations, which establishes the rule of the majority.

Here I adduce the authority of Mr. Cushing, in his Parliamentary Law,
in the very passage cited by the Senator from Illinois:--

    “At the time of the first settlement and colonization of the
    United States, the elections of members of Parliament in
    England were conducted upon the principle of plurality, which
    also prevailed in all other elections in which the electors
    were at liberty to select their candidates from an indefinite
    number of qualified persons. Such has been, and still continues
    to be, the Common Law of England; and such is the present
    practice in that country in all elections.”[3]

It will be perceived that this statement is with reference to popular
elections, and not elections by corporate or legislative bodies. So far
as it goes, it is explicit. But pardon me, if I say that the Senator
from Illinois has misunderstood it. Had he examined it carefully, he
would have seen that it had no bearing on the present case. Nobody
questions the plurality rule in the election of members of Congress,
although few, perhaps, have considered how it came into existence. Mr.
Cushing, whom the Senator cites, explains it, and in a way to furnish
no authority for a minority instead of a majority in a legislative
body. The rule prevailed in England. The colonies of Virginia and
New York adopted it. From these, as they became States, it gradually
extended throughout the country. A different rule was carried to New
England by the Puritan Fathers. Even popular elections were by the rule
of the majority, as is explained by the same learned authority.

    “The charter of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay being that
    of a trading company, and not municipal in its character,
    the officers of the Colony were originally chosen at general
    meetings of the whole body of freemen, precisely as at the
    present day the directors of a business corporation, a bank,
    for example, are chosen by the stockholders at a general
    meeting. In the choice of Assistants, who were to be eighteen
    in number, at these meetings of the Company, or, as they were
    called, Courts of Election, the practice seems to have been for
    the names of the candidates to be regularly moved and seconded,
    and put to the question, one by one, in the same manner with
    all other motions. This was then, as it is now, the mode of
    proceeding in England, in the election of the Speaker of the
    House of Commons, and in the appointment of committees of the
    House, when they are not chosen by ballot. Probably, also, it
    was the usual mode of proceeding in electing the officers of
    a private corporation or company. In voting upon the names
    thus proposed, it was ordered--with a view, doubtless, to
    secure the independence and impartiality of the electors--that
    the freemen, instead of giving an affirmative or negative
    voice in the usual open and visible manner, should give their
    suffrages by ballot, and for that purpose should ‘use Indian
    corn and beans: the Indian corn to manifest election, the beans
    contrary.’ The names of the candidates being thus moved and
    voted upon, each by itself, it followed, of course, that no
    person could be elected but by an absolute majority.”[4]

The rule, thus curiously explained, continued in Massachusetts down to
a recent day; at last it yielded to the exigency of public convenience,
so that at this moment, I believe, popular elections throughout the
United States are by the plurality rule. But I repeat, that this is no
authority for overturning the rule of the majority in a legislative
body, having in its favor so many reasons of law and tradition.

I have only alluded to the Law of Corporations; but this law is of
weight in determining the present case. According to this law, the
rule of the majority must prevail. Indeed, an eminent jurist says that
this rule is according to the Law of Nature, as it is unquestionably
according to the Roman Law, and the modern law of civilized states.[5]
But what is a legislative body but a political corporation? Therefore,
when asked if a Legislature, even by legislative act, may set
aside the rule of the majority in the election of Senators, I must
candidly express a doubt. The Constitution confides this power to the
“Legislature”; but the “Legislature” consists of a majority. _Ubi
major pars est, ibi totum_: “Where the greater part is, there is the
whole.” Such is an approved maxim of the law; and this maxim has in its
support, first, the Law of Nature, secondly, the Law of Corporations,
thirdly, the Parliamentary Law, and, fourthly, the principles of
republican government. Who ever thought of saying, Where the minority
is, there is the whole?

But we are not asked now to decide the question, whether the
Legislature, by legislative act, may substitute the rule of a minority
for the majority. That question is not necessarily before us. In the
present case there has been no legislative act; and the question is,
whether the rule of the minority may be substituted for the majority
by the abnormal body known as joint meeting. On this point the
conclusion is clear. Even assuming that this substitution may be made
by legislative act, it does not follow that it may be made in joint

Surely, such a change is of immense gravity, and should be made
only under all possible solemnities and safeguards. If ever there
was occasion for the delays and precautions provided by legislative
proceedings, with three different readings in each separate House,
it must be when such a change is in question. Such surely is the
suggestion of reason. But the Constitution itself, which delegates to
the “Legislature” of each State the power to _prescribe the manner_ of
electing Senators, uses language not open to evasion. This power is
to be exercised by the “Legislature,” which may prescribe the manner.
It is not to be exercised by any other body than the Legislature; and
the manner is to be prescribed by the Legislature. But, assuming that
it may be exercised in joint meeting, it is clear that this must be in
pursuance of some legislative act, prescribing in advance the manner.

Supposing the case doubtful, then I submit that all presumptions
and interpretations must tend to support the rule of a majority. In
other words, so important a rule, having its foundation in the Law of
Nature, the Law of Corporations, Parliamentary Law, and the principles
of republican institutions, cannot be set aside without the plainest
and most positive intendment. It cannot be done by inference or
construction. If ever there was occasion where every doubt was to be
counted against the assumption of power, it is the present. I know
very little of cards, but I remember a rule of Hoyle, “When you are in
doubt, take the trick.” Just the reverse must be done in a case like
the present, involving so important a principle: when you are in doubt,
do not take the trick. This is a republican government, and surely you
will not abandon the first principle of a republican government without
good reason. According to received maxims of law, you must always
incline in favor of Liberty. In the same spirit you must always incline
in favor of every principle of republican government, and especially
of that vital principle which establishes the rule of the majority.
Thus inclining, the way at present is easy; and here I quote another
authority, very different from Hoyle. Lord Bacon, in his Maxims of the
Law, after mentioning a similar presumption, says:--

    “It is a rule drawn out of the depths of reason.… It makes an
    end of many questions and doubts about construction of words:
    for, if the labor were only to pick out the intention of the
    parties, every judge would have a several sense; _whereas this
    rule doth give them a sway to take the law more certainly one

And now, Sir, I have only to add, in conclusion, let us incline in
favor of the rule of the majority. So inclining, you will at once show
reverence for the republican principle and will stand on the ancient

    The question was then taken on an amendment, moved by Mr.
    Clark, of New Hampshire, to insert the word “not” before the
    word “duly” in the resolution of the Committee, and also before
    the word “entitled,” so that it should read that he “was not
    duly elected, and is not entitled to his seat.” This amendment
    was lost,--Yeas 19, Nays 21. The question then recurred on
    the resolution of the Committee. Upon the conclusion of the
    calling of the roll, the vote stood, Yeas 21, Nays 20, when
    Mr. Morrill, of Maine, said, “Call my name.” This was done,
    and he said, “I vote nay.” Mr. Stockton, who had not voted,
    rose, and, after stating that his colleague, Mr. Wright, was
    at home, said, “When he was last in this Chamber, he told me,
    as he left the Hall, that he would not go home, if it were
    not for the fact that he had paired off with the Senator from
    Maine. Mr. President, I ask that my name be called.” His name
    was then called, and he voted in the affirmative, so that the
    result was, Yeas 22, Nays 21. Meanwhile Mr. Morrill stated the
    circumstances with regard to his original pair with Mr. Wright
    and his withdrawal from it. The result was then declared,--Yeas
    22, Nays 21,--making a majority in the affirmative, and the
    resolution was treated as adopted.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The sequel of these proceedings, ending in the passage of a
    resolution, moved by Mr. Sumner, “that the vote of Mr. Stockton
    be not received,” and the adoption of a resolution declaring
    him “not entitled to a seat as Senator,” will appear under the
    next article.



    March 26th, immediately after the reading of the Senate
    journal, Mr. Sumner rose to what he called a question of
    privilege, and moved “that the journal of Friday, March 23,
    1866, be amended by striking out the vote of Mr. Stockton
    on the question of his right to a seat in the Senate.” The
    circumstances of this vote appear at the close of the last
    article. On his motion Mr. Sumner said:--

There are two ways, I believe, if there are not three, but there are
certainly two ways of meeting the question presented by the vote of
Mr. Stockton. I use his name directly, because it will be plainer and
I shall be more easily understood. I say there are two ways in which
the case may be met. One is, by motion to disallow the vote; the other,
by motion, such as I have made, to amend the journal. Perhaps a third
way, though not so satisfactory to my mind, would be by motion to
reconsider; but I am not in a condition to make this motion, as I did
not vote with the apparent majority. I call your attention, however,
at the outset, to two ways,--one by disallowing the vote, and the
other by amending the journal. But behind both, or all three, arises
the simple question, Had Mr. Stockton a right to vote? To this it is
replied, that his name was on the roll of the Senate, and accordingly
was called by our Secretary; to which I answer,--and to my mind the
answer is complete,--The rule of the Senate must be construed always in
subordination to the principles of Natural Law and Parliamentary Law,
and therefore you are brought again to the question with which I began,
Had Mr. Stockton a right to vote?

Had he a right to vote, first, according to the principles of Natural
Law, or, in other words, the principles of Universal Law? I take it
there is no lawyer, there is no man even of the most moderate reading,
who is not familiar with the principle of jurisprudence, recognized in
all countries and in all ages, that no man can be a judge in his own
case. That principle has been reduced to form among the maxims of our
Common Law,--_Nemo debet esse judex in propria sua causa_. As such it
has been handed down from the earliest days of the mother country. It
was brought here by our fathers, and has been cherished sacredly by us
as a cardinal rule in every court of justice. No judge, no tribunal,
high or low, can undertake to set aside this rule. I have in my hand
the most recent work on the Maxims of Law, where, after quoting this
rule, the learned writer says:--

    “It is a fundamental rule in the administration of justice,
    that a person cannot be judge in a cause wherein he is

In another place, the same learned writer says:--

    “It is, then, a rule always observed in practice, and of the
    application of which instances not unfrequently occur that,
    where a judge is interested in the result of a cause, he
    cannot, either personally or by deputy, sit in judgment upon

This rule had its earliest and most authoritative judicial statement in
an opinion by an eminent judge of England, who has always been quoted
for integrity in times when integrity was rare: I mean Chief Justice
Hobart, of the Court of Common Pleas. In his own Reports, cited as
Hobart’s Reports, I call attention to the case of _Day_ v. _Savadge_,
where this learned magistrate said:--

    “It was against right and justice, and against natural equity,
    to allow them [the Mayor and Aldermen of London] their
    certificate, wherein they are to try and judge their own cause.”

And then he says, in memorable language, which has made his name

    “Even an Act of Parliament, made against natural equity, as, to
    make a man judge in his own case, is void in itself; for _jura
    naturæ sunt immutabilia_, and they are _leges legum_.”[9]

Thus strongly and completely did he cover the present case, reaching
forward with judgment. According to him, even an Act of Parliament
making a man judge in his own case is void. But, Sir, he was not alone.
His great contemporary, and our teacher at this hour, Sir Edward Coke,
in a very famous case, known as _Bonham’s_, which I have not before
me now, but which is referred to in other cases, lays down the same
rule,--that a court of justice will not even recognize an Act of
Parliament, if it undertakes to make a man judge in his own case.[10]

But another judge, who, as lawyer and authority in courts down to this
day, perhaps excels even the two already cited,--I mean Lord Chief
Justice Holt,--has explained and developed this principle in masterly
language. I refer to what is known as Modern Reports, in the case of
_The City of London_ v. _Wood_, where he says:--

    “I agree, where the city of London claims any freedom or
    franchise to itself, there none of London shall be judge or
    jury; for there they claim an interest to themselves against
    the rest of mankind.”

He then explains the principle:--

    “It is against all laws, that the same person should be party
    and judge in the same cause, for it is manifest contradiction;
    for the party is he that is to complain to the judge, and the
    judge is to hear the party; the party endeavors to have his
    will, the judge determines against the will of the party, and
    has authority to enforce him to obey his sentence: and can
    any man act against his own will, or enforce himself to obey?
    The judge is agent, the party is patient, and the same person
    cannot be both agent and patient in the same thing; but it is
    the same thing to say that the same man may be patient and
    agent in the same thing as to say that he may be judge and
    party, and it is manifest contradiction. And what my Lord Coke
    says in _Dr. Bonham’s Case_, in his 8 Co., is far from any
    extravagancy; for it is a very reasonable and true saying,
    that, if an Act of Parliament should ordain that the same
    person should be party and judge, or, which is the same thing,
    judge in his own cause, it would be a void Act of Parliament;
    for it is impossible that one should be judge and party, for
    the judge is to determine between party and party, or between
    the Government and the party; and an Act of Parliament can do
    no wrong, though it may do several things that look pretty odd,
    for it may discharge one from his allegiance to the Government
    he lives under and restore him to the state of Nature, but
    it cannot make one that lives under a government judge and

These are the words of Chief Justice Holt. It will be observed that
three eminent judges, Hobart, Coke, and Holt, all found the inevitable
conclusion on the immutable principles of Natural Law, that law which
is common to all countries. It is the very law of which Cicero spoke in
the memorable sentence of his treatise on the Republic, when he said
that there was but one law for all countries, now and in all times,
the same at Athens as in Rome.[12] It is also that universal law to
which the great English writer, Hooker, alluded, when he said that
her seat is the bosom of God; all things on earth do her homage,--the
least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempt from her
power. To this Universal Law all your legislation must be brought as
to a touchstone; and all your conduct in this Chamber, and all your
rules, must be in accordance with it. Therefore I say, as I began,
the practice of calling the roll of the Senate must be interpreted in
subordination to this commanding rule of Universal Law.

This is not all. I said that it was forbidden, not only by Natural
Law, but also by Parliamentary Law. Of course, Parliamentary Law in
itself must be in harmony with Natural Law; but Parliamentary Law has
undertaken in advance to deal with this very question. There is no
express rule of the Senate on the subject, but here is a rule of the
other House:--

    “No member shall vote on any question in the event of which he
    is immediately and particularly interested.”[13]

This is but an expression in parliamentary language of what I have
announced as the rule of universal jurisprudence. But, Sir, this rule
was borrowed from the rules of the British House of Commons, one of
which is,--

    “If anything shall come in question touching the _return or
    election_ of any member, he is to withdraw during the time the
    matter is in debate.”[14]

I quote from May’s Parliamentary Law. From another work of authority,
Dwarris on Statutes, I now read:--

    “No member of the House may be present in the House when a bill
    or any other business concerning himself is debating; while the
    bill is but reading or opening, he may.”[15]

Then, after citing two different cases, the learned writer proceeds:--

    “This rule was always attended to in questions relative to the
    seat of a member on the hearing of controverted elections, and
    has been strictly observed in cases of very great moment.”[16]

Again the same writer says:--

    “Where a member appeared to be ‘somewhat’ concerned in

That is the phrase, only “somewhat concerned,”--

    “his voice has been disallowed after a division.”[17]

Then, again, our own eminent countryman, Cushing, who was quoted so
frequently the other day, in his elaborate book on the Law and Practice
of Legislative Assemblies, expresses himself as follows:--

    “Cases are frequent in which votes received have been

Again he says:--

    “Votes have also been disallowed after the numbers have been
    declared, on the ground that the members voting were interested
    in the question; and, in reference to this proceeding, there is
    no time limited within which it must take place.”[19]

Thus, Sir, it is apparent that Parliamentary Law is completely in
harmony with Natural Law. Indeed, if it were not, it would be our duty
to correct it, that it might be made in harmony.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now, after this statement of the law, which I believe completely
applicable to the present case, I am brought to consider the remedy. I
said at the outset that there were two modes: one was by disallowing
the vote on motion to that effect, and the other by amending the
journal. But first let me call attention to the practice in disallowing
a vote on motion. I have already read from Dwarris, where the vote was
disallowed, and I will read it again:--

    “Where a member appeared to be ‘somewhat’ concerned in
    interest, his voice has been disallowed after a division.”

    MR. TRUMBULL. Was that at the same or a subsequent session?

MR. SUMNER. It does not appear whether it was at a subsequent session,
but it simply appears that it was after the division. The Senator
understands that the division in the British Parliament corresponds
with what we call the yeas and nays. They “divide,” as it is
called,--the yeas and the nays being counted by tellers as they pass.

The American authority is in harmony with the English already quoted. I
read again from Cushing.

    “The disallowance of votes usually takes place, when, after the
    declaration of the numbers by the Speaker, it is discovered
    that certain members who voted were not present when the
    question was put, or _were so interested in the question_”--

Mark those words, if you please, Sir--

    “that they ought to have withdrawn from the House.

    “It has already been seen, that, when it is ascertained that
    members have improperly voted, on a division, who were not
    in the House when the question was put, if this takes place
    before the numbers are declared by the Speaker, such votes are
    disallowed by him at once, and not included in the numbers
    declared. If the fact is not ascertained until after the
    numbers are declared, it is then necessary that there should
    be a motion and vote of the House for their disallowance; and
    this may take place, for anything that appears to the contrary,
    at any time during the session, and has in fact taken place
    after the lapse of several days from the time the votes were

Thus much for the remedy by disallowance; and this brings me to the
proposition by amending the journal. That remedy, from the nature
of the case, is applicable to an error apparent on the face of the
journal. I ask Senators to note the distinction. It is applicable to an
error apparent on the face of the journal. If the interest of a Senator
appeared only by evidence _aliunde_, by evidence outside, as, for
instance, that he had some private interest in the results of a pending
measure by which he was disqualified, his vote could be disallowed
only on motion; but if the incapacity of the Senator to vote on a
particular occasion appears on the journal itself, I submit that the
journal must be amended by striking out his vote. The case is patent.
We have already seen, by the opinions of eminent judges, great masters
of law in different ages, that what is contrary to the principles of
Natural Law must be void; and English judges tell us that even an Act
of Parliament must be treated as void, if it undertakes to make a man
judge in his own case.

Now, Sir, apply that principle to your journal. It has recognized a
man as judge in his own case. I insist that the recognition was void.
Is not the true remedy by amending the journal so as to strike out his
name? The journal discloses the two essential facts,--first, that as
Senator he was party to the proceedings, secondly, that as Senator he
was judge in the proceedings; and since these two facts appear on the
face of the journal, it seems to me that the only substantial remedy is
by amending it, so that a precedent of such a character shall not find
place hereafter in the records of the Senate.

Sir, this question is not insignificant; it is grave. It belongs to the
privileges of the Senate. I might almost say, it is closely associated
with the character of the Senate. Can Senators sit here and allow one
of their number, on an important occasion, to come forward and play at
the same time the two great parts, party and judge? And yet these two
great parts have been played, and your journal records the performance.
Suppose Jesse D. Bright, some years since expelled from the Senate,
after animated debate lasting weeks, and our excellent Judiciary
Committee reporting in his favor,--suppose he had undertaken to vote
for himself,--is there a Senator who would not have felt it wrong to
admit his vote? The defendant showed no want of hardihood, but he
did not offer to vote for himself. But, if Mr. Stockton can vote for
himself, how can you prevent a Senator from voting to save himself from
expulsion? The rule must be the same in the two cases. Therefore I ask
that the journal be rectified, in harmony with Parliamentary Law and
the principles of Universal Law.

In making this motion, I have no other motive than to protect the
rights of the Senate, and to establish those principles of justice
which will be a benefit to our country for all time. You cannot lightly
see a great principle sacrificed. You abandon your duty, if you allow
an elementary principle of justice to be set at nought in this Chamber.
Be it, Sir, our pride to uphold those truths and to stand by those
principles. I know no way in which we can do it now so completely as in
the motion I have made. The vote of Mr. Stockton was null and void. It
should be treated as if it had not been given.

I have no doubt that the motion to correct the journal would be in
order even at a late day. I believe that at any day any Senator might
rise in his place and move to expunge from the journal a record in
itself derogatory to the body. I have in my hands a reference to
the case of John Wilkes, who, you will remember, just before our
Revolution, was excluded from Parliament, while his competitor,
Luttrell, was declared duly elected. The decision of Parliament, so the
history records, convulsed the whole kingdom for thirteen years, but
after that long period it was expunged from the journal,--I now quote
the emphatic words,--“as being subversive of the rights of the whole
body of electors of this kingdom.” I submit, Sir, the record in your
journal is subversive of the great principle of jurisprudence on which
the rights of every citizen depend.

    Mr. Reverdy Johnson followed, criticizing Mr. Sumner. He
    concluded by saying: “Even supposing there was the slightest
    want of delicacy in casting a vote upon such a question by
    the member whose seat is contested, it was in the particular
    instance more than justified by the circumstances existing at
    the time the vote was cast.”

    Mr. Trumbull said:--

        “I believe, as I said before, that the Senator from New
        Jersey is entitled to his seat; but I do not believe that
        he is entitled to hold his seat by his own vote. He would
        have held his seat without his own vote. The vote upon
        the resolution was a tie without the vote of the Senator
        from New Jersey; and that would have left him in his seat,
        he already having been sworn in as a member. It is not
        necessary that the resolution should have passed. He is
        here as a Senator, and it would require an affirmative vote
        to deprive him of his seat as a Senator.”

    He then avowed his willingness to move a reconsideration of the
    vote by which the resolution was carried, “if that is necessary
    to accomplish the object.”

    Mr. Sumner, after saying, that, when he brought forward his
    motion, he had no reason to suppose that any Senator would move
    a reconsideration, proceeded:--

The Senator from Illinois says, Suppose we strike out Mr. Stockton’s
name, what will be the effect? I answer, To change all subsequent
proceedings, and make them as if he had not voted, so that the whole
record must be corrected accordingly. The Senator supposes a bill
passed by mistake afterwards discovered, and asks if the bill could be
arrested. Clearly, if not too late. A familiar anecdote with regard to
the passage of the Act of _Habeas Corpus_ in England will help answer
the Senator. According to the story,--it is Bishop Burnet who tells
it,[21]--this great act, which gave to the English people what has
since been called the palladium of their liberties, passed under a
misapprehension created by a jest. It seems that among the affirmative
peers walking through the tellers was one especially fat, when it was
said, “Count ten,”--and ten was counted for the bill, thus securing its
passage. I am not aware that the mistake was divulged until too late
for correction. But we have had in the other House two different cases,
which answer precisely the inquiry of the Senator.

    Here Mr. Sumner read from the House Journal, 29th Congress, 1st
    Session, July 6, 1846, p. 1032, a motion by Mr. McGaughey with
    regard to the Journal. He next read from the House Journal,
    31st Congress, 1st Session, September 10, 1850, p. 1436, the
    following entry:--

        “The Speaker stated that the result of the vote of the
        House on yesterday on the passage of the bill of the House
        (No. 387) to supply a deficiency in the appropriation
        for pay and mileage of members of Congress for the
        present session had been erroneously announced, and that
        the subsequent proceedings upon the said bill would
        consequently fall.

        “The Speaker then announced the vote to be, Yeas 78, Nays

        “So the bill was passed; and the journal of yesterday was
        ordered to be amended accordingly.”

    In conformity with this precedent, Mr. Sumner did not doubt
    that by the correction of the journal the vote affirming Mr.
    Stockton’s seat would fall, and he thought it better to follow
    this course; but, anxious to avoid a protracted discussion, and
    to “seek a practical result,” he was willing to withdraw his

    Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, thought that Mr. Sumner would “err
    in withdrawing the proposition.” Mr. Davis, of Kentucky,
    maintained “that Mr. Stockton had an undoubted right to vote.”
    Mr. Stockton followed in vindication of his vote, referring
    especially to an alleged understanding between Mr. Morrill
    and Mr. Wright, which he said was violated by the vote of the

        “I never looked upon this as my case. It was the case of
        the Senator from New Jersey. And when one gentleman from
        New Jersey, my colleague, was deprived of his vote by--what
        shall I term it? I do not propose to violate parliamentary
        propriety by terming it anything,--but when one Senator
        from New Jersey by artifice was prevented from recording
        his vote, as he would have done, the other was not to vote
        from delicacy.

        “Mr. President, there are eleven States out of the Union,
        and they wanted to put New Jersey out; and I did not mean
        that they should do it from motives of delicacy on my part.”

    Mr. Trumbull said, “Let us settle at this time that a member
    has no right to vote upon the question.… I think, upon
    consideration, that perhaps the best way to arrive at it is
    by the adoption of the resolution offered by the Senator from
    Massachusetts.” Mr. Lane, of Kansas, who had voted to sustain
    Mr. Stockton, said, “I was never more surprised in my life
    than when the Senator from New Jersey asked to vote and did
    vote.” Soon afterwards, Mr. Stockton said, “I rise to withdraw
    my vote, with the permission of the Senate,” and proceeded
    to explain his position. In reply to an inquiry from Mr.
    Sumner, the presiding officer [Mr. CLARK, of New Hampshire]
    said, “The Chair is of opinion that he cannot, unless by the
    unanimous consent of the Senate he wishes to correct the
    journal.” Mr. Sumner formally withdrew his motion to correct
    the journal, “with the understanding that the Senator from
    Vermont [Mr. POLAND] makes the motion for a reconsideration.”
    Mr. Poland accordingly moved the reconsideration, and this
    was agreed to, so that the original question was again before
    the Senate. There was still debate and perplexity as to the
    proper proceeding in order to repair the error in receiving Mr.
    Stockton’s vote, when Mr. Sumner moved:--

        “That the vote of Mr. Stockton be not received, in
        determining the question of his seat in the Senate.”

    Mr. Sumner remarked:--

I have no personal question with the Senator; I have for him nothing
but kindness and respect. I deal with this question simply as a
question of principle. The Senator tells us that he will not vote, when
the case comes up again. I believe him; he will not vote. But, Sir, he
has taken the Constitution in his hand, and, holding it up, he tells us
that he finds in that instrument authority for it in his case.…

Since the Senator makes the claim, it is important for us to meet it,
in some way or other,--by correcting the journal, or by a resolution
declaring that the Senator shall not vote,--fixing the precedent
forever, so that hereafter we shall not be left to the uncertain will
or opinion of a Senator whose seat may be in question. We must rely,
not upon his honor, but upon the Constitution, interpreted by this body
and fixed beyond recall. Therefore I think still it would be better, if
the Senate had corrected its journal. Being a vote that in itself was
null and void, it was to be treated as not having been given.

The Senator asks to withdraw his vote. To withdraw what? Something
which has never been done,--that is, legally done. There is no legal
vote of the Senator. His name is recorded as having voted, but it is a
vote that at the time was null and void. There is nothing, therefore,
for him to withdraw, but something for the Senate to annul.

    Mr. Sherman moved the reference of Mr. Sumner’s resolution
    to the Committee on the Judiciary. The Senate refused to
    refer,--Yeas 18, Nays 22. The resolution was then adopted.

    March 27th, the consideration of the resolution declaring Mr.
    Stockton “duly elected” was resumed, when, after the failure
    of an effort to postpone it, Mr. Clark moved to amend it by
    declaring that he “is not entitled to a seat as Senator.” On
    this amendment Mr. Stockton spoke at length. The amendment
    was adopted,--Yeas 22, Nays 21,--Mr. Stockton not voting. He
    said, “I desire to state, in order that it may be a part of the
    record, that I do not vote on this question, on account of the
    resolution passed by the Senate yesterday.” The resolution as
    amended was then adopted,--Yeas 23, Nays 20.



    This bill, reported from the Judiciary Committee by Mr.
    Harris, of New York, was considered for several days in the
    Senate, and finally passed that body. It failed in the House
    of Representatives. Another bill, having a similar object,
    afterwards became a law.[22]

    On the present bill Mr. Sumner remarked:--

We all know that the Supreme Court is now some three years behind
in its business, and the practical question is, How are we to bring
relief? There are two different ways. One is by limiting appeals, so
that hereafter it shall have less business. Another, and to my mind
the better way, would be to allow appeals substantially as now, but
to limit the court to the exclusive hearing of those appeals. Of
course that raises the question, whether the judges of the Supreme
Court sitting here in Washington should have duties elsewhere. That
is a question of practice, and also of theory. Since I have been in
the Senate, it has been very often discussed, formally or informally,
and there have been differences of opinion upon it. I believe the
inclination has always been that judges are better in the discharge of
their duties from experience at _Nisi Prius_. That opinion, I take it,
is derived from England; and yet I need not remind the Senator from
New York that the two highest courts in England are held by judges who
at the time do nothing at _Nisi Prius_, and do not go the circuit:
I refer to the court of the Privy Council, and to the highest court
of all, the court of the House of Lords. If you pass over to France,
where certainly the judicature is admirably arranged on principles
of science, where I believe justice is assured, you have the highest
court, known as the Court of Cassation, composed of persons set apart
exclusively for appeals,--never leaving Paris, and never hearing any
other business except that which comes before them on appeal.

I refer to these instances for illustration. The Senate is also aware,
that, in the beginning of our Government, when Washington invited his
first Chief Justice and his Associates to communicate their views on
the subject of the Judiciary system, the answer, prepared by John Jay,
assigned strong reasons why the Supreme Court should be exclusively for
the consideration of appeals.[23] The other business was by circuit
judges. This recommendation was put aside, and the existing system
prevailed. Justice has been administered to the satisfaction of the
country, reasonably at least, under this system.

But now we are driven to a pass: justice threatens to fail in the
Supreme Court, unless we provide relief. Is the bill of the Senator
from New York adequate? Speaking frankly, I fear that it is not; and I
fear that the proposition of my friend from Wisconsin [Mr. HOWE], if
adopted, will still further limit the relief which my friend from New
York proposes. I am disposed to believe that the only real relief will
be found in setting apart the judges of our highest court exclusively
for the consideration of appeals. They would then sit as many months
in the year as they could reasonably give to judicial labor. They
might, perhaps, hear every case that could reach the tribunal, while
they had a vacation to themselves in which to review the science of
their profession and add undoubtedly to their attainments. I remember
that one of the ablest lawyers in England, in testimony some years
ago before a Committee of the House of Commons on the value of what
is known as the vacation,--I refer to Sir James Scarlett, afterward
Lord Abinger, Lord Chief Baron,--testified that for one, as an old
lawyer, he regarded the vacation as important, because it gave him
an opportunity to review his studies and to read books that he could
not read in the urgency of practice. I have heard our own judges make
similar remarks.

Now the question is, whether the present bill meets the case. Does it
supply the needed relief? I fear it does not; and I really should be
much better satisfied, if my friend from New York had dealt more boldly
with the whole question by providing a court of appeal, composed of the
eminent judges of the land, devoted exclusively to appeals, and leaving
to other judges the hearing of cases at _Nisi Prius_.



MR. PRESIDENT,--There is a truce in this Chamber. The antagonism of
debate is hushed. The sounds of conflict have died away. The white
flag is flying. From opposite camps we meet to bury the dead. It is a
Senator we bury, not a soldier.

This is the second time during the present session that we have been
called to mourn a distinguished Senator from Vermont. It was much
to bear the loss once. Its renewal now, after so brief a period, is
a calamity without precedent in the history of the Senate. No State
before has ever lost two Senators so near together.

Mr. Foot, at his death, was the oldest Senator in continuous service.
He entered the Senate in the same Congress with the Senator from Ohio
[Mr. WADE] and myself; but he was sworn at the executive session in
March, while the two others were not sworn till the opening of Congress
at the succeeding December. During this considerable space of time I
have been the constant witness to his life and conversation. With a
sentiment of gratitude I look back upon our relations, never from the
beginning impaired or darkened by difference. For one brief moment he
seemed disturbed by something that fell from me in the unconscious
intensity of my convictions; but it was for a brief moment only, and he
took my hand with a genial grasp. I make haste also to declare my sense
of his personal purity and his incorruptible nature. Such elements of
character, exhibited and proved throughout a long service, render him
an example for all. He is gone; but these virtues “smell sweet and
blossom in the dust.”

He was excellent in judgment. He was excellent also in speech; so
that, whenever he spoke, the wonder was that he who spoke so well
should speak so seldom. He was full, clear, direct, emphatic, and never
was diverted from the thread of his argument. Had he been moved to
mingle actively in debate, he must have exerted a commanding influence
over opinion in the Senate and in the country. How often we have
watched him tranquil in his seat, while others without his experience
or weight occupied attention! The reticence which was part of his
nature formed a contrast to that prevailing effusion where sometimes
the facility of speech is less remarkable than the inability to keep
silence; and, again, it formed a contrast to that controversial spirit
which too often, like an unwelcome wind, puts out the lights while
it fans a flame. And yet in his treatment of questions he was never
incomplete or perfunctory. If he did not say, with the orator and
parliamentarian of France, the famous founder of the “Doctrinaire”
school of politics, M. Royer-Collard, that respect for his audience
would not permit him to ask attention until he had reduced his thoughts
to writing, it was evident that he never spoke in the Senate without
careful preparation. You remember well his commemoration of his late
colleague, only a few short weeks ago, when he delivered a funeral
oration not unworthy of the French school from which this form of
eloquence is derived. Alas! as we listened to that most elaborate
eulogy, shaped by study and penetrated by feeling, how little did we
think that it was so soon to be echoed back from his own tomb!

Not in our debates only did this self-abnegation show itself. He
quietly withdrew from places of importance on committees to which he
was entitled, and which he would have filled with honor. More than once
I have known him insist that another should take the position assigned
to himself. He was far from that nature which Lord Bacon exposes in
pungent humor, when he speaks of “extreme self-lovers,” that “will set
an house on fire and it were but to roast their eggs.”[24] And yet it
must not be disguised that he was happy in the office of Senator. It
was to him as much as his “dukedom” to Prospero. He felt its honors
and confessed its duties. But he was content. He desired nothing more.
Perhaps no person appreciated so thoroughly what it was to bear the
commission of a State in this Chamber. Surely no person appreciated so
thoroughly all the dignities belonging to the Senate. Of its ceremonial
he was the admitted arbiter.

There was no jealousy, envy, or uncharitableness in him. He enjoyed
what others did, and praised generously. He knew that his own just
position could not be disturbed by the success of another. Whatever
another may be, whether more or less, a man must always be himself. A
true man is a positive, and not a relative quantity. Properly inspired,
he will know that in a just sense nobody can stand in the way of
another. And here let me add, that, in proportion as this truth enters
into practical life, we shall all become associates and coadjutors
rather than rivals. How plain, that, in the infinite diversity of
character and talent, there is place for every one! This world is wide
enough for all its inhabitants; this republic is grand enough for all
its people. Let every one serve in his place according to his allotted

In the long warfare with Slavery, Mr. Foot was from the beginning
firmly and constantly on the side of Freedom. He was against the
deadly compromises of 1850. He linked his shield in the small, but
solid, phalanx of the Senate which opposed the Nebraska Bill. He was
faithful in the defence of Kansas, menaced by Slavery; and when at
last this barbarous rebel took up arms, he accepted the issue, and
did all he could for his country. But even the cause which for years
he had so much at heart did not lead him into debate, except rarely.
His opinions appeared in votes, rather than in speeches. But his
sympathies were easily known. I call to mind, that, on first coming
into the Senate, and not yet personally familiar with him, I was
assured by Mr. Giddings, who knew him well, that he belonged to the
small circle who would stand by Freedom, and the Antislavery patriarch
related pleasantly, how Mr. Foot, on his earliest visit to the House
of Representatives after he became Senator, drew attention by coming
directly to his seat and sitting by his side in friendly conversation.
Solomon Foot by the side of Joshua R. Giddings, in those days, when
Slavery still tyrannized, is a picture not to be forgotten. If our
departed friend is not to be named among those who have borne the
burden of this great controversy, he cannot be forgotten among those
whose sympathies with Liberty never failed. Would that he had done
more! Let us be thankful that he did so much.

There is a part on the stage known as “the walking gentleman,” who has
very little to say, but always appears well. Mr. Foot might seem, at
times, to have adopted this part, if we were not constantly reminded
of his watchfulness in everything concerning the course of business
and the administration of Parliamentary Law. Here he excelled, and
was master of us all. The division of labor, which is the lesson of
political economy, is also the lesson of public life. All cannot do all
things. Some do one, others do another,--each according to his gifts.
This diversity produces harmony.

The office of President _pro tempore_ among us grows out of the
anomalous relations of the Vice-President to the Senate. There is no
such officer in the other House, nor was there in the House of Commons
until very recently, when we read of a “Deputy Speaker,” which is the
term by which he is addressed, when in the chair. No ordinary talent
can guide and control a legislative assembly, especially if numerous
or excited by party differences. A good presiding officer is like
Alexander mounted on Bucephalus. The assembly knows its master, “as the
horse its rider.” This was preëminently the case with Mr. Foot, who was
often in the chair, and for a considerable period our President _pro
tempore_. Here he showed special adaptation and power. He was in person
“every inch” a President; so also was he in every sound of the voice.
He carried into the chair the most marked individuality that has been
seen there during this generation. He was unlike any other presiding
officer. “None but himself could be his parallel.” His presence was
felt instantly. It filled this Chamber from floor to gallery. It
attached itself to everything done. Vigor and despatch prevailed.
Questions were stated so as to challenge attention. Impartial justice
was manifest at once. Business in every form was handled with equal
ease. Order was enforced with no timorous authority. If disturbance
came from the gallery, how promptly he launched the fulmination! If it
came from the floor, you have often seen him throw himself back, and
then with voice of lordship, as if all the Senate were in him, insist
that debate should be suspended until order was restored. “The Senate
must come to order!” he exclaimed; and, like the god Thor, beat with
hammer in unison with voice, until the reverberations rattled like
thunder in the mountains.

The late Duc de Morny, who was the accomplished President of the
Legislative Assembly of France, in a sitting shortly before his death,
after sounding his crier’s bell, which is the substitute for the hammer
among us, exclaimed from the chair: “I shall be obliged to mention by
name the members whom I find conversing. I declare to you that I shall
do so, and I shall have it put in the ‘Moniteur.’ You are here to
discuss and to listen, not to converse. I promise you that I will do
what I say to the very first I catch talking.” Our President might have
found occasion for a similar speech, but his energy in the enforcement
of order stopped short of this menace. Certainly he did everything
consistent with the temper of the Senate, and he showed always what Sir
William Scott, on one occasion, in the House of Commons, placed among
the essential qualities of a Speaker, when he said that “to a jealous
affection for the privileges of the House” must be added “an awful
sense of its duties.”[25]

Accustomed as we have become to the rules which govern legislative
proceedings, we are hardly aware of their importance in the development
of liberal institutions. Unknown in antiquity, they were unknown also
on the European continent until latterly introduced from England, which
was their original home. They are among the precious contributions
which England has made to modern civilization; and yet they did not
assume at once their present perfect form. Mr. Hallam tells us that
even as late as Queen Elizabeth “the members called confusedly for
the business they wished to have brought forward.”[26] But now, at
last, these rules have become a beautiful machine, by which business
is conducted, legislation moulded, and debate in all possible freedom
secured. From the presentation of a petition or the introduction of
a bill, all proceeds by fixed processes, until, without disorder,
the final result is reached and a new law takes its place in the
statute-book. Hoe’s printing-press or Alden’s type-setter is not more
exact in operation. But the rules are more even than a beautiful
machine; they are the very temple of Constitutional Liberty. In this
temple our departed friend served to the end with pious care. His
associates, as they recall his stately form, silvered by time, but
beaming with goodness, will not cease to cherish the memory of such
service. His image will rise before them as the faithful presiding
officer, by whom the dignity of the Senate was maintained, its business
advanced, and Parliamentary Law upheld.

He had always looked with delight upon this Capitol,--one of the
most remarkable edifices of the world,--beautiful in itself, but more
beautiful still as the emblem of that national unity he loved so well.
He enjoyed its enlargement and improvement. He watched with pride its
marble columns moving into place, and its dome as it ascended to the
skies. Even the trials of the war did not make him forget it. His care
secured those appropriations by which the work was forwarded to its
close, and the statue of Liberty installed on its sublime pedestal.
It was natural that in his last moments, as life was failing fast, he
should long to rest his eyes upon an object that was to him so dear.
The early light of morning had come, and he was lifted in bed that
with mortal sight he might once more behold this Capitol; but another
Capitol already began to fill his vision, fairer than your marble
columns, sublimer than your dome, where Liberty without any statue is
glorified in that service which is perfect Freedom.



                                    SENATE CHAMBER, April 14, 1866.

  DEAR SIR,--It will not be in my power to celebrate with you
  Emancipation in the District, but I rejoice that the beautiful
  anniversary is to be commemorated.

  Looking back upon the day when that Act became a law by the
  signature of Abraham Lincoln, I feel how grandly it has been
  vindicated by the result. The sinister forebodings of your
  enemies are all falsified. We were told that you could not bear
  freedom,--that you would be lawless, idle, and thriftless. I knew
  the contrary; and is it not as I foretold? Who so mad as to wish
  back the old system of wrong?

  But the work is only _half done_. The freedman, despoiled of
  the elective franchise, is only _half a man_. He must be made _a
  whole man_; and this can be only by investing him with all the
  rights of an American citizen. Here, too, we encounter the same
  sinister forebodings that stood in the way of Emancipation. We
  are told that you cannot bear enfranchisement, and that you will
  not know how to vote. I know the contrary; and I am satisfied,
  further, that there can be no true repose in this country until
  all its people are admitted to that full equality before the
  law which is the essential principle of republican government.
  It were not enough to assure equality in what are called civil
  rights. This is only _semi-equality_. The equality must be
  complete. This I ask, not only for your sake, but also for the
  sake of my country, imperilled by such a denial of justice.

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




APRIL 17, 1866.

    The Senate having under consideration a bill for the relief of
    certain contractors for the construction of vessels of war and
    steam machinery, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am happy to agree with the Senator from Kentucky [Mr.
GUTHRIE] in the fundamental principle he has laid down and developed
so clearly. I agree with him, that by no legislation of ours can we
recognize the principle that contractors with the Government may never
lose. The Senator cannot state the proposition too strongly. But I part
company with him, when he undertakes to apply it to the present case.
We agree on the proposition; we disagree on the application.

Had these contracts covered a period of peace, there would have been
occasion for the rule of the Senator. But they were not in a period
of peace; they were in a period of war. And the Senator himself has
characterized the war as perhaps the greatest in history. If not
made in a time of war, they were all the harder performed in those
early days which were heralds of war. The practical question for us
as legislators is, whether we can shut our eyes to that condition of
things. The times were exceptional; and so must the remedy be also.

I have said, had it been a season of peace, then the Senator would
be right, and we should not be justified in seeking exceptionally to
open the Treasury for the relief of these contractors. But, Sir, war
is a mighty disturber. What force in human society, what force in
business, more disturbing? Wherever it goes, it not only carries death
and destruction, but derangement of business, change of pursuits,
interference with the currency, and generally dislocation of the common
relations of life. You cannot be blind to such a condition of things.
You must not shut your eyes to its consequences, if you would do
justice now.

I repeat, therefore, did these contracts grow out of a period of
peace, I should not now advocate them; but it is because they grow out
of a period of war, that I ask for those who have suffered by them the
same justice we accord to all who have contributed to our success in
that terrible war. Why, Sir, how often do we appeal in this Chamber
for justice to all who have helped the great result! It is my duty
constantly to plead here for justice to those freedmen who have done
so much and placed you under ceaseless obligations. I hope I am not
indifferent also to those national creditors who supplied the means
which advanced our triumph,--nor yet again to those soldiers, whether
on land or sea, who have so powerfully served the national cause. But
there is still another class, for whom no one has yet spoken on this
floor, who have contributed to our success not less than soldier or
creditor,--I was almost ready to say, not less than the freedman: I
mean the mechanics of the country. They, Sir, have helped you carry
this war to its victorious close. Without the mechanics, where would
you have been? what would have been your equipments on the land? where
would have been that marvellous navy on the sea? It was the skilled
labor of the country, rushing so promptly to the rescue, that gave you
the power which carried you on from victory to victory.

Now, Sir, the practical question is, whether these mechanics, who
have done so much to turn the tide of battle, shall be losers by the
skill, the labor, and the time they devoted to your triumph. Tell me
not, Sir, that they acted according to contract. To that I reply, The
war disturbed the contract, and it is your duty here, sitting as a
high court of equity, to review all the circumstances of the case,
and see in what way the remedy may be fitly applied. You cannot turn
away from the equities, treating it literally and severely according
to the precise terms of the contract. You must go into those vital
considerations arising out of the peculiar circumstances.

Several facts are obvious to all: a Senator on the other side of the
Chamber has alluded to them. In the first place, there was the general
increase in the price of labor and material that ensued after these
contracts were made. Nobody doubts this. There was then a change in
the currency. There were, also,--what have been alluded to several
times,--changes in the models of these vessels at the Navy Department,
necessarily imposing upon these contractors additional expense and
labor. There was another circumstance, to which my attention has been
directed latterly,--I believe, however, the Senator from Iowa [Mr.
GRIMES] alluded to it yesterday,--that at the moment of the war, when
labor was highest, when it was most difficult to obtain it, there came
an order from the proper authorities exempting those who labored in
the arsenals and public yards of the United States from enrolment. Of
course, all then in private yards or with contractors, so far as they
could, hurried under the national flag, that they might become workmen
there, and thus obtain the coveted exemption from enrolment.


This order illustrates very plainly the disturbing influence from the
war; and this brings me again to press this point upon your attention.
I mention certain particulars in which this appeared; but I would bring
home the controlling consideration that we were in a time of war,
vast in proportions and most disturbing in its influence. This alone
is enough to account for the failure of these contractors. We were
not in a period of peace, and you err, if you undertake to hold these
contractors to all the austere responsibilities proper in a period of

The Senator from Kentucky said that they took the war into their
calculations. Perhaps they did; but who among these contractors could
take that war adequately into his calculations? Who among those
sitting here or at the other end of the avenue properly appreciated
the character of the great contest coming on? Sir, we had passed half
a century in peace; we knew nothing of war, or of war preparations,
when all at once we were called to efforts on a gigantic scale. Are
you astonished that these contractors did not know more about the war
than your statesmen? Be to these contractors as gentle in judgment and
as considerate as you are to others in public life who have erred in
calculations with regard to it.

I have said that the interest now in question was the great mechanical
interest of the country. It is an interest that is not local, as the
bill is for the benefit of mechanics in all parts of the loyal States,
from Maryland, in the South, to Massachusetts and Maine, in the
North and East, and then stretching from New York, on the seaboard,
to Missouri, beyond the Mississippi. I have a list of the States
concerned, through different contractors, in this very bill,--Maine,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and even
California. The interest for which I am speaking crosses the mountains
and reaches to the Pacific Ocean.

I said that this was the skilled labor of the country. What labor more
valuable? what service, while the war was proceeding, more important?
If these mechanics did not expose their persons in the peril of battle,
they gave their skill to prepare others for victory. In ancient times,
the oracle said to the city in danger, “Look to your wooden walls.”
The oracle in our country said, “Look to your ironclads and your
double-enders”; and these mechanics came forward and by ingenious labor
enabled you to put ironclads and double-enders on the ocean, and thus
secure the final triumph. The building of that invulnerable navy was
one of the great triumphs of the war, to be commemorated on many a
special field, and to be seen in the mighty results we now enjoy.

And yet again I ask, Are you ready to see contractors, who have
done this service, sacrificed? You do not allow the soldier to be
sacrificed, nor the national creditor who has taken your stock. Will
you allow the mechanic? There are many who, without your help, must
suffer. One of the most enterprising and faithful in the whole country
is a constituent of my own, who, during the last year, has been hurried
into bankruptcy from inability to meet liabilities growing out of the
war, and at this moment he finds no chance of relief except in what a
just Government may return to him. My friend on my right [Mr. NYE, of
Nevada] asked you to be magnanimous to these contractors. I do not put
it in that way. I ask you simply to be upright. Do by them as you would
be done by.

The Senator from Nevada also very fitly reminded you of the experience
of other countries. He told you that England, at the close of the
Crimean War, when her mechanics had suffered precisely as yours, did
not allow them to be sacrificed, but every pound, every shilling, of
liability under their contracts was promptly met by that Government.
Will you be less just to mechanics than England? It is an old saying,
that republics are ungrateful. I hope that this republic will vie with
any monarchy in gratitude to those who have served it. You have shown
energy in meeting your enemies. I ask you to show a commensurate energy
in doing justice to those who have contributed to your success.


    This bill, after much debate, passed the Senate. It did not
    pass the House.



    Mr. Sherman of Ohio, reported the following resolution from the
    Committee on Agriculture:--

        “_Resolved_, That there be printed, for the use of the
        Senate, ten thousand copies of a letter of the Commissioner
        of Agriculture, communicating information in relation to
        the rinderpest or cattle-plague.”

    In considering the resolution, he remarked that the Committee
    “would like very much to report some measure of a practical
    character, to counteract, if possible, the cattle-plague now
    prevailing in Europe; but we did not see that Congress had
    authority to pass an effective measure.” Mr. Sumner followed:--

I was sorry to hear two remarks of the Senator from Ohio. The
first told that the cattle-plague is coming. I hope that by proper
precautions it may be averted. I do trust it may never come. I will
not despair that the Atlantic Ocean may be a barrier. I was sorry also
for the other remark, that in his opinion Congress could not apply
any efficient remedy. I make no issue on this conclusion; but I was
sorry that the Senator having the question in charge had arrived at
that result. It does seem to me, that, under the National Government,
Congress should be able to apply a remedy in such a case. Is not the
National Government defective to a certain extent, if Congress has
not that power? I open the question interrogatively now, without
undertaking to express an opinion upon it.

I agree with the Senator, that it is of great importance that our
people should be put on their guard; he, therefore, is right in
proposing to circulate all information on the subject. But I do hope
that the Senator will consider carefully whether it be not within the
power of Congress, in some way or other, directly or indirectly, to
apply an efficient remedy.



                                       SENATE CHAMBER, May 1, 1866.

  DEAR SIR,--It will not be in my power to take part at the
  approaching anniversary of the Antislavery Society. My duty keeps
  me here.

  I trust that the Society, which has done so much for human
  rights, will persevere until these rights are established
  throughout the country on the impregnable foundation of the
  Declaration of Independence. This is not the time for relaxation
  of the old energies. Slavery is abolished only in name. The Slave
  Oligarchy still lives, and insists upon ruling its former victims.

  Believing, as I do, that the National Government owes protection
  to the freedmen, so that they shall not suffer in rights, I
  insist on its plenary power over this great question, and that
  it may do anything needful to assure these rights. In this
  conviction I shall not hesitate at all times to invoke its
  intervention, whether to establish what are called civil rights,
  or that pivotal right of all, the right to elect the government
  which they support by taxes and by arms.

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





    Mr. Dixon, of Connecticut, gave notice of his intention to
    offer, as a substitute for the bills and resolution reported by
    the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, the following:--

        “That the interests of peace and the interests of the Union
        require the admission of every State to its share in public
        legislation, whenever it presents itself, not only in an
        attitude of loyalty and harmony, but in the persons of
        representatives whose loyalty cannot be questioned under
        any constitutional or legal test.”

    In the debate on printing this resolution, Mr. Sumner said:--

I was about to say that the proposition involved in the resolution of
the Senator from Connecticut is so important that it may be considered
as always in order to discuss it. I do not know that we ought to pass
a day without in some way considering it. I certainly do not deprecate
this debate; but while so saying, I am very positive on another point.
I should deprecate any effort now to precipitate decision on the
question; and I most sincerely hope that the Senator from Maine [Mr.
FESSENDEN], the Chairman of the Committee on Reconstruction, who has
this matter in charge, will bear that in mind. I do not believe that
Congress at this moment is in a condition to give the country the best
measure on this important subject. I am afraid that excellent Committee
has listened too much to voices from without, insisting that there must
be a political issue presented to the country. I have always thought
such call premature. There is no occasion now for an issue. There are
no elections in any States. The election in Connecticut is over; the
election in New Hampshire is over. There are to be no elections before
next autumn. What occasion, then, for an issue? I see none, unless
Congress, after most careful and mature consideration of the whole
subject, is able to present a plan on which we can all honestly unite
and as one phalanx move forward to victory.

I shall not be drawn into premature discussion of the scheme presented
by the report of the Committee on Reconstruction. I speak now to the
question of time only. I am sure that report could not have been made
in the last week of March. I am equally sure, that, if it had been
postponed until the last week of May, they would have made a better one
than they made in the last week of April. I hope, therefore, that the
decision of this question will be postponed as long as possible, in
order that all just influences may come to Congress from the country,
and that Congress itself may be inspired by the fullest and amplest
consideration of the whole question.

There is the evidence before this Committee,--we have not yet seen it
together. That evidence ought to be together; it ought to be before
the whole country; and we should have returning to us from the country
the just influence which its circulation is calculated to produce. I
am sure, that, wherever that evidence is read, the people will say,
Congress is justified in insisting upon security for the future. For
that purpose I presume the evidence was taken; and I hope Congress will
not act until the natural and legitimate influences from the evidence
are felt in their counsels.

Allow me to say, by way of comment on the proposition of the Senator
from Connecticut, that it seems to me my excellent friend, in bringing
it forward, forgot two things.

    MR. DIXON. Probably more than that.

MR. SUMNER. But two things he forgot were so great, so essential,
that to forget them was to forget everything. In the first place, he
forgot that we had been in a war; and, in the second place, he forgot
that four million human beings had been changed from a condition of
slavery to freedom. Those two ruling facts my excellent friend forgot,
evidently, when he drew his proposition. Plainly, he forgot that we
had been in a war, because he fails to make any provision for that
security which common sense and common prudence, the Law of Nations
and every instinct of the human heart, require should be made. He
provides no guaranty. Sir, the essential thing, at this moment, is a
guaranty. The Senator abandons that. If, like the Senator, I could
forget this terrible war, with all the blood and treasure it has cost,
I, too, could be indifferent to security for the future; but as that
war is always in my mind, the Senator will pardon me, if I insist upon

I have said that my excellent friend forgets that four million human
beings have been changed in their condition. Four million slaves have
been declared freemen. By whom, and by what power? By the National
Government. And let me say, that, as the National Government gave
that freedom, the National Government must secure it. The National
Government cannot leave the men it has made free to the guardianship or
custody or tender mercies of any other government. It is bound to take
them into its own keeping, to surround them with its own protecting
power, and invest them with all the rights and conditions which, in the
exercise of its best judgment, seem necessary to that end. All that the
Senator has forgotten. It is not in his mind. If I could bring myself
to such obliviousness, if I could bathe so completely in the waters of
Lethe as my excellent friend from Connecticut seems to have done daily
in these recent times, I might, perhaps, join in the support of his



    A joint resolution “relative to the attempted assassination
    of the Emperor of Russia,” introduced in the House of
    Representatives by Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, passed that body,
    and in the Senate was referred to the Committee on Foreign

    May 8th, it was reported to the Senate slightly amended, so as
    to read:--

        “_Resolved, &c._, That the Congress of the United States
        of America has learned with deep regret of the attempt
        made upon the life of the Emperor of Russia by an enemy of
        Emancipation. The Congress sends greeting to his Imperial
        Majesty and to the Russian nation, and congratulates the
        twenty million serfs upon the providential escape from
        danger of the sovereign to whose head and heart they owe
        the blessings of their freedom.”

    Mr. Sumner, on reporting it, said, that, as it was a resolution
    which would interest the Senate, and as perhaps it ought to be
    acted upon immediately and unanimously, he would ask that it be
    proceeded with at once. There being no objection, he explained
    it briefly.

MR. PRESIDENT,--This resolution seems scarcely adequate to the
occasion, but the Committee was content with making the few slight
amendments already approved by the Senate, without interfering further
with the idea or language adopted by the other House, where the
resolution originated.

From the public prints we learn that an attempt has been made on the
life of the Emperor of Russia by an assassin,--maddened against him, so
it is said, on account of his divine effort to establish Emancipation.
Of these things I know nothing beyond the report open to all; but I
am not unacquainted with the generous efforts of the Emperor, and the
opposition, if not animosity, aroused by his perseverance in completing
the good work.

In urging our own duties, I have more than once referred to this
shining example.[27] The decree of Emancipation, in February, 1861,
has been supplemented by an elaborate system of regulations, where
Human Liberty is crowned by the safeguards of a true civilization,
including protection to what are styled civil rights, especially
rights in court,--then rights of property, with a homestead for every
emancipated serf,--then rights of public education; and added to these
were political rights, with the right to vote for local officers,
corresponding to our officers for town and county: all of which, though
just and practical, have encountered obstacles easily appreciated by
us, who are in a similar transition period. The very thoroughness
with which the Emperor is carrying out Emancipation has aroused the
adversaries of reform, and I think it not improbable that it was one of
these who aimed the blow so happily arrested. The laggard and dull are
not pursued by assassins.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Emperor of Russia was born in 1818, and is now forty-eight
years of age. He succeeded to the imperial throne in 1855. At once,
on his accession, he was inspired to accomplish Emancipation in his
extended empire, stretching from the Baltic to the Sea of Kamtchatka.
One of his earliest declarations signalized his character: he would
have this great work begin from above, anxious that it should not
proceed from below. Therefore he insisted that the imperial government
should undertake it, and not leave the blessed change to the chance
of insurrection and blood. He went forward bravely, encountering
opposition; and now that the decree of Emancipation has gone forth,
he still goes forward to assure all those rights without which
Emancipation, I fear, is little more than a name. Our country does
well, when it offers sincere homage to the illustrious liberator who
has attempted so great a task, and at such hazard, making a landmark of

    Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, moved to amend the resolution by
    striking out the words “by an enemy of Emancipation,” and
    advocated his amendment in a speech. Mr. Sumner replied,
    that it was impossible for the Senate to ascertain through
    a commission the precise facts in the case,--that it was an
    historic case, to be determined by historic evidence,--that the
    same testimony or report from which we learned the attempt to
    take the life of the Emperor disclosed also the character of
    the assassin,--and that doubtless the House of Representatives,
    from which the resolution came, acted on this authority. The
    amendment was rejected, and the resolution was passed without a

       *       *       *       *       *

    Hon. Gustavus V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, was
    sent to Russia in the ironclad Miantonomoh, charged with
    the communication of this resolution to the Emperor. He was
    received with much distinction and hospitality. The visit was
    subsequently described in a work entitled “Narrative of the
    Mission to Russia, in 1866, of the Hon. Gustavus Vasa Fox,
    Assistant Secretary of the Navy, from the Journal and Notes
    of J. F. Loubat, edited by John D. Champlin, Jr., 1873.”
    The mission was entertained brilliantly by Prince Galitzin
    at Moscow, August 26th (14th), and it is said that “among
    the invited guests at the dinner was the emancipated serf,
    Gvozdeff, the mayor of the commune.”[28]


AND 15, 1866.

    May 9th, the Senate having under consideration a joint
    resolution, which had passed the House of Representatives,
    to prevent the introduction of cholera into the ports of the
    United States, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I must say, that, reflecting upon this question, I
find that I travelled with my friend from Maine [Mr. MORRILL] through
his inquiries and his doubts, but it was only to arrive substantially
at the conclusion of my friend from Vermont [Mr. EDMUNDS]. I thought
that the criticism of my friend from Maine was in many respects, at
least on its face, just. I went along with him, and yet I hesitated in
adopting the conclusion he seemed to intimate. I doubt, if we proceed
under the House resolution, whether we shall do the work thoroughly.
I doubt whether that resolution can be made sufficiently effective.
Indeed, I may go further, and say I am satisfied that it will not be
efficient for the occasion. We then have the substitute proposed by
our own Committee. Against that there is certainly the remark to be
made, that it is novel. I am not aware that any such proposition has
ever before been brought forward; but certainly it has in its favor
the great argument of efficiency. Yet the question remains behind, to
which the Senator from Maine has directed attention,--whether this
proposition is not something more than even a novelty,--whether it is
not a departure from just principles. I am not inclined to say that
it is anything more than a novelty. I admit that it is such. It does
invest the Government with large and perhaps unprecedented powers, in
order to meet a peculiar case, where a stringent remedy must be applied.

But, as the Chairman of the Committee on Commerce suggests, the powers
are temporary. I am not ready to say that such powers cannot be
intrusted to the Government. I believe they can be. But while I agree
in that, and am ready to vote accordingly, yet I should like to know
from the Chairman why these powers are to be placed under the direction
of the Secretary of War rather than of the Secretary of the Treasury.

    Mr. Chandler, of Michigan, the Chairman, said that they were
    placed jointly in three Secretaries, the Secretary of War, the
    Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Treasury. After
    briefly considering this organization, Mr. Sumner proceeded

       *       *       *       *       *

    May 11th, Mr. Sumner spoke again.

I should not say anything now, but for the remarks of my friend from
New York [Mr. HARRIS], who seemed at a loss where to find the power
it is proposed to exercise. He was so much at a loss that he went
beyond the bounds he usually prescribes for himself in this Chamber,
and indulged in unwonted jocularity. Not content with showing, as he
supposed, that the power did not exist where it was said to exist, he
asked, with ludicrous face, whether it was not found under the clause
to guaranty a republican form of government. I am very glad to find
that my excellent friend is looking to that clause of the Constitution.
It is a clause very much neglected, but to my mind one of the most
potent in the whole Constitution,--full of beneficent power, which it
would be well, if the Government, at this crisis of its history, were
disposed to exercise. Here are waters of healing for our distressed
country. Follow this text in its natural and obvious requirements, and
you will have security, peace, and liberty under the safeguard of that
great guaranty, the Equal Rights of All.

But I must remind my friend that there is no occasion for any resort
to this transcendent source of power at the present moment. The power
from which this resolution is derived seems very obvious. My friend
interrupts me to say that it is the war power. I say it is very
obvious, and I will show him in a moment, that it is not the war power.
It is a power that has been exercised constantly, from the beginning of
our history, with regard to which there can be no question,--because
it is embodied in one of the clearest texts of the National
Constitution,--because it has been expounded by a series of decisions
from our Supreme Court, which are among the most authoritative in our
history. It is the power to regulate commerce. My friend smiles; but
would he smile at the Constitution of his country?

    “The Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with
    foreign nations and among the several States.”

By the present resolution it is clearly proposed to regulate commerce
with foreign nations. Have not all regulations with regard to
passengers been under this power? Have they not all been to regulate
commerce with foreign nations? Can there be any doubt? Is it not as
plain as language can make it? Why, Sir, ever since I have been in
Congress we have had annual bills for the regulation of passengers
coming into our ports,--bills of different degrees of stringency,
laying one penalty here and another penalty there, all in the execution
of this unquestionable power.

    MR. GRIMES. Will the Senator be kind enough to look at the
    second clause of the amended proposition, where it says,--

        “That he”--

    that is, the Secretary of War--

        “shall also enforce the establishment of sanitary cordons
        to prevent the spread of said disease from infected
        districts adjacent to or within the limits of the United

    not confining it to the lines between the States, but giving
    him authority to establish cordons within the jurisdiction of a
    State. I should like to know where the Constitution authorizes
    such a thing as that.

    MR. SUMNER. I am obliged to my friend even for interrupting me
    to call attention to that section, though he will pardon me,
    if I do not answer him at this moment, but when I come to that
    part of the resolution.

    MR. GRIMES. Any time will do, so that we get it.

    MR. SUMNER. You will have it all.

I am dwelling now on the power derived from the positive text of the
Constitution to regulate commerce with foreign nations. I say, that, in
the execution of that power, we have undertaken to apply all manner of
restrictions and regulations to the transportation of passengers. We
have gone so far as to provide for the quantity of water on board each
ship in proportion to every passenger. We have subjected every ship to
regulations while at sea, and again to other regulations after arriving
in port. The exercise of the power is by practice placed absolutely
beyond question. Then it is intrenched in the very best judicial
decisions of our country. I submit that no person can raise a question
with regard to it.

    MR. MORRILL. About regulating the importation of passengers
    from foreign countries nobody raises a question or a doubt.
    This is a question of quarantine, in its character police. Is
    there any precedent in the history of the United States where
    that power has been exercised by the General Government?

MR. SUMNER. I am very glad the Senator presses that question. I meet
it. Does the Senator mean to suggest that the same power that can reach
the sea, and determine even the quantity of water in the hold for each
passenger, cannot apply the minutest possible regulation when that same
ship arrives in the harbor?

    MR. MORRILL. Will my friend allow me to answer him right there?

    MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. MORRILL. I maintain, that, when the passenger is landed,
    and comes within the limits and jurisdiction of the State, and
    within its police power, the commercial power of the Government
    ceases at that point, and the treatment of the passenger
    thereafter is within the police power of the State exclusively.

    MR. SUMNER. I think the Senator goes beyond the decision of the
    Supreme Court. He overrules that decision.

    MR. MORRILL. I am precisely on a line with the License cases,
    in which the principle was applied to the importation of

MR. SUMNER. At a certain stage, I admit, the police power of the State
may intervene; but I do nevertheless insist, as beyond question, that
the power of the United States is complete over every passenger vessel
arriving in the harbor, so that it may be subjected to any regulations
in the discretion of Congress for the public good with reference to
passengers. Of course, this discretion is to be exercised wisely for
the public good, that the public health may not suffer. Strange, if the
National Government, which is our guardian against foreign foes, may
not protect us against this fearful enemy.

    MR. MORRILL. I do not deny that; I agree to that.

    MR. SUMNER. Very well.

    MR. MORRILL. Now my query is, Can the power of commerce, that
    power which regulates the passengers on their passage to
    this country, follow the passengers entirely into the States
    and overrule the internal police of the States? That is the

MR. SUMNER. The Senator puts a question running into that already
propounded by the Senator from Iowa, and to which I was coming in due
course of time. I have already arrived at it. I was illustrating the
power that the Government would have in the harbor; and now let me give
another illustration, familiar to my friend: it is with reference to
goods. I need not remind the Senator, that, when goods arrive, subject
to duties, the custom-house exercises its control, according to the
prescription of law, not only while the goods are water-borne, but
after they have been landed; and if they have been landed in violation
of the law, it pursues them even into the interior.

    MR. CHANDLER. To the Rocky Mountains.

MR. SUMNER. It is enough to say that it pursues them into the interior.
The National Constitution was not so absurd, nor have our courts
been so absurd in its interpretation, as to recognize a power in the
custom-house merely at the door of the granite structure, and to
require that it shall stop there. No, Sir: the power must be made
effective. We have made it effective with reference to goods. We have
also, to a certain extent, made it effective, through decisions of the
Supreme Court, with reference to passengers. It remains that we should
carry it one stage further, and, for the public weal, and to secure the
public health, which is a large part of the public weal, insist that
this same power shall be invoked as in the pursuit of goods. I cannot
see the difference between the two cases. I cannot doubt that the
power over goods imported at our custom-house under Acts of Congress
and the power over passengers introduced into this country under Acts
of Congress are both derived from the same source, and you can find
no limitation for one and no expansion for one which is not equally
applicable to the other. I insist, therefore, that on this simple text
you find ample power. You must annul the text, or at least limit it by
construction and dwarf its fair proportions, or the power of Congress
to provide against cholera is perfect.

But as Senators have such scruples about the second clause of the

    “That he shall also enforce the establishment of sanitary
    cordons to prevent the spread of said disease from infected
    districts adjacent to or within the limits of the United

I will add, this clause may be treated under two different
heads,--first, as ancillary, from the nature of the case, to the power
under the clause to regulate commerce with foreign nations. From the
nature of the case, if you have the power to shut out cholera from
the ports, you must be intrusted with an associate power to follow
this same enemy even into the interior, precisely as you follow goods
escaping the exercise of your power in the ports. I am willing,
therefore, to put it even on the first clause of the constitutional
provision, calling it simply ancillary. But I do not stop there; for,
associated with this clause, and constituting part of the provision,
are the words, “and among the several States.” Congress has power
to regulate commerce among the several States. Now, Sir, assuming
that commerce is, as described or defined by our Supreme Court,
intercourse among men, embracing the transportation, not only of goods,
but of passengers, and applicable to everything that comes under
the comprehensive term “intercourse,”--giving to it that expansive
definition which I think you will find in the decisions of the Supreme
Court, I ask you if there is not under that second clause ample
power also to regulate this matter. Congress has power to regulate
commerce, communication, intercourse, transportation of freight and
transportation of passengers among the several States. To make that
effective, you must concede a power such as appears in the clause to
which the Senator from Iowa has directed my attention. There is no
reference here to State lines; and why? From the necessity of the case.
The disease itself does not recognize State lines. The authority which
goes forth to meet the disease must be at least on an equality with the
disease, and can recognize no State lines. How vain to set up State
rights as an impediment to this beneficent power!

I therefore conclude that the power over this subject is plenary,
whether you look at the first clause of the Constitution to which I
have called attention, relating to foreign commerce, or the second
clause, relating to commerce among the States. It is full; it is
complete. Hence I put aside the constitutional objection, whether used
seriously or jocosely, as it was perhaps by my friend from New York; I
put it aside as absolutely out of the question and irrelevant. Congress
has ample power over this whole subject. And, Sir, permit me to ask,
if it had not ample power over it, where should we be as a government
at this time? Can we confess that a great government of the world must
fold its arms, and see a foreign enemy--for such it is--crossing the
sea and invading our shores, yet we unable to meet it? I do not believe
that this transcendent republic is thus imbecile. I believe, that,
under the text of the National Constitution, as well as from the nature
of the case, it has ample powers to meet such enemy.

And this brings me, Sir, to the proposed amendment of the Senator
from Vermont [Mr. EDMUNDS]. He moves to strike out the clause to which
I called attention the other day, and to substitute certain words
creating a commission. I objected to this clause the other day; I will
read it now:--

    “That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of War, with the
    coöperation of the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of
    the Treasury, whose concurrent action shall be directed by the
    Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, to adopt an efficient
    and uniform system of quarantine against the introduction into
    this country of the Asiatic cholera.”

I objected, it may be remembered, to this clause, as placing the bill
under the patronage of the war power. I did not think it needed that
patronage, though I was willing to admit that it might need sometimes
the exercise of the war authority; but I did not think it needed to
be derived from the war power. It was not from the nature of the case
an exercise of this power, but it was clearly derived from the power
over the commerce of the country; and I regretted, therefore, that the
framers of the bill had seemed to put the war power in the forefront.
The Senator from Vermont meets that suggestion by an amendment to the
effect that a commission shall be constituted, embracing the Secretary
of War, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Treasury. I
have no particular criticism to make upon the amendment. If the Senate
consent to it, I shall certainly be disposed to join. But I think a
better form still may be adopted, and one placing what we do more
completely and unreservedly under that power of the Constitution from
which I think it is derived,--that is, the power to regulate commerce.
I would therefore propose that the duty shall be confided primarily
to the Secretary of the Treasury, who, in the exercise of his powers,
shall be aided by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy,
under the direction of the President of the United States.


In making this change, we shall simply enlarge and expand the existing
powers of the Secretary of the Treasury. He is now the head of the
custom-house; he regulates the passenger system. Go further, and give
him these additional powers, that shall enable him, so far as he can,
to prevent the introduction of disease into the country. All that we do
will be in harmony with the practice of the Government, and I believe
above question. The Government, in the exercise of admitted powers,
will be, I trust, more than a match for the cholera.

    May 15th, Mr. Reverdy Johnson replied, when Mr. Sumner

The Senator from Maryland has referred us to the decisions of the
Supreme Court which in his opinion bear directly on this point; but,
Sir, with the ingenuity of a practised lawyer, he has omitted to
remind us of that decision which, perhaps, of all others, is the most
applicable. With the permission of the Senate, I will make up for the
deficiency of the learned Senator, or at least endeavor to do so. I
refer to the case of _The United States_ v. _Coombs_, in the twelfth
volume of Peters’s Reports. There you will find one of the able and
well-considered judgments of the late Mr. Justice Story, particularly
treating this question. By “this question” I mean the power of Congress
under the National Constitution to regulate commerce with foreign
nations and among the several States. I will read a passage from his
judgment, page 78:--

    “The power to regulate commerce includes the power to regulate
    navigation, as connected with the commerce with foreign nations
    and among the States. It was so held and decided by this
    court, after the most deliberate consideration, in the case of
    _Gibbons_ v. _Ogden_, 9 Wheaton, 189 to 198.”

All that the Senator will of course recognize; for, indeed, he has
admitted as much in what he has said and cited. The learned judge then

    “It does not stop at the mere boundary-line of a State; nor
    is it confined to acts done on the water, or in the necessary
    course of the navigation thereof. It extends to such acts,
    done on land, which interfere with, obstruct, or prevent the
    due exercise of the power to regulate commerce and navigation
    with foreign nations and among the States. Any offence which
    thus interferes with, obstructs, or prevents such commerce and
    navigation, though done on land, may be punished by Congress,
    under its general authority to make all laws necessary and
    proper to execute their delegated constitutional powers.”

Those are the pointed words of Mr. Justice Story.

    MR. MORRILL. Will the Senator allow me to ask him a question?

    MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. MORRILL. That is, to regulate commerce.

    MR. SUMNER. To regulate commerce.

    MR. MORRILL. Does the Senator mean to be understood that a
    regulation in regard to cholera, a disease, is a regulation of

    MR. SUMNER. I do, certainly.

    MR. MORRILL. Then the cholera is commerce?

    MR. SUMNER. No; cholera is not commerce, but cholera comes from

    MR. MORRILL. Then is the regulation of it commerce, or is it
    the treatment of a disease? Is it a regulation of health, or a
    regulation of commerce?

    MR. SUMNER. It is connected with commerce, and must be treated
    in its appropriate connection.


Nor do I understand that this is an exercise of power for the first
time. It is nothing more than a new application of an old power, or
an expansion of an old power to a new condition of circumstances, and
perhaps I may say enlarging the old power, because the circumstances
require the enlargement. I do not understand that any new fountain is
opened. No new source is drawn upon; no new principle is invoked. We go
back to the original text so often applied in kindred cases, and insist
upon its application now.

If I understand the argument of the Senator, it is that all quarantine
regulations belong to the States exclusively. Am I right in that?

    MR. MORRILL. Most of them.

    MR. SUMNER. The Senator, I understand, says they belong
    exclusively to the States.

    MR. MORRILL. Yes.

MR. SUMNER. If I carry the idea of the Senator still further, it
would be to say that the Government of the United States might make
all possible regulations with reference to passengers water-borne,
but could not touch them with any sanitary regulation the moment they
entered our harbors. Such is the inevitable conclusion; and permit me
to say, it is an absurdity. I will not consent thus to despoil the
National Government of a power which to my mind seems so essential to
the national health.

    After quoting the statute of February 25, 1799, entitled “An
    Act respecting Quarantines and Health Laws,” by which United
    States officers are directed to assist State officers in
    enforcing the quarantine, Mr. Sumner proceeded:--

Now I submit that this statute of 1799 relating to quarantine contains
a jumble or confusion not unlike that in the Fugitive Slave Act of
1793,--that is, a recognition of a concurrent jurisdiction in the State
and National Governments over this question. The measure now before the
Senate would follow out the general principle or reasoning of later
years, and assure the jurisdiction to the Federal, or, as I always like
to call it, the National power. It would secure it to the National
power; and to my mind it properly belongs to the National power, and
no ingenuity of the Senator from Maine can satisfy me that it should
not be intrusted to the National power. It is essentially a National
object, and can be performed effectively and thoroughly only through
the National arm. If you intrust it to the different local authorities,
you will have as many systems as you have States or communities, and
you cannot bring your policy to bear with that unity which it ought
to have in dealing with so deadly a foe. You should be able to carry
into this business something of the combination and directness of
war. At the same time I beg to say, as I have heretofore said, that
I do not recognize this in any respect as a military remedy. I treat
it absolutely as commercial; I derive it from a commercial power; and
by the amendment which I have introduced I would place it under the
direction of the Secretary of the Treasury.

    The amendment of Mr. Sumner was agreed to without a division.
    The substitute of the Committee, thus amended, was lost,--Yeas
    17, Nays 19. The original House resolution was then amended in
    conformity with Mr. Sumner’s amendment, by inserting “Secretary
    of the Treasury” instead of “President,” and passed,--Yeas 27,
    Nays 12,--and afterwards approved by the President.[29]



    May 16th, the Senate having under consideration the bill making
    appropriations for the consular and diplomatic expenses for the
    ensuing year, Mr. Sumner moved the following amendment:--

        “_Provided_, That an envoy extraordinary and minister
        plenipotentiary appointed at any place where the United
        States are now represented by a minister resident shall
        receive the compensation fixed by law and appropriated for
        a minister resident, and no more.”

    Mr. Sumner then said:--

I should like to make a brief explanation of this amendment. It
will be perceived that it comes after the appropriation for salaries
of envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary and ministers
resident. Its object, in one word, is to authorize the Government, in
its discretion, to employ persons with the title of envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary where it now employs ministers resident,
but without any increase of salary. This subject has occupied the
attention of the Committee on Foreign Relations for several years; it
has been more than once before the Senate. The Committee were unanimous
that the good of the service, especially in Europe, required this
change. From authentic information it appears that our ministers at
courts where they have only the title of ministers resident play a
second part to gentlemen with the higher title, though representing
governments which we should not consider in worldly rank on an equality
with ours. They are second to them; in short, to use a familiar
illustration, and simply to bring the difference home, when they call
upon business or appear anywhere, they bear the same relation to the
envoys extraordinary of those smaller governments that a member of the
other House, calling upon the President, bears to Senators. The Senator
is admitted, when the member of the other House, as we know, waits.

I hold in my hand the last Almanac of Gotha, for 1866, which is the
diplomatic authority for the world, and has been for a century; and,
by way of example, I turn to the diplomatic list for the Netherlands,
where, it will be remembered, we are represented by a patriotic
citizen, well known to most of us, who was once connected with the
press,--Mr. Pike,--with the title of minister resident. According
to the list, I find at this same court the Grand Duchy of Baden
represented by an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary;
Belgium, the adjoining country, and with a population much inferior
to our own, represented by an envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary; Denmark, a nation which, shorn of the two provinces
of Schleswig and Holstein, has little more than a million and a half
of population, represented by an envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary. Spain, of course, is represented by an envoy
extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. Even the Grand Duchy of
Hesse is so represented; so is the kingdom of Italy; so is the Duchy of
Nassau; so is Portugal; so is Prussia; and so others. In transacting
business, the American minister resident at this court is always
treated as second to these representatives. I have alluded to the
relations we bear to the head of the Executive Department here, as
compared with members of the other House. I doubt not that Senators
know there is a positive business advantage in having access promptly,
and perhaps with a certain consideration which does not always attach
to those of inferior rank.


It will be observed that the proposition does not undertake to
empower the President, or to direct him, to make this change; but it
assumes, according to a certain theory of the Constitution, that under
the Constitution it is in the discretion of the President to send
ambassadors, envoys extraordinary, or ministers resident, or any other
diplomatic functionary, in his discretion, Congress having only the
function of supplying the means.


Now the proposition which I have moved proceeds, in harmony with this,
simply to declare, that, if the President shall undertake to appoint an
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to any court where we
are now represented by a minister resident, the salary shall be only
that of a minister resident. Proceeding with the theory of this Act
and a certain theory of the Constitution, the President has the power
already to appoint an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary
to any of these courts, if in his discretion he shall see fit; but
there is no salary appropriated by law. If the amendment now offered
should be adopted, it would be in his discretion to change our
representative from a minister resident to an envoy extraordinary, but
without increase of salary; and the simple question remains, whether
this enabling discretion is not proper. The President is not called
upon to exercise it. There are places where he may think it better to
continue the minister resident.

    MR. FESSENDEN. He can do it now.

MR. SUMNER. But there is no salary; the salary would not apply. The
amendment is to supply the salary in such cases; that is all. I have
heard it observed, that, though the President may now, under the
Constitution, appoint to any place an envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary, he is restrained in the exercise of that power by
the want of an appropriation to support the appointment. The present
proposition meets that difficulty precisely.

    The amendment was opposed by Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, and Mr.
    Grimes, of Iowa. Mr. Sumner replied:--

I have no feeling on this question at all,--not the least; nor do I
approach it as a political question. I see no individual in it. I do
not see Mr. Harvey or Mr. Sanford. I see nobody here to oppose, and
nobody to favor. I know nothing in it but my country and its service
abroad. Sir, I think I am as sensitive as any other Senator with regard
to the just influence belonging to my country as a republic great and
glorious in the history of mankind. I believe that I am duly proud of
it, and conscious of the weight it ought to carry wherever it appears.
I know its name stands for something in the world, and that whoever
represents this country on the ocean or in the diplomatic service
has, alone, a great and powerful recommendation. But I also know too
much of human history and too much of human nature, not to know that
men everywhere are influenced more or less by the title of those who
approach them.

    MR. FESSENDEN. Governments are not; men may be.

MR. SUMNER. But let me remind my friend that governments are
composed of men. He knows well that the presence of a general on a
particular service produces more certain effect and prompter result
than the presence of a colonel or a major, at least under ordinary
circumstances. My other friend, who represents the Naval Committee on
this floor [Mr. GRIMES], knows very well, that, if he sends an admiral
on any service, it may be only of compliment, he produces at once a
greater effect than if he sends a lieutenant.

The Senator has just induced us to send the Assistant Secretary of the
Navy to Europe, because in that way he might give more _éclat_ to a
certain service. I united with him in the effort. But why not allow a
clerk of the Department to carry our resolution? The Senator knew full
well, if he sent the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he should do more
than if he sent a simple clerk of the Department. And therefore I am
brought to the precise point, that, whatever the rank of our country in
the world, and how much soever we may be entitled, at all courts where
our representatives are, to the highest precedence, yet, such is human
nature, our position is impaired by the title of the agent we send. I
would give our agent the artificial accessories and incidents which
the Law of Nations allows. I follow the Law of Nations. Why does this
law authorize or sanction, and why do our Constitution and statutes,
following the Law of Nations, authorize and sanction, a difference of
rank, except to obtain corresponding degrees of influence? That is
the theory which underlies the gradation of rank. It runs into the
army; it runs into the navy; it runs into Congress; it runs into all
the business of life; and the simple question is, whether now, in the
diplomatic service of the country, in dealing with our foreign agents,
we shall discard a principle of action followed in everything else.

    The amendment was rejected,--Yeas 15, Nays 17.

       *       *       *       *       *

    May 17th, Mr. Sumner renewed his effort, by moving the
    amendment in the following form:--

        “_And be it further enacted_, That the salary of any envoy
        extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary hereafter
        appointed shall be the salary of a minister resident, and
        nothing more, except when he is appointed to one of the
        countries where the United States are now represented by an
        envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary.”

    After explaining it, Mr. Sumner said, especially in reply to Mr.

I do not like to discuss things forever that have been discussed so
often. I have said so much on this matter that I feel ashamed to add
another word; and yet, as the Senator from Iowa returns to the assault,
perhaps I should return to the defence.

I tried to show, last evening, that, in introducing this proposition,
I was simply acting on the practice of the Government in other
respects, and upon the practice of mankind generally, everywhere;
and my friend from Ohio [Mr. WADE] reminds me that the argument of
the Senator from Iowa, a few days ago, was one of the strongest
illustrations of what I said. He induced the Senate to agree to appoint
a new Assistant Secretary of the Navy, merely to allow the actual
Assistant Secretary to go abroad, because his presence would enhance
the service. Under his argument, yielding to its pressure, we appointed
a new functionary in the Department of the Navy.

Now, if I can have the attention of the Senator from Iowa for one
moment, I would put him a practical question. If he had important
business, say with the mayor of New York, which he wished to present
in the best way possible, I have no doubt my friend would count
naturally upon his own character, and justly; he would believe that
any agent sent by him to the mayor of New York would be well received.
Doubtless he would be well received; yet, if there were two persons
whose services he might employ, one with the rank of general and the
other with the rank of colonel, but equal in abilities and in fitness,
I have no doubt my friend would select the general rather than the
colonel. From familiarity with human nature, he knows that the general,
on arrival, would have a prompter reception than the colonel. It is
useless to say, in reply, that behind the agent is the same personage.
I assume all that; but I would secure for that same personage the best
reception possible, and the highest facilities for his representative.
I would now secure the same thing for my country, and I believe--pardon
me, if I introduce my own personal testimony--but I believe, according
to such opportunities of observation as I have had, now running over a
considerable period of life, that the interests of the country would be
promoted by this change. I believe that business would be facilitated,
and opportunities of influence enhanced.

I make no allusion to topics playfully introduced into this discussion.
It is a matter of comparative indifference what place a man may have
at a dinner-table; but I do wish to secure facilities in business and
respect for the representatives of my country to the largest degree

    The amendment was adopted,--Yeas 18, Nays 16.


16 AND 17, 1866.

    May 16th, the Senate having under consideration the bill making
    appropriations for the consular and diplomatic expenses,
    Mr. Sumner moved an addition of twenty per cent. to the
    compensation allowed to the clerks of the State Department. A
    petition from the clerks was read. Mr. Sumner then said:--

I do not know that there is any necessity for me to add anything.
The petition speaks for itself. It states the whole case. But a word
will not be out of place with regard to the gentleman who heads the
petition,--Mr. Hunter. He is one of the oldest public servants now
connected with the Government. He has been in the Department of State
for more than thirty years. He may be called the living index to that
Department; and I believe I do not err in saying that in our Blue
Book of office there is no person whose integrity is more generally
recognized. Placed in a position of especial trust, where all the
foreign correspondence of the Government passes under his eye, that
which comes and that which goes, I believe he has passed a life without
blame. He has been in a position where, had his integrity been open to
seduction, he might have been tempted. No human being imagines that he
has ever yielded. He has discharged his very important trusts on a very
humble salary. I think the Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN] knows him
well enough to know that he has brought to those functions ability of a
peculiar character. And now, in the decline of life, he finds himself
with the small salary of a clerk, on which he can with difficulty
subsist,--and yet all the time rendering these important services and
discharging these considerable trusts, absorbed in the business of the
office so that he takes it home with him nightly. It leaves with him
in the evening and returns with him in the morning, and then it fills
the long day. I think that such a public servant deserves recognition.
I have for some time felt that his compensation was inadequate. I have
thought that his salary ought to be raised; but, after consideration of
the question in committee, and consultation with others, it was thought
best to present the case in a general proposition such as I have now
moved, being for the addition of twenty per cent. to the compensation
of all the clerks in the Department. The argument for this is enforced
in the petition from these gentlemen which has been read at the desk. I
can see no objection to it, especially after what we have done for the
clerks of the Treasury. Are not public servants at the State Department
as worthy as public servants at the Treasury?

    The debate showed the indisposition of Senators to any general
    addition to the compensation of the clerks of the State
    Department, but with recognition of the merits of Mr. Hunter.

       *       *       *       *       *

    May 17th, after conversation and discussion, Mr. Sumner
    changed his motion, so as to read:--

        “_And be it further enacted_, That the President be, and he
        is hereby, authorized to appoint, by and with the advice
        and consent of the Senate, a second Assistant Secretary of
        State in the Department of State, at an annual salary of
        $3,500, to commence on the first day of July, 1866; and the
        amount necessary to pay the same is hereby appropriated.”

    Mr. Sumner then said:--

A Senator near me says he will not vote for this amendment, unless I
put in the name. It is perfectly well known that it is intended as an
opportunity to appoint Mr. Hunter, and the authorities, I presume, will
take notice. There is no need of inserting his name; and the remark of
the Senator is simply a criticism for an excuse. I hope the Senate will
adopt the amendment without a division.

    There was a division, and the amendment was adopted,--Yeas 18,
    Nays 17.



    This letter was originally published in a Southern paper, but
    without the date.

                                        SENATE CHAMBER [May, 1866].

  DEAR SIR,--I have your letter of the 19th in reference to the
  removal of your political disabilities.

  I am not sure that the time has yet come to make exceptions to
  our general policy in individual cases. To do so would open the
  door to innumerable applications; and once open, it would be
  difficult to shut it.

  I hope to meet such cases as yours by some general enactment; and
  as soon as the condition of the country will permit, I shall be
  the first to advocate the removal of all disabilities under which
  you labor at present.

      Yours truly,



VIRGINIA, MAY 24, 1866.

    Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, recently presented a petition
    from citizens of Augusta County, Virginia, which was duly
    referred, stating that the Union men in that locality were
    without protection from the local authorities, and asking
    that the military power be not withdrawn. The petition caused
    excitement in the neighborhood, accompanied by threats. Mr.
    Trumbull had asked to withdraw the petition and return it to
    the petitioners, “that they may protect themselves, as far as
    this will enable them to do so, against the accusations which
    have been brought upon them,” and expressed his regret that he
    could not propose some measure for their protection.

    Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I hope the Senate will not take this step without
considering its importance. I do not mean to oppose it, but I would
ask attention to what I may call its gravity. I am not aware that a
petition has ever before been withdrawn on a motion like that now made.
A petition once presented comes into the possession of the Senate; it
passes into its files, and into the archives of the Capitol. We are
about to make a precedent for the first time. I do not say that the
occasion does not justify the precedent. I incline to agree with my
friend from Illinois. We owe protection, so far as we can afford it,
to these petitioners; and since the Senator from Illinois regards this
as the best way, I am disposed to follow him; but in doing it, I wish
the Senate to take notice of the character of the step, and of the
precedent they make.

But this is not all, Sir. I wish the Senate to take notice that they
are called to adopt this exceptional precedent by the lawless and
brutal condition of the social system about these petitioners. The
very fact which the Senator brings to the attention of the Senate, and
on account of which he invokes an unprecedented exercise of power,
is important evidence on the condition of things in one of these
Rebel States. It goes to show that they are not yet in any just sense
reconstructed, or prepared for reconstruction. Such an abnormal fact
could not occur in any other part of our broad country. That it occurs
here must be referred to remains of Rebellion not yet subdued, but
which you are now called upon, in the exercise of powers under the
National Constitution, to overcome and obliterate.

Therefore, Sir, I regard this transaction in a double light: first,
as an important precedent in the business of the Senate; secondly, as
illustrating a condition of things to justify every exercise of care
and diligence on our part, that it may not bring forth similar fruits
hereafter. The right of petition, a great popular right, cannot be
interrupted without a blow at the Constitution.



    May 24th, on motion of Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, the Senate
    considered a joint resolution to provide for the publication
    of an official history of the Rebellion. In the debate that
    ensued, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--We have already in our history some experience by
which we may be taught on this question. Senators have seen in their
libraries, certainly in the Congressional Library, the large volumes
known as “American Archives,” of which there are portions of two
series. When that collection was commenced, it was intended that it
should embody all the papers, military and diplomatic, and also leading
articles in newspapers, relating to the origin of our Revolution and
the War of Independence. The collection proceeded to the year 1776,
under the editorship of Peter Force, of this city, a gentleman as
competent, I suppose, as any person who could have been selected in
the whole country; but it was subject to the revising judgment of the
Secretary of State. Finally, when Mr. Force had prepared a volume for
1777, and his papers were collected and laid before the Secretary of
State, at that time Mr. Marcy, the latter functionary refused his
assent to any further publication, and the collection, originally
ordered by Act of Congress,[30] was arrested at the year 1776, and
primarily because the Secretary of State declined to give his final
assent, as required under a subsequent Act.[31] Such is our experience
with regard to one important portion of our history, the War of
Independence. The documents are not yet published in one connected
series; I do not know that they ever will be. And now, Sir, it is
proposed to commence another series, promising more expense even than
that of the War of Independence.

I would simply suggest that we may well consider whether it might not
be advisable to complete the original series, and to illustrate the
War of Independence, before we enter upon the work of illustrating
this recent more terrible conflict. But, Sir, suppose we undertake
the latter work; then I think all that has been said, particularly
by the Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN], suggesting caution, care,
and editorship, of infinite importance. I agree with that Senator
absolutely, when he says the whole collection will be of very little
value, it will be trivial, if not well edited, well arranged, and then
well indexed.

    MR. FESSENDEN. And the larger it is, the worse it will be.

MR. SUMNER. Of course. Then Senators say that we must find a competent
man. Who is the competent man? I do not know him now. I dare say
he might come to light, perhaps, if we went about with a lantern
after him; but the competent man to gather together all this mass of
documents, to put them in order, and then to make a proper analytical
index, would be a very rare character. He must be a man without the
turbulent ambition that belongs to politicians,--disposed to quiet,
willing to live at home with his books and papers, and give himself
day and night to serious toil. That is the character of man you would
require. I do not know where he could be found.

    MR. JOHNSON [of Maryland]. You might find him in Boston.

    MR. SUMNER. In Boston, if anywhere, perhaps. [_Laughter._] But
    I do not know him there, I am free to say.

    MR. FESSENDEN. Resign, and take charge of it yourself.

    MR. SUMNER. I do not know but that is the best thing I could do
    [_laughter_]; but then I should despair of getting through the

    MR. FESSENDEN. I would agree to serve as your clerk.

    MR. SUMNER. Then the work would surely be done. [_Laughter._]

All this brings us to the conclusion that what we do should be well
considered and laid out in advance. I think, therefore, it is important
that the resolution should be recommitted, that we should have the
benefit of all the information we can obtain from the Department, and,
if possible, provide in advance the method, the arrangement, and the
way in which the collection should be indexed. As much should be done
in advance as possible. Sir, we may derive instruction on this subject
from what is doing in other nations. At this moment the French Emperor
is publishing the writings of his uncle, the Emperor Napoleon. The
collection has already proceeded to nineteen or twenty quarto volumes,
elaborately edited, the purpose being to bring together every scrap,
military, diplomatic, or personal, which can be found proceeding from
the First Napoleon. All is under special editorship. Some of the first
men of France are a committee superintending it. If we undertake our
work, I think we ought to do as well by it as the Emperor of France
does by the writings of his uncle.

    The joint resolution was recommitted to the Committee on
    Military Affairs and reported back with an amendment.
    It finally passed both Houses, and was approved by the



    April 30th, Mr. Fessenden, from the Joint Committee on
    Reconstruction, reported a bill “to provide for restoring to
    the States lately in insurrection their full political rights.”
    There was no requirement of Equal Rights as a condition of

       *       *       *       *       *

    May 29th, Mr. Sumner introduced the following amendment as a
    substitute for the first section of the bill:--

That, when any State lately in rebellion shall have ratified the
foregoing Amendment, and shall have modified its constitution and laws
in conformity therewith, and shall have further provided that there
shall be no denial of the elective franchise to citizens of the United
States because of race or color, and that all persons shall be equal
before the law, the Senators and Representatives from such State, if
found duly elected and qualified, may, after having taken the required
oaths of office, be admitted into Congress as such: _Provided_, that
nothing in this section shall be so construed as to require the
disfranchisement of any loyal person who is now allowed to vote.

    The bill was never called up after the printing of this



    A measure relating to inter-State intercourse, especially
    by railway, which had been considered by a former Congress,
    reappeared in the present Congress. The bill of Mr. Sumner,
    “to facilitate commercial, postal, and military communication
    among the several States,”[33] was introduced into the House
    of Representatives and adopted, with a proviso touching
    stipulations between the United States and any railway company.
    In the Senate it was considered from time to time.

       *       *       *       *       *

    May 29th, the following additional proviso, moved by Mr. Clark,
    of New Hampshire, was adopted,--Yeas 24, Nays 15:--

        “Nor shall it be construed to authorize any railroad
        company to build any new road or connection with any other
        road, without authority from the State in which said
        railroad or connection may be proposed.”

    On the third reading of the bill, Mr. Sumner said:--

I agree with the Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. COWAN], that the
measure before us is important: whether so transcendently important as
he depicts I do not venture to say. But, Sir, I believe it a beneficent
measure, and important from its very beneficence.

The bill as originally presented was complete and simple. I think it
met the idea so ably set forth by the Senator from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN].
Were the bill adopted in that form, it would be truly beneficent. It
would prevent any State from becoming a turnpike-gate to the internal
commerce of the country.

No State, I insist, has a right to take toll on the internal commerce
of this great republic, and it belongs to the United States, under the
National Constitution, to regulate that internal commerce. It was in
the exercise of that power, under the National Constitution, and also
of other powers, as the power to regulate the post-office, and also
the military power, that this bill was conceived. I say, Sir, in every
respect it is beneficent. It has been to-day ably and conclusively
vindicated by the Senator from Ohio. On other occasions I have
considered it. I feel now that there is little occasion for any further
elaborate discussion. I regret, Sir, with the Senator from Ohio, that
the amendment of the Senator from New Hampshire has been fastened upon
it. I wish it were in our power now to give the bill its original force
and virtue. But, even with that amendment, it is better than nothing.
It does something. It goes forth and does battle with a monopoly in at
least one State of the Union which was in view when the bill was first
presented. It is also a precedent for the future action of Congress,
and it will open the way to what the Senator from Ohio so earnestly

I shall be glad hereafter to act with him in carrying out the original
purposes of this bill, so that no State shall be able to set itself in
the way of the internal commerce of the country. But, considering that
the amendment is already attached to the bill, that we have now passed
the stage when it would be advisable to open the discussion again, I
hope the Senate will proceed to its final passage. Though shorn of some
of its virtue, it is better than nothing; it will do much good. Even in
its present form it is essentially beneficent. Therefore I hope it will
be adopted.

    The bill passed the Senate,--Yeas 22, Nays 19,--and was
    approved by the President.[34]



    June 26th, on motion of Mr. Sumner, the Senate proceeded to
    consider the bill for the relief of the owners of the British
    vessel Magicienne. The bill directed the payment of $8,645
    to these owners for damages from the wrongful seizure and
    detention of that vessel by the United States ship Onward, in
    January, 1863.

    Mr. Sumner said:--

Before the vote is taken, I desire that the Senate should understand
the character of the bill. The Senate may have forgotten that a message
of the President, bearing date April 4, 1866, communicated to the two
Houses of Congress the correspondence between the Government of the
United States and the Government of Great Britain relating to this
vessel. By that correspondence it appears that the United States,
through Mr. Seward, and the Government of Great Britain, through Lord
Lyons, came to an agreement, in 1863, to refer the question of damages
in this matter to Mr. Evarts, the eminent counsel at New York, and
Mr. Archibald, the British consul at New York. Those two referees
have proceeded with the business and made a report, which forms the
basis of this bill. I call particular attention to the dates, as they
had an influence on the judgment of the Committee. I need not remind
the Senate, that, at a later day, Lord Russell, in a formal manner,
declined all arbitration of our claims on Great Britain. That was by a
communication to Mr. Adams, our minister at Great Britain, bearing date
August 30, 1865. All will remember the terms of that note, which have
been substantially set forth in the annual message of the President.
Had the case of this vessel arisen subsequently to the note, it would
have been a grave question whether the Committee could have counselled
any present recognition of the claim; but it was otherwise. The case
occurred and the referees were selected before the note. Under the
circumstances, there was no alternative. We had selected our court,
and the damages were determined by the judgment of that court. It
only remains for us to abide by the judgment of the tribunal we have
assisted in establishing.

    Mr. Conness, of California, said:--

        “I have great confidence in the Committee on Foreign
        Relations. I know the sense of justice of that Committee,
        and of the Chairman of that Committee, and have great
        respect for it; but I cannot vote to pay any British claim
        in the face of the insulting response made by the British
        Government to the proposition even to consider American

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

I make no question with the Senator from California with regard to
the reply of Lord Russell.… I see that to pay the bill goes against
the grain of the Senator; but I believe he, too, is not insensible to
the claims of equity. While I have no doubt how the conduct of Great
Britain with regard to our losses should be characterized, I am anxious
that my own country should be kept firm and constant in the attitude of

    The bill passed both Houses without a division, and was
    approved by the President.[35]


JUNE 28, 1866.

    June 28th, the Senate took up a bill from the House to
    incorporate the Niagara Ship-Canal, and the first question was
    on the following amendment, reported by the Senate Committee on

        “SECTION 28. _And be it further enacted_, That this Act
        shall not take effect, unless the Legislature of the State
        of New York shall within one year of the date hereof give
        its assent thereto.”

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

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. GUTHRIE] gives his
judgment in favor of the proposed ship-canal, but he gives his argument
against it. He is in favor of delay, and the reason he assigns is, that
the country is already encumbered by a large national debt, which we
should not increase by any additional expenditure; and he asks, with
a triumphant air, whether it has ever before been proposed to reduce
a national debt by increasing it. But his question does not meet the
case. It is proposed, so far as I understand, to provide additional
resources. To that end additional expenditure will be incurred. Out of
the additional resources there will be increased means for the payment
of the national debt. This is the answer to the Senator; and as I
understand him to make no other special objection to proceeding with
the matter now, I feel that he is completely answered.

I confess, however, Sir, that what fell from the Senator from Iowa
[Mr. GRIMES] produced more impression on my mind. His objection to
the execution of this work by a corporation, and to allowing that
corporation to establish tolls which the people of his State and of
other States at the West should be obliged to pay, certainly deserves

    MR. SHERMAN. And there is the water power.

MR. SUMNER. Which is to be given to this corporation. I say it deserves
attention. But I think the Senator is mistaken, when on that account he
interposes the dilatory motion asking the bill recommitted. I do not
know that at a subsequent stage of the debate it may not be important
to recommit it; but I believe that at this moment we had better proceed
with the bill, and have a vote of the Senate on the amendment reported
by the Committee. For one, I wish an opportunity, and the sooner the
better, to vote against that amendment. Senators about me say, so do
they. Let us, then, proceed with the bill; and I hope the Senate will
vote down the amendment which is to invite the consent and coöperation
of the State of New York. On that question the Senate should establish
a precedent.

The time has come for us to assert the powers of the National
Government, independent of the States, in certain cases. The argument
in this debate has gone very much on the military power of the
Government, little allusion being made to that other source of power
which seems to me so ample,--the power to regulate commerce among the
States. I prefer to found this power upon that text of the National
Constitution. I ask Congress to interpose its power to regulate
commerce among the States,--to interpose it on a great occasion, under
circumstances, I admit, of special responsibility, when I consider the
time and the occasion, but under circumstances which amply justify the
exercise of the power. Who, Sir, can doubt, that, under these special
words of the National Constitution, we have full power over this whole
question? Who can doubt, that, without asking consent of New York, we
may establish a canal about the Falls of Niagara? I am at a loss to
understand how any Senator can hesitate as to the power of Congress.

Assuming, then, that Congress has the power, the only remaining
question is as to the expediency of exercising it at this time; and
that again brings me to the argument of the Senator from Kentucky, that
at this time, when we are involved in a large national debt, we should
not undertake to increase it. But to this I have already replied.

I hope, Sir, there will be no delay,--that the Senate will proceed
with the bill at once. The question is great; it is important; it is
almost historical; it is nothing less than to determine whether the
northern shores of Ohio and Illinois shall be brought forward to the
ocean itself, so that the large towns there shall become ports of the
sea. By this ship-canal Chicago and Cleveland may be made harbors on
the Atlantic coast. Sir, that is an object well worthy of an honest
ambition, and I ask the Senate without delay to do what it can for the
great result.

    After debate, the bill was postponed to the second Tuesday of
    December. Though considered at the next session, there was no
    final action upon it.



    July 3d, the Senate having under consideration a joint
    resolution, reported by the Library Committee, appropriating
    five thousand dollars for the purchase of the law library of
    the late James L. Pettigru, of South Carolina, Mr. Sumner

I see no objection to this proposition on grounds of constitutional
power. I cannot doubt the power. Had I been called to vote, when under
consideration some weeks ago, I should have voted in the negative. I
was disposed at that time to look at the purchase simply as a question
of economy. Since then I have been led to regard it in that other
aspect presented by the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. HOWE], and I
hesitate to vote against it.

I have gone over the catalogue of the library. It is a respectable
library for a practising lawyer. Some of the books are valuable, others
may be useful as duplicates.

But in voting this sum I do not expect an equivalent in the books. I
would make the purchase an occasion of expressing sympathy with courage
and fidelity under peculiar difficulties in the cause of our country.
Mr. Pettigru was like the angel Abdiel, “among the faithless faithful
only he.” In the State of South Carolina, and in Charleston itself, he
continued true to the Union in all its trials, early and late,--first,
in those days when it was menaced by Nullification, and then again
when it was openly assailed by bloody Rebellion. He died in virtuous
poverty, and I am willing that Congress should make this contribution
to his widow. Such a character is an example of infinite value to the
Republic. I wish to show my respect for it. I should be glad to see it
exalted so as to be seen by men. In the deserts of the East a fountain
is always cherished as a sacred spot; such a character was a fountain
in the desert. What desert more complete than South Carolina?

    The joint resolution passed both Houses, and was approved by
    the President.[36]


JULY 11, 1866.

    The case of Senator Stockton, and the questions which then
    arose with regard to the election of Senators, suggested
    the necessity of legislation by Congress on this subject.
    Accordingly a bill was reported from the Judiciary Committee,
    “to regulate the times and manner of holding elections for
    Senators in Congress.”

       *       *       *       *       *

    July 11th, Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, moved an amendment to
    the bill, allowing every Legislature to settle the manner of
    voting, whether _viva voce_ or by ballot. In the debate that
    ensued, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I was impressed by a remark of the Senator from
Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL], to the effect, that, while regulating the
election of Senators, it would be well to require uniformity in all
respects. I was impressed by the remark, for it seemed to me a key
to this whole question. If it be of importance to require uniformity
in all respects, then it seems to me we should not fail to prescribe
in all respects the manner of the election. Nothing should be left
uncertain. This, I understand, the bill before us undertakes to do. The
amendment of the Senator from Maine, if adopted, would leave the manner
of election in one important particular open to the caprice of each
Legislature, so that one Legislature might act in one way and another
in another way,--one might choose Senators by open vote, and another by
secret vote.

Now, Sir, I remark, in the first place, that there should be
uniformity. The question, then, is, Which system shall be
adopted,--open voting, or secret voting? While I am entirely satisfied
that at popular elections secret voting is preferable, and that every
citizen, when about to vote at any such election, has a right to the
protection of secrecy, I do not see my way to the same conclusion with
regard to votes in a representative capacity. Such votes do not belong
to the individual, if I may so express myself, but to his constituents.
A sound policy requires that the constituent should be able to see the
vote given by the representative; but that can be only where it is
open. This argument seems to me unanswerable in principle.

Reference has been made to the English system; and I am glad to adduce
it for example, not in the election of members of Parliament, but in
elections by Parliament itself, as in the choice of Speaker. According
to the principle I have already stated, elections for members of
Parliament should enjoy the protection of secrecy, which they do not,
while the representative in Parliament should be held to vote in such
a way that his constituents may know what he does, and this is the
English rule. The Speaker of the House of Commons is chosen by open
voting, or _viva voce_.

    MR. FESSENDEN. We do not do it here in the election of a
    President of the Senate.

MR. SUMNER. But I am disposed to believe that in not doing it we fail
to follow the best example. There is no question now with regard to the
manner of voting at popular elections. Our present question concerns
the manner of voting in a representative capacity, and here British
precedent is in favor of open voting.

The rule at popular elections in our own country has not been uniform.
In some States open voting has prevailed from the beginning; in others,
voting has been by ballot. The origin of these differences, while
curious historically, is not without interest in this debate. I think I
do not err in saying that the example of England was early recognized
in Virginia and the more southern States, also in New York after the
withdrawal of Holland. The Western States, including Kentucky, I need
not remind the Senate, were carved out of Virginia. The great Northwest
Territory was originally part of Virginia, and I presume that the
habit which the Senator from Illinois tells us prevails throughout
that region was derived originally from Virginia, as the latter
State derived it originally from England. In New England the usage
is otherwise; nor is it difficult to trace its origin. New England
borrowed her system of secret voting at popular elections from the
Puritan corporation which originally planted its settlements. By the
Law of Corporations a majority governs, and this rule was practically
enforced by secret voting. Here the simplicity of the times harmonized
with classical example. Beans were used for ballots. A candidate being
named, the elector voted by dropping a black bean or white bean into
a box. The rule at popular elections was carried into elections by
the Legislature. These early settlers were not the first to employ
beans for ballots. The law of Athens enjoined that their magistrates
should be chosen by a ballot of beans: so we are told by Lucian, in
his Dialogues.[37] In other places voting was by black and white
pebbles.[38] These instances, besides showing a curious parallel with
our New England way, illustrate the history of secret voting.

This brief statement shows the origin of the opposite rules in popular
elections among us,--the South and West receiving theirs from Virginia
and from England, and New England receiving hers from the practice of
a Puritan corporation. I ought to mention that Rhode Island, which was
organized under a charter from Charles the Second, was an exception;
but in other States the original rule of secrecy in popular elections
has prevailed from the beginning.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no question before us with regard to popular elections. We
are considering how men should vote in a representative capacity. Much
as I am in favor of secret voting at the polls, I cannot hesitate in
declaring for open voting wherever men represent others. Nor can I see
any reason for secrecy in elections by a legislative body which is
not equally strong for secrecy in voting on the passage of laws. But
nobody would dispense with the ayes and noes in our daily business. To
my mind the question is clear. Republican institutions will gain by
establishing the accountability of the representative, and I cannot
doubt that this principle should be our guide in determining the manner
of electing Senators under the National Constitution.

    The amendment of Mr. Fessenden was rejected,--Yeas 6, Nays 28.

    The bill passed the Senate,--Yeas 25, Nays 11,--also the House
    of Representatives, and was approved by the President.[39]



    The Senate having under consideration a joint resolution
    releasing the Pacific Mail Steamship Company from the portion
    of their contract requiring them to stop at the Sandwich
    Islands on their route to Japan and China, Mr. Wilson, of
    Massachusetts, moved to require, as a condition of release,
    the establishment of a monthly mail steamship line between San
    Francisco and the Sandwich Islands.

    Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--This question is not free from embarrassment,
especially where one is in favor of the line to Japan, and also in
favor of a line to the Sandwich Islands, as is the case with myself.
I am anxious to see each of these lines established, believing each
important to the general welfare, and especially to the commercial
interests of the country. But, strong as is my desire, I am not able
to see how the line to Japan can be advantageously held to turn aside
and stop at the Sandwich Islands. To bring these two objects into one
voyage is not unlike the idea of the elderly person who wished her
Bible to be the smallest size book and the largest size type. The two
things do not go together.

And yet, Sir, I confess that my interest in the Sandwich Islands
inclines me to do all that I can to strengthen and increase our
relations with them. I do not forget that these islands, though
originally discovered by a British navigator, are mainly indebted for
their present civilization to the United States. Missionaries of our
country have planted churches and schools at an expense of at least a
million dollars. One of our countrymen, the late John Pickering, of
Boston, the eminent philologist and scholar, invented the alphabet by
which the native language was reduced to a written text. The whalers of
New England have made these islands a resting-place. Our ships on their
way to China have made them a half-way house. Of all the foreign ships
which reach there five sixths are of our country. Such are the ties of
beneficence and of commerce by which we are bound to these islands. No
other nation there has an interest comparable in character or amount to
ours. Meanwhile the native population is constantly decaying, so that I
presume now it is not more than fifty thousand.

This brief review furnishes a glimpse of our interest in these islands.
They are the wards of the United States. We cannot turn away from them.
The Government must add its contribution also. On this account I have
heard with pleasure that a national ship, under the command of one
of our most intelligent officers, is to be stationed at the Sandwich
Islands. Her presence will exercise a salutary influence in sustaining
the interests of our people. This is something. But I confess that I
should like to see these islands bound to our continent by a steam line.

While declaring this desire, with my reasons for it, I am not
satisfied that it is proper to require the Japan line to perform this
service. It is clear, from unanswerable testimony, that the stoppage of
this line cannot be effected without such a deviation as materially to
interfere with its operations.

The testimony presented by the report is positive. Here, for instance,
is what is said by that eminent authority, Admiral Davis:--

    “These considerations with regard to the eastern voyage appear
    to dispose of the whole question. They show that touching at
    the Sandwich Islands, on the return from China, would prolong
    the voyage so many days unnecessarily that an additional line
    of steamers must soon be established, provided the intercourse
    between China and America is to acquire that importance which
    is confidently expected.”

This concerns the voyage from Japan to San Francisco. But Admiral Davis
is also against stopping at the islands on the outward voyage.

It seems clear, then, that the Japanese line, in order to be effective,
and to accomplish what is so much desired, must be left to itself,
without being obliged to turn aside for any incidental purpose. It must
be a Japanese line, and nothing else; and you must not forget, that,
just in proportion as you impose upon it any additional obligations,
you will impair its efficiency as one of the splendid links of commerce
destined to put a girdle round the globe.

I am ready, therefore, to release the Japanese line from stopping at
the Sandwich Islands; but at the same time I declare my hope that some
other means will be found to secure a line to these islands.

In releasing the Company from this service, I am willing to leave to
them the full subsidy already appropriated; but I think they should be
held to shorten their voyage in proportion to the time gained. This
provision will remove an objection which has been made.

    The joint resolution, as amended, passed the Senate,--Yeas
    24, Nays 15,--but it was not considered in the House of
    Representatives. At the next session a bill became a law,
    authorizing the establishment of ocean mail steamship service
    between the United States and the Hawaiian Islands.[40]



    The Senate considered a joint resolution from the House of
    Representatives “declaring Tennessee again entitled to Senators
    and Representatives in Congress,” for which a substitute was
    reported by Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, from the Judiciary
    Committee. The joint resolution from the House and the proposed
    substitute each had a preamble. In the debate, Mr. Sumner

MR. PRESIDENT,--The question, as I understand it, is between two
preambles. I agree with my friend from Illinois, that the preamble
reported by him in many respects has the advantage of that from the
House. It is fuller, and in its structure better. I am glad it sets
forth how Tennessee lost her representation here, and also how she may
again be rehabilitated. But, while according merit to the Senator’s
preamble in that respect, there are other particulars in which it
fails. He himself has already recognized that it is no better than that
of the House, when it sets forth that

    “the body of the people of Tennessee have, by a proper spirit
    of obedience, shown to the satisfaction of Congress the return
    of said State to due allegiance to the Government, laws, and
    authority of the United States.”

Here the two preambles are alike; there is no advantage in one over
the other. But I understand the Senator is willing to alter this
clause. If he consents to the alteration, and the alteration is made,
then in this respect his preamble will be superior to that of the
House. Clearly, Sir, the assumption is false; “the body of the people
of Tennessee have” not, “by a proper spirit of obedience, shown to the
satisfaction of Congress the return of said State to due allegiance
to the Government, laws, and authority of the United States.” I may
go too far, when I say it is false that Tennessee has shown a proper
spirit, to the satisfaction of Congress,--because, if Congress votes
that, it will not be for me, or for any one else, to say it has voted
a falsehood; but I do say Tennessee has not shown a proper spirit of
obedience in the body of her people. All the evidence which thickens
in the air from that State, and has been darkening our sky during all
this winter, shows that Tennessee has not that spirit of obedience in
the body of her people. Why, Sir, only this winter, the other House
has been constrained to send a commission to Tennessee to investigate
an outrage of unparalleled atrocity growing out of this very rebel
spirit. How can the Senate aver that the body of that people, thus
saturated with the spirit of disloyalty, thus set on fire and inflamed
by this hatred to the Union, have shown to the satisfaction of Congress
a proper spirit of obedience? Sir, you err, if you put in your
statute-book any such assertion, which is historically untrue. You
cannot make it true by your averment. History hereafter, when it takes
up its avenging pen, will record the falsehood to your shame.

    Mr. Sumner then adduced evidence of the actual spirit in
    Tennessee, when he was interrupted by Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, who
    referred to the testimony of generals and civilians. Mr. Sumner

That does not go to the question whether we can aver that there is a
proper spirit of obedience in the body of her people. No general says
there is a proper spirit of obedience in the body of her people. I
challenge the Senator to cite the testimony showing a proper spirit of
obedience in the body of her people. Generals testify that in their
opinion it would be better to admit representatives from Tennessee on
this floor and the floor of the other House. That is another question.
Logically, it is not before me yet. I am now speaking of the erroneous
character of this preamble. But I understand that the Senator from
Illinois is willing to alter his preamble. I believe I am right,--am I

    MR. TRUMBULL. Yes, Sir; I am willing those words should go out.

MR. SUMNER. They ought to go out; and if they do go out, it will make
his preamble in this respect superior to that from the House.

But there is another allegation in the Senator’s preamble, which I
must say is as erroneous as that on which I have remarked. He there
declares, and calls upon us to declare, that the constitution adopted
by Tennessee is republican in form. A constitution which disfranchises
more than one quarter of its population republican in form! What,
Sir, is a republican form of government? It is a government founded
on the people and the consent of the governed. Sir, the constitution
of Tennessee is not founded on the consent of the governed. It cannot
invoke in its behalf that great principle of the Declaration of
Independence; therefore it is not republican in form. And when you
allege that it is republican in form, permit me to say, you make an
allegation false in fact. I do not raise any question of theory, but
I submit that a constitution which on its face disfranchises more
than one fourth of the citizens cannot be republican in form. You,
Sir, will make a terrible mistake, if at this moment of your history
you undertake to recognize it as such. You will inflict a blow upon
republican institutions. I hope the Senator from Illinois, as he has
consented to one amendment, will consent to another, and will strike
out the words declaring this constitution republican in form and in
harmony with the Constitution of the United States. Do not compel us
to aver what history will look at with scorn. Who can doubt, when
this war is considered gravely and calmly in the tranquillity of the
future, that the historian must bring all these events to the rigid
test of principle? Bringing them to such test, it will be impossible to
recognize any government like that of Tennessee either as republican in
form or in harmony with the National Constitution.

    Mr. Trumbull then moved to strike out the first clause objected
    to, and insert instead, “and has done other acts proclaiming
    and denoting loyalty,” which was agreed to. Mr. Sumner then
    moved to strike out the words “republican in form and not
    inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United
    States,” which was also agreed to.

    Mr. Sumner then moved his proviso, already moved in the
    Louisiana bill and the Colorado bill,[41] that the Act should
    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.” This was
    lost,--Yeas 4, Nays 34. The four affirmative votes were, Mr.
    Gratz Brown, of Missouri, Mr. Pomeroy, of Kansas, Mr. Wade, of
    Ohio, and Mr. Sumner.

    The bill passed the Senate,--Yeas 28, Nays 4,--and was
    approved by the President.[42] The four negative votes were,
    Mr. Gratz Brown, of Missouri, Mr. Buckalew, of Pennsylvania,
    Mr. McDougall, of California, and Mr. Sumner. Its preamble had
    been amended according to Mr. Sumner’s desire, but he was not
    ready to receive Representatives and Senators from Tennessee
    except on the fundamental condition moved by him.


JULY 23, 1866.

    On motion of Mr. Buckalew, of Pennsylvania, a committee was
    appointed to consider the ventilation and sanitary condition
    of the Senate wing of the Capitol; and the committee made an
    elaborate report.

    July 23d, while the Senate had under consideration the bill
    making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the
    Government, this Senator moved an amendment appropriating
    $117,685.25 for improvements approved and recommended in the
    report. In the debate that ensued, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from Pennsylvania has entitled himself to
the gratitude of all his brethren for the attention he has bestowed
upon an uninviting subject, which concerns the comfort of the
Senate,--I was about to say, the character of our legislation; for,
while breathing this anomalous atmosphere, legislation itself must too
often suffer with our bodies. But he will pardon me, if I suggest that
he is not sufficiently radical in his proposition. I am aware that he
is unwilling to be thought radical. The name is not pleasant to him.

    MR. BUCKALEW. I have no distaste for the name. I claim to be
    very radical on some subjects.

MR. SUMNER. Very well. I hope he will be radical now,--in other words,
that he will be thorough in his remedy for the present case.

Catching a phrase from ancient Rome, the Senator says that the roof
over our heads must be destroyed, as if it were another Carthage. To
my mind, this is not enough; the walls by which we are shut in must be
destroyed. Our present difficulty is less with the roof than with the
surrounding inclosure, separating us entirely from the open air and
the light of day. Windows are natural ventilators; but we have none.
Let this chamber be brought to the open air and the light of day, and
Nature will do the rest. From its commanding position on a beautiful
eminence, where every breeze can reach it, the Capitol will have an
invigorating supply from every quarter. I doubt if any public edifice
in the world can compare in site with that enjoyed by it,--and I do not
forget the monumental structures of London, Paris, Vienna, or Rome.
But in entering this stone cage with glass above, we renounce the
advantages and opportunities of this unparalleled situation.

I would have all this massive masonry about us taken down, and the
chamber brought to the windows. This change would make ventilation
easy, and secure all that the Senator so anxiously recommends. It is
more revolutionary than his plan. It will be expensive, very expensive,
I fear; for the very completeness of the original work is an impediment
to change. This Capitol, as we all see, is built for immortality. Its
disadvantages will not be less permanent than its advantages, unless we
apply ourselves resolutely to their revision. Without legislation and
positive effort on our part, this chamber will continue uncomfortable
for generations and long centuries. Senators after us, in thickening
ranks, will sit here as uncomfortable as ourselves. If not for
ourselves, then for those who come after us, we should initiate a

Besides bringing this chamber to the windows, its proportions should be
reduced,--I am disposed to say one half. A chamber of one half the size
would answer every purpose of business, and not fail essentially even
on occasions of display. Everything is now sacrificed to the galleries.
Senators are treated as the gladiators of the ancient amphitheatre, not
to make “a Roman holiday,” but a Washington show. As many as fourteen
or fifteen hundred people are constantly gathered in these galleries.
But such surrounding multitudes are plainly inconsistent with the
quiet transaction of business and the simple tone which belongs to

I am reminded of the testimony attributed to Sir Robert Peel, whose
protracted parliamentary life made him an expert. Interrogated by the
Committee of the House of Commons with regard to the proper size for
the new chamber, he replied, that, though the House consisted of six
hundred and fifty-eight members, yet that full number was rarely in
attendance, so that on common occasions even a small house would not
be filled, and in his judgment the chamber should be constructed with
a view to the daily business rather than to the infrequent occasions
when it would be crowded. His compendious conclusion was, that the
House should be comfortable every day, at the risk of a tight squeeze
now and then. The same idea had been expressed before by one of the
best of early English writers, Thomas Fuller, who in his proverbs
says: “A house had better be too little for a day than too great for
a year”:[43] houses ought to be proportioned to ordinary, and not
extraordinary occasions. In these concurring sayings I find practical

Plainly the Senate Chamber is too big for our daily life. It is not
proportioned to ordinary occasions or every-day business. We all know
that anything in a common tone of voice is heard with difficulty,
unless we give special attention. Now I cannot doubt that the chamber
should be so reduced that a motion or question or remark in a common
tone of voice would be easily heard by every Senator. This should have
been the rule for the architect at the beginning; and I would have it
followed now in the change I suggest. With seven hundred listeners in
the galleries, and with the large corps of reporters, the public would
be in sufficient attendance, and the business of the country would be
transacted more easily and advantageously.

Looking at these enormous spaces, adapted to the eye rather than to
the ear, I turn with envy to that other chamber where the Senate sat
so many honorable years, and listened to speeches which now belong
to the permanent literature of the country. I doubt if any Senator
who remembers that interesting chamber would not prefer it to this
amphitheatre. For the transaction of daily business it was infinitely
superior; and even on rare occasions, when the republic hung upon the
voice of the orator, there were witnesses enough. The theory of our
institutions was satisfied. The public was not excluded, and there were
reporters to communicate promptly what was said.

    The amendment was agreed to.


JULY 25, 1866.

    July 25th, the Senate having under consideration the bill
    making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the
    Government, Mr. Conness, of California, moved the following

        “To provide for a survey of the Isthmus of Darien, under
        the direction of the War Department, with a view to the
        construction of a ship-canal, in accordance with the report
        of the Superintendent of the Naval Observatory to the Navy
        Department, $40,000.”

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

I have had the advantage of cursorily examining the able and
interesting report on this work by Admiral Davis. It is learned and
instructive, and develops the importance of such a canal to the
commerce of the United States. I need not remind you that California
is necessarily interested, because it is across the Isthmus of Darien
that we reach the distant part of our own country. Therefore this is
to increase and extend the facilities of communication with a part of
our own country. Unhappily, we are obliged to go outside of our own
borders, but I do not know that it becomes on that account any the less

The Senate will easily see not only its practical value, but also its
grandeur in an historical aspect. From the time of Charles the Fifth,
one of the aspirations of Spain, and indeed of all adventurers and
navigators in those seas, has been to find what was often called “the
secret of the strait,” being a natural gate by which to pass from ocean
to ocean. The proposition now is, not to find, but to make, a gate by
which this object may be accomplished.

We may well be fascinated by the historic grandeur of the work; but I
am more tempted by its practical value in promoting relations between
distant parts of our own country and in helping the commerce of the
world. But the pending proposition is simply to provide for surveys.
There is no appropriation for the work. We do not bind ourselves in
the future. Such an appropriation, whether regarded in a practical,
scientific, or historic light, is amply commended. I shall gladly vote
for it.

    The amendment was agreed to,--Yeas 22, Nays 13.



    On the presentation of the credentials of Hon. David T.
    Patterson as a Senator from Tennessee, Mr. Sumner moved their
    reference to the Committee on the Judiciary, with a view to
    inquiry whether he could take the oaths required by Act of
    Congress and the rule of the Senate.[44] In remarks on this
    motion, Mr. Sumner referred to the case of Mr. Stark, of
    Oregon.[45] Afterwards, in reply to Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, he


But, Sir, there was something that fell from the Senator from Iowa
to which I would make a moment’s reply. He imagines, that, if we make
this reference, we shall establish a dangerous precedent; and he even
goes so far as to imagine the possibility that he or his colleague,
arriving from the patriotic State of Iowa, may find their credentials
called in question. Sir, the Senator forgets for a moment the history
of the country: he forgets that we have just emerged from a great civil
war,--that the State of Tennessee took part in that war,--and that
the very question now under consideration is, whether the gentleman
presenting himself as a Senator was compromised by that war.

If in the State of Iowa there should unhappily be a rebellion, and if
public report should announce that our patriot friend had taken part
in it to such an extent as to sit on the bench as a judge, enjoying
its commission and swearing allegiance to it, then should he present
himself with credentials as a Senator, I think we should be justified
in asking an inquiry; and that is the extent of what I ask now. I take
the case the Senator from Iowa supposes, but remind you of well-known
facts which he omits; and there, permit me to say, is the whole
question. If the case of Tennessee were an ordinary case, like that
of Iowa, there would be no occasion and no justification for inquiry.
But it is not an ordinary case; it is a case incident to the anomalous
condition of public affairs at this moment. It cannot be treated
according to the ordinary rule; it is a new case, and to meet it we
must make a new precedent.

The Senator is much afraid of precedents. Sir, I am not afraid of any
precedent having for its object the protection of right; and just
in proportion as new circumstances arise must they be met by a new
precedent. New circumstances have arisen, and you are called on to meet
them frankly, simply.

    The motion prevailed,--Yeas 20, Nays 14.

       *       *       *       *       *

    July 27th, the Committee reported that Mr. Patterson, “upon
    taking the oaths required by the Constitution and laws, be
    admitted to a seat in the Senate of the United States”; and
    this report was adopted,--Yeas 21, Nays 11,--Mr. Sumner voting
    in the negative.


27, DECEMBER 14 AND 19, 1866, AND JANUARY 8, 1867.

    The question of admitting Nebraska as a State followed that of
    Colorado, and with the same effort on the part of Mr. Sumner
    to require equal rights without distinction of color in the
    constitution of the new State. Nebraska, like Colorado, failed
    in this respect. Unquestionably, the discussion on these two
    cases prepared the way for the requirement of equal suffrage in
    the Rebel States.

       *       *       *       *       *

    July 27th, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, Chairman of the Committee on
    Territories, moved to proceed with the bill for the admission
    of the State of Nebraska into the Union, and urged its passage.
    Mr. Sumner followed.

MR. PRESIDENT,--I am very sorry to occupy the attention of the Senate
even for one minute, but I shall be very brief. The Senator [Mr.
WADE] tells us that the majority of the people in favor of the State
government was about one hundred and fifty; and by such a slender, slim
majority you are called to invest this Territory with the powers and
prerogatives of a State. The smallness of the majority is an argument
against any present action; but, going behind that small majority,
and looking at the number of voters, the argument increases, for the
Senator tells us there were but eight thousand voters. The question
is, Will you invest those eight thousand voters with the powers and
prerogatives now enjoyed in this Chamber by New York and Pennsylvania
and other States of this Union? I think the objection on this account
unanswerable. It would be unreasonable for you to invest them with
those powers and prerogatives at this time.

But, Sir, I confess that with me the prevailing objection is, that
the State does not present itself with a constitution republican in
form, and on this question I challenge the deliberate judgment of my
excellent friend, the Senator from Ohio, who is now trying to introduce
this Territory into the Union as a State. I challenge the distinguished
Senator to show that a constitution which disqualifies citizens on
account of color can be republican in form. Sir, I say it is not a
republican government, and I am sorry that my distinguished friend
lends his countenance to a government of such a character. I wish that
my friend would lift himself to the argument that such a government
cannot be republican, and must not be welcomed as such on this floor.

I forbear entering into the argument. Again and again I have presented
it. Senators have made up their minds. Each must judge for himself.
It is not without pain and trouble that I find myself constrained to
differ from valued friends and associates, with whom I am always proud
to agree; but I cannot recognize a constitution with the word “white”
as republican. With such conviction, it is my duty to oppose the
welcome of this Territory as a State just so long as I can.

    Mr. Wade said in reply: “It is republican in form, but is not
    that kind of republicanism that I approve of. If I had my way
    about it, nobody would be excluded from the franchise that was
    a male citizen of proper age, let his color be what it would.
    That would be the color of republicanism that I should like the
    best. But to deny that under the Constitution of the United
    States this constitution is republican in form is to deny that
    we have a republic at all.… The State of Massachusetts is a
    little forward on this subject. I am glad of it.”

    Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, Mr.
    Pomeroy, of Kansas, Mr. Howard, of Michigan, Mr. Garrett
    Davis, of Kentucky, Mr. Kirkwood, of Iowa, Mr. Buckalew, of
    Pennsylvania, Mr. Yates, of Illinois, Mr. Nye, of Nevada, and
    Mr. Edmunds, of Vermont, took part in the debate. In the course
    of Mr. Nye’s remarks, the following occurred.

        MR. NYE. But my conscientious friend from Massachusetts,
        I am terribly afraid, mistakes twinges of dyspepsia for
        constitutional scruples. [_Laughter._]

        MR. SUMNER. I never had the dyspepsia in my life.

        MR. NYE. I am glad to hear it; it is some other disease,
        then. [_Laughter._] This word “white” is the nightmare of
        his mind.

    Mr. Wade, speaking again, said: “The Senator from Massachusetts
    has a certain one idea that covers the whole ground.… All the
    opposition that he really has to it is because they put the
    word ‘white’ in their constitution.”

    Mr. Sumner moved the proviso already moved on the Louisiana
    and Colorado bills, requiring as a fundamental condition that
    within the State there should be no denial of the elective
    franchise or of any other right on account of race or color,
    and that this condition should be ratified by the voters of
    the Territory; which was lost,--Yeas 5, Nays 34. The Senators
    voting yea were Mr. Edmunds, of Vermont, Mr. Fessenden, of
    Maine, Mr. Morgan, of New York, Mr. Poland, of Vermont, and Mr.

    The bill then passed the Senate,--Yeas 24, Nays 18. It also
    passed the House of Representatives, but did not receive the
    signature of the President.

       *       *       *       *       *

    At the next session of Congress, Mr. Wade introduced another
    bill for the admission of Nebraska, which he afterwards
    reported from the Committee on Territories. Notwithstanding its
    constitution with the word “white,” December 14th, he moved to
    proceed with the consideration of this bill. Mr. Sumner was
    against taking it up.


I hope you do not forget the great act of yesterday. By solemn vote,
you have recorded yourselves in favor of Human Rights, and have
established them here at the National Capital. And now, Sir, you are
asked to set aside Human Rights, and to forget the triumph and example
of yesterday. Before you is a constitution with the word “white,”--a
constitution creating a white man’s government, such as is praised
by Senators on the other side,--and you are asked to recognize that
disreputable instrument. I am against any such government, and I trust
the Senate will not proceed with its consideration.

Do not to-day undo the good work of yesterday, nor imitate that ancient
personage who unwove at night the web woven during the day, so that her
work never proceeded to any end. Do not, I entreat you, unweave to-day
the beautiful web of yesterday.

Instead of undoing, let us do always; nor is there any lack of measures
deserving attention. There is the Bankrupt Bill, practical and
beneficent in character, and involving no sacrifice of Human Rights.
This is a measure of real humanity, calculated to carry tranquillity
and repose into the business of the country. Besides, it has been too
long postponed.

    Mr. Wade replied with some warmth, when the following passage

MR. SUMNER. Mr. President, I hope to be pardoned, if I make one word
of reply to the Senator. He seemed to think his argument advanced by
personal allusions to myself. If I understand him, he sought to show
inconsistency on my part.

    MR. WADE. Yes, I think I did.

MR. SUMNER. I am at a loss to understand how the Senator can find
inconsistency, unless he chooses to misunderstand facts. He assumed
that I voted for the admission of Tennessee.

    MR. WADE. When you said you did not, I gave it up.

MR. SUMNER. My name is recorded, on all the yeas and nays, and they
were numerous, against the admission of Tennessee; and the reason I
assigned was, that the constitution contained the word “white.”

    MR. WADE. You voted for the Constitutional Amendment.

MR. SUMNER. Yes, I did vote for the Constitutional Amendment, in its
final form;[46] but does the Senator consider himself bound to admit
a Rebel State refusing the suffrage to freedmen? I wish my friend to
answer that.

    MR. WADE. No, I do not.

    MR. SUMNER. I knew he did not.

    MR. WADE. I do not know that I understand the Senator. Let me
    say that I should consider myself bound by the Constitutional
    Amendment, if the Southern States complied with it within a
    reasonable time; and that reasonable time, in my judgment, is
    nearly elapsed.

    MR. SUMNER. Even with the word “white” in a constitution?

    MR. WADE. Without regard to that.

    MR. SUMNER. Without regard to the rights of the freedman?

    MR. WADE. On complying with the requisitions of the
    Constitutional Amendment, I should vote for them.

MR. SUMNER. I do not agree with the Senator. I distinctly stated,
when the Amendment was under discussion, that I did not accept it as
a finality, and that, so far as I had a vote on this floor, I would
insist that every one of these States, before its Representatives
were received in Congress, should confer impartial suffrage, without
distinction of color; and now I ask my friend what inconsistency there
is, when I insist upon the same rule for Nebraska.

    MR. WADE. I cannot see how the Senator could have misled the
    Southern States with that. When they complied with all we asked
    of them in the Constitutional Amendment, I supposed we could
    not refuse to let them in on those terms.… Certainly I am as
    much for colored suffrage as any man on this floor; but when I
    make such an agreement as that, I stand by it always.

MR. SUMNER. When I make an agreement, I stand by it. But I entered into
no such agreement, and I do not understand that the Senate or Congress
entered into any such agreement. I know that certain politicians and
editors have undertaken to foist something of this sort into the
Constitutional Amendment; but there was no authority for it. The
Committee on Reconstruction may have reported a resolution to that
effect, but they never called it up, and I know well that I offered a
resolution just the contrary.

    MR. DOOLITTLE. The Senator from Massachusetts will allow me?

    MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. DOOLITTLE. The Committee on Reconstruction reported a
    resolution, that, if each State should adopt this Amendment,
    and the Amendment should become a part of the Constitution, be
    adopted by a sufficient number of States, then the States might
    be accepted. That was what they reported.

    MR. JOHNSON. It was a bill.

    MR. WADE. That was the understanding I alluded to.

    MR. BROWN. That was not acted upon.

    MR. SUMNER. It was not acted on. I suppose that those who had
    it in charge did not venture to invite a vote upon it.

    MR. DOOLITTLE. It was laid on the table by a vote in the House
    of Representatives, upon the yeas and nays.

MR. SUMNER. It never became in any respect a legislative act; therefore
nobody entered legislatively into the agreement attributed to me.
How the Senator could attribute it to me, in the face of constant
asseveration that I would not be a party to any such agreement,
surpasses comprehension.


So far as the Senator considered the merits of the question, I will
not now reply. There may be a time for that, and the magnitude of the
issue may justify me even in setting forth arguments already adduced.
If I repeat myself, it is because you repeat an effort which ought
never to have been made. But I enter my most earnest protest. To my
mind this is a most disastrous measure. I use this word advisedly; it
is disastrous because it cannot fail to impair the moral efficiency
of Congress, injure its influence, and be something like a bar to the
adoption of a just policy for the Rebel States. Sir, we are now seeking
to obliterate the word “white” from all institutions and constitutions
there; and yet Senators, with that great question before them, rush
swiftly forward to welcome a new State with the word “white” in its
constitution. In other days we all united, and the Senator from Ohio
was earnest among the number, in saying, “No more Slave States!” I now
insist upon another cry: “No more States with the word ‘white’!” On
that question I part company with my friend from Ohio. He is now about
to welcome them.

    The motion of Mr. Wade was adopted,--Yeas 21, Nays 11,--and the
    bill was before the Senate for consideration. Mr. Gratz Brown
    then offered the proviso, offered formerly by Mr. Sumner,[47]
    requiring, as a fundamental condition, that there should be
    no denial of the elective franchise or of any other right on
    account of race or color, and upon the further condition that
    this requirement be submitted to the voters of the Territory.
    In the earnest debate that ensued, Mr. Sumner spoke repeatedly,
    especially in reply to Mr. Wade, setting forth again the
    objections already made to the admission of Colorado.

       *       *       *       *       *

    December 19th, Mr. Sumner said:--

I have another word for the Senator from Ohio. He does not see the
importance of this question. It is the question of every day, a
commonplace question. There is the precise difference between the
Senator from Ohio and other Senators. There have been times when the
Senator has most clearly seen the importance of a question of Human
Rights. The Senator has not forgotten a contest in which he took part
with myself against an effort to precipitate Louisiana back into this
Chamber with a constitution like that of Nebraska. Now the Senator
remembers it well. The Senator from Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL] tried to
put that constitution through the Senate; but, with all his abilities
and the just influence that belonged to his position, he could not
do it. The Senator from Ohio will not be instructed by that example.
He now makes a kindred effort, seeking to introduce into the Union a
State which defies the first principle of Human Rights. The Senator
becomes the champion of that community. He who has so often raised his
voice for Human Rights now treats the question as trivial: it is a
technicality only; that is all.

Sir, can a question of Human Rights be a technicality? Can a
constitution which undertakes to disfranchise a whole race be treated
in that effort as only a technicality? And yet that is the position
of the Senator. Why, Sir, the other day he did openly arraign the
constitution of Louisiana, and the effort of our excellent President,
Abraham Lincoln, who pressed it upon us. The constitution of Louisiana
was odious; it should not have been presented to the Senate; and I
doubt if there is any Senator on the right side who does not now
rejoice that it was defeated.

    Then followed a passage with Mr. Kirkwood, of Iowa, who
    volunteered to consider that Mr. Sumner had attacked the
    constitution of Iowa, when he had made no allusion to it.

        MR. KIRKWOOD. He compares the case of the Territory of
        Nebraska to that of the lately rebellious States. I think
        there is a great difference between them. The people of the
        Territory of Nebraska are loyal men; the people of the late
        rebellious States are not loyal; and when he compares the
        one with the other, I think he does injustice to himself
        and to the people of that Territory.

        MR. SUMNER. I made no such comparison.

        MR. KIRKWOOD. He speaks of the constitution submitted by
        some persons in Louisiana as odious, as offensive, and
        compares the constitution of Nebraska and the constitution
        of that State, or proposed State, intending to convey the
        idea, I presume, that the constitution of Nebraska is
        odious and offensive. Now I wish to say to that Senator
        that the constitution of Nebraska and the constitution of
        Iowa in this particular are identical. Does he call the
        constitution of Iowa odious and offensive?… The people of
        Iowa are as loyal as the people of Massachusetts are.

        MR. SUMNER. No doubt about it. I never said otherwise.

        MR. KIRKWOOD. But he said our constitution was offensive.

        MR. SUMNER. I made no allusion to the constitution of Iowa.

        MR. KIRKWOOD. But you made an allusion to a constitution
        precisely similar in this identical point to that of
        Iowa.… I repeat again, I cannot see the difference between
        characterizing the constitution of Iowa as odious and
        offensive and characterizing the constitution of another
        State that agrees with it precisely in terms in that way.

        MR. SUMMER. May I ask the Senator if he considers that
        provision in the constitution of Iowa right or wrong?

        MR. KIRKWOOD. I conceive it to be the business of the
        people of Iowa, and not the business of the Senator from
        Massachusetts. The people of Iowa will deal with it in
        their own way, when they see fit; and, as a loyal people,
        they have the right to do so; and so, I apprehend, have the
        people of Nebraska.

MR. SUMNER. The Senator from Iowa has not been in this body very long.
Had he been here longer, he would have known that toward the people of
Iowa, by vote and voice, I have always been true. One of my earliest
efforts in this Chamber, now many years ago, was in protection of
the interests of the people of Iowa. On that occasion, as the record
shows, I received from the Senators of Iowa expressions of friendship
and kindness which I cannot forget. I have never thought of that
State except with kindness and respect. I have never alluded to that
State except with kindness and respect. I have made no allusion to
Iowa to-night. I have not had Iowa in my mind to-night. And, Sir, for
one good reason: it is my habit, when I speak, so far as I am able,
to speak directly to the question. Iowa has not been before us; her
constitution has not been under discussion; therefore I have had no
occasion to express any opinion upon it.

But there is another constitution which has been before us, and on
which I have been asked to vote. On that constitution I express an
opinion. I say it contains an odious and offensive principle; and I
doubt if the Senator from Iowa would undertake to say that an exclusion
from rights on account of color would be properly characterized
otherwise than as odious and offensive. I did not know that the
constitution of Iowa was open to that objection, or at least it was
not in my mind, when I spoke; but I do know that the constitution of
Nebraska is open to that objection, and therefore I pronounce it odious
and offensive. It contains a disfranchisement of men on account of
color, and it is a little difficult to speak of that without losing
a little patience. It is difficult at this time, when we have such
great responsibilities with regard to the States lately in rebellion,
to look upon a candidate State like that of Nebraska, coming forward
with a constitution containing this principle of disfranchisement,
without the strongest disposition to use language which I do not want
to use,--language of the utmost condemnation. Such a constitution at
this moment from a new State does not deserve any quarter. Such a
constitution ought to be a hissing and a by-word; and I am at a loss
to understand how any Senator, at this time, not entirely insensible
to our great responsibilities with regard to the States lately in
rebellion, can look upon a new constitution like this except as a
hissing and a by-word. Sir, it is a shame to the people that bring it
here; and it will be a shame to Congress, if it gives it its sanction.
I use that language purposely, and I stand by it, even at the expense
of the criticism of the Senator from Iowa.

But, in saying this, I intend no reflection upon Iowa. That State is
not before us. Iowa is not a new State, or Territory rather, applying
for admission; nor is it, thank God, a rebel State; but it is a true
loyal State, which in other days, some years ago, in haste and under
sinister influence, introduced words into its constitution which the
Senator from that State now brings forward in this Chamber, not for
condemnation, but from his tone I should suppose for praise. Sir, he
should rather follow another example, and throw a cover over that part
of the constitution of his State which is unworthy the civilization of
our times.

I am sorry to have been led into these remarks. I was astonished that
the Senator should compel me to make them. When I go back to the
earlier days, I think that perhaps I might have expected other things
from a Senator of Iowa.

And now, Sir, I come again to the question which in the opinion of
the Senator from Ohio is so trivial,--nothing more than a question of

    MR. WADE. A common count in _assumpsit_.

MR. SUMNER. A common count.


    January 8th, after the holidays, the question was resumed, when
    Mr. Sumner said:--


But, Sir, the course of the Senate on this bill fills me with anxiety.
Since the unhappy perversity of the President, nothing has occurred
which seems to me of such evil omen. It passes my comprehension how
we can require Equal Rights in the Rebel States, when we deliberately
sanction the denial of Equal Rights in a new State, completely within
our jurisdiction and about to be fashioned by our hands. Others may
commit this inconsistency; I will not. Others may make the sacrifice; I

It seems as if Providence presented this occasion in order to give
you an easy opportunity of asserting a principle infinitely valuable
to the whole country. Only a few persons are directly interested;
but the decision of Congress now will determine a governing rule for
millions. Nebraska is a loyal community, small in numbers, formed out
of ourselves, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. In an evil hour
it adopted a constitution bad in itself and worse still as an example.
But neither the tie of blood nor the fellowship of party should be
permitted to save it from judgment. At this moment Congress cannot
afford to sanction such wrong. Congress must elevate itself, if it
would elevate the country. It must itself be the example of justice, if
it would make justice the universal rule. It must itself be the model
it recommends. It must begin Reconstruction here at home.

With pain I differ from valued friends around me, and see a line of
duty which they do not see. Such is my deference to them, that, if the
question were less clear or less important, I should abandon my own
conclusions and accept theirs. But when the question is so plain and
duty so imperative, I have no alternative.

Let me add, that, in taking the course I do, I have nothing but
friendly feelings for the Territory of Nebraska, or for the men she has
sent to represent her in the Senate. I wish to see Nebraska populous
and flourishing, and the home of Human Rights secured by irrevocable
law; and as for her Senators, I know them now so well that I shall have
peculiar pleasure in welcoming them on this floor. But there are voices
from Nebraska which I wish you to hear.

    Here Mr. Sumner read letters against the admission of Nebraska
    with her present constitution, and then proceeded.

In looking at this question, we are met at the threshold by the fact
that in a vote of nearly eight thousand there was a majority of only
one hundred in favor of this disreputable constitution.[48] At the
call of less than four thousand voters, you are to recognize a State
government which begins its independent life by defiance of fundamental
truths. I am at a loss to understand the grounds on which this can be
done, unless, in anxiety to gratify the desires of a few persons and
to welcome the excellent gentlemen from Nebraska, you are willing to
set aside great principles of duty at a critical moment of national
history. It is pleasant to be “amiable”; but you have no right to be
amiable at the expense of Human Rights. It is pleasant to be “lenient,”
as the Senator [Mr. WADE] who is urging this bill expresses it; but
take care, that, in lenity to this Territory, you are not unjust. There
can be no such thing as “lenity” where Human Rights are in question.

The other Senator from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN] does not leave room for
discretion. He says we are bound by the Enabling Act passed some time
ago. Assume that the Senator is right, and that the Enabling Act
creates an obligation on the part of Congress,--all of which I deny,--I
insist that there has been no compliance with this Act, either in form
or substance.

Looking at the Enabling Act, we find that it has not been complied
with in form. This can be placed beyond question. By this Act it
is provided that a “Convention” of the people of Nebraska shall be
chosen by the people, that the election for such “Convention” shall
be held on “the first Monday in June thereafter,” and that “the
members of the Convention thus elected shall meet at the capital of
said Territory on the first Monday in July next.” Now, in point of
fact, such Convention was duly chosen, and it met, according to the
provisions of the Enabling Act. Thus far all was right. But, after
meeting, it voluntarily adjourned or dissolved, without framing a
constitution. Afterward the Territorial Legislature undertook to do
what the Convention failed to do. The Territorial Legislature adopted
a constitution, and submitted it to the people; and this is the
constitution before you. Plainly there has been no compliance with the
Enabling Act, so far as it prescribes the proceedings for the formation
of a constitution. Nothing can be clearer than this. The Act prescribes
a Convention at a particular date. Instead of a Convention at the date
prescribed, we have the Legislature acting at a different date; so that
there is an open non-compliance with the prescribed conditions. It is
vain, therefore, to adduce it. As well refer to Homer’s Iliad or the
Book of Job.

But the failure in substance is graver still. By the Enabling Act
it is further provided “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.” Here are
essential conditions which must be complied with. The constitution must
be “republican.” Now I insist always that a constitution which denies
Equality of Rights cannot be republican. It may be republican according
to the imperfect notions of an earlier period, or even according to
the standard of Montesquieu; but it cannot be republican in a country
which began its national life in disregard of received notions and the
standards of the past. In fixing for the first time an authoritative
definition of this requirement, you cannot forget the new vows to Human
Rights uttered by our fathers, nor can you forget that our republic is
an example to mankind. This is an occasion not to be lost of acting not
only for the present in time and place, but for the distant also.

But there is another consideration, if possible, more decisive. I
say nothing now of the requirement that the new constitution shall be
“not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States,” but I call
attention to the positive condition that it must be “not repugnant to
the principles of the Declaration of Independence.” And yet, Sir, in
the face of this plain requirement, we have a new constitution which
disfranchises for color, and establishes what is compendiously called
“a white man’s government.” This new constitution sets at nought the
great principles that all men are equal and that governments stand on
the consent of the governed. Therefore, I say confidently, it is not
according to “the principles of the Declaration of Independence.” Is
this doubted? Can it be doubted? You must raze living words, you must
kill undying truths, before you can announce any such conformity. As
long as those words exist, as long as those truths shine forth in
that Declaration, you must condemn this new constitution. I remember
gratefully the electric power with which the Senator from Ohio [Mr.
WADE], not many years ago, confronting the representatives of Slavery,
bravely vindicated these principles as “self-evident truths.” “There
was a Brutus once that would have brooked the eternal Devil” as easily
as any denial of these. Would that he would speak now as then, and
insist on their practical application everywhere within the power of
Congress, and thus set up a wall of defence for the downtrodden!

Thus the question stands. The Enabling Act has not been complied with
in any respect, whether of form or substance. In form it has been
openly disregarded; in substance it has been insulted. The failure in
form may be pardoned; the failure in substance must be fatal, unless in
some way corrected by Congress.

Nobody doubts that Congress, in providing for the formation of a
State constitution, may affix conditions. This has been done from the
beginning of our history. Search the Enabling Acts, and you will find
these conditions. They are in your statute-book, constant witnesses to
the power of Congress, unquestioned and unquestionable.

Thus, for instance, the Enabling Act for Nebraska requires three things
of the new State as conditions precedent.

_First._ That Slavery shall be forever prohibited.

_Secondly._ That no inhabitant shall be molested in person or property
on account of religious worship.

_Thirdly._ That the unappropriated public lands shall remain at the
sole disposition of the United States, without being subject to local
taxation, and that land of non-residents shall never be taxed higher
than that of residents.

Read the Act, and you will find these conditions. Does any Senator
doubt their validity? Impossible.

But this is not all. In addition to these three conditions are three
others, which in order, if not in importance, stand even before these.
They are contained in words already quoted, but strangely forgotten in
this debate:--

    “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.”

Consider this clause: you will find it contains three conditions, each
of vital force.

_First._ The constitution must be “republican.” It does not say “in
form” merely, but “republican”: of course “republican” in substance and

_Secondly._ The constitution must be “not repugnant to the Constitution
of the United States.” But surely any constitution which contains
a discrimination of rights on account of color must be “repugnant”
to the Constitution of the United States, which contains no such
discrimination. The text of the National Constitution is blameless; but
the text of this new constitution is offensive. Hence its repugnancy.

_Thirdly._ The constitution must be “not repugnant to the principles
of the Declaration of Independence.” These plain words allow no
equivocation. Solemnly you have required this just and noble
conformity. But is it not an insult to the understanding, when you
offer a constitution which contains a discrimination of rights on
account of color?

Now in all these three requirements, so authoritatively made the
conditions of the new constitution, Nebraska fails, wretchedly fails.
It is vain to say that the people there were not warned. They were
warned. These requirements were in the very title-deed under which they

Mr. President, pardon me, I entreat you, if I am tenacious. At this
moment there is one vast question in our country, on which all others
pivot. It is justice to the colored race. Without this I see small
chance of security, tranquillity, or even of peace. The war will still
continue. Therefore, as a servant of truth and a lover of my country,
I cannot allow this cause to be sacrificed or discredited by my vote.
Others will do as they please; but, if I stand alone, I will hold this

    The persistence of Mr. Sumner was encountered by Mr. Wade, who

        “I think it is the business of the statesman to overlook
        these little small technicalities which gentlemen argue
        about in this body. They make a great fuss about the word
        ‘white’ in a constitution of a State where there are no
        blacks,--where the question is a simple abstraction.”

    Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, dealt with the question of
    Equality, but with pleasantry.

        “My honorable friend, the Senator from Massachusetts, is
        six feet three inches in height, and weighs two hundred and
        twenty pounds; I am six feet three inches in height, and
        weigh one hundred and ninety pounds, if you please. That is
        not equality. My honorable friend from Maine here is five
        feet nine inches”----

        MR. FESSENDEN. And a half. [_Laughter._]

        MR. COWAN. I beg the honorable Senator’s pardon. I would
        not diminish his stature an inch or half an inch, nor take
        a hair from his head; and he weighs one hundred and forty
        pounds, if you please. Is that equality? The honorable
        Senator from Massachusetts is largely learned; he has
        traversed the whole field of human learning; there is
        nothing, I think, that he does not know, that is worth
        knowing,--and this is no empty compliment that I desire to
        pay him now; and he is so much wiser than I am, that at the
        last elections he divined exactly how they would result,
        and I did not. [_Laughter._] He rode triumphantly upon the
        popular wave; and I was overwhelmed, and came out with eyes
        and nose suffused, and hardly able to gasp.

        MR. SUMNER. You ought to have followed my counsel.

        MR. COWAN. Why should I not? What was Providence doing
        in that? If Providence had made me equal to the honorable
        Senator, I should not have needed his counsel, and I should
        have ridden, too, on the topmost wave. [_Laughter._]

    January 9th, the amendment of Mr. Gratz Brown was
    rejected,--Yeas 8, Nays 24. The Senators voting in the
    affirmative were Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Edmunds, of
    Vermont, Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, Mr.
    Howe, of Wisconsin, Mr. Morgan, of New York, Mr. Poland, of
    Vermont, and Mr. Sumner.

    Mr. Edmunds then moved the following amendment:--

        “That this act shall take effect with the fundamental and
        perpetual condition that within said State of Nebraska
        there shall be no abridgment or denial of the exercise of
        the elective franchise or of any other right to any person
        by reason of race or color, excepting Indians not taxed.”

    It will be observed that this differs from Mr. Sumner’s in
    not requiring the submission of the fundamental condition to
    the voters of the Territory. This amendment was lost by a
    tie-vote,--Yeas 18, Nays 18. At the next stage of the bill,
    being again moved by Mr. Edmunds, it was adopted,--Yeas 20,
    Nays 18. The bill was then passed by the Senate,--Yeas 24, Nays

       *       *       *       *       *

    In the other House, the proviso adopted by the Senate was
    changed, on motion of Mr. Boutwell, of Massachusetts, so as to
    require that the Legislature of the State should by a solemn
    public act declare consent to the fundamental condition, and
    the bill was then passed,--Yeas 103, Nays 55. In this amendment
    the Senate concurred.

    February 8th, the bill was again passed in the Senate, by a
    two-thirds vote, over the veto of the President,--Yeas 31,
    Nays 9; and February 9th, in the other House, by a two-thirds
    vote,--Yeas 120, Nays 44. And so the bill became a law.[49]
    Colorado was less fortunate.[50]

       *       *       *       *       *

    Thus the protracted struggle for Equal Rights in Nebraska,
    establishing a fundamental condition, was crowned with success,
    preparing the way for similar requirement in the Rebel States.



    May 18th, Mr. Sumner moved the appointment by the Chair of a
    special committee of five, to which all bills and measures
    relating to the metric system should be referred; and the
    motion was agreed to.

    May 23d, the Chair appointed Mr. Sumner, Mr. Sherman, of Ohio,
    Mr. Morgan, of New York, Mr. Nesmith, of Oregon, and Mr.
    Guthrie, of Kentucky. Two bills and a joint resolution which
    had passed the House of Representatives were referred to the
    committee, and July 16th reported to the Senate by Mr. Sumner,
    with the recommendation that they pass, namely:--

        “A Bill to authorize the use of the metric system of
        weights and measures.”

        “A Joint Resolution to enable the Secretary of the Treasury
        to furnish to each State one set of the standard weights
        and measures of the metric system.”

        “A Bill to authorize the use in post-offices of weights of
        the denomination of grams.”

    July 27th, on motion of Mr. Sumner, these were taken up and

MR. PRESIDENT,--At another time I might be induced to go into this
question at some length; but now, in these latter days of a weary
session, and under these heats, I feel that I must be brief. And yet
I could not pardon myself, if I did not undertake, even at this time,
to present a plain and simple account of the great change which is now

There is something captivating in the idea of weights and measures
common to all the civilized world, so that, in this at least, the
confusion of Babel may be overcome. Kindred is that other idea of one
money; and both are forerunners, perhaps, of the grander idea of one
language for all the civilized world. Philosophy does not despair of
this triumph at some distant day; but a common system of weights and
measures and a common system of money are already within the sphere of
actual legislation. The work has already begun; and it cannot cease
until the great object is accomplished.

If the United States come tardily into the circle of nations
recognizing a common system of weights and measures, I confess that
I have pleasure in recalling the historic fact that at a very early
day this important subject was commended to Congress. Washington, in
a speech to the First Congress, touched the key-note, when he used
the word “uniformity” in connection with this subject. “Uniformity,”
he said, “in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States
is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly
attended to.”[51] Then again in a speech to the next Congress he went
further, in expressing a desire for “a standard at once _invariable and
universal_.”[52] Here he foreshadowed a system common to the civilized
world. It is for us now to recognize the standard he thus sententiously
described. All hail to a standard “invariable and universal”!

I shall not occupy time in developing the history of these efforts
on the part of our Government; but I cannot forbear mentioning that
Mr. Jefferson, while Secretary of State, made an elaborate report,
where he proposed “reducing every branch to the same decimal ratio
already established in the coins, and thus bringing the calculation
of the principal affairs of life within the arithmetic of every man
who can multiply and divide plain numbers.”[53] Here is an essential
element in the common system we seek to establish. This was in 1790,
when France was just beginning those efforts which ended at last in
the establishment of the metric system. The subject was revived at
different times in Congress without definite result. President Madison,
in his annual message of 1816, called attention to it in the following

    “The great utility of a standard _fixed in its nature
    and founded on the easy rule of decimal proportions_ is
    sufficiently obvious. It led the Government at an early stage
    to preparatory steps for introducing it; and a completion of
    the work will be a just title to the public gratitude.”[54]

Out of this recommendation originated that call of the Senate which
drew forth the masterly report of John Quincy Adams on the whole
subject of weights and measures, where learning, philosophy, and
prophetic aspiration vie with each other. After reviewing whatever had
appeared in the past, and subjecting it all to careful examination, he
says of the French metric system, then only an experiment:--

    “This system approaches to the ideal perfection of uniformity
    applied to weights and measures, and, whether destined to
    succeed or doomed to fail, will shed unfading glory upon the
    age in which it was conceived and upon the nation by which its
    execution was attempted and has been in part achieved.”[55]

This was in 1821, when the metric system, already invented, was still
struggling for adoption in France.

This brief sketch shows how from the beginning the National Government
has been looking to a system common to the civilized world. And now
this aspiration seems about to be fulfilled. The bills before you have
already passed the other House; if they become laws, as I trust, they
will be the practical commencement of the “new order.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Before proceeding to explain the proposed system, let me exhibit for
one moment the necessity of change, as illustrated by weights and
measures in the past.

Language is coeval with man as a social being. Weights and measures are
hardly less early in origin. They are essential to the operations of
society, and are naturally common to all who belong to the same social
circle. At the beginning, each people had a system of its own; but as
nations gradually intermingle and distant places are brought together
by the attractions of commerce, the system of one nation becomes
inadequate to the necessities of the composite body. A common system
becomes important just in proportion to the community of interests.
Next to diversity of languages, discordant weights and measures attest
the insulation of nations.

The earliest measures were derived from the several parts of the
human body. Such was the cubit, which was the distance between the
elbow and the end of the middle finger, being about twenty-two inches.
Such also were the foot, the hand, the span, the nail, and the thumb.
These measures were derived from Nature, and they were to be found
wherever a human being existed. But they partook of the uncertainty in
the proportions of the human form. When Selden, in his “Table-Talk,”
wittily likened Equity, so far as it depended on the Chancellor, to a
measure determined by the length of the Chancellor’s foot, he exposed
not only the uncertainty of Equity, but also the uncertainty of such a

Even in Greece, where Art prevailed in the most beautiful forms, the
famous _stadium_ was none the less uncertain. It was the distance that
Hercules could run without taking breath, being six hundred times the
length of his foot.

Our own standards, derived from England, are of an equally fanciful
character. The unit of _length_ is the barley-corn, taken from the
middle of the ear and well dried. Three of these in a straight line
make an inch. The unit of _weight_ is a grain of wheat, taken, like
the barley-corn, from the middle of the ear and well dried. Of these,
twenty-four are equal to a pennyweight. Twenty pennyweights make an
ounce, and twelve ounces make a pound. The unit of _capacity_ is
derived from the weight of grains of wheat. Eight pounds of these make
one gallon of wine measure.

Nor are the extreme vagueness and instability of these standards the
only surprise. There is no principle of science or convenience in the
progression of the different series. Thus we have two pints to a quart,
three scruples to a dram, four quarts to a gallon, five quarters to
an ell, five and a half yards to a perch, six feet to a fathom, eight
furlongs to a mile, twelve inches to a foot, sixteen ounces to a pound,
twenty units to a score.

Then, as if the only ruling principle governing the selection were
discord, we have different measures bearing the same name, such as the
wine pint and the dry pint, the ounce Troy and the ounce avoirdupois.
Take these last two measures as illustrating the prevailing confusion.
Both seem to come from France. The Troy weight is supposed to derive
its name from the French town of Troyes, where a celebrated fair was
once held. The term “avoirdupois” is French, and seems to have been
part of a statute which declared how weights should be determined. But
Troy and avoirdupois are different measures.

These measures, having constant differences, had accidental
differences also, in different parts of England, and also in different
parts of our own country. Even where the names are alike, the measures
are often unlike. In England the diversity was almost infinite, so that
these same measures differed in different counties, and sometimes in
different towns of the same county. Latterly in the United States the
standard has been regulated by law, but the confusion from the measures
still continues. The question naturally arises, why such confusion has
been allowed so long without correction. The answer is easy. Except
in rare instances, the triumphs of science are slow and gradual.
Traditional prejudice must be overcome. Each nation is attached to its
own imperfect system, as to its own language. Even though inferior
to another, it has the great advantage of being known to the people
that use it. To this constant impediment it is proper to add the
intrinsic difficulty of establishing a uniform system of weights and
measures which shall satisfy the demands of civilization in scientific
precision, in immediate practical applicability, and in nomenclature.

Take, for instance, the application of the decimal system, which
seems at first sight simple and complete. It is unquestionably
an immense improvement on the old confusion; but even here we
encounter a difficulty in the circumstance, long since recognized
by mathematicians, that our scale of decimal arithmetic is more the
child of chance than of philosophy. I know not if any better reason
can be given for its adoption than because man has everywhere reckoned
by his ten fingers. On this account it is often called “natural.”
But, considering whether the number _ten_ possesses any intrinsic
excellence, convenience, or fitness, as a ratio of progression, good
authorities have answered in the negative. It is the duplication of
an odd number, which can furnish neither a square nor a cube, and
which cannot be halved without departure from the decimal scale. In
this scale we seem to see always those early days when “wild in woods
the noble savage ran,” and for arithmetic used fingers or toes. An
_octaval_ system, founded on the number eight, would have been better
adapted to the divisions of material things. Among us the decimal
system is adopted for money; but you all know that we are not able
to carry it into rigid practice. Thus convenience, if not necessity,
requires the half-dollar, the quarter-dollar, the half-dime, and the
three-cent piece. In fact, eight divisions to the dollar, as prevailed
in Spain, are more available in the business of life than the decimal
division. The number _eight_ is capable of indefinite bisection. The
progression beginning with two would proceed to four, eight, sixteen,
thirty-two, sixty-four, and so on.

The decimal scale is made easy of use by the happy system of notation
borrowed from the Hindoos, which might be applied equally well to an
octaval scale; but at this time it would be vain to propose a change in
the radix of the numerical scale. The number _ten_ is the recognized
starting-point, and gives its name to the scale. It only remains for us
at present to follow other nations in applying it to an improved system
of weights and measures.

       *       *       *       *       *

A system of weights and measures born of philosophy, rather than of
chance, is what we now seek. To this end old systems must be abandoned.
A chance system cannot be universal: science is universal; therefore
what is produced by science may find a home everywhere. If we consider
the proper elements or characteristics of such a system, we find at
least three essential conditions. First, the new system must have in
itself the assurance of unvarying stability, and, to this end, it
should be derived from some standard in Nature by which to correct
errors creeping into the weights and measures from time or imperfect
manufacture. Secondly, the parts should be divided decimally, as nearly
as practice will warrant, in conformity with our arithmetic. Thirdly,
it should be such as to disturb national prejudices as little as

To a common observer the difficulties of finding an unvarying standard
are not readily apparent. But philosophy shows that all things in
Nature are undergoing change; so that there would seem to be no
invariable magnitude, the same in all countries and in all times, as
Cicero pictured the great principles of Natural Law,[56] by which
a lost standard on an inaccessible island might be reproduced with
mathematical certainty. There is but one magnitude in Nature which, so
far as we know, approximates to these requisites. I refer to the length
of the pendulum vibrating seconds, which in our latitude is about 39.1
inches. This length, however, varies in travelling from the equator to
the pole, and it also varies slightly under different meridians and
the same latitude; but the law of variation has been determined with
considerable accuracy. One element in this variation is the difference
of temperature. In his report on weights and measures, Mr. Jefferson
proposed that we should find our standard in the pendulum. At the same
time, the French Government, just struggling to throw off ancestral
institutions, conceived the idea of a new system, which, founded in
science, should be common to the civilized world.

The French began not only by discarding old systems, but also by
discarding a measure derived from the pendulum. They conceived the
idea of measuring an arc of the earth’s meridian, and finding a new
unit in a subdivision of this immense span. The work was undertaken.
An arc of the meridian, embracing upward of nine degrees of latitude,
and extending from Dunkirk, in France, to the Mediterranean, near
Barcelona, in Spain, was measured with scientific care. Illustrious
names in French science, Méchain and Delambre, were engaged in the
work, which proceeded, notwithstanding domestic convulsion and foreign
war. The Reign of Terror at home and invasion from abroad did not
arrest it. Seven years elapsed before the measurements were completed,
when other nations were invited to coöperate in the establishment of
the new system.

The unit of measure was one ten-millionth part of the distance between
the equator and the north pole thus measured. It received the name
of _metre_, from the Greek, signifying _measure_. A bar of platinum,
representing this length, was prepared with all possible accuracy. This
bar was deposited in the archives of France as the perpetual standard.
Other bars have been copied from it and distributed throughout France
and in foreign countries.

There is something transcendental in the idea of this measurement of
the earth in order to find a measure for daily life. It was an immense
undertaking. But the conception seems to have been vast rather than
practical. There is reason to believe, from later labors, that there
was a serious error in the work. Thus, the distance of 10,000,000
metres from the equator to the north pole, established by the French
observers, is too small by 935 yards, according to Bessel,--by 1,410
yards, according to Puissant,--and by 1,967 yards, according to
Chazallon. Sir John Herschell also testifies with the authority of his
great name against the accuracy of this result. If there be an error
such as is supposed, then the metre ceases to be what it was called
originally, one ten-millionth part of the distance from the equator to
the north pole.

Even assuming that there is no error, and that the metre is precisely
what it purports to be, yet it is not easy to see how the artificial
standard can be corrected by recurrence to the standard in Nature.
The massive work originally undertaken will not be repeated. The
astronomers of France will not verify the accuracy of the bar of
platinum, which is the artificial standard, by another scientific
enterprise, requiring years for completion. Therefore, for all
practical purposes, the metre is really nothing else than a bar of
platinum with a certain length preserved in the archives of France. It
is not less arbitrary as a standard than the yard or foot, and it can
be perpetuated in practice only by distribution of exact copies from
the original bar, which is the assumed metre.

I have thus explained the origin and character of the metre, because I
desire that the admirable system founded on it should be seen actually
as it is. To my mind, it gains nothing from the theory which presided
at its origin. Its unit is not to be regarded as a certain portion
of the distance between the equator and the north pole, but as an
artificial measure determined with peculiar care. Had the same or any
other unit been selected without measurement of the earth, the metric
system would not have been less beautiful or perfect.

       *       *       *       *       *

Look now at the system. The metre, which is assumed to be one
ten-millionth part of the distance from the equator to the pole, is,
in fact, 39⅓ inches, or 39.37 inches, in length. It is especially
the unit of _length_; but it is also the unit from which are derived
all measures of weight and capacity, square or cubic. It is at once
foundation-stone and cap-stone. It is foundation-stone to all in the
ascending series, and cap-stone to all in the descending series.

The unit of _surface measure_, or land measure, is the _are_, from the
Latin _area_, and is the square of ten metres, or, in other words, a
square of which each side is ten metres in length.

The unit of _solid measure_ is the _stere_, from the Greek, and is the
cube of a metre, or, in other words, a solid mass one metre long, one
metre broad, and one metre high.

The unit of _liquid measure_ is the _litre_, from the Greek, and is the
cube of the tenth part of the metre, which is the _decimetre_; or, in
other words, it is a vessel where by interior measurement each side and
the bottom are square _decimetres_.

The unit of _weight_ is the _gram_, also derived from the Greek,
and is the one-thousandth part of the weight of a cubic litre of
distilled water at its greatest density,--this being just above the

Such are main elements of the metric system. But each of these has
multiples and subdivisions. It is multiplied decimally upward, and
divided decimally downward. The multiples are from the Greek. Thus,
_deca_, ten, _hecto_, hundred, _kilo_, thousand, and _myria_, ten
thousand, prefixed to _metre_, signify ten metres, one hundred metres,
one thousand metres, and ten thousand metres. The subdivisions are from
the Latin. Thus, _deci_, _centi_, _milli_, prefixed to _metre_, signify
one tenth, one hundredth, and one thousandth of a metre. All this
appears in the following table.

   Metric Denominations and    Equivalents in Denominations
            Values.                   in use.

  Myriametre, 10,000 metres,     6.2137 miles.
  Kilometre, 1,000 metres,        .62137 mile, or 3,280 feet and 10 inches.
  Hectometre, 100 metres,      328 feet and 1 inch.
  Decametre, 10 metres,        393.7 inches.
  METRE, 1 metre,               39.37 inches.
  Decimetre, ⅒ of a metre,      3.937 inches.
  Centimetre, ¹⁄₁₀₀ of a metre,   .3937 inch.
  Millimetre, ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ of a metre,  .0394 inch.

These same prefixes may be applied in ascending and descending scales
to the are, the litre, and the gram. Thus, for example, we have
in the ascending scale, _deca_gram, _hecto_gram, _kilo_gram, and
_myria_gram,--and in the descending scale, _deci_gram, _centi_gram,

In this brief space you behold the whole metric system of weights
and measures. What a contrast to the anterior confusion! A boy at
school can master the metric system in an afternoon. Months, if not
years, are required to store away the perplexities, incongruities, and
inconsistencies of the existing weights and measures, and then memory
must often fail in reproducing them. The mystery of compound arithmetic
is essential in the calculations they require. All this is done away by
the decimal progression, so that the first four rules of arithmetic are
ample for the pupil.

Looking closely at the metric system, we must confess its simplicity
and symmetry. Like every creation of science, it is according to rule.
Master the rule and you master the system. On this account it may
be acquired by the young with comparative facility, and, when once
acquired, it may be used with despatch. Thus it becomes labor-saving
and time-saving. Among its merits I cannot hesitate to mention the
nomenclature. A superficial criticism has objected to the Greek and
Latin prefixes; but this forgets that a system intended for universal
adoption must discard all local or national terms. The prefixes
employed are equally intelligible in all countries. They are no more
French than English or German. They are common, or cosmopolitan,
and in all countries they are equally suggestive in disclosing the
denomination of the measure. They combine the peculiar advantages of
a universal name and a definition. The name instantly suggests the
measure with exquisite precision. If these words seem scholastic or
pedantic, you must bear this for the sake of their universality and
defining power.

Unquestionably it is difficult for one generation to substitute a
new system for that learned in childhood. Even in France the metric
system was tardily adopted. Napoleon himself, on one occasion, said
impatiently to an engineer who answered his inquiry in metres, “What
are metres? Tell me in _toises_.” It was only in 1840 that the system
was definitely required in the transaction of business. Since then it
has been the legal system of France. Cloth is sold by the metre; roads
are measured by the kilometre; meat is sold by the kilogram, or, as it
is familiarly abridged, by so many _kilos_.

It is generally admitted that the names are too long, although nobody
has been able to suggest substitutes, unless we regard the various
abridgments in that light. But no abridgment should be allowed to
sacrifice the cosmopolitan character which belongs to the system. Thus,
in England a nomenclature is proposed which would secure short names;
but these would be different in each language, and entirely different
from the French names. This is a mistake. The names in all languages
should be identical, or so nearly alike as to be recognized at once.
This may be accomplished by an abbreviated nomenclature.

For instance, we may say _met_, _ar_, _lit_, and _gram_; and, in
describing the denomination, we may say, in the ascending scale,
_dec_, _hec_, _kil_, and in the descending scale, _dec_, _cen_, and
_mil_,--indicating respectively 10, 100, 1000, and ⅒, ¹⁄₁₀₀ and ¹⁄₁₀₀₀.
Compounding these, we should have, for example, _kilmet_, _killit_,
_kilgram_, and _cenmet_, _cenlit_, _cengram_. These abbreviations
might be substantially the same in all languages. They would preserve
the characteristics of the unabridged terms, so that the simple
mention of the measure, even in this abridged form, would disclose the
proportion it bears to its fellow-measures. Previous measures have been
represented by monosyllables, as grain, dram, gross, ounce, pound,
stone, ton. Where a word is often repeated, in the hurry of business,
it is instinctively abridged. We shall not err, if we profit by this
experience, and seek to reduce the new nomenclature to its smallest

Twelve words only are required by this system. Learning these, you
learn all. There are five designating the different units of length,
surface, solid capacity, liquid capacity, and weight. Then there are
the seven prefixes, being four in the ascending scale, expressing
_multiples_, or augmentations, of the metre or other units, derived
from the Greek, and three in the descending scale, expressing
subdivisions, or diminutions, of the metre and other units, derived
from the Latin. These twelve words contain the whole system.

In closing this chapter on the unquestionable advantages of the metric
system, I must not forget that it is already the received system in the
majority of countries. At the Statistical Congress assembled at Berlin
in 1863, it appeared that it was adopted partly or entirely in Austria,
Baden, Bavaria, Belgium, France, Hamburg, Hanover, Hesse, Mecklenburg,
the Netherlands, Parma, Portugal, Sardinia, Saxony, Spain, Switzerland,
Tuscany, the Two Sicilies, and Würtemberg. Since then, Great Britain,
by an Act of Parliament, has added her name to this list. The first
step is taken there by making the metric system _permissive_, as is
proposed in the bills before Congress. The example of Great Britain is
of especial importance to us, since the commercial relations between
the two countries render it essential that these should have a common
system of weights and measures. On this point we cannot afford to
differ from each other.

The adoption of the metric system by the United States will go far to
complete the circle by which this great improvement will be assured to
mankind. Here is a new agent of civilization, to be felt in all the
concerns of life, at home and abroad. It will be hardly less important
than the Arabic numerals, by which the operations of arithmetic
are rendered common to all nations. It will help undo the primeval
confusion of which the Tower of Babel was the representative.

As the first practical step to this great end, I ask the Senate
to sanction the bills which have already passed the other House,
and which I have reported from the special committee on the metric
system. By these enactments the metric system will be presented to the
American people, and will become an approved instrument of commerce.
It will not be forced into use, but will be left for the present to
its own intrinsic merits. Meanwhile it must be taught in schools. Our
arithmetics must explain it. They who have already passed a certain
period of life may not adopt it; but the rising generation will embrace
it, and ever afterwards number it among the choicest possessions of an
advanced civilization.



    July 27th, on the last evening of the session, while the
    galleries were thronged, Mr. Conness, of California, called
    for the consideration of the joint resolution, which had
    already passed the House of Representatives, “authorizing a
    contract with Vinnie Ream for a statue of Abraham Lincoln.” The
    following incident then occurred.

        MR. SUMNER. Before that is taken up, I wish, with the
        consent of the Senator, that I might be allowed to put a
        joint resolution on its passage.

        MR. CONNESS. This will only occupy a moment.

        MR. SUMNER. It will be debated.

        MR. CONNESS. Not, if you do not debate it.

        MR. SUMNER. It must be debated.

        MR. CONNESS. Will you debate it?

        MR. SUMNER. I shall debate it.

        MR. CONNESS. Let the Senator debate it now. I shall not
        give way, in that case.

        MR. SUMNER. I merely wish to put a joint resolution upon
        its passage that will take no time.

        MR. CONNESS. That is asking too much.

    Mr. Chandler, of Michigan, then asked Mr. Conness “to give way
    for a moment” to allow him to call up----Here he was arrested
    by the answer, “I cannot give way to the Senator, after having
    refused another Senator.” The joint resolution was then read:--

        “_Resolved, &c._, That the Secretary of the Interior be,
        and he hereby is, authorized and directed to contract with
        Miss Vinnie Ream for a life-size model and statue of the
        late President Abraham Lincoln, to be executed by her,
        at a price not exceeding $10,000, one half payable on
        completion of the model in plaster, and the remaining half
        on completion of the statue in marble to his acceptance.”

    Mr. Lane, of Indiana, then moved to proceed with the pension
    bills that had already passed the other House, and this motion,
    after debate, prevailed,--Yeas 19, Nays 18. The pension bills
    and other bills were then considered, when another effort was
    made for the joint resolution.

        MR. WADE. I move to take up the joint resolution
        authorizing a contract with Vinnie Ream for a statue of
        Abraham Lincoln.

        MR. SUMNER. I hope that will not be taken up.

        SEVERAL SENATORS. Oh, let us vote.

        MR. SUMNER. Senators say, “Oh, let us vote.” The question
        is about giving away $10,000.

        MR. CONNESS. Taking it up is not giving money away, I hope.

        MR. SUMNER. The question is, I say, about giving away
        $10,000: that is the proposition involved in this joint

        MR. CONNESS. For a statue.

        MR. SUMNER. The Senator says, “For a statue”: an impossible
        statue, I say,--one which cannot be made. However, I say
        nothing on the merits now; that will come at another time,
        if the resolution is taken up. I ask for the yeas and nays
        on the question of taking up.

    The question, being taken by yeas and nays, resulted, Yeas 26,
    Nays 8. So the motion was agreed to, and the Senate, as in
    committee of the whole, resumed the consideration of the joint
    resolution. Mr. Sumner said:--

Some evenings ago, Sir, I attempted to secure an appropriation of
$10,000 for worthy public servants in one of the Departments of
the Government. In presenting that case, it was my duty to exhibit
something of their necessities. I showed you how the money was needed
by them to meet the expenses of living, which, as we all know, are
constantly increasing, while the value of money is decreasing. I
showed you also that they were entitled to this allowance by the
service they had performed. After ample discussion, extended through
several evenings, the Senate refused outright to appropriate $10,000
for distribution among public servants who, I insisted, had earned it
by faithful labor. You acted on a sentiment of economy. It was urged,
that, considering the numerous and heavy draughts upon the Treasury, we
should not be justified in such allowance, and that, if it were made,
then we should be obliged to make it in other cases, and there would be
no end to the drain upon the Treasury. You all remember the fever of
economy that broke out, and also the result. The proposition was voted

Now, Sir, a proposition is brought forward to appropriate that
identical sum of $10,000 for a work of art. I speak of it in the most
general way. If there were any assurance that the work in question
could be worthy of so large a sum, if there were any reason to imagine
that the favorite who is to be the beneficiary under this resolution
were really competent to execute such a work, still, at this time and
under the circumstances by which we are surrounded, I might well object
to its passage, simply on reasons of economy. This argument is not out
of place. I present, then, as my first objection, the consideration of
economy. Do not, Sir, wastefully, inconsiderately, heedlessly give away
so much. If you are in the mood of appropriation on this scale, select
some of those public servants who have been discharging laborious
duties on an inadequate compensation, and bestow it upon them. Be just
before you are generous. Do this rather than become such sudden patrons
of art. I hope that I do not treat the question too gravely. You
treated the motion to augment compensation in the State Department very
gravely. I but follow your example.

But, Sir, there is another aspect to which I allude, with your pardon.
I enter upon it with great reluctance. I am unwilling to utter a word
that would bear hard upon any one, least of all upon a youthful artist,
where sex imposes reserve, if not on her part, at least on mine; but
when a proposition like this is brought forward, I am bound to meet it

Each Senator will act on his own judgment and the evidence before
him. Each will be responsible to his own conscience for the vote he
gives. Now, Sir, with the little knowledge I have of such things, with
the small opportunities I have enjoyed of observing works of art, and
with the moderate acquaintance I have formed among artists, I am bound
to express a confident opinion that this candidate is not competent
to produce the work you propose to order. You might as well place her
on the staff of General Grant, or, putting him aside, place her on
horseback in his stead. She cannot do it. She might as well contract
to furnish an epic poem, or the draft of a bankrupt bill. I am pained
to be constrained into these remarks; but, when you press a vote, you
leave me no alternative. Admit that she may make a statue; she cannot
make one that you will be justified in placing here. Promise is not
performance; but what she has done thus far comes under the former head
rather than the latter. Surely this National Capitol, so beautiful
and interesting, and already historic, should not be opened to the
rude experiment of untried talent. Only the finished artist should be
admitted here.

Sir, I doubt if you consider enough the character of the edifice in
which we are assembled. Possessing the advantage of an incomparable
situation, it is among the first-class structures of the world.
Surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, with the Potomac at its feet,
it may remind you of the Capitol in Rome, with the Alban and the Sabine
hills in sight, and with the Tiber at its feet. But the situation is
grander than that of the Roman Capitol. The edifice itself is not
unworthy of the situation. It has beauty of form and sublimity in
proportion, even if it lacks originality in conception. In itself it
is a work of art. It should not receive in the way of ornamentation
anything which is not a work of art. Unhappily, this rule is too often
forgotten, or there would not be so few pictures and marbles about us
which we are glad to recognize. But bad pictures and ordinary marbles
warn us against adding to their number.

Pardon me, if I call attention for one moment to the few works of
art in the Capitol which we might care to preserve. Beginning with
the Vice-President’s room, which is nearest, we find an excellent and
finished portrait of Washington, by Peale. This is much less known than
the familiar portrait by Stuart, but it is well worthy to be cherished.
I never enter that room without feeling its presence. Traversing the
corridors, we find ourselves in the spacious rotunda, where are four
pictures by Trumbull, truly historic in character, by which great
scenes live again before us. These works have a merit of their own
which will always justify the place they occupy. Mr. Randolph, with
ignorant levity, once characterized that which represents the signing
of the Declaration of Independence as a “shin-piece.” He should have
known that there is probably no picture, having so many portraits,
less obnoxious to such a gibe. If these pictures do not belong to
the highest art, they can never fail in interest for the patriot
citizen, while the artist will not be indifferent to them. One other
picture in the rotunda is not without merit: I refer to the Landing
of the Pilgrims, by Weir, where there is a certain beauty of color
and a religious sentiment: but this picture has always seemed to me
exaggerated, rather than natural. Passing from the rotunda to the House
of Representatives, we stand before a picture which, as a work of art,
is perhaps the choicest of all in the Capitol. It is the portrait of
Lafayette, by that consummate artist, who was one of the glories of
France, Ary Scheffer. He sympathized with our institutions; and this
portrait of the early friend of our country was a present from the
artist to the people of the United States. Few who look at it, by the
side of the Speaker’s chair, are aware that it is the production of
the rare genius which gave to mankind the Christus Consolator and the
Francesca da Rimini.

Turning from painting to sculpture, we find further reason for
caution. The lesson is taught especially by that work of the Italian
Persico, on the steps of the Capitol, called by him Columbus, but
called by others “a man rolling nine-pins,”--for the attitude and the
ball he holds suggest this game. Near to this is a remarkable group
by Greenough, where the early settler is struggling with the savage;
while opposite in the yard is the statue of Washington by the same
artist, which has found little favor because it is nude, but which
shows a mastery of art. There also are the works of Crawford,--the
_alto-rilievo_ which fills the pediment over the great door of the
Senate Chamber, and the statue of Liberty which looks down from the top
of the dome,--attesting a genius that must always command admiration.
There are other statues, by a living artist. There are also the bronze
doors by Rogers, on which he labored long and well. They belong to a
class of which there are only a few specimens in the world, and I have
sometimes thought they might vie with those famous doors at Florence,
which Michel Angelo hailed as worthy to be the gates of Paradise.
Our artist has pictured the whole life of Columbus in bronze, while
portraits of contemporary princes, and of great authors who have
illustrated the life of the great discoverer, add to the completeness
of this artistic work.

Now, Sir, the chambers of the Capitol are to open again for the
reception of a work of art. It is to be the statue of our martyred
President. He deserves a statue, and it should be here in Washington.
But you cannot expect to have, even of him, more than one statue
here in Washington. Such a repetition or reduplication would be out
of place. It would be too much. There is one statue of Washington.
There is also a statue of Jefferson: I refer to the excellent statue
in front of the Executive Mansion, by the French sculptor, David.
There is also one statue of Jackson. It is now proposed to add a
statue of Lincoln. I suppose you do not contemplate two statues, or
three, but only one. Who now shall make that one, to find hospitality
in the National Capitol? Surely, whoever undertakes the work must
be of ripe genius, with ample knowledge of art, and of unquestioned
capacity,--the whole informed and inspired by a prevailing sympathy
with the martyr and the cause for which he lived and died. Are you
satisfied that this youthful candidate, without ripeness of genius or
ample knowledge of art or unquestioned capacity, and not so situated
as to feel the full inspiration of his life and character, should
receive this remarkable trust? She has never made a statue. Shall she
experiment on the historic dead, and place her attempt under this dome?
I am unwilling. When the statue of that beloved President is set up
here, where we shall look upon it daily, and gather from it courage and
consolation, I wish it to be a work of art in truth and reality, with
living features animated by living soul, so that we shall all hail it
as the man immortal by his life, doubly immortal through art. Anything
short of this, even if through your indulgence it finds a transient
resting-place here, will be removed whenever a correct taste asserts
its just prerogative.

Therefore, Sir, for the sake of economy, that you may not heedlessly
lavish the national treasure,--for the sake of this Capitol, itself a
work of art, that it may not have anything in the way of ornamentation
which is not a work of art,--for the sake of the martyred President,
whose statue should be by a finished artist,--and for the sake of
art throughout the whole country, that we may not set a pernicious
example,--I ask you to reject this resolution. When I speak for art
generally, I open a tempting theme; but I forbear. Suffice it to say
that art throughout the whole country must suffer, if Congress crowns
with its patronage anything which is not truly artistic. By such
patronage you will discourage where you ought to encourage.

Mr. President, I make these remarks with sincere reluctance; I am
distressed in making them; but such an appropriation, engineered so
vigorously, and having in its support such a concerted strength, must
be met plainly and directly. Do not condemn the frankness you compel.
If you wish to bestow a charity or a gift, do it openly, without
pretence of any patronage bestowed upon art, or pretence of homage to a
deceased President. Bring forward your resolution appropriating $10,000
to this youthful candidate. This I can deal with. I can listen to your
argument for charity, and I assure you that I shall never be insensible
to it. But when you propose this large sum for a work of art in the
National Capitol in memory of the illustrious dead, I am obliged to
consider the character of the artist. I wish it were otherwise, but I
cannot help it.

    The remarks of Mr. Sumner were opposed by Mr. Nesmith, of
    Oregon, Mr. McDougall and Mr. Conness, of California, Mr.
    Yates and Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, and
    Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania. In the course of the debate, Mr.
    Edmunds, of Vermont, moved an amendment, requiring, that,
    before the first instalment of $5,000 should be paid, the model
    should be to the “acceptance” of the Secretary of the Interior.
    On this motion Mr. Sumner spoke again.

I think this amendment had better be adopted. It is only a reasonable
precaution. The Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. HOWE] alluded to a contract
with Mr. Stone. He is a known sculptor, whose works are at the very
doors of the Senate Chamber. The committee who employed him must
have been perfectly aware of his character. When they entered into a
contract with him, there was no element of chance; they knew what they
were contracting for. But in the present case there is nothing but
chance, if there be not the certainty of failure.

    MR. CONNESS. How was it in the case of Mr. Powell?

MR. SUMNER. I am speaking of the present case. One at a time, if you
please. The person that you propose to contract with notoriously has
never made a statue. All who have the most moderate acquaintance with
art know that it is one thing to make a bust and quite another to make
a statue. One may make a bust and yet be entirely unable to make a
statue,--just as one may write a poem in the corner of a newspaper and
not be able to produce an epic. A statue is art in one of its highest
forms. There have been very few artists competent to make a statue.
There is as yet but one instance that I recall of a woman reasonably
successful in such an undertaking. But the eminent and precocious
person to whom I refer had shown a peculiar genius very early in life,
had enjoyed the rarest opportunities of culture, and had vindicated her
title as artist before she attempted this difficult task. Conversing,
as I sometimes have, with sculptors, I remember how they always dwell
upon the difficulty of such a work. It is no small labor to set a
man on his legs, with proper drapery and accessories, in stone or in
bronze. Not many have been able to do it, and all these had already
experience in art. Now there is no such experience here. Notoriously
this candidate is without it. There is no reason to suppose that she
can succeed. Therefore the Senator from Vermont [Mr. EDMUNDS] is wise,
when he proposes, that, before the nation pays $5,000 on account, it
shall have some assurance that the work is not absolutely a failure.
Voltaire was in the habit of exclaiming, in coarse Italian words,
that “a woman cannot produce a tragedy.” In the face of what has been
accomplished by Miss Hosmer, I do not venture on the remark that a
woman cannot produce a statue; but I am sure that in the present case
you ought to take every reasonable precaution. Anything for this
Capitol must be “above suspicion.”

Sir, I did not intend, when I rose, to say anything except directly
upon the motion of the Senator from Vermont; but, as I am on the floor,
perhaps I may be pardoned, if I advert for one moment----

    MR. HOWE. Will the Senator allow me to ask him one question,
    for information?

    MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. HOWE. It is, whether he supposes that by the examination
    of a plaster model he could get any assurance that the work in
    marble would be satisfactory.

MR. SUMNER. Obviously; for the chief work of the artist is in the
model. When this is done, the work is more than half done,--almost all
done. What remains requires mechanical skill rather than genius. In
Italy, where are accomplished workmen in marble, the artist leaves his
model in their hands, contenting himself with a few finishing strokes
of the chisel. Sometimes he does not touch the marble.

I was about to say, when interrupted, that I hoped to be pardoned, if
I adverted for one moment to the onslaught made upon what I have said
in this debate. I do not understand it. I do not know why Senators have
given such rein to the passion for personality. I made no criticism on
any Senator, and no allusion, even, to any Senator. I addressed myself
directly to the question, and endeavored to treat it with all the
reserve consistent with proper frankness. Senators, one after another,
have attacked me personally. The Senator from Oregon [Mr. NESMITH]
seemed to riot in the business. The Senator from California [Mr.
CONNESS], from whom I had reason to expect something better, caught the
spirit of the other Pacific Senator. Sir, there was nothing in what I
said to justify such attack. But I will not proceed in the comments
their speeches invite; I turn away. There was, however, one remark of
the Senator from Oregon to which I will refer. He complained that I was
unwilling to patronize native art, and that I dwelt on the productions
of foreign artists to the disparagement of our own.

I am at a loss for the motive of this singular misrepresentation.
Let the Senator quote a sentence or word which fell from me in
disparagement of native art. He cannot. I know the art of my country
too well, and think of it with too much of patriotic pride. I alluded
to only one foreign artist, and he was that sympathetic and gifted
Frenchman who has endowed the Capitol with the portrait of Lafayette.
The other artists that I praised were all of my own country. There
was Rembrandt Peale, of Philadelphia, to whom we are indebted for
the portrait of Washington. There was Trumbull, the companion of
Washington, and one of his military staff, who, quitting the toils
of war, gave himself to painting, under the inspiration of West,
himself an American, and produced works which I pronounced the chief
treasure of the rotunda. There also was Greenough, the earliest
American sculptor, and, until Story took the chisel, unquestionably
the most accomplished of all in the list of American sculptors. He was
a scholar, versed in the languages of antiquity and modern times, who
studied the art he practised in the literature of every tongue. Of him
I never fail to speak in praise. There also was Crawford, an American
sculptor, born in New York, and my own intimate personal friend,
whose early triumphs I witnessed and enjoyed. He was a true genius,
versatile, fertile, bold. His short life was crowned by the honors
of his profession, and he was hailed at home and abroad as a great
sculptor. How can I speak of this friend of my early life except with
admiration and love? I alluded also to Rogers, an American artist, from
the West,--yes, Sir, from the West----

    MR. HOWARD. Who was educated in Michigan.

MR. SUMNER. Educated in Michigan,--who has given to his country and to
art those bronze doors, which I did not hesitate to compare with the
immortal doors of Ghiberti in the Baptistery of Florence. These, Sir,
were the artists to whom I referred, and such was the spirit in which
I spoke. How, then, can any Senator complain that I praised foreign
artists at the expense of artists at home? The remark, permit me to
say, is absolutely without foundation.

It is because I would not have the art of my own country suffer, and
because I would have its honors follow merit, that I oppose the largess
you offer. If you really wish to set up a statue of our martyred
President, select an acknowledged sculptor of your own country. Do not
go to a foreigner, and do not go to the unknown. There are sculptors
born among us and already famous. Take one of them. There is Powers, an
artist of rarest skill with the chisel, of exquisite finish,--perhaps
with less variety and freshness than some other artists, perhaps
with less originality, but having in himself many and peculiar
characteristics as a remarkable artist. Summon him. He has been tried.
Contracting with him, you know in advance that you will have a statue
not entirely unworthy of the appropriation or of the place.

There is another sculptor of our country, whom I should name first of
all, if I were to express freely my unbiased choice: I mean Story.
He is the son of the great jurist, and began life with his father’s
mantle resting upon him. His works of jurisprudence are quoted daily
in your courts. He is also a man of letters. His contributions to
literature in prose and verse are in your libraries. To these he adds
unquestioned fame as sculptor. In the great exhibitions of Europe his
Cleopatra and his Saul have been recognized as equal in art to the best
of our time, and in the opinion of many as better than the best. He
brings to sculpture not only the genius of an artist, but scholarship,
literature, study, and talent of every kind. Take him. Let his name be
associated with the Capitol by a statue which I am sure will be the
source of national pride and honor.

I might mention other sculptors of our country already known, and
others giving assurance of fame. My friend who sits beside me, the
distinguished Senator from New York [Mr. MORGAN], very properly
reminds me of the sculptor who does so much honor to his own State.
Palmer has a beautiful genius, which he has cultivated for many years
with sedulous care. He has experience. The seal of success is upon
his works. Let him make your statue. There is still another artist,
whose home is New York, whom I would not forget: I refer to Brown,
author of the equestrian statue of Washington in New York. Of all
equestrian statues in our country this is the best, unless Crawford’s
statue at Richmond is its rival. It need not shrink from comparison
with equestrian statues in the Old World. The talent that could
seat the great chief so easily in that bronze saddle ought to find
welcome in this Capitol. There are yet other sculptors; but I confine
my enumeration to those who have done something more than promise
excellence. And now you turn from this native talent, already famous,
to offer a difficult and honorable duty to an untried person, whose
friends can claim for her nothing more than the uncertain promise of
such excellence in sculpture as is consistent with the condition of her
sex. Sir, I will not say anything more.

    The amendment of Mr. Edmunds was voted down,--Yeas 7, Nays
    22,--and the joint resolution passed the Senate,--Yeas 23, Nays

       *       *       *       *       *

    It was understood that the fair artist had received promises of
    support from Senators in advance. The spirit of the debate on
    their part belongs to the history of the case. Mr. Nesmith, of
    Oregon, said:--

        “Mr. President, if this was a mere matter of research, I
        should be very much inclined to defer to the judgment of
        the Senator from Massachusetts; but, as it is not, and as
        it requires no great learning, no particular devotion to
        reading, to discover what is an exact imitation of Nature,
        I claim that my judgment on such a subject is as good as
        his own.… He objects to this young artist,--this young
        scion of the West, from the same land from which Lincoln
        came,--a young person who manifests intuitive genius, and
        who is able to copy the works of Nature without having
        perused the immense tomes and the grand volumes of which
        the Senator may boast,--a person who was born and raised in
        the wilds of the West, and who is able to copy its great

    And much more in a worse vein.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Mr. Conness, of California, adopted another style:--

        “And my idea of the great Senator from Massachusetts (by
        which name I am very proud to call him, and which is so
        well deserved) is, that he is never so great as when he
        rises and speaks in behalf of generosity, of humanity,
        when he exhibits to us the intellect and the affections in
        that happy commingling that is the sweetest and the most
        beautiful rule of human life and action.”

    Mr. Yates, of Illinois, bore his testimony:--

        “I almost feel that the Senator from Massachusetts is a
        barbarian [_laughter_] of the highest order, in attacking
        this young lady.”

    Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, said:--

        “I have the highest respect for the opinions of my friend
        from Massachusetts upon all classical subjects, and
        particularly upon those which relate to most of the fine
        arts; but in statuary I propose to follow the lead of my
        honorable friend from Ohio [Mr. WADE], who I think is
        infinitely superior.” [_Laughter._]

    On the other hand, Mr. Howard, of Michigan, said:--

        “I know, perhaps, as much of the ability of the young lady
        to whom it is proposed to give this job as most members
        of this body. I have met her frequently, as other members
        of this body have done; and surely she has shown no lack
        of that peculiar talent known commonly as ‘lobbying,’ in
        pressing forward her enterprise and bringing it to the
        attention of Senators.”

    The statue was made. Mr. Delano, Secretary of the Interior,
    in a communication addressed to the Vice-President, January
    10, 1871, reports: “The statue in marble has been completed
    to my entire satisfaction, and I have this day instructed
    the architect of the Capitol to take charge of it.”[58] The
    feelings of artists found expression in words of Hiram Powers,
    the eminent American sculptor, at Florence, which appeared in
    the New York _Evening Post_:--

        “I suppose that you, as well as all other well-wishers for
        art in our country, have been mortified, if not really
        disgusted, at the success of the Vinnie Ream statue of our
        glorious old Lincoln. An additional five thousand dollars
        paid for this caricature! ---- ---- was bad enough; but
        this last act of Congress, in favor of a female lobby
        member, who has no more talent for art than the carver of
        weeping-willows on tombstones, really fills the mind of the
        genuine student of art (who thinks that years of profound
        study of art as a science are necessary) with despair.”





MR. PRESIDENT,--More than a year has passed since I last had the
honor of addressing my fellow-citizens of Massachusetts. I then dwelt
on what seemed the proper policy towards the States recently in
rebellion,--insisting that it was our duty, while renouncing Indemnity
for the past, to obtain at least Security for the future; and this
security, I maintained, could be found only in exclusion of ex-Rebels
from political power, and in irreversible guaranties especially
applicable to the national creditor and the national freedman.[59]
During intervening months, the country has been agitated by this
question, which was perplexed by unexpected difference between the
President and Congress. The President insists upon installing ex-Rebels
in political power, and sets at nought the claim of guaranties and
the idea of security for the future, while he denies to Congress any
control over the question, taking it all to himself. Congress asserts
control, and endeavors to exclude ex-Rebels from political power and
establish guaranties, to the end that there may be security for the
future. Meanwhile the States recently in rebellion, with the exception
of Tennessee, are without representation. Thus stands the case.

The two parties are the President, on the one side, and the people of
the United States in Congress assembled, on the other side,--the first
representing the Executive, the second representing the Legislative.
It is _The One Man Power_ vs. _Congress_. Of course, each performs
its part in the government; but until now it has always been supposed
that the legislative gave law to the executive, and not that the
executive gave law to the legislative. This irrational assumption
becomes more astonishing, when it is considered that the actual
President, besides being the creature of circumstance, is inferior in
ability and character, while the House of Representatives is eminent
in both respects. A President who has already sunk below any other
President, even James Buchanan, madly undertakes to rule a House of
Representatives which there is reason to believe is the best that
has sat since the formation of the Constitution. Looking at the two
parties, we are tempted to exclaim, Such a President dictating to such
a Congress! It was said of Gustavus Adolphus, that he drilled the Diet
of Sweden to vote or be silent at the word of command; but Andrew
Johnson is not Gustavus Adolphus, and the American Congress is not the
Diet of Sweden.

       *       *       *       *       *

The question at issue is one of the vastest ever presented for
practical decision, involving the name and weal of the Republic at
home and abroad. It is not a military question; it is a question of
statesmanship. We are to secure by counsel what was won by war. Failure
now will make the war itself a failure; surrender now will undo all
our victories. Let the President prevail, and straightway the plighted
faith of the Republic will be broken,--the national creditor and the
national freedman will be sacrificed,--the Rebellion itself will flaunt
its insulting power,--the whole country, in length and breadth, will
be disturbed,--and the Rebel region will be handed over to misrule
and anarchy. Let Congress prevail, and all this will be reversed: the
plighted faith of the Republic will be preserved; the national creditor
and the national freedman will be protected; the Rebellion itself will
be trampled out forever; the whole country, in length and breadth, will
be at peace; and the Rebel region, no longer harassed by controversy
and degraded by injustice, will enjoy the richest fruits of security
and reconciliation. To labor for this cause may well tempt the young
and rejoice the old.

And now, to-day, I again protest against any present admission of
ex-Rebels to the great partnership of this Republic, and I renew
the claim of irreversible guaranties, especially applicable to the
national creditor and the national freedman,--insisting now, as I did
a year ago, that it is our duty, while renouncing Indemnity for the
past, to obtain at least Security for the future. At the close of a
terrible war, wasting our treasure, murdering our fellow-citizens,
filling the land with funerals, maiming and wounding multitudes whom
Death had spared, and breaking up the very foundations of peace, our
first duty is to provide safeguards for the future. This can be only
by provisions, sure, fundamental, and irrepealable, fixing forever
the results of the war, the obligations of the Government, and the
equal rights of all. Such is the suggestion of common prudence and of
self-defence, as well as of common honesty. To this end we must make
haste slowly. States which precipitated themselves out of Congress must
not be permitted to precipitate themselves back. They must not enter
the Halls they treasonably deserted, until we have every reasonable
assurance of future good conduct. We must not admit them, and then
repent our folly. The verses in which the satirist renders the quaint
conceit of the old Parliamentary orator, verses revived by Mr. Webster,
and on another occasion used by myself, furnish the key to our duty:--

    “I hear a lion in the lobby roar:
    Say, Mr. Speaker, shall we shut the door,
    And keep him there? or shall we let him in,
    To try if we can turn him out again?”[60]

I am against letting the monster in, until he is no longer terrible in
mouth or paw.

       *       *       *       *       *

But, while holding this ground of prudence, I desire to disclaim every
sentiment of vengeance or punishment, and also every thought of delay
or procrastination. Here I do not yield to the President, or to any
other person. Nobody more anxious than I to see this chasm closed

There is a long way and a short way. There is a long time and a
short time. If there be any whose policy is for the longest way or
for the longest time, I am not of the number. I am for the shortest
way, and also for the shortest time. And I object to the interference
of the President, because, whether intentionally or unintentionally,
he interposes delay and keeps the chasm open. More than all others,
the President, by officious assumptions, has lengthened the way and
lengthened the time. Of this there can be no doubt.

From all quarters we learn that after the surrender of Lee the Rebels
were ready for any terms, if they could escape with life. They were
vanquished, and they knew it. The Rebellion was crushed, and they
knew it. They hardly expected to save a small fraction of property.
They did not expect to save political power. They were too sensible
not to see that participants in rebellion could not pass at once
into the copartnership of government. They made up their minds to
exclusion. They were submissive. There was nothing they would not do,
_even to the extent of enfranchising the freedmen and providing for
them homesteads_. Had the National Government taken advantage of this
plastic condition, it might have stamped Equal Rights upon the whole
people, as upon molten wax, while it fixed the immutable conditions of
permanent peace. The question of Reconstruction would have been settled
before it arose. It is sad to think that this was not done. Perhaps in
all history there is no instance of such an opportunity lost. Truly
should our country say in penitential supplication, “We have left
undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those
things which we ought not to have done.”

Do not take this on my authority. Listen to those on the spot, who
have seen with their own eyes. A brave officer of our army writes from

    “I believe the mass of the people could have been easily
    controlled, if none of the excepted classes had received
    pardon. These classes did not expect anything more than life,
    and even feared for that. Let me condense the whole subject. At
    the surrender, the South could have been moulded at will; but
    it is now as stiff-necked and rebellious as ever.”

In the same vein another officer testifies from Texas:--

    “There is one thing, however, that is making against the speedy
    return of quietness, not only in this State, but throughout
    the entire South, _and that is the Reconstruction policy of
    President Johnson_. It is doing more to unsettle this country
    than people who are not practical observers of its workings
    have any idea of. Before this policy was made known, the people
    were prepared to accept anything. They expected to be treated
    as rebels,--their leaders being punished, and the property
    of others confiscated. But the moment it was made known, all
    their assurance returned. Rebels have again become arrogant and
    exacting; Treason stalks through the land unabashed.”

This testimony might be multiplied indefinitely. From city and country,
from highway and by-way, there is but one voice. When, therefore, the
President, in opprobrious terms, complains of Congress as interposing
delay, I reply to him: “No, Sir, it is you, who, by unexpected and
most perverse assumption, have put off the glad day of security and
reconciliation, so much longed for. It is you who have inaugurated anew
that malignant sectionalism, which, so long as it exists, will keep the
Union divided in fact, if not in name. Sir, you are the Disunionist.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Glance, if you please, at that Presidential policy--so constantly
called “my policy”--now so vehemently pressed upon the country, and you
will find that it pivots on at least two alarming blunders, as can be
easily seen: _first_, in setting up the One Man Power as the source of
jurisdiction over this great question; and, _secondly_, in using the
One Man Power for the restoration of Rebels to place and influence,
so that good Unionists, whether white or black, are rejected, and the
Rebellion itself is revived in the new governments. Each of these
assumptions is an enormous blunder. You see that I use a mild term to
characterize such a double-headed usurpation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pray, Sir, where in the Constitution do you find any sanction of the
One Man Power as source of this extraordinary jurisdiction? I had
always supposed that the President was the Executive,--bound to see
the laws faithfully executed, but not empowered to make laws. The
Constitution expressly says: “The Executive power shall be vested in
a President of the United States of America.” But the Legislative
power is elsewhere. According to the Constitution, “All Legislative
powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United
States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”
And yet the President has assumed legislative power, even to the
extent of making laws and constitutions for States. You all know,
that, at the close of the war, when the Rebel States were without
lawful governments, he assumed to supply them. In this business of
Reconstruction he assumed to determine who should vote, and also to
affix conditions for adoption by the conventions. Look, if you please,
at the character of this assumption. The President, from the Executive
Mansion at Washington, reaches his long executive arm into certain
States and dictates constitutions. Surely here is nothing executive; it
is not even military. It is legislative, pure and simple, and nothing
else. It is an attempt by the One Man Power to do what can be done
only by the legislative branch of Government. And yet the President,
perversely absorbing to himself all power over the reconstruction of
the Rebel States, insists that Congress must accept his work without
addition or subtraction. He can impose conditions: Congress cannot. He
can determine who shall vote: Congress cannot. His jurisdiction is not
only complete, but exclusive. If all this be so, then has our President
a most extraordinary power, never before dreamed of. He may exclaim,
with Louis the Fourteenth, “The State, it is I,” while, like this
magnificent king, he sacrifices the innocent, and repeats that fatal
crime, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. His whole “policy” is
“revocation” of all that has been promised and all we have a right to

Here it is well to note a distinction, not without importance in
the issue between the President and Congress. Nobody doubts that
the President may, during war, govern any conquered territory as
commander-in-chief, and for this purpose detail any military officer as
military governor. But it is one thing to govern a State temporarily by
military power, and quite another thing to create a constitution for
a State which shall continue _when the military power has expired_.
The former is a military act, and belongs to the President; the
latter is a civil act, and belongs to Congress. On this distinction
I stand; and this is not the first time that I have asserted it. Of
course, governments set up in this illegitimate way are necessarily
illegitimate, except so far as they acquire validity from time or
subsequent recognition. It needs no learned Chief Justice of North
Carolina solemnly to declare this. It is manifest from the nature of
the case.

But this illegitimacy becomes still more manifest, when it is known
that the constitutions which the President orders and tries to cram
upon Congress have never been submitted to popular vote. Each is the
naked offspring of an illegitimate convention called into being by the
President, in the exercise of illegitimate power.

There is another provision of the Constitution, by which, according to
a judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States, this question
is referred to Congress, and not to the President. I refer to the
provision that “_the United States_ shall guaranty to every State in
this Union a republican form of government.” On these words Chief
Justice Taney, speaking for the Supreme Court, has adjudged, that
“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”; and that “unquestionably a military
government established as the permanent government of the State would
not be a republican government, and it would be the duty of Congress
to overthrow it.”[61] But the President sets at nought this commanding
text, reinforced by the positive judgment of the Supreme Court, and
claims this extraordinary power for himself, to the exclusion of
Congress. He is “the United States.” In him the Republic is manifest.
He can do all; Congress nothing.

And now the whole country is summoned by the President to recognize
State governments created by constitutions thus illegitimate in origin
and character. Without considering if they contain the proper elements
of security for the future, or if they are republican in form, and
without any inquiry into the validity of their adoption,--nay, in
the very face of testimony showing that they contain no elements of
security for the future, that they are not republican in form, and that
they have never been adopted by the loyal people,--we are commanded
to accept them; and when we hesitate, the President, himself leading
the outcry, assails us with angry vituperation, blunted, it must be
confessed, by coarseness without precedent and without bound. It is
well that such a cause has such an advocate.

Thus setting up the One Man Power as a source of jurisdiction, the
President has committed a blunder of Constitutional Law, proceeding
from an immense egotism, in which the little pronoun “I” plays a
gigantic part. It is “_I_” vs. _The People of the United States in
Congress assembled_. On this unnatural blunder I might say more; but I
have said enough. My present purpose is accomplished, if I make you see
it clearly.

       *       *       *       *       *

The other blunder is of a different character. It is giving present
power to ex-Rebels, at the expense of constant Unionists, white or
black, and employing them in the work of Reconstruction, so that the
new governments continue to represent the Rebellion. This same blunder,
when committed by one of the heroes of the war, was promptly overruled
by the President himself; but Andrew Johnson now does what Sherman was
not allowed to do. The blunder is strange and unaccountable.

Here the evidence is constant and cumulative. It begins with his
proclamation for the reconstruction of North Carolina. Holden was
appointed Provisional Governor,--an officer unknown to law, and for
whom there was no provision,--although it was notorious that he had
been a member of the Convention which adopted the Act of Secession,
and that he signed it. Then came Perry, Provisional Governor of South
Carolina, who, besides holding a judicial station under the Rebel
Government, was one of its Commissioners of Impressments. I have a
Rebel newspaper containing one of his advertisements in the latter
character. There also was Parsons, Provisional Governor of Alabama,
who in 1863 introduced into the Legislature of that State formal
resolutions tendering to Jefferson Davis “hearty thanks for his good
labors in the cause of our common country, together with the assurance
of continued support,”--and afterwards, in 1864, denounced our national
debt, exclaiming in the Legislature: “Does any sane man suppose we
will consent to pay their [the United States] war debt, contracted in
sending armies and navies to burn our towns and cities, to lay waste
our country,--whose soldiers have robbed and murdered our peaceful
inhabitants?” Such were the agents appointed by the President to
institute loyal governments. But this selection becomes more strange
and unaccountable, when it is considered that all this was done in
defiance of law.

There is a recent enactment of Congress requiring that no person shall
be appointed to any office of the United States, unless such office has
been created by law.[62] And there is another enactment of Congress,
providing that all officers, civil or military, before entering
upon their official duties or receiving any salary or compensation,
shall take an oath declaring that they have held no office under the
Rebellion or given any aid thereto.[63] In face of these enactments,
which are sufficiently explicit, the President began his work of
Reconstruction by appointing civilians to an office absolutely unknown
to law, when besides they could not take the required oath of office;
and to complete the disregard of Congress, he fixed their salary, and
paid it out of the funds of the War Department.

Of course such proceeding was an instant encouragement and license to
all ex-Rebels, no matter how much blood was on their hands. Rebellion
was at a premium. It was easy to see, that, if these men were good
enough to be governors of States, in defiance of Congress, all others
in the same political predicament would be good enough for inferior
offices. And it was so. From top to bottom these States were organized
by men who had been warring on their country. Ex-Rebels were appointed
by the governors or chosen by the people everywhere. Ex-Rebels sat in
Conventions and in Legislatures. Ex-Rebels became judges, justices
of the peace, sheriffs, and everything else,--while the faithful
Unionist, white or black, was rejected. As with Cordelia, his love
was “according to his bond, nor more nor less”; but all this was of
no avail. How often during the war have I pleaded for such patriots,
and urged to every effort for their redemption!--and now, when our
arms have prevailed, it is they who are cast down, while the enemies
of the Republic are exalted. The pirate Semmes returns from his ocean
cruise to be chosen Probate Judge,--leaping from the deck of the Ship
Alabama to the judicial bench of the State Alabama. In New Orleans the
Rebel mayor at the surrender to the national flag is once more mayor,
and employs his regained power in the terrible massacre which rises
in judgment against the Presidential policy. Persons are returned to
Congress whose service in the Rebellion makes it impossible for them
to take the oath of office,--as in the case of Georgia, which selects
as Senators Herschel V. Johnson, a Senator of the Rebel Congress, and
Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Rebellion. These are
instances; but from these learn all.

There is nothing within reach of the President which he has not
lavished on ex-Rebels. The power of pardon and amnesty, like the power
of appointment, has been used for them, wholesale and retail. It would
have been easy to affix a condition to every pardon, requiring, that,
before it took effect, the recipient should carve out of his estate
a homestead for every one of his freedmen, and thus secure to each
what they all covet so much, a piece of land. But the President did no
such thing, although, in the words of the old writ, “often requested
so to do.” Such a condition would have helped the loyal freedmen,
rather than the rebel master. In the same spirit, while undertaking to
determine who shall be voters, all colored persons, howsoever loyal,
were disfranchised, while all white persons, except certain specified
classes, although black with rebellion, were constituted voters on
taking a simple oath of allegiance, thus investing ex-Rebels with a
prevailing power.

Partisans of the Presidential “policy” are in the habit of declaring
it a continuation of the policy of the martyred Lincoln. This is a
mistake. Would that he could rise from his bloody shroud to repel the
calumny! Happily, he has left his testimony behind, in words which
all who have ears to hear can hear. The martyr presented the truth
bodily, when he said, in suggestive metaphor, that we must “build up
from the sound materials”; but his successor insists upon building from
materials rotten with treason and gaping with rebellion. On another
occasion, the martyr said that “an attempt to guaranty and protect a
_revived_ State government, constructed in whole or _in preponderating
part_ from _the very element_ against whose hostility and violence it
is to be protected, is _simply absurd_.”[64] But this is the very thing
the President is now attempting. He is constructing State governments,
not merely in preponderating part, but _in whole_, from the hostile
element. Therefore he departs openly from the policy of the martyred

The martyr says to his successor that the policy adopted is “simply
absurd.” He is right, although he might say more. Its absurdity
is too apparent. It is as if, in abolishing the Inquisition, the
inquisitors had been continued under another name, and Torquemada had
received a fresh license for cruelty. It is as if King William, after
the overthrow of James the Second, had made the infamous Jeffreys
Lord Chancellor. Common sense and common justice cry out against the
outrage; and yet this is the Presidential “policy” now so passionately
commended to the American people.

A state, according to Aristotle, is a “copartnership,” and I
accept the term as especially applicable to our government. And now
the President, in the exercise of the One Man Power, decrees that
communities lately in rebellion shall be taken at once into our
“copartnership.” I object to the decree as dangerous to the Republic. I
am not against pardon, clemency, or magnanimity, except where they are
at the expense of good men. I trust that they will always be practised;
but I insist that recent rebels shall not be admitted, without proper
precautions, to the business of the firm. And I insist also that the
One Man Power shall not be employed to force them into the firm.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are two pivotal blunders. It is not easy to see how he has
fallen into these, so strong were his early professions the other way.
The powers of Congress he had distinctly admitted. Thus, as early as
24th July, 1865, he had sent to Sharkey, acting by his appointment
as Provisional Governor of Mississippi, this despatch: “It must,
however, be distinctly understood that the restoration to which your
proclamation refers _will be subject to the will of Congress_.” Nothing
could be more positive. And he was equally positive against the
restoration of Rebels to power. You do not forget, that, in accepting
his nomination as Vice-President, he rushed forward to declare that the
Rebel States must be remodelled, that confiscation must be enforced,
and that Rebels must be excluded from the work of Reconstruction.
His language was plain and unmistakable. Announcing that “government
must be fixed on the principles of _eternal justice_,” he declared,
that, “if the man who gave his influence and his means to destroy the
Government should be permitted to participate in the great work of
reorganization, then all the precious blood so freely poured out will
have been wantonly spilled, and all our victories go for nought.” True,
very true. Then, in words of surpassing energy, he cried out, that “the
great plantations must be seized and divided into small farms,” and
that “traitors should take a back seat in the work of restoration.”
Perhaps the true rule was never expressed with more homely and vital
force than in this last saying, often repeated in different forms, “For
Rebels, back seats.” Add that other saying, as often repeated, “Treason
must be made odious,” and you have two great principles of just
reconstruction, once proclaimed by the President, but now practically
disowned by him.

       *       *       *       *       *

You will ask how the President fell. This is hard to say, certainly,
without much plainness of speech. Mr. Seward openly confesses that
he counselled the present fatal “policy.” Unquestionably the Blairs,
father and son, did the same. So also, I doubt not, did Mr. Preston
King. It is easy to see that Mr. Seward was not a wise counsellor.
This is not his first costly blunder. In formal despatches he early
announced that “the rights of the States, and the condition of every
human being in them, will remain subject to exactly the same laws
and forms of administration, whether the revolution shall succeed or
whether it shall fail.”[65] And now he labors for the fulfilment of
his own prophecy. Obviously, from the beginning, he has failed to
comprehend the Rebellion, while in nature he is abnormal and eccentric,
jumping like the knight on the chess-board, rather than moving on
straight lines. Undoubtedly the influence of such a man over the
President has not been good. But the President himself is his own worst
counsellor, as he is his own worst defender. He does not open his mouth
without furnishing evidence against himself.

The brave words with which he accepted his nomination as Vice-President
resounded through the country. He was elected. Then followed two
scenes, each of which filled the people with despair. The first was
of the new Vice-President taking the oath of office--in the presence
of the foreign ministers, the judges of the Supreme Court, and the
Senate--while in such a condition that his attempted speech became
trivial and incoherent, and he did not know the name of the Secretary
of the Navy, who is now the devoted supporter of his policy, as he has
been his recent travelling companion. One month and one week thereafter
President Lincoln was assassinated. The people, wrapt in affliction
at the great tragedy, trembled as they beheld a drunken man ascend
the heights of power. But they were generous and forgiving,--almost
forgetful. He was our President, and hands were outstretched to
welcome and sustain him. His early utterances as President, although
commonplace, loose, and wordy, gave assurance that the Rebellion and
its authors would find little favor. Treason was to be made odious.

       *       *       *       *       *

At this time my own personal relations with him commenced. I had known
him slightly while he was in the Senate; but I lost no time in seeing
him after he became President. He received me kindly. I hope that I
shall not err, if I allude briefly to what passed between us. You are
my constituents, and I wish you to know the Presidential mood at that
time, and also what your representative attempted.

Being in Washington during the first month of the new Administration,
destined to fill such an unhappy place in history, I saw the President
frequently, at the private house he then occupied, or at his office
in the Treasury. He had not yet taken possession of the Executive
Mansion. The constant topic was “Reconstruction,” which was considered
in every variety of aspect. More than once I ventured to press the
duty and renown of carrying out the principles of the Declaration of
Independence, and of founding the new governments on the consent of
the governed, without distinction of color. To this earnest appeal he
replied, as I sat with him alone, in words which I can never forget:
“On this question, Mr. Sumner, there is no difference between us; you
and I are alike.” Need I say that I was touched to the heart by this
annunciation, which seemed to promise a victory without a battle?
Accustomed to controversy, I saw clearly, that, if the President
declared himself for the Equal Rights of All, the good cause must
prevail without controversy. Expressing to him my joy and gratitude,
I remarked that there should be no division in the great Union
party,--that no line should be run through it, on one side of which
would be gentlemen calling themselves “the President’s friends,” but
we should be kept all together as one seamless garment. To this he
promptly replied, “I mean to keep you all together.” Nothing could
be better. We were to be kept all together on the principle of Equal
Rights. As I walked away, that evening, the battle of my life seemed
ended, while the Republic rose before me, refulgent in the blaze of
assured freedom, an example to the nations.

On another occasion, during the same period, the case of Tennessee was
discussed. I expressed the earnest hope that the President would use
his influence directly for the establishment of impartial suffrage in
that State, saying that in this way Tennessee would be put at the head
of the returning column and be made an example,--in one word, that all
the other States would be obliged to dress on Tennessee. The President
replied, that, if he were at Nashville, he would see this accomplished.
I could not help rejoining, that he need not be at Nashville, for
at Washington his hand was on the long end of the lever with which
he could easily move all Tennessee,--referring, of course, to the
powerful, but legitimate, influence the President might exercise in his
own State by the expression of his desires. Let me confess that his
hesitation disturbed me; but I attributed it to unnecessary caution,
rather than to infidelity. He had been so positive with me, how could I
suspect him?

At other times the conversation was renewed. Such was my interest in
the question, that I could not see the President without introducing
it. As I was about to return home, I said that I desired, even at the
risk of repetition, to make some parting suggestions on the constant
topic, and that, with his permission, I would proceed point by
point, as was the habit of the pulpit in former days. He smiled, and
observed pleasantly, “Have I not always listened to you?” I replied,
“You have; and I am grateful.” After remarking that the Rebel region
was still in military occupation, and that it was the plain duty of
the President to use his temporary power for the establishment of
correct principles, I proceeded to say: “First, see to it that no
newspaper is allowed which is not thoroughly loyal, and does not
speak well of the National Government and of Equal Rights”; and here
I reminded him of the saying of the Duke of Wellington, that in a
place under martial law an unlicensed press is as impossible as on
the deck of a ship of war. “Secondly, let the officers that you send,
as military governors or otherwise, be known for devotion to Equal
Rights, so that their names alone will be a proclamation, while their
simple presence will help educate the people”; and here I mentioned
Major-General Carl Schurz, who still held his commission in the army,
as such a person. “Thirdly, encourage the population to resume the
profitable labors of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures without
delay,--but for the present to avoid politics. Fourthly, keep the whole
region under these good influences, and at the proper moment hand
over the subject of Reconstruction, with the great question of Equal
Rights, to the judgment of Congress, where it belongs.” All this the
President received with perfect kindness, and I mention this with the
more readiness because I remember to have seen in the papers a very
different statement.

Only a short time afterwards there was a change, which seemed
like a somersault or an apostasy; and then ensued a strange sight.
Instead of faithful Unionists, recent Rebels thronged the Presidential
antechambers, rejoicing in new-found favor. They made speeches at
the President, and he made speeches at them. A mutual sympathy was
manifest. On one occasion the President announced himself a “Southern
man” with “Southern sympathies,” thus quickening that sectional flame
which good men hoped to see quenched forever. Alas! if, after all our
terrible sacrifices, we are still to have a President who does not know
how to spurn every sectional appeal and make himself representative
of all! Unhappily, whatever the President said or did was sectional.
He showed himself constantly a sectionalist. Instead of telling the
ex-Rebels who thronged the Presidential antechambers, as he should
have done, that he was their friend, that he wished them well from
the bottom of his heart, that he longed to see their fields yield an
increase, with peace in all their borders, and that, to this end, he
counselled them to pursue agriculture, commerce, and manufactures,
and for the present to say nothing about politics,--instead of this,
he sent them away talking and thinking of nothing but politics, and
frantic for the reëstablishment of a sectional power. Instead of
designating officers of the army as military governors, which I had
supposed he would do, he appointed ex-Rebels, who could not take
the oath required by Congress of all officers of the United States,
and they in turn appointed ex-Rebels to office under them; so that
participation in the Rebellion found reward, and treason, instead of
being made odious, became the passport to power. Everywhere ex-Rebels
came out of hiding-places. They walked the streets defiantly, and
asserted their old domination. Under auspices of the President, a new
campaign was planned against the Republic, and they who failed in open
war now sought to enter the very citadel of political power. Victory,
purchased by so much loyal blood and treasure, was little better than
a cipher. Slavery itself revived in the spirit of Caste. Faithful men
who had been trampled down by the Rebellion were trampled down still
more by these Presidential governments. For the Unionist there was
no liberty of the press or liberty of speech, and the lawlessness of
Slavery began to rage anew.

Every day brought tidings that the Rebellion was reappearing in its
essential essence. Amidst all professions of submission, there was
immitigable hate to the National Government, and prevailing injustice
to the freedman. This was last autumn. I was then in Boston. Moved by
desire to arrest this fatal tendency, I appealed by letter to members
of the Cabinet, entreating them to stand firm against a “policy” which
promised nothing but disaster. As soon as the elections were over, I
appealed directly to the President himself, by a telegraphic despatch,
as follows:--

                                        “BOSTON, November 12, 1865.


    “As a faithful friend and supporter of your administration,
    I most respectfully petition you to suspend for the present
    your policy towards the Rebel States. I should not present
    this prayer, if I were not painfully convinced that thus
    far it has failed to obtain any reasonable guaranties for
    that security in the future which is essential to peace and
    reconciliation. To my mind, it abandons the freedmen to the
    control of their ancient masters, and leaves the national debt
    exposed to repudiation by returning Rebels. The Declaration of
    Independence asserts the equality of all men, and that rightful
    government can be founded only on the consent of the governed.
    I see small chance of peace, unless these great principles are
    practically established. Without this, the house will continue
    divided against itself.

        “_Senator of the United States_.”

Reaching Washington Saturday evening, immediately before the
opening of the last session of Congress, I lost no time in seeing
the President. I was with him that evening three hours. I found him
changed in temper and purpose. How unlike that President who, only a
few days after arrival at power, made me feel so happy in the assurance
of agreement on the great question! No longer sympathetic, or even
kindly, he was harsh, petulant, and unreasonable. Plainly, his heart
was with ex-Rebels. For the Unionist, white or black, who had borne
the burden of the day, he had little feeling. He would not see the bad
spirit of the Rebel States, and insisted that the outrages there were
insufficient to justify exclusion from Congress. The following dialogue

    THE PRESIDENT. Are there no murders in Massachusetts?

    MR. SUMNER. Unhappily, yes,--sometimes.

    THE PRESIDENT. Are there no assaults in Boston? Do not men
    there sometimes knock each other down, so that the police is
    obliged to interfere?

    MR. SUMNER. Unhappily, yes.

    THE PRESIDENT. Would you consent that Massachusetts, on this
    account, should be excluded from Congress?

    MR. SUMNER. No, Mr. President, I would not.

And here I stopped, without remarking on the entire irrelevancy of the
inquiry. I left the President that night with the painful conviction
that his whole soul was set as flint against the good cause, and that
by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln the Rebellion had vaulted into
the Presidential chair. Jefferson Davis was then in the casemates at
Fortress Monroe, but Andrew Johnson was doing his work.

    “Ah! what avails it, …
    If the gulled conqueror receives the chain,
    And flattery subdues, when arms are vain?”

From this time forward I was not in doubt as to his “policy,” which
asserted a condition of things in the Rebel region inconsistent
with the terrible truth. It was, therefore, natural that I should
characterize one of his messages, covering over the enormities there,
as “whitewashing.” This mild term was thought by some too strong.
Subsequent events have shown that it was too weak. The whole Rebel
region is little better than a “whited sepulchre.” It is that saddest
of all sepulchres, the sepulchre of Human Rights. The dead men’s
bones are the remains of faithful Union soldiers, dead on innumerable
fields, or stifled in the pens of Andersonville and Belle Isle,--also
of constant Unionists, white and black, whom we are sacredly bound
to protect, now murdered on highways and by-ways, or slaughtered at
Memphis and New Orleans. The uncleanness is injustice, wrong, and
outrage, having a loathsome stench; and the President is engaged in
“whiting” over these things, so that they shall not be seen by the
American people. To do this, he garbles a despatch of Sheridan, and
abuses the hospitality of the country by a travelling speech, where
every word, not foolish, vulgar, and vindictive, is a vain attempt at

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile the Presidential madness is more than ever manifest. It has
shown itself in frantic effort to defeat the Constitutional Amendment
proposed by Congress for adoption by the people. By this Amendment
certain safeguards are established. Citizenship is defined, and
protection is assured at least in what are called civil rights. The
basis of representation is fixed on the number of voters, so that,
if colored citizens are not allowed to vote, they will not by their
numbers contribute to representative power, and one voter in South
Carolina will not be able to neutralize two voters in Massachusetts or
Illinois. Ex-Rebels who had taken an oath to support the Constitution
are excluded from office, National or State. The National debt is
guarantied, while the Rebel debt and all claim for slaves are annulled.
All these essential safeguards are rudely rejected by the President.

The madness that would set aside provisions so essentially just,
whose only error is inadequacy, has broken forth naturally in brutal
utterance, where he has charged persons by name with seeking his life,
and has stimulated a mob against them. It is difficult to surpass the
criminality of this act. The violence of the President has provoked
violence. His words were dragon’s teeth, which have sprung up armed
men. Witness Memphis; witness New Orleans. Who can doubt that the
President is author of these tragedies? Charles the Ninth of France
was not more completely author of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew
than Andrew Johnson is author of the recent massacres now crying out
for judgment. History records that the guilty king was pursued in the
silence of night by the imploring voices of murdered men, mingled with
curses and imprecations, while ghosts stalked through his chamber,
until he sweated blood from every pore; and when he came to die, his
soul, wrung with the tortures of remorse, stammered out, “Ah, nurse,
my good nurse! what blood! what murders! Oh, what bad counsels I
followed! Lord God, pardon me! have mercy on me!” Like causes produce
like effects. The blood at Memphis and New Orleans must cry out until
heard, and a guilty President may suffer the retribution which followed
a guilty king.

The evil he has done already is on such a scale that it is impossible
to measure it, unless as you measure an arc of the globe. I doubt
if in all history there is any ruler who in the same brief space of
time has done so much. There have been kings and emperors, proconsuls
and satraps, who have exercised tyrannical power; but facilities of
communication now lend swiftness and extension to all evil influences,
so that the President is able to do in a year what in other days would
have taken a life. Nor is the evil confined to any narrow spot. It is
coextensive with the Republic. Next to Jefferson Davis stands Andrew
Johnson as its worst enemy. The whole country has suffered; but the
Rebel region has suffered most. He should have sent peace; instead, he
sent a sword. Behold the consequences!

In support of a cruel “policy” he has not hesitated to use his
enormous patronage. President Lincoln said, familiarly, that, as
the people had continued him in office, he supposed they meant that
others should be continued also; and he refused to make removals. But
President Johnson announces “rotation in office”; and then, warming in
anger against all failing to sustain his “policy,” he roars that he
will “kick them out.” Men appointed by the martyred Lincoln are to be
“kicked out” by the successor, while he pretends to sustain the policy
of the martyr. The language of the President is most suggestive. He
“kicks” the friends of his well-loved predecessor; and he also “kicks”
the careful counsel of that well-loved predecessor, that we must “build
up from the sound materials.”

That I may give practical direction to these remarks, let me tell
you plainly what must be done. In the first place, Congress must be
sustained in its conflict with the One Man Power; and, in the second
place, ex-Rebels must not be hurried back to power. Bearing in mind
these two things, the way is easy. Of course, the Constitutional
Amendment must be adopted. As far as it goes, it is well; but it does
not go far enough. More is necessary. Impartial suffrage must be
established. A homestead must be secured to every freedman, if in no
other way, through the pardoning power. If to these is added education,
there will be a new order of things, with liberty of the press, liberty
of speech, and liberty of travel, so that Wendell Phillips may speak
freely in Charleston or Mobile. There is an old English play under
the name of “The Four P’s.” Our present desires may be symbolized by
four E’s,--standing for Emancipation, Enfranchisement, Equality, and
Education. Securing these, all else will follow.

I can never cease to regret that Congress hesitated by proper
legislation to assume temporary jurisdiction over the whole Rebel
region. To my mind the power was ample and unquestionable, whether
in the exercise of belligerent rights or in the exercise of rights
directly from the Constitution itself. In this way everything needful
might have been accomplished. Through this just jurisdiction the Rebel
communities might have been fashioned anew, and shaped to loyalty
and virtue. The President lost a great opportunity at the beginning.
Congress has lost another. But it is not too late. If indisposed to
assume this jurisdiction by an Enabling Act constituting provisional
governments, there are many things Congress may do, acting indirectly
or directly. Acting indirectly, it may insist that Emancipation,
Enfranchisement, Equality, and Education shall be established as
conditions precedent to the recognition of any State whose institutions
have been overthrown by rebellion.[66] Acting directly, it may, by
Constitutional Amendment, or by simple legislation, fix all these

       *       *       *       *       *

You are aware that from the beginning I have insisted upon Impartial
Suffrage as the only certain guaranty of security and reconciliation.
I renew this persistence, and mean to hold on to the end. Every
argument, every principle, every sentiment is in its favor. But there
is one reason which at this moment I place above all others: it is _the
necessity of the case_. You require the votes of colored persons in
the Rebel States to sustain the Union itself. Without their votes you
cannot build securely for the future. Their ballots will be needed in
time to come much more than their muskets were needed in time past. For
the sake of the white Unionists, and for their protection,--for the
sake of the Republic itself, whose peace is imperilled, I appeal for
justice to the colored race. Give the ballot to the colored citizen,
and he will be not only assured in his own rights, but the timely
defender of yours. By a singular Providence your security is linked
inseparably with the recognition of his rights. Deny him, if you will:
it is at your peril.

But it is said, Leave this question to the States; and State rights
are pleaded against the power of Congress. This has been the cry: at
the beginning, to prevent effort against the Rebellion; and now, at the
end, to prevent effort against a revival of the Rebellion. Whichsoever
way we turn, we encounter the cry. But yielding now, you will commit
the very error of President Buchanan, when at the beginning he declared
that we could not “coerce” a State. Nobody now doubts that a State in
rebellion may be “coerced”; and to my mind it is equally clear that a
State just emerging from rebellion may be “coerced” to the condition
required by the public peace.

There are powers of Congress, not derived from the Rebellion, which are
adequate to this exigency; and now is the time to exercise them, and
thus complete the work. It was the Nation that decreed Emancipation,
and the Nation must see to it, by every obligation of honor and
justice, that Emancipation is secured. It is not enough that Slavery is
abolished in name. The Baltimore platform, on which President Johnson
was elected, requires the “utter and complete _extirpation_ of Slavery
from the soil of the Republic”; but this can be accomplished only by
the eradication of every inequality and caste, so that all shall be
equal before the law.

Be taught by Russia. The Emperor there did not content himself
with naked Emancipation. He followed this glorious act with minute
provisions for rights of all kinds,--as, to hold property, to sue
and testify in court, _to vote_, and _to enjoy the advantages of
education_. All this by the same power which decreed Emancipation.

Be taught also by England, speaking by her most illustrious statesmen,
who solemnly warn against trusting to any local authorities for justice
to the colored race. I begin with Burke, who saw all questions with the
intuitions of the statesman, and expressed himself with the eloquence
of the orator. Here are his words, uttered in 1792:--

    “I have seen what has been done by the West Indian Assemblies
    [in reference to the improvement of the condition of the
    negro]. It is arrant trifling. They have done little; and
    what they have done is good for nothing,--_for it is totally
    destitute of an executory principle_.”[67]

Should we leave this question to the States, we, too, should find all
they did “arrant trifling,” and wanting “an executory principle.”

Edmund Burke was followed shortly afterwards by Canning, who, in 1799,

    “There is something in the nature of the relation between the
    despot and his slave which must vitiate and render nugatory and
    null whatever laws the former might make for the benefit of the
    latter,--which, however speciously these laws might be framed,
    however well adapted they might appear to the evils which they
    were intended to alleviate, must infallibly be marred and
    defeated in the execution.”[68]

Then again he says:--

    “Trust not the masters of slaves in what concerns legislation
    for slavery. However specious their laws may appear, depend
    upon it, they must be ineffectual in their application. It is
    in the nature of things that they should be so.… Their laws
    can never reach, will never cure the evil.… There is something
    in the nature of absolute authority, in the relation between
    master and slave, which makes despotism, in all cases and under
    all circumstances, an incompetent and unsure executor even of
    its own provisions in favor of the objects of its power.”[69]

The same testimony was repeated at a later day by Brougham, who, in one
of his most remarkable speeches, while protesting against leaving to
the colonies legislation for the freedmen, said,--

    “I entirely concur in the observations of Mr. Burke, repeated
    and more happily expressed by Mr. Canning: that the masters of
    slaves are not to be trusted with making laws upon slavery;
    that nothing they do is ever found effectual; and that, if, by
    some miracle, they ever chance to enact a wholesome regulation,
    it is always found to want what Mr. Burke calls _the executory
    principle_,--it fails to execute itself.”[70]

Such is the concurring authority of three statesmen orators, whose
eloquent voices unite to warn against trusting the freedmen to their
old masters.

Reason is in harmony with this authoritative testimony. It is not
natural to suppose that people who have claimed property in their
brethren, God’s children,--who have indulged that “wild and guilty
fantasy that man can hold property in man,”--will become at once the
kind and just legislators of freedmen. It is unnatural to expect it.
Even if they have made up their minds to Emancipation, they are, from
inveterate habit and prejudice, incapable of justice to the colored
race. There is the President himself, who once charmed the country and
the age by announcing himself the “Moses” of their redemption; and
yet he now exerts all his mighty power against the establishment of
safeguards without which there can be no true redemption. In present
discussion, the old proslavery spirit that was in him, with hostility
to principles and to men, comes out anew,--as, on the application of
heat, the old tunes frozen up in the bugle of Baron Munchausen were
set a-going and broke forth freshly. People do not change suddenly or
completely. The old devils are not all cast out at once. Even the best
of converts sometimes backslide. From so grave a writer as Southey, in
his History of Brazil, we learn that a woman accustomed to consider
human flesh an exquisite dainty was converted to Christianity in
extreme old age. The faithful missionary strove at once to minister to
her wants, and asked if there was any particular food she could take,
suggesting various delicacies; to all which the venerable convert
replied: “My stomach goes against everything. There is but one thing
which I think I could touch. If I had the little hand of a little
tender Tapuya boy, I think I could pick the little bones. But, woe is
me! there is nobody to go out and shoot one for me!”[71] In similar
spirit our Presidential convert now yearns for a taste of those odious
pretensions which were a part of Slavery.

Now, when a person thus situated, with great responsibilities to his
country and to history, bound by public professions and by political
associations, who has declared himself against Slavery, and has every
motive for perseverance to the end,--when such a person openly seeks to
preserve its odious pretensions, are we not admonished again how unsafe
it must be to trust old masters, under no responsibility and no pledge,
with the power of legislating for freedmen? I protest against it.

I claim this power for the Nation. If it be said that the power
has never been employed, then I say that the time has come for its
employment. I claim it on at least three several grounds.

1. There is the Constitutional Amendment, already adopted by the
people, which invests Congress with plenary powers to secure the
abolition of Slavery,--ay, its “extirpation,” according to the promise
of the Baltimore platform,--including the right to sue and testify in
court, and the right also to vote. The distinction attempted between
what are called _civil_ rights and _political_ rights is a modern
invention. These two words in their origin have the same meaning.
One is derived from the Latin, and the other from the Greek. Each
signifies what pertains to a _city_ or _citizen_. Besides, if the
elective franchise seem “appropriate” to assure the “extirpation” of
Slavery, Congress has the same power to secure this right that it has
to secure the right to sue and testify in courts, which it has already
done. Every argument, every reason, every consideration, by which you
assert the power for the protection of colored persons in what are
called _civil_ rights, is equally strong for their protection in what
are called _political_ rights. In each case you legislate to the same
end,--that the freedman may be maintained in the liberty so tardily
accorded; and the legislation is just as “appropriate” in one case as
in the other.

2. There is also that distinct clause of the Constitution requiring
the United States to “guaranty to every State in this Union _a
republican form of government_.” Here is a source of power as yet
unused. The time has come for its use. Let it be declared that a State
which disfranchises any portion of its citizens by a discrimination
in its nature insurmountable, as in the case of color, cannot be
considered a republican government. The principle is obvious, and its
practical adoption would ennoble the country and give to mankind a new
definition of republican government.

3. Another reason with me is peremptory. There is no discrimination
of color in the allegiance you require. Colored citizens, like white
citizens, owe allegiance to the United States; therefore they may claim
protection as an equivalent. In other words, allegiance and protection
must be reciprocal. As you claim allegiance of colored citizens, you
must accord protection. One is the consideration of the other. And this
protection must be in all the rights of citizens, civil and political.
Thus again do I bring home to the National Government this solemn duty.
If this has not been performed in times past, it was on account of
the tyrannical influence of Slavery, which perverted our Government.
But, thank God! that influence is overthrown. Vain are the victories
of the war, if this influence continues to tyrannize. Formerly the
Constitution was interpreted always for Slavery. I insist, that, from
this time forward, it shall be interpreted always for Freedom. This is
the great victory of the war,--or rather, it is the crowning result of
all the victories.

One of the most important battles in the world’s history was that of
Tours, in France, where the Mahometans, who had come up from Spain,
contended with the Christians under Charles the Hammer. On this
historic battle Gibbon remarks, that, had the result been different,
“perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the
schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised
people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.”[72]
Thus was Christianity saved; and thus by our victories has Liberty
been saved. Had the Rebels prevailed, Slavery would have had voices
everywhere, even in the Constitution itself. But it is Liberty now
that must have voices everywhere, and the greatest voice of all in the
National Constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof.

In this cause I cannot be frightened by words. There is a cry against
“Centralization,” “Consolidation,” “Imperialism,”--all of which are
bad enough, when dedicated to any purpose of tyranny. As the House
of Representatives is renewed every two years, it is inconceivable
that such a body, fresh from the people and promptly returning to the
people, can become a Tyranny, especially when seeking safeguards for
Human Rights. A government inspired by Liberty is as wide apart from
Tyranny as Heaven from Hell. There can be no danger in Liberty assured
by central authority; nor can there be danger in any powers to uphold
Liberty. Such a centralization, such a consolidation,--ay, Sir, such an
imperialism,--would be to the whole country a well-spring of security,
prosperity, and renown. As well find danger in the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution itself, which speak with central
power; as well find danger in those central laws which govern the moral
and material world, binding men together in society and keeping the
planets wheeling in their orbits.

Often during recent trials the cause of our country has assumed
three different forms, each essential in itself and yet together
constituting a unit, like the shamrock, or white clover, with triple
leaf, originally used to illustrate the Trinity. It was Three in
One. These three different forms were: first, the national forces;
secondly, the national finances; and, thirdly, the ideas entering
into the controversy. The national forces and the national finances
have prevailed. The ideas are still in question, and even now you
debate with regard to the great rights of citizenship. Nobody doubts
that the army and navy fall plainly within the jurisdiction of the
National Government, and that the finances fall plainly within
this jurisdiction; but the rights of citizenship are as thoroughly
national as army and navy or finances. You cannot without peril cease
to regulate the army and navy, nor without peril cease to regulate
the finances; but there is equal peril in abandoning the rights of
citizens, who, wherever they may be, in whatever State, are entitled
to protection from the Nation. An American citizen in a foreign land
enjoys the protecting hand of the National Government. That protecting
hand should be his not less at home than abroad.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fellow-citizens, allow me to gather the whole case into brief
compass. The President, wielding the One Man Power, has assumed a
prerogative over Congress utterly unjustifiable, while he has dictated
a fatal “policy” of Reconstruction, which gives sway to Rebels, puts
off the blessed day of security and reconciliation, and leaves the best
interests of the Republic in jeopardy. Treacherous to party, false to
the great cause, and unworthy of himself, he has set his individual
will against the people of the United States in Congress assembled.
Forgetful of truth and decency, he has assailed members as “assassins,”
and has denounced Congress itself as a revolutionary body, “called or
assuming to be the Congress of the United States,” and “hanging upon
the verge of the Government,”[73]--as if this most enlightened and
patriot Congress did not contain the embodied will of the American
people. To you, each and all, I appeal to arrest this madness. Your
votes will be the first step. The President must be taught that
usurpation and apostasy cannot prevail. He who promised to be Moses,
and has become Pharaoh, must be overthrown. And may the Egyptians
that follow him share the same fate, so that it shall be said now as
aforetime, “And the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the


W. FIELD, NOVEMBER 14, 1866.

    On the 15th November, a banquet was given to Cyrus W. Field,
    at New York, to exchange congratulations on the happy result
    of his efforts in uniting by telegraph the Old and New World.
    Many distinguished guests were present. There were also
    communications from President Johnson, Chief Justice Chase,
    Secretary Seward, Secretary Welles, General Grant, Admiral
    Porter, Sir Frederick Bruce, the British Minister, Lord Moncke,
    Governor-General of Canada, and many others. Mr. Sumner wrote:--

                                         BOSTON, November 14, 1866.

  GENTLEMEN,--I regret much that it is not in my power to unite
  with you in tribute to Mr. Field, according to the invitation
  with which you have honored me.

  There are events which can never be forgotten in the history of
  Civilization. Conspicuous among these was the discovery of the
  New World by Christopher Columbus. And now a kindred event is
  added to the list: the two worlds are linked together.

  In this work Mr. Field has been pioneer and discoverer. As such
  his name will be remembered with that gratitude which is bestowed
  upon the world’s benefactors. Already his fame has begun.

      Accept my thanks, and believe me, Gentlemen,
      faithfully yours,





                                                  December 2, 1866.

  DEAR SIR,--I am glad that our colored fellow-citizens are about
  to assemble in convention to consider how best to promote their
  welfare, and to secure those equal rights to which they are
  justly entitled.

  You seek nothing less than a revolution. But you will succeed.
  The revolution must prevail. What are called civil rights have
  been accorded already; but every argument for these is equally
  important for political rights, which cannot be denied without
  the grossest wrong. Let the colored citizens persevere. Let them
  calmly, but constantly, insist upon those equal rights which are
  the promise of our institutions. They should appeal to Congress,
  and they should also appeal to the courts.

  I cannot doubt the power and duty of Congress and of the courts
  to set aside every inequality founded on color. It will be the
  wonder of posterity that a constitution absolutely free from all
  discrimination of color was so perverted in its construction as
  to sanction this discrimination,--as if such a wrong could be
  derived from a text which contains no single word even to suggest
  it. The fountain-head is pure: the waters which flow from it must
  be equally pure.

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






    Resolutions declaring the true principles of Reconstruction,
    the jurisdiction of Congress over the whole subject, the
    illegality of existing governments in the Rebel States, and the
    exclusion of such States, with such illegal governments, from
    representation in Congress, and from voting on Constitutional

_RESOLVED_, (1.) That in the work of Reconstruction it is important
that no false step should be taken, interposing obstacle or delay,
but that, by careful provisions, we should make haste to complete the
work, so that the unity of the Republic shall be secured on permanent
foundations, and fraternal relations once more established among all
the people thereof.

2. That this end can be accomplished only by following the guiding
principles of our institutions as declared by our fathers when the
Republic was formed, and that neglect or forgetfulness of these guiding
principles must postpone the establishment of union, justice, domestic
tranquillity, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty, which,
being the declared objects of the National Constitution, must therefore
be the essential aim of Reconstruction itself.

3. That Reconstruction must be conducted by Congress, and under its
constant supervision; that under the National Constitution Congress
is solemnly bound to assume this responsibility; and that, in the
performance of this duty, it must see that everywhere throughout the
Rebel communities loyalty is protected and advanced, while the new
governments are fashioned according to the requirements of a Christian
commonwealth, so that order, tranquillity, education, and human rights
shall prevail within their borders.

4. That, in determining what is a republican form of government,
Congress must follow implicitly the definition supplied by the
Declaration of Independence; and, in the practical application of this
definition, it must, after excluding all disloyal persons, take care
that new governments are founded on the two fundamental truths therein
contained: first, that all men are equal in rights; and, secondly, that
all just government stands only on the consent of the governed.

5. That all proceedings with a view to Reconstruction originating in
Executive power are in the nature of usurpation; that this usurpation
becomes especially offensive, when it sets aside the fundamental truths
of our institutions; that it is shocking to common sense, when it
undertakes to derive new governments from a hostile population just
engaged in armed rebellion; and that all governments having such origin
are necessarily illegal and void.

6. That it is the duty of Congress to proceed with Reconstruction;
and to this end it must assume jurisdiction of the States lately
in rebellion, except so far as that jurisdiction has been already
renounced, and it must recognize only the Loyal States, or States
having legal and valid legislatures, as entitled to representation in
Congress, or to a voice in the adoption of Constitutional Amendments.

    These resolutions were read and ordered to be printed. Mr.
    Sumner, after remarking that he saw “no chance for peace in
    the Rebel States until Congress does its duty by assuming
    jurisdiction over that whole region,” proposed to read a letter
    he had just received from Texas.

        MR. MCDOUGALL [of California]. Allow me to ask the Senator
        to read the signature. Let the name of the writer be given.

        MR. SUMNER. I shall not read the signature----

        MR. MCDOUGALL. Ah! ha!

        MR. SUMNER. And for a very good reason,--that I could not
        read the signature without exposing the writer to violence,
        if not to death.

        MR. DAVIS [of Kentucky]. Mr. President, I rise to a
        question of order. I ask if the reading of the letter by
        the Senator from Massachusetts is in order.

        THE PRESIDENT _pro tempore_. In the opinion of the Chair, a
        Senator, in making a speech to the Senate, has a right to
        read from a letter in his possession, if he deems proper.

        MR. DAVIS. I ask whether it is in order for the Senator
        from Massachusetts to make a speech at this time.

        THE PRESIDENT _pro tempore_. The Chair sees nothing
        disorderly in it.

    Mr. Sumner then read the letter, and remarked:--

I should not read this letter, if I were not entirely satisfied of
the character and intelligence of the writer. It is in the nature of
testimony which the Senate cannot disregard. It points the way to duty.
We must, Sir, follow the suggestions of this patriot Unionist, and
erase the governments under which these outrages are perpetrated. The
writer calls them “sham governments.” They are governments having no
element of vitality. They are disloyal in origin, and they share the
character of the Rebellion itself. We must go forth to meet them, and
the spirit in which they have been organized, precisely as in years
past we went forth to meet the Rebellion. The Rebellion, Sir, has
assumed another form. Our conflict is no longer on the field of battle,
but here in this Chamber, and in the Chamber at the other end of the
Capitol. Our strife is civic, but it should be none the less strenuous.



    December 10th, the Suffrage Bill for the District of Columbia,
    considered in the former session of Congress,[74] was again
    taken up for consideration, when Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania,
    moved to amend it by striking out the word “male,” so that
    there should be no limitation of sex. December 12th, after
    debate, this motion was rejected,--Yeas 9, Nays 37. The
    Senators voting in the affirmative were Mr. Anthony, of
    Rhode Island, Mr. Gratz Brown, of Missouri, Mr. Buckalew,
    of Pennsylvania, Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Foster,
    of Connecticut, Mr. Nesmith, of Oregon, Mr. Patterson, of
    Tennessee, Mr. Riddle, of Delaware, and Mr. Wade, of Ohio.

    The following amendment was then moved by Mr. Dixon, of

        “_Provided_, That no person who has not heretofore voted in
        this District shall be permitted to vote, unless he shall
        be able, at the time of offering to vote, to read, and also
        to write his own name.”

    December 13th, at this stage of the debate, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I have already voted against the motion to strike
out the word “male,” and I shall vote against the pending proposition
to fix an educational test. In each case I am governed by the same

In voting against striking out the word “male,” I did not intend to
express any opinion on the question, which has at last found its
way into the Senate Chamber, whether women shall be invested with
the elective franchise. That question I leave untouched, contenting
myself with the remark, that it is obviously the great question of the
future,--at least one of the great questions,--which will be easily
settled, whenever the women in any considerable proportion insist that
it shall be settled. And so, in voting against an educational test, I
do not mean to say that under other circumstances such test may not be
proper. But I am against it now.

The present bill is for the benefit of the colored race in the District
of Columbia. It completes Emancipation by Enfranchisement. It entitles
all to vote without distinction of color. The courts and the rail-cars
of the District, even the galleries of Congress, have been opened.
The ballot-box must be opened also. Such is my sense not only of
the importance, but of the necessity of this measure, so essential
does it appear to me for the establishment of peace, security, and
reconciliation, which I so earnestly covet, that I am unwilling to see
it clogged, burdened, or embarrassed by anything else. I wish to vote
on it alone. Therefore, whatever the merits of other questions, I have
no difficulty in putting them aside until this is settled.

The bill for Impartial Suffrage in the District of Columbia concerns
directly some twenty thousand colored persons, whom it will lift to
the adamantine platform of Equal Rights. If regarded simply in its
influence on the District, it would be difficult to exaggerate its
value; but when regarded as an example to the whole country, under the
sanction of Congress, its value is infinite. In the latter character it
becomes a pillar of fire to illumine the footsteps of millions. What we
do here will be done in the disorganized States. Therefore we must be
careful that what we do here is best for the disorganized States.

If the bill could be confined in influence to the District, I should
have little objection to an educational test as an experiment. But
it cannot be limited to any narrow sphere. Practically, it takes the
whole country into its horizon. We must, therefore, act for the whole
country. This is the exigency of the present moment.

Now to my mind nothing is clearer than the present necessity of
suffrage for all colored persons in the disorganized States. It
will not be enough, if you give it to those who read and write; you
will not in this way acquire the voting force needed there for the
protection of Unionists, whether white or black. You will not secure
the new allies essential to the national cause. As you once needed the
muskets of blacks, so now you need their votes,--and to such extent
that you can act with little reference to theory. You are bound by
the necessity of the case. Therefore, when asked to open suffrage
to women, or when asked to establish an educational standard for
our colored fellow-citizens, I cannot, on the present bill, simply
because the controlling necessity under which we act will not allow
it. By a singular Providence, we are constrained to this measure of
Enfranchisement for the sake of peace, security, and reconciliation,
so that loyal persons, white or black, may be protected, and that the
Republic may live. Here, in the national capital, we begin the real
work of Reconstruction, by which the Union will be consolidated forever.

    The amendment of Mr. Dixon was rejected,--Yeas 11, Nays 34.
    The Senators voting in the affirmative were Mr. Anthony, Mr.
    Buckalew, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Doolittle, Mr. Fogg, Mr. Foster, Mr.
    Hendricks, Mr. Nesmith, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Riddle, and Mr.

    The bill then passed the Senate,--Yeas 32, Nays 13. On the
    next day it passed the other House, and, being vetoed by
    President Johnson, it passed both Houses by a two-thirds vote,
    so that it became a law.[75]



    January 3d, in the Senate, Mr. Sumner introduced the following

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on the Judiciary be
        directed to consider if any further legislation is needed
        to prevent the enslavement of Indians in New Mexico or
        any system of peonage there, and especially to prohibit
        the employment of the army of the United States in the
        surrender of persons claimed as peons.”

    Mr. Sumner then called attention to facts showing the necessity
    of action. He said:--

I think you will be astonished, when you learn that the evidence is
complete, showing in a Territory of the United States the existence
of slavery which a proclamation of the President has down to this day
been powerless to root out. During the life of President Lincoln, I
more than once appealed to him, as head of the Executive, to expel this
evil from New Mexico. The result was a proclamation, and also definite
orders from the War Department; but, in the face of proclamation and
definite orders, the abuse has continued, and, according to official
evidence, it seems to have increased.

    Mr. Sumner here read from the Report of the Commissioner on
    Indian Affairs, also from the Report of a Special Agent,
    containing the correspondence of army officers, including an
    order from the Assistant Inspector General in New Mexico to aid
    in the rendition of fugitive peons to their masters, and then

The special Indian agent who reports this correspondence very aptly

    “The aid of Congress is invoked to stop the practice.”

I hope the Department of War will communicate directly with General
Carleton, under whose sanction this order has been made, and I hope
that our Committee on the Judiciary will consider carefully if
further legislation is not needed to meet this case. A Presidential
proclamation has failed; orders of the War Department have failed; the
abuse continues, and we have a very learned officer in the army of the
United States undertaking to vindicate it.

    The reference was changed to the Committee on Military Affairs,
    and the resolution was adopted. Subsequently, Mr. Wilson, of
    Massachusetts, Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs,
    reported a bill to abolish and forever prohibit the system of
    peonage in the Territory of New Mexico and other parts of the
    United States, which became a law.[76]



    January 3, 1867, in the Senate, Mr. Sumner introduced the
    following resolution:--

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on the Judiciary be
        directed to consider if any action of Congress be needed,
        either in the way of legislation or of a supplementary
        Amendment to the Constitution, to prevent the sale of
        persons into slavery for a specified term by virtue of a
        decree of court.”

    In its consideration, he called attention to cases like the

        “PUBLIC SALE. The undersigned will sell at the court-house
        door, in the city of Annapolis, at twelve o’clock, M., on
        Saturday, 8th December, 1866, a negro man named Richard
        Harris, for six months, convicted at the October term,
        1866, of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, for
        larceny, and sentenced by the Court to be sold as a slave.

        “Terms of sale, cash.

        “WM. BRYAN,
        “_Sheriff Anne Arundel County_.

        “December 3, 1866.”

    He then remarked:--

It seems to me, Sir, that these cases throw upon Congress the duty
at least of inquiry; and I wish the Committee on the Judiciary, from
which proceeded the Constitutional Amendment abolishing Slavery, would
enlighten us on the validity of these proceedings, and the necessity
or expediency of further action to prevent their repetition. I do not
know that the Civil Rights Bill, which was afterward passed, may not be
adequate to meet these cases; but I am not clear on that point.

When the Constitutional Amendment was under consideration, I objected
positively to the phraseology. I thought it an unhappy deference to an
original legislative precedent at an earlier period of our history. I
regretted infinitely that Congress was willing, even indirectly, to
sanction any form of slavery. But the Senate supposed that the phrase
“involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof
the party shall have been duly convicted,” was simply applicable to
ordinary imprisonment. At the time I feared that it might be extended
so as to cover some form of slavery. It seems now that it is so
extended, and I wish the Committee to consider whether the remedy can
be applied by Act of Congress, or whether we must not go further and
expurgate that phraseology from the text of the Constitution itself.

    After remarks by Mr. Reverdy Johnson and Mr. Creswell, of
    Maryland, Mr. Sumner said:--

The remarks of the Senator from Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON] seem to justify
entirely the resolution I have brought forward. I have simply called
attention to what was already notorious, but with a view to action. I
am not sure, that, under the Constitutional Amendment, this abuse may
not be justified, and I desire to have the opinion of the Committee
after ample consideration.

This, Sir, is not the first time in which incidents like this have
occurred. I remember, that, many years ago, when I first came into this
Chamber, the good people whom I represent were shocked at reading that
four colored sailors of Massachusetts had been sold into slavery in
the State of Texas. I did what I could to obtain their liberation, but
without success. I applied directly to the Senator from Texas at that
time, who will be remembered by many as the able General Rusk, beside
whom I sat on the other side of the Chamber. He openly vindicated the
power of the court to make such a sale, and I have never heard anything
of those poor victims from that time to this. Under the operation of
the Constitutional Amendment I trust they are now emancipated; but I am
not sure of that, since they are in Texas.

    The resolution was adopted. Subsequently Mr. Creswell moved the
    printing of a bill, introduced by him at the preceding session,
    to protect children of African descent from being enslaved in
    violation of the Constitution of the United States.

    February 20th, Mr. Poland, from the Committee on the Judiciary,
    to whom this bill had been referred, reported that its object
    was accomplished by the Civil Rights and the Habeas Corpus
    Acts, and that no further legislation was needed. In a
    conversation that ensued, Mr. Sumner said:--

It strikes me the practical question is, whether recent incidents have
not admonished us that there is a disposition to evade the statute, and
under the protection of State laws----

    MR. TRUMBULL [of Illinois]. That is the very thing the statute
    guards against.

MR. SUMNER. But the statute was not effective to prevent those

    MR. TRUMBULL. Will any statute, if it is not executed?

MR. SUMNER. But when apprised of an evasion, I ask whether it is not
expedient to counteract that evasion specifically and precisely, so
that there shall be no possible excuse? Liberty is won by these anxious
trials. Those who represent her are accustomed to take case by case
and difficulty by difficulty,--overcoming them, if they can. Secure
first the general principle, as in the Constitutional Amendment,--then
legislation as extensive or minute as the occasion requires. Let it be
“precept upon precept, line upon line,” so long as any such outrage can
be shown.

I would not seem pertinacious, though I do not know that I can err by
any pertinacity on a question of Human Liberty. I feel that we are
painfully admonished, by incidents occurring under our very eyes,
that we ought to do something to tighten that great Constitutional
Amendment. It contains in its text words which I regret. I regretted
them at the time; I proposed to strike them out; and now they return
to plague the inventor. There should have been no recognition in the
Constitutional Amendment of any possibility of Slavery. The reply
is, that the Amendment, if properly interpreted, does not recognize
the possibility of Slavery being legal in any just sense. But it is
misinterpreted,--has been so in an adjoining State; and who can tell
that it will not be so now in every one of the Southern States? I am
sorry that the Committee has not reported the bill.

The Senate last night passed a bill, on the report of my colleague,
to prohibit slavery and peonage in New Mexico. Under the Constitutional
Amendment, I take it, that bill was unnecessary, it was superfluous.
But we have found a difficulty in that Territory. There has been
outrage; slavery in some form exists there; and consequently my
colleague was right, when he brought his Committee to the conclusion
that they must meet it by specific enactment. Where the abuse appears,
we must root it out. That is Radicalism. So long as a human being is
held as a slave anywhere under this flag, from the Atlantic to the
Pacific coast, there is occasion for your powerful intervention; and
if there is ambiguity or failure in existing statutes, then you must
supply another statute.


JANUARY 15, 17, AND 18, 1867.

    This session of Congress was occupied by efforts to restrain
    and limit the appointing power of the President. The
    differences between the President and Congress increased daily.
    Among measures considered by Congress was a bill to regulate
    the tenure of offices, known as the Tenure of Office Bill.

    January 15th, Mr. Sumner moved to amend this bill by adding a
    new section:--

        “_And be it further enacted_, That all officers or agents,
        except clerks of Departments, now appointed by the
        President or by the head of any Department, whose salary
        or compensation, derived from fees or otherwise, exceeds
        one thousand dollars annually, shall be nominated by the
        President and appointed by and with the advice and consent
        of the Senate; and the term of all such officers or agents
        who have been appointed since the first day of July, 1866,
        either by the President or by the head of a Department,
        without the advice and consent of the Senate, shall expire
        on the last day of February, 1867.”

    Mr. Edmunds, of Vermont, who reported the pending bill, opposed
    the amendment. Mr. Sumner followed.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The proposition I offer now I moved last week on
another bill, in a slightly different form, but it was substantially
the same. I did not then understand that there was objection to it
in principle. It was opposed as not germane to the bill in hand;
or, if germane, its adoption on that bill was supposed in some way
to embarrass its passage. On that ground, as I understand, it was
opposed,--not on its merits. Senators who spoke against it avowed their
partiality for it, if I understood them aright,--declared, that, if
they had an opportunity on any proper bill, they would vote for it.

Well, Sir, I move it on another bill, to which I believe all will admit
it is entirely germane. There is no suggestion that it is not germane.
It is completely in order. But the objection of the Senator from
Vermont, if I understand, is, that it may interfere with the symmetry
of his bill, and introduce an element which he, who has that bill in
charge and now conducts it so ably, had not intended to introduce.
Very well, Sir; that may be said; but I do not think it a very strong

The Senator is mistaken, if he supposes that the amendment would
endanger the bill. Just the contrary. It would give the bill strength.

    MR. HOWE. Merit.

MR. SUMNER. It would give it both strength and merit,--because it is
a measure which grows out of the exigency of the hour. His bill on
a larger scale is just such a measure. It grows out of the present
exigency, and this is its strength and its merit. We shall pass that,
if we do pass it,--and I hope we shall,--to meet a crisis. We all feel
its necessity. But the measure which I now move grows equally out of
the present exigency. If ingrafted on the bill, it will be, like the
original measure, to meet the demands of the moment. It will be because
without it we shall leave something undone which we ought to do.

Now, I ask Senators, is there any one who doubts that under the
circumstances such a provision ought to pass? Is there any one who
doubts, after what we have seen on a large scale, that the President,
for the time being at least, ought to be deprived of the extraordinary
function he has exercised? He has announced in public speech that he
meant to “kick out of office” present incumbents; and it was in this
proceeding, that, on his return to Washington, he undertook to remove
incumbents wherever he could. It cannot be doubted, Sir, that we owe
protection to these incumbents, so far as possible. This is an urgent
duty. If the Senator from Vermont will tell me any other way in which
this can be promoted successfully, I shall gladly follow him; but
until then I must insist that it shall share the fortunes of the bill,
“pursue the triumph and partake the gale.” If the bill succeeds, then
let this measure, which is as good as the bill.

But the suggestion is made, that the amendment should be matured in
a committee. Why, Sir, it is very simple. Any one can mature it who
applies his mind to it for a few moments. It has already been before
the Senate for several days, discussed once, twice, three times, I
think, not elaborately, but still discussed, so that its merits have
become known; and beside its discussion in open Senate, I am a witness
that it has been canvassed in conversation much. Many Senators have
applied their minds to it, and I may say that in offering it now I
speak not merely for myself, but for others, and the proposition, in
the form in which I present it, is not merely my own, but it is that
of many others, to whose careful supervision it has been submitted.
Therefore I say that it is matured, so far as necessary, and there is
no reason why the Senate should not act upon it. Why postpone what is
in itself so essentially good? Why put off to some unknown future the
chance of applying the remedy to an admitted abuse? Is there any one
here who says that this is not an abuse, that here is not a tyrannical
exercise of power? No one. Then, Sir, let us apply the remedy. This is
the first chance we can get. Take it.

    Mr. Fessenden was “not disposed to overturn a system which
    has recommended itself to the experience of the Government,
    recommended itself to the most approved mode of doing the
    business of the country for years, with which no fault whatever
    has been found in its practical operation, simply because at
    this time we are in this ‘muss’ with regard to appointments.”
    He was “opposed utterly to the amendment.” Mr. Sumner replied:--

It is very easy to answer an argument, when you begin by exaggerating
consequences. Now, Sir, the Senator warns us against my proposition,
because it would impose so much business upon the Senate. Is that true?
He reminds us of the number of appointments we should be obliged to
act upon in the Internal Revenue Department. How many? The assistant
assessors. What others? Those can be counted.

    MR. CRAGIN. Inspectors under the internal revenue laws.

MR. SUMNER. Inspectors also: those can all be counted. He then reminds
us of the officers in the custom-houses. They can all be counted. It
would not act on clerks in the custom-houses; it acts only, if at all,
on officers of the custom-houses, in a certain sense superior, some
with considerable responsibility. They can all be counted. It is easy
to say that we shall be obliged to deal with many thousands; but I say,
nevertheless, they can all be counted.

But are we not obliged to deal with many thousand postmasters, and
also with many thousand officers in the army? How have we carried this
great war along? The Senate has acted always upon all the nominations
of the Executive for the national army, beginning with the general and
ending with a second lieutenant. Every one comes before the Senate;
and what is the consequence? The Executive has a direct responsibility
to the Senate with regard to every army appointment. But you are not
disposed to renounce that responsibility because it brings into this
Chamber many thousand nominations. Of the officers that I would bring
into the Chamber, some you may consider as second lieutenants in the
civil service, others as first lieutenants, others as captains. And why
should we not act upon them?

The Senator says we had better follow the received system. One of the
finest sentiments that have fallen from one of the most gifted of our
fellow-countrymen is that verse in which he says,--

    “New occasions teach new duties.”

We have a new occasion, teaching a new duty. That new occasion is the
misconduct of the Executive of the United States; and the new duty is,
that Congress should exercise all its powers in throwing a shield over
fellow-citizens. The Executive is determined to continue this warfare
upon the incumbents of office; shall we not, if possible, protect them?
That is our duty growing out of this hour. It may not be our duty next
year, or four years from now, as it was not our duty last year, or four
years back. But because it may not be our duty next year, and was not
our duty last year, it does not follow that it is not our duty now. I
would act in the present according to the exigency; and if there is
an abuse, as no one will hesitate, I think, to admit, I would meet it
carefully, considerately, and bravely.


When to-morrow comes, if happily we see a clearer sky, I shall
then hearken gladly to the Senator from Maine, and follow him in
sustaining the old system; but meanwhile the old system has ceased to
be applicable. It does not meet the case. It was good enough when we
had a President in harmony with the Senate; but it is not good enough
now. We owe it, therefore, to ourselves, and to those looking here for
protection, to apply the remedy.

    January 17th, after an earnest debate, Mr. Sumner spoke again.

MR. PRESIDENT,--As the proposition on which the Senate is about to
vote was brought forward by me, I hope that I may have the indulgence
of the Senate for a few minutes. Had I succeeded in catching the eye of
the Chair at the proper time, I should, perhaps, have said something in
reply to the Senator from Indiana [Mr. HENDRICKS]; but he has already
been answered by the Senator from California [Mr. CONNESS]. Besides,
the topics which he introduced were political. He did not address
himself directly to the proposition itself. I do not say that his
remarks were irrelevant, but obviously he seized the occasion to make a
political speech. The Senator is an excellent debater; he always speaks
to the point as he understands it; and yet his point is apt to be
political. Of course he speaks as one having authority with his party,
in which he is an acknowledged leader. And now, Sir, you will please
to remark, he comes forward as leader for the President of the United
States. The Senator from Indiana, an old-school Democrat,--he will not
deny the appellation,--presents himself as defender of the President. I
congratulate the President upon so able a defender. Before this great
controversy is closed, the President will need all the ability, all
the experience, all the admirable powers of debate which belong to the
distinguished Senator.

As I shall recall the Senate precisely to the question, I begin by
asking the Secretary to read the amendment.

    The Secretary read the amendment, when Mr. Sumner continued.

Now, Mr. President, I am unwilling to be diverted from that plain
proposition into any general discussion of a merely political
character. I ask your attention to the simple question on which you are
to vote.

Here I meet objections brought against the amendment, so far as I have
been able to comprehend them. They have chiefly found voice, unless I
am much mistaken, in the Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN], who is as
earnest as he is unquestionably able. The Senator began with a warning,
and his beginning gave tone to all he said. He warned us not to forget
the lessons of the past; and he warned us also not to fall under the
influence of any animosity. When he warned us not to forget the lessons
of the past, such was his earnestness that he seemed to me fresh from
the study of Confucius. No learned Chinese, anxious that there should
be no departure from the ancient ways, and filled with devotion for
distant progenitors, could have enjoined that duty more reverently.
We were to follow what had been done in the past. Now, Sir, I have a
proper deference for the past; I recognize its lessons, and seek to
comprehend them; but I am not a Chinese, to be swathed by traditions.
I break all bands and wrappers, when the occasion requires. I trust
that the Senator will do so likewise. The present occasion is of such
a character that his lesson is entirely inapplicable. It is well to
regard the past, and study its teachings. It is well also to regard the
future, and seek to provide for its necessities. This is plain enough.

Then, Sir, we are not to act under the influence of animosity.
Excellent counsel. But, pray, what Senator, on an occasion like this,
when we strive to place in the statutes of the country an important
landmark, can allow himself to act under such influence? Is the Senator
from Maine the only one who can claim this immunity? I am sure he will
not make exclusive claim. As he is conscious that he is free from such
disturbing influence, so also am I. He is not more free from it than I
am. Most sincerely from my heart do I disclaim all animosity. I have
nothing of the kind. I see nothing but my duty.

And when I speak of duty, I speak of what I would emphatically call
the duty of the hour. I tried the other day, in what passed between
myself and the Senator from Maine, briefly to illustrate this idea.
I said that we are not to act absolutely with reference to the past,
nor absolutely with reference to the future, but we are to act in the
present. Each hour has its duties, and this hour has duties such as
few other hours in our history have ever presented. Is there any one
who can question it? Are we not in the midst of a crisis? Sometimes
it is said that we are in the midst of a revolution. Call it, if you
will, simply a crisis. It is a critical hour, having its own peculiar
responsibilities. Now, if you ask me in what this present duty
specially centres, on what it specially pivots, I have an easy reply:
it is in protection to the loyal and patriotic citizen, wherever he may
be. I repeat it, protection to the loyal and patriotic citizen is the
imminent duty of the hour. This duty is so commanding, so engrossing,
so absorbing, so peculiar,--let me say, in one word, so sacred,--that
to neglect it is like the neglect of everything. It is nothing less
than a general abdication.

Such, I say emphatically, is the duty of the hour, in presence of which
it is vain for the Senator to cite the experience of other times, when
no such duty was urgent. He does not meet the case. What he says is
irrelevant. All that was done in the past may have been well done; for
it I have no criticism; but at this time it is absolutely inapplicable.

I return, then, to my proposition, that the duty of the hour is
protection to the loyal and patriotic citizen. But when I have said
this, I have not completed the proposition. You may ask, Protection
against whom? I answer plainly, Against the President of the United
States. There, Sir, is the duty of the hour. Ponder it well, and do
not forget it. There was no such duty on our fathers, there was no
such duty on recent predecessors in this Chamber, because there was no
President of the United States who had become the enemy of his country.

    Here Mr. Sumner was called to order by Mr. McDougall, a
    Democratic Senator from California, who insisted that no
    Senator had a right to make use of such words in speaking of
    the President. Confusion ensued, with various calls to order.
    There was question as to what Mr. Sumner really said. The
    presiding officer [Mr. ANTHONY, of Rhode Island] decided that
    Mr. Sumner was in order, from which decision Mr. McDougall
    appealed, but finally withdrew his appeal, when Mr. Sumner

When interrupted in the extraordinary manner witnessed by the Senate, I
was presenting reasons in favor of the measure on which we are to vote,
and I insisted as strongly as I could that the special duty of the hour
was protection to loyal and patriotic citizens against the President;
I was replying to what fell from the Senator from Maine, who seems, if
I may judge from his argument, to feel that there is no occasion for
special safeguard, and that the system left by our fathers is enough.
In this reply I used language which, according to the short-hand
reporter, was as follows: I read from his notes:--

    “There, Sir, is the duty of the hour. There was no such duty on
    our fathers, there was no such duty on our recent predecessors,
    because there was no President of the United States who had
    become the enemy of his country.”

These were my words when suddenly interrupted. By those words, Sir, I

        MR. DOOLITTLE [of Wisconsin]. I raise a question of order,
        whether these words are in order, as stated by the Senator.

        THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair has already decided a
        similar point of order. The Chair will submit this question
        to the Senate.

    The Presiding Officer decided that Mr. Sumner was in order.
    Mr. Doolittle appealed from this decision. Debate ensued on the
    appeal, when Mr. Lane, of Indiana, moved to lay the appeal upon
    the table. Amid much confusion, other motions were interposed.
    At last a vote was reached on the motion of Mr. Lane. The yeas
    and nays were ordered, and, being taken, resulted,--Yeas 29,
    Nays 10. So the appeal was laid upon the table. Mr. Sumner,
    who was in his seat, refrained from voting. The Senate then

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 18th, Mr. Sumner, having the floor, continued.

It is only little more than a year ago that I felt it my duty to
characterize a message of the President as “whitewashing.”[77] The
message represented the condition of things in the Rebel States as fair
and promising, when the prevailing evidence was directly the other
way. Of course the message was “whitewashing,” and this was a mild
term for such a document. But you do not forget how certain Senators,
horror-struck at this plainness, leaped forward to vindicate the
President. Yesterday some of these same Senators, horror-struck again,
leaped forward again in the same task. Time has shown that I was right
on the former occasion. If anybody doubts that I was right yesterday,
I commend him to time. He will not be obliged to wait long. Meanwhile
I shall insist always upon complete freedom of debate, and I shall
exercise it. John Milton, in his glorious aspirations, said, “Give
me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to
conscience, above all liberties.”[78] Thank God, now that slave-masters
are driven from this Chamber, such is the liberty of an American
Senator. Of course there can be no citizen of a republic too high for
exposure, as there can be none too low for protection. Exposure of the
powerful, and protection of the weak,--these are not only invaluable
liberties, but commanding duties.

At last the country is opening its eyes to the actual condition of
things. Already it sees that Andrew Johnson, who came to supreme power
by a bloody incident, has become the successor of Jefferson Davis
in the spirit by which he is ruled and in the mischief he inflicts
on his country. It sees the President of the Rebellion revived in
the President of the United States. It sees that the violence which
took the life of his illustrious predecessor is now by his perverse
complicity extending throughout the Rebel States, making all who love
the Union its victims, and filling the land with tragedy. It sees
that the war upon faithful Unionists is still continued under his
powerful auspices, without distinction of color, so that all, both
white and black, are sacrificed. It sees that he is the minister of
discord, and not the minister of peace. It sees, that, so long as his
influence prevails, there is small chance of tranquillity, security,
or reconciliation,--that the restoration of prosperity in the Rebel
States, so much longed for, must be arrested,--that the business of
the whole country must be embarrassed,--and that the conditions so
essential to a sound currency must be postponed. All these things the
country observes. But indignation assumes the form of judgment, when
it is seen also that this incredible, unparalleled, and far-reaching
mischief, second only to the Rebellion itself, of which it is a
continuation, is created, invigorated, and extended through plain

I know that the President sometimes quotes the Constitution, and
professes to carry out its behests. But this pretension is of little
value. A French historian, whose fame as writer is eclipsed by his
greater fame as orator, who has held important posts, and now in
advancing years is still eminent in public life, has used words which
aptly characterize an attempt like that of the President. I quote
from the History of M. Thiers, while describing what is known as the
Revolution of the 18th Brumaire.

    “When any one wishes to make a revolution, it is always
    necessary to disguise the illegal as much as possible,--to use
    the terms of a Constitution in order to destroy it, and the
    members of a Government in order to overturn it.”[79]

In this spirit the President has acted. He has bent Constitution, laws,
and men to his arbitrary will, and has even invoked the Declaration
of Independence for the overthrow of those Equal Rights it so grandly

In holding up Andrew Johnson to judgment, I do not dwell on his open
exposure of himself in a condition of intoxication, while taking the
oath of office,--nor do I dwell on the maudlin speeches by which he has
degraded the country as it was never degraded before,--nor do I hearken
to any reports of pardons sold, or of personal corruption. This is not
the case against him, as I deem it my duty to present it. These things
are bad, very bad; but they might not, in the opinion of some Senators,
justify us on the present occasion. In other words, they might not be a
sufficient reason for the amendment which I have moved.

But there is a reason which is ample. The President has usurped
the powers of Congress on a colossal scale, and has employed these
usurped powers in fomenting the Rebel spirit and kindling anew the
dying fires of the Rebellion. Though the head of the Executive, he has
rapaciously seized the powers of the Legislative, and made himself
a whole Congress, in defiance of a cardinal principle of republican
government, that each branch must act for itself, without assuming the
powers of the other; and, in the exercise of these illegitimate powers,
he has become a terror to the good and a support to the wicked. This is
his great and unpardonable offence, for which history must condemn him,
if you do not. He is a usurper, through whom infinite wrong is done to
his country. He is a usurper, who, promising to be a Moses, has become
a Pharaoh. Do you ask for evidence? No witnesses are needed to prove
this guilt. It is found in public acts which are beyond question. It is
already written in the history of our country. Absorbing to himself all
the powers of the National Government, and exclaiming, with the French
monarch, that _he alone_ is “the Nation,” he assumes, without color
of law, to set up new governments in the Rebel States, and, in the
prosecution of this palpable usurpation, places these governments of
his own creation in the hands of traitors, to the exclusion of patriot
citizens, white and black, who, through his agency, are trampled again
under the heel of the Rebellion. Thus a power plainly illegitimate
is wielded to establish governments plainly illegitimate, which are
nothing but engines of an intolerable oppression, under which peace
and union are impossible; and this monstrous usurpation is continued
in constant efforts by every means to enforce the recognition of these
illegitimate governments, so tyrannical in origin and so baneful in
the influence they are permitted to exert. And now, in the maintenance
of this usurpation, the President employs the power of removal from
office. Some, who would not become the partisans of his tyranny, he
has, according to his own language, “kicked out.” Others are spared,
but silenced by this menace and the fate of their associates. Wherever
any vacancy occurs, whether in the Loyal or the Rebel States, it
is filled by the partisans of his usurpation. Other vacancies are
created to provide for these partisans. I need not add, that, just in
proportion as we sanction such nominations or fail to arrest them,
according to the measure of our power, we become parties to his

Here I am brought directly to the practical application of this
simple statement. I have already said that the duty of the hour is in
protection to the loyal and patriotic citizen against the President.
This cannot be doubted. The first duty of a Government is protection.
The crowning glory of a Republic is, that it leaves no human being,
however humble, without protection. Show me a man exposed to wrong,
and I show you an occasion for the exercise of all the power that God
and the Constitution have given you. It will not do to say that the
cases are too numerous, or that the remedy cannot be applied without
interfering with a system handed down from our fathers, or, worse
still, that you have little sympathy with this suffering. This will not
do. You must apply the remedy, or fail in duty. Especially must you
apply it, when, as now, this wrong is part of a huge usurpation in the
interest of recent Rebellion.

The question, then, recurs, Are you ready to apply the remedy,
according to your powers? The necessity for this remedy may be seen in
the Rebel States, and also in the Loyal States, for the usurpation is
felt in both.

If you look at the Rebel States, you will see everywhere the triumph of
Presidential tyranny. There is not a mail which does not bring letters
without number supplicating the exercise of all the powers of Congress
against the President. There is not a newspaper which does not exhibit
evidence that you are already tardy in this work of necessity. There
is not a wind from that suffering region which is not freighted with
voices of distress. And yet you hesitate.

I shall not be led aside to consider the full remedy, for it is not my
habit to travel out of the strict line of debate. Therefore I confine
myself to the bill before us, which is applicable alike to Loyal and
Rebel States.

This bill has its origin in what I have already called the special
duty of the hour, which is protection of loyal and patriotic citizens
against the President. I have shown the necessity of this protection.
But the brutal language the President employs shows the spirit in which
he acts. The Senator from Indiana [Mr. HENDRICKS], whose judgment could
not approve this brutality, doubted if the President had used it. Let
me settle this question. Here is the “National Intelligencer,” always
indulgent to the President. In its number for the 13th of September
last it thus reports what the Chief Magistrate said at St. Louis:--

    “I believe that one set of men have enjoyed the emoluments of
    office long enough, and they should let another portion of
    the people have a chance. [_Cheers._] How are these men to be
    got out [_A voice, ‘Kick ’em out!’--cheers and laughter_],
    unless your Executive can put them out,--unless you can reach
    them through the President? Congress says he shall not turn
    them out, and they are trying to pass laws to prevent it being
    done. Well, let me say to you, if you will stand by me in this
    action [_cheers_],--if you will stand by me in trying to give
    the people a fair chance,--to have soldiers and citizens to
    participate in these offices,--God being willing, I will kick
    them out,--I will kick them out just as fast as I can. [_Great

Such diction as this is without example. Proceeding from the President,
it is a declaration of “policy” which you must counteract; and in this
duty make a precedent, if need be.

The bill before the Senate, which the Senator from Vermont [Mr.
EDMUNDS] has shaped with so much care and now presses so earnestly,
arises from this necessity. Had Abraham Lincoln been spared to us,
there would have been no occasion for any such measure. It is a bill
arising from the exigency of the hour. As such it is to be judged.
But it does not meet the whole case. Undertaking to give protection,
it gives it to a few only, instead of the many. It provides against
the removal of persons whose offices, according to existing law and
Constitution, are held by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate. Its special object is to vindicate the power of the Senate over
the offices committed to it according to existing law and Constitution.
Thus vindicating the power of the Senate, it does something indirectly
to protect the citizen. In this respect it is beneficent, and I shall
be glad to vote for it.

The amendment goes further in the same direction. It provides that
all agents and officers appointed by the President or by the head of a
Department, with salaries exceeding $1,000, shall be appointed only by
and with the advice and consent of the Senate; and it further proceeds
to vacate all such appointments made since 1st July last past, so as to
arrest the recent process of “kicking out.” The proposition is simple;
and I insist that it is necessary, unless you are willing to leave
fellow-citizens without protection against tyranny. Really the case is
so plain that I do not like to argue it, and yet you will pardon me, if
I advert to certain objections which have been made.

We have been told that the number of persons it would bring before
the Senate is such that it would clog and embarrass the public
business,--in other words, that we have not time to deal with so many
cases. This is a strange argument. Because the victims are numerous,
therefore we are to fold our hands and let the sacrifice proceed.
But I insist that just in proportion to the number is the urgency
of your duty. Every victim has a voice; and when these voices count
by thousands, you have no right to turn away and say, “They are too
numerous for the Senate.” This is my answer to the objection founded on

But this is not all. You did not shrink, during the war, from the
numerous nominations of military officers, counting by thousands;
nor did you shrink from the numerous nominations of naval officers,
counting by thousands. The power over all these you never relaxed, and
I know well you never will relax. You know, that, even if unable to
consider carefully every case, yet the power over them enables you to
interpose a veto on any improper nomination. The power of the Senate is
a warning against tyranny in the Executive. But it is difficult to see
any strong reason for this power in the case of the army and navy which
is not applicable also to civil officers. This I should say in tranquil
times; but there is another reason peculiar to the hour. Even if in
tranquil times I were disposed to leave the appointing power as it is,
I am not disposed to do so now.

Then, again, we are told that we must not abandon the system of
our fathers. I have already answered this objection precisely, in
saying, that, whatever may have been the system of the Fathers,
it is inadequate to the present hour. But I am not satisfied that
the proposition moved by me is inconsistent with the system of the
Fathers. The officers of the Internal Revenue did not exist then,
and the inferior officers of the customs were few in number and with
small emoluments. But all district attorneys and marshals, even if
their salary was no more than two hundred dollars, were subject to the
confirmation of the Senate.

    MR. EDMUNDS. And so they are yet.

MR. SUMNER. And so they are yet. But can the Senator doubt, that, if,
at the time when those officers were made subject to the confirmation
of the Senate, weighers and gaugers and inspectors had been as well
paid as they are now, they, too, would have been brought under the
control of this body? I cannot.

    MR. EDMUNDS. I do not think they would.

MR. SUMNER. But even if the Senator does not accept the view which I
present on the probable course of our fathers, he cannot resist the
argument, that, whatever may have been the old system, we must act now
in the light of present duties. I repeat, a system good for our fathers
may not be good for this hour, which is so full of danger.

Then, again, we are told, with something of indifference, if not
of levity, that it is not the duty of the Senate to look after the
“bread and butter” of officeholders. This is a familiar way of saying
that these small cases are not worthy of the Senate. Not so do I
understand our duties. There is no case so small as not to be worthy
of the Senate, especially if in this way you can save a citizen from
oppression and weaken the power of an oppressor.

Something has been said about the curtailment of the Executive power,
and the Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN] has even argued against the
amendment as conferring upon the President additional powers. This
is strange. The effect of the amendment is, by clear intendment, to
take from the President a large class of nominations and bring them
within the control of the Senate. Thus it is obviously a curtailment of
Executive power, which I insist has become our bounden duty. The old
resolution of the House of Commons, moved by Mr. Dunning, is applicable
here: “The influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and
ought to be diminished.” In this spirit we must put a curb on the
President, now maintaining illegitimate power by removals from office.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, I have used moderate language, strictly applicable
to the question. But it is my duty to remind you how much the public
welfare depends upon courageous counsels. Courage is now the highest
wisdom. Do not forget that we stand face to face with an enormous and
malignant usurper, through whom the Republic is imperilled,--that
Republic which, according to our oaths of office, we are bound to save
from all harm. The lines are drawn. On one side is the President, and
on the other side is the people of the United States. It is the old
pretension of prerogative, to be encountered, I trust, by that same
inexorable determination which once lifted England to heroic heights.
The present pretension is more outrageous, and its consequences are
more deadly; surely the resistance cannot be less complete. An American
President must not claim an immunity denied to an English king. In the
conflict he has so madly precipitated, I am with the people. In the
President I put no trust, but in the people I put infinite trust. Who
will not stand with the people?

Here, Sir, I close what I have to say at this time. But before I take
my seat, you will pardon me, if I read a brief lesson, which seems
written for the hour. The words are as beautiful as emphatic.

    “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy
    present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we
    must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must
    think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and
    then we shall save our country.”

These are the words of Abraham Lincoln.[80] They are as full of vital
force now as when he uttered them. I entreat you not to neglect the
lesson. Learn from its teaching how to save our country.

    Mr. Edmunds and Mr. Reverdy Johnson replied. Mr. Howe, of
    Wisconsin, and Mr. Lane, of Indiana, favored the amendment. Mr.
    Johnson suggested that the expression of opinion adverse to the
    President would disqualify a Senator to sit on his impeachment.
    Mr. Sumner interrupted him to say:--

What right have I to know that the President is to be impeached? How
can I know it? And let me add, even if I could know it, there can be no
reason in that why I should not argue the measure directly before the
Senate, and present such considerations as seem to me proper, founded
on the misconduct of that officer.

    Mr. Sumner here changed his amendment by striking out the
    limitation of $1,000 and inserting $1,500. He then said:--

I make the change in deference to Senators about me, and especially
yielding to the earnest argument of the Senator from Vermont [Mr.
EDMUNDS], who was so much disturbed by the idea that the Senate would
be called to act upon inspectors. My experience teaches me not to be
disturbed at anything. I am willing to act on an inspector or a night
watchman; and if I could, I would save him from Executive tyranny. The
Senator would leave him a prey, so far as I can understand, for no
other reason than because he is an inspector, an officer of inferior
dignity, and because, if we embrace all inspectors, we shall have too
much to do.

Sir, we are sent to the Senate for work, and especially to surround
the citizen with all possible safeguards. The duty of the hour is as I
have declared. It ought not to be postponed. Every day of postponement
is to my mind a sacrifice. Let us not, then, be deterred even by the
humble rank of these officers, or by their number, but, whether humble
or numerous, embrace them within the protecting arms of the Senate.

    The amendment was rejected,--Yeas 16, Nays 21. After further
    debate, the bill passed the Senate,--Yeas 29, Nays 9. It then
    passed the House with amendments. To settle the difference
    between the two Houses, there was a Committee of Conference,
    when the bill agreed upon passed the Senate,--Yeas 22, Nays
    10,--and passed the House,--Yeas 112, Nays 41. March 2d, the
    bill was vetoed, when, notwithstanding the objections of the
    President, it passed the Senate,--Yeas 35, Nays 11,--and passed
    the House,--Yeas 138, Nays 40,--and thus became a law.[81]


JANUARY 16, 1867.

    The following resolution was reported by Mr. Sumner, who asked
    the immediate action of the Senate upon it.

Whereas the traffic in laborers transported from China and other
Eastern countries, known as the Coolie trade, is odious to the people
of the United States as inhuman and immoral;

And whereas it is abhorrent to the spirit of modern international
law and policy, which have substantially extirpated the African
slave-trade, to permit the establishment in its place of a mode of
enslaving men different from the former in little else than the
employment of fraud instead of force to make its victims captive:

_Be it resolved_, That it is the duty of this Government to give effect
to the moral sentiment of the Nation through all its agencies, for the
purpose of preventing the further introduction of coolies into this
hemisphere or the adjacent islands.

    The resolution was adopted.



    The Senate having under consideration the bill to provide
    increased revenue from imports, Mr. Edmunds, of Vermont, moved
    to retain the following articles on the free list:--

        “Books, maps, charts, and other printed matter, specially
        imported in good faith for any public library or society,
        incorporated or established for philosophical, literary, or
        religious purposes, or for the encouragement of the fine

    Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--By the existing law, public libraries and literary
societies receive books, maps, charts, and engravings free of duty.
It is now proposed to change the law, so that public libraries and
literary societies shall no longer receive books, maps, charts, and
engravings free of duty. It is a little curious that the present moment
is seized for this important change, which I must call retrogressive in
character. It seems like going back to the Dark Ages. We made no such
change during the war. We went through all its terrible trials and the
consequent taxation without any such attempt. Now that peace has come,
and we are considering how to mitigate taxation, it is proposed to add
this new tax.

    MR. HENDRICKS. Will the Senator allow me to ask whether he
    regards this bill as a mitigation of the taxes upon goods
    brought from foreign countries?

    MR. SUMNER. I am not discussing the bill as a general measure.

    MR. HENDRICKS. I thought the Senator spoke of the present
    effort to mitigate taxation.

MR. SUMNER. I believe I am not wrong, when I say there is everywhere
a disposition to reduce taxation, whether on foreign or domestic
articles. Such is the desire of the country and the irresistible
tendency of things. But what must be the astonishment, when it appears,
that, instead of reducing a tax on knowledge, you augment it!

I insist, that, in imposing this duty, you not only change the
existing law, but you depart from the standing policy of republican
institutions. Everywhere we have education at the public expense. The
first form is in the public school, open to all. But the public library
is the complement or supplement of the public school. As well impose a
tax on the public school as on the public library.

I doubt if the Senate is fully aware of the number of public libraries
springing into existence. This is a characteristic of our times. Nor
is it peculiar to our country. Down to a recent day, public libraries
were chiefly collegiate. In Europe they were collegiate or conventual.
There were no libraries of the people. But such libraries are now
appearing in England and in France. Every considerable place or centre
has its library for the benefit of the neighborhood. But this movement,
like every liberal tendency, is more marked in the United States. Here
public libraries are coming into being without number. The Public
Library of Boston and the Astor Library of New York are magnificent
examples, which smaller towns are emulating. In my own State there
are public libraries in Lowell, Newburyport, New Bedford, Worcester,
Springfield,--indeed, I might almost say in every considerable town.
But Massachusetts is not alone. Public libraries are springing up in
all the Northern States. They are now extending like a belt of light
across the country. They are a new Zodiac, in which knowledge travels
with the sun from east to west. Of course these are all for the public
good. They are public schools, where every book is a schoolmaster. To
tax such institutions now, for the first time, is a new form of that
old enemy, a “tax on knowledge.” Such is my sense of their supreme
value that I would offer them bounties rather than taxes.

In continuation of this same hospitality to knowledge, I wish to go
still further, and relieve imported books of all taxes, so far as not
inconsistent with interests already embarked in the book business. For
instance, let all books, maps, charts, and engravings printed before
1840 take their place on the free list. Publications before that time
cannot come in competition with any interests here. The revenue they
afford will be unimportant. The tax you impose adds to the burdens of
scholars and professional men who need them. And yet every one of these
books, when once imported, is a positive advantage to the country, by
which knowledge is extended and the public taste improved. I would not
claim too much for these instructive strangers belonging to another
generation. I think I do not err in asking for them a generous welcome.
But, above all, do not tax them.

It is sometimes said that we tax food and clothes, therefore we must
tax books. I regret that food or clothes are taxed, because the tax
presses upon the poor. But this is no reason for any additional tax.
Reduce all such taxes, rather than add to them. But you will not fail
to remember the essential difference between these taxes. In New
England education from the beginning was at the public expense; and
this has been for some time substantially the policy of the whole
country, except so far as it was darkened by Slavery. Therefore I
insist, that, because we tax food and clothes for the body, this is no
reason why we should tax food and clothes for the mind.

    The question, being taken by yeas and nays, resulted,--Yeas 22,
    Nays 13; so the amendment was adopted.

    Mr. Sumner then moved to exempt “maps, charts, and engravings
    executed prior to 1840.” He said that this amendment was
    naturally associated with that on which the Senate had just
    acted; that there could be no competition with anything at home.

    In reply to Mr. Williams, of Oregon, Mr. Sumner again spoke.

MR. PRESIDENT,--There is no question of the exemption of those who
are best able to pay these duties; it is simply a question of a tax
on knowledge. The Senator by his system would shut these out from the
country, and would say, “Hail to darkness!” I do not wish to repeat
what I have so often said; but the argument of the Senator has been
made here again and again, and heretofore, as often as made, I have
undertaken to answer it. He says we put a tax on necessaries now,--on
the food that fills the body, on the garments that clothe the body.
I regret that we do. I wish we were in a condition to relieve the
country of such taxation. But does not the Senator bear in mind that
he proposes to go further, and to depart from the great principle
governing our institutions from the beginning of our history? We have
had education free: in other words, we have undertaken to fill the mind
and to clothe the mind at the public expense. We never did undertake
to fill the body or to clothe the body at the public expense. Sir, as
a lover of my race, I should be glad, could the country have clothed
the body and filled the body at the public expense. I should be
glad, had society been in such a condition that this vision could be
accomplished; but we all know that it is not, and I content myself with
something much simpler and more practical. I would aim to establish the
principle which seems to have governed our fathers, and which is so
congenial with republican institutions, that education and knowledge,
so far as practicable, shall be free.

To make education and knowledge free, you must, so far as possible,
relieve all books from taxation. I have already said that I did not
propose to interfere with any of the practical interests of the book
trade; but, where those interests are out of the way, I insist that
the great principle of republican institutions should be applied. This
is my answer to the Senator from Oregon. I fear he has not adequately
considered the question. He has not brought to it that knowledge, that
judgment, which always command my respect, as often as he addresses
the Senate. He seems to have spoken hastily. I hope that he will
withdraw, or at least relax, his opposition, and, revolving the subject
hereafter, range himself, as he must, with his large intelligence, on
the side of human knowledge.

    Then, again, in reply to Mr. Conness, of California, Mr. Sumner

It is because I hearken to the needs of my country that I make
this proposition. I am not to be led aside by the picture of other
necessities. I respect all the necessities of the people; but among
the foremost are those of public instruction, and it is of those I am
a humble representative on this floor. The Senator from California
may, if he chooses, treat that representation with levity; he may
announce himself an opponent of the policy which I would establish for
my country; he may set himself against what I insist is a fundamental
principle of republican institutions, that knowledge should not be
taxed; he may go forth and ask for taxation on books and on public
libraries, and, if he chooses, carry the principle still further, and
tax the public school. He will then be consistent with himself. I hope
that he will allow me to speak for what I believe the true need of the

    The motion to exempt maps, charts, and engravings was rejected.

    Mr. Sumner then moved to place on the free list “books printed
    prior to 1840.” It being objected, that “the duty as already
    laid was very low, only 15 per cent.,”--that “we have to look
    to revenue,”--and that it was desirable “to have all the
    interests of the country taxed,”--Mr. Sumner replied:--

Every argument for making the duty low is equally strong against
having any duty on the subject. There is no reason that could have
influenced the Committee in favor of reducing the duty which is not
equally strong in favor of removing the duty. The Senator declares
that the object is revenue. But the revenue that will come from this
source is very small; it is not large enough to compensate for the
mischief it will cause. Sir, I believe all the conclusions of the best
experienced in taxation are, that we should seek as much as possible to
diminish the objects of taxation. Just in proportion as nations become
experienced in imposing taxes do they limit the objects to which the
taxes are applied. It seems to me we are strangely insensible to that
lesson of history. We seem to be groping about and seizing hold of
every little object, every filament, if I may so express myself, which
we can grasp, in order to drag it into the sphere of taxation.

I think we should be better employed, if we declined to tax a large
number of articles which it is proposed to tax, and brought our
taxation to bear on a few important articles, which we should make
contribute substantially to the resources of the country. The tax that
is now proposed will contribute nothing of any real substance to the
resources of the country, while to my view it is not creditable. I say
it frankly, it is not creditable to the civilization of our age, and
least of all is it creditable to the civilization of a republic.

Such is my conviction. As often as I have thought of this question,
I cannot see it in any other light; and I do think that money derived
from a tax on books can be vindicated only on the principle of the
Roman emperor, “Money from any quarter, no matter what, for money does
not smell.”[82] Now it were better, if, instead of hunting up these
several articles for taxation, running them down like game, to bag
them in the public treasury, we should confine ourselves to the great
subjects, and make them productive. There are enough of them, and in
this way we can have revenue enough. I would have all the revenue we
want; but, having it, be hospitable to literature, to knowledge, to
art; and now let me say, be hospitable to books, because through books
you will obtain what you desire in literature, in knowledge, and in art.

    Mr. Kirkwood, of Iowa, thought Mr. Sumner ought to be content
    with what was done. “If he gets the rate reduced from 25 to 15
    per cent., when the taxes on everything we eat and wear are
    being raised 20, 30, 40, or 50 per cent., I think that he ought
    to be content.”

MR. SUMNER. Personally I am content with anything. I am trying to do
what I think best for the people. I may be mistaken in my judgment; and
when I see so many distinguished Senators so earnestly differing from
me, I am led to call in question my conclusions; and yet considerable
reflection and some experience in dealing with this question have
always brought me more strongly than before to the same unalterable
conclusion. I feel, that, in imposing this tax, you make a great
mistake; because it is a bad example, and just to the extent of its
influence keeps knowledge out of the country.

    The motion of Mr. Sumner was rejected,--Yeas 5, Nays 32.
    Another motion by him, to exempt mathematical instruments and
    philosophical apparatus imported for societies, shared the same



    January 29th, the Senate having under consideration the bill
    to provide increased revenue from imports, known as the Tariff
    Bill, Mr. Sumner moved the following:--

        “On all bituminous coal mined and imported from any
        place not more than thirty degrees of longitude east of
        Washington, fifty cents per ton of twenty-eight bushels,
        eighty pounds to the bushel.”

    The effect of this amendment would be to reduce the duty from
    $1.50 to 50 cents a ton.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The object of the amendment is to bring the bill back
where it was at first. The Senate will remember that in committee a
motion prevailed by which the duty of 50 cents per ton on the coal
mentioned was raised to $1.50. I am at a loss to understand the precise
object of this increased tax on coal. There are strong reasons against
any tax on coal; and the reasons are stronger still against this
increased tax. Its movers must have an object. What is it?

It seems that there are imported into the United States about 500,000
tons, being 350,000 from the British Provinces and 150,000 from Great
Britain; and this coal is to be taxed at the rate of $1.50 a ton in
gold. If the same amount of importation continued, this tax would yield
$750,000 in gold,--a handsome addition to the revenue. But I am sure
the tax is not imposed on this account. It is imposed with some vague
hope of benefit to the coal interest. But here, as we look at it, we
are mystified. Is it supposed that the price of coal throughout the
country will be raised to this extent? The idea is monstrous. There
are some 22,000,000 tons now produced, which, if raised in price
according to this tax, will cost the country 33,000,000 gold dollars in
addition to the present price. This might be advantageous to certain
proprietors, but it must be damaging to the country. Nobody can expect
this. The object, then, is something else. I will not say that it is
merely to take advantage of the States that do not produce coal, for
this would be sheer oppression. I suppose that it must be to exclude
foreign coal, and to that extent open the market for domestic coal.

But this tax will be positively oppressive to coal-purchasers in New
England, to say nothing of New York. Nature has denied coal to this
region of country,--or rather, Nature has placed the natural supply for
this region outside our political jurisdiction. It is in Nova Scotia,
on the other side of our boundary line. Coal in abundance is there,
easily accessible by water, and therefore transported at comparatively
small cost. Another part of our country has a different supply. On the
other side of the mountain-ridge separating the sea-coast from the
valleys of the West is an infinite coal-field, the source of untold
wealth, which, beginning in the mountains and filling West Virginia
and Western Pennsylvania, stretches through the valley of the Ohio,
enriching the States that border upon it, and then, crossing the
Mississippi, extends through other States beyond, even to Colorado.
This is the greatest coal-field, as it is also the greatest corn-field,
in the world. It is magnificent beyond comparison. This is the natural
resource for the immense region west of the Alleghanies. But why should
New England, which has a natural resource comparatively near at home,
be compelled at great sacrifice to drag her coal from these distant

I hear of complaint at Pittsburg, where the price of coal is only two
dollars a ton, currency. But imported coal in New England costs at
the mine two dollars a ton, gold. Add three or four dollars a ton for
freight. And now it is proposed to pile on this a duty of more than
two dollars, currency. If Pittsburg complains of coal at two dollars a
ton, what must Boston say, when you make it nine dollars? Is this just?
Is it practically wise? But I forget: there can be no wisdom without

If it be said that the interests of New England are protected even by
the bill before the Senate, I have to say in reply, that no interest
of hers is protected at the expense of the rest of the country. All
that we ask is fair play. Let it be shown that there is any part of the
country which will suffer from the favor accorded to New England as
her coal-purchasers must suffer from the favor accorded to the distant
coal-owners of the mountains, and I will do what I can to see justice
done. I ask nothing but that justice which I am always willing to
accord. We constitute parts of one country with common interests, and
the prosperity of each is bound up in the prosperity of all.

It is said that this proposed tax will be of advantage to the
Cumberland coal in the mountains of Maryland. Perhaps; but not to any
considerable extent. I understand that not more than 60,000 tons of
Nova Scotia coal are imported in competition with that of Cumberland.
This is mainly at Providence, where it is used in the manufacture of
iron. But the Cumberland coal is so completely adapted to glassworks,
railways, ocean steamships, blacksmiths’ forges, that it may be said to
command the market exclusively. Nature has given to it this monopoly.
Why not be content?

There are peculiar reasons why coal should be cheap, whether viewed
as a necessary or as a motive power. As a necessary, it enters into
the comforts of life; as a motive power, it is the substitute for
water-power. What reason can you give for a tax on motive power from
coal which is not equally strong for a tax on motive power from water,
unless it be that one is “black” and the other is “white”? I plead
that you shall not needlessly add to the public burden in a particular
portion of the country. I have alluded to the cheapness of coal at
Pittsburg. In other places it is cheaper still. At Pomeroy, in Ohio,
it is $1.40 a ton, and at Cumberland itself it is $1.50 a ton, always
currency; and yet New England is to pay $1.50 tax, gold, being more
than the coal is worth to its producer, besides the large cost of

Next after the industry of a people is cheap coal, as an element of
national prosperity. Without it, even industry will lose much of its
activity and variety. It is coal that has vitalized and quickened all
the mighty energies of England. From coal have come all the various
products of her manufactories, and these again have furnished the
freights for her ships, so that she has become not only a great
manufacturing nation, but also a great commercial nation. Coal is the
author of all this. Coal is the fuel under the British pot which makes
it boil. It ought to do the same for us, and even more, if you will let
it. Therefore I end as I began,--tax coal as little as possible.

    In reply especially to Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, and
    Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, Mr. Sumner said:--


Now, without following the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. DAVIS] in that
proposition, I do insist, that, on articles of prime necessity, we
should reduce taxation where we can. Therefore, when the Senator from
Ohio tells me, that, if my proposition is adopted, we shall lose a
certain amount of revenue derived from coal, I have an easy reply. Very
well,--let us lose that amount of revenue derived from coal. You ought
not to obtain it; coal ought not to be one of your taxed articles. So
far as possible, coal should be cheap. That is the proposition with
which I began and ended; and if I do not impress that upon the Senate,
I certainly fail in what I attempted.

    MR. GRIMES [of Iowa]. Why should it be cheap?

    MR. SUMNER. Because it enters into the necessaries of life, and
    because it is a motive power that works our manufactories.


I say that the article is necessary to us in New England. It enters
into our daily life,--into the economies of every house, into the
expenses of every citizen. It enters, therefore, into the welfare
of the community; and you cannot tax coal without making the whole
community feel it, whether rich or poor. Every poor man feels it. If I
said the rich man felt it, you would reply, “That makes no difference;
let him feel it.” I insist that every poor man feels it; and I insist
further, that all who are interested in the manufactures of the country
necessarily feel it,--not only producers and owners, but all who use
the products of their looms. I say, that, as a motive power, it should
be made cheap and kept cheap. Now the apparent policy is, to make it
dear and keep it dear.

    MR. HENDRICKS [of Indiana]. I like the Senator’s argument just
    where he is now; but I wish to ask him whether, if by a tariff
    you raise the price of every yard of cheap woollen goods and
    cheap cotton goods, it is not a direct tax on the labor of the
    poor man of the West, who has to buy them?

    MR. CRESWELL [of Maryland, to Mr. Sumner]. That is the
    application of your argument.

MR. SUMNER. The Senator from Maryland says that is the application of
my argument. Pardon me, not at all; because the tax on cotton and on
woollen goods--I have had very little to do with imposing any such
tax--is not oppressive on any part of the country, nor does it bear
hard on the constituents of the Senator, or on the constituents of any
Senator on this floor; whereas the increase of the tax on coal will
bear hard upon a whole community, and upon all its interests; and that
is the precise difference between the two cases.

The Senator from Ohio seemed to speak of this with perfect
tranquillity, as if there were nothing in it oppressive, or even
open to criticism. He thought we might tax coal as we tax any other
article. I differ from him. I do not think you should tax coal as you
tax other articles; and, further, I do not think you should impose
any tax bearing with special hardship, so as to be something akin to
injustice, on any particular part of our country. That is my answer to
the argument of the Senator from Maryland, and to the inquiry of the
Senator from Indiana.

    Mr. Creswell replied warmly, criticizing Mr. Sumner, saying,
    among other things,--

        “The distinguished Senator from Massachusetts has treated
        us to a Free-Trade speech in the Senate of the United
        States. The commentary of the Senator from Indiana was
        just and correct; it was a deduction that he had a
        right logically to make; and I tell the Senator from
        Massachusetts that his course in the Senate to-day is in
        its effects a better Free-Trade speech than has ever been
        made in any of the Middle States during the last ten years.”

    Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, united with Mr. Sumner.

    The amendment was lost,--Yeas 11, Nays 25.


FEBRUARY 11, 1867.

    The Senate had under consideration an Amendment to the National
    Constitution, reported by the Judiciary Committee, as follows:--

        “No person elected President or Vice-President, who has
        once served as President, shall afterward be eligible to
        either office.”

    Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, thought that the words “who has once
    served as President” should be struck out. Mr. Williams, of
    Oregon, suggested: “No person who has once served as President
    shall afterward be eligible to either office.” Mr. Poland, of
    Vermont, moved, as a substitute, the following:--

        “The President and Vice-President of the United States
        shall hereafter be chosen for the term of six years; and no
        person elected President or Vice-President, who has once
        served as President, shall afterward be eligible to either

    Mr. Sumner said:--

I agree with the Senator from Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON], so far as I was
able to follow his remarks. It seems to me it would be better, if the
term of the President were six years rather than four. I regretted
that the report of the Committee did not embody such a change. I am
therefore thankful to the Senator from Vermont, who by his motion gives
us an opportunity to vote on that proposition.

But allow me to go a little further, and there I should like the
attention of my friend opposite [Mr. JOHNSON]. If the term of the
President is to be six years, should we not abolish the office of
Vice-President? Are you willing to take the chance of a Vice-President
becoming President a few weeks after the beginning of the six years’
term, and then serving out that full term? We all know, in fact,
that the Vice-President is nominated often as a sort of balance
to the President. It is too much with a view to certain political
considerations, and possibly to aid the election of the President,
rather than to secure the services of one in all respects competent to
be President. Suppose, therefore, we have a President only, and leave
to Congress the provision for a temporary filling of the office, as now
on the disability of the President and Vice-President.

I throw out these views without making any motion. I submit that we do
not meet all the difficulties of the present hour, unless we go still
further and provide against abnormal troubles from the nomination
of a Vice-President selected less with reference to fitness than to
transient political considerations. As my friend says, he is thrown in
for a make-weight, and then, in the providence of God, the make-weight
becomes Chief Magistrate. It seems to me important, that, if possible,
we should provide against the recurrence of such difficulties.

But suppose the proposition of the Committee to stand as reported,
I am brought then to the question raised by the Senator from Maine
[Mr. FESSENDEN], whether it should be applicable to a Vice-President
in the providence of God called to be President. On that point I am
obliged to go with the Committee. It seems to me that the evil we wish
to guard against in the case of the President naturally arises in the
case of a Vice-President who becomes President. I say this on the
reason of the case, and then I say it on our melancholy experience.
The three cases in our history which distinctly teach the necessity
of the Amendment before us are of three Vice-Presidents who in the
providence of God became Presidents. But for these three cases, nobody
would have thought of change. It is to meet the difficulties found to
arise from a Vice-President becoming President, and then hearkening
to the whisperings and temptations which unhappily visit a person in
his situation, that we have been led to contemplate the necessity of
change. I hope, therefore, if the proposition of the Senator from
Vermont [Mr. POLAND] is not taken as a substitute, that the words of
the Committee will be preserved.

I am disposed to go still further. I would have an additional
Amendment,--one that has not appeared in this discussion, though not
unknown in this Chamber, for distinguished Senators who once occupied
these seats have more than once advocated it,--I mean an Amendment
providing for the election of President directly by the people, without
the intervention of Electoral Colleges. Such an Amendment would give
every individual voter, wherever he might be, a positive weight in the
election. It would give minorities in distant States an opportunity
of being heard in determining who shall be Chief Magistrate. Now they
are of no consequence. Such an Amendment would be of peculiar value.
It would be in harmony, too, with those ideas, belonging to the hour,
of the unity of the Republic. I know nothing that would contribute
more to bring all the people, to mass all the people, into one united
whole, than to make the President directly eligible by their votes. But
no such proposition is before us, nor is there any such proposition
as I have alluded to with regard to the office of Vice-President. I
hope, however, that these subjects will not be allowed to pass out of
mind, and that some time or other we shall be able to act on them in a
practical way.

    After debate, the question was dropped without any vote.



    The subject of Reconstruction was uppermost during the present
    session, sometimes in Constitutional Amendments and sometimes
    in measures of legislation.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 13th, the Senate received from the House of
    Representatives a bill “to provide for the more efficient
    government of the Insurrectionary States,” which, after various
    changes, was finally passed under the title of “An Act to
    provide for the more efficient government of the Rebel States,”
    being the most important measure of legislation in the history
    of Reconstruction. As this bill came from the House it was a
    military bill, creating five military districts in the South,
    without any requirement with regard to suffrage, and with no
    exclusion of Rebels. Mr. Bingham, of Ohio, and Mr. Blaine, of
    Maine, announced in the House amendments requiring in the new
    constitutions “that the elective franchise shall be enjoyed
    by all male citizens of the United States twenty-one years
    old and upward, without regard to race, color, or previous
    condition of servitude, except such as may be disfranchised for
    participating in the late Rebellion or for felony at Common
    Law.” But they had not been able to obtain a direct vote; nor
    was there any exclusion of Rebels in their propositions. Mr.
    Stevens, of Pennsylvania, said:--

        “The amendment of the gentleman from Maine [Mr. BLAINE]
        lets in a vast number of Rebels and shuts out nobody. All
        I ask is, that, when the House comes to vote upon that
        amendment, it shall understand that the adoption of it
        would be an entire surrender of those States into the hands
        of the Rebels.”

    About this time the House passed what was known as the
    Louisiana Bill, being a bill providing for the reconstruction
    of that State, with all necessary machinery, not unlike the
    bill introduced on the first day of the preceding session,
    “to enforce the guaranty of a republican form of government
    in certain States whose governments have been usurped or
    overthrown.”[83] The two bills together would have made a
    complete system of Protection, and the second, when extended to
    all the States, a complete system of Reconstruction.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 14th, Mr. Sumner said:--

I am in favor of each of these bills. Each is excellent. One is
the beginning of a true Reconstruction; the other is the beginning
of a true Protection. Now in these Rebel States there must be
Reconstruction and there must be Protection. Both must be had, and
neither should be antagonized with the other. The two should go on
side by side,--guardian angels of the Republic. Never was Congress
called to consider measures of more vital importance. I am unwilling to
discriminate between the two. I accept them both with all my heart, and
am here now to sustain them by my constant presence and vote.

But, Sir, what we know as the Louisiana Bill came into this Chamber
first; it was first made familiar to us; it has precedence. On that
account it seems to me it ought to come up first, it ought to lead the
way. I am not going to say that this is better than the other, or that
the other is better than this. Each is good; and yet, I doubt not, each
is susceptible of amendment. The Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN] has
already foreshadowed an important amendment on the bill reported by the
Committee of which he is Chairman; I have already sent to the Chair an
amendment which at the proper time I may move on the other bill. But I
desire to make one remark with regard to amendments. I am so much in
earnest for the passage of these bills, that I shall cheerfully forego
any amendment of my own, if I find it to be the general sentiment of
those truly in earnest for the bills that we ought not to attempt
amendments. If, however, amendments seem to be preferable, then I shall
propose those I have sent to the Chair.

    February 15th, the Senate began the consideration of the
    Military Bill, continuing in session until three o’clock in
    the morning of the next day. Speeches and motions showed
    great differences on the subject. Some were content with a
    purely military bill, contemplating simply the protection of
    the people in the Rebel States. Others wished to add measures
    of Reconstruction; and here again there were differences.
    Some were content with the requirement of suffrage without
    distinction of color in the new constitutions, making no
    provision for the exclusion of Rebels, leaving the organization
    in the hands of the existing electors, and providing, that, on
    the adoption of the Constitutional Amendment, and of a State
    constitution securing equal suffrage, any such State should be
    entitled to representation in Congress.

    In the hope of putting an end to these differences, a caucus
    of Republican Senators was held the next forenoon, when a
    committee was appointed, as follows: Mr. Sherman, of Ohio,
    Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, Mr. Howard, of Michigan, Mr. Harris,
    of New York, Mr. Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, Mr. Trumbull,
    of Illinois, and Mr. Sumner, to consider the pending bill and
    amendments and report to the caucus. The committee withdrew
    from the Senate, leaving a Senator making a long and elaborate
    speech, and proceeded with their work. The House bill was
    taken as the basis, and amended in several particulars, to
    which Mr. Sumner afterwards alluded in the Senate. An effort
    by Mr. Sumner to require equal suffrage found no favor; nor
    did what was known as the Louisiana Bill, which he proposed
    as a substitute; nor an effort to exclude Rebels. He felt
    it his duty to say to the committee, that, on the making of
    the report, he should appeal to the caucus, which he did.
    The caucus, by 15 Yeas to 13 Nays,--Senators standing to be
    counted,--voted to require equal suffrage in the choice of the
    constitutional conventions; also in the new constitutions,
    and in their ratification. But the bill was left without any
    exclusion of Rebels, and with the declaration, that, doing
    these things and ratifying the Amendment to the National
    Constitution, a State should be entitled to representation in
    Congress. In these latter respects it seemed to Mr. Sumner
    highly objectionable.

    The vote of the caucus to require suffrage without distinction
    of color seemed a definitive settlement of that question for
    the Rebel States. At that small meeting, and by those informal
    proceedings, this great act was accomplished. For Mr. Sumner it
    was an occasion of especial satisfaction, as his long-continued
    effort was crowned with success. These volumes show how,
    by letter, speech, resolution, and bill, he had constantly
    maintained this duty of Congress. His bill, introduced on the
    first day of the preceding session, “to enforce the guaranty
    of a republican form of government in certain States whose
    governments have been usurped or overthrown,” contained the
    specific requirement now adopted, while the debates on the
    Louisiana Bill,[84] the Colorado Bill,[85] the Nebraska
    Bill,[86] and the Constitutional Amendment,[87] attested his
    endeavor to apply this requirement.

    During the evening session, Mr. Sherman, chairman of the
    caucus committee, moved the bill accepted by the caucus, as a
    substitute for the House bill. It was understood that it would
    receive the support of the Republican Senators without further
    amendment, and, as they constituted a large majority, its
    passage was sure. Under these circumstances, Mr. Sumner left
    the Chamber at midnight. The vote was taken a little after six
    o’clock, Sunday morning,--Yeas 29, Nays 10.

    In the other House, the substitute of the Senate was the
    occasion of decided differences, not unlike those in the Senate
    on the House bill. Many felt that the Unionists were left
    without adequate protection. Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania,
    after saying that the Senate had sent “an amendment which
    contains everything else but protection,” exclaimed: “Pass this
    bill and you open the flood-gates of misery,--you disgrace,
    in my judgment, the Congress of the United States.” Mr.
    Boutwell, of Massachusetts, said: “My objection to the proposed
    substitute of the Senate is fundamental, it is conclusive. It
    provides, if not in terms, at least in fact, by the measures
    which it proposes, to reconstruct those State governments
    at once through the agency of disloyal men.” Mr. Williams,
    of Pennsylvania, said: “We sent to the Senate a proposition
    to meet the necessities of the hour, which was Protection
    without Reconstruction, and it sends back another, which is
    Reconstruction without Protection.” At length, on motion of Mr.
    Stevens, the House refused to concur in the amendment of the
    Senate, and asked a committee of conference on the disagreeing
    votes of the two Houses.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 19th, the excitement of the House was again
    transferred to the Senate, where Mr. Williams, of Oregon,
    moved that the Senate insist upon its amendment, and agree to
    the conference. An earnest debate ensued, in which Mr. Sumner
    favored the conference committee, and also explained what he
    wished to accomplish by the bill. Mr. Williams withdrew his
    motion, when Mr. Sherman moved that the Senate insist on its
    amendment to the House bill and that the House be informed
    thereof. Mr. Trumbull sustained the motion. Mr. Sumner followed.

MR. PRESIDENT,--In what the Senator from Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL] has
said of the failure by the President to discharge his duties under
existing laws I entirely agree. He touches the case to the quick. It is
impossible not to see that the special difficulty of the present moment
springs from the bad man who sits in the executive chair. He is the
centre of our woes. More than once before I have recalled the saying
of Catholic Europe, “All roads lead to Rome.” So now, among us, do all
roads lead to the President. We attempt nothing which does not bring us
face to face with him, precisely as during the Rebellion we attempted
nothing which did not bring us face to face with Jefferson Davis. I
mention this, not to deter, but for encouragement. We have already
conquered the chief of the Rebellion. I doubt not that we shall conquer
his successor also. But this can be only by strenuous exertion. It is
no argument against legislation that the President will not execute it.
We must do our duty, and insist always that he shall do his.

Therefore I am in favor of some measure of Reconstruction, the best
we can secure, the more thorough the better. And I ask you to take
such steps as will best accomplish this result. There is a difference
between the two Houses, and at this stage the customary proceeding is
a conference committee. But the Senator from Illinois is against any
such committee in a case of such magnitude. To my mind his argument
should be directed against the rule of Parliamentary Law which
provides a conference committee at this precise stage of parliamentary
proceedings. Let him move to change the Parliamentary Law, so that
in cases of peculiar importance the common rule shall cease to
be applicable. Let this be his thesis. But, so long as the _Lex
Parliamentaria_ exists, I submit that it is hardly reasonable to resist
its application, especially when the House has asked a conference
committee on a bill of theirs which you have amended.


I differ from the Senator [Mr. SHERMAN, of Ohio] radically, when he
intimates that the bill needs only “slight” amendments. With this
opinion I can understand that he should urge a course which I fear may
cut off amendments to me essential.

Mr. President, I would speak frankly of this measure, which has in
it so much of good and so much of evil. Rarely have good and evil
been mixed on such a scale. Look at the good, and you are full of
grateful admiration. Look at the evil, and you are impatient at such
an abandonment of duty. Much is gained, but much is abandoned. You
have done much, but you have not done enough. You have left undone
things which ought to be done. The Senator from Maine [Mr. FESSENDEN]
was right in asking more. I agree with him. I ask more. All the good
of the bill cannot make me forget its evil. It is very defective.
It is horribly defective. Too strong language cannot be used in
characterizing a measure with such fatal defects. But nobody recognizes
more cordially than myself the good it has. Pardon me, if I do my best
to make it better.

This is the original House bill for the military government of
the Rebel States, revised and amended by the Senate in essential
particulars. As it came from the House it was excellent in general
purpose, but imperfect. It was nothing but a military bill, providing
protection for fellow-citizens in the Rebel States. Unquestionably it
was improved in the Senate. It is easy to mention its good points, for
these are conspicuous and seem like so many monuments.

Throughout the bill, in its title, in its preamble, and then again in
its body, the States in question are designated as “Rebel States.” I
like the designation. It is brief and just. It seems to justify on the
face any measure of precaution or security. It teaches the country
how these States are to be regarded for the present. It teaches these
States how they are regarded by Congress. “Rebel States”: I like the
term, and I am glad it is repeated. God grant that the time may come
when this term may be forgotten! but until then we must not hesitate to
call things by their right names.

More important still is the declaration in the preamble, that “no
legal State governments” now exist in the enumerated Rebel States. This
is a declaration of incalculable value. For a long time, too long, we
have hesitated; but at last this point is reached, destined to be “the
initial point” of a just Reconstruction. For a long time, again and
again, I have insisted that those governments are _illegal_. Strangely,
you would not say so. The present bill fixes this starting-point of a
true policy. If the existing governments are “illegal,” you have duties
with regard to them which cannot be postponed. You cannot stop with
this declaration. You must see that it is carried out in a practical
manner. In other words, you must brush away these illegal governments,
the spawn of Presidential usurpation, and supply their places. The
illegal must give place to the legal; and Congress must supervise and
control the transition. The bill has a special value in the obligations
it imposes upon Congress. Let it find a place in the statute-book, and
your duties will be fixed beyond recall.

Another point is established which in itself is a prodigious triumph.
As I mention it, I cannot conceal my joy. It is the direct requirement
of universal suffrage, without distinction of race or color. This
is done by Act of Congress, without Constitutional Amendment. It
is a grand and beneficent exercise of existing powers, for a long
time invoked, but now at last grasped. No Rebel State can enjoy
representation in Congress, until it has conferred the suffrage upon
all its citizens, and fixed this right in its constitution. This is the
Magna Charta you are about to enact. Since Runnymede, there has been
nothing of greater value to Human Rights.

To this enumeration add that the bill is in its general purposes a
measure of protection for loyal fellow-citizens trodden down by Rebels.
To this end, the military power is set in motion, and the whole Rebel
region is divided into districts where the strong arm of the soldier is
to supply the protection asked in vain from illegal governments.

Look now at the other side, and you will see the defects. By
an amendment of the Senate, the House bill, which was merely a
military bill for protection, has been converted into a measure of
Reconstruction. But it is Reconstruction without machinery or motive
power. There is no provision for the initiation of new governments.
There is no helping hand extended to the loyal people seeking to lay
anew the foundations of civil order. They are left to grope in the
dark. This is not right. It is a failure on the part of Congress, which
ought to preside over Reconstruction and lend its helping hand, by
securing Education and Equal Rights to begin at once, and by appointing
the way and the season in which good citizens should proceed in
creating the new governments.

I cannot forget, also, that there is no provision by which the freedmen
can be secured a freehold for themselves and their families, which has
always seemed to me most important in Reconstruction.

But all this, though of the gravest character, is dwarfed by that other
objection which springs from the present toleration of Rebels in the
copartnership of government. Here is a strange oblivion, showing a
strange insensibility.

The Senator from Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL] argued that the bill would
put the new governments into loyal hands. Has he read it? My precise
objection is, that it does not put the government into loyal hands.
Look at it carefully, and you will see this staring you in the face
at all points. While requiring suffrage for all, without distinction
of race or color, it leaves the machinery and motive power in the
hands of the existing governments, which are conducted by Rebels.
Therefore, under this bill, Rebels will initiate and conduct the work
of Reconstruction, while loyal citizens stand aside. The President
once said, “For the Rebels back seats.” This bill says, “For the loyal
citizens back seats.” Nobody is disfranchised. There is no traitor,
red with loyal blood, who may not play his part and help found the
new government. The bill excepts from voting only “such as _may be_
disfranchised for participation in the Rebellion.” It does not require
that any body shall be disfranchised, but leaves this whole question to
the existing government, who will, of course, leave the door wide open.

Looking at this feature, I cannot condemn it too strongly. It is true
that suffrage is at last accorded to the colored race; but their
masters are left in power to domineer, and even to organize. With
experience, craft, and determined purpose, there is too much reason
to fear that all safeguards will be overthrown, and the Unionist
continue the victim of Rebel power. This must not be. And you must
interfere in advance to prevent it. You must exercise a just authority
in disfranchising dangerous men. On this point there must be no
uncertainty, no “perhaps.” It is not enough to say that Rebels _may be_
disfranchised; you must say _must_. Without this is surrender.

Such a surrender Congress cannot make. Therefore do I rejoice with my
whole heart that the House of Representatives has given to the Senate
the opportunity of reconsidering its action and taking the proper
steps for amending the bill. The new governments must be on a loyal
basis. Loyal people must be protected against Rebels. Here I take my
stand. I plead for those good people, who have suffered as people never
suffered before. I appeal to you as Senators not to miss this precious
opportunity. Take care that the bill is amended, so that it may be the
fountain of peace, and not the engine of discord and oppression.

    Mr. Sherman followed in an earnest speech, in the course of
    which the following passage occurred.

        MR. SHERMAN. The Senator from Massachusetts now for the
        first time in the Senate has stated his opposition to this

        MR. SUMNER. Allow me to correct the Senator. The Senator
        was not here, when, at two o’clock in the morning, I
        denounced this amendment as I have, to-day, and much more

        MR. SHERMAN. He now states that the ground of his
        opposition is, that the bill does not disfranchise the
        whole Rebel population of the Southern States.

        MR. SUMNER. I beg the Senator’s pardon. I take no such
        ground. I say it does not provide proper safeguards against
        the Rebel population. I have not opened the question to
        what extent the disfranchisement should go.

    The motion of Mr. Sherman was agreed to, and the bill, with the
    Senate amendment, was returned to the House, which proceeded
    promptly to its consideration. The substitute of the Senate
    was concurred in, with a further amendment,--(1.) excluding
    from the conventions, and also from voting, all persons
    excluded from holding office under the recent Constitutional
    Amendment; (2.) declaring civil governments in the Rebel States
    provisional only and subject to the paramount authority of the
    United States; (3.) conferring the elective franchise upon
    all, without distinction of color, in elections under such
    provisional governments; and (4.) disqualifying all persons
    from office under provisional government who are disqualified
    by the Constitutional Amendment. The vote of the House
    was,--Yeas 128, Nays 46.

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 20th, in the Senate, Mr. Williams moved concurrence
    with the House amendments. After brief remarks by Mr. Sherman,
    Mr. Sumner said:--

I differ from the Senator [Mr. SHERMAN], when he calls this a small
matter. It is a great matter.

I should not say another word but for the singular speech of the
Senator yesterday. He made something like an assault on me, because I
required the very amendments the House have now made; and yet he is to
support them. I am glad the Senator has seen light; but he must revise
his speech of yesterday. The Senator shakes his head. What did I ask?
What did I criticize? It was, that the bill failed in safeguard against
Rebels. I did not say how many to exclude. I only said some must be
excluded, more or less. None were excluded. That brought down the
cataract of speech we all enjoyed, when the Senator protested with all
the ardor of his nature, and invoked the State of Ohio behind him to
oppose the proposition of the Senator from Massachusetts. And now, if
I understand the Senator from Ohio, he is ready to place himself side
by side with the Senator from Massachusetts in support of the amendment
from the House embodying this very proposition. I am glad the Senator
is so disposed. I rejoice that he sees light. To-morrow I hope to
welcome the Senator to some other height.

    MR. COWAN [of Pennsylvania]. Excelsior!

MR. SUMNER. And I hope the word may be applicable to my friend from
Pennsylvania also. [_Laughter._]

But there was another remark of the Senator which struck me with
astonishment. He complained that I demanded these safeguards now,
and said that I had already in the bill all that I had ever demanded
before,--that universal suffrage, without distinction of race or
color, was secured; and, said he, “the Senator from Massachusetts has
never asked anything but that.” Now I can well pardon the Senator for
ignorance with regard to what I have said or asked on former occasions.
I cannot expect him to be familiar with it. And yet, when he openly
arraigns me with the impetuosity of yesterday, I shall be justified in
showing how completely he was mistaken.

    Here Mr. Sumner referred to his speech before the Massachusetts
    Republican State Convention, September 14, 1865, entitled
    “The National Security and the National Faith, Guaranties for
    the National Freedman and the National Creditor,” and showed
    how completely at that time he had anticipated all present
    demands.[88] He then continued:--

And yet, when I simply insisted upon some additional safeguard against
the return of Rebels to power, the Senator told us that I was asking
something new. Thank God, the other House has supplied the very
protection which I desired; it has laid the foundation of a true peace.
That foundation can be only on a loyal basis.

Two Presidents--one always to be named with veneration, another always
most reluctantly--have united in this sentiment. Abraham Lincoln
insisted that the new governments should be founded on loyalty; that,
if there were only five thousand loyal persons in a State, they were
entitled to hold the power. His successor adopted the same principle,
when, in different language, he compendiously said, “For the Rebels
back seats.” What is now required could not be expressed better. “For
the Rebels back seats,” until this great work of Reconstruction is

    Mr. Sherman, and Mr. Stewart, of Nevada, spoke especially in
    reply to Mr. Sumner, congratulating him upon his acceptance of
    the result. Mr. Sumner followed.

I am sorry to say another word; and yet, if silent, I might expose
myself to misunderstanding. I accept the amendments from the other
House as the best that can be had now; but I desire it distinctly
understood that I shall not hesitate to insist at all times upon
applying more directly and practically the true principles of
Reconstruction. There is the Louisiana Bill on our table. The time,
I presume, has passed for acting on it at this session; but in the
earliest days of the next session I shall press that subject as
constantly as I can. I believe you owe it to every one of these States
to supply a government in place of that you now solemnly declare
illegal. In such a government you will naturally secure a true loyalty,
and I wish to be understood as not in any way circumscribing myself by
the vote of to-day.

It may be that it will be best to require of every voter the same oath
required of all entering Congress, which we know as the test oath.
At least something more must be done; there must be other safeguards
than those supplied by this very hasty and crude act of legislation. I
accept it as containing much that is good, some things infinitely good,
but as coming short of what a patriotic Congress ought to supply for
the safety of the Republic.

Let it be understood, then, that I am not compromised by this bill,
or by blandishments of Senators over the way [Messrs. SHERMAN and
STEWART]. I listen to them of course with pleasure, and to all their
expressions of friendship I respond with all my heart. I like much to
go with them; but I value more the safety of my country. When Senators,
even as powerful as the Senator from Ohio and the Senator from Nevada,
take a course which seems to me inconsistent with the national
security, they must not expect me to follow.

    After further debate, late in the evening of February 20th
    the vote was reached, and the House amendments were concurred
    in,--Yeas 35, Nays 7. The effect of this was to pass the bill.

       *       *       *       *       *

    March 2d, the bill was vetoed. The House, on the same day, by
    138 Yeas to 51 Nays, and the Senate, by 38 Yeas to 10 Nays,
    passed the bill by a two-thirds vote, notwithstanding the
    objections of the President, so that it became a law.[89]



MR. PRESIDENT,--I am unwilling that this bill should be embarrassed
by any question of words. I am for the bill in substance, whatever
words may be employed. Call it a bureau, if you please, or call it a
department; I accept it under either designation. The Senator from
Connecticut [Mr. DIXON] has not too strongly depicted the necessity of
the case. We are to have universal suffrage, a natural consequence of
universal emancipation; but this will be a barren sceptre in the hands
of the people, unless we supply education also. From the beginning
of our troubles, I have foreseen this question. Through the agency
and under the influence of the National Government education must be
promoted in the Rebel States. To this end we need some central agency.
This, if I understand it, is supplied by the bill before us.

Call it a bureau or a department; but give us the bill, and do not
endanger it, at this moment, in this late hour of the session, by
unnecessary amendment. Sir, I would, if I could, give it the highest
designation. If there is any term in our dictionary that would impart
peculiar significance, I should prefer that. Indeed, I should not
hesitate, could I have my way, to place the head of the Department of
Education in the Cabinet of the United States,--following the practice
of one of the civilized governments of the world. I refer to France,
which for years has had in its Cabinet a Minister of Education. But no
such proposition is before us. The question is simply on a name; and I
hope we shall not take up time with regard to it.

    The bill passed both Houses of Congress, and became a law.[90]



    Mr. Poland, of Vermont, introduced a resolution directing
    the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate to see that monuments
    were placed in the Congressional burial-ground, in memory of
    Senators who had died at Washington since July 4, 1861. On the
    question of taking up this resolution for consideration, Mr.
    Sumner remarked:--

Originally there was a reason for these monuments. Senators and
Representatives dying here found their last home in the Congressional
burial-ground, and these monuments covered their remains. At a later
day, with increasing facilities of transportation, the custom of
burial here has ceased; but the monuments, being only cenotaphs, were
continued until 1861, when this custom was suspended. Meantime Death
has not been less busy here, and the question is, whether the former
custom shall be revived, and cenotaphs be placed in an unvisited
burial-ground, to mark the spot where the remains of a Senator might
have been placed, had they not been transported to repose among his
family, kindred, and neighbors.

I cannot but think that the suspension of this custom of monuments,
which occurred at the beginning of the war, was notice or indication
that the occasion for them had passed; and I doubt sincerely the
expediency of reviving the custom, unless where an associate is
actually buried here. If those dying here, but buried elsewhere,
are to be commemorated by Congress in any monumental form, it seems
to me better that it should be a simple tablet of stone or brass in
the Capitol, where it would be seen by the visitors thronging here,
and perhaps arrest the attention of their successors in public duty,
teaching how Death enters these Halls. But why place an unsightly
cenotaph in a forlorn burial-ground,--I may add, at considerable cost?
I cannot doubt that the time has come for this expense to cease.

    The resolution was referred to the Committee on the Contingent
    Expenses of the Senate.



    By a joint resolution introduced by Mr. Morgan, of New York,
    the President was requested “to cause a gold medal to be
    struck, with suitable emblems, devices, and inscription, to be
    presented to Mr. Field,” and to “cause a copy of this joint
    resolution to be engrossed on parchment, and transmit the same,
    together with the medal, to Mr. Field, to be presented to him
    in the name of the people of the United States of America.”

    March 2d, the joint resolution was considered. After a speech
    from Mr. Morgan, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I rejoice in every enterprise by which human industry
is quickened and distant places are brought near together. In ancient
days the builders of roads were treated with godlike honor. I offer
them my homage now. The enterprise which is to complete the railroad
connection between the Pacific and the Atlantic belongs to this class.
But this is not so peculiar and exceptional as that which has already
connected the two continents by a telegraphic wire. It is not so
historic. It is not itself so great an epoch.

It is not easy to exaggerate the difficulty or the value of the new

The enterprise was original in its beginning and in every stage of
its completion. It began by a telegraph line connecting St. John’s,
the most easterly port of America, with the main continent. This was
planned at the house of Cyrus W. Field, by a few gentlemen, among whom
were Peter Cooper, Moses Taylor, Marshall O. Roberts, and David Dudley
Field. New York and St. John’s are about twelve hundred miles apart.
When these two points were brought into telegraphic association, the
first link was made in the chain destined to bind the two continents
together. Out of this American beginning sprang efforts which ended in
the oceanic cable.

In other respects our country led the way. The first soundings across
the Atlantic were by American officers in American ships. The United
States ship Dolphin first discovered the telegraphic plateau as early
as 1853, and in 1856 the United States ship Arctic sounded across from
Newfoundland to Ireland, a year before Her Majesty’s ship Cyclops
sailed the same course.

It was not until 1856 that this American enterprise showed itself in
England, where it was carried by Mr. Field. Through his energies the
Atlantic Telegraphic Company was organized in London, with a board of
directors composed of English bankers and merchants, among whom was
an American citizen, George Peabody. By conjoint exertions of the two
countries the cable was stretched from continent to continent in 1858.
Messages of good-will traversed it. The United States and England
seemed to be near together, while Queen and President interchanged
salutations. Then suddenly the electric current ceased, and the cable
became a lifeless line. The enterprise itself hardly lived. But it was
again quickened into being, and finally carried to a successful close.
British capital, British skill, contributed largely, and the society
had for its president an eminent Englishman, the Right Honorable James
Stuart Wortley; but I have always understood that our countryman
was the mainspring. His confidence never ceased; his energies never
flagged. Twelve years of life and forty voyages across the Atlantic
were woven into this work. He was the Alpha and the Omega of a triumph
which has few parallels in history.

Englishmen who took an active part in this enterprise have received
recognition and honor from the sovereign. Some have been knighted,
others advanced in service. Meanwhile Cyrus W. Field, who did so much,
has remained unnoticed by our Government. He has been honored by the
popular voice, but it remains for Congress to embody this voice in a
national testimonial. If it be said that there is no precedent for such
a vote, then do I reply that his case is without precedent, and we
must not hesitate to make a precedent by this expression of national
gratitude. Thanks are given for victories in war: give them now for a
victory of peace.

    The joint resolution passed both Houses without a division, and
    was approved by the President.[91]




    March 7th, the following resolutions were introduced by Mr.
    Sumner, and on his motion ordered to lie on the table and be

        “RESOLUTIONS declaring certain further guaranties required
        in the Reconstruction of the Rebel States.

        “_Resolved_, That Congress, in declaring by positive
        legislation that it possesses paramount authority over the
        Rebel States, and in prescribing that no person therein
        shall be excluded from the elective franchise by reason of
        race, color, or previous condition, has begun the work of
        Reconstruction, and has set an example to itself.

        “_Resolved_, That other things remain to be done, as
        clearly within the power of Congress as the elective
        franchise, and it is the duty of Congress to see that these
        things are not left undone.

        “_Resolved_, That among things remaining to be done are the
        five following.

        “First. Existing governments, now declared illegal, must be
        vacated, so that they can have no agency in Reconstruction,
        and will cease to exercise a pernicious influence.

        “Secondly. Provisional governments must be constituted
        as temporary substitutes for the illegal governments,
        with special authority to superintend the transition to
        permanent governments republican in form.

        “Thirdly. As loyalty beyond suspicion must be the basis of
        permanent governments republican in form, every possible
        precaution must be adopted against Rebel agency or
        influence in the formation of these governments.

        “Fourthly. As the education of the people is essential to
        the national welfare, and especially to the development of
        those principles of justice and morality which constitute
        the foundation of republican government, and as, according
        to the census, an immense proportion of the people in the
        Rebel States, without distinction of color, cannot read and
        write, therefore public schools must be established for the
        equal good of all.

        “Fifthly. Not less important than education is the
        homestead, which must be secured to the freedmen, so that
        at least every head of a family may have a piece of land.

        “_Resolved_, That all these requirements are in the nature
        of guaranties to be exacted by Congress, without which the
        United States will not obtain that security for the future
        which is essential to a just Reconstruction.”

    March 11th, on motion of Mr. Sumner, the Senate proceeded to
    consider the resolutions. Mr. Williams, of Oregon, was not
    prepared to vote on these resolutions until they had received
    the consideration of some committee, and he moved their
    reference to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from Oregon has made no criticism on the
resolutions, but nevertheless he objects to proceeding with them now;
he desires reference, he would have the aid of a committee, before he
proceeds with their consideration. If I can have the attention of the
Senator, it seems to me that this will be as good as a committee. The
resolutions are on the table; they are plain; they are unequivocal;
they are perfectly intelligible; and they make a declaration of
principle and of purpose which at this moment is of peculiar importance.

Congress has undertaken to provide for the military government of
the Rebel States, and has made certain requirements with regard to
Reconstruction, and there it stops. It has presented no complete
system, and it has provided no machinery. From this failure our
friends at the South are at this moment in the greatest anxiety.
They are suffering. Former Rebels, or persons representing the
Rebellion, are moving under our bill to take a leading part. Already
the Legislature of Virginia, packed by Rebels, full of the old Rebel
virus, has undertaken to call a convention under our recent Act.
Let that convention be called, and what is the condition of those
friends to whom you owe protection? Unless I am misinformed by valued
correspondents, the position of our friends will be very painful. I
have this morning a letter from Mr. Botts,--I mention his name because
he is well known to all of us, and I presume he would have no objection
to being quoted on this floor,--in which he entreats us to provide
some protection for him and other Unionists against efforts already
commenced by Rebels or persons under Rebel influence.

I am anxious for practical legislation to that end; but, to
pave the way for such legislation, I would have Congress, at the
earliest possible moment, make a declaration in general terms of its
purposes. The Senator says these resolutions do not propose practical
legislation. I beg the Senator’s pardon: they do not propose what we
call legislation, but they announce to these Rebel States what we
propose to do; they foreshadow the future; they give notice; they
tell the Rebels that they are not to take part in Reconstruction;
and they tell our friends and the friends of the Union that we mean
to be wakeful with regard to their interests. Such will be their
effect. They are in the nature of a declaration. At the beginning of
the war there was a declaration, which has been often quoted in both
Houses, with regard to the purposes of the war. Very often in times
past declarations of policy were made in one House or the other,
and sometimes by concurrent resolutions of the two Chambers. If the
occasion requires, the declaration ought to be made. In common times
and under ordinary circumstances there would be no occasion for such a
declaration, but at this moment there seems peculiar occasion; you must
give notice; and the failure of our bill to meet the present exigency
throws this responsibility upon us.

The next question is as to the character of the notice. It begins in
its title by declaring that certain further guaranties are required in
the Reconstruction of the Rebel States. Can any Senator doubt that such
guaranties are required? I submit that on that head there can be no
question. I am persuaded that my excellent friend from Oregon will not
question that general statement.

    Mr. Sumner then took up the several points of the resolutions
    in order and explained them. Coming to that declaring the
    necessity of a homestead for the freedman, he proceeded:--

I believe that all familiar with the processes of Reconstruction have
felt that our work would be incomplete, unless in some way we secured
to the freedman a piece of land. Only within a few days, gentlemen
fresh from travel through these States have assured me, that, as they
saw the condition of things there, nothing pressed upon their minds
more than the necessity of such a provision. The more you reflect upon
it, and the more you listen to evidence, the stronger will be your
conclusion as to this necessity.

Do you ask as to the power of Congress? Again I say, you find it
precisely where you found the power to confer universal suffrage. To
give a homestead will be no more than to give a vote. You have done the
one, and now you must do the other. We are told that to him that hath
shall be given; and as you have already given the ballot, you must go
further, and give not only education, but the homestead. Nor can you
hesitate for want of power. The time for hesitation has passed.

    MR. FESSENDEN [of Maine]. I should like to ask my friend a
    question, with his permission.

    MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. FESSENDEN. The Senator put the granting of the ballot
    on the ground that without it the Government would not be
    republican in form, as I understood his argument.

    MR. SUMNER. Yes.

    MR. FESSENDEN. Now I should like to know if he puts the
    possession by every man of a piece of land on the same ground.

    MR. SUMNER. I do not.

    MR. FESSENDEN. The Senator assimilated the two, and said, that,
    having done the one, we must do the other. I supposed, perhaps,
    the same process of reasoning applied to both.

    MR. SUMNER. No; the homestead stands on the necessity of the
    case, to complete the work of the ballot.

    MR. GRIMES [of Iowa]. Have we not done that under the Homestead

    MR. SUMNER. The freedmen are not excluded from the Homestead
    Law; but I would provide them with a piece of land where they

    MR. FESSENDEN. That is more than we do for white men.

MR. SUMNER. White men have never been in slavery; there is no
emancipation and no enfranchisement of white men to be consummated.
I put it to my friend, I ask his best judgment, can he see a way to
complete and crown this great and glorious work without securing land?
My friend before me [Mr. GRIMES] asks, “How are we to get the land?”
There are several ways. By a process of confiscation we should have had
enough; and I have no doubt that the country would have been better,
had the great landed estates of the South been divided and subdivided
among the loyal colored population. That is the judgment of many
Unionists at the South. I say nothing on that point; but clearly there
are lands through the South belonging to the United States, or that
have fallen to the United States through the failure to pay taxes. It
has always seemed to me that in the exercise of the pardoning power it
would have been easy for the President to require that the person who
was to receive a pardon should allot a certain portion of his lands to
his freedmen. That might have been annexed as a condition. A President
properly inspired, and disposed to organize a true Reconstruction,
could not have hesitated in such a requirement. That would have been
a very simple process. I am aware that Congress cannot affect the
pardoning power; but still I doubt not there is something that can
be done by Congress. Where Congress has done so much, I am unwilling
to believe it cannot do all that the emergency requires. Let us not
shrink from the difficulties. With regard to the homestead there
may be difficulties, but not on that account should we hesitate. We
must assure peace and security to these people, and, to that end,
consider candidly, gently, carefully, the proper requirements, and then
fearlessly provide for them.

There is still another, which I have not named in these resolutions,
though I have employed it in the careful and somewhat extended
Reconstruction Bill which I have laid on the table of the Senate, and
which some time I may try to call up for discussion,--and that is, the
substitution of the vote by ballot for the vote _viva voce_. Letters
from Virginia, and also from other parts of the South, all plead for
this change. They say, that, so long as the vote _viva voce_ continues,
it will be difficult for the true Union men to organize; they will be
under check and control from the Rebels. I have a letter, received only
this morning, from a Unionist, from which I will read a brief passage.


Now does my excellent friend from Oregon, who wishes to bury this
effort in a committee, doubt the concluding resolution? Can he hesitate
to say that every one of these requirements is in the nature of a
guaranty, without which we shall not obtain that complete security
for the future which our country has a right to expect? There they
are. That the illegal governments must be vacated. Who can doubt
that? That provisional governments must be constituted as temporary
substitutes for the illegal governments. Who can doubt that? That the
new governments must be founded on an unalterable basis of loyalty,
and to that end no Rebels must be allowed to exert influence or agency
in the formation of the new governments. Who can doubt that? Then,
again, education: who can doubt? Certainly not my friend from Oregon:
he will not doubt the importance of education as a corner-stone of
Reconstruction. It is a golden moment. We have the power. Let us not
fail to exercise it. Exercising it now, we can shape the destinies of
that people for the future. There remains the homestead. I see the
practical difficulties; but I do not despair. Let us apply ourselves
to them, and I do not doubt that we can secure substantially to every
head of a family among the freedmen a piece of land, and we may then go
further, and, in the way of machinery, provide a vote by ballot instead
of a vote _viva voce_.

Now I insist that all these are in the nature of guaranties of future
peace, and we should not hesitate in doing all within our power to
secure them. I hope, therefore, that Senators will act on these
resolutions without reference to a committee. I see no occasion for a
reference. There is one objection, at least, on the face: it will cause
delay. Let these resolutions be adopted and go to the country, and you
will find that the gratitude of the American people, and of all Union
men at the South, will come up to Congress for your act.

    Mr. Dixon, of Connecticut, deprecated the adoption of the
    resolutions. The bill recently passed “purported to be final.…
    It provided certain terms, harsh and severe in the extreme,
    upon which the States formerly in rebellion should be restored
    to the Union.” He then remarked: “These resolutions come from
    the right quarter. Whatever may be my opinion of his [Mr.
    SUMNER’S] political views, I will say for that Senator, that
    for the last two years he has been prophetic; what he has
    announced, what he has declared, what he has said must be law,
    has become law upon many subjects.… Let us know what is coming;
    let us see the worst.… While I was very glad to find--if I
    understood them correctly--that the Senator from Maine [Mr.
    FESSENDEN] and some other Senators about me did not coincide
    with the views of the Senator from Massachusetts, I could not
    forget that two years ago I heard a Senator on this floor say
    that upon another subject there was not a single Senator here
    who agreed with the Senator from Massachusetts; and yet upon
    that very subject I believe every Senator on the majority side
    of the Senate now, if not at heart concurring with him, acts
    and votes with him.”

    Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, opposed the resolutions. It seemed to
    him “not exactly fair or just or ingenuous to the Southern
    people to add new terms, or require of them additional
    guaranties, as conditions to the admission of representation.”

    Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, voted for the recent bill
    because he thought he saw in opinions of Mr. Sumner, “and a few
    others who concur with him, that, if the measure then before
    the Senate was not adopted, harsher, much harsher, measures
    would in the end be exacted of the South.”

    Mr. Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, thought the resolutions
    “unfair to Congress and unfair to the country.”

    Mr. Sumner said in reply:--

The objects which I seek in Reconstruction are regarded in very
different lights by myself and by Senators who have spoken. The
Senator from New Jersey, the Senator from Maryland, and the Senator
from Ohio all regard these requirements as in the nature of burdens or
penalties. Education is a burden or penalty; a homestead is a burden
or penalty. It is a new burden or penalty which I am seeking--so these
distinguished Senators argue--to impose upon the South. Are they right,
or am I right? Education can never be burden or penalty. Justice in the
way of a homestead can never be burden or penalty. Each is a sacred
duty which the nation owes to those who rightfully look to us for

Now, at this moment, in the development of events, the people at the
South rightfully look to us for protection. They rightfully look to
us, that, in laying the foundation-stone of future security, we shall
see that those things are done which will make the security real, and
not merely nominal. And yet, when I ask that the security shall be
real, and not merely nominal, I am encountered by the objection that
I seek to impose new burdens,--that I am harsh. Sir, if I know my own
heart, I would not impose a burden upon any human being. I would not
impose a burden even upon those who have trespassed so much against
the Republic. I do not seek their punishment. Never has one word
fallen from my lips asking for their punishment, for any punishment
of the South. All that I ask is the establishment of human rights on
a permanent foundation. Is there any Senator who differs from me? I
am sure that my friend from Ohio seeks the establishment of future
security; but he will allow me to say, that to my mind he abandons it
at the beginning,--he fails at the proper moment to require guaranties
without which future security will be vain.

This is not the first time that the Senator from Ohio has set himself
against fundamental propositions of Reconstruction. When, now more
than four years ago, I had the honor of introducing into this Chamber
a proposition declaring the jurisdiction of Congress over this whole
question, and over the whole Rebel region, I was met by the Senator,
who reminded me that I was alone, and did not hesitate to say that my
position was not unlike that of Jefferson Davis.

    Here Mr. Sumner sent to the desk the speech of Mr. Sherman,
    April 2, 1862, and the Secretary read what he said of Mr.
    Sumner’s position.

I have not called attention to these remarks in any unkind spirit, for
I have none for the Senator; I have no feeling but kindness and respect
for him; but as I listened to him a few minutes ago, remonstrating
against the position I now occupy, I was carried back to that early
day when he remonstrated, if possible, more strenuously against the
position I then occupied. I had the audacity then to assert the
paramount power of Congress over the whole Rebel region. That was the
sum and substance of my argument; and you have heard the answer of the
Senator. And now, in the lapse of time, the Senator has ranged himself
by my side, voting for that measure of Reconstruction which is founded
on the jurisdiction of Congress over the whole Rebel region.

As time passed, the subject assumed another character. It was with
regard to the suffrage. A year ago I asserted on this floor that we
must give the suffrage to all colored persons by Act of Congress and
without Constitutional Amendment, founding myself on two grounds.
One was the solemn guaranty in the Constitution of a republican form
of government; and I undertook to show that any denial of rights on
account of color was unrepublican to such extent that the government
sanctioning it could not be considered in any just sense republican.
I then went further, and insisted, that, from the necessity of the
case, at the present moment, Congress must accord the suffrage to all
persons at the South, without distinction of color. I argued that the
suffrage of colored citizens was needed to counterbalance the suffrage
of the Rebels.[92] One year has passed, and now, by Act of Congress,
you have asserted the very power which the Senator from Ohio, and
other distinguished Senators associated with him, most strenuously
denied. That Senator and other Senators insisted that it could be only
by Constitutional Amendment. I insisted that it could be under the
existing text of the Constitution; nay, more, that from the necessity
of the case it must be in this way. And in this way it has been done.

But, in doing it, you have unhappily failed to make proper provision
for enforcing this essential security. You have provided no machinery,
and you have left other things undone which ought to be done. And
now, urging that these things should be done, I am encountered again
by my friend from Ohio, whom I had encountered before on these other
cardinal propositions; and he now, just as strenuously as before,
insists that it is not within our power or province at this moment to
make any additional requirements of the Rebel States. He is willing
that the bill in certain particulars shall be amended. I do not know
precisely to what extent he would go; but he will make no additional
requirements, as he expresses it, in the nature of burdens. Sir, I
make no additional requirements in the nature of burdens. I have
already said, I impose no burdens upon any man; but I insist upon the
protection of rights. And now, at this moment, as we are engaged in
this great work of Reconstruction, I insist that the work shall be
completely done. It will not be completely done, if you fail to supply
any safeguards or precautions that can possibly be adopted.

A great orator has told us that he had but one lamp by which his
feet were guided, and that was the lamp of experience.[93] There is
one transcendent experience, commanding, historic, which illumines
this age. It is more than a lamp; it is sunshine. I mean the example
afforded by the Emperor of Russia, when he set free twenty million
serfs. Did he stop with their freedom? He went further, and provided
for their education, and also that each should have a piece of land.
And now, when I ask that my country, a republic, heir of all the ages,
foremost in the tide of time, should do on this question only what
the Emperor of Russia has done, I am met by grave Senators with the
reproach that I am imposing new burdens. It is no such thing. I am
only asking new advantages for all in that distracted region, with new
securities for my country, to the end that it may be safe, great, and

    After remarks by Mr. Howard, of Michigan, the resolutions, on
    motion of Mr. Frelinghuysen, were laid on the table,--Yeas 36,
    Nays 10.

    March 12th, the resolutions were again considered, when Mr.
    Morton, of Indiana, spoke in favor of education, and Mr. Howe,
    of Wisconsin, sustained the resolutions generally.

    July 3d, Mr. Sumner made another attempt to have them
    considered, speaking specially upon the importance of a
    homestead for freedmen.



    March 5th, Mr. Sumner asked, and by unanimous consent obtained,
    leave to bring in the following joint resolution, which was
    read twice and ordered to be printed.

        “JOINT RESOLUTION presenting the thanks of Congress to
        George Peabody.

        “_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of
        the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That
        the thanks of Congress be, and they hereby are, presented
        to George Peabody, of Massachusetts, for his great and
        peculiar beneficence in giving a large sum of money,
        amounting to two million dollars, for the promotion of
        education in the more destitute portions of the Southern
        and Southwestern States, the benefits of which, according
        to his direction, are to be distributed among the entire
        population, without any distinction, except what may be
        found in needs or opportunities of usefulness.

        “SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That it shall be the
        duty of the President to cause a gold medal to be struck,
        with suitable devices and inscriptions, which, together
        with a copy of this resolution, shall be presented to Mr.
        Peabody in the name of the people of the United States.”

    March 8th, on motion of Mr. Sumner, the joint resolution was
    taken up for consideration, when the latter said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I hope sincerely that there can be no question on this
resolution. It expresses the thanks of Congress for an act great in
itself, and also great as an example.

I recall no instance in history where a private person during life
has bestowed so large a sum in charity. Few after death have done so
much. The bequest of Smithson, which Congress accepted with honor, and
made the foundation of the institution bearing his name and receiving
our annual care, was much less than the donation of Mr. Peabody for
purposes of education in the South and Southwestern States, to be
distributed among the whole population, without any distinction other
than needs or opportunities of usefulness to them.

I hail this benefaction as of especial value now: first, as a
contribution to education, which is a sacred cause never to be
forgotten in a republic; secondly, as a charity to a distressed part
of our country which needs the help of education; and, thirdly, as an
endowment for the equal benefit of all, without distinction of caste.
As it is much in itself, so I cannot but think it will be most fruitful
as an example. Individuals and communities will be moved to do more
in the same direction, and impartial education may be added to recent

I am not led to consider the difference between the widow’s mite and
the rich man’s endowment, except to remark, that, when a charity is
so large as to become historic, it is necessarily taken out of the
category of common life. Standing apart by itself, it challenges
attention and fills the mind, receiving homage and gratitude. Such, I
am sure, has been the prevailing sentiment of our country toward Mr.
Peabody. In voting this resolution, Congress will only give expression
to the popular voice.

I should be sorry to have it understood that the thanks of Congress
can be won only in war. Peace also has victories deserving honor. A
public benefactor is a conqueror in the perpetual conflict with evil.
He, too, meets the enemy face to face. Let him also have the reward of

Already in England our benefactor has signalized himself by a generous
endowment of the poor. The sum he gave was large, but not so large
as he has given for education in our country. The sentiments of the
British people found expression through the Queen, who honored him with
a valuable present, her own portrait, and an autograph letter declaring
her grateful sense of his beneficence. Kindred sentiments may justly
find expression through Congress, which is empowered to write the
autograph of the American people.

If it be said that such a vote is without precedent, I reply that this
is a mistake. You voted thanks to Mr. Vanderbilt for the present of a
steamer, and to Mr. Field for generous enterprise in establishing the
telegraphic cable between the two continents. But even if there were
no precedent, then, do I say, make a precedent. Your vote will be less
unprecedented than his generosity.

At this moment, when we are engaged in the work of Reconstruction,
this endowment for education in the Southern and Southwestern States
is most timely. Education is the foundation-stone of that Republican
Government we seek to establish. On this account, also, I would honor
the benefactor.

I have not asked a reference to a committee, because it seemed that
the resolution was of such a character that the Senate would be glad
to act upon it directly. The thanks we offer will be of more value, if
promptly offered.

    The joint resolution was adopted by the Senate,--Yeas 36, Nays
    2. March 13th it passed the House unanimously, was approved by
    the President, and became a law.[94]



15 AND 16, 1867.

    To counteract the malign influence of President Johnson, and
    to protect the public interest jeopardized by his conduct,
    Congress provided for a session to commence March 4, 1867,
    immediately after the expiration of its predecessor. The new
    Congress was signalized by a second Reconstruction Bill,
    “supplementary to an Act to provide for the more efficient
    government of the Rebel States,” passed March 2, 1867, which
    was promptly introduced into the House of Representatives and

    As early as March 13th, the House bill was reported to the
    Senate from the Judiciary Committee, with a substitute, and for
    several days thereafter it was considered. Among the various
    amendments moved was one by Mr. Drake, of Missouri, providing
    that the registered electors should declare, by their votes of
    “Convention” or “No Convention,” whether a convention to frame
    a constitution should be held, which was rejected,--Yeas 17,
    Nays 27.

    March 15th, Mr. Fessenden, of Maine, moved an amendment,
    that the commanding general should furnish a copy of the
    registration to the Provisional Government of the State; and
    whenever thereafter the Provisional Government should by legal
    enactment provide that a convention should be called, the
    commanding general should then direct an election of delegates.
    In the debate on this proposition, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--In voting on the proposition of the Senator from Maine,
I ask myself one question: How would the Union men of the South vote,
if they had the privilege? They are unrepresented. We here ought to be
the representatives of the unrepresented. How, then, would the Union
men of the South vote on the proposition of the Senator? I cannot
doubt, that, with one voice, they would vote No. They would not trust
their fortunes in any way to the existing governments of the Rebel
States. Those governments have been set up in spite of the Union men,
and during their short-lived existence they have trampled upon Union
men and upon their rights. That region might be described as bleeding
at every pore, and much through the action of the existing governments,
owing their origin to the President. So long as they continue, their
influence must be pernicious. I hear, then, the voice of every Union
man from every one of the Rebel States coming up to this Chamber and
entreating us to refuse all trust, all power, to these Legislatures. I
listen to their voice, and shall vote accordingly.

But I feel, nevertheless, that something ought to be done in the
direction of the proposition of the Senator from Maine. I listened to
his remarks, and in their spirit I entirely concur; but it seems to
me that his argument carried us naturally to the proposition of the
Senator from Missouri. To my mind, that proposition is founded in good
sense, in prudence, in a just economy of political forces. It begins
at the right end. It begins with the people. The Senator proposes
that the new governments, when constituted, shall stand on that broad
base. The proposition of the Committee stands the pyramid on its apex.
I am therefore for the proposition of the Senator from Missouri, and
I hope that at the proper time he will renew it, and give us another
opportunity of recording our votes in its favor.

    The amendment of Mr. Fessenden was rejected,--Yeas 14, Nays 33.

    March 16th, Mr. Sumner moved to insert “all” before “electors,”
    and to substitute “registered” for “qualified,” so as to read,
    “ratified by a majority of the votes of all the electors
    registered as herein specified.” After debate, the amendment
    was rejected,--Yeas 19, Nays 25.

    Mr. Drake subsequently renewed his rejected amendment, with a
    modification that the result should be determined by a majority
    of those voting, and it was adopted. Mr. Conkling, of New York,
    moved to reconsider the last vote, so as to provide that the
    result should be determined by a majority of all the votes
    registered, instead of a majority of all the votes given. On
    this motion, Mr. Sumner remarked:--

I said nothing, when the question was up before; but I cannot allow the
vote to be taken now without expressing in one word the ground on which
I shall place my vote.

We have just come out from the fires of a terrible Rebellion, and our
special purpose now is to set up safeguards against the recurrence
of any such calamity, and also for the establishment of peace and
tranquillity throughout that whole region. There is no Senator
within the sound of my voice who is not anxious to see that great
end accomplished. How shall it be done? By founding government on a
majority or on a minority? If these were common times, then I should
listen to the argument of the Senator from Missouri [Mr. DRAKE], and
also of the Senator from Indiana [Mr. MORTON], to the effect that the
government might be founded on a majority of those who actually vote,
although really a minority of the population; but at this moment, when
we are seeking to recover ourselves from the Rebellion, and to guard
against it in future, I cannot expose the country to any such hazard.
I would take the precaution to found government solidly, firmly, on
a majority,--not merely a majority of those who vote, but a majority
of all registered voters. Then will the government be rooted and
anchored in principle, so that it cannot be brushed aside. How was it
when the Rebellion began? Everything was by minorities. A minority in
every State carried it into rebellion. I would have the new government
planted firmly on a majority, so that it can never again be disturbed.
I can see no real certainty of security for the future without this

    The motion to reconsider prevailed,--Yeas 21, Nays 18; but
    the amendment of Mr. Conkling was rejected,--Yeas 17, Nays
    22,--when Mr. Drake’s amendment was again adopted. Then, on
    motion of Mr. Edmunds, of Vermont, it was provided “that such
    convention shall not be held, unless a majority of all such
    registered voters shall have voted on the question of holding
    such convention,”--Yeas 21, Nays 18.

    Mr. Drake then moved to require in the new constitutions,
    “that, at all elections by the people for State, county, or
    municipal officers, the electors shall vote by ballot,” and
    this was adopted,--Yeas 22, Nays 19. Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois,
    at once moved to reconsider the last vote, and was sustained
    by Mr. Williams, of Oregon, Mr. Stewart, of Nevada, and Mr.
    Morton, of Indiana. Mr. Sumner sustained the amendment.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The argument of the Senator from Oregon proceeds on
the idea that this is a small question. He belittles it, and then puts
it aside. He treats it as of form only, and then scorns it. Sir, it
may be a question of form, but it is a form vital to the substance,
vital to that very suffrage which the Senator undertakes to vindicate.
Does the Senator know that at this moment the special question which
tries British reformers is the ballot? To that our heroic friend, John
Bright, has dedicated his life. He seeks to give the people of England
vote by ballot. He constantly looks to our country for the authority
of a great example. And now the Senator is willing to overturn that
example. I will not, by my vote, consent to any such thing. I would
reinforce the liberal cause, not only in my own country, but everywhere
throughout the world; and that cause, I assure you, is staked in part
on this very question.

No, Sir,--it is not a small question. It cannot be treated as trivial.
It is a great question. Call it, if you please, a question of form; but
it is so closely associated with substance that it becomes substance.
I hope the Senate will not recede from the generous and patriotic vote
it has already given. I trust it will stand firm. Ask any student of
republican institutions what is one of their admitted triumphs, and he
will name the vote by ballot. There can be no doubt about it. Do not
dishonor the ballot, but see that it is required in the constitutions
of these Rebel States. The Senator from Oregon raises no question of
power. Congress has the power. That is enough. You must exercise it.

    Mr. Drake then modified his amendment, so that, instead of
    “all elections by the people for State, county, or municipal
    officers,” it should read, “all elections by the people,” and
    it was rejected,--Yeas 17, Nays 22. Mr. Sumner then remarked:--

The Senate has been occupied for two days in the discussion of
questions, many merely of form. I propose now to call attention to one
of substance, with which, as I submit, the best interests of the Rebel
States and of the Republic at large are connected. I send to the Chair
an amendment, to come in at the end of section four.

    The Secretary read the proposed amendment, as follows:--

        “_Provided_, That the constitution shall require the
        Legislature to establish and sustain a system of public
        schools open to all, without distinction of race or color.”

    Mr. Sumner proceeded to say:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I shall vote for this bill,--not because it is what I
desire, but because it is all that Congress is disposed to enact at
the present time. I do not like to play the part of Cassandra,--but I
cannot forbear declaring my conviction that we shall regret hereafter
that we have not done more. I am against procrastination. But I am also
against precipitation. I am willing to make haste; but, following the
ancient injunction, I would make haste slowly: in other words, I would
make haste so that our work may be well done and the Republic shall not
suffer. Especially would I guard carefully all those who justly look to
us for protection, and I would see that the new governments are founded
in correct principles. You have the power. Do not forget that duties
are in proportion to powers.

I speak frankly. Let me, then, confess my regret that Congress chooses
to employ the military power for purposes of Reconstruction. The army
is for protection. This is its true function. When it undertakes to
govern or to institute government, it does what belongs to the civil
power. Clearly it is according to the genius of republican institutions
that the military should be subordinate to the civil. _Cedant arma
togæ_ is an approved maxim, not to be disregarded with impunity.
Even now, a fresh debate in the British Parliament testifies to this
principle. Only a fortnight ago, the Royal Duke of Cambridge, cousin to
the Queen, and commander of the forces, used these words:--

    “The practice of calling out troops to quell civil disturbances
    is exceedingly objectionable; _but it must not be forgotten
    that the initiative in such cases is always taken by the civil
    authorities themselves_.”[95]

This declaration, though confined to a particular case, embodies an
important rule of conduct, which to my mind is of special application

By the system you have adopted, the civil is subordinate to the
military, and the civilian yields to the soldier. You accord to
the army an “initiative” which I would assure to the civil power.
I regret this. I am unwilling that Reconstruction should have a
military “initiative.” I would not see new States born of the bayonet.
Leaving to the army its proper duties of protection, I would intrust
Reconstruction to provisional governments, civil in character and
organized by Congress. You have already pronounced the existing
governments illegal. Logically you should proceed to supply their
places by other governments, while the military is in the nature of
police, until permanent governments are organized, republican in form
and loyal in character. During this transition period, permanent
governments might be matured on safe foundations and the people
educated to a better order of things. As the twig is bent the tree
inclines: you may now bend the twig. These States are like a potter’s
vessel: you may mould them to be vessels of honor or of dishonor.

From the beginning I have maintained these principles. Again and again
I have expressed them in the Senate and elsewhere. At the last session
I insisted upon the Louisiana Bill in preference to the Military
Bill. In the earliest moments of the present session I introduced a
bill of my own, prepared with the best care I could bestow, in which
was embodied what seemed to me a proper and practical system of
Reconstruction, with provisional governments to superintend the work
and pave the way for permanent governments. This measure, which I now
hold in my hand, is entitled “A Bill to guaranty a republican form
of government in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia,
Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, and to
provide for the restoration of these States to practical relations with
the Union.” Its character is seen in its title. It is not a military
bill, or a bill to authorize Reconstruction by military power; but it
is a bill essentially civil from beginning to end.

The principles on which this bill proceeds appear in its preamble,
which, with the permission of the Senate, I will read.

    “Whereas in the years 1860 and 1861 the inhabitants of
    Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida,
    Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas changed
    their respective constitutions so as to make them repugnant to
    the Constitution of the United States;

    “And whereas the inhabitants of these States made war upon the
    United States, and after many battles finally surrendered,
    under the rules and usages of war;

    “And whereas the inhabitants of these States, at the time of
    their surrender, were without legal State governments, and,
    as a rebel population, were without authority to form legal
    State governments, or to exercise any other political functions
    belonging to loyal citizens, and they must so continue until
    relieved of such disabilities by the law-making power of the
    United States;

    “And whereas it belongs to Congress, in the discharge of its
    duties under the Constitution, to secure to each of these
    States a republican form of government, and to provide for the
    restoration of each to practical relations with the Union;

    “And whereas, until these things are done, it is important
    that provisional governments should be established in these
    States, with legal power to protect good citizens in the
    enjoyment of their rights, and to watch over the formation of
    State governments, so that the same shall be truly loyal and
    republican: Therefore”----

With this preamble, exhibiting precisely the necessity and reasons
of Reconstruction, the bill begins by declaring that the provisional
governments shall convene on the fourth Monday after its passage, and
shall continue until superseded by permanent governments, created by
the people of these States respectively, and recognized by Congress as
loyal and republican. It then establishes an executive power in each
State, vested in a governor appointed by the President by and with the
advice and consent of the Senate, and not to be removed except by such
advice and consent. The legislative power is vested in the governor and
in thirteen citizens, called a legislative council, appointed by and
with the advice and consent of the Senate, and not to be removed except
by such advice and consent. All these, being officers of the United
States, must take the test oath prescribed already by Act of Congress;
and the bill adds a further oath to maintain a republican form of
government, as follows:--

    “I do hereby swear (or affirm) that I will at all times 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 recognize the indissoluble unity of
    the Republic, and will discountenance and resist any endeavor
    to break away or secede from the Union; that I will give my
    influence and vote to strengthen and sustain the National
    credit; that I will discountenance and resist every attempt,
    directly or indirectly, to repudiate or postpone, in any part
    or in any way, the debt which was contracted by the United
    States in subduing the late Rebellion, or the obligations
    assumed to the Union soldiers; that I will discountenance
    and resist every attempt to induce the United States or any
    State to assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid
    of rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the
    loss or emancipation of any slave; that I will discountenance
    and resist all laws making any distinction of race or color;
    that I will give my support to education and the diffusion of
    knowledge by public schools open to all; 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

I know well the whole history of oaths, and how often they are
the occasion of perjury by the wholesale. But I cannot resist the
conclusion that at this moment, when we are taking securities for the
future, we ought to seize the opportunity of impressing upon the people
fundamental principles on which alone our Government can stand. You
may exclude Rebels; but their children, who are not excluded, have
inherited the Rebel spirit. The schools and colleges of the South
have been nurseries of Rebellion. I would exact from all seeking the
public service, or even the elective franchise, a pledge to support a
republican government; and to make this pledge perfectly clear, so that
all may understand its extent, I would enumerate the points which are
essential. If a citizen cannot give this pledge, he ought to have no
part in Reconstruction. He must stand aside.

From this requirement the bill proceeds to enumerate certain classes
excluded from office and also from the elective franchise. This is
less stringent than what is known as the Louisiana Bill. It does not
exclude citizens who have not held office, unless where they have left
their homes within the jurisdiction of the United States and passed
within the Rebel lines to give aid and comfort to the Rebellion,--or
where they have voluntarily contributed to any loan or securities
for the benefit of any of the Rebel States or the central government
thereof,--or where, as authors, publishers, editors, or as speakers
or preachers, they have encouraged the secession of any State or the
waging of war against the United States.

The bill then provides for executive and judicial officers, and for
their salaries, under the provisional government; also for grand
and petit juries; also for a militia. But all officers, jurors, and
militiamen must take the oath that they are not in the excluded
classes, and also the oath to support a republican form of government.

The bill then annuls existing legislatures; also the acts of
conventions which framed ordinances of secession, and the acts of
legislatures since, subject to certain conditions; and it provides that
the judgments and decrees of court, which have not been voluntarily
executed, and which have been rendered subsequently to the date of the
ordinance of secession, shall be subject to appeal to the highest court
in the State, organized after its restoration to the Union. Safeguards
like these seem essential to the protection of the citizen.

The bill does what it can for education by requiring--

    “That it shall be the duty of the governor and legislative
    council in each of these States to establish public schools,
    which shall be open to all, without distinction of race or
    color, to the end, that, where suffrage is universal, education
    may be universal also, and the new governments find support in
    the intelligence of the people.”

Such are the provisional governments.

The bill then provides for permanent governments republican and truly
loyal. For this purpose the governor must make a registration of male
citizens twenty-one years of age, of whatever color, race, or former
condition, and, on the completion of this register, invite all to take
the oath that they are not in the excluded classes, and also the oath
to maintain a republican form of government; and if a majority of the
persons duly registered shall take these oaths, then he is to order an
election for members of a convention to frame a State constitution.
Nobody can vote or sit as a member of the convention except those who
have taken the two oaths; but no person can be disqualified on account
of race or color. All qualified as voters are eligible as members of
the convention.

The constitution must contain in substance certain fundamental
conditions, never to be changed without consent of Congress:--

First, That the Union is perpetual;

Secondly, That Slavery is abolished;

Thirdly, That there shall be no denial of the elective franchise, or of
any other right, on account of race or color, but all persons shall be
equal before the law;

Fourthly, That the National debt, including pensions and bounties to
Union soldiers, shall never be repudiated or postponed;

Fifthly, That the Rebel debt, whether contracted by a Rebel State or by
the central government, shall never be recognized or paid; nor shall
any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave, or any pension or
bounty for service in the Rebellion, be recognized or paid;

Sixthly, That public schools shall be established, open to all without
distinction of race or color;

Seventhly, That all persons excluded from office under this Act shall
be excluded by the constitution, until relieved from disability by Act
of Congress.

The constitution must be ratified by the people and submitted to
Congress. If Congress shall approve it as republican in form, and shall
be satisfied that the people of the State are loyal and well-disposed
to the Union, the State shall be restored to its former relations and
the provisional government shall cease.

Such is the bill which I should be glad to press upon your attention,
creating provisional governments and securing permanent governments.
It is not a military bill; and on this account, in spirit and form, if
not in substance, it might be preferred to that which you have begun
to sanction. Besides, it contains abundant safeguards. I regret much
that something like this cannot be adopted. It is with difficulty that
I renounce a desire long cherished to see Reconstruction under the
supervision of Congress, according to the forms of civil order, without
the intervention of military power. I am sure that such a bill would
be agreeable to the Unionists of the Rebel States; and this with me is
a rule of conduct which I am unwilling to disregard. They are without
representation in Congress. Let us be their representatives. I hear
their voices gathered into one prayer. I cannot refuse to listen.

       *       *       *       *       *

If this bill cannot be adopted, then I ask that you shall take at least
one of its provisions. Require free schools as an essential condition
of Reconstruction. But I am met by the objection, that we are already
concluded by the Military Bill adopted a few days ago, so that we
cannot establish any new conditions. This is a mistake. There is no
word in the Military Bill which can have this interpretation. Besides,
the bill is only a few days old; so that, whatever its character,
nothing is as yet fixed under its provisions. It contains no compact,
no promise, no vested right, nothing which may not be changed, if the
public interests require. There are some who seem to insist that it is
a strait-jacket. On the contrary, this very bill asserts in positive
terms “the paramount authority of the United States.” Surely this is
enough. In the exercise of this authority, it is your duty to provide
all possible safeguards. To adopt a familiar illustration, these States
must be “bound to keep the peace.” Nothing is more common after an
assault and battery. But this can be only by good laws, by careful
provisions, by wise economies, and securities of all kinds.

Sometimes it is argued that it is not permissible to make certain
requirements in the new constitutions, although, when the constitutions
are presented to Congress for approval, we may object to them for the
want of these very things. Thus it is said that we may not require
educational provisions, but that we may object to the constitutions,
when formed, if they fail to have this safeguard. This argument forgets
the paramount power of Congress over the Rebel States, which you have
already exercised in ordaining universal suffrage. Who can doubt, that,
with equal reason, you may ordain universal education also? And permit
me to say that one is the complement of the other. But I do not stop
with assertion of the power. The argument that we are to wait until
the constitution is submitted for approval is not frank. I wish to be
plain and explicit. We have the power, assured by reason and precedent.
Exercise it. Seize the present moment. Grasp the precious privilege.
There are some who act on the principle of doing as little as possible.
I would do as much as possible, believing that all we do in the nature
of safeguard must redound to the good of all and to the national fame.
It is in this spirit that I now move to require a system of free
schools, open to all without distinction of caste. For this great
safeguard I ask your votes.

You have prescribed universal suffrage. Prescribe now universal
education. The power of Congress is the same in one case as in the
other. And you are under an equal necessity to employ it. Electors
by the hundred thousand will exercise the franchise for the first
time, without delay or preparation. They should be educated promptly.
Without education your beneficent legislation may be a failure. The
gift you bestow will be perilous. I was unwilling to make education the
condition of suffrage; but I ask that it shall accompany and sustain

Mr. President, I plead now for Education. Nothing more beautiful
or more precious. Education decorates life, while it increases all
our powers. It is the charm of society, the solace of solitude, and
the multiple of every faculty. It adds incalculably to the capacity
of the individual and to the resources of the community. Careful
inquiry establishes what reason declares, that labor is productive in
proportion to its education. There is no art it does not advance. There
is no form of enterprise it does not encourage and quicken. It brings
victory, and is itself the greatest of victories.

In a republic education is indispensable. A republic without education
is like the creature of imagination, a human being without a soul,
living and moving blindly, with no just sense of the present or the
future. It is a monster. Such have been the Rebel States,--for years
nothing less than political monsters. But such they must be no longer.

It is not too much to say, that, had these States been more
enlightened, they would never have rebelled. The barbarism of Slavery
would have shrunk into insignificance, without sufficient force to
break forth in blood. From the returns before the Rebellion[96] we
learn that in the Slave States there were not less than 493,026
native white persons over twenty years of age who could not read
and write,--while in the Free States, with double the native white
population, there were but 248,725 native whites over twenty years of
age thus blighted by ignorance. In the Slave States the proportion
was 1 in 5; in the Free States it was 1 in 22. The number in Free
Massachusetts, with an adult native white population of 470,375, was
1,055, or 1 in 446; the number in Slave South Carolina, with an adult
native white population of only 120,136, was 15,580, or 1 in 8. The
number in Free Connecticut was 1 in 256, in Slave Virginia 1 in 5; in
Free New Hampshire 1 in 192, and in Slave North Carolina 1 in 3. In
this prevailing ignorance we may trace the Rebellion. A population that
could not read and write naturally failed to comprehend and appreciate
a republican government.

This contrast between the Rebel States and the Loyal States
appeared early. It was conspicuous in two Colonies, each of which
exercised a peculiar influence. Massachusetts began her existence
with a system of free schools. The preamble of her venerable statute
deserves immortality. “That learning may not be buried in the grave
of our fathers,” her founders enacted that every township of fifty
householders should maintain a school for reading and writing, and
every town of a hundred householders a school to fit youths for the
University.[97] This statute was copied in other Colonies. It has
spread far, like a benediction. At the same time Virginia set herself
openly against free schools. Her Governor, Sir William Berkeley, in
1671, in a reply to the Lords Commissioners of Plantations on the
condition of the Colony, made this painful record: “I thank God _there
are no free schools_, nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these
hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and
sects into the world, and printing has divulged them.… God keep us from
both!”[98] Thus spoke Massachusetts, and thus spoke Virginia, in that
ancient day. The conflict of ideas had already begun. Can you hesitate
to adopt the statute so well justified by time? It began in an infant
colony. Let it be the law of a mighty republic.

The papers of the day mention an incident, showing how the original
spirit of the Virginia Governor still animates these States. A motion
to print two hundred copies of the Report of the State Superintendent
of Public Education was promptly voted down in the Senate of Louisiana,
while a Senator, in open speech, “denounced the public education scheme
as an unmitigated oppression, an electioneering device, an imposition,
which he intended to bring in a bill to abolish, if they were allowed
to go on legislating.” With such brutality is this beautiful cause now
encountered. It is as if a savage rudely drove an angel from his tent.

Be taught by this example, and do not hesitate, I entreat you.
Remember how much is now in issue. You are to fix the securities of
the future, and especially to see that a republican government is
guarantied in an the Rebel States. I call them “Rebel,” for such they
are in spirit still, and such is their designation in your recent
statute. But I ask nothing in vengeance or unkindness. All that I
propose is for their good, with which is intertwined the good of
all. I would not impose any new penalty or bear hard upon an erring
people. Oh, no! I simply ask a new safeguard for the future, that these
States, through which so much trouble has come, may be a strength
and a blessing to our common country, with prosperity and happiness
everywhere within their borders. I would not impose any new burden;
but I seek a new triumph for civilization. For a military occupation
bristling with bayonets I would substitute the smile of peace. But this
cannot be without Education. As the soldier disappears, his place must
be supplied by the schoolmaster. The muster-roll will be exchanged for
the school-register, and our headquarters will be a school-house.

Do not forget the grandeur of the work in which you are engaged.
You are forming States. Such a work cannot be done hastily or
carelessly. The time you give will be saved to the country hereafter
a thousand-fold. The time you begrudge will rise in judgment against
you. It is a law of Nature, that, just in proportion as the being
produced is higher in the scale and more complete in function, all
the processes are more complex and extended. The mature liberty we
seek cannot have the easy birth of feebler types. As man, endowed with
reason and looking to the heavens, is above the quadruped that walks,
above the bird that flies, above the fish that swims, and above the
worm that crawls, so should these new governments, republican in form
and loyal in soul, created by your care, be above those whose places
they take. The Old must give way to the New, and the New must be worthy
of a Republic, which, ransomed from Slavery, has become an example to
mankind. Farewell to the Old! All hail to the New!

    Mr. Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, Mr. Stewart, of Nevada,
    and Mr. Conness, of California, joined in criticism of Mr.
    Sumner’s opposition to the employment of the military arm in
    Reconstruction, protesting particularly against the declaration
    that States are “about to be born of the bayonet.” To the
    proposed requirement of a system of free schools in the Rebel
    States Mr. Frelinghuysen objected: “For us to undertake now
    to add new conditions to the Reconstruction measure which the
    Thirty-Ninth Congress adopted I hold to be bad faith.… That is
    not the way to do business.… Let this nation keep its faith. I
    hope, Mr. President, that the amendment will not be adopted.”
    Mr. Patterson, of New Hampshire, would “be glad to have such
    a requisition laid on all the States of the Union, if it were
    not unconstitutional. But he wished to ask him [Mr. SUMNER]
    this question: Does he think it possible to establish a system
    of common schools in these Southern States corresponding to
    the common-school system of New England, unless he first
    confiscates the large estates and divides them into small
    homesteads, so that there may be small landholders who shall
    support these schools by the taxation which is laid upon them?”

        MR. SUMNER. I do.

        MR. PATTERSON. You think it is possible?

        MR. SUMNER. I do, certainly,--most clearly.

    Mr. Morton said: “The proposition is fundamental in its
    character; its importance cannot be overestimated; and I
    hope that it will be placed as a condition, upon complying
    with which they shall be permitted to return.” Mr. Cole,
    of California, declared himself “warmly in favor of the
    amendment.” Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, and Mr. Buckalew, of
    Pennsylvania, both Democrats, spoke against it. The latter
    thought Mr. Sumner “not open to criticism for the sentiments
    which he has expressed upon this occasion, nor for the position
    which he has assumed.” In a humorous vein, he said: “The
    propositions which the Senator from Massachusetts makes one
    year, and which are criticized by his colleagues as extreme,
    inappropriate, and untimely, are precisely the propositions
    which those colleagues support with greater zeal and vehemence,
    if possible, than he, the year following. In short, Sir, we
    can foresee at one session of Congress the character of the
    propositions and of the arguments with which we are to be
    favored at the next in this Chamber, by looking to the pioneer
    man, who goes forward in advance, his banner thrown out, his
    cause announced, the means by which it shall be carried on and
    the objects in view proclaimed with force and frankness.”

    Mr. Sumner replied:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The question of power, I take it, must be settled
in this Chamber. You have already most solemnly voted to require in
every new constitution suffrage for all, without distinction of race
or color or previous condition. But the greater contains the less. If
you can do that, you can do everything. If you can require that Magna
Charta of human rights, you can require what is smaller. It is already
fixed in your statutes, enrolled in your archives, that Congress has
this great power. I do not say whether it has this power over other
States; that is not the question; but it has the power over the Rebel
States. That power is derived from several sources,--first, from the
necessity of the case, because the State governments there are illegal,
and the whole region has passed, as in the case of Territories, under
the jurisdiction of Congress: no legal government exists there, except
what Congress supplies. There is another source in the military power
now established over that region; then, again, in that great clause
of the National Constitution by which you are required to guaranty to
every State a republican form of government. Here is enough. Out of
these three sources, these three overflowing fountains, springs ample
authority. You have exercised it by prescribing in their constitutions
Suffrage for all. I ask you to go one step further, and to prescribe
Education for all.

I am met here by personal objections; I am asked why I have not
brought this forward before. Sir, I have brought it forward in season
and out of season. I have on the table before me a speech of mine
in 1865, where, in laying down the great essential guaranties, I
declared them as follows: First, the unity of the Republic; secondly,
Enfranchisement; thirdly, the guaranty of the National debt; fourthly,
the repudiation of the Rebel debt; fifthly, Equal Suffrage; and,
sixthly, Education of the people.[99] Therefore from the beginning I
have asked this guaranty, believing, as I do most clearly, that under
the National Constitution you may demand it. If you may demand it, if
you have the power, then do I insist it is your duty so to do. Duties
are in proportion to powers. These great powers are not merely for
display or idleness, but for employment, to the end that the Republic
may be advanced and fortified.

Then I have been reminded very earnestly by Senators that I have used
strong language in saying that these governments will be open to
the imputation of being born of the bayonet. This is not the first
time I have used that language in this Chamber. From the beginning I
have protested against Reconstruction by military power. Again and
again I have asserted that it is contrary to the genius of republican
institutions, and to a just economy of political forces. I have not
been hearkened to. Others have pressed the intervention of military
power; and now, as I am about to record my vote in favor of the pending
proposition, I cannot but express my sincere and unfeigned regret that
Congress did not see its way to a generous measure of Reconstruction
purely civil in character, having no element of military power. Such
you had before you at the last session in the Louisiana Bill, which I
sought to press day by day; and when, at the last moment, the Military
Bill was passed, I, from my place here, declared that I should deem it
my duty at the earliest possible moment in this session to press the
Louisiana Bill, or some kindred measure not military in character.

I was early tutored in the principles of Jefferson. I cannot
forget his Inaugural Address, where he lays down among the
cardinal principles, or what he calls “the essential principles
of our Government,” and consequently those which ought to shape
its administration, “The supremacy of the civil over the military
authority.” Imbued with this principle, I hoped that Congress would see
the way to establish at once civil governments in all those States,
and not subject them to military power, except so far as needed for
purposes of protection. This is the true object of the army. It is to
protect the country,--not to make constitutions, or to superintend
the making of constitutions. At least, so I have read the history of
republican institutions, and such are the aspirations that I presume to
express for my country.

    The vote on Mr. Summer’s proposition stood, Yeas 20, Nays 20,
    being a tie, so that the amendment was lost. Any one Senator
    changing from the negative would have carried it.

    The bill passed the Senate,--Yeas 38, Nays 2. On the amendments
    of the Senate there was a difference between the two Houses,
    which ended in a committee of conference, whose report was
    concurred in without a division.

    March 23d, the bill was vetoed by the President. On the same
    day it was passed again by the House,--Yeas 114, Nays 25,--and
    by the Senate,--Yeas 40, Nays 7,--being more than two thirds;
    so that it became a law, notwithstanding the objections of the



    March 20th, Mr. Summer, from the Committee on Foreign
    Relations, reported the following joint resolution:--

        “_Resolved, &c._, That all persons in the diplomatic
        service of the United States are prohibited from wearing
        any uniform or official costume not previously authorized
        by Congress.”

    He then stated that it was reported from the Committee
    unanimously, and that perhaps the Senate would be willing to
    consider it at once. The resolution was proceeded with by
    unanimous consent, when Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, remarked: “I do
    not see what right we have to prevent a minister abroad from
    wearing the uniform of our army, if he chooses.” Mr. Sumner

The Senator is aware that a habit exists among our ministers in Europe
of wearing uniforms of other countries in the nature of court costumes
or dresses; and this is often required before they are presented. The
Committee on Foreign Relations, after careful consideration, have
unanimously come to the conclusion that it is expedient to prohibit any
such uniform or official costume, unless sanctioned previously by Act
of Congress. It seems clear that our ministers abroad should not be
required by any foreign government to wear a uniform, costume, or dress
unknown to our own laws. This is very simple, and not unreasonable.

This question is perhaps more important than it appears. On its face
it is of form only, or rather of dress, proper for the learned in
Carlyle’s “Sartor Resartus.” But I am not sure that it does not concern
the character of the Republic. Shall our ministers abroad be required
by any foreign government to assume a uniform unknown to our laws?
Ministers of other countries appear at foreign courts in the dress they
would wear before the sovereign at home. What is good enough for the
sovereign at home is, I understand, good enough for other sovereigns.
And surely the dress in which one of our ministers would appear before
the President of the United States ought to be sufficient anywhere. Its
simplicity is to my mind no argument against it.

It is sometimes said, gravely enough, that, if our ministers appear
in the simple dress of a citizen, according to the requirement of Mr.
Marcy’s famous circular, they may be mistaken for “upper servants.” If
such be the case, they will have little of the stamp of fitness. I am
not troubled on this head. Their simplicity would be a distinction,
and it would be typical of the republican government they represent.
Amidst the brilliant dresses and fantastic uniforms of European courts
a simple dress would be most suggestive. A British minister appearing
at the Congress of Vienna in simple black, with a single star on
his breast, so contrasted with the bedizened crowd about him as to
awaken the admiration of an illustrious prince, who exclaimed, “How

This is an old subject, which I trust may be disposed of at last.
Mr. Marcy enjoined simplicity in the official dress of our foreign
representatives, and dwelt with pride on the well-known example of
Benjamin Franklin. But his instructions were not sufficiently explicit,
and they were allowed to die out. Some appeared in simple black, and
were not mistaken for “upper servants.” But gold lace at last carried
the day, and our representatives now appear in a costume peculiar to
European courts. A simple prohibition by Congress will put an end to
this petty complication, and make it easy for them to follow abroad the
simple ways to which they have been accustomed at home.

    MR. SHERMAN. All I wish to know is, whether General Dix, or
    any other minister, could wear the uniform of our army, if he
    chose. The rule, if I understand it, in some foreign countries,
    is, that a person must appear at court in some kind of uniform.
    If none is provided by his government, or authorized by his
    government, then he adopts a certain uniform according to the
    custom of the country to which he is accredited. Perhaps,
    however, I am not correct.

MR. SUMNER. The object of the pending measure is to encounter that
precise requirement of foreign governments, and to put our ministers
on an equality with those of other countries. I have already said that
ministers of other countries may appear at the courts to which they
are addressed as they would appear before their own sovereign. I take
it the Turkish ambassador is not obliged to assume in Paris or London
any official costume peculiar to France or England; but he appears, as
at a reception by his own sovereign, with the fez on his head. And so
the Austrian ambassador appears in his fantastic Hungarian jacket. But
I see no reason why there should be one rule for these ambassadors,
and another for the representatives of the American Republic. Here, as
elsewhere, there should be equality. The equality of nations is a first
principle of International Law. But this is offended by any requirement
of a foreign government which shall not leave our representative free
to appear before the sovereign of the country to which he is accredited
as he would before the Chief Magistrate of the American people,--in
other words, in the simple dress of an American citizen. This is the
whole case.

    MR. SHERMAN. The Senator does not yet answer my question: Will
    this prevent an American minister abroad from wearing the
    uniform of an officer of the army of the United States, such as
    he would be entitled to wear under our laws, if here?

    MR. SUMNER. If entitled under our laws, there could be no

    MR. SHERMAN. We have a law which authorizes a volunteer officer
    who has attained the rank of a brigadier-general, for instance,
    always on state occasions to wear that uniform.

MR. SUMNER. There can be no misunderstanding. The ministers are simply
to follow Congress; and as Congress has not authorized any uniform
or official costume, they can have none, unless they come within the
exceptional case to which the Senator has alluded. Certain persons who
have been in the military service are authorized, under an existing Act
of Congress, to wear their military uniform on public occasions. This
resolution cannot interfere in any way with that provision. It leaves
the Act of Congress in full force, and is applicable only to those not
embraced by that Act.

    The joint resolution passed the Senate without a division.
    March 25th, it passed the House without a division, and was
    approved by the President, so that it became a law.[101] It was
    promptly communicated to our ministers abroad by a circular
    from the Department of State.


26, 28, AND 29, 1867.

    March 23d, Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, offered a resolution
    adjourning the two Houses on Tuesday, March 26th, at twelve
    o’clock, noon, until the first Monday of December, at twelve
    o’clock, noon. Mr. Drake, of Missouri, moved to amend by
    striking out “the first Monday of December,” and inserting
    “Tuesday, the 15th day of October.” This amendment was
    rejected,--Yeas 19, Nays 28. Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, then
    moved to amend by inserting “first Monday of November,” and
    this amendment was rejected,--Yeas 18, Nays 27. Mr. Sumner then
    moved the adjournment of the two Houses on Thursday, the 28th
    day of March, at twelve o’clock, noon, until the first Monday
    of June, and that on that day, unless then otherwise ordered
    by the two Houses, until the first Monday of December. This
    was rejected,--Yeas 14, Nays 31. The question then recurred on
    the resolution of Mr. Trumbull. A debate ensued, in which Mr.
    Sumner said:--

I am against the resolution. In my opinion, Congress ought not to
adjourn and go home without at least some provision for return to our
post. As often as I think of this question, I am met by two controlling
facts. I speak now of facts which stare us in the face.

You must not forget that the President is a bad man, the author of
incalculable woe to his country, and especially to that part which,
being most tried by war, most needed kindly care. Search history, and
I am sure you will find no elected ruler who, during the same short
time, has done so much mischief to his country. He stands alone in bad
eminence. Nobody in ancient or modern times can be his parallel. Alone
in the evil he has done, he is also alone in the maudlin and frantic
manner he has adopted. Look at his acts, and read his speeches. This is

Such is the fact. And now I ask, Can Congress quietly vote to go home
and leave such a man without hindrance? These scenes are historic. His
conduct is historic. Permit me to remind you that your course with
regard to him will be historic. It can never be forgotten, if you keep
your seats and meet the usurper face to face,--as it can never be
forgotten, if, leaving your seats, you let him remain master to do as
he pleases. Most of all, he covets your absence. Do not indulge him.

Then comes the other controlling fact. There is at this moment a
numerous population, counted by millions,--call it, if you please,
eight millions,--looking to Congress for protection. Of this large
population, all the loyal people stretch out their hands to Congress.
They ask you to stay. They know by instinct that so long as you remain
in your seats they are not without protection. They have suffered
through the President, who, when they needed bread, has given them a
stone, and when they needed peace, has given them strife. They have
seen him offer encouragement to Rebels, and even set the Rebellion on
its legs. Their souls have been wrung as they beheld fellow-citizens
brutally sacrificed, whose only crime was that they loved the Union.
Sometimes the sacrifice was on a small scale, and sometimes by
wholesale. Witness Memphis; witness New Orleans; ay, Sir, witness the
whole broad country from the Potomac to the Rio Grande.

With a Presidential usurper menacing the Republic, and with a large
population, counted by millions, looking to Congress for protection, I
dare not vote to go home. It is my duty to stay here. I am sure that
our presence here will be an encouragement and a comfort to loyal
people throughout these troubled States. They will feel that they are
not left alone with their deadly enemy. Home is always tempting. It
is pleasant to escape from care. But duty is more than home or any
escape from care. As often as I think of these temptations, I feel
their insignificance by the side of solemn obligations. There is the
President: he must be watched and opposed. There is an oppressed
people: it must be protected. But this cannot be done without effort
on the part of Congress. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Never was there more need for this vigilance than now.

An admirable and most suggestive engraving has been placed on our
tables to-day, in “Harper’s Weekly,”[102] where President Johnson is
represented as a Roman emperor presiding in the amphitheatre with
imperatorial pomp, and surrounded by trusty counsellors, among whom it
is easy to distinguish the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the
Navy, looking with complacency at the butchery below. The victims are
black, and their sacrifice, as gladiators, makes a “Roman holiday.”
Beneath the picture is written, “Amphitheatrum Johnsonianum--Massacre
of the Innocents at New Orleans, July 30, 1866.” This inscription
tells the terrible story. The bloody scene is before you. The massacre
proceeds under patronage of the President. His Presidential nod is
law. At his will blood spurts and men bite the dust. But this is only
a single scene in one place. Wherever in the Rebel States there is
a truly loyal citizen, loving the Union, there is a victim who may
be called to suffer at any moment from the distempered spirit which
now rules. I speak according to the evidence. This whole country is
an “Amphitheatrum Johnsonianum,” where the victims are counted by
the thousand. To my mind, there is no duty more urgent than to guard
against this despot, and be ready to throw the shield of Congress over
loyal citizens whom he delivers to sacrifice.

    The resolution of Mr. Trumbull was agreed to,--Yeas 29, Nays 16.

    March 25th, on motion of Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, the
    resolution was returned from the House of Representatives for
    reconsideration. Meanwhile the House adopted the following
    resolution, which was laid before the Senate:--

        “That the Senate and House of Representatives do hereby
        each give consent to the other that each House of Congress
        shall adjourn the present session from the hour of twelve
        o’clock, meridian, on Thursday next, the 28th day of March
        instant, to assemble again on the first Wednesday of
        May, the first Wednesday of June, the first Wednesday of
        September, and the first Wednesday of November, of this
        year, unless the President of the Senate _pro tempore_ and
        the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall by joint
        proclamation, to be issued by them ten days before either
        of the times herein fixed for assembling, declare that
        there is no occasion for the meeting of Congress at such

    On motion of Mr. Fessenden, this resolution was referred to the
    Committee on the Judiciary.

    March 26th, the House resolution was reported by Mr. Trumbull,
    with a substitute adjourning the two Houses “on the 28th
    instant, at twelve o’clock, meridian.” Debate ensued, when Mr.
    Howe, of Wisconsin, moved an adjournment on the 29th of March
    until the first Monday of June, and on that day, unless then
    otherwise ordered by the two Houses, until the first Monday of
    December. After debate, this amendment was rejected,--Yeas 17,
    Nays 25. Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, moved to amend the substitute
    of the Committee by adding “to meet again on the first Monday
    of November next,” which was rejected,--Yeas 16, Nays 25. Mr.
    Sumner then moved to amend the substitute by adding:--

        “_Provided_, That the President of the Senate _pro tempore_
        and the Speaker of the House of Representatives may by
        joint proclamation, at any time before the first Monday
        of December, convene the two Houses of Congress for the
        transaction of business, if in their opinion the public
        interests require.”

    Here he said:--

I am unwilling to doubt that Congress may authorize their officers to
do that. I cannot doubt it. Assuming that we have the power, is not
this an occasion to exercise it? I do not wish to be carried into the
general debate. I had intended to say something about it; but it is
late.… I will not, therefore, go into the general question, except to
make one remark: I do think Congress ought to do something; we ought
not to adjourn as on ordinary occasions,--for this is not an ordinary
occasion, and there is the precise beginning of the difference between
myself and the Senator from Maine, and also between myself and the
Senator from Illinois.

The Senator from Illinois said, Why not, as on ordinary occasions,
now go home? Ay, Sir, that is the very question. Is this an ordinary
occasion? To my mind, it clearly is not. It is an extraordinary
occasion, big with the fate of this Republic.

    The amendment of Mr. Sumner was rejected,--Yeas 15, Nays 26.
    Mr. Howe then moved to insert “Friday, the 29th,” instead of
    “Thursday, the 28th,” which was rejected. Mr. Drake then moved
    an amendment, 28th March until 5th June, when, unless a quorum
    of both Houses were present, the presiding officers should
    adjourn until 4th September, when, unless a quorum of both
    Houses were present, they should adjourn until the first Monday
    of December. This also was rejected,--Yeas 14, Nays 27. The
    substitute reported by Mr. Trumbull was then agreed to,--Yeas
    21, Nays 17. The other House then adopted a substitute,
    adjourning March 28th to the first Wednesday of June, and
    to the first Wednesday of September, unless the presiding
    officers, by joint proclamation ten days before either of
    these times, should declare that there was no occasion for the
    meeting of Congress at that time. In the Senate, March 28th,
    Mr. Edmunds, of Vermont, moved a substitute, adjourning March
    30th to the first Wednesday of July, and then, unless otherwise
    ordered by both Houses, on the next day adjourning without day.

    Mr. Sumner said:--

The Senate seems to have arrived at a point where the difference is
one of form rather than substance. We have been occupied almost an
hour in discussing the phraseology of the resolution. We have reached
the great point which was the subject of such earnest discussion
two or three days ago, that Congress ought in some way or other to
secure to itself the power of meeting during the long period between
now and next December. I understand Senators are all agreed on that.
I am glad of it. Only by time and discussion we have reached that
harmony. The House has given us three opportunities. The old story is
repeated. The Senate, so far as I can understand, is ready to adopt the
proposition of the House,--substantially I mean, for this proposition,
as I understand it, is simply to secure for Congress an opportunity
of coming together during the summer and autumn. Now the practical
question is, How shall this be best accomplished? I am ready to accept
either of the forms. I am willing to accept the form last adopted by
the House. I do not see that that is objectionable. I am ready, if I
can get nothing better, to accept the form proposed by the Senator from
Vermont; but I must confess that the form proposed by the Senator from
Missouri seems briefer, clearer, better. If I could have my own way, I
would set aside the proposition of the Senator from Vermont, and fall
back upon that of the Senator from Missouri, as better expressing the
conclusion which I am glad to see at last reached.

I believe it is settled that we shall not adjourn to-morrow. Am I right?

    MR. EDMUNDS. Yes, Sir.

MR. SUMNER. I am glad of it. That is the gain of a day. We were to
adjourn to-day at twelve o’clock, and then again to-morrow at twelve
o’clock, and now it is put off until Saturday. I cannot doubt that the
Senate would do much better, if it put off the adjournment until next
week. There is important business on your table, which ought to be

    Mr. Sumner then called attention to measures deserving
    consideration, and continued:--

Here is another measure, which I once characterized as an effort
to cut the Gordian knot of the suffrage question. It is a bill
introduced by myself to carry out various constitutional provisions
securing political rights in all our States, precisely as we have
already secured civil rights. The importance of this bill cannot be
exaggerated. There is not a Senator who does not know the anxious
condition of things in the neighboring State of Maryland for want of
such a bill. Let Congress interfere under the National Constitution,
and exercise a power clearly belonging to it, settling this whole
suffrage question, so that it shall no longer agitate the politics
of the States, no longer be the occasion of dissension, possibly of
bloodshed, in Maryland or in Delaware, or of difference in Ohio. Let us
settle the question before we return home.

When I rose, I had no purpose of calling attention to these measures.
My special object was to express satisfaction that the Senate at last
is disposed to harmonize with the other House on the important question
of securing to Congress the power of meeting during the summer and
autumn. That is a great point gained for the peace and welfare of the
country. Without it you will leave the country a prey to the President;
you will leave our Union friends throughout the South a sacrifice to
the same malignant usurper.

    The substitute proposed by Mr. Edmunds was agreed to,--Yeas
    25, Nays 14. The House non-concurring, it was referred to a
    committee of conference.

    March 29th, another resolution having been meanwhile adopted by
    the House, providing for an adjournment to the first Wednesday
    of June, and then, if a quorum of both Houses were not present,
    to the first Wednesday of September, and then, in the absence
    of a quorum, to the first Monday of December, Mr. Edmunds moved
    the following substitute:--

        “The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House
        of Representatives are hereby directed to adjourn their
        respective Houses on Saturday, March 30, 1867, at twelve
        o’clock, meridian, to the first Wednesday of July, 1867,
        at noon, when the roll of each House shall be immediately
        called, and immediately thereafter the presiding officer of
        each House shall cause the presiding officer of the other
        House to be informed whether or not a quorum of its body
        has appeared; and thereupon, if a quorum of the two Houses
        respectively shall not have appeared upon such call of the
        rolls, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the
        House of Representatives shall immediately adjourn their
        respective Houses without day.”

    Mr. Sumner said:--

I am against the amendment on two grounds: first, that it proposes
to adjourn too soon; and, secondly, that it superfluously and
unnecessarily makes a new difference with the House of Representatives.
In the first place, it proposes to adjourn too soon,--that is,
to-morrow at twelve o’clock. The business of the country will suffer
by adjournment at that time. We are now in currents of business that
recall the last days of regular sessions, or the rapids that precede a
cataract. Senators are straggling for the floor, and perhaps are not
always amiable, if they do not obtain it. We ought to give time for all
this important business, so that there be no such unseemly struggle.

The calendar of the Senate shows one hundred and fifteen bills now
on your table from the Senate alone, of which only a small portion
have been considered; and looking at the House calendar, I find one
of their late bills numbered one hundred and two, showing that very
large number, of which you have considered thus far only a very small
proportion. I do not ask attention to these numerous bills, but
unquestionably among them are many of great importance. There are two
especially to which I have already referred, and to which I mean to
call your attention, so long as you sit as a Congress, and down to the
last moment, unless they shall be acted on. I mean, in the first place,
the bill providing for a change in the time of electing a mayor and
other officers in the city of Washington. Congress ought not to go home
leaving this question unsettled.

You have bestowed the suffrage upon the colored people here, and they
are about to exercise it in choosing aldermen and a common council; but
those aldermen and common councilmen will find themselves presided over
by a mayor chosen by a different constituency, and hostile to them in
sentiment, one possessing sometimes the veto power, and always a very
considerable influence, which he will naturally exercise against this
new government. Will you leave Washington subject to such discord?
Will you consent that the votes of the colored people shall be thus
neutralized the first time they are called into exercise? I trust
Congress will not adjourn until this important bill is acted upon. It
is very simple; it need not excite discussion; it is practical. Let it
be read at the table, and every Senator will understand it, and will be
ready to vote upon it without argument. Thus far I have not been able
to bring it before the Senate, though I have tried day by day. I have
not yet been able to have it read.

    Mr. Sumner then referred again to the bill securing the
    elective franchise throughout the country, vindicating its
    constitutionality and necessity.

    Mr. Wilson then moved to amend by making the day of adjournment
    the 10th of April; but this was rejected,--Yeas 13, Nays 28.
    Mr. Sumner then moved to amend by inserting “five o’clock,
    Saturday afternoon,” instead of “twelve o’clock, noon,” saying,
    “so that we shall have five hours more for work”; but this,
    modified by the substitution of four o’clock, was likewise

    The substitute of Mr. Edmunds was then adopted,--Yeas 28, Nays
    12,--Mr. Sumner voting in the negative. The House concurred,
    and the adjournment took place accordingly.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In this episode began the differences with regard to President
    Johnson. To protect good people against him was the object of
    the earnest effort to prolong the session and to provide for an
    intermediate session before the regular meeting of Congress.
    Among those who voted for the adjournment were distinguished
    Senators who afterwards voted for his acquittal, when impeached
    at the bar of the Senate.



    March 29th, on motion of Mr. Sprague, of Rhode Island, the
    Senate proceeded to consider a joint resolution directing
    an examination and estimate to be made of the cost of
    reconstructing the levees of the Mississippi. Mr. Sumner
    remarked that he was not against making this exploration
    and inquiry,--that he welcomed anything of the kind,--but
    he was anxious that Congress should not commit itself to
    the expenditure involved. He therefore moved the following

        “_Provided_, That it is understood in advance that no
        appropriations for the levees of the Mississippi River
        shall be made in any State until after the restoration of
        such State to the Union, with the elective franchise and
        free schools without distinction of race or color.”

    On this he remarked:--

I am unwilling that Congress should seem in any way to commit itself
to so great an expenditure in one of these States, except with the
distinct understanding that it shall not be until after the restoration
of the State to the Union on those principles without which the
State will not be loyal or republican. We are all seeking to found
governments truly loyal and truly republican. Will any Rebel State be
such until it has secured in its constitution the elective franchise
to all, and until it has opened free schools to all? The proposition
is a truism. A State which does not give the elective franchise to
all, without distinction of color, is not republican in form, and
cannot be sanctioned as such by the Congress of the United States.
Now I am anxious, so far as I can, to take a bond in advance, and
to hold out every temptation, every lure, every seduction to tread
the right path,--in other words, to tread the path of loyalty and of
republicanism. Therefore I seize the present opportunity to let these
States know in advance, that, if they expect the powerful intervention
of Congress, they must qualify themselves to receive it by giving
evidence that they are truly loyal and truly republican.

This is no common survey of a river or harbor. The Senator from Maine
[Mr. MORRILL] has already pointed out the difference between the two
cases. They are wide apart. It is an immense charity, a benefaction,
from which private individuals are to gain largely. Thus far these
levees have always been built, as I understand,--I am open to
correction,--by the owners of the lands, and by the States.

    MR. STEWART [of Nevada]. And principally by the swamp lands
    donated by Congress.

MR. SUMNER. Now it is proposed, for the first time, that the National
Government shall intervene with its powerful aid. Are you ready to
embark in that great undertaking? I do not say that you should not,
for I am one who has never hesitated, and I do not mean hereafter
to hesitate, in an appropriation for the good of any part of the
country, if I can see that it is constitutional; and on the question
of constitutionality I do not mean to be nice. I mean always to be
generous in interpretation of the Constitution, and in appropriations
for any such object; but I submit that Congress shall not in any
respect pledge itself to this undertaking, involving such a lavish
expenditure, except on the fundamental condition that the States where
the money is to be invested shall be truly loyal and republican in
form; and I insist that not one of those States can be such, except on
the conditions stated in my amendment.

    No vote was reached, and the joint resolution was never
    considered again.


[1] Commentaries on American Law (4th edit.), Vol. I. p. 226.

[2] Stansbury, Report of the Trial of Judge Peck, Appendix, p. 499.

[3] Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies in the United States (2d
edit.), § 126, p. 47.

[4] Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies in the United States (2d
edit.), Appendix, IV., p. 996.

[5] Savigny, System des heutigen Römischen Rechts, § 97, Band II. p.

[6] Maxims, Reg. 3.

[7] Broom, Legal Maxims, (3d edit.,) p. 111.

[8] Broom, Legal Maxims, (3d edit.,) p. 116.

[9] Hobart, R., 86, 87.

[10] 8 Coke, R., 118.

[11] 12 Modern Reports, 687, 688.

[12] “Nec erit alia lex Romæ, alia Athenis, alia nunc, alia posthac;
sed et omnes gentes et omni tempore una lex et sempiterna et
immutabilis continebit, unusque erit communis quasi magister et
imperator omnium deus.”--_De Republica_, Lib. III. c. 22.

[13] Rules and Orders of the House of Representatives: Rule 28 [29].

[14] May, Treatise on the Law, etc., of Parliament, (5th edit.,) p. 598.

[15] Dwarris, Treatise on Statutes, (2d edit.,) Part I. p. 220.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Dwarris, Treatise on Statutes, (2d edit.,) Part I. p. 245.

[18] Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (2d edit.), p. 711.

[19] Ibid., p. 713.

[20] Law and Practice of Legislative Assemblies (2d edit.), pp. 712,

[21] History of His Own Times (fol. edit.), Vol. I. p. 485.

[22] Act of April 10, 1869: Statutes at Large, Vol. XVI. pp. 44, 45.

[23] Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, § 1573, Vol. III. pp.
437, seqq., note.

[24] Essays: Of Wisdom for a Man’s Self.

[25] Address on nominating Hon. Charles Abbot to the Speakership of the
House of Commons, November 16, 1802: Hansard’s Parliamentary History,
Vol. XXXVI. col. 915.

[26] Constitutional History of England (London, 1829), Vol. I. p. 358,

[27] _Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 312-314; Vol. XIII. pp. 57-60.

[28] Narrative, p. 265.

[29] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 357.

[30] Act, March 2, 1833: Statutes at Large, Vol. IV. p. 654.

[31] Act, March 3, 1843: Ibid., Vol. V. p. 641.

[32] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 369.

[33] See, _ante_, Vol. XII. p. 105.

[34] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 66.

[35] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 601.

[36] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 365.

[37] The Sale of Philosophers: Works, tr. Francklin, (London, 1781,)
Vol. I. p. 412.


    “Mos erat antiquus, niveis atrisque lapillis,
    His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpâ.”

                                     OVID, _Metam._, Lib. XV. 41, 42.

[39] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 243, 244.

[40] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 343, 344.

[41] _Ante_, Vol. XII. p. 185; Vol. XIII. p. 352.

[42] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 364.

[43] Holy State: Of Building.

[44] _Ante_, Vol. X. pp. 273, seqq.

[45] _Ante_, Vol. VIII. pp. 208, seqq.

[46] The Fourteenth Amendment.

[47] _Ante_, p. 130.

[48] Total vote, 7776: for the constitution, 3938; against, 3838:
majority, 100.--_Congressional Globe_, 39th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 126,

[49] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 391.

[50] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. p. 374.

[51] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess., col. 933, January 8, 1790.

[52] Ibid., 2d Cong. 1st Sess., col. 15, October 25, 1791.

[53] Plan for establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and
Measures of the United States, July 13, 1790: Writings, Vol. VII. p.

[54] Annals of Congress, 14th Cong. 2d Sess., col. 14, December 3, 1816.

[55] Report upon Weights and Measures, p. 48.

[56] See, _ante_, p. 19, note.

[57] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 370.

[58] Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 3d Sess., Senate, No. 13.

[59] Speech at the Republican State Convention, September 14, 1865:
_Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 305, seqq.

[60] Bramston, Art of Politics, 162-165. See, _ante_, Vol. VIII. p. 212.

[61] Luther _v._ Borden et al., 7 Howard, R., 42, 45.

[62] Act, February 9, 1863: Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 646.

[63] Act, July 2, 1862: Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. p. 502.

[64] Annual Message, December 8, 1863.

[65] Mr. Seward to Mr. Dayton, April 22, 1861: Executive Documents,
37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. I. p. 198.

[66] This was done in part. Mr. Sumner’s efforts to make education a
condition failed. See, _post_, pp. 304-316, 326-343.

[67] Letter to the Right Hon. Henry Dundas, April 9, 1792: Works
(Boston, 1865-67), Vol. VI. p. 261.

[68] Speech in the House of Commons, on the Abolition of the
Slave-Trade, March 1, 1799: Speeches (4th edit.), Vol. I. p. 192.

[69] Speech in the House of Commons, on the Abolition of the
Slave-Trade, March 1, 1799: Speeches (4th edit.), Vol. I. pp. 193, 194.

[70] Speech in the House of Lords, on Negro Apprenticeship, February
20, 1838: Speeches (Edinburgh, 1838), Vol. II. pp. 218, 219.

[71] History of Brazil (London, 1810), Vol. I. p. 223, note.

[72] Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Boston, 1855), Chap. LII.
Vol. VI. p. 387.

[73] Speeches, February 22 and August 18, 1866: McPherson’s History of
the United States during Reconstruction, pp. 61, 127.

[74] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. pp. 5-7.

[75] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 375.

[76] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 546.

[77] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. pp. 47, seqq.

[78] Areopagitica; A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing:
Works (London, 1851), Vol. IV. p. 442.

[79] Histoire de la Révolution Française (13me édit.), Tom. X. p. 357.

[80] Annual Message, December 1, 1862: Executive Documents, 37th Cong.
3d Sess., House, No. 1, p. 23.

[81] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 430-432.


            “Lucri bonus est odor, ex re
    Qualibet.”--JUVENAL, _Sat._ XIV. 204, 205.

An allusion to the familiar anecdote of Vespasian: “Reprehendenti filio
Tito, quod etiam urinæ vectigal commentus esset, pecuniam ex prima
pensione admovit ad nares, sciscitans, num odore offenderetur; et illo
negante, ‘Atqui,’ inquit, ‘e lotio est.’”--SUETONIUS, _Vespasianus_, c.
23. See the Commentators generally.

[83] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. pp. 21, seqq.

[84] _Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 179, seqq.

[85] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. pp. 346, seqq.

[86] _Ante_, pp. 128, seqq.

[87] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. pp. 115, seqq.

[88] _Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 337-339.

[89] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 428-430.

[90] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 434.

[91] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 574.

[92] Speech on “The Equal Rights of All,” February 5, 6, 1866: _ante_,
Vol. XIII. pp. 115, seqq.

[93] Patrick Henry, Speech in the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775:
Wirt’s Life of Henry (3d edit.), p. 120.

[94] Statutes at Large, Vol. XV. p. 20.

[95] Speech in the House of Lords, on Troops at Elections, March 1,
1867: Times, March 2.

[96] See “Barbarism of Slavery,” _ante_, Vol. VI. p. 157.

[97] Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay,
November 11, 1647, Vol. II. p. 203.

[98] Hening, Statutes at Large of Virginia, Vol. II. p. 517.

[99] Speech entitled “The National Security and the National Faith”:
_ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 325, seqq.

[100] Statutes at Large, Vol. XV. pp. 2-5.

[101] Statutes at Large, Vol. XV. p. 23.

[102] March 30, 1867.

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