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

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

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

Title: Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 17 (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 17 (of 20)" ***

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

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

Transcriber’s Note: There is a printer’s error in footnote 102; the
Statutes at Large volume reference is missing from the original.

                     [Illustration: HAMILTON FISH]

              Statesman Edition                VOL. XVII

                            Charles Sumner

                          HIS COMPLETE WORKS

                           With Introduction
                       HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR


                            LEE AND SHEPARD

                           COPYRIGHT, 1880,
                      FRANCIS V. BALCH, EXECUTOR.

                           COPYRIGHT, 1900,
                           LEE AND SHEPARD.

                          Statesman Edition.

                           OF WHICH THIS IS

                               No. Extra

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



    CHEAP OCEAN POSTAGE. Resolution in the Senate, December 7,
    1868                                                               1

    Remarks in the Senate on his Death, December 18, 1868              2

    January 12 and 15, 1869                                           10

    in the Senate, January 23, 1869                                   32

    OF THE SKIN. Speech in the Senate, February 5, 1869               34

    Johnson-Clarendon Treaty, in Executive Session of the Senate,
    April 13, 1869                                                    53

    LOCALITY IN APPOINTMENT TO OFFICE. Remarks in the Senate, April
    21, 1869                                                          94

    NATIONAL AFFAIRS AT HOME AND ABROAD. Speech at the Republican
    State Convention in Worcester, Massachusetts, September 22,
    1869                                                              98

    THE QUESTION OF CASTE. Lecture delivered in the Music Hall,
    Boston, October 21, 1869                                         131

    CURRENCY. Remarks in the Senate, on introducing a Bill to amend
    the Banking Act, and to promote the Return to Specie Payments,
    December 7, 1869                                                 184

    COLORED PHYSICIANS. Resolution and Remarks in the Senate, on
    the Exclusion of Colored Physicians from the Medical Society of
    the District of Columbia, December 9, 1869                       186

    in the Senate on his Death, December 14, 1869                    189

    CUBAN BELLIGERENCY. Remarks in the Senate, December 15, 1869     195

    in the Senate, January 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 21, 1870          204

    Senate, January 12, 26, February 1, March 2, 10, 11, 1870        234

    the Senate, on the Presentation of his Statue, January 20,
    1870                                                             299

    Remarks in the Senate, January 21 and February 10, 1870          303



Whereas the inland postage on a letter throughout the United States
is three cents, while the ocean postage on a similar letter to
Great Britain, under a recent convention, is twelve cents, and on a
letter to France is thirty cents, being a burdensome tax, amounting
often to a prohibition of foreign correspondence, yet letters can be
carried at less cost on sea than on land; and whereas, by increasing
correspondence, and also by bringing into the mails mailable matter
often now clandestinely conveyed, cheap ocean postage would become
self-supporting; and whereas cheap ocean postage would tend to quicken
commerce, to diffuse knowledge, to promote the intercourse of families
and friends separated by the ocean, to multiply the bonds of peace and
good-will among men and nations, to advance the progress of liberal
ideas, and thus, while important to every citizen, it would become the
active ally of the merchant, the emigrant, the philanthropist, and the
friend of liberty: Therefore

_Be it resolved_, That the President of the United States be requested
to open negotiations with the European powers, particularly with Great
Britain, France, and Germany, for the establishment of cheap ocean



MR. PRESIDENT,--The visitor to the House of Commons, as he paces the
vestibule, stops with reverence before the marble statues of men who
for two centuries of English history filled that famous chamber.
There are twelve in all, each speaking to the memory as he spoke in
life, beginning with the learned Selden and the patriot Hampden,
with Falkland so sweet and loyal, Somers so great as defender of
constitutional liberty, and embracing in the historic group the
silver-tongued Murray, the two Pitts, father and son, masters of
eloquence, Fox, always first in debate, and that orator whose speeches
contribute to the wealth of English literature, Edmund Burke.

In the lapse of time, as our history extends, similar monuments will
illustrate the approach to our House of Representatives, arresting the
reverence of the visitor. If our group is confined to those whose fame
has been won in the House alone, it will be small; for members of the
House are mostly birds of passage, only perching on the way to another
place. Few remain so as to become identified with the House, or their
service there is forgotten in the blaze of service elsewhere,--as was
the case with Madison, Marshall, Clay, Webster, and Lincoln. It is
not difficult to see who will find a place in this small company.
There must be a statue of Josiah Quincy, whose series of eloquent
speeches is the most complete of our history before Webster pleaded
for Greece,--and also a statue of Joshua R. Giddings, whose faithful
championship of Freedom throughout a long and terrible conflict makes
him one of the great names of our country. And there must be a statue
of THADDEUS STEVENS, who was perhaps the most remarkable character
identified with the House, unless we except John Quincy Adams; but the
fame of the latter is not of a Representative alone, for he was already
illustrious from various service before he entered the House.

All of these hated Slavery, and labored for its overthrow. On this
account they were a mark for obloquy, and were generally in a minority.
Already compensation has begun. As the cause they upheld so bravely
is exalted, so is their fame. By the side of their far-sighted,
far-reaching, and heroic efforts, how diminutive is all that was done
by others at the time! How vile the spirit that raged against them!

Stevens was a child of New England, as were Quincy and Adams; but,
after completing his education, he found a home in Pennsylvania, which
had already given birth to Giddings. If this great central State can
claim one of these remarkable men by adoption only, it may claim the
other by maternity. Their names are among its best glories.

Two things Stevens did for his adopted State, by which he repaid
largely all her hospitality and favor. He taught her to cherish
Education for the People, and he taught her respect for Human Rights.
The latter lesson was slower learned than the former. In the prime
of life, when his faculties were in their highest vigor, he became
conspicuous for earnest effort, crowned by most persuasive speech,
whose echoes have not yet died away, for those Common Schools, which,
more even than railways, are handmaids of civilization, besides being
the true support of republican government. His powerful word turned
the scale, and a great cause was won. This same powerful word was
given promptly and without hesitation to that other cause, suffering
then from constant and most cruel outrage. Here he stood always
like a pillar. Suffice it to say that he was one of the earliest of
Abolitionists, accepting the name and bearing the reproach. Not a child
in Pennsylvania, conning a spelling-book beneath the humble rafters
of a village school, who does not owe him gratitude; not a citizen,
rejoicing in that security obtained only in liberal institutions
founded on the Equal Rights of All, who is not his debtor.

When he entered Congress, it was as champion. His conclusions were
already matured, and he saw his duty plain before him. The English poet
foreshadows him, when he pictures

         “one in whom persuasion and belief
    Had ripened into faith, and faith become
    A passionate intuition.”[1]

Slavery was wrong, and he would not tolerate it. Slave-masters,
brimming with Slavery, were imperious and lawless. From him they
learned to see themselves as others saw them. Strong in his cause
and in the consciousness of power, he did not shrink from encounter;
and when it was joined, he used not only argument and history, but
all those other weapons by which a bad cause is exposed to scorn
and contempt. Nobody said more in fewer words, or gave to language a
sharper bite. Speech was with him at times a cat-o’-nine-tails, and woe
to the victim on whom the terrible lash descended!

Does any one doubt the justifiableness of such debate? Sarcasm, satire,
and ridicule are not given in vain. They have an office to perform in
the economies of life. They are faculties to be employed prudently in
support of truth and justice. A good cause is helped, if its enemies
are driven back; and it cannot be doubted that the supporters of wrong
and the procrastinators shrank often before the weapons he wielded.
Soft words turn away wrath; but there is a time for strong words as for
soft words. Did not the Saviour seize the thongs with which to drive
the money-changers from the Temple? Our money-changers long ago planted
themselves within our temple. Was it not right to lash them away? Such
an exercise of power in a generous cause must not be confounded with
that personality of debate which has its origin in nothing higher than
irritability, jealousy, or spite. In this sense Thaddeus Stevens was
never personal. No personal thought or motive controlled him. What he
said was for his country and mankind.

As the Rebellion assumed its giant proportions, he saw clearly that
it could be smitten only through Slavery; and when, after a bloody
struggle, it was too tardily vanquished, he saw clearly that there
could be no true peace, except by new governments built on the Equal
Rights of All. And this policy he urged with a lofty dogmatism as
beneficent as uncompromising. The Rebels had burned his property in
Pennsylvania, and there were weaklings who attributed his conduct to
smart at pecuniary loss. How little they understood his nature! Injury
provokes and sometimes excuses resentment. But it was not in him to
allow private grief to influence public conduct. The losses of the
iron-master were forgotten in the duties of the statesman. He asked
nothing for himself. He did not ask his own rights, except as the
Rights of Man.

I know not if he could be called orator. Perhaps, like Fox, he were
better called debater. And yet I doubt if words were ever delivered
with more effect than when, broken with years and decay, he stood
before the Senate and in the name of the House of Representatives
and of all the people of the United States impeached Andrew Johnson,
President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors in
office. Who can forget his steady, solemn utterance of this great
arraignment? The words were few, but they will sound through the ages.
The personal triumph in his position at that moment was merged in the
historic grandeur of the scene. For a long time, against opposition of
all kinds, against misconceptions of the law, and against apologies for
transactions without apology, he had insisted on impeachment; and now
this old man, tottering to your door, dragged the Chief Magistrate of
the Republic to judgment. It was he who did this thing; and I should do
poor justice to his life, if on this occasion I failed to declare my
gratitude for the heroic deed. His merit is none the less because other
influences prevailed in the end. His example will remain forever.

In the House, which was the scene of his triumphs, I never heard him
but once; and I cannot forget the noble eloquence of that brief speech.
I was there by accident just as he rose. He did not speak more than
ten minutes, but every sentence seemed an oration. With unhesitating
plainness he arraigned Pennsylvania for her denial of equal rights
to an oppressed race, and, rising with the theme, declared that this
State had not a republican government.[2] His explicitness was the more
striking because he was a Representative of Pennsylvania. Nobody, who
has considered with any care what constitutes a republican government,
especially since the definition supplied by our Declaration of
Independence, can doubt that he was right. His words will live as the
courageous testimony of a great character on this important question.

The last earnest object of his life was the establishment of Equal
Rights throughout the whole country by the recognition of the
requirement of the Declaration of Independence. I have before me two
letters in which he records his convictions, which are perhaps more
weighty because the result of most careful consideration, when age
had furnished experience and tempered the judgment. “I have,” says
he, “long, and with such ability as I could command, reflected upon
the subject of the Declaration of Independence, and finally have
come to the sincere conclusion that Universal Suffrage was one of
the inalienable rights intended to be embraced in that instrument.”
It is difficult to see how there can be hesitation on this point,
when the great title-deed expressly says that governments derive
their just powers from the consent of the governed. But this is not
the only instance in which he was constrained by the habits of that
profession which he practised so successfully. A great Parliamentarian
of France has said: “The more one is a lawyer, the less he is a
Senator,”--_Plus on est avocat, moins on est Sénateur._ If Stevens
reached his conclusion slowly, it was because he had not completely
emancipated himself from that technical reasoning which is the boast
of the lawyer rather than of the statesman. The pretension that the
power to determine the “qualifications” of voters embraced the power to
exclude for color, and that this same power to exclude for color was
included in the asserted power of the States to make “regulations” for
the elective franchise, seems at first to have deceived him; as if it
were not insulting to reason and shocking to the moral sense to suppose
that any unalterable physical condition, such as color of hair, eyes,
or skin, could be a “qualification,”--and as if it were not equally
offensive to suppose, that, under a power to determine “qualifications”
or to make “regulations,” a race could be disfranchised. Of course this
whole pretension is a technicality set up against Human Rights. Nothing
can be plainer than that a technicality may be employed in favor of
Human Rights, but never against them. Stevens came to his conclusion
at last, and rested in it firmly. His final aspiration was to see it
prevail. He had seen much for which he had striven embodied in the
institutions of his country. He had seen Slavery abolished. He had seen
the freedman of the National Capital lifted to equality of political
rights by Act of Congress; he had seen the colored race throughout
the whole land lifted to equality of civil rights by Act of Congress.
It only remained that he should see them throughout the whole land
lifted to the same equality in political rights; and then the promises
of the Declaration of Independence would be all fulfilled. But he was
called away before this final triumph. A great writer of Antiquity, a
perpetual authority, tells us that “the chief duty of friends is not to
follow the departed with idle lamentation, but to remember their wishes
and to execute their commands.”[3] These are the words of Tacitus. I
venture to add that we shall best honor him we now celebrate, if we
adopt his aspiration and strive for its fulfilment.

It is as Defender of Human Rights that Thaddeus Stevens deserves
homage. Here he is supreme. On other questions he erred. On the
finances his errors were signal. But history will forget these and
other failings, as it bends with reverence before the exalted labors
by which humanity has been advanced. Already he takes his place among
illustrious names which are the common property of mankind. I see
him now, as so often during life. His venerable form moves slowly
and with uncertain steps; but the gathered strength of years is in
his countenance, and the light of victory on his path. Politician,
calculator, timeserver, stand aside! A hero-statesman passes to his



MR. PRESIDENT,--This discussion, so unexpectedly prolonged, has already
brought us to see two things,--first, the magnitude of the interests
involved, and, secondly, the simplicity of the principle which must
determine our judgment. It is difficult to exaggerate the amount of
claims which will be let loose to feed on the country, if you recognize
that now before us; nor can I imagine anything more authoritative than
the principle which bars all these claims, except so far as Congress in
its bounty chooses to recognize them.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the Report of the Committee on Claims[4] it appears that the house
of Miss Sue Murphey, of Decatur, Alabama, was destroyed, so that not
a vestige remained, by order of the commander at that place, on the
19th March, 1864, under instructions from General Sherman to make it a
military post. It is also stated that Miss Murphey was loyal. These are
the important facts. Assuming the loyalty of the petitioner, which I
have been led to doubt, the simple question is, whether the Nation is
bound to indemnify a citizen, domiciled in a Rebel State, for property
in that State, taken for the building of a fort by the United States
against the Rebels.

Here it is proper to observe three things,--one concerning the
petitioner, and two concerning the property taken: first, that the
petitioner was domiciled in a Rebel State, or, to use more technical
language, in a State declared by public proclamation to be in
rebellion; secondly, that the property was situated within the Rebel
State; and, thirdly, that the property was taken under the necessities
of war, and for the national defence. On these three several points
there can be no question. They are facts which have not been denied
in this debate. Thus far I confine myself to a statement of facts,
in order to prepare the way for the consideration of the legal

Bearing in mind these facts, several difficulties which have been
presented during this debate disappear. For instance, a question was
put by a learned Senator [Mr. DAVIS, of Kentucky] as to the validity
of an imagined seizure of the property of the eminent Judge Wayne,
situated in the District of Columbia. But it is obvious that the facts
in the imagined case of the eminent judge are different from those in
the actual case before us. Judge Wayne, unlike the petitioner, was
domiciled in a loyal part of the country; and his property, unlike that
of the petitioner, was situated in a loyal part of the country. This
difference between the two cases serves to illustrate the position of
the petitioner. Because property situated in the District of Columbia
and belonging to a loyal judge domiciled here could not be taken, it by
no means follows that property situated in a Rebel State and belonging
to a person domiciled there can enjoy the same immunity.

Behind the fact of domicile, and the fact that the property
was situated in a Rebel State, is that other fact, equally
incontrovertible, that it was taken in the exigencies of war.
The military order under which the taking occurred declares that
“the necessities of the Army require the use of every building in
Decatur,”--not merely the building in question, but every building; and
the Report of the Committee says that “General Sherman had previously
issued an order to fortify Decatur for a military post.” I might quote
more to illustrate this point; but I quote enough. It is plain and
indisputable that the taking was under an exigency of war. To deny this
is to assail the military order under which it was done, and also the
Report of the Committee.

       *       *       *       *       *

Three men once governed the mighty Roman world. Three facts govern the
present case, with the power of a triumvirate,--the domicile of the
petitioner, the situation of the property, and the exigency of war. If
I dwell on these three facts, it is because I am unwilling that either
should drop out of sight; each is important. Together they present a
case which it is easy to decide, however painful the conclusion. And
this brings me to the principle which I said at the beginning was so
simple. Indeed, let the facts be admitted, and it is difficult to see
how there can be any question in the present case. But the facts, as I
have stated them, are indubitable.

On these facts two questions arise: first, as to the rule of
International Law applicable to property of persons domiciled in
an enemy country; and, secondly, as to the applicability of this
rule to the present case. Of the rule there can be no question; its
applicability is sustained by reason, and also by authority from which
there can be no appeal.

In stating and enforcing the rule I might array writers, precedents,
and courts; but I content myself with a paragraph from a writer who in
expounding the Laws of War is perhaps the highest authority. I refer
to the Dutch publicist of the last century, Bynkershoek, whose work is
always quoted in the final resort on these questions. This great writer
expresses himself as follows:--

    “Could it be doubted whether under the name of enemies may
    be understood also our friends who having been conquered are
    with the enemy, their city perhaps being occupied by him?…
    I should think that they also were to be so understood,
    certainly as regards goods which they have under the government
    of the enemy.… I know upon what ground others say the
    contrary,--namely, that our friends, although they are with
    the enemy, have no spirit of hostility to us; for that it is
    not of their free will that they are there, and that it is
    only from the _animus_ that the case is to be judged. But the
    case does not depend upon the _animus_ alone; because neither
    are all the rest of our enemy’s subjects, at any rate very
    few of them, carried away by a spirit of hostility to us; but
    it depends upon the right by which those goods are with the
    enemy, and upon the advantage which they afford him for our

Nothing could be stronger in determining the liability from domicile.
Its sweeping extent, under the exigency of war, is proclaimed by this
same writer in words of peculiar weight:--

     “Since it is the condition of war that enemies are despoiled
    and proscribed as to every right, it stands to reason that
    everything found with the enemy changes its owner and goes
    to the Treasury.… If we follow the mere Law of War, even
    _immovable_ property may be sold and its price turned into the
    Treasury, as in the case of movable property.”[6]

Here is an austere statement; but it was adopted by Mr. Jefferson as a
fundamental principle in his elaborate letter to the British Minister,
vindicating the confiscation of the property of Loyalists during the
Revolution.[7] It was the corner-stone of his argument, as it has
since been the corner-stone of judicial decisions. To cite texts and
precedents in its support is superfluous. It must be accepted as the
rule of International Law.

The rule, as succinctly expressed, is simply this,--that the property
of persons domiciled in an enemy country is liable to seizure and
capture without regard to the alleged friendly or loyal character of
the owner.

Unquestionably there are limitations imposed by humanity which must not
be transcended. A country must not be wasted, or buildings destroyed,
unless under some commanding necessity. This great power must not be
wantonly employed. Men must not become barbarians. But, if, in the
pursuit of the enemy, or for purposes of defence, property must be
destroyed, then by International Law it can be done. This is the rule.
Vattel, while pleading justly and with persuasive examples for the
preservation of works of art, such as temples, tombs, and structures of
remarkable beauty, admits that even these may be sacrificed:--

     “If for the operations of war, to advance the works in a
    siege, it is necessary to destroy edifices of this nature,
    one has undoubtedly the right to do so. The sovereign of the
    country, or his general, destroys them indeed himself, when the
    necessities or the maxims of war invite thereto. The governor
    of a besieged city burns its suburbs, to prevent the besiegers
    from obtaining a lodgment therein. Nobody thinks of blaming him
    who lays waste gardens, vineyards, orchards, in order to pitch
    his tent and intrench himself there.”[8]

This same rule is recognized by Manning, in his polished and humane
work, less frequently quoted, but entitled always to great respect.
This interesting writer expresses himself as follows:--

    “It is clearly a belligerent’s right to destroy the enemy’s
    property _as far as necessary in making fortifications_.…
    Destruction of the enemy’s property is justifiable as far as
    indispensable for the purposes of warfare, but no further.”[9]

With the limitations which I have tried to exhibit, the rule is
beyond question in the relations between nations. Do you call it
harsh? Undoubtedly it is so. It is war, which from beginning to end
is terrible harshness. Without the incidents sanctioned by this rule
war would be changed, so that it would be no longer war. It was such
individual calamities that Shakespeare had in mind, when he spoke of
“the purple testament of bleeding war”; and it was such which entered
into the vision of that other poet, when, in words of remarkable
beauty, he pictured, by way of contrast, the blessings of peace:--

                          “Straight forward goes
    The lightning’s path, and straight the fearful path
    Of the cannon-ball. Direct it flies, and rapid,
    Shattering that it may reach, and shattering what it reaches.
    My son! the road the human being travels,
    That on which blessing comes and goes, doth follow
    The river’s course, the valley’s playful windings,
    Curves round the cornfield and the hill of vines,
    Honoring the holy bounds of property;
    And thus, secure, though late, leads to its end.”[10]

It only remains now to show that this rule of International Law is
applicable to the present case. Of course, our late war was not between
two nations; therefore it was not strictly international. But it was
between the National Government, on one side, and a Rebellion which had
become “territorial” in character, with such form and body as to have
belligerent rights on land. Mark the distinction, if you please; for I
have always insisted, and still insist, that complete belligerency on
land does not imply belligerency on the ocean. As there is a dominion
of the land, so there is a dominion of the ocean; and as there is a
belligerency of the land, so there is also a belligerency of the ocean.
Therefore, while denying to our Rebels belligerent rights on the ocean,
I have no hesitation with regard to them on the land. But just in
proportion as these are admitted, is the rule of International Law made
applicable to the present case.

Against our Rebels the Nation had two sources of power and two
arsenals of rights,--one of these being the powers and rights of
sovereignty, and the other the powers and rights of war,--the former
being determined by the Constitution, the latter by International Law.
The Nation might pursue a Rebel as traitor or as belligerent; but
whether traitor or belligerent, he was always an enemy. Pursuing him
in the courts as traitor, he was justly entitled to all the delays
and safeguards of the Constitution; but it was otherwise, if he was
treated as belligerent. Pursuing him in battle, driving him from
point to point, dislodging him from fortresses, expelling him from
towns, pushing him back from our advancing line, and then building
fortifications against him,--all this was war; and it was none the
less war because the enemy was unhappily our own countryman. A new
law supplied the rule for our conduct,--not the Constitution, with
its manifold provisions dear to the lover of Liberty, including the
solemn requirement that nobody shall “be deprived of life, liberty,
or property without due process of law,” and then again that other
requirement, that “private property shall not be taken for public use
without just compensation.” All these were silent while International
Law prevailed. The Rebellion had grown until it became a war; and as
this war was among countrymen, it was a civil war. But the rule of
conduct in a civil war is to be found in the Law of Nations.

I do not stop to quote the familiar views of publicists, especially of
Vattel, to the effect that in a civil war the two parties are to be
treated as “two different nations.”[11] Suffice it to say, that such is
the judgment of all the authorities on International Law. But I come
directly to the decisions of our Supreme Court, which recognize the
rule of International Law as applicable to our civil war.

In the famous cases known as the _Prize Cases_, the Court expressly

    “All persons residing within this territory, whose property
    may be used to increase the revenues of the hostile power, are
    in this contest liable to be treated as enemies, though not

Here is the rule of International Law applied directly to our civil
war. In a later case the rule is applied with added emphasis and

    “We must be governed by the principle of public law, so often
    announced from this bench as applicable alike to civil and
    international wars, that _all the people of each State or
    district in insurrection against the United States must be
    regarded as enemies_.”[13]

Thus, according to our highest tribunal, the rule in civil war and
international war is the same. By another decision of the Court, this
same rule continues in force until the character of public enemy is
removed by competent authority. On this point the Court declares itself
as follows, in the Alexander cotton case:--

    “All the people of each State or district in insurrection
    against the United States must be regarded as enemies,
    until, by the action of the Legislature and the Executive,
    or otherwise, that relation is thoroughly and permanently

If the present case is to be settled by authority, this is enough. Here
is the Supreme Court solemnly recognizing the rule of International
Law, even to the extent of embracing under its penalties _all the
people_ of the hostile community, without regard to their sentiments of
loyalty. This is decisive. You cannot decree the national liability in
the present case without reversing these decisions. You must declare
that the rule of International Law is not applicable to our civil war.
There is no ground for exception. You must reject the rule absolutely.

Do you say that its application is harsh? Of course it is. But again
I say, this is war; or rather, it is rebellion which has assumed the
front of war. I do not make the rule. I have nothing to do with it. I
take it as I find it, affirmed by great authorities of International
Law, and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I might stop; for the conclusion stands on reason and authority,
each unanswerable; but I proceed further in order to relieve the case
of all ambiguity. Of course instances may be adduced where compensation
has been made to sufferers from an army, but no case like the present.
If we glance at these instances, we shall see the wide difference.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. The first instance is where property is taken by the Nation, or its
representative, _within its own established jurisdiction_. Of course
this is unlike that now before us. To cite it is only to perplex
and mystify, not to instruct. Thus, a Senator [Mr. WILLEY, of West
Virginia] has adduced well-known words from Vattel on the question,
“Whether subjects should be indemnified for damages sustained in war,”
“as when a field, a house, or a garden, belonging to a private person,
is taken for the purpose of erecting on the spot a town-rampart, or any
other piece of fortification.”[15] But this authority is not applicable
to the present case, where the claimant is not what Vattel calls a
“subject,” and the property was not within the established jurisdiction
of the nation. It applies only to such cases as occurred during the War
of 1812, where property was taken on the Canadian frontier or at New
Orleans for the erection of a fortress,--or such a case as that which
formed one of the military glories of the Count Rochambeau, when at the
head of the French forces in our country. The story is little known,
and therefore I adduce it now, as I find it in the Memoirs of Ségur,
one of the brilliant officers who accompanied the expedition.

The French squadrons were quitting their camp at Crompond, near the
North River, in New York, on their way to embark for France. Their
commander, fresh from the victory of Yorktown, was at the head of the
columns, when a simple citizen approached, and, tapping him slightly on
the shoulder, said: “In the name of the law you are my prisoner.” The
glittering staff by which Count Rochambeau was surrounded broke forth
with indignation, but the General-in-Chief restrained their impatience,
and, smiling, said to the American citizen: “Take me away with you,
if you can.” “No,” replied the simple representative of the law, “I
have done my duty, and your Excellency may proceed on your march, if
you wish to set justice at defiance. Some of your soldiers have cut
down several trees, and burnt them to make their fires. The owner of
them claims an indemnity, and has obtained a warrant against you,
which I have come to execute.” The Count, on hearing this explanation,
which was translated by one of his staff, gave bail, and at once
directed the settlement of the claim on equitable grounds. The American
withdrew, and the French squadrons, which had been arrested by a
simple constable, proceeded on their march. This interesting story, so
honorable to our country and to the French commander, is disfigured by
the end, showing extortion on the part of the claimant. A judgment by
arbitration fixed the damages at four hundred dollars, being less than
the commander had at once offered, while the claimant demanded no less
than three thousand dollars.[16]

Afterward, in the National Assembly of France, when that great country
began to throb with republican life, this instance of submission to law
was mentioned with pride.[17] But though it cannot lose its place in
history, it cannot furnish a precedent of International Law. Besides
being without any exigency of defence, the trespass was within our own
jurisdiction, in which respect it differed precisely from the case on
which we are to vote. I adduce it now because it serves to illustrate
vividly the line of law.

2. Another instance, which I mention in order to put it aside, is
_where an army in a hostile country has carefully paid for all its
supplies_. Such conduct is exceptional. The general rule was expressed
by Mr. Marcy, during our war with Mexico, when he said that “an
invading army has the unquestionable right to draw its supplies from
the enemy without paying for them, and to require contributions for
its support,” that “the enemy may be made to feel the weight of the
war.”[18] But General Halleck, after quoting these words, says that
“the resort to forced contributions for the support of our armies in
a country like Mexico, under the particular circumstances of the war,
would have been at least impolitic, if not unjust; and the American
generals very properly declined to adopt, except to a very limited
extent, the mode indicated.”[19] According to this learned authority,
it was a question of policy rather than of law.

The most remarkable instance of forbearance, under this head, was that
of the Duke of Wellington, as he entered France with his victorious
troops, fresh from the fields of Spain. He was peremptory that
nothing should be taken without compensation. His order on this
occasion will be found at length in Colonel Gurwood’s collection of
his “Dispatches.”[20] His habit was to give receipts for supplies, and
ready money was paid in the camp. The British historian dwells with
pride on the conduct of the commander, and records the astonishment
with which it was regarded by both soldiers and peasantry, who found
it so utterly at variance with the system by which the Spaniards
had suffered and the French had profited during the Peninsular
campaigns.[21] The conduct of the Duke of Wellington cannot be too
highly prized. It was more than a victory. I have always regarded
it as the _high-water mark_ of civilized war, so far as war can be
civilized. But I am obliged to add, on this occasion, that it was
politic also. In thus softening the rigors of war, he smoothed the way
for his conquering army. In a dispatch to one of his generals, written
in the spirit of the order, he says, in very expressive language:
“If we were five times stronger than we are, we could not venture to
enter France, if we cannot prevent our soldiers from plundering.”[22]
It was in a refined policy that this important order had its origin.
Regarding it as a generous example for other commanders, and offering
to it my homage, I must confess, that, as a precedent, it is entirely
inapplicable to the present case.

       *       *       *       *       *

Putting aside these two several classes of cases, we are brought back
to the original principle, that there can be no legal claim to damages
for property situated in an enemy country, and belonging to a person
domiciled there, when taken for the exigencies of war.

If the conclusion were doubtful, I should deem it my duty to exhibit
at length the costly consequences from an allowance of this claim. The
small sum which you vote will be a precedent for millions. If you pay
Miss Sue Murphey, you must pay claimants whose name will be Legion. Of
course, if justice requires, let it be done, even though the Treasury
fail. But the mere possibility of such liabilities is a reason for
caution on our part. We must consider the present case as if on its
face it involved not merely a few thousands, but many millions. Pay
it, and the country will not be bankrupt, but it will have an infinite
draft upon its resources. If the occasion were not too grave for a
jest, I would say of it as Mercutio said of his wound: “No, ’tis not so
deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but ’tis enough.”

If you would have a practical idea of the extent of these claims, be
taught by the history of the British Loyalists, who at the close of
our Revolution appealed to Parliament for compensation on account
of their losses. The whole number of these claims was five thousand
and seventy-two. The whole amount claimed was £8,026,045, or about
thirty-eight million dollars, of which the commissioners allowed less
than half.[23] Our claimants would be much more numerous, and the
amount claimed vaster.

We may also learn from England something of the spirit in which such
claimants should be treated. Even while providing for them, Parliament
refused to recognize any legal title on their part. What it did was in
compassion, generosity, and bounty,--not in satisfaction of a debt. Mr.
Pitt, in presenting the plan which was adopted, expressly denied any
right on grounds of “strict justice.” Here are his words:--

    “The American Loyalists, in his opinion, could not call upon
    the House to make compensation for their losses as a matter of
    strict justice; but they most undoubtedly had strong claims on
    their generosity and compassion. In the mode, therefore, that
    he should propose for finally adjusting their claims, he had
    laid down a principle with a view to mark this distinction.”[24]

In the same spirit Mr. Burke said:--

    “Such a mode of compensating the claims of the Loyalists would
    do the country the highest credit. It was a new and a noble
    instance of national bounty and generosity.”[25]

Mr. Fox, who was full of ardent sympathies, declared:--

    “They were entitled to a compensation, _but by no means to a
    full compensation_.”[26]

And Mr. Pitt, at another stage of the debate, thus denied their claim:--

    “They certainly had _no sort of claim_ to a repayment of all
    they had lost.”[27]

So far as this instance is an example to us, it is only an incentive
to a kindly policy, which, after prudent inquiry, and full knowledge
of the extent of these claims, shall make such reasonable allowance as
humanity and patriotism may require. There must be an inquiry not only
into this individual case, but into all possible cases that may spring
into being, so that, when we act, it may be on the whole subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the beginning of our national life Congress has been called to
deal with claims for losses by war. Though new in form, the present
case belongs to a long list, whose beginning is hidden in Revolutionary
history. The folio volume of State Papers, now before me, entitled
“Claims,” attests the number and variety. Even amid the struggles of
the war, as early as 1779, the Rev. Dr. Witherspoon was allowed $19,040
for repairs of the college at Princeton damaged by the troops.[28]
There was afterward a similar allowance to the academy at Wilmington,
in Delaware, and also to the college in Rhode Island. These latter
were recommended by Mr. Hamilton, while Secretary of the Treasury, as
“affecting the interests of literature.”[29] On this account they were
treated as exceptional. It will also be observed that they concerned
claimants within our own jurisdiction. But on a claim for compensation
for a house burnt at Charlestown for the purpose of dislodging the
enemy, by order of the American commander at that point during the
Siege of Boston, a Committee of Congress in 1797 reported, that, “as
Government has not adopted a general rule to compensate individuals
who have suffered in a similar manner, the Committee are of opinion
that the prayer of this petition cannot be granted.”[30] At a later
day, however, after successive favorable reports, the claim was finally
in 1833 allowed, and compensation made to the extent of the estimated
value of the property destroyed.[31]

In 1815 a claimant received compensation for a house at the end of the
Potomac bridge, which was blown up to prevent certain public stores
from falling into the hands of the enemy;[32] and other claimants at
Baltimore received compensation for rope-walks burnt in the defence of
the city.[33] The report of a committee in another case says that the
course of Congress “seems to inculcate that indemnity is due to all
those _whose losses have arisen from the acts of our own Government, or
those acting under its authority_, while losses produced by the conduct
of the enemy are to be classed among the unavoidable calamities of
war.”[34] This is the most complete statement of the rule which I find.

After the Battle of New Orleans the question of the application of
this rule was presented repeatedly, and with various results. In one
case, a claim for “a quantity of fencing” used as fuel by troops of
General Jackson was paid by Congress; so also was a claim for damages
to a plantation “upon which public works for the defence of the country
were erected.”[35] On the other hand, a claim for “an elegant and
well-furnished house” which afforded shelter to the British army and
was therefore fired on with hot shot, also a claim for damage to a
house and plantation where a battery was erected by our troops, and on
both of which claims the Committee, simultaneously with the two former,
reported favorably, were disallowed by Congress.[36] In a subsequent
case both the report and action seem to have proceeded on a different
principle from that previously enunciated. At the landing of the
enemy near New Orleans, the levee was cut in order to annoy him. As a
consequence, the plantation of the claimant was inundated, and suffered
damages estimated at $19,250. But the claim was rejected, on the ground
that “the injury was done in the necessary operations of war.”[37]
Certainly this ground may be adopted in the present case, while it must
not be forgotten that in all the foregoing cases the claimants were
citizens within our own jurisdiction, whose property had been used
against a foreign enemy.

The multiplicity of claims arising in the War of 1812 prompted an Act
of Congress in 1816 for “the payment for property lost, captured,
or destroyed by the enemy.” In this Act it was, among other things,

    “That any person, who, in the time aforesaid [the late war],
    has sustained damage by the destruction of his or her house
    or building by the enemy, while the same was occupied as a
    military deposit, under the authority of an officer or agent of
    the United States, shall be allowed and paid the amount of such
    damage, provided it shall appear that such occupation was the
    cause of its destruction.”[38]

Two years later it was found, that, in order to obtain the benefits
of this Act, people, especially on the frontier of the State of New
York, had not hesitated at “fraud, forgery, and perhaps perjury.”[39]
Thereupon, the law, which by its terms was limited to two years, and
which it had been proposed to extend, was permitted to expire; and it
is accordingly now marked in our Statutes, “Obsolete.” But it is not
without its lesson. It shows what may be expected, should any precedent
be adopted by Congress to quicken the claimants now dormant in the
South. “It is the duty of a good Government to attend to the morals of
the people as an affair of primary concern.”[40] So said the Committee
in 1818, recommending the non-extension of the Act. But this warning is
as applicable now as then.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the claimants of the present day there are doubtless many of
character and virtue. It is hard to vote against them. But I cannot be
controlled on this occasion by my sympathies. Everywhere and in every
household there has been suffering which mortal power cannot measure.
Sometimes it is borne in silence and solitude; sometimes it is manifest
to all. In coming into this Chamber and asking for compensation, it
invites comparison with other instances. If your allowance is to be on
account of merit, who will venture to say that this case is the most
worthy? It is before us now for judgment. But there are others, not now
before us, where the suffering has been greater, and where, I do not
hesitate to say, the reward should be in proportion. This is an appeal
for justice. Therefore do I say, in the name of justice, Wait!

    January 15th, the same bill being under discussion, Mr. Sumner
    spoke as follows:--

There is another point, on which I forbore to dwell with sufficient
particularity when I spoke before. It is this: Assuming that this
claimant is loyal, I honor her that she kept her loyalty under the
surrounding pressure of rebellion. Of course this was her duty,--nor
more nor less. The practical question is, Shall she be paid for
it? Had she been disloyal, there would have been no proposition of
compensation. As the liability of the Nation is urged on the single
ground that she kept her regard for the flag truly and sincerely, it
is evident that this loyalty must be put beyond question; it must be
established like any other essential link of evidence. I think I do not
err in supposing that it is not established in the present case,--at
least with such certainty as to justify opening the doors of the

But assuming that in fact the loyalty is established, I desire to go
further, and say that not only is the present claim without any support
in law, but it is unreasonable. The Rebel States had become one immense
prison-house of Loyalty; Alabama was a prison-house. The Nation, at
every cost of treasure and blood, broke into that prison-house, and
succeeded in rescuing the Loyalists; but the terrible effort, which
cost the Nation so dearly, involved the Loyalists in losses also.
In breaking into the prison-house and dislodging the Rebel keepers,
property of Loyalists suffered. And now we are asked to pay for this
property damaged in our efforts for their redemption. Our troops came
down to break the prison-doors and set the captives free. Is it not
unreasonable to expect us to pay for this breaking?

If the forces of the United States had failed, then would these
Loyalists have lost everything, country, property, and all,--that is,
if really loyal, according to present professions. It was our national
forces that saved them from this sacrifice, securing to them country,
and, if not all their property, much of it. A part of the property
of the present claimant was taken in order to save to her all else,
including country itself. It was a case, such as might occur under
other circumstances, where a part--and a very small part--is sacrificed
in order to save the rest. According to all analogies of jurisprudence,
and the principles of justice itself, the claimant can look for nothing
beyond such contribution as Congress in its bounty may appropriate. It
is a case of bounty, and not of law.

It is a mistake to suppose, as has been most earnestly argued, that
a claimant of approved loyalty in the Rebel States should have
compensation precisely like a similar claimant in a Loyal State.
To my mind this assumption is founded on a misapprehension of the
Constitution, the law, and the reason of the case,--three different
misapprehensions. By the Constitution property cannot be taken for
public use without “just compensation”; but this rule was silent in the
Rebel States. International Law stepped in and supplied a different
rule. And when we consider how much was saved to the loyal citizen in
a Rebel State by the national arms, it will be found that this rule is
only according to justice.

I have no disposition to shut the door upon claimants. Let them be
heard; but the hearing must be according to some system, so that
Congress shall know the character and extent of these claims. Before
the motion of my colleague,[41] I had already prepared instructions
for the Committee, which I will read, as expressing my own conclusion
on this matter:--

    “That the committee to whom this bill shall be referred, the
    Committee on Claims, be instructed to consider the expediency
    of providing for the appointment of a commission whose duty it
    shall be to inquire into the claims of the loyal citizens of
    the National Government arising during the recent Rebellion
    anywhere in the United States, classifying these claims,
    specifying their respective amounts, and the circumstances out
    of which they originated, also, the evidence of loyalty adduced
    by the claimants respectively, to the end that Congress may
    know precisely the extent and character of these claims before
    legislating thereupon.”

As this is a resolution of instruction, simply to consider the
expediency of what is proposed, I presume there can be no objection to

    Afterwards, on motion of Mr. Sumner, the bill, with all pending
    propositions, was recommitted to the Committee on Claims.



    Mr. Hinds, while engaged in canvassing the State of Arkansas on
    the Republican side, was assassinated. The Senators of Arkansas
    requested Mr. Sumner to speak on the resolution announcing his

MR. PRESIDENT,--It is with hesitation that I add a word on this
melancholy occasion, and I do it only in compliance with the suggestion
of others.

I did not know Mr. Hinds personally; but I have been interested in
his life, and touched by his tragical end. Born in New York, educated
in Ohio, a settler in Minnesota, and then a citizen of Arkansas, he
carried with him always the energies and principles ripened under our
Northern skies. He became a Representative in Congress, and, better
still, a vindicator of the Rights of Man. Unhappily, that barbarism
which we call Slavery is not yet dead, and it was his fate to fall
under its vindictive assault. Pleading for the Equal Rights of All, he
became a victim and martyr.

Thus suddenly arrested in life, his death is a special sorrow, not
only to family and friends, but to the country which he had begun to
serve so well. The void, when a young man dies, is measured less by
what he has done than by the promises of the future. Performance itself
is forgotten in the ample assurance afforded by character. Already
Mr. Hinds had given himself sincerely and bravely to the good cause.
By presence and speech he was urging those great principles of the
Declaration of Independence whose complete recognition will be the
cope-stone of our Republic, when he fell by the stealthy shot of an
assassin. It was in the midst of this work that he fell, and on this
account I am glad to offer my tribute to his memory.

As the life he led was not without honor, so his death is not without
consolation. It was the saying of Antiquity, that it is sweet to die
for country. Here was death not only for country, but for mankind. Nor
is it to be forgotten, that, dying in such a cause, his living voice is
echoed from the tomb. There is a testimony in death often greater than
in any life. The cause for which a man dies lives anew in his death.
“If the assassination could trammel up the consequence,” then might
the assassin find some other satisfaction than the gratification of
a barbarous nature. But this cannot be. His own soul is blasted; the
cause he sought to kill is elevated; and thus it is now. The assassin
is a fugitive in some unknown retreat; the cause is about to triumph.

Often it happens that death, which takes away life, confers what life
alone cannot give. It makes famous. History does not forget Lovejoy,
who for devotion to the cause of the slave was murdered by a fanatical
mob; and it has already enshrined Abraham Lincoln in holiest keeping.
Another is added to the roll,--less exalted than Lincoln, less early in
immolation than Lovejoy, but, like these two, to be remembered always
among those who passed out of life through the gate of sacrifice.



    The Senate having under consideration a joint resolution from
    the House of Representatives proposing an Amendment to the
    Constitution of the United States on the subject of Suffrage in
    the words following, viz.:--

        “ARTICLE ----.

        “SECTION 1. The right of any citizen of the United States
        to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United
        States or any State by reason of the race, color, or
        previous condition of slavery of any citizen or class of
        citizens of the United States.

        “SEC. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce by proper
        legislation the provisions of this Article.”--

    Mr. Sumner offered the following bill as a substitute:--

        SECTION 1. That the right to vote, to be voted for, and to
        hold office shall not be denied or abridged anywhere in the
        United States, under any pretence of race or color; and
        all provisions in any State Constitutions, or in any laws,
        State, Territorial, or Municipal, inconsistent herewith,
        are hereby declared null and void.

        SEC. 2. That any person, who, under any pretence of race or
        color, wilfully hinders or attempts to hinder any citizen
        of the United States from being registered, or from voting,
        or from being voted for, or from holding office, or who
        attempts by menaces to deter any such citizen from the
        exercise or enjoyment of the rights of citizenship above
        mentioned, shall be punished by a fine not less than one
        hundred dollars nor more than three thousand dollars, or by
        imprisonment in the common jail for not less than thirty
        days nor more than one year.

        SEC. 3. That every person legally engaged in preparing
        a register of voters, or in holding or conducting an
        election, who wilfully refuses to register the name or to
        receive, count, return, or otherwise give the proper legal
        effect to the vote of any citizen, under any pretence of
        race or color, shall be punished by a fine not less than
        five hundred dollars nor more than four thousand dollars,
        or by imprisonment in the common jail for not less than
        three calendar months nor more than two years.

        SEC. 4. That the District Courts of the United States
        shall have exclusive jurisdiction of all offences against
        this Act; and the district attorneys, marshals, and deputy
        marshals, the commissioners appointed by the Circuit and
        Territorial Courts of the United States, with powers of
        arresting, imprisoning, or bailing offenders, and every
        other officer specially empowered by the President of the
        United States, shall be, and they are hereby, required, at
        the expense of the United States, to institute proceedings
        against any person who violates this Act, and cause him to
        be arrested and imprisoned or bailed, as the case may be,
        for trial before such court as by this Act has cognizance
        of the offence.

        SEC. 5. That every citizen unlawfully deprived of any of
        the rights of citizenship secured by this Act, under any
        pretence of race or color, may maintain a suit against
        any person so depriving him, and recover damages in the
        District Court of the United States for the district in
        which such person may be found.

    On this he spoke as follows:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--In the construction of a machine the good mechanic
seeks the simplest process, producing the desired result with the
greatest economy of time and force. I know no better rule for Congress
on the present occasion. We are mechanics, and the machine we are
constructing has for its object the conservation of Equal Rights.
Surely, if we are wise, we shall seek the simplest process, producing
the desired result with the greatest economy of time and force. How
widely Senators are departing from this rule will appear before I have

       *       *       *       *       *

Rarely have I entered upon any debate in this Chamber with a sense of
sadness so heavy as oppresses me at this moment. It was sad enough
to meet the champions of Slavery, as in other days they openly
vindicated the monstrous pretension and claimed for it the safeguard
of the Constitution, insisting that Slavery was national and Freedom
sectional. But this was not so sad as now, after a bloody war with
Slavery, and its defeat on the battle-field, to meet the champions
of a kindred pretension, for which they claim the safeguard of the
Constitution, insisting also, as in the case of Slavery, upon State
Rights. The familiar vindication of Slavery in those early debates was
less sickening than the vindication now of the intolerable pretension,
that a State, constituting part of the Nation, and calling itself
“Republican,” is entitled to shut out any citizen from participation
in government simply on account of race or color. To denominate such
pretension as intolerable expresses very inadequately the extent of its
absurdity, and the utterness of its repugnance to all good principles,
whether of reason, morals, or government.

I make no question with individual Senators; I make no personal
allusion; but I meet the odious imposture, as I met the earlier
imposture, with indignation and contempt, naturally excited by anything
unworthy of this Chamber and unworthy of the Republic. How it can enter
here and find Senators willing to assume the stigma of its championship
is more than I can comprehend. Nobody ever vindicated Slavery, who did
not lay up a store of regret for himself and his children; and permit
me to say now, nobody can vindicate Inequality and Caste, whether
civil or political, the direct offspring of Slavery, as intrenched in
the Constitution, beyond the reach of national prohibition, without
laying up a similar store of regret. Death may happily come to remove
the champion from the judgment of the world; but History will make its
faithful record, to be read with sorrow hereafter. Do not complain, if
I speak strongly. The occasion requires it. I seek to save the Senate
from participation in an irrational and degrading pretension.

Others may be cool and indifferent; but I have warred with Slavery too
long, in all its different forms, not to be aroused when this old enemy
shows its head under an _alias_. Once it was Slavery; now it is Caste;
and the same excuse is assigned now as then. In the name of State
Rights, Slavery, with all its brood of wrong, was upheld; and now, in
the name of State Rights, Caste, fruitful also in wrong, is upheld.
The old champions reappear under other names and from other States,
each crying out, that, under the National Constitution, notwithstanding
even its supplementary Amendments, a State may, if it pleases, deny
political rights on account of race or color, and thus establish that
vilest institution, a Caste and an Oligarchy of the Skin.

This perversity, which to careless observation seems so
incomprehensible, is easily understood, when it is considered that the
present generation grew up under an interpretation of the National
Constitution supplied by the upholders of Slavery. State Rights were
exalted and the Nation was humbled, because in this way Slavery might
be protected. Anything for Slavery was constitutional. Such was the
lesson we were taught. How often I have heard it! How often it has
sounded through this Chamber, and been proclaimed in speech and law!
Under its influence the Right of Petition was denied, the atrocious
Fugitive Slave Bill was enacted, and the claim was advanced that
Slavery travelled with the flag of the Republic. Vain are all our
victories, if this terrible rule is not reversed, so that State Rights
shall yield to Human Rights, and the Nation be exalted as the bulwark
of all. This will be the crowning victory of the war. Beyond all
question, the true rule under the National Constitution, especially
since its additional Amendments, is, that _anything for Human Rights
is constitutional_. Yes, Sir; against the old rule, _Anything for
Slavery_, I put the new rule, _Anything for Human Rights_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir, I do not declare this rule hastily, and I know the presence in
which I speak. I am surrounded by lawyers, and now I challenge any
one or all to this debate. I invoke the discussion. On an occasion
less important, Mr. Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham, after saying that
he came not “with the statute-book doubled down in dog’s-ears to
defend the cause of Liberty,” that he relied on “a general principle,
a constitutional principle,” exclaimed: “It is a ground on which I
stand firm, on which I dare meet any man.”[42] In the same spirit I
would speak now. No learning in books, no skill acquired in courts, no
sharpness of forensic dialectics, no cunning in splitting hairs can
impair the vigor of the constitutional principle which I announce.
Whatever you enact for Human Rights is constitutional. There can be no
State Rights against Human Rights; and this is the supreme law of the
land, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary

A State exercises its proper function, when, within its own
jurisdiction, it administers local law, watches local interests,
promotes local charities, and by local knowledge brings the
guardianship of Government to the home of the citizen. Such is
the proper function of the State, by which we are saved from that
centralization elsewhere so absorbing. But a State transcends its
proper function, when it interferes with those Equal Rights, whether
civil or political, which by the Declaration of Independence and
repeated texts of the National Constitution are under the safeguard
of the Nation. The State is local in character, and not universal.
Whatever is justly local belongs to its cognizance; whatever is
universal belongs to the Nation. But what can be more universal than
the Rights of Man? They are for “all men,”--not for all white men, but
for all men. Such they have been declared by our fathers, and this
axiom of Liberty nobody can dispute.

       *       *       *       *       *

Listening to the champions of Caste and Oligarchy under the National
Constitution, and perusing their writings, I think I understand
the position they take. With as much calmness as I can command, I
note what they have to say in speech and in print. I know it all.
I do not err, when I say that this whole terrible and ignominious
pretension is traced to direct and barefaced perversion of the National
Constitution. Search history, study constitutions, examine laws, and
you will find no perversion more thoroughly revolting. By the National
Constitution it is provided, that “the electors in each State shall
have the _qualifications_ requisite for electors of the most numerous
branch of the State Legislature,”--thus seeming to refer the primary
determination of what are called “qualifications” to the States; and
this is reinforced by the further provision, that “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_.” This
is all On these simple texts, conferring plain and intelligible powers,
the champions insist that “color” may be made a “qualification,” and
that under the guise of “regulations” citizens whose only offence
is a skin not colored like our own may be shut out from political
rights,--and that in this way a monopoly of rights, being at once a
Caste and an Oligarchy of the Skin, is placed under the safeguard of
the National Constitution. Such is the case of the champions; this is
their stock-in-trade. With all their learning, all their subtlety, all
their sharpness, this is what they have to say in behalf of an infamous
pretension under the National Constitution. Everything from them
begins and ends in a perversion of two words,--“qualifications” and

Now to this perversion I oppose point-blank denial. These two words
are not justly susceptible of any such signification, especially in a
National Constitution, which is to be interpreted always so that Human
Rights shall not suffer. I do not stop now for dictionaries. The case
is too plain. A “qualification” is something that can be acquired. A
man is familiarly said to “qualify” for an office. Nothing can be a
“qualification” which is not in its nature attainable,--as residence,
property, education, or character, each of which is within the possible
reach of well-directed effort. Color cannot be a “qualification.” If
the prescribed “qualification” were color of the hair or color of the
eyes, all would see its absurdity; but it is none the less absurd, when
it is color of the skin. Here is an unchangeable condition, impressed
by Providence. Are we not reminded that the leopard cannot change his
spots, or the Ethiopian his skin? These are two examples of enduring
conditions. Color is a quality from Nature. But a “quality” is very
different from a “qualification.” A quality inherent in man and part of
himself can never be a “qualification” in the sense of the National
Constitution. On other occasions I have cited authorities,[43] and
shown how this attempt to foist into the National Constitution a
pernicious meaning is in defiance of all approved definition, as it is
plainly repugnant to reason, justice, and common sense.

The same judgment must be pronounced on the attempt to found this
outrage upon the power to make “regulations,”--as if this word had not
a limited signification which renders such a pretension impossible.
“Regulations” are nothing but rules applicable to a given matter; they
concern the manner in which a business shall be conducted, and, when
used with regard to elections, are applicable to what may be called
incidents, in contradistinction to the principal, which is nothing less
than the right to vote. A power to regulate is not a power to destroy
or to disfranchise. In an evil hour Human Rights may be struck down,
but it cannot be merely by “regulations.” The pretension that under
such authority this great wrong may be done is another illustration of
that extravagance which the champions do not shrink from avowing.

The whole structure of Caste and Oligarchy, as founded on two words,
may be dismissed. It is hard even to think of it without impatience,
to speak of it without denouncing it as unworthy of human head or
human heart. There are honorable Senators who shrink from any direct
argument on these two words, and, wrapping themselves in pleonastic
phrase, content themselves with the general assertion, that power
over suffrage belongs to the States. But they cannot maintain this
conclusion without founding on these two words,--insisting that color
may be a “qualification,” and that under the narrow power to make
“regulations” a race may be broadly disfranchised. To this wretched
pretension are they driven. And now, if there be any such within the
sound of my voice, I ask the question directly,--Can “color,” whether
of hair, eyes, or skin, be a “qualification” under our National
Constitution? under the pretence of making “regulations” of elections,
can a race be disfranchised? With all the power derived from both these
words, can any State undertake to establish a Caste and organize an
Oligarchy of the Skin? To put these questions is to answer them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the case as presented by the champions. But looking at the
National Constitution, we shall be astonished still more at this
pretension. On other occasions I have gone over the whole case of
Human Rights vs. State Rights under the National Constitution. For the
present I content myself with allusions only to the principal points.

It is under the National Constitution that the champions set up their
pretension; therefore to the National Constitution I go. And I begin
by appealing to the letter, which from beginning to end does not
contain one word recognizing “color.” Its letter is blameless; and its
spirit is not less so. Surely a power to disfranchise for color must
find some sanction in the Constitution. There must be some word of
clear intent under which this terrible prerogative can be exercised.
This conclusion of reason is reinforced by the positive text of our
Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, where it is expressly
announced that all men are equal in rights, and that just government
stands only on the consent of the governed. In the face of the National
Constitution, interpreted, first by itself, and then by the Declaration
of Independence, how can this pretension prevail?

But there are positive texts of the National Constitution, refulgent
as the Capitol itself, which forbid it with sovereign, irresistible
power, and invest Congress with all needful authority to maintain the

There is that key-stone clause, by which it is expressly declared
that “the United States shall guaranty to every State in this Union a
republican form of government”; and Congress is empowered to enforce
this guaranty. The definition of a republican government was solemnly
announced by our fathers, first, in that great battle-cry which
preceded the Revolution, “Taxation without representation is tyranny,”
and, secondly, in the great Declaration at the birth of the Republic,
that all men are equal in rights, and that just government stands
only on the consent of the governed. A Republic is where taxation and
representation go hand in hand, where all are equal in rights, and
no man is excluded from participation in the government. Such is the
definition of a republican government, which it is the duty of Congress
to maintain. Here is a bountiful source of power, which cannot be
called in question. In the execution of the guaranty Congress may--nay,
must--require that there shall be no Inequality, Caste, or Oligarchy of
the Skin.

I know well the arguments of the champions. They insist that the
definition of a Republican Government is to be found in the State
Constitutions at the adoption of the National Constitution; and as
all these, except Massachusetts, recognized Slavery, they find that
the denial of Human Rights is republican. But the champions forget
that Slavery was regarded as a temporary exception,--that the slave,
who was not represented, was not taxed,--that he was not part of the
“body-politic,”--that the difference at that time was not between
white and black, but between slave and freeman, precisely as in the
days of Magna Charta,--that in most of the States all freemen, without
distinction of color, were citizens,--and that, according to the
history of the times, there was no State which ventured to announce in
its Constitution a discrimination founded on color, except Virginia,
Georgia, and South Carolina,--this last the persevering enemy of
republican government for successive generations; so that, if we look
at the State Constitutions, we find that they also testify to the true

There are words of authority which the champions forget also. They
forget Magna Charta, that great title-deed called “the most august
diploma and sacred anchor of English liberties,” where, after declaring
that “there shall be but _one measure_ throughout the realm,”[44] it is
announced in memorable words, that “_no freeman_ shall be disseized of
his freehold or liberties but by legal judgment of his peers or by the
law of the land,”[45] meaning, of course, the law of the whole land,
_in contradistinction to any local law_. The words with which this
great guaranty begin still resound: _Nullus liber homo_, “No freeman,”
shall be denied the liberties which belong to freemen.

The champions also forget that “The Federalist,” in commending the
Constitution, at the time of its adoption, insisted, that, if the
slaves became free, they would be entitled to representation. I have
quoted the potent words before,[46] and now I quote them again:--

    “It is only under the pretext that the laws have transformed
    the negroes into subjects of property, that a place is denied
    to them in the computation of numbers; and it is admitted,
    that, if the laws were to restore the rights which have been
    taken away, the negroes could no longer be refused an equal
    share of representation with the other inhabitants.”[47]

The champions also forget, that, in the debates on the ratification
of the National Constitution, it was charged by its opponents, and
admitted by its friends, that Congress was empowered to correct any
inequality of suffrage. I content myself with quoting the weighty words
of Madison in the Virginia Convention:--

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

The champions also forget that Chief Justice Taney, in that very Dred
Scott decision where it was ruled that a person of African descent
could not be a citizen of the United States, admitted, that, if
he were once a citizen, that is, if he were once admitted to be a
component part of the body-politic, he would be entitled to the equal
privileges of citizenship. Here are some of his emphatic words:--

    “There is not, it is believed, to be found in the theories of
    writers on Government, or in any actual experiment heretofore
    tried, an exposition of the term _citizen_ which has not been
    understood as conferring _the actual possession and enjoyment,
    or the perfect right of acquisition and enjoyment, of an entire
    equality of privileges, civil and political_.”[49]

Thus from every authority, early and late,--from Magna Charta,
wrung out of King John at Runnymede,--from Hamilton, writing in
“The Federalist,”--from Madison, speaking in the Convention at
Richmond,--from Taney, presiding in the Supreme Court of the United
States,--is there one harmonious testimony to the equal rights of

If in the original text of the Constitution there could be any doubt,
it was all relieved by the Amendment abolishing Slavery and empowering
Congress to enforce this provision. Already Congress, in the exercise
of this power, has passed a _Civil Rights Act_. It only remains that
it should now pass a _Political Rights Act_, which, like the former,
shall help consummate the abolition of Slavery. According to a familiar
rule of interpretation, expounded by Chief Justice Marshall in his
most masterly judgment, Congress, when intrusted with any power, is
at liberty to select the “means” for its execution.[50] The Civil
Rights Act came under the head of “means” selected by Congress, and a
Political Rights Act will have the same authority. You may as well deny
the constitutionality of the one as of the other.

The Amendment abolishing Slavery has been reinforced by another, known
as Article XIV., which declares peremptorily that “no State shall make
or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities
of citizens of the United States,” and again Congress is empowered
to enforce this provision. What can be broader? Colored persons
are citizens of the United States, and no State can abridge their
privileges or immunities. It is a mockery to say, that, under these
explicit words, Congress is powerless to forbid any discrimination
of color at the ballot-box. Why, then, were they inscribed in the
Constitution? To what end? There they stand, supplying additional and
supernumerary power, ample for safeguard against Caste or Oligarchy of
the Skin, no matter how strongly sanctioned by any State Government.

But the champions, anxious for State Rights against Human Rights,
strive to parry this positive text, by insisting, that, in another
provision of this same Amendment, the power over the right to vote
is conceded to the States. Mark, now, the audacity and fragility of
this pretext. It is true, that, “when the right to vote … is denied
to any of the male inhabitants of a State, … or in any way abridged,
except for participation in rebellion or other crime,” the basis of
representation is reduced in corresponding proportion. Such is the
penalty imposed by the Constitution on a State which denies the right
to vote, except in a specific case. But this penalty on the State does
not in any way, by the most distant implication, impair the plenary
powers of Congress to enforce the guaranty of a republican government,
the abolition of Slavery, and that final clause guarding the rights of
citizens,--three specific powers which are left undisturbed, unless the
old spirit of Slavery is once more revived, and Congress is compelled
again to wear those degrading chains which for so long a time rendered
it powerless for Human Rights.

The pretension, that the powers of Congress, derived from the
Constitution and its supplementary texts, were all foreclosed, and that
the definition of a republican government was dishonored, merely by the
indirect operation of the clause imposing a penalty upon a State, is
the last effort of the champions. They are driven to the assumption,
that all these beneficent powers have been taken away by indirection,
and that a provision evidently temporary and limited can have this
overwhelming consequence. They set up a technical rule of law,
“_Expressio unius est exclusio alterius_.” It is impossible to see the
application of this technicality. Because the basis of representation
is reduced in proportion to any denial of the right to vote, therefore,
it is argued, the denial of the right to vote is placed beyond the
reach of Congress, notwithstanding all its plenary powers from so many
sources. It is enough to say of this conclusion, that it is as strong
as anything founded on the “argal” of the grave-digger in “Hamlet.”
Really, Sir, it is too bad that so great a cause should be treated with
such levity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, I make haste to the conclusion. Unwilling to protract
this debate, I open the question in glimpses only. Even in this
imperfect way, it is clearly seen, first, that there is nothing,
absolutely nothing, in the National Constitution to sustain the
pretension of Caste or Oligarchy of the Skin, as set up by certain
States,--and, secondly, that there is in the National Constitution a
succession and reduplication of powers investing Congress with ample
authority to repress any such pretension. In this conclusion, I raise
no question on the power of States to regulate the suffrage; I do
not ask Congress to undertake any such regulation. I simply propose,
that, under the pretence of regulating the suffrage, States shall not
exercise a prerogative hostile to Human Rights, without any authority
under the National Constitution, and in defiance of its positive texts.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am now brought directly to the proposed Amendment of the
Constitution. Of course, the question stares us in the face, Why amend
what is already sufficient? Why erect a supernumerary column?

So far as I know, two reasons are assigned. The first is, that the
power of Congress is doubtful. It is natural that those who do not
sympathize strongly with the Equal Rights of All should doubt. Men
ordinarily find in the Constitution what is in themselves; so that
the Constitution in its meaning is little more than a reflection of
their own inner nature. As I am unable to find any ground of doubt, in
substance or even in shadow, I shrink from a proposition which assumes
that there is doubt. To my mind the power is too clear for question. As
well question the obligation of Congress to guaranty a republican form
of government, or the abolition of Slavery, or the prohibition upon
States to interfere with the rights and privileges of citizenship, each
of which is beyond question.

Another reason assigned for a Constitutional Amendment is, its
permanent character in comparison with an Act of Congress, which may
be repealed. On this head I have no anxiety. Let this beneficent
prohibition once find place in our statute-book, and it will be lasting
as the National Constitution itself, to which it will be only a
legitimate corollary. In harmony with the Declaration of Independence,
and in harmony with the National Constitution, it will become of equal
significance, and no profane hand will touch its sacred text. It will
never be repealed. The elective franchise, once recognized, can never
be denied,--once conferred, can never be resumed. The rule of Equal
Rights, once applied by Congress under the National Constitution, will
be a permanent institution as long as the Republic endures; for it will
be a vital part of that Republican Government to which the nation is

Dismissing the reasons for the Amendment, I turn to those which make us
hesitate. There are two. The Amendment admits, that, under the National
Constitution as it is, with its recent additions, a Caste and an
Oligarchy of the Skin may be set up by a State without any check from
Congress; that these ignoble forms of inequality are consistent with
republican government; and that the right to vote is not an existing
privilege and immunity of citizenship. All this is plainly admitted by
the proposed Amendment,--thus despoiling Congress of beneficent powers,
and emasculating the National Constitution itself. It is only with
infinite reluctance that I consent to any such admission, which, in the
endeavor to satisfy ungenerous scruples, weakens all those texts which
are so important for Human Rights.

The hesitation to present the Amendment is increased, when we consider
the difficulties in the way of its ratification. I am no arithmetician,
but I understand that nobody has yet been able to enumerate the States
whose votes can be counted on to assure its ratification within any
reasonable time. Meanwhile this great question, which cannot brook
delay, which for the sake of peace and to complete Reconstruction
should be settled at once, is handed over to prolonged controversy in
the States. I need not depict the evils which must ensue. A State will
become for the time a political caldron, into which will be dropped
all the poisoned ingredients of prejudice and hate, while a powerful
political party, chanting, like the Witches in “Macbeth,”

    “Double, double, toil and trouble;
    Fire, burn; and, caldron, bubble,”

will use this very Amendment as the pudding-stick with which to stir
the bubbling mass. Such a controversy should be avoided, if possible;
nor should an agitation so unwelcome and so sterile be needlessly
invited. “Let us have peace.”

Of course, if there were no other way of accomplishing the great
result, the Amendment should be presented, even with all its delays,
uncertainties, and provocations to local strife. But happily all
these are unnecessary. The same thing may be accomplished by Act of
Congress, without any delay, without any uncertainty, and without any
provocation to local strife. The same vote of two thirds required for
the presentation of the Amendment will pass the Act over the veto of
the President. Once adopted, it will go into instant operation, without
waiting for the uncertain concurrence of State Legislatures, and
without provoking local strife so wearisome to the country. The States
will not be turned into political caldrons, and the Democratic party
will have no pudding-stick with which to stir the bubbling mass.

I do not depart from the proprieties of this occasion, when I show how
completely the course I now propose harmonizes with the requirements of
the political party to which I belong. Believing most sincerely that
the Republican party, in its objects, is identical with country and
with mankind, so that in sustaining it I sustain these comprehensive
charities, I cannot willingly see this agency lose the opportunity of
confirming its supremacy. You need votes in Connecticut, do you not?
There are three thousand fellow-citizens in that State ready at the
call of Congress to take their place at the ballot-box. You need them
also in Pennsylvania, do you not? There are at least fifteen thousand
in that great State waiting for your summons. Wherever you most need
them, there they are; and be assured they will all vote for those who
stand by them in the assertion of Equal Rights. In standing by them you
stand by all that is most dear in the Republic.

Pardon me,--but, if you are not moved by considerations of justice
under the Constitution, then I appeal to that humbler motive which
is found in the desire for success. Do this and you will assure the
triumph of all that you can most desire. Party, country, mankind,
will be elevated, while the Equal Rights of All will be fixed on a
foundation not less enduring than the Rock of Ages.

    The bill offered by Mr. Sumner as a substitute for the original
    joint resolution was rejected; and the latter, embodying the
    proposed Amendment to the Constitution, failed for want of the
    requisite two-thirds of the votes cast,--these standing, Yeas
    31, Nays 27.


SENATE, APRIL 13, 1869.

MR. PRESIDENT,--A report recommending that the Senate do not advise
and consent to a treaty with a foreign power, duly signed by the
plenipotentiary of the nation, is of rare occurrence. Treaties
are often reported with amendments, and sometimes without any
recommendation; but I do not recall an instance, since I came into the
Senate, where such a treaty has been reported with the recommendation
which is now under consideration. The character of the treaty seemed to
justify the exceptional report. The Committee did not hesitate in the
conclusion that it ought to be rejected, and they have said so.

I do not disguise the importance of this act; but I believe that in the
interest of peace, which every one should have at heart, the treaty
must be rejected. A treaty, which, instead of removing an existing
grievance, leaves it for heart-burning and rancor, cannot be considered
a settlement of pending questions between two nations. It may seem to
settle them, but does not. It is nothing but a snare. And such is the
character of the treaty now before us. The massive grievance under
which our country suffered for years is left untouched; the painful
sense of wrong planted in the national heart is allowed to remain.
For all this there is not one word of regret, or even of recognition;
nor is there any semblance of compensation. It cannot be for the
interest of either party that such a treaty should be ratified. It
cannot promote the interest of the United States, for we naturally seek
justice as the foundation of a good understanding with Great Britain;
nor can it promote the interest of Great Britain, which must also seek
a real settlement of all pending questions. Surely I do not err, when
I say that a wise statesmanship, whether on our side or on the other
side, must apply itself to find the real root of evil, and then, with
courage tempered by candor and moderation, see that it is extirpated.
This is for the interest of both parties, and anything short of it
is a failure. It is sufficient to say that the present treaty does
no such thing, and that, whatever may have been the disposition of
the negotiators, the real root of evil remains untouched in all its
original strength.

I make these remarks merely to characterize the treaty and prepare the
way for its consideration.


If we look at the negotiation which immediately preceded the treaty,
we find little to commend. You have it on your table. I think I am not
mistaken, when I say that it shows a haste which finds few precedents
in diplomacy, but which is explained by the anxiety to reach a
conclusion before the advent of a new Administration. Mr. Seward and
Mr. Reverdy Johnson unite in this unprecedented activity, using the
Atlantic cable freely. I should not object to haste, or to the freest
use of the cable, if the result were such as could be approved; but,
considering the character of the transaction, and how completely the
treaty conceals the main cause of offence, it seems as if the honorable
negotiators were engaged in huddling something out of sight.

The treaty has for its model the Claims Convention of 1853. To take
such a convention as a model was a strange mistake. This convention
was for the settlement of outstanding claims of American citizens on
Great Britain, and of British subjects on the United States, which had
arisen since the Treaty of Ghent in 1814. It concerned individuals
only, and not the nation. It was not in any respect political; nor was
it to remove any sense of national wrong. To take such a convention as
the model for a treaty which was to determine a national grievance of
transcendent importance in the relations of two countries marked on the
threshold an insensibility to the true nature of the difference to be
settled. At once it belittled the work to be done.

An inspection of the treaty shows how from beginning to end it is
merely for the settlement of individual claims on both sides, putting
the two batches on an equality, so that the sufferers by the misconduct
of England may be counterbalanced by British blockade-runners. It
opens with a preamble, which, instead of announcing the unprecedented
question between the two countries, simply refers to individual claims
that have arisen since 1853,--the last time of settlement,--some
of which are still pending and remain unsettled. Who would believe
that under these words of commonplace was concealed the unsettled
difference which has already so deeply stirred the American people,
and is destined, until finally adjusted, to occupy the attention of
the civilized world? Nothing here gives notice of the real question. I
quote the preamble, as it is the key-note to the treaty:--

    “Whereas claims have at various times since the exchange of
    the ratifications of the convention between Great Britain and
    the United States of America, signed at London on the 8th of
    February, 1853, been made upon the Government of her Britannic
    Majesty on the part of citizens of the United States, and upon
    the Government of the United States on the part of subjects of
    her Britannic Majesty; and whereas _some of such claims are
    still pending and remain unsettled_; her Majesty the Queen
    of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the
    President of the United States of America, being of opinion
    that a speedy and equitable settlement of all such claims will
    contribute much to the maintenance of the friendly feelings
    which subsist between the two countries, have resolved to make
    arrangements for that purpose by means of a convention.”[51]

The provisions of the treaty are for the trial of these cases. A
commission is constituted, which is empowered to choose an arbitrator;
but, in the event of a failure to agree, the arbitrator shall be
determined “by lot” from two persons, one named by each side. Even
if this aleatory proceeding were a proper device in the umpirage of
private claims, it is strangely inconsistent with the solemnity which
belongs to the present question. The moral sense is disturbed by
such a process at any stage of the trial; nor is it satisfied by the
subsequent provision for the selection of a sovereign or head of a
friendly state as arbitrator.

The treaty not merely makes no provision for the determination of
the great question, but it seems to provide expressly that it shall
never hereafter be presented. A petty provision for individual claims,
subject to a set-off by the individual claims of England, so that in
the end our country may possibly receive nothing, is the consideration
for this strange surrender. I borrow a term from an English statesman
on another occasion, if I call it a “capitulation.”[52] For the
settlement of a few individual claims, we condone the original
far-reaching and destructive wrong. Here are the plain words by which
this is done:--

    “The high contracting parties engage to consider the result
    of the proceedings of this commission as a full and final
    settlement of every claim upon either Government arising out
    of any transaction of a date prior to the exchange of the
    ratifications of the present convention; and further engage
    that every such claim, whether or not the same may have been
    presented to the notice of, made, preferred, or laid before the
    said commission, shall, from and after the conclusion of the
    proceedings of the said commission, be considered and treated
    as finally settled and barred, and thenceforth inadmissible.”

All this I quote directly from the treaty. It is Article V. The
national cause is handled as nothing more than a bundle of individual
claims, and the result of the proceedings under the proposed treaty
is to be “a full and final settlement,” so that hereafter all claims
“shall be considered and treated as finally settled and barred, and
thenceforth inadmissible.” Here is no provision for the real question,
which, though thrust out of sight, or declared to be “finally settled
and barred,” according to the terms of the treaty, must return to
plague the two countries. Whatever the treaty may say in terms, there
is no settlement in fact; and until this is made, there will be
constant menace of discord. Nor can it be forgotten that there is no
recognition of the rule of international duty applicable to such cases.
This, too, is left unsettled.

While doing so little for us, the treaty makes ample provision for
all known claims on the British side. As these are exclusively
“individual,” they are completely covered by the text, which has no
limitations or exceptions. Already it is announced in England that
even those of “Confederate bondholders” are included. I have before
me an English journal which describes the latter claims as founded
on “immense quantities of cotton, worth at the time of their seizure
nearly two shillings a pound, which were then in the legal possession
of those bondholders”; and the same authority adds, “These claims
will be brought, indifferently with others, before the designed joint
commission, whenever it shall sit.” From another quarter I learn that
these bondholders are “very sanguine of success _under the treaty as
it is worded_, and certain it is that the loan went up from 0 to 10 as
soon as it was ascertained that the treaty was signed.” I doubt if the
American people are ready just now to provide for any such claims. That
they have risen in the market is an argument against the treaty.


Passing from the treaty, I come now to consider briefly, but with
proper precision, the true ground of complaint; and here again we
shall see the constant inadequacy of the remedy now applied. It is with
reluctance that I enter upon this statement, and I do it only in the
discharge of a duty which cannot be postponed.

Close upon the outbreak of our troubles, little more than one month
after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, when the Rebellion was still
undeveloped, when the National Government was beginning those gigantic
efforts which ended so triumphantly, the country was startled by the
news that the British Government had intervened by a Proclamation
which accorded belligerent rights to the Rebels. At the early date
when this was done, the Rebels were, as they remained to the close,
without ships on the ocean, without prize courts or other tribunal
for the administration of justice on the ocean, _without any of those
conditions which are the essential prerequisites to such a concession_;
and yet the concession was general, being applicable to the ocean and
the land, so that by British fiat they became ocean belligerents as
well as land belligerents. In the swiftness of this bestowal there was
very little consideration for a friendly power; nor does it appear that
there was any inquiry into those _conditions-precedent_ on which it
must depend. Ocean belligerency, being a “fact,” and not a “principle,”
can be recognized only on evidence showing its _actual existence_,
according to the rule first stated by Mr. Canning and afterward
recognized by Lord John Russell.[53] But no such evidence was adduced;
for it did not exist, and never has existed.

Too much stress cannot be laid upon the rule, that belligerency is
a “fact,” and not a “principle.” It is perhaps the most important
contribution to this discussion; and its original statement, on
the occasion of the Greek Revolution, does honor to its author,
unquestionably the brightest genius ever directed to this subject.
According to this rule, belligerency must be proved to exist; it must
be shown. It cannot be imagined, or divined, or invented; it must exist
as a “fact” within the knowledge of the world, or at least as a “fact”
susceptible of proof. Nor can it be inferred on the ocean merely from
its existence on the land. From the beginning, when “God called the dry
land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas,”
the two have been separate, and power over one has not necessarily
implied power over the other. There is a dominion of the land, and a
dominion of the ocean. But, whatever power the Rebels possessed on the
land, they were always without power on the ocean. Admitting that they
were belligerents on the land, they were never belligerents on the

    “The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
    Their clay creator the vain title take
    Of lord of thee, _and arbiter of war_,”--

these they never possessed. Such was the “fact” that must govern
the present question. The rule, so simple, plain, and intelligible,
as stated by Mr. Canning, is a decisive touchstone of the British
concession, which, when brought to it, is found to be without support.

Unfriendly in the precipitancy with which it was launched, this
concession was more unfriendly in substance. It was the first stage in
the depredations on our commerce. Had it not been made, no Rebel ship
could have been built in England: every step in her building would
have been piracy. Nor could any munitions of war have been furnished:
not a blockade-runner, laden with supplies, could have left the English
shores, except under a kindred penalty. The direct consequence of this
concession was to place the Rebels on an equality with ourselves in
all British markets, whether of ships or munitions of war. As these
were open to the National Government, so they were open to the Rebels.
The asserted neutrality between the two began by this tremendous
concession, when the Rebels, at one stroke, were transformed not only
into belligerents, but into customers.

In attributing to that bad Proclamation this peculiar influence I
follow the authority of the Law Lords of England, who, according to
authentic report, announced that without it the fitting out of a ship
in England to cruise against the United States would have been an act
of piracy. This conclusion was clearly stated by Lord Chelmsford,
ex-Chancellor, speaking for himself and others, when he said: “If the
Southern Confederacy had not been recognized by us as _a belligerent
power_, he agreed with his noble and learned friend [Lord Brougham],
that any Englishman aiding them by fitting out a privateer against the
Federal Government _would be guilty of piracy_.”[54] This conclusion is
only according to analogies of law. It is criminal for British subjects
to forge bombs or hand-grenades to be employed in the assassination of
a foreign sovereign at peace with England, as when Bernard supplied
from England the missiles used by Orsini against the life of the
French Emperor,--all of which is illustrated by Lord Chief-Justice
Campbell, in his charge to the jury on the trial of Bernard, and also
by contemporaneous opinions of Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Brougham, Lord
Truro, and at an earlier day by Lord Ellenborough in a case of libel
on the First Consul. That excellent authority, Sir George Cornewall
Lewis, gives a summary drawn from all these opinions, when he says:
“The obligation incumbent upon a state of preventing her soil from
being used _as an arsenal_, in which the means of attack against a
foreign government may be collected and prepared for use, is wholly
independent of the form and character of that government.”[55] As every
government is constrained by this rule, so every government is entitled
to its safeguards. There can be no reason why the life of our Republic
should be less sacred than the life of an Emperor, or should enjoy less
protection from British law. That England became an “arsenal” for the
Rebels we know; but this could not have been, unless the Proclamation
had prepared the way.

The only justification that I have heard for this extraordinary
concession, which unleashed upon our country the Furies of War to
commingle with the Furies of Rebellion at home, is, that President
Lincoln undertook to proclaim a _blockade_ of the Rebel ports. By the
use of this word “blockade” the concession is vindicated. Had President
Lincoln proclaimed a _closing_ of the Rebel ports, there could have
been no such concession. This is a mere technicality; lawyers might
call it an _apex juris_; and yet on this sharp point England hangs
her defence. It is sufficient that in a great case like the present,
where the correlative duties of a friendly power are in question,
an act fraught with such portentous evil cannot be vindicated on a
technicality. In this debate there is no room for technicality on
either side. We must look at the substance, and find a reason in
nothing short of overruling necessity. War cannot be justified merely
on a technicality; nor can the concession of ocean belligerency to
rebels without a port or prize court. Such a concession, like war
itself, must be at the peril of the nation making it.

The British assumption, besides being offensive from mere technicality,
is inconsistent with the Proclamation of the President, taken as a
whole, which, while appointing a blockade, is careful to reserve
the rights of sovereignty, thus putting foreign powers on their
guard against any premature concession. After declaring an existing
insurrection in certain States, and the obstruction of the laws for
the collection of the revenue, as the motive for action, the President
invokes not only the Law of Nations, but “the laws of the United
States,” and, in further assertion of the national sovereignty,
declares Rebel cruisers to be pirates.[56] Clearly the Proclamation
must be taken as a whole, and its different provisions so interpreted
as to harmonize with each other. If they cannot stand together, then it
is the “blockade” which must be modified by the national sovereignty,
and not the national sovereignty by the blockade. Such should have
been the interpretation of a friendly power, especially when it is
considered that there are numerous precedents of what the great German
authority, Heffter, calls “Pacific Blockade,” or blockade without
concession of ocean belligerency,--as in the case of France, England,
and Russia against Turkey, 1827; France against Mexico, 1837-39;
France and Great Britain against the Argentine Republic, 1838-48;
Russia against the Circassians, 1831-36, illustrated by the seizure of
the Vixen, so famous in diplomatic history.[57] Cases like these led
Heffter to lay down the rule, that “_blockade_” does not necessarily
constitute _a state of regular war_,[58] as was assumed by the British
Proclamation, even in the face of positive words by President Lincoln
asserting the national sovereignty and appealing to “the laws of the
United States.” The existence of such cases was like a notice to the
British Government against the concession so rashly made. It was an
all-sufficient warning, which this power disregarded.

So far as is now known, the whole case for England is made to stand
on the use of the word “Blockade” by President Lincoln. Had he used
any other word, the concession of belligerency would have been without
justification, even such as is now imagined. It was this word which,
with magical might, opened the gates to all those bountiful supplies by
which hostile expeditions were equipped against the United States: it
opened the gates of war. Most appalling is it to think that one little
word, unconsciously used by a trusting President, could be caught up by
a friendly power and made to play such a part.

I may add that there is one other word often invoked for apology.
It is “Neutrality,” which, it is said, was proclaimed between two
belligerents. Nothing could be fairer, always provided that the
“neutrality” proclaimed did not begin with a concession to one party
without which this party would be powerless. Between two established
Nations, both independent, as between Russia and France, there may
be neutrality; for the two are already equal in rights, and the
proclamation would be precisely equal in its operation. But where one
party is an established Nation, and the other is nothing but an odious
combination of Rebels, the proclamation is most unequal in operation;
for it begins by a solemn investiture of Rebels with all the rights of
war, saying to them, as was once said to the youthful knight, “Rise;
here is a sword; use it.” To call such an investiture a proclamation
of neutrality is a misnomer. It was a proclamation of equality between
the National Government on the one side and Rebels on the other, and no
plausible word can obscure this distinctive character.

Then came the building of the pirate ships, one after another. While
the Alabama was still in the ship-yard, it became apparent that she
was intended for the Rebels. Our Minister at London and our Consul at
Liverpool exerted themselves for her arrest and detention. They were
put off from day to day. On the 24th July, 1862, Mr. Adams “completed
his evidence,” accompanied by an opinion from the eminent barrister,
Mr. Collier, afterward Solicitor-General, declaring the plain duty of
the British Government to stop her.[59] Instead of acting promptly by
the telegraph, five days were allowed to run out, when at last, too
tardily, the necessary order was dispatched. Meanwhile the pirate ship
escaped from the port of Liverpool by a stratagem, and her voyage
began with music and frolic. Here, beyond all question, was negligence,
or, according to the language of Lord Brougham on another occasion,
“crass negligence,” making England justly responsible for all that

The pirate ship found refuge in an obscure harbor of Wales, known as
Moelfra Bay, where she lay in British waters _from half-past seven
o’clock, P. M., July 29th, to about three o’clock, A. M., July 31st_,
being upward of thirty-one hours, and during this time she was supplied
with men from the British steam-tug Hercules, which followed her from
Liverpool. These thirty-one hours were allowed to elapse without any
attempt to stop her. Here was another stage of “crass negligence.”

Thus was there negligence in allowing the building to proceed,
negligence in allowing the escape from Liverpool, and negligence in
allowing the final escape from the British coast.

Lord Russell, while trying to vindicate his Government, and repelling
the complaints of the United States, more than once admitted that the
escape of the Alabama was “a scandal and a reproach,”[60] which to
my mind is very like a confession. Language could not be stronger.
Surely such an act cannot be blameless. If damages are ever awarded to
a friendly power for injuries received, it is difficult to see where
they could be more strenuously claimed than in a case which the First
Minister of the offending power did not hesitate to characterize so

The enlistment of the crew was not less obnoxious to censure than the
building of the ship and her escape. It was a part of the transaction.
The evidence is explicit. Not to occupy too much time, I refer only
to the deposition of William Passmore, who swears that he was engaged
with the express understanding that “the vessel was going out to the
Government of the Confederate States of America,” “to fight for the
Southern Government”; that he joined her at Laird’s yard at Birkenhead,
near Liverpool, remaining there several weeks; that there were about
thirty men on board, most of them old man-of-war’s men, among whom
it was “well known that the vessel was going out as a privateer for
the Confederate Government, to act against the United States, under
a commission from Mr. Jefferson Davis.”[61] In a list of the crew,
now before me, there is a large number said to be from the “Royal
Naval Reserve.”[62] I might add to this testimony. The more the case
is examined, the more clearly do we discern the character of the

The dedication of the ship to the Rebel service, from the very laying
of the keel and the organization of her voyage, with England as her
_naval base_, from which she drew munitions of war and men, made her
departure as much _a hostile expedition_ as if she had sailed forth
from her Majesty’s dock-yard. At a moment of profound peace between the
United States and England there was a hostile expedition against the
United States. It was in no just sense a commercial transaction, but an
act of war.

The case is not yet complete. The Alabama, whose building was in
defiance of law, international and municipal, whose escape was “a
scandal and a reproach,” and whose enlistment of her crew was a fit
sequel to the rest, after being supplied with an armament and with a
Rebel commander, entered upon her career of piracy. Mark now a new
stage of complicity. Constantly the pirate ship was within reach of
British cruisers, and from time to time within the shelter of British
ports. For five days, unmolested, she enjoyed the pleasant hospitality
of Kingston, in Jamaica, obtaining freely the coal and other supplies
so necessary to her vocation. But no British cruiser, no British
magistrate ever arrested the offending ship, whose voyage was a
continuing “scandal and reproach” to the British Government.

The excuse for this strange license is a curious technicality,--as if a
technicality could avail in this case at any stage. Borrowing a phrase
from that master of admiralty jurisprudence, Sir William Scott, it is
said that the ship “deposited” her original sin at the conclusion of
her voyage, so that afterward she was blameless. But the Alabama never
concluded her voyage until she sank under the guns of the Kearsarge,
because she never had a port of her own. She was no better than the
Flying Dutchman, and so long as she sailed was liable for that original
sin, which had impregnated every plank with an indelible dye. No
British cruiser could allow her to proceed, no British port could give
her shelter, without renewing the complicity of England.

The Alabama case begins with a fatal concession, by which the Rebels
were enabled to build ships in England, and then to sail them, without
being liable as pirates; it next shows itself in the building of the
ship, in the armament, and in the escape, with so much of negligence
on the part of the British Government as to constitute sufferance, if
not connivance; and then, again, the case reappears in the welcome
and hospitality accorded by British cruisers and by the magistrates
of British ports to the pirate ship, when her evasion from British
jurisdiction was well known. Thus at three different stages the
British Government is compromised: first, in the concession of ocean
belligerency, on which all depended; secondly, in the negligence which
allowed the evasion of the ship, in order to enter upon the hostile
expedition for which she was built, manned, armed, and equipped;
and, thirdly, in the open complicity which, after this evasion, gave
her welcome, hospitality, and supplies in British ports. Thus her
depredations and burnings, making the ocean blaze, all proceeded from
England, which by three different acts lighted the torch. To England
must be traced, also, all the wide-spread consequences which ensued.

I take the case of the Alabama because it is the best known, and
because the building, equipment, and escape of this ship were under
circumstances most obnoxious to judgment; but it will not be forgotten
that there were consort ships, built under the shelter of that fatal
Proclamation, issued in such an eclipse of just principles, and, like
the ships it unloosed, “rigged with curses dark.” One after another,
ships were built; one after another, they escaped on their errand;
and, one after another, they enjoyed the immunities of British ports.
Audacity reached its height when iron-clad rams were built, and the
perversity of the British Government became still more conspicuous by
its long refusal to arrest these destructive engines of war, destined
to be employed against the United States. This protracted hesitation,
where the consequences were so menacing, is a part of the case.

It is plain that the ships which were built under the safeguard of this
ill-omened Proclamation, which stole forth from the British shores
and afterward enjoyed the immunities of British ports, were not only
British in origin, but British in equipment, British in armament, and
British in crews. They were British in every respect, except in their
commanders, who were Rebel; and one of these, as his ship was sinking,
owed his safety to a British yacht, symbolizing the omnipresent support
of England. British sympathies were active in their behalf. The cheers
of a British passenger-ship crossing the path of the Alabama encouraged
the work of piracy; and the cheers of the House of Commons encouraged
the builder of the Alabama, while he defended what he had done, and
exclaimed, in taunt to him who is now an illustrious member of the
British Cabinet, John Bright, that he “would rather be handed down
to posterity as the builder of a dozen Alabamas” than be the author
of the speeches of that gentleman “crying up” the institutions of
the United States, which the builder of the Alabama, rising with his
theme, denounced as “of no value whatever,” and as “reducing the very
name of Liberty to an utter absurdity,”[63] while the cheers of the
House of Commons echoed back his words. Thus from beginning to end,
from the fatal Proclamation to the rejoicing of the accidental ship
and the rejoicing of the House of Commons, was this hostile expedition
protected and encouraged by England. The same spirit which dictated
the swift concession of belligerency, with all its deadly incidents,
ruled the hour, entering into and possessing every pirate ship.

There are two circumstances by which the whole case is aggravated. One
is found in the date of the Proclamation which lifted the Rebels to an
equality with the National Government, opening to them everything that
was open to us, whether ship-yards, foundries, or manufactories, and
giving to them a flag on the ocean coëqual with the flag of the Union.
This extraordinary manifesto was signed on the very day of the arrival
of our Minister in England,--so that, when, after an ocean voyage, he
reached the British Government, to which he was accredited, he found
this great and terrible indignity to his country already perpetrated,
and the floodgates opened to infinite woes. The Minister had been
announced; he was daily expected; the British Government knew of his
coming;--but in hottest haste they did this thing.

The other aggravation is found in its flagrant, unnatural departure
from that Antislavery rule which, by manifold declarations,
legislative, political, and diplomatic, was the avowed creed of
England. Often was this rule proclaimed, but, if we except the great
Act of Emancipation, never more pointedly than in the famous circular
of Lord Palmerston, while Minister of Foreign Affairs, announcing
to all nations that England was pledged to the Universal Abolition
of Slavery.[64] And now, when Slaveholders, in the very madness of
barbarism, broke away from the National Government and attempted
to found a new empire with Slavery as its declared corner-stone,
Antislavery England, without a day’s delay, without even waiting the
arrival of our Minister at the seat of Government, although known to
be on his way, made haste to decree that this shameful and impossible
pretension should enjoy equal rights with the National Government in
her ship-yards, foundries, and manufactories, and equal rights on the
ocean. Such was the decree. Rebel Slaveholders, occupied in a hideous
attempt, were taken by the hand, and thus, with the official protection
and the God-speed of Antislavery England, commenced their accursed work.

I close this part of the argument with the testimony of Mr. Bright,
who, in a speech at Rochdale, among his neighbors, February 3, 1863,
thus exhibits the criminal complicity of England:--

    “I regret, more than I have words to express, this painful
    fact, that, of all the countries in Europe, this country is the
    only one which has men in it who are willing to take active
    steps in favor of this intended Slave Government. We supply the
    ships; we supply the arms, the munitions of war; _we give aid
    and comfort to this foulest of all crimes. Englishmen only do

In further illustration, and in support of Mr. Bright’s allegation,
I refer again to the multitudinous blockade-runners from England.
Without the manifesto of belligerency they could not have sailed. All
this stealthy fleet, charged with hostility to the United States, was
a part of the great offence. The blockade-runners were kindred to the
pirate ships. They were of the same bad family, having their origin and
home in England. From the beginning they went forth with their cargoes
of death;--for the supplies which they furnished contributed to the
work of death. When, after a long and painful siege, our conquering
troops entered Vicksburg, they found Armstrong guns from England in
position;[66] and so on every field where our patriot fellow-citizens
breathed a last breath were English arms and munitions of war, all
testifying against England. The dead spoke, also,--and the wounded
still speak.


At last the Rebellion succumbed. British ships and British supplies
had done their work, but they failed. And now the day of reckoning
has come,--but with little apparent sense of what is due on the part
of England. Without one soothing word for a friendly power deeply
aggrieved, without a single regret for what Mr. Cobden, in the House of
Commons, called “the cruel losses”[67] inflicted upon us, or for what
Mr. Bright called “aid and comfort to the foulest of all crimes,”[68]
or for what a generous voice from Oxford University denounced as a
“flagrant and maddening wrong,”[69] England simply proposes to submit
the question of liability for individual losses to an anomalous
tribunal where chance plays its part. This is all. Nothing is
admitted, even on this question; no rule for the future is established;
while nothing is said of the indignity to the nation, nor of the
damages to the nation. On an earlier occasion it was otherwise.

There is an unhappy incident in our relations with Great Britain, which
attests how in other days individual losses were only a minor element
in reparation for a wrong received by the nation. You all know from
history how in time of profound peace, and only a few miles outside the
Virginia Capes, the British frigate Leopard fired into the national
frigate Chesapeake, pouring broadside upon broadside, killing three
persons and wounding eighteen, some severely, and then, boarding her,
carried off four others as British subjects. This was in the summer of
1807. The brilliant Mr. Canning, British Minister of Foreign Affairs,
promptly volunteered overtures for an accommodation, by declaring his
Majesty’s readiness to take the whole of the circumstances of the
case into consideration, and “to make reparation for _any alleged
injury to the sovereignty of the United States_, whenever it should be
clearly shown that such injury has been actually sustained and that
such reparation is really due.”[70] Here was a good beginning. There
was to be reparation for an injury to the national sovereignty. After
years of painful negotiation, the British Minister at Washington,
under date of November 1, 1811, offered to the United States three
propositions: first, the disavowal of the unauthorized act; secondly,
the immediate restoration, so far as circumstances would permit, of
the men forcibly taken from the Chesapeake; and, thirdly, a suitable
pecuniary provision for the sufferers in consequence of the attack on
the Chesapeake; concluding with these words:--

    “These honorable propositions are made with the sincere desire
    that they may prove satisfactory to the Government of the
    United States, and I trust they will meet with that amicable
    reception which their conciliatory nature entitles them to. I
    need scarcely add how cordially I join with you in the wish
    that they might prove introductory to a removal of all the
    differences depending between our two countries.”[71]

I adduce this historic instance to illustrate partly the different
forms of reparation. Here, of course, was reparation to individuals;
but there was also reparation to the nation, whose sovereignty had been

There is another instance, which is not without authority. In 1837 an
armed force from Upper Canada crossed the river just above the Falls of
Niagara, and burned an American vessel, the Caroline, while moored to
the shores of the United States. Mr. Webster, in his negotiation with
Lord Ashburton, characterized this act as “of itself a wrong, and an
offence to the sovereignty and the dignity of the United States, … for
which, to this day, no atonement, or even apology, has been made by her
Majesty’s Government,”[72]--all these words being strictly applicable
to the present case. Lord Ashburton, in reply, after recapitulating
some mitigating circumstances, and expressing a regret “that some
explanation and apology for this occurrence was not immediately made,”
proceeds to say:--

    “Her Majesty’s Government earnestly desire that a reciprocal
    respect for the independent jurisdiction and authority of
    neighboring states may be considered among the first duties of
    all Governments; and I have to repeat the assurance of regret
    they feel that the event of which I am treating should have
    disturbed the harmony they so anxiously wish to maintain with
    the American people and Government.”[73]

Here again was reparation for a wrong done to the nation.

Looking at what is due to us on the present occasion, we are brought
again to the conclusion that the satisfaction of individuals whose
ships have been burnt or sunk is only a small part of what we may
justly expect. As in the earlier cases where the national sovereignty
was insulted, there should be an acknowledgment of wrong, or at least
of liability, leaving to the commissioners the assessment of damages
only. The blow inflicted by that fatal Proclamation which insulted our
national sovereignty and struck at our unity as a nation, followed by
broadside upon broadside, driving our commerce from the ocean, was
kindred in character to those earlier blows; and when we consider
that it was in aid of Slavery, it was a blow at Civilization itself.
Besides degrading us and ruining our commerce, its direct and constant
influence was to encourage the Rebellion, and to prolong the war waged
by Slaveholders at such cost of treasure and blood. It was a terrible
mistake, which I cannot doubt that good Englishmen must regret. And
now, in the interest of peace, it is the duty of both sides to find
a remedy, complete, just, and conciliatory, so that the deep sense
of wrong and the detriment to the Republic may be forgotten in that
proper satisfaction which a nation loving justice cannot hesitate to


_Individual losses_ may be estimated with reasonable accuracy. Ships
burnt or sunk with their cargoes may be counted, and their value
determined; but this leaves without recognition the vaster damage to
commerce driven from the ocean, and that other damage, immense and
infinite, caused by the prolongation of the war, all of which may be
called _national_ in contradistinction to _individual_.

Our _national losses_ have been frankly conceded by eminent Englishmen.
I have already quoted Mr. Cobden, who did not hesitate to call them
“cruel losses.” During the same debate in which he let drop this
testimony, he used other words, which show how justly he comprehended
the case. “_You have been_,” said he, “_carrying on hostilities from
these shores against the people of the United States_, and have been
inflicting an amount of damage on that country greater than would
be produced by many ordinary wars. It is estimated that the loss
sustained by the capture and burning of American vessels has been
about $15,000,000, or nearly £3,000,000 sterling. _But that is a small
part of the injury which has been inflicted on the American marine._
We have rendered the rest of her vast mercantile property for the
present valueless.”[74] Thus, by the testimony of Mr. Cobden, were
those individual losses which are alone recognized by the pending
treaty only “a small part of the injury inflicted.” After confessing
his fears with regard to “the heaping up of a _gigantic material
grievance_” such as was then accumulating, he adds, in memorable

    “You have already done your worst towards the American
    mercantile marine. What with the high rate of insurance,
    what with these captures, and what with the rapid transfer
    of tonnage to British capitalists, you have virtually made
    valueless that vast property. Why, if you had gone and helped
    the Confederates by bombarding all the accessible seaport towns
    of America, a few lives might have been lost, which, as it is,
    have not been sacrificed; but you could hardly have done more
    injury in the way of destroying property than you have done by
    these few cruisers.”[75]

With that clearness of vision which he possessed in such rare degree,
this statesman saw that England had “virtually made valueless a vast
property,” as much as if this power had “bombarded all the accessible
seaport towns of America.”

So strong and complete is this statement, that any further citation
seems superfluous; but I cannot forbear adducing a pointed remark in
the same debate, by that able gentleman, Mr. William E. Forster:--

    “There could not,” said he, “be a stronger illustration of
    the damage which had been done to the American trade by these
    cruisers than the fact, that, so completely was the American
    flag driven from the ocean, the Georgia, on her second cruise,
    did not meet a single American vessel in six weeks, though she
    saw no less than seventy vessels in a very few days.”[76]

This is most suggestive. So entirely was our commerce driven from the
ocean, that for six weeks not an American vessel was seen!

Another Englishman, in an elaborate pamphlet, bears similar testimony.
I refer to the pamphlet of Mr. Edge, published in London by Ridgway in
1863, and entitled “The Destruction of the American Carrying-Trade.”
After setting forth at length the destruction of our commerce by
British pirates, this writer thus foreshadows the damages:--

    “Were we,” says he, “the sufferers, we should certainly
    demand compensation for the loss of the property captured or
    destroyed, for the interest of the capital invested in the
    vessels and their cargoes, and, maybe, a fair compensation
    in addition for all and any injury accruing to our business
    interests from the depredations upon our shipping. _The
    remuneration may reach a high figure in the present case; but
    it would be a simple act of justice_, and might prevent an
    incomparably greater loss in the future.”[77]

Here we have the damages assessed by an Englishman, who, while
contemplating remuneration at a high figure, recognizes it as “a simple
act of justice.”

Such is the candid and explicit testimony of Englishmen, pointing the
way to the proper rule of damages. How to authenticate the extent of
national loss with reasonable certainty is not without difficulty; but
it cannot be doubted that such a loss occurred. It is folly to question
it. The loss may be seen in various circumstances: as, in the rise of
insurance on all American vessels; the fate of the carrying-trade,
which was one of the great resources of our country; the diminution
of our tonnage, with the corresponding increase of British tonnage;
the falling off in our exports and imports, with due allowance for
our abnormal currency and the diversion of war. These are some of the
elements; and here again we have British testimony. Mr. W. E. Forster,
in the speech already quoted, announces that “the carrying-trade of
the United States was transferred to British merchants”;[78] and Mr.
Cobden, with his characteristic mastery of details, shows, that,
according to an official document laid on the table of Parliament,
American shipping had been transferred to English capitalists as
follows: in 1858, 33 vessels, 12,684 tons; 1859, 49 vessels, 21,308
tons; 1860, 41 vessels, 13,638 tons; 1861, 126 vessels, 71,673 tons;
1862, 135 vessels, 64,578 tons; and 1863, 348 vessels, 252,579 tons;
and he adds, “I am told that this operation is now going on as fast
as ever”; and this circumstance he declares to be “the _most serious
aspect_ of the question of our relations with America.”[79] But this
“most serious aspect” is left untouched by the pending treaty.

Our own official documents are in harmony with these English
authorities. For instance, I have before me now the Report of the
Secretary of the Treasury for 1868, with an appendix by Mr. Nimmo, on
shipbuilding in our country. From this Report it appears that in the
New England States, during the year 1855, the most prosperous year
of American shipbuilding, 305 ships and barks and 173 schooners were
built, with an aggregate tonnage of 326,429 tons, while during the last
year only 58 ships and barks and 213 schooners were built, with an
aggregate tonnage of 98,697 tons.[80] I add a further statement from
the same Report:--

    “During the ten years from 1852 to 1862 the aggregate tonnage
    of American vessels entered at seaports of the United States
    from foreign countries was 30,225,475 tons, and the aggregate
    tonnage of foreign vessels entered was 14,699,192 tons, while
    during the five years from 1863 to 1868 the aggregate tonnage
    of American vessels entered was 9,299,877 tons, and the
    aggregate tonnage of foreign vessels entered was 14,116,427
    tons,--showing that American tonnage in our foreign trade
    had fallen from two hundred and five to sixty-six per cent.
    of foreign tonnage in the same trade. Stated in other terms,
    during the decade from 1852 to 1862 sixty-seven per cent.
    of the total tonnage entered from foreign countries was in
    American vessels, and during the five years from 1863 to 1868
    only thirty-nine per cent. of the aggregate tonnage entered
    from foreign countries was in American vessels,--a relative
    falling off of nearly one half.”[81]

It is not easy to say how much of this change, which has become
chronic, may be referred to British pirates; but it cannot be doubted
that they contributed largely to produce it. They began the influences
under which this change has continued.

There is another document which bears directly upon the present
question. I refer to the interesting Report of Mr. Morse, our consul at
London, made during the last year, and published by the Secretary of
State. After a minute inquiry, the Report shows that on the breaking
out of the Rebellion in 1861 the entire tonnage of the United States,
coasting and registered, was 5,539,813 tons, of which 2,642,628 tons
were registered and employed in foreign trade, and that at the close of
the Rebellion in 1865, notwithstanding an increase in coasting tonnage,
our registered tonnage had fallen to 1,602,528 tons, being a loss
during the four years of more than a million tons, amounting to about
forty per cent. of our foreign commerce. During the same four years
the total tonnage of the British empire rose from 5,895,369 tons to
7,322,604 tons, the increase being especially in the foreign trade. The
Report proceeds to say that as to the cause of the decrease in America
and the corresponding increase in the British empire “there can be no
room for question or doubt.” Here is the precise testimony from one
who at his official post in London watched this unprecedented drama,
with the outstretched ocean as a theatre, and British pirates as the

     “Conceding to the Rebels the belligerent rights of the sea,
    when they had not a solitary war-ship afloat, in dock, or in
    the process of construction, and when they had no power to
    protect or dispose of prizes, made their sea-rovers, when
    they appeared, the instruments of terror and destruction to
    our commerce. From the appearance of the first corsair in
    pursuit of their ships, American merchants had to pay not only
    the marine, but the war risk also, on their ships. After the
    burning of one or two ships with their neutral cargoes, the
    ship-owner had to pay the war risk on the cargo his ship had
    on freight, as well as on the ship. Even then, for safety, the
    preference was, as a matter of course, always given to neutral
    vessels, and American ships could rarely find employment on
    these hard terms as long as there were good neutral ships in
    the freight markets. Under such circumstances there was no
    course left for our merchant ship-owners but to take such
    profitless business as was occasionally offered them, let their
    ships lie idle at their moorings or in dock with large expense
    and deterioration constantly going on, to sell them outright
    when they could do so without ruinous sacrifice, or put them
    under foreign flags for protection.”[82]

Beyond the actual loss in the national tonnage, there was a further
loss in the arrest of our natural increase in this branch of industry,
which an intelligent statistician puts at five per cent. annually,
making in 1866 a total loss on this account of 1,384,953 tons,
which must be added to 1,229,035 tons actually lost.[83] The same
statistician, after estimating the value of a ton at forty dollars
gold, and making allowance for old and new ships, puts the sum-total of
national loss on this account at $110,000,000. Of course this is only
an item in our bill.

To these authorities I add that of the National Board of Trade, which,
in a recent report on American Shipping, after setting forth the
diminution of our sailing tonnage, says that it is nearly all to be
traced to the war on the ocean; and the result is summed up in the
words, that, “while the tonnage of the nation was rapidly disappearing
_by the ravages of the Rebel cruisers_ and by sales abroad, in
addition to the usual loss by the perils of the sea, there was no
construction of new vessels going forward to counteract the decline
even in part.”[84] Such is the various testimony, all tending to one

This is what I have to say for the present on _national losses_ through
the destruction of commerce. These are large enough; but there is
another chapter, where they are larger far: I refer, of course, to the
national losses caused by the prolongation of the war, and traceable
directly to England. Pardon me, if I confess the regret with which
I touch this prodigious item; for I know well the depth of feeling
which it is calculated to stir. But I cannot hesitate. It belongs to
the case. No candid person, who studies this eventful period, can
doubt that the Rebellion was originally encouraged by hope of support
from England,--that it was strengthened at once by the concession
of belligerent rights on the ocean,--that it was fed to the end by
British supplies,--that it was encouraged by every well-stored British
ship that was able to defy our blockade,--that it was quickened into
frantic life with every report from the British pirates, flaming
anew with every burning ship; nor can it be doubted that without
British intervention the Rebellion would have soon succumbed under
the well-directed efforts of the National Government. Not weeks or
months, but years, were added in this way to our war, so full of costly
sacrifice. The subsidies which in other times England contributed to
Continental wars were less effective than the aid and comfort which
she contributed to the Rebellion. It cannot be said too often that the
_naval base_ of the Rebellion was not in America, but in England. The
blockade-runners and the pirate ships were all English. England was the
fruitful parent, and these were the “hell-hounds,” pictured by Milton
in his description of Sin, which, “when they list, would creep into her
womb and kennel there.” Mr. Cobden boldly said in the House of Commons
that England made war from her shores on the United States, with “an
amount of damage to that country greater than would be produced by many
ordinary wars.”[85] According to this testimony, the conduct of England
was war; but it must not be forgotten that this war was carried on at
our sole cost. The United States paid for a war waged by England upon
the National Unity.

There was one form that this war assumed which was incessant, most
vexatious, and costly, besides being in itself a positive alliance with
the Rebellion. It was that of blockade-runners, openly equipped and
supplied by England under the shelter of that baleful Proclamation.
Constantly leaving English ports, they stole across the ocean, and
then broke the blockade. These active agents of the Rebellion could be
counteracted only by a network of vessels stretching along the coast,
at great cost to the country. Here is another distinct item, the amount
of which may be determined at the Navy Department.

The sacrifice of precious life is beyond human compensation; but there
may be an approximate estimate of the national loss in treasure.
Everybody can make the calculation. I content myself with calling
attention to the elements which enter into it. Besides the blockade,
there was the prolongation of the war. The Rebellion was suppressed
at a cost of more than four thousand million dollars, a considerable
portion of which has been already paid, leaving twenty-five hundred
millions as a national debt to burden the people. If, through British
intervention, the war was doubled in duration, or in any way extended,
as cannot be doubted, then is England justly responsible for the
additional expenditure to which our country was doomed; and whatever
may be the final settlement of these great accounts, such must be the
judgment in any chancery which consults the simple equity of the case.

This plain statement, without one word of exaggeration or aggravation,
is enough to exhibit the magnitude of the national losses, whether
from the destruction of our commerce, the prolongation of the war, or
the expense of the blockade. They stand before us mountain-high, with
a base broad as the Nation, and a mass stupendous as the Rebellion
itself. It will be for a wise statesmanship to determine how this
fearful accumulation, like Ossa upon Pelion, shall be removed out of
sight, so that it shall no longer overshadow the two countries.


Perhaps I ought to anticipate an objection from the other side, to the
effect that these national losses, whether from the destruction of our
commerce, the prolongation of the war, or the expense of the blockade,
are indirect and remote, so as not to be a just ground of claim. This
is expressed at the Common Law by the rule that “damages must be for
the natural and proximate consequence of an act.”[86] To this excuse
the answer is explicit. The damages suffered by the United States
are twofold, individual and national, being in each case direct and
proximate, although in the one case individuals suffered, and in the
other case the nation. It is easy to see that there may be occasions,
where, overtopping all individual damages, are damages suffered by the
nation, so that reparation to individuals would be insufficient. Nor
can the claim of the nation be questioned simply because it is large,
or because the evidence with regard to it is different from that in
the case of an individual. In each case the damage must be proved by
the best possible evidence, and this is all that law or reason can
require. In the case of the nation the evidence is historic; and this
is enough. Impartial history will record the national losses from
British intervention, and it is only reasonable that the evidence of
these losses should not be excluded from judgment. Because the case is
without precedent, because no nation ever before received such injury
from a friendly power, this can be no reason why the question should
not be considered on the evidence.

Even the rule of the Common Law furnishes no impediment; for our
damages are the natural consequence of what was done. But the rule
of the Roman Law, which is the rule of International Law, is broader
than that of the Common Law. The measure of damages, according to
the Digest, is, “Whatever may have been lost or might have been
gained,”--_Quantum mihi abest, quantumque lucrari potui_;[87] and this
same rule seems to prevail in the French Law, borrowed from the Roman
Law.[88] This rule opens the door to ample reparation for all damages,
whether individual or national.

There is another rule of the Common Law, in harmony with strict
justice, which is applicable in the case. I find it in the law
relating to _Nuisances_, which provides that there may be two distinct
proceedings,--first, in behalf of individuals, and, secondly, in
behalf of the community. Obviously, reparation to individuals does
not supersede reparation to the community. The proceeding in the one
case is by action at law, and in the other by indictment. The reason
assigned by Blackstone for the latter is, “Because, the damage being
common to all the king’s subjects, no one can assign his particular
proportion of it.”[89] But this is the very case with regard to damages
sustained by the nation.

A familiar authority furnishes an additional illustration, which is
precisely in point:--

    “No person, natural or corporate, can have an action for a
    _public nuisance_, or punish it,--but only the king, in his
    public capacity of supreme governor and _paterfamilias_ of the
    kingdom. Yet this rule admits of one exception: where a private
    person suffers some extraordinary damage beyond the rest of the
    king’s subjects.”[90]

Applying this rule to the present case, the way is clear. Every British
pirate was _a public nuisance_, involving the British Government, which
must respond in damages, not only to the individuals who have suffered,
but also to the National Government, acting as _paterfamilias_ for the
common good of all the people.

Thus by an analogy of the Common Law in the case of a Public Nuisance,
also by the strict rule of the Roman Law, which enters so largely into
International Law, and even by the rule of the Common Law relating
to Damages, all losses, whether individual or national, are the just
subject of claim. It is not I who say this; it is the Law. The colossal
sum-total may be seen not only in the losses of individuals, but in
those national losses caused by the destruction of our commerce, the
prolongation of the war, and the expense of the blockade, all of which
may be charged directly to England:--

                      “illud ab uno
    Corpore, et ex una pendebat origine bellum.”[91]

Three times is this liability fixed: first, by the concession of
ocean belligerency, opening to the Rebels ship-yards, foundries, and
manufactories, and giving to them a flag on the ocean; secondly, by
the organization of hostile expeditions, which, by admissions in
Parliament, were nothing less than piratical war on the United States
with England as the naval base; and, thirdly, by welcome, hospitality,
and supplies extended to these pirate ships in ports of the British
empire. Show either of these, and the liability of England is complete;
show the three, and this power is bound by a triple cord.


MR. PRESIDENT, in concluding these remarks, I desire to say that I
am no volunteer. For several years I have carefully avoided saying
anything on this most irritating question, being anxious that
negotiations should be left undisturbed to secure a settlement which
could be accepted by a deeply injured nation. The submission of the
pending treaty to the judgment of the Senate left me no alternative.
It became my duty to consider it carefully in committee, and to review
the whole subject. If I failed to find what we had a right to expect,
and if the just claims of our country assumed unexpected proportions,
it was not because I would bear hard on England, but because I wish
most sincerely to remove all possibility of strife between our two
countries; and it is evident that this can be done only by first
ascertaining the nature and extent of difference. In this spirit I
have spoken to-day. If the case against England is strong, and if our
claims are unprecedented in magnitude, it is only because the conduct
of this power at a trying period was most unfriendly, and the injurious
consequences of this conduct were on a scale corresponding to the
theatre of action. Life and property were both swallowed up, leaving
behind a deep-seated sense of enormous wrong, as yet unatoned and even
unacknowledged, which is one of the chief factors in the problem now
presented to the statesmen of both countries. The attempt to close this
great international debate without a complete settlement is little
short of puerile.

With the lapse of time and with minuter consideration the case
against England becomes more grave, not only from the questions of
international responsibility which it involves, but from better
comprehension of the damages, which are seen now in their true
proportions. During the war, and for some time thereafter, it was
impossible to state them. The mass of a mountain cannot be measured at
its base; the observer must occupy a certain distance; and this rule
of perspective is justly applicable to damages which are vast beyond

A few dates will show the progress of the controversy, and how the
case enlarged. Going as far back as 20th November, 1862, we find our
Minister in London, Mr. Adams, calling for redress from the British
Government on account of the Alabama.[92] This was the mild beginning.
On the 23d October, 1863, in another communication, the same Minister
suggested to the British Government any “fair and equitable form of
conventional arbitrament or reference.”[93] This proposition slumbered
in the British Foreign Office for nearly two years, during which the
Alabama was pursuing her piratical career, when, on the 30th August,
1865, it was awakened by Lord Russell only to be knocked down in these

    “In your letter of the 23d of October, 1863, you were pleased
    to say that the Government of the United States is ready to
    agree to any form of arbitration.… Her Majesty’s Government
    must, therefore, decline either to make reparation and
    compensation for the captures made by the Alabama, or to refer
    the question to any foreign state.”[94]

Such was our repulse from England, having at least the merit of
frankness, if nothing else. On the 17th October, 1865, our Minister
informed Lord Russell that the United States had finally resolved
to make no effort for arbitration.[95] Again the whole question
slumbered until 27th August, 1866, when Mr. Seward presented a list
of individual claims on account of the pirate Alabama and other Rebel
cruisers.[96] From that time negotiation has continued, with ups and
downs, until at last the pending treaty was signed. Had the early
overtures of our Government been promptly accepted, or had there been
at any time a just recognition of the wrong done, I doubt not that
this great question would have been settled; but the rejection of our
very moderate propositions, and the protracted delay, which afforded
an opportunity to review the case in its different bearings, have
awakened the people to the magnitude of the interests involved. If our
demands are larger now than at our first call, it is not the only time
in history when such a rise has occurred. The story of the Sibyl is
repeated, and England is the Roman king.

Shall these claims be liquidated and cancelled promptly, or allowed to
slumber until called into activity by some future exigency? There are
many among us, who, taking counsel of a sense of national wrong, would
leave them to rest without settlement, so as to furnish a precedent
for retaliation in kind, should England find herself at war. There are
many in England, who, taking counsel of a perverse political bigotry,
have spurned them absolutely; and there are others, who, invoking the
point of honor, assert that England cannot entertain them without
compromising her honor. Thus there is peril from both sides. It is not
difficult to imagine one of our countrymen saying, with Shakespeare’s
Jew, “The villany you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard
but I will better the instruction”; nor is it difficult to imagine an
Englishman firm in his conceit that no apology can be made and nothing
paid. I cannot sympathize with either side. Be the claims more or less,
they are honestly presented, with the conviction that they are just;
and they should be considered candidly, so that they shall no longer
lower, like a cloud ready to burst, upon two nations, which, according
to their inclinations, can do each other such infinite injury or such
infinite good. I know it is sometimes said that war between us must
come sooner or later. I do not believe it. But if it must come, let it
be later, and then I am sure it will never come. Meanwhile good men
must unite to make it impossible.

Again I say, this debate is not of my seeking. It is not tempting;
for it compels criticism of a foreign power with which I would have
more than peace, more even than concord. But it cannot be avoided. The
truth must be told,--not in anger, but in sadness. England has done
to the United States an injury most difficult to measure. Considering
when it was done and in what complicity, it is truly unaccountable. At
a great epoch of history, not less momentous than that of the French
Revolution or that of the Reformation, when Civilization was fighting
a last battle with Slavery, England gave her name, her influence,
her material resources to the wicked cause, and flung a sword into
the scale with Slavery. Here was a portentous mistake. Strange that
the land of Wilberforce, after spending millions for Emancipation,
after proclaiming everywhere the truths of Liberty, and ascending to
glorious primacy in the sublime movement for the Universal Abolition
of Slavery, could do this thing! Like every departure from the rule of
justice and good neighborhood, her conduct was pernicious in proportion
to the scale of operations, affecting individuals, corporations,
communities, and the nation itself. And yet down to this day there is
no acknowledgment of this wrong,--not a single word. Such a generous
expression would be the beginning of a just settlement, and the best
assurance of that harmony between two great and kindred nations which
all must desire.



    The Senate having under consideration a resolution requesting
    from the heads of Departments “information of the names, age,
    and compensation of all inferior officers, clerks, and employés
    in their respective Departments at Washington, showing from
    what States they were respectively appointed,” &c., Mr. Abbott,
    of North Carolina, moved the following addition:--

        “_Resolved further_, That in the opinion of the Senate the
        distribution of the official patronage of the Government
        not embraced in local offices in the States should be made
        as nearly equal among all the States, according to their
        representation and population, as may be practicable; and
        that to confine such patronage to particular States or
        sections, either wholly or partially, is both unjust and

    On the latter resolution Mr. Sumner spoke as follows:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--If I have rightly read the history of my country,
there was before Vicksburg an army commanded by three generals from
Ohio,--General Grant, General Sherman, and General McPherson. Now, if I
rightly understand the proposition of the Senator from North Carolina,
he would require that the generals in command of our Army should be
taken geographically,--not according to their merits, not according to
their capacity to defend this Republic and to maintain with honor its
flag, but simply according to the place of their residence,--and no
three generals should be in command from one State. Do I understand the
Senator aright?

    MR. ABBOTT. My amendment reads, “as far as practicable.”

MR. SUMNER. Very well,--“as far as practicable.” I would inquire of my
friend whether fitness for office or service in other departments of
the Government does not depend upon capacity, talent, preparation, as
much as in the Army? I ask the Senator if it is not so?

    MR. ABBOTT. The purpose of this amendment was not to override
    all such considerations; it was to give an expression of the
    sense of the Senate that States should not be ignored in the
    distribution of this sort of patronage. Nothing in it prevents
    three generals from Ohio being in the command of one army, or
    the appointment of three Cabinet officers from Ohio; but it is
    simply to express the sense of the Senate that these things
    ought to be done with something like fairness and justice, as
    between the different States.

MR. SUMNER. I take it there is no Senator who does not accept the
general idea of the Senator from North Carolina, that all things should
be done in fairness, and that all parts of the country, every portion
of this great Republic, should be treated with equal respect and honor.
That is clear. But first and foremost above all is the public service:
that must be maintained; it must not be sacrificed; and how can it be
maintained, unless you advance to prominent posts in this service those
who are the most meritorious, and who can best discharge the duties of
the post?

I merely throw out this remark, and call attention to this point, that
Senators may see to what this proposition tends. If it were fully
carried out, it would reduce the public service of this country to one
dead level. Men would go into it merely because they lived in certain
places, not because they had a fitness for the posts to which they were
advanced. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I see no reason why there should
be three Ohio generals in command before Vicksburg, and not three Ohio
citizens in eminent civil service. To my mind the attainments and the
talents required in civil service are as well worthy to be recognized
as those that are required in military service, and I see no reason
for a rule that shall allow talent to be taken without any reference
to geographical limit in the military service which is not equally
applicable to the civil service.

Now, as to our friends who have recently come into this Chamber, I
beg them to understand, that, so far as I am concerned, there is no
disposition to deny or to begrudge them anything to which, according
to geographical proportions, they may be entitled; but I beg them to
consider that time is an essential element of this transition through
which we are passing.

    MR. FESSENDEN. Will my friend allow me to make a suggestion to

MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. FESSENDEN. I merely wish to allude to the notorious fact
    that for half a century before the Rebellion the proportion of
    persons in civil office in the Departments in Washington from
    the Southern States was very nearly, if not quite, two to one
    to those from all the other States. They had the control, and
    had pretty much all the offices, for years and years.

MR. SUMNER. We are now in a process of transition, and I was observing
that time is an essential element in that process. What the Senator
from North Carolina aims at cannot be accomplished at once. The change
cannot be made instantly. The men are not presented from the States
lately in rebellion in sufficient numbers, in sufficient proportion,
with competency for these posts. I know that there are gentlemen there
fit to grace many of these posts, but I know also that there is not
relatively the same proportion of persons fit for the civil service as
there is in the other parts of the country; and our friends from the
South, it seems to me, must take this into consideration kindly, and
wait yet a little longer.


SEPTEMBER 22, 1869.

    Mr. Sumner was selected as President of the Convention. On
    taking the chair he spoke as follows:--


While thanking you for the honor conferred upon me, I make haste to say
that in my judgment Massachusetts has one duty, at the coming election,
to which all local interests and local questions must be postponed, as
on its just performance all else depends; and this commanding duty is,
to keep the Commonwealth, now as aforetime, an example to our country
and a bulwark of Human Rights. Such was Massachusetts in those earlier
days, when, on the continent of Europe, the name of “Bostonians” was
given to our countrymen in arms against the mother country,[97] making
this designation embrace all,--and when, in the British Parliament, the
great orator, Edmund Burke, exclaimed, “The cause of Boston is become
the cause of all America; every part of America is united in support
of Boston; … you have made Boston the Lord Mayor of America.”[98]
I quote these words from the Parliamentary Debates. But Boston was
at that time Massachusetts, and it was her stand for Liberty that
made her name the synonym for all. And permit me to add, that, in
choosing a presiding officer entirely removed from local issues, I find
assurance of your readiness to unite with me in that _National Cause_
which concerns not Massachusetts only, but every part of America, and
concerns also our place and name as a nation.

The enemy here in Massachusetts would be glad to divert attention
from the unassailable principles of the Republican Party; they would
be glad to make you forget that support we owe to a Republican
Administration,--also that support we owe to the measures of
Reconstruction, and our constant abiding persistence for all essential
safeguards not yet completely established. These they would hand over
to oblivion, hoping on some local appeal to disorganize our forces,
or, perhaps, obtain power to be wielded against the National Cause.
Massachusetts cannot afford to occupy an uncertain position. Therefore
I begin by asking you to think of our country, our whole country,--in
other words, of _National Affairs at Home and Abroad_.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is now four years since I had the honor of presiding at our annual
Convention, and I do not forget how at that time I endeavored to remind
you of this same National Cause, then in fearful peril.[99] The war
of armies was ended; no longer was fellow-citizen arrayed against
fellow-citizen; on each side the trumpet was hushed, the banner furled.
But the defection of Andrew Johnson had then begun, and out of that
defection the Rebellion assumed new life, with new purposes and new
hopes. If it did not spring forth once more fully armed, it did spring
forth filled with hate and diabolism towards all who loved the Union,
whether white or black. There were exceptions, I know; but they were
not enough to change the rule. And straightway the new apparition,
acting in conjunction with the Northern Democracy, aboriginal allies
of the Rebellion, planned the capture of the National Government. Its
representatives came up to Washington. Then was the time for a few
decisive words in the name of the Republic, on which for four years
they had waged bloody war. The great dramatist, who has words for every
occasion, anticipated this, when he said,--

    “Return thee, therefore, with a flood of tears,
    And wash away thy country’s stained spots.”

Such a mood would have been the beginning of peace. How easy to see
that these men should have been admonished frankly and kindly to return
home, there to plant, plough, sow, reap, buy, sell, and be prosperous,
but not to expect any place in the copartnership of government until
there was completest security for all! Instead of this, they were sent
back plotting how to obtain ascendency at home as the stepping-stone
to ascendency in the nation. Such was the condition of things in the
autumn of 1865, when, sounding the alarm from this very platform,
I insisted upon irreversible guaranties against the Rebellion, and
especially on security to the national freedman and the national
creditor. It was upon security that I then insisted,--believing,
that, though the war of armies was ended, this was a just object of
national care, all contained in the famous time-honored postulate of
war, _Security for the Future_, without which peace is no better than

To that security one thing is needed,--simply this: All men must
be safe in their rights, so that affairs, whether of government or
business, shall have a free and natural course. But there are two
special classes still in jeopardy, as in the autumn of 1865,--the
National Freedman and the National Creditor,--each a creditor of the
nation and entitled to protection, each under the guardianship of the
public faith; and behind these are faithful Unionists, now suffering
terribly from the growing reaction.

       *       *       *       *       *

For the protection of the national freedman a Constitutional Amendment
is presented for ratification, placing his right to vote under the
perpetual safeguard of the nation; but I am obliged to remind you that
this Amendment has not yet obtained the requisite number of States,
nor can I say surely when it will. The Democratic Party is arrayed
against it, and the Rebel interest unites with the Democracy. Naturally
they go together. They are old cronies. Here let me say frankly that I
have never ceased to regret,--I do now most profoundly regret,--that
Congress, in its plenary powers under the Constitution, especially in
its great unquestionable power to guaranty a republican government in
the States, did not summarily settle this whole question, so that it
should no longer disturb the country. It was for Congress to fix the
definition of a republican government; nor need it go further than
our own Declaration of Independence, where is a definition from which
there is no appeal. There it is, as it came from our fathers, in lofty,
self-evident truth; and Congress should have applied it. Or it might
have gone to the speech of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, where again
is the same great definition. There was also a decisive precedent. As
Congress made a Civil Rights Law, so should it have made a Political
Rights Law. In each case the power is identical. If it can be done in
the one, it can be done in the other. To my mind nothing is clearer.
Thus far Congress has thought otherwise. There remains, then, the slow
process of Constitutional Amendment, to which the country must be

       *       *       *       *       *

But this is not enough. No mere text of Constitution or Law is
sufficient. Behind these must be a prevailing Public Opinion and
a sympathetic Administration. Both are needed. The Administration
must reinforce Public Opinion, and Public Opinion must reinforce the
Administration. Such is all experience. Without these the strongest
text and most cunning in its requirements is only a phantom, it may be
of terror, as was the case with the Fugitive Slave Bill,--but not a
living letter. It is not practically obeyed; sometimes it is evaded,
sometimes openly set at nought. And now it is my duty to warn you
that the national freedman still needs your care. His ancient master
is already in the field conspiring against him. That traditional
experience, that infinite audacity, that insensibility to Human Rights,
which so long upheld Slavery, are aroused anew. No longer able to hold
him as slave, the ancient master means to hold him as dependant, and to
keep him in his service, personal and political,--thus substituting a
new bondage for the old. Unhappily, he finds at the North a political
party which the Rebellion has not weaned from that unnatural Southern
breast whence it drew its primitive nutriment; and this political
party now fraternizes in the dismal work by which peace is postponed:
for until the national freedman is safe in Equal Rights there can be
no peace. You may call it peace, but I tell you it is not peace. It is
peace only in name. Who does not feel that he treads still on smothered
fires? Who does not feel his feet burn as he moves over the treacherous
ashes? If I wished any new motive for opposition to the Democracy, I
should find it in this hostile alliance. Because I am for peace so that
this whole people may be at work, because I desire tranquillity so that
all may be happy, because I seek reconciliation so that there shall be
completest harmony, therefore I oppose the Democracy and now denounce
it as Disturber of the National Peace.

The information from the South is most painful. Old Rebels are
crawling from hiding-places to resume their former rule; and what a
rule! Such as might be expected from the representatives of Slavery.
It is the rule of misrule, where the “Ku-Klux-Klan” takes the place
of missionary and schoolmaster. Murder is unloosed. The national
freedman is the victim; and so is the Unionist. Not one of these States
where intimidation, with death in its train, does not play its part.
Take that whole Southern tier from Georgia to Texas, and add to it
Tennessee, and, I fear, North Carolina and Virginia also,--for the
crime is contagious,--and there is small justice for those to whom you
owe so much. That these things should occur under Andrew Johnson was
natural; that Reconstruction should encounter difficulties after his
defection was natural. Andrew Johnson is now out of the way, and in his
place a patriot President. Public Opinion must come to his support in
this necessary work. There is but one thing these disturbers feel; it
is power; and this they must be made to feel: I mean the power of an
awakened people, directed by a Republican Administration, vigorously,
constantly, surely, so that there shall be no rest for the wicked.

       *       *       *       *       *

If I could forget the course of the Democracy on these things,--as I
cannot,--there is still another chapter for exposure; and the more
it is seen, the worse it appears. It is that standing menace of
Repudiation, by which the national credit at home and abroad suffers
so much, and our taxes are so largely increased. It will not do to say
that no National Convention has yet announced this dishonesty. I charge
it upon the Party. A party which repudiates the fundamental principles
of the Declaration of Independence, which repudiates Equality before
the Law, which repudiates the self-evident truth that government is
founded only on the consent of the governed, which repudiates what is
most precious and good in our recent history, and whose chiefs are now
engaged in cunning assault upon the national creditor, is a party of
Repudiation. This is its just designation. A Democrat is a Repudiator.
What is Slavery itself but an enormous wholesale repudiation of all
rights, all truths, and all decencies? How easy for a party accepting
this degradation to repudiate pecuniary obligations! These are
small, compared with the other. Naturally the Democracy is once more
in conjunction with the old Slave-Masters. The Repudiation Gospel
according to Mr. Pendleton is now preaching in Ohio; and nothing is
more certain than that the triumph of the Democracy would be a fatal
blow not only at the national freedman, but also at the national
creditor. There would be repudiation for each.

The word “Repudiation,” in its present sense, is not old. It first
appeared in Mississippi, a Democratic State intensely devoted to
Slavery. If the thing were known before, never before did it assume the
same hardihood of name. It was in 1841 that a Mississippi Governor, in
a Message to the Legislature, used this word with regard to certain
State bonds, and thus began that policy by which Mississippi was first
dishonored and then kept poor: for capital was naturally shy of such a
State. Constantly, from that time, Mississippi had this “bad eminence”;
nor is the State more known as the home of Jefferson Davis than as the
home of Repudiation. Unhappily, the nation suffered also; and even
now, as I understand, it is argued in Europe, to our discredit, that,
because Mississippi repudiated, the nation may repudiate also. If I
refer to this example, it is because I would illustrate the mischief
of the Democratic policy and summon Mississippi to tardy justice. A
regenerated State cannot afford to bear the burden of Repudiation;
nor can the nation and the sisterhood of States forget misconduct so
injurious to all.

I have pleasure, at this point, in reference to an early effort in the
“North American Review,” by an able lawyer, for a time an ornament of
the Supreme Court of the United States, Hon. B. R. Curtis, who, after
reviewing the misconduct of Mississippi, argues most persuasively,
that, where a State repudiates its obligations, to the detriment of
foreigners, there is a remedy through the National Government. This
suggestion is important for Mississippi now. But the article contains
another warning, applicable to the nation at the present hour, which I

    “The conduct of a few States has not only destroyed their own
    credit and left their sister States very little to boast of,
    but has so materially affected the credit of the whole Union
    that it was found impossible to negotiate in Europe any part
    of the loan authorized by Congress in 1842. It was offered
    on terms most advantageous to the creditor, terms which in
    former times would have been eagerly accepted; and after going
    a-begging through all the exchanges of Europe, the agent gave
    up the attempt to obtain the money, in despair.”[100]

As the fallen drunkard illustrates the evils of intemperance, so
does Mississippi illustrate the evils of Repudiation. Look at her!
But there are men who would degrade our Republic to this wretched
condition. Forgetting what is due to our good name as a nation
at home and abroad,--forgetting that the public interests are
bound up with the Public Faith, involving all economies, national
and individual,--forgetting that our transcendent position has
corresponding obligations, and that, as Nobility once obliged to great
duty, (“_Noblesse oblige_,”) so does Republicanism now,--there are men
who, forgetting all these things, would carry our Republic into this
terrible gulf, so full of shame and sacrifice. They begin by subtle
devices; but already the mutterings of open Repudiation are heard. I
denounce them all, whether device or muttering; and I denounce that
political party which lends itself to the outrage.

       *       *       *       *       *

Repudiation means Confiscation, and in the present case confiscation
of the property of loyal citizens. With unparalleled generosity
the nation has refused to confiscate Rebel property; and now it is
proposed to confiscate Loyal property. When I expose Repudiation
as Confiscation, I mean to be precise. Between two enactments, one
requiring the surrender of property without compensation, and the other
declaring that the nation shall not and will not pay an equal amount
according to solemn promise, there can be no just distinction. The two
are alike. The former might alarm a greater number, because on its
face more demonstrative. But analyze the two, and you will see that
in each private property is taken by the nation without compensation,
and appropriated to its own use. Therefore do I say, Repudiation is

       *       *       *       *       *

A favorite device of Repudiation is to pay the national debt in
“greenbacks,”--in other words, to pay bonds bearing interest with mere
promises not bearing interest,--violating, in the first place, a rule
of honesty, which forbids such a trick, and, in the second place, a
rule of law, which refuses to recognize an inferior obligation as
payment of a superior. Here, in plain terms, is repudiation of the
interest and indefinite postponement of the principal. This position,
when first broached, contemplated nothing less than an infinite
issue of greenbacks, flooding the country, as France was flooded by
_assignats_, and utterly destroying values of all kinds. Although, in
its present more moderate form, it is limited to payment by existing
greenbacks, yet it has the same radical injustice. Interest-bearing
bonds are to be paid with non-interest-bearing bits of paper. The
statement of the case is enough. Its proposer would never do this thing
in his own affairs; but how can he ask his country to do what honesty
forbids in private life?

Another device is to tax the bonds, when the money was lent on the
positive condition that the bonds should not be taxed. This, of course,
is to break the contract in another way. It is Repudiation in another

       *       *       *       *       *

To argue these questions is happily unnecessary, and I allude to them
only because I wish to exhibit the loss to the country from such
attempts. This can be made plain as a church-door.

The total debt of our country on the 1st September, aside from
the sixty millions of bonds issued to the Pacific Railway, was
$2,475,962,501; and here I mention, with great satisfaction, that since
the 1st March last the debt has been reduced $49,500,758. The surplus
revenue now accruing is not less than $100,000,000 a year, and will
be, probably, not less than $125,000,000 a year, of which large sum
not less than $75,000,000 must be attributed to the better enforcement
of the laws and the economy now prevailing under a Republican
Administration. And here comes the practical point. Large as is our
surplus revenue, it should have been more, and would have been more but
for the Repudiation menaced by the Democracy.

If we look at our bonded debt, we find it is now $2,107,936,300,
upon which we pay not less than $124,000,000 in annual interest, the
larger part at six per cent., the smaller at five per cent., gold.
The difference between this interest and that paid by other powers is
the measure of our annual loss. English three per cents. and French
fours are firm in the market; but England and France have not the
same immeasurable resources that are ours, nor is either so secure
in its government. It is easy to see that our debt could have been
funded without paying more than four per cent., but for the doubt cast
upon our credit by the dishonest schemes of Repudiation. “Payment in
Greenbacks” and “Taxation of Bonds” are costly cries. Without these
there would have been $40,000,000 annually to swell our surplus
revenue. But this sum, if invested in a sinking fund at four per cent.
interest, would pay the whole bonded debt in less than thirty years.
Such is our annual loss.

The sum-total of this loss directly chargeable upon the Repudiators
is more than one hundred millions, already paid in taxes; and much I
fear, fellow-citizens, that, before the nation can recover from the
discredit inflicted upon it, another hundred millions will be paid in
the same way. It is hard to see this immense treasure wrung by taxation
from the toil of the people to pay these devices of a dishonest
Democracy. Do not forget that the cost of this experiment is confined
to no particular class. Wherever the tax-gatherer goes, there it is
paid. Every workman pays it in his food and clothing; every mechanic
and artisan, in his tools; every housewife, in her cooking-stove and
flat-iron; every merchant, in the stamp upon his note; every man of
salary, in the income tax; ay, every laborer, in his wood, his coal,
his potatoes, and his salt. Many of these taxes, imposed under duress
of war, will be removed soon, I trust; but still the enormous sum
of forty millions annually must be contributed by the labor of the
country, until the world is convinced, that, in spite of Democratic
menace, the Republic will maintain its plighted faith to the end.

People wish to reduce taxation. I tell you how. Let no doubt rest upon
the Public Faith. Then will the present burdensome taxation grow “fine
by degrees and beautifully less.” _It is the doubt which costs._ It is
with our country, as with an individual,--the doubt obliges the payment
of _extra interest_. To stop that extra interest we must keep faith.

       *       *       *       *       *

As we look at the origin of the greenback, we shall find a new motive
for fidelity. I do not speak of that patriotic character which
commends the national debt, but of the financial principle on which
the greenback was first issued. It came from the overruling exigencies
of self-defence. The national existence depended upon money, which
could be had only through a forced loan. The greenback was the agency
by which it was collected. The disloyal party resisted the passage of
the original Act, prophesying danger and difficulty; but the safety
of the nation required the risk, and the Republican Party assumed it.
And now this same disloyal party, once against the greenback, insist
upon continuing in peace what was justified only in war,--insist upon
a forced loan, when the overruling exigencies of self-defence have
ceased, and the nation is saved. To such absurdity is this party now

The case is aggravated, when we consider the boundless resources of
the country, through which in a short time even this great debt will
be lightened, if the praters of Repudiation are silenced. Peace,
financially as well as politically, is needed. Let us have peace.
Nowhere will it be felt more than at the South, which is awakening to
a consciousness of resources unknown while Slavery ruled. With these
considerable additions to the national capital, five years cannot pass
without a sensible diminution of our burdens. A rate of taxation, _per
capita_, equal to only one half that of 1866, will pay even our present
interest, all present expenses, and the entire principal, in less than
twenty years. But to this end we must keep faith.

       *       *       *       *       *

The attempt is aggravated still further, when it is considered that
Repudiation is impossible. Try as you may, you cannot succeed. You may
cause incalculable distress, and postpone the great day of peace, but
you cannot do this thing. The national debt never can be repudiated. It
will be paid, dollar for dollar, in coin, with interest to the end.

How little do these Repudiators know the mighty resisting power which
they encounter! how little, the mighty crash which they invite! As
well undertake to move Mount Washington from its everlasting base, or
to shut out the ever-present ocean from our coasts. It is needless to
say that the crash would be in proportion to the mass affected, being
nothing less than the whole business of the country. Now it appears
from investigations making at this moment by Commissioner Wells, whose
labors shed such light on financial questions, that _our annual product
reaches the sum of seven thousand millions of dollars_.[101] But this
prodigious amount depends for its value upon exchange, which in turn
depends upon credit. Destroy exchange, and even these untold resources
would be an infinite chaos, without form and void. Employment would
cease, capital would waste, mills would stop, the rich would become
poor,--the poor, I fear, would starve. Savings banks, trust companies,
insurance companies would disappear. Such would be the mighty crash;
but here you see also the mighty resisting power. Therefore, again do I
say, Repudiation is impossible.

Mr. Boutwell is criticized by the Democracy because he buys up
bonds, paying the current market rates, when he should pay the face
in greenbacks. I refer to this Democratic criticism because I would
show how little its authors look to consequences while forgetting the
requirements of Public Faith. Suppose the Secretary, yielding to these
wise suggestions, should announce his purpose to take up the first ten
millions of five-twenties, paying the face in greenbacks. What then?
“After us the deluge,” said the French king; and so, after such notice
from our Secretary, would our deluge begin. At once the entire bonded
debt would be reduced to greenbacks. The greenback would not be raised;
the bond would be drawn down. All this at once,--and in plain violation
of the solemn declaration of both Houses of Congress pledging payment
in coin. But who can measure the consequences? Bonds would be thrown
upon the market. From all points of the compass, at home and abroad,
they would come. Business would be disorganized. Prices would be
changed. Labor would be crushed. The fountains of the great deep would
be broken up, and the deluge would be upon us.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the practical agencies to which the country owes much already
are the National Banks. Whatever may be the differences of opinion
with regard to them, they cannot fail to be taken into account in all
financial discussions. As they have done good where they are now
established, I would gladly see them extended, especially at the South
and West, where they are much needed, and where abundant crops already
supply the capital. It is doubtful if this can be brought about without
removing the currency limitation in the existing Bank Act.[102] In this
event I should like the condition that for every new bank-note issued
a greenback should be cancelled, thus substituting the bank-note for
the greenback. In this way greenbacks would be reduced in volume, while
currency is supplied by the banks. Such diminution of the national
paper would be an important stage toward specie payments, while the
national banks in the South and West, founded on the bonds of the
United States, would be a new security for the national credit.

In making this suggestion, I would not forget the necessity of specie
payments at the earliest possible moment; nor can I forbear to declare
my unalterable conviction that by proper exertion this supreme object
may be accomplished promptly,--always provided the national credit
is kept above suspicion, or, like the good knight, “without fear and
without reproach.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, fellow-citizens, at every turn are we brought back to one single
point, the Public Faith, which cannot be dishonored without infinite
calamity. The child is told not to tell a lie; but this injunction is
the same for the full-grown man, and for the nation also. We cannot
tell a lie to the national freedman or the national creditor; we
cannot tell a lie to anybody. That word of shame cannot be ours. But
falsehood to the national freedman and the national creditor is a
national lie. Breaking promise with either, you are dishonored, and
_Liar_ must be stamped upon the forehead of the nation. Beyond the
ignominy, which all of us must bear, will be the influence of such a
transgression in discrediting Republican Government and the very idea
of a Republic. For weal or woe, we are an example. Mankind is now
looking to us, and just in proportion to the eminence we have reached
is the eminence of our example. Already we have shown how a Republic
can conquer in arms, offering millions of citizens and untold treasure
at call. It remains for us to show how a Republic can conquer in a
field more glorious than battle, where all these millions of citizens
and all this untold treasure uphold the Public Faith. Such an example
will elevate Republican Government, and make the idea of a Republic
more than ever great and splendid. Helping here, you help not only your
own country, but help Humanity also,--help liberal institutions in all
lands,--help the down-trodden everywhere, and all who struggle against
the wrong and tyranny of earth.

The brilliant Frenchman, Montesquieu, in that remarkable work which
occupied so much attention during the last century, “The Spirit of
Laws,” pronounces _Honor_ the animating sentiment of Monarchy, but
_Virtue_ the animating sentiment of a Republic.[103] It is for us to
show that he was right; nor can we depart from this rule of Virtue
without disturbing the order of the universe. Faith is nothing less
than a part of that sublime harmony by which the planets wheel surely
in their appointed orbits, and nations are summoned to justice.
Nothing too lofty for its power, nothing too lowly for its protection.
It is an essential principle in the divine Cosmos, without which
confusion reigns supreme. All depends upon Faith. Why do you build?
Because you have faith in those laws by which you are secured in person
and property. Why do you plant? why do you sow? Because you have
faith in the returning seasons, faith in the generous skies, faith in
the sun. But faith in this Republic must be fixed as the sun, which
illumines all. I cannot be content with less. Full well I see that
every departure from this great law is only to our ruin, and from the
height we have reached the tumble will be like that of the Grecian god
from the battlements of Heaven:--

                              “From morn
    To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
    A summer’s day, and with the setting sun
    Dropped from the zenith like a falling star.”[104]

It only remains, come what may, that we should at all hazards preserve
this Public Faith,--never forgetting that honesty is not only the best
policy, but the Golden Rule. For myself, I see nothing more practical,
at this moment, than, first, at all points to oppose the Democracy,
and, secondly, to insist that yet awhile longer ex-Rebels shall be
excused from copartnership in government. Do not think me harsh; do
not think me austere. I am not. I will not be outdone by anybody in
clemency; nor at the proper time will I be behind any one in opening
all doors of office and trust. But the proper time has not yet come.
There must be security for the future, unquestionable and ample,
before I am ready; and this I would require not only for the sake of
the national freedman and the national creditor, but for the sake of
the country containing the interests of all, and also of the ex-Rebel
himself, whose truest welfare is in that peace where all controversy
shall be extinguished forever. In this there is nothing but equity
and prudence according to received precedents. The ancient historian
declares that the ancestors of Rome, the most religious of men, took
nothing from the vanquished but the license to do wrong: “_Nostri
majores, religiosissimi mortales, … neque victis quicquam præter
injuriæ licentiam eripiebant_.”[105] These are the words of Sallust. I
know no better example for our present guidance. Who can object, if men
recently arrayed against their country are told to stand aside yet a
little longer, until all are secure in their rights? Here is no fixed
exclusion,--nothing of which there can be any just complaint,--nothing,
which is not practical, wise, humane,--nothing which is not born of
justice rather than victory. In the establishment of Equal Rights
conquest loses its character, and is no longer conquest;--

    “For then both parties nobly are subdued,
    And neither party loser.”[106]

Even in the uncertainty of the future it is easy to see that the
national freedman and the national creditor have a common fortune. In
the terrible furnace of war they were joined together, nor can they be
separated until the rights of both are fixed beyond change. Therefore,
could my voice reach them, I would say, “Freedman, stand by the
creditor! Creditor, stand by the freedman!” And to the people I would
say, “Stand by both!”

       *       *       *       *       *

From affairs at home I turn to affairs abroad, and here I wish to speak
cautiously. In speaking at all I break a vow with myself not to open
my lips on these questions except in the Senate. I yield to friendly
pressure. And yet I know no reason why I should not speak. It was
Talleyrand who, to somebody apologizing for what might be an indiscreet
question, replied, that an answer might be indiscreet, but not a
question. My answer shall at least be frank.

In our foreign relations there are with me two cardinal principles,
which I have no hesitation to avow at all times: first, peace with
all the world; and, secondly, sympathy with all struggling for Human
Rights. In neither of these would I fail; for each is essential. Peace
is our all-conquering ally. Through peace the whole world will be ours.
“Still in the right hand carry gentle peace,” and there is nothing we
cannot do. Filled with the might of peace, the sympathy we extend will
have a persuasive power. Following these plain principles, we should be
open so that foreign nations shall know our sentiments, and in such way
that even where there is a difference there shall be no just cause for

       *       *       *       *       *

In this spirit I would now approach Spain. Who can forget that great
historic monarchy, on whose empire, encircling the globe, the sun never
set? Patron of that renowned navigator through whom she became the
discoverer of this hemisphere, her original sway within it surpassed
that of any other power. At last her extended possessions on the
main, won by Cortés and Pizarro, loosed themselves from her grasp, to
take their just place in the Family of Nations. Cuba and Porto Rico,
rich islands of the Gulf, remained. And now Cuban insurgents demand
independence also. For months they have engaged in deadly conflict with
the Spanish power. Ravaged provinces and bloodshed are the witnesses.
The beautiful island, where sleeps Christopher Columbus, with the
epitaph that he gave to Castile and Leon a new world,[107] is fast
becoming a desert, while the nation to which he gave the new world is
contending for its last possession there. On this simple statement two
questions occur: first, as to the duty of Spain; and, secondly, as to
the duty of the United States.

Unwelcome as it may be to that famous Castilian pride which has played
so lofty a part in modern Europe, Spain must not refuse to see the
case in its true light; nor can she close her eyes to the lesson of
history. She must recall how the Thirteen American Colonies achieved
independence against all the power of England,--how all her own
colonies on the American main achieved independence against her own
most strenuous efforts,--how at this moment England is preparing to
release her Northern colonies from their condition of dependence; and
recalling these examples, it will be proper for her to consider if they
do not illustrate a tendency of all colonies, which was remarked by
an illustrious Frenchman, even before the independence of the United
States. Never was anything more prophetic in politics than when Turgot,
in 1750, speaking of the Phœnician colonies in Greece and Asia Minor,
said: “Colonies are like fruits, which hold to the tree only until
their maturity: when sufficient for themselves, they did that which
Carthage afterwards did,--_that which some day America will do_.”[108]
These most remarkable words of the philosopher-statesman will be found
in his Discourse at the Sorbonne; and now for their application. Has
not Cuba reached his condition of maturity? Is it not sufficient
for itself? At all events, is victory over a colony contending for
independence worth the blood and treasure it will cost? These are
serious questions, which can be answered properly only by putting
aside all passion and prejudice of empire, and calmly confronting the
actual condition of things. Nor must the case of Cuba be confounded
for a moment with our wicked Rebellion, having for its object the
dismemberment of a Republic, to found a new power with Slavery as its
vaunted corner-stone. For myself, I cannot doubt, that, in the interest
of both parties, Cuba and Spain, and in the interest of humanity also,
the contest should be closed. This is my judgment on the facts, so far
as known to me. Cuba must be saved from its bloody delirium, or little
will be left for the final conqueror. Nor can the enlightened mind
fail to see that the Spanish power on this island is an anachronism.
The day of European colonies has passed,--at least in this hemisphere,
where the rights of man were first proclaimed and self-government first
organized. A governor from Europe, nominated by a crown, is a constant
witness against these fundamental principles.

As the true course of Spain is clear, so to my mind is the true course
of the United States equally clear. It is to avoid involving ourselves
in any way. Enough of war have we had, without heedlessly assuming
another; enough has our commerce been driven from the ocean, without
heedlessly arousing another enemy; enough of taxation are we compelled
to bear, without adding another mountain. Two policies were open to us
at the beginning of the insurrection. One was to unite our fortunes
with the insurgents, assuming the responsibilities of such an alliance,
with the hazard of letters-of-marque issued by Spain and of public
war. I say nothing of the certain consequences in expenditure and in
damages. A Spanish letter-of-marque would not be less destructive than
the English Alabama. The other policy was to make Spain feel that we
wish her nothing but good,--and that, especially since the expulsion of
her royal dynasty, we cherish for her a cordial and kindly sympathy.
It is said that republics are ungrateful; but I would not forget that
at the beginning of our Revolutionary struggle our fathers were aided
by her money, as afterwards by her arms, and that her great statesman,
Florida Blanca, by his remarkable energies determined the organization
of that Armed Neutrality in Northern Europe which turned the scale
against England,[109]--so that John Adams declared, “We owe the
blessings of peace to the Armed Neutrality.”[110] I say nothing of the
motives by which Spain was then governed. It is something that in our
day of need she lent us a helping hand.

It is evident, that, adopting the first policy, we should be powerless,
except as an enemy. The second policy may enable us to exercise an
important influence.

The more I reflect upon the actual condition of Spain, the more I am
satisfied that the true rule for us is non-intervention, except in the
way of good offices. This ancient kingdom is now engaged in comedy and
tragedy. You have heard of _Hunting the Slipper_. The Spanish comedy
is _Hunting a King_. The Spanish tragedy is sending armies against
Cuba. I do not wish to take part in the comedy or the tragedy. If Spain
is wise, she will give up both. Meanwhile we have a duty which is
determined by International Law. To that venerable authority I repair.
What that prescribes I follow.

       *       *       *       *       *

By that law, as I understand it, nations are not left to any mere
caprice. There is a rule of conduct which they must follow, subject
always to just accountability where they depart from it. On ordinary
occasions there is no question; for it is with nations as with
individuals. It is only where the rule is obscure or precedents are
uncertain that doubt arises, as with some persons now. Here I wish
to be explicit. Belligerence is a “fact,” attested by evidence. If
the “fact” does not exist, there is nothing to recognize. The fact
cannot be invented or imagined; it must be proved. No matter what our
sympathy, what the extent of our desires, we must look at the fact.
There may be insurrection without reaching this condition, which is
at least the half-way house to independence. The Hungarians, when
they rose against Austria, obtained no such recognition, although
they had large armies in the field, and Kossuth was their governor;
the Poles, in repeated insurrections against Russia, obtained no such
recognition, although the conflict made Europe vibrate; the Sepoys
and Rajahs of India failed also, although for a time the English
empire hung trembling; nor, in my opinion, were our slave-mad Rebels
ever entitled to such recognition,--for, whatever the strength of the
Rebellion on land, it remained, as in the case of Hungary, of Poland,
of India, without those Prize Courts which are absolutely essential
to recognition by foreign powers. _A cruiser without accountability
to Prize Courts is a lawless monster which civilized nations cannot
sanction._ Therefore the Prize Court is the condition-precedent; nor is
this all. If the Cuban insurgents have come within any of the familiar
requirements, I have never seen the evidence. They are in arms, I know.
But where are their cities, towns, provinces? where their government?
where their ports? where their tribunals of justice? and where their
Prize Courts? To put these questions is to answer them. How, then, is
the “fact” of belligerence?

There is another point in the case, which is with me final. Even
if they come within the prerequisites of International Law, I am
unwilling to make any recognition of them so long as they continue
to hold human beings as slaves, which I understand they now do. I am
told that there was a decree in May last, purporting to be signed
by Cespedes, abolishing slavery; then I am told of another decree in
July, maintaining slavery. There is also the story of a pro-slavery
constitution to be read at home, and an anti-slavery constitution to be
read abroad. Nor is there any evidence that any decree or constitution
has had any practical effect. In this uncertainty I shall wait,
even if all other things are propitious. In any event there must be

On the recognition of belligerence there is much latitude of
opinion,--some asserting that a nation may take this step whenever it
pleases; but this pretension excludes the idea that belligerence is
always a question of fact on the evidence. Undoubtedly an independent
nation may do anything in its power, whenever it pleases,--but
subject always to just accountability, if another suffers from what
it does. This may be illustrated in the three different cases of war,
independence, and belligerence. In each case the declaration is an
exercise of high prerogative, inherent in every nation, and kindred to
that of eminent domain; but a nation declaring war without just cause
becomes a wrong-doer; a nation recognizing independence where it does
not exist in fact becomes a wrong-doer; and so a nation recognizing
belligerence where it does not exist in fact becomes a wrong-doer also.
Any present uncertainty on this last point I attribute to the failure
of precedents sufficiently clear and authoritative; but with me there
is one rule in such a case which I cannot disobey. In the absence of
any precise injunction, I do not hesitate to adopt that interpretation
of International Law which most restricts war and all that makes for
war,--believing that in this way I shall best promote civilization and
obtain new security for international peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the case of Spain I pass to the case of England, contenting myself
with a brief explanation. On this subject I have never spoken except
with pain, as I have been obliged to expose a great transgression. I
hope to say nothing now which shall augment difficulties,--although,
when I consider how British anger was aroused by an effort in another
place,[111] judged by all who heard it most pacific in character, I do
not know that even these few words may not be misinterpreted.

There can be no doubt that we received from England incalculable
wrong,--greater, I have often said, than was ever before received
by one civilized power from another, short of unjust war. I do not
say this in bitterness, but in sadness. There can be no doubt, that,
through English complicity, our carrying-trade was transferred to
English bottoms,--our foreign commerce sacrificed, while our loss was
England’s gain,--our blockade rendered more expensive,--and generally,
that our war, with all its fearful cost of blood and treasure, was
prolonged indefinitely. This terrible complicity began with the
wrongful recognition of Rebel belligerence, under whose shelter pirate
ships were built and supplies sent forth. All this was at the very
moment of our mortal agony, in the midst of a struggle for national
life; and it was done in support of Rebels whose single declared object
of separate existence as a nation was Slavery, being in this respect
clearly distinguishable from an established power where slavery is
tolerated without being made the vaunted corner-stone. Such is the
case. Who shall fix the measure of this great accountability? For the
present it is enough to expose it. I make no demand,--not a dollar of
money, not a word of apology. I show simply what England has done to
us. It will be for her, on a careful review of the case, to determine
what reparation to offer; it will be for the American people, on a
careful review of the case, to determine what reparation to require.
On this head I content myself with the aspiration that out of this
surpassing wrong, and the controversy it has engendered, may come some
enduring safeguard for the future, some landmark of Humanity. Then will
our losses end in gain for all, while the Law of Nations is elevated.
But I have little hope of any adequate settlement, until our case, in
its full extent, is heard. In all controversies the first stage of
justice is to understand the case; and sooner or later England must
understand ours.

The English arguments, so far as argument can be found in the recent
heats, have not in any respect impaired the justice of our complaint.
Loudly it is said that there can be no sentimental damages, or damages
for wounded feelings; and then our case is dismissed, as having
nothing but this foundation. Now, without undertaking to say that
there is no remedy in the case supposed, I wish it understood that our
complaint is for damages traced directly to England. If the amount is
unprecedented, so also is the wrong. The scale of damages is naturally
in proportion to the scale of operations. Who among us doubts that
these damages were received? Call them what you please, to this extent
the nation lost. The records show how our commerce suffered, and
witnesses without number testify how the blockade was broken and the
war prolonged. Ask any of our great generals,--ask Sherman, Sheridan,
Thomas, Meade, Burnside,--ask Grant. In view of this transcendent
wrong, it is a disparagement of International Law to say that there is
no remedy. An eminent English judge once pronounced from the bench that
“the law is astute to find a remedy”; but no astuteness is required
in this case,--nothing but simple justice, which is always the object
of a true diplomacy. How did the nation suffer? To what extent? These
are the practical questions. No technicality can be set up on either
side. _Damages_ are _damages_, no matter by what artificial term
they may be characterized. Opposing them as _consequential_ shows
the disposition to escape by technicality, even while confessing an
equitable liability,--since England is bound for _all the consequences_
of her conduct, bound under International Law, which is a Law of Equity
always, and bound, no matter how the damages occurred, _always provided
they proceeded from her_. Because the damages are national, because all
suffered instead of one, this is no reason for immunity on her part.

Then it is said, “Why not consider our good friends in England, and
especially those noble working-men who stood by us so bravely?” We
do consider them always, and give them gratitude for their generous
alliance. They belong to what our own poet has called “the nobility
of labor.” But they are not England. We trace no damages to them, nor
to any class, high or low, but to England, corporate England, through
whose Government we suffered.

Then, again, it is said, “Why not exhibit an account against France?”
For the good reason, that, while France erred with England in
recognition of Rebel belligerence, no pirate ships or blockade-runners
were built under shelter of this recognition to prey upon our
commerce. The two cases are wide asunder, and they are distinguished
by two different phrases of the Common Law. The recognition of Rebel
belligerence in France was wrong without injury; but that same
recognition in England was wrong with injury, and it is of this
unquestionable injury that we complain.

Fellow-citizens, it cannot be doubted that this great question, so long
as it continues pending, will be a cloud always upon the relations of
two friendly powers, when there should be sunshine. Good men on both
sides should desire its settlement, and in such way as most to promote
good-will, and make the best precedent for civilization. But there can
be no good-will without justice, nor can any “snap judgment” establish
any rule for the future. Nothing will do now but a full inquiry,
without limitation or technicality, and a candid acceptance of the
result. There must be equity, which is justice without technicality.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes there are whispers of territorial compensation, and Canada
is named as the consideration. But he knows England little, and little
also of that great English liberty from Magna Charta to the Somerset
case, who supposes that this nation could undertake any such transfer.
And he knows our country little, and little also of that great liberty
which is ours, who supposes that we could receive such a transfer. On
each side there is impossibility. Territory may be conveyed, but not
a people. I allude to this suggestion only because, appearing in the
public press, it has been answered from England.

But the United States can never be indifferent to Canada, nor to the
other British provinces, near neighbors and kindred. It is well known
historically, that, even before the Declaration of Independence, our
fathers hoped that Canada would take part with them. Washington was
strong in this hope; so was Franklin. The Continental Congress, by
solemn resolution, invited Canada, and then appointed a Commission,
with Benjamin Franklin at its head, “to form an Union between the
United Colonies and the people of Canada.” In the careful instructions
of the Congress, signed in their behalf by John Hancock, President,
the Commissioners are, among other things, enjoined “in the strongest
terms to assure the people of Canada that it is our earnest desire to
adopt them into our Union as a sister Colony, and to secure the same
general system of mild and equal laws for them and for ourselves,
with only such local differences as may be agreeable to each Colony
respectively”; and further, that in the judgment of the Congress “their
interest and ours are inseparably united.”[112]

Long ago the Continental Congress passed away, living only in its
deeds. Long ago the great Commissioner rested from his labors, to
become a star in our firmament. But the invitation survives, not only
in the archives of our history, but in all American hearts, constant
and continuing as when first issued, believing, as we do, that such
a union, in the fulness of time, with the good-will of the mother
country and the accord of both parties, must be the harbinger of
infinite good. Nor do I doubt that this will be accomplished. Such a
union was clearly foreseen by the late Richard Cobden, who, in a letter
to myself, bearing date, London, 7th November, 1849, wrote:--

    “I agree with you that Nature has decided that _Canada and
    the United States must become one_ for all purposes of
    intercommunication. Whether they also shall be united in the
    same Federal Government must depend upon the two parties to the
    union. I can assure you that there will be no repetition of
    the policy of 1776 on our part, to prevent our North American
    colonies from pursuing their interests in their own way. If the
    people of Canada are tolerably unanimous in wishing to sever
    the very slight thread which now binds them to this country,
    I see no reason why, if good faith and ordinary temper be
    observed, it should not be done amicably.”

Nearly twenty years have passed since these prophetic words, and enough
has already taken place to give assurance of the rest. “Reciprocity,”
once established by treaty, and now so often desired on both sides,
will be transfigured in Union, while our Plural Unit is strengthened
and extended.

The end is certain; nor shall we wait long for its mighty fulfilment.
Its beginning is the establishment of peace at home, through which the
national unity shall become manifest. This is the first step. The rest
will follow. In the procession of events it is now at hand, and he is
blind who does not discern it. From the Frozen Sea to the tepid waters
of the Mexican Gulf, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the whole vast
continent, smiling with outstretched prairies, where the coal-fields
below vie with the infinite corn-fields above,--teeming with iron,
copper, silver, and gold,--filling fast with a free people, to whom
the telegraph and steam are constant servants,--breathing already with
schools, colleges, and libraries,--interlaced by rivers which are great
highways,--studded with inland seas where fleets are sailing, and
“poured round all old Ocean’s” constant tides, with tributary commerce
and still expanding domain,--such will be the Great Republic, One and
Indivisible, with a common Constitution, a common Liberty, and a common



    Man is a name of honor for a king;
    Additions take away from each chief thing.

                          CHAPMAN, _Bussy d’Ambois_, Act IV. Sc. 1.

       *       *       *       *       *

    All men have the same rational nature and the same powers of
    conscience, and all are equally made for indefinite improvement
    of these divine faculties, and for the happiness to be found
    in their virtuous use. Who that comprehends these gifts
    does not see that the diversities of the race vanish before
    them?--CHANNING, _Slavery_: Works, Vol. II. p. 21.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Christian philosopher sees in every man a partaker of
    his own nature and a brother of his own species.--CHALMERS,
    _Utility of Missions_: Works, Vol. XI. p. 244.


MR. PRESIDENT,--In asking you to consider the Question of Caste, I
open a great subject of immediate practical interest. Happily, Slavery
no longer exists to disturb the peace of our Republic; but it is not
yet dead in other lands, while among us the impious pretension of this
great wrong still survives against the African because he is black and
against the Chinese because he is yellow. Here is nothing less than the
claim of hereditary power from color; and it assumes that human beings
cast in the same mould with ourselves, and in all respects _men_, with
the same title of manhood that we have, may be shut out from Equal
Rights on account of the skin. Such is the pretension, plainly stated.

On other occasions it has been my duty to show how inconsistent is this
pretension with our character as a Republic, and with the promises of
our fathers,--all of which I consider it never out of order to say and
to urge. But my present purpose is rather to show how inconsistent it
is with that sublime truth, being part of God’s law for the government
of the world, which teaches the Unity of the Human Family, and its
final harmony on earth. In this law, which is both commandment and
promise, I find duties and hopes,--perpetual duties never to be
postponed, and perpetual hopes never to be abandoned, so long as Man is

Believing in this law, and profoundly convinced that by the blessing
of God it will all be fulfilled on earth, it is easy to see how
unreasonable is a claim of power founded on any unchangeable physical
incident derived from birth. Because man is black, because man is
yellow, he is none the less Man; because man is white, he is none the
more Man. By this great title he is universal heir to all that Man can
claim. Because he is Man, and not on account of color, he enters into
possession of the promised dominion over the animal kingdom,--“over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living
thing that moveth upon the earth.” But this equal copartnership without
distinction of color symbolizes equal copartnership in all the Rights
of Man.

       *       *       *       *       *

As I enter upon this important theme, I confess an unwelcome
impediment, partly from the prevailing prejudice of color, which has
become with many what is sometimes called a second nature, and partly
from the little faith among men in the future development of the race.
The cry, “A white man’s government,” which is such an insult to human
nature, has influence in the work of degradation. Accustomed to this
effrontery, people do not see its ineffable absurdity, which is made
conspicuous, if they simply consider the figure our fathers would
have cut, had they declared the equal rights of _white_ men, and not
the equal rights of _men_. The great Declaration was axiomatic and
self-evident because universal; confined to a class, it would have
been neither. Hearkening to this disgusting cry, people close the soul
to all the quickening voices, whether of prophet, poet, or philosopher,
by which we are encouraged to persevere; nor do they heed the best
lessons of science.

I begin by declaring an unalterable faith in the Future, which nothing
can diminish or impair. Other things I may renounce, but this I cannot.
Throughout a life of controversy and opposition, frequently in a small
minority, sometimes almost alone, I have never for a moment doubted
the final fulfilment of the great promises for Humanity without which
this world would be a continuing chaos. To me it was clear from the
beginning, even in the early darkness, and then in the bloody mists
of war, that Slavery must yield to well-directed efforts against it;
and now it is equally clear that every kindred pretension must yield
likewise, until all are in the full fruition of those equal rights
which are the crown of life on earth. Nor can this great triumph be
restricted to our Republic. Wherever men are gathered into nations,
wherever Civilization extends her beneficent sway, there will it be
manifest. Against this lofty truth the assaults of the adversary are no
better than the arrows of barbarians vainly shot at the sun. Still it
moves, and it will move until all rejoice in its beams. The “all-hail
Hereafter,” in which the poet pictures personal success, is a feeble
expression for that transcendent Future where man shall be conqueror,
not only over nations, but over himself, subduing pride of birth,
prejudice of class, pretension of Caste.

       *       *       *       *       *

The assurances of the Future are strengthened, when I look at
Government and see how its character constantly improves as it comes
within the sphere of knowledge. Men must know before they can act
wisely; and this simple rule is applicable alike to individuals and
communities. “Go, my son,” said the Swedish Chancellor, “and see
with what little wisdom the world is governed.”[113] Down to his day
government was little more than an expedient, a device, a trick, for
the aggrandizement of a class, of a few, or, it may be, of one. Calling
itself Commonwealth, it was so in name only. There were classes always,
and egotism was the prevailing law. Macchiavelli, the much-quoted
herald of modern politics, insisted that all governments, whether
monarchical or republican, owed their origin or reformation to a
single lawgiver, like Lycurgus or Solon.[114] If this was true in his
day, it is not in ours. In the presence of an enlightened people, a
single lawgiver, or an aristocracy of lawgivers, is impossible, while
government becomes the rule of all for the good of all,--not the One
Man Power, so constant in history,--not the Triumvirate, sometimes
occurring,--not an Oligarchy, which is the rule of a few,--not an
Aristocracy, which is the rule of a class,--not any combination,
howsoever accepted, sanctioning exclusions,--but the whole body of
the people, without exclusion of any kind, or, in the great words
of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, “government of the people, by the
people, and for the people.”[115]

Thus far government has been at best an Art, like alchemy or astrology,
where ministers exercised a subtle power, or speculators tried
imaginative experiments, seeking some philosopher’s-stone at the
expense of the people. Though in many respects still an Art only, it is
fast becoming a Science founded on principles and laws from which there
can be no just departure. As a science, it is determined by knowledge,
like any other science, aided by that universal handmaid, the
philosophy of induction. From a succession of particulars the general
rule is deduced; and this is as true of government as of chemistry or
astronomy. Nor do I see reason to doubt, that, in the evolution of
events, the time is at hand when government will be subordinated to
unquestionable truth, making diversity of opinion as impossible in
this lofty science as it is now impossible in other sciences already
mastered by man. Science accomplishes part only of its beneficent work,
when it brings physical nature within its domain. That other nature
found in Man must be brought within the same domain. And is it true
that man can look into the unfathomable Universe, there to measure suns
and stars, that he can penetrate the uncounted ages of the earth’s
existence, reading everywhere the inscriptions upon its rocks, but that
he cannot look into himself, or penetrate his own nature, to measure
human capacities and read the inscriptions upon the human soul? I do
not believe it. What is already accomplished in such large measure
for the world of matter will yet be accomplished for that other world
of Humanity; and then it will appear, by a law as precise as any in
chemistry or astronomy, that just government stands only on the consent
of the governed, that all men must be equal before the law of man as
they are equal before the law of God, and that any discrimination
founded on the accident of birth is inconsistent with that true science
of government which is simply the science of justice on earth.

One of our teachers, who has shed much light on the science of
government,--I refer to Professor Lieber, of New York,--shows that the
State is what he calls “a _jural_ society,” precisely as the Church is
a religious society, and an insurance company a financial society.[116]
The term is felicitous as it is suggestive. Above the State rises the
image of Justice, lofty, blindfold, with balance in hand. There it
stands in colossal form with constant lesson of Equal Rights for All,
while under its inspiration government proceeds according to laws which
cannot be disobeyed with impunity, and Providence is behind to sustain
the righteous hand. In proportion as men are wise, they recognize these
laws and confess the exalted science.

“Know thyself” is the Heaven-descended injunction which ancient piety
inscribed in letters of gold in the temple at Delphi.[117] The famous
oracle is mute, but the divine injunction survives; nor is it alone.
Saint Augustine impresses it in his own eloquent way, when he says,
“Men go to admire the heights of mountains, and the great waves of
the sea, and the widest flow of rivers, and the compass of the ocean,
and the circuits of the stars, _and leave themselves behind_.”[118]
Following the early mandate, thus seconded by the most persuasive of
the Christian Fathers, man will consider his place in the universe and
his relations to his brother man. Looking into his soul, he will there
find the great irreversible Law of Right, universal for the nation as
for himself, commanding to do unto others as we would have them do
unto us; and under the safeguard of this universal law I now place the
rights of all mankind. It is little that I can do; but, taking counsel
of my desires, I am not without hope of contributing something to that
just judgment which shall blast the effrontery of Caste as doubly
offensive, not only to the idea of a Republic, but to Human Nature

       *       *       *       *       *

Already you are prepared to condemn Caste, when you understand its real
character. To this end, let me carry you to that ancient India, with
its population of more than a hundred and eighty millions, where this
artificial discrimination, born of impossible fable, was for ages the
dominating institution of society,--being, in fact, what Slavery was in
our Rebellion, the corner-stone of the whole structure.

The Portuguese were the first of European nations to form
establishments in India, and therefore through them was the civilized
world first acquainted with its peculiar institutions. But I know no
monument of their presence there, and no contribution from them to our
knowledge of the country, so enduring as the word Caste, or, in the
Portuguese language, _Casta_, by which they designated those rigid
orders or ranks into which the people of India were divided. The term
originally applied by them has been adopted in the other languages of
Europe, where it signifies primarily the orders or ranks of India,
but by natural extension any separate and fixed order of society. In
the latter sense Caste is now constantly employed. The word is too
modern, however, for our classical English literature, or for that most
authentic record of our language, the Dictionary of Dr. Johnson, when
it first saw the light in 1755.

Though the word was unknown in earlier times, the hereditary
discrimination it describes entered into the political system of
modern Europe, where people were distributed into classes, and the
son succeeded to the condition of his father, whether of privilege or
disability,--the son of a noble being a noble with great privileges,
the son of a mechanic being a mechanic with great disabilities. And
this inherited condition was applicable even to the special labor of
the father; nor was there any business beyond its tyrannical control.
According to Macaulay, “the tinkers formed an hereditary caste.”[119]
The father of John Bunyan was a tinker, and the son inherited the
position. The French Revolution did much to shake this irrational
system; yet in many parts of Europe, down to this day, the son
emancipates himself with difficulty from the class in which he is
born. But just in proportion to the triumph of Equality does Caste

This institution is essentially barbarous, and therefore appears
in barbarous ages, or in countries not yet relieved from the early
incubus. It flourished side by side with the sculptured bulls and
cuneïform characters of Assyria, side by side with the pyramids and
hieroglyphics of Egypt. It showed itself under the ambitious sway of
Persia, and even in the much-praised Cecropian era of Attica. In all
these countries Caste was organized, differing somewhat in divisions,
but hereditary in character. And the same phenomenon arrested the
attention of the conquering Spaniards in Peru. The system had two
distinct elements: first, separation, with rank and privilege, or their
opposite, with degradation and disability; secondly, descent from
father to son, so that it was perpetual separation from generation to

       *       *       *       *       *

In Hindustan, this dreadful system, which, under the name of Order,
is the organization of disorder, has prolonged itself to our day, so
as to be a living admonition to mankind. That we may shun the evil it
entails, in whatever shape, I now endeavor to expose its true character.

The regular castes of India are four in number, called in Sanscrit
_varnas_, or _colors_, although it does not appear that by nature they
were of different colors. Their origin will be found in the sacred
law-book of the Hindoos, the “Ordinances of Menu,” where it is recorded
that the Creator caused the Brahmin, the Cshatriya, the Vaisya,
and the Sudra, so named from _Scripture_, _Protection_, _Wealth_,
and _Labor_, to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thigh, and his
foot, appointing separate duties for each class. To the Brahmin,
proceeding from the mouth, was allotted the duty of reading the Veda
and of teaching it; to the Cshatriya, proceeding from the arm, the
duty of soldier; to the Vaisya, proceeding from the thigh, the duty of
cultivating the land and keeping herds of cattle; and to the Sudra,
proceeding from the foot, was appointed the chief duty of serving the
other classes without depreciating their worth. Such was the original
assignment of parts; but, under the operation of natural laws, those
already elevated increased their importance, while those already
degraded sank lower. Ascent from an inferior class was absolutely
impossible: as well might a vegetable become a man. The distinction was
perpetuated by the injunction that each should marry only in his own
class, with sanguinary penalties upon any attempted amalgamation.

The Brahmin was child of rank and privilege; the Sudra, child of
degradation and disability. Omitting the two intermediate classes,
soldiers and husbandmen, look for one moment at the two extremes, as
described by the sacred volume.

The Brahmin is constantly hailed as first-born, and, by right, chief
of the whole creation. This eminence is declared in various terms.
Thus it is said, “When a Brahmin springs to light, he is born above
the world”; and then again, “Whatever exists in the universe is all
in effect the wealth of the Brahmin.” As he engrosses the favor of
the Deity, so is he entitled to the veneration of mortals; and thus,
“whether learned or ignorant, he is a powerful divinity, even as fire
is a powerful divinity, whether consecrated or common.” Immunities
of all kinds cluster about him. Not for the most insufferable crime
can he be touched in person or property; nor can he be called to pay
taxes, while all other classes must bestow their wealth upon him. Such
is the Brahmin, with these privileges crystallized in his blood from
generation to generation.

On the other hand is the Sudra, who is the contrast in all particulars.
As much as the Brahmin is object of constant veneration, so is the
Sudra object of constant contempt. As one is exalted above Humanity,
so is the other degraded below it. The life of the Sudra is servile,
but according to the sacred volume he was created by the Self-Existent
especially to serve the Brahmin. Everywhere his degradation is
manifest. He holds no property which a Brahmin may not seize. The
crime he commits is visited with the most condign punishment, beyond
that allotted to other classes subject to punishment. The least
disrespect to a Brahmin is terribly avenged. For presuming to sit
on a Brahmin’s carpet, the penalty is branding and banishment, or
maiming; for contumelious words to a Brahmin, it is an iron style
ten fingers long thrust red-hot into the mouth; and for offering
instruction to a Brahmin, it is nothing less than hot oil poured into
mouth and ears. Such is the Sudra; and this fearful degradation, with
all its disabilities, is crystallized in his blood from generation to

Below these is another more degraded even than the Sudra, being the
outcast, with no place in either of the four regular castes, and known
commonly as the Pariah. Here is another term imported into familiar
usage to signify generally those on whom society has set its ban.
No person of the regular castes holds communication with the Pariah.
His presence is contaminating. Milk, and even water, is defiled by
his passing shadow, and cannot be used until purified. The Brahmin
sometimes puts him to death at sight. In well-known language of our
country, once applied to another people, he has no rights which a
Brahmin is bound to respect.[121]

Such a system, so shocking to the natural sense, has been denounced
by all who have considered it, whether on the spot or at a
distance,--unless I except the excellent historian Robertson, who seems
to find apologies for it, as men among us find apologies for the caste
which sends its lengthening shadow across our Republic. I might take
your time until late in the evening unfolding its obvious evil, as
exposed by those who have witnessed its operation. This testimony is
collected in a work entitled “Caste opposed to Christianity,” by Rev.
Joseph Roberts, and published in London in 1847. I give brief specimens
only. A Hindoo converted to Christianity exposes its demoralizing
influence, when he says, “Caste is the stronghold of pride, which makes
a man think of himself more highly than he ought to think”; and so also
another converted Hindoo, when he says, “Caste makes a man think that
he is holier than another, and that he has some inherent virtue which
another has not”; and still another converted Hindoo, when he says,
“Caste is part and parcel of idolatry and all heathen abomination.”
But no testimony surpasses that of the eminent Reginald Heber, the
Bishop of Calcutta, when he declares that it is “a system which tends,
more than anything else the Devil has yet invented, to destroy the
feelings of general benevolence, and to make nine tenths of mankind
the hopeless slaves of the remainder.”[122] Under these protests, and
the growing influence of Christianity, the system is so far mitigated,
that, according to an able writer whose soul is enlisted against it,
“the distinctions are felt on certain limited occasions only.”[123]
These are the words of James Mill, interesting always as the author
of the best work on India, and the father of John Stuart Mill. It is
now admitted, that, under constraint of necessity, the member of a
superior caste may descend to the pursuits of an inferior caste. The
lofty Brahmin engages in traffic, yet he cannot touch “leather”; for
contact with this article of commerce is polluting. But I am obliged to
add that no modification leaving “distinctions” transmissible with the
blood can be adequate. So long as these continue, the natural harmonies
of society are disturbed and man is degraded. The system in its mildest
form can have nothing but evil; for it is a constant violation of
primal truth, and a constant obstruction to that progress which is the
appointed destiny of man.

       *       *       *       *       *

Change now the scene,--from ancient India, and the shadow of unknown
centuries, to our Republic, born on yesterday. How unlike in venerable
antiquity! How like in the pretension of Caste! Here the caste
claiming hereditary rank and privilege is white, the caste doomed
to hereditary degradation and disability is black or yellow; and it
is gravely asserted that this difference of color marks difference
of race, which in itself justifies the discrimination. To save this
enormity of claim from indignant reprobation, it is insisted that the
varieties of men do not proceed from a common stock,--that they are
different in origin,--that this difference is perpetuated in their
respective capacities; and the apology concludes with the practical
assumption, that the white man is a superior caste not unlike the
Brahmin, while the black man is an inferior caste not unlike the
Sudra, sometimes even the Pariah; nor is the yellow man exempted from
this same insulting proscription. When I consider how for a long time
the African was shut out from testifying in court, even when seeking
redress for the grossest outrage, and how at this time in some places
the Chinese is also shut out from testifying in court, each seems to
have been little better than the Pariah. In stating this assumption of
superiority, which I do not exaggerate, I open a question of surpassing
interest, whether in science, government, or religion.

Here I must not forget that some, who admit the common origin of all
men, insist that the African is descended from Ham, son of Noah,
through Canaan, cursed by Noah to be servant of his brethren, and that
therefore he may be degraded even to slavery. But this apology is not
original with us. Nobles in Poland seized upon it to justify their
lordly pretensions, calling their serfs, though white, descendants of
Ham.[124] But whether employed by Pole or American, it is worthy only
of derision. I do not know that this apology is invoked for maltreating
the Chinese, although he is descended from Ham as much as the Pole.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two passages of Scripture, one in the Old Testament and the other in
the New, both governing this question, attest the Unity of the Human
Family. The first is in that sublime chapter of Genesis, where, amidst
the wonders of Creation, it is said: “So God created man in His own
image; in the image of God created He him; male and female created
He them. And God blessed them; and God said unto them, Be fruitful
and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”[125] The other
passage is from that great sermon of Saint Paul, when, standing in the
midst of Mars Hill, he proclaimed to the men of Athens, and through
them to all mankind, that God “hath made of _one blood_ all nations
of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”[126] If, as is
sometimes argued, there be ambiguity in the account of the Creation, or
if in any way its authority has been impaired by scientific criticism,
there is nothing of the kind to detract from the sermon of Saint Paul,
which must continue forevermore venerable and beautiful.

       *       *       *       *       *

Appealing from these texts, the apologists hurry to Science; and there
I follow. But I must compress into paragraphs what might fill volumes.

Ethnology, to which we repair, is a science of recent origin,
exhibiting the different races or varieties of Man in their relations
with each other, as that other science, Anthropology, exhibits Man
in his relation to the animal world. Nature and History are our
authorities, but all science and all knowledge are tributary. Perhaps
no other theme is grander; for it is the very beginning of human
history, in which all nations and men have a common interest. Its
vastness is increased, when we consider that it embraces properly not
only the origin, distribution, and capacity of Man, but his destiny on
earth,--stretching into the infinite past, stretching also into the
infinite future, and thus spanning Humanity.

The subject is entirely modern. Hippocrates, one of our ancient
masters, has left a treatise on “Air, Water, and Place,” where
climatic influences are recognized; but nobody in Antiquity studied
the varieties of our race, or regarded its origin except mythically.
The discovery of America, and the later circumnavigation of the globe,
followed by the development of the sciences generally, prepared the way
for this new science.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is obvious to the most superficial observer that there are divisions
or varieties in the Human Family, commonly called Races; but the most
careful explorations of Science leave the number uncertain. These
differences are in Color and in Skull,--also in Language. Of these
the most obvious is Color; but here, again, the varieties multiply
in proportion as we consider transitional or intermediate hues. Two
great teachers in the last century--Linnæus, of whom it was said, “God
created, Linnæus classified,” _Deus creavit, Linnæus disposuit_,[127]
and Kant, a sincere and penetrating seeker of truth--were content
with four,--white, copper, tawny or olive, and black,--corresponding
geographically to European, American, Asiatic, and African. Buffon,
in his eloquent portraiture, recognizes five, with geographical
designations. He was followed by Blumenbach, who also recognizes
five, with the names which have become so famous since,--Caucasian,
Mongolian, Ethiopian, American, and Malay. Here first appears the
popular, but deceptive term, Caucasian; for nobody supposes now
that the white cradle was on Caucasus, which is best known to
English-speaking people by the verse of Shakespeare, making it anything
but Eden,--

    “Oh, who can hold a fire in his hand
    By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?”[128]

Blumenbach was an able and honest inquirer; and if his nomenclature is
defective, it is only another illustration of the adage, that nothing
is at the same time invented and perfected.

If I mention other attempts, it is only to show how Science hesitates
before this great problem. Cuvier reduces the Family to three,
with branches or subdivisions, and lends his great authority to
the term Caucasian, which he adopts from Blumenbach. Lesson began
with three, according to color,--white, yellow, and black; but
afterwards recognized six,--white, bistre, orange, yellow, red,
black,--represented respectively by European, Hindoo, Malay, Mongolian,
American, and Negro, African and Asiatic. Desmoulins makes eleven.
Bory de Saint-Vincent adds to Desmoulins. Broc adds to Saint-Vincent.
The London “Ethnological Journal” makes no less than sixty-three,
of which twenty-eight varieties are intellectual and thirty-five
physical; and we are told[129] that thirty varieties of Caucasian alone
are recognized on the monuments of ancient Egypt, as they appear in
the magnificent works of Rosellini and Lepsius. Our own countryman,
Pickering,--whose experience was gained on the Exploring Expedition
of Captain Wilkes,--in his work on “The Races of Man and their
Geographical Distribution,” enumerates eleven varieties of Man, divided
into four groups, according to color,--white, brown, blackish-brown,
and black. In his opinion, “there is no middle ground between the
admission of eleven distinct species in the Human Family and the
reduction to one.”[130]

The Dutch anatomist, Camper, distinguishes the Human Family by the
facial angle, ranging from eighty degrees, in the European, down to
seventy degrees, in the Negro.[131] This attempt was continued by
Virey, who divides Man into two species: the first with a facial angle
of 85° to 90°, including Caucasian, Mongolian, and copper-colored
American; and the second with a facial angle of 75° to 82°, including
dark-brown Malay, blackish Hottentot and Papuan, and the Negro.
Prichard, whose voluminous works constitute an ethnological mine,
finds, chiefly from the skull, seven varieties, which he calls (1.)
Iranian, from Iran, the primeval seat in Persia of the Aryan race,
embracing the Caucasian of Blumenbach with some Asiatic and African
nations; (2.) Turanian or Mongolian; (3.) American, including
Esquimaux; (4.) Hottentot and Bushman; (5.) Negro; (6.) Papuan, or
woolly-haired Polynesian; (7.) Australian. The same industrious
observer finds three principal varieties in the conformation of the
head, corresponding respectively to Savage, Nomadic, and Civilized Man.
In the savage African and Australian the jaw is prolonged forward,
constituting what he calls, by an expressive term, _prognathous_. In
the nomadic Mongolian the skull is pyramidal and the face broad. In
Civilized Man the skull is oval or elliptical. But the naturalist
records that there are forms of transition, as nations approach to
civilization or relapse into barbarism.

Thus does the Human Skull refuse any definitive answer. There are
varieties of skull, as of color; but the question remains, to what
extent they attest original diversity. Equally vain is the attempt to
obtain a guide in the form of the human pelvis. But every such attempt
and its failure have their lesson.

There remains one other criterion: I mean Language. And here the
testimony is such as to disturb all divisions founded on Color or
Skull; for it is ascertained that people differing in these respects
speak languages having a common origin. The ancient Sanscrit, sometimes
called the most elaborate of human dialects, has yielded its secret to
philological research, and now stands forth the mother tongue of the
European nations. It is difficult to measure the importance of this
revelation; for, while not decisive on the main question, it increases
our difficulty in accepting any postulate of original diversity.[132]

And now the question arises, How are these varieties to be regarded in
the light of science? Are they aboriginal and from the beginning,--or
are they super-induced by secondary causes, of which the record is lost
in the extended night preceding our historic day? Here the authorities
are divided. On the one side, we are reminded that within the period
of recognized chronology no perceptible change has occurred in any of
these varieties,--that on the earliest monuments of Egypt the African
is pictured precisely as we see him now, even to that servitude from
which among us he is happily released,--and it is insisted that no
known influences of climate or place are sufficient to explain such
transformations from an aboriginal type, while plural types are in
conformity with the analogies of the animal and vegetable world. On the
other side, we are reminded, that, whatever may be the difficulties
from supposing a common centre of Creation, there are greater still
in supposing plural centres,--that it is easier to understand one
creation than many,[133]--that geographical science makes us acquainted
with intermediate gradations of color and conformation in which the
great contrasts disappear,--that, even within the last half-century
and in Europe, people have tended to lose their national physiognomy
and run into a common type, thus attesting subjection to transforming
influences,--that, after accepting the races already described, there
are other varieties, national, family, and individual, not less
difficult of explanation,--and it is insisted, that, whatever these
varieties, be they few or many, there is among them all _an overruling
Unity_, by which they are constituted one and the same cosmopolitan
species, endowed with speech, reason, conscience, and the hope of
immortality, knitting all together in a common Humanity, and, amidst
all seeming differences, making all as near to each other as they are
far apart from every other created thing, while to every one is given
that great first instrument of civilization, the human hand, by which
the earth is tilled, cities built, history written, and the stars
measured;--and this unquestionable Unity is pronounced all-sufficient
evidence of a common origin.

In considering this great question, do all inquirers sufficiently
recognize the element of Time? Obviously the sphere of operation is
enlarged in proportion to the time employed. Everything is possible
with time. Confining ourselves to recognized chronology, existing
varieties cannot be reconciled with that unity found in a common
origin. What are the six thousand years of Hebrew time, what are
the twenty-two thousand years of human annals sanctioned by the
learning and piety of Bunsen,[134] for the consummation of these
transformations? And this longest period, how brief for the completion
of those two marvellous languages, Sanscrit and Greek, which at the
earliest dawn of authentic history were already so perfect! Considering
the infinitudes of astronomy, and those other infinitudes of geology,
it is not unreasonable to claim an antiquity for Primeval Man compared
with which all the years of authentic history are a span. With such
incalculable opportunity, amidst unknown changes of Nature where heat
and cold strove for mastery, no transformation consistent with the
preservation of the characteristic species was impossible. Egypt is
not alone in its Sphinx, perplexing mortals with perpetual enigma.
Science is our Sphinx, and its enigma is Man and his varieties on
earth: to which I answer, “Time.”

Nor is it unreasonable to suppose that at the Creation conditions were
stamped upon man, making transformations natural. Because unnatural
according to observation during the brief period of historic time, it
does not follow that they are not strictly according to law. The famous
Calculating Engine of Charles Babbage, the distinguished mathematician,
as described in his remarkable “Bridgewater Treatise,” where Science
vindicates anew the ways of Providence to man, supplies an illustration
which is not without instruction. This machine, with a power almost
miraculous, was so adjusted as to produce a series of natural numbers
in regular order from unity to a number expressed by one hundred
millions and one,--100,000,001,--when another series was commenced,
regulated by a different law, which continued until at a certain number
the series was again changed; and all these changes in the immense
progression proceeded from a propulsion at the beginning.[135] Any
simple observer, finding that the series stretched onwards through
successive millions, would have no hesitation in concluding from the
vast induction that it must proceed always according to the same law;
and yet it was not so. But the Calculating Engine is only a contrivance
of human skill. And cannot the Creator do as much? That is a very
inadequate conception of the Almighty Power creating the universe and
placing man in it, which supposes, according to the language of Sir
John Herschel, the eminent astronomer, that “His combinations are
exhausted upon any one of the theatres of their former exercise.”[136]
Thus far we know not the law of the series which governed Primeval Man.
Who can say that after lapse of time changes did not occur, always in
obedience to conditions stamped upon him at the Creation?

A simpler illustration carries us to the same result. A cog-wheel,
so common in machinery, operates ordinarily by the cogs on its rim;
but the wheel may be so constructed, that, after a certain series of
rotations, another set of cogs is presented, inducing a different
motion. All can see how, in conformity with preëxisting law, a change
may occur in the operations of the machine. But it was not less easy
for the Creator to fix His law at the beginning, according to which the
evolutions of this world proceed. And thus are we brought back to the
conclusion, so often announced, that unity of origin must not be set
aside simply because existing varieties of Man cannot be sufficiently
explained by known laws, operating during that brief period which we
call History.

In considering this great question, there are authorities which cannot
be disregarded. Count them or weigh them, it is the same. I adduce a
few only, beginning with Latham, the ethnologist, who insists,--

    “(1.) That, as a matter of fact, the languages of the earth’s
    surface are referable to one common origin; (2.) that, as a
    matter of logic, this common origin of language is _primâ
    facie_ evidence of a common origin for those who speak it.”[137]

The great French geographer and circumnavigator, Dumont d’Urville,
testifies thus:--

    “I see on the whole surface of the globe only three types or
    divisions of mankind which seem to me to merit the title of
    distinct races: the white, more or less colored with red; the
    yellow, inclining to different tints of copper or bronze; and
    the black.--I share in the opinion which refers these three
    races to one and the same primitive stock, and which places
    their common cradle on the central plateau of Asia.”[138]

Buffon, the brilliant naturalist, whose work is one of the French
classics, thus records his judgment:--

    “All concurs to prove that the human race is not composed of
    species essentially different among themselves,--that, on
    the contrary, there was originally but a single species of
    men, who, in multiplying and spreading over all the surface
    of the globe, have undergone different changes through the
    influence of climate, difference of food, difference in the
    manner of living, epidemic maladies, and the infinitely varied
    intermixture of individuals more or less alike.”[139]

Another authority, avoiding the question of origin, has given a summary
full of instruction and beauty. I refer to Alexander von Humboldt,
the life-long companion of every science, to whom all science was
revealed,--who studied Man in both hemispheres, and ever afterwards,
throughout his long and glorious career, continued the pursuit.
Adopting the words of the great German anatomist, Johannes Müller,
that “the different races of mankind are forms of one sole species, by
the union of two individuals of which descendants are propagated,”[140]
and criticizing the popular classifications of Blumenbach and Prichard
as wanting “typical sharpness” or “well-established principle,” the
author of “Cosmos” insists that “the distribution of mankind is only
a distribution into _varieties_, which are commonly designated by
the somewhat indefinite term _races_,” and then announces the grand

    “Whilst we maintain the unity of the human species, we at the
    same time repel the depressing assumption of superior and
    inferior races of men. There are nations more susceptible of
    cultivation, more highly civilized, more ennobled by mental
    cultivation, than others, _but none in themselves nobler than

Such is the testimony of Science by one of its greatest masters.
Rarely have better words been uttered. Nor should it be said longer
that Science is silent. Humboldt has spoken. And what he said is much
in little,--most simple, but most comprehensive; for, while asserting
the Unity of the Human Family, he repels that disheartening pretension
of Caste which I insist shall find no place in our political system.
Through him Science is enlisted for the Equal Rights of All.

Whatever the judgment on the unity of origin, where, from the nature
of the case, there can be no final human testimony, it is a source of
infinite consolation that we can anchor to that other unity found in
a common organization, a common nature, and a common destiny, being
at once physical, moral, and prophetic. This is the true Unity of the
Human Family. In all essentials constituting Humanity, in all that
makes Man, all varieties of the human species are one and the same.
There is no real difference between them. The variance, whether of
complexion, configuration, or language, is external and superficial
only, like the dress we wear. Here all knowledge and every science
concur. Anatomy, physiology, psychology, history, the equal promises to
all men, testify. Look at Man on the dissecting table, and he is always
the same, no matter in what color he is clad,--same limbs, same bones,
same proportions, same structure, same upright stature. Look at Man in
the world, and you will find him in nature always the same,--modified
only by the civilization about him. There is no human being, black or
yellow, who may not apply to himself the language of Shakespeare’s

    “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions,
    senses, affections, passions?--fed with the same food, hurt
    with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed
    by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and
    summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
    you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not

Look at Man in his destiny here or hereafter, so far as it can be
penetrated by mortal vision, and who will venture to claim for any
variety or class exclusive prerogatives on earth or in heaven? Where is
this preposterous pretender? God has given to all the same longevity,
marking a common mortality,--the same cosmopolitan character, marking
citizenship everywhere,--and the same capacity for improvement,
marking that tendency sometimes called the perfectibility of the race;
and He has given to all alike the same promise of immortal life. By
these tokens is Man known everywhere to be Man, and by these tokens is
he everywhere entitled to the Rights of Man.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a lesson in the Dog,--is there not? Who does not admire that
fidelity which makes this animal ally and friend of man, following
him over the whole earth, in every climate, under all influences of
sky, cosmopolitan as himself, in prosperity and adversity always
true,--and then, by beautiful fable, transported to another world,
where the association of life is prolonged to man, while “his faithful
dog shall bear him company”?[143] The dog of Ulysses dying for joy at
his master’s return, when all Ithaca had forgotten the long-absent
lord, is not the only instance. But who has heard that this wonderful
instinct makes any discrimination of manhood? It is to Man that the dog
is faithful; nor does it matter of what condition, whether the child
of wealth or the rough shepherd tending his flocks; nor does it matter
of what complexion, whether Caucasian white, or Ethiopian black, or
Mongolian yellow. It is enough that the master is Man; and thus, even
through the instincts of a brute, does Nature testify to that Unity of
the Human Family by virtue of which all are alike in rights.

       *       *       *       *       *

Experts in Ethnology are earnest to recognize this other Unity on
which I now insist. Our own Agassiz, who is the most illustrious of
the masters not accepting the unity of origin, is careful to add,
“that the moral question of Brotherhood among men” is not affected by
this dissent; and he announces “that Unity is not only compatible with
diversity of origin, but that it is the universal law of Nature.”[144]
This other Unity found an eloquent representative in William von
Humboldt, not less eminent as philologist than his brother as
naturalist, who proclaims our Common Humanity to be the dominant idea
of history, more and more extending its empire, “striving to remove the
barriers which prejudice and limited views of every kind have erected
amongst men, and to treat all mankind, without reference to religion,
nation, or color, as one Fraternity, one great community”; and he
concludes by announcing “the recognition of the bond of Humanity” as
“one of the noblest leading principles in the history of mankind.”[145]
And these grand words are adopted by Alexander von Humboldt,[146] so
that the philologist and the naturalist unite in this cause. Thus in
every direction do we find new testimony against the pretension of

We are told that “a little learning is a dangerous thing.” If this be
ever true, it cannot be better illustrated than by that sciolism which
from the varieties of the human species would overthrow that sublime
Unity which is the first law of Creation. As well overthrow Creation
itself. There is no great intelligence which does not witness to this
law. Bacon, Newton, Leibnitz, Descartes all testify. Laplace, from
the heights of his knowledge, teaches that the curve described by a
simple particle of air or vapor is regulated by a law as certain as
the orbits of the planets; and is not Man the equal subject of certain
law? God rejoices in Unity. It is with Him a universal law, applicable
to all above and below, from the sun in the heavens to the soul of
man. Not one law for one group of stars, and one law for one group of
men,--but one law for all stars, and one law for all men. The saying of
Plato, that “God geometrizes,”[147] is only another expression for the
certainty and universality of this law. Aristotle follows Plato, when,
borrowing an illustration from the well-known requirements of the Greek
drama, he announces, that “in Nature nothing is unconnected or out of
place, as in a bad tragedy.”[148] But Caste is unconnected and out of
place. It is a perpetual discord, a prolonged jar,--contrary to the
first principle of the Universe.

Only when we consider the universality of the Moral Law can we
fully appreciate the grandeur of this Unity. The great philosopher
of Germany, Kant, declared that there were two things filling him
always with admiration,--the starry heavens above, and the moral law
within.[149] Well might the two be joined together; for in that moral
law, with a home in every bosom, is a vastness and beauty commensurate
with the Universe. Every human being carries a universe in himself; but
here, as in that other universe, is the same prevailing law of Unity,
in harmony with which the starry heavens move in their spheres and men
are constrained to the duties of life. The stars must obey; so must
men. This obedience brings the whole Human Family into harmony with
each other, and also with the Creator. And here, again, we behold the
grandeur of the system, while new harmonies unfold. Religion takes up
the lesson, and the daily prayer, “Our Father who art in Heaven,” is
the daily witness to the Brotherhood of Man. God is Universal Father;
then are we all brothers. If not all children of Adam, we are all
children of God,--if not all from the same father on earth, we are all
from the same Father in Heaven; and this affecting relationship, which
knows no distinction of race or color, is more vital and ennobling than
any monopoly. Here, once more, is that universal law which forbids
Caste, speaking not only with the voice of Science, but of Religion
also,--praying, pleading, protesting, in the name of a Common Father,
against such wrong and insult to our brother man. In beautiful harmony
are those words of promise, “I will make a _man_ more precious than
fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”[150] Against
this lofty recognition of a common humanity, how mean the pretension of

       *       *       *       *       *

Assuming this common humanity, it is difficult to see how reason
can resist the conclusion, that in the lapse of time there must
be a common, universal civilization, which every nation and every
people will share. None too low, none too inaccessible for its
kindred embrace. Amidst the differences which now exist, and in the
contemplation of nations and peoples infinitely various in condition,
with the barbarian still claiming an extensive empire, with the savage
still claiming a whole continent and islands of the sea, I cannot
doubt the certain triumph of this great law. Believing in God, I
believe also in Man, through whose God-given energies all this will be
accomplished. Was he not told at the beginning, with the blessing of
God upon him, “_Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,
and subdue it_”? All of which I am sure will be done. Why this common
humanity, why this common brotherhood, if the inheritance is for
Brahmins only? Why the injunction to multiply and subdue the earth,
if there are to be Sudras and Pariahs always? Why this sublime law of
Unity, holding the universe in its grasp, if Man alone is left beyond
its reach?

I have already founded the Unity of the Human Family partly on the
common destiny, and I now insist that this common destiny is attested
by the unquestionable Unity of the Human Family. They are parts of
one system, complements of each other. Why this unity, if there be no
common destiny? How this common destiny, if there be no unity? Assuming
the unity, then is the common destiny a necessary consequence, under
the law appointed for man.

The skeptic is disturbed, because thus far in our brief chronology this
common civilization has not been developed; but to my mind it is plain
that much has been done, making the rest certain, through the same
incessant influences, under the great law of Human Progress.

That European civilization which has already pushed its conquests in
every quarter of the globe is a lesson to mankind. Beginning with small
communities, it has proceeded stage by stage, extending to larger,
until it embraced nations and distant places,--and now stamps itself
ineffaceably upon increasing multitudes, making them, under God,
pioneers in the grand march of Humanity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Europe had her dark ages when there was a night with “darkness
visible,” and there was an earlier period in the history of each nation
when Man was not less savage than now in the very heart of Africa; but
the European has emerged, and at last stands in a world of light. Take
any of the nations whose development belongs to modern times, and the
original degradation can be exhibited in authentic colors. There is
England, whose present civilization is in many respects so finished;
but when the conquering Cæsar, only fifty-five years before the birth
of Christ, landed on this unknown island, her people were painted
savages, with a cruel religion, and a conjugal system which was an
incestuous concubinage.[151] His authentic report places this condition
beyond question; and thus knowing her original degradation and her
present transformation after eighteen centuries, we have the terms
for a question in the Rule of Three. Given the original degradation
and present transformation of England, how long will it take for the
degradation of other lands to experience a similar transformation?
Add also present agencies of civilization, to which England was for
centuries a stranger.

This instance is so important as to justify details. When Britain
was first revealed to the commercial enterprise of Tyre, her people,
according to Macaulay, “were little superior to the natives of
the Sandwich Islands.”[152] The historian must mean, when those
islands were first discovered by Captain Cook. Prichard, our best
authority, supposes them “nearly on a level with the New-Zealanders
or Tahitians of the present day, or perhaps not very superior to the
Australians,”[153] which is very low indeed. There was but little
change, if any, when they became known to the Romans. They are
pictured as large and tall, excelling the Gauls in stature, but less
robust, and, according to the geographer Strabo, with crooked legs
and unshapely figures.[154] Northward were the Caledonians,--also
Britons,--tattooing their bodies, dwelling in tents, savage in
manners, and with a moral degradation kindred to that of the Southern
Britons.[155] Across the Channel were the Irish, whose reported
condition was even more terrible.[156] According to Cæsar, most in
the interior of Britain never sowed corn, but lived on milk and
flesh, and were clad in skins; but he notes that all colored their
bodies with a cerulean dye, “making them more horrid to the sight
in battle”; and he then relates, that societies of ten or twelve,
brothers and brothers, parents and children, had wives in common.[157]
Their religious observances were such as became this savage life.
Here was the sanctuary of the Druids, whose absolute and peculiar
power was sustained by inhuman rites. On rude, but terrible altars,
in the gloom of the forest, human victims were sacrificed,--while
from the blood, as it coursed under the knife of the priest, there
was a divination of future events.[158] There was no industry, and
no production, except slaves too illiterate for the Roman market.
Imagination pictured strange things. One province was reported where
“the ground was covered with serpents, and the air was such that no man
could inhale it and live.”[159] In the polite circles of the Empire the
whole region excited a fearful horror, which has been aptly likened to
that of the early Ionians for “the Straits of Scylla and the city of
the Læstrygonian cannibals.”[160] The historian records with a sigh,
that “no magnificent remains of Latian porches and aqueducts are to be
found” here,--that “no writer of British birth is reckoned among the
masters of Latian poetry and eloquence.”[161]

And this was England at the beginning. Long afterwards, when centuries
had intervened, the savage was improved into the barbarian. But from
one authentic instance learn the rest. The trade in slaves was active,
and English peddlers bought up children throughout the country, while
the people, greedy of the price, sold their own relations, sometimes
their own offspring.[162] In similar barbarism, all Jews and their
gains were the absolute property of the king; and this law, beginning
with Edward the Confessor, was enforced under successive monarchs, one
of them making a mortgage of all Jews to his brother as security for a
debt.[163] Nothing worse is now said of Africa.

Progress was slow. When in 1435 the Italian Æneas Sylvius,
afterwards Pope Pius the Second, visited this island, it was to
his eyes most forlorn. Houses in cities were in large part built
without lime. Cottages had no other door than a bull-hide. Food was
coarse,--sometimes, in place of bread, the bark of trees; and white
bread was such a rarity among the people as to be a curiosity.[164]
When afterwards, under Henry the Eighth, civilization had begun, the
condition of the people was deplorable. There was no such thing among
them as comfort, while plague and sweating-sickness prevailed. The
learned and ingenious Erasmus, who was an honored guest in England at
this time, refers much to the filthiness of the houses. The floors he
describes as commonly of clay strewn with rushes, in the renewal of
which those at the bottom sometimes remained undisturbed for twenty
years, retaining filth unmentionable,--“_sputa, vomitus, mictum canum
et hominum, projectam cervisiam et piscium reliquias, aliasque sordes
non nominandas_.”[165] I quote the words of this eminent observer. The
traveller from the interior of Africa would hardly make a worse report.

Such was England. But this story of savagery and barbarism is not
peculiar to that country. I might take other countries, one by one, and
exhibit the original degradation and the present elevation. I might
take France. I content myself with one instance only. An authentic
incident of French history, recorded by a contemporary witness, and
associated with famous names in the last century, shows the little
recognition at that time of a common humanity. And this story concerns
a lady, remarkable among her sex for various talent, and especially
as a mathematician, and the French translator of Newton,--Madame
Duchâtelet. This great lady, the friend of Voltaire, found no
difficulty in undressing before the men-servants of her household, not
considering it well-proved that such persons were of the Human Family.
This curious revelation of manners, which arrested the attention of
De Tocqueville in his remarkable studies on the origin of the French
Revolution,[166] if reported from Africa, would be recognized as
marking a most perverse barbarism.

       *       *       *       *       *

These are illustrations only, which might be multiplied and extended
indefinitely, but they are sufficient. Here, within a limited sphere,
obvious to all, is the operation of that law which governs Universal
Man. Progress here prefigures progress everywhere; nay, progress here
is the first stage in the world’s progress. Nobody doubts the progress
of England; nobody doubts the progress of France; nobody doubts the
progress of the European Family, wherever distributed, in all quarters
of the globe. But must not the same law under which these have been
elevated exert its equal influence on the whole Family of Man? Is it
not with people as with individuals? Some arrive early, others tardily.
Who has not observed, that, independently of original endowment, the
progress of the individual depends upon the influences about him?
Surrounded by opportunity and trained with care, he grows into the type
of Civilized Man; but, on the other hand, shut out from opportunity and
neglected by the world, he remains stationary, always a man, entitled
from his manhood to Equal Rights, but an example of inferiority, if
not of degradation. Unquestionably it is the same with a people. Here,
again, opportunity and a training hand are needed.

To the inquiry, How is this destiny to be accomplished? I answer,
Simply by recognizing the law of Unity, and acting accordingly. The law
is plain; obey it. Let each people obey the law at home; its extension
abroad will follow. The standard at home will become the standard
everywhere. The harmony at home will become the harmony of mankind.
Drive Caste from this Republic, and it will be, like Cain, “a fugitive
and a vagabond in the earth.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Therefore do I now plead for our Common Humanity in all lands.
Especially do I plead for the African, not only among us, but in his
own vast, mysterious home, where for unknown centuries he has been the
prey of the spoiler. He may be barbarous, perhaps savage; but so have
others been, who are now in the full enjoyment of civilization. If you
are above him in any respect, then by your superiority are you bound to
be his helper. Where much is given much is required; and this is the
law for a nation, as for an individual.

The unhappy condition of Africa, a stranger to civilization, is often
invoked against a Common Humanity. Here again is that sciolism which
is the inseparable ally of every ignoble pretension. It is easy to
explain this condition without yielding to a theory inconsistent with
God’s Providence. The key is found in her geographical character,
affording few facilities for intercommunication abroad or at home.
Ocean and river are the natural allies of civilization, as England will
attest; for such was their early influence, that Cæsar, on landing,
remarked the superior condition of the people on the coast.[167]
Europe, indented by seas on the south and north, and penetrated
by considerable rivers, will attest also. The great geographer,
Carl Ritter, who has placed the whole globe in the illumination of
geographical science, shows that the relation of interior spaces to the
extent of coast has a measurable influence on civilization: and here is
the secret of Africa. While all Asia is five times as large as Europe,
and Africa more than three times as large, the littoral margins have a
different proportion. Asia has 30,800 miles of coast; Europe 17,200;
and Africa only 14,000. For every 156 square miles of the European
continent there is one mile of coast, while in Africa one mile of coast
corresponds to 623 square miles of continent. The relative extension of
coast in Europe is four times greater than in Africa. Asia is in the
middle between the two extremes, having for every 459 square miles one
mile of coast; and so also is Asia between the two in civilization.
There is still another difference, with corresponding advantage to
Europe. One third part of Europe is in the nature of ramification from
the mass, furnishing additional opportunities; whereas Africa is a
solid, impenetrable continent, without ramifications, without opening
gulfs or navigable rivers, except the Nile, which once witnessed the
famous Egyptian civilization.[168] And now, in addition to all these
opportunities by water, Europe has others not less important from a
reticulation of railways, bringing all parts together, while Africa is
without these new-born civilizers. All these things are apparent and
beyond question; nor can their influence be doubted. And thus is the
condition of Africa explained without an insult to her people or any
new apology for Caste.

The attempt to disparage the African as inferior to other men, except
in present condition, shows that same ever-present sciolism. Does
Humboldt repel the assumption of superiority, and beautifully insist
that no people are “in themselves nobler than others”?[169] Then all
are men, all are brothers, of the same Human Family, with superficial
and transitional differences only. Plainly, no differences can make
one color superior to another. And looking carefully at the African,
in the seclusion and isolation of his native home, we see sufficient
reason for that condition which is the chief argument against him.
It is doubtful if any people has become civilized without extraneous
help. Britain was savage when Roman civilization intervened; so was
Gaul. Cadmus brought letters to Greece; and what is the story of
Prometheus, who stole fire from Heaven, but an illustration of this
law? The African has not stolen fire; no Cadmus has brought letters
to him; no Roman civilization has been extended over his continent.
Meanwhile left to savage life, he has been a perpetual victim, hunted
down at home to feed the bloody maw of Slavery, and then transported
to another hemisphere, always a slave. In such condition Nature has
had small opportunity for development. No kindly influences have
surrounded his home; no voice of encouragement has cheered his path;
no prospect of trust or honor has awakened his ambition. His life has
been a Dead Sea, where apples of Sodom floated. And yet his story is
not without passages which quicken admiration and give assurance for
the Future,--at times melting to tenderness, and at times inspiring
to rage, that these children of God, with so much of His best gifts,
should be so wronged by their brother man.

The ancient poet tells us that there were heroes before
Agamemnon,[170]--that is, before the poet came to praise. Who knows
the heroes of those vast unvisited recesses where there is no history
and only short-lived tradition? But among those transported to this
hemisphere heroes have not been wanting. Nowhere in history was the
heroical character more conspicuous than in our fugitive slaves. Their
story, transferred to Greece or Rome, would be a much-admired chapter,
from which youth would derive new passion for Liberty. The story of the
African in our late war would be another chapter, awakening kindred
emotion. But it is in a slave of the West Indies, whose parents were
stolen from Africa, that we find an example of genius and wisdom,
courage and character, with all the elements of general and ruler.
The name borne by this remarkable person as slave was Toussaint, but
his success in forcing an _opening_ everywhere secured for him the
addition of “l’Ouverture,” making his name Toussaint l’Ouverture,
Toussaint _the Opening_, by which he takes his place in history. He was
opener for his people, whom he advanced from Slavery to Freedom, and
then sank under the power of Napoleon, who sent an army and fleet to
subdue him.[171] More than Agamemnon, or any chief before Troy,--more
than Spartacus, the renowned leader of the servile insurrection which
made Rome tremble,--he was a hero, endowed with a higher nature and
better faculties; but he was an African, jet black in complexion. The
height that he reached is the measure of his people. Call it high-water
mark, if you will; but this is the true line for judgment, and not the
low-water mark of Slavery, which is always adopted by the apologists
for Caste. Toussaint l’Ouverture is the actual standard by which the
African must be judged.

When studied where he is chiefly seen,--not in the affairs of
government, but in daily life,--the African awakens attachment and
respect. The will of Mr. Upshur, Secretary of State under President
Tyler, describes a typical character. Here are the remarkable words:--

     “I emancipate and set free my servant, David Rich, and direct
    my executors to give him _one hundred dollars_. I recommend
    him, in the strongest manner, to the respect, esteem, and
    confidence of any community in which he may happen to live.
    He has been my slave for twenty-four years, during which time
    he has been trusted to every extent, and in every respect.
    My confidence in him has been unbounded; his relation to
    myself and family has always been such as to afford him daily
    opportunities to deceive and injure us, and yet he has never
    been detected in a serious fault, nor even in an intentional
    breach of the decorums of his station. His intelligence is
    of a high order, his integrity above all suspicion, and his
    sense of right and propriety always correct and even delicate
    and refined. I feel that he is justly entitled to carry this
    certificate from me into the new relations which he now must
    form. It is due to his long and most faithful services, and
    to the sincere and steady friendship which I bear him. In the
    uninterrupted and confidential intercourse of twenty-four
    years, I have never given, nor had occasion to give him, an
    unpleasant word. I know no man who has fewer faults or more
    excellences than he.”[172]

The man thus portrayed was an African, whose only school was Slavery.
Here again is the standard of this people.

Nor is there failure in loftiness of character. With heroism more
beautiful than that of Mutius Scævola, a slave in Louisiana, as long
ago as 1753, being compelled to be executioner, cut off his right
hand with an axe, that he might avoid taking the life of his brother

The apologist for Caste will be astonished to know, but it is none the
less true, that the capacity of the African in scholarship and science
is better attested than that of anybody claiming to be his master.
What modern slave-master has taught the Latin like Juan Latino at
Seville, in Spain,--written it like Capitein at the Hague, or Williams
at Jamaica,--gained academic honors like those accorded to Amo by
the University of Wittenberg? What modern slave-master has equalled
in science Banneker of Maryland, who, in his admirable letter to
Jefferson, avows himself “of the African race, and in that color which
is natural to them, of the deepest dye”?[174] These instances are all
from the admirable work of the good Bishop Grégoire, “De la Littérature
des Nègres.”[175] Recent experience attests the singular aptitude of
the African for knowledge, and his delight in its acquisition. Nor is
there any doubt of his delight in doing good. The beneficent system
of Sunday Schools in New York is traced to an African woman, who
first attempted this work, and her school was for all alike, without
distinction of color.[176]

To the unquestionable capacity of the African must be added simplicity,
amenity, good-nature, generosity, fidelity. Mahometans, who know
him well, recognize his superior fidelity. And such also is the
report of travellers not besotted by Slavery, from Mungo Park to
Livingstone, who testify also to tenderness for parents, respect for
the aged, hospitality, and patriarchal virtues reviving the traditions
of primitive life. “Strike me, but do not curse my mother,” said
an African slave to his master.[177] And Leo Africanus, the early
traveller, describes a chief at Timbuctoo, “very black in complexion,
but most fair in mind and disposition.”[178] Others dwell on his
Christian character, and especially his susceptibility to those
influences which are peculiarly Christian,--so that Saint Bernard could
say of him, “_Felix Nigredo, quæ mentis candorem parit_.”[179] Of all
people he is the mildest and most sympathetic. Hate is a plant of
difficult growth in his bosom. How often has he returned the harshness
of his master with care and protection! The African, more than the
European, is formed by Nature for the Christian graces.

It is easy to picture another age, when the virtues which ennoble
the African will return to bless the people who now discredit him,
and Christianity will receive a new development. In the Providence
of God the more precocious and harder nature of the North is called
to make the first advance. Civilization begins through knowledge. An
active intelligence performs the part of opening the way. But it may
be according to the same Providence, that the gentler people, elevated
in knowledge, will teach their teachers what knowledge alone cannot
impart, and the African shall more than repay all that he receives.
The pioneer intelligence of Europe going to blend with the gentleness
of Africa will be a blessed sight, but not more blessed than the
gentleness of Africa returning to blend with that same intelligence at
home. Under such combined influences men will not only know and do, but
they will feel also; so that knowledge in all its departments, and life
in all its activities, will have the triumphant inspiration of Human

       *       *       *       *       *

In this work there is no room for prejudice, timidity, or despair.
Reason, courage, and hope are our allies, while the bountiful
agencies of Civilization open the way. Time and space, ancient tyrants
keeping people apart, are now overcome. There is nothing of aspiration
for Universal Man which is not within the reach of well-directed
effort,--no matter in what unknown recess of continent, no matter on
what distant island of the sea. Wherever Man exists, there are the
capacities of manhood, with that greatest of all, the capacity for
improvement; and the civilization we have reached supplies the means.

As in determining the function of Government, so here again is the
necessity of knowledge. Man must know himself, and that law of Unity
appointed for the Human Family. Such is the true light for our steps.
Here are guidance and safety. Who can measure the value of knowledge?
What imagination can grasp its infinite power? As well measure the sun
in its glory. The friendly lamp in our streets is more than the police.
Light in the world is more than armies or navies. Where its rays
penetrate, there has civilization begun. Not the earth, but the sun, is
the centre of our system; and the noon-day effulgence in which we live
and move symbolizes that other effulgence which is found in knowledge.

Great powers are at hand, ministers of human progress. I name
two only: first, the printing-press; and, secondly, the means of
intercommunication, whether by navigation or railways, represented
by the steam-engine. By these civilization is extended and secured.
It is not only carried forward, but fixed so that there can be no
return,--like the wheel of an Alpine railway, which cannot fall back.
Every rotation is a sure advance. Here is what Greece and Rome never
knew, and more than Greece and Rome have contributed to man. By the
side of these two simple agencies how small all that has come to us
from these two politest nations of Antiquity! We can better spare
Greece and Rome than the printing-press and steam-engine. Not a triumph
in literature, art, or jurisprudence, from the story of Homer and the
odes of Horace to the statue of Apollo and the bust of Augustus, from
the eloquence of Demosthenes and Cicero to that Roman Law which has
become the law of the world, that must not yield in value to these
two immeasurable possessions. To the printing-press and steam-engine
add now their youthful handmaid, the electric telegraph, whose swift
and delicate fingers weave the thread by which nations are brought
into instant communion, while great cities, like London and Paris, New
York and San Francisco, become suburbs to each other, and all mankind
feel together the throb of joy or sorrow. Through these incomparable
agencies is knowledge made coextensive with space and time on earth. No
distance of place or epoch it will not pervade. Thus every achievement
in thought or science, every discovery by which Man is elevated,
becomes the common property of the whole Human Family. There can be
no monopoly. Sooner or later all enjoy the triumph. Standing on the
shoulders of the Past, Man stands also on the shoulders of every
science discovered, every art advanced, every truth declared. There is
no height of culture or of virtue--if virtue itself be not the highest
culture--which may not be reached. There is no excellence of government
or society which may not be grasped. Where is the stopping-place?
Where the goal? One obstacle is overcome only to find another, which
is overcome, and then another also, in the ascending scale of human

And then shall be fulfilled the great words of prophecy, which men have
read so long with hope darkened by despair: “The earth shall be full
of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”; “it shall
come that I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come
and see my glory.”[180] The promises of Christianity, in harmony with
the promises of Science, and more beautiful still, will become the
realities of earth; and that precious example wherein is the way of
life will be another noon-day sun for guidance and safety.

       *       *       *       *       *

The question _How?_ is followed by that other question _When?_ The
answer is easy. Not at once; not by any sudden conquest; not in
the lifetime of any individual man; not in any way which does not
recognize Nature as co-worker. It is by constant, incessant, unceasing
activity in conformity with law that Nature works; and so in these
world-subduing operations Man can be successful only in harmony with
Nature. Because in our brief pilgrimage we are not permitted to witness
the transcendent glory, it is none the less certain. The peaceful
conquest will proceed, and every day must contribute its fruits.

At the beginning of the last century Russia was a barbarous country,
shut out from opportunities of improvement. Authentic report attests
its condition. Through contact with Europe it was vitalized. The
life-giving principle circulated, and this vast empire felt the change.
Exposed to European contact at one point only, here the influence
began; but the native energies of the people, under the guidance of a
powerful ruler, responded to this influence, and Russia came within the
widening circle of European civilization. Why may not this experience
be repeated elsewhere, and distant places feel the same beneficent

To help in this work it is not necessary to be emperor or king.
Everybody can do something, for to everybody is given something to do;
and it is by this accumulation of activities, by this succession of
atoms, that the result is accomplished. I use trivial illustrations,
when I remind you that the coral-reef on which navies are wrecked
is the work of the multitudinous insect,--that the unyielding stone
is worn away by drops; but this is the law of Nature, under which
no influence is lost. Water and air both testify to the slightest
movement. Not a ripple stirred by the passing breeze or by the
freighted ship cleaving the sea, which is not prolonged to a thousand
shores, leaving behind an endless progeny, so long as ocean endures.
Not a wave of air set in motion by the human voice, which is not
prolonged likewise into unknown space. But these watery and aërial
pulses typify the acts of Man. Not a thing done, not a word said,
which does not help or hinder the grand, the beautiful, the holy
consummation. And the influence is in proportion to the individual or
nation from whom it proceeds. God forbid that our nation should send
through all time that defiance of human nature which is found in Caste!

There are two passages of the New Testament which are to me of infinite
significance. We read them often, perhaps, without comprehending their
value. The first is with regard to leaven, when the Saviour said,
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven”;[181] and then Saint Paul,
taking up the image, on two different occasions, repeats, “A little
leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”[182] In this homely illustration we
see what is accomplished by a small influence. A little changes all.
Here again are the acts of Man typified. All that we do is leaven; all
that our country does is leaven. Everybody in his sphere contributes
leaven, and helps his country to contribute that mighty leaven which
will leaven the whole mighty lump. The other passage--difficult to
childhood, though afterwards recognized as a faithful record of human
experience--is where we are told, “For whosoever hath, to him shall
be given, and he shall have more abundance.”[183] Here to me is a
new incentive to duty. Because the world inclines to those who have,
therefore must we study to serve those who have not, that we may
counteract the worldly tendency. Give to the poor and lowly, give to
the outcast, give to those degraded by their fellow-men, that they may
be elevated in the scale of Humanity,--assured that what we give is not
only valuable in itself, but the beginning of other acquisitions,--that
the knowledge we convey makes other knowledge easy,--that the right we
recognize helps to secure all the Rights of Man. Give to the African
only his due, and straightway the promised abundance will follow.

       *       *       *       *       *

In leaving this question, which I have opened to you so imperfectly, I
am impressed anew with its grandeur. The best interests of our country
and the best interests of mankind are involved in the answer. Let
Caste prevail, and Civilization is thwarted. Let Caste be trampled
out, and there will be a triumph which will make this Republic more
than ever an example. The good influence will extend in prolonged
pulsations, reaching the most distant shores. Not a land which will
not feel the spread, just in proportion to its necessities. Above all,
Africa will feel it; and the surpassing duty which Civilization owes to
this whole continent, where man has so long degraded his fellow-man,
will begin to be discharged, while the voice of the Great Shepherd is
heard among its people.

In the large interests beyond, I would not lose sight of the practical
interests at home. It is important for our domestic peace, not to speak
of our good name as a Republic, that this question should be settled.
Long enough has its shadow rested upon us, and now it lowers from an
opposite quarter. How often have I said in other places that nothing
can be settled which is not right! And now I say that there can be no
settlement here except in harmony with our declared principles and with
universal truth. To this end Caste must be forbidden. “Haply for I am
black,” said Othello; “Haply for I am yellow,” repeats the Chinese: all
of which may be ground for personal like or dislike, but not for any
denial of rights, or any exclusion from that equal copartnership which
is the promise of the Republic to all men.

Here, as always, the highest safety is in doing right. Justice is ever
practical, ever politic; it is the best practice, the best policy.
Whatever reason shows to be just cannot, when reduced to practice,
produce other than good. And now I simply ask you to be just. To
those who find peril in the growing multitudes admitted to citizenship
I reply, that our Republic assumed these responsibilities when it
declared the equal rights of all men, and that just government stands
only on the consent of the governed. Hospitality of citizenship is
the law of its being. This is its great first principle; this is the
talisman of its empire. Would you conquer Nature, follow Nature; and
here, would you conquer physical diversities, follow that moral law
declared by our fathers, which is the highest law of Nature, and
supreme above all men. Welcome, then, to the stranger hurrying from
opposite shores, across two great oceans,--from the East, from the
West,--with the sun, against the sun! Here he cannot be stranger.
If the Chinese come for labor only, we have the advantage of their
wonderful and docile industry. If they come for citizenship, then do
they offer the pledge of incorporation in our Republic, filling it
with increase. Nor is there peril in the gifts they bring. As all
rivers are lost in the sea, which shows no sign of their presence, so
will all peoples be lost in the widening confines of our Republic,
with an ocean-bound continent for its unparalleled expanse, and one
harmonious citizenship, where all are equal in rights, for its gentle
and impartial sway.



    The bill having been read twice by its title, Mr. Sumner said:--

At the proper time I shall ask the reference of this bill to the
Committee on Finance; and if I can have the attention of my honorable
friend, the Chairman of that Committee [Mr. SHERMAN], I should like
now, as I have ventured to introduce the bill, to specify for his
consideration seven different reasons in favor of it. It will take me
only one minute.

    MR. SHERMAN. I should like to have the bill read, if the
    Senator has no objection.

       *       *       *       *       *

    The Secretary accordingly read the bill in full, as follows:--

        _Be it enacted, &c._, That so much of the Banking Act
        as limits the issue of bills to $300,000,000 is hereby
        repealed, and existing banks may be enlarged and new banks
        may be organized at the discretion of the Secretary of the
        Treasury; but no more bills than are now authorized by the
        Banking Act shall hereafter be issued, unless the Secretary
        of the Treasury, at the time of their issue, can and does
        cancel and destroy a like amount of legal-tenders; and the
        increase of bank-bills hereby authorized shall not exceed
        $50,000,000 a year, which amount shall be so distributed by
        the Secretary of the Treasury as to equalize, as near as
        possible, the banking interest of the different States.

MR. SUMNER. Now, Mr. President, I wish at this moment merely to
indicate the reasons in favor of that proposition.

1. It will create a demand for national bonds, and to this extent
fortify the national credit.

2. It will tend to satisfy those parts of the country, especially at
the South and West, where currency and banks are wanting, and thus
arrest a difficult question.

3. It will not expand or contract the currency; so that the opposite
parties on these questions may support it.

4. Under it the banks will gradually strengthen themselves and prepare
to resume specie payments.

5. It will give the South and West the opportunity to organize banks,
and will interest those parts of the country to this extent in the
national securities and the national banking system, by which both will
be strengthened.

6. It will within a reasonable time relieve the country of the whole
greenback system, and thus dispose of an important question.

7. It will hasten the return to specie payments.

Now I believe every one of these reasons is valid, and I commend them
to my excellent friend from Ohio.

    The bill was then laid on the table, and ordered to be printed.


DECEMBER 9, 1869.

I offer the following resolution, and ask for its immediate

    _Resolved_, That the Committee on the District of Columbia be
    directed to consider the expediency of repealing the charter of
    the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, and of such
    other legislation as may be necessary in order to secure for
    medical practitioners in the District of Columbia equal rights
    and opportunities without distinction of color.

I hope there can be no objection to this proposition, which has become
necessary from a recent incident. A medical practitioner in Washington,
Dr. Augusta, who had served as a surgeon in the Army of the United
States and was brevetted as a Lieutenant-Colonel, who had enjoyed
office and honor under the National Government, has been excluded from
the Medical Society of the District of Columbia on that old reason
so often and persistently urged, merely of color. It is true that
Dr. Augusta is guilty of a skin which is a shade different from that
prevailing in the Medical Society, but nobody can impeach his character
or his professional position. Dr. Purvis, another practitioner,
obnoxious only from the skin, was excluded at the same time. There is
no doubt that this was accomplished by an organized effort, quickened
by color-phobia.

This exclusion, besides its stigma on a race, is a practical injury
to these gentlemen, and to their patients also, who are thus shut out
from valuable opportunities and advantages. By a rule of the Medical
Society, “No member of this association shall consult with or meet in a
professional way any resident practitioner of the District who is not a
member thereof, after said practitioner shall have resided six months
in said District.” Thus do members of the Society constitute themselves
a medical oligarchy. When asked to consult with Dr. Augusta, some of
them have replied: “We would like to consult with Dr. Augusta; we
believe him to be a good doctor; but he does not belong to our Society,
and therefore we must decline; but we will take charge of the case”:
and this has been sometimes done. Is not this a hardship? Should it be
allowed to exist?

Details illustrate still further the character of this wrong. These
colored practitioners are licensed, like members of the Society; but
this license does not give them the privilege of attending the meetings
of the Society, where medical and surgical subjects are discussed, and
where peculiar and interesting cases with their appropriate treatment
are communicated for the benefit of the profession; so that they are
shut out from this interesting source of information, which is like a
constant education, and also from the opportunity of submitting the
cases in their own practice.

I confess, Sir, that I cannot think of the medical profession at the
National Capital engaged in this warfare on their colored brethren
without sentiments which it is difficult to restrain. Their conduct,
in its direct effect, degrades a long-suffering and deeply injured
race; but it also degrades themselves. Nobody can do such a meanness
without degradation. In my opinion these white oligarchs ought to
have notice, and I give them notice now, that this outrage shall not
be allowed to continue without remedy, if I can obtain it through
Congress. The time has passed for any such pretension.

I hope, Sir, there can be no objection to the resolution. It ought to
pass unanimously. Who will array himself on the side of this wrong?

    The resolution was agreed to, and the Committee proceeded to a
    full investigation, of which they made extended report,[184]
    accompanied by a bill for the repeal of the Society’s charter;
    but adverse influence, continued through two sessions to the
    expiration of the Congress, succeeded in preventing action.



MR. PRESIDENT,--A seat in this Chamber is vacant. But this is a very
inadequate expression for the present occasion. Much more than a
seat is vacant. There is a void difficult to measure, as it will be
difficult to fill. Always eminent from the beginning, Mr. Fessenden
during these latter years became so large a part of the Senate that
without him it seems to be a different body. His guiding judgment, his
ready power, his presence so conspicuous in debate, are gone, taking
away from this Chamber that identity which it received so considerably
from him.

Of all the present Senate, one only besides myself witnessed his entry
into this Chamber. I cannot forget it. He came in the midst of that
terrible debate on the Kansas and Nebraska Bill by which the country
was convulsed to its centre, and his arrival had the effect of a
reinforcement on a field of battle. Those who stood for Freedom then
were few in numbers,--not more than fourteen,--while thirty-seven
Senators in solid column voted to break the faith originally plighted
to Freedom, and to overturn a time-honored landmark, opening that vast
Mesopotamian region to the curse of Slavery. Those anxious days are
with difficulty comprehended by a Senate where Freedom rules. One
more in our small number was a sensible addition. We were no longer
fourteen, but fifteen. His reputation at the bar and his fame in the
other House gave assurance which was promptly sustained. He did not
wait, but at once entered into the debate with all those resources
which afterwards became so famous. The scene that ensued exhibited
his readiness and courage. While saying that the people of the North
were fatigued with the threat of Disunion, that they considered it as
“mere noise and nothing else,” he was interrupted by Mr. Butler, of
South Carolina, always ready to speak for Slavery, exclaiming, “If
such sentiments as yours prevail, I want a dissolution right away,”--a
characteristic intrusion doubly out of order,--to which the new-comer
rejoined, “Do not delay it on my account; do not delay it on account
of anybody at the North.” The effect was electric; but this instance
was not alone. Douglas, Cass, and Butler interrupted only to be worsted
by one who had just ridden into the lists. The feelings of the other
side were expressed by the Senator from South Carolina, who, after
one of the flashes of debate which he had provoked, exclaimed: “Very
well, go on; I have no hope for you.” All this will be found in the
“Globe,”[185] precisely as I give it; but the “Globe” could not picture
the exciting scene,--the Senator from Maine erect, firm, immovable as
a jutting promontory against which the waves of Ocean tossed and broke
in dissolving spray. There he stood. Not a Senator, loving Freedom, who
did not feel on that day that a champion had come.

This scene, so brilliant in character, illustrates Mr. Fessenden’s
long career in the Senate. All present were moved, while those at a
distance were less affected. His speech, which was argumentative,
direct, and pungent, exerted more influence on those who heard it than
on those who only read it, vindicating his place as debater rather than
orator. This place he held to the end, without a superior,--without a
peer. Nobody could match him in immediate and incisive reply. His words
were swift, and sharp as a cimeter,--or, borrowing an illustration
from an opposite quarter, he “shot flying” and with unerring aim. But
while this great talent secured for him always the first honors of
debate, it was less important with the country, which, except in rare
instances, is more impressed by ideas and by those forms in which truth
is manifest.

The Senate has changed much from its original character, when, shortly
after the formation of the National Government, a Nova Scotia paper,
in a passage copied by one of our own journals, while declaring that
“the habits of the people here are very favorable to oratory,” could
say, “There is but one assembly in the whole range of the Federal
Union in which eloquence is deemed unnecessary, and, I believe, even
absurd and obtrusive,--to wit, the Senate, or upper house of Congress.
They are merely a deliberative meeting, in which every man delivers
his concise opinion, one leg over the other, as they did in the first
Congress, where an harangue was a great rarity.”[186] Speech was
then for business and immediate effect in the Chamber. Since then
the transformation has proceeded, speech becoming constantly more
important, until now, without neglect of business, the Senate has
become a centre from which to address the country. A seat here is a
lofty pulpit with a mighty sounding-board, and the whole wide-spread
people is the congregation.

As Mr. Fessenden rarely spoke except for business, what he said was
restricted in its influence, but it was most effective in this Chamber.
Here was his empire, and his undisputed throne. Of perfect integrity
and austerest virtue, he was inaccessible to those temptations which
in various forms beset the avenues of public life. Most faithfully and
constantly did he watch the interests intrusted to him. Here he was
a model. Holding the position of Chairman of the Finance Committee,
while it yet had those double duties which are now divided between
two important committees, he became the guardian of the National
Treasury, both in its receipts and its expenditures, so that nothing
was added to it or taken from it without his knowledge; and how truly
he discharged this immense trust all will attest. Nothing could leave
the Treasury without showing a passport. This service was the more
momentous from the magnitude of the transactions involved; for it was
during the whole period of the war, when appropriations responded to
loans and taxes,--all being on a scale beyond precedent in the world’s
history. On these questions, sometimes so sensitive and difficult and
always so grave, his influence was beyond that of any other Senator and
constantly swayed the Senate. All that our best generals were in arms
he was in the financial field.

Absorbed in his great duties, and confined too much by the training of
a profession which too often makes its follower slave where he is not
master, he forgot sometimes that championship which shone so brightly
when he first entered the Senate. Ill-health came with its disturbing
influence, and, without any of the nature of Hamlet, his conduct at
times suggested those words by which Hamlet pictures the short-comings
of life. Too often, in his case, “the native hue of resolution was
sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought”; and perhaps I might
follow the words of Shakespeare further, and picture “enterprises of
great pith and moment,” which, “with this regard, their currents turned
awry and lost the name of action.”

Men are tempted by the talent which they possess; and he could
not resist the impulse to employ, sometimes out of place, those
extraordinary powers which he commanded so easily. More penetrating
than grasping, he easily pierced the argument of his opponent, and,
once engaged, he yielded to the excitement of the moment and the joy
of conflict. His words warmed, as the Olympic wheel caught fire in the
swiftness of the race. If on these occasions there were sparkles which
fell where they should not have fallen, they cannot be remembered now.
Were he still among us, face to face, it were better to say, in the
words of that earliest recorded reconciliation,--

           “Let us no more contend nor blame
    Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive
    In offices of love how we may lighten
    Each other’s burden in our share of woe.”[187]

Error and frailty checker the life of man. If this were not so, earth
would be heaven; for what could add to the happiness of life free
from error and frailty? The Senator we mourn was human; but the error
and frailty which belonged to him often took their color from virtue
itself. On these he needs no silence, even if the grave which is now
closing over him did not refuse its echoes except to what is good.



    Mr. Carpenter, of Wisconsin, having moved to proceed to the
    consideration of a resolution previously introduced by him,
    setting forth,--

        “That in the opinion of the Senate the thirty gun-boats
        purchased or contracted for in the United States by or on
        behalf of the Government of Spain, to be employed against
        the revolted district of Cuba, should not be allowed to
        depart from the United States during the continuance of
        that rebellion,”--

    Mr. Sumner said:--

I shall interpose no objection to that; but I feel it my duty to
suggest that it does seem to me that a discussion of that question is
premature, and for this reason: there is no information with regard to
those gun-boats now before the Senate, except what we derive from the
newspapers. I understand that the Department of State will in a few
days, as soon as the documents can be copied, communicate to the Senate
all that it has with reference to our relations with Cuba, which will
probably cover the question of the gun-boats. There is a question of
fact and of law, and I for one am indisposed to approach its discussion
until I have all the information now in the possession of the
Government. At the same time my friend from Wisconsin will understand
that I have no disposition to interfere with any desires he may have.
If he wishes, therefore, to go on, I shall content myself with the
suggestions that I have made.

    Mr. Carpenter’s motion prevailing, he proceeded with an
    argument in support of the resolution in question, to which Mr.
    Sumner replied as follows:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Senator from Wisconsin closed by saying that he
understood that eighteen of the gun-boats would leave to-morrow. I have
had put into my hands a telegram received last night from New York,
which I will read, as it relates to that subject:--

    “The vessels delivered by Delamater to the representatives of
    the Spanish Navy have their officers and crews on board and
    fly the flag of Spain. They are now as completely the property
    of that Government as is the Pizarro. Unless something not
    foreseen occurs, they will be at sea to-morrow morning, if not
    already gone.”

“To-morrow morning” is this morning.

But there are eight other boats, that are still unfinished, on the
stocks, to which the resolution of the Senator from Wisconsin is

       *       *       *       *       *

I have no disposition now to discuss the great question involved in
the speech of the Senator from Wisconsin; but the Senator will pardon
me, if I venture to suggest that he has misapprehended the meaning of
the statute on which he relies. Certainly he has misapprehended it or
I have. He has misapprehended it or the Administration has. I do not
conceive that the question which he has presented can arise under the
statute. The language on which he relies is as follows:--

     “If any person shall within the limits of the United States
    fit out and arm, or attempt to fit out and arm, or procure to
    be fitted out and armed, or shall knowingly be concerned in
    the furnishing, fitting out, or arming of any ship or vessel,
    with intent that such ship or vessel shall be employed in the
    service of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony,
    district, or people, to cruise or commit hostilities against
    the subjects, citizens, or property of any foreign prince or
    state, or of any colony, district, or people, with whom the
    United States are at peace,” &c.[188]

The operative words on which the Senator relies being “any colony,
district, or people,” I understand the Senator to insist that under
these words Spain cannot purchase ships in the United States to cruise
against her Cuban subjects now in revolt. That is the position of the
Senator. He states it frankly. To that I specifically reply, that the
language of the statute is entirely inapplicable. Those words, if the
Senator will consult their history, were introduced for a specific
purpose. It was to meet the case of the revolted Spanish colonies
already for eight years in arms against the parent Government, having
ships in every sea, largely possessing the territories on the Spanish
main, and with independence nearly achieved.

There was no question of belligerence. It was admitted by all the
civilized world. Nation after nation practically recognized it. Our
Government, our courts, every department of the Government, recognized
the belligerence of those Spanish colonies. Their independence
was recognized more tardily, after ample discussion in these two
Chambers as late as 1820; but their belligerence was a fact perfectly
established and recognized by every branch of the Government. To meet
their case, and for no other object, as I understand it, Mr. Miller, a
Representative of South Carolina, on the 30th day of December, 1817,
introduced the following resolution:--

    “_Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the
    expediency of so amending the fourth section of the Act passed
    on the 3d of March, 1817, entitled ‘An Act more effectually to
    preserve the neutral relations of the United States,’ as to
    embrace within the provisions thereof the armed vessels of a
    Government at peace with the United States and at war with any
    colony, district, or people with whom the United States are or
    may be at peace.”[189]

The important words “any colony, district, or people” were introduced
to cover the precise case of the revolted Spanish colonies and
their precise condition at that moment, there being no question of
belligerence. Now the practical question is, whether these words,
introduced originally for a specific purpose, having an historic
character beyond question, can be extended so as to be applied to
insurgents who have not yet achieved a corporate existence,--who have
no provinces, no cities, no towns, no ports, no prize courts. Such is
the fact. I cannot supply the fact, if it does not exist; nor can the
Senator, with his eloquence and with his ardor enlisted in this cause.
We must seek the truth. The truth is found in the actual facts. Now do
those facts justify the concession which the Senator requires?

The Cuban insurgents, whatever the inspiration of their action, have
not reached the condition of belligerents. Such, I repeat, is the fact,
and we cannot alter the fact. Here we must rely upon the evidence,
which, according to all the information within my reach, is adverse.
They do not come within any of the prerequisites. They have no
provinces, no towns, no ports, no prize courts. Without these I am at a
loss to see how they can be treated as belligerents by foreign powers.
Before this great concession there must be assurance of their capacity
to administer justice. Above all, there must be a Prize Court. But
nobody pretends that there is any such thing.

    MR. CARPENTER. Will the Senator now allow me to ask him one

MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. CARPENTER. My question is, if it be not the most favorable
    opportunity to obtain the facts to libel those boats and get
    proof on the question?

MR. SUMNER. The Senator will pardon me, if I say I do not think it is.
I think that the better way of ascertaining the facts is to send to
our authorized agents in Cuba,--we have consuls at every considerable
place,--and direct them to report on the facts. I understand such
reports have been received by the Department of State. They will be
communicated to the Senate. They are expected day by day, and they are
explicit, unless I have been misinformed, on this single point,--that,
whatever may be the inspiration of that insurrection, it has not yet
reached that condition of maturity, that corporate character, which in
point of fact makes it belligerent in character.

    MR. HOWARD. I do not wish to interrupt the Senator, but I
    should like to ask a question at this point.

MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. HOWARD. I wish for information on this subject, and I
    think we all stand in need of it; and I should be very much
    obliged to the Senator from Massachusetts, if he is able to do
    so, if he would give us a statement of the amount of military
    force actually in the field in Cuba, or the amount of force
    that is available; and whether the insurgents have established
    a civil government for themselves,--whether it be or be not
    in operation as a government. On these subjects I confess my

MR. SUMNER. The Senator confesses we are in the dark, and on this
account I consider the debate premature. We all need information, and
I understand it will be supplied by the Department of State. There is
information on the precise point to which the Senator calls attention,
and that is as to the number of the forces on both sides. I understand
on the side of the insurgents it has latterly very much diminished; and
I have been told that they are now little more than _guerrilleros_,
and that the war they are carrying on is little more than a guerrilla
contest,--that they are not in possession of any town or considerable
place. Such is my information.

    MR. HOWARD. Have they any government?

MR. SUMNER. I understand they have the government that is in a camp.
With regard to that the Senator knows as well as I; but that brings us
back again to the necessity of information.

    MR. HOWARD. Any civil government, any legislative power for the
    actual exercise of legislative functions?

MR. SUMNER. I think there is no evidence that there is a legislative
body; and I must say I await with great anxiety the evidence of
their action on the subject of Slavery itself. What assurance have we
that slavery will be terminated by these insurgents? Have they the
will? Have they the power? I know the report that they have abolished
slavery, but this report leaves much to be desired. I wish it to be
authenticated and relieved from all doubt. It is said that there are
two decrees,--one to be read at home, and another to be read abroad.
Is this true? And even if not true, is there any assurance that the
insurrectionists are able to make this decree good? But while I require
the surrender of slavery from the insurrectionists, I make the same
requirement of Spain. Why has this power delayed?

    MR. MORTON. I ask the Senator if Spain has not recently
    affirmed the existence of slavery in Cuba and Porto Rico,
    especially in Porto Rico, by publishing a new constitution
    guarantying the existence of slavery?

MR. SUMNER. I am not able to inform the Senator precisely on that
point. I do know enough, however, to satisfy me that Spain is a laggard
on this question; and if my voice could reach her now, it would plead
with her to be quick, to make haste to abolish slavery, not only in
Cuba, but in Porto Rico. Its continued existence is a shame, and it
should cease.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have no disposition to go into this subject at length. There is,
however, one other remark that the Senator from Wisconsin made to which
I shall be justified in replying. He alludes to the case of the Hornet,
and the proceedings against that vessel.[190] It is not for me now
to vindicate those proceedings. They may have been proper under the
statute, or may not; but it is very clear to me that the cases of the
Hornet and the Spanish gun-boats are plainly distinguishable, and, if
the Senate will pardon me one moment, I will make the distinction, I
think, perfectly apparent. We all know that two or three or four or a
dozen persons may levy war against the Government, may levy war against
the king. A traitor levies war against the king. The king, when he
proceeds against the traitor, does not levy war. He simply proceeds
in the exercise of his executive functions in order to establish
his authority. And in the spirit of this illustration I am disposed
to believe that the United States were perfectly justifiable, even
under this statute, in arresting the Hornet; but they would not be
justifiable in arresting the Spanish gun-boats. The Hornet was levying
war against Spain, and therefore subject to arrest. The gun-boats are
levying no war, simply because the insurrection against which they are
to be used has not reached the condition of war.

    MR. CARPENTER. Will the Senator allow me to ask one other

    MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. CARPENTER. What I want to know is this: whether the
    condition of neutrality does not necessarily depend upon the
    fact that war is progressing between two parties? Can there
    be any neutrality, unless there is a contest of arms going
    on between two somebodies? Now, if it be a violation of our
    Neutrality Act for one of those bodies to come in and fit out
    vessels in the United States, is it not equally so for the
    other?--or is our pretence of neutrality a falsehood, a cheat,
    and a delusion?

MR. SUMNER. Mr. President, I do not regard it as a question of
neutrality. Until the belligerence of these people is recognized, they
are not of themselves a power, they are not a people. Therefore there
can be no neutrality on the part of our Government between Spain and
her revolted subjects, until they come up to the condition of a people.
They have not reached that point; and therefore I submit that there is
at this moment no question of neutrality, and that the argument of the
Senator in that respect was inapplicable. When the belligerence of the
insurgents is recognized there will be a case for neutrality, and not


SPEECHES IN THE SENATE, JANUARY 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 21, 1870.

    January 10, 1870, the Senate proceeded to the consideration
    of a Joint Resolution reported from the Committee on the
    Judiciary, declaring, “That the State of Virginia is entitled
    to representation in the Congress of the United States,”--she
    having, as was said, “complied in all respects with the
    Reconstruction Acts.”

    Mr. Sumner, apprehending that this compliance had been merely
    formal, and that the Rebel spirit was still the dominant
    influence in Virginia, urged postponement of the measure for a
    few days, to afford opportunity for information, remarking:--

I am assured that there are resolutions of public meetings in different
parts of Virginia, that there are papers, letters, communications,
all tending to throw light on the actual condition of things in that
State, which in the course of a short time, of a few days at furthest,
will be presented to the Senate. Under these circumstances, I submit
most respectfully, and without preferring any request with reference
to myself, that the measure should be allowed to go over for a few
days, perhaps for a week, till Monday next, and that it then should be
taken up and proceeded with to the end. My object is, that, when the
Senate acts on this important measure, it may act wisely, with adequate
knowledge, and so that hereafter it may have no occasion to regret
its conclusion. How many are there now, Sir, who, on the information
in our papers to-day, would not recall the vote by which Tennessee
was declared entitled to her place as a State! You, Sir, have read
that report signed by the Representatives of Tennessee, and by her
honored Senator here on my right [Mr. BROWNLOW]. From that you will
see the condition of things in that State at this moment. Is there not
a lesson, Sir, in that condition of things? Does it not teach us to
be cautious before we commit this great State of Virginia back to the
hands of the people that have swayed it in war against the National
Government? Sir, this is a great responsibility. I am anxious that the
Senate should exercise it only after adequate knowledge and inquiry. I
do not believe that they have the means at this moment of coming to a
proper determination.

    After extended debate, Mr. Sumner’s proposition finally took
    shape in a motion by his colleague [Mr. WILSON] to postpone
    the further consideration of the resolution for three days.
    In response to Mr. Stewart, of Nevada, who had charge of the
    measure, and who insisted that “no one had been able to find a
    reason worthy of consideration why they should not proceed and
    act affirmatively at once,” Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--It seems to me that this discussion to-day tends
irresistibly to one conclusion,--that the Senate is not now prepared to
act. I do not say that it will not be prepared in one, two, or three
days, or in a week; but it is not now prepared to act. Not a Senator
has spoken, either on one side or the other, who has not made points
of law, some of them presented for the first time in this Chamber.
Hardly a Senator has spoken who has not presented questions of fact.
How are we to determine these? Time is essential. We must be able to
look into the papers, to examine the evidence, and, if my friend will
pardon me, to examine also the law, to see whether the conclusion on
which he stands so firmly is one on which the Senate can plant itself
forevermore. The Senator must bear in mind that what we do now with
reference to Virginia we do permanently and irrepealably, and that we
affect the interests of that great State, and I submit also the safety
of a large portion of its population. Sir, I am not willing to go
forward in haste and in ignorance to deal with so great a question. Let
us consider it, let us approach it carefully, and give to it something
of that attention which the grandeur of the interest involved requires.

I think, therefore, the suggestion of my colleague, that this matter
be postponed for several days, is proper; it is only according to
the ordinary course of business of the Senate, and it is sustained
by manifest reason in this particular case. I should prefer that the
postponement were till next Monday, and I will be precise in assigning
my reason. It is nothing personal to myself. My friend from New York
said, or intimated, that, if the Senator from Massachusetts wished to
be accommodated, he would be ready, of course, to consent to gratify
him. Now I would not have it placed on that ground; I present it as a
question of business; and I, as a Senator interested in the decision of
this business, wish to have time to peruse these papers and to obtain
that knowledge which will enable me to decide ultimately on the case. I
have not now the knowledge that I desire with reference to the actual
condition of things in Virginia. I am assured by those in whom I place
confidence that in the course of a few days that evidence will be
forthcoming. Will not the Senate receive it? Will it press hastily,
heedlessly, recklessly, to a conclusion, which, when reached, it may
hereafter find occasion to regret? Let us, Sir, so act that we shall
have hereafter no regrets; let us so act that the people of Virginia
hereafter may be safe, and that they may express their gratitude to the
Congress of the United States which has helped to protect them.

The Senator from Nevada said, that, if we oppose the present bill, we
sacrifice the Legislature of the State. I suggest to that Senator,
that, if we do not oppose this bill, we sacrifice the people of the
State. What, Sir, is a Legislature chosen as this recent Legislature
has been chosen in Virginia, composed of recent Rebels still filled and
seething with that old Rebel fire,--what is that Legislature in the
scale, compared with the safety of that great people? Sir, I put in
one scale the welfare of the State of Virginia, the future security of
its large population, historic and memorable in our annals, and in the
other scale I put a Legislature composed of recent Rebels. To save that
Legislature the Senator from Nevada presses forward to sacrifice the
people of the State.

    The motion to postpone was rejected,--Yeas 25, Nays 26,--and
    the debate on the Joint Resolution proceeded: the first
    question being on an amendment offered by Mr. Drake, of
    Missouri, providing that the passage by the Legislature of
    Virginia, at any time thereafter, of any act or resolution
    rescinding or annulling its ratification of the Fifteenth
    Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
    should operate to exclude the State from representation in
    Congress and remand it to its former provisional government.

    January 11th, Mr. Sumner, following Mr. Morton, of Indiana,
    in support of Mr. Drake’s proposed amendment, and, with him,
    maintaining the continued power of Congress over a State after
    reconstruction, said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I have but one word to say, and it is one of gratitude
to the Senator from Indiana for the complete adhesion he now makes to a
principle of Constitutional Law which I have no doubt is unassailable.
The Congress of the United States will have forevermore the power to
protect Reconstruction. No one of these States, by anything that it
may do hereafter, can escape from that far-reaching power. I call it
far-reaching: it will reach just as far as the endeavor to counteract
it; it is coextensive with the Constitution itself. I have no doubt of
it, and I am delighted that the distinguished Senator from Indiana has
given to it the support of his authority.

While I feel so grateful to my friend from Indiana for what he has
said on this point, he will allow me to express my dissent from
another proposition of his. He says that we are now bound under our
Reconstruction Acts to admit Virginia. I deny it.

    MR. MORTON. Will the Senator allow me one moment?

MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. MORTON. I do not pretend that there is any clause in the
    Reconstruction Acts which in express words requires us to admit
    Virginia upon the compliance with certain conditions; but what
    I mean to say is, that there went forth with those laws an
    understanding to the country, as clear and distinct as if it
    had been written in the statute, that upon a full and honorable
    compliance with them those States should be admitted. I will
    ask my friend from Massachusetts if that understanding did not

MR. SUMNER. My answer to the Senator is found in the last section of
the Act authorizing the submission, of the Constitutions of these
States, as follows:--

    “That the proceedings in any of said States shall not be deemed
    final, or operate as a complete restoration thereof, until
    their action respectively shall be approved by Congress.”[191]

What is the meaning of that? The whole case is brought before
Congress for consideration. We are to look into it, and consider
the circumstances under which these elections have taken place, and
see whether we can justly give to them our approval. Is that vain
language? Was it not introduced for a purpose? Was it merely for show?
Was it for deception? Was it a cheat? No, Sir; it was there with a
view to a practical result, to meet precisely the case now before the
Senate,--that is, a seeming compliance with the requirements of our
Reconstruction policy, but a failure in substance.

Now I will read what was in the bill of March 2, 1867, entitled
“An Act to provide for the more efficient government of the Rebel
States.”[192] It declares in the preamble that “it is necessary that
peace and good order should be enforced in said States,”--strong
language that!--“until loyal and republican State governments can be
legally established.” That is what Congress is to require. To that end
Congress must look into the circumstances of the case; it must consider
what the condition of the people there is,--whether this new government
is loyal, whether it is in the hands of loyal people. To that duty
Congress is summoned by its very legislation; the duty is laid down in

And so you may go through all these Reconstruction statutes, and you
will find that under all of them the whole subject is brought back
ultimately to the discretion of Congress. This whole subject now is in
the discretion of Congress. I trust that Congress will exercise it so
that life and liberty and property shall be safe.

    January 12th, Mr. Sumner presented a memorial from citizens of
    Virginia then in Washington, claiming to represent the loyal
    people of that State, in which they declare themselves “anxious
    for the prompt admission of the State to representation upon
    such terms that a loyal civil government may be maintained
    and the rights of loyal men secured; which,” they say, “we
    feel assured cannot be the case, if any condition less
    than the application of the test oath to the Legislature
    shall be imposed by the Congress.” As the grounds of this
    conviction, they point, among other matters, to the continued
    manifestations of the Rebel spirit in the community,--the
    ascendency of the Rebel party in the recently elected
    Legislature, gained, as they insist, “by intimidation, fraud,
    violence, and prevention of free speech,”--and particularly
    to the evidences of disloyalty, and of meditated bad faith
    in regard to the new State Constitution, exhibited in
    speeches and other utterances of the Governor and Members of
    Assembly,--utterances, on the part of some of the latter,
    accompanied with gross contumely of a distinguished Member of
    Congress from Massachusetts: all of which, the memorialists
    say, “if a hearing can now be had, and which we respectfully
    request may be granted, we pledge ourselves to show by sworn
    witnesses of irreproachable character, residing in Virginia.”

    The memorial was received with denunciation, as
    “disrespectful,” “unjust and abusive,” “merely the wailing
    of those who were defeated,” “originating with the view of
    keeping out Virginia,” “trifling with our own plighted faith
    and honor,”--and its presentation criticized with corresponding
    severity,--the Senators from Nevada leading the assault. Mr.
    Sumner responded:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--Has it come to this, that the loyal people of Virginia
cannot be heard on this floor? that a petition presented by a member
of this body, proceeding from them, is to have first the denunciation
of the Senator from Nevada on my right [Mr. NYE], and then the
denunciation of the Senator from Nevada on my left [Mr. STEWART]?
Why are the loyal people of Virginia to be thus exposed? What have
they done? Sir, in what respect is that petition open to exception?
The Senator says it is disrespectful. To whom? To this body? To the
other Chamber? To the President of the United States? To any branch of
this Government? Not in the least. It is disrespectful, according to
the Senator from Nevada, to the present Governor of Virginia, and he
undertakes to state his case.

Now, Sir, I have nothing to say of the present Governor of Virginia.
I am told that he is on this floor; but I have not the honor of his
acquaintance, and I know very little about him. I make no allegation,
no suggestion, with regard to his former course. He may have been as
sound always as the Senator from Nevada himself; but the petitioners
from Virginia say the contrary. They are so circumstanced as to know
more about him than the Senator from Nevada, or than myself; and they
are so circumstanced as to have a great stake in his future conduct.
Thus circumstanced, they send their respectful petition to this
Chamber, asking a hearing; and what is the answer? Denunciation from
one Senator of Nevada echoed by denunciation from the other Senator of
Nevada. The voice of Nevada on this occasion is united, it is one, to
denounce a loyal petition from Virginia.

Was I not right in presenting the petition? Shall these people be
unheard? The Committee which the Senator represents, led by the Senator
from Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL], and now led by himself, are pressing this
measure to a precipitate conclusion. These petitioners, having this
great interest in the result, ask for a hearing. Several days ago I
presumed, respectfully, deferentially, to ask that this measure should
be postponed a few days in order to give an opportunity for such a
hearing. I was refused. The Senator from Nevada would not consent, and
with the assistance of Democrats he crowds this measure forward. Sir,
it is natural, allow me to say, that one acting in this new conjunction
should trifle with the right of petition. When one begins to act with
such allies, I can well imagine that he loses something of his original
devotion to the great fundamental principles of our Government.

Something was said by my friend, the other Senator from Nevada [Mr.
NYE], on another passage of the petition, referring to a distinguished
colleague of my own. Why, Sir, that very passage furnishes testimony
against the cause represented by the Senator from Nevada. It shows how
little to be trusted are these men. It shows the game of treachery
which they have undertaken. It shows how they are intending to press
this measure through Congress so as to obtain for Virginia the
independence of a State. Are you ready for that conclusion? Are you
ready to part with this great control which yet remains to Congress,
through which security may be maintained for the rights of all?

Something has been said by different Senators of plighted faith.
Sir, there is a faith that is plighted, and by that I will stand,
God willing, to the end. It is nothing less than this: to secure
the rights of all, without distinction of color, in the State of
Virginia. When I can secure those rights, when I can see that they
are firmly established beyond the reach of fraud, beyond the violence
of opposition, then I am willing that that State shall again assume
its independent position. But until then I say, Wait! In the name
of Justice, in the name of Liberty, for the sake of Human Rights, I
entreat the Senate to wait.

    January 13th, in response to criticisms by Mr. Trumbull, of
    Illinois, Mr. Sumner said:--

It was in pursuance of the effort I made on the first day of this week
that yesterday I presented a memorial from loyal citizens of Virginia
here in Washington. I presented it as a memorial, and asked to have it
read. The Senator from Nevada [Mr. STEWART], in the remarks which he
so kindly made with regard to me later in the day, said that in asking
to have it read I adopted it. I can pardon that remark to the Senator
from Nevada, who is less experienced in this Chamber than the Senator
from Illinois; but the latter Senator has repeated substantially the
same remark. Sir, this is a new position, that in presenting a memorial
one adopts it, especially when he asks to have it read. Why, Sir, what
is the right of petition? Is it reduced to this, that no petition can
be presented unless the Senator approves it, or that no petition can
be read at the request of a Senator unless he approves it? Such a
limitation on the right of petition would go far to cut it down to its
unhappy condition in those pro-slavery days which some of us remember.
Sir, I was right in presenting the memorial, and right in asking to
have it read.

And now what is its character? It sets forth a condition of things in
Virginia which might well make the Senate pause. I think no candid
person can have listened to that memorial without seeing that it
contains statements with regard to which the Senate ought to be
instructed before it proceeds to a vote. Do you consider, Sir, that
when you install this Legislature you consign the people of Virginia
to its power? Do you consider that to this body belongs the choice of
judges? The whole judiciary of the State is to be organized by it. This
may be done in the interests of Freedom and Humanity, or in the ancient
interests of the Rebellion. I am anxious that this judiciary should
be pure and devoted to Human Rights. But if the policy is pursued
which finds such strenuous support, especially from the Senator from
Illinois, farewell then to such a judiciary!--that judiciary which is
often called the Palladium of the Commonwealth, through which justice
is secured, rights protected, and all men are made safe. Instead of
that, you will have a judiciary true only to those who have lately
been in rebellion. You will have a judiciary that will set its face
like flint against those loyalists that find so little favor with the
Senator from Illinois. You will have a judiciary that will follow out
the spirit which the Senator has shown to-day, and do little else than
pursue vindictively these loyalists.

       *       *       *       *       *

There has been allusion to the Governor of Virginia. The Senator says I
have made an assault upon him. Oh, no! How have I assaulted him? I said
simply that I understood he was on the floor, as the member-elect from
Richmond was on the floor. That is all that I said. But now there is
something with regard to this Governor to which I should like to have
an answer: possibly the Senator may be able to answer it. I have here a
speech purporting to have been made by him at an agricultural fair in
the southwest part of Virginia after the election, from which, with
your permission, but, Sir, without adopting it at all or making myself
in any way responsible for its contents, I will read.

Mr. Walker, addressing the audience, says:--

    “A little talking sometimes does a great deal of good; and that
    expended in the late canvass I heard in a voice of thunder on
    the 6th of July, when the people of your noble old Commonwealth
    declared themselves against vandalism, fraud, and treachery.
    Virginia has freed herself from the tyranny of a horde of
    greedy cormorants and unprincipled carpet-baggers, who came
    to sap her very vitals. I have no other feeling but that of
    pity for the opposition party, who were deceived and led by
    adventurers having only their own personal aggrandizement
    and aims in view, with neither interest, character, nor
    self-respect at stake; for this a majority of them never had.”

Now, Sir, what are the operative words of this remarkable speech? That
this very Governor Walker, who finds a vindicator--I may say, adopting
a term of the early law, a compurgator--in the Senator from Illinois,
announces that by this recent election Virginia has “declared against
vandalism, fraud, and treachery,--has freed herself from the tyranny of
a horde of greedy cormorants and unprincipled carpet-baggers, who came
to sap her very vitals.”

Such is the language by which this Governor characterizes loyal people
from the North, from the West, from all parts of the country, who since
the overthrow of the Rebellion have gone there with their household
gods, with their energies, with their character, with their means,
to contribute to the resources of the State! Sir, what does all this
suggest? To my mind unhappy days in the future; to my mind anything but
justice for the devoted loyal people and Unionists of that State. And
now, Sir, while I make this plea for them, again let me say I present
no exclusive claim to represent them; I speak now only because others
do not speak; and as in other days when I encountered the opposition of
the Senator from Illinois I was often in a small minority, sometimes
almost alone, I may be so now; but I have a complete conviction that
the course I am now taking will be justified by the future. Sad enough,
if it be so! I hope it may be otherwise.

    Mr. Drake’s amendment was rejected. Another, thereupon offered
    by Mr. Edmunds, of Vermont, and as subsequently amended,
    requiring members of the Legislature before taking or resuming
    their seats, and State officers before entering upon office,
    to make oath to past loyalty or removal of disabilities, was
    adopted. Other provisions, against exclusion from civil rights
    on account of race or color, either by future amendments of
    the existing State Constitution or by rescinding the State’s
    ratification of any amendment to the National Constitution,
    were moved as “fundamental conditions” of admission. In an
    argument, January 14th, maintaining the validity of such
    conditions, the pending question being on a provision of this
    character offered by Mr. Drake, Mr. Sumner spoke as follows:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--Something has been said of the term by which this
proposition should be designated. One will not call it “compact,”
finding in this term much danger, but at the same time he refuses to
the unhappy people in Virginia now looking to us for protection such
safeguard as may be found in this proposition. For myself, Sir, I make
no question of terms. Call it one thing or another, it is the same,
for it has in it protection. Call it a compact, I accept it. Call
it a law, I accept it. Call it a condition, I accept it. It is all
three,--condition, law, compact,--and, as all three, binding. The old
law-books speak of a triple cord. Here you have it.

My friend from Wisconsin [Mr. CARPENTER] falls into another
mistake,--he will pardon me, if I suggest it,--which I notice with
regret. He exalts the technical State above the real State. He
knows well what is the technical State, which is found in form, in
technicality, in privilege, if you please,--for he has made himself
to-night the advocate of privilege. To my mind the State is the people,
and its highest office is their just safeguard; and when it is declared
that a State hereafter shall not take away the right of any of its
people, here is no infringement of anything that belongs to a State. I
entreat my friend to bear the distinction in mind. A State can have no
right or privilege to do wrong; nor can the denial of this pretension
disparage the State, or in any way impair its complete equality with
other States. The States have no power except to do justice. Any power
beyond this is contrary to the Harmonies of the Universe.

Since the Senator spoke, I sent into the other room for the Declaration
of Independence, in order to read a sentence which is beyond question
the touchstone of our institutions, to which all the powers of a State
must be brought. Here it is:--

    “We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of
    America in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme
    Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, do,
    in the name and by the authority of the good people of these
    Colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these United
    Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent

And then it proceeds to say that--

    “They have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract
    alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and
    things which independent States may of right do.”

Here is the claim, with its limitation,--the great claim, and its great
limitation. The claim was Independence; the limitation was Justice.

“Which independent States may of right do”: nothing else, nothing which
a State may not of right do. Now, Sir, bear in mind, do not forget,
that there is not one thing prohibited by these fundamental conditions
that a State may of right do. Therefore, Sir, in the name of Right, do
I insist that it is binding upon the State. It is binding, even if not
there; and it is binding, being there. Its insertion is like notice or
proclamation of the perpetual obligation.

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

MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. CARPENTER. In speaking of a State of this Union, does not
    the Senator understand the term to apply to the corporation, so
    to speak,--the Government of the State?

MR. SUMNER. I do not.

    MR. CARPENTER. I ask the Senator, then, in what way the State
    of Virginia got out of the Union, except by destroying the
    State Government which was a member of the Union? Her territory
    was always in; her people were always subject to the laws of
    the United States.

MR. SUMNER. There I agree with the Senator. Her people were always in;
her territory was always in.

    MR. CARPENTER. But her Government was not.

MR. SUMNER. Not out. Her Government was destroyed.

    MR. CARPENTER. Yes, and thereby she ceased to be a member of
    the Union.

MR. SUMNER. Rather than say that she had ceased to be a member of the
Union, I would say that her Government was destroyed. She never was
able to take one foot of her soil or one of her people beyond the
jurisdiction of the Nation. The people constitute the State in the just
sense, and it has been always our duty to protect them, and this I now
propose to do.

       *       *       *       *       *

I return to the point, that what it is proposed to prohibit by these
fundamental conditions no State can of right do. Therefore to require
that Virginia shall not do these things is no infringement of anything
that belongs to a State, for a State can have no such privilege. My
friend made himself, I said, the advocate of privilege. He complained,
that, if we imposed these conditions, we should impair the “privileges”
of a State. No such thing. The State can have no such thing. The
Senator would not curtail a State of its fair proportions. When will it
be apparent that the license to do wrong is only a barbarism?

Then, again, the Senator says, if this is already forbidden, why repeat
the prohibition in the form of a new condition? Why, Sir, my friend is
too well read in the history of Liberty and of its struggles to make
that inquiry seriously. Does he not remember how in English history
Liberty has been won by just such repetitions? It began with Magna
Charta, followed shortly afterward by a repetition; then again, in the
time of Charles the First, by another repetition; and then again, at
the Revolution of 1688, by still another repetition. But did anybody
at either of those great epochs say that the repetition was needless,
because all contained in Magna Charta? True, it was all there; but the
repetition was needed in order to press it home upon the knowledge and
the conscience of the people.

    MR. CARPENTER. Will the Senator allow me?

MR. SUMNER. Certainly.

    MR. CARPENTER. Is not the great distinction in this fact, that
    England has no written Constitution,--that the Great Charter
    is a mere Act of Parliament, which may be repealed to-morrow?
    With us we have a written Constitution; and when its terms and
    provisions are once clear, do we not weaken, do we not show our
    lack of faith, that is, our lack of confidence in the value of
    the provisions, by reënacting it in the form of a statute?

MR. SUMNER. I must say I cannot follow my friend to that conclusion,
nor do I see the difference he makes between Magna Charta in England
and our Constitution. I believe they are very much alike. And I believe
that the time is at hand when another document of our history will
stand side by side with the Constitution, and enjoy with it coëqual
authority, as it has more than the renown of the Constitution: I mean
the Declaration of Independence. This is the first Constitution of our
history. It is our first Magna Charta. Nor can any State depart from
it; nor can this Nation depart from it. To all the promises and the
pledges of that great Declaration are we all pledged, whether as Nation
or as State. The Nation, when it bends before them, exalts itself; and
when it requires their performance of a State, again exalts itself, and
exalts the State also.

So I see it. Full well, Sir, I know that in other days, when
Slavery prevailed in this Chamber, there was a different rule of
interpretation; but I had thought that our war had changed all that.
Sir, to my mind the greatest victory in that terrible conflict was
not at Appomattox: oh, no, by no means! Nor was it in the triumphal
march of Sherman: oh, no, by no means! This greatest victory was the
establishment of a new rule of interpretation by which the institutions
of our country are dedicated forevermore to Human Rights, and the
Declaration of Independence is made a living letter instead of a
promise. Clearly, unquestionably, beyond all doubt, that, Sir, was
the greatest victory of our war,--greater than any found on any field
of blood: as a victory of ideas is above any victory of the sword;
as the establishment of Human Rights is the end and consummation of
government, without which government is hard to bear, if not a sham.

    January 17th, the Joint Resolution as amended was laid on
    the table, and the Senate took up the House bill, which
    admitted the State to representation clear of all conditions;
    immediately whereupon Mr. Edmunds moved the proviso concerning
    the oath to be taken by members of the Legislature and State
    officers which had been attached to the former measure.

    The renewal of this proviso gave rise to renewed and protracted
    debate, in the course of which, Mr. Sumner, in speeches on the
    18th and 19th, in reply to an elaborate defence of Governor
    Walker by Mr. Stewart against the charges of disloyalty and
    meditated bad faith, adduced copious extracts from speeches
    of the Governor and others, together with numerous letters
    from various parts of the State, all serving to show, as he
    conceived, that the late election was “one huge, colossal

    Meanwhile Mr. Sumner’s colleague, Mr. Wilson, with a view to
    “a bill in which all could unite,” moved the reference of
    the pending bill to the Committee on the Judiciary, “for the
    purpose of having the whole question thoroughly examined,”--a
    motion which on the part of the Committee itself was
    strenuously opposed.

    Upon this posture of the case, January 19th, Mr. Morton, of
    Indiana, remarked, that “there seemed to be an obstinate
    determination that Virginia must come in according to the bill
    reported by the Committee or not come in at all,”--that “the
    Senator from Nevada [Mr. STEWART], with all his zeal and his
    good intentions, was standing as substantially in the way of
    the admission of Virginia as the Senator from Massachusetts
    [Mr. SUMNER]”; and turning to the latter, he said: “It seems
    that the distinguished Senator from Massachusetts is unwilling
    that Virginia shall come in now upon any terms; and the Senator
    has developed more clearly this morning than he has done before
    what his desire is. It is that there shall be a new election in
    Virginia. Am I right in regard to that?”

        MR. SUMNER. I have not said that.

        MR. MORTON. Then what does the Senator’s argument mean,
        that the last election was a monstrous fraud? What is the
        object in proving that the last election was a monstrous
        fraud, unless the Senator wants a new election? Let us have
        an understanding about that.

        MR. SUMNER. I wish to purge the Legislature of its Rebels.
        I understand that three-fourths of the Legislature, if
        not more, cannot take the test oath. That is what I first
        propose to do.

    After further remarks by Mr. Morton, Mr. Sumner spoke as

MR. PRESIDENT,--In what the Senator from Indiana has said in reply to
the Senator from Nevada I entirely sympathize. I unite with the Senator
from Indiana in his amendments. I unite with him in his aspirations
for that security in the future which I say is the first great object
now of our legislation in matters of Reconstruction. Without security
in the future Reconstruction is a failure; and that now should be
our first, prime object. But while I unite with the Senator on those
points, he will pardon me, if I suggest to him that he has not done me
justice in his reference to what I said. And now, Sir, before I comment
on his remarks, I ask to have the pending motion read.

    THE PRESIDING OFFICER. (Mr. ANTHONY, of Rhode Island, in the
    chair.) The pending motion is the motion of the Senator from
    Massachusetts [Mr. WILSON] to refer the bill to the Committee
    on the Judiciary.

MR. SUMNER. So I understood, Sir, and it was to that motion that I
spoke. I argued that the bill and all pending questions should be
referred to the Committee,--and on what ground? That the election was
carried by a colossal fraud. The Senator complains because I did not
go further, and say whether I would have a new election or not. The
occasion did not require it. I am not in the habit, the Senator knows
well, of hesitating in the expression of my opinions; but logically
the time had not come for the expression of any opinion on that point.
My argument was, that there must be inquiry. To that point the Senate
knows well I have directed attention from the beginning of this
debate. I have said: “Why speed this matter? Why hurry it to this
rash consummation? Why, without inquiry, hand over the loyalists of
Virginia, bound hand and foot, as victims?” That is what I have said;
and it is no answer for my friend to say that I do not declare whether
I would have a new election or not.

When an inquiry has been made, and we know officially and in authentic
form the precise facts, I shall be ready to meet all the requirements
of the occasion,--so, at least, I trust. My friend, therefore, was
premature in his proposition to me. May I remind him of that incident
in the history of our profession, when a very learned and eminent
chief-justice of England said to a counsellor at the bar, “Do not
leap before you come to the stile,”--in other words, Do not speak to
a point until the point has arisen?[193] The point which the Senator
presents to me had not yet arisen; the question was not before the
Senate, whether there should be a new election or not. There was no
such motion; nor did the occasion require its consideration. My aim was
in all simplicity to show the reasons for inquiry. Now it may be, that,
when that inquiry is made, it will appear that I am mistaken,--that
this election is not the terrible fraud that I believe it,--that the
loyal people, black and white, will hereafter be secure in the State of
Virginia under the proposed Constitution. It may be that all that will
become apparent on the report of your Committee. It is not apparent
now. On the contrary, just the opposite is apparent. It is apparent
that loyalists will not be secure, that freedmen will suffer unknown
peril, unless you now throw over them your protecting arm.

That is my object. I wish to secure safety. I wish to surround all my
fellow-citizens in that State with an impenetrable ægis. Is not that an
honest desire? Is it not a just aspiration? I know that my friend from
Indiana shares it with me; I claim no monopoly of it, but I mention it
in order to explain the argument which I have made.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the course of this debate there has been an iteration of assertion
on certain points. I mention two,--one of fact, and the other of law.
It has been said that we are pledged to admit Virginia, and this
assertion has been repeated in every variety of form; and then it is
said that in point of law the test oath is not required. Now to both
these assertions, whether of fact or law, I reply, “You are mistaken.”
The pledge to admit Virginia cannot be shown, and the requirement of
the test oath can be shown.

It is strange to see the forgetfulness of great principles into which
Senators have been led by partisanship. Certain Senators forget the
people, forget the lowly, only to remember Rebels. They forget that
our constant duty is to protect our fellow-citizens in Virginia at all
hazards. This is our first duty, which cannot be postponed. In the
reconstruction of Virginia it must be an ever-present touchstone.

Look at the text of the Reconstruction Acts, or their spirit, and it
is the same. By their text the first and commanding duty is, “that
peace and good order should be enforced in said States _until loyal
and republican State governments can be legally established_”; and
until then “any civil governments which may exist therein shall be
deemed _provisional_ only, and in all respects subject to the paramount
authority of the United States at any time to abolish, modify, control,
or supersede the same.” Such are the duties and powers devolved upon
Congress by the very terms of the first Reconstruction Act.[194]
The duty is to see that “loyal and republican State governments”
be established; and the power is “to abolish, modify, control, or
supersede” the provisional governments.

It is not enough to say that Virginia has performed certain things
required by the statute. This is not enough. The Senate must be
satisfied that her government is loyal and republican. This opens the
question of fact. Is Virginia loyal? Is her Legislature loyal? Is the
new Government loyal? These questions must be answered. How is the
fact? Do not tell me that Virginia has complied with certain formal
requirements. Behind all these is the great requirement of Loyalty. Let
Senators who insist upon her present swift admission show this loyalty.
There is no plighted faith of Congress which can supersede this duty.
Disloyalty is like fraud; it vitiates the whole proceeding. Such is the
plain meaning of the text in its words.

But if we look at the spirit of the Acts, the conclusion becomes still
more irresistible. It is contrary to reason and to common sense to
suppose that Congress intended to blind its eyes and tie its hands, so
that it could see nothing and do nothing, although the State continued
disloyal to the core. And yet this is the argument of Senators who
set up the pretension of plighted faith. There is Virginia with
a Constitution dabbled in blood, with a Legislature smoking with
Rebellion, and with a Governor commending himself to Rebels throughout
a long canvass by promising to strike at common schools; and here is
Congress blindfold and with hands tied behind the back. Such is the
picture. To look at it is enough.

Sir, the case is clear,--too clear for argument. Congress is not
blindfold, nor are its hands tied. Congress must see, and it must act.
But the loyalty of a State should be like the sun in the heavens, so
that all can see it. At present we see nothing but disloyalty.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next assertion concerns the test oath; and on this point I desire
to be precise.

General Canby, the military commander in Virginia, thought that the
test oath, or “iron-clad,” should be required in the organization
of the Virginia Legislature. This opinion was given after careful
examination of the statutes, and was reaffirmed by him at different
times. According to him, the test oath must be applied until the
Constitution has been approved by Congress; and in one of his letters
the commander says, “Its application to the seceded States before
they were represented in Congress appears to be the natural result of
their political relation to the Union, independent of the requirements
of the ninth section of the law of July 19, 1867.”[195] To my mind
this opinion is unanswerable, and it is reinforced by the reason
assigned. Nothing could be more natural than that the test oath, which
was expressly required of the Boards of Registration and of other
functionaries, should be required of the Legislature, so long as the
same was within the power of Congress. The reason for it in one case
was equally applicable in the other case; nay, it was stronger, if
possible, in the case of the Legislature, inasmuch as the powers of the
latter are the most vital. It is this Legislature which is to begin the
new State government. Two essential parts of the system depend upon
it,--the courts of justice, which are to be reorganized, and the common
schools. To my mind it is contrary to reason that the establishment
and control of these two great agencies should be committed to a
disloyal Legislature,--in other words, to a Legislature that cannot
take the test oath. The requirement of this oath is only a natural and
reasonable precaution, without harshness or proscription. It is simply
for the sake of security. Therefore is General Canby clearly right on
grounds of reason.

Looking at the text of the Reconstruction Acts, the conclusion of
reason is confirmed by a positive requirement. By the ninth section of
the Act of July 19, 1867,[196] it is provided,--

    “That all members of said Boards of Registration, and all
    persons hereafter elected or appointed to office in said
    military districts, _under any so-called State or municipal
    authority_, … shall be required to take and to subscribe the
    oath of office prescribed by law for officers of the United

Senators find ambiguity in the terms “under any _so-called State_
or municipal authority”; but I submit, Sir, that this is because
they do not sufficiently regard the whole series of Reconstruction
Acts and construe these words in their light. If there be any
ambiguity, it is removed by other words, which furnish a precise and
unassailable definition of the term “so-called State authority.” By the
Reconstruction Act of March 2, 1867, it is provided, “that, until the
people of said Rebel States shall be by law admitted to representation
in the Congress of the United States, any civil governments which may
exist therein shall be deemed _provisional only_, and in all respects
subject to the paramount authority of the United States.”[197] This is
clear and precise. Until the people are admitted to representation,
the State government is “provisional only,”--or, in other words, it is
a “so-called State authority.” Now the Legislature was elected under
“so-called State authority,”--that is, under a State constitution which
was “provisional only.” Therefore, according to the very text of the
Reconstruction Acts, one interpreting another, must this test oath be

If it be insisted that the Legislature was not elected under “so-called
State authority,” pray under what authority was it elected? Perhaps it
will be said, of the United States. Then surely it would fall under the
general requirement of the Act of July 2, 1862,[198] prescribing the
test oath to all officers of the United States. But I insist upon this
application of the statute only in reply to those who would exclude the
Legislature from the requirement of the Reconstruction Act. I cannot
doubt that it comes precisely and specifically within this requirement.

This conclusion is enforced by three additional arguments.

1. By a resolution of Congress bearing date February 6, 1869,
“respecting the provisional governments of Virginia and Texas,”[199]
it is declared “that the persons now holding civil offices in the
provisional governments of Virginia and Texas, who cannot take and
subscribe the oath prescribed by the Act entitled ‘An Act to prescribe
an Oath of Office, and for other Purposes,’ approved July 2, 1862,
shall, on the passage of this Resolution, be removed therefrom.”
By these plain words is the purpose of Congress manifest. The test
oath is prescribed for all persons “holding civil offices in the
provisional government of Virginia.” But, by requirement in the first
Reconstruction Act, the provisional government lasts until the State is
admitted to representation.

2. Then comes a well-known rule of interpretation, requiring that
words shall be construed _ut res magis valeat quam pereat_,--in other
words, so that the object shall prevail rather than perish. But the
very object of the Reconstruction Act on which this question arises was
to keep Rebels from the State government. This object is apparent from
beginning to end. But this object is defeated by any interpretation
disallowing the test oath.

3. Then comes another rule of interpretation, which is of equal
obligation. It is, that we are always to incline so as to protect
Liberty and Right; and this rule, for double assurance, is embodied in
the very text of the statute whose meaning is now under consideration,
being the last section, as follows:--

    “That all the provisions of this Act, and of the Acts to which
    this is supplementary, shall be construed liberally, to the end
    that all the intents thereof may be fully and perfectly carried

Following this rule, we find still another reason for so interpreting
the statute as to require the test oath.

Thus by the reason of the case, by the natural signification of the
text, by the light furnished from the supplementary statute, by the
rule of interpretation that the object must prevail rather than
perish, and by that other commanding rule which requires a liberal
interpretation favorable to Liberty and Human Rights,--by all these
considerations, any one of which alone is enough, while the whole make
a combination of irresistible, infinite force, are we bound to require
the test oath.

There is one remark of Andrew Johnson, just, wise, and patriotic, for
which I can forget many derelictions of duty, when he said, “For the
Rebels back seats.” I borrow this language. The time will come when
Rebels will be welcome to the full copartnership of government; but
this can be only when all are secure in their rights. Until then, “for
the Rebels back seats.”

    January 21st, the long debate terminated with an arraignment
    by Mr. Trumbull of Mr. Sumner’s course in reference not only
    to the pending bill, but to former measures of Reconstruction,
    and an answer of similar scope by Mr. Sumner, concluding with
    regard to Virginia[201] as follows:--

The next count in the Senator’s indictment was, that I had called
the late election in Virginia a fraud; and how did he encounter
this truthful allegation? He proceeded to show that General Canby
designated only five counties in which there were cases of fraud. Is
that an answer to my entirely different allegation? Does the Senator
misunderstand me, or is it an unintentional change of issue? My
statement was entirely different from that which he attributes to me. I
made no allegation of frauds in different counties, be they few or many.

I said that the election in the whole State was carried by a conspiracy
reaching from one end of the State to the other, of which the candidate
for Governor was the head, to obtain the control of the State, and
by this means take the loyalists away from the protecting arms of
Congress. That was my allegation. Is that met by saying to me that I
do not adduce evidence of fraud in districts, or that there were only
five districts with regard to which we have such evidence? How do I
know, that, if you should go into an inquiry, you might not find that
very evidence with regard to all the districts? The Senator sets his
face against inquiry, as we all know. But I did not intend to open this
question. My object was entirely different: it was to show that from
beginning to end the whole canvass was a gigantic fraud; that Walker by
a fraudulent conspiracy imposed himself upon the State; that by appeals
to the Rebels he obtained their votes and thus installed himself in
power, with the understanding that when once installed he should
administer the State in their interest.

Then, Sir, farewell the equal rights of all! farewell an equal
judiciary, which is the Palladium of just government! farewell trial by
jury! farewell suffrage for all! farewell that system of public schools
which is essential to the welfare of the community!--all sacrificed to
this conspiracy. Such, Sir, is my allegation; and it was in making this
allegation I challenged reply. I challenge it now. When I first made
it, I looked about the Senate, I looked at those who are most strenuous
for this sacrifice, and none answered. None can answer. The evidence is
before the Senate in the speeches of the Governor and in the election.

Sir, shall I follow the Senator in other things? I hesitate. I began by
saying I would not follow him in his personalities. I began by saying
that I would meet the counts of his indictment, one by one, precisely
on the facts. Have I not done so, turning neither to the right nor to
the left? I have no taste for controversy; much rather would I give
the little of strength that now remains for me to the direct advocacy
of those great principles to which my life in humble measure has been
dedicated, not forgetting any of my other duties as a Senator. If I
have in any respect failed, I regret it. Let me say in all simplicity,
I have done much less than I wish I had. I have failed often,--oh, how
often!--when I wish I had prevailed. No one can regret it more than I.
But I have been constant and earnest always. Such, God willing, such I
mean to be to the end.

And now, Sir, as I stand before the Senate, trying by a last effort
to prevent the sacrifice of Unionists, white and black, in Virginia,
I feel that I am discharging only a simple duty. To do less would be
wretched failure. I must persevere. This cause I have at heart; this
people I long to save; this great State of Virginia I long to secure
as a true and loyal State in the National Union. Show that such is her
character, and no welcome shall surpass mine.

    Mr. Wilson’s motion for a reference of the bill having been
    withdrawn, the Senate proceeded to vote on the various
    amendments offered. Mr. Edmunds’s Proviso was carried by
    Yeas 45, Nays 16. Other amendments, imposing “fundamental
    conditions,” to secure equality in suffrage, in eligibility
    to office, and in school rights and privileges, passed by
    small majorities. A Preamble, moved by Mr. Morton, declaring
    “good faith” in the framing and adoption of a republican State
    Constitution and in the ratification of the Fourteenth and
    Fifteenth Amendments to the National Constitution “a condition
    precedent to representation of the State in Congress,” was
    adopted by Yeas 39, Nays 20. The bill as thus amended then
    passed by Yeas 47, Nays 10. Mr. Sumner voted for all the
    amendments, but did not vote upon the bill itself,--it being
    his opinion, as shown by his speeches during the debates, that
    the admission of Virginia at that time, with its legislative
    and executive departments as then constituted, would endanger
    the rights and security of her loyal people.



    January 12, 1870, Mr. Sumner, in accordance with previous
    notice, asked and obtained leave to introduce the following

        A Bill to authorize the refunding and consolidation of
        the national debt, to extend banking facilities, and to
        establish specie payments.

        SECTION 1. _Be it enacted by the Senate and House of
        Representatives in Congress assembled_, That, for the
        purpose of refunding the debt of the United States and
        reducing the interest thereon, the Secretary of the
        Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized to issue, on the
        credit of the United States, coupon or registered bonds,
        of such denominations not less than fifty dollars as he
        may think proper, to an amount not exceeding $500,000,000,
        redeemable in coin, at the pleasure of the Government, at
        any time after ten years, and payable in coin at forty
        years from date, and bearing interest at the rate of five
        per cent. per annum, payable semiannually in coin; and the
        bonds thus authorized may be disposed of at the discretion
        of the Secretary, under such regulations as he shall
        prescribe, either in the United States or elsewhere, at
        not less than their par value, for coin; or they may be
        exchanged for any of the outstanding bonds, of an equal
        aggregate par value, heretofore issued under the Act of
        February 25, 1862, and known as the Five-Twenty bonds of
        1862, and for no other purpose; and the proceeds of so much
        thereof as may be disposed of for coin shall be placed in
        the Treasury, to be used for the redemption of such six per
        cent. bonds at par as may not be offered in exchange, or to
        replace such amount of coin as may have been used for that

        SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That the Secretary of
        the Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized to issue, on
        the credit of the United States, coupon or registered bonds
        to the amount of $500,000,000, of such denominations not
        less than fifty dollars as he may think proper, redeemable
        in coin, at the pleasure of the Government, at any time
        after fifteen years, and payable in coin at fifty years
        from date, and bearing interest not exceeding four and one
        half per cent. per annum, payable semiannually in coin; and
        the bonds authorized by this section may be disposed of
        under such regulations as the Secretary shall prescribe,
        in the United States or elsewhere, at not less than par,
        for coin; or they may be exchanged at par for any of the
        outstanding obligations of the Government bearing a higher
        rate of interest; and the proceeds of such bonds as may be
        sold for coin shall be deposited in the Treasury, to be
        used for the redemption of such obligations as by the terms
        of issue may be or may become redeemable or payable, or to
        replace such coin as may have been used for that purpose.

        SEC. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That the Secretary of
        the Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized to issue,
        on the credit of the United States, from time to time,
        coupon or registered bonds, of such denominations not less
        than fifty dollars as he may think proper, to the amount
        of $500,000,000, redeemable in coin, at the pleasure
        of the Government, at any time after twenty years, and
        payable in coin at sixty years from date, and bearing
        interest at the rate of four per cent. per annum, payable
        semiannually in coin; and such bonds may be disposed of
        at the discretion of the Secretary, either in the United
        States or elsewhere, at not less than their par value, for
        coin, or for United States notes, national-bank notes, or
        fractional currency; or may be exchanged for any of the
        obligations of the United States, of whatever character,
        that may be outstanding at the date of the issue of such
        bonds. And if in the opinion of the Secretary of the
        Treasury it is thought advisable to issue a larger amount
        of four per cent. bonds for any of the purposes herein or
        hereinafter recited than would be otherwise authorized by
        this section of this Act, such further issues are hereby
        authorized: _Provided_, That there shall be no increase in
        the aggregate debt of the United States in consequence of
        any issues authorized by this Act.

        SEC. 4. _And be it further enacted_, That the bonds
        authorized by this Act shall be exempt from all taxation by
        or under national, State, or municipal authority. Nor shall
        there be any tax upon, or abatement from, the interest or
        income thereof.

        SEC. 5. _And be it further enacted_, That the present
        limit of $300,000,000 as the aggregate amount of issues
        of circulating notes by national banks be, and the same
        is hereby, extended, so that the aggregate amount issued
        and to be issued may amount to, but shall not exceed,
        $500,000,000; and the additional issue hereby authorized
        shall be so distributed, if demanded, as to give to each
        State and Territory its just proportion of the whole amount
        of circulating notes according to population, subject to
        all the provisions of law authorizing national banks, in
        so far as such provisions are not modified by this Act:
        _Provided_, That for each dollar of additional currency
        issued under the provisions of this Act there shall be
        withdrawn and cancelled one dollar of legal-tender issues.

        SEC. 6. _And be it further enacted_, That the Secretary
        of the Treasury shall require the national banks, to whom
        may be awarded any part or portion of the additional
        circulating notes authorized by the fifth section of
        this Act, to deposit, before the delivery thereto of any
        such notes, with the Treasurer of the United States, as
        security for such circulation, registered bonds of the
        description authorized by the third section of this Act,
        in the proportion of not less than one hundred dollars of
        bonds for each and every eighty dollars of notes to be
        delivered; and the Secretary of the Treasury shall require
        from existing national banks, in substitution of the bonds
        already deposited with the Treasurer of the United States
        as security for their circulating notes, a deposit of
        registered bonds authorized by the third section of this
        Act to an amount not less than one hundred dollars of bonds
        for every eighty dollars of notes that have been or may
        hereafter be delivered to such banks, exclusive of such
        amounts as have been cancelled. And if any national bank
        shall not furnish to the Treasurer of the United States the
        new bonds, as required by this Act, within three months
        after having been notified by the Secretary of the Treasury
        of his readiness to deliver such bonds, it shall be the
        duty of the Treasurer, so long as such delinquency exists,
        to retain from the interest, as it may become due and
        payable, on the bonds belonging to such delinquent banks
        on deposit with him as security for circulating notes, so
        much of such interest as shall be in excess of four per
        cent. per annum on the amount of such bonds, which excess
        shall be placed to the credit of the sinking fund of the
        United States; and all claims thereto on the part of such
        delinquent banks shall cease and determine from that date;
        and the percentage of currency delivered or to be delivered
        to any bank shall in no case exceed eighty per cent. of the
        face value of the bonds deposited with the Treasurer as
        security therefor.

        SEC. 7. _And be it further enacted_, That, whenever the
        premium on gold shall fall to or within five per cent.,
        it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to
        give public notice that the outstanding United States
        notes, or other legal-tender issues of the Government,
        will thereafter be received at par for customs duties;
        and the interest on the issues known as three per cent.
        legal-tender certificates shall cease from and after the
        date of such notice; and all such legal-tender obligations,
        when so received, shall not again be uttered, but shall
        forthwith be cancelled and destroyed. And so much of the
        Act of February 25, 1862, and of all subsequent Acts, as
        creates or declares any of the issues of the United States,
        other than coin, a legal tender, be, and the same is
        hereby, repealed; such repeal to take effect on and after
        the first day of January, 1871.

        SEC. 8. _And be it further enacted_, That all the
        provisions of existing laws in relation to forms,
        inscriptions, devices, dies, and paper, and the printing,
        attestation, sealing, signing, and counterfeiting, as may
        be applicable, shall apply to the bonds issued under this
        Act; and a sum not exceeding one per cent. of the amount of
        bonds issued under this Act is hereby appropriated to pay
        the expense of preparing and issuing the same and disposing

        SEC. 9. _And be it further enacted_, That all Acts or parts
        of Acts inconsistent with this Act be, and the same are
        hereby, repealed.

    Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--I have already during this session introduced a
bill providing for the extension of the national banking system and
the withdrawal of greenbacks in proportion to the new bank-notes
issued,[202] thus preparing the way for specie payments. The more I
reflect upon this simple proposition, the more I am satisfied of its
value. It promises to be as efficacious as it is unquestionably simple.
But it does not pretend to deal with the whole financial problem.

The bill which I now introduce is more comprehensive in character.
While embodying the original proposition of substituting bank-notes
for greenbacks, it provides for the refunding and consolidation of the
national debt in such a way as to make it easy to bear, while it brings
the existing currency to a par with coin. In making this attempt I
am moved by the desire to do something for the business interests of
the country, which suffer inconceivably from the derangement of the
currency. Whether at home or abroad, it is the same. At home values
are uncertain; abroad commerce is disturbed and out of gear. Political
Reconstruction is not enough; there must be Financial Reconstruction
also. The peace which we covet must enter into our finances; the
reconciliation which we long for must embrace the disordered business
of the country.

In any measure having this object there are two things which must
not be forgotten: first, the preservation of the national credit;
and, secondly, the reduction of existing taxation. Happily, there is
a universal prevailing sentiment for the national credit, showing
itself in a fixed determination that it shall be maintained at all
hazards. Nobody can exaggerate the value of this determination, which
is the corner-stone of Financial Reconstruction. On the reduction of
taxation there is at present more difference of opinion; but I cannot
doubt that here, too, there will be a speedy harmony. The country is
uneasy under the heavy burden. Willingly, gladly, patriotically, it
submitted to this burden while the Republic was in peril; but now there
is a yearning for relief. War taxes should not be peace taxes; and so
long as the present system continues, there is a constant and painful
memento of war, while business halts in chains and life bends under the

The national credit being safe, relief from the pressure of existing
taxation is the first practical object in our finances. But so entirely
natural and consistent is this object, that it harmonizes with all
other proper objects, especially with the refunding of the national
debt, and with specie payments. As the people feel easy in their
affairs, they will be ready for the work of Reconstruction. Therefore
do I say, as an essential stage in what we all desire, _Down with the

The proper reduction of taxation involves two other things: first, the
reduction of the present annual interest on the national debt, thus
affording immense relief; and, secondly, the spread or extension of
the national debt over succeeding generations, for whom, as well as
for ourselves, it was incurred. The practical value of the first is
apparent on the simple statement. The second may be less apparent, as
it opens a question of policy, on both sides of which much has been
already said.

Nobody doubts the brilliancy of the movement to pay off the national
debt,--calling to mind the charge of the six hundred at Balaclava
riding into the jaws of Death, so that the beholder exclaimed, in
memorable words, “It is magnificent, but it is not war.”[203] In
other words, it was a feat of hardihood and immolation, abnormal,
eccentric, and beyond even the terrible requirements of battle. In
similar spirit might a beholder, witnessing the present sacrifice
of our people in the redemption of a debt so large a part of which
justly belongs to posterity, exclaim, “It is magnificent, but it is
not business.” Unquestionably business requires that we should meet
existing obligations according to their letter and spirit; but it does
not require payment in advance, nor payment of obligations resting upon
others. To do this is magnificent, but beyond the line of business.

President Lincoln, in one of his earliest propositions of Emancipation,
before he had determined upon the great Proclamation, contemplated
compensation to slave-masters, and, in order to commend this large
expenditure, went into an elaborate calculation to show how easy it
would be, if proportioned upon the giant shoulders of posterity.
Dismissing the idea of payment by the existing generation, he proceeded
to exhibit the growing capacity of the country,--how from the beginning
there had been a decennial increase in population of 34.60 per
cent.,--how during a period of seventy years the ratio had never been
two per cent. below or two per cent. above this average, thus attesting
the inflexibility of this law of increase. Assuming its continuance, he
proceeded to show that in 1870 our population would be 42,323,341,--in
1880 it would be 56,967,216,--in 1890 it would be 76,677,872,--and
in 1900 it would be 103,208,415,--while in 1930 it would amount to
251,680,914.[204] Nobody has impeached these estimates. There they
stand in that Presidential Message as colossal mile-stones of the

The increase in material resources is beyond that of population. The
most recent calculation, founded on the last census, shows that for the
previous decade it was at the rate of eighty per cent.,[205] although
other calculations have placed it as high as one hundred and twenty-six
per cent.[206] Whether the one or the other, the rate of increase is
enormous, and, unless arrested in some way not now foreseen, it must
carry our national resources to a fabulous extent. What is a burden now
will be scarcely a feather’s weight in the early decades of the next
century, when a population counted by hundreds of millions will wield
resources counted by thousands of millions. On this head details are
superfluous. All must see at once the irresistible conclusion.

It is much in this discussion, when we have ascertained how easy it
will be for posterity to bear this responsibility. But the case is
strengthened, when it is considered that the war was for the life of
the Republic, so that throughout all time, so long as the Republic
endures, all who enjoy its transcendent citizenship will share the
benefits. Should they not contribute to the unparalleled cost? Recent
estimates, deemed to be moderate and reasonable, show an aggregate
destruction of wealth or diversion of wealth-producing industry in
the United States since 1861 approximating nine thousand millions of
dollars, being the cost of the war, or, in other words, the cost of
the destruction of Slavery.[207] If from this estimate be dropped
the item for expenditures and loss of property in the Rebel States,
amounting to $2,700,000,000,[208] we shall have $6,300,000,000 as the
sum-total of cost to the loyal people, of which the existing national
debt represents less than half. Thus, besides precious blood beyond
any calculation of arithmetic, the present generation has already
contributed immensely to that result in which succeeding generations
have a stake even greater than theirs.

Assuming, then, that there is to be no considerable taxation for the
immediate payment of the debt, we have one economy. If to this be added
another economy from the reduction of the interest, we shall be able to
relieve materially all the business interests of the country. Two such
economies will be of infinite value to the people, whose riches will be
proportionally increased. In the development of wealth, next to making
money is saving money.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bearing these things in mind, Financial Reconstruction is relieved
of its difficulties. It only remains to find the proper machinery or
process. And here we encounter the propositions of the Secretary of the
Treasury in his Annual Report,[209] which are threefold:--

1. To refund twelve hundred millions of six per cent.
Five-Twenty bonds in four and a half per cent. Fifteen-Twenties,
Twenty-Twenty-Fives, and Twenty-Five-Thirties.

2. To make our exports equal in value with our imports, and to restore
our commercial marine.

3. To regard these as essential conditions of reduced taxation and
specie payments.

Considering these propositions with the best attention I could give
to them, I have been impressed by their inadequacy as a system at the
present moment. I cannot easily consent to the postponement which they
imply. They hand over to the future what I wish to see accomplished
at once, and what I cannot doubt with a firm will can be accomplished
at an early day. But besides this capital defect, apparent on the
face, I find in the system proposed no assurance of success. Will it
work? I doubt. Here I wish to be understood as expressing myself with
proper caution; and I wish further to declare my anxiety to obtain
the substituted loans at the smallest rate of interest, and also my
conviction that within a short time, at some slight present cost, this
may be accomplished.

Looking at this question in the light of business, I am driven to
the conclusion that twelve hundred millions of six per cents. cannot
be refunded either now or hereafter in four or four and a half per
cents. without offering compensation in an additional running period
of the bonds which is not found in the Fifteen-Twenties nor in the
Twenty-Five-Thirties proposed by the Secretary. With such bonds there
would be a practical difficulty in the way of any such refunding to
any considerable amount, from the inability to command a sufficient
amount of coin under the “option of coin,” which must accompany the
offer; nor is there any fund applicable to the purchase of coin in
open market, were such a course desirable. Obviously, to induce the
voluntary relinquishment of bonds at a high rate of interest for other
bonds at a less rate, the holders must be offered something preferable
to the coin tendered as an alternative.

The time has passed when holders can be menaced with payment in
greenbacks. Whatever we do must be in coin, or in some bond which will
be taken rather than coin. The attempt at too low a rate of interest
would cause the coin to be taken rather than the bond, if we had the
article at command,--and would end in a deluge of coin, sweeping away
the premium on gold. A return to specie payments, thus precipitated,
would be of doubtful value, if not illusive, without other and
sustaining measures.

In the suggestion that our exports must be augmented, and our
commercial marine restored, I sympathize cordially; but I do not
see how this can be accomplished so long as the present taxation is
maintained, exercising such a depressing influence on all industry,
making the necessaries of life dearer, adding to the cost of raw
material, and generally enhancing the price of our products so as to
prevent them from competing in foreign markets with the products of
other nations.

The proposition to make the interest on the new bonds payable
at various points in Europe, at the option of the holder, seems
unnecessary, while it is open to objections. Such agencies would be
onerous and cumbersome. At London, Paris, Frankfort, and Berlin, there
must be a machinery, with constant complications, continuing through
the lifetime of the bonds, to secure the transfers from point to point
and the obligatory remittances in gold; nor am I sure that in this
way foreign powers might not obtain a certain jurisdiction over our
monetary transactions. But I confess that the ruling objection with
me is of a different character. New York is our commercial centre,
designated by Providence and confirmed by man. Already it has made a
great advance, but it is not yet quoted abroad as one of the clearing
points of the world. At New York quotations are obtained daily on
London and Paris; but in these places no such recognized quotations can
be now obtained on New York. That the agencies proposed will tend to
postpone this condition is a sufficient objection.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have made these remarks with hesitation, but in order to prepare
the way for the bill which I have introduced. It was my duty to show
why the propositions of the Secretary were not sufficient for the
occasion, and this I have tried to do simply and frankly. It is long
since I avowed my conviction that specie payments should be resumed;
and I should now do less than my duty, if I did not at least attempt to
show the way which seems to me so natural and easy. While the present
system continues, we are poor. The payment of the national debt and
the accumulation of coin in the Treasury are the signs of unparalleled
national wealth, but our financial condition is not in harmony with
these signs. The latest figures from the Treasury are such as no other
nation can exhibit. From these it appears that the amount of bonds
purchased since March 1, 1869, for the sinking fund was $22,000,000,
and the amount purchased subject to Congress $64,000,000, being in
all $86,000,000.[210] The same proportion of purchase for January and
February would be $23,000,000, making a sum-total of $109,000,000 for
one year. And notwithstanding this outlay, we find in the Treasury,
January 1, 1870, in coin no less than $109,159,000, and in currency
$12,773,000, making a sum-total of $121,932,000. And yet, with these
tokens of national resources manifest to the world, our bonds are
below par, and our currency is inconvertible paper. This should not be
permitted longer. With all these resources there must be a way, even if
we were not taught that a will always finds a way.

       *       *       *       *       *

The refunding of an existing loan implies two distinct and independent
transactions: first, the extinction, by payment in some form, of the
existing loan; and, secondly, the negotiation of a new loan to an
amount equal to that extinguished.

The bill now before the Senate contemplates the prompt extinguishment
of the Five-Twenties of 1862. But I would not have this important work
entered upon until the Government is fully prepared to say, that, after
a certain period of notice, say six months, in order that distant
holders in Europe may be advised, interest on the Five-Twenties of
1862 shall cease, and the bonds be forthwith redeemed in coin. There
should be no coercion of any kind upon any holder, at home or abroad,
to induce the acceptance of a substitute bond. I am happy to believe,
that, with the judicious use of five per cent. Ten-Forties, all the
coin necessary for such independent action may be assured in advance.
Believing that such five per cent. bonds will be regarded by investors
as preferable to coin, I would give the holders of the old bonds the
first opportunity to subscribe for the new. Those who elect coin will
make room for others ready to give coin in exchange for such bonds.

If we look at the practical consequences, we shall be encouraged in
this course. The refunding of the sixes of 1862, being upward of five
hundred millions, in fives, as authorized by the first section of the
bill, contemplates the payment from present funds of little more than
fourteen millions, being the excess of Five-Twenties above the five
hundred millions provided for. The annual reduction of interest on that
loan will be $5,886,296. The substitution of three hundred millions of
fours for a like amount of sixes, as provided in the bill, will operate
a further saving of $6,000,000, making a sum-total of $11,886,296, or
near twelve millions. There will then remain but $129,443,800, subject
to redemption, being Five-Twenties of 1864.

During the year 1870 the further sum of $536,326,200, being
Five-Twenties of 1865, will fall within the control of the Government,
when, as it seems to me, and according to the contemplation of the
bill, the credit of the Government will be at such a pitch that five
hundred millions can be refunded in four and a half per cents., with
the addition of thirty-six millions paid from the Treasury,--thus
insuring a further annual reduction of $9,679,572, or a total annual
saving of $21,565,868, of which about twelve millions may be saved
during the current year.

Here for the present we stop. Our interest-paying debt cannot be
further ameliorated before 1872, when three hundred and seventy-nine
millions, being Five-Twenties of 1867, will become redeemable, and
then in 1873, when forty-two millions, being Five-Twenties of 1868,
and constituting the balance of our optional sixes, will become
redeemable,--all of which I gladly believe may be refunded in the four
per cents. provided by the present bill, to be followed in 1874 by a
reduction of the original Ten-Forties into similar bonds.

I would remark here that the bill undertakes to deal with the whole
disposable national debt. The amounts which I have given will be found
in the Treasury tables of January 1st, and are irrespective of the
sinking fund and invested surplus.

From these details I pass to consider the bill in its aims and

       *       *       *       *       *

The proposition with which I begin is to refund our six per cent.
Five-Twenties of 1862, amounting to upward of five hundred millions, in
five per cent. Ten-Forties. In taking the term “Ten-Forties,” I adopt
the description of a bond well known and popular at home and abroad,
whose payment “in coin” is expressly stipulated by the original Act
authorizing the issue.[211] The bond begins with a good name, which
will commend it. The interest which I propose is larger than I would
propose for any late bond. It is important, if not necessary, in order
to counteract the suspicion which has been allowed to fall upon our
national credit. Even our sixes are now below par in Europe. But they
will unquestionably share the elevation of the new fives substituted.
Our first attempt should be with the latter. Let these be carried to
par, and we shall have par everywhere.

In this process the first stage is the conviction that all our bonds
will be paid in the universal money of the world. All bonds, whether
fives or sixes, will then advance. I know no way in which this
conviction can be created so promptly and easily as by redeeming in
gold some one of our six per cent. loans; and that most naturally
selected is the first, which is already so noted from the discussion to
which it has been subjected. But this can be done only by offering to
holders the option of coin or a satisfactory substitute bond. With a
new issue of five per cent. Ten-Forties, limited in amount to about the
aggregate of the six per cent. Five-Twenties of 1862,--say five hundred
millions,--I cannot doubt that every foreign holder of such sixes will
accept the fives in lieu of coin; and so much of that loan as is held
at home may be paid in coin, if preferred by the holders, from the
proceeds of an equal amount of fives placed in Europe at par for coin.

Then will follow the advantage of this positive policy. The national
credit will be beyond question. Nobody will doubt it. The public
faith will be vindicated. The time will have come, which is the
condition-precedent named by the Secretary of the Treasury, when “the
want of faith in the Government” will be removed, and the door will be
open to cheap loans. This will be of course: it cannot be otherwise, if
we only do our duty. Our fives, being limited in amount, after being
taken at par in preference to coin, will advance in value, so that the
investment will become popular. People will desire more, but there will
be no more; so that, without difficulty or delay, we may hope to refund
five hundred millions of our subsequent sixes, or so much as may be
desirable, at four and a half per cent. in Fifteen-Fifties, if not at
four per cent. in Twenty-Sixties.

In this operation the _initial point_ is the national credit. With
this starting-point all is easy. Our fives will at once ascend above
par, while a market is opened for four and a half or four per cents.
The stigma of Repudiation, whether breathed in doubt or hurled in
taunt, will be silenced. There are other fields of glory than in war,
and such a triumph will be among the most important in the annals
of finance. But to this end there must be no hesitation. The offer
must be plain,--“Bonds or coin,”--giving the world assurance of our
determination. The answer will be as prompt as the offer,--“Bonds, and
not coin.”

       *       *       *       *       *

In the process of Financial Reconstruction we cannot forget the
National Banks, which have already done so much. The uniform currency
which they supply throughout the country commends them to our care.
Accustomed to the facilities this currency supplies, it is difficult to
understand how business was conducted under the old system, when every
bank had its separate currency, taking its color, like the chameleon,
from what was about it, so that there were as many currencies, with as
many colors, as there were banks.

Two things must be done for the national banks: first, the bonds
deposited by them with the Government must be reduced in interest; and,
secondly, the system must be extended, so as to supply much-needed
facilities, especially at the West and South.

I doubt if the national banks can expect to receive in the future
more than four per cent. from the bonds deposited by them with the
Government; and considering the profits attributed to their business,
it may be that there would be a reluctant consent even to this
allowance. Here it must be observed, that the whole system of national
banks is founded upon the bonds of the nation; so that, at the rate
of liquidation now adopted for the national debt, the system will be
without support in the lapse of twelve or fifteen years. The stability
of the banks, which is so vital alike to the national currency and
to the pecuniary interests involved in the business, can be assured
only by an issue of bonds for a longer term. Of course, the longer the
period, the more valuable the bond. To reduce the interest arbitrarily
on the existing short bonds of the banks, without offering compensation
in some form, would be positively unjust, besides being an infringement
of the guaranties surrounding such bonds, and therefore a violation
of good faith. A substitute Twenty-Sixty bond will be assurance of
stability for this length of time, while the additional life of the
bond will be a compensation for the reduction of interest. As it is not
proposed to issue such bonds immediately, except for banking purposes,
they will not fall below par, and this par will be coin, which, I need
not say, the sixes now held by the banks will not command. If, through
the failure or winding-up of any bank, an amount of the substituted
bonds should be liberated, there will be an instant demand for them at
par by new banks arising to secure the relinquished circulation.

The extension of bank-notes from three to five hundred millions, which
I propose, will extend the banking system where it is now needed.
This alone is much. How long the Senate debated this question at the
last session, without any practical result, cannot be forgotten. That
debate certifies to the necessity of this extension. The proposition I
offer shows how it may be accomplished and made especially beneficent.
The requirement from all the banks of new four per cent. bonds, at
the rate of one hundred dollars for eighty dollars of notes issued
and to be issued, would absorb six hundred and twenty-five millions
of the national debt into four per cents., while the withdrawal of
one dollar of greenbacks for each additional dollar of notes will
go far to extinguish the outstanding greenbacks, thus quietly, and
without any appreciable contraction, removing an impediment to specie
payments. Naturally, as by a process of gestation, will this birth be
accomplished: it will come, and nobody can prevent it.

       *       *       *       *       *

In presenting this series of measures, I am penetrated by the
conviction, that, if adopted, they cannot fail to bring all the
national obligations to a par with coin, and then specie payments will
be resumed without effort. Our bonds will be among the most popular in
the market. No longer below par, they will continue to advance, while
the national credit lifts its head unimpeached, unimpeachable. Under
this influence the remainder of our outstanding debt may be refunded in
Fifteen-Fifties at four and a half per cent., if not in Twenty-Sixties
at four per cent. There will then be sixteen hundred and twenty-five
millions refunded at an average of less than four and a half per cent.,
and the whole debt, including the irredeemable sixes of 1881, at an
average of less than five per cent., while all will be within our
control five years earlier than in the maximum period proposed by the
Secretary of the Treasury.

One immediate consequence of these measures would be the relief of the
people from eighty to one hundred millions of taxation, while there
would remain a surplus revenue of two millions a month applicable to
the reduction of the debt, being more than enough to liquidate the
whole prior to the maturity of the new obligations, if it were thought
advisable to complete the liquidation at so early a day. The country
will breathe freer, business will be more elastic, life will be easier,
as the assurance goes forth that no heavy taxation shall be continued
in order to pay the debt in eleven years, as is now proposed, nor in
fifteen years, nor in twenty years. By the present measures, while
retaining the privilege of paying the debt within twenty years, we
shall secure the alternative of sixty years, and at a largely reduced
interest,--leaving the opportunity of paying it at any intermediate
time, according to the best advantage of the country. With diminished
taxation and resources increasing immeasurably, the national debt will
cease to be a burden,--becoming “fine by degrees and beautifully less”
until it gradually ceases to exist.

       *       *       *       *       *

In making this statement, I offer my contribution to the settlement
of a great question. If I am wrong, what I have said will soon be
forgotten. Meanwhile I ask for it your candid attention, adding one
further remark, with which I shall close. I never have doubted, I
cannot doubt, the ease with which the transition to specie payments
may be accomplished, especially as compared with the ominous fears
which this simple proposition seems to excite in certain quarters. We
are gravely warned against it as a period of crisis. I do not believe
there will be anything to which this term can be reasonably applied.
Like every measure of essential justice, it will at once harmonize with
the life of the community, and people will be astonished at the long
postponement of an act so truly beneficent in all its influences, so
important to the national character, and so congenial with the business
interests of the country.

    The bill was ordered to be printed, and referred to the
    Committee on Finance.

       *       *       *       *       *

    January 25th, a bill from the Committee on Finance, “to
    provide a national currency of coin notes and to equalize the
    distribution of circulating notes,” being under consideration,
    Mr. Sumner moved an amendment embracing the provisions of his
    bill, with the exception of the first, second, and seventh
    sections, as a substitute,--in support of which he the next day
    spoke as follows:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--Some things seem to be admitted in this debate
as starting-points,--at least if I may judge from the remarks of
the Senator from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN]. One of these is the unequal
distribution of the bank-note currency, and another is that to take
from the Northern and Eastern banks circulation already awarded to them
would disturb trade. I venture to add, that the remedy would be worse
than the disease.

The Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. HOWE] and the Senator from Kentucky
[Mr. DAVIS] justly claim for the West and South a fair proportion of
bank circulation. The Senator from Indiana [Mr. MORTON] demands more.
While neither asks for expansion, neither is ready for contraction.
The last-named Senator argues, that at this time the currency is not
too much for the area of country and the amount of business, which,
from the new spaces opened to settlement and the increase of commerce,
require facilities beyond those that are adequate in thickly settled
and wealthy communities. His premises may be in the main sound; but
he might have made a further application of them. If, in the absence
of local banks and banking facilities, a larger amount of circulation
is needed,--and I do not mean to question this assertion,--would it
not follow that the establishment of such local banks and banking
facilities, with new bank credits, checks of depositors, and other
agencies of exchange, and with the increase of circulation, would more
than counterbalance any slight contraction from the withdrawal of
greenbacks, and that thus we should be tending toward specie payments?

The Senator from Kentucky said aptly, that, if we wait until all are
ready, we shall never resume. If the Senator from Indiana is right in
saying that prices have already settled down in the expectation of an
early resumption, then to my mind the battle is half won and we have
only to proceed always in the right direction.

A simple redistribution of the existing currency cannot be made without
serious consequences to the business of the country, while it will
do nothing to correct the evils of our present financial condition.
It will do nothing for Financial Reconstruction, nor will these
consequences be confined to any geographical section. They will affect
the South and West as well as the North and East. I need only add that
disturbance in New York means disturbance everywhere in our country.

Nor is it easy to see how any redistribution can be made, which,
however just to-day, may not be unjust to-morrow. As business develops
and population extends there will be new demand, with new inequalities
and new disturbances.

The original Banking Act[212] authorized a circulation of $300,000,000,
a large part of which went to the Northern and Eastern States. All
this was very natural; for at that time there was no demand at the
South, and comparatively little at the West. With the supply of capital
at the East banks were promptly formed, even before the State banks
were permitted to come into the new system. Subsequently the State
banks were not only permitted to come into the new system, but their
circulation was taxed out of existence. Here, then, was banking capital
idle. It was reasonable that the circulation which was not demanded
in other parts of the country should be allotted to these banks. This
I state in simple justice to these banks. I might remind you also of
the patriotic service rendered by the banks of New York, Boston, and
Philadelphia, which in 1861 furnished the means by which our forces
were organized against the Rebellion. One hundred and fifty millions in
gold were furnished by these banks, of which less than fifty millions
were subsequently subscribed by the people;[213] and this was at a
moment when the national securities had received a terrible shock. Not
from the South, not from the West, did financial succor come at that

       *       *       *       *       *

In considering briefly the questions presented by the pending measure
I shall take them in their order. They are two: first, to enlarge
the national bank currency; and, secondly, to create a system of free
banking founded on coin notes. This leaves out of view the question of
refunding and consolidating the national debt; nor does it touch the
great question of specie payments.

I begin with the proposed enlargement of the currency. The object is
excellent, as is admitted by all; but the practical question arises on
the way it shall be done.

If you look at the bill now before the Senate, you will see that
it authorizes an enlargement to the extent of $45,000,000, and the
withdrawal to that amount of what are called three per cent. temporary
loan certificates, of which little more than this amount exists. The
extinction of this debt will accomplish an annual saving of about
$1,366,000. So far, so good. This amount of $45,000,000 is allotted
to banks organized in States and Territories having less than their
proportion under the general Banking Act. This is right, and it removes
to a certain extent objections successfully urged at the last session
of Congress against a measure for the redistribution of currency.

But, plainly and obviously, the measure of relief proposed is not
sufficient to meet the just demands of the South and West; nor is it
sufficient to prevent taking from the North and East a portion of the
currency now enjoyed by them. Therefore in one part of the country
it will be inadequate, while in another it is unjust. Inadequacy and
injustice are bad recommendations.

When a complete remedy is in our power, why propose a partial remedy?
When a just remedy is in our power, why propose an unjust remedy? There
is another question. I would ask also, Why unnecessarily disturb
existing and well-settled channels of trade?--for such must be the
effect of a new apportionment, as proposed, under the census of this
year. Why not at once provide another source from which to draw the new
supplies under the new apportionment? I open this subject with these
inquiries, which to my mind answer themselves.

The proposition of the Committee is further embarrassed by the
provision for the cancellation each month of the three per cent.
certificates to an amount equal to the aggregate of new notes issued
during the previous month. In order to judge the expediency of
this measure we must understand the origin and character of these

The Secretary of the Treasury, desiring to avoid the further issue of
greenbacks, conceived the idea of a note which could be used in the
payment of Government obligations, but in such form as not to enter
into and inflate the currency. This resulted in an interest-bearing
note payable three years after date, with six per cent. interest
compounded every six months and payable at the maturity of the note
in its redemption. This anomalous note was made legal-tender for its
face value only.[214] It was not doubted that such notes, on the
accumulation of interest, would be withdrawn as an investment. Being
legal-tender, if they were allowed to be used by the banks as part of
their reserves, they would become, contrary to the original purpose,
part of the national circulation, while the Government would be paying
interest on bank reserves, which no bank could demand. But the _ipse
dixit_ of the Secretary could not prevent their use by the banks as
part of the reserves. The intervention of Congress was required, which,
by the second section of the Loan Act of June 30, 1864, provided as

    “Nor shall any Treasury note bearing interest, issued under
    this Act, be a legal tender in payment or redemption of any
    notes issued by any bank, banking association, or banker,
    calculated or intended to circulate as money.”[215]

From this statement it seems clear that neither the Secretary
originating these compound-interest legal-tender notes, nor the Act of
Congress authorizing them, nor the banks receiving them, contemplated
their employment as part of the bank reserves. How they reached this
condition remains to be told.

The whole issue of the compound-interest legal-tender notes amounted to
upward of two hundred and seventeen millions.[216] These were funded at
or before maturity, except some fifty millions, which as they matured
were exchanged for certificates to that amount bearing three per cent.
interest, and constituted part of the bank reserves.[217] Here was
an innovation as improvident as new, being nothing less than bank
reserves on interest. This improvidence was increased by the manner
of distribution, which, instead of being ratable, seems to have been
according to the rule of “Who speaks first?” Of course the banks within
easy access of Washington had peculiar opportunities, by which they
were enabled to secure these notes, and thus obtain interest on part
of their reserves, while banks at a distance, and especially in the
country, were not equal in opportunity. Besides its partiality, this
provision operates like a gratuity to the banks having these notes.

Obviously these three per cent. certificates ought to be withdrawn; but
I do not like to see their withdrawal conditioned on the extension of
banking facilities. Their case is peculiar, and they should be treated
accordingly. Nor should their accidental amount be made the measure of
banking facilities. They constitute a part of the national debt, and
should be considered in the refunding and consolidation of this debt,
and not on a bill to provide banking facilities.

I think I do not err, if I conclude that the first part of the pending
measure is inadequate, while the cancellation of the three per cent.
certificates in the manner proposed is inexpedient. All this is more
observable when it is considered that there is another way, ample and

       *       *       *       *       *

From the first part of the pending measure I pass to the second part,
being sections three, four, and five, which, if I am not mistaken,
authorize free banking, with coin notes as a declared basis of coin.
This is plausible, but to my mind illusory and impracticable. The
machine will not work; but if it does work, its first and most obvious
operation will be to create a new currency, adding a third to the
greenbacks and bank-notes already existing, besides creating a new
class of banks. Here I put the practical question, Can any national
bank issue and maintain a circulation of coin notes with a reserve
of only twenty-five per cent., so long as gold commands a premium?
How long would the reserve last? It is easy to see that until specie
payments this idea is impracticable. It will not work. In proportion
to the premium on gold would be the run on the banks, until their
outstanding notes were redeemed or their vaults emptied.

But the measure is not only impracticable,--it is inexpedient, as
multiplying, instead of simplifying, the forms of currency. We have now
two paper currencies, distinct in form and with different attributes.
Everybody feels that this is unfortunate; and yet it is now proposed to
add another. Surely it is the dictate of wisdom, instead of creating
a third paper currency, to disembarrass the country of one of those
now existing and make the other convertible into coin, so that we may
hereafter enjoy one uniform currency. I confess my constant desire for
measures to withdraw our greenbacks and to make our present bank-notes
coin notes. Coin notes should be universal. Under any circumstances
the conclusion is irresistible, that the proposed plan, if not utterly
impracticable, is a too partial and timid experiment, calculated to
exercise very little influence over the great question of specie

       *       *       *       *       *

If I am right in this review, the bill of the Committee does not
deserve our support. But I do not confine myself to criticism. I offer
a substitute. Could I have my way, I would treat the whole financial
question as a unit, providing at the same time for all the points
involved in what I have called Financial Reconstruction. This I have
attempted in the bill which I have already introduced. But on the
present occasion I content myself with a substitute for the present
measure. The amendment of which I have given notice has the twofold
object of the pending bill: first, to enlarge the currency; and,
secondly, to change the existing banking system, so as to provide
practically for free banking and to enlarge banking facilities.

If you will look at my amendment, you will see that it enlarges
the limit of bank-notes from $300,000,000 to $500,000,000. This is
practically a provision for free banking, at least for some years.
Practically it leaves the volume of currency to be regulated by
legitimate demand, with a proviso for the withdrawal of legal-tender
notes to an amount equal to the new issues. The amendment then proceeds
to provide bonds to be deposited with the Government as the basis of
the new banks. And here is a just and much-needed economy,--just to
the Government, and not unjust to the banks. It is proposed for the
future to allow but four per cent. interest on the bonds deposited by
the banks. Thus far the banks have enjoyed large benefits, and in part
at the expense of the Government. Under the operation of my amendment
these profits would be slightly reduced, but not unduly, while the
Treasury would receive an annual benefit of not far from six million
dollars in coin. In this respect the proposition harmonizes with the
idea, which is constantly present to my mind, of diminishing our taxes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir, in the remarks submitted by me on a former occasion I ventured to
say that the first great duty of Congress was to mitigate the burdens
now pressing upon the energies of the people and upon the business
of the country, and, as one means of accomplishing this important
result, to extend these burdens, in a diminishing annual ratio, over
a large population entering upon the enjoyment of the blessings which
the present generation at such enormous cost has assured to the
Republic.[218] Upon the assumption that the national revenues and the
national expenditures would continue relatively the same as now, a sum
extending from eighty to one hundred millions would be the measure of
relief that might be accorded at once, without arresting the continuous
reduction of the debt at the rate of $2,000,000 a month.

In proposing this large reduction of taxation at this time, with the
hope of larger reductions in the near future, it was necessary to
keep in view the possibility of increased expenditure or of decreased
receipts. To guard against such contingency we must keep strict
watch over the expenditures, and, if possible, diminish the positive
annual obligations of the nation. And here the mind is naturally and
irresistibly attracted to the prodigious item of interest. Cannot this
be reduced at an early day by a large amount, and then subsequently,
though contingently, by a much larger amount? And should not this
result be one of our first endeavors? Is it not the first considerable
stage in the reduction of taxation?

The credit of the country is injured by two causes: first, the
refusal to redeem past-due obligations, being so much _failed paper_,
which condition must necessarily continue so long as we deliberately
sanction an inconvertible currency; and, secondly, the menace of
Repudiation, with slurs upon the integrity of the people uttered in
important quarters. These two causes are impediments to the national
credit. How long shall they continue? Loyally and emphatically has
Congress declared that all the obligations of the nation shall be
paid according to their spirit as well as letter. But this is not
enough. More must be done. And here Congress must act, not partially,
nor timidly, nor in the interests of the few only, but impartially,
comprehensively, firmly, and in the interests of the many. It must help
the recognized ability of the nation by removing its disabilities.

Nearly five years have now passed since the Rebellion sheathed its
sword. But the national expenditures did not cease at once when the
sword no longer plied its bloody work. They still continued, sometimes
under existing contracts which could not be broken, sometimes in
guarding the transition from war to peace. Meanwhile the national
faith was preserved, while the people carried the unexampled burden
willingly, if not cheerfully. The large unliquidated debt, the _débris_
of the war, has been paid off or reduced to a form satisfactory to the
creditor, and the world has been assured that the people are ready for
any sacrifices according to the exigency. Is more necessary? Should
these sacrifices be continued when the exigency has ceased?

These sacrifices are twofold, being direct and indirect. The direct are
measured by the known amount of taxation. The indirect are also traced
to existing taxation, and their witnesses are crippled trade, unsettled
values, oppressive prices, and an inconvertible currency, which of
itself is a constant sacrifice. Therefore do I say again, _Down with
the taxes!_

Bills relating to taxation do not originate in the Senate; but
Senators are not shut out from expressing themselves freely on the
proper policy which is demanded at this time. On the finances and the
banks the Senate has the same powers as the other House. Here it
may take the initiative, as is shown by the present bill. But what
it does should be equal to the occasion; it should be large, and not
petty,--far-reaching, and not restricted in its sphere. The present
bill, I fear, has none of these qualities which we desire at this time.
It is a patch or plaster only, when we need a comprehensive cure.

To my mind it is easy to see what must be done. The country must be
relieved from its heavy burdens. Taxation must be made lighter,--also
less complex and inquisitorial. Simplification will be a form of
relief. Our banking system is ready to adapt itself to the wants of the
country, if you will only say the word. Speak, Sir, and it will do what
you desire. But instead of this we are asked by the Committee to begin
by making the system more complex, without adding to its efficiency; we
are asked to construct a third currency, which so long as it continues
must be a stumbling-block; we are asked to establish discord instead of

Now, Sir, in order to bring the Senate to a precise vote on what I
regard as the fundamental proposition of my amendment, I shall withdraw
the amendment as a whole, and move to strike out the first two sections
of the Committee’s bill, and to insert as a substitute what I send to
the Chair.

    The proposed substitute, being Section 5 of Mr. Sumner’s bill,
    having been read, he continued:--

On that proposition I have one word to say. It is brief: that you will
admit. It is simple: that you will admit. It enlarges the existing
national bank circulation by $200,000,000: that is ample, as I believe
you will admit. Practically it is a system of free banking: that is,
it is such until the enlarged circulation is absorbed,--that is, for
some time to come. But free banking is what, as I understand, Senators

Then, again, it has in it no element of injustice. There is no
injustice to the North or to the East. All parts of the country are
equally accommodated and equally protected. But this cannot be said of
the pending measure.

Then, again, it is elastic, adapting itself everywhere to the
exigencies of the place. If banking facilities are needed, and the
capital is ready, under that amendment they can be enjoyed. Unlike the
proposition of the Committee, it is not of cast-iron, but is so as to
adapt itself to all the conditions of business in every part of the

Then, again, in the final provision, that for every bank-note issued
a greenback shall be withdrawn, you find the great highway to specie
payments. All your greenbacks will speedily be withdrawn. You will
have then only the bank-notes, making one paper currency; and then
speedily, within a brief period, you will have specie payments. The
banks must have their reserves; there will be no greenbacks for them;
they must find them in specie. The banks, then, and every stockholder,
will find a motive to press for specie payments, and you will have that
great result quietly accomplished, absolutely without shock, while the
business interests of the country will rejoice.

    February 1st, in further advocacy of this amendment, Mr. Sumner

MR. PRESIDENT,--As it is understood that the Senate is to vote to-day
on the bill and all pending propositions, I seize this moment to say
a last word for the proposition which I have had the honor of moving,
and which is now pending. But before I proceed with the discussion,
allow me to say, that, while sitting at my desk here, I have received
expressions of opinion from different parts of the country, one or two
of which I will read. For instance, here is a telegraphic dispatch from
a leading financial gentleman in Chicago:--

    “Your views on Currency Question much approved here. Authorize
    new bank circulation to extent named, retiring greenbacks _pari

This is the very rule which I seek to establish.

At the same time I received a communication from Circleville, Ohio,
dated January 25th, the first sentences of which I will read:--

    “Please pardon me for this intrusion. I desire to ask, if you
    are willing to indicate, what will likely be the result of your
    financial bill. I think I only utter the sentiment of three
    fourths of all the commercial men through our great and growing
    West, when I say it should become a law, and thereby secure to
    us our equal share of the national banking capital, which we
    now need so much.”

This, again, is what I seek to accomplish.

       *       *       *       *       *

At this stage, I hope I may have the indulgence of the Senate, if I
ask one moment’s attention to the bill of the Committee. On a former
occasion I ventured to say that it was inadequate.[219] The more I
reflect upon it, the longer this debate is continued, the more I am
impressed with its inadequacy. It does not do what should be done
by the first measure of legislation on our finances adopted by the
present Congress. It is incomplete. I wish I could stop there; but I am
obliged to go further, and say that it is not only incomplete, but it
is, in certainly one of its features, to which I shall call attention,
mischievous. I take advantage of this moment to present this point,
because it has not been mentioned before, and because at a later stage
I may not have the opportunity of doing so. It is this provision at the
end of the first section:--

    “But a new apportionment shall be made as soon as practicable,
    based upon the census of 1870.”

At the proper time I shall move to strike out these words, and I will
now very briefly assign my reasons.

The proposition is objectionable, first, because it is
mischievous,--and, secondly, because it is difficult, if not
impracticable, in its operation; and if I can have the attention of the
Senate, unless figures deceive me, and unless facts are at fault, I
think that the Senate must agree in my conclusion.

We are told by the Comptroller of the Currency that $45,000,000 is a
large allowance of currency at this moment for the South and West;
indeed, I believe he puts the limit at $40,000,000. Now suppose only
$40,000,000 are taken up during the coming year,--that is, till
the completion of the census; that would leave $5,000,000 still
outstanding, which might be employed for the benefit of the South and
West. That circumstance indicates to a certain extent the financial
condition of those parts of the country. Do they need larger
facilities, and, if so, to what extent? Can you determine in advance? I
doubt it. But, Sir, in the face of this uncertainty, this bill steps in
and declares positively that “a new apportionment shall be made as soon
as practicable, based upon the census of 1870.” What will be the effect
of such a new apportionment? Even according to the census of 1860, such
new apportionment would transfer some sixty million dollars from banks
that enjoy it to other parts of the country; it would take away from
those banks what they want, and transfer it where it is not wanted. The
language is imperative. But, Sir, it is not to be under the census of
1860, but under the census of 1870; and unless figures deceive, by that
census the empire of the great West will be more than ever manifest.
And if the transfer is made accordingly, it will take some ninety or
one hundred million dollars from where it now is, and is needed, and
carry it to other places where certainly it will not be needed in the
same degree. What will be the effect of such a transfer?

Mark, Sir, the statute is mandatory and unconditional. There is no
chance for discretion; it is to be done; the transfer is to be made.
And now what must be the consequence? A derangement of business which
it is difficult to imagine, a contraction of currency instantaneous and
spasmodic to the amount of these large sums that I have indicated.

I do not shrink from contraction. I am ready to say to the people of
Massachusetts, “If the Senate will adopt any policy of contraction
that is healthy, well-considered, and with proper conditions, I would
recommend its acceptance.” But a contraction like that proposed by
this bill, which arbitrarily takes from North and East this vast
amount, and transfers it to another part of the country, where it may
not be needed, such a contraction I oppose as mischievous. I see no
good in it. I see a disturbance of all the channels of business; and I
see a contraction which must be itself infinitely detrimental to the
financial interests of the Republic.

But then, Sir, have you considered whether you can do it? Is it
practicable? I have shown that it is mischievous: is it practicable?
Can you take this large amount of currency from one part of the country
and transfer it to another? Have you ever reflected upon the history of
the bank-note after it has commenced its travels, when it has once left
the maternal bank? It goes you know not where. I have been informed
by bank-officers, and by those most familiar with such things, that
a bank-note, when once issued, very rarely returns home. I have been
assured that it is hardly ever seen again. The banks, indeed, may go
into liquidation, but their notes are still current. The maternal bank
may be mouldering in the earth; but these its children are moving
about, performing the work of circulation. Why? The credit of the
nation is behind them; and everybody knows, when he takes one of them,
that he is safe. Therefore, I ask, how can the proposed requirement be
carried into execution? how can you bring back these runaways, when
once in circulation on their perpetual travels?

There is but one way, and that is by the return to specie payments.
Hold up before them coin, and they will all come running back to the
original bank; but until then they will continue abroad. The proposed
requirement seems to go on the idea that bank-notes, like cows,
return from pasture at night; whereas we all know, that, until specie
payments, they are more like the wild cattle of the prairies and the
pampas; you cannot find them; they are everywhere. Surely I am not
wrong, when I suggest that the proposed requirement is impracticable as
well as mischievous; and at the proper time I shall move to strike it

       *       *       *       *       *

The amendment which I have moved has been under discussion for several
days. It has had the valuable support of the Senator from Michigan [Mr.
CHANDLER], who brings to financial questions practical experience. It
has been opposed by other Senators, and with considerable ardor by my
excellent friend from Indiana [Mr. MORTON].

On Thursday last, the Senator from Indiana, addressing himself to me,
and inviting a reply, which I was then prevented from making, took
issue with me directly upon the position I have assumed, that the
withdrawal of legal-tender notes would materially assist the effort for
specie payments; and he further declared that the two currencies of
bank-notes and United States notes were kept together because one was
redeemable with the other. I do not quote his precise words, but I give
the substance.[220]

Under the policy we are now pursuing, it seems to me, that, with
$356,000,000 of legal-tender notes in circulation, the Government will
not for many years, if ever again, pay specie. With that amount of
United States notes, under the actual policy, the bank currency will
forever remain inconvertible. And the correctness of these positions I
will endeavor briefly to demonstrate.

A convertible currency is nothing more nor less than the servant
of coin. If there is no coin, it can neither be servant nor
representative, though it may attempt to perform the functions of coin.
Presenting itself under false pretences, it but partially succeeds
in this attempt; and the discredit attaching to it compels it to pay
more for any property than would be the price of such property in
coin, or the acknowledged representative of coin,--just as doubtful
people must submit to ten, fifteen, or twenty per cent. discount,
when what is known as “gilt-edged” commercial paper is discounted at
five, six, or seven per cent. Thus far we have had no coin in the
Treasury appropriated to the stability of the United States notes,--and
under our present policy, dictated by the restrictive laws that hedge
the Secretary of the Treasury and confine his liberty of action,
we never shall have, until the whole bonded debt of the country is
extinguished,--while at the same time the banks are excused under the
law from all attempts to fortify their notes with coin.

And what is it that successfully discourages us from direct steps
toward specie payments?

In the first place, it is the mistrust of the people in our ability
to resume, and to maintain resumption. In the next place, the monthly
publication of the Treasury discloses precisely our weakness as well as
our strength; and the great element of our weakness is the volume of
our past-due and demand obligations. In ordinary times,--that is, when
the people have confidence in the ability of the banks to redeem their
demand obligations in coin,--a reserve of twenty to twenty-five per
cent. in coin is more than sufficient to meet any probable demand that
may be made. Let mistrust arise in relation to the solvency of any bank
or of the system of banks, and the reserve of twenty-five per cent.
will vanish as the dew before the sun, and the individual bank or all
the banks must close their doors to all demands for specie.

In our present legislation we encounter this mistrust wide-spread among
the people; and so long as we ourselves exhibit so great timidity in
our attempts at legislation upon this subject, just so long do we
minister to and strengthen this mistrust.

The amount of demand obligations which the Treasury must be prepared
to meet upon a moment’s notice, including three per cent. certificates
and fractional currency, is more than four hundred and forty million
dollars. With the existing mistrust, measured by the premium on gold, a
reserve of twenty-five per cent. of coin in the Treasury appropriated
to these demands would be totally insufficient. This reserve must bear
a proportion to the aggregate of liabilities so large as to remove
mistrust, and this can be accomplished only by presenting as in the
vaults of the Treasury an amount of coin nearly equal to the sum of

If during the last three years we had retained the surplus of coin
that has reached the Treasury, we should now have enough; but, as a
consequence of such accumulation, speculation would have run riot,--and
I fear, if we should now by legislative enactment decree that course
for the future, we should aggravate the situation.

What, then, is left for us to do? What but to lessen our
liabilities?--which, as the laws now stand, must remain the same
to-morrow as to-day, and one, two, or five years hence immutably as now.

Difficulties beset the contraction of those liabilities, as there are
difficulties that impede the accumulation of coin in sufficient amount
to meet our purpose; but the former may be neutralized, if not removed,
by judicious compensations that will not in any serious degree retard
the object for which I would legislate.

Sound financial authorities unite in declaring, that, if the Government
resumes specie payments, the banks of New York can resume; and when
the banks of New York resume, the whole country can resume. Evidently,
then, our care is the Government.

And what is the first step? To my mind we must lessen the demand
obligations of the Government, while the Secretary of the Treasury at
the same time strengthens the reserves in the national vaults. Neither
should be done suddenly or violently, but gradually, judiciously, and
wisely. As the statutes now stand, the obligations cannot be reduced.
With the present volume of obligations, the laws of trade prevent the
Secretary of the Treasury from sufficiently strengthening his reserves.
It therefore devolves upon the National Legislature to take the
initiative in the effort to resume specie payments.

The difficulties that impede the reduction of the national liabilities
lie in the fact that such obligations are a part, and a large part,
of the currency of the country. To withdraw that currency without
giving a substitute is to create stringency, burden trade, and invite
chaos: at least, so it seems. These obligations, so far as they relate
to the currency, are larger in amount than those of the national
banks combined; and furthermore, they are the head and front of all.
They are so large as to be beyond the point of manageability, and I
would therefore reduce them within control. It is their volume that
puts them beyond control, and it is our want of control that causes
them to be depreciated. Thus, Sir, I would offer inducements to fund
them, or part of them, in bonds that would be sought after because
of their valuable uses beyond a mere investment, and to neutralize
the evils of contraction of Treasury liabilities by authorizing their
assumption, with the consent of the people, by various parties in
different sections of the country, each one of whom would be fully
equal to the task thus voluntarily assumed. I would issue a bank-note
for every dollar of Treasury obligation cancelled; but I would issue no
bank-note that did not absorb an equal obligation of the Treasury. By
this distribution of a portion of the demand obligations you restore to
the Government the full ability to meet the remainder; and at the same
time the people know, that, so far as the currency goes,--and it is of
this only we are treating,--every promise of any bank has its ultimate
recourse in the Treasury of the United States.

The absorption of one hundred and fifty or two hundred millions cannot
fail to enhance the remaining legal-tender nearly, if not quite, to
par with gold. The volume of currency in the channels of trade and in
the hands of the people will be about the same as now. The aggregate
of United States notes and national bank-notes outstanding will be
precisely the same. Therefore the indirect contraction so much dwelt
upon will scarcely be felt. The volume of greenbacks will be ample for
the reserves of the banks, and their growing scarcity will cause them
to become more and more valuable; and as they approach the standard
of gold, so will they sustain with golden support the bank-notes into
which they are convertible.

The demand by the people for legal-tender will not be appreciably
increased, as the bank-note is receivable by the Government for all
dues except customs, and those demands are necessarily localized. While
the growing scarcity of greenbacks, because of their replacement by
bank-notes fulfilling all the requirements of general trade, will not
be noticed by the people, the banks will take heed lest they fall, and
at an early day begin to strengthen themselves. Legal-tender reserves
they must have, and, with the honest eyes of our Secretary of the
Treasury to detect any deficiency, they will begin their strengthening
policy at once. Instead of putting gold received as interest forthwith
on the market for sale, they will put it snugly away in their vaults.
The gold which comes to them in the course of banking operations will
be added thereto; and almost imperceptibly the country banks will
arrive at the condition of the city banks, whose reserves in coin
and legal-tender notes are now far beyond the requirements of law.
In the mean time, and without derangement of business, the Treasury
may strengthen its reserve,--while, on the other hand, the quiet
reduction of its liabilities advances the percentage of the reserve
to the whole amount of liabilities in almost a compound ratio. With
this strengthening of the condition of the Treasury, made manifest to
all the world by its monthly publications, the mistrust of the people
will be gradually, but surely, dissipated, and as surely be replaced
by confidence that all demand obligations will be redeemed at an
early day,--a confidence as wide-spread and deep-seated as is that
now prevailing in relation to our bonded debt, that it will be paid
according to the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

It will thus be seen that just in proportion to the strengthening
of the legal-tender do we strengthen the bank-note. Strike out of
existence in a single day the legal-tender notes, and I fear that
the bank-note would for a time fall in comparative value: so would
everything else. But I advocate no such violent measure.

The Senator from Indiana in his remarks appeared to forget that
we have in the country two or three hundred millions of another
legal-tender,--being coin, now displaced, of which no legitimate use is
made in connection with the currency,--that should resume its proper
position in the paper circulation of the country. Here are two or three
hundred millions of money, now by force of law demonetized, which I
would have relieved of its disabilities. I would change the relation of
master it now occupies to that of servant, where it properly belongs;
and I would inflate the currency with it to the extent that we possess
it. Inflation by coin is simply specie payment, or very near it.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have endeavored, Mr. President, thus briefly to respond to the
questions propounded to me. I do not know that I have entered
sufficiently into detail to explain clearly my convictions as to the
necessity for reducing the volume of legal-tender obligations, and
to prove, as I desire to prove, that their gradual withdrawal will
enhance not only the value of the remainder, but also the value of
the bank-note. Both will ascend in the scale. This enhancement of the
whole paper currency will tend to draw the coin of the country from
its seclusion. As in the early period of the war, before the present
currency was created, we were astonished at the positive, but hidden,
money resources of the people, so will the outflow of hidden coin
confound the calculations of those who suppose that its volume is to be
measured by the amount in the Treasury and in the New York banks.

Mr. President, I am not alone in asking for the reformation of our
currency as the first stage of our financial efforts. I read from the
“Commercial and Financial Chronicle”[221] of New York, an authoritative
paper on this subject, as follows:--

    “In any practical scheme to improve the Government finances and
    credit, or to restore prosperous activities, or both at once,
    the first thing to be done _must be_ the restoration of a sound
    currency. That done or provided for, all the rest will be easy;
    the best credit and the lowest rates of interest will follow.”

To this end our greenbacks must be absorbed or paid, and my proposition
provides a way. As the greenbacks are withdrawn, coin will reappear to
take their place in the banks and the business of the country. This
will be specie payments.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here I wish to remark that I fail to see the asserted dependence of our
demand notes on our bonds. The bonds may be at par without bringing the
notes to par, and so the notes may be at par without bringing the bonds
to par. According to the experience of other countries, bonds and notes
do not materially affect each other. The two travel on parallel lines
without touching. Each must be provided for; and my present purpose is
to provide for the demand notes.

There is strong reason why this is the very moment for this effort.
According to statistical tables now before me, our exports are tending
to an equality with our imports. During the five months of July,
August, September, October, and November, 1869, there has been a
nominal balance in our favor of $1,752,416; whereas during the same
months of last year there was an adverse balance of $32,163,339. The
movement of specie is equally advantageous. During the five months
above mentioned there has been an import in specie of $10,056,316
against $5,273,116 during the same months last year, and an export in
specie of $19,031,875 against $21,599,758 during the same months last
year.[222] According to these indubitable figures, the tide of specie
as well as of business is beginning to turn. It remains for us by wise
legislation to take advantage of the propitious moment. Take the proper
steps and you will have specie payments,--having which, all the rest
will follow. Because I desire to secure this great boon for my country
I now make this effort.

    The amendment was rejected.

       *       *       *       *       *

    March 2d, Mr. Sumner’s bill having been reported back from
    the Committee on Finance with an amendment in the nature of a
    substitute, he spoke in review of their respective provisions
    as follows:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--The measure now before the Senate concerns interests
vast in amount and influence. I doubt if ever before any nation
has attempted to deal at once with so large a mass of financial
obligations, being nothing less than the whole national debt of the
United States. But beyond the proper disposition of this mass is the
question of taxation, and also of the extent to which the payment of
the national debt shall be assumed by the present generation, and
beyond all is the question of specie payments. On all these heads my
own conclusions are fixed. The mass of financial obligations should
be promptly adjusted in some new form at smaller interest; taxes must
be reduced; the payment of the national debt must be left in part to
posterity; specie payments must be provided for.

The immediate question before the Senate is on a substitute reported by
the Committee for the bill which I had the honor of introducing some
weeks ago. Considering my connection with this measure, I hope that I
shall not intrude too much, if I recur to the original bill and explain
its provisions.

There are certain general objects which must not be forgotten in our
present endeavor. I have already said that the taxes must be reduced.
Here I am happy to observe that the popular branch of Congress, in the
exercise of its constitutional prerogative, has taken the initiative
and is perfecting measures to this end. I trust that they will proceed
prudently, but boldly.

In harmony with this effort the expenditures of the Government should
be revised and cut down to the lowest point consistent with efficiency.
Economy will be an important ally. Even in small affairs it will be
the witness to our purposes. Through these agencies our currency
will be improved, and we shall be brought to specie payments, while
the national credit will be established. Not at once can all this be
accomplished, but I am sure that we may now do much.

As often as I return to this subject I am impressed by the damage the
country has already suffered through menacing propositions affecting
the national credit. I cannot doubt that in this way the national
burdens have been sensibly increased. By counter-propositions in the
name of Congress we have attempted to counteract these injurious
influences. We have met words with words. But this is not enough.

There is another remark which I wish to make, although I do little more
than repeat what I said on another occasion.[223] It is that a national
debt, when once funded, does not seem to affect largely the condition
of the currency. The value of the former is maintained or depressed by
circumstances independent of the currency. But, on the other hand, the
condition of the currency bears directly upon all efforts for increased
loans; and this is of practical importance on the present occasion. The
rules of business are the same for the nation as for an individual; nor
can a nation, when it becomes a borrower, hope to escape the scrutiny
which is applied to an individual under similar circumstances. Applying
this scrutiny to our case, it appears that on our existing bonded debt
we have thus far performed all existing obligations,--not without
discussion, I regret to add, that has left in some quarters a lingering
doubt with regard to the future, and not without an opposition still
alive, if not formidable. But the case is worse with regard to that
other branch of the national debt known as legal-tenders, where we
daily fail to perform existing obligations, so that these notes are
nothing more than so much _failed paper_. With regard to this branch of
the national debt there is an open confession of insolvency, and each
day renews the confession. Now, by the immutable laws of credit, which
all legislative enactments are impotent to counteract or expunge, the
nation must suffer when it enters the market as a borrower. Failing
to pay these obligations already due, it must pay more for what it
borrows. Nor can we hope for more than partial success, until this
dishonor is removed.

With these preliminary remarks, which are rather hints than arguments,
I come directly to the measure before the Senate; and here I begin with
the first section.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish the Senate would note the difference between this section in my
bill and in the substitute of the Committee. I proposed to authorize
the issue of $500,000,000 of Ten-Forty five per cents., and prescribe
the use to which the proceeds of such bonds should be applied. The
Committee propose $400,000,000 of Ten-Twenty five per cents., and leave
the application of the proceeds the subject of discretion. Between the
two propositions there are several differences: first, in the amount;
secondly, in the length of the bond; and, thirdly, in the application
of the proceeds.

Here I beg to observe that the original sum of $500,000,000 was not
inserted by accident, or because it was a round and euphonious sum.
Nothing of the kind. It was the result of a careful examination of the
national debt in its details, especially in the light of the national
credit. It was adopted because it was the very sum required by the
nature of the case. At least so it seemed to me. A brief explanation
will show if I was not right.

The year 1862, which marks the date of our legal-tenders, marks
also the date of a new system in regard to our loans. Senators are
hardly aware of this change. Previously our standard for sixes was an
immutable loan for twenty years. By the new system this immutability
was continued as to the right of demand by the bondholder, but the
right of payment was reserved to the nation at any time after five
years. This change, as we now see, gave positive advantages to the
nation. Its disadvantages to the bondholder were so apparent that
it encountered resistance, which was overcome only after undaunted
perseverance and final appeal to the people. Now, by recurring to the
schedule of the national debt, you will find that the first loan within
the sphere of this discretionary system is the Five-Twenties of 1862,
which, on the 1st of February last, after deducting the purchased
bonds, were $500,000,000. This, therefore, is the first loan falling
within our discretion, the first loan we are privileged to pay before
maturity, and the first loan presenting itself for payment. In these
incidents the loan of 1862 has precedence,--it stands first.

But there is a reason, which to my mind is of peculiar force, why this
first loan should be paid in coin at the earliest possible day. It
seems to me that I do not deceive myself, when I consider it conclusive
on this question. The loan of 1862 is the specific loan which has been
made the objective point of all the movements under the banner of
Repudiation. It is the loan to which this idea first attached itself.
It is the loan first menaced. Therefore, to my mind, it is the loan
which should be first provided for. I know no way, short of universal
specie payments, by which the national credit can be so effectually

Why in the amendment of the Committee the amount of the proposed
issue is placed at $400,000,000 I am at a loss to conceive. Here is
no equivalent of any one loan, nor of two or more loans. It is an
accidental sum, and might have been more or less for the same reason
that it is what it is. The term Ten-Twenties seems also accidental,
as it is unquestionably new. Of course it is assumed that the amount
proposed of Ten-Twenties at five per cent. will absorb an equal amount
of Five-Twenties at six per cent., irrespective of any particular
loan; but I am at a loss to see on what grounds the holders of the
sixes can be induced to make the exchange. Will the substitute bonds
be considered of equal value? I affirm not. But assuming that they are
acceptable, how shall they be acceptably distributed? Shall the first
comer be first served? If all were at the same starting-point, the palm
might be justly bestowed upon the most swift. In the latitude allowed,
stretching over all the Five-Twenties, there would be opportunity for
favoritism; and with this opportunity there would be temptation and

The change from a Ten-Forty bond to a Ten-Twenty bond, as proposed
by the Committee, is a change, so far as I can perceive, made up of
disadvantages. To the nation there is the same rate of interest, and
there is the same fixed period during which this interest must be
paid; while, on the other hand, the period of optional payment is
reduced from thirty years to ten years. If there be advantage in this
reduction, I do not perceive it. If at the expiration of ten years we
are in a condition to pay, we may do so as readily under a Ten-Forty
as under the Ten-Twenty proposed. If during the subsequent ten years
of option our advancing credit enables us to command a lower rate of
interest, surely we may do so just as favorably under one as under
the other. There is no benefit within the bounds of imagination, so
far at least as I can discern, which will not redound to the nation
from Ten-Forties as much as from Ten-Twenties. On the other hand, it
is within possibilities, from disturbance in the money markets of the
world, or from other unforeseen circumstances, that it may not be
convenient during the short optional period of the Committee to obtain
the necessary coin without a sacrifice. The greater latitude of payment
leaves the nation master of the situation, to pay or not to pay, as is
most for the national advantage.

Furthermore, the loan proposed by the Committee has not, to my mind,
the elements of success promised by the other loan. It is assumed
in both cases that the coin for the redemption of the existing
obligations shall be obtained in Europe. Then we must look to the
European market in determining the form of the new loan. Now I have
reason to believe that a coin loan to the amount of $500,000,000 may
be obtained in Europe on Ten-Forties at par, provided the new bonds
are of the same form and purport as the Ten-Forties which are already
so popular, and provided further that the proceeds of the loan are
applied to the payment in coin at par of the Five-Twenties of 1862. The
reasons are obvious. The Ten-Forties have a good name, which is much
to start with. It is like the credit or good-will of an established
mercantile house, which stands often instead of capital; and then the
fact that the proceeds are to be absorbed in the redemption of the
first Five-Twenties, so often assailed, will most signally attest the
determination of the country to maintain its credit. These advantages
cost nothing, and it is difficult to see why they should be renounced.

We must not make an effort and fail. Our course must be guided by such
prudence that success will be at least reasonably certain. For the
nation to offer a loan and be refused in the market will not do. Here,
as elsewhere, we must organize victory. Now it is to my mind doubtful,
according to the information within my reach, if the loan proposed by
the Committee can be negotiated successfully at par. Bankers there
may be who would gladly see themselves announced as financial agents
of the great Republic; but it remains to be seen if there are any
competent to handle a loan of $500,000,000 who would undertake it on
the terms of the Committee. I am clear that it is not prudent to make
the experiment, when it is easy to offer another loan with positive
advantages sufficient to turn the scale. Washington, in his Farewell
Address, said, “Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation?
Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?” In the same spirit
I would say, Why forego the advantages of a well-known and peculiar
security? Why quit our Ten-Forties to stand upon a security which is
unknown, and practically foreign, whether at home or abroad?

In the loan proposed by the original bill we find assurance of success,
with the promise of reduced taxation, Repudiation silenced, and the
coin reserves in the banks strengthened by sales in Europe, it may be,
$150,000,000. Should the amendment of the Committee prevail, I see
small chance of any near accomplishment of these objects, and meanwhile
our financial question is handed over to prolonged uncertainty.

I pass now to the substitute of the Committee for the second and
third sections of the original bill. Here again the amount is changed
from $500,000,000 to $400,000,000. I am not aware of any reason for
this change; nor is there, indeed, any peculiar reason, as in the
case of the Five-Twenties of 1862, for the amount of $500,000,000.
The question between the two amounts may properly be determined by
considerations of expediency, among which will be that of uniformity
with outstanding loans. A more important change is in the time the
bonds are to run, which is Fifteen-Thirty years for the bonds at four
and a half per cent., and Twenty-Forty years for the bonds at four per
cent. Here occurs again the argument with regard to the inferiority
of Ten-Twenties, as compared with Ten-Forties. By the same reason the
Fifteen-Thirties will be inferior to the Fifteen-Fifties, and the
Twenty-Forties will be inferior to the Twenty-Sixties, of the original

The prolongation of the bond is in the nature of compensation for
the reduction of interest. Already we have established the ratio of
compensation for such reduction,--already for a loan at six per cent.
we have offered Five-Twenties, but for a loan at five per cent. we have
offered Ten-Forties,--and I see no reason why by a tentative process
we should so materially change this standard as is now proposed. The
experiment can do no good, while it may do harm. It is in the nature
of a restriction on our discretion, and a limitation of the duration
of the bond, which, I apprehend, must interfere essentially with
its marketable character. While the prolongation of time enlarges
the option of the nation, it increases the value of the bond in the
market. That which is most favorable to the nation is most favorable
to the market value of the bond; and that which is unfavorable to the
nation is unfavorable also to the market value of the bond, rendering
its negotiation and sale more difficult and protracted. Thus at every
turn are we brought back to the original proposition.

Against this conclusion is the argument founded on the idea of English
consols. It is sometimes said, If the short term of Five-Twenty
years is the standard for a six per cent. bond with a graduation to
Twenty-Sixty for a four per cent. bond, why may we not go further,
and establish consols at three per cent., running, if you please,
to eternity?--The technical term “consols” is an abbreviation for
the consolidated debt of Great Britain, and in the eyes of a British
subject has its own signification. It means a debt never to be paid,
or at least it is an inscribed debt carrying no promise of payment. I
would not have any debt of the United States assume either the form or
name of consols. I would rigidly adhere to definite periods of payment.
This is the American system, in contradistinction to the British
system. I would not only avoid the idea that our debt is permanent, but
I would adhere to the form of positive payment at some fixed period,
and keep this idea always present in the minds of the people. Without
the requirement of law, I doubt if the debt would be paid. Political
parties would court popularity by a reduction of taxation. The Treasury
of the United States, like the British Treasury, would always be
without a surplus, and the national debt would be recognized as a
burden to be endured forever. Therefore do I say, _No consols_.

There is another consideration, having a wide influence, but especially
important at the West and South, which should induce us to press for a
reduction of the interest on our bonds; and here I present an argument
which, if not advanced before, is none the less applicable.

Do Senators consider to what extent the Government determines the
rates of interest in the money centres of the country? Not only for
itself does it determine, but for others also. Government bonds enjoy
preëminence as an investment,--and if the interest is high, they
attract the disposable money of the country. Government sixes are
worth more than a six per cent. bond of any private corporation or
individual, no matter how well secured. Therefore, it is easy to see,
so long as we retain our standard at six per cent., so long as we have
sixes, will the capital of the country seek these bonds for investment,
permanent or temporary, to the detriment of numerous enterprises
important to the national development, which are driven to be the
stipendiaries of foreign capital. Railroads, especially at the West
and South, are sufferers, being sometimes delayed by the difficulty of
borrowing money, and sometimes becoming bankrupt from ruinous rates of
interest, always in competition with the Government. But what is true
of railroads is also true of other enterprises, which are pinched, and
even killed, by these exactions in which the Government plays such a
part. All are familiar with the recurring appeals for money on bonds
even at eight per cent., which is more than can be paid permanently
without loss; and even at such a ruinous rate there is difficulty in
obtaining the required amount.

Doubtless the excessive interest now demanded is partly due to our
fictitious currency, where _failed_ paper is forced upon the market;
but beyond this influence is that of our sixes, absorbing disposable
capital. I venture to assert, that, if we could at an early day reduce
these sixes to fives, there are millions which would be released to
seek investment in other securities at six per cent., especially to the
relief of the West and South. The reduction of interest to four and a
half per cent. and four per cent. would release further millions. A
recent incident in the financial history of Massachusetts illustrates
the disturbing influence of our sixes. An attempt to obtain a loan in
Europe at five per cent. was unsuccessful, chiefly because the National
Government offered six per cent.

Therefore, for the sake of public enterprise in its manifold forms, for
the sake of that prosperity which depends on human industry, for the
sake of manufactures, for the sake of commerce, and especially for the
sake of railroads, by which all these are quickened, we must do what we
can to reduce the general rate of interest, which is now such a curb
on enterprise; and here we must begin with our own bonds. Without any
adverse intention, the National Government is a victorious competitor,
and the defeated parties are those very enterprises whose success is so
important to the country. A competition so destructive should cease.
Keeping this before us in the new loan, we shall adopt that form of
bond by which the interest will most surely be reduced. Thus, while
refunding the national debt, we shall open the way to improvements of
all kinds.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is what I have to say for the present on the refunding
propositions of the Committee. Their object is the same as mine. If I
differ from them in details, it is because after careful consideration
it seems to me that in some particulars their system may be improved.

       *       *       *       *       *

Proceeding from these pivotal propositions, I find other things where I
must again differ. When I first addressed the Senate on this subject,
I took occasion to declare my objection to the idea of agencies or
offices in the commercial centres of Europe, where interest should
be paid. I am not ready to withdraw that objection,--though, if I
could be tempted, it would be by the Senator from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN],
when he held up the prospect of a common money among nations. This is
one of the desires of my heart, as it is one of the necessities of
civilization; but I fail to see how this aspiration will be promoted by
the system proposed,--which must be judged on its own merits, without
any such recommendation. It is easy to see that such a system, besides
being the beginning of a new policy on the part of the Government,
may entail serious embarrassments. Sub-treasuries must be created in
foreign capitals, which must be continued so long as the bonds last.
Remittances of coin must be semiannual; and should such remittances
fail at any time, there must be advances at no little cost to the
Government. I cannot imagine any advantage from this new system
sufficient to induce us to encounter the possible embarrassments or
entanglements which it may cause.

       *       *       *       *       *

I would not take too much of the time of the Senate, and therefore I
pass at once to the proposition of the Committee, being section seven,
providing for the very early payment of the national debt.

Mr. President, the payment of the national debt is an American idea,
and I would say nothing to weaken it among the people. Whatever we
owe must be paid; but it is the part of prudence to make the payment
in such way as, while consistent with our obligations, shall promote
the national prosperity. In this spirit I approach the proposition of
the Committee, in which there is so much of good, only to examine and
measure it, in order to ascertain its probable influence, especially on
the question of Taxation.

Here it must be borne in mind, that the present measure in all its
parts, so far as applicable, and especially with its guaranties and
pledges, must be taken as the basis of our new engagements. The
provision that so much of the debt shall be paid annually will become
in a certain sense a part of the contract, although not so expressed
in the bond. Not less than $150,000,000 are set apart annually to be
applied “to the payment of the interest and to the reduction of the
principal of the public debt.” This is a large sum, and we should
consider carefully if such a guaranty or pledge has in it the promise
of financial stability. Promising too much is sometimes as bad as
promising too little. Our promise must be according to our means
prudently employed.

If we assume obligations so large as to bear heavily upon the business
of the country and to compel unreasonable taxation, there will be
little chance of financial stability. They will become the object of
attack, and will enter into the conflict of parties,--and if repealed,
the national faith may be called in question. I need not say that
business must suffer. A less ambitious effort on our part will be less
obnoxious to attack,--thus leaving the bonds to their natural position
in the money market, and strengthening all the movements of commerce.

In order to determine the operation of this provision we must look
into details. I have the estimates before me, showing our present
and prospective liabilities for interest; but I content myself with
presenting compendiously the result, in order to determine the question
of taxation. Suffice it to say, that under the operation of the present
measure there will be in 1871, after the payment of all liabilities
for interest, a surplus of $43,000,000 to be applied to the payment of
the national debt. With each succeeding year the reduction of interest
will rapidly increase this surplus; and when we bring into operation
other provisions of the bill, and convert $500,000,000 of sixes into a
like amount of four and a half per cents., effecting a further saving
of interest, equal to $7,500,000 annually, the surplus revenue, as
compared with necessary expenditures, will in a brief period approach
$100,000,000 annually.

Here the question arises, Is not this unnecessarily large? Is it not
beyond the bounds of prudence and wise economy? Shall we declare in
this fundamental measure a determination to redeem the whole national
debt within a period of twenty-five years? Can the industries of the
country sustain such taxation? I put the question. You shall answer
it. The future has its great claims upon us; so also has the present.
I submit that the pending measure sacrifices the present. I conclude,
therefore, as I began, with another appeal for reduced taxation. At the
proper time I shall move an amendment, in order to aid this result.

    In the course of the proceedings which followed, the bill of
    the Committee underwent important amendments, in accordance
    with the views expressed by Mr. Sumner,--for the Ten-Twenties
    and Fifteen-Thirties therein proposed, a prolongation to
    Ten-Forties and Fifteen-Forties being effected,--and the
    provision for the payment of interest at the money-centres
    and in the moneys of Europe stricken out. Some of its more
    objectionable features being thus removed, he gave it a
    qualified support.

       *       *       *       *       *

    March 10th, the question being on striking out a provision
    in the bill of the Committee requiring the national banks to
    exchange the bonds of the United States deposited by them as
    security for their circulation for those bearing a lower rate
    of interest, Mr. Sumner said:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--There is a word which has been introduced into this
debate with which we were all very familiar in another relation some
years ago. It is the word _Coercion_. A President of the United States
announced in most formal phrase that we could not coerce a State;
and now, borrowing a phrase from Mr. Buchanan, we are told we cannot
coerce a national bank. Well, Sir, is the phrase applicable? If it be
applicable, then I insist that we can coerce a national bank; but I do
not admit its applicability. What I insist on has already been so ably
and clearly stated by the Chairman of the Committee [Mr. SHERMAN] that
perhaps I need not add another word. I do not like to occupy your time;
yet I cannot forbear reminding you, Sir, of the plenary power which
Congress has reserved over the banking system in that very Act by which
it was established.[224]

The Senator from California [Mr. CASSERLY] has read to you the clause.
We have been reminded to-day by a Senator on this floor that these are
formal words, words that often appear in statutes. But are they not
significant words? Have they not a meaning? Why are they there? Because
they have a meaning; because they reserve to Congress what I call
plenary power over the whole system. That system may be readjusted,
modified, shaped anew, and the banks cannot complain. They began their
existence under that law; they knew the conditions of their being; and
they cannot now murmur, if Congress chooses to exercise the prerogative
which it reserved at the very inception of the whole system.

Sir, I approach this question, therefore, with the conviction that the
whole matter is open to our discretion. Nobody can say safely that what
is now proposed is not within the power of Congress. Congress may do
it, if the occasion justifies, if in its discretion it thinks best to
do it. It may do it, if it thinks that the financial policy of this
country will be thereby promoted. The banks are all parties to that
policy. May not the country turn around and ask the banks to do their
part in this great work of renovation? To a certain extent the banks
are in partnership with the Government. May not the Government insist
that they shall do their part on this great occasion? Shall this effort
of ours to readjust our finances and to save this large interest to our
country be thwarted by a pretension on the part of the banks that we
have not the power to interfere?

But we are reminded that there is a difference between power and right.
How often, Sir, on other occasions, have I so insisted in this Chamber!
A great, broad, vital distinction there always is between power and
right. A nation or an individual may have a power without right. Now
is there not here a right as well as a power? I cannot doubt it. I
cannot doubt that Congress may rightfully exercise what I cannot doubt
is an existing power. Why should it not? It could exercise it--who can
doubt?--with reference to the public interests, to promote the national
credit. It will not exercise it in any spirit of wantonness, in any
spirit of injustice,--but to promote the national credit. Is not that
a rightful object? No one will say the contrary. Why, then, shall we

We are reminded that these banks have secured certain privileges, and
it is said often that those are vested, and the old phrase “vested
rights” has been repeated. But how can they have vested rights under
a statute which contains the provision just read to us, securing to
Congress full power to change it in every respect? What, then, is the
simple aspect of this question? It is that certain securities have
been lodged with the Government by these banks on which they transact
their business, and now in readjusting the national debt it is deemed
advisable and for the public interests that the securities should be at
a lower rate of interest than when they were originally deposited. Is
it not right for Congress to require that? I cannot see the wrong in
it. I cannot see any doubt on the question. To my mind it is clear; it
is absolutely within the province of Congress, in the exercise of the
discretion which it originally retained over this whole subject.

I hope, therefore, that in this debate we shall not be pressed too much
with the suggestion that we cannot coerce these banks. If the occasion
requires, and if the term be applicable, then do I say we may coerce
these banks to the extent of obliging them to take these securities
at a reduced rate of interest. I find no Repudiation in that. I find
nothing wrong in that. I find nothing in it but a simple measure in
harmony with this great process of Financial Reconstruction in which we
are now engaged. I call it Financial Reconstruction; and in this work
ought not the banks to take their place and perform their part?

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, Sir, I have a criticism on this section. It does not go far
enough. The Committee propose that the banks shall take one third of
the three different kinds of bonds, the five, the four and a half, and
the four per cents. I think they ought to be required to take all in
fours, and I propose to give the Senate an opportunity of expressing
its judgment on that proposition. I may be voted down; perhaps I shall
be; but I shall make a motion, in the honest endeavor to render this
bill a practical measure, which can best succeed. I wish to mature
it; I wish to put it in the best shape possible; and for the sake of
the banks, and in the interest of the banks, I wish such a measure
as shall have a reasonable chance of stability in the future. If you
allow the banks gains that are too large, there will necessarily be a
constant opposition, growing and developing as their gains become more
conspicuous. Why expose the system to any such criticism? Let us now
revise it carefully, place it on sure, but moderate foundations, so
that it will have in itself the elements of future stability.

To my mind that is the more politic course, and I am sure it is not
unjust. You and I, Mr. President, remember very well what was done on
another occasion. The State banks were taxed out of existence. It was
the cry, “Tax them out of existence! do not let them live! drive them
from competition with these new children of ours, the national banks!”
It was done. Was not that coercion? If the phrase is to be employed,
there was an occasion for it. But I am not aware that it was argued,
certainly it was with no great confidence argued, that to do that was
unjust. It was a measure of policy wisely adopted at the time, and
which we all now see has answered well. But if we could tax the State
banks out of existence, can we not, under the very specific terms of
the Act of Congress to which these national banks owe their existence,
apply a rule not unlike to them? We do not propose to tax them out of
existence, but we propose to require that they shall lodge with the
Government securities at a lower rate of interest.

Something has been said, perhaps much, in this debate, with regard
to the burden that this will impose upon the banks. The Senator from
Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN] has already answered that objection, and I do not
know that I can add to his answer; and yet I am not aware that he
reminded the Senate that in this very bill there is a new and important
provision in favor of the banks, or in favor of all bondholders,--being
an exemption from all taxation, not only State and municipal, but

There is but one other remark I will make, and that is, we all know,
unless I am much deceived, that the banks have during these last years
made great profits. I am told that the profits of the national banks
are two or three times greater than those of the old State banks, which
we did not hesitate to tax out of existence. Now is not that a fact
in this case? Is it not an essential element? Should it not be taken
into consideration on this occasion? If these national banks are the
recipients of such large profits, should we not exercise all the power
that belongs to us to compel them to their full contribution to this
great measure of Financial Reconstruction? I cannot hesitate in my

    March 11th, Mr. Sumner moved the addition of a section
    providing for the resumption of specie payments,--being the
    seventh section of the original bill,--remarking:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--Interested as I am in this bill, desirous of its
passage hardly less than the Senator from Ohio, I am bound to say,
that, in my judgment, the passage of this single section would be
worth more than the whole bill. It would do more for the credit of the
country; it would do more for its business. It would help us all to the
completion of Financial Reconstruction. How often have I insisted that
all our efforts to fund and refund are to a certain extent vain and
impotent, unless we begin by specie payments! That, Sir, is the Alpha
of this whole subject; and until Congress is ready to begin with that,
I fear that all the rest will be of little avail. It is in the light of
expedient rather than of remedy. There is the remedy.

    The proposition was negatived,--Congress not being yet ready
    for this step.



    In the Senate, January 20, 1870, Senator Anthony announced
    the presentation by Rhode Island of a statue of Major-General
    Nathanael Greene, of the Revolution, executed by the
    sculptor Brown, to be placed in the old Hall of the House
    of Representatives. Mr. Sumner moved its acceptance by the
    following Concurrent Resolution:--

        A Resolution accepting the Statue of Major-General Greene.

        _Resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives
        concurring_, That the thanks of this Congress be presented
        to the Governor, and through him to the people, of the
        State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, for the
        statue of Major-General Greene, whose name is so honorably
        identified with our Revolutionary history; that this work
        of art is accepted in the name of the nation, and assigned
        a place in the old Hall of the House of Representatives,
        already set aside by Act of Congress for the statues of
        eminent citizens; and that a copy of this Resolution,
        signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker
        of the House of Representatives, be transmitted to the
        Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence

    On this he spoke as follows:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--How brief is life! how long is art! Nathanael Greene
died at the age of forty-four, and now Congress receives his marble
statue, destined to endure until this Capitol crumbles to dust. But art
lends its longevity only to lives extended by deeds. Therefore is the
present an attestation of the fame that has been won.

Beyond his own deserts, Greene was fortunate during life in the praise
of Washington, who wrote of “the singular abilities which that officer
possesses,”[225]--and then again fortunate after death in the praise
of Hamilton, whose remarkable tribute is no ordinary record.[226] He
has been fortunate since in his biographer, whose work promises to be
classical in our literature.[227] And now he is fortunate again in a
statue, which, while taking an honorable place in American art, is the
first to be received in our Pantheon. Such are the honors of patriot

Among the generals of the Revolution Greene was next after Washington.
His campaign at the South showed military genius of no common order. He
saved the South. Had he lived to take part in the National Government,
his character and judgment must have secured for him an eminent post of
service. Unlike his two great associates, Washington and Hamilton, his
life was confined to war; but the capacities he manifested in command
gave assurance that he would have excelled in civil life. His resources
in the field would have been the same in the council chamber.

Of Quaker extraction, Greene was originally a Quaker. The Quaker became
a soldier and commander of armies. Such was the requirement of the
epoch. Should a soldier and commander of armies in our day accept ideas
which enter into the life of the Quaker, the change would only be in
harmony with those principles which must soon prevail, ordaining peace
and good-will among men. Looking at his statue, with military coat and
with sword in hand, I seem to see his early garb beneath. The Quaker
general could never have been other than the friend of peace.

Standing always in that beautiful Hall, the statue will be a perpetual,
though silent orator. The marble will speak; nor is it difficult to
divine the lesson it must teach. He lived for his country, and his
whole country,--nothing less. Born in the North, he died in the South,
which he had made his home. The grateful South honored him as the
North had already done. His life exhibits the beauty and the reward
of patriotism. How can his marble speak except for country in all its
parts and at all points of the compass? It was for the whole country
that he drew his sword of “ice-brook temper.” So also for the whole
country was the sword drawn in these latter days. And yet there was a
difference between the two occasions easy to state.

Our country’s cause for which Greene contended was National
Independence. Our country’s cause recently triumphant in bloodiest
war was Liberty and Equality, the declared heritage of all mankind.
The first war was for separation from the mother country, according
to the terms of the Declaration, “That these United Colonies are and
of right ought to be Free and Independent States,”--the object being
elevated by the great principles announced. The second war was for
the establishment of these great principles, without which republican
government is a name and nothing more. But both were for country. The
larger masses, with the larger scale of military operations, in the
latter may eclipse the earlier; and it is impossible not to see that a
war for Liberty and Equality, making the promises of the Declaration a
reality, and giving to mankind an irresistible example, is loftier in
character than a war for separation. If hereafter Greene finds rivals
near his statue, they will be those who represented our country’s cause
in its later peril and its larger triumph. Just in proportion as ideas
are involved is conflict elevated, especially if those ideas concern
the Equal Rights of All.

Greene died at the South, and nobody knows the place of his burial. He
lies without epitaph or tombstone. To-day a grateful country writes his
epitaph and gives him a monument in the Capitol.



    The arraignment of Mr. Sumner by Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois,
    in the closing debate on the Virginia Bill, January 21st,
    included, as remarked in that connection,[228] a reference
    to matters of earlier date,--specifically among these being
    the Reconstruction Act of March 2, 1867, conferring upon the
    colored people of the Rebel States equality of suffrage with
    the whites.[229] Adverting to the fact that this bill was an
    amendment in the nature of a substitute for one from the House,
    and then reading the names of the Senators who voted for it,
    Mr. Trumbull asked,--

        “Mr. President, do you miss the name of any Senator from
        that list of Yeas?--That was the vote by which that
        amendment was adopted.--The ‘Absent’ were, among others,
        ‘Mr. Sumner.’”

    And upon this showing, Mr. Trumbull concluded, that,

        “Unfortunately the colored citizens of the South have
        nothing to thank the Senator from Massachusetts for, in
        having the right of suffrage conferred upon them.”

    Mr. Trumbull continued:--

        “Mr. President, this was not the only vote. A vote was
        taken, after this amendment was adopted, upon the passage
        of the bill thus amended; and the vote on the passage of
        the bill was Yeas 29, Nays 10, and among those Yeas is not
        found the name of the Senator from Massachusetts.

        “But, Sir, it sometimes happens that malice and hatred
        will produce results which reason and good-will can never
        accomplish; and when we passed this bill giving the right
        of suffrage to the colored men in the South without the
        aid of the Senator from Massachusetts and sent it to the
        President [Mr. JOHNSON] he vetoed it, and on the question
        of passing it over his veto the Senator from Massachusetts
        voted with us. His affection for the President was not such
        as to allow him to coincide with him in anything. So we got
        his vote at last, but we had two-thirds without him.

        “This is the record, Mr. President.”

    Mr. Sumner answered:--

This assault to-day compels me to make a statement now which I never
supposed I should be called to make. I make it now with hesitation, but
rather to show the Senator’s course than my own. Sir, I am the author
of the provision in that Act conferring suffrage; and when I brought it
forward, the Senator from Illinois was one of my opponents,--then as
now. Senators who were here at that time remember well that this whole
subject was practically taken for the time from the jurisdiction of the
Senate into a caucus of the Republican party, where a committee was
created to whom all pending measures of Reconstruction were referred. I
had the honor of being a member of that committee. So was the Senator
from Illinois. So was my friend from Michigan [Mr. HOWARD]. The Senator
from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN] was our chairman. In that committee this
Reconstruction Bill was debated and matured sentence by sentence, word
for word; and then and there, in that committee, I moved that we should
require the suffrage of all persons, without distinction of color, in
the organization of new governments, and in all the constitutions to be

In making this proposition at that time I only followed the proposition
I had made in the Senate two years before,[230] which I had urged
upon the people in an elaborate address at a political convention in
Massachusetts,[231] which I had again upheld in an elaborate effort
for two days in this Chamber,[232] and which from the beginning I had
never lost from my mind or heart. It was natural that I should press
it in committee; but I was overruled,--the Senator opposing me with
his accustomed determination. I was voted down. The chairman observed
my discontent and said, “You can renew your motion in caucus.” I
did so, stating that I had been voted down in committee, but that I
appealed from the committee to the caucus. My colleague [Mr. WILSON],
who sits before me, called out, “Do so”; and then rising, said, in
language which he will pardon me for quoting, but which will do
him honor always, “The report of the committee will leave a great
question open to debate on every square mile of the South. We must
close that question up.” Another Senator, who is not now here,--I can
therefore name him,--Mr. Gratz Brown [of Missouri], cried out most
earnestly, “Push it to a vote; we will stand by you.” I needed no such
encouragement, for my determination was fixed. There sat the Senator
from Illinois, sullen in his accustomed opposition. I pushed it to a
vote, and it was carried by only two majority, Senators rising to be
counted. My colleague, in his joy on the occasion, exclaimed, “This
is the greatest vote that has been taken on this continent!” He felt,
I felt, we all felt, that the question of the suffrage was then and
there secured. By that vote the committee was directed to make it a
part of Reconstruction. This was done, and the measure thus amended was
reported by the Senator from Ohio as chairman of the committee.

I am compelled to this statement by the assault of the Senator. I had
no disposition to make it. I do not claim anything for myself. I did
nothing but my duty. Had I done less, I should have been faithless,--I
should have been where the Senator from Illinois placed himself.

The Senator read from the “Globe” the vote on the passage of the bill,
and exulted because my name was not there. Sir, is there any Senator
in this Chamber whose name will be found oftener on the yeas and nays
than my own? Is there any Senator in this Chamber who is away from
his seat less than I am? There was a reason for my absence on that
occasion. I left this Chamber at midnight, fatigued, not well, knowing
that the great cause was assured, notwithstanding the opposition of the
Senator from Illinois,--knowing that at last the right of the colored
people to suffrage was recognized. I had seen it placed in the bill
reported from the committee. There it was on my motion, safe against
the assaults of the Senator from Illinois. Why should I, fatigued,
and not well, remain till morning to swell the large and ascertained
majority which it was destined to receive?[233] I have no occasion to
make up any such record. You know my fidelity to this cause. You know
if I am in the habit of avoiding the responsibilities of my position.
I cannot disguise, also, that there was another influence on my mind.
Reconstruction, even with the suffrage, was defective. More was
needed. There should have been a system of public schools, greater
protection to the freedmen, and more security against the Rebels, all
of which I sought in vain to obtain in committee, and I found all
effort in the Senate foreclosed by our action in caucus. Pained by this
failure, and feeling that there was nothing more for me to do, after
midnight I withdrew. On the return of the Act to the Senate on the veto
of the President, I recorded my vote in its favor.

    What Mr. Trumbull calls “the record” in this case, and which
    Mr. Sumner, in the surprise of the occasion, seemingly accepts,
    according to the obvious import of the term, as substantially
    the complete record, inspection of either the Congressional
    Globe or the Senate Journal shows to be very far from complete.
    The vote following the Presidential veto was by no means the
    only one in which Mr. Sumner’s name appears: between this and
    the vote which would seem from the representation to have next
    preceded, designated as “the vote on the passage of the bill,”
    there intervened another, involving in an important degree the
    character and fate of the whole measure.

    The bill in its original form, as it came from the House, was
    purely, as indicated by its title, “a bill to provide for the
    more efficient government of the insurrectionary States,”
    dividing them into military districts and placing them under
    military rule,--this being deemed the only effectual means
    of suppressing the outrages continually perpetrated upon the
    loyalists of the South, black and white,--its Reconstruction
    features, which included the provision for colored suffrage,
    being engrafted upon it by the Senate, coupled with
    considerable modifications of its military details. It was on
    the votes at this stage, February 16th, that Mr. Sumner’s name
    was wanting.

    On the return of the bill to the House for concurrence in
    these amendments, it at once encountered on the Republican
    side severe animadversion, aptly expressed in the remark,--“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.”
    Concurrence was refused, and a committee of conference asked.
    The Senate insisting, and declining the proposed conference,
    the House proceeded alone, supplementing the Reconstruction
    provisions with others guarding against Rebel domination,[234]
    and crowning their work with the emphatic vote of 128 Yeas
    to 46 Nays. To this vote the Senate yielded, by a concurrent
    vote of Yeas 35, Nays 7,--with “the effect,” as announced, “of
    passing the bill.” Mr. Sumner, hailing these amendments as
    what he had required, of course voted with the Yeas,--and his
    name so stands on both of the official registers, in immediate
    conjunction with Mr. Trumbull’s.[235] This was on the 20th of
    February. The vote consequent upon the Veto was ten days later,
    when his name was again recorded with the Yeas.[236] These two
    were the only votes in the Senate on the Reconstruction Act of
    March 2, 1867, in the completeness of its provisions, as it
    appears in the Statute-Book.[237]

       *       *       *       *       *

    February 10th, 1870, the bill for the admission of Mississippi
    having come up for consideration in the Senate, Mr. Stewart,
    of Nevada, availed himself of the opportunity to reopen the
    personal controversy with Mr. Sumner, in an acrimonious
    speech denying his claim to the authorship of the provision
    for colored suffrage in the Reconstruction Act of 1867, and
    ascribing it to Mr. Bingham, of Ohio, a member of the other
    House,--quoting Mr. Sumner’s opening declaration on this point,
    but resisting the reading of what followed in explanation and
    support of that declaration, under the plea that “he did not
    want it printed as part of his own speech.”[238]

    On the conclusion of Mr. Stewart’s speech, Mr. Sumner answered
    as follows:--

MR. PRESIDENT,--You will bear witness that I am no volunteer now. I
have been no volunteer on any of these recurring occasions when I have
been assailed in this Chamber. I have begun no question. I began no
question with the Senator from Nevada. I began no question with the
other Senator on my right [Mr. TRUMBULL]. I began no question yesterday
with the Senator from New York [Mr. CONKLING].[239] I began no
question, either, with the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. CARPENTER].[240]
But I am here to answer; and I begin by asking to have read at the desk
what I did say, and what the Senator from Nevada was unwilling, as he
declared, to have incorporated in his speech. I can understand that he
was very unwilling. I send the passage to the Chair.

    The passage referred to, embracing the first three paragraphs
    of Mr. Sumner’s statement in answer to Mr. Trumbull, January
    21st,[241] having been read, he proceeded:--

That statement is to the effect that on my motion that important
proposition was put into the bill. Does anybody question it? Has
the impeachment of the Senator to-day impaired that statement by a
hair’s-breadth? He shows that in another part of this Capitol patriot
Representatives were striving in the same direction. All honor to them!
God forbid that I should ever grudge to any of my associates in this
great controversy any of the fame that belongs to them! There is enough
for all, provided we have been faithful. Sir, it is not in my nature
to take from any one credit, character, fame, to which he is justly
entitled. The world is wide enough for all. Let each enjoy what he has
earned. I ask nothing for myself. I asked nothing the other day; what I
said was only in reply to the impeachment, the arraignment let me call
it, by the Senator from Illinois.

I then simply said it was on my motion that this identical requirement
went into the bill. The Senator, in reply, seeks to show that in the
other Chamber a similar proposition was brought forward; but it did not
become a part of the bill. He shows that it was brought forward in this
Chamber, but did not become a part of the bill. It was on my motion
that it did become a part of the bill. It was not unnatural, perhaps,
that I should go further, as I did, and say that in making this motion
I only acted in harmony with my life and best exertions for years. I
have the whole record here. Shall I open it? I hesitate. In doing so I
break a vow with myself. And yet it cannot be necessary. You know me in
this Chamber; you know how I have devoted myself from the beginning to
this idea, how constantly I have maintained it and urged it from the
earliest date.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first stage in this series--you [Mr. ANTHONY, of Rhode Island, in
the chair] remember it; you were here; the Senator from Nevada was not
here--goes to February 11, 1862, when

    “Mr. Sumner submitted resolutions declaratory of the relations
    between the United States and the territory once occupied
    by certain States, and now usurped by pretended governments
    without constitutional or legal right.”

In these resolutions it is declared, that, after an act of secession
followed by war,

    “The territory falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of
    Congress, as other territory, and the State becomes, according
    to the language of the law, _felo de se_.”

The resolutions conclude as follows:--

    “And that, in pursuance of this duty cast upon Congress, and
    further enjoined by the Constitution, Congress will assume
    complete jurisdiction of such vacated territory where such
    unconstitutional and illegal things have been attempted,
    and will proceed to establish therein republican forms of
    government under the Constitution, and, in the execution of
    this trust, will provide carefully for the protection of all
    the inhabitants thereof, for the security of families, the
    organization of labor, the encouragement of industry, and the
    welfare of society, and will in every way discharge the duties
    of a just, merciful, and paternal government.”[242]

Sir, there was the beginning of Reconstruction in this Chamber. That
was its earliest expression.

On the 8th of February, 1864, it appears that

    “Mr. Sumner submitted resolutions defining the character of
    the national contest, and protesting against any premature
    restoration of Rebel States without proper guaranties
    and safeguards against Slavery and for the protection of

And on the same day it appears that he submitted the following
Amendment to the Constitution, which, had it been adopted then, would
have cured many of the difficulties that have since occurred, entitled--

    “Amendment of the Constitution, securing Equality before the
    Law and the Abolition of Slavery.”

It is as follows:--

     “All persons are equal before the law, so that no person can
    hold another as a slave; and the Congress shall have power to
    make all laws necessary and proper to carry this declaration
    into effect everywhere within the United States and the
    jurisdiction thereof.”[244]

There, Sir, was the beginning of Civil-Rights Bills and
Political-Rights Bills. On the same day it appears that Mr. Sumner
introduced into the Senate “A bill to secure equality before the law in
the courts of the United States.”[245]

The debate went on. On the 25th of February, 1865, a resolution of
the Judiciary Committee was pending, recognizing the State Government
of Louisiana. Mr. Sumner on that day introduced resolutions thus

    “Resolutions declaring the duty of the United States to
    guaranty Republican Governments in the Rebel States on the
    basis of the Declaration of Independence, so that _the new

that is, the reconstructed governments--

    “shall be founded on the consent of the governed and the
    equality of all persons before the law.”

Of this series of resolutions I will read two.

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

Then comes another resolution:--

    “That considerations of expediency are in harmony with the
    requirements of the Constitution and the dictates of justice
    and reason, especially now, when colored soldiers have shown
    their military value; that, as their muskets are needed for
    the national defence against Rebels in the field, so are their
    ballots yet more needed against the subtle enemies of the Union
    at home; and that without their support at the ballot-box
    the cause of Human Rights and of the Union itself will be in
    constant peril.”[246]

On the resolution reported by the Senator from Illinois for the
admission of Louisiana without Equal Rights, I had the honor of moving
the very proposition now in question, under date of February 25, 1865:--

    “_Provided_, That this shall not take effect, except upon the
    fundamental condition _that within the State there shall be no
    denial of the electoral franchise or of any other rights on
    account of color or race, but all persons shall be equal before
    the law_.”[247]

Here was the first motion in this Chamber for equality of suffrage as a
measure of Reconstruction. I entitled it at the time “the corner-stone
of Reconstruction.” But here, Sir, it was my misfortune to encounter
the strenuous opposition of the Senator from Illinois. I allude to
this with reluctance; I have not opened this debate; and I quote what
I do now simply in reply to the Senator from Nevada. Replying on that
occasion to the Senator from Illinois, I said:--

    “The United States are bound by the Constitution to ‘guaranty
    to every State in this Union a republican form of government.’
    Now, when called to perform this guaranty, it is proposed
    to recognize an oligarchy of the skin. The pretended State
    government in Louisiana is utterly indefensible, whether you
    look at its origin or its character. To describe it, I must use
    plain language. It is a mere seven-months’ abortion, begotten
    by the bayonet in criminal conjunction with the spirit of
    Caste, and born before its time, rickety, unformed, unfinished,
    whose continued existence will be a burden, a reproach, and
    a wrong. That is the whole case; and yet the Senator from
    Illinois now presses it upon the Senate at this moment, to the
    exclusion of the important public business of the country.”[248]

The Louisiana Bill, though pressed by the Senator from Illinois,
was defeated; and the equal rights of the colored race were happily
vindicated. His opposition was strenuous.

But, Sir, I did not content myself with action in this Chamber. Our
good President was assassinated. The Vice-President succeeded to his
place. Being here in Washington, I entered at once into relations with
him,--hoping to bring, if possible, his great influence in favor of
this measure of Reconstruction; and here is a record, made shortly
afterward, which I will read.

    “During this period I saw the President frequently,--sometimes
    at the private house he then occupied, and sometimes at his
    office in the Treasury. On these occasions the constant
    topic was ‘Reconstruction,’ which was considered in every
    variety of aspect. More than once I ventured to press upon
    him the duty and the renown of carrying out the principles
    of the Declaration of Independence, and of founding the new
    governments in the Rebel States on the consent of the governed,
    without any distinction of color. To this earnest appeal he
    replied, on one occasion, 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 in favor of the Equal Rights of All, the good cause
    must prevail without controversy.”[249]

Then followed another incident:--

    “On another occasion, during the same period, the case of
    Tennessee was discussed. I expressed the hope most earnestly
    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 that this was accomplished. I could not help rejoining
    promptly, 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 which the President
    might exercise in his own State by the expression of his

Then, again, as I was about to leave on my return home to
Massachusetts, in an interview with him I ventured to express my
desires and aspirations as follows: this was in May, 1865:--

    “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 was 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 their 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 Rebel 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 at the time with perfect kindness; and I mention this
    with the more readiness because I remember to have seen in the
    papers a very different statement.”[251]

Before I left Washington, and in the midst of my interviews with the
President, I was honored by a communication from colored citizens
of North Carolina, asking my counsel with regard to their rights,
especially the right to vote. I will not read their letter,--it was
published in the papers of the time, and much commented upon,--but I
will read my reply.[252]

                                         “WASHINGTON, May 13, 1865.

    “GENTLEMEN,--I am glad that the colored citizens of North
    Carolina are ready to take part in the organization of
    Government. It is unquestionably their right and duty.

    “I see little chance of peace or tranquillity in any Rebel
    State, unless the rights of all are recognized, without
    distinction of color. On this foundation we must build.

    “The article on Reconstruction to which you call my attention
    proceeds on the idea, born of Slavery, that persons with a
    white skin are the only ‘citizens.’ This is a mistake.

    “As you do me the honor to ask me the proper stand for you to
    make, I have no hesitation in replying that you must insist on
    all the rights and privileges of a citizen. They belong to you;
    they are yours; and whoever undertakes to rob you of them is a
    usurper and impostor.

    “Of course you will take part in any primary meetings for
    political organization open to citizens generally, and will not
    miss any opportunity to show your loyalty and fidelity.

    “Accept my best wishes, and believe me, Gentlemen, faithfully


Such was my earnestness in this work, that, when invited by the
municipality of Boston, where I was born and have always lived, to
address my fellow-citizens in commemoration of the late President, I
deemed it my duty to dedicate the day mainly to a vindication of Equal
Rights as represented by him. I hold in my hand the address on that
occasion, from which I will read one passage. This was on the 1st of
June, 1865.

    “The argument for Colored Suffrage is overwhelming. It springs
    from the necessity of the case, as well as from the Rights of
    Man. This suffrage is needed for the security of the colored
    people, for the stability of the local government, and for
    the strength of the Union. Without it there is nothing but
    insecurity for the colored people, instability for the local
    government, and weakness for the Union, involving of course the
    national credit.”[253]

This was followed by a letter, dated Boston, July 8, 1865, addressed to
the colored people of Savannah, who had done me the honor of forwarding
to me a petition asking for the right to vote, with the request that I
would present it to the President. After saying, that, had I been at
Washington, I should have had great pleasure in presenting the petition
personally, but that I was obliged to content myself with another
method, I proceeded in this way:--

    “Allow me to add, that you must not be impatient. You
    have borne the heavier burdens of Slavery; and as these
    are now removed, believe the others surely will be also.
    This enfranchised Republic, setting an example to mankind,
    cannot continue to sanction an odious oligarchy whose single
    distinctive element is color. I have no doubt that you will be
    admitted to the privileges of citizens.

    “It is impossible to suppose that Congress will sanction
    governments in the Rebel States which are not founded on
    ‘the consent of the governed.’ This is the corner-stone of
    republican institutions. Of course, by the ‘governed’ is meant
    all the loyal citizens, without distinction of color. Anything
    else is mockery.

    “Never neglect your work; but, meanwhile, prepare yourselves
    for the privileges of citizens. They are yours of right,
    and I do not doubt that they will be yours soon in reality.
    The prejudice of Caste and a false interpretation of the
    Constitution cannot prevail against justice and common
    sense, both of which are on your side,--and I may add, the
    Constitution also, which, when properly interpreted, is clearly
    on your side.

    “Accept my best wishes, and believe me, fellow-citizens,
    faithfully yours,

        “CHARLES SUMNER.”[254]

This was followed by an elaborate speech before the Republican State
Convention at Worcester, September 14, 1865, entitled “The National
Security and the National Faith: Guaranties for the National Freedman
and the National Creditor,”--where I insisted that national peace and
tranquillity could be had only from _impartial suffrage_; and I believe
that it was on this occasion that this phrase, which has since become
a formula of politics, was first publicly employed. My language was as

    “As the national peace and tranquillity depend essentially upon
    the overthrow of monopoly and tyranny, here is another occasion
    for special guaranty against the whole pretension of color.
    _No Rebel State can be readmitted with this controversy still
    raging and ready to break forth._”

Mark the words, if you please.

    “So long as it continues, the land will be barren, agriculture
    and business of all kinds will be uncertain, and the country
    will be handed over to a fearful struggle, with the terrors
    of San Domingo to darken the prospect. In shutting out the
    freedman from his equal rights at the ballot-box, you open the
    doors of discontent and insurrection. Cavaignac, the patriotic
    President of the French Republic, met the present case,
    when, speaking for France, he said: ‘I do not believe repose
    possible, either in the present or the future, except so far
    as you found your political condition on universal suffrage,
    loyally, sincerely, completely accepted and observed.’”[255]

I then proceeded,--not adopting the term “universal suffrage,” employed
by the eminent Frenchman,--as follows:--

    “It is _impartial suffrage_ that I claim, without distinction
    of color, so that there shall be one equal rule for all
    men. And this, too, must be placed under the safeguard of
    Constitutional Law.”[256]

I followed up this effort by a communication to that powerful and
extensively circulated paper, the New York “Independent,” under date of
Boston, October 29, 1865, where I expressed myself as follows:--

    “For the sake of the whole country, which suffers from weakness
    in any part,--for the sake of the States lately distracted by
    war, which above all things need security and repose,--for the
    sake of agriculture, which is neglected there,--for the sake
    of commerce, which has fled,--for the sake of the national
    creditor, whose generous trust is exposed to repudiation,--and,
    finally, for the sake of reconciliation, which can be complete
    only when justice prevails, we must insist upon Equal Rights as
    the condition of the new order of things.”

Mark, if you please, Sir, “as the condition of the new order of
things,”--or, as I called it on other occasions, the corner-stone of

    “So long as this question remains unsettled, there can be no
    true peace. Therefore I would say to the merchant who wishes
    to open trade with this region, to the capitalist who would
    send his money there, to the emigrant who seeks to find a
    home there, Begin by assuring justice to all men. This is
    the one essential condition of prosperity, of credit, and of
    tranquillity. Without this, mercantile houses, banks, and
    emigration societies having anything to do with this region
    must all fail, or at least suffer in business and resources. To
    Congress we must look as guardian, under the Constitution, of
    the national safety.”[257]

Meanwhile the President adopted a policy of reaction. I was at home
in Massachusetts, and from Boston, under date of November 12, 1865, I
addressed him a telegraphic dispatch, as follows:--


    “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_.”[258]

Not content with these efforts, in an article more literary than
political in its character, which found a place in the “Atlantic
Monthly” for December, 1865, entitled, “Clemency and Common Sense: a
Curiosity of Literature, with a Moral,” I again returned to this same
question. I will quote only a brief passage.

    “Again, we are told gravely that the national power which
    decreed Emancipation cannot maintain it by assuring universal
    enfranchisement, because an imperial government must be
    discountenanced,--as if the whole suggestion of ‘Imperialism’
    or ‘Centralism’ were not out of place, until the national
    security is established, and our debts, whether to the national
    freedman or the national creditor, are placed where they
    cannot be repudiated. A phantom is created, and, to avoid this
    phantom, we drive towards concession and compromise, as from
    Charybdis to Scylla.”[259]

The session of Congress opened December 4, 1865, and you will find that
on the first day I introduced two distinct measures of Reconstruction,
with Equality before the Law as their corner-stone. The first was a
bill in the following terms:--

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

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

    “_Be it enacted, &c._, That in all States lately declared to
    be in rebellion there shall be no oligarchy invested with
    peculiar privileges and powers, and there shall be no denial
    of rights, civil or political, on account of race or color;
    but all persons shall be equal before the law, whether in the
    court-room or at the ballot-box. And this statute, made in
    pursuance of the Constitution, shall be the supreme law of the
    land, anything in the Constitution or laws of any such State to
    the contrary notwithstanding.”[260]

The second was “A Bill to enforce the guaranty of a republican form
of government in certain States whose governments have been usurped
or overthrown.”[261] Read this bill, if you please, Sir. I challenge
criticism of it at this date, in the light of all our present
experience. It is in twelve sections, and you will find in it the very
proposition which is now in question,--being the requirement of Equal
Rights for All in the reconstruction of the Rebel States.

    “SEC. 5. _And be it further enacted_, That the delegates”--

that is, the delegates to the Convention for the reëstablishment of a
State government--

    “shall be elected by _the loyal male citizens_ of the United
    States, of the age of twenty-one years, and resident at the
    time in the county, parish, or district in which they shall
    offer to vote, and enrolled as aforesaid, or absent in the
    military service of the United States.”[262]

And then the bill proceeds to provide,--

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

After one--two--three--four provisions, the section proceeds as

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

And the section concludes:--

    “Sixthly, These provisions shall be perpetual, not to be
    abolished or changed hereafter.”[263]

Nor is this all. On the same day I introduced “A Bill supplying
appropriate legislation to enforce the Amendment to the Constitution
prohibiting Slavery,”[264] of which I will read the third section:--

     “That, in further enforcement of the provision of the
    Constitution prohibiting Slavery, and in order to remove all
    relics of this wrong from the States where this constitutional
    prohibition takes effect, it is hereby declared that all laws
    or customs in such States, establishing any oligarchical
    privileges, and any distinction of rights on account of race
    or color, are hereby annulled, _and all persons in such States
    are recognized as equal before the law_; and the penalties
    provided in the last section are hereby made applicable to any
    violation of this provision, which is made in pursuance of the
    Constitution of the United States.”[265]

Still further, on the same day I introduced “Resolutions declaratory of
the duty of Congress in respect to guaranties of the national security
and the national faith in the Rebel States.” One of these guaranties
which I proposed to establish was as follows:--

    “The complete suppression of all oligarchical pretensions, and
    the complete enfranchisement of all citizens, _so that there
    shall be no denial of rights on account of color or race_; but
    justice shall be impartial, and all shall be equal before the

I added also a provision which I was unable to carry,--it was lost by a
tie vote,--as follows:--

    “The organization of an educational system for the equal
    benefit of all, without distinction of color or race.”[266]

Such, Sir, were the measures which I had the honor of bringing forward
at the very beginning of the session. During the same session, in an
elaborate effort which occupied two days, February 5 and 6, 1866, and
is entitled “The Equal Rights of All: the great Guaranty and present
Necessity, for the sake of Security, and to maintain a Republican
Government,” I vindicated the necessity of the colored suffrage in
order to obtain peace and reconciliation, and I placed it on the
foundations of Constitutional Law as well as natural justice. Here is a
passage from this speech:--

    “And here, after this long review, I am brought back to more
    general considerations, and end as I began, by showing the
    necessity of Enfranchisement for the sake of public security
    and public faith. I plead now for the ballot, as the great
    guaranty, and _the only sufficient guaranty_,--being in itself
    peacemaker, reconciler, schoolmaster, and protector,--to which
    we are bound by every necessity and every reason; and I speak
    also for the good of the States lately in rebellion, as well
    as for the glory and safety of the Republic, that it may be an
    example to mankind.”

The speech closed as follows:--

    “The Roman Cato, after declaring his belief in the immortality
    of the soul, added, that, if this were an error, it was an
    error he loved. And now, declaring my belief in Liberty and
    Equality as the God-given birthright of all men, let me say,
    in the same spirit, if this be an error, it is an error I
    love,--if this be a fault, it is a fault I shall be slow to
    renounce,--if this be an illusion, it is an illusion which I
    pray may wrap the world in its angelic forms.”[267]

The discussion still proceeded, and only a month later, March 7, 1866,
I made another elaborate effort with the same object, from which I read
my constant testimony:--

     “I do not stop to exhibit the elective franchise as essential
    to the security of the freedman, without which he will be
    the prey of Slavery in some new form, and cannot rise to the
    stature of manhood. In opening this debate I presented the
    argument fully. Suffice it to say that Emancipation will fail
    in beneficence, if you do not assure to the former slave all
    the rights of the citizen. Until you do this, your work will be
    only _half done_, and the freedman only _half a man_.”

This speech closed as follows:--

    “Recall the precious words of the early English writer, who,
    describing ‘the Good Sea-Captain,’ tells us that he ‘counts
    the image of God nevertheless His image, cut in ebony, as
    if done in ivory.’[268] The good statesman must be like the
    good sea-captain. His ship is the State, which he keeps safe
    on its track. He, too, must see the image of God in all his
    fellow-men, and, in the discharge of his responsible duties,
    must set his face forever against any recognition of inequality
    in human rights. Other things you may do, but this you must not

I do not quote other efforts, other speeches, but pass to the next
session of Congress, when, at the beginning, under date of December 5,
1866, I introduced resolutions thus entitled:--

    “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

Of these resolutions the fourth is as follows:--

     “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

Meanwhile the subject of Reconstruction was practically discussed
in both Houses of Congress. In this Chamber a bill was introduced
by the Senator from Oregon [Mr. WILLIAMS], providing a military
government. In the House there was another bill, and on that bill
good Representatives--to whom be all honor!--sought to ingraft the
requirement of colored suffrage. This effort, unhappily, did not
prevail. The bill came to this Chamber without it. In this Chamber
the same effort was made; but the bill, while it was still immatured,
passed into our caucus. The effort which had thus far failed was then
renewed by me in the committee, where it again failed. It was then
renewed by me in the caucus, where it triumphed. This is the history
of that proposition. I claim nothing for myself. I alluded to it the
other day only in direct reply to the arraignment of the Senator from
Illinois. I allude to it now reluctantly, and only in direct reply to
the arraignment of the Senator from Nevada. I regret to be obliged
to make any allusion to it. I think there is no occasion for any. I
have erred, perhaps, in taking so much time in this explanation; but
when the Senator, after days and weeks of interval, came here with his
second indictment, I felt that I might without impropriety throw myself
upon the indulgence of this Chamber to make the simple explanation that
I have made.

I have shown that as early as February 25, 1865, I proposed in this
Chamber to require the colored suffrage as the corner-stone of
Reconstruction. I have shown that in an elaborate bill introduced
December 4, 1865, being a bill of Reconstruction, I required the very
things which were afterward introduced in the Reconstruction Act
of 1867; and I have shown also that here in this Chamber, at home
among my constituents, in direct intercourse with the President, and
also in communication with colored persons at the South, from the
beginning, I insisted upon the colored suffrage as the essential
condition of Reconstruction. It so happened that I was a member of the
committee appointed by the caucus to consider this question, giving
me the opportunity there of moving it again; and then I had another
opportunity in the caucus of renewing the effort. I did renew it, and,
thank God, it was successful.

Had Mr. Bingham or Mr. Blaine, who made a kindred effort in the House,
been of our committee, and then of our caucus, I do not doubt they
would have done the same thing. My colleague did not use too strong
language, when he said that then and there, in that small room, in
that caucus, was decided the greatest pending question on the North
American Continent. I remember his delight, his ecstasy, at the result.
I remember other language that he employed on that occasion, which I
do not quote. I know he was elevated by the triumph; and yet it was
carried only by two votes. There are Senators who were present at that
caucus according to whose recollection it was carried only by one vote.
The Postmaster-General, in conversing with me on this subject lately,
told me that he had often, in addressing his constituents, alluded to
this result as illustrating the importance of one vote in deciding a
great question. The Postmaster-General was in error. It was not by one
vote, but by two votes, that it was carried.

    Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, following with personal recollections
    concerning the provision for colored suffrage in the
    Reconstruction Act of 1867, said it was his “impression” that
    the motion for its adoption “in caucus” was made by “the
    Senator’s colleague [Mr. WILSON],” “but undoubtedly the other
    Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. SUMNER] made it in committee,
    and advocated it,”--adding, however, “Neither the Senator from
    Massachusetts nor any other Senator can claim any great merit
    in voting for universal suffrage in February or March, 1867.
    His record was made long before that.” In reference to the
    latter Mr. Sherman remarked:--

        “The Senator from Massachusetts needs no defender of his
        course on the question of universal suffrage. No man can
        deny that from the first, and I think the very first, he
        has advocated and maintained the necessity of giving to
        the colored people of the Southern States the right to
        vote.… Early and late he has repeated to us the necessity
        of conferring suffrage upon the colored people of the
        South as the basis of Reconstruction. I think, therefore,
        that he is justified in stating that he was the first to
        propose it in this body; and why should the Senator deem
        it necessary to spend one hour of our valuable time now to
        prove this fact? In my judgment it would be just as well
        for George Washington to defend himself against the charge
        of disloyalty to the American Colonies, for whom he was
        fighting, as for the honorable Senator to defend his record
        on this question.”

    After further remarks by Mr. Stewart and Mr. Trumbull, of the
    same character as the first, Mr. Wilson rose and addressed the
    Chair; but a previous motion for adjournment being insisted
    upon and prevailing, he was cut off, and the matter subsided.


[1] Wordsworth, The Excursion, Book IV. 1293-5.

[2] Speech on the Bill for the Admission of Nebraska, January 15, 1867:
Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 478.

[3] “Non hoc præcipuum amicorum munus est, prosequi defunctum ignavo
questu, sed quæ voluerit meminisse, quæ mandaverit exsequi.”--TACITUS,
_Annalia_, Lib. II. cap. 71.

[4] Senate Reports, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 128.

[5] Quæstiones Juris Publici, Lib. I. cap. 3.

[6] Quæstiones Juris Publici, Lib. I. cap. 7.

[7] Letter to Mr. Hammond, May 29, 1792: Writings, Vol. III. p. 369.

[8] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. III. ch. 9, § 168.

[9] Law of Nations, pp. 138, 139.

[10] Coleridge, The Piccolomini, Act I. Scene 4.

[11] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. III. ch. 18, §§ 293-5.

[12] Prize Cases: 2 Black, R., 674.

[13] Mrs. Alexander’s Cotton: 2 Wallace, R., 419.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Le Droit des Gens, Liv. III. ch. 15, § 232.

[16] Memoirs and Recollections of Count Ségur, (Boston, 1825,) pp.

[17] Memoirs and Recollections of Count Ségur, (Boston, 1825,) p. 304.

[18] Secretary Marcy to General Taylor, Sept. 22, 1846: Executive
Documents, 30th Cong. 1st Sess., Senate. No. 1, p. 564.

[19] International Law, Ch. XIX. § 17.

[20] Vol. XI. p. 169, note.

[21] Alison, History of Europe, (Edinburgh, 1843,) Vol. IX. p. 880.

[22] Letter to Lieut. Gen. Sir John Hope, Oct. 8, 1813: Dispatches,
Vol. XI. pp. 169-170.

[23] Sabine, Loyalists of the American Revolution, (Boston, 1864,) Vol.
I. p. 112.

[24] Debate in the House of Commons, on the Compensation to the
American Loyalists, June 6, 1788: Hansard’s Parliamentary History, Vol.
XXVII. col. 610.

[25] Ibid., col. 614.

[26] Ibid., col. 616.

[27] Ibid., col. 617.

[28] American State Papers: Claims, p. 198.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid., p. 199.

[31] House Reports, 1830-1, No. 68; 1831-2, No. 88; 1832-3, No. 11.
Act, March 2, 1833: Private Laws, p. 546.

[32] American State Papers: Claims, p. 446. Act, March 1, 1815: Private
Laws, p. 151.

[33] American State Papers: Claims, p. 444. Act, February 27, 1815:
Private Laws, p. 150.

[34] American State Papers: Claims, p. 462.

[35] American State Papers: Claims, p. 521. Acts, March 3, 1817:
Private Laws, pp. 194, 187.

[36] American State Papers: Claims, pp. 521, 522. Annals of Congress,
14th Cong. 2d Sess., coll. 215, 1036.

[37] American State Papers: Claims, p. 835. Annals of Congress, 17th
Cong. 1st Sess., col. 311.

[38] Statutes at Large, Vol. III. p. 263.

[39] American State Papers: Claims, p. 590.

[40] Ibid.

[41] January 14th, Mr. Wilson moved, as an amendment to the pending
bill, a substitute providing for the appointment of “commissioners
to examine and report all claims for quartermasters’ stores and
subsistence supplies furnished the military forces of the United
States, during the late civil war, by loyal persons in the States
lately in rebellion.”--_Congressional Globe_, 40th Cong. 3d Sess., p.

[42] Speech in the House of Commons, January 14, 1766: Hansard’s
Parliamentary History, Vol. XVI. col. 104.

[43] Speeches in the Senate on “Political Equality without Distinction
of Color,” March 7, 1866, and the “Validity and Necessity of
Fundamental Conditions on States,” June 10, 1868: _Ante_, Vol. XIII.
pp. 307-9; Vol. XVI. pp. 246-9.

[44] Chap. XXV., Title.

[45] Chap. XXIX.

[46] Speech in the Senate, February 5 and 6, 1866: _Ante_, Vol. X. p.

[47] The Federalist, No. LIV., by Alexander Hamilton.--Concerning the
authorship of this paper, see the Historical Notice, by J. C. Hamilton,
pp. xcv-cvi, and cxix-cxxvii, prefixed to his edition of the Federalist
(Philadelphia, 1864).

[48] Elliot’s Debates, (2d edit.,) Vol. III. p. 367.

[49] 19 Howard, R., 476.

[50] M’Culloch _v._ State of Maryland: 4 Wheaton, R., 408-21.

[51] For the full text of the Convention, see Parliamentary Papers,
1868-9, Vol. LXIII.,--North America, No. 1, pp. 36-38; Executive
Documents, 41st Cong. 1st Sess., Senate, No. 11,--Correspondence
concerning Claims against Great Britain, Vol. III. pp. 752-5.

[52] A term applied in England to the Ashburton Treaty,--and Lord
Palmerston thought “_most properly_.”--_Debate in the House of
Commons_, February 2, 1843: Hansard, 3d Ser., Vol. LXVI. coll. 87, 121,

[53] Stapleton’s Political Life of Canning, (London, 1831,) Vol. II. p.
408. Speech of Lord John Russell in the House of Commons, May 6, 1861:
Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXII. col. 1566.

[54] Speech in the House of Lords, May 16, 1861: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXII. col. 2084.

[55] On Foreign Jurisdiction and the Extradition of Criminals, (London,
1859,) p. 75. See also pp. 59, 65-67.

[56] Correspondence concerning Claims against Great Britain, Vol. I.
pp. 21-22: Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 1st Sess., Senate, No. 11.

[57] Hautefeuille, Des Droits et des Devoirs des Nations Neutres, (2ème
Édit., Paris, 1858,) Tit. IX. chap. 7. Parliamentary Papers, 1837, Vol.
LIV.; 1837-8, Vol. LII.

[58] Le Droit International Public de l’Europe, (Berlin et Paris,
1857,) §§ 112, 121.

[59] Mr. Adams to Earl Russell, July 24, 1862: Correspondence
concerning Claims against Great Britain, Vol. III. pp. 26, 29.

[60] Earl Russell to Lord Lyons, March 27, 1863: Parliamentary Papers,
1864, Vol. LXII.,--North America, No. I. pp. 2, 3. Speech in the House
of Lords, February 16, 1864: Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser.,
Vol. CLXXIII. coll. 632, 633.

[61] Deposition of William Passmore, July 21, 1862,--in Note of Mr.
Adams to Earl Russell, July 22, 1862: Correspondence concerning Claims
against Great Britain, Vol. III. pp. 25-26.

[62] Schedule annexed to Deposition of John Latham, in Note of Mr.
Adams to Earl Russell, January 13, 1864: Ibid., Vol. III. pp. 213-16.

[63] Speech in the House of Commons, March 27, 1863: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXX. coll. 71-72; The Times
(London), March 28, 1863.

[64] Circular of May 11, 1841,--inclosing Circular to British
functionaries abroad, dated May 8, 1841, together with a Memorial of
the General Antislavery Convention held at London, June 20, 1840:
Parliamentary Papers, 1842, Vols. XLIII., XLIV.

[65] Speeches on Questions of Public Policy, (London, 1868,) Vol. I. p.

[66] Rebellion Record, Vol. VII., Part 3, p. 52.

[67] Speech, May 13, 1864: Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser.,
Vol. CLXXV. col. 505.

[68] Speech at Rochdale, February 3, 1863: See preceding page.

[69] Speech of Prof. Goldwin Smith, at a Meeting of the Union and
Emancipation Society, Manchester, England, April 6, 1863, on the
Subject of War Ships for the Southern Confederacy: Report, p. 25.

[70] Mr. Canning to Mr. Monroe, August 3, 1807: American State Papers,
Foreign Relations, Vol. III. p. 188.

[71] Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe, November 1, 1811: American State Papers,
Foreign Relations, Vol. III. pp. 499-500.

[72] Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton, July 27, 1842: Executive Documents,
27th Cong. 3d Sess., H. of R., No. 2, p. 124.

[73] Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster, July 28, 1842: Executive Documents,
27th Cong. 3d Sess., H. of R., No. 2, p. 134.

[74] Speech in the House of Commons, May 13, 1864: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXXV. coll. 496-7.

[75] Speech in the House of Commons, May 13, 1864: Hansard’s
Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXXV. col. 498.

[76] Ibid., col. 493.

[77] Page 27.

[78] Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser., Vol. CLXXV. col. 493.

[79] Ibid., col. 498. For official returns cited in the text, see
Parliamentary Papers for 1864, Vol. LX. No. 137.

[80] Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, December 1, 1868,
Appendix B: Executive Documents, 40th Cong. 3d Sess., H. of R., No. 2,
p. 496.

[81] Ibid.

[82] Report of F. H. Morse, U. S. Consul at London, dated January 1,
1868: Commercial Relations of the United States with Foreign Nations
for the Year ending September 30, 1867: Executive Documents, 40th Cong.
2d Sess., H. of R., No. 160, p. 11.

[83] See Statement of Tonnage of United States from 1789 to 1866, in
Report of Secretary of Treasury for 1866: Executive Documents, 39th
Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., No. 4, pp. 355-6.

[84] Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting of the National Board of
Trade, December, 1868, p. 186.

[85] Speech, May 13, 1864: Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser.,
Vol. CLXXV. col. 496.

[86] Greenleaf on the Law of Evidence, Part IV. § 256.

[87] Digest. Lib. XLVI. Tit. 8, cap. 13.

[88] Pothier on the Law of Obligations, tr. Evans, Part I. Ch. 2, Art. 3.

[89] Commentaries, Vol. III. p. 219.

[90] Tomlins, Law Dictionary, art. NUISANCE, IV.

[91] Ovid, Metamorph. Lib. I. 185-6.

[92] Mr. Adams to Earl Russell, Nov. 20, 1862: Correspondence
concerning Claims against Great Britain, Vol. III. pp. 70-73.

[93] Same to same: Ibid., pp. 180-2.

[94] Ibid., p. 562.

[95] Ibid., pp. 581-2.

[96] Ibid., p. 632; and General Appendix, No. XV., Vol. IV. pp. 422,

[97] Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., Vol. VI. p. 150.

[98] Speech in the House of Commons, December 5, 1774: Hansard’s
Parliamentary History, Vol. XVIII. col. 45.

[99] Speech, September 14, 1865: _Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 305, seqq.

[100] North American Review for January, 1844, Vol. LVIII. p. 150.

[101] Report of the Special Commissioner of the Revenue for 1868:
Executive Documents, 40th Cong. 3d Sess., H. of R., No. 16, p. 7.

[102] $300,000,000.--Act of June 3, 1864, Sec. 22: Statutes at Large,

[103] De l’Esprit des Lois, Liv. III. chs. 3, 6.

[104] Paradise Lost, Book I. 742-5.

[105] Sallust, Catilina, Cap. 12.

[106] 2 Henry IV., Act IV. Scene 2.

[107] Not a transcript of the famous epitaph on the tomb at Seville,--

    “A Castilla y á Leon
    Nuevo mundo dió Colon,”--

    (“To Castile and Leon Columbus gave a new world,”)--

but part of a Latin inscription, to the same effect, on a mural tablet
in the Cathedral at Havana, the last resting-place of the remains of
the great navigator:--

“Claris. heros Ligustin. CHRISTOPHORUS COLOMBUS a se rei nautic.
scient. insign. nov. orb. detect. atque Castell. et Legion. regib.
subject.,” etc.--

Literally rendered, “The most illustrious Genoese hero, CHRISTOPHER
COLUMBUS, by himself, through remarkable nautical science, a new world
having been discovered and subjected to the kings of Castile and Leon,”

See MASSE, _L’Isle de Cuba et La Havane_, (Paris, 1825,) p. 201.

[108] Discours sur les Progrès successifs de l’Esprit Humain: Œuvres,
éd. Daire, (Paris, 1844,) Tom. II. p. 602.

[109] Coxe, Memoirs of the Kings of Spain of the House of Bourbon, Ch.

[110] Letter to Robert R. Livingston, December 14, 1782: Diplomatic
Correspondence of the American Revolution, ed. Sparks, Vol. VII. p. 4.

[111] Speech in Executive Session of the Senate on the
Johnson-Clarendon Treaty, April 13, 1869: _Ante_, pp. 53, seqq.

[112] Journals of Congress, October 26, 1774; May 29, 1775; January 24,
February 15, March 20, 1776. American Archives, 4th Ser., Vol. I. coll.
930-4; II. 1838-9; IV. 1653, 1672; V. 411-13, 1643-5.

[113] “I, fili mi, ut videas quantulâ sapientiâ regatur
mundus.”--OXENSTIERN, to his son, “as he was departing to assist
at the congress of statesmen.” (BROUGHAM, _Speech in the House of
Lords_, January 18, 1838: Hansard, 3d Ser., Vol. XL. col. 207.) “The
congress of statesmen” alluded to was that convened in 1648 for the
negotiation of the Treaty of Westphalia, which terminated the Thirty
Years’ War.--It may be remarked that other authorities represent the
occasion of this famous saying to have been a letter from the young
envoy to his father, while in attendance at the congress, expressing
a sense of need of the most mature wisdom for a mission so important
and difficult,--the old Chancellor replying in terms variously cited
thus:--“Mi fili, parvo mundus regitur intellectu”;--“Nescis, mi fili,
quantillâ prudentiâ homines regantur”;--“An nescis, mi fili, quantillâ
prudentiâ regatur orbis?”--See HARTE, _History of Gustavus Adolphus_,
(London, 1807,) Vol. II. p. 142; _Biographie Universelle_, (Michaud,
Paris, 1822,) art. OXENSTIERNA, Axel; BOITEAU, _Les Reines du Nord_, in
_Le Magasin de Librairie_, (Charpentier, Paris, 1858,) Tom. I. p. 436.

[114] Discorsi, Lib. I. capp. 2, 9.

[115] McPherson’s History of the United States during the Great
Rebellion, p. 606.

[116] Manual of Political Ethics, (Boston, 1838,) Part I. p. 171.

[117] Plato, Protagoras, § 82, p. 343. Pliny, Nat. Hist., Lib. VII.
cap. 32.

[118] “Eunt homines admirari alta montium, et ingentes fluctus maris,
et latissimos lapsus fluminum, et Oceani ambitum, et gyros siderum, et
relinquunt seipsos.”--_Confessiones_, Edit. Benedict., Lib. X. Cap.
VIII. 15.

[119] Essays, _John Bunyan_, (New York, 1862,) Vol. VI. p. 132.

[120] Encyclopædia Britannica, (8th edit.,) Vol. VI. pp. 314-16, art.
CASTE, and the authorities there cited.

[121] Institutes of Hindoo Law, or the Ordinances of Menu, translated
by Sir William Jones: Works, (London, 1807,) Vols. VII., VIII.
Mill, British India, Book II. ch. 2; also, Art. CASTE, Encyclopædia
Britannica, (8th edit.,) Vol. VI. Robertson, Ancient India, Note LVIII.
[Appendix, Note I.]. Dubois, People of India, Part III. ch. 6.

[122] Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India,
etc., (London, 1829,) Vol. III. p. 355.

[123] Mill, Art. CASTE, Encyclopædia Britannica, (8th edit.,) Vol. VI.
p. 319.

[124] Gurowski, Slavery in History, (New York, 1860,) p. 237.

[125] Genesis, i. 27-28.

[126] Acts, xvii. 26.

[127] Legend on the coat-of-arms beneath the portrait in Stoever’s Life
of Linnæus, (London, 1794,)--said to have originated with an eminent
scientific friend of the great naturalist.--_Preface_, pp. xi-xii.

[128] Richard the Second, Act I. Scene 3.

[129] Nott and Gliddon, Types of Mankind, p. 169.

[130] The Races of Man, p. 306.

[131] Dissertation sur les Variétés Naturelles qui caractérisent la
Physionomie des Hommes, tr. Jansen, (Paris, 1792,) Ch. III.

[132] For a notice of the principal writers and theories on the subject
of Races, including those mentioned in the text, see the article on
ETHNOLOGY, by Dr. Kneeland, in the “New American Cyclopædia,” (1st
edit.,) Vol. VII. pp. 306-11.

[133] In reference to the theory of many Homers instead of one, the
German Voss used to say, “It would be a greater miracle, had there been
many Homers, than it is that there was one.”

[134] Egypt’s Place in Universal History, (London, 1860,) Vol. IV. p.

[135] Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, (London, 1838,) pp. 34, seqq.

[136] Letter to Mr. Lyell, February 20, 1836: Ninth Bridgewater
Treatise, Appendix, Note I, p. 226.

[137] Encyclopædia Britannica, (8th edit.,) Vol. IX. p. 354,--art.

[138] Voyage de l’Astrolabe, Tom. II. pp. 627, 628.

[139] Histoire Naturelle, (2me édit.,) Tom. III. pp. 529-30.

[140] Handbuch der Physiologie des Menschen, (Coblenz, 1840,) Band II.
s. 773.

[141] Cosmos, tr. Otté, (London, 1848,) pp. 364-8.

[142] Merchant of Venice, Act III. Scene 1.

[143] Pope, Essay on Man, Ep. I. 112.

[144] Natural Provinces of the Animal World, and their Relation to
the Different Types of Man: prefixed to Nott and Gliddon’s “Types of
Mankind,” p. lxxv.

[145] Ueber die Kawi-Sprache auf der Insel Java, (Berlin, 1839,) Band
III. s. 426.

[146] Cosmos, tr. Otté, Vol. I. pp. 368, 369.

[147] Plutarch, Symposiaca, Lib. VIII. Quæst. 2: Moralia, ed.
Wyttenbach, Tom. III. p. 961.

[148] Metaphysica, Lib. XIII. cap. 3, § 9: Opera, ed. Bekker, (Oxonii,
1837,) Tom. VIII. p. 277.

[149] Kritik der praktischen Vernunft, 2 Theil, Beschluss: Sämmtliche
Werke, herausg. von Hartenstein, (Leipzig, 1867,) Band V. s. 167.

[150] Isaiah, xiii. 12.

[151] Cæsar, De Bello Gallico, Lib. V. cap. 14; VI. 13, 16. Prichard,
Physical History of Mankind, (London, 1841,) Vol. III. pp. 179, 187.

[152] History of England, (London, 1849,) Vol. I. p. 4.

[153] Physical History of Mankind, Vol. III. p. 182.

[154] Geographica, Lib. IV. cap. 5, § 2, p. 200. Prichard, Physical
History of Mankind, Vol. III. pp. 196-7.

[155] Herodian, Hist., Lib. III. cap. 14, § 13. Dion Cassius, Hist.
Rom., Lib. LXXVI. cap. 12. Prichard, Vol. III. pp. 155-6.

[156] For details, see Prichard, Vol. III. pp. 137-8, and the
authorities there cited.

[157] De Bello Gallico, Lib. V. cap. 14.

[158] Diodorus Siculus, Biblioth. Histor., Lib. V. cap. 31, p. 213.
Encyclopædia Britannica, (8th edit.,) Vol. V. p. 375, art. BRITAIN.

[159] Procopius, De Bello Gothico, Lib. IV. cap. 20, p. 623, D.
Macaulay, History of England, Vol. I. p. 5.

[160] Macaulay, Ibid.

[161] Ibid., p. 4.

[162] Henry, History of Great Britain, (London, 1805,) Vol. IV. pp.
237, 239.

[163] Leges Regis Edwardi Confessoris, xxv. _De Judeis_: Ancient Laws
and Institutes of England, ed. Thorpe, Vol. I. p. 453. Milman, History
of the Jews, (London, 1863,) Vol. III. pp. 238, 249.

[164] Pii Secundi Commentarii Rerum Memorabilium quæ Temporibus suis
contigerunt, (Romæ, 1584,) pp. 6-7.

[165] Erasmus Rot. Francisco, Cardinalis Eboracensis Medico [A. D.
1515],--Epist. 432, App.: Opera, (Lugd. Batav., 1703,) Tom. III. col.
1815. Jortin’s Life of Erasmus, (London, 1808,) Vol. I. p. 69; III. p.

[166] L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution, (7me édit., Paris, 1866,) p.

[167] De Bello Gallico, Lib. V. cap. 14.

[168] Ritter, Erdkunde, (Berlin, 1832,) Theil II. ss. 22-25. Guyot, The
Earth and Man, (Boston, 1850,) pp. 44-47.

[169] Cosmos, tr. Otté, Vol. I. p. 368.


    “Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona

                                     HORAT. _Carm._ Lib. IV. ix. 25-26.

[171] Métral, Histoire de l’Expédition des Français à Saint-Domingue,
sous le Consulat de Napoléon Bonaparte; suivie des Mémoires et Notes
d’Isaac Louverture sur la même Expédition, et sur la Vie de son Père.
Paris, 1825.

[172] Nell, Services of Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812,
pp. 23-24.

[173] Dumont, Mémoires Historiques sur la Louisiane, (Paris, 1753,)
Tom. II. pp. 244-6. Mercier, Mon Bonnet de Nuit, art. _Morale_,
(Amsterdam, 1784,) Tom. II. p. 226.

[174] Copy of a Letter from Benjamin Banneker to the Secretary of
State, with his Answer, (Philadelphia, 1792,) p. 6.

[175] Chapitres VII., VIII.

[176] Catherine Ferguson: Lossing’s Eminent Americans, p. 404.

[177] Mungo Park, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, (London,
1816,) Vol. I. pp. 45, 257. Grégoire, De la Littérature des Nègres,
(Paris, 1808,) p. 118.

[178] Joannes Leo Africanus, Africæ Descriptio, (Lugd. Batav., Elzevir,
1632,) Lib. VII. p. 646.

[179] Serm. XXV., De Nigredine et Formositate Sponsæ, id est Ecclesiæ:
Opera, Edit. Benedict., (Paris, 1839,) Tom. I. col. 2814.

[180] Isaiah, xi. 9, lxvi. 18.

[181] Matthew, xiii. 33.

[182] 1 Corinthians, v. 6; Galatians, v. 9.

[183] Matthew, xiii. 12.

[184] Senate Reports, No. 29, 41st Cong. 2d Sess.

[185] Congressional Globe, 33d Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, pp. 321, 323:
Debate on the Nebraska and Kansas Bill, March 3, 1854.

[186] Gazette of the United States, Philadelphia, December 31, 1791.
From an article entitled “Sketches of Boston and its Inhabitants,”
purporting to be “extracted from a series of letters published in a
late Nova Scotia paper.”

[187] Paradise Lost, Book X. 958-61.

[188] Act of April 20, 1818, Sec. 3: Statutes at Large, Vol. III. p.

[189] Annals of Congress, 15th Cong. 1st Sess., col. 519.

[190] The case of the Hornet, as stated by Mr. Carpenter, was as
follows:--“The Hornet was purchased in this country by Cubans, was
taken into the open sea outside of the United States, and there armed
and manned to cruise against Spain, and started on her way toward the
waters of Cuba with arms and supplies for the revolutionists. Owing
to the poor quality of her coal, she was unable to pursue her voyage,
and put into a port of the United States, when she was libelled by the
United States, upon the ground that she was intended for the ‘service
of the people of a certain colony of the kingdom of Spain, to wit, the
island of Cuba,’ etc. All of which is charged to be against the third
section of the Neutrality Law.”--_Congressional Globe_, 41st Cong. 2d
Sess., p. 144.

[191] Act of April 10, 1869, Sec. 7: Statutes at Large, Vol. XVI. p. 41.

[192] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. p. 428.

[193] “’Tis out of time to set it forth in the Declaration; but it
should have come in the Replication. ’Tis like leaping (as Hale,
Chief-Justice, said) before one come to the stile.”--_Sir Ralph Bovy’s
Case_: 1 Ventris, R., 217.

[194] Act to provide for the more efficient Government of the Rebel
States, March 2, 1867, Preamble and Section 6: Statutes at Large, Vol.
XIV. pp. 428, 429.

[195] Letter to Adjutant-General Townsend, July 10, 1869: Papers
relating to the Test Oath: House Miscellaneous Documents, 41st Cong. 2d
Sess., No. 8, p. 28. See also Letters of June 16 and 26, 1869, to R. T.
Daniel and B. W. Gillis, respectively: Ibid., pp. 24, 15.

[196] Statutes at Large, Vol. XV. pp. 14-16.

[197] Section 6.

[198] Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. pp. 502-3.

[199] Ibid., Vol. XV. p. 344.

[200] Act of July 19, 1867, Sec. 11: Statutes at Large, Vol. XV. p. 16.

[201] For some previous remarks relative to the Reconstruction Act of
1867, see article entitled “Personal Record on Reconstruction with
Colored Suffrage,” _post_, pp. 304-7.

[202] See, _ante_, pp. 184-5.

[203] “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre.”--General Bosquet
to Mr. Layard: Kinglake, Invasion of the Crimea, (Edinburgh, 1868) Vol.
IV. p. 369, note.

[204] Annual Message, December 1, 1862.

[205] Report of Special Commissioner of Revenue, December, 1869:
Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., No. 27, p. XIII.

[206] Statistics of the United States in 1860, Eighth Census,
Miscellaneous, pp. 294, 295.

[207] Report of Special Commissioner of Revenue, December, 1869:
Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., No. 27, p. VI.

[208] Ibid.

[209] Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., No. 2, pp.

[210] Statement of the Public Debt, January 1, 1870.--Purchases of
bonds in excess of the sum required for the sinking fund first appear
in the Statement of August 1, 1869, and as then amounting, with the
accrued interest, to $15,110,590; thence to January 1, 1870, the
monthly average, including interest, was a little short of $10,000,000.

[211] Act of March 3, 1864: Statutes at Large, Vol. XIII. p. 13.

[212] Act of February 25, 1863: Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. pp. 665-82.

[213] Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, December 9, 1861:
Executive Documents, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., Senate, No. 2.

[214] Acts of March 3, 1863, § 2, and June 30, 1864, § 2: Statutes at
Large, Vols. XII. p. 710, XIII. p. 218.

[215] Statutes at Large, Vol. XIII. p. 219.

[216] Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, December 6, 1869:
Executive Documents, 41st Cong. 2d Sess., H. of R., No. 2, p. XXVII.

[217] Ibid., p. XVIII.

[218] Speech, January 12, 1870: _Ante_, pp. 238, seqq.

[219] _Ante_, p. 256.

[220] Speech, January 17, 1870: Congressional Globe, 41st Cong. 2d
Sess., p. 817.

[221] January 22, 1870.

[222] Monthly Reports on the Commerce and Navigation of the United
States for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1870, p. 200.

[223] Speech, February 1, 1870: _Ante_, p. 277.

[224] “That Congress reserves the right, at any time, to amend, alter,
or repeal this Act.”--_Act to provide a National Currency_, &c.,
February 25, 1863, Sec. 65: Statutes at Large, Vol. XII. pp. 665-82.

[225] Letter to Lieutenant-Colonel John Laurens, February 18, 1782:
Writings, ed. Sparks, Vol. VIII. p. 241.

[226] Eulogy on Major-General Greene, before the Society of the
Cincinnati, July 4, 1789: Works, ed. J. C. Hamilton, Vol. II. pp.

[227] Life, by G. W. Greene, 3 vols. 8vo, New York, 1867-71.

[228] _Ante_, p. 231.

[229] Act to provide for the more efficient Government of the Rebel
States, Section 5: Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 428-9.

[230] Proviso in Amendment of Resolution recognizing the New State
Government of Louisiana, February 25, 1865: No Reconstruction without
the Votes of the Blacks: Congressional Globe, 38th Cong. 2d Sess., p.
1099; _Ante_, Vol. XII. p. 185.

[231] Speech at the Republican State Convention in Worcester, Mass.,
September 14, 1865: The National Security and the National Faith:
_Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 327-8.

[232] Speech on a proposed Amendment of the Constitution, February 5
and 6, 1866: The Equal Rights of All: Congressional Globe, 39th Cong.
1st Sess., pp. 673-87; _Ante_, Vol. XIII. pp. 115, seqq.

[233] The vote on its adoption was Yeas 32, Nays 3.--_Senate Journal_,
39th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 293.

[234] These supplementary amendments consisted of the Proviso at the
end of Section 5, together with Section 6, of the Act as finally
passed: Statutes at Large, Vol. XIV. pp. 428-9.

[235] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1645; Senate
Journal, p. 320.

[236] Congressional Globe, p. 1976; Senate Journal, p. 424.

[237] See further, concerning the matters here referred to, Mr.
Sumner’s speeches in the debates on this bill, with the accompanying
notes: _Ante_, Vol. XI. pp. 102, seqq.

[238] Congressional Globe, 41st Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1177.

[239] Debate on the Census Bill: Congressional Globe, 41st Cong. 2d
Sess., pp. 1143, seqq.

[240] Debate, February 3d, on the Neutrality Laws: Ibid., pp. 1001,

[241] _Ante_, pp. 304-6.

[242] Congressional Globe, 37th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 736-7. _Ante_, Vol.
VIII. pp. 163-7.

[243] Congressional Globe, 38th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 523. _Ante_, Vol.
X. pp. 295-9.

[244] Congressional Globe, 38th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 521.

[245] Ibid., p. 522.

[246] Congressional Globe, 38th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1091. _Ante_, Vol.
XII. pp. 197-200.

[247] Congressional Globe, 38th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1099. _Ante_, Vol.
XII. p. 185.

[248] Congressional Globe, 38th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 1129. _Ante_, Vol.
XII. pp. 190-1.

[249] See Address at the Music Hall, Boston, October 2, 1866, entitled
“The One Man Power _vs._ Congress”: _Ante_, Vol. XIV. p. 200.

[250] Ibid., p. 21.

[251] Address at the Music Hall: The One Man Power _vs._ Congress:
_Ante_, Vol. XIV. pp. 201-2.

[252] For both letter and reply, see, _ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 231-2.

[253] _Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 292-3.

[254] _Ante_, Vol. XII. p. 299.

[255] Speech in the Legislative Assembly, May 21, 1850: Moniteur, May
22, 1850, p. 1761.

[256] _Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 327-8.

[257] The Independent, November 2, 1865. _Ante_, Vol. XII. pp. 368-9.

[258] The One Man Power _vs._ Congress: _Ante_, Vol. XIV. p. 204.

[259] Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XVI. p. 760. _Ante_, Vol. XII. p. 410.

[260] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 2. _Ante_, Vol.
XIII. p. 14.

[261] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 2. _Ante_, Vol.
XIII. p. 21.

[262] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. p. 23.

[263] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. pp. 25-26.

[264] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 2. _Ante_, Vol.
XIII. p. 16.

[265] _Ante_, Vol. XIII. p. 17.

[266] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 2. _Ante_, Vol.
XIII. pp. 33, 34.

[267] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 685, 687. _Ante_,
Vol. XIII. pp. 219, 236-7.

[268] Fuller, Holy State: The Good Sea-Captain.

[269] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 1231-2. _Ante_,
Vol. XIII. pp. 334-5, 337.

[270] Congressional Globe, 39th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 15. _Ante_, Vol.
XIV. pp. 224-5.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 17 (of 20)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.