Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

of arms could put it down; and the Baltimore convention pledged themselves to the country that no other weapons should be used, and when it was put down it followed as a sequence, in the just judgment of the members of that convention, that "the punishment due to their crimes" should be "awarded to the rebels and traitors arrayed against it."


Mr. President, the distinguished Senator from Wisconsin three times speech that Andrew Johnson existed and held the office that he does. I shall three times three times thank God if he carries out the provis ions of the Baltimore platform as expounded by himself. I suppose one reason for thanking God was the clear vision with which he saw his duty; and I am going to read now his own understanding, when that platform was fresh before him, of its meaning; and either President Johnson entirely misunderstood its meaning then or the distinguished Senator from Wisconsin does not interpret it truly now. In accepting the nomination for Vice President of the United States, Mr. Johnson said:

to the rear; back seats;" is the order of the
Commander-in-Chief of this great nation.

[ocr errors]

"The question is whether man is capable of selfgovernment. I hold, with Jefferson, that Government was made for the convenience of man, and not man for Government. The laws and Constitution were designed as instruments to promote his welfare. And hence from this principle I conclude that Governments can and ought to be changed and amended to conform to the wants, to the requirements, and progress of the people and the enlightened spirit of the age."

Sir, I hold that as the announcement of a great and living truth. I do not suppose that it ever entered into the heads or hearts of the framers of that glorious instrument, our Constitution, that it was never to be altered, amended, or changed to meet the wants and exigencies of a progressive and advancing people. If it has so entered into the heart of my distinguished friend from Wisconsin, why does he boast now of being the foremost and first advocate of amending that instrument so as to keep pace with the progress of the times? So far, then, I indorse most cordially that sentiment which seems to be in union with the music of the times. But to proceed:

[blocks in formation]

But in calling a convention to restore the State, who shall restore and reestablish it?"

A pregnant inquiry; and he answered it:


Shall the man who gave his influence and his means to destroy the Government? Is he to participate in the great work of reorganization? Shall he who brought this misery upon the State be permitted to control its destinies? If this be so, then all this precious blood of our brave soldiers and officers so freely poured out will have been wantonly spied; all the glorious victories won by our noble armies will go for naught, and all the battle-fields which have been sown with dead heroes during the rebellion will have been made memorable in vain."

Again let me pause to give in my most cordial and hearty adherence to that doctrine.

"Why all this carnage and devastation? It was that treason might be put down and traitors punished. Therefore I say that traitors should take a back seat in the work of restoration.'

Again let me say that I most cordially concur in that; and that is the question that is now really under discussion. Let the traitors take a back seat, said the President. Sir, that sentiment was echoed from every hill-top and hrough every valley of this nation. So said Congress then, and so says Congress now. "Traitors to the rear," according to the order of the Commander in-Chief. The Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy orders you to the rear; and why does the Senator from Wisconsin beckon them forward? "Traitors

"If there be but five thousand men in Tennessee loyal to the Constitution, loyal to freedom, loyal to justice, these true and faithful men should control the work of reorganization and reformation absolutely."

"I say that the traitor has ceased to be a citizen, and in joining the rebellion has become a public


So say I; so says every fair-minded man, that the traitor ceased to be a citizen; and in addition, so says the voice of the intelligent world; so says the law, before whose majesty the distinguished Senator from Pennsylvania bows with such respectful deference always. Sir, that enunciation was from the very fountain of truth. It welled up; it was the gushing of an honest-spoken sentiment, and it received an echo everywhere on this continent. What, sir, has it come to pass in fact that a man can be red-dyed with treason one day and washed as white in the waters of loyalty as the lamb the next? Away with reading your miraculous conversion of Paul! Sir, that miracle would cease to be quoted if this theory were adopted here-a miracle in view of Almighty power, a miracle in view of the just understanding of mankind, a miracle in the eyes of justice, and an overthrow of every principle of law. What did he mean by this? He said to traitors, "Your garments are red with the blood of treason," and he gave the same direction that was given by Elijah to the proud prince of old, "Go wash seven times in the waters of Jordan, and be healed." So I say to these traitors, go wash seven times seven in the waters of loyalty, and be cleansed.

So said an afflicted continent; and to what Will the distinguished Senator from either ordeal has he been subjected? I speak what of the States I am now addressing tell me why is patent to the world, and what is recorded these men should be allowed to partake in the history to-day, when I say that the only ordeal to which he has been subjected is to have been great work of reconstructing all these States when Mr. Johnson at that day said they should under the special charge and kind care of a not be allowed to aid in the work of reconstruc- most indulgent and magnanimous Administration in a single State? This was carrying out tion. Who would have believed from these the spirit of the Baltimore platform. He went utterances that Lewis E. Parsons would have upon the doctrine that "while the letter kill- been made provisional governor of Alabamaeth, the spirit maketh alive." He had drank a man who partook, in the darkest hour of our what the distinguished Senator from Wiscon- trials, in the legislation of the State of Alasin, from his remarks made upon it, seems bama, introducing resolutions which I had here never to have tasted, the spirit of the Baltimore the other day in my hand denouncing in the platform; and speaking in that spirit he de- most unmeasured terms the loyal citizens of clared, "Traitors to the rear; back seats; you this country? And yet the ordeal to which he shall not be allowed even to aid in reconstruct- was subjected was to receive a commission to ing Tennessee, though there be not five thou- go down and be doctor-in-chief of a disease sand loyal men in the State." Exactly right which he had diagnosed most thoroughly, rewas the President then. Around that littlebellion, treason. He knew every bone, artery, nucleus, charged with the spirit and living fire fiber, vein, that pervaded it, for he had treated and zeal of the glory of our institution, would every one of them. Oh, what an ordeal that have gathered and clustered an army of Union was to pass! And a severer ordeal still was men as resistless in its march as the army of to receive his salary for it, out of money that the Potomac when led by Grant. But, sir, in you and I are taxed to pay, and that, too, withan evil hour-and I propose to turn the Senaout taking the prescribed oath by Congress! tor from Wisconsin exactly to the point-that Oh, how Parsons must have suffered! What doctrine was departed from, and I shall ex- a change in my policy" from before till after amine now with entire fairness what I think election! I have no doubt, however, that the led to the departure from that doctrine. distinguished Senators to whom I am addressing the most of these remarks will be able to explain it. [Laughter.]


Sir, I am not through with this oracle. To what I shall now read I call the attention of his distinguished champions here:


A fellow who takes the oath”

But, Mr. President, I am not quite done with this speech:

"I say that the traitor has ceased to be a citizen, and in joining the rebellion has become a public enemy. He forfeited his right to vote with loyal men when he renounced his citizenship and sought to destroy our Government.'


more, that no man who had been engaged in this treason should have a less probation than the foreigner. So say I, and so says Congress.

We say to the most honest and industrious foreigner who comes from England or Germany to dwell among us and to add to the wealth of the country, Before you can be a citizen you must stay here for five years.' If we are so cautious about foreigners who voluntarily renounce their homes to live with us, what should we say to the traitor who, although born and reared among us, has raised a parricidal hand against the Government which always protected him?""

"My judgment is, that he should be subjected to a severe ordeal before he is restored to citizenship."

If language is to be understood at all in its usual signification, that means this, and no

Amen. That is precisely what Congress has said all the time: bring forth fruits meet for repentance; come here in a spirit of repentant submission; come here as the sinner should come; come as the felon should come; acknowledge your crime, and though your sins be as scarlet we will make them white as snow. Is that the way they come? No, sir. The distinguished Senator from Kentucky [Mr. DAvis] told us the other day what he would do if he were President; he would call up pro formâ the rebels who have been elected to Congress, and if he were President he would regard them as such. We who echo every sentiment which I have read are to be driven from these Halls to make room for these anything else than repentant rebels. Their second state is worse than their first. I know not whom that distinguished Senator echoes, but I have seen in nearly every print of the South, I have read in prints in this city recommendations that this high priest should dispose of this "irregular" Congress, that have no better indorsement than a loyal people, to make room for those whose skirts smoke now with the blood of this rebellion. I know not what may come. I enter


Sir, human lips never uttered a more striking truth than that. That again awoke an echo intain no particular fears for myself. If that every heart, and raised and elevated the world's issue come, let it come, and an outraged peohope. Was it true then? If so, it is true now, ple will settle the question very quickly. Sir, and will remain true through all coming time. if the votaries of treason have not had victims But I am not quite through: enough, let them invade these Halls and victimize the representatives of a great people. They are, it seems to me, more voracious than the grave, more unsatisfied than the horse leech's daughter that cried "Give," "Give," till there was no more to give. They are not satisfied with passing by the countless newmade graves; they demand additional victims here; that this Hall, so sacred in the recollections and in the history of the country, shall be made to run with loyal blood to make room

77 66

I beg the Senator's attention to this

"A fellow who takes the oath merely to save his property, and denies the validity of the oath, is a perjured man, and not to be trusted.'

He knew of what manner of men he spoke. So said the President of the United States; and, remember, all this time he was accepting the Baltimore platform as his guide. Now, there is a change, whether for the better or the worse we shall see by and by.

"Before these repenting rebels can be trusted let then bring forth the fruits of repentance."

Now, to every one of these living, breathing announcements, Congress says, amen. Then what is the occasion of any difference between the President and Congress? I venture to assert that I have not read in this whole speech a declaration that every member of this body who pretends to be loyal will not respond to as true. Remember, too, that all this was said under and by virtue of the Baltimore platform; said by this intelligent man when he accepted the nomination under that platform.

for those who but yesterday were trying to tear down its pillars.

Can an American Senate long discuss such a question? Has it come to this, that members sitting here with the high commission of a loyal people are to be threatened, and upon this floor, with an exercise of that power which would have made Nero blush to utter its name? Let it never be uttered here again; but I repeat, if liberty and freedom demand that further sacrifice, your victims are ready.

Sir, the sentences and utterances which I have read were the expressions of the now President of the United States just before the election. These utterances, these expressions, were like an electric touch to the wire; they electrified the whole community, and he was borne upon the shoulders of as loyal a people as ever breathed to the highest place of power on earth, borne there by the exertions of many of the members of this circle. But I am not quite done with this speech:

"He who helped to make all these widows and orphans, who draped the streets of Nashville in mourning, should suffer for his great crime. The work is in our own hands."


What work? To make them suffer. The work of making the rebels suffer, said the President, is in our hands. That portion of the work, if done at all, has been done so as not to excite the observation of the world. Who suffers? I will tell you, Mr. President who suffers; it is those who are fleeing from the presence of the unwashed rebels. This work is in our hands, said the President; he falters in it; Congress proposes to take up the work and do it without him. ask the Senator from Wisconsin whether any of the rebels have suf fered since the war.

"Ah! these rebel leaders have a strong personal reason for holding out."

What reason?

"To save their necks from the halter."

Why, sir, the hemp is not grown yet, nor sown, that will hang a rebel in this country. They held out and they are not hung. They held out longer than they ought to have done, and they have gone longer without hanging than they ought. So says an intelligent world, and so said, above all, the President himself. He said further

"Treason must be made odious, and traitors must be punished."

I have often heard that quoted; but he did not stop there.

"Treason must be made odious, and traitors must be punished and impoverished."

That is a thing that hurts the traitor worse than anything else, to impoverish him. Where is the traitor that has been impoverished? What does impoverishing mean? It means confiscation. There has been none of that of any consequence that there was not a respectful obeisance by the authorities of this country in returning the property to its much abused rebel owner! What, sir, return their property to the rebels when the great high priest of this Union declared that they must not only be punparty ished but impoverished! Why is not that promise kept? Sir, I do not ask that question alone; it is the voice of millions; why has not that promise been kept? Let him who made it answer, or his friends for him.

"Their great plantations must be seized, and divided into small farms, and sold to honest, industrious men.'


Where is the great plantation that has been sold and divided among honest men as contradistinguished from its former owners? The Senator from Wisconsin when he replies will probably tell us where these confiscated estates are, and where these honest men have found homes on these cut up plantations.

"The day for protecting the lands and negroes of these authors of rebellion is past."

So said President Johnson. If he spoke prophetically, it has not turned out as he prophesied. Then he is no prophet. If he spoke by virtue of the power that was about to be conferred upon him, I think he has not exercised it.

"The day for protecting the lands and negroes of these authors of the rebellion is past. It is high time it was.'

I shall be pardoned for saying I think so too. It was high time that protection to rebels should cease. What have they done since to people? Let the history of the times answer. entitle them to the confidence of an outraged He next proceeded to give some Union officers what I have no doubt was a truthful reprimand:

"I have been most deeply pained at some things which have come under my observation. We get men in command who, under the influence of flattery, fawning, and caressing, grant protection to the rich traitor, while the poor Union man stands out in the cold, often unable to get a receipt or a voucher for his losses. The traitor can get lucrative contracts, while the loyal man is pushed aside, unable to obtain a recognition."

Then the President had on a holy glow of indignation at such outrages as these, and most properly; he spoke as became a man of feeling. It was an outrage; it is an outrage. Has it been changed? Go to the mountain gorges of Tennessee, and see the fresh-made tracks of the fleeing fugitives, the Union men, from the fury of their pursuers, the traitors. Who hunts the pursuers? No one. I therefore reiterate this same complaint on behalf of the fleeing fugitives who loved their flag better than their State, who are now finding homes at the sources of the rivers and in the gorges of the mountains. Far distant are they; but I stand here on their behalf to maintain the fulfillment of this promise. It is due to the dignity of this nation; our dignity demands it, and the people will have it.

I am now through with the particular speech from which I have been reading, but a little later, on the 24th of October, 1864, the present President's gushing heart gave forth other utterances. He was called upon by a few returning braves who represented a regiment which had been thrice recruited, because it had been thrice decimated in battle, a regiment of colored soldiers, and he addressed them thus:

"Negro equality, indeed,' cried he; why., pass any day along the sidewalk of High street, where these aristocrats more particularly dwell-these aristocrats whose sons are now in the bands of guerrillas and cutthroats who prowl and rob and murder around our city-pass by these dwellings, I say, and you will see as many mulatto as negro children, the former bearingan unmistakable resemblance to their aristocratic owners. Colored men of Tennessee, this, too, shall


He changed the entire color of the African race in Tennessee from that day, by order. [Laughter.]

[ocr errors]

"Your wives and daughters shall no longer be dragged into a concubinage, compared to which polygamy is a virtue, to satisfy the brutal lust of slaveholders and overseers. Thenceforth the sanctity of God's holy law of marriage shall be respected in your persons, and the great State of Tennessee shall no more give her sanction to your degradation and your shame.


And having, in language which you all remember, promised to be their Moses, he added: "I speak now as one who feels the world his country and all who love equal rights his friends.

What a pinnacle of exaltation that must be! I almost envy him who stands on it. Standing on it he would be expected to speak words of encouragement to these men:

"I speak, too, as a citizen of Tennessee. I am here on my own soil; and here I mean to stay and fight this battle of truth and justice to a triumphant end. Rebellion and slavery shall, by God's good help, no longer pollute our State. Loyal men, whether white or black, shall alone control her destinies; and when this strife in which we are all engaged is past, I trust, I know, we shall have a better state of things, and shall all rejoice that honest labor reaps the fruit of its own industry, and that every man has a fair chance in the race of life."

Sir, I often envy men when they seem to speak from this high exaltation. I have some

times tried to reach it; but my wings are too feeble. The sentiments, however, that drop from such an exalted position make a deep lodgment in my heart. These utterances gave to a nation, white and black, needed words of encouragement; and the downtrodden slave breathed freer and deeper as these utterances were echoed to him. Congress, full of this inspiration-my distinguished friend from Illinois [Mr. TRUMBULL] first catching it-passed a bill to establish a Freedmen's Bureau to give power to carry out and perfect the essence of this exalted sentiment. The President, I need not say, refused to sign it. My distinguished friend from Wisconsin came panting in here one day in a hurry to say that if he had been present on the question of the passage of that bill he would have voted for it. I mourned over his disappointment that he could not have recorded his vote for so holy and righteous a measure. The distinguished Senator from Connecticut [Mr. DIXON] shared in the early glory of having voted for it. That little parchment came back; and where then were the regrets of my distinguished friend from Wisconsin? His disappointment had fled. Where then was the gushing sympathy with this immortal senti ment uttered by the distinguished Senator from Connecticut? When that dread question came, Shall this bill become a law notwithstanding the objection of the President? up went Wisconsin, or half of it, half of Connecticut, half of Pennsylvania

Several SENATORS. The whole of it.

Mr. NYE. Well, one is always one way any how. My friend BUCKALEW is always wrong, or right, as may be the case. From that fearful flight, I am sorry to say, these gentlemen have never returned as they appeared when they left; they are changed men; they do not fraternize with those whom they used to fraternize with, but have made their beds constantly with new companions. How dare the Senator from Wisconsin and the conscientious Senator from Connecticut go back to these holy sayings of their President? What excuse can they give? The principal excuse was, I believe, the cost of the measure. Who ever expected that four million people who for centuries had bowed their necks to degradation could be lifted up to the platform of human equality and not have it cost something? Sir, whenever the time comes when I weigh a benefit to my fellow-man against dollars and cents I shall probably vote as they did. It will not do. The Freedmen's Bureau bill was killed, and it was killed in the house of its friends. I shall have no ghosts haunting me; I voted for it first and last, and my vote was prompted by the best feelings of my heart. Cost something! Sir, the unrequited toil of the slaves, the sweat from their brows had made rich the men that now bear their pardons in their pockets for their infamy, and rejoice that the Freedmen's Bureau

bill was killed.

That awoke the first shouts of the dormant Democracy. "Hurrah for Johnson!" said the Democrats. It even evoked a gushing speech from my friend from Delaware, who had lived through Buchanan's administration. Both the Senators from Kentucky, the Senator from Delaware, the Senator from Connecticut, and the Senator from Wisconsin were holding sweet communion over the defeat of this bill, which was founded, I repeat, on the best impulses of the human heart.

But, sir, that is not all. This bill originated upon the hypothesis that the old law of last year establishing the bureau originally was dead. Here, however, the President exhibited a very unusual power. I am glad to see that he possesses it. He convinced the world that if he could destroy, he could create. While one bill was crucified and killed, he resurrected another; so that the opinion and judgment of Congress was indorsed, that measure having originated here. If it had been my case, should have said to Congress, as the old bill is in operation I return this to you as not being necessary.

There came the first line of marked devia


tion. Then came the civil rights bill, crowding
upon the heels of the other. Indeed they were
born together, twins in birth, mutual in opera-
tion, one being the aid and helper of the other.
The civil rights bill did what the distinguished
Senator from Maryland [Mr. JOHNSON] declared
it was almost unnecessary to do, because it fol-
lowed as a sequence when slavery was abol-
ished; but that bill clothed this downtrodden
people with the superb and indescribable
ment of American citizen. Sir, who has not
felt proud that his vesture was the citizenship
of the United States of America? To us who
inherit it how rich and how precious! To those
who have it by the power and force of our
arms how inestimable! If I had an angel's
tongue I could not describe the ecstacy with
which they receive it. If I had the wisdom of
my friend on my left [Mr. SUMNER] and the
tongue of Cicero I should be unable to de-
scribe the indescribable emotions of the tran-
sition from slavery to citizenship.

That bill, too, did not find favor at the other end of the avenue. That was misfortune number two. If it were proper for me, I would stop right here and do what would be irregular, pay a passing compliment to the firmness with which that occasion was met. Were I not a member of this body I should do so. As it is, I will simply say that over and above the President's objection the civil rights bill was carried, and there never had been such rejoicings in this nation since the morning stars shouted for joy. It was the resurrection and the life to four million people. It was a noble, manly vindication of the integrity and fixed purpose of this nation. It spoke freedom, not only to the millions here, but to the downtrodden and oppressed abroad. That bill is a law, and, thanks to Almighty God, there is no power now to recall it. It will stand an everlasting monument to the integrity of Congress. When the historian shall write the proudest victory of this war, the manly bearing and perseverance and determination of Congress in passing the civil rights bill will share the most prominent page. I hailed it then as an announcement to the world of the fixed purpose of the American Congress.

For that act the distinguished Senator from Kentucky [Mr. DAVIS] made those utterances which were suppressed in the Globe, in which he said that if he were President he would have this Congress out and another in. Sir, this Congress will not go out until it goes out by the limitation of the term of its existence, and then in every case probably, save my own, those who have been true and faithful will receive from a grateful constituency the indorsement, "Well done, good and faithful


Now, sir, I have examined the Baltimore platform in view of the exposition made of it by the President himself; I have examined the passage of these two bills to see whether he was keeping on that track. I remarked yesterday, and I repeat, that I have said nothing harsh of the President of the United States, but there is something wrong, and I am looking for it. I think I find it in his Washington's birthday speech. It is proper for me to say that during these struggles, when the earth was heaving under our feet, and when nothing but the roar of cannon, the rattle of the drum, and the flash of steel was seen and heard all around us, Congress in its wisdom saw fit to pass a law prescribing an oath to guard against the return of red-handed rebels. It is known as the test oath. My friend from Wisconsin labored hard to show that the policy of the present President was the policy of his predecessor. Sir, Mr. Lincoln heartily approved of that oath; he signed the bill prescribing it; and I take it my friend from Wisconsin voted for it, as he does for most of the measures passed here, or as he did at that time. Now, in this birthday speech I see a birth of something strange. Let me quote a little from it. (Sutton & Murphy's Reporter, No. 15, page 16.)

I repeat, I am for the Union."

That is good.

"I am for preserving all the States."
So am I.

"I am for admitting into the councils of the nation all the representatives who are unmistakably and unquestionably loyal."

So am I.

"A man who acknowledges allegiance to the Government and swears to support the Constitution must necessarily be loyal."

There is the mistake. As a proposition, I deny it. Breckinridge took that oath while perjury black as hell was smoldering in his heart. The president of your late confederacy had taken the same oath over and over again. Wigfall had taken it. Were they loyal? Sir, I deny the proposition that swearing makes a man loyal. If I could reconstruct the South to-day upon an oath, I would call them up and marshal them altogether and tell them to hold up their right hand and swear. Why, sir, these rascals have not only sworn to support this Government, but another, and they have broken both oaths. Will you tell me now that swearing makes a man loyal? No. My friend from Pennsylvania yields that point, and when he yields it, everybody else ought. [Laughter.]

But that is not all. There is a little more cat under the meal here. I will read that again, for it is not true:

"The man who acknowledges allegiance to the Government, and who swears to support the Constitution, must necessarily be loyal."

That would have done years ago; but experience, that stern and unflinching teacher, has taught us a great deal lately. Why, sir, they have sworn four times, and yet oath piled upon oath will never make a traitor loyal. Treason to the moral man is what consumption is to the physical man; he never gets well of it. [Laughter.] It taints the whole moral man; it is a disease incurable; nothing but death can stop it.

That is, that an oath to support the Constitution is sufficient; and to require him to swear that he has not given aid or comfort to the rebellion is a mere amplification, which is of no use, and will not help the strength of the


But let me quote a little further:

"A mere amplification of the oath makes no differ- healed. And yet my distinguished friend from ence as to the principle."

Wisconsin says we must take them in! Sir, there is a little example before us on this subject. In olden time a copperhead was found stiffened with frost. A humane husbandman, like my distinguished friend from Wisconsin, put him in his bosom to warm him and thaw him out. What did the copperhead do? He stung him to death. After that example I do not propose that any of that breed shall find warming here. [Laughter.] My friend from Wisconsin, with his great gushing heart, wants to take such things in his bosom. Look out for your armpits. [Laughter.]

One thing more, sir, and I have done. I hope the Senate will pardon me for detaining them so long. I am alarmed at another doctrine that is broached by the distinguished Senators from Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and they are not alone in it. It has got so here that we cannot discuss even a sanitary bill but the doctrine of State rights is brought up. The cholera is obliged to pay its respects to State lines. My friend from Wisconsin said the other day he was the advocate of State rights. So was Davis; so was Breckinridge; so was all this host of rebels that fled. It was that infernal heresy, as illustrated and demonstrated by them, that lighted the torch of rebel· lion. State rights! Mr. Stephens believes in that doctrine yet, for he swears that he believes now that the States have the right of peaceful secession. State rights with proper limitations undoubtedly exist; but I protest against the latitudinarian construction given to that term by the Senator from Pennsylvania, and the Senator from Wisconsin, which would again light this country with the torch of rebellion.

"Whatever test is thought proper as evidence and as proof of loyalty is a mere matter of detail, about which I care nothing."

I do.


'But let a man be unmistakably and unquestionably loyal, let him acknowledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and be willing to support the Government in its hour of peril and its hour of need, and I am willing to trust him. [Applause.]"

and we are asked to let them up a little; some of them are not quite as bad as others. Sir, ever since the world began there have been two kinds of devils abroad, little devils and big ones, and the little devils have always been the most troublesome. [Laughter.]


"Applause." But who by? By that horde of anything but loyal men that surrounded him on that occasion. I will not call names, but I chanced to be here in the early days of this rebellion, and I saw men shouting on the 22d of February who were not suspected of loyalty at that time. Applause." What for? The test oath was to go. This mere amplification amounted to nothing! Let me inform the distinguished Senators from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that right there the gulf becomes as wide, as deep, and as impassable as that between the rich man and Abraham's bosom. Right there I stop. I never will vote to let one of these rebels back here, on a simple oath to support the Constitution, to seize the reins of power. Others may do as they please; but on the day of judgment, when I stand in judgment for the deeds done here, that sin shall not be placed to my account.

I want to know if the distinguished Senator from Wisconsin desires this test oath repealed. [Mr. DOOLITTLE shook his head.] Then I congratulate him that he and I agree on that point. But, sir, this thing does not stop here. A recommendation has been sent here from the Executive Mansion requesting the repeal or modification of this oath, upon the plea that the men whom they want to place in power are covered all over with the stench of infamy,

Now, Mr. President, we have had the Baltimore platform and the birthday speech. We have had the utterances of the President upon that platform; and I am going to assume, without any disparagement to my friend from Wisconsin, that the President knew as well what the Baltimore platform was as he did. Now, I want my friend from Wisconsin to tell this Senate and the country wherein the policy of the present Administration-if you call the President alone the Administration-agrees with Lincoln's. Lincoln was a firm adherent of this test oath. He saw in it the anchor of our safety. While that existed the ship, however much tossed at her moorings, would be safely anchored in the haven of quiet and repose and safety. Sir, take away that anchor, and you will see these vacant seats filled by the men who vacated them with the avowed purpose of tearing this Government and rending it in pieces.

Mr. President, I remarked yesterday that I thought there was no blame to be attributed to Congress for not having acted more speedily. The work of restoring this country is a great work. The labor imposed upon the shoulders of this Congress is Herculean. They are to build up where treason has torn down. They are to heal these wounds as best they can. The man who had in his employ a person who had enveloped his house and his children in flames by the torch, and would take him back into his employ the next day, would be considered a fit subject for a lunatic asylum. The same rule of prudence, caution, and care should prevail here. The wounds upon our institutions are everywhere seen. The blood yet oozes freely from wounds that never can be

Mr. COWAN. What other can you give that you are against, besides that of secession? Everybody is against that. What other one do you oppose?

Mr. NYE. I am against all of these pretended State rights that mar the harmony of the action of the Federal Government. What State right are you in favor of?

[ocr errors]

Mr. COWAN. All of them. Mr. NYE. Certainly; that is what I supposed, including secession and all others.

Mr. COWAN. No, sir. That is the fallacy of the gentleman's argument: that because secession is not a State right, and was not intended to be one, therefore all other State rights are to be ignored and forgotten.

Mr. NYE. I am not going to stop now to discuss in detail this doctrine of State rights, because I do not think it would be profitable. I do not know that I can exactly describe, and I do not know that the Senator can exactly, what he means by State rights. I speak of the interpretation that has torn this Government in fragments. They called it what we called it, State rights. They not only held the right of these States to secede, but they denied the right of the General Government to force them to remain in the Union. So held your great Pennsylvania leader, the then President, with whose friends you seem to be acting pretty much now. I hope my friend from Wisconsin will not get the nightmare, State rights, firmly seated on him. Why do you not talk about State wrongs? But a State can do no wrong; it is only the barrier that is seen in this General Government! I hope the Senator will not persist in this doctrine of State rights again. If he does, he will have to settle it with his own conscience and with an enlightened constituency.

freedom itself and its perpetuation, I demand caution in every step you take. Rush not madly on to any policy. See where your strength lies and follow that. See where the right lies, no matter whose policy it may be, and follow it, though the heavens fall.

Sir, I entertain no fears for the future of this country. It is written by the finger of Omnipotence Himself that this nation is to be the freest, noblest, happiest nation of the earth. Through whatever tribulations we may have to go I see through the mists and the fogs of the present its coming glory in the future. This continent is destined and dedicated as the abode of a happy and free people. If our sufferings have not yet been sufficient to bring us to the true consideration of what is demanded at our hands, it may be that we shall be called upon to wade through still deeper afflictions; but, sir, the spirit of this people will rise with the demand. It will carry on to perfection the great work commenced by our fathers here of making this the abode of the free and the home of the oppressed- of every race and clime. [Applause in the leries.]

But, Mr. President, "hurry" seems now to be the word. "My policy' is immediate. Three weeks ago I went over to Arlington heights. I counted there a great many graves, and they told me there were fourteen thousand dead soldiers reposing upon the heights of Arlington. Early in May, 1861, I stood upon those heights, and there was not a grave there. The inquiry naturally arose in my mind, why are so many here now? I found a quick and ready answer in a recurrence to the terrible revolution of the last four years. There lie mingled the remains of rebels and the remains of Union men. I noticed not unfrequently, as I passed along, the inscription "unknown" on the head-board of the Union soldier. Sir, in behalf of that unknown soldier, I require prudence at the hands of this Congress. There I got the inspiration, if I may use the expression, of extreme caution. I stand here the advocate of that unknown soldier; and in his name and by his memory I demand of the Congress of the United States that they shall tread cautiously in this great work of binding up the wounds of the country. In the name of all the dead, I demand it. In the name of mourning millions, I require at the hands of everybody who is engaged in this work to see to it that it is done in such a way as to render a recurrence of this terrible rebellion impossible. Stain not again the fair fields of this country with loyal blood; rear no more hecatombs of loyal bones; but stand here in this breach made by them, as the Romans stood, firm and determined that what you do shall be well done, and that it shall not require doing again. If all these recollections are not enough, in the name of the martyred Lincoln I demand prudence at the hands of the American Government. If that is not enough, I demand it in the name of the mangled living.

My friend from Wisconsin will pardon me, having great faith, as he says, in the final result, if I call his attention to another view. Sir, beyond the grave we shall meet an army of three hundred thousand dead, who will never again answer to roll-call on earth, but in the day of judgment they will be there. In their name and by their memory, by the immortal death they died and lives they lived, I demand. that Congress and every department of this Government shall tread cautiously in this great work of reconstruction. Sir, my mind is made up. Encounter whatever opposition it may, from whatever source, I will be prudent. By all the sacred recollections of the past, I demand caution. By all that is garnered up in the rich treasure-house of the future, I demand caution. In the name of liberty and

is true. As a mass they have been punished. Take the States and the people of the States that have been engaged in this rebellion-I speak of them as a mass-and they have already been punished sufficiently to satisfy a sense of justice when considered by any wise statesman or by any just-thinking man. That there may be individuals who have been most deeply engaged in this rebellion who still ought to be prosecuted and brought to trial and punished for their great crime, I do not doubt. For more than six months there has been pending in this body a bill to enable the courts, which alone can try these offenders, to obtain jurors which are necessary in order to have a jury at all.

I am sorry that the honorable Senator from Nevada has left the Chamber, for after putting to me so many pointed questions I desired to put some to him. I put this question to the Senator, and those who sympathize with him: how many do you wish to hang? Answer the question. Sir, the men who are continually denouncing the Executive for not prosgal-ecuting and hanging the leaders of this rebellion have never yet ventured to say, and they will not undertake to say, that this Government could or should or ought to go into a wholesale prosecution against those who have been engaged in the rebellion. A very few prosecutions would satisfy even those who are the most determined and bent upon the prosecution of those who have been engaged in the rebellion.

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. There must be order in the galleries, or they will be cleared. Mr. DOOLITTLE. Mr. President, I, too, like the honorable gentleman who has preceded me, have stood by the graves of the martyred thousands. I, too, have had pressed upon me all the solemn considerations which he so eloquently portrays. I have stood where the Senator has not stood; I have stood over the grave of my first-born son, who fell a sacrifice in this rebellion. I have been tried, not only by all the great considerations that can move the statesman, but I have been tried by the deepest emotions of the human heart. And standing over the grave of my best beloved, the pride of my life, I have raised my hand in the presence of Him who liveth and reigneth forever, and have sworn that I would never give over the struggle till the rebellion should be suppressed, the Union restored, and peace and prosperity returned once more to our country.

Sir, I made hundreds of speeches, not so able as that of the honorable Senator who has preceded me, but in the same vein, while we were in a state of war. I made them to nerve my countrymen to the conflict. I made them to fire their indignation. I made them to fill up the ranks of our Army, and rush our sons to the shock of battle. God Almighty! Does not the Senator know the difference between war and peace? We are not now in the midst of war. Peace has come upon this country, and the duties and responsibilities that rest upon us are those of peace, not of war. When we had the responsibilities of war upon us, and we were bound to nerve every arm and strain all our power to overcome a gigantic rebellion, there was no argument, no appeal, nothing that could be said to arouse the indignation and fire the heart of the country, that we did not say. But now when peace has come upon the country, shall we still go on with speeches to wage war? That is the question. I say that no principle of magnanimity demands or tolerates it; no principle of wise statesmanship will justify it; no spirit of Christianity can tolerate it for a moment. Sir, I, too, like the honorable Senator, expect to meet that train of martyred dead when we all go to our final account; and the question I expect to be called upon to answer at that dread reckoning, will be, "In what manner have you treated a fallen and vanquished foe when he had surrendered?" Shall I treat him still as a foeman? Shall I treat him still with a spirit of vengeance; or shall I treat him as a Christian, as a man? Sir, there is noth. ing in history, nothing in statesmanship, nothing in Christianity, which tolerates or justifies a spirit of unrelenting vengeance which would still undertake to slaughter by wholesale those who have been engaged in rebellion.

But, sir, that the rebels should be punished

Is the Executive at fault for not entering upon the punishment of those men? How should he punish them? Should he order their execution without any trial? I am sorry the Senator has left his seat, but I wish to deal with him frankly. I wish him to answer that question. I ask those gentlemen who sympathize with what the Senator from Nevada has said, and denounce the President for not bring. ing these men to punishment, do you propose that he shall execute them, as Commander-inChief of the Army, without trial? Is there a man in this body who would undertake to say that? Is there one single man on the floor of this Senate who will say that the President of the United States ought to take Jefferson Davis, or any other person engaged in this rebellion, and order him to be shot or hanged without trial? There is not a man, with all this denunciation of the President, that dare stand up and say it.

Then the question arises, how are they to be tried? Some, perhaps, will say by a courtmartial or a military commission. The Supreme Court have decided that civilians not engaged in the Army cannot be tried by a military commission or court-martial. What, then, are you going to do about it? If the President, under these circumstances, should order a court-martial to try men who are not civilians, men who are not in the Army, and condemn them, and sentence them, and shoot or hang them, the President would be guilty of a high misdemeanor in the violation of the Constitution of the United States. How, then, are they to be tried? They must be tried in the tribunals of justice. They must be indicted; they must be brought before a court; they must be arraigned and tried as other men are tried for the commission of offenses. I see that my honorable friend from Nevada is now present, and I desire to put the question to him, how many would you try, and in what manner would you try them? By military commission or in court?

Mr. NYE. Do you want me to answer now? Mr. DOOLITTLE. I do.

Mr. NYE. If the Senator will give me a day or two to make up a list of the number that I would have hung, I will do it with pleasI cannot name them now. Mr. DOOLITTLE. I do not ask the gen


tleman to specify the names; how many, in round numbers?

Mr. NYE. I would hang enough to fulfill the assertion of the President that treason should be made odious.

Mr. DOOLITTLE. How many, in the opinion of the Senator, would be necessary? Mr. NYE. Five or six.

shall declare that when jurors are called, the fact that a juror has formed an opinion based upon public rumor, based upon newspaper reports, based upon the history of the times, shall not exclude him from the jury-box provided the judge is satisfied that notwithstanding that bias of opinion he can still try the case and find a true verdict according to the evidence. For six months that bill, introduced by myself, has been in this body with a view to try to avoid a very practical difficulty, so that some of these men could be brought to trial. Why, sir, let us take a practical case. Suppose this, instead of being the Senate of the United States, was a court, and your honor was the justice presiding, and we who are here present were all jurors summoned, and Jeff. Davis were here, and put upon his trial, and the men here were summoned one after another to the jury-box, and the counsel of Jeff. Davis should put the question to them, "Have you formed or expressed any opinion upon the guilt or innocence of the accused?" what would they answer? Is there an honest man who would not be obliged to say that from the history of the times, from newspaper reports, from his own information, he had formed an opinion? Suppose the Senator from Nevada were asked whether he had formed an opinion. He would be compelled to say he had. I see he is not now in his seat. Suppose the Senator from Michigan [Mr. HowARD] was called. He would be compelled, as an honest man, to say that from what he had heard about it he had formed an opinion that Jeff. Davis was guilty. What would the judge say under this ruling? "Stand aside, sir." You would go on from one Senator or juror to another until the whole panel was exhausted, and you could. not get a jury at all. There is no loyal man to be found that you could get upon a jury who had not formed or expressed an opinion. Sir, you could not get a jury at all.

Now, I ask the honorable Senator and those who stand with him, is it advisable for the President of the United States to put Jeff. Davis on his trial, when you are sure you cannot get a jury; when, if you put him to his trial he will be acquitted? Which is the best policy? I wish to have done with this eternal clamor and denunciation against the Executive for not bringing these men to trial. There is not, and there never was, and never can be conceived a charge so utterly groundless and without the shadow of a foundation as this charge brought against the Administration for not bringing these men to judgment.

That is one point in the honorable Senator's discourse of to-day to which I call attention. There is another point. He is denouncing the President for the exercise of the pardoning power. There are thousands and thousands of these men unpardoned. All the great leaders of the rebellion are still unpardoned-not merely the five or six whom the Senator would bring to judgment, but thousands upon thousands. They are to be found everywhere throughout the South. If he can conceive a mode in which to bring them to trial, if he can aid in bringing them to trial, he will perform a better service, perhaps, than in denouncing the Executive for not endeavoring to do what is both impossible and absurd for him to undertake to do in the present state of the case. The responsibility rests not upon the Executive; nor do I rest under the responsi-wing bility of this charge. I have done all that I could do to secure the enactment of a statute which alone will authorize any of these men to be put upon trial.

It is sometimes charged that the men who were engaged in the military service, the officers of the rebel army, General Lee and others, might have been tried by a court-martial and executed. Who does not know that the very terms of surrender on which the rebel soldiers laid down their arms provided expressly that if they went to their homes and kept the peace and obeyed the laws and the Constitution of the country, they should not be disturbed by the

Mr. DOOLITTLE. Very well; that answers one question. Now, I ask the honorable Senator, in what way would you try them; by a military commission, or court-martial, or would you try them in court?

Mr. NYE. I want to answer that question in two ways.


I should like to have a

direct answer.

Mr. NYE. I should not have kept them until this issue had arisen as to how we should try them. I would have hung them then. If I had had my way I would have hung Jeff. Davis, no matter how I tried him. When the two great armies, that of General Sherman and the army of the Potomac, were mustered out in this city, I would have had them formed in a hollow square and hung him there, and the world would have said amen. I suppose now we shall have to try him by law. Mr. DOOLITTLE. That is the answer of the Senator. I simply desired to get his opinion. His answer is, that he would have ordered Jeff. Davis to be executed without trial in the presence of the discharged soldiers of the grand Army of the United States. Mr. President, I undertake to say that such a proceeding as that on the part of the President of the United States would be held to be murder by all the enlightened judgment of the world.

But the Senator now goes further and says that inasmuch as he was not executed without trial, executed first and tried afterward, it has gone on so far now that he thinks the proper mode of trial is to try him in a court of justice according to law. We have advanced to that point in the argument. His opinion is, and we may understand, notwithstanding all this denunciation by the Senator of the President for not punishing these traitors, that he would now have five or six of the leading rebels of the country tried, and tried in court according to law. Sir, how will you do it? Can you try them in a court if the judge will not sit and hold it? Has not the President for months been urging upon one of the justices of the Supreme Court, within whose jurisdiction Jeff. Davis is, that he hold a court so that he can be tried; and has not the judge refused to hold the court upon the pretext that he desires the question to come before Congress, for its action in some shape, before he assumes to do it?

military authorities? Who does not know that when an attempt was made to indict General Lee, and the question was referred to General Grant for decision, who made the negotiation with him, that General Grant spurned the idea that under the stipulations of that treaty General Lee was to be disturbed as long as he obeyed the conditions of the stipulation? I say again, banish from this Senate, banish from every assemblage of honorable men this clamor, against the Administration for not trying and executing the men who have been engaged in this rebellion.

Mr. HOWARD. Mr. President

Mr. DOOLITTLE. If my honorable friend will allow me, as I am dealing with another very strong man, I do not wish to deal with two strong men at once.

Mr. HOWARD. I merely wish to correct the Senator on that point.

Mr. DOOLITTLE. I must decline to yield to the Senator. I am in the midst of an argument, and do not like to be drawn off.

Mr. HOWARD. I will reply hereafter. Mr. DOOLITTLE. Without a judge to hold a court, you cannot try one of these offenders. Not only a judge is necessary, but a jury is necessary; and here arises a practical difficulty, how can you obtain a jury? Sir, you know, everybody knows, that when you impanel a jury, by the decisions of very many of the courts, by the decisions of Chief Justice Marshall in the Burr trial, when you call a juror upon the stand, and the question is whether he can sit upon the jury or not, the question is raised whether he has formed any opinion based upon newspaper reports or information or history or rumor. If he has formed any opinion in the case he cannot sit on the jury. That is the ruling of several of the northern States, New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and others. Chief Justice Marshall, in the Burr trial, ruled in that same way. I believe those rulings are wrong; but at the same time they are the rulings of the courts upon that important question. How, then, can it be corrected? There is no way to correct it except by a law which

But the honorable Senator-I wish he were here says and repeats it, "Where is Clement C. Clay? Paroled; permitted to go to his home in Alabama." I could turn him to the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. WILSON] to answer where is Clement C. Clay, and why he was paroled. I have here the recently published letter of that Senator. I bring no charge against the Senator from Massachusetts for writing this letter which I am about to read, for he has become a convert to the new theory of reconstruction invented by the other Senator from Nevada, [Mr. STEWART,] to wit, that of universal amnesty.


Yes, sir, from this very Chamber, within a few feet of where stood the Senator who at the top of his voice asked "Where is Clement C. Clay," went forth the letter of appeal from the Senator from Massachusetts for his release: UNITED STATES SENATE CHAMBER, WASHINGTON, March 3, 1866.

SIR: Mrs. Clay, the wife of Clement C. Clay, is now in the city, and has requested ine to obtain permission for her husband to go to his home on parole. His father is said to be at the point of death, his mother recently deceased, and, if there be no objections or reasons unbeknown to me why the request of Mrs. Clay should be denied, I have no hesitation in recommending its favorable consideration, if only from motives of humanity, as I have no doubt Mr. Clay will be forthcoming when his presence is again required by the Government.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant.


There is an answer to the question. The chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs of this body, in the humanity of his nature, for which I do not reproach him, made this powerful appeal to the President of the United States that Clay should be released upon parole, and pledged, so far as he could pledge himself for the honor of Mr. Clay, that he would return whenever the exigencies or the demands of the Government required it. I say, then, away with this denunciation against the Executive because he has permitted this man, from humanity's sake, to go upon his parole to the State of Alabama.


Mr. President, there seems to be a strange division in the opposition to the Republican Administration arising here in Congress; and presume gentlemen will take no offense if I should classify this division that seems to spring up. First and foremost in Congress is that distinguished and veteran old leader, a Representative from Pennsylvania, who leads one branch of this distracted opposition now making war upon the Republican party. I refer to Hon. THADDEUS STEVENS. He is the leader and chieftain of what I will denominate the universal confiscation party. In this body stands the acknowledged leader of another

of the opposition to the Republican party in the person of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, [Mr. SUMNER,] which may be denominated the universal negro suffrage party. Then there is still another branch of this distracted opposition, of which I may say the honorable Senator from Nevada who has just taken his seat is the leader and chieftain-the hanging party. And last, but not least, comes that new party which, so far as I know, has yet obtained in this body but one recruit-the party which is led by the other Senator from Nevada, [Mr. STEWART]-the universal amnesty and universal suffrage party.

We see these parties distracted, arrayed

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »