« السابقةمتابعة »
Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, said: “Sir, in a State where everything was perfectly calm and quiet, where there had been no attempt since the commencement of this revolution to take sides with the States in revolt, military were sent on the day of the general election to every voting place in the two lower counties of that State except two. I state to the Senate and to the country what I know to be true, and what I can prove, that peaceable citizens were arrested on the day of the election, and incarcerated in the common jail of the county, at one place; that at another voting place, peaceable citizens, who were making no disturbance, doing nothing illegal or improper, were arrested and placed in confinement in a room; that at another place, peaceable citizens, before they arrived on the ground, before they had done or said anything on the election ground, were taken from their wagons and fastened up in a louse, and some of them deprived of their right to vote. I state another fact which can be proved: at another voting place, persons were intimidated from voting, and others were assaulted. At some voting places the inspectors of the election were compelled to take what they believed to be illegal votes; at other voting places, persons having a clear legal right to vote were prevented from voting by the military. “Now, sir, I do not say that the General Government desires this to be done. Gen. Wool left his headquarters, went to the town of Seaford, in my State, and stayed there until after the election. I believe, as far as Gen. Wool was concerned, and as far as the election was concerned at that place, there was very little wrong done—nothing further than what would be the natural effect of having soldiers at a poll, the natural intimidation which it occasioned. I will state also that where there were regular soldiers, under officers of character, there was not generally so much wrong done as at other places. But, sir, where Maryland home guards were stationed, outrages of a gross character were committed upon our citizens. I want to know—and that is the object of this resolution —what were the reasons for the sending of these men into the State of Delaware; what representations have been made to the General Government.” Mr. Bayard, of Delaware, said: “I hope the resolution will be adopted. I do not desire to debate it; but I desire the information. I think we are entitled to it. The Government of the United States having sent into the State of Delaware, under the command of a major-general of the army of the United States, some three thousand troops, on the day before the election, and distributed them throughout the State—a State which has at no time whatever, either by her position, her course of conduct, or the action of her people, offered any resistance to the authority of the United States—we have a right to know the reasons for such actions. It may be, and probably it will be
shown, that some of our own citizens, in the heat of political excitement and partisan resentment, have made improper, erroneous, and false statements to the Secretary of War. If that is so, we have a right to know it. We have a right to know who those recreant sons of Delaware are. The people of Delaware have a right to know who it was that thus attempted to cause civil strife and military rule to be established in the State.” Mr. Sumner, of Massachusetts: “I think it were better that the resolution should be passed over; and I therefore move that it lie upon the table.” Mr. Anthony, of Rhode Island, said: “Will the senator from Massachusetts withdraw that motion for a moment? I was going to suggest that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.” Mr. Sumner: “I have no objection to that.” Mr. Anthony: “I have no objection at all to the information asked for being obtained; I desire that it should be laid before the country; but I think the resolution is not expressed in such felicitous language as the senator from Delaware usually employs. It seems to charge all the matter that is to be inquired into upon the Secretary of War, and the particularity of the inquiries seems to imply that unless he is pinned down to the exact point, he is going to evade the inquiry. I do not think it is respectful or proper. I would prefer that a resolution should be offered inquiring generally into the matter; and if the Secretary should not reply fully, then we should know, what the resolution now seems to assume, that he does not mean to answer the inquiry 2” Mr. Saulsbury, in reply, said: “Mr. President, I offer this resolution asking information of the Secretary of War. The proposition now is to refer a resolution asking for information from the Secretary of War to the Committee on Military Affairs. Can the Committee on Military Affairs give the information? How can you refer a resolution of inquiry, directed to the Secretary of War, to the Committee on Military Affairs? It is not to be supposed that they are the persons who have sent soldiers into the State of Delaware. I would prefer, and I say so frankly to the Senate, if they think we ought not to be furnished with this information, that they meet the question fairly and vote the resolution down.” Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, followed, saying: “It seems to me that a part of the information sought for in this resolution is manifestly improper. It not only inquires of the Secretary of War whether he has done this thing, but it requires an inquisition as to who instituted these proceedings, who made the representations to the Secretary of War that induced him to take this official action, if he did take it. It is manifestly improper for us to go into any such inquiry as that. Does the senator desire to lay the basis here, or to furnish the testimony for any number of judicial investigations, for private prosecutions and personal collisions, in the State of Delaware? Does he not see (if I apprehend the state of public sentiment in Delaware) that such must be the case, if it be true that armed men were sent into the State of Delaware upon tho advice and recommendation of some of the citizens of Delaware? I am perfectly content to ask the Secretary of War whether or not ho did send men into the State of Delaware to attend the polls; but I am not going into any such private inquisition as is proposed by the resolution, and ask the Secretary to inform me upon whose instance it was done, whether upon the recommendation of this senator or that senator. If we establish a rule that we shall do this, and go on and inquire of each head of a department upon whose recommendation ho does this act and that act, we shall have no end to these inquiries."
Mr. Bayard, in reply, said: "We do not want to inquire into the fact of whether tho army was sent there and whether they were distributed at the polls—that is notorious; but we want the reasons which justify an act which certainly is an infraction of the rights of the people of Delaware, and an infraction which, carried out in other States—I am not speaking of what the design was, for I do not know what tho grounds were; I want to know—would enable any existing Administration to keep itself in power and control the' Government of this country just as long as it had the military force to do so. That would be the effect of submitting to such action. I want to know the grounds and the reasons, to see whether there was any justification for this action. It is not, as the honorable senator from Iowa supposes, with any desire for judicial inquiry against individuals there; nothing of the kind. It would not be evidence for the purpose of subjecting them to judicial inquiry."
• In tho House, on the 8th of January, the appropriation bill being under consideration, an amendment was offered to add to the clause "for compensation of thirty-three commissioners, at $3,000 each, and eleven clerks, at $1,200 each, $112,200," the following proviso:
Provided, A sufficient sum shall be collected in the insurrectionary States to pay said salaries: And prodidedfurthtr. That no greater sum shall at any time be paid to said commissioners, or to any of them, than shall have been collected from the taxes in the insurrectionary States, and paid into the Treasury of the United States.
The discussion which followed brought out an expression of views relative to the position of the seceded States under the Federal Government. Mr. Stevens, of Pennsylvania, in tho course of his remarks said: "I did say, fir, that I find no warrant in tho Constitution for the admission, under the Constitution, of West Virginia. I do not know whether the gentlcman from Kentucky voted for that bill or not."
Mr. Dunlap: "I will say to the gentleman from Pennsylvania that I voted against the bill, because I deemed it unconstitutional."
Mr. Stevens: "Then the gentleman voted against it upon the same opinion I expressed, that it was unconstitutional. But I went farther, and voted for it because I did not believe that the Constitution embraced a State now in arms against the Government of this Union, and I hold that doctrine now. It was not said upon the spur of the occasion. It is a deliberate opinion, formed upon a carcfuj examination of the law of the United States and the laws of nations.
"Though it may be out of place just now, I will give one or two reasons for my opinion. The establishment of our blockade admitted the Southern States, tho Confederates, to be a belligerent power. Foreign nations have all admitted them as a belligerent power. Whenever that came to bo admitted by us and by foreign nations, it placed the rebellious States precisely in the position of an alien enemy with regard to duties and obligations. Now, I think there is nothing more plainly written in the law of nations than that whenever a war, which is admitted to be a national war, springs up between nation and nation, ally and ally, confederato and confederate, every obligation which previously existed between them, whether treaty, compact, contract, or any thing else, is wholly abrogated, and from that moment the belligerents act toward each other, not according to any municipal obligations, not according to any compacts or treaties, but simply according to the laws of war. And I hold and maintain that with regard to all the Southern States in rebellion, the Constitution has no binding influence and no application."
Mr. Dunlap: "Are not those seceded States still members of this Union, and under the laws sf the Government?"
Mr. Stevens: "In my opinion they are not."
Mr. Dunlnp: "Then I would ask the further question, did the ordinances of secession take them out of the Union?"
Mr. Stevens: "The ordinances of secession. backed by the armed power which made them a belligerent nation, did take them, so far as present operations are concerned, from under the laws of the nation."
Mr. Dunlnp: "Are they then members of the Union?"
Mr. Stevens: "They are not, in my judgment."
Mr. Dunlap: "And the ordinances of secession took them out?"
Mr. Stevens: "I have my own views of this subject, and if erroneous the gentleman will not act upon them."
Mr. Dunlap: "Then if these States are not within the Union, how, as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, do you propose to pass an appropriation to pay officers to collect revenue in States which do not belong to the Union?"
Mr. Stevens: "I propose to levy that tax and collect it as a war measure. I would levv a tax wherever I can upon these conquered provinces, just as all nations levy them upon provinces and nations they conquer. If my views and principles are right, I would not only collect that tax, but I would, as a necessary war measure, take every particle of property, real and personal, life estate and reversion, of every disloyal man, and sell it for the benefit of the nation in carrying on this war. We have such power, and we are to treat them simply as provinces to be conquered, and as a nation fighting in hostility against us until we do conquer them. I can arrive at no other conclusion. To mo it is a great absurdity to say that men, by millions, in arms, shall claim the protection of the provisions of the Constitution and laws made for loyal men, while they do not obey one of those laws, but repudiate their binding effect. There never was a principle more clear than that every obligation, whether in a national or civil point of view, in order to bo binding, must be reciprocal; and that the moment the duty ceases upon the one part, the obligation ceases upon the other; and that, in my judgment, is precisely the condition of the rebel States now."
Mr. Yeaman: "I am so much astonished at the doctrine I am now hearing, and I feel so much interest in this thing, not only as a question of constitutional law, but in view of the influence which these announcements may have upon this controversy, that I hope the gentleman will allow me to ask another question."
Mr. Stevens: "Certainly."
Mr. Yeaman: "Does the gentleman hold, or does he not, that the ordinance of secession passed in South Carolina was legal under the Constitution of the United States?"
Mr. Stevens: "I hold that it was an act of treason and rebellion."
Mr. Yeaman: "I would ask further whether the backing up of these ordinances of secession bv armed force imparts to them any validity?"
Mr. Stevens: "I hold that so long as they remain in force against us as a belligerent power, and until they are conquered, it is in fact an existing operation. I will not say any thing about its legality. I hold that it is an existing fact, and that so far from enforcing any laws, you have not the power."
Mr. Yeaman: "What I want to know is whether these people are now citizens of the United States, or whether they are an independent nation; and if the latter, I want to know where we derive our right or authority to wage war against them, and to tax them to support that war, all of which 1 am in favor of."
Mr. Stevens: "I hold that the Constitution, in the first place, so far operated that when they went into secession and armed rebellion, they committed treason; and that when they so combined themselves as to make themselves admitted as belligerents—not merely as men in insurrection, but as belligerents—they did ac
quire the right to be treated as prisoners of war, and all the other rights which pertain to belligerents under the laws of nations."
Mr. Mallory: "Will the gentleman yield to mo for a moment?"
Mr. Stevens: "Certainly, sir."
Mr. Mallory: "I would inquire of the gentleman from Pennsylvania with what propriety he can speak of these men at the South who are engaged in this armed resistance to the United States as rebels, or as disloyal men, when he distinctly stated just now that he thought that the duty of obedience and the duty of protection were reciprocal, and that when protection is not afforded by the Government, the citizen is not bound in allegiance to that Government? Does not his doctrino release these men from all obligation to the Government of the United States, which is not protecting them from the confederate government; and has he therefore a right to punish them by the confiscation of their property, or by hanging them as traitors, for the acts which they have committed?"
Mr. Stevens: "All these crimes were committed before they becamo belligerents; before they had acquired the status of a belligerent power, and compelled us to treat them as belligerents—for instance, as prisoners of war."
Mr. Mallory: "I would ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania if the Confiscation Act does not apply to those crimes which have been committed since the commencement of the armed resistance W'hieh, in his doctrine, converted them from traitors and rebels into public enemies. It cannot, therefore, refer to crimes, as the gentleman says, which were committed before this armed resistance was made, and our relations with the Southern States became the relations of one belligerent nation to another."
Mr. Stevens: "I suppose that bill refers to a continuation of what was commenced before. My own notion is, sir, that we have a right to treat them as we would treat any other provinces that we might conquer. Now, sir, I do not know but what the President looks upon it in that light."
Mr. Maynard: "This discussion has become very interesting; and I would like to ask the gentleman whether he holds to the theory that this is a Government of the American people, or whether he holds that it is simply a compact between separate, independent, and sovereign States?"
Mr. Stevens: "Well, that is an abstract question. It has been well settled heretofore."
Mr. Maynard: "If he holds to the latter view, I can well conceive why he should hold every individual citizen in each particular State responsible for all the acts committed by the State authorities. If ho holds to the former hypothesis, I would ask him how any citizen can lose his rights under the Constitution, wherever he may be found, excepting by his own act, or by the regularly authorized act of tho Government through its different branches, legislative, executive, and judicial? I will ask the gentleman a further question, because this is a matter in which my constituents will feel great interest. The gentleman's remarks will go out to tho country as those of a representative of his party, the party which is now in power, and they will be repeated all over the country as those of a representative man, not expressing his own opinion only, but the opinions of a large party, tho opinions of the executive."
Mr. Stevens: "I speak for myself only."
Mr. Maynard: "Iam very glad to hear tho gentleman say that, for I am personally well aware he does speak for himself alone; but I know that it will not be so understood and so represented in certain portions of the country.
"I would ask the gentleman how it can happen that people situated as those in my own particular district are, for instance, who have resisted the action of the majority of the State and of the State Government from the beginning—have resisted it by arms and are now resisting it—how it happens that they can, by any possibility, have lost their rights under the Constitution, although they happen to be within the limits of one of the so-called seceded States?"
Mr. Stevens: "I hope I may be able now to finish the few remarks I proposed to make, because I wish to get through with this bill if I can. I have seen no act, either done by the executive or proposed by the Congress, which would take away any rights or sacrifice any interests of the loyal men in the rebellious States. I have seen, on the other hand, that they have been carefully protected from all tho consequences even of a war measure which was supposed to be necessary, and which did, in tho first instance, take some of their property. Thero has been great care taken to separate them from the original sin of thoso who went into tho rebellion, and to guard all their property.
"Now, sir, as I said before, I speak only for myself. These views of mine are not now for the first time put forth, and I am sorry that I have been provoked into the expression of them on this occasion, for I wanted to go on with the bill. But I do not see how the executive can view these questions any other way than I do. He appoints in places which we conquer military governors, and I was told yesterday that he had created a court in New Orleans. Now, if the Constitution still operates in those portions of the country, if it is not a question of military power, I want to know by what authority he does that. I see also that by tho proclamations of military governors he orders men to be elected to take their seats in this Congress. To be sure, ho has seen fit to direct what kind of men shall be elected, which, perhaps, was right enough, or we might have been overrun by secessionists. Only to-day, evidence has been presented of what purports to have been an election held in Accomac
county, or in some of the adjacent counties in Virginia. Will any of these gentlemen here who are such sticklers for ' the Constitution as it is, and the Union as it was,' tell me by what authority that election took place, unless it was by that military authority the existence of which I have been asserting? Why, I saw from some reports when that election was going on, that at one of the precincts they had to send a squadron of cavalry to protect the ballot box and those voting, and that the secessionists attacked them and drove them oft". Now, I ask again, under what part of the Constitution are these proceedings; and if they are not under the Constitution, how is it that the Conslitution is in full force in all these States? I would ask my friend from Tennessee (Mr. Maynard), under what clause of the Constitution does his excellent friend, Andrew Johnson, hold his office as Governor of Tennessee?"
Mr. Maynard: "I will answer the gentleman with a great deal of pleasure. Under that part of the Constitution which requires the United States Government—not the people of the United States, but the Government as a Government—to guarantee to the people of every State a republican form of government. Whenever the authorities of a State have abdicated, or have been driven away by usurpation or invasion, the United States Government must see that the machinery already there is vitalized and set to work."
Mr. Stevens: "I hold that the Governor of Virginia to-day is John Letcher, so far as the Constitution is concerned. No other man has ever been elected according to the provisions of the Constitution. I hold, too, that there is no necessity for the exercise of the provisions of the Constitution in order to effectuate these objects, for that these rebellious States arc all now under military law and military rule, and that this Government has a right to do all thoso things which are necessary to repress this rebellion, and to conquer these people, and then we shall come to the question of the Union afterward. I say that you cannot justify nine out of ten of the acts of the Government, or of our own acts here, if you consider the Constitution a valid and binding instrument with reference to those in arms in the rebellious States."
Mr. Olin: "The only theory that can justify the prosecution of this war is, that it is a war waged in obedience to the Constitution and the laws; that no law or ordinance of secession relieves any citizen from a single obligation that ho was under to tho country, nor from his allegiance to the General Government.
"Now, sir, if there be but a single man remaining loyal to the Constitution in any one of tho seceded States, he is entitled to all the rights, all the privileges, and all the immunities granted to any citizen in any loyal State. It is the duty of this Government to protect 6uch loyal citizen in the enjoyment of those rights, privileges, nnd immunities; and tlie performance of that duty alone justifies this war.
"Now, sir, look at the theory that is attempted to be defended by my learned friend from Pennsylvania. That he is learned in the law, his high reputation and his long and laborious life in that profession entitle him to be considered. Look at his theory. No member of this House pretends to deny that any act or ordinance of secession is void in law; and yet the gentleman from Pennsylvania finds that somehow or other tho ordinance of secession, though void and of no effect, did somehow take the State out. of the Union, and has relieved the General Government from all obligation even to protect, or to attempt to protect, the loyal citizens of that State in the enjoyment of their rights. Now, can there bo a plainer proposition than this, that if there be oue loyal citizen remaining in a rebel State, no man, no body of men, by any act, illegal and unconstitutional, can deprive such a citizen of his rights?
•'The duties of obedience and protection are reciprocal; and no just and humane Government, where it cannot give such protection, will punish disloyalty. The first duty of the Government is to protect its citizens; and tho next duty of the Government is to punish those who violate its laws. Sir, I have no patience with the doctrine announced by tho gentleman from Pennsylvania; I hold it in utter abhorrence. I think it equally unsound and mischievous as that of the so-called right of secession.
"The gentleman speaks of tho appointment of these military governors over the conquered States, as ha calls them." Did anybody ever protend that we had the authority of the Constitution for that? It is only to be justified as i military necessity. It is only to be justified by the usaga of war. It is tho exercise of authority by the commanding general. If a judge or a police magistrate be appointed, it is only in pursuance of the power of the commander-in-chief of the army. Constitutional questions have nothing more to do with the appointment of those judicial officers than they have with tho appointment of his aids. Ho had undoubtedly a right, where military and where judicial authority was to be exercised, to delegate a judge, or to delegate a major-general for the exercise of that power. That delegation of authority is to bo justified alone by the usage of war. The power to appoint a military governor over one of the States of the Union, or a person to discharge temporarily the functions of a magistrate, or a police officer, by the President, has its origin in necessity, and is alone justified by it. Of that necessity the President is alone the judge, as tho commander-in-chief of the army. Congresscan neither exercise the power nor judge of the necessity of its exercise."
Mr. Thomas, of Massachusetts: "Mr. Chairman, I beg to call the attention of the House back to the precise matter before us. It is a
provision for the appropriation of money for a definite and specific purpose; and that purpose is to enforce the collection of a direct tax assessed by this House in conformity to a provision of the Constitution of the United States (article one, section two, clause four); a tax which could only have been assessed in exact conformity to that provision. The object of this provision in tho appropriation bill, and of the law of the last session, was to enforce, in the disaffected States, the collection of that tax. Upon what ground, Mr. Chairman? Upon this ground, that the authority of this Government at this time is as valid over those States as it was-before the acts of secession wero passed; upon the ground that every act of secession passed by those States is utterly null and void; upon the ground that ail net legally null and void cannot ncquiro force because armed rebellion is behind it seeking to uphold it; upon the ground that the Constitution makes us not a mere confederacy, but a nation; upon tho ground that the provisions of that Constitution strike through the State Government and reach directly, not intermediately, the subjects. Subjects of whom? Of the nation; of the United States. If this be so, Mr. Chairman, if these acts of secession be void, what is our position to-day? Gentlemen say that there is a belligerent power exercising authority against us. That is, you say that rebellion is attempting revolution. Very well. Who ever heard, as a matter of public law, that the authority of a Government over its rebellious subjects was lost until that revolution was successful—was a fact accomplished?
"My position, then, Mr. Chairman, is that we may appropriate this money, that we may enforce the collection ,of this tax, because today, as always heretofore, the authority of the National Government binds and covers every inch of the territory of the national domain; because that law which we call the Constitution is, to-day, the supreme law of the land. If the position taken by the learned gentleman from Pennsylvania be true, that we are every day passing unconstitutional acts, we are every day violating our oaths recorded in heaven to support the Constitution of the United States. I hold, therefore, Mr. Chairman, that it is our duty to compel the collection of this tax just as if the ordinance of secession had not been passed. But I beg leave to say that however wo may differ as to the extent of powers which the Constitution gives us (and they are ample for all good ends), when we deliberately pass from fidelity to this Constitution to enact law in violation of its sacred provisions, we are ourselves inaugurating revolution. It is fire against fire, and God have mercy on the country.
"I have only a word or two more to say, Mr. Chairman. In all events, at whatever cost or peril of treasure or of life, we must cling to tho national unity; and for this end wo must cling to the only possible bond of unity—the Constitution. Mr. Chairman, I have listened quietly,