« ForrigeFortsett »
Your committee have been unable to find, in fore, that the people of a State where the conthe evidence submitted to Congress by the Presi- stitution has been thus amended might feelthemdent, under date of March 6, 1866, in compliance selves justified in repudiating altogetlier all such with the resolutions of January 5 and February unauthorized assumptions of power, and might 27, 1866, any satisfactory proof that either of be expected to do so at pleasure. the insurrectionary States, except, perhaps, the So far as the disposition of the people of the State of Tennessee, has placed itself in a condi- insurrectionary States, and the probability of tion to resume its political relations to the their adopting measures conforming to the Union. The first step towards that end would changed condition of affairs, can be inferred pecessarily be the establishment of a republican from the papers submitted by the President as form of government by the people. It has been the basis of his action, the prospects are far from before remarked that the provisional governors, encouraging. It appears quite clear that the appointed by the President in the exercise of his anti-slavery amendments, both to the State and military authority, could do nothing by virtue Federal Constitutions, were adopted with relucof the power thus conferred towards the estab- tance by the bodies which did adopt them, while lishment of a State government. They were in some states they have been either passed by acting under the War Department and paid out in silence or rejected. The language of all tne of its funds. They were simply bridging over provisions and ordinances of these states on the the cha'm between rebellion and restoration. subject amounts to nothing more than an unAnd yet we find them calling conventions and willing admission of an unwelcome truth. As conrening legislatures. Not only this, but we to the ordinance of secession, it is, in some cases, find the conventions and legislatures thus con- declared “ null and void," and in others simply vened acting under executive direction as to the "repealed ;” and in no instance is a refutation provisions required to be adopted in their con of this deadly heresy considered worthy of a stitutions and ordinances as conditions precedent place in the new constitution. to their recognition by the President. The in If, as the President assumes, these insurreadacement held out by the President for com- tionary States were, at the close of the war, pliance with the conditions imposed was, directly wholly without State governments, it would seem ia one instance, and presumably, therefore, in that, before being admitted to participation in others, the immediate admission of Senators and the direction of public affairs, such governments Representatives to Congress. The character of should be regularly, organized. Long usage the conventions and legislatures thus assembled has established, and numerous statutes have was not such as to inspire confidence in the good pointed out, the mode in which this should be faith of their mernbers. Governor Perry, of done. A convention to frame a form of governSouth Carolina, dissolved the convention assem- ment should be assembled under competent aubled in that State before the suggestion had thority. Ordinarily, this authority emanates reached Columbia from Washington that the from Congress; but, under the peculiar circumrebel war debt should be repudiated, and gave stances, your committee is not disposed to critias his reason that it was a "revolutionary body." |cise the President's action in assuming the power There is no evidence of the loyalty or disloyalty exercised by him in this regard. The convention, of the members of those conventions and legis- when assembled, should frame a constitution of latures except the fact of pardons being asked government, which should be submitted to the for on their account. Some of these States now people for adoption. If adopted, a legislature claiming representation refused to adopt the should be convened to pass the laws necessary conditions imposed. No reliable information is to carry it into effect. When a State thus orfound in these papers as to the constitutional ganized claims representation in Congress, the provisions of several of these States, while in election of representatives should be provided not one of them is there the slightest evidence for by law, in accordance with the laws of Conto show that these "amended constitutions," as gress regulating representation, and the proof they are called, have ever been submitted to the that the action taken has been in conformity to people for their adoption. In North Carolina law should be submitted to Congress. alone an ordinance was passed to that effect, but In no case have these essential preliminary it does not appear to have been acted on. Not one steps been taken. The conventions assembled of them, therefore, has been ratified. Whether, seem to have assumed that the constitutions with President Johnson, we adopt the theory which had been repudiated and overthrown were that the old constitutions were abrogated and still in existence, and operative to constitute destroyed, and the people “ deprived of all civil the States members of the Union, and to have government,” or whether we adopt the alterna- contented themselves with such amendments as tive doctrine that they were only suspended and they were informed were requisite in order to were revived by the suppression of the rebel- insure their return to an immediate participation lion, the new provisions must be considered as in the Government of the United States. Not equally destitute of validity before adoption by waiting to ascertain whether the people they the people. If the conventions were called for the represented would adopt even the proposed sole purpose of putting the State governmentinto amendments
, they at once ordered elections of operation, they had no power either to adopt a representatives to Congress, in nearly all innew constitution or to amend an old one with stances before an executive had been chosen to out the consent of the people. Nor could either issue writs of election under the State laws, and a convention or a legislature change the funda- such elections as were held were ordered by the mental law without power previously conferred. conventions. In one instance, at least, the writs In the view of your committee, it follows, there of election were signed by the provisional gov
ernor. Glaring irregularities and unwarranted | ticipating at once in that Government which assumptions of power are manifest in several they had for four years been fighting to overcases, particularly in South Carolina, where the throw. Allowed and encouraged by the Execuconvention, although disbanded by the pro- tive to organize State governments, they at onca visional governor on the ground that it was a placed in power leading rebels, unrepentant and revolutionary body, assumed to redistrict the unpardoned, excluding with contempt those who State.
had manifested an attachment to the Union, and It is quite evident from all these facts, and preferring, in many instances, those who had indeed from the whole mass of testimony sub- rendered themselves the most obnoxious. In mitted by the President to the Senate, that in the face of the law requiring an oath which no instance was regard paid to any other con- would necessarily exclude all such men from sideration than obtaining immediate admission federal offices, they elect, with very few excepto Congress, under the barren form of an election tions, as Senators and Representatives in Conin which no precautions were taken to secure gress men who had actively participated in the regularity of proceedings or the assent of the rebellion, insultingly denouncing the law as urpeople. No constitution has been legally adopted constitutional. It is only necessary to instance except, perhaps, in the State of Tennessee, and the election to the Senate of the late vice presisuch elections as have been held were without dent of the Confederacy, a man who, against his authority of law. Your committee are accord- own declared convictions, had lent all the weight
gly forced to the conclusion that the States of his acknowledged ability and of his influence referred to have not placed themselves in a con as a most prominent public man to the cause of dition to claim representation in Congress, unless the rebellion, and who, unpardoned rebel as be all the rules which have, since the foundation is, with that oath staring him in the face, had of the Government, been deemed essential in the assurance to lay his credentials on the table such cases should be disregarded.
of the Senate. Other rebels of scarcely less note It would undoubtedly be competent for Con- or notoriety were selected from other quarters. gress to waive all formalities and to admit these Professing no repentance, glorying apparently Confederate States to representation at once, in the crime they had committed, avowing still, trusting that time and experience would set all as the uncontradicted testimony of Mr. Stephens things right. Whether it would be advisable to and many others proves, an adherence to the do so, however, must depend upon other con- pernicious doctrine of secession, and declaring siderations of which it remains to treat. But it that they yielded only to necessity, they insist, may well be observed, that the inducements to with unanimous voice, upon their rights as States, such a step should be of the very highest char- and proclaim that they will submit to no conacter. It seems to your committee not unreason- ditions whatever as preliminary to their reable to require satisfactory evidence that the sumption of power under that Constitution which ordinances and constitutional provisions which they still claim the right to repudiate. the President deemed essential in the first in Éxamining the evidence taken by your comstance will be permanently adhered to by the mittee still further, in connection with facts too people of the States seeking restoration, after notorious to be disputed, it appears that the being admitted to full participation in the southern press, with few exceptions, and those government, and will not be repudiated when mostly of newspapers recently established by that object shall have been accomplished. And northern men, abound with weekly and daily here the burden of proof rests upon the late abuse of the institutions and people of the loyal insurgents who are seeking restoration to the States; defends the men who led, and the princirights and privileges which they willingly aban- ples which incited, the rebellion; denounces and doned, and not upon the people of the United reviles southern men who adhered to the Union; States who have never undertaken, directly or and strives, constantly and unscrupulously, by indirectly, to deprive them thereof. It should every means in its power, to keep alive the fire appear affirmatively that they are prepared and of hate and discord between the sections; calling disposed in good faith to accept the results of upon the President to violaté his oath of office, the war, to abandon their hostility to the Gov- overturn the Government by force of arms, and ernment, and to live in peace and amity with drive the representatives of the people from their the people of the loyal States, extending to all seats in Congress. The national banner is classes of citizens equal rights and privileges, openly, insulted, and the national airs scoffed at, and conforming to the republican idea of liberty not only by an ignorant populace, but at public and equality. They should exhibit in their acts meetings, and once, among other notable insomething more than an unwilling submission stances, at a dinner given honor of a notorious to an unavoidable necessity—a feeling, if not rebel who had violated his oath and abandoned cheerful, certainly not offensive and defiant. his flag. The same individual is elected to an And they should evince an entire repudiation important office in the leading city of his State, of all hostility to the General Government, by although an unpardoned rebel, and so offensive an acceptance of such just and reasonable con- | that the President refuses to allow him to enter ditions as that Government should think the upon his official duties. In another State the public safety demands. Has this been done ? leading general of the rebel armies is openly Let us look at the facts shown by the evidence nominated for governor by the speaker of the taken by the committee.
house of delegates, and the nomination is hailed Hardly is the war closed before the people of by the people with shouts of satisfaction, and these insurrectionary States come forward and openly indorsed by the press. haughtily claim, as a right, the privilege of par Looking still further at the evidence taken
by your committee, it is found to be clearly | cisive. While it appears that nearly all are shown, by witnesses of the highest character, willing to submit, at least for the time being to and having the best means of observation, that the federal authority, it is equally clear that the the Freedmen's Bureau, instituted for the relief ruling motive is a desire to obtain the advantaand protection of freedmen and refugees, is ges which will be derived from a representation almost universally opposed by the mass of the in Congress. Officers of the Union army on population, and exists in an efficient condition duty, and northern men who go South to enonly under military protection, while the Union gage in business, are generally detested and promen of the South are earnest in its defence, scribed. Southern men who adhered to the declaring with one voice that without its pro- Union-are bitterly hated and relentlessly persetection the colored people would not be permit- cuted. In some localities prosecutions havo ted to labor at fair prices, and could hardly live been instituted in State courts against Union in safety. They also testify that without the officers for acts done in the line of official duty, protection of United States troops Union men, and similar prosecutions are threatened elsewhether of northern or southern origin, would where as soon as the United States troops are be obliged to abandon their homes. The feeling removed. All such demonstrations show a state in many portions of the country towards the of feeling against which it is unmistakably ngemancipated slaves, especially among the uned- cessary to guard. ncated and ignorant, is one of vindictive and The testimony is conclusive that after the colmalicious hatred. This deep-seated prejudice lapse of the Confederacy the feeling of the people against color is assiduously cultivated by the of the rebellious States was that of abject subpublic journals, and leads to acts of cruelty, mission. Having appealed to the tribunal of oppression, and murder, which the local author- arms, they had no hope except that by the ities are at no pains to prevent or punish. There magnanimity of their conquerors their lives, and is no general disposition to place the colored possibịy their property, might be preserved. race, constituting at least two fifths of the popu- Unfortunately, the general issue of pardons to lation, upon terms even of civil equality. While persons who had been prominent in the rebelmany instances may be found where large lion, and the feeling of kindness and conciliation planters and men of the better class accept the manifested by the Executive, and very genesituation, and honestly strive to bring about a rally indicated through the northern press, bad better order of things, by employing the freed the effect to render whole communities forgetful men at fair wages and treating them kindly, of the crime they had committed, defiant towards the general feeling and disposition among all the Federal Government, and regardless of their classes are yet totally averse to the toleration duties as citizens. The conciliatory measures of of any class of people friendly to the Union, the Government do not seem to have been met be they white or black; and this aversion is even half way. The bitterness and defiance exnot unfrequently manifested in an insulting and hibited toward the United States under such cirofiensiye manner.
cumstances is without a parallel in the history The witnesses examined as to the willingness of the world. In return for our leniency we of the people of the South to contribute, under receive only an insulting denial of our authorexisting laws, to the payment of the national ity. In return for our kind desire for the redebt, prove that the taxes levied by the United sumption of fraternal relations we receive only States will be paid only on compulsion and an insolent assumption of rights and privileges with great reluctance, while there prevails, to a long since forfeited. The crime we have punconsiderable extent, an expectation that com- ished is paraded as a virtue, and the principles pensation will be made for slaves emancipated of republican government which we have vindiand property destroyed during the war. The cated at so terrible cost are denounced as unjust testimony on this point comes from officers of and oppressive. the Union army, officers of the late rebel army, If we add to this evidence the fact that, at Union men of the Southern States, and avowed though peace has been declared by the Presisecessionists, almost all of whom state that, in dent, he has not, to this day, deemed it safe to their opinion, the people of the rebellious States restore the writ of habeas corpus, to relieve the would, if they should see a prospect of success, insurrectionary States of martial law, nor to repudiate the national debt.
withdraw the troops from many localities, and While there is scarcely any hope or desire that the commanding general deems an increase among leading men to renew the attempt at of the army, indispensable to the preservation secession at any future time, there is still, ac- of order and the protection of loyal and wellcording to a large number of witnesses, includ- disposed people in the South, the proof of a ing A. H. Stephens, who may be regarded as condition of feeling hostile to the Union and good authority on that point, a generally pre- dangerous to the Government throughout the vailing opinion which defends the legal right insurrectionary States would seem to be overof secession, and upholds the doctrine that the whelming. first allegiance of the people is due to the States, With such evidence before them, it is the and not to the United States. This belief evi- opinion of
your committee dently prevails among leading and prominent
I. That the States lately in rebellion were, men as well as among the masses everywhere, at the close of the war, disorganized communiexcept in some of the northern counties of Ala- ties, without civil government, and without conbama and the eastern counties of Tennessee. stitutions or other forms, by virtue of which
The evidence of an intense hostility to the political relations could legally exist between Federal Union, and an equally intense love of them and the Federal Government. the late Confederacy, nurtured by the war, is de II. That Congress cannot be expected to re
cognize as valid the election of representatives | tion of the same states into a confederacy, which from disorganized communities, which, from the levied and waged war, by sea and land, against very nature of the case, were unable to present the United States. This war continued more their claim to representation under those estab- than four years, within which period the rebel lished and recognized rules, the observance of armies besieged the national capital, invaded the which has been hitherto required.
loyal States, burned their towns and cities, robIII. That Congress would not be justified in bed their citizens, destroyed more than 250,000 admitting such communities to a participation loyal soldiers, and imposed an increased national in the government of the country without first burden of not less than $3,500,000,000, of which providing such constitutional or other guaran- seven or eight hundred millions have already tees as will tend to secure the civil rights of all been met and paid. From the time these concitizens of the Republic; a just equality of rep; federated States thus withdrew their representaresentation; protection against claims founded tion in Congress and levied war against the United in rebellion and crime; a temporary restoration States, the great mass.of their people became and of the right of saffrage to those who have not were insurgents, rebels, traitors, and all of them actively participated in the efforts to destroy assumed and occupied the political, legal, and the Union and overthrow the Government; and practical relation of enemies of the United States. the exclusion from positions of public trust of This position is established by acts of Congress at least a portion of those whose crimes have and judicial decisions, and is recognized repeatproved them to be enemies to the Union, and edly by the President in public proclamations, unworthy of public confidence.
documents, and speeches. Your committee will, perhaps, hardly be deemed Second. The States thus confederated prosecu. excusable for extending this report further; ted their war against the United States to final but inasmuch as immediate and unconditional arbitrament, and did not cease until all their representation of the States lately in rebellion armies were captured, their military power desis demanded as a matter of right, and delay, and troyed, their civil officers, State and confederate, even hesitation, is denounced as grossly oppres- taken prisoners or put to flight, every vestige of sive and unjust, as well as unwise and impolitic, State and confederate government obliterated, it may not be amiss again to call attention to a their territory overrun and occupied by the fedefew undisputed and notorious facts, and the ral armies, and their people reduced to the conprinciples of public law applicable thereto, in dition of enemies conquered in war, entitled only order that the propriety of that claim may be by public law to such rights, privileges, and confully considered and well understood.
ditions as might be vouchsafed by the conqueror. The State of Tennessee occupies a position This position is also established by judicial deci. distinct from all the other insurrectionary States, sions, and is recognized by the President in public and has been the subject of a separate report, proclamations, documents, and speeches. which your committee have not thought it expe Third. Having voluntarily deprived themdient to disturb. Whether Congress shall see selves of representation in Congress, for the fit to make that State the subject of separate criminal purpose of destroying the Federal Union, action, or to include it in the same category with and having reduced themselves, by the act of all others, so far as concerns the imposition levying war, to the condition of public enemies, of preliminary conditions, it is not within the they have no right to complain of temporary exprovince of this committee either to determine clusion from Congress ; but on the contrary, or advise.
having voluntarily renounced the right to repTo ascertain whether any of the so-called resentation, and disqualified themselves by crime Confederate States “are entitled to be repre- from participating in the Government, the burden sented in either House of Congress,” the essen now rests upon them, before claiming to be reintial inquiry is, whether there is, in any one of stated in their former condition, to show that them, à constituency qualified to be represented they are qualified to resume federal relations. in Congress. The question how far persons In order to do this, they must prove that they claiming seats in either House possess the cre- have established, with the consent of the people
, dentials necessary to enable them to represent a republican forms of government in harmony with duly qualified constituency is one for the con- the Constitution and laws of the United States, sideration of each House separately, after the that all hostile purposes have ceased, and should preliminary question shall have been finally give adequate guarantees against future treason determined.
and rebellion-guarantees which shall prove We now propose to re-state, as briefly as satisfactory to the Government against which possible, the general facts and principles appli- they rebelled, and by whose arms they were subcable to all the States recently in rebellion. dued.
First. The seats of the senators and repre Fourth. Having, by this treasonable withsentatives from the so-called Confederate States drawal from Congress, and by flagrant rebellion became vacant in the year 1861, during the and war, forfeited all civil and political rights second session of the Thirty-sixth Congress, by the and privileges under the Constitution, they can voluntary withdrawal of their incumbents, with only be restored thereto by the permission and the sanction and by direction of the legislatures authority of that constitutional power against or conventions of their respective States. This which they rebelled and by which they were was done as a hostile act against the Constitution subdued. and Government of the United States, with a de Fifth. These rebellious enemies were conquerelared intent to overthrow the same by forming ed by the people of the United States, acting a southern confederation. This act of declared through all the co-ordinate branches of the hostility was speedily followed by an organiza-'Government, and not by the executive depart
ment alone. The powers of conqueror are not stitutional form of government is thereby prao80 vested in the President that he can fix and tically destroyed, and its powers absorbed in regulate the terms of settlement and confer the Executive. And while your committee do congressional representation on conquered reb- not for a moment impute to the President any els and traitors. Nor can he, in any way, qualify such design, but cheerfully concede to him the enemies of the Government to exercise its law- most patriotic motives, they cannot but look making power. The authority to restore rebels with alarm upon a precedent so fraught with to political power in the Federal Government danger to the Republic. can be exercised only with the concurrence of Ninth. The necessity of providing adequate all the departments in which political power is safeguards for the future, before restoring the invested; and hence the several proclamations of surrectionary States to a participation in the the President to the people of the Confederate direction of public affairs, is apparent from the States cannot be considered as extending beyond bitter hostility to the Government and people of the purposes declared, and can only be regarded the United States yet existing throughout the as provisional permission by the commander-in- conquered territory, as proved incontestably by chief of the army to do certain acts, the effect the testimony of many witnesses and by unand validity whereof is to be determined by the disputed facts. constitutional government, and not solely by the Tenth. The conclusion of your committee executive power.
therefore is, that the so-called Confederate States Sixth. The question before Congress is, then, are ot at present entitled to representation in whether conquered enemies have the right, and the Congress of the United States; that, before shall be permitted at their own pleasure and on allowing such representation, adequate security their own terms, to participate in making laws for future peace and safety should be required; for their conquerors; whether conquered rebels that this can only be found in such changes of may change their theatre of operations from the organic law as shall determine the civil the battle-field, where they were defeated and rights and privileges of all citizens in all parts overthrown, to the halls of Congress, and, of the Republic, shall place representation on an through their representatives, seize upon the equitable basis, shall fix a stigma upon treason, Government which they fought to destroy; and protect the loyal people against future whether the national treasury, the army of the claims for the expenses incurred in support of nation, its navy, its forts and arsenals, its whole rebellion and for manumitted slaves, together civil administration, its credit, its pensioners, with an express grant of power in Congress to the widows an orphans of those who perished enforce those provisions. To this end they offer in the war, the public honor, peace and safety, a joint resolution for amending the Constitution siiall all be turned over to the keeping of its of the United States, and the two several bills recent enemies without delay, and without im- designed to carry the same into effect, before posing such conditions as, in the opinion of referred to. Congress, the security of the country and its Before closing this report, your committee beg institutions may demand.
leave to state that the specific recommendations Seventh. The history of mankind exhibits no submitted by them are the result of mutual conexample of such madness and folly. The in- cession, after a long and careful comparison of stinct of self-preservation protests against it. conflicting opinions. Upon a question of such The surrender by Grant to Lee, and by Sher- magnitude, infinitely important as it is to the man to Johnston, would have been disasters of future of the Republic, it was not to be expected less magnitude, for new armies could have been that all should think alike. Sensible of the imraised, new battles fought, and the Government perfections of the scheme, your committee subsaved. The anti-coercive policy, which, under mit it to Congress as the best they could agree pretext of avoiding bloodshed, allowed the re- upon, in the hope that its imperfections may be bellion to take form and gather force, would be cured, and its deficiencies supplied, by legislasurpassed in infamy by the matchless wickedness tive wisdom; and that, when finally adopted, that would now surrender the halls of Congress it may tend to restore peace and liarmony to to those so recently in rebellion, until proper the whole country, and to place our republican precautions shall have been taken to secure the institutions on a more stable foundation. national faith and the national safety.
W. P. FESSENDEN, Eighth. As has been shown in this report, and
JAMES W. GRIMES, in the evidence submitted, no proof has been
IRA HARRIS, afforded by Congress of a constituency in any
J. M. HOWARD, one of the so-called Confederate States, unless
GEORGE H. WILLIAMS, we except the State of Tennessee, qualified to
THADDEUS STEVENS, elect Senators and Representatives in Congress.
ELLIHU B. WASHBURNE, No State constitution, or amendment to a State
JUSTIN S. MORRILL, constitution, has had the sanction of the people,
JNO. A. BINGIAM, All the so-called legislation of State conyentions
Roscoe CONKLING, and legislatures has been had under military
GEORGE S. BOUTWELL. dictation. If the President may, at his will, and under his own authority, whether as mili
Minority Report. tary commander or chief executive, qualify per
June 22—Mr. Johnson in the Senate, and Mr. sons to appoint Senators and elect Representa- Rogers in the House, submitted this tives, and empower others to appoint and elect them, he thereby practically controls the organization of the legislative department. The con The undersigned, a minority of the joint com