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So far as the disposition of the people of the insurrectionary States, and the probability of their adopting measures conforming to the changed condition of affairs, can be inferred from the papers submitted by the President as the basis of his action, the prospects are far from encouraging. It appears quite clear that the anti-slavery amendments, both to the State and Federal Constitutions, were adopted with reluc
in some States they have been either passed by in silence or rejected. The language of all the provisions and ordinances of these States on the subject amounts to nothing more than an unwilling admission of an unwelcome truth. As to the ordinance of secession, it is, in some cases, declared "null and void," and in others simply "repealed;" and in no instance is a refutation of this deadly heresy considered worthy of a place in the new constitution.
Your committee have been unable to find, in | fore, that the people of a State where the con the evidence submitted to Congress by the Presi- stitution has been thus amended might feel themdent, under date of March 6, 1866, in compliance selves justified in repudiating altogether 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 State of Tennessee, has placed itself in a condition to resume its political relations to the Union. The first step towards that end would necessarily be the establishment of a republican form of government by the people. It has been before remarked that the provisional governors, appointed by the President in the exercise of his military authority, could do nothing by virtue of the power thus conferred towards the estab-tance by the bodies which did adopt them, while lishment of a State government. They were acting under the War Department and paid out of its funds. They were simply bridging over the chasm between rebellion and restoration. And yet we find them calling conventions and convening legislatures. Not only this, but we find the conventions and legislatures thus convened acting under executive direction as to the provisions required to be adopted in their constitutions and ordinances as conditions precedent to their recognition by the President. The inducement held out by the President for compliance with the conditions imposed was, directly in one instance, and presumably, therefore, in others, the immediate admission of Senators and Representatives to Congress. The character of the conventions and legislatures thus assembled was not such as to inspire confidence in the good faith of their members. Governor Perry, of South Carolina, dissolved the convention assembled in that State before the suggestion had reached Columbia from Washington that the rebel war debt should be repudiated, and gave as his reason that it was a "revolutionary body." There is no evidence of the loyalty or disloyalty of the members of those conventions and legislatures except the fact of pardons being asked for on their account. Some of these States now claiming representation refused to adopt the conditions imposed. No reliable information is found in these papers as to the constitutional provisions of several of these States, while in not one of them is there the slightest evidence to show that these "amended constitutions," as they are called, have ever been submitted to the people for their adoption. In North Carolina alone an ordinance was passed to that effect, but it does not appear to have been acted on. Not one of them, therefore, has been ratified. Whether, with President Johnson, we adopt the theory that the old constitutions were abrogated and destroyed, and the people "deprived of all civil government," or whether we adopt the alternative doctrine that they were only suspended and were revived by the suppression of the rebellion, the new provisions must be considered as equally destitute of validity before adoption by the people. If the conventions were called for the sole purpose of putting the State government into operation, they had no power either to adopt a new constitution or to amend an old one without the consent of the people. Nor could either a convention or a legislature change the fundamental law without power previously conferred. In the view of your committee, it follows, there
If, as the President assumes, these insurrectionary States were, at the close of the war, wholly without State governments, it would seem that, before being admitted to participation in the direction of public affairs, such governments should be regularly organized. Long usage has established, and numerous statutes have pointed out, the mode in which this should be done. A convention to frame a form of government should be assembled under competent authority. Ordinarily, this authority emanates from Congress; but, under the peculiar circumstances, your committee is not disposed to criticise the President's action in assuming the power exercised by him in this regard. The convention, when assembled, should frame a constitution of government, which should be submitted to the people for adoption. If adopted, a legislature should be convened to pass the laws necessary to carry it into effect. When a State thus organized claims representation in Congress, the election of representatives should be provided for by law, in accordance with the laws of Congress regulating representation, and the proof that the action taken has been in conformity to law should be submitted to Congress.
In no case have these essential preliminary steps been taken. The conventions assembled seem to have assumed that the constitutions which had been repudiated and overthrown were still in existence, and operative to constitute the States members of the Union, and to have contented themselves with such amendments as they were informed were requisite in order to insure their return to an immediate participation in the Government of the United States. Not waiting to ascertain whether the people they represented would adopt even the proposed amendments, they at once ordered elections of representatives to Congress, in nearly all instances before an executive had been chosen to issue writs of election under the State laws, and such elections as were held were ordered by the conventions. In one instance, at least, the writa 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 cases, particularly in South Carolina, where the convention, althongh disbanded by the provisional governor on the ground that it was a revolutionary body, assumed to redistrict the State.
It is quite evident from all these facts, and indeed from the whole mass of testimony sub-rendered themselves the most obnoxious. In mitted by the President to the Senate, that in no instance was regard paid to any other consideration than obtaining immediate admission to Congress, under the barren form of an election in which no precautions were taken to secure regularity of proceedings or the assert of the people. No constitution has been legally adopted except, perhaps, in the State of Tennessee, and such elections as have been held were without authority of law. Your committee are accordingly forced to the conclusion that the States referred to have not placed themselves in a con dition to claim representation in Congress, unless all the rules which have, since the foundation of the Government, been deemed essential, in such cases should be disregarded.
It would undoubtedly be competent for Congress to waive all formalities and to admit these Confederate States to representation at once, trusting that time and experience would set all things right. Whether it would be advisable to do so, however, must depend upon other considerations of which it remains to treat. But it may well be observed, that the inducements to such a step should be of the very highest character. It seems to your committee not unreasonable to require satisfactory evidence that the ordinances and constitutional provisions which the President deemed essential in the first instance will be permanently adhered to by the people of the States seeking restoration, after being admitted to full participation in the government, and will not be repudiated when that object shall have been accomplished. And here the burden of proof rests upon the late insurgents who are seeking restoration to the rights and privileges which they willingly abandoned, and not upon the people of the United States who have never undertaken, directly or indirectly, to deprive them thereof. It should appear affirmatively that they are prepared and disposed in good faith to accept the results of the war, to abandon their hostility to the Government, and to live in peace and amity with the people of the loyal States, extending to all classes of citizens equal rights and privileges, and conforming to the republican idea of liberty and equality. They should exhibit in their acts something more than an unwilling submission to an unavoidable necessity-a feeling, if not cheerful, certainly not offensive and defiant. And they should evince an entire repudiation of all hostility to the General Government, by an acceptance of such just and reasonable conditions as that Government should think the public safety demands. Has this been done? Let us look at the facts shown by the evidence taken by the committee.
Hardly is the war closed before the people of these insurrectionary States come forward and hanghtily caiu, as a right, the privilege of par
they had for four years been fighting to overthrow. Allowed and encouraged by the Executive to organize State governments, they at once placed in power leading rebels, unrepentant and unpardoned, excluding with contempt those who had manifested an attachment to the Union and preferring, in many instances, those who had the face of the law requiring an oath which would necessarily exclude all such men from federal offices, they elect, with very few ex 'eptions, as Senators and Representatives in (ongress men who had actively participated in the rebellion, insultingly denouncing the law as inconstitutional. It is only necessary to insta ace the election to the Senate of the late vice presi dent of the Confederacy, a man who, against his own declared convictions, had lent all the weight of his acknowledged ability and of his influence as a most prominent public man to the cause of the rebellion, and who, unpardoned rebel as he is, with that oath staring him in the face, had the assurance to lay his credentials on the table of the Senate. Other rebels of scarcely less note or notoriety were selected from other quarters. Professing no repentance, glorying apparently in the crime they had committed, avowing still, as the uncontradicted testimony of Mr. Stephens and many others proves, an adherence to the pernicious doctrine of secession, and declaring that they yielded only to necessity, they insist, with unanimous voice, upon their rights as States, and proclaim that they will submit to no conditions whatever as preliminary to their resumption of power under that Constitution which they still claim the right to repudiate.
Examining the evidence taken by your committee still further, in connection with facts too notorious to be disputed, it appears that the southern press, with few exceptions, and those mostly of newspapers recently established by northern men, abound with weekly and daily abuse of the institutions and people of the loyal States; defends the men who led, and the principles which incited, the rebellion; denounces and reviles southern men who adhered to the Union; and strives, constantly and unscrupulously, by every means in its power, to keep alive the fire of hate and discord between the sections; calling upon the President to viclate his oath of office, overturn the Government by force of arms, and drive the representatives of the people from their seats in Congress. The national banner is openly insulted, and the national airs scoffed at, not only by an ignorant populace, but at public meetings, and once, among other notable instances, at a dinner given in honor of a notorious rebel who had violated his oath and abandoned his flag. The same individual is elected to an important office in the leading city of his State, although an unpardoned rebel, and so offensive that the President refuses to allow him to enter upon his official duties. In another State the leading general of the rebel armies is openly nominated for governor by the speaker of the house of delegates, and the nomination is hailed by the people with shouts of satisfaction, and openly indorsed by the press.
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 tire oing, 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 have 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 neemancipated slaves, especially among the uned-cessary to guard.
ucated 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 assiduousty cultivated by the of the rebellious States was that of abjec sub public 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 paius to prevent or punish. There magnanimity of their conquerors their lives, an is no general disposition to place the colored possibly 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, had 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 oʻ of any class of people friendly to the Union, the Government do not seem to have been me' be they white or black; and this aversion is even half way. The bitterness and defiance exnot unfrequently manifested in an insulting and offensive manner.
hibited toward the United States under such circumstances 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 author existing laws, to the payment of the nationality. In return for our kind desire for the re debt, 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, Union men of the Southern States, and avowed secessionists, almost all of whom state that, in their opinion, the people of the rebellious States would, if they should see a prospect of success, repudiate the national debt."
If we add to this evidence the fact that, a) though peace has been declared by the Press dent, he has not, to this day, deemed it safe 1. restore the writ of habeas corpus, to relieve ti insurrectionary States of martial law, nor o withdraw the troops from many localities, an 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 good authority on that point, a generally prevailing opinion which defends the legal right of secession, and upholds the doctrine that the first allegiance of the people is due to the States, and not to the United States. This belief evidently 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 commuci except in some of the northern counties of Ala-ties, without civil government, and without con bama and the eastern counties of Tennessee.
The evidence of an intense hostility to the Federal Union, and an equally intense love of the late Confederacy, nurtured by the war, is de
condition of feeling hostile to the Union and dangerous to the Government throughout the insurrectionary States would seem to be overwhelming.
With such evidence before them, it is the opinion of your committee
stitutions or other forms, by virtue of which political relations could legally exist between them and the Federal Government.
II. That Congress cannot be expected to re
cognize as valid the election of representatives | tion of the same States into a confederacy, which .rom disorganized communities, which, from the very nature of the case, were unable to present their claim to representation under those established and recognized rules, the observance of which has been hitherto required.
III. That Congress would not be justified in admitting such communities to a participation in the government of the country without first providing such constitutional or other guarantees as will tend to secure the civil rights of all citizens of the Republic; a just equality of rep: resentation; protection against claims founded in rebellion and crime; a temporary restoration of the right of suffrage to those who have not actively participated in the efforts to destroy the Union and overthrow the Government; and the exclusion from positions of public trust of at least a portion of those whose crimes have proved them to be enemies to the Union, and unworthy of public confidence.
Your committee will, perhaps, hardly be deemed excusable for extending this report further; but inasmuch as immediate and unconditional representation of the States lately in rebellion is demanded as a matter of right, and delay, and even hesitation, is denounced as grossly oppressive and unjust, as well as unwise and impolitic, it may not be amiss again to call attention to a few undisputed and notorious facts, and the principles of public law applicable thereto, in order that the propriety of that claim may be fully considered and well understood.
The State of Tennessee occupies a position distinct from all the other insurrectionary States, and has been the subject of a separate report, which your committee have not thought it expedient to disturb. Whether Congress shall see fit to make that State the subject of separate action, or to include it in the same category with all others, so far as concerns the imposition of preliminary conditions, it is not within the province of this committee either to determine or advise.
To ascertain whether any of the so-called Confederate States "are entitled to be represented in either House of Congress," the essential inquiry is, whether there is, in any one of them, a constituency qualified to be represented in Congress. The question how far persons claiming seats in either House possess the credentials necessary to enable them to represent a duly qualified constituency is one for the consideration of each House separately, after the preliminary question shall have been finally determined.
We now propose to re-state, as briefly as possible, the general facts and principles applicable to all the States recently in rebellion."
First. The seats of the senators and representatives from the so-called Confederate States became vacant in the year 1861, during the second session of the Thirty-sixth Congress, by the voluntary withdrawal of their incumbents, with the sanction and by direction of the legislatures or conventions of their respective States. This was done as a hostile act against the Constitution and Government of the United States, with a declared intent to overthrow the same by forming a southern confederation. This act of declared hostility was speedily followed by an organiza
levied and waged war, by sea and land, against the United States. This war continued more than four years, within which period the rebel armies besieged the national capital, invaded the loyal States, burned their towns and cities, robbed their citizens, destroyed more than 250,000 loyal soldiers, and imposed an increased national burden of not less than $3,500,000,000, of which seven or eight hundred millions have already been met and paid. From the time these confederated States thus withdrew their representation in Congress and levied war against the United States, the great mass of their people became and were insurgents, rebels, traitors, and all of them assumed and occupied the political, legal, and practical relation of enemies of the United States. This position is established by acts of Congress and judicial decisions, and is recognized repeatedly by the President in public proclamations, documents, and speeches.
Second. The States thus confederated prosecuted their war against the United States to final arbitrament, and did not cease until all their armies were captured, their military power destroyed, their civil officers, State and confederate, taken prisoners or put to flight, every vestige of State and confederate government obliterated, their territory overrun and occupied by the federal armies, and their people reduced to the condition of enemies conquered in war, entitled only by public law to such rights, privileges, and conditions as might be vouchsafed by the conqueror. This position is also established by judicial decisions, and is recognized by the President in public proclamations, documents, and speeches.
Third. Having voluntarily deprived themselves of representation in Congress, for the criminal purpose of destroying the Federal Union, and having reduced themselves, by the act of levying war, to the condition of public enemies, they have no right to complain of temporary exclusion from Congress; but on the contrary, having voluntarily renounced the right to representation, and disqualified themselves by crime from participating in the Government, the burden now rests upon them, before claiming to be reinstated in their former condition, to show that they are qualified to resume federal relations. In order to do this, they must prove that they have established, with the consent of the people, republican forms of government in harmony with the Constitution and laws of the United States, that all hostile purposes have ceased, and should give adequate guarantees against future treason and rebellion-guarantees which shall prove satisfactory to the Government against which they rebelled, and by whose arms they were sub
Fourth. Having, by this treasonable withdrawal from Congress, and by flagrant rebellion and war, forfeited all civil and political rights and privileges under the Constitution, they can only be restored thereto by the permission and authority of that constitutional power against which they rebelled and by which they were subdued.
Fifth. These rebellious enemies were conquered by the people of the United States, acting through all the co-ordinate branches of the Government, and not by the executive depart
with alarm upon a precedent so fraught with danger to the Republic.
ment alone. The powers of conqueror are not stitutional form of government is thereby pracso vested in the President that he can fix and tically destroyed, and its powers absorbed it regulate the terms of settlement and confer the Executive. And while your committee c 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 to political power in the Federal Government 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 executive power.
Sixth. The question before Congress is, then, whether conquered enemies have the right, and shall be permitted at their own pleasure and on their own terms, to participate in making laws for their conquerors; whether conquered rebels may change their theatre of operations from the battle-field, where they were defeated and overthrown, to the halls of Congress, and, through their representatives, seize upon the Government which they fought to destroy; whether the national treasury, the army of the nation, its navy, its forts and arsenals, its whole civil administration, its credit, its pensioners, the widows an orphans of those who perished in the war, the public honor, peace and safety, shall all be turned over to the keeping of its recent enemies without delay, and without imposing such conditions as, in the opinion of Congress, the security of the country and its institutions may demand.
Seventh. The history of mankind exhibits no example of such madness and folly. The instinct of self-preservation protests against it. The surrender by Grant to Lee, and by Sherman to Johnston, would have been disasters of less magnitude, for new armies could have been raised, new battles fought, and the Government saved. The anti-coercive policy, which, under pretext of avoiding bloodshed, allowed the rebellion to take form and gather force, would be surpassed in infamy by the matchless wickedness that would now surrender the halls of Congress to those so recently in rebellion, until proper precautions shall have been taken to secure the national faith and the national safety.
Eighth. As has been shown in this report, and in the evidence submitted, no proof has been afforded by Congress of a constituency in any one of the so-called Confederate States, unless we except the State of Tennessee, qualified to elect Senators and Representatives in Congress. No State constitution, or amendment to a State constitution, has had the sanction of the people. All the so-called legislation of State conventions and legislatures has been had under military dictation. If the President may, at his will, and under his own authority, whether as military commander or chief executive, qualify persons to appoint Senators and elect Representatives, and empower others to appoint and elect them, he thereby practically controls the organization of the legislative department. The con
Tenth. The conclusion of your committee therefore is, that the so-called Confederate States are not at present entitled to representation in the Congress of the United States; that, before allowing such representation, adequate security for future peace and safety should be required; that this can only be found in such changes o the organic law as shall determine the civil rights and privileges of all citizens in all parts of the Republic, shall place representation on an equitable basis, shall fix a stigma upon treason, and protect the loyal people against future claims for the expenses incurred in support of rebellion and for manumitted slaves, together with an express grant of power in Congress to enforce those provisions. To this end they offer a joint resolution for amending the Constitution of the United States, and the two several bills designed to carry the same into effect, before referred to.
Before closing this report, your committee beg leave to state that the specific recommendations submitted by them are the result of mutual concession, after a long and careful comparison of conflicting opinions. Upon a question of such magnitude, infinitely important as it is to the future of the Republic, it was not to be expected that all should think alike. Sensible of the imperfections of the scheme, your committee submit it to Congress as the best they could agree upon, in the hope that its imperfections may be cured, and its deficiencies supplied, by legisla tive wisdom; and that, when finally adopted, it may tend to restore peace and harmony to the whole country, and to place our republican institutions on a more stable foundation.