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the people choose to maintain it, as it is; while they are satisfied with it, and refuse to change it, who has given, or who can give, to the State legislatures a right to alter it, either by interference, construction, or otherwise? Gentlemen do not seem to recollect that the people have any power to do anything for themselves; they imagine there is no safety for them any longer than they are under the close guardianship of the State legislatures. Sir, the people have not trusted their safety, in regard to the General Constitution, to these hands. They have required other security, and taken other bonds. They have chosen to trust themselves, first, to the plain words of the instrument, and to such construction as the Government itself, in doubtful cases, should put on its own powers, under their oaths of office, and subject to their responsibility to them; just as the people of a State trust their own State governments with a similar power. Secondly, they have reposed their trust in the efficacy of frequent elections, and in their own power to remove their own servants and agents, whenever they see cause. Thirdly, they have reposed trust in the judicial power, which, in order that it might be trustworthy, they have made as respectable, as disinterested, and as independent as was practicable. Fourthly, they have seen fit to rely, in case of necessity or high expediency, on their known and admitted power to alter or amend the Constitution, peaceably and quietly, whenever experience shall point out defects or imperfections. And, finally, the people of the United States have, at no time, in no way, directly or indirectly, authorized any State legislature to construe or interpret their high instrument of government; much less to interfere, by their own power, to arrest its course and operation.

If, sir, the people, in these respects, had done otherwise than they have done, their Constitution could neither have been preserved, nor would it have been worth preserving. And, if its plain provisions shall now be disregarded, and these new doctrines interpolated in it, it will become as feeble and helpless a being as its enemies, whether early or more recent, could possibly desire. It will exist in every State, but as a poor dependent on State permission. It must borrow leave to be and it will be no longer than State pleasure or State discretion sees fit to grant the indulgence and to prolong its poor existence.

But, sir, although there are fears, there are hopes also. The people have preserved this, their own chosen Constitution, for forty years and have seen their happiness, prosperity and renown grow with its growth, and strengthen with its strength. They are now, generally, strongly attached to it. Overthrown by direct assault, it cannot be; evaded, undermined, nullified, it will not be, if we, and those who shall succeed us here, as agents and representatives of the people, shall conscientiously

and vigilantly discharge the two great branches of our public trustfaithfully to preserve and wisely to administer it.

Mr. President, I have thus stated the reasons of my dissent to the doctrines which have been advanced and maintained. I am conscious of having detained you and the Senate much too long. I was drawn into the debate with no previous deliberation such as is suited to the discussion of so grave and important a subject. But it is a subject of which my heart is full, and I have not been willing to suppress the utterance of its spontaneous sentiments. I cannot, even now, persuade myself to relinquish it without expressing once more my deep conviction, that since it respects nothing less than the Union of the States, it is of most vital and essential importance to the public happiness. I profess, sir, in my career, hitherto, to have kept steadily in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country, and the preservation of our Federal Union. It is to that Union we owe our safety at home and our consideration and dignity abroad. It is to that Union that we are chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our country. That Union we reached only by the discipline of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had its origin in the necessities of disordered finance, prostrate commerce and ruined credit. Under its benign influence, these great interests immediately awoke as from the dead and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and its blessings; and, although our territory has stretched out wider and wider, and our population spread further and further, they have not outrun its protection or its benefits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, social and personal happiness. I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the precipice of disunion to see whether, with my short sight, I can fathom the depth of the abyss below; nor could I regard him as a safe counselor in the affairs of this Government, whose thoughts should be mainly bent on considering not how the Union should be best preserved, but how tolerable might be the condition of the people when it shall be broken up and destroyed. While the Union lasts we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day, at least, that curtain may not rise. God grant that, on my vision, never may be opened what lies behind. When my eyes shall be turned to behold, for the last time, the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious

Union; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood! Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the Republic, now known and honored throughout the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as, "What is all this worth?" nor those other words of delusion and folly, "Liberty first and union afterwards"; but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American heart-Liberty and Union, now and forever one and inseparable!

§ 11

GENERAL AMNESTY

By Carl Schurz

(United States Senate, January 30, 1872.)

MR. PRESIDENT: When this debate commenced before the holidays, I refrained from taking part in it, and from expressing my opinions on some of the provisions of the bill now before us; hoping as I did that the measure could be passed without difficulty, and that a great many of those who now labor under political disabilities would be immediately relieved. This expectation was disappointed. An amendment to the bill was adopted. It will have to go back to the House of Representatives now unless by some parliamentary means we get rid of the amendment, and there being no inducement left to waive what criticism we might feel inclined to bring forward, we may consider the whole question open.

I beg leave to say that I am in favor of general, or, as this word is considered more expressive, universal amnesty, believing, as I do, that the reasons which make it desirable that there should be amnesty granted at all, make it also desirable that the amnesty should be universal. The

CARL SCHURZ. Born at Liblar, near Cologne, Prussia, March 2, 1829; educated at Bonn University; exiled from Germany as a revolutionist; came to America in 1852; in 1861 was appointed by Lincoln as United States Minister to Spain; later served in the Union Army as a Brigadier-General; chairman of the Republican National Convention in 1868; in 1869 was elected United States senator from Missouri; in 1877 became Secretary of the Interior in Hayes' Cabinet; editor of the New York Evening Post, 1881-1883; supported Grover Cleveland and other Democratic candidates in the latter part of his life; died in New York May, 14, 1906.

senator from South Carolina [Mr. Sawyer] has already given notice that he will move to strike out the exceptions from the operation of this act of relief for which the bill provides. If he had not declared his intention to that effect, I would do so. In any event, whenever he offers his amendment I shall most heartily support it.

In the course of this debate we have listened to some senators, as they conjured up before our eyes once more all the horrors of the Rebellion, the wickedness of its conception, how terrible its incidents were, and how harrowing its consequences. Sir, I admit it all; I will not combat the correctness of the picture; and yet if I differ with the gentlemen who drew it, it is because, had the conception of the Rebellion been still more wicked, had its incidents been still more terrible, its consequences still more harrowing, I could not permit myself to forget that in dealing with the question now before us we have to deal not alone with the past, but with the present and future interests of this republic.

What do we want to accomplish as good citizens and patriots? Do we mean only to inflict upon the late rebels pain, degradation, mortification, annoyance, for its own sake; to torture their feelings without any ulterior purpose? Certainly such a purpose could not by any possibility animate high-minded men. I presume, therefore, that those who still favor the continuance of some of the disabilities imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment do so because they have some higher object of public usefulness in view, an object of public usefulness sufficient to justify, in their minds at least, the denial of rights to others which we ourselves enjoy.

What can those objects of public usefulness be? Let me assume that, if we differ as to the means to be employed, we are agreed as to the supreme end and aim to be reached. That end and aim of our endeavors can be no other than to secure to all the States the blessings of good and free government and the highest degree of prosperity and well-being they can attain, and to revive in all citizens of this republic that love for the Union and its institutions, and that inspiring consciousness of a common nationality, which, after all, must bind all Americans together.

What are the best means for the attainment of that end? This, sir, as I conceive it, is the only legitimate question we have to decide. Certainly all will agree that this end is far from having been attained so far. Look at the Southern States as they stand before us to-day. Some are in a condition bordering upon anarchy, not only on account of the social disorders which are occurring there, or the inefficiency of their local governments in securing the enforcement of the laws; but you will find. in many of them fearful corruption pervading the whole political organization; a combination of rascality and ignorance wielding official

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power; their finances deranged by profligate practices; their credit ruined; bankruptcy staring them in the face; their industries staggering under a fearful load of taxation; their property-holders and capitalists paralyzed by a feeling of insecurity and distrust almost amounting to despair. Sir, let us not try to disguise these facts, for the world knows them to be so, and knows it but too well.

What are the causes that have contributed to bring about this distressing condition? I admit that great civil wars, resulting in such vast social transformations as the sudden abolition of slavery, are calculated to produce similar results; but it might be presumed that a recuperative power such as this country possesses might, during the time which has elapsed since the close of the War, at least have very materially alleviated many of the consequences of that revulsion, had a wise policy beer. followed.

Was the policy we followed wise? Was it calculated to promote the great purposes we are endeavoring to serve? Let us see. At the close of the War we had to establish and secure free labor and the rights of the emancipated class. To that end we had to disarm those who could have prevented this, and we had to give the power of self-protection to those who needed it. For this reason temporary restrictions were imposed upon the late rebels, and we gave the right of suffrage to the colored people. Until the latter were enabled to protect themselves, political disabilities even more extensive than those which now exist rested upon the plea of eminent political necessity. I would be the last man te conceal that I thought so then, and I think there was very good reason for it.

But, sir, when the enfranchisement of the colored people was secured; when they had obtained the political means to protect themselves, then another problem began to loom up. It was not only to find new guaranties for the rights of the colored people, but it was to secure good and honest government to all. Let us not underestimate the importance of that problem, for in a great measure it includes the solution of the other. Certainly nothing could have been more calculated to remove the prevailing discontent concerning the changes that had taken place, and to reconcile men's minds to the new order of things, than the tangible proof that the new order of things was practically working well; that it could produce a wise and economical administration of public affairs, and that it would promote general prosperity, thus healing the wounds of the past and opening to all the prospect of a future of material wellbeing and contentment. And, on the other hand, nothing could have been more calculated to impede a general, hearty, and honest acceptance of the new order of things by the late rebel population than just those

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