of the House
; in which, after a long, arduous, doubtful struggle, during which Mr. Eliot
's resolve was referred to the Judiciary Committee and reported against1
by Mr. Hickman
, of Pa.
, its Chairman
--“because the President
has all power now” --it had been referred2
to a Select Committee of seven, whereof Mr. Sedgwick
, of N. Y.
, was Chairman
; whence Mr. Eliot
, of Mass.
two bills, one providing for confiscating the property, the other for emancipating the slaves, of persistent Rebels; whereupon debate was renewed and continued for days — every Democrat and nearly every Border-State member resisting Emancipation as ruinous to the National
Said Mr. W. S. Holman
, of Ind
. (one of the most loyal and non-partisan of those clected as Democrats):
I have supported, Sir, and will still support, every just measure of this Administration to restore the Union.
No partisan interest shall control me when the Republic is in danger.
I place the interest of my country far above every other interest.
I will make any sacrifice to uphold the Government; but I will not be de erred from condemning, at this time, this or any other series of measures — the offspring of misguided zeal and passion, or of want of faith in our people — which tends to defeat the hope of a restoration of the Union.
The citizen solider, stricken down in battle or worn out by the weary march, falls a willing sacrifice for the Constitution of his country and his dying eyes light up with hope as they catch the gleam of its starry symbol; while we deliberate on measures which would overthrow the one, and blot out the stars from the other.
Said Judge Thomas
(Conservative), of Massachusetts
That the bills before the House are in violation of the law of nations, and of the Constitution, I can not — I say it with all deference to others — I can not entertain a doubt.
My path of duty is plain.
The duty of obedience to that Constitution was never more imperative than now. I am not disposed to deny that I have for it a superstitions reverence.
I have “worshiped it from my forefathers.”
In the school of rigid discipline by which we were prepared for it, in the struggles out of which it was born, the seven years of bitter conflict, and the seven darker years in which that conflict seemed to be fruitless of good; in the wisdom with which it was constructed and first administered and set in motion; in the beneficent Government it has secured for more than two generations; in the blessed influences it has exerted upon the cause of Freedom and Humanity the world over, I can not fail to recognize the hand of a guiding and loving Providence.
But not for the blessed memories of the past only do I cling to it. He must be blinded “with excess of light,” or with the want of it, who does not see that to this nation, trembling on the verge of dissolution, it is the only possible bond of unity.
Mr. Samuel S. Cox
, of Ohio
Must these Northern fanatics be sated with negroes, taxes, and blood, with division North and devastation South and peril to constitutional liberty everywhere, before relief shall come?
They will not halt until then darling schemes are consummated.
History tells us that such zealots do not and can not go back ward.
Said Mr. John Law
, of Indiana
The man who dreams of closing the present unhappy contest by reconstructing this Union upon any other basis than that prescribed by our fathers, in the compact formed by them, is a madman — ay, worse, a traitor — and should be hung as high as Haman.
Sir, pass these acts, confiscate under these bills the property of these men, emancipate their negroes, place arms in the hands of these human gorillas, to murder their masters and violate their wives and daughters, and you will have a war such as was never witnessed in the worst days of the French Revolution, and horrors never exceeded in St. Domingo, for the balance of this century at least.
closed the debate4
in an able speech for the bills; and the confiscation bill was passed — Yeas 82; Nays 63.
The Emancipation bill was next taken up; when, after rejecting several amendments, the vote was taken on its passage, and it was defeated: Yeas 74 (all Republicans); Nays 78--fifteen members elected as Republicans