It is very sad that we should be tried in this way. For our country it is an incalculable calamity. Nobody can yet see the end. Congress will not yield. The President is angry and brutal. Seward is the marplot. In the Cabinet, on the question of the last veto, there were four against it to three for it; so even there, among his immediate advisers, the President is left in a minority. Stanton reviewed at length the bill, section by section, in the Cabinet, and pronounced it an excellent and safe bill every way from beginning to end. But the veto message was already prepared, and an hour later was sent to Congress. You hear that I do not bear contradiction. Perhaps not. I try to bear everything. But my conscience and feelings are sometimes moved, so that I may show impatience. It is hard to meet all these exigencies with calmness. I hope not to fail. I despair of the President. He is no Moses, but a Pharaoh to the colored race, and they now regard him so. He has all the narrowness and ignorance of a certain class of whites, who have always looked upon the colored race as out of the pale of humanity. Fenianism is to us only a noisy shadow, without reality. I never saw a Fenian. My excellent friend, Mr. Scheiden, is much mistaken in his present views of our affairs. He follows the London Times.The fourteenth amendment of the Constitution passed both houses at this session. It defined citizenship; prohibited the States from abridging the privileges or immunities of citizens; excluded persons from national and State offices who, having held certain offices under the nation or the States, engaged in the rebellion, until Congress by a two-thirds vote removed the disability; affirmed the validity of the public debt, and forbade the national or State governments from assuming the rebel debt. Another section which gave rise to controversy among Republicans, in determining the basis of representation in Congress, prescribed that when the right to vote was denied to any of the male inhabitants of a State, being twenty-one years of age and citizens, or was in any way abridged except for participation in rebellion or other crime, ‘the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.’ This provision, with some variations, was the same as was proposed by Stevens at the beginning of the session, and later offered with some change of phraseology by Spalding, Blaine, Conkling, and Schenck, and was at last reported by the reconstruction committee.1 It failed in the
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