Southern representation — a Gleam of hope.
We trust that our readers will not think that we have given up too much space to the following article, when we remind them that the editor of the New York Times
is Honorable H. J. Raymond
, a prominent Republican member of Congress, and that he is generally regarded as the exponent of the views of Mr. Seward
, who, in turn, is the most influential member of the Republican party, and has never, we believe, in one instance, failed to control its policy — not even when he was the first to warn them from what was called "Know Nothingism." With Seward
actively engaged in behalf of the admission of the Southern
representatives, they have nothing to fear as to the result.
From the New York Daily Times
Importance of a Southern representation.
's theory that the "insurrectionary States" have forfeited their State attributes, and are now mere territorial domain, has justly been repelled as inconsistent with the whole scheme of the Constitution
But even that theory is preferable to any project of keeping the functions of these States in indefinite suspension, and excluding them from all representation in the National Legislature.
Treat these States as Territories, and they may at least, like other Territories, send each a delegate to the House of Representatives, who, though not voting, would have the privilege of speaking and representing the feelings and wishes of his constituents.
In the present condition of things, these so-called States have not even a Territorial life; every one of them is as voiceless in the national halls as if it were forever dead, and resolved into its primitive dust again.
It was but right for the House
to ignore all representatives from the theatre of the late rebellion until it could be shown that their elections were made under competent authority and in a proper way. It is well, too, to stop to inquire whether the late insurrectionary States, in seeking again the constitutional right of representation, are prepared to comply with all their constitutional obligations.
But all this can be learned without any great delay.
doubtless has abundant information, derived from his provisional governors, and from agents deputed to make special inquiry, which he will cheerfully impart.
If that information is not enough, any deficiency can easily be supplied by an invitation of the Southern Representatives
to present themselves before the committee of fifteen.
Unquestionably they could make expositions of the condition of the South
, and of the present sentiments of the people, that would quickly clear up every uncertain point, and enable the committee to report, at an early day, with the fullest understanding.
The true policy is to expedite rather than delay the re-admission of the Southern Representatives
It is neither right nor safe for any part of the country to legislate for another part of the country without giving it any voice in that legislation.
Representation is the vital principle of republican institutions.
Its denial to any extent impairs the normal operation of our government, and opens the way to all kinds of abuses.
No one thing is so important as to rid the South
of that old spirit of sectionalism, which was the growth of slavery.
The great effort of true statesmanship now must be to animate the South
with a new life, which shall be thoroughly identified with the national life, and have a complete community of spirit with the North
and the West
But this will be morally impossible if discriminations are to be kept up against the South
, especially the extremest of all discriminations of not allowing it representation, and making it subject to laws in the framing of which it has had no part.
That will be sure to beget a sense of most grievous oppression, and the result would inevitably be the intensest hatred, on the part of the Southern
people, of those they deemed their oppressors.
To shut they the eyes to this certainty is to be blind to American nature.
Whatever the motive, the act is one of infatuation.
The South is now in its most impressible stage.
All Southern men are waiting to see how Southern submission will be treated by the North
Of the fair and conciliatory disposition of President Johnson
they are well satisfied.
Yet he is but a single man. Of the spirit of the Northern
people toward them they are still in doubt.
Any unfriendly manifestation by Northern Senators
and Representatives will be taken as proof that the Northern
people have no desire again to fraternize with them, and mean only to be their masters.
An unmistakably generous and magnanimous policy by Congress, in admitting their Representatives and burying the past, would soon overcome their last lingering resentment, and expunge the last trace of that sense of humiliation, which cannot exist without bitterness.
A jealous and rigorous line of treatment would, on the other hand, soon congeal every better impulse of the Southern
people into an inflexible determination to oppose and thwart the Government
in every practicable way, and would perpetuate the spirit of sectionalism in its worst form for years, and perhaps generations.
Some say that the new loyalty of the South
is still very defective — that it consists in profession mainly.
We can hardly concede this to be exactly so; but if this Southern loyalty is yet immature, it is the very reason why it should be encouraged and strengthened.
We have not a doubt that the predominant feeling in the Northern
heart to-day toward the South
is a yearning for complete reconciliation.
It would be a blessed influence upon the Southern
people if they could truly know this.
But they cannot know it, except through the words and actions of Northern Congressmen.
Let those Representatives look well to it that they do not give occasion for a misconception of the real spirit of the North
They cannot long continue to keep the gates of the capitol
barred against all Southern representation without producing upon the Southern
mind a most mischievous impression, that the North
means not to be reconciled, but to domineer and degrade.
What harm can Southern representation do?
Even supposing the worst, that it would be disaffected and factious, it would still form but a weak minority in either House
; and even if it made an alliance with all the Democratic
strength, the combined force would still be less than two-fifths of either body.
The Thirty-ninth Congress, upon which devolves the completion of this work of reconstruction, has a magnificent Union strength, which no possible combination of malign elements can hinder from working its own high will.
Let it trust to that strength, and be fearlessly generous.
Let it admit, at an early day, into its bosom all the truly accredited Representatives of the Southern
people, so that it shall have every facility to legislate intelligently and justly for the South
, as well as for every other part of the land.
This is what is imperatively demanded by the spirit of national concord and by every practical interest of the Union
No speculative dogma, or old resentment, ought to stand in the way of it.