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--The radical ball opened in the House of Representatives this afternoon, in committee of the whole on the usual reference of the President
's message to the standing committees.
Mr. Thaddeus Stevens
, in a speech of nearly an hour's duration, laid down the most ultra programme, even out-Heroding his famous Lancaster
speech, made in September.
He was listened to with marked attention by the crowded galleries and the members of the House
, the latter crowding around the speaker, while a goodly proportion of the Senators
were also present.
read his carefully-prepared manuscript.
He started out with the broad declaration that the States lately at war with the Government
were not in the Union
, and that if they were admitted again they must come in as new States or conquered provinces, after passing through a territorial condition.
He elaborated the argument that the so-called Confederate States
were belligerents, and that during the war according to the decisions of the United States
Court and international law, the respective parties "stood in the same relation to each other as if they were separate nations." Having conquered them as public enemies, he maintained that the Government
had the right to treat them as conquered provinces.
Among the requirements which he advocated as precedent to the re-admission of these States, was the amendment of the Constitution
so that there could be an election for President
and a representation in Congress on the basis of population.
This, by recognizing the colored people of the South
, would give the new States an increased representation in Congress.
If the present basis were not changed, he charged that the Democrats would soon lay hands on the White House
and the halls of Congress; that they would therefore repudiate the Federal
debt and assume the rebel one!
In such an event, he claimed "that if the Southern States
should then the Constitution
lately forced upon them, it would be right and just. "
He proceeded to assume that Congress should control the freedmen, for if left to take care of themselves their present condition would be worse than bondage or the horrors of Andersonville
He made light of the ratification of the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, by the Southern State Legislatures
, which he denounced as illegal and delusive, and declared that this was not a white man's government, and looked upon Chief Justice Taney
's virtual declaration that it was as the most infamous doctrine of all time!
He added that it was fortunate that the whole question of restoration belonged with Congress.
, of New York, took notes during the speech, and at its conclusion rose to a reply, but a motion prevailed that the committee of the whole rise, and further debate was cut off.
's views may be gathered from an article published in another column of today's Dispatch.
They are worthy of commendation.
By chance, too, we had, before receiving the above, prepared an article comparing, or rather contrasting, Stevens
correspondence contains the foregoing paragraphs.
which is Republican, says:
and Representatives, who lately had conversations with the President
, state that the President
does not intend to force any issue with Congress, but to abstain from whatever might lead to a conflict between the Legislative
and the Executive branches
of the Government
A more cordial feeling is gaining ground, and it is expected that a good understanding will be preserved."