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1 and in each case he was himself the master of the officer. He was careful to reserve to each house full control over the admission of members from the State; but that power was already secured to those bodies by the Constitution. Its free exercise did not, however, prevent the President's action forestalling that of Congress—as it would be an anomaly in our system, and greatly embarrass its working, to have State governments in existence which were recognized by one department (the executive) and repudiated by another (the legislative).

Against Sumner and others, who insisted on grounds of policy and justice upon the inclusion of negroes in the voting body of the returning States, Mr. Lincoln contended that they were attempting ‘to change this government from its original form and make it a strong centralized power.’2 This contention, adverse to national power, was not in logical conformity with his own method; and it was afterwards altogether discarded by his party and by Congress. When he as well as his successor in their respective proclamations deviated, as each did radically, from the ante bellum statutes of Louisiana and the other States in question, making peremptory conditions and novel regulations, and excluding classes of voters, they thereby admitted the right and duty of the United States government to require of the returning States, in its discretion, any basis of suffrage, as well as all other securities which seemed necessary for the permanent peace and welfare of all their inhabitants and of the whole country.

No part of President Lincoln's entire official course was so open to exception as that which he pursued on this subject of reconstruction, where he seemed to assert power for himself, to the exclusion of the people of the United States and of Congress. His attempt, as the event showed, was premature, as no loyal population sufficient in number was found to exist in Louisiana where it was first made; and the history of that

1 [219] and Hay's ‘Life of Lincoln,’ vol. VIII. pp. 416, 427, 428. In his last Cabinet meeting, April 14, 1865, the President thought it providential that the end of the rebellion came when the question of reconstruction could be considered, as far as the Executive was concerned, without interference by Congress. Ibid., vol. x. p 283, G. Welles in the ‘Galaxy,’ April, 1872, p. 526.

2 Mr. Lincoln said this of Sumner, Jan 18, 1865. (Nicolay and Hay's ‘Life of Lincoln,’ vol. x. pp. 84, 85.) He said at the Cabinet meeting on the last day of his life, ‘These humanitarians break down all State rights and constitutional rights. Had the Louisianians inserted the negro in their Constitution, and had that instrument been in all other respects the same, Mr. Sumner would never have excepted to that Constitution.’ G. Welles in the ‘Galaxy,’ April, 1872, p. 526.

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