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Doc. 27.-the case of Jesse D. Bright.

On the sixteenth of December, 1861, Mr. Wilkinson, of Minnesota, introduced into the Senate of the United States, the following resolution:

Whereas, Hon. Jesse D. Bright, heretofore, on the first day of March, 1861, wrote a letter, of which the following is a copy:

Washington, March 1, 1861.
my dear sir: Allow me to introduce, to your acquaintance, my friend Thomas B. Lincoln, of Texas. He visits your capital mainly to dispose of what he regards a great improvement in firearms. I recommend him to your favorable consideration, as a gentleman of the first respectability, and reliable in every respect.

Very truly, yours,

Jesse D. bright. To His Excellency Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederation of States.

And, whereas, we believe the said letter is evidence of disloyalty to the United States, and is calculated to give aid and comfort to the public enemies, therefore,

Be it resolved, That the said Jesse D. Bright is expelled from his seat in the Senate of the United States.

This resolution was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The members of this Committee are: Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, Chairman; Mr. Foster, of Connecticut; Mr. Ten Eyck, of New-Jersey; Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania; Mr. Harris, of New-York; Mr. Bayard, of Delaware; and Mr. Powell, of Kentucky.

In addition to the letter embodied in the resolution of Mr. Wilkinson, two other letters of Mr. Bright's got before the Committee, though informally, and figured, more or less, in the final debate. One of these letters is as follows:

at my farm, September 7, 1861.
In reply to your favor of the twentieth, just received, I have to say that I have been, personally acquainted with Mr. Lincoln for more than twenty years, he having been at that time a prominent merchant of your city, where I was then residing, and was just entering on my career of life. He did me the favor to employ me as his attorney, and I generally attended to his legal business. The letter to which you refer is no doubt genuine. I have no recollection of writing it, but if Mr. Lincoln says I did, then I am entirely satisfied of the fact, for I am quite sure I would have given, as a matter of course, just such a letter of introduction to any friend who had asked it. So much for the letter.

You say the impression is sought to be created, on account of this letter, that I am in complicity with the Southern rebellion. I have so little regard, indeed such an utter contempt, for abolitionism, which is seeking, by every means in its power, to “crush out” every man who dares to dissent from the policy it prescribes, that, if it were merely to satisfy the corrupt partisans of that doctrine, I would not take the trouble of denying or attempting to counteract this impression. But for your sake, and the sake of such old tried friends as you, I think it due to myself to say that I am, and always have been, for preserving the integrity of this Union. I was laboring zealously for its preservation when these men, who are now so clamorous for its maintenance, were willing to “let it slide,” rather than abate one iota of their unconstitutional doctrine of inequality; and no man regrets more than I the present condition of public affairs, or is more anxious to see peace, unity, and fraternity restored. I do not think the policy of that party is calculat ed to produce such results; so far from it, the inevitable tendency of its measures, in my opinion, is to render the disruption permanent and incurable. And hence I have opposed, and, so long as my present convictions last, shall continue to oppose, the entire coercive policy of the Government. I hope this may be satisfactory to my friends.

For my enemies I care not.

Sincerely yours,

The other letter, addressed to a loyal gentleman who was, at one time, Superintendent of the Capitol Extension, is as follows:

Washington, June 27, 1860.
dear sir: I take pleasure in introducing to you an old and valued friend, Mr. Thomas B. Lincoln. He has a proposition to make you connected with a kind of machine he understands you are using in the public improvements under your control. I commend him to you as a reliable gentleman, in every sense of the word, and bespeak for him your kind consideration.

Truly yours,

On the case, as thus presented, the Committee of the Judiciary made the following report:

The Judiciary Committee, to which was referred the resolution to expel Hon. Jesse D. Bright from his seat in the United States Senate, respectfully report: [64]

That they are of opinion the facts charged against Mr. Bright are not sufficient to warrant his expulsion from the Senate, and they therefore recommend that the resolution do not pass.

After a protracted and able debate, the vote was taken, with the result which the telegraph has announced. The resolution was passed by a vote of thirty-two to fourteen, the majority being one and one third more than two thirds of the members present.

The Senators who voted against the resolution are: Bayard, of Delaware; Cowan, of Pennsylvania; Carlisle, of Virginia; Harris, of New-York; Kennedy, of Maryland; Latham, of California; Nesmith, of Oregon; Pearce, of Maryland; Powell, of Kentucky; Rice, of Minnesota; Saulsbury, of Delaware; Ten Eyck, of New-Jersey; Thomson, of New-Jersey; and Willey, of Virginia. Among these are five of the seven members of the Committee of the Judiciary; and two, Harris, of New-York, and Cowan, of Pennsylvania, are Republicans.

The debate was distinguished by signal ability on both sides. Undoubtedly the most complete speech in favor of the resolution was that of Mr. Sumner, of Massachusetts,, which, viewed as a clear, clean, and exhaustive argument on the case, as presented by the strict and simple record, has been seldom equalled before any tribunal. It was a masterpiece of forensic argumentation. Perhaps the finest speech against the resolution was that of Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, which was marked by singular dignity, cogency, and eloquence. Mr. Bright himself spoke as follows:

Mr. bright's speech.

He said, perhaps what he should say had better have been said weeks ago. He thanked the Judiciary Committee for the favorable report which had been made, though one of their number (Mr. Foster) had given way under unprecedented pressure. The reasons might be satisfactory to that member, but he doubted whether they would be to even-handed justice. His main object in speaking now was to place himself right on the page of history; if he could succeed in that, he would be content. He was amazed at the party spirit exhibited against him, and the numerous accusations brought against him. He might, with propriety, have asked for counsel; but, conscience having said that he had done, written, and voted for nothing inconsistent with his prerogative as an American Senator, he had not claimed that right, and he did not regret not doing so. He should not try to shield himself from partisan blows, but challenged investigation into all the acts of his political life. He had been honored by the State of Indiana thrice by a seat in the Senate of the United States, and had been in the confidence of the Senate, and had received the highest honor they had given. He said this in answer to those who question his antecedents, and sought to prejudice him in the minds of his countrymen. He referred them to the letter he had written to Mr. Jefferson Davis, and to the character given him by Mr. Lincoln, who had known him for many years, and who always considered him a worthy man He contended that that letter was a simple letter of introduction, and its address had no intention to recognise the right of Mr. Davis to any title; it was only a mere courtesy, and only followed the example of others on the floor of the Senate. The Senator from Maine, in his assault on him, had said his address was like a courtier. If the Senator had known him better, he would have known that was not one of his faults. If he had been sycophantic, he might have got votes, but all he asked was for justice. When the letter was written, he did not believe there would be war. He referred to the President's Inaugural, the acts of the Post-Office Department, and the Secretary of State's despatches, to show, that on the first of March, it was not believed generally that there would be war. He did not believe there would be war till the fall of Sumter. After this there was war, and he should not have given the letter to Davis. He had not the most distant recollection of having written a letter to Davis or other letter of introduction to Capt. Franklin. It had been argued against him that he had said that he would do the same again. He would repeat it, and he meant it, that if he believed there was to be no war, he would give such a letter to an old friend. If he had had the least gleam of suspicion that there would be war, he should not have given the letter; but no one who listened to the debate here will suppose that the letter really has anything to do with the attack on him. But he was considered unfit to associate with such patriarchs in the country's service as the Senator from Massachusetts, (Sumner,) and the Senator from New-Hampshire, (Clark,) and even the Senator from Pennsylvania, (Wilmot,) and the Senator from Tennessee, (Johnson,) were afflicted by his presence here as not loyal enough for them. Oh! he must have degenerated in ten years. In 1850 he was appointed on a Committee with such men as Clay, Webster, Calhoun, Clayton, and used his humble efforts to maintain peace. He had ever voted for peace, and never given a sectional vote. Every impulse of my heart, and every tie that binds me to earth, is interwoven with the form of Government under which we live, and to which I acknowledge my allegiance, and I will yield to no man in my attachment to it. Few men of my years have enjoyed more of her glorious advantages, and none have felt more grateful for them; and, though I have been assailed with all the fury of party spirit, and my character unjustly aspersed, and my loyalty and devotion questioned, this shall not alienate me from the faith of my life, or lessen the deep obligation I feel. I have devoted the humble energies of my life to the support of the Government under which we live, and which I would not exchange for any other on earth.

This may be the only opportunity I shall have of expressing my gratitude to the members of the Committee, who have, from that innate sense of justice that always governs the best judge, stood [65] by the report, and, rising above the storm of passion that seems to control the hour, resolutely maintained that attitude. They have done me all justice, and if my antecedents as a private citizen and a public servant have not proved a shield against criticism, and are not a sufficient guaranty, I give to them the pledge of an honest heart that my future life, wherever fortune may place me, shall give them no occasion to regret this act of justice to me and those whose destinies are interwoven with mine. I am not informed as to the opinion of Senators, except as they have declared them in debate. I have approached no Senator to learn his views. I have had no outside friends to solicit the aid of the public Press, with which to manufacture public opinion in my favor. Conscious of the purity of my intentions and purposes in all that relates to the support of the Government to which I owe allegiance, I had a right to suppose that my peers would rise above the behests of party, and look on this transaction in its true light. But this is a matter that I cannot and have not attempted to control. If the Senate has been polled, and, as I see it stated in some of the papers, it is a foregone conclusion that go I must, I say to my friends and my enemies that I will lose no time in putting myself on trial again before a tribunal whose judgment I have ever found just, and who, I am sure, will give me all the benefits resulting from an acquaintance of forty years and upward with a service which entitles them to judge whether I am a loyal or a disloyal subject-whether I have been a faithful or unfaithful representative of their rights in the many and varied duties which they have intrusted to me to perform. I will go forth with my record in one hand and the record of those who sent me here in the other, and will submit to the people of the State of Indiana the question of right or wrong in this case. I will go with the platform of principles laid down by that party I have acted with through life, and in the name of those principles, and in the name of the Constitution that I have ever tried to support, in letter and in spirit, I will ask a fair and impartial hearing. This, and this only, is the tribunal with which I intend to be content. Mr. Bright then referred to the question of the Senator from Virginia, ( Mr. Willey,) asking him to define the letter of September to the Senator. I will say that I have had but one countersign since I have been on duty here, and that has been — peace, peace, peace. War never, never, never, as a remedy for any supposed grievance. But how different was the tone of the speech of the honorable Senator from Tennessee, (Mr. Johnson.) Causes of complaint I know he has, and I sympathize with him in his afflictions. Would I had the power to lift the load of sorrow that has bowed him and tens of thousands of others to the earth. Point out the road that leads to peace, with the restoration of the Union, making ours one government, with one flag, not a star effaced, and I will travel it with him as long as there is one gleam of light to guide us. And, sir, forgetting and forgiving, I would even consent to take as travelling companions, the Senators from Massachusetts, New-Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, with all their heresies. The Senator from Tennessee has done one great injustice. Smarting under blows inflicted by the conduct of those he called a close corporation when here, he points to my association with them, forgetting, at the same time, his own. History, facts. and living witnesses, repel this absurd and unfounded accusation. The honorable Senator from Maryland, (Mr. Kennedy,) moved by a sense of justice to arrive at the truth, vindicates history in his late speech on some of these points. He well recollects the appeals made by himself, myself, and other Senators, some of whom I still see here, to Southern Senators to remain in their seats and give the incoming Administration a trial. The Senator from Tennessee knows I had no part or lot in any movement having for its object the disruption of this land. In replying to the request of the Senator from Virginia I do not want to be considered as seeking votes or any change of opinions. I said on a former occasion, my opinions were fixed. In the execution of details connected with the administration of government affairs, I have always endeavored to conform my action to the policy of those in charge of the Government. So under this Administration; when differing from them I have said so in a becoming manner, I trust. I have been opposed to the principle of coercion. I believe, in the language of the present Secretary of State, that this Federal system is, of all forms of government, the most unfitted for this labor of coercion. Coercion is war, and war, in the language of the late Senator from Illinois, (Mr. Douglas,) is disunion. But when hostilities commenced against Fort Sumter an entirely new feature presented itself. This act, followed by the proclamation of the President, was war. While my principles in regard to coercion remain unchanged, and while I doubt whether the line of policy of the last Administration, as well as the present, was the best with regard to affairs at Charleston, yet I never hesitated in my duty to my own Government, which was to sustain it in all its efforts to fully enforce obedience to the laws of the United States, within all constitutional limits. Mr. President, I have said all I proposed saying on this occasion; yet I wish to add a few words more. I will inquire, who is it that is asking for my expulsion? My record as a public man is before the country, and particularly before my constituents. The party that have so often honored me with a seat on this floor have lately adjourned one of the largest Conventions ever held in the State. Did they desire my expulsion on the ground that I was disloyal, or on the ground that I was not a faithful representative of their interests? Has any part of that great army from that State expressed any such desire? Have you had any petitions for my removal? Barely one, I believe. I do not understand that my constituency are asking my expulsion, and I want that fact understood. before the country, that I am to be expelled because [66] of my political antecedents. That fact cannot be disguised. I make no complaint. I do not feel that my personal rights are involved in this controversy, and when this blow comes, as the honorable Senator from New-York has announced it will come, I, sir, shall wrap my robes about me and take it. Let it come. I may fall as the gallant — the brave — the chivalric — the classic — the learned Senator from Massachusetts said I might fall — into the bastile. That is a matter I cannot control. That is in the hands of those who have the power, if it is their pleasure, in connection with this wrong, to inflict still another. Let the blow come; but, if my own volition continues, I will fall back into the arms of the people — the ever just people of the State of Indiana. I will ask them, sir, to vindicate the truth of history, by showing to the world that this partisan blow, levelled at my head, is not merited. I regret that I should have been betrayed into a word on this occasion. It has not been done in the belief of controlling or influencing a vote, but to give a plain narrative of facts, that the unprejudiced masses may have the true facts of the case, and on them base their judgment.

rebel opinions of the expulsion.

The expulsion of Mr. Bright from the Federal Senate, is another insult put upon the Northwest by rabid and fanatical New-England. The pretext on which this expulsion was based is the shallowest that could have been conceived. It is puerile, and unworthy even of the contemptible cabal which employed it for their purposes. Mr. Bright is the representative of the conservative feeling of the Northwest. His presence in the Senate was a standing rebuke of the excesses of the times; was a continual protest against the violence perpetrated on Northwestern interests by the domineering and destructive fanaticism of New-England. His expulsion is another wrench of the Puritan screw upon his subjugated and persecuted section. New-England declares to the Northwest, by this vote, that she shall not think in conflict with herself; that she will delve into the private correspondence of her leading citizens in pursuit of her determination to crush out independent Western thought.

Representatives from the Northwest voted for the expulsion; but in every case they were Puritan emissaries from New-England, sent forth into that country as the instruments of its enthralment. The Northwest, it seems, is not to have a thought or a policy of her own. In all respects and in all measures is she to show herself the convenient tool of New-England. She is to go into a war ruinous to her special interests, in support of the dogmas of her superior. She is to furnish the troops for the armies, and to pay the burden of the taxes necessary to support the war. She is by her own troops to blockade her own intercourse with the South, her best customer, and her nearest neighbor and friend. She is to do all without a murmur or a protest. Her citizens are not to speak a word or write a line in public or private correspondence, even in indirect collision with the measures of the ruling section. If they do, though they be representatives of sovereign States, and sit as ambassadors in the Federal Capitol, they are to be expelled ignominiously and sent home as traitors to the Union--that is to say, to the truculent policy of New-England.

It remains to be seen whether the Northwest will submit to this last indignity. The chances are that she will. The spell by which New-England seems to have subdued her, apparently grows more potential every day. It was the appropriate duty of the Northwest-and it was within her power to preserve the Union--but she yielded to New-England, and the Union was lost. It was then her duty to mitigate the evils of war, and to assume the part of peace-maker between the sections. That honorable office she declined; and she furnishes all the fighting regiments for the war. For her pains, she is now rewarded with indignity. A large proportion of her population entertain conservative opinions with regard to the present troubles, and condemn the madness which rules the hour. Mr. Bright was the exponent of this phase of Northwestern sentiment in the Federal Senate; and he is expelled as a traitor. The indignity is great, and the insult most gross; but the chances are that the Northwest will submit.

Richmond Examiner, February 11.

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