Franklin Repository: June 27, 1866Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
(Column 7)Summary: The article details the findings contained in the report issued by the Committee on Reconstruction in Congress. As a result of the continued antipathy of white southerners toward the federal government, the authors of the report assert that the former rebel states "are not at present entitled to representation" in Congress and should not be granted such until they ratify amendments to protect the civil rights of the freedpeople and "fix a stigma upon treason."
Full Text of Article:
The detailed report of the Committee on Reconstruction has been made in each House of Congress. They set forth the reasons for the conclusions to which they come, reporting an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and the two bills with which the public are already familiar.
Speaking of the condition of the Confederate States at the close of the rebellion, the committee say:
These States were in utter exhaustion and without government. The President had no power except to execute the laws of the land as Chief Magistrate. The laws gave him no authority over the subject of reconstruction. By the Constitution he was commander in chief of the army and navy. It was his duty, under the laws of nations and the army regulations, to restore order, to preserve property and to protect the people against violence from any quarter, until provision shall be made for their government.
He might, as President, assemble Congress and submit the whole matter to the law-making power, or he might continue military supervision and control, until Congress should assemble on its regularly appointed day. As to the Governors appointed by the President, it could not be contended that they possessed or could exercise any but military authority: They had no power to organize civil governments, nor to exercise any authority except that which inhered in their own persons, under their commissions; neither had the President, as commander-in-chief, any other than military power; but he was in exclusive possession of the military authority.
It was for them to decide how far he could exercise it, how far he would relax it; when and on what terms he would withdraw it. He might, perhaps, permit the people to assemble and to initiate local governments and to execute such local laws as they might choose to form, not inconsistent with nor in opposition to the laws of the United States, and if satisfactory, they might safely be left to themselves. He might withdraw the military force altogether, and leave the people of any, or all of those States, to govern themselves without his interference.
The committee, after speaking of the origin and leading incidents of the war, say it was waged as a civil war of gigantic magnitude. It was necessarily subject to all the rules which by the laws of nations control a contest of that character, and to all the legitimate consequences following it. One of the consequences was this: Within the limits presented by humanity the conquered rebels were at the mercy of their conquerors. The committee did not deem it necessary or proper to discuss the question whether the late Confederate States are still States of this Union or can ever be otherwise. Grant this profitless abstraction about which so many words have been wasted, it by no means follows that the people of those States may not place themselves in a condition to abrogate the powers and privileges incident to a State of the Union, and deprive themselves of all pretense of right to exercise their power and enjoy their privileges.
The committee maintain no portion of the people of this country, whether in a State or Territory, have the right, while remaining on its soil, to withdraw from or reject the authority of the United States. They say it is quite evident from all the facts, and indeed from the whole mass of testimony submitted by the President, that in no instance was any regard paid to any other consideration than obtaining immediate admission to Congress under the barren form of an election, in which no precautions were taken to secure regularity of the proceedings, or the assent of the people.
No Constitution has been legally adopted except, perhaps, in the State of Tennessee, and such elections as were held were without authority of law. The committee are accordingly forced to the conclusion that the States referred to have not placed themselves in a condition to claim representation in Congress, unless all the rules which have, since the foundation of the Government, been deemed essential in such cases, shall be disregarded. The committee then review, at length, the condition and feeling of the Southern people, saying, among other things, the latter claim as a right the privilege of participating at once in the Government which for four years they sought to overthrow, while their press abounds in abuse of the loyal States, and efforts are made to perpetuate the deadly hate and discord between the two sections, and excite hostility against the Federal Union.
The report, which is a long one, concludes as follows, which may be regarded as a summary of the whole case:
"The evidence of an intense hostility to the Federal Union, and an equally intense love of the late Confederacy, nurtured by the war, is decisive. While it appears that nearly all are willing to submit at least for the time being, to Federal authority, it is equally clear that the ruling motive is a desire to obtain the advantage which will be derived from a representation in Congress. Officers of the Union army on duty, and Northern men who go South to engage in business, are generally detested and proscribed. Southern men, who adhere to the Union, are bitterly hated and relentlessly persecuted. In some localities prosecutions have been instituted in State Courts against Union officers for acts done in the line of official duty, and similar prosecutions are threatened elsewhere as soon as the United States troops are removed.
All such demonstrations show a state of feeling against which it is unmistakably necessary to guard. The testimony is conclusive that after the collapse of the Confederacy the feeling of the people of the rebellious States was that of abject submission. Having appealed to the tribunal of arms, they had no hope except that by the magnanimity of their conquerors, their lives and possibly their property might be preserved. Unfortunately, the general issue of pardons to persons who had been prominent in the rebellion, and the feeling of kindliness and conciliation manifested by the Executive, and very generally indicated throughout the Northern press, had the effect to render whole communities forgetful of the crime they had committed.
Defiant towards the Federal Government and regardless of their duties as citizens, the conciliatory measures of the Government do not seem to have been met, even half way. The bitterness and defiance exhibited towards the United States under such circumstances is without a parallel in the history of the world. In return for our leniency, we receive only an insulting denial of our authority. In return for our kind desire for the resumption of fraternal relations, we receive only an insolent assumption of rights and privileges long since forfeited. The crime we have punished is paraded as a virtue, and the principles of republican government, which we have vindicated at so terrible a cost, are denounced as unjust and oppressive.
If we add to this evidence the fact that although peace has been declared by the President, he has not to this day deemed it safe to restore the writ of habeas corpus, to relieve the insurrectionary States of martial law, nor to withdraw the troops from many localities, and that the commanding general deems an increase of the army indispensable to the preservation of order and the protection of loyal and well disposed people in the South, the proof of a condition of feeling hostile to the Union and dangerous to the Government throughout the insurrectionary States would seem to be alarming.
We now propose to restate as briefly as possible the several facts and principles applicable to all the States recently in rebellion.
First--The seats of Senators and Representatives from the so-called Confederate States became vacant in the year 1861, during the second session of the Thirty-sixth Congress, by the voluntary withdrawal of their incumbents, with the sanction and by the direction of their respective States.
This was done as a hostile act against the Constitution and Government of the United States, with a declared intent to overthrow the same by forming a Southern Confederation. This act of declared hostility was speedily followed by an organization of the same States with a confederacy which lived and waged war by sea and land against the United States. This war continued more than four years, within which period the rebel armies besieged the National Capital, invaded the loyal States, burned their towns and cities, robbed their citizens, destroyed more than two hundred and fifty thousand loyal soldiers, and imposed an increased national burden of not less than $3,500,000,000, of which seven or eight hundred millions have already been met and paid. From the time these Confederate States thus withdrew from their representation in Congress, and levied war against the United States, the great mass of their people became and were insurgents, traitors, and all of them assumed and occupied the political, legal and practical relation of enemies of the United States. This position is established by acts of Congress and judicial decisions, and is recognized repeatedly by the President in public proclamations, documents and speeches.
Second--The States thus confederated prosecuted their war against the United States to final arbitrament, and did not cease until all their armies were captured, their military power destroyed, their civil officers, State and Confederate, taken prisoners or put to flight, every vestige of State and Confederate Government obliterated, their territory overrun and occupied by the Federal armies, and their people reduced to the condition of enemies conquered in war, entitled only by public law to such rights, privileges and conditions as might be vouchsafed by the conqueror. This position is also established by judicial decisions, and is recognized by the President in public proclamations, documents, and speeches.
Third--Having voluntarily deprived themselves of representation in Congress, for the criminal purpose of destroying the Federal Union, and having reduced themselves, by the act of levying war, to the condition of public enemies, they have no right to complain of temporary exclusion from Congress; but, on the contrary, having voluntarily renounced their right to representation, and disqualified themselves by crime from participating in the Government, the burden now rests upon them, before claiming to be reinstated in their former conditions to show that they are qualified to resume Federal relations. In order to do this they must prove that they have established, with the consent of the people, republican forms of government, in harmony with the Constitution and laws of the United States; that old hostile purposes have ceased, and should give adequate guarantees against future treason and rebellion, which will prove satisfactory to the Government against which they rebelled and by whose arms they were subdued.
Fourth--Having by this treasonable withdrawal from Congress, and by flagrant rebellion and war, forfeited all civil and political rights and privileges under the Federal Constitution, they can only be restored thereto by the permission and authority of that constitutional power against which they rebelled, and by which they were subdued.
Fifth--These rebellious armies were conquered by the people of the United States, acting through all the co-ordinate branches of the Government, and not by the Executive department alone. The powers of Congress are not so vested in the President that he can fix and regulate the terms of settlement and confer Congressional representation upon conquered rebels and traitors, nor can he in any way qualify enemies of the Government to exercise its law-making power. The authority to restore rebels to political power in the Federal Government can be exercised only with the concurrence of all the departments in which political power is vested, and hence the several proclamations of the President to the people of the Confederate States cannot be considered as extending beyond the purposes declared, and can only be regarded as provisional permission by the Commander-in-Chief of the army to do certain acts, the validity whereof is to be determined by the Constitutional Government, and not solely by the executive power.
Sixth--The question before Congress is, then, whether conquered enemies have the right, and shall be permitted, at their own pleasure, and on their own terms, to participate in making laws for their conquerors; whether conquered rebels may change their theatre of operations from the battle field, where they were defeated and overthrown, to the halls of Congress, and their representatives seize the Government which they sought to destroy; whether the National Treasury, the army of the nation, its navy, its forts and arsenals, its whole civil administrations, its credits, its pensioners, the widows and orphans of those who perished in the war, the public honor, peace and safety, shall all be turned over to the keeping of its recent enemies without delay and without imposing such conditions as in the opinion of Congress the security of the country and its institutions may demand.
Seventh--The history of mankind exhibits no example of such madness and folly. The instinct of self-preservation protests against it. The surrender by Grant to Lee, and by Sherman to Johnston, would have been disasters of less magnitude; for new armies could have been raised, new battles fought, and the Government saved. The anti-coercive policy which, under the pretense of avoiding blood-shed, allowed the rebellion to take form and gather force, would be surpassed in infamy by the matchless wickedness that would now surrender the halls of Congress to those so recently in rebellion until proper precautions shall have been taken to secure the National faith and the National safety.
Eighth--It has been shown in this report and in the evidence submitted no proof has been afforded to Congress of a constituency in any of the so-called Confederate States, unless we except the State of Tennessee, qualified to elect Senators and Representatives in Congress. No State Constitution or amendment to a State Constitution has had the sanction of the people. All the so-called legislation of the State Conventions and Legislatures has been had under military dictation. If the President may at his will and under his own authority, whether as military commander or chief executive, qualify persons to appoint Senators and elect Representatives, and empower others to appoint and elect them, he thereby practically controls the organization of the legislative department. The constitutional forms of Government are, therefore, practically destroyed, and its powers absorbed in the Executive, and while your committee do not for a moment impute to the President any such design, but cheerfully concede to him the most patriotic motives, they cannot but look with alarm upon a precedent so fraught with danger to the Republic.
Ninth--The necessity of providing adequate safeguards for the future, before restoring the insurrectionary States to a participation in the direction of public affairs, is apparent from the bitter hostility to the Government and people of the United States yet existing throughout the conquered territory, as proved incontestably by the testimony of so many witnesses, and by undisputed facts.
Tenth--The conclusion of your committee, therefore, is that the so-called Confederate States are not at present entitled to representation in the Congress of the United States, and that before allowing such representation adequate security for future peace and safety should be required; that this can only be found in such changes of the organic law as shall determine the civil rights and privileges of the citizens in all parts of the Republic; shall place representation on an equal basis, shall fix a stigma upon treason, and protect the loyal people against future claims for the expenses incurred in support of the rebellion and for manumitted slaves; together with an express grant of power in Congress to enforce these provisions. To this end they offer a joint resolution for amending the Constitution of the United States, and the two several bills designed to carry the same into effect before referred to.
Before closing this report, your committee beg leave to state that the specific recommendations submitted by them are the result of concession, after a long and careful comparison of conflicting opinions. Upon a question of such magnitude, infinitely important as it is to the future of the Republic, it was not to be expected that all should think alike. Sensible of the imperfections of the scheme, your committee submit to Congress, as the best they could agree upon, in the hope that its imperfections may be cured and its deficiencies supplied by legislative wisdom, and that, when finally adopted, it may tend to restore peace and harmony to the whole country and to place our republican institutions on a more stable foundation.
The report is signed by Messrs. W.P. Fessenden, James W. Grimes, Ira Harris, J. M. Howard, George H. Williams, Thaddeus Stevens, Justin S. Morrill, John A. Bingham, Roscoe Conkling, George S. Boutwell.
The dissentients are Senator Johnson and Representatives Grider and Rodgers.
The Status of Deserters
(Column 1)Summary: The editors offer "regret" and muted criticism of the decision handed down by the state supreme court in the Huber vs. Reilly case, which determined that deserters cannot be denied their vote without having first been prosecuted and convicted for their crime.
Full Text of Article:[No Title]
A telegraph dispatch from Harrisburg announces that the Supreme Court of this State, now sitting in Wilkesbarre, delivered the decision of the court last week in the case of Huber vs. Reilly, by which the hopes of the loyal people that desertion would be punished in some measure commensurate with its merits, are disappointed. We have not been able to get the opinion of the court to ascertain just what has been decided, and on what grounds the decision has been made; but the dispatch states that, while the court does not argue the question of the constitutionality of the law of Congress, it is nevertheless decided by a majority of the judges--Justices Read and Agnew dissenting--that election boards cannot reject a man's vote until he has been tried and convicted as a deserter. If so, the court must have held that the act of Congress disfranchising deserters does so without "due process of law," and whatever may be the language of the court, it practically sets aside a solemn enactment of the national legislature, on the ground that it conflicts with some provision of the constitution.
Practically this decision is a universal amnesty to all who, in the hour of the nation's peril, denied the government the service it was compelled to demand of its citizens upon entire equality in point of civil rights, with the faithful men who rescued their nationality from the deadly grasp of treason. If it shall stand the test of the Supreme Court of the United States--where the question must ultimately be carried--then is the skulking deserter able to defy the penalties imposed by the authority he has insolently disregarded, and his citizenship is unimpaired, notwithstanding he refused the allegiance he owes to the government that protects him and his family in their civil, religious and social rights.
To say that deserters may be disfranchised after trail and conviction is to surrender the whole question and proclaim every deserter pardoned. By the conscription law Mr. Reilly was in the military service as soon as he was drafted, and subject to the rules and articles of war, and yet the Court of Pennsylvania assumes to limit and nullify them. He must be tried and convicted, but how? If the articles of war should come in conflict with the sovereignty of Pennsylvania, his trial, according to the recent decision, would be illegal. If the civil tribunals should undertake to try and convict Mr. Reilly, the same court would set aside the proceedings because he was in the military service and his offence is not cognizable in the civil courts; and if military tribunals should be ordered to try the deserters, we should most likely next be judicially informed that the war is over, the army is discharged, and citizens can no longer be tried by court-martial. Viewed in any aspect the case can be presented, we must accept the conclusion that practical decision is that deserters cannot be disfranchised or punished.
It is true that we have an act of the last legislature imposing penalties upon election officers for accepting such votes, and also upon deserters for offering their votes; and that law, being as yet unquestioned judicially, is the law of the State; but the recent decision of course declares in advance, that the act of the State will be set aside as soon as the Supreme Court can get a chance to do so.
We presume that the effect of the decision in our political struggles will not be material. On the one side there is an act of Congress and an act of the legislature, and on the other side a decision of a divided State Court, and it is probable that deserters will be disfranchised in some districts and vote in others, as heretofore. While there is a palpable conflict of authority upon a question so vital, and justice pleads on the one side against perfidy shielded by legal technicalities on the other side, uniformity of practice under the law cannot be attained. The people of Pennsylvania, as a rule, are proverbially law-abiding, and they will cheerfully yield their convictions and their sense of justice to the final adjudication of any question. We regret this decision, therefore, not only because we believe it to be wrong in point of law, but especially because it defeats the harmonious action we fondly hoped to see between the States and the Nation in the punishment of the crime of desertion.
(Column 2)Summary: The article assails the Bedford Gazette for its attack on the congressional act disfranchising deserters and questions how "any man in that section, who respects the law and loves his nationality, can follow such political teachings."
Origin of Article: Bedford GazetteEditorial Comment: "The skulking deserters who did all to aid the rebels that they could without exposing themselves to danger, have a stout defender in the Bedford Gazette. Speaking of the act of Congress disfranshising them, it says:"[No Title]
(Column 3)Summary: It is reported that the President has approved a bill granting bounties to black soldiers, and pensions, bounties and allowances to their heirs.Speech of Mr. Stevens
(Column 7)Summary: A copy of Thaddeus Stevens's June 13th speech before Congress, which the editors describe as "one of the most pointed and eloquent efforts of his life." His words, they aver, "will sink deep into the hearts of the loyal people." In his address, Stevens remarked upon the merits of the proposed amendments, suggesting that, though he was pleased with the intent of the measures, he was not completely satisfied with them.A Lame Duck Veto
(Column 8)Summary: A copy of President Johnson's veto of the constitutional amendments. The basis of his rejection is his belief that no measure should be proposed until the representatives of the former rebel states are admitted to Congress.Disfranchisement of Deserters
(Column 8)Summary: A copy of the dissenting opinion filed by Justice John Read in the Huber vs. Reilly case, which struck down the provision of the congressional act denying deserters suffrage rights.
Full Text of Article:
Justice John M. Read has filed the following dissenting opinion in the case of Huber vs. Reily:
Benjamin Huber vs. Henry Reily. Supreme Court. Middle district. Error to the Common Plea of Franklin county.
READ, J.--This court have declared the act of Congress of March 3, 1863, for "enrolling and calling out the national forces and for other purposes" to be constitutional. For similar reasons to those assigned for our decision, I consider the act of Congress of the 24th February, 1864, to amend said act--the act of July 4, 1864, "further to regulate and provide for the enrolling and calling out the national forces and for other purposes"--and the "act to amend the several acts heretofore calling out the national forces and for other purposes," passed March 3, 1865, to be constitutional--and necessary and proper exercises of the power of Congress to put down a rebellion which, if it had proved successful, would have split this great and powerful Union into a dozen insignificant confederacies.
I regard the 21st section of the last-named act as clearly constitutional, for the right to punish with death involves the right to impose inferior punishments and disabilities not expressly prohibited by the Constitution of the United States. A deserter coming within this section forfeits his right of citizenship and his right to become a citizen of the United States.
The facts stated in the case before us and admitted, show that the plaintiff had never taken advantage of the proclamation of the President, and was a deserter, and therefore not a citizen of the United States. The case therefore is one of a person acknowledged not to be a citizen of the United States offering to vote, and his vote is refused; can he sustain an action for this rejection against the election officers?
The Constitution of Pennsylvania, as a qualification for an elector, requires in addition to residence, that he should be a citizen of the United States; and with this admitted fact can it be said that the defendant was bound to take an illegal vote prohibited by our fundamental law?--The act of Congress does not touch the right of suffrage--the prohibition originates with our own Constitution, which prevents aliens, strangers, and all persons not citizens of the United States from voting.
I entertain, therefore, no doubt that the vote of Mr. Reily was properly rejected; but owing to the difficulties of deciding such questions at polls, where facts are disputed, I am glad to find that the Legislature have passed an act providing for the proper evidence in such cases.
I must express my deep regret that the learned counsel of the plaintiff, a gentleman of the most estimable character, has permitted himself in his printed brief to make use of language in relation to this act, and to the Congress of the United States, not called for by the occasion or justified by the conduct of the Supreme Legislative body of the American nation.
I would reverse this judgment.
(Column 2)Summary: On the west side of South Main Street, which, with the exception of the old Franklin Hotel, was totally destroyed by fire, new homes and businesses have appeared. The task should be completed by summer.Local Items--New Five Cent Coin
(Names in announcement: George Ludwig, Leonard Ebbert, Dr. Richards, Mrs. Gilmore, J. Allison Eyster)
(Column 2)Summary: Announces that the new five-cent coin, composed of nickel and silver, will begin circulating soon.Local Items--The Firemen's Parade
(Column 2)Summary: For the July 4th celebration in Chambersburg, local fire companies will hold a parade with their members sporting their full regalia and displaying their newest apparatus.Local Items--Discharged
(Names in announcement: Adam Kissecker, R. M. Reynolds, Isaac Stine, J. S. Senseny, John Miller, V. P. Monyer, Dr. J. L. Suesserott, David L. Taylor, Lewis Shoemaker, Dr. A. H. Senseny, John W. Dittman, G. Brewer, J. L. Dechert)
(Column 3)Summary: It is reported that Rev. McElwee, formerly of Chambersburg, was recently arrested in Philadelphia and charged with embezzlement. McElwee was alleged to have appropriated money from his church, funds that were collected for charitable purposes. When the case came up last week, however, McElwee was discharged without trial after the district attorney examined the testimony and deemed that the defendant's only offence was an "error of judgement in supposing he had a right to exercise a discretion in the distribution of the fund."Local Items--Beware of Paper Collars
(Column 3)Summary: Reports are circulating that enamelled paper collars, the latest in men's fashions, are causing serious ailments, such as boils on the necks of the men wearing them.Local Items--Death of an Old Citizen
(Column 3)Summary: Rudolph Keagy, "an aged and respectable citizen," died at his residence in Quincy township on June 17th. Keagy was a veteran of the War of 1812 and fought in the defence of Baltimore.Local Items--Sad Affair
(Names in announcement: Rudolph Keagy)
(Column 3)Summary: Rev. J. F. Oller's daughter died last Monday after receiving a quarter grain of Morphia, which had been prepared for her elder sister. The mistake, which proved fatal, was not discovered until six hours later, well after the period of time that a doctor could have done anything to save the girl.Local Items--Legal Intelligence
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. F. Oller)
(Column 3)Summary: Notes that the state supreme court has affirmed the decisions handed down by Judge King in the cases of Huber vs. Reilly, Stenger vs. Roman, and McClure vs. Roman.Local Items--The Second Street Bridge
(Column 3)Summary: The Town Council has approved a measure to remove the "old Stone bridge" on Second Street so that it can be replaced by an iron frame structure. The contract for the new bridge was awarded to T. B. Wood.Local Items--Counterfeits
(Names in announcement: T. B. Wood)
(Column 3)Summary: Cautions readers that 28 new counterfeits have recently surfaced in the past month.
Origin of Article: Petersburg DetectorMarried
(Column 3)Summary: On May 31st, Daniel Smith and Margaret Ellen McClure were married by Rev. William West.Died
(Names in announcement: Daniel Smith, Margaret Ellen McClure, Rev. William West)
(Column 3)Summary: On May 31st, William Biggs, Sr., 83, died.Died
(Names in announcement: William BiggsSr.)
(Column 3)Summary: On June 8th, Mary E. Smith, 23, died.Died
(Names in announcement: Mary E. Smith)
(Column 3)Summary: On May 30th, Clara, daughter of Simon S. and Mary Jane Piper, died in Amberson's Valley. She was 2 years old.Died
(Names in announcement: Clara Piper, Simon S. Piper, Mary Jane Piper)
(Column 3)Summary: On June 8th, Anna Margaret, infant daughter of James R. and Margaret Culbertson, died in Amberson's Valley. She was 1 month old.Died
(Names in announcement: Anna Margaret Culbertson, James R. Culbertson, Margaret Culbertson)
(Column 3)Summary: On June 4th, James B. Worthington, 39, died at Dry Run.
(Names in announcement: James B. Worthington)
Description of Page: This page contains advertisements.