Staunton Vindicator: February 16, 1866Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
The President and a Colored Deputation--Interesting Exposition of the President's Views
(Column 04)Summary: A transcript of a meeting between Preident Johnson and a delegation of "colored representatives" led by Frederick Douglass and George Downing. Johnson expresses his opposition to extending suffrage and encourages blacks to emigrate from the South, suggesting that the alternative is a war between the races. Douglass contends that if the black man in the South is made a voter "he will raise up a party among the poor, who will rally with him."
Origin of Article: National IntelligencerFull Text of Article:
Yesterday afternoon the delegation of colored representatives from different States of the country, now in Washington to urge the interests of the colored people before the Government, had an interview with the President. The delegation was made up as follows: Fred. Douglas, New York; George T. Downing, representing the New England States; Lewis H. Douglas (son of Fred. Douglass), and William E. Matthews, of Maryland; John Jones, of Illinois; John F. Cook, of the District of Columbia; A. J. Raynier, of South Carolina; Jos. E. Oates, of Florida; A. W. Ross, of Mississippi; William Ripper, of Pennsylvania; John M. Brown and Alexander Dunlop, of Virginia; and Calvin Pepper (white), of Virginia.
The President shook hands kindly with each of the delegation. ADDRESS OF GEORGE T. DOWNING.
Mr. George T. Downing then addressed the President as follows:
We present ourselves to your Excellency to make known with pleasure the respect which we are glad to cherish for you-a respect which is your due as our Chief Magistrate. It is our desire for you to know that we come, feeling that we are friends meeting a friend. We should, however, have manifested our friendship by not coming to further tax your already much burdened and valuable time; but we have another object in calling. We are in a passage to equality before the law. God hat made it by opening a Red Sea. We would have your assistance throug the same. We come to you in the name of the United States, and are delegated to come by some who have unjustly worn iron manacles on their bodies-by some whose minds have been manacled by class legislation in States called free. The colored people of the States of Illinois, Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New England States, and District of Columbia, have specially delegated us to come.
Our coming is a marked circumstance, noting determined hope that we are not satisfied with an amendment prohibiting slavery, but that we wish it enforced with appropriate legislation. This is our desire. We ask for it intelligently, with the knowledge and conviction that the fathers of the Revolution intended freedom for every American-that they should be protected in their rights as citizens and equal before the law. We are Americans, native-born Americans. We are citizens, we are glad to have it known to the world, as bearing no doubtful record on this point. On his fact, and with confidence in the triumph of justice, we base our hope.-We see no recognition of color or race in the organic law of the eland. It knows no privileged class, and therefore we cherish the hope that we may be fully enfranchised, not only here in this District, but throughout the land. We respectfully submit that rendering anything less than this will be rendering to us less than our just due; that granting anything less than our full rights will be a disregard of our just rights, of due respect of our feelings. If the powers that be do so it will be used as a license, as it were , or an apology for any community, or for individuals thus disposed, to outrage our feelings.-It has been shown in the present war that the Government may justly reach the strong arm into States and demand from them, from those who owe it allegiance, their assistance and support. May it not reach out a like arm to secure and protect its subjects upon whom it has a claim?
ADDRESS OF FRED. DOUGLAS.
Following upon Mr. Downing, Mr. Fred. Douglass advanced and addressed the President saying:
Mr. President: We are not here to enlighten you, sir, as to your duties as Chief Magistrate of this Republic, but to show our respect, and to present in brief the claims of our race to your favorable consideration. In the order of Divine Providence you are placed in a position where you have the power to save or destroy us; to bless or blast us-I mean our whole race. Your noble and humane predecessor placed in our hands the sword to assist in saving the nation, and we do hope that you, his able successor, will favorably regard the placing in our hands the ballot with which to save ourselves.
We shall submit no argument on that point. The fact that we are the subjects of Government, and subject to taxation, subject to volunteer in the service of the country, subject to being drafted, subject to bear the burdens of the State, makes it not improper that we should share in the privileges of this condition.
I have no speech to make on this occasion. I simply submit these observations as a limited expression of the views and feelings of the delegation with which I have come.
RESPONSE OF THE PRESIDENT.
The President replied substantially as follows:
In reply to some of your inquiries-not to make a speech upon the subject, for it is always best to talk plainly and distinctly about such matters-I will say, that if I have not given evidence in my former course that I am the friend of humanity, and of that portion of it which constitutes the colored population, I can give no evidence here. Everything that I have had, both as regards life and property, has been periled in that cause, and I feel and think that I understand, (not to be egotistic) what should be the true direction of this question, and what course of policy would result in the amelioration and ultimate elevation, not only of the colored, but of the great mass of the people of the United States. I say that if I have not given evidence that I am the friend of humanity, and especially the friend of the colored man, in my past conduct, there is nothing that I can now do that would. I repeat, all that I possessed-life, liberty and property-have been risked in connection with that question, when I had every inducement held out to take the other course, by adopting which I would have accomplished perhaps all that the most ambitious might have desired. If I know myself, and the feelings of my own heart, they have been for the colored man. I have owned slaves and bought slaves, but I never sold one. I might say, however, that practically, so far as my connection with slaves has gone, I have been their slave instead of their being mine. Some have even followrd me here, while others are occupying and enjoying my property with my consent. For the colored race my means, my time, my all has been periled; and now at this late day, after giving evidence that is tangible, that is practical, I am free to say to you that I do not like to be arraigned by some who can get up handsomely rounded periods and deal in rhetoric, and talk about abstract ideas of liberty, who never periled life, liberty, or property. This kind of theoretical, hollow, unpractical friendship amounts to but very little. While I say that I am a friend of the colored man, I do not want to adopt a policy that I believe will end in a contest between the races, which if persisted in, will result in the extermination of one or the other, God forbid that I should be engaged in such a work!
Now, it is always best to talk about things practically, and in a common sense way. I have said, and I repeat it here, that if the colored man in the United States could find no other Moses, or any Moses that would be more able and efficient than myself, I would be his Moses to lead him from bondage to freedom; that I would pass him from a land where he lived in slavery to a land (if it were in our reach) of freedom. Yes, I would be willing to pass him through the Red Sea to the land of Promise-to the land of liberty; but I am not willing, under either circumstance, to adopt a policy which I believe will only result in the sacrifice of his life and the shedding of his blood. I think I know what I say. I feel what I say; and I feel well assured, that if the policy urged by some be persisted in, it will result in great injury to the white as well as to the colored man.-There is a great deal of talk about the sword in one hand accomplishing an end, and the ballot accomplishing another.
These things all do very well, and sometimes have forcible application. We talk about justice; we talk about right; we say that the white man has been in the wrong in keeping the black man in slavery as long as he has. That is all true. Again, we talk about the Declaration of Independence and equality before the law. You understand all that, an know how to appreciate it. But now, let us look each other in the face; let us go to the great mass of colored men throughout the slave States; let us see the condition in which they are at the present time-and it is bad enough we all know-and suppose by some magic touch you could say to every one, "You shall vote to-morrow," how much would that ameliorate their condition at this time?
Now, let us get closer to this subject, and talk about it. What relation have the colored man and the white man heretofore occupied in the South? I opposed slavery upon two grounds. First, it was a great monopoly, enabling those who controlled and owned it to constitute an aristocracy; enabling the few to derive great profits and rule the many with an iron rod, as it were. And that is one great objection to it in a government-its being a monopoly. I opposed to it secondly upon the abstract principle of slavery. Hence, in getting clear of a monopoly, we were getting clear of slavery at the same time. So you see there were two right ends attained in the accomplishment of the one.
Mr. Douglass-Mr. President, do you wish-
The President-I am not quite through yet. Slavery has been abolished; a great national guaranty has been given-one that cannot be revoked. I was getting at the relation that subsisted between the white man and the colored man. A very small proportion of with persons, compared with the whole number of such, owned the colored people of the South. I might instance the State of Tennessee in illustration. There were there twenty-seven non-slaveholders to one slaveholder, and yet the slave power controlled that State. Let us talk about this matter as it is. Although the colored man was in slavery there, and owned as property in the sense and in the language of that locality and of that community, yet, in comparing his condition and his position there with the non-slaveholder, he usually estimated his importance just in proportion to the number of slaves that his master owned, with the non-slaveholder.
Have you ever lived upon a plantation?
Mr. Douglass-I have, your Excellency.
The President-When you would look over and see a man who had a large family, struggling hard upon a poor piece of land, you thought a great deal less of him than you did of your own master?
Mr. Douglass-Not I.
The President-Well, I know such was the case with a large majority of you in those sections Where such is the case we know there is an enmity, we know there is a hate. The poor white man, on the other hand, was opposed to the slave and his master; for the colored man and his master combined and kept him in slavery, by depriving him of a fair participation in the labor and productions of the rich land of the country.
Don't you know that a colored man in going to hunt a master (as they call it) for the next year preferred hiring to a man who owned slaves rather than to one who did not? I know the fact, at all events. They did not consider it quite as respectable to hire to a man who did not own negroes as to one who did.
Mr. Douglass-Because he wouldn't be treated as well.
The President-Then that is another argument in favor of what I am going to say. It shows that the colored man appreciated the slave-owner more highly than he did the man who didn't own slaves. Hence the enmity between the colored man and the non-slave holders.
The white man was permitted to vote before government was derived from him. He is a part and parcel of the political machinery.
Now, by the rebellion or revolution-and when you come back to the objects of this war, you find that the abolition of slavery was not one of the objects; Congress and the President himself declared that it was waged on our part in order to suppress the rebellion-the abolition of slavery has come as an incident to the suppression of a great rebellion, and as an incident we should give it the proper direction.
The colored man went into this rebellion a slave; by the operation of the rebellion he came out a freeman-equal to a freeman in any other portion of the country. Then there is a great deal done for him on this point. The non-slaveholder who was forced into the rebellion, and was as loyal as those who lived beyond the limits of the State, was carried into it, and his property, and, in a number of instances, the lives of such were sacrificed, and he who has survived has come of it with nothing gained, but a great deal lost.
Now, upon a principle of justice, should they be placed in a condition different from what they were before? On the one hand, one has gained a great deal; on the other hand, one has lost a great deal, and, in a political point of view, scarcely stands where he did before.
Now, we are talking about where we are going to begin. We have got at the hate that existed between the two races. The query comes up, whether these two races situated as they were before, without preparation, without time for passion and excitement to be appeased, and without time for the slightest improvement-whether the one should be turned loose upon the other, and be thrown together at the ballotbox [CORRECT ballot box] with this enmity and hate existing between them.-The query arises, if, there, we don't commence a war of races. I think I understand this question; and especially is this the case when you force it upon a people without their consent.
You have spoken about government.-Where is power derived from? We say it is derived from the people- Let us take it so, and refer to the District of Columbia by way of illustration. Suppose, for instance, here, in this political community, which to a certain extent must have law, and putting it upon the broadest basis you can-take into consideration the relation which the white has heretofore borne to the colored race-is it proper to force upon this community, without their consent, the elective franchise without regard to color, making it universal?
Now, where do you begin? Government must have a controlling power; must have lodgment. For instance, suppose Congress should pass a law authorizing an election to be held at which all over twenty-one years of age, without regard to color, should be allowed to vote, and a majority should decide at such election that the elective franchise should not be universal: what would you do? Who would settle it? Do you deny that first great principle of the right of the people to govern themselves? Will you resort to arbitrary power, and say a majority of this people shall receive a state of things they are opposed to?
Mr. Douglas-That was said before the war.
The President-I am now talking about a principle, not what may have been said before the war.
Mr. Downing-Apply what you have said Mr. President, to South Carolina, for instance,
The President-Suppose you to go to South Carolina; suppose you go to Ohio.-That does not change the principle at all.-The query to which I have referred still presents itself when government is undergoing a fundamental change. Government commenced upon this principle; it has existed upon it; and you propose now to incorporate into it an element that did not exist before. I say the query arises in undertaking this thing, whether we have a right to make a change in regard to the elective franchise in Ohio, for instance; whether we shall not let the people in that State decide the matter for themselves.
Each community is better prepared to determine the depository of its political power than anybody else, and it is for the Legislature, for the people of Ohio to say who shall vote, and who not, for the Congress of the United States. I might go down to the ballot-box to-morrow and vote directly for universal suffrage, but if a great majority of the people said no, I should consider it would be tyrannical in me to attempt to force such upon them without their will. It is a fundamental tenet in my creed that the will of the people, when fairly expressed at the ballot-box, must be obeyed. Is there anything wrong and unfair in that?
Mr. Douglas (smiling)-A great deal wrong, Mr. President, with all respect.
The President-It is the people of the States that must for themselves determine this matter, I do not want to be engaged in a work that will commence a war of races, I want to begin the work of reparation; and the States, or the people in each community, if a man demeans himself well, and shows evidence that this new state of affairs will operate, will protect him in all his rights, and give him every possible advantage, when they become reconciled, socially and politically, to certain changes. Then will this new order of things work harmoniously; but forced upon the people before they are prepared for it, it will be resisted, and work inharmoniously. I feel a conviction that forcing this matter upon the people, upon the community, will result in the injury of both races, and the ruin of one or the other. God knows I have no desire but the good of the whole human race. I would it were so that all you advocate could be done in the twinkling of an eye; but it is not in the nature of things, and I do not assume or pretend to be wiser than Providence, or stronger than the laws of nature.
Let u snow seek to discover the laws governing this whole subject. There is a great law controlling it; let us endeavor to find out what that law is, and conform our action to it. All the details will then properly adjust themselves, and work out well in the end.
God knows that anything I can do I will do. In the mighty process by which the great end is to be reached, anything I can do to elevate the races, to soften and ameliorate their condition, I will do, and to be able to do so is the sincere desire of my heart.
I am glad to to have met you, and thank you for the compliment you have paid me.
Mr. Douglass-I have to return you our sincere thanks, Mr. President, for so kindly granting us this interview. We did not come here expecting to argue this question with your Excellency, but simply to state what were our views and wishes in the premises. If we were disposed to argue the question, and you would grant us permission, of course we would endeavor to controvert some of the positions you have assumed.
Mr. Downing-Mr. Douglass, I take it that the President, by his kind expressions and his very full treatment of the subject, must have contemplated some reply to the views which he has advanced, and in which we certainly do not concur-and I say this with due respect.
Mr. President-I thought you expected me to indicate to some extent what my views were on the subjects touched upon in your statement.
Mr. Downing-We are very happy indeed to have heard them.
Mr. Douglass-If the President will allow me. I would like to say one or two words in reply.
The President-All I have done is simply to indicate what my views are, as I suppose you expected me to, from your address.
Mr. Douglass-My own impression is, that the very thing that your Excellency would avoid in the Southern States can only be avoided by the very measure that we propose; and I would state to my brother delegates, that, because I perceive the President has taken strong ground in favor of a given policy, and distrusting my own ability to remove any of those impressions which he has expressed. I thought we had better end the interview with the expression of thanks. [Addressing the President.] But if your Excellency will be pleased to hear, I would like to say a word or two in regard to that one matter of the enfranchisement of the blacks as a means of preventing the very thing which your Excellency appears to apprehend-that is a conflict of races.
The President-I repeat, I merely wanted to indicate my views in reply to your address, and not to enter into any general controversy, as I could not well do so under the circumstances. Your statement was a very frank one, and I thought it was due to you to meet it in the same spirit.
Mr. Douglass-Thank you, sir.
The President-I think you will find, so far as the South is concerned, that if you will all inculcate there the idea in connection with the one you urge, that the colored people can live in advance in civilization to better advantage elsewhere than crowded together in the Southern States, it would be better for them.
Mr. Douglass-But the masters have the making of the laws, and we cannot get away from the plantations.
The President-What prevents you?
Mr. Douglass-We have not the simple right of locomotion through the Southern States now.
The President-Why not? The Government furnishes you with every facility.
Mr. Douglass-There are six days in the year that the negro is free in the South now, and his master then decides for him where he shall go, where he shall work, how much he shall work-in fact, he is divested of all political power. He is absolutely in the hands of those men.
The President-If the master now controls him in his action, would he not control him in his vote?
Mr. Douglass-Let the negro once understand he has an organic right to vote, and he will raise up a party in the Southern States among the poor, who will rally with him. There is this conflict that you speak of between the wealthy slaveholders and the poor man.
The President-You touch right upon the point there. There is this conflict, and hence I suggest emigration. If he cannot get employment in the South, he has it in his power to go where he can get it.
In parting, the President said that they were both desirous of accomplishing the same ends, but proposed to do so by following different roads.
Mr. Douglass, on turning to leave, remarked to his fellw delegates: "The President sends us to the people, and we will have to go and get the people right."
The President-Yes, sir. I have great faith in the people. I hope this quesion will be submitted to them for the final action and I have no doubt it will be right.
The President's Policy
(Column 01)Summary: An account of the recent meeting between President Johnson and a delgation of Virginians, led by John Baldwin of Augusta. Baldwin informed Johnson that the people of Virginia recognize the permanence of the Union and the end of slavery and "that the feelings of our people toward these freedmen are those of kindness, sympathy, and good will." Johnson then offered his views on Reconstruction, differentiating himself from the Radical Republicans.
(Names in announcement: John B. Baldwin)Full Text of Article:
RECEPTION OF THE VIRGINIANS AT THE WHITE HOUSE.
FULL AND INTERESTING EXPOSITION OF PRESIDENT JOHNSON'S VIEWS.
The delegation from the Virginia Legislature appointed to convey to the President the resolutions passed by that body endorsing his policy of restoration, and declaring the loyalty of the State to the Government of the United States, had a very interesting interview with President Johnson at the Executive mansion on Saturday afternoon.-The delegation consisted of the following gentlemen: Messrs. E. F. Keen, A. S. Gray and Carter from the Senate, and Messrs. John B. Baldwin, James Marshall, [UNCLEAR] Grattan, A. G. Pendleton and W. T. Joynes from the House of Delegates.
A few moments after the delegation entered, the President appeared, and was addressed as follows by Mr. Baldwin:
Mr. President:-We are a committee of the Senate and House of Delegates of the State of Virginia, sent to present you in person certain resolutions which received the unanimous approval of the Senate and House of Delegates. With your permission I will read them.
After reading the resolutions, Mr. Baldwin proceeded to deliver the following address in behalf of the delegation:
ADDRESS OF MR. BALDWIN.
Mr. President:-We are a committee of senators and Delegates sent to present to you in person certain resolutions which have received the unanimous approval of the General Assembly of Virginia.
We come as representatives sent by on of the States of this Union to confer with our constitutional President in regard to matters affecting the common Government: and therefore of interest to all the States and all the people. We come to you, Mr. President, for the reason that you recognize our common interest in the Government under which we live, and because thus far we have been denied the constitutional means of communication by which other States and other people make known their opinions purposes, and feelings in the councils of the nation.
In declaring that the people of Virginia and their representatives accept and abide by the results of the late contest, and that they intend in good faith to meet all the obligations thereby incurred, the General Assembly expresses a sentiment and a purpose which have been uniformly recognized by our people individually and in masses, and in regard to which there is no hesitation or division in all Virginia.
Chief among the results thus accepted is the universal conviction that the reunion of these States is an established and enduring fact, and that the whole future of our people is indissolubly bound up [MISSING LINES] woe, with the success or failure of the Government of the United States. We recognize that Government as our Government; its Constitution is our Constitution; the duties which it requires are our duties, and the rights which it promises are our rights.
Another great result alike accepted by our people is the overthrow of the institution of slavery. This has been completed by a constitutional amendment, the binding force, of which is universally admitted; for although we were not represented in the Congress by which it was proposal, the failure to be so represented was of our own choice. The condition of the freedmen among us, and the policy to be adopted with regard to them will be recognized by you as calling for the exercise of the highest faculties of the statesman and the best feelings of the Christian philanthropist. The General Assembly of Virginia is engaged [UNCLEAR] in the consideration of these subjects, and in anticipation of the results of their labors, we can only say that whatever policy may be adopted will be addressed in good faith and with kind feeling to the improvement of the physical, intellectual and moral condition of our freedmen.-You can understand and will readily believe that the feelings of our people toward these freedmen are those of kindness, sympathy, and good will, and that to treat them with harshness or injustice is opposed as much to our feelings as it is to our interests and our sense of right.
The policy pursued by you, Mr. President, toward Virginia, and other States in like condition, has its strong foundation in broad and comprehensive views of constitutional right and of national policy, and must look for its ultimate success upon the conservative sense of justice of the people of all the States. It is due, however, to you and to our people to assure you that when our General Assembly declare the universal approval of that policy by the people of Virginia, they express what each one of this committee here present knows to be a living truth. It happens that your position places you between us and a threatened danger, and the General Assembly have but given voice to the real feelings of our people when they tender to you the warmest thanks of Virginia for the firm stand you have taken against the facility with which it is proposed to change the fundamental law. We would not, however, claim as the only, or even the chief merit of the course you are taking, that it affords to us protection in time of trouble.
It is a defender of the general Constitution that you deserve and command the confidence and support of the people of the United States, and it will be hereafter remembered as your highest claim to the character of a Republican statesman, that under all the trying circumstances by which you are surrounded, you have not only proclaimed the Constitution of the United States to be the supreme law of this land, but have defended it alike from violation and from innovation.
RESPONSE OF PRESIDENT JOHNSON.
The President said:
In reply, gentlemen, to the resolutions you have just presented to be, and the clear and forcible and concise remarks which you have made in explanation of the position of Virginia, I shall not attempt to make a formal speech, but simply enter into a plain conversation in regard to the condition of things in which we stand.
As a premise to what I may say, permit me first to tender you my thanks for this visit, and next to express the gratification I feel in meeting so many intelligent, responsible and respectable men of Virginia, bearing to me the sentiments which have been expressed in the resolutions of you r Legislature, and in the remarks accompanying them.-They are, so far as they refer to the Constitution of the country, the sentiments and the principles embraced in that of the Government.
The preservation of the Union has been, from my entrance into public life, one of my cardinal tenets. At the very incipiency of this rebellion I set my face against the dissolution of the Union of the States. I do not make this allusion for the purpose of bringing up anything which may be regarded as of an unkind or unpleasant character; but if believed then, as I believe now, and as you have most unmistakably indicated, that the security and the protection of the rights of all the people were to be found in the Union; that we were certainly safer in the Union than we out of it. Upon this conviction I based my opposition to the efforts which were made to destroy the Union. I have continued those efforts, notwithstanding the perils through which I have passed, and you are not unaware that the trial has been a [UNCLEAR]. When opposition to the Government came from one section of the country, and that the section in which my life had been passed, and with which my interests were identified, I stood, as I stand now, contending for the Union and [UNCLEAR] that the best and surest way to obtain our rights and to protect our interests was to remain in the Union, under the protection of the Constitution.
WHAT HE THINKS THE WAR HAS PROVED.
The ordeal through which we have passed during the last four or five years demonstrates most conclusively that the opposition [UNCLEAR] was right; and to-day, after the experiment has been made and has failed; after the demonstration has been most conclusively afforded that this Union can not be dissolved, that it was not designed to be dissolved, it is extremely gratifying to me to meet gentlemen as intelligent and responsible as yourselves, who are willing and anxious to accept and do except the terms laid down in the Constitution and obedience to the laws made in pursuance thereof. We were at one period separated; the separation was to me painful in the extreme; but now, after having gone through a struggle in which the power of the Government have been tried, when we have swung around to a point at which we meet to agree and are willing to unite our efforts for the preservation of the Government, which I believe is the best in the world, it is exceedingly gratifying to me and to meet you today, standing upon common ground, rallying around the Constitution and the Union of these States, the preservation of which, as I conscientiously and honestly believe, will result in the promotion and the advancement of this people.
HIS FAITH IN THE PEOPLE.
I repeat, I am gratified to meet you to-day, expressing the principles and announcing the sentiments to which you have given utterance and I trust that the occasion will long be remembered. I have no doubt that your intention in to carry out and comply with every single principle laid down in the resolutions you have submitted. I know that some are distrustful; but I am of those who have confidence in the judgment, in the integrity in the intelligence, in the virtue of the great mass of the American people; and having such confidence, I am willing to trust them, and I thank God that we have not yet reached that point where we have lost all confidence in each other. The spirit of the Government can only be preserved, we can only be preserved, we can only become prosperous and I great as a people, by mutual forbearance and confidence. Upon that faith and that confidence alone can the Government be successfully carried on.
REPRESENTATION A FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT.
On the cardinal principle of representation to which you refer, I will make a single remark. That principle is inherent: it constitutes one of the fundamental elements of this Government. The representatives of the States and of the people should have the qualifications prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, and these qualifications [UNCLEAR] imply loyalty. [UNCLEAR] prescribed by the Constitution to fit him to take a seat in either of the deliberative bodies which constitute the National Legislature, must necessarily, according [UNCLEAR] the Constitution, be a loyal man, willing to abide by and be devoted to the Union and the Constitution of the States. He cannot be for the Constitution, he cannot be for the Union, he cannot acknowledge obedience to all the laws, unless he is loyal. When the people send such men in good faith, they are entitled to representation through them.
LOYALTY A SINE QUA NON.
In going to the recent rebellion or insurrection against the Government of the United States we erred, and in returning and resuming our relations with the Federal Government, I am free to say that all the responsible positions and places ought to be confined distinctly and clearly to men who are loyal. If there were only five thousand loyal men in a State, or a less number, but sufficient to take charge of the political machinery of a State, that five thousand men, or the lesser number, are entitled to it, if all the rest sheuld be confined to loyal men, and I regard that as implied in the doctrines, laid down in these resolutions, and in the eloquent address by which they have been accompanied. I may say, furthermore, that after having passed through the great struggle in which we have been engaged, we should be placed upon much more acceptable ground in resuming all our relations to the General Government if we presented men unmistakably and unquestionably loyal to fill the places of power. This being done, I feel that the day is not distant-I speak confidingly in reference to the great mass of the American people-when they will determine that this Union shall be made whole, and the great right of representation in the councils of the nation to be acknowledged.
TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.
Gentlemen, that is a fundamental principle. "No taxation without representation" was one of the principles which carried us through the Revolution. This great principle will hold good yet; and if we but perform our duty; if we but comply with the spirit of the resolutions presented to me today, the American people will maintain and sustain the great doctrines upon which the Government was inaugurated. It can be done, and it will be done; and I think that if the effort be fairly and fully made, with forbearance and with prudence, and with discretion and wisdom, the end is not very far distant.
EFFECT OF RESTORATION ON OUR FOREIGN RELATIONS.
It seems to me apparent that from every consideration the best policy which could be adopted at present would be a restoration of these States and of the Government upon correct principles. We have some foreign difficulties, but the moment it can be announced that the Union of the States is again complete, that we have resumed our career of prosperity and greatness at that very instant [UNCLEAR] all our foreign difficulties will be settled, for there is no power upon the earth which will care to have a controversy or a rupture with the Government of the United States under such circumstances.
EFFECT ON THE CURRENCY AND PUBLIC CREDIT.
If these States be fully restored, the area for the circulation of the national currency which is thought by some to be inflated to a very great extent, will be enlarged, the number of persons thro' whose hands it is to pass will be increased, the quality of commerce in which it is to be employed as a medium of exchange will be enlarged; and then it will begin to approximate what we all desire, a specie standard. If all the States were restored-if peace and [UNCLEAR] of peace were again resumed-the day would not be far distant when we could put into the commerce of the world $250,000,000 or $300,000,000 worth of cotton and tobacco, and the various produce of the Southern States, which would constitute in part a basis of this currency. Then instead of the cone being inverted, we should reverse the position, and put the base at the bottom, as it ought to be, and the currency of the country will rest on a sound and enduring basis; and surely that is a result which is calculated to prompted the interests not only of one section but of the whole country from one extremity to the other.-Indeed I look upon the restoration of these Stats as being indispensable to all our greatness.
THE SOUTHERN STATES NOT OUT OF THE UNION.
Gentlemen, I know nothing further that I could say in the expression of my feelings on this occasion-and they are not effected-more than to add that I shall continue in the same line of policy which I have pursued from the commencement of the rebellion to the present period. My efforts have been to preserve the Union of the States. I never for a single moment entertained the opinion that a State could withdraw from the Union of its own will. That attempt was made. It has failed. I continue to pursue the same line of policy which has been my constant guide. I was against dissolution. Dissolution was attempted. It has failed. And now I cannot take the position that a State which attempted to secede is out of the Union, when I contend all the time that it could not go out, and that it never has been out. I cannot be forced into that position. Hence, when the States and their people shall have complied with the requirements of the Government, I shall be in favour of their resuming their former relations to this Government in all respects.
I do not intend to say anything personal, but you know as well as I do that at the beginning, and, indeed, before the beginning of the recent gigantic struggle between the different sections of the country, there were extreme men in the North. I might make use of a homely figure, (which is sometimes as good as any other, even in the illustration of great and important questions,) and say that it has been [UNCLEAR] at one end of the line and anvil at the other; and the great Government the best the world ever saw, was kept upon the anvil and hammered before the rebellion, and it has been hammered since the rebellion; and there seems to be a disposition to continue hammering until the Government shall be destroyed. I have opposed that system always, and I oppose it now.
A SLAP AT THE RADICALS.
The Government, in the assertion of its powers and in the maintenance of the principles of the Constitution, has taken hold of one extreme, and with the strong arm of physical power has put down the rebellion. Now, as we swing around the circle of the Union with a fixed and unalterable determination to stand by it, if we find the [UNCLEAR] persons in the South, [UNCLEAR] which stands in the way must get out of it, and the Government must stand unshaken and unmoved on its basis. The Government must be preserved.
I will only say, in conclusion, that I hope all the people of this country, in good faith and in the fullness of their hearts, will upon the principles which you have enunciated here to-day, of the maintenance of the Constitution and the preservation of the Union, lay aside every other feeling for the good of our common country, and with uplifted faces to heaven swear that our gods and our altars and [UNCLEAR] shall sink in that dust together rather than that this glorious Union shall not be preserved. [Great applause.] I am gratified to find the loyal sentiment of the country developing and manifesting itself in these expressions: and now that the attempt to destroy the Government has failed at one end of the line, I trust we shall go on determined to preserve the Union in its original purity against all opposers. I thank you, gentlemen, for the compliment you have paid me, and respond most cordially to what has been said in your resolutions and address, and I trust in God the time will soon come when we can meet under more favorable auspices than we do now.
INTRODUCTION OF THE COMMITTEE.
Mr. Baldwin then resumed as follows:
Mr. President:--As an assurance that we represent the sentiment of the State, I beg leave to introduce to you the members of the committee, and to name the parts of the State from which they come, in order that you may be certified that this is a fair representation of all parts of Virginia. I introduce to you Mr. Keen, the Senator from Pittsylvania; Mr. Joynes, the Delegate from Petersburg; Mr. Carter, Senator from the county of Russell; Mr. Marshall, Delegate from the county of Fauquier; Mr. Gray, Senator from the county of Rockingham; Mr. Pendleton, Delegate from the county of Giles; Mr. Grattan, delegate from the city of Richmond. We claim this to be a fair and equally distributed representation of the people of Virginia.
CONCLUSION OF THE INTERVIEW.
As the several members were introduced, the President took each one by the hand and then added as follows, in a manner somewhat more conversantional than before:
I am happy to meet you, gentlemen. As I said to another delegation the other day. I have no ambition and no object beyond the restoration of this Government. I feel that I am in a condition where I can afford to do right. I have occupied during my career many different posts in this Government. I started at one of the humblest cabins in the country, and I have passed through the State Legislature, the gubernatorial chair, both Houses of Congress, the Vice Presidency of the United States, to the position which I now occupy before you. The climax, the acme, the summit of my ambition has been fully reached, yea more than reached. If, now, I can only arrive at a point at which these States are all restored, each having its representation in the national councils, with the Union restored so that we can once more proclaim peace and good will among the people of the United Statds, it will be to me a happy day. I care not what may be said in taunt or jeer; I car not what may be insinuated; but I tell you that whenever I shall have reached that point, the measure of my ambition will have been filled. I have no object beyond it. Oh, how proud and gratifying it would be to me to retire from this place, feeling and knowing that I had been instrumental in consummating this great end. The delegation then took leave and withdrew.
(Column 01)Summary: Encourages readers to carefully peruse the articles pertaining to recent meetings held by President Johnson, found on the fisrt two pages of the Vindicator. These speeches, the editor argues, "contain a most frank and explicit statement of the President's views on the various subjects touched upon and will interest every one."Local Items
(Column 01)Summary: The man responsible for the theft of boots and shoes from C. N. Williams has been apprehended and will soon be taken before the Freedman's Court. The editor is "rather anxious to learn what punishment will be meted out to him."
(Names in announcement: C. N. Williams)Full Text of Article:Local Items
THE thief who stole the boots, shoes &c., from C. N. Williams, noticed in our local columns last week, was identified and taken before the Freedman's court, where he confessed the act and told where the plunder was concealed. Nearly all the articles were recovered. He is at present confined in jail. We are rather anxious to learn what punishment will be meted out to him.
(Column 01)Summary: The wagon springs stolen from Col. Skinner last week in a brazen daylight scam were recently found abaondoned in the creek near the tannery of Jas. Mayes.
(Names in announcement: Col. Skinner, Jas. Mayes)Full Text of Article:Local Items
THE smart thief, who so coolly appropriated Col. Skinner's wagon springs and carried them off in the Col's own wagon, after the full account of the affair given in the columns of the "Vindicator" last week, was afraid to be seen with them and dropped them in the creek, near the Tannery of Mr. Jas. Mayes, where they were found by a negro man in the employ of Mr. Mayes. No clue has been obtained to the perpetrator of this bold theft.
(Column 01)Summary: A Masonic Lodge, called Lee Lodge, has been organized in Waynesboro and is reported to be "working finely."