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1849, entered the Senate of the United States as the antislavery leader, that he would live officially to proclaim the overthrow of slavery by Constitutional amendment throughout the Republic?
Nevada, February 16th, 1865; Indiana, February 16th, 1865; Louisiana, February 17th, 1865; Minnesota, February 8th and 23d, 1865; Wisconsin, March 1st, 1865; Vermont, March 9th, 1865; Tennessee, April, 5th and 7th, 1865; Arkansas, April 20th, 1865; Connecticut, May 5th, 1865; New Hampshire, July 1st, 1865; South Carolina, November 13th, 1865; Alabama, December 20, 1865; North Carolina, December 4th, 1865; Georgia, December 9th, 1865; Oregon, December 11th, 1865; California, December 20th, 1865; Florida, December 28th, 1865; New Jersey, January 23d, 1866; Iowa, January 24th, 1866.
I transmit a copy of the certificate of ratification, agreeably to your request. Thanking you for the congratulations with which you conclude your letter,
I am, Your Obedient Servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. February 4th, 1865. The Delegates from certain Territories obtained permission to enter this paper upon the Journal of the House:
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, February 1, 1865. Representing Territories which must soon become States, as Delegates deprived of the inestimable privilege of voting in this House, and feeling a deep interest in the proposition to amend the Federal Constitution, forever prohibiting slavery within the jurisdiction of the United States, demanded alike by the exigencies of the times, the voice of the loyal people, and by our efforts in the field to suppress a rebellion inaugurated and sustained for the purpose of perpetuating slavery, we cannot do less than state that the measure meets our unqualified approbation. H. P. BENNET, Colorado.
J. B. S. TODD, Dacotah. J. F. KINNEY, Ulah.
W. H. WALLACE, Idaho. 8. G. DAILY, Nebraska.
FRANCISCO PEREA, New Merisa CHARLES D. POSTON, Arizona.
THE THIRTY-EIGHTH CONGRESS-TO ITS CLOSE.
THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU BILL-REBELLIOUS STATES NOT TO VOTE
IN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE-RECONSTRUCTION—TREATMENT OF UNION PRISONERS_REBEL PRISONERS-ATTACK OF BROOKS UPON BUTLER—HIS VINDICATION BY BOUTWELL AND STEPHENSCLOSE OF THE THIRTY-EIGHTH CONGRESS-VALEDICTORY OF SPEAKER COLFAX.
T this, the second session of the Thirty-eighth Congress, was finally passed the act creating the Freedmen's Bu
It encountered much opposition; its friends differed so widely in regard to its provisions, that its details were finally settled by a conference committee. Mr. Sumner, in the Senate, and Mr. Elliot, in the House, were its very zealous and earnest advocates. Mr. Sumner said, “Emancipation is not enough. You must see to it, that it is not evaded or nullified; and you must see to it especially that the new made freedmen are protected in those rights which are now assured to them, and that they are saved from the prevailing caste which menaces slavery under some new alias ;" and this he declared was the object of the bill creating the Freedmen's Bureau. The freedmen now rejoicing in recovered rights, must for a while be, in the language of Mr. Lincoln, “the wards of the nation,” and protected from the traditional harshness and cruelty to which for generations they have been exposed. “The Government must be to them a shield.”
After several ineffectual attempts to agree upon a bill which should be satisfactory to both Houses of Congress, a committee of conference, consisting of Messrs. Wilson, Harlan and Willey, of the Senate, and Messrs. Schenck, Boutwell and Rollins of the House, agreed upon a bill embracing, substantially, the following provisions:
It established in the War Department, to continue during the war, and for one year thereafter, “ A Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands,” to which was to be submitted the supervision of all abandoned lands, and the control of all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen, from rebel States, or any territory included within the operations of the army. The Bureau was to be under the control of a commissioner to be appointed by the President, with the consent of the Senate.
The Secretary of War was authorized to direct the issue of provisions, clothing, and fuel, as he might deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their families. The President was authorized to appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, one assistant commissioner for each of the States in insurrection, to aid in the execution of the provisions of the act. The commission was authorized to set apart, under the direction of the President, for the use of loyal refugees and freedmen, such tracts of land within the insurrectionary States as had been abandoned by rebel owners, or to which the United States had acquired title by confiscation, sale, or otherwise, not to exceed forty acres to every male refugee or freedman, with the privilege of purchasing the same.
This bill passed both Houses of Congress, and received the approval of the President. Mr. Lincoln selected to execute the law, as the head of the Freedmen’s Bureau, Major General 0.0. Howard, a man uniting the experience of one of the most brilliant soldiers of the war, great practical ability and good sense as an executive officer, with a christian life and character, and an earnest, sincere philanthropy, which commanded universal respect; no better appointment could have been made.
Congress, before the day for counting and declaring the electoral vote, passed a joint resolution, reciting “ that the inhabitants and local authorities of the eleven seceding States, having rebelled against the United States, and having continued in a state of armed rebellion for more than three
and being in a state of armed rebellion on the 8th of November, 1864 (the day of the Presidential election,) therefore, resolved, that the States named were not entitled to representation in the electoral college for the choice of President and Vice President of the United States.” This joint
.' resolution was presented to the President, and signed by him; but, on the 8th of February, he sent to Congress a message, stating that the resolution had been signed by the Executive, in deference to the views of Congress, implied in its passage and presentation to him. He added, however, this statement especially important as expressive of his views upon the subject of reconstruction: “ The two Houses of Con. gress, convened under the twelfth article of the constitution, have complete power to exclude from counting all electoral votes deemed by them to be illegal, and it is not competent for the Executive to defeat or obstruct that power by a veto, as would be the case if his action were at all essential in the matter. He disclaimed all right of the Executive to interfere in any way, in the matter of canvassing or counting electoral votes, &c." *
On the 8th of February, 1865, both Houses of Congress convened in the Hall of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate presiding, for the purpose of opening and counting the votes for President and Vice President. The whole number of votes given was two hundred and twenty-three, of which Abraham Lincoln received two hundred and twelve, and George B. McClellau received twenty-one, for the office of President; and Andrew Johnson and George H. Pendleton, respectively, received the same number for Vice President, and, thereupon, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, having received the majority of the whole number of the electoral votes for President and Vice President, were declared duly elected.
The subject of reconstruction came again before Congress, in various forms, at this session. The “Bill to guarantee to certain States whose governments have been usurped or overthrown, a republican form of government,” was again considered, January 16th, 1865.
• McPherson's History. p. 579.
Mr. Elliot moved a substitute for the bill, providing that the States declared to be in rebellion shall not be permitted to resume their political relations with the Government of the United States, until they shall have adopted a State constitution, forever prohibiting involuntary servitude, and guaranteeing to all persons freedom and equality of rights before the law.*
Mr. Wilson of Iowa, proposed to amend by providing that Senators and Representatives should not be received from the rebellious States, until by act, or joint resolution of Congress, approved by the President, or passed, notwithstanding his objections, such State shall have been first declared to have organized a just local government, republican in form.
Mr. Arnold of Illinois, offered an amendnent, which was accepted, abolishing and prohibiting slavery in all the territory in rebellion against the United States.t
Mr. Kelley of Pennsylvania, proposed to amend the bill by providing that all colored male citizens in the rebellious States, who could read the Constitution of the United States should be enrolled as voters. In support of this amendment he said : 1
“The organized war power of the rebellion is on the eve of overthrow. It belongs to us to govern the territory we have conquered, and the question of reconstruction presses itself upon our attention: and our legislation in this behalf will, though it comprises no specific provisions on the subject, determine whether guerrilla war shall harrass communities for long years, or be suppressed in a brief time by punishment administered through courts and law, to marauders for the crimes they may commit under the name of partisan warfare. At the close of an international war, the wronged but victorious party may justly make two claims; indemnity for the past, and security for the future; indemnity for the past in money or in territory ; security for the future by new treaties, the establishment of new boundaries, or the cession of military power and the territory upon which it dwells. Indemnity for the past we cannot hope to obtain. When we shall have punished the conspirators who involved the country in this sanguinary war, and pardoned the dupes and victims who have arrayed themselves or been forced to do battle under their flag, we shall but have repossessed our ancient territory, reestablished the boundaries of our country, restored to our flag and Constitution their supremacy over territory which was ours but which the insurgents meant to dismember and possess. The other demand we may and must successfully make. Security for the future is accessible to us, and we must demand it; and to obtain it with amplest guaranties requires the adoption of no new idea, the making of no experiment, the entering upon no sea of political speculation,
* Congressional Globe, 2d session, 38th Congress, page 281.