Henry Jarvis Raymond.

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1865. •







The ^ouse having resolved itself into the Committee
of the Whole oa the state of the Union, (Mr. Bout-
well in the chair,) and proceeded to the consider-
ation of the President's annual message —

Mr. RAYMOND said:
. Mr. Chairman : I should 1)e glad, if it meet
the sense of those members who are present, to
make some remarks upon the general question
now before the House ; but I do not wish to tres-
pass at all upon their dis2:)Osition in regard to
this matter. 1 do not know, however, that there
will be a better opportunity to say what little I
have to say than is now offered; and if the
House shall indicate no other wish, I will pro-
ceed to say it. [''Goon!"]

' I need not say that I have been gratified to
hear many things which have fallen from the
lips of the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. FixcK,]
who has just taken his seat. I have no party
feeling, nor any other feeling, which would pre-
vent me from rejoicing in the indications ap-
parent on that side of the House of a purjaose
to concur with the loyal people of the country,
and with the loyal administration of the Gov-
ernment, and with the loyal majorities in both
Houses of Congress, in restoring peace and
order to our common country. I cannot, per-
haps, help wishing, sir, that these indications
of an interest in the preservation of our Gov-
ernment had come somewhat sooner. I can-
not help feeling that such expressions cannot
now be of as much service to the country as
they might once have been. If we coiild liave
had from that side of the House such indica-
tions of an interest in the preservation of the
.Union, sucli heartfelt sympathy with theefibrts
of the Government for the preservation of that
Union, such hearty denunciation of those who
were seeking its destruction, while the war was

raging, I am sure we might have been spared

some years of war, some millions of money,

and rivers of blood and tears.
But, sir, I am not disposed to fight over again

battles now happily ended. I feel, and I am
rejoiced to find that members on the other side
of the House feel, that the grej^t problem now
before us is to restore the Union to its old in-
tegrity, purified from every thing that' interfered
with the full development of the spirit of liberty
which it was made to enshrine. I trust that we
shall have a general concurrence of the mem-
bers of this House and of this Congress in such
measures as may be deemed most fit and proper
for the accomplishment of that result. I am glad
to assume and to believe that there is not a mem-
ber of this House, nor a man in this country,
who does not wish, from the bottom of his heart,
to see the day speedily come when we shall have
this nation — the great American Republic —
again united, more harmonious in its action
than it has ever been, and forever one and indi-
visible. We in this Congress are to devise the
means to restore its union and its harmony, to
perfect its institutions, and to make it in all its
parts and in all its action, through all time to
come, too strong, too wise, and too free ever to
invite or ever to permit the hand of rebellion
again to be raised against it.

Now, sir, in devising those ways and means
to accomplish that great result, the first thing
we have to do is to know the point from which
we start, to understand the nature of the mate-
rial with which we have to work— the condition
of the territory and the States with which we
are concerned. I had supposed at the outset
of this session that it was the purpose of this
House to proceed to that work without discus-
sion, and to commit it almost exclusively, if
not entirely, to the joint committee raised by
the two Houses for the consideration of that
subject. But, sir, I must say that I was glad
when I perceived the distinguished gentleman
from Pennsylvania, [Mr., Stevens,] himself the
chairman on the part of this House of that great
committee on reconstruction, lead off in a dis-
cussion of this general subject, and thus invite

aJ.l the rest of us wlio choose to follow him in
the ik'l)atc. In the remarks whieii he made in
tliis hoily a few (hiys since, lie laid down, with
the clearness and the force which characterize
everything he says and does, his i)oint of de-

Earture in commencing this great work. I had
oped that the ground lie would lay dowirwoiild
1m' such that we could all of us stand upon it
and coiiperate with him in our common object.
1 feel constrained to .say, sir — and 1 do it with-
out the !*iiglitest disposition to create or to ex-
aggerate differences — that tliere were features
in liis exposition of the condition of the coun-
try with which I cannot concur. I cannot for
myself start from jn'ccisely the point which he

In his remarks on that occasion he assumed
that the States lately in rebellion were and are
(Mit of the Union. Throughout his speech — I
will Bot trouble you with reading passages from
it — I find himsiicakingof those States as "out-
aide of the Union," as "dead States," as hav-
ing fo-rfeited all their rights and terminated their
State existence. I find expressions still more
definite and distinct ; 1 find him stating that
they "are and for four years have been out of
the" Union for all legal purposes;" as having
l>een for four years a "separate power," and
•'a separate nation."

His position therefore is that these States,
having been in rebellion, are now out of the
Union, and are simply within the jurisdiction
of the Constitution of the United States as so
much territory to be dealt with precisely as the
mil of the conqueror, to use his own language,
may dictate. Now, sir, if that position is cor-
rect, it prescribes for us one line of policy to
bo pursued very ditrei'wit from the one that
will be proper if it is not correct. His belief
is that what wo have to do is to create new
States out of this territory at the proper time —
many years distant — retaining them meantime in
a territorial condition, and subjecting them to
precisely such a state of discipline and tutelage
as Congress or the Government of the United
States may see fit to presccibe. If I believed
in the premises which he assumes, possibly,
though I do not think probably, I might agree
with the conclusion he has reached.

But, sir, I cannot believe that this is our con-
dition. 1 cannot believe that these States have
mev been out of the Union, or that they are
now out of the Union. 1 cannot believe that
they ever have been, or are now, in any sense
a separate Power. If they were, sir, how and
when did tliey become so? They were once
States of this Union — tlmt every one concedes;
bound to the Union and made members of the
Union by the Constitution of the United States.
If they ever went out of the Union it was at
some specific time and by some specific act. I
regret* that the gentleman from Pennsyh-'ania
[Mr. St^vexs j is not now in his seat. 1 should
have been glad to ask him by what specific act,

and at what precise time, any one of those
States took itself out of the American Union.
Was it by the ordinance of secession? 1 think
we all agree that an ordinance of secession
passed by any State of this Union is simply a
nullity, because it encounters in its practical
operation the Constitution of the United States,
which is the supreme law of the land. It could
have no legal, actual force or validity. It
could not operate to effect any actual change
in the relations of the State adopting it to the
national Government, still less to accomplish
the removal of that State 0"om the sovereign
jurisdiction of the Constitution of the United

Well, sir, did the resolutions of these States,
the declarations of their ofTicials, the speeches
of members of their Legislatures, or the utter-
ances of their press accomjjlish the result?
Certainly not. They could not possibly work
any change whatever in the relations of these
States to the General Government. All their
ordinances and all their resolutions were sim-
ply declarations of a purpose to secede. Their
secession, if it ever took place, certainly could
not date from the time when their intention to
secede was first announced. After declaring
that intention, they proceeded to carry it into
effect. How? By war. By sustaining their
purpose by arms against the force which the Uni-
ted States brought to bear against it. Did they
sustain it? Were their arms victorious? If
they were, then their secession was an accom-
plished fact. If not, it was nothing more thtvn
an abortive attempt — a purpose unfulfilled.
This, then, is simply a Cj^uestion of fact, and we
all know what the fact is. They did not suc-
ceed. They failed to maintain their ground by
force of arms — in other words, they failed to

But the gentleman from Pennsylvania "[Mr.
Stevens] insists that they did secede, and that
this fact is not in the least affected by the other
fact that the Constitution forbids secession.
He says that the law forbids murder, but that
murders are nevertheless committed. But
there is no analogy between the two cases. If
secession had been accomplished, if these States
had gone out, and overcome the armies that
tried to prevent their going out, then thoprohi-
bition ot the Constitution could not have al-
tered the fact. In the case of murder the man
is killed, and murder is thus committed in spite
of the law. The fact of killing is essential to
the committal of the crime; and the fact of go-
ing out is essential to secession. But in this
case there was no such fact. I think I need
not argue any further the jiosition that the rebel
States have never for one moment, by any or-
dinances of secession, or by any successful war,
carried themselves beyond the rightful jurisdic-
tion of the Constitution of the United States.
They have interrupted for a time the practical
enforcement and exercise of that jurisdiction ;

they rendered it impossible for a time for this
Government to enforce obedience to its laws ;
but there has never been an hour when this
Government, or this Congress, or this House,
or the gentleman from Pennsj'lvania himself,
ever conceded that those States were beyond
the jurisdiction of the Constitution and laws of
the United States.

During all these four years of war Congress
has been making laws for the government of
those very States, and the gentleman from Penn-
sylvania has voted for them, and voted to raise
armies to enforce them. ATliy was this' done if
they were a separate nation ? Wliy , if they were
not part of the United States? Those laws were
made for them as States. Members have. voted
for laws imposing upon them direct taxes, which
are ajiportioned, according to the Constitution,
only "among the several States" according to
their population. ^ In a variety of ways — to some
of which the gentleman who preceded me has re-
ferred — this Congress has by its action assumed
and asserted that they were still States in the
Union, though in rebellion, and that it was with
the rebellion that we were making war, and not
with the States themselves as States, and still
less as a separate, as a foreign, Power.

The gentleman from Pennsylvania cited a
variety of legal precedents and declarations of
principle, nearly all of them, I believe, drawn
from the celebrated decision of the Supreme
Court pronounced by Justice Grier, in what
are popularly known as the Prize Cases. His
citations were all made for the purpose of prov-
ing that these States were in a condition of pub-
lic war — that they were waging such a war as
could only be waged by a separate and independ-
ent Power. But a careflil scrutiny of that de-
cision will show that it lends not the slightest
countenance to such an inference. Gentlemen
who hear me will doubtless recollect that the
object of the trial in those cases was to decide
whether certain vessels, captured in trying
to break the blockade, were lawful prize of
war or not; and the decision of this point
turned on the question whether the war then
naging was such a contest as justified a resort
to the modes and usages of public war, of
which blockade was one. Justice Grier de-
cided that it was — that, so far as the purposes
and weapons of war were concerned, the two
parties were belligerents, and that the Govern-
ment might blockade the ports and capture
property within the lines of the district in
rebellion, precisely as if that district were an
independent nation engaged in a public war.
But he said not one word which could assert
or imply that it was an independent nation —
that it had a separate existence, or had gone
out of the sovereign jurisdiction of the United
States. On the contrary, everything he said —
the very passages quoted by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania himself — imply and assert pre-
cisely the opposite. He speaks of them, not

as sovereign, but as claiming to be sovereign ;
not as being separate, but as trying to be sepa-
rate from the United States. In this paragraph
quoted from that decision, for example —

"Hence, in orjrnnizing: this rebellion, they have
acted as States clainnnfi to be sovereign over all per-
sons and property within their respective limits, and
asserting a right to absolve their citizens from their
allcKiancc to the Federal Government. Several of
those States have combined to form a new confed-
eracy, cluimina to be acknowledged by the world as a
sovereign State. Their ris^t to do so is now being
decided by loager of battle" —

'the court asserts precisely the principle which
I have already stated — that they were claim-
ing independence, and that the validity of their
claim would dejiend wholly and entirely upon
the decision reached in the field of battle. The
same misconstruction is traceable in all the
legal citations made by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania. For example, he says :

"Again, the court say, what I have been astonished
that any one should donbt:

" 'The proclamation of blockade is itself official and
conclusive evidence to the court that a state of war

" Now, what was the legal result of such war?

" ' The conventions, the treaties, made with a nation,
are broken or annulled by a war arising between the
contracting parties.'— Fa«e4 372; Halleck, 371, see-
tiou 23."

A blockade is evidence that a state of war
exists ; and a state of war annuls all treatieg
between the contending parties. But does thi«
warrant the inference that the Constitution of
the United States, which is not a treaty, was
annulled, or its binding force in the least degree
impaired, by the war of rebellion?

But I will not go further in examining these
citations. All they show is that the Government,
as against the rebels, and in waging the war to
suppress the rebellion, had the rights of belli-
gerents, and that the rules and laws of war might
and must be applied to this contest although it
was not a war between separate and independ-
ent Powers. How, then, can this decision pos-
sibly be made to convey the idea that the parties
to the war were separate and independent
States? It proceeds throughout and in every
part upon precisely the opposite idea.

The gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Sth-
VENs] spoke of States forfeiting their State ex-
istence by the fact of rebellion. "Well, I do
not see how there can be any sitch forfeiture
involved or implied. The individual citizens
of those States went into the rebellion. Thej
thereby incurred certain penalties under the
laws and Constitution of the United States.
What the States did was to endeavor to in-
terpose their State authority between the in-
dividuals in rebellion and the Government of
the United States, which assurued, and which
would carry out the assumption, to declare
those individuals traitors for their acts. The
individuals in the States who were in rebellion,
it seems to me, were the only parties who under
the Constitution and laws of the United States


coulil incur the penalties of treason. I know
of no. law, I know of nothing in the Constitu-
tion of the United States, I know of nothing in
any reeo,irnize(l or ostaVlishod code of interna-
tional law, which can punish a State as a State
for any act it may perform. It is certain that
our Constitution assumes nothing of the kind.
It does not deal with States, except in one or
two instances, such as elections of members of
Congress, and the election of electors of Pres-
ident and Vice President.

Indeed, the main feature which distinguishes
the Union under the Constitution from the old
Confederation is this, that whereas the old Con-
federation did deal with St.ates directly, making
requisitions upon them for supplies and relying

Sion them for the execution of its laws, the
)nstitution of the United States, in order to
form a more perfect Union, made its laws bind-
ing on the individual citizens of the sevei'al
States, whether living in one State or in another.
Congress, as the legislative branch of this Gov-
ernment, enacts a law which shall be operative
upon every individual within its jurisdiction. It
is binding ujion each individual citizen, and if
he resists it by force he is guilty of a crime and
is punished accordingly, anything in the con-
stitution or laws of his State to the contrary not-
withstanding. But the States themselves are
npt touched by the laws of the United States
or by the Constitution of the United States. A
State cannot be indicted; a State cannot be
tried : a State cannot l)e hung for treason. The
individuals in a State may be so tried and hung,
but the State as an organization, as an organic
meml;er of the Union, still exists, whether its
individual citizens commit treason or not.

Mr. KELLEY. "Will the gentleman from New
York [Mr. K.vymoxd] yield to me a moment
fdr a question ?

Mr. iMYMOND. Certainly.

Mr. KELLEY. I desire to ask the gentleman
this question : by virtue of what does a State
exist? Is it by virtue of a constitution, and by
virtue of its relations to the Union? That is,
does a State of the Union exist, first by virtue
of a constitution, and secondly by virtue of its
practical relations to the Government of the
United States? And further, I would ask
whether ttft)£-> States, acting by conventions of
the jieople, have not overthrown the constitu-
tion which made them parts of the Union, and
thereby destroyed or suspended — phrase it as
you will — the practical relations which made
them parts of the Union?

Mr. UAYMONU. I will say, in reply to the
gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr. Kelley,]
tliat it is not the practical relations of a State at
any particular moment which make it a State
or a part of the Union. Wliat nmkes a State
aj)art of the Union is the Constitution of the
L nited States ; and the rebel States have not
yet destroyed that.

Mr. KELLEY. The question I propound is,

whether a State does not exist by virtue of a
constitution, its constitution, which is a thing
which may be modified or overthrown?

Mr. PvAYMOND. Certainly.

Mr. KELLEY. And whether those rebel-
lious constitutions or States have not been

Mr. IIAYMOXD. A State does not exist
by virtue of any particular constitution. It
always has a constitution, but it need not have
a specific constitution at any specific time. A
State has certain practical relations to the Gov-
ernment of the United States. But the fact of
those relations being practically operative and
in actual force at any moment does not consti-
tute its relationship to the Government or its
menibership of the United States. Its prac-
tical operation is one thing. The fact of its
existence as an organized community, one of
the great national community of States, is quite
another thing.

Mr. KELLEY. Let me interrupt the gen-
tleman one moment longer. I will ask hiiii
whether, if the constitution be overthrown or
destroyed and its practical relations cease,
there be any State left?

Mr. RAYMOND. \Yhy, sir, if there be no
constitution of any sort in a State, no law, noth-
ing but chaos, then that State would no longer
exist as an organization. But that ha.s not
been the case, it never is the ease in great com-
munities, for they always have constitutions and t
forms of government. It may not l)e a con-
stitution or form of government adapted to
its relation to the Government of the United
States ; and that would be an evil to be reme-
died by. the Government of the United States.
That is what we have been trying to do for the
last four years. The practical relations of the
governments of those States with the Govern-
ment of the United States were all wrong — were
hostile to that Govcrnjncnt. They denied our
jurisdiction, and they denied that they were
States of the Union, but their denial did not
change the fact: and there was never any time
when their organizations as States were de-
stroyed. A dead State is a solecism, a contra-
diction in terms, an impossibility.

These are, I confess, rather metaphysical
distinctions, but I did not raise them.' Those
who assert that a State is destroyed whenever
its constitution is changed, or whenevei; its
practical relations with this Government are
changed, must be held responsible for whatever
metaphysical niceties mhy be necessarily in-
volved in the discussion.

I do not know, sir, that I have made my
views on this jtoint clear to the gentleman from
Pennsylvania, [Mr. Jvkllet,] who hns ques-
tioned me upon it, and I. am still more doubtful
whether, even if they are intelligible, he will
concur with me as to their justice. 13ut I re-
gard these States as just as truly within the juris-
diction of the Constitution, and therefore just as

really and truly States of the American Union
now as they were before the war. Their prac-
tical relations to the Constitution of the United
States have been disturbed, and we have been
endeavoring, through four years of war, to re-
store them and make them what they were before
the war. The victory in the field has given us
the means of doing this ; we can now reestablish
tiie practical relations of those States to the
Government. Our actual jurisdiction over
them, which they vainly attempted to throw off,
is already restored. The conquest we have
achieved is a conquest over the rebellion, not a
conquest over the States whose authority the
.rebellion had for a time subverted.

For these reasons I think the \-iews submit-
ted by the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr.
Stevens] upon this point are unsound. Let
me next cite some of the consequences which,
it seems to me, must follow the acceptance of
his position. If, as he asserts, we have been
waging war with an independent Power, with a
separate nation, I cannot see how we can talk
of tz-eason in connection with our recent conflict
or demand the execution of Davis or anybody
else as a traitor. Certainly if we were at war
with any other foreign Power we should not
talk of the treason of those who were opposed
to us in the field. If we were engaged in a war
with France and should take as pi-isoner the
Emperor Napoleon, certainly we could not talk
of him as a traitor or as liable to execution. I
think that by adopting any such assumption aS
that of the honorable gentleman, we surrender
the whole idea of treason and the punishment
of t^'aitors. I think, moreover, thatwe accept,
\"irtually and ^practically, the doctrine of State
sovereignty, the right of a State to withdraw
from the Union, and to break up the Union at
its own will and pleasure. I do not see how
upon those premises we can escape that conclu-
sion. If the States that engaged in the late
rebellion constituted themselves, by their ordi-
nances of secession or by anj' of the acts- with
which they followed those ordinances, a sepa-
rate and independent Power, I do not see how
we can deny the principles on which they pro-
fessed to act, or refuse assent to their practical
results. I have heard no clearer, no stronger
statement of the doctrine of State sovereignty
as paramount to the sovereignty of the nation
than would be involved in such a- concession.
Whether he intended it or not, the gentleman
from Pennsylvania [Mr. Stevexs] actually as-

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Online LibraryHenry Jarvis RaymondPeace and restoration → online text (page 1 of 3)