Robert Cumming Schenck.

No compromise with treason. Remarks of Mr. Schenck, of Ohio, in reply to Mr. Fernando Wood, in the debate on the resolution to expel Mr. Long. Delivered in the House of representatives, April 11, 1864 online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryRobert Cumming SchenckNo compromise with treason. Remarks of Mr. Schenck, of Ohio, in reply to Mr. Fernando Wood, in the debate on the resolution to expel Mr. Long. Delivered in the House of representatives, April 11, 1864 → online text (page 1 of 1)
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•ticn of members on both sides of the House I beg to recur to the official
record. I find by the Journal of the 29th of February last that I moved the adop-
of three resolutions, of -which the first was in these words:

That the present war which this Government n a against ttrrned insurrec-

tionists and others barsded t^geth'-r under the na:; rn confederacy, ' was brought oe

icked and v able rebellion, and all those engaged in, or aiding, or encourag-

: rebellion, are public enemies, and should be treated as^sueh.''

How was that resolution received? It passed without objection; not one dis-
e : no opposition whatever; not even a call for tl 1 nays. By

general consent the Representatives of the people of the United States accepted
a one plant in the platform upon which they, as a component part of the
&overnmei.~ tiling to stand in their efforts to put do~n this wicked at.d in-

famous rebellion.

The next resolution is in these terms :

" Set this rebellion shall be e.' I down;,and that to prevent the recur-

rence of such rebellions in future the -a lid to this one must be pemsanently re-

HiOT.

Some gentleman upon the other side of the House called for a division of the
a, and a?kea that a vote might first be taken upon the proposition "that
ellion shall be erectualiv put down."' Upon that one hundred and twenty-
five- gentlemen voted ;n the affirmative, and not one in the negative. It passed
unanimously. """

And here, in passing, I may remark that among that one hundred and twenty-
five was my colleague, [Mr. Long,] whosS case is now under consideration. ' He
then voted his opinion as a member of the House of Representatives that this re-
ought to be effectually put down. It is for him and for the country to re-
concile, if it be possible, that declaration, then solemnly made by his recorded vote,
with his belief now announced that the rebellion cannot be put down, and tha»
i emains nothing for us but to recognize that insurrectionary pretended gov-
. I to accept it as one of the nati the world,

-maining clause of that second resolution v. carried by the unani-

mous consent of the House. Gentlemen upon the other side affected to believe
that "the causes of the rebellion" were not what I plainly intended — slavery and
the slave power, and the slave influence in this country ; and so we united, they
construing the language of the resolution in ore way, and I and all the Union mem-
bers here iu another. By that motion, then, perhaps nothir.g was taken. Under
such a subterfuge gentleman escaped the issue 1 presented.

But there remained another resolution, the third and last of the series:

" EesoheA, That in this struggle which is going on for the saving of our country and free Gcv-
t-mnent, there ia no middle ground on which any good citizen or true patriot can stand; neu-
•r indifference, or anything short of a hear' : the Government, being a crim°,

where the question is between loyalty an

That resolution also passed this House by a unanimous vote. The gentleman
from 5ew York [Mr. Fesh^bbo Wood] was not y 1 some who were pres-

ent did nut vote ; but one hundred atfd nine, being all that did vote upon the ques-
tion, recorded their names in the affirmative. Again there was not one negative.
My colleague, whose case we have now before us, was here. He had voted on the
previous resolution but declined to answer upon this. With some fifteen other
gentlemen upon that side of the House he preferred to dodge the issue, and they
I being brought to a test whether they beli- h middle ground or not-

Ue ground, upon which it was agreed r.o patriot or true man can
• stand, the gentleman from Xew York [Mr. Fecnanlo Wood] selects his uncertain
footing. It is the dark, oozy, unwholesome soil, between the solid earth on either
side, over which unclassified copperheads do creep, and mark Eheir slimy and doubt-
ful track.

But what assurance have we that the member from Xew York is going to occupy
hereafter and consist eatly even the ground he has assumed to-day? He says he is no
disunionist. He declares against the war; he is for compromise; for negotiation
with rebels ; for peace to be acquired in that way.. Yet unlike my colleague [Mr.
Long] he would not think of giving up the integrity of the Union. But what are
his antecedents ? Where etood he at the beginning and-after the beginning of this
great struggle for the life of the nation ?

I will turn aside here for a moment to consider as one of the remarkable passa-
ges in the speech of my colleague [Mr. Long] the account he ha3 sought to impose
urion the country of the commencement of the war; and then I will see if we can
find what position was in that earlier day taken by the gentleman from New York.

My colleague [Mr. Long,] in the speech for the utterance of which he is now held
to aecount before the House, has said that hostilities against the Government of the



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Mr.



foe'dispatches : " Milledqeville, January 24, 1361.

"To his Honor Mayor Wood: Georgia have been

"Is it true that any arm* intended for and* mwd Ho Mta ^State of ta^ ^ 1
seized by public authorities in New York? Your answer .3 imporwui o g T00MBS _

Answer at once.

'-To this the mayor returned. the following answer:
•'Hon. Kobekt Toombs, Milledgeville Georgia: inten j ed for anti consigned to the State

o, O^^Uv/be^S'by Sftft.'MS SSMSSS th. city of New York .„o uU
In no way be made responsible for the outrage. Tf T . d the power I should sunnr'arily

p^^a^ra s*— ^ ■ uasfcmo wood.

.-Now what excuse will Mr. Wood have to offer to the House"

ivr opttvn PIT That will do. I will ask the question myself; ask it, too im ae,
Mr. bOribiNbrv. mat win ui. ^ „ttpmnt to sive comfort to

TO Democrat, but «b.t kind of J "« ft °£' w"™S* «..».

3otiS|^

Democrat! . . . ,. tIipvp was a time when he was a

^b^r.^r^^S^e f ?8 " a W ^ agalnSt

that he could not help Georgia with "m^b «££*•, ^ ^.V )

1861, alarmed by the rouse d indignat on and swe m. ng ^ ^.^

ioya l people, and ^^^RSj^Uraia thousands that he^as for the
square. And there he P^? hend he found } t convenient to have it under-

SoVtber^hat t^^dTrToU just like those whom he now denounces
ivound him. TTarmenint' to be present in New York,

making those loyal pledges and avowals. Democrat he maybe

United States, as he u .now; or ^^^tCb^Aev between the tJo and

profess on is to be neither b ^^^ ^Ue^p.ed by any State or people that it

f ng ly to them, « Do with us as you ^il eit om *•«£«£ g
i^gleamingstnpes , bio on *«W £*•%*£ ^J Democratic party s that
only join us again that , you maj be p offi8eg ^ For these

J! CHKSffi ^SST- -* o P f God's creature* ever humbled themselves

before." [Laughter.] , occnpvina; the time of the



men prior to this war, or about the time of it3 commencement. Some of these ex-
tracts are attributed to abolitionists, some to men of other parties; but he strings
them all together, seekingThereby, if he can, to fill his magazine v- ith weapons of
assault against the Government and against this side of the Chamber.

I did not listen to much that was read. I care little for it fa- the purposes of this
argument. But I did observe, in the course of that reading, that when it happened
in two or three instances Ibat he srave what purported to be the sentiments or de-
clarations of certain members of this body now here present, those extracts were
promptly denounced as i'< I though they were by the reputable

member from New York It i-; not unlikely that these spurious specimens indicate
the character of the whole collection.

But, sir. I am not here to defend any man. I am not here to inquire whether
this man or the other w olitionist, a Democrat, a Whig, or a Republican; or

what may have been their utterances, prudent or imprudent, wise or unwise,
patriotic or unpatriotic, on any other or former occasion ; whether they were risrht
or wrong then. That I by. Men might very widely differ and differ-

ently express themselves on tlie eve of such a convulsion. They might widely
differ, boo, as to what course was most expedient to be pursued in order to avert
the great calamity of war from the land.

Three years have now gone by. We are in the midst of that war. Armies are
confronting armies; ba;. crossed with bayonets. Thearguments now to be

■ d the only arguments to be used are the incisive, cu ting i - of the

sword, the sharp-point the knock down conclusion of the

nbshell. It is in the midst of such fierce and practice as this

that the gentleman from New Y< I : irwaid and proposes to yield to the ar-

rogant and ii - of parricide rebels, bearing in his hands as precedents

his collection of extrac or otherwise, cuiled from what may have been

i in other times . circumstances. If he made those quo

for any purpose at all it cool had stood upon

:nd. But the d ide as heaven from hell. Admit

that tt \ admit that they were all at faul 'tig, if they

did do so, any such expedients. It only follows that they did Dot then as now under-
rue character of our people, or the power of self-preservation which rests
in our Government. Whit parallel is there between such hesitation then, and the
concessions which would be made by this man here now upon this floor, and almost
in the very presence of the public enen

Speaker, I can understand how, in the Revolution, when these States, then

colonies, broke away from the mother conn:; . man who was attached to

monarchic;. 1 institution 1 , or fearful of rushing upon the untried experiment of a new

form of government, to be reached through the horrors of war, might have shrunk

I been a Tory of that day.

But how, t of a century has gone by, and this great Govern-

inder the Constitution a iopted at the close of that Revolution, has gone on

- made its mark high on the roll of nations,

and the hopes of a world have clustered around it — how auy one with this history

and triumph before him can to day doubt or distrust or bargain away his country's

nation-. ire than I can .-. re, sir. that in my opinion

i patriot and a gentleman, compared with a

t. [Applause. J

Mr, E e are, as 1 have stated, in the presence of the enemy. Every man

in this Union is to-day, in one sense, a citizen sold' ; eople are either in the

; the Union army in front, facing and fighting the foe, or they are in the rear,

striving by every means j ;then and advance the common cause.

I rep-at. every man is a citizen soldier; and we who are here no less so than
others. Now, when a soldier is marching with the army toward the enemy, or
holding his place in line of battle ready to meet the onset or to make the cl
if that soldier — and I b of our honest, brave fellows iu the field for even

making such a suj position — if that soldier, instead of at: 1 ^rim

purpose, to the ion how he shall best acquit himself in the d

• •re him, ai hich lies pi .-hould

comrades about him, saying to one, "We ca . ;" to

r, " We had better lay down our arms;" to anotl i r, " Our cause is wrong;
we ne\ ruer;" and to another; "Let us demand of our coi : officer"

to stop shedding blood, and hi between the two armies" — if at such

a time should talk thus in the ranks, what would you do with him I You would
shoot hiia!

And is a citizen soldier who undertakes to breed distraction in the country, who
claims that we cannot put down the rebellion, who insists that the rebellion^ in his



6

view, is altogether right and justifiable, who would compromise, who would tem-
porize who would have his Government debased to the condition of begging peace
from ar nsolent insurgents,— is he less deserving of execra nnisn-

ment? Though we may not execute such a mar. ppropnaue gallows

elected for criminals, yet, thank God, there is a gibbet of public opinion * berewe
can hang him high as Haman and hold him there, the scorn of all nations a .d 01 the
world ! !".' . T , ,

i few words low more directly to the resolution before the House. I wish I had
as much strength— having just risen from a sick bed— as I have desire to go on a
little further with this examination. ,,„,. _ r . ' „.

The resolution ,1S II,,llse - "proposes

expulsion for the use of language in debate upon this floor. .

, this resolution is that its passage ^ould be
ousi h the liber: i. You mi] ' °*

debate in tl to the discussion »ta upon the right

adjustment of which the future prosperity of our country • ■

V ,ing plausible in that obj ,m of speech in * free

Governtr ,1 the full, ^

debate is i: ! . where we are

meeting and sel »d deepest q . fhis .pnn, | .not ■

overlook, eve; by the "»■

Yet the- from Kentucky, [Mr, MaiXotry,] who, ion

yesterday strangely omitted a m turn

of the clause which in his P lac i the

country- i called upon this House-to wit-.. an

attempt to muz live of the people, a-, j :

organic' law, which in ve be questioned

for any speech or d< her House." Sui inch assertion, I took oc-

casion then to remind him that that was by no i stitution says upon

ffia1 .- -of Congress, it provides, among other

things, that Senators and Representatives

"Shall in l11 cases, except treason, felony, and breach of thepeace, be privileged from ar-
rp.t duri- lance at the session of 1 and in going to and

%&£$ ., I :,vcl. or debute in either House, they shall not be que*-

tioned in any other place.''?

Ah sir " in any other place." While the framers of this sacred instrument
W eretati F to protect and hedge around this fr .so

feat the ightbeleft ; nthout

fav01 . ke | free from any liability to be called to account for such

speech ,1 with equal wisdom took care to pu

each Ho- I ' ,urity and character, lbe

Ho ;; tt ere should be nothing said or done here here above

allotl hich should be prejudicial to go< othe liber-

ties 'of t : oing which ■«!• or aba reak

Sowntl' I Ido.nrt L»

the I ,"""

willing { t houU '

which was tn by wise foresight to

me< this in hand.

But ague

were not ti .»,",i i i xi o *•<- .•„

, . eas0n : s defined by law and by the Constitution.

It COO

x ln ,ny. But it does not nece

n . member for language ■ to be used, or acts im-

Joper lis floor, you must tr, I forms

and rules of law in a ■ I can co. tes im which

offense might be given here, requiting the intei mention of the Bouse and calling for
its severest punishment, wl has been nothing even savoring of treason,

aright make an indecent exposur i ; he might, use anguap

so .v

in „ t l aii more and no longer be permi

££§£ r of any other crime defined by the statutes

^I^not^S ion, driven to the necessity of tak-

;, ; ' ommitted. And when I say that the la,

usld f T 8 i

there may not have been a crime committed for which he might be held to account



before the othe*- tribunals of the country, yet such words bang uttered here and
at this par! -.flagrante hello, with the ] at our very doors, they

le in their teudu; igement to the rebellion and an instiga-

tion to the enemies of the nation to go on in their w it.

at when my _ [Mr. Long] delii is speech,

I was in pay ro >m, ui ison of ilhiess to he in my place. But 1 have a

full, . authorized reportof that speech; and to satisfy ine that he de-

posed, 1 do not need to look any further than to
it which strike my eye now as I hold iu here in my hand. I will read :

i i' proper thus ;<> adwrt to the charges of encouragement to
lade upoif this &■• ■

ed by war? ' si unhesitatingly and deliberately,

N'o, ii- ■ NtM.' "

narks of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, [Mr.
ally those opinions to his — with what want of success
Ivania has most triumphantly shown — he says:

" Tlie cor.; out of the Union, occupying ! cndeni

foreign nations and our

own G' ned their declaration of independence for p . : r" arm?,

ami that the war has cut asunder all the ligaments and abrogal :s that bound
i stitution."

ake one single remark in reference to my own view of
this suhj ei — of the rights of these seceding States and of the people of those

— for we all have thei ries on these sub-
jects — who -believe thatjthe rebels by their insurrection and making war on their
Government have forfeited, if we choose to eaforce that forfeiture, all their rights
zens of this country, and yet have not released themselves from a single one
•.s. And I hold, therefore, that we must press them with fire and
sword in order- to bring them back again into si i the law of the land,

and to their places as good and law-abidi: , as if they were foreigners;

and at the same ive the right, because they are not foi I have

no b rid themselves of their obligations under the Coi it them as

traitors under the law. Iu other words — to use a homely figure — we pursue them
with a doable-barreled g*»!i. We may ahoot them as belligerents, or we may shoot
them as traitors. They are subjects, on the one hand, for the sword, because they
have themselves taken I and brought the curse thus upon themselves ; and

they are, on the other hand, the subjects also of hemp, to be raised to the elevation
which only properly belougs to such traitors.

But gue, [Mr, Long,] in these remarkable c of his, says that

these people are entirely free, and that the war has cut asunder all the ligaments
and abrogated all the obligations which bound them under the Constitution. Mark
that. Letv mt more on that. They have cut themselves free from

all ligaments, and all i ' are abrogated! Then there is no such thing as a

traitor in this land.' Then Jeff. Davis is an honest and patriotic citizen.
the right hand of fellowship. He has freed himself from every obligation. He
owes no duty to the law. He owes nothing to the Constitution. There is no possi-
bility of pursuing him and bringing him to punishment without doing him a wrong
And this ia the doctrine preached here in an American Congress! And we are ex-
pected no', to say that the man who thus talks in his place here is unfit to hold a
seat in this House !

A colleague of mine, [Mr. Garfield,] repl\-ing to that other colleague, [Mr.
Long,] spoke of him as a brave, bold man. I agree with him. He spoke of him,
also, as anhonest man. Well, he may be honest. That is between himself and his
God. But I rind it difficult to understand how a man, intelligent and able as this
speech proves its author to be, can be 30 dangerously wrong, and yet with innocent
purpos". This speech he himself admits was not made on the spur of the moment,
but after long weeks of careful preparation, of pruning and tiling; and it will not
do to let him off on the supposition that it is a mere misapprehension or mistake
on his part I accept the issue which he preseats. Either he is all wrong and bad
on this Bubject, and is siding with the enemies of his country, or we are all wrong.
The member from New Yoik says we are the disunionists. If so, sir, we have a
singular way of showing it. We the disunionists on this side of the House ; we,
who uphold the Government; we, who vote men, money, means all the men, all
the money, all the means, all the appliances for carrying on the war to crush this
unholy rebellion ; we the disunionists, and he, forsooth, the Simon Pure patriot of
the land !

Well, there is a class of people in this country who have almost persuaded them-
selves, by frequent repetition, that they are in favor of the Onion, while at the
jwiiie tiro* hy their speeches, their rotes, and their actions, they refuse to do any-



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Online LibraryRobert Cumming SchenckNo compromise with treason. Remarks of Mr. Schenck, of Ohio, in reply to Mr. Fernando Wood, in the debate on the resolution to expel Mr. Long. Delivered in the House of representatives, April 11, 1864 → online text (page 1 of 1)