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The Newberry herald. (Newberry, S.C.) 1865-1884, August 29, 1866, Image 1

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At Newberry C. HI.,
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Address to the People of the United
Having met in convention at the city of
Philadelphia, in the State (.f Pennsylvania,
this 16th day of August, 1866, as the repre
sentatives of the people of all sections, and
all the States and Territories of the Union,
to consult upon the condition and the
wants of our common country, we address
to you this declaration of our principles and
of political purposes we seek to promote.
Since the meeting of the last National
Convention, in the year 1860, events have
,occurred which have changed the charac
ter of our internal politics and given the
United States a new place among the na
tions of the earth. Our Government has
:passed through the vicissitudes and the
perils of civil war; a war which, thougi
mainly sectional in its character, has ne
vertheless decidc. political differences that
,from the very beginning of the Govern
ment had threatened the unity of our na
itional existence, and has left its impress
deep and ineffaceable, upon all the inter
'sts, sentiments and the destiny of the
Republic. While it has inflicted apon the
whole country severe losses in life and in
property, and has imposed burdens which
must weigh on its resources for genera
tions to come, it has developed a degree of
national conrage in the presence of na
ta1 dhngers, a capacity for military or
ganization and achievement, and a devo
tion on the part of the people to the form
of Government which they have ordained,
and to the principles of liberty which that
Government was designed to promote,
wvhich must confirm the confidence of the
nation in the perpetuity of its republican
institutions, and command the respect of
the civilized world. Like all great con
tests which rouse the passions and test the
endurance of nations, this war has given
new scope to the ambitions of political par
ties, and fresh impulse to plans of innova
tion and reform. Amidst the chaos of
comn'icting sentiments, inseparable from
such an era, while the public heart is
keenly alive to all the paisions that can
sway the public judgment and affect the
public actions; while the wounds of war
a.re still fresh and bleeding on either side,
.and fears for the future take unjust pro
portions from the memories and resent
ment of the past, it is a diffcult but an
iunperative duty which, on your behalf, we
who are here assembled have undertaken
to perform
F'or the first time af;2r six long years of
daienation and of conflict, we have come to
gether from every State and every section
of our land as citizens of a common coun
try, under that flag, the symbol again of a
common glory, to consult together how
best to cement and perpetuate that Union
which is again the object of our common
love, and thus secure the blessings of
liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
In the first place, we invoke you to re
.member always and everywhere that the
war is ended, and the nation is again at
peace. The shock of contending arms no
longer assails the shuddering heart of the
JRepublic. The insurrection against the
supreme authority of the nation has been
suppressed, and that authority has been
again acknowledged by word and act in
.every State, and by every citizen within
its jurisdiction. We are no longer required
or permitted to regard or treat each other
as enemies. Not only have the acts of
war been discontinued, and the weapons of
'war laid aside, but the state of war no
longer exists; and the sentiments, the
passions, the relations of war, have no
longer lawful or rightful place anywhere
throughout our broad domain. We are
again people of the United States-fellow
citizens of one country, bound by the dutics
and obligations of a common patriotism,
and having neither rights nor interests
apart from a common destiny. The duties
that devolve upon us now are again the
duties of peace, and no longer the duties of
jwar, We have assembled here to take
poinsel concerning the interest of peace ;
to decide how we may most wisely and ef
fectively h,eal the wounds the war has
,made, and pesfect and perpetuate the
benefits it has secured, and the blessings
which, under a wise and benign Provi
~dence, have sprung up in its fiery track.
This is the work, not of passion, but of
4calm and sober judgment ; not of resent
' anent for past offences, prolonged beyond
the limits which justice and reason pre
acribe, but of a liberal statesmanship,
which tolerates what it cannot prevent,
and builds its plans and its hopes for the
future rather upon a community of inter
@sts and ambition than upon distrust and
the weapons of force. In the next place,
we call upon you to recognize, in their full
significance, and to accept with all their
legitimate consequenceS, the political re
silts of the war just closed. In two most
important particulars, the victory achieved
by the National Government has been
ial1 ad decisive. First, it has established.
beyond all further controversy, and by the
highest of all human sanctions, the abso
lute supremacy of the National Govern
ment, as defined and limited by the Con
stitution of the United States, and the
permanent integrity and indissolubility of
the Federal Union as a necessary conse
quence. And second, it has put an end,
finally and forever, to the existence of
slavery upon the soil or within the juris
diction of the United States. Both these
points became directly involved in the
contest, and controversy upon both was
ended absolutely and finally by the result.
In the third place, we deem it of the ut
most importance that the real character of
the war, and the victory by which it was
closed, should be accurately understood.
The war was carried on by the Govern
ment of the United States in maintenance
of its own authority and in defence of its
own existence, both of which were me
naced by the insurrection which it sought
to suppress. The suppression of that in
surrection accomplished that result. The
Government of the United States main
tained by force of arms the supreme au
thority over all the territory, and over all
the States and people within its jurisdic
tion, which the Constitution confers upon
it. But it acquired thereby no new power;
no enlarged jurisdiction; no rights, either
of territorial possession or of civil authori
ty, which it did not possess before the re
bellion broke out. All the rightful power
it can ever possess is that which is con
ferred upon it, either in express terms, or
by fair and necessary application, by the
Coistitution of the United States.
It was that power and that authority
which the rebellion sought to overthrow,
and the victory of the Federal arms was
simply the defeat of that attempt. The
Government of the United States acted
throughout the war on the defensive. It
sought only to hold possession of what was
already its own. Neither the war nor the
victory by which it was closed changed, in
any way, the Constitution of the United
States. - The war was carried on by virtue
of its provisions, and under the li4itations
which they prescribe, and the result of the
war did not either enlarge, abridge, or in
any way change or affect the powers it
confers upon the Federal Government, or
release th,it Government from the restric
tions which it has imposed. The Constitu
tion of the Un:ted States is, to-dav, pre
cisely as it was before the war, "the
supreme law of the land, anything in the Con
stitution or laws of any State to the con
trary notwithstanding" And, to-day, also,
precisely as before the war, "all the pow
ers not conferred by the Constitution upou
the General Goveinment, nor prohibited
by it to the States, is reserved to the seve
rl States, or to the people thereof."
This position is vindicated not only by
the essential nature of our Government,
and the language anid sp>irit of the Consti
tution, but by all the acts and the language
ofour Government in all its departments
and at all times. From the outbreak of
1the rebellion to its final overthrow, in every
message and proclamation of the Execu
tive, it was explicitly declared that the sole
object and purpose of the war was to mamn
tain the authority of the Constitution and
to preserve the integrity of the Union.
And Corngress, more than once, reiterated
this solemn declaration, .and idded the as
surance that, whenever this object should
be attained, the war should cease ; and all
the States shonld retain their equal rights
and dignity unimpaired. It is only since
the war was closed that other rights have
been asserted on behalf of one department
of the General G3overnment. It has been
proclaimed by Cot gress that, in addition
to the powers conferred upon it by the
Constitution, the Federal Government may
now claim over the States, the territory
and the people involved in the insurrec
tion, the rights ot war, the right of con
quest and of confiscation ; the right to ab
trogate all existing Governments, institu
tions and laws, and to subject the territory
conquered, and its inhabitants, to such
laws regulations and deprivations as the
legislative departments of the Govern
ment may see fit to impose.
Under this broad and sweeping claim,
that clause of the Constitution which pro
Ivides that "no State shall, without its con
sent, be deprived of its equal suffrage in
the Senate of the United States," has been
annulled, and ten States have been re
fused, and still are refused, representation
altogether in both branches of the Federal
Congress; and the Congress in which only
a part of the States and of the people of
the Union are represented has asserted the
right thus to exclude the rest from repre
sentation and all share ia making their
own laws, or choosing their own rulers,
until they shall comply with such condi
tions and perform such acts as this Con
gress, thus composed, may itself prescibe.
That right has not only been asserted, but
it has been exercised and is practically
enforced at the present time. Nor does it
find any support in the theory that the
States thus excluded ,are in rebellion
against the Government, and therelore
precluded from sharing its authority.
They are not thus in rebellhon. They are
one and -all in an attitude of loyalty to
wards the Government, and of sworn alle
giance to the Constitution of the United
States. In no one of them is there the
slightest indication of resistance to this
authority, or the slightest protest against
its just and binding obligations. This con
dition of renewed loyalty has been official
ly recognized by solemn proclamation of
the Executive Department ; the laws of the
United States have been extended by Con
gress oe,- all thes Sates and the people
thereof; Federal courts have been re
opened, and Federal taxes imposed and
levied; and, in every respect, except that
they are denied representation in Congress
and the electoral college, the States once
in rebellion are now recognized as holding
the same position, as owing the same obli
gations, and subject to the same duties, as
the other States of our common Union.
It seems to us, in the exercice of the
calmest and most candid judgment we can
bring to the subject, that such a claim, so
enforced, involves as fatal an overthrow of
the authority of the Constitution, and as
complete a destruction of the Government
and Union, as that which was sought to be
effected by the States and people in armed
insurrection against them both. It cannot
escape observation that the power thus
asserted to exclude certain States fro.a
representation is made to rest wholly on
the will and discretion of the Congress
that asserts it. It is not made to depend
upon any specified conditions or circum
stances, nor to be subject to any rules or
regulations whatever. The right asserted
and exercised is absolute, without qualifi
cation or restriction-not confined to States
in rebellion, nor to States that have re
belled-it is the right of any Congress, in
formal possession of the legislative author
ity, to exclude any State or States, and
any portion of the people thereof, at any
time, from representation in Congress and
in the electoral college, at its own discre
tion, and until they shall perform such acts
and comply with such conditions as it may
Obviously the reasons for such exclu
sion, being wholly within the discretion of
Congress, may change as the Congress it
self shall change. One Congress may ex
clude a State from all share in the Govern
ment for one reason, and that reason re
moved, the next Congress may exclude it
for another. One State may be excluded
on one ground to-day, and another may be
excluded on the opposite ground to-mor
row. Northern ascendency may exclude
Southern States from one Congress. The
ascendency of Western or of Southern in
terests, or of both combined, may exclude
the Northern or the Eastern States from
the next.
Improbable as such usurpations may
seem, the establishment of the principle
now asserted and acted upon by Congress
will render them by no means impossible.
The character, indeed the very existence,
of Congress and the Union is thus made
dependent solely and entirely upon the
party and sectional exigencies or forbear
ances of the hour.
We need not stop to show that such
action not only finds no warrant in the
Constitution, but is at war with every prin
ciple of our Government, and with the
very existence of free institutions. It is,
indeed, the identical practice which has
rendered fruitless all attemps hitherto to
establish and m-aintain free Government in
Mexico and the States of South America.
Party necessities assert themselves as
superior to the fundamental law, which is
set aside in reckless obedience to their be
hests. Stability, whether in the exercise
of power, in the administration of Covern
mernt, or in the enjoyment of rights, be
comes impossible-and the conflicts of
party, which, under constitutional Govern
ments, are the conditions and means of
political progress, are merged in the con
flict of arms, to which they directly and
inevitably tend.
It was against this peril, sv conspicuous
and so fatal to all free Governments, that
our Constitution was intended especially to
provide. Not only the stability, but the
very existence of the Covernmnent is made
by its provisions to depend upon the right
and the fact of representation. The Con
gress, upon which is conferred all the le
gislative power of the National Govern
ment, consists of two branches, the Senate
and House of Representatives, whose
joint concurrence or assent is essential to
the validity of any law. Of these, "the
House of Representative," says the Con
stitution, Article 1, Section 2, "shall be
composed of members chosen every second
year by the people of the several States."
Not only is the right of representation
thus recognized as possessed by all the
States, and by every State, without re
striction, qnalification, or condition of any
kind, but the duty of choosing representa
tives is imposed upon the people of each
and every State alike, without distinction,
or the authority to make distinction,
among them, for any reason, or upon any
grounds whatever. And, in the Senate
so careful is the Constitution to secure to
every State this right of representation
it is expressly provided that "No State
shall, without its consent, be deprived of
its equal suffrage" in that body, even by
an amendment of the Constitution itself.
When, therefore, any State is excluded
from such representation, not only is a
right of the State denied, but the con
stitutional integrity of the Senate is im
paired, and the validity of the Govern
ment itself is brought in question. But
Congress, at the present moment, thus
excludes from representation in both
branches of Congress ten States of the
Union ; denying them all share in the
enactment oN aws by which they are to
be governed, and all participation in the
election of the rulers by which those
laws are to be enforced. In other words,
a Congress, in which only twenty-six
States are represented, asserts the right
to govern, absolutely, and in its own
discretion, all the thirty-six States which
compose the Union ; to make their laws
nl chbose their rulers, and to exclude
the other ten from all share in their own
Government, until it sees fit to admit
them thereto. What is there to distin
guish the power thus asserted and exer
cised from the most absolute and intol
erable tyranny? Nor do these extrava
gant and unjust claims on the part of
Congress to powers and authority never
conferred upon the Government by the
Constitution find any warrant in the ar
guments or excuses urged in their be
half. It is alleged :
1. That these States, by the act of re
bellion, and by voluntarily withdrawing
their members from Congress, forfeited
their right to representation, and that
they can only receive it again at the
hands of the supreme legislative authori
ty of the Government, on its own terms
and its own discretion. If representation
in Congress and participation in the
Government were simply privileges con
ferred and hel. by favor, this statement
might have the merit of plausibility ; but
representation is, under the Constitution,
not only expressly recognized as a right,
but it is imposed as a duty, and it is
essential, in both respects, to the ex
istence of the Government and to the
maintenance of its authority. In free
Governments, fundemental and essential
rights cannot be forfeited, except against
individuals, by due process of law. Nor
can constitutional duties and obligations
be discarded or laid aside. The enjoyment
of rights may be, for a time, suspended,
by the failure to claim them, and duties
may be evaded by the refusal to perform
The withdrawal of their members from
Congress by the States which resisted the
General Government was among their acts
of insurrection-was one of the means
and agencies by which they sought to im
pair the authority and defeat the action of
the Government. And that Act was an
nulled and rendered void when the insur
rection itself was suppressed. Neither the
right of representation, nor the duty to be
represented was in the least impaired by
the fact of insurrection, but it may have
been that, by reason of the insurection,
the conditions on which the enjoyment of
that right and the performance of that
duty for the time depended, could not be
This-was, in fact, the case. An insur
gent power, in the exercise of usurped
and unlawful authority, in the territory
under its control, had prohibited that
allegiance to the Constitution and laws
of the United States which is made by
that fundamental law the essential con
di tion of representation in its Government.
No man within the insurgent States was
allowed to take the oath to support the
Constitution of the United States, and,
as a necessary consequence, no man
could lawfully represent these States in
the councils of the Union. But this was
only an obstacle to the enjoyment of the
right and to the discharge of a duty. It
did not annul the one, nor abrogate the
other, and it ceased to exist when the
ursurpation by which it was created had
been overthrown, and the States had
again resumed their allegiance to the
Constitution and laws of the United
2. But it is asserted, in support of the
authority claimed by the Congress now
in possession of power, that it flows di
rectly from the laws of war; that it is
among the rights which victorious war
alvays confers upon the conquerors, and
which the conqueror may exercise or
waive, in his own discretion. To this
we reply, that the laws in question relate
solely, so far as the rights they confer
are concerned, to wars waged between
alien and independent natio~ns, and can
have no place or force in this regard in
a war waged by the Government to sup
press an insurrection of its own people,
upon its own soil, against its authority.
If we bad carried on successful war
against any foreign nation, we might
thereby have acquired possession and ju
risdiction of their soil, with the right to
enforce our laws upon their people, and
to impose upon them such laws and such
obligations as we might choose. But we
had before the war complete jurisdiction
over the soil of the Southern States, lim
ited only by our own Constitution. Our
laws were the only national laws in force
upon it ; the Government of the United
States was the only Government through
wich those States and their people had
relations with foreign nations, and' its
flag was the only flag by which they
were recognized or known anywhere on
the face of the earth. In all these res
pects, and in all other respects involving
national interest and right, our possess
ion was perfect and complete. It did not
need to be acquired, but only to be main
tained, and victorious war against the
rebellion could do nothing more than
maintain it-it could only vindicate and
re-establish the, disputed supremacy of
the Constitution. It could neither en
large nor dirinish the authority which
that Constitution confers upon the Gov
ernment by which it was achieved.
Such an enliargement or abridigement of
constitutional power can be effected only
by .he amendment of the Gonstitution
itser and such amendmaet:t can be made
only in the modes which the Onstitu
tion itseff prescribes. The claim that
the suppression of an insurrection against
the Government gives additional author
ity and power to that Government, espe
cially that it enlarges the jurisdiction of
Congress, and gives that body the right
to exclude States from representation in
the national councils, without which the
nation itself can have no authority and
no existence, it seems to us is at variance
alike with the principles of the Consti
tution and with the public safety.
3. But it is alleged that in certain par
ticulars the Constitution of the United
States fails to secure that absolute jus
tice and impartial equality which the
principles of our government require,
That it was in these respects the result
of compromises and concessions, to which,
however necessary when the Constitu
tion was formed, we are no longer con
pelled to submit, and that now, having
the power, through successful war, and
just warrant for its exercise in the hos
tile conduct of the insurgent section, the
actual Government of the United States
may impose its own conditions and make
the Constitution conform, in all its pro
visions, to its own ideas of equality and
the rights of man.
Congress, at its last session, proposed
amendments to the Constitution enlarg
ing, in some very important particulars,
the authority of the General Govern
ment over that of the sev.eral States, and
reducing, by indirect 'disfranchisement,
the representative power of the States
in which slavery formerly existed. And
it is claimed that these amendments may
be made valid as parts of the original
Constitution, without the concurrence of
the States to be most seriously affected
by them, or may be imposed upon those
States by three-fourths of the remaining
States as conditions of their re-admis
sion to representation in Congress and in
the electoral college.
It is the unquestionable right of the peo
ple of the United States to make such
changes in the Coi,stitntion as they, upon
due deliberation, may deem expedient. But
we insist that they shall be made in the
mode which the Constitution itself points
out, in conformity with the spirit and the
letter of that instrument, and with the prin
ciples of self government and equal rights,
which lie at the basis of our republican in
stitutions. We deny the right of Congress
to make these changes in the fundamental
law without the concurrence of three-fourths
of all the States, including especially those
to be most seriously affected by them, or to
inpose them upon States or people as con
ditions of representation, or or admission to
any of the rights, duties or obligations
which belonig, under the Constitution, to
all the States alike. And with still greater
emphasis do we deny the right of any por
tion of the States, excluding the rest of the
States from any share in their councils, to
propose or sanction changes in the Consti
tution which are to affect permanently their
political relations, and control or coerce the
legitimate action of the several members- of
the common Union. Such an exercise of
power is simply a usurpation-just as& un
warrantable when exercised by Northern
States as it would be if exercised by South
ern, and not to be fortified or palliated' by
anything in the past history either of those
by whom it is attempted, or of those upon
whose rights and liberties it is to take ef
fect. It finds no warrant in the Constitu
tion; it is at war with the fundamental prin
ciples of our forni of government. If toler
ated in one instance it becomes the prece
dent for future invasions of liberty and con
stitutional rights, dependent solely upon
the will of the party in possession of power,
and thus leads, by direct sequence, to the
most fatal and intolerable of all tyranies
the tyranny of shifting and irresponisible
factions. It is against this, the most formi
dable of all the dangers which menace the
stability of a free Government, that theCon
stitution of the United States was intended
most carefully to provide. We demand a
strict and steadfast adherence to its provis
ions. In this, and in this alone, can we find
a basis of permaneut union and peace.
4. But it is alleged, in justification of the
usurpation which we condemn, that the
condition of the Southern States and people
is not such as renders safe their readmis
sion to a share in the Government of the
country ; that they are still disloyal in sen
timent and purpose, and that neither the
honor, the credit, nor the interest of the na
tion would be safe if they were re-admitted
to a share in its councils. We might reply
to this: First, that we have no right for such
reasons to deny to any portion of the
States or people rights expressly conferre,d
upon them by the Constitution of the Umi
ted States. Second, that so long as there
acts are those of loyalty, so long as they
conform in all their public conduct to the
requirements of the Constitution and laws,
we have no right to exact from them con
formity in their sentiments and opinions to
onr own. Third, That we have no right to
distrust the purpose or the ability of the
people of the Union to defend and protect,
under all contingencies and by whatever
means may be required, its honor and its
These would, in our judgment, be ful!
and conclusive answers toethe plea .thus ad
vanced for the exclusion of these States
from. the Union. But we-say further, that
this. plea, rests upon a complete misappre
hension or an unjust perversion of existing
facts. We do not hesitate to affirm that
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