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dially recommended by Governor Andrew and others in the public service. He is one of several colored lawyers in Massachusetts, who practise in all our courts, and are always received with courtesy.
"Before I came into the Senate, now several years ago, I was counsel in a case before our Massachusetts Supreme Court, where or of these colored lawyers was my associate, and I remember well the very great kindness and attention with which he was received by Chief Justice Shaw and all the bench.
"I mention these things that you may see something of Mr. Rock's title to admission to the Supreme Court of the United States.
"I know not how far the Dred Scott decision may stand in the way.
"Of course, the admission of a colored lawyer to the bar of the Supreme Court would make it difficult for any restriction on account of color to be maintained anywhere. Street cars would be open afterwards.2
The following note, written in pencil, and sent to Mr. Sumner at his seat in the Senate, was the prompt answer: —
"SUPREME COURT ROOM, December 21, 1864. "DEAR SUMNER, -I will confer with the Judges on Saturday, which is consultation day. It is not likely that any, or any serious, objection will be made.
"S. P. CHASE."
Not hearing from the Chief Justice, Mr. Sumner sent the following reminder:
"In re John S. Rock, Counsellor at Law, Massachusetts. "What say you?
"Senate Chamber, Thursday, 15th January, 1865."
This was returned with the following reply, written in pencil on the same paper:
"Nothing at present, except not forgotten.
"S. P. C."
Another note, written also in pencil, opened the door.
"January 23, 1865. "DEAR SUMNER, You can make your motion for Mr. Rock's admission at any time which suits your convenience.
"S. P. CHASE."
1 Ante, Vol. II. p. 327.
2 That question was then under discussion. Ante, Vol. VIII. pp. 116, 117.
Mr. Rock, who was waiting in Boston, appeared February 1st, and was at once presented by Mr. Sumner. The few formal words which passed on this occasion are not without interest.
As soon as the judges had taken their seats, Mr. Sumner rose, and, with Mr. Rock standing by his side, said:—
MAY IT PLEASE THE COURT,
ASK leave to present John S. Rock, Esq., a Counsellor at Law of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and now move that he be admitted as a Counsellor of this Court.
The Chief Justice bowed, and said:
The oath was then administered by Mr. Middleton, Clerk of the Court. At the same time, on motion of Mr. Sumner, Francis V. Balch, Esq., of Boston, his private secretary, was also admitted.
This incident, marking a stage in the battle for Equal Rights, was extensively noticed at home and abroad. It occurred on the day after the final passage in the House of Representatives of the Constitutional Amendment abolishing Slavery, and the correspondent of the Boston Journal remarked the association of the two events.
"The Slave Power, which received its constitutional death-blow yesterday in Congress, writhes this morning on account of the admission of a colored lawyer, John S. Rock, of Boston, as a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. The rage depicted in the countenances of some of the old Hunkers present at this invasion of their citadel beggars description."
The correspondent of the New York Tribune announced the event
as 'The Dred Scott Decision buried in the Supreme Court," and then broke forth enthusiastically:
"O augustly simple funeral cortége! O dead, wrapped in the cerements that the divine hand of Revolution folds its victims with, augustly exciting in your stormy birth, transcendently mischievous in your little life! Senator Charles Sumner and Negro Lawyer John S. Rock the pallbearers, the room of the Supreme Court of the United States the Potter's Field, the corpse the Dred Scott decision!
"Through the door that was too narrow to freely let out the bearers that bore Charles Sumner's inanimate form from the Senate Chamber, where he had been stricken down by the assassins of the Slave Power, Charles Sumner to-day marched back, leading a negro by the hand, and, standing upon the very spot that had been stained with his blood for demanding freedom and equality for the blacks in America, demanded of the Supreme Court of the United States to enroll among its members an African lawyer, and to license him to practise at its bar. The black man was admitted."
Then mentioning the motion of Mr. Sumner, the same correspondent says:
"The grave to bury the Dred Scott decision was in that one sentence dug, and it yawned there, wide open, under the very eyes of some of the judges who had participated in the juridical crime against Democracy and Humanity. The assenting nod of the great head of the Chief Justice tumbled in the corse and filled up the pit, and the black counsellor of the Supreme Court got on to it and stamped it down, and smoothed the earth for his walk to the rolls of the Court.
A few lawyers of the old régime looked on, stunned somewhat, but rapidly growing in wisdom, and mixing deference to destiny with their instinctive reluctance to this revolutionary intrusion."
Mr. Cobden, writing from England, also associated this event with the Constitutional Amendment. In a letter shortly before his much lamented death, he said: :
"I feel it a pleasant duty to give you my best congratulations on the recent proceedings within and without your Halls of Congress. The vote on the Amendment of the Constitution was a memorable and glorious event in your history. Another incident-that of your introduction of a colored man to the Supreme Court - was hardly less interesting. In all these proceedings at Washington you ought to be allowed to indulge the feelings of a triumphant general. You served as a volunteer in the forlorn hope, when the battle of Emancipation seemed a hopeless struggle. Your position within the Halls of Congress was very different from that of the agitators out of doors, meritorious as were their labors. I have served in both capacities, and know the difference between addressing an audience of partisans at a public meeting and a hostile parliamentary assembly. . . . . I heartily congratulate you."
Doubtless the admission of a colored lawyer to the Supreme Court helped prepare the way for admission of his race to the rights of citizenship, and especially the right to vote.
PARTICIPATION OF REBEL STATES NOT NECESSARY IN RATIFICATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS.
DECLARATORY RESOLUTIONS IN THE SENATE, FEBRUARY 4, 1865.
CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS declaring the rule in ascertaining the three fourths of the several States required in the ratification of a Constitutional Amendment.
HEREAS Congress, by a vote of two thirds of both Houses, has proposed an Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting Slavery throughout the United States, which, according to existing requirement of the Constitution, will be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States; and
Whereas, in the present condition of the country, with certain States in arms against the National Government, it becomes necessary to determine what number of States constitutes the three fourths required by the Constitution: Therefore,
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That the rule followed in ascertaining the two thirds of both Houses proposing the Amendment to the Constitution should be followed in ascertaining the three fourths of the several States ratifying the Amendment; that, as in the first case the two thirds are founded on the simple fact of representation in the two
Houses, so in the second case the three fourths must be founded on the simple fact of representation in the Government of the country and the support thereof; and that any other rule establishes one basis for the proposition of amendment and another for its ratification, placing one on a simple fact and the other on a claim of right, while it also recognizes the power of Rebels in arms to interpose a veto upon the National Government in one of its highest functions.
Resolved, That all acts, executive and legislative, in pursuance of the Constitution, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States, are valid to all intents and purposes throughout the United States, although certain Rebel States fail to participate therein, and that the same rule is equally applicable to an Amendment of the Constitution.
Resolved, That the Amendment of the Constitution prohibiting Slavery throughout the United States will be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution, whenever ratified by three fourths of the States de facto, exercising the powers and prerogatives of the United States under the Constitution thereof.
Resolved, That any other rule, requiring the participation of the Rebel States, while illogical and unreasonable, is dangerous in its consequences, inasmuch as all recent Presidential proclamations, including that of Emancipation, also all recent Acts of Congress, including those creating the national debt and establishing a national currency, and also all recent treaties, including the treaty with Great Britain for the extinction of the slave-trade, have been made, enacted, or ratified, respectively, without any participation of the Rebel States.