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York, or Illinois; for, in such case, the vote, which in the Senate is per capita, is in the House by. States.
Therefore, Sir, I repeat, the decision of the question before us rules all the questions that can arise upon the representation of Arkansas in the Congress of the United States, and also the other question of the participation of Arkansas in the election of President and Vice-President for the term of four years next ensuing. The importance of such a subject cannot be exaggerated. It is important constitutionally, important practically, important also to the peace of the country. ought to be discussed fully and carefully, especially when it is considered that we are on the eve of a Presidential election which may possibly be affected by our decision.
Mr. President, I am against the admission of Arkansas to representation in the National Government at this time and under existing circumstances. There may be a time, and there may be circumstances, when such representation will be proper; but clearly at this moment it is improper, unreasonable, and dangerous. The reasons are obvious.
First. The proposed representation is that of a minority, not only of the people, but even of the ancient voters of Arkansas. It is superfluous to say that such representation is inconsistent with republican principles, and can be vindicated only by overruling necessity. But this point becomes of peculiar importance, when it is considered that the minority asking representation has acquiesced in rebellion, and, still further, that some of those composing the minority have actively assisted the public enemy. Look at the facts.
The authority and jurisdiction of the United States were wholly overthrown and subverted in Arkansas. By action of the State Legislature, and of a Convention called by this Legislature, followed by a popular vote, the State was made de facto a member of the Rebel Confederacy. However much we may deny the rightfulness or the legality of the proceeding, there is no question with regard to the fact. This at least is undeniable, and constitutes an essential ingredient in the case. As a fact it must be recognized, whatever the consequences, precisely as truth is recognized. But this unquestionable fact was followed by a general acquiescence of the people of Arkansas; so that this State became in fact, as in name, a Rebel State, linked with other Rebel States arrayed in arms against the National Government.
At last, after much bloodshed and various vicissitudes, through the exertion of the military power of the United States, a portion of the territory of this State has been rescued from Rebel domination, and brought within the lines of our army. The rest will follow, in process of time, and after further bloodshed, until eventually the whole State will be rescued from Rebel domination, and brought within the lines of our army. Even then we shall be obliged to wait for tokens of returning loyalty also. But at the present moment the possession of the State is still contested by opposing forces, and a minority only has signified adhesión or readhesion to the National Government. This objection, of course, may be removed by time; but it existed in full force at the election of the claimant, and is decisive upon the question before us.
Unquestionably, it is according to the genius of our
Government that the majority should rule. A majority is the natural base of a republic. To found a republic on a minority is scarcely less impracticable than to stand a pyramid on its apex.
Secondly. The proposed representation of Arkansas in the Senate is unjust and inequitable in relation to the representation of the loyal States; and if extended to representation in the House of Representatives and in the Electoral Colleges, it becomes still more unjust and inequitable. By the original terms of union, the other States have agreed that the whole people of Arkansas shall have two Senators, and Representatives according to a fixed proportion, and also electoral votes for President and Vice-President according to the number of Senators and Representatives. Now it would be manifestly wrong toward all the loyal States, if not a fraud upon their rights, to assign such representation and such privilege to a fraction of the people of Arkansas, constituting a small minority, so that, on all questions of legislation, of treaties, or of appointments, in the discharge of legislative, diplomatic, and executive trusts, this small minority would wield in the Senate all the power of a loyal State, while in the choice of President and Vice-President it might turn the scale.
Thirdly. The military occupation of Arkansas, and the unsettled condition of the community there, cannot be forgotten, when we are considering whether to admit the representatives of a newly organized civil government in that State. Military occupation is practically inconsistent with civil government. Even if the former does not absolutely exclude the latter, yet it is evident. that it must exercise a controlling influence. It is impossible in time of war to preserve the conditions of
peace, especially in time of civil war. Military power, when engaged in subduing rebellion, cannot be insensible to political forces. It must win what it cannot overcome. From the nature of the case, ordinary political conditions are disturbed or subverted, and electoral power loses its essential character, so as to be no longer entitled to that peculiar respect which it enjoys under American institutions. These observations I apply solely to a theatre of war; and I insist, that, so applied, they are true, just, and indisputable.
But, in point of fact, there is another and kindred force, which conspires with the former to disturb suffrage in Arkansas: I mean that proceeding from incursions and hostile operations of the enemy. These prevent elections in some parts of the State, and render them partial in others; and this unhappy condition must continue so long as war prevails there. That I do not exaggerate these perils, let me quote the testimony of General Gantt, a citizen of Arkansas, who participated in the recent election. "Thousands," says he, "when they started to the polls in the morning, felt that at nightfall, when they returned, it might be to a mass of charred and smoking ruins and to a beggared and impoverished family; and yet other thousands knew that the knife of the murderous crew of Shelby, Marmaduke, and others was whetted for their throats, and might do their execution before the polls were reached; and all knew, that, should the tide of war surge backward over our State, instead of being simply ordered out of the lines, bankruptcy, dungeons, chains, and an ignominious death awaited them." This picture, which is unquestionably authentic, while it interests us for the heroic sufferers, testifies conclusively how incapable Arkansas
is at this moment to bear the burdens and discharge the trusts of a State.
Fourthly. The present organization in Arkansas, seeking representation on this floor, is without that legality of origin required by the American system of government. It is revolutionary in character. Nay, more, it may all be traced to a military order. Clearly, this incongruity will not be tolerated. A new civil government, to be recognized as a State of this Union, cannot be born of military power. Congress has jurisdiction over all those States in which loyal governments have been overturned; and this jurisdiction furnishes a natural, obvious, and constitutional origin for the new government. Without it, I am at a loss to see how the connecting link of legality can be preserved between the old and the new. This is not the first time in our national history that Congress has stood between the old and the new. Such is its natural place and function. At the separation of the Colonies from the mother country, it interfered by formal resolution to indicate the process by which the new governments should be constituted, although the Tories of that day doubted the power. According to this example, sustained by congenial principles, Congress must now set the new government in motion, and infuse into it the vital force found in liberty regulated by law.
Fifthly. Arkansas is at this moment shut out from commercial intercourse with the loyal States, under the Proclamation of the President of 16th August, 1861, in pursuance of the Act of Congress of 13th July, 1861. By this Proclamation it is placed on the list of States declared in "insurrection against the United States; and all commercial intercourse between the same and