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and exhausting every resource within their reach, are not able to command that small sum; others, perhaps, just able to command it, are compelled to burden their families and deny comfort to wife and child.
Now, Sir, the rich man is under no such obligation. If he be drafted under existing laws, he finds his substitute, or he tosses into the Treasury the required amount; he draws his check, and it is all over. Sir, there is no equity in the law as it stands. The proposition I present has in it two elements: the first is that it seeks justice; the second is that it provides a fund out of which bounties may be distributed by the Secretary of War among the men drafted and mustered into service. Here is another attraction to the service,
or; if it be not another attraction, it is something which will mitigate its hardships. The soldier, while on the field of battle, or on his weary march, will bear in mind, that, when the time of honorable discharge at last arrives, or should he be taken away by death, then, for the benefit of his wife and minor children, he may look to the fund from these contributions for a bounty which shall be to him or to them something in the way of support. Therefore in the pending amendment is an inducement which all confess is needed to carry forward our enrolments, and also something more to mitigate them.
On motion of Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, the bill was recommitted to the Committee on Military Affairs, who reported it without amendment.
February 7, 1865, the Senate having under consideration another bill in addition to the several acts for enrolling and calling out the national forces and for other purposes, Mr. Sumner seized the occasion to renew his amendment, and again vindicated it. In reply to Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, he said :
The Senator from Pennsylvania opposes my proposition, and treats the Senate to a very elaborate disquisition on political economy in general, on the depreciation of the currency in particular, also on taxation, and still further on salaries.
Now, Sir, admitting all the honorable Senator has so ably said as perfectly true, that it is according to just principles of political economy and the experience of the world (for I am not disposed to go at this moment into that discussion with the learned Senator), the proposition that I have the honor to make is not touched by a hair's breadth. My proposition involves no question of political economy, no question of the currency, or of taxation, or of salaries. It has nothing to do with any of these matters. Its single and exclusive object is to equalize the burden of the draft. There is no political economy in it. There is nothing but justice. Therefore I propose that every drafted person, before discharge from the draft, shall be held to contribute not merely a substitute, but a certain tithe of his annual gains.
I am not tenacious with regard to the percentage. If Senators suggest a different rate, I shall be perfectly willing to yield. The proposition is the best that, under the circumstances, I can devise. Other Senators may improve it; it is open to improvement; but I submit that the criticism of the Senator from Pennsylvania does not touch it in the least. The proposition still stands, in its original character, as a measure which, if adopted, would equalize this burden of the draft. It would, if I may so express myself, temper this terrible draft to the poor of the country. It would make them see that legislators here, while imposing it, thought of
the poor, and took such steps as they could to the end that this burden should not press upon them with undue severity, — so that it might, to a certain extent, be equalized upon them and upon the rich. I know full well that this cannot be accomplished completely ; but, Sir, an endeavor in such direction is something. I think that the Senate must make the endeavor. In the name of the poor, who are liable to be enrolled, I ask it. Let it appear to the country, that, while requiring this draft, we recognize inequalities of condition, -- that some are poor and some rich, and that the same sum ought not to be exacted from all alike.
The proposition was again lost, – Yeas 8, Nays 30. The war was near its close, and the Senate was not disposed at that late day to enter upon a change.
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON SLAVERY AND
RESOLUTION IN THE SENATE, JANUARY 13, 1864.
Mr. SUMNER submitted the following resolution, which was consid. ered by unanimous consent and adopted.
ESOLVED, That a Special Committee of seven be
appointed by the Chair to take into consideration all propositions and papers concerning Slavery and the treatment of Freedmen, with leave to report by bill or otherwise.
January 14th, the Vice-President appointed on this Special Committee, Mr. Sumner, Mr. Howard of Michigan, Mr. Carlile of Virginia, Mr. Pomeroy of Kansas, Mr. Buckalew of Pennsylvania, Mr. Brown of Missouri, and Mr. Conness of California. Reports from this Committee will appear in subsequent pages.
FOUNDATION OF THE FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
LETTER TO A COMMITTEE IN Boston, JANUARY 20, 1864.
In 1850, Hon. John P. Bigelow, Mayor of Boston, declined to receive a costly vase as a tribute to the faithful discharge of official duty, and suggested that the funds obtained for that purpose be devoted to found. ing a Free Public Library in Boston. Accordingly, one thousand dollars was paid to the city in the name of Mr. Bigelow, and this was the first contribution to this important object. There was a dinner at the Tremont House to commemorate this benefaction, with speeches and letters. Among the latter was the following.
SENATE CHAMBER, January 20, 1864.
anything for your meeting to-morrow evening; but it is not too late for me to express the gratitude and admiration with which at the time I witnessed the appropriation of that first thousand dollars to a Free Public Library in Boston. The money collected as a testimony to a favorite mayor became the corner-stone of a favorite institution, destined to be cherished with pride so long as our beloved city endures. Believe me, dear Sir, faithfully yours,
CHARLES SUMNER. Dr. David K. HITCHCOCK.