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THE LATE HON. JOHN W. NOELL, REPRE
SENTATIVE OF MISSOURI.
REMARKS IN THE SENATE, ON HIS DEATI, FEBRUARY 1, 1864.
which I had with Mr. Noell was very slight; but I honored him much, as a public servant who at a critical moment discerned clearly the path of duty and had the courage to tread it.
Born among slaves and living always under the shadow of Slavery, his character was not corrupted, nor was his judgment obscured. All of us, although born among freemen, and living far away from that influence so unhappily disturbing our country, might take counsel from his intelligent alacrity. While others hesitated, he was prompt. While others surrendered to procrastination, he grappled at once with the giant evil. Such a man was exceptional, and now that he is dead he deserves exceptional honors.
There are men in history who by a single effort fix public attention. A member of Parliament in the last century was known as “Single-Speech Hamilton." Others have become famous from the support of a single measure. Perhaps Mr. Noell may find place in this class. But no “Single-Speech Hamilton” could claim the homage which belongs to him.
There have been many in Congress from the Slave
States, but he was the first in our history inspired to bring in a bill for the abolition of Slavery in a State. Rejecting the palpable sophistries by which it was sought to postpone an act of unquestionable justice, and discarding the idea that wrong was to be dealt with tardily, gradually, or prospectively, he proposed Immediate Emancipation. Let it be spoken in his praise. Let it be carved on his tombstone. His bill passed the House. It was lost in the Senate.1 But it was not lost to his fame. He died without beholding the fulfilment of his desires, but the cause with which his name is associated cannot die.
Among the human benefactors of Missouri, so rich in natural resources, he must always be numbered; and his memory will be appreciated there just in proportion as men discern what contributes most to the wealth, the character, and the true nobility of a State. Hereafter, when the present conflict is ended and peace once more blesses our wide-spread land, he will be mentioned gratefully with those who saw truly how this blessing was to be secured, and bravely strove for it. Better in that day to have been a doorkeeper in the house of Freedom than a dweller in the tents of the ungodly : and what ungodliness can compare with the ungodliness of Slavery, whether in the lash of the taskmaster or in the speech of its apologist ?
1 Ante, Vol. VII. p. 266.
RECONSTRUCTION AGAIN: GUARANTIES AND SAFEGUARDS AGAINST SLAVERY AND FOR PROTECTION OF FREEDMEN.
RESOLUTIONS IN THE SENATE, FEBRUARY 8, 1864.
In the Senate, February 8, 1864, the following resolutions, submitted by Mr. Sumner, were read and ordered to be printed.
RESOLUTIONS defining the character of the national contest,
and protesting against any premature restoration of Rebel States, without proper guaranties and safeguards against Slavery and for the protection of Freedmen.
ESOLVED, That, in determining the duties of the
National Government, it is of first importance that we should see and understand the real character of the contest forced upon the United States, for failure to appreciate this contest must end in failure of those proper efforts essential to the reëstablishment of unity and concord; that, recognizing the contest in its real character, as it must be recorded by history, it is apparent that it is not an ordinary rebellion or an ordinary war, but that it is absolutely without precedent, differing from every other rebellion and every other war, inasmuch as it is an audacious attempt, for the first time in history, to found a wicked power on the corner-stone of Slavery; and that such an attempt, having this single object, - whether regarded as rebellion or war, — is so completely penetrated and absorbed, so entirely
filled and possessed by Slavery, that it can be regarded as nothing else than the huge impersonation of this crime, at once rebel and belligerent, or, in other words, as Slavery in arms.
2. That, recognizing the identity of the Rebellion and Slavery, so that each is to the other as another self, it becomes plain that the Rebellion cannot be crushed without crushing Slavery, as Slavery cannot be crushed without crushing the Rebellion; that every forbearance to the one is forbearance to the other, and every blow at the one is a blow at the other; that all who tolerate Slavery tolerate the Rebellion, and all who strike at Slavery strike at the Rebellion ; and that, therefore, it is our supreme duty, in which all other present duties are contained, to take care that the barbarism of Slayery, in which alone the Rebellion has its origin and life, is so utterly trampled out that it can never spring up again anywhere in the Rebel and belligerent region ; for, leaving this duty undone, nothing is done, and all our blood and treasure are lavished in vain.
3. That, in dealing with the Rebel War, the National Government is invested with two classes of rights, one the Rights of Sovereignty, inherent and indefeasible everywhere within the national limits, and the other the Rights of War, or belligerent rights, superinduced by the nature and extent of the contest; that, by virtue of the Rights of Sovereignty, the Rebel and belligerent region is now subject to the nation as its only rightful government, bound under the Constitution to all the duties of sovereignty, and by special mandate bound also to guaranty to every State a republican form of government, and to protect it against invasion; that, by virtue of the Rights of War, this same region is sub
ject to all the conditions and incidents of war, according to the established usages of Christian nations, out of which is derived the familiar maxim of public duty, "Indemnity for the past and security for the future."
4. That, in seeking restoration of the States to their proper places as members of the Republic, so that every State shall enjoy again its constitutional functions, and every star on the national flag shall represent a State in reality as well as in name, care must be taken that the Rebellion is not allowed, through any negligence or mistaken concession, to retain the least foothold for future activity, or the least germ of future life; that, whether proceeding by the exercise of sovereign rights or of belligerent rights, the same precautions must be exacted against future peril; that, therefore, any system of "Reconstruction" must be rejected which does not provide by irreversible guaranties against the continued existence or possible revival of Slavery, and that such guaranties can be primarily obtained only through the agency of the National Government, which to this end must assert a temporary supremacy, military or civil, throughout the Rebel and belligerent region, of sufficient duration to stamp upon this region the character of Freedom.
5. That, in the exercise of this essential supremacy of the nation, a solemn duty is cast upon Congress to see that no Rebel State is prematurely restored to its constitutional functions until within its borders all proper safeguards are established, so that loyal citizens, including the new-made freedmen, cannot at any time be molested by evil-disposed persons, and especially that no man there may be made a slave; that this solemn duty belongs to Congress under the Constitution,