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How
does he know? By what warrant does he undertake to say that a
brother Senator here is not serious, not in earnest. I should
like to know by what warrant he undertakes to do that. He says I
do not look serious. I have not perhaps been trained in the same
vinegar and persimmon school [laughter]; I have not been
doctrinated into the same solemn nasal twang which may
characterize the gentleman, and which may be considered to be the
evidence of seriousness and earnestness. I generally speak as a
man, and as a good-natured man, I think. I hope I entertain no
malice toward anybody. But the honorable gentleman thinks I want
to become a radical. Why, sir, common charity ought to have
taught the honorable Senator better than that. I think no such
imputation, even on the part of the most virulent opponent that I
may have, can with any justice be laid to my door. I have never
yielded to his radicalism; I have never truckled to it. Whether
it be right or wrong, I have never bowed the knee to it. From the
very word "go" I have been a conservative; I have endeavored to
save all in our institutions that I thought worth saving.

I suppose, in the opinion of the gentleman, I have made
sacrifices. I suppose I am in the condition of Dr. Caius: "I have
had losses." Certainly if any man has given evidence of the
sincerity of his doctrines, I have done so; I have lost all of
that, perhaps, which the Senator from Maine may think valuable; I
have lost all the feathers that might have adorned my cap by
opposition to radicalism; and now I stand perfectly free and
independent upon this floor; free, as I supposed, not only from
all imputation of interest, but free from all imputation of
dishonor. I am out of the contest. If I had chosen to play the
radical; if I had chosen to out-Herod Herod, I could have
out-Heroded Herod perhaps as well as the honorable gentleman, and
I could have had quite as stern and vigorous a following as he or
any other man, more than likely without asserting any very large
amount of vanity to myself [Mr. Morrill rose]; but now, when I
stand here, as, I think, free, unquestionably free from all
imputation either of interest or dishonor, to be told this is--If
the Senator wants to say anything I will hear him.

Mr. MORRILL: The honorable Senator will allow me to say that I do
not think this line of argument is open to him, because to-day
once or twice he certainly repeated that this was a race of
radicalism, and he did not intend to be outdone. My remark was
predicated simply on the assumption of the honorable Senator that
he was disposed to enter into the race, and rather in a
disposition to welcome than discourage him.

Mr. COWAN: Mr. President, I agree that if you will allow the
gentleman to put arguments in my mouth, and to furnish me
theories as his fancy paints them, he can demolish them. I will
not agree that he is my master in any particular; but I do agree
that he can take a pair of old pantaloons out in the country and
stuff them, and make a man of straw, and that he can overthrow it
and trample upon it and kick it about with the utmost impunity.
But I do not choose to allow the honorable Senator to make either
my theories or my arguments, nor do I allow him to make
quotations from me unless he does it fairly. I gave utterance to
no such idea as that which he has just attributed to me. I did
not say that in this race of radicalism I was determined to be in
front. I said no such thing. I said that there was an onward
movement, that I yielded to that movement, and that while I
yielded to it against my own better opinion that any change was
impolitic, yet that change was inevitable, I wanted it to be as
perfect as possible, and I wanted it to be made with all the
safeguards possible.

That was my argument. I said so yesterday; I said so to-day; I
say so now; and I appeal to my friends here who have talked about
this onward movement, this progress of things, this inevitable
which was in the future, to stand now upon their theories and
upon their doctrines. That was my ground, ground simply stated,
and for that I am not to be charged here with a desire to
conciliate the honorable gentleman, or his faction, or his party,
or any other party in this country. Mr. President, I am not a
proud man, I hope; not a vain man, I hope; but I would rather be
deprived of the right of suffrage, high punishment as it is, I
would rather suffer all the penalties that would be inflicted
even by the most malignant lawgiver, than to cower or cringe or
yield to anything of mortal mould on this planet, except by
duress and by force. No man dare charge me with that. I have
endeavored to act here as an honest man feeling his own
responsibilities, feeling the responsibilities of the oath upon
him when he took it; obliged to interpret the Constitution as he
himself understands it; feeling that that Constitution was a
restraint upon him, a restraint upon the people, a restraint upon
everybody; that we were sent here for the purpose of standing
upon it even against the rage of the people, even against their
desire to trample it under foot. Feeling all these things, I
have stood here, and appeal to my fellow-Senators to know if any
one of them can say that at any time I have manifested the
smallest disposition to yield in any one particular. I scorn the
imputation; I would rather have the approval of my own
conscience, I would rather walk in the star-light and look up to
them and to the God who made me free and independent, than to
seek the highest station upon the earth by truckling to any man
or to any set of people, or giving up my free opinions.

And yet I propose not to be irrational in this matter. As I said
yesterday, and as I said to-day, I have struggled against change;
but if it is to be made I wish to direct it properly. I made in
my own person, two or three years ago, a motion which passed this
body by, I think, a vote of precisely two to one--I believe it
was 28 to 14--that the voters of the District of Columbia should
be confined to white males; but upon that occasion I stated--and
the debates will bear me out, I think--that if the door of the
franchise was to be opened, if it was thought that the safety of
the country required more people to cast ballots, more people to
enjoy this privilege, I would open it to the women of the country
sooner than I would open it to the negroes. I say so to-day. You
are determined to open it to the negroes. I appeal to you to open
it to the women. You say there is no danger in opening it to the
negroes. I say there is no danger then in opening it to the
women. You say that it is safe in the hands of the negroes. I say
it is equally safe in the hands of our sisters, and more safe in
the hands of our wives and our mothers. I say more to you. I say
you have not demonstrated that it is safe to confer the franchise
upon men just emerged from the barbarism of slavery; I say you
have not demonstrated that it is safe to give the ballot to men
who require a Freedmen's Bureau to take care of them, and who it
is not pretended anywhere have that intelligence which is
necessary to enable them to comprehend the questions which
agitate the people of this nation, and of which the people are
supposed to have an intelligent understanding. I say you have not
demonstrated all that; but you have expressed your determination.
You are determined to do it, and when you are determined to do it
I want to put along with that element, that doubtful element,
that ignorant element, that debased element, that element just
emerged from slavery, I want you to put along with it into the
ballot-box, to neutralize its poison if poison there be, to
correct its dangers if danger there be, the female element of the
country.

That is my position. If you abandon the whole project I have no
objection. I am willing to rest the safety of the country where
it is and has been so far. I am open to conviction, open to
argument, open to reason even upon that subject; but I am willing
to leave this question of suffrage where our fathers left it,
where the world leaves it to-day, where all wise men leave it.
If, however, it is to be opened, if there is to be a new era, if
political power is to be distributed _per capita_ according to a
particular age, then I am for extending it to women as well as
men. Let me tell the honorable Senator I am not alone in this
opinion; the Senator from Ohio with me is not alone; one of the
first intellects of this age, perhaps the first man of the first
country of the earth, is of the same opinion. I allude to John
Stuart Mill, of Great Britain. He is now agitating for this very
thing in England. So that it need not seem surprising that I
should be in earnest in this; and I trust that after the
explanation I have made of my position and my doctrines. I shall
not be charged either with insincerity or with a desire to
ingratiate myself with the majority of this body, with the
majority of the people, or with any one, because, thank God, I am
free from all entanglements of that kind at this present
speaking, and if I retain my senses I think I shall keep free.

Mr. WADE: Mr. President, I did not intend to say a word upon this
subject, because on the first day of the last session of Congress
I introduced the original bill now before the Senate, to which
the Committee have proposed several amendments, and that action
on my part I supposed demonstrated sufficiently to all who might
read the bill what were my views and sentiments upon the question
of suffrage; and, sir, they are of no sudden growth.



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