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The Life and Public Services of Henry Wilson
Chapter XIX.


REPLY TO MR. NYE. - CONGRESSIONAL TEMPERANCE SOCIETY.- WELCOME TO BOSTON. - SOUTHERN TOUR. - CONVENTION AT WORCESTER. - SPEECH AT MARLBOROUGH. - BANGOR. - FANEUIL HALL. - WORKING-MEN. - HISTORY OF THE RECONSTRUCTION MEASURES IN CONGRESS.

THE system of peonage, or servitude, for debt, was in force in the Territory of New Mexico, and about two thousand persons were held in thraldom. Mr. Wilson saw that it was inconsistent with the spirit of our liberal institutions, and therefore introduced a bill on the twenty-sixth day of January, 1867, for its abolition, which, on the 2d of the following March, became a law; and thus was the last vestige of human servitude in this land obliterated.

On twelfth day of February, 1867, he reported two bills in the Senate, - one of which, in eleventh section,
prohibited whipping in reconstructed States; and the other, that the word "white" should be stricken from the militia-laws, so that colored persons might become a part of the militia of the United States.

In order to carry into effect the measures of reconstruction already passed, Mr. Wilson, on the 7th of March, 1867, introduced an important bill supplementary to the act providing for "the more efficient government of the rebel States, and to facilitate restoration;" which, after long discussion in both Houses, became a law over the veto of the president on the twenty-third day of the same month. In a sharp encounter during the progress of this bill with Mr. Nye of Nevada, who was very severe in denouncing the rebels, and thought Mr. Wilson was extending his Christian charity too far towards them, he thus, in the spirit of wise and liberal statesmanship, replied: -

"I remind that senator in the outset that this nation has been engaged in mighty contest of ideas, a bloody struggle, in which all the passions of this people, South and North, have been aroused. That bloody struggle is ended; that contest of ideas is closed. Patriotism, Humanity, and Christianity bid us of the North and of the South subdue, hush, and calm the passions engendered by the terrific conflicts through which we have passed, and to call the dews of blessing, not the bolts of cursing, down upon each other. We should remember the words of one of our own poets of freedom and humanity: -

'Always he who most forgiveth
In his brother is most just.'

"Whatever the champions of the lost cause in the South may do, we of the North, whose cause is triumphant in the fields of war and of peace, should appeal, not to the passions and prejudices and hatreds of the people, but to the heart and conscience and reason. Unreasoning passion may applaud violent appeals to-day; but unclouded reason will utter its voice of condemnation to-morrow.

"The honorable senator from Nevada is pleased to tell me that I am anxious to welcome rebels here. I do not propose to welcome rebels here; but I do desire to welcome tried and true men of the South, the representatives of the seven hundred thousand enfranchised black men, the ever-loyal white men of the South, and the men compromised by the Rebellion, whose affections are again given to their native land, and who would now peril their lives for the unity of the republic and the triumph of the old flag. I believe that the enfranchised black men of the rebel States, the men who have ever been loyal, and the men reluctantly compromised by the Rebellion, who are for their country, and many fiery, generous, deluded young men of the South, who have seen their political illusions vanish in the smoke of lost battle-fields, can immediately take the direction and control of these rebel States. I believe these States must pass into the hands of patriotic men, who comprehend in their affections the whole country; of liberty-loving men, who believe in the sublime creed of human equality. I believe these States will soon pass into the hands of radical and progressive men who are true to country, true to the equal rights of man, true to the laws of human development and progress. I would facilitate that great work; I would welcome these men into these chambers with heart and hand. Does the senator from Nevada wish to keep such men out of these chambers? The honorable senator from Nevada, and those who agree with him, fear our enemies, and distrust our friends. I do not fear our enemies, and I have confidence in our friends. This is the difference between the honorable senator from Nevada and myself.

"The honorable senator from Nevada dooms it matter of reproach, now the bloody contest is over, the rebels beaten, and their cause lost forever, that I should not entertain and express toward my defeated and fallen countrymen of the South the same stern condemnation, the same sentiments of censure and reproach. They are not alien enemies; they are not of another lineage and language: they are our countrymen. These States must continue for ages to come to be a part of our common country; and these people, their children, and their children's children, must continue to be our countrymen. I do not consider it either generous, manly, or Christian, to nourish or cherish or express feelings of wrath or hatred toward them. At this time, when these misguided and mistaken countrymen of ours have been conquered, when we have absolutely established our ideas, which must pervade and be incorporated into their system of public policy, it seems to me to be a duty sanctioned by humanity and religion to heal the wounds of war. Sir, I have fought the battle for the country, I have fought this battle for the equal rights of man, not to pull down anybody, nor to be the personal enemy of anybody on earth. That is my position now, and it will be my position hereafter. Our words should not rekindle the prejudices, passions, and hatreds engendered by the bloody struggles of civil war; but our words should be fitted to the changed condition of affairs and the needs of country."

Anxious to save some of his associates at Washington from the baleful influence of strong drink, Mr. Wilson, early this year (1867), instituted the Congressional Temperance Society, of which he was chosen president. At the first meeting the hall of the House of Representatives was densely crowded, many standing in the aisles and at the doors. On taking the chair, Mr. Wilson said, -

"Several senators and representatives, mindful of the numerous evils and sorrows of intemperance, had formed a society, in which they had pledged each to the other, and all to the country, to put away from them forever the intoxicating cup, and to commit themselves and all they have to the holy cause of temperance. They. humbly trusted in the providence of Almighty God that they might contribute to arrest the evils of intemperance winch were sweeping over our land."

Among those who spoke was Senator Yates of Illinois, who had been, like many others, reclaimed by the kind efforts and example of the president of the society. His remarks were very touching, and were listened to with sincere delight. A noble man had come to his right mind. He ascribed his taking the pledge to Mr. Wilson, who came to him "in the kindness and goodness of his big heart," and said to him, "Governor, I want you to sign a call for a temperance meeting." He replied, "With all my heart," but did not wait for the meeting before he signed the pledge. He had now "promised the State, and all who loved him, Katy, and the children, that he would never more touch, taste, or handle' the unclean thing."

For his eloquent words and earnest efforts on behalf of temperance at Washington the citizens of Boston tendered Mr. Wilson a public reception, on the fifteenth day of April, at the Tremont Temple. The building was crowded, and the utmost enthusiasm prevailed. On taking the chair, the president (William B. Spooner), said, -

"You have been invited to come here this evening to give a cordial welcome to Mr. Wilson, and to receive words of encouragement and wisdom from one who has always been true to this subject, to this cause, as he has always been true to the cause of the weak, suffering, and down-trodden, on all occasions. (Applause.)

"He has never forborne to speak his mind on this subject, whenever occasion called; he has never failed, in low places or in high places, wherever he has been, to give his example in favor of temperance. I have known him thirty years. When quite a young man, I used then to be with him in the temperance movement. He was always ready, and did not stop to ask whether the cause were popular. He asked whether it were right (applause). He asked, 'Can I do any good? Can my example, my word, in favor of the cause, benefit my fellow-man?' That it has done good is manifest. His example is one which in this State, if a man wishes for promotion, he had better follow; that is, do whatever is right under all circumstances. (Applause.) He asked only the questions, 'Is it right? Can I do any good?' His recent efforts at the capital of the country in forming a total-abstinence society among the members of Congress and the other officers of the government have turned the attention of his state and of the country anew to him as an advocate of temperance." Mr. Wilson was introduced amid the most enthusiastic applause, and then made an address of remarkable force and fervor. In the course of his speech, he said, -

"You have made mention to-night, sir, of the organization of the Congressional Temperance Society. Sir, I claim no honor for that. At the last session of Congress we organized a Congressional Temperance Society, composed of some of our ablest, truest, and best men; and I thank God to-night that it lives in the strength of its purpose and its power. (Applause.) Judging from the words that come to us from all parts of the country, it has contributed something to advance the holy cause of temperance throughout the land. I say to you to-night, what I believe to be true, that there is no city of the Union where there are, in proportion to the numbers, more true, earnest, and devoted temperance men than in the city of Washington. (Applause.) There are more than six thousand members of temperance organizations in that city (applause); and such men as Gen. Howard (applause), one of our noblest, bravest, and best, are giving their influence to advance the cause. More than seven hundred liquor-shops have been closed in that city, not by law, but starved out by the people; and there are hundreds of other shops that are eking out a precarious existence.

"The prairies of Illinois are all aflame in favor of the cause, following in the grand movement their loved and honored senator, Richard Yates. (Applause.) He has been one of the victims of the curse of intemperance. Every man and woman and child in his State knew it. Last winter he came to me, or rather I went to him, and asked him if he would sign a call for a temperance meeting to organize a Congressional society; and he said he would do it with all his heart. Before I could get up the meeting, he became earnest in the matter, and committed himself to the cause; and, by the blessing of Almighty God, I believe he will stand to it. He goes home in a few days, and will be welcomed at Chicago as you welcome me here to-night. (Applause.) His influence will tell with powerful effect in that State, where he is honored and loved for his devotion to his country, to freedom, and for his generous personal qualities.

"Two years ago, after the humiliating scene of the inauguration, I secured the passage of a resolution in the Senate, forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquors in the Capitol. In spite of that resolution, liquors were brought into the committee-rooms and into other places. Again I introduced the subject of banishing liquors from the Capitol; and Congress adopted a joint rule forbidding the sale, and empowering the sergeants-at-arms of the two Houses to keep all kinds of liquors out of the Capitol of the nation. (Applause.) No more can intoxicating liquors be brought into, sold, or given away in, that magnificent edifice. This banishment of liquors has been followed by the adoption of a rule requiring the members of the Capitol-police to sign the total-abstinence pledge; and they all have done it (applause), and more than four-fifths of the Senate employs have signed the pledge." (Applause.)

He closed his grand address by saying, -

"I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this generous welcome and these applauding voices; I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your words of kindness and approval: and I close with the expression of the hope that the hallowed cause of temperance will be advanced in the state and nation. In this hour of trial let us invoke upon it the blessing of Almighty God, and the prayers of all whose hearts throb in sympathy with tempted and struggling humanity." (Prolonged applause.)

In order to examine the condition of the South, encourage the colored people, and defend the policy of his party, Mr. Wilson made, in the spring of 1807, a tour through the Southern States. At Richmond, Va., he addressed some six thousand people from the steps of the Capitol. He was introduced to them by Gov. Pierpont, and assured his hearers that the Reconstruction Bill had in view the highest good of the whole country, and advised all classes to unite on the basis of the Republican party. "The Richmond Times" announced him as "a Puritan radical under the shadow of the monument of the great Virginia rebel."

At Petersburg, April 4, he spoke as openly as he would have done on Bunker Hill. The mayor presided at the meeting, which numbered several thousands. In respect to the war, he said, -

"it had to come; it was unavoidable. It came, and we fought it out; and, when the last gun was fired, I was in favor of forgetting all the bitterness engendered by the contest, and of marching with you shoulder to shoulder in favor of a united country. . . . There was only one cause of the war, - human slavery in America." To the colored people he said, "Go for the schoolhouse and the church. Get homes and lands, however humble they may be. Touch not the bowl whose contents degrade humanity."

At Goldsborough, N.C., the white people manifested signs of animosity; and one rebel declared that he should like to put a bullet through his head. He spoke, however, with fearlessness, and no violence was attempted.

At Wilmington, N.C., which he reached on the first day of May, he met with an enthusiastic reception. The public buildings were decorated with the national flag, streamers, &c.; and mottoes were suspended across the streets in many places. A procession of the colored men was formed with music, and marched to Dudley's Grove, a short distance from the city, where a public meeting was held. Among the mottoes noticed upon the banners borne in the procession was the following: "Equal rights before the law: we will ask no more; we will take no less."

Gen. Estes was president of the meeting. Resolutions were adopted, thanking Congress for passing the Military Reconstruction Bill; promising to reconstruct North Carolina with loyal Inca; to give colored men the right to sit on juries; and to secure rights and privileges for the poor white men by establishing a Republican party in the State.

Mr. Wilson spoke about two hours. He declared that the Republican party was not responsible for one life lost in the war; but, before God and history, the supporters of slavery were responsible for every life sacrificed and every dollar spent in it. He invited the colored people to vote with the Republican party, declaring it vitally important that there should be no black party or white party formed.

In reply to Mr. Robinson, editor of "The Despatch," who endeavored to throw the responsibility of the war upon antislavery agitators, Mr. Wilson declared that the abolition of slavery by the General Government was the result of the Rebellion. He congratulated Mr. Robinson upon the change already effected in his views by his willingness to have the colored people educated; and thought, that, in a few months more, Mr. Robinson would be fully affiliated with the Republican party.

As to colored men not holding commissions in the colored army, he declared that his own son, who died recently, served as a lieutenant, captain, and lieutenant colonel in a regiment whose major was as black as any man in the audience.

He arrived at Charleston, S.C., on the second day of May, where he was cordially received by many distinguished citizens. He addressed a vast audience on Citadel Green, and was serenaded in the evening. He visited and addressed the citizens of Savannah and Augusta, Ga., Montgomery, Ala. (May 11), and New Orleans; and, although he was sharply questioned by the disloyal men, he was, in general, heard with attention, and treated with courtesy and respect. In a letter dated New Orleans, June 3, 1807, Gen. James Longstreet said of him, "I was much pleased to have the opportunity to hear Senator Wilson, and was agreeably surprised to meet such fairness and frankness in a politician whom I have been taught to believe uncompromisingly opposed to the white people of the South."

Mr. Wilson's impressions of the South were favorable; and, on arriving home, he spoke hopefully of the future prospects of the Southern people.

His friend Mr. Pierce had invited him to embark for Europe on the nineteenth day of June; but the continued illness of Mrs. Wilson led him to postpone his foreign tour.

Still distrusting the policy of the president, Congress, after taking a recess, assembled on the third day of July, 1807; when Mr. Wilson introduced a bill vacating the offices held under the pretended State governments, and for other purposes, which was not carried. His amendment authorizing district commanders to appoint civilians to perform the duties of persons removed from office was, however, incorporated in Mr. Trumbull's bill, which became a law over the veto of Mr. Johnson on the 19th of July, 1867. "The passage of the bill," said Mr. Wilson, "would complete the work of restoration. I rise now," continued he, "to express the hope, that, throughout that part of our country, men of all parties and of all sentiments and feelings will clearly, understand, that, if they comply with the terms and conditions of these three reconstruction laws honestly and faithfully, all obstacles will be removed, and they will be admitted into these chambers."

On the 11th of September Mr. Wilson was chosen president of the Republican Convention at Worcester, and, on taking the chair, presented his views of the condition of the country in an earnest and felicitous speech, during which he paid the following compliment to the gallant Gen. Sheridan.

Not appeased by striking down the great war secretary, Andrew Johnson has laid his hand of violence on that brilliant, honored, and loved soldier, Philip H Sheridan, whose record in the field glitters with glorious achievements, whose record in the fifth military district is instinct with patriotism and justice. This brilliant hero of the Valley of the Shenandoah, and of battlefields made immortal by his genius and valor, is sent from his department, hurried away to the distant plains, to the gorges of the Rocky Mountains, to chase the wild Indian, with an admonition that his energies will there find a fitting field for action. Time, it is said, brings about its revenges. Perhaps it may so happen that an outraged nation, that is master of presidents, congresses, and generals, may bid this man - drunk at least with unreasoning passion - descend from that lofty position from which he smites down her honored statesman and her brilliant general, and go back to that famous Tennessee village, where his abilities will find an appropriate sphere of action in filling once again the office of village alderman. It is not given to men of the capacity or character of Andrew Johnson, however lifted up to exalted positions, to belittle Edwin M. Stanton or Philip H. Sheridan. The illustrious commander of our army, who is now enduring the burden imposed by patriotism, as did his predecessor through weary months, uttered the voice of loyal America when he expressed his appreciation of the 'zeal, patriotism; firmness, and ability ' with which Edwin M. Stanton had discharged the duties of secretary of war. I remember, too, - for I could not forget it, - the generous tribute the same great commander paid a few weeks ago to the genius of Sheridan. 'The people,' he said, 'do not fully appreciate Sheridan. I think him the greatest soldier the war developed. Were we to have a great war, and to call out a million of men, I think Sheridan the best fitted to command them. Some persons say I have done a great deal for him; but I never did any thing for him: he has done much for me.' Such is the statesman and such is the general Andrew Johnson has thrust from posts of duty, and striven to disgrace."

He closed by this hopeful view of the republic:-

"If the Republicans of Massachusetts and of other States subordinate minor issues, personal ambitions and interests, and rise to the full comprehension of the high duties now imposed upon them, the complete unity of the country, and the perfect equality of the rights of the people, will speedily come. Then the republic, redeemed and purified, the people free to run the race and win the glittering prizes of life, will daily illustrate the power and beauty of free institutions. Then the people of the North and the people of the South will vie with each other in fidelity to the country, and devotion to liberty. Then the bitter memories of the stern conflicts of civil war will fade away in the prosperity and renown of the great republic. Then the sons of patriots and the sons of rebels, whose fathers fought and fell on bloody fields, will glory in the name and fame of their common country, and cherish, honor, and love their countrymen. Inspired by these lofty purposes, animated by these exalted hopes, we, the Republicans of old Massachusetts, here and now call the battle-roll anew, and move forward to the conflicts of the future with the light of victory on our faces."

Though detained at home considerably this season to watch at the bedside of his sick wife, Mr. Wilson made many public speeches on behalf of temperance in various towns and cities of this State. In a grand address at Marlborough in November, he said -

"I was born in a section of the country where New England rum was used at births and at funerals; used to keep out the heat of summer and the cold of winter sold openly at the cross-road groceries, where too many of the companions of my boyhood were wont to assemble, instead of going to lyceums and associations for mental and moral improvement, and spend their evenings in drinking poor rum. I have seen the effects of the use of intoxicating liquors on the farm, in the workshop, and in the halls of legislation. I have found that in the field in the heats of summer, in the forests in winter, in the mechanic's shop, in our own State legislature, in the Congress of the United States, everywhere, the men who use intoxicating drinks are the first to fail in the performance of duty. During fourteen sessions in the Senate of the United States I have witnessed many severe contests, lasting through the hours of the night until daylight streamed into the windows; and I have always found that the men who resorted to intoxicating liquids for strength found weakness, were always the first to retire to their rooms or their homes."

During the summer and autumn of 1868, Mr. Wilson heartily advocated the election of Gen. Grant and the course of the Republican party. On the 27th of August he spoke to a vast throng in Bangor, Me., on what the Republican and Democratic parties have done, and what they propose to do. Referring to what the former organization had accomplished, he said, -

"It was said of Wilberforce that he went to God with the shackles of eight hundred thousand West-India slaves in his hands. The Republican party enters the forum of the nations with four million and a half of riven fetters in one hand, and four million and a half of title-deeds of American citizenship in the other. These broken fetters, these title-deeds, it holds up to the gaze of the living present and the advancing future. In the progress of the ages, it has been given to few generations, in any form or by any modes, to achieve a work so vast, so grand, so sure to be recorded by the historic pen, or flung upon the canvas in enduring colors. Defeat and disaster may come upon the Republican party; it may perish utterly from the land it saved and made free but its name will be forever associated with the emancipation of millions of a poor, friendless, and hated race, their elevation to the heights of citizenship, their exaltation to equality of civil rights and privileges, and, crowning act of all, the prerogative 'to vote and to be voted for.' These beneficent deeds will live in the hearts of coming generations, and 'brighter glow and gleam immortal, unconsumed by moth or rust.'

Speaking of the coming contest, he said, - and his prediction time and events have verified, -

"In November there is to be another struggle between these two parties for the control of the national administration. The Republican party met at Chicago, reaffirmed its policy of reconstruction, pronounced against all forms of repudiation, for the reduction and equalization of taxation, for the equal protection of American citizens, for the recognized obligations to our soldiers and to the widows and orphans of the gallant dead, and for the removal of restrictions imposed upon rebels as rapidly as the safety of the loyal people will admit. The convention than presented the name of Gen. Grant, the great captain who has so often marshalled our armies to victory; and Schuyler Colfax, a statesman of pure life, stainless honor, and commanding influence. If success crowns its efforts, if the administration shall be intrusted to Gen. Grant, with a House of Representation to sustain that administration, the policy of reconstruction will be perfected, the States will all be speedily restored to their practical relations to the General Government, equal rights will be assured and disabilities removed, the nation's faith will be untarnished, its currency and credit improved, and 'Peace,' in the language of Mr. Lincoln, 'will come to stay.' Then the blood poured out like autumnal rains will not have been sited in vain; for then united and free America, with liberty for all and justice to all, will enter upon a career of development, culture, and progress, that shall insure a 'future grand and great.'"

His speech in Faneuil hall on the 14th of October most clearly exhibits him as an earnest, strong, and sensible defender of the interests of the working-people. He stands upon the side, as he has ever done, of those who bear the heat and burden of the day. He said, -

"To provide for the expenses of that Democratic rebellion, the Republican party were compelled to take the responsibility of arranging a system of taxation; and they so adjusted that taxation as to make the burden bear as lightly as possible on the productive interests of the country and upon the working-men of the country. More than one-half of the duties levied on imports are assessed on wines, brandies, silks, velvets, laces, and other articles of luxury, chiefly consumed by the more wealthy portion of our countrymen. The duties imposed on the necessaries of life - upon tea, coffee, sugar, and other articles entering into the consumption of the masses of the people -arc made as low as possible; and discrimination is made in favor of our mechanical and manufacturing industry.

The Republican party spurns this Democratic doctrine of taxing every species of property according to its value. It believes in discriminating in favor of poor, toiling men, and of putting the burden of taxation on accumulated capital and large incomes. In time of war, when the nation needed money so much, the Republicans exempted nineteen out of every twenty dollars of the incomes of the people. This was done to relieve the working-men, whose small incomes were required for the support of their families and the education of of their children. We exempted all incomes under six hundred dollars; and this exemption included the incomes of nearly all the laboring-rnen, mechanics, and small farmers, of the country. We taxed all incomes from six hundred to five thousand dollars five per cent, and all incomes over five thousand dollars ten per cent. That was not equal taxation: but it was just taxation; for it was based on the sound policy of putting the burden upon capital, and taking the burden from labor. Now we have taken the tax from all incomes less than a thousand dollars, and we tax all incomes above a thousand dollars five per cent, thus relieving the working-men and and nearly all the mechanics and farmers from taxation on incomes. We Republicans intend to stand or fall by this policy, which discriminates in favor of the poor, the mechanics, the small farmers, and the working-men, of the country. We serve notice on the Democratic party, on all the supporters of this anti-democratic doctrine of the equal taxation of every species of property according to its value, that we Republicans will never agree to the taxation of the little earnings of working-men at the same rate we tax the incomes of the Stewarts and the Astors, the great corporations and capitalists, of the country. We give the Democracy notice that we will never tax sugar, coffee, and tea at the same rates we tax silks and wines and brandies; that we will never tax a gallon of milk as high as we tax a gallon of whiskey. We give the Democracy notice that we will not tax the tools of the mechanic, the horse of the dray-man, the little homes and farms of the poor, and the incomes of working-men needed for the support of themselves and the support of their households. We Republicans will never consent to the putting of the burdens of the government equally on the the small accumulations of the poor and there capitals and large interests of the country. That is the position of the Republican party; and it is a position in favor of the productive interests of the nation and the interests of the working-men: and we Republicans mean to stand by it, or fall by it; live by it or die by it. Every laboring-man in America, every mechanic, every farmer, and every business-man, who desires to develop the mighty resources of this country, and carry it upward and onward in career of power and prosperity, should trample upon this democratic doctrine of equal taxation, which is against labor, and in favor of capital; against the loyal, and in of the disloyal, portions of the land."

Inured to steady and persistent intellectual labor, Mr. Wilson finds in it his chief delight. To him idleness is misery. He is a working-man, who believes in actual work: and his system being, by his temperate habits, always in working-order, he turns off work with astonishing ease and celerity; work, too, that has a meaning and a purpose, - guiding legislators in their course, and enriching the historical literature of his country. In addition to his official and public labors this year (1868), he published a handsome volume of four hundred and sixty-seven pages, entitled "The History of the Reconstruction Measures of the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, 1865-1868. By Henry Wilson." In this important work the author traces vividly the course of legislation during those eventful years which followed the collapse of the Rebellion, and the contest between Congress and the president on the various questions growing out of the reconstruction of the Confederate States. "My purpose in this work," the author says, "has become to narrate with brevity and impartiality this legislation of Congress, and to give the positions, opinions, and feelings of the actors in these great measures of legislation." In the treatment of his subject he brings forward in proprid persona the different speakers, Sumner, Trumbull, Fessenden, Wilson, Davis, Hendricks, Howe, and others, - and presents them as they introduced, opposed, or advocated incasures in the legislative chambers. The very words of the disputants are given, which imparts dramatic interest to the subject, and makes interesting what otherwise might, except to a statesman, prove dull reading. The combatants stand forth prominently on the canvas: the blow of every champion is made manifest. When the author himself speaks, the style is manly, clear, and forcible, an evident advance upon his former record as a writer. To the student of our political history this book is invaluable, bringing the subject - matter on great questions before the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, which runs through several thousand pages of "The Congressional Globe," into the compass of a single portable volume. The reconstruction of the Confederate States demanded comprehensive views of the condition of the country, generous sympathies, and decisive action and strong men who took the lead in legislation through the war came up with fearless front to resist the policy of the executive, and save the nation from the rule of rebels. As an impartial record of this struggle by one who himself home no unimportant part in it, Mr. Wilson's book will doubtless ever hold a prominent place in legislative history.

The home of Mr. Wilson was enlivened on the 25th of December, 1868, by the marriage of Lieut. Alexander L. Smith, who was in Gen. Sherman's army when he made his grand march to the sea, and Miss Annette Howe, a daughter of one of Mrs. Wilson's brothers, and an estible young lady.

During the Fortieth and Forty-first Congresses Mr. Wilson was steadily engaged in framing and carrying important measures for the public good. Among them may be mentioned a bill to amend the elective franchise of the District of Columbia; a bill for the reduction of the army; a bill to equalize distribution of banking capital; a joint resolution as to the management of the Freedmen's Bureau, - of the Fortieth; and bills to establish a line of steamships; to appoint a commission to examine claims of loyal persons for supplies; to grant two million acres of land for education in the District of Columbia; to remove disabilities from persons engaged in the Rebellion; to grant increase of pensions to widows of officers; and joint resolutions granting Lincoln Hospital to Columbia Hospital for women, and respecting pay of enlisted men, of the Forty-first Congress. On these and many other measures Mr. Wilson made remarks evincing great legislative experience and ability. The pages of "The Congressional Globe" bear constant testimony to his senatorial industry and efficiency. His eyes were ever open to watch, his tongue was ever ready to defend, the rights of the injured and oppressed. No senator ever framed and carried so many bills through the Senate of the United States as Mr. Wilson; and some of them are the most important ever enacted in this country. In his management of measures in the Senate he has shown the practical good sense of a sound and accomplished statesman. When he has found it impossible to carry a measure as first presented, he has been willing to accept such modification or substitute as might secure its passage consenting willingly that another should receive the credit, if by any change or compromise the end could be obtained. His idea has been, that one step in advance is better than no progress: so that, while others have insisted on the whole or nothing, he has accepted the best he could at the time secure; and, gaining that, he has often found himself in a position to gain the whole. His bill for the soldiers' bounties finally appeared in another form, under another name, and for a lower sum than he proposed; but he rejoiced that eighty millions were secured, though his original measure was defeated.

His method is to throw himself out of the question, and to support a measure on its own merits: and this, in part, accounts for his success; for a statesman attempting to carry himself with his measures generally finds himself overborne by the burden.


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