The Democratic Speakers Handbook

1820-1889. The Democratic Speaker's Hand-book

There is no excuse for General Grant for issuing the order. It may be said that some Jews in his department had been guilty of illegal traffic. If so, expel them. I do not wish to shield a Jew or a Gentile from just punishment for the infraction of the law. He should have directed his order to the offenders, and should have punished them; but, sir, so far from doing that, he punishes a whole people as a class; without specific charge, hearing, or trial, he drives out in- offensive, loyal people, men, women and children, from . a city far distant from his headquarters, without giving them the least opportunity to meet and repel charges that might be brought against them. Such con- duct is utterly indefensible. I regret that General Grant issued such an order. Gen- eral Grant's conduct heretofore as a soldier has been that of a brave and gallant officer; he has fought well on many fields; for that I commend him. But while I commend him for his gallant conduct I must censure him for this most atrocious and illegal order. It is inhuman and monstrous. It would be unworthy the most despotic government in the most despotic period of the world's his- tory. Sir, we should rebuke such conduct. I regret that some other less meritorious officer of the army had not issued this order. I regret that General Grant has issued it; but, sir, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the civil and religious liberty of the citizen, to put our condemnation upon it. I think I have couched the resolution in the mildest terms possible. It is my duty, in vindication of the rights of my constitu- ents—these Jews who have been so grossly and cruelly wronged—to urge this resolution to its passage. It will be a landmark in the future to teach these military gentlemen that they are not thus to encroach on the civil and religious rights of the citizen, whether he be Jew or Gentile. I should be the last man here who would wish to visit with censure any commander of any depart- ment of the army for justly punishing those who had been violators of the law in his department; and I trust I shall be the last to palliate or excuse any commander, how- ever meritorious his conduct in other mat- ters may have been, who thus strikes cruelly and inhumanly at a class of people, driving them from their homes—men, women, and children—upon the shortest notice. Their houses are closed up, and many of their stores, they inform me, are left without an occupant, containing thousands of dollars' worth of goods. The Senate, in my judgment, owes it to itself to vindicate the laws and the rights of these persecuted Jews. I do for them what I would do for any other citizens of this nation, or for any other constituents that I have. I hope that the amendment I propose may be adopted, and that part of the resolution asking the President to coun- termand the order (for the Commander-in- Chief, to his honor be it spoken, has most promptly revoked it) be stricken out, and let the preamble and resolution, censuring this order and denouncing it as illegal, cruel, and inhuman, be passed by the Senate. Mr. Clark (Rad.), of New Hamp- shire, though affecting to disapprove the order, moved the indefinite post- ponement of the resolution, the sup- pression, that is to say, of the whole question, on the pretended ground that Gen. Grant had not been heard

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