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places where all smiles but the benefactor Health. Let us do what we can to help the benefactor resume his
At the close of Mr. Sumner's remarks, measures were taken for the immediate receiving of subscriptions.
THE CASE OF THE VIRGINIUS.
LETTER TO THE CUBAN MASS MEETING IN NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 15, 1873.
THE Virginius, a steamer sailing from New York under American colors, was seized on her way from Jamaica to Cuba by a Spanish cruiser, the Tornado, on the ground that she was carrying men and munitions of war to the Cuban insurgents, and a large number of those on board were summarily executed by order of the Spanish authorities in that island. The intelligence caused much excitement, especially in the City of New York, which was the centre of Cuban interests in this country. An indignation meeting was held in that City, which was countenanced by persons of high character and position, and addressed by Hon. William M. Evarts and others in speeches of great intensity. Mr. Sumner, taking a view of the case which the sober second thought of the people approved, but which was not in accord with the passions of the hour, answered an invitation to attend the meeting by the following letter:
BOSTON, November 15, 1873. ENTLEMEN,- It is not in my power to be with
you at your meeting to ask for justice in Cuba. Allow me to add, that, longing for immediate Emancipation in this neighboring island, where Slavery still shows its infamous front, and always insisting that delay is contrary to justice, I do not think it practicable at this moment, on existing evidence, to determine all our duties in the recent case where civilization has received a shock.
It is very easy to see that no indignation at dreadful butchery inconsistent with the spirit of the age, but unhappily aroused by an illicit filibustering expedition from our own shores, kindred to that of the Alabama, for which England has been justly condemned in damcan make us forget that we are dealing with the Spanish nation, struggling under terrible difficulties to become a sister Republic, and therefore deserving from us present forbearance and candor. Nor can we forget the noble President, whose eloquent voice, pleading for humanity and invoking our example, has so often charmed the world. The Spanish Republic and Emilio Castelar do not deserve the menace of war from us.
If watchwords are needed now, let them be: Immediate Emancipation and Justice in Cuba! - Success to the Spanish Republic!- Honor and Gratitude to Emilio Castelar! and Peace between our two Nations! Bearing these in mind, there will be no occasion for the belligerent preparations of the last few days, adding to our present burdensome expenditures several millions of dollars, and creating a war fever to interfere with the general health of the political body. I am, Gentlemen,
Your faithful servant,
TO THE COMMITTEE.
THE SUPPLEMENTARY CIVIL-RIGHTS BILL
AGAIN: IMMEDIATE ACTION URGED.
REMARKS IN THE SENATE, DECEMBER 2, 1873.
If the Senate has no business
before it, I think it cannot do better than to proceed to the consideration of Senate bill No. 1, the Bill Supplementary to the Civil-Rights Act. It is a well-known bill, and I do not see how it will require any debate. I think its reading will be enough. Its terms are expressive; the bill proves itself. I move that the Senate proceed to its consideration.
Mr. Ferry, of Connecticut, objecting, that on the introduction of this bill, the day before, Mr. Edmunds, of Vermont, who was not now in his seat, had expressed an earnest desire that it should be referred to a committee, a feeling in which he himself sympathized, "especially because the constitutional question which was prominent in the former debate on it had been submitted to the consideration of the Supreme Court of the United States, and its decision promulgated since the Senate last met,"
Mr. Sumner replied :-
MR. PRESIDENT, This bill has been before a committee. What the committee did in the way of consideration I know not; I had not the honor of being a
1 For this bill, see, ante, Vol. XIV. pp. 365, 366.
member of it. But afterward, as all know, this bill was completely, most thoroughly, considered and canvassed in this Chamber. Never in the history of our legislation was any bill more considered; never has any bill been more minutely matured. Why, then, refer it to a committee? I do not say that Senators propose delay, but it is obvious that such a reference will cause delay.
Now, Sir, I am against delay in the enactment of this measure. It should pass promptly. It is a great act of justice, to which, as I understand, the political parties of the country, in solemn convention, are pledged. Why, then, wait? Why charge a committee with this burden? Why continue on the country the burden of the injustice which this bill proposes to relieve?
We are reminded of a recent decision of the Supreme Court. I have yet to learn how that decision has any practical bearing on the present bill. I do not believe that it touches it. Why, then, interpose this delay? Why not go forward promptly, swiftly, according to the merits of this measure, and give it, like a benediction, to the land? Here are our colored fellow-citizens, many millions strong, all of whom have votes, and all unite in asking it. Your table has literally groaned under petitions presented from month to month, from year to year; and unless the bill is speedily passed, I predict that your table will groan again with similar petitions, and justly,
for our colored fellow-citizens ought to exercise that great right of petition in favor of this measure until it is finally adopted.
I am sorry that the suggestion has been made. I had hoped that there would be nothing but welcome and consideration for a measure so truly beneficent, and