The history of the Thirty-Ninth Congress is a sequel to that of the Rebellion. This having been overthrown, it remained for Congress to administer upon its effects. It depended upon the decisions of Congress whether the expected results of our victories should berealized or lost.
that there could be no safe or loyal reconstruction on a foundation of unrepentant treason and disloyalty.
The first session of the Thirty-ninth Congress proposed, as their plan of Reconstruction, a Constitutional Amendment. It was a bond of public justice and public safety combined, to be embodied in our national Constitution, to show to our posterity that patriotism is a virtue and rebellion is a crime. These terms were more magnanimous than were ever offered in any country under like circumstances. They were kind, they were forbearing, they were less than we had a right to demand; but in our anxiety, in our desire to close up this question, we made the proposition. How was it received? They trampled upon it, they spat upon it, they repudiated it, and said they would have nothing to do with it. They were determined to have more power after the rebellion than they had before.
When this proposition was repudiated, we came together again, at the second session of the same Congress, to devise some other plan of reconstruction in place of the proffer that had been spurned. We put the basis of our reco