Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.
January 17, 1870
The final arguments made in Congress on Friday, January 14th, 1870 about the admission of Virginia into the Union.
A large crowd was attracted to the capitol to-day in anticipation of a lively debate on the question of the admission of Virginia, and there was no disappointment, as under the ten-minutes' rule which had been agreed on in which to debate the questions before the House of Representatives a large amount of declamation was indulged in. The "previous question" had been set for 3 o'clock, with the allowance of an hour to General Farnsworth to close the debate. Before that hour a large number of speeches were made, some of which aroused no little enthusiasm on the side upon whose support they were delivered. Mr. Bingham's earnest argument in defence of the bill he offered as a substitute tor the one introduced by General Farnsworth was a most clear and convincing speech, and the profound manner in which the great Ohio lawyer contended for its adoption made a great impression, as the ultimate result fully testified. Sunset Cox made a very eloquent and fervent speech in favor of the unconditional admission of Virginia, at the conclusion of which he was warmly congratulated by a number of representatives. Mr. Cox always draws around him an appreciative group when he addresses the House, and this evening his remarks were received with eager attention. The picture drawn of the Wells, Chandler, and Underwood Convention, was replete with sarcasm, and proved most effective. When Mr. Farnsworth arose to close the debate and speak in support of the bill from the Reconstruction Committee he had but thirty-five minutes left of the hour in which he intended to close the debate, but in that period of time he managed to make a very severe attack upon the infamous Porter memorial, which was presented last night by Whittemore, of South Carolina. Farnsworth characterized it as "a lying, absurd document from individuals calling themselves the loyal people of Virginia." This angered Whittemore, who wanted to prove something about Governor Walker being disloyal, but so absurd was his attempt at explanation that it met with no attention whatever. Farnsworth was by no means chary in his allusions to Porter, who evidently feels by this time that the better portion of the Republican element in Congress estimate him at a very low value in nearly all respects. At the conclusion of this speech of Mr. Farnsworth, which was listened to by every member in the House most earnestly, the space surrounding his desk being thronged with them, a vote by ayes and noes was taken on Whittemore's amendment providing a penalty for taking the oath falsely, and it was agreed to. The next amendment was Mr. Bingham's substitute, which was adopted by the very close vote of ninety-eight to ninety-five. The most intense interest was manifested at this time both in the galleries and on the floor, and upon calling the vote upon the passage of the bill there was much more quiet observed in the House of Representatives than at any other time during the present session. The Radicals nearly all, forty-three members being the exceptions, voted for the bill, and it was sickening to note that among that forty-three South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and other southern States, answered through the men who, by some awful freak of fortune, occupy seats on the floor of Congress, against the admission of Virginia. The carpet-baggers are unrelenting, but the hour of their triumph is fading away. they would never admit Virginia. Let it be known that the representatives of northern States place a very low estimate upon the genus carpetbaggers, and even Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, said recently on the floor of the Senate that he wanted the South represented here by its leading men. Of course the efforts of the malcontents to prevent the admission of Virginia have not stopped with the passage of Representative Bingham's bill. They will besiege the Senate to reject it, and unless it should pass that body to-night will muster in force on Monday. The force wants about thirteen men of the Ayer-Porter stamp, and their peculiar champions are Charles Sumner in the Senate and Whittemore in the House. It is a gratifying fact, however, that Massachusetts and South Carolina, though both furnishing votes against Virginia, yet send men who have given their votes in her favor, and Banks, Hooper, and Dawes, of Massachusetts, whose political record as Republicans could not be more consistent than they are, each voted aye to-day on the passage of Bingham's bill, notwithstanding the vehement opposition to anything like justice that the would-be leader of the Senate pronounces against it. His whip has no terrors for them. This Congress will do away with test-oaths. Their universal unpopularity would ruin any party in the world, and the sagacious statesmen in the Republican ranks know and appreciate the fact. Timon.
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“Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed July 4, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1568.