How Pardons Might be Purchased

Southern landowners were not the only persons concerned about the attempts in Congress to give land to the freedmen. The editors of The New York Times feared that land distribution in the South would lead to the undermining of all property rights, even in the North.

How Pardons Might be Purchased --
Agrarianism In a New Dress.

Mr. Sumner has invented a new method of securing to freedmen a proprietary interest planters' estates. His scholarly nature revolts at the rude agrarianism of Mr. STEVENS and the stand-and-deliver doctrine of Senator WADE. He appreciates as keenly as either of these statesmen the '"terrible distinction" between rich and poor, and the desirableness of some patent process for making everybody prosperous. But be has no faith in the efficacy of legislation as an agency for producing equality of wealth, and no liking for the demagoguism which courts popularity at the expense of social order. He proposes to reach the same end by a different route. He suggests that as a condition of obtaining pardons, the President shall require every rebel landowner to convey to his former slaves "a certain portion of the land on which they have worked, so that"--as the Senator's resolution pathetically and philosophically declares--"they may have a homestead in which their own labor has mingled, and that the disloyal master may not continue to appropriate to himself the fruits of their toil."


Enveloped in an atmosphere of self-sufficiency and sentimentalism, Mr. SUMNER may not perceive the drift of his own resolution. Whether he sees it or intends it or not, this is undeniable--that an attempt to justify the confiscation of Southern land under the pretense of doing justice to the freedmen, strikes at the root of all property rights in both sections. It concerns Massachusetts quite as seriously as Mississippi.

Source: New York Times, July 9, 1867. Asterisks [***] indicate edits of the original document by Michael O'Malley.

Negative Reactions
The New York Times (A)
The New York Times (B)
The New York Times (C)
Debow's Review on the Radicals
Debow's Review on Chinese Labor
Debow's Review on European Labor
William Finck (D-Ohio)
Mississippi "Black Code"
William Mungen (D-Ohio)
Samuel Thomas
Colonel Whittlesey

History 122

HIST 122 Syllabus


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