Harper's Weekly 04/19/1862


CONGRESS.

On Tuesday, April 1, in the Senate, a resolution was
adopted instructing the Committee on the Conduct of the
War to collect evidence in regard to the barbarous treat-
ment of the Union officers and soldiers by the rebels after
the battle of Bull Run, and whether the rebels have en-
listed Indians in their service. Senator Sumner said it
was evident we were in conflict with a people lower in the
scale of civilization than ourselves, and he wanted record
made for history. The debate on the bill providing for the
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia was then
resumed. Senator Wright spoke in opposition, and Sena-
tor Fessenden in favor of the proposition.—In the House,
a memorial from the Illinois Constitutional Convention, in
favor of the early enlargement of the Illinois and Michi-
gan Canal, was referred to the Military Committee. Mr.
Hutchins asked leave to introduce a preamble and resolu-
tion setting forth that General Hooker, commanding on
the Lower Potomac, had issued an order permitting certain
slave-owners of Maryland to enter his camp and search for
fugitive slaves, and requesting the Committee on the Con-
duct of the War to inquire whether such order is not a
violation of the Article of War recently passed by Congress,
forbidding any officers to return fugitive slaves to their
masters. Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, objected to the re-
ception of the resolution, and it was therefore not received.
The remainder of the session was devoted to discussing
the Tax bill in Committee of the Whole. Mr. Colfax
moved to strike out the section levying a tax on advertise-
ments; but the committee refused. The section was, how-
ever, modified so as to assess the advertisement tax on the
amount received for the same instead of the amount
charged, while the tax is reduced from five to three per
cent.


On Wednesday, April 2, in the Senate, Senator Latham
read the correspondence between the Secretary of State
and Ex-President Pierce relative to the treasonable de-
signs of the Knights of the Golden Circle. A resolution
was adopted calling on the Secretary of War for informa-
tion as to what fraudulent drafts had been accepted by
Floyd while at the head of the War Department, and what
amount is now outstanding. The House resolution in favor
of extending pecuniary aid to States desirous of emanci-
pating their slaves was then taken up, and, after a brief
discussion, adopted by a vote of 32 to 10. The debate on
the bill providing for the abolition of slavery in the Dis-
trict of Columbia was then resumed, and continued till the
adjournment.—In the House, most of the session was
spent in Committee of the Whole on the Tax bill, the
clauses relative to stamp duties, expresses, and goods en-
tered at custom-houses being under consideration.


On Thursday, April 3, in the Senate, a bill giving twelve
months' extra pay to the widow, child, or nearest relative
of the officers and seamen of the ships-of-war Cumberland
and Congress was passed. Senator Wilson, of Massachu-
setts, offered a resolution, which lies over, instructing the
Military Committee to report what further legislation is
necessary to prevent army officers from aiding the return
or having control over fugitive slaves, and to punish them
therefor. Senator Davis, of Kentucky, offered a resolu-
tion declaring “that the war shall not be prosecuted in
any spirit of conquest or subjugation, but to defend the
Constitution and preserve the rights of the several States
unimpaired, and that the United States will prosecute the
war until this is secured.” This resolution was also laid
over. The bill abolishing slavery in the District of Co-
lumbia was then taken up. The substitutes of Senators
Clark and Dwight were rejected. A substitute, providing
for the gradual emancipation of the slaves, with compen-
sation to their owners, and the submission of the question
to the people of the District, was also rejected by a vote of
ten yeas to twenty-five nays. The original bill coming up,
Senator Collamer, of Vermont, offered an amendment that
the owners of persons held to service shall put upon file the
name and a description of the person liberated by the bill
within twenty days after making a claim for payment, or
within such time as the commissioners may limit, under
the penalty of forfeiture of the claim, and that the clerks
of the Court shall issue certificates of manumission to the
persons liberated. The amendment was adopted. Sena-
tor Doolittle, of Wisconsin, offered an amendment appro-
priating $100,000 to aid in the voluntary emigration of the
persons liberated by the bill and other persons of color in
the District of Columbia, to Hayti, Liberia, or other coun-
try. This was agreed to by a vote of twenty-seven to ten,
and the main question being taken, the bill passed by a
vote of twenty-nine yeas to fourteen nays. The announce-
ment of the result was received with applause from the
galleries.—In the House, the President was requested,
if in his opinion not incompatible with the public interests,
to communicate any information which may be received
at the Department of State showing the system of revenue
or finance now existing in any foreign country. The con-
sideration of the Tax bill was then resumed in Committee
of the Whole, the clauses relative to inland insurance,
mortgages, stamp duties, the tax on railroad passengers,
medicines, and incomes being under consideration. All
the sections of the bill have been acted on excepting the
two relating to appropriations and allowances and draw-
backs.


On Friday, April 4, in the Senate, Senator Hale gave
notice of a new rule which he proposed to offer—that dur-
ing the existing rebellion the majority of the Senate may
fix the time when debate on any subject shall cease, and
the Senate shall then vote on the question without further
discussion. The remainder of the session was devoted to
District of Columbia business.—In the House, the con-
sideration of the Tax bill was resumed in Committee of
the Whole. An amendment, offered by Mr. Blair, of Mis-
souri, proposing to tax slaves two dollars per head gave
rise to an animated discussion; but it was rejected by a
vote of 47 to 62. The bill was then reported to the House
by the Committee. The amendments were ordered to be
printed.


Both Houses adjourned till Monday.

On Monday, April 7, in the Senate, the Chairman of
the Military Committee made a report authorizing the
transfer of the appropriation for fortifications to the build-
ing of iron-clad gun-boats. The bill providing for the
confiscation of the property of rebels was taken up, and
Senator Trumbull made a long speech in its favor. Sen-
ator Harris gave notice that he should offer a substitute
for the bill, and made some remarks thereon.—In the
House, Mr. White offered a resolution providing for the
appointment of a committee of nine members to inquire,
and report as early as practicable, whether any plan can
be proposed and recommended for the gradual emancipa-
tion of all the African slaves, and the extinction of slavery in
Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Missouri by the people or local authorities thereof, and
whether such an object is expedient and desirable; and that
they further inquire and report whether the colonization
of such emancipated slaves on this continent or elsewhere
is necessarily a concomitant of their freedom, and how
and what provision should be made therefor; also, that
they inquire how far, and in what way, the Government
can and ought equitably to facilitate this object; and that
they further be authorized, if in their judgment expedi-
ent, to extend their inquiries as to the other slaveholding
States, and report thereon. The resolution was adopted
by a vote of 67 to 59. A resolution instructing the Ways
and Means Committee to report a new Tariff bill was, on
motion of Mr. Stevens, laid on the table by a vote of 88 to
35. A bill establishing a uniform bankrupt law was re-
ported by the Judiciary Committee. The Internal Tax
bill was then taken up, and 73 sections passed upon by the
House.



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