Harper's Weekly 01/23/1864


CONGRESS.

Senate.—January 6. Select Committee on Pacific Rail-
road appointed; Mr. Howard Chairman.—Mr. Powell's bill
to prevent army and navy officers from interfering in
elections came up; debate ensued, in the course of which
Mr. Saulsbury asserted that in the State of Delaware a
majority of the voters had been driven from the polls be-
cause they were not in favor of the Administration. Mr.
Wilson defended the Government. The bill was finally
referred to the Committee on Military Affairs, in opposi-
tion to the wishes of its mover, who desired that it should
be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.—Janu-
ary
7. Sundry petitions were presented and disposed of.—
Mr. Carlile offered a series of resolutions defining the re-
lations of the General and State Governments, the gist of
which lies in the assertions “that it is competent for the
President, or any military commander in any State, to
impose obligations interfering with the State laws;” and
that “the whole power of the Government should be used,
not against the rebel States, as such, but against the ar-
mies of the rebels:” laid on the table.—The Bounty bill
was debated and referred to the Committee on Finance.—
The Enrollment bill was taken up, debated, and several
points disposed of.—Mr. Howe offered a series of resolu-
tions for the relief of our soldiers now held as prisoners;
the substance of which is that the President be requested
to call for a million of volunteers for ninety days, or less,
to liberate all our prisoners; that General Grant be placed
in command of this force; that Congress adjourn on the
4th of March, and that each member under fifty years of
age join the army: referred to the Military Committee.
January 8. Mr. Morrill offered resolution that notice
be given to Great Britain for the termination of the Reci-
procity Treaty.—The Committee on Military Affairs re-
ported the bills of thanks to Generals Hooker, Meade,
Banks, and Burnside, with their officers and Troops.—Mr.
Wilson introduced bill to promote enlistments; the chief
features are that all enlistments in the regular army shall
be for three years, and colored soldiers receive the same
pay, etc., as White—Mr. Grimes introduced bill fixing the
pay of officers in the Army.—Mr. Hale submitted a resolu-
tion for a Committee to inquire into the condition of the
navy, and especially into the efficiency of the steam en-
gines lately built. Debate ensued, in the course of which
Mr. Hale assailed the management of the Navy Depart-
ment, and Messrs. Grimes, Doolittle, and Conness defend-
ed it. Mr. Davis also took part in the debate, assailing
the Administration generally.—Mr. Wilson offered a reso-
lution for the expulsion of Senator Davis, of Kentucky, on
the ground of a series of resolutions offered by him on the
5th of January, from which the following phrase was
quoted: “The people of the North ought to revolt against
the war leaders, and take the matter into their own
hands,” thereby, said Mr. Wilson, “meaning to incite the
people of the United States to revolt” against the Govern-
ment Mr. Davis rejoined warmly, declaring, “The Sen-
ator's interpretation of my resolution is false in letter and
spirit, and false in fact.”—Without disposing of this reso-
lution for expulsion, the Senate proceeded to the consider-
ation of the Enrollment bill. The main point of discussion
was the $300 commutation clause. Mr. Sumner proposed
an entirely new course; substitutes should be furnished
only by Government; commutation to be fixed at $300;
every drafted man seeking exemption should pay that
sum, and if his income exceeded $300 an additional sum
as follows: On incomes of from $600 to $2000, ten per
cent; on incomes from $2000 to $5000, twenty per cent.;
on incomes over $5000, thirty per cent. Debate ensued
upon this proposition. Mr. Wilson said that, though in-
structed by the Committee to report in favor of repealing
the commutation clause, he was in favor of its retention,
and proceeded to argue in support of his view. Without
coming to definite action on this subject, the Senate ad-
journed to Monday, the 11th.—January 11. Mr. Wil-
kinson offered a resolution requesting the Secretary of War
to furnish information respecting the imprisonment of cer-
tain soldiers from Minnesota at Jefferson City, Missouri.
He said that a negro came into camp, saying that his
master had entered the Confederate service, and that his
wife and children were on the point of being sent South for
sale. Some of the soldiers went to the cars, and liberated
the woman and children. Forty of the soldiers were ar-
rested and thrown into prison. Mr. Lane, of Arkansas.
said that the matter was now undergoing investigation by
the Legislature of Missouri; the officers appointed by Gov-
ernor Gamble were the offenders; these officers were sym-
pathzers with treason. Mr. Brown, of Missouri, indorsed
the statements of Mr. Lane, and condemned the course of
General Schoffed, the commander in Missouri: resolution
adopted.—Mr. Wilson resolution for the expulsion of Mr.
Davis came up; Mr. Davis wished for immediate action;
after some debate it was laid over until the 13th.—Mr.
Henderson proposed amendments to the Constitution.
They provide that slavery, or involuntary servitude, ex-
cept as a punishment for crime, shall not exist in the
United States; and define the mode in which amendments
to the Constitution shall be proposed and adopted.—The
Senate adjourned out of respect to the late Senator Bow-
den, of Virginia.—January 12. The Committee on Fi-
nance reported back the House bill extending the time for
paying bounties to March 1. A letter was read from the
Secretary of the Treasury setting forth the necessity im-
posed by this bill for increased taxation. The bill passed.
The House bill for paying Missouri troops was reported
by the Committee on Military Affaires-A message was
received from the President in answer to Mr. Lane's in-
quiry of December 16, relating to the treatment of Kansas
prisoners. It inclosed letters from General Halleck and
the Commissary-General of Prisoners to the effect that
there was no evidence that Kansas prisoners had been
treated differently from others, or that any Kansas volun-
teers had been put to death on being captured.—The En-
rollment bill was called up and debated. Mr. Sumner
modified his amendment so as to provide that the money
received from commutations should be spent only in pro-
curing substitutes: amendment lost, 25 to 15. A desultory
debate ensued in respect to the enlistment of slaves as sol-
diers. Mr. Johnson said that slaves were considered prop-
erty, as well as persons, by the Constitution: as property
they were liable for their master's debts; as persons were
punishable as traitors if found aiding in rebellion. He
learned that in Maryland slaves had been recruited with-
out their own or their masters' consent. He protested
against this procedure. No vote was taken on the bill.


House.—January 6. Resolution for Committee to report
on railroad from Washington to New York adopted; Mr.
Brandagee subsequently appointed Chairman.—The Com-
mitte on Elections reported a bill fixing a uniform time
for electing Representatives in Congress, and enabling sol-
diers to vote.—The Committee on Military Affairs report-
ed bill extending the time for paying bounties to March 1:
passed unanimously. The Appropriation bill was passed, aft-
er general debate. Mr. Arnold made a set speech upon the
state of the Union and the President's Message, laudatory
of the course of the President, and urging the entire de-
struction of the system of slavery. “It is the mission of
Mr. Lincoln, “he said, “to carry out the regeneration of the
country by the death of American slavery; let him finish
the job.”—Mr. Blain offered a resolution declaring that
the debts incurred by the States in suppressing the insur-
ruction should be assumed by the General Government.—
Mr. Baldwin offered a resolution to the effect that “any
proposition to negotiate with the rebel leaders at Rich-
Mond, sometimes called `the authorities at Richmond,'”
should be rejected. The resolution, after some opposition
from Mr. Cox, was adopted by 89 to 24; the preamble,
which declares that “the organized treason which has its
head-quarters at Richmond exists in defiant violation of
the Federal Constitution, and has no claim to be treated
otherwise than as an outlaw,” was adopted by 112 ayes,
and no contrary vote.—The Committee on Naval Affairs
were instructed to inquire into the expediency of estatb-
lishing a navy-yard and depot for the construction and re-
pair of iron-clads.—Mr. Rodgers proposed resolutions de-
clarinn that the rebellion is wicked; that the war against
it should be prosecuted; but that a compromise was de-
srreable; and that therefore commissioners should be ap-
pointed to meet with similar commissioners from the in-
surgeon States to treat respecting peace and a reconstruct-
tion of the Union; that the people of the insurgent States
have a right to return to the Union, and “reorganize
their respective State Governments, with their domestic
institutions as they were before the war,” and elect repre-
sentatives to Congress, without “any conditions precedent
except that of being liable to be punished” for violations
of the Constitution and laws; these resolutions were laid
on the table by a vote of 78 to 42.—Mr. Randal offered a
resolution that the President be requested to effect an ex-
change of prisoners, and that “if that exchange can not
be extended to all prisoners it may be carried into effect
as to any portion that may be agreed upon between the
parties:” laid over for Considerations.—Myers offered
a resolution to the effect that the war should be prosecuted
till the traitors love the Union and consent to the Eman-
cipation and Reconstruction proclamations; that then the
leading rebels should be hung, and the war cease; this
factious and disgraceful resolution was quietly referred to
the proper Committee. After debate on the Diplomatic
Appropriation Bill the House adjourned till Monday, Jan-
uara 11.—January 11. Several bills of local interest
were introduced and referred.—The use of the Hall was
granted to Miss Anna Dickinson for an address in aid of
the funds of the Freedmans, Aid Associational.—Mr. Fer-
nanod Wood offered a resolution for a Committee to in-
quire into the conduct of General Butler while in command
at New Orleans, and into various charges of fraud in the
Military and Navy Departments, in the Treasury Depart-
ment, and in the Custom-house at New York; laid on the
table by a vote of 77 to 63.—On motion of Mr. Fernanod a
resolution was adopted referring the charges of miscon-
duct in the New York Custom-house to the Committee on
Public Expenditures.—Mr. Broomall offered a resolution
to the effect that the Government endeavor to induce the
slaves in the rebel territory to enlist in the army, by giv-
ing them full pay and bounties, and by guaranteeing them
freedom at once upon enlistment. Mr. Cox moved to lay
the resolution on the table unless the mover would con-
sent to an amendment conscripting all the blacks in the
land. The motion to lay on the table was refused, 73 to
61.—Mr. Anion offered resolution that the Committee on
Military Affairs inquire into the expediency of paying to
soldiers the money withheld from them on account of cloth-
ing, etc., thrown away by command of their officers;
adopted.—The Committee on Ways and Means reported
bill to reimburse to Pennsylvania the amount expended by
her in calling out the Militia during the late invasion.—
The House adjourned out of respect to the memory of the
late Senator Bowden.—January 12. The Judiciary Com-
mitte reported bill for revising and consolidating the
laws of the United Stateside—The Committee on Ways and
Means reported a bill for increasing the revenue. The
main provisions are: a duty of 60 cents a gallon on dis-
tilled spirits; a duty of 2 cents a pound upon cotton, ex-
cept such as is sold by the United States; a drawback of
2 cents a pound to be allowed upon goods exported if man-
ufactured from cotton which has paid the duty.—The bill
to pay $700,000 to Pennsylvania for her expenses in call-
eng out the Militia came up, and was debated at length.
The House adjourned without any definite action upon
this bill.



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