Harper's Weekly 04/09/1864


CONGRESS.

Senate.—March 23. A resolution was passed appropri-
ating $20,000 for the expenses of the Committee on the
Conduct of the War.—A bill to establish a dépôt and Navy
Yard at Cairo, Illinois, was introduced.—The bill in rela-
tion to deserters, disfranchising all those who may refuse
to return to the service on a call of the President, was
taken up. Mr. Wilson, in favoring the bill, said there
were probably 40,000 deserters from the army, of whom
8000 or 10,000 were in Canada and the British Provinces.
Some of these were said to be anxious to return, and he
argued that opportunity should be given them by a call
from the President assuring them of pardon if promptly
returning. No vote was taken.—Mr. Powell's bill to pre-
vent military interference in State elections was taken up,
and Mr. Howard spoke at length against its passage. The
bill, he argued, was unnecessary, and also in violation of
the Constitution, which gives to Congress no authority
over the subject of State elections.—March 24. The bill
to prevent military interference in elections came up as
unfinished business. Mr. Howard concluded his speech,
and was followed by Mr. Saulsbury, who insisted upon the
necessity of a law of this nature in order to protect the
rights of the citizen.—March 25. Mr. Trumbull intro-
duced a bill to construct a ship canal from Lake Michigan
to the Mississippi, for the passage of armed and naval ves-
sels.—Mr. Doolittle introduced a bill to aid the Indian
refugees to return to their homes in the Indian Territory.
—Mr. Harlan reported a bill to extend to Kansas the bene-
fit of the act to appropriate the proceeds of the public land
sales, and to grant pre-emption rights; the bill giving au-
thority to devote the income accruing to the support of the
Kansas common schools.—Mr. Collamer introduced a bill
authorizing the Postmaster-General to contract for carry-
ing the mails overland from Atchison, in Kansas, to Fol-
som, California, appropriating a million dollars annually,
the transit to occupy sixteen days during eight months,
and twenty days during four months. The Pacific Rail-
road, as fast as completed, will take the place of the over-
land mail service.—The Senate proceeded to the considera-
tion of the bill to prevent Military Interference in Elec-
tions. Mr. Saulsbury supported the bill in a speech of
great length.—The Senate agreed to the report of the Com-
mittee of Conference on the West Point Academy bill.—
March 28. A bill giving Revolutionary soldiers an addi-
tional bounty of $100 was passed.—Mr. Wilson reported
against the use of concentrated feed for army horses and
mules.—A bill was introduced authorizing the President
to appoint two additional cadets in the Military Academy
from each State represented in Congress; they must have
served honorably two years in the army, and be between
seventeen and twenty years of age.—The Senate took up
the bill amendatory of the Constitution to prohibit Slavery.
Mr. Trumbull spoke at length in support of the bill, argu-
ing that the annihilation of slavery is essential to the na-
tional unity and peace, and that the amendment of the
Constitution is the only effective mode by which that re-
sult can be accomplished. A collocuy took place between
Messrs. Sherman and Wilkinson, the former defending
himself against certain criticisms of the latter. Mr. Wil-
son spoke at length in favor of the proposed amendment.
March 29. Mr. Cowan introduced a bill to establish a
Navy-yard and Naval Dépôt on the Delaware River, the
location to be selected by a commission of seven scientific
men, none of whom shall own land within fifty miles of
the river.—A bill was referred appropriating $920,000 to
pay expenses in suppressing Indian hostilities in 1862.—
The proceedings of the House on the death of the Hon.
Owen Lovejoy were communicated to the Senate, and after
remarks by Senators Trumbull, Pomeroy, and Sumner,
the resolutions were adopted.


House.—March 23. Mr. Kernan asked leave to intro-
duce a resolution for a special committee to inquire wheth-
er civilian in the employ of the Government were sent
home, at Government expense or otherwise, to vote at
elections. Mr. Stevens objected, unless the inquiry should
be conducted by the Committee on the Conduct of the
War, to which Mr. Kernan would not consent. The reso-
lution was not received.—A resolution was passed direct-
ing the Ways and Means Committee to report upon the
expediency of imposing an adequate duty on imported
wool.—The Judiciary Committee were discharged from
further consideration of the memorials calling for the im-
peachment of Judge Miller.—A violent personal alterca-
tion occurred between Mr. M`Clurg and Mr. Blair of Mis-
souri, ending in the adoption of resolution to appoint a
committee of inquiry into the charges made against Mr.
Blair that, while in military command, he had issued an
order for smuggling liquors into the army; Messrs. Hig-
by, Clay, and Pruyn were appointed as the committee.—
The House then resumed the consideration of the Dela-
ware Bay and Raritan Bay Railroad bill. Mr. Davis fa-
vored the bill. Mr. Perry opposed it, arguing that there
was no necessity for declaring it a military and post road.
The discussion was terminated by the expiration of the
morning hour.—The House then proceeded to consider the
amended National Currency and Bank bill, but adjourned
without vote.—March 24. The Judiciary Committee was
instructed to inquire into the expediency of proposing an
amendment to the Constitution by striking out the article
which forbids the laying of a tax on articles exported from
any State.—The consideration of the bill declaring the
Raritan and Delaware Bay Railroad to be a military and
post road was resumed. Mr. Broomall opposed the meas-
ure as an invasion of State jurisdiction. Mr. Garfield fa-
vored it on the ground that increased railway accommoda-
tions between Washington and New York were absolutely
necessary. No vote was reached.—The report of the Com-
mittee of Conference on the West Point Academy bill was
concurred in. The report strikes out the amendments pro-
viding for the appointment of additional cadets, leaving
the law as it now stands.—The House went into Commit-
tee of the Whole on the bill amendatory of the National
Banking Law. Mr. Brooks spoke in opposition to the bill
and the whole currency system, maintaining that the
war should have been prosecuted on a hard money basis.
Messrs. Kernan and Pruyn spoke to the same effect, the
latter proposing some unimportant amendments, which
were rejected.—March 25. The bill punishing frauds in
the change of names of vessels was passed. A letter was
read from the Secretary of the Treasury, who says the laws
are inadequate for that purpose, and that worthless hulks
are repainted either to be sold or sent on voyages under
new names to the danger of property and the lives of pas-
sengers. While the old names are left on the stern, new
ones are painted on the wheel-house for the purpose of de-
ception.—Mr. Clay reported back the Senate bill extend-
ing the time in which to accept lands heretofore given for
the Agricultural College purposes, and including West
Virginia in its provisions. Several amendments were
proposed. Further consideration was postponed for two
weeks.—It was agreed that after the 26th Saturdays shall
be devoted to public business instead of speech-making,
and that on April 9 the District of Columbia business shall
be considered.—The House passed the Senate bill directing
the Secretary of the Treasury to issue to certain parties
duplicates of bonds to the amount of $8000, the originals
having been lost on the steamship Golden Gate.—The
House went into Committee on the National Bank bill.
An amendment was offered, but on vote there was no
quorum present. There was then a call of the House,
after which the House adjourned.—March 26. The day
was devoted to speech-making.—Messrs. Morehead of Penn-
sylvania, and Eckley of Ohio, urged the claims of the Ad-
ministration to the confidence and support of the country,
and favored the vigorous prosecution of the war. Messrs.
Herrick of New York, Harrington of Indiana, and Hard-
ing of Kentucky, criticised the measures of the Govern-
ment.—March 28. Mr. Norton introduced a joint reso-
lution proposing an amendment to the Constitution, pro-
hibiting Slavery in the States and Territories.—Mr. Ash-
ley reported a resolution granting the use of the hall of
the House to the Washington Lecture Association, for the
delivery of a lecture by the Hon. George Thompson, the
proceeds to be distributed among the families of the Dis-
trict of Columbia soldiers. Mr. Holman moved to lay the
resolution on the table, which was agreed to.—Mr. Stevens
offered a joint resolution proposing a new article to the
Constitution, which, when ratified by the requisite num-
ber of States, shall be valid as a part of the Constitution,
namely: Slavery and involuntary servitude, except for
the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have
been duly convicted, is forever prohibited in the United
States and all the Territories; and so much of Art. IV.,
Sec. 11, of the Constitution as refers to the delivery of per-
sons owing service or labor, escaping into another State, is
annulled. Mr. Holman objected to the second reading of
the resolution. The House refused to reject it by a vote
of 38 against 69. The question recurred on the second
reading. Mr. Holman raised the point that the vote not
being a two-third one, as required, the result was, in ef-
fect, the rejection of the proposition. The Speaker over-
ruled Mr. Holman's objection. The proposition was then
read a second time. Mr. Stevens withdrew the latter part
of his proposition, namely: to annul the fugitive slave
feature. Before the question was taken on the other point
of the proposition proceedings were interrupted by Mr.
Washburne, who announced the death of his colleague,
Mr. Lovejoy. Brief remarks were made by Messrs. Wash-
burne, J. C. Allen, Stevens, Farnsworth, Pendleton, Odell,
Pike, Ashley, Foster, Davis, Grinnell, Morrill, and Ar-
nold. Resolutions of condolence and regret were passed,
and a committee of three appointed to superintend the re-
moval of Mr. Lovejoy's remains from Brooklyn to Illinois.
March 29. Mr. Washburne reported a bill, which was
passed, providing for the collection of hospital dues of ves-
sels sold or transferred in foreign ports. The collections
are to be made through Consuls and commercial agents.—
Mr. Stevens said as several gentlemen desired to deliber-
ately consider the proposed amendment to the Constitu-
tion introduced by him, he would move its postponement
for two weeks. The motion was agreed to.—Mr. Rice re-
ported a bill, which was passed, that persons between
twenty-six and thirty years of age may be appointed As-
sistant Paymasters, provided that the number is not there-
by increased; and that examinations of students for ad-
mission into the Naval Academy shall take place when
they are between fourteen and eighteen years of age.—
Mr. Rice reported a bill regulating and changing in some
particulars the method of making promotions in the Navy.
Heretofore promotions have been made according to seni-
ority; but this bill provides for promotion according to
official capacity and physical fitness, to be determined by
a Board of Examination to be appointed by the President.
Officers not recommended for promotion are to have an op-
portunity to be heard through a revisory board. The bill
was passed.—Mr. Rice also reported a bill for the classifi-
cation of Paymaster's Clerks in the Navy, making four
classes, at the following salaries: $1200, $1000, $800,
and $700 per annum.—Mr. Rice also reported a bill fixing
the date of loss of the brig Bainbridge at the 21st of
August, 1863, in order to fix the pensions to the families
of the deceased officers and sailors. Both these bills were
passed.—Mr. Pike reported a bill, which was passed, au-
thorizing, during the present war, the appointment of
Acting Lieutenant-Commanders and Commanders, at the
same rates of pay as are allowed to such grades in the
regular navy.—Mr. Pike also reported the Senate bill reg-
ulating courts-martial, which was passed, after striking
out the first section, which provides that volunteer ap-
pointments in the navy shall be subject to the action of
the Senate the same as regular appointments.—The House
then went into Committee of the Whole on the bill amend-
atory of the National Banking law. Amendments were
agreed to providing that banks, with a capital of not less
than $50,000, may, with the approval of the Secretary of
the Treasury, be organized in any place, the population
of which does not exceed 6000, authorizing the issue of
bills of the denomination of one, two, and three dollars;
and directing that not more than one-sixth of the circula-
tion furnished to any bank under this act shall be of a less
denomination than five dollars; and that after specie pay-
ments shall have been resumed no circulation of a less de-
nomination than five dollars shall be furnished to any
such association.



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