Monday, December 28, 2009

First Session – 37th Congress

WASHINGTON, April 22. – HOUSE – On motion of Mr. MORRILL, of Vermont, it was resolved that the President should be requested to strike from the rolls, the name of any army officer has been known to be habitually intoxicated by the use of spirituous liquors, while in the service.

Mr. MORRILL stated that he had been assured that the commanding General who failed to reinforce the two Vermont companies who suffered severely at Yorktown, was drunk and had fallen off his horse into the mud.

Mr. Morrill was asked for, but declined to give the name of the General.

An unsuccessful effort was made to lay the fifteen or sixteen confiscation bills on the table, but the motion to do so was lost , by yeas 39, nays 60.

Mr. BINGHAM’S substitute, providing for the capture and condemnation of the enemy’s property, and to indemnify the United States for expenses incurred in the suppression of the rebellion was agreed to, 62 against 48, and the House adjourned.

SENATE – Mr. DAVIS spoke two and a half hours against the bill without concluding, when there was an Executive session, and then Senate adjourned.

The select committee to whom was referred the question of the loyalty of Senator Starke [sic], of Oregon, reported, to-day, that he is disloyal to the Government of the United States, having found that for many months prior to November he was an ardent advocate of the rebellion, and after the formation of the Rebel constitution, openly declared his admiration for it, and warmly avowed his sympathy with the rebel cause.

It subsequently appeared that the committee found that Senator Starke is disloyal to the government of the United States.

A caucus of the Republicans in Congress is called for to-morrow night.

WASHINGTON, April 23 – SENATE – Mr. TRUMBULL presented a petition from W. C. Jewett for a defensive stand still policy at Yorktown to secure a reserve force of 250,000 men.

Mr. TRUMBULL from the Judiciary Committee reported a resolution in relation to the pay of the first Senators and Representatives from the State of Minnesota, which was passed.

Mr. HALE offered a resolution that the Military Committee inquire if any General in the army before Yorktown had exhibited himself drunk in the face of the enemy, and if any measures had been taken for the trial and punishment of such officer.

Mr. SUMNER suggested the subject be referred to the Committee on the Conduct of the War.

Mr. HALE referred to the statement of Mr. Morrill in the House yesterday, and stated that he thought it high time some notice should be taken of these things. If officers thus leave brave men to be slaughtered like beasts, no punishment is too great for them.

Mr. FOSTER said the Senate had not taken high ground enough. The Senate should never have confirmed men known to be intemperate. It becomes us to weed our garden first and correct our laxity and he was pained to say criminality in this respect.

Mr. FOOTE said that the General referred to has not been confirmed.

Mr. HALE said that the Senate had not taken high ground enough, but if officers were so drunk that they could not sit on their horses he tho’t some notice ought to be taken of it. The resolution was adopted.

Mr. DAVIS introduced a bill prescribing an additional oath for Grand and Petit Jurors in the United States Court.

The bill recognizing the independence of Hayti [sic] and Liberia, and the appointment of a diplomatic representation was taken up.

Mr. SUMNER said thus far our Government friendly to new Governments, had turned aside from these nations. He thought that it was time to put an end to this, an anamoly [sic] in history.

Mr. SUMNER continued his speech in favor of the recognition of Hayti and Liberia, and concluded by saying, by recognizing these two nations we only tardily follow the example of the principal nations of the world.

The bill was then postponed until to-morrow and the confiscation bill was then taken up.

Mr. DAVIS resumed his remarks in opposition to the bill. He said that he had already detained the Senate at some length on this question, but he considered that in the importance of its effect the bill had no parallel. He contended that Congress had no right to pass such a bill under the war power.

HOUSE – The House resumed the consideration of the confiscation bill which was pending when the adjournment took place yesterday and upon which the main question had been ordered – the bill was tabled by a vote of 54 against 48.

The next bill taken up was to facilitate the suppression of the rebellion and prevent the recurrence of the same. It authorizes the President to direct our Generals to declare the slaves of rebels free, and pledges the faith of the United States to make full and fair compensation to loyal men who have actively supported the Union, for any losses they may sustain by virtue of this bill.

Mr. OLIN understood that the committee on Judiciary had agreed substantially that none of the confiscation bills referred to them ought to pass.

Mr. THOMAS of Mass., remarked that the committee recommended that none of the confiscation bills pass.

Mr. OLIN said that the disposition of the House and the country was that there should be some legislation on the subject; as the Judiciary committee could not agree on the matter, he proposed that a select committee of seven be appointed to take the subject into consideration, such a committee being [untrammeled] the House might anticipate a proper measure of legislation.

Mr. DUNN was glad to hear Mr. Olin’s suggestion. The subject of confiscating Rebel property, was one of the most difficult questions before congress, and the decision of which was involved the restoration of the Government to is former state of prosperity. He congratulated the House and country, that this morning, there had been laid upon the table, a bill which if it had been passed would have disgraced the civilization of this age. (Exclamations on the Democratic side of “good,” “good;” “that’s so.”) It was a bill which, at one fell swoop, would have impoverished the people generally – from old age down to innocent childhood.

WASHINGTON, April 23. – HOUSE – Mr. COLFAX advocated the appointment of a Select Committee.

Mr. DUNN was opposed to a sweeping confiscation bill. He wanted a distinction made against leaders.

Mr. BINGHAM maintained the propriety of a law to punish all who willfully rebel by depriving them of their property.

Mr. LEHMAN was opposed to confiscation bills. He looked on the march of our armies as the proper mode of suppressing the rebellion and re-establishing the Constitution.

Mr. HICKMAN claimed that the Constitution gave the President ample power without Congressional action.

Mr. Crittenden was against all confiscation measures which would tend to exasperate the war and postpone the time of putting down the rebellion.

After further debate, without action the House adjourned.

SENATE. – Mr. SHERMAN offered an amendment specifying persons to whom confiscation should apply, including those who may hereafter hold office under the rebels.

WASHINGTON, April 24. – HOUSE. – Mr. VALANDIGHAM offered a resolution requesting the President to transmit to the House, if not compatible with the public interest, copies of the correspondence between the French and Unites States Governments, as may have been received within the last two months, relative to the present troubles in America. Referred to the committee on Foreign Affairs.

Mr. ALDRICH from the committee on Indian Affairs, reported a bill authorizing a treaty to be made with the Indians of Utah, with a view to purchasing lands.

Also a bill authorizing a treaty with the Nevajoe [sic] Indians, of New Mexico, defining their limits and extinguishing their titles to lands outside of the United States. Referred to the committee of the Whole.

The House resumed the consideration of the confiscation bills from yesterday.

Mr. LOVEJOY, said that while this government is engaged in a serious war to put down the rebellion, it was seen this unnatural and parricidal insurrection has sympathizers and advocates on this floor. Those who defend slavery are the defenders of the rebellion, for slavery and rebellion are synonymous. They are unchangeable terms. Wherever slavery is there is rebellion. It is the corner stone, pillar and support. He took the position that either slavery or the Republic must perish. He would tell the gentleman from Kentucky, (Crittenden,) and all other advocates and defenders of the system, and those who cry themselves hoarse, in attempting to throw the protection of the Constitution around it, that it is the desire of the Republic that it should cease to exist. – There is no city of refuge for it. Like an infernal assassin, it has its knife drawn, and is endeavoring to strike it at the heart of the Republic. We are bound to strike the monster, and gentlemen need not cry the Constitution for its defence [sic]. It shall be said, “be slain in the name of my country and my God.”

He denied that slavery has any quarter or recognition in the Constitution. He argued that it was their right duty to destroy slavery because slavery is destroying or will destroy the Republic. He was in favor of the restoration of the Union with the right to stand on the American soil anywhere and proclaim his sentiments. He wanted to stand anywhere on American soil without the enforcement of a despotism to make him hold his tongue. He wanted to speak in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana, without the fear of lynching or a coat of tar and feathers. The gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Crittenden) asked what would four millions of slaves do turned loose. This term was used as if the slaves were wild beasts. Now he (Mr. Lovejoy) had this to say: At present he let them alone to take care of themselves, which they were abundantly able to do. The slaveholders had better turn their attention to another point, namely: What will they do when they cease to live on the unrequieted sweat and toil of slaves? He denied that he and his friends want to make this an antislavery war, but the only way to put down the rebellion and restore the Union was to destroy slavery.

Mr. ROSCOE CONKILING expressed himself in favor of the confiscation bill, to amplify the punishment of treason. He wanted to punish the ring leaders of the rebellion, and have reimbursement of the expenses incurred in suppression the rebellion. The subject was referred to a select of seven.

The House went into committee of the Whole, and took up the bill making appropriations for bounties to widows, and the legal heirs of Volunteers.

Mr. ROLLINS, of Missouri, made a speech against the Rebellion, and complimented Mr. Lincoln for his efforts in behalf of the Union. He was opposed to any and all extreme measures and for prosecuting the war on the principle laid down at the extra session, that when the supremacy of the Constitution and Laws are established the war ought to cease.


A communication was received from the War Department, transmitting copies of contracts made by that Department, for 1861.

Mr. GRIMES presented 420 petitions from beer and malt liquor manufacturers, asking fro a reduction in the proposed tax on beer and malt liquors.

Mr. BROWNING presented similar petitions.

Mr. POWELL moved to take up the resolution offered by him concerning the arrest of civilians in Kentucky, &c.

Mr. SUMNER opposed taking the resolution as independent.

Mr. POWELL did not see why the Senator should make any opposition to the resolution. It simply asked how many citizens of the free States have been dragged from their homes without warrant of law and called on tyrants and usurpers to know where they are and what their names are.

They are free white men, if they had been negroes the Senator from Massachusetts would make no opposition to the resolution. He (Sumner) was extremely pained about the wrongs of the negro but white men had some rights, and he wanted the Secretary to tell us why and what for these men were thus unlawfully dragged to prison without any charge of crime being bro’t against them.

Mr. SUMNER said the Senator from Kentucky had made an inflammatory speech and had called a high officer of the Government a tyrant and usurper. In the event of the resolution being taken up, the whole question must be gone into. If the Secretary of War was a tyrant and usurper, there were men arrested who were traitors.

Mr. POWELL (in his seat). Who are they? Name them.

MR. POWELL said that some of the men who have been arrested are as loyal as the Senator from Massachusetts (Sumner). He defied the Senator to point out any law by which the Secretary of State can carry off citizens of Kentucky and imprison them in the forts of Massachusetts and New York.

The bill for the recognition of Hayti and Liberia, being the special order was taken up.

Mr. DAVIS moved to substitute, authorizing the President to appoint a Consul to Liberia and a Consul to Hayti, with power to negotiate treaties. He was opposed to sending any ambassadors to those countries. If they send ministers here, and send a full blooded negro, he could demand to be received on equal terms with white men. He knew that a big negro fellow was admitted to the Court of France as Minister from Hayti, but he (Davis) wanted no such exhibition. He was sick and disgusted with the subject of slavery in the Senate.

Mr. SUMNER said the senate would bear him witness that he had said nothing about slavery on this bill, the Senator from Kentucky did that. The Senator from Kentucky might banish all fear of any social difficulty. He (Sumner) was sure that no representative from Hayti would ever force himself where he was not wanted. He said the Committee had come to the conclusion that we should be represented by diplomatic agents in those countries and this was in accordance with the precedents of this Government, and the example of other Nations.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 26, 1862, p. 3

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