Thursday, January 5, 2012

XXXVIIth Congress -- First Session


SENATE. – The confiscation bill was taken up.

Mr. Willey offered an amendment, making an appropriation of five millions for the colonization of free negroes, made free by this bill, or otherwise.  He did not think it fair to throw upon the Border States a class of population which the Senators would not receive in their own States, thus making the former suffer, in addition to the evils of war, a new evil.

Mr. Hale said the senator seemed to think Virginia and Kentucky would some day have to tear from the free negroes the little rights they have, and re-enslave them.  He wanted to tell the Senators and the country that this was a job they could not do.  The idea of colonizing this race is utterly absurd.  The whole navy could not carry of their natural increase.  He understood that the Creator meant for the black man as well as the white to live on earth, but these negroes are to be made free by States themselves, of their own free will, after they had used them as long as they are wanted; and it is for these States to say they shall not have a resting place on earth, and that will be to enslave them.  Such a thing cannot be done.  It will only reach the rain of States which attempt it against the moral sentiment of the age.  He said that Barnwell, of S. C., when he was here as a Senator, admitted he could see no solution of this problem of races.

Mr. Willey said he was not opposed to the bill in any way, but simply wished to improve it.

Mr. Howe, by consent, introduced a bill to incorporate the North Pacific R. R.

Mr. Doolittle moved to go into executive session.

Mr. Trumbull hoped not.  He wanted to get a vote on the amendments to the bill, but if the Senate chose not to act he would do his duty.

Mr. Doolittle protested against the supposition that he wished to antagonize the bill in any way.  He made the motion at the suggestion of the chairman of the military committee.

The question was taken on going into executive session.

Yeas – Anthony, Browning, Clark, Collamer, Cowan, Davis, Doolittle, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Henderson, Howard, Howe, Kennedy, King, Lane of Ind., Nesmith, Powell, Stark, Wilson of Mass., Wilson of Mo., and Wright – 22.

Nays – Chandler, Dixon, Hale, Lane of Kansas, Latham, Morrill, Pomeroy, Sherman, Sumner, Trumbull, Wade, Wilmot, Willey – 13.

After executive session the Senate adjourned.

HOUSE. – The amendment to the bill for appropriation to the Stevens battery being under discussion, a spirited debated took place.  Mr. Lovejoy opposed the amendment.  Mr. Pike said that $500,000 had already been spent on the battery, and with the amount now proposed the total would be $1,288,000, and that the battery drew so much water as to be of no consequence in any Southern port; the Monitor had only cost $275,000, and four such vessels could be constructed for that the Stevens battery would cost.

Mr. Olin said the Monitor had not been a success so far as the contest with the Merrimac was concerned, for she did not run her down, the only way to destroy her.  This, he believed would be done by the Steven’s battery.  10 guns could be fired from it to 1 of the Monitor.  The amendment was adopted.

Mr. Stevens reported back from the committee of ways and means, the resolution that, the Senate concurring, Congress will adjourn sine die on the third Monday in May.  Agreed to.

The Pacific RR. bill was postponed till to-day week to afford members an opportunity to examine it.

The bill regulating [franking privilege] was up, and discussed, and its further consideration postponed till Tuesday.

The bill abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia was laid aside.

Mr. Washburne suggested that the House take up the bill for the relief of Gen. Grant, which was assented to, and the bill passed.  It re-imburses him $1,000 which amount, while serving as quartermaster in Mexico, was stolen from his trunk without neglect or default on his part.

Mr. Brown, of R. I., from the committee on elections, reported a resolution that Wm. Vandever has not been entitled to a seat in this house since he was mustered into service of the U. S. as Colonel of an Iowa regiment, since September last.  Ordered to be printed.

Mr. Stevens moved that debate on the bill for the abolishment of slavery in the District of Columbia, close in one hour after consideration of the same, to be resumed in committee of the whole.  Disagreed to – 57 against 54.

The bill came up in committee of the whole.

The General debate was closed by a vote of the House.

Mr. Cradlebaugh offered an amendment so as to make the bill apply to the emancipation of the white slaves of the Territories.  It should not be confined to persons of African blood.  Slavery in the District of Columbia was nothing to be compared with that which exists in some of the territories.

Mr. Lovejoy thought the amendment was not appropriate, as it proposed to strangle the bill now before them.  The amendment was rejected.

Mr. Wright offered a proviso requiring the President to issue a proclamation for a special election, a majority of the legal voters being required to affirm and ratify the act.

Mr. Wright’s amendment was rejected.  Mr. Wadsworth unsuccessfully sought to amend the second section, arguing that Congress cannot discriminate between loyal and disloyal men in making compensation for slaves.

Mr. Biddle opposed the bill as inexpedient and inopportune.

Mr. Dunn expressed his astonishment that any member should wish to pass it through without affording an opportunity to offer amendments to a measure of such importance.

Mr. Harding moved to strike out the provision that the entire sum appraised and apportioned shall not exceed in the aggregate an amount equal to $300 for each person shown to have been so held by lawful claim.  He said there was a strange and unusual haste manifested for the passage of this bill.

Mr. Lovejoy expressed his desire to speak.

Mr. Harding replied when the gentleman gets sober on the question I will hear him with pleasure.

Mr. Lovejoy said he asked no courtesy for the gentleman.

Mr. Harding concluded, after which Mr. Lovejoy spoke of robbing slaves of their rights, and said every  one has been robbed.  He expended his five minutes in speaking of what he termed the “sublimity of infamy.”

Mr. Harding’s amendment was rejected.

Mr. Wyckliffe offered an amendment to strike out the clause against excluding witnesses on account of color, saying this was contrary to the law of the District.

Mr. Stevens said that was an outrageous law – a man of credit, whether black or white, ought to be a witness.

Mr. Wyckliffe’s amendment was rejected.

Mr. Dunn said it was the determination of some gentlemen to pass the bill, no matter how imperfect it was.  There was a higher tribunal than this – the American people – to which they were responsible.


SENATE. – Mr. Sumner presented a petition for the employment in the suppression of the rebellion of all classes of persons without respect to condition or color.

Mr. Wilson, of Mass., introduced a bill amendatory to the fugitive slave act.

Mr. Howe offered a resolution that the military committee be instructed to inquire what troops have been or are being mustered into the service of the United States as home-guards, and who refuse to go beyond the limits of their own State.

Mr. Lane, of Indiana, said that the war department was already mustering out of service this class of troops.

Mr. Howe said he had heard this morning that some troops from Maryland refused to go beyond the mine of their State.

Mr. Grimes said he understood that some of this class of troops were being enlisted.

The resolution was adopted.

On motion of Mr. Sumner, the bill to remove all disabilities of color for carrying the mails was passed.  Yeas 24, nays 11.

The confiscation bill was taken up.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Saturday Morning, April 12, 1862, p. 1

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