Wednesday, June 26, 2013

XXXVIIth Congress -- First Session


SENATE. – Mr. Howard presented petitions for a general bankrupt law.

Mr. Wright also presented petitions for a bankrupt act, and said that none of them were from Indiana.

Mr. Wilson, of Mass, offered a resolution that the Secretary of war report whether one Fred. K. Emory, who murdered Wm. Phillips in Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1855 or 1856, had been appointed to any place in the department of Kansas.

Mr. Lane, of Kansas, said that the Government had before it today the Kansas difficulty, and presumed it would correct the evil.

The resolution was laid over.

The confiscation bill was taken up.  Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, offered as an amendment to the 7th section of Mr. Collamer’s substitute authorizing the President to make a proclamation and free the slaves of those who continue in the rebellion for thirty days.  Messrs. Wilson and Morrill spoke in favor of the bill.

Executive session adjourned.

HOUSE. – Mr. Blair, of Mo., called up the bill recently reported from the military committee, authorizing the appointment of a board of fortifications, to provide for the coast and other defenses of the U. S., and for other purposes; an abstract of which was published on the 24th of April.  Mr. Blair explained the provisions of the bill, and in response to a question, said it suspended the appropriations for fortifications already made.  It also provides that the money shall be expended upon such works of defenses, as shall be recommended by the commissioners proposed to be created by the bill.  The consideration of the bill was postponed until Tuesday week.

Mr. Lovejoy, from the committee on territories, reported a bill to render freedom national and slavery sectional.

The House then went into committee of the whole on the Pacific Rail Road bill.

Mr. Davis offered a resolution declaring that the war now carried on by the United States shall be vigorously prosecuted and continued, to compel obedience to constitutional laws in the lines of every State and Territory by all the citizens and residents thereof, and for no further end whatever.

On motion of Mr. Sumner, the resolution was laid over.

On motion of Mr. Wilson, of Mass., the resolution asking the military committee to enquire whether any further legislation was necessary to prevent soldiers and officers from returning fugitive slaves, was taken up.

Mr. Sumner said he was glad the Senator from Iowa, in his speech, had called attention to some officers, concerning their treatment of fugitives.  One General, who lately made an order returning fugitives, was a native of Massachusetts, and he (Sumner) used his influence to get him appointed. – If he had known that Gen. Hooker would have made such an order, he never would have tried to get him an appointment.  When a General falls in battle, there is honor in it; but when a General falls as Gen. Hooker has fallen, there will be nothing but regret.

He referred to the order of Gen. Doubleday, and contrasted it with that of General Hooker; saying that he, (Doubleday) was an honor to his country.

Mr. Sumner then referred to Gen. McCook at the West, and also to the conduct of the Provost Marshal of Louisville, as being disgraceful to the army.  Mr. Sumner also read an account of how the blacks were oppressed at Louisville.

Mr. Davis asked Mr. Sumner where he got his account.

Mr. Sumner said, from the newspapers in New York.

Mr. Davis had no doubt of the falsity of the account.

Mr. Wilson said he had abundant evidence of the disgraceful treatment of fugitive slaves by portions of the army.

Mr. Sumner also referred to the return of fugitive slaves from the camps of Gen. Buell, and to the order of Gen. Halleck excluding all fugitives from his lines.  Sumner said the order was unconstitutional and an outrage on common humanity, and unworthy of a soldier.  Such an order would exclude all the valuable information received from fugitives, such as, for instance, the capture of New Orleans and the evacuation of Fredericksburg.

Mr. Saulsbury offered as an amendment to the resolution the following:  “And also to inquire what further legislation is necessary to prevent the illegal capture and imprisonment of free white citizens of the United States.”  Mr. Saulsbury referred to the number of persons taken from the States of Delaware and Maryland.  They had been seized by the military authorities and dragged away to forts and prisons, and after being kept a week or two were discharged because no fault could be found with them.  These men belonged to a class who are deemed to be of no account, and whose interests do not appear to be cared for.  They, unfortunately, are free white persons.  The men, who had committed no offense, were seized in violation of every law and every right.  If the wrongs of the negro are to be redressed, he could only ask that the same justice might be meted out to white men.  He asked nothing for men who were disloyal to the Government.  He would have them punished to the full extent of the law.

The time was occupied in explanation of numerous amendments.  The committee rose without coming to a conclusion of the bill.  Adjourned.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Friday Morning, May 2, 1862, p. 1

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