Harper's Weekly 03/26/1864


CONGRESS.

Senate.—March 9. Mr. Wilson reported from the Mil-
itary Committee a substitute for Mr. Carlile's resolutions
on the war, declaring “that the object of the war is the sub-
jugation of the rebels in arms to the rightful authority of
the United States; that in the prosecution of the war the
United States may adopt whatever measures, not incon-
sistent with the rules of civilized warfare, may be deemed
necessary to secure the public safety now and hereafter;”
and approving the Emancipation Proclamation as a neces-
sary and legitimate war measure.—Mr. Sherman reported
the House joint resolution to authorize the Secretary of
the Treasury to anticipate the payment of interest on the
public debt, with an amendment as follows: “And he is
hereby authorized to dispose of any gold in the Treasury
of the United States not necessary for the payment of in-
terest on the public debt.”—Mr. Davis spoke in favor of
his amendment to the bill equalizing the pay of colored
troops, allowing the District Courts to appoint commission-
ers to ascertain and award to loyal owners a just valuation
for their slaves.—March 10. A bill was passed giving
the franking privilege to the President and Vice-Presi-
dent.—Mr. Summer, from the Committee on Slavery and
Freedmen, reported a bill providing that the Proclamation
of Emancipation issued by the President of the United
States January 1, 1863, so far as the same declares that
the slaves in certain designated States and parts of States
thenceforward should be free, is hereby adopted and en-
acted as a statute of the United States, and as a rule and
article for the government of the military and naval forces
thereof.—Mr. Sherman, debating his amendment to the
House resolution for the sale of surplus gold, argued that
speculation in gold would be prevented by giving Mr.
Chase the authority proposed.—Mr. Pomeroy addressed
the Senate at length in reference to the circular lately is-
sued urging Mr. Chase's claims for the Presidency. He
denied that the circular was in any respect secret, and said
distinctly that Mr. Chase had nothing whatever to do with
it. Mr. Pomeroy maintained that the only safety from
menacing dangers would be found in a hearty co-opera-
tion of the people in a vigorous prosecution of the war and
the support of the most radical anti-slavery policy. Mr.
Pomeroy reprobated the policy of Mr. Lincoln as slow and
timid, and argued that disasters would continue to settle
upon our arms so long as the Administration clung to its
present “declared impolicies.”—Mr Davis's amendment
to the bill equalizing the pay of soldiers, black and white,
was rejected, and the bill passed, only six Senators voting
Nay.—March 11. A message was received from the Pres-
ident establishing the initial point of the Union Pacific
Railway “on the western boundary of the State of Iowa,
east of and opposite to the east line of Section Ten, in the
Township Fifteen, north of Range Thirteen, east of the
sixth principal meridian in the Territory of Nebraska.”—
The joint resolution authorizing the sale of surplus gold,
after debate, was passed, 30 to 8, with an amendment that
the Secretary of the Treasury shall only anticipate the
payment of interest on the public debt “for a period not
exceeding a year, from time to time.”—The Postal Appro-
priation bill for the current fiscal year was passed.—
March 12. The Senate was not in session.—March 14.
Mr. Saulsbury reported an amendment to the Patent Act
of 1863, designed to afford relief to inventors or assignees
who have failed to perfect their patents through neglect
to pay in season the final fee, by allowing them six months
more in which to pay such fee.—Mr. Grimes introduced a
bill in relation to naval supplies, providing for the ap-
pointment at each navy-yard of a Disbursing and Pur-
chasing Agent, a Naval Store-keeper, and an Inspector
and Receiver, who shall take charge of all supplies except
those for the bureaus of Medicine and Surgery, Provisions
and Clothing, and Navigation and Ordnance.—The West
Point Academy Appropriation bill was passed, with amend-
ments providing that no cadet shall receive any part of the
appropriation unless appointed according to the laws of
Congress, and that until the suppression of the rebellion
the President shall be authorized to appoint from unrep-
resented districts such deserving young soldiers in the
armies of the United States as he may select. During the
consideration of this bill a debate occurred as to the policy
of the Administration in the appointment of army officers
—Mr. Davis charging that the President was governed by
political considerations. Mr. Wilson, replying, said our
Generals do not receive their appointments because of
their support of the Administration, but as a matter of
public policy. At the beginning of the contest the Ad-
ministration desired to bring to its support men of all
parties, and in the first year of the war it was much easier
for a Democrat to receive an appointment than one who
voted for Mr. Lincoln. At the last session, out of 6855
nominations which came before the Military Committee,
composed of four Republicans and three Democrats, there
was never a divided vote, and the same was the case in
this session in the examination of 2000 cases. The Ad-
ministration in its military appointments sought to do
justice without regard to opinions. Mr. Conness cited the
case of California, where six Generals had been appointed,
all of whom were Democrats, among them the present
General-in-Chief and General Hooker.—March 15. Mr.
Sumner presented the petition of one thousand citizens of
Louisiana of African descent, to be allowed to vote in the
reorganization of Louisiana. The petition represents that
all are owners of property, many engaged in the pursuits
of commerce, paying taxes for forty-nine years on an as-
sessment of fifteen millions of dollars, and that at the call
of Governor Shepley they raised the first colored regiment
in forty-eight hours.—Mr. M`Dougall offered a resolution,
which was agreed to, requesting the President to commu-
nicate to the Senate any correspondence or other informa-
tion in the possession of the Government relating to any
plan or plans having a view to the establishment of mo-
narchical governments in Central or South America.—Mr.
Doolittle introduced an act to amend the act of June 7,
1862, for the collection of direct taxes in insurrectionary
districts. The bill provides that, under the sales of the
Tax Commissioners in such districts, a writ may issue to
said Commissioner to the Marshal of said district com-
manding him to put the purchaser in possession of said
property. Property as above purchased by the United
States may be divided into parcels of fifty acres, and pre-
emption rights granted to persons for meritoriors services
in the crushing of the rebellion, who shall have resided in
the States where the lands lie.—Mr. Sumner's amend-
ment to the Consular and Diplomatic bill, raising the rank
of the Minister resident at Belgium (Mr. Sandford) to a
Minister Plenipotentiary, without corresponding pay, was
adopted. Amendments were also adopted increasing the
salaries of the Consuls of Shanghae, Nassau, Lyons, and
Manchester.


House.—March 9. The Committee on Ways and Means
was directed to inquire into the expediency of so changing
the law as not to exempt United States bonds from State
and municipal taxation.—A bill was passed for the pro-
tection of emigrants to the Territories, authorizing the
distribution of arms, accoutrements, and munitions by the
Secretary of War to all emigrants passing through hostile
Indian countries.—A bill to established a Bureau of Mili-
tary Justice, to be connected with the War Department,
was passed. The Bureau is to be composed of a Judge
Advocate-General, with the rank of Brigadier-General,
and two assistants, with the rank of Colonel.—The Joint
Resolution tendering the thanks of congress to Major-
General George Thomas and the officers and men under
him for bravery at Chicamauga, was passed, with an
amendment also thanking General Rosecrans.—The Mili-
tary Committee reported a bill making the Camden and
Atlantic Railroad, with the branches built and to be
built, and the Raritan and Delaware Bay Railroad, pub-
lic highways, and recognizing said roads as a post and
military route.—March 10. Mr. Arnold introduced a
bill providing for such appropriations for harbors on the
Northern lakes and Western rivers as are necessary to
preserve them in good condition.—A bill to abolish the
Court of Claims was introduced.—A bill was passed giv-
ing to the Revolutionary pensioners each one hundred
dollars annually, to commence from the 1st of January
last and continue during their natural lives, in addition
to the pensions to which they are entitled under former
acts of Congress.—The Senate bill placing the name of
John L. Burns, of Gettysburg, on the pension rolls for
patriotic services in the battle of that place, was passed.
—Mr. Arnold, from the Committee on Canals and Roads,
reported a bill for the construction of a ship canal for army
and naval vessels from the Mississippi River to the West-
ern lakes and for other purposes, which was postponed to
a future day.—A bill was introduced granting pensions to
the surviving soldiers of the War of 1812.—March 11.
The Senate bill, the better to carry out the law regulating
trade and intercourse in the Indian country, so as more ef-
fectually to exclude spirits and wines from the Indians, was
passed.—The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial appro-
priation bill, which provides mainly for salaries heretofore
fixed by law, was passed.—Mr. Julian reported an amend-
ment to the Homestead Law, designed to facilitate certain
preliminary steps in pre-empting lands.—March 12.
The day was occupied in making and hearing speeches on
the general policy of the war.—March 14. Mr. Arnold
introduced a bill providing for permanent peace by abol-
ishing slavery in all the States and Territories where it
now exists.—The Naval Committee was instructed to in-
quire into the propriety of fixing the proposed new naval
dépôot on the Delaware River, at or near the town of New-
castle, Delaware.—Mr. Cox introduced a bill to prevent
officers of the Army and Navy and other persons engaged
in the military and naval service of the United States in-
terfering in elections in the States.—A resolution was
adopted instructing the Committee on Rules to consider
the propriety of so amending the rules as to compel all
members to vote when the yeas and nays are called.—The
Military Committee was instructed to inquire into the ex-
pediency and necessity of increasing the cavalry force of
our army by immediately raising 50,000 volunteers for
that arm of the service.—The House passed the bill for the
payment of nearly $193,000 to the Chippewa, Ottawa, and
Pottawatomie Indians residing in Michigan.—The Gold
bill, as amended in the Senate, was taken up, and speeches
were made in opposition to it by Messrs. Kernan, Pruyn,
Cox, and Boutwell, who opposed placing in the hands of
one man the power lodged by this bill with the Secretary
of the Treasury. The bill was not finally disposed of.—
March 15. The Senate bill giving the franking privilege
to the President and Vice-President was passed.—A bill
to establish Assay Offices in Navada Territory and at Port-
land, Oregon, was reported.—Ten thousand copies of Gen-
eral Meade's report of the battle of Gettysburg were or-
dered to be printed.—The consideration of the Gold bill
was resumed. During the debate, a letter was read from
Mr. Chase to the effect that he believed the passage of the
bill would restrain speculation. Mr. Griswold and others
advocated the passage of the bill, which was opposed by
Messrs. Allen, Price, and Denison. A vote was not reached.



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