Harper's Weekly 04/16/1864


CONGRESS.

Senate.—March 30. Several bills were reported from
committee and referred.—Mr. Sherman submitted a letter
with details of the claim of Mrs. Mary Throckmorton for
compensation for six negroes claimed as her own, which
the District Commissioners of Emancipation could not al-
low, her husband being in the rebel army, though a son
is an officer in the Union army.—Mr. Harlan reported a
bill to aid a railroad in Iowa, from M`Gregor along the
forty-third parallel to a point on the Missouri River, with
a branch up Cedar Valley, toward Mankota, Minnesota,
and one from Sioux City to Mankota, giving five alternate
sections per mile.—Mr. Wade called up the House bill to
provide a temporary Government for the Territory of Mon-
tana. Mr. Wilkinson offered an amendment to the sixth
section, striking out the words “free white male inhab-
itants,” and inserting “the male citizens of he United
States, or those who shall have declared their intention to
become such.”—The morning hour expired, and the Sen-
ate proceeded to the consideration of the joint resolution
amendatory to the Constitution. Mr. Davis, of Kentucky,
made a speech against the measure.—March 31. The
House bill to provide a temporary Government for the
Territory of Montana was taken up, the pending question
being to strike out the word “white” in the fifth section,
defining the qualifications of voters and eligibility to office
within the Territory. The amendment was adopted—22
to 17. After a brief debate the bill was passed—29 to 8.—
Mr. Saulsbury then addressed the Senate on the joint res-
olution to amend the Constitution to prohibit slavery. Mr.
Davis moved the following amendment as a substitute:
“That no negro, or person whose mother or grandmother
is or was a negro, shall be a citizen of the United States,
or be eligible to any civil or military office, or any place
of trust or profit under the United States.” On this he
called for Yeas and Nays, but no quorum voted.—April
1. Mr. Nesmith called up the bill to establish assay offices
at Carson City, Nevada, and Dalles City, Oregon, and
moved an amendment establishing a branch mint at Port-
land, Oregon, instead of an assay office at Dalles City. He
advocated this motion at some length.—Mr. Powell en-
deavored to obtain the floor to get up his resolution call-
ing on the Secretary of War for information in regard to
the churches and property of Christian denominatious tak-
en possession of by his own orders or the orders of gener-
als of the army. Several Senators desired to get up other
bills.—The Senate, after a long executive session, adjourn-
ed until Monday.—April 4. A resolution was adopted
directing the Committee on Foreign Relations to consider
the expediency of so amending the Neutrality Laws as to
make them reciprocal to each Government, extending en-
tire neutrality to those which return the same, and to oth-
ers the exact measure of neutrality which they extend to
us.—Mr. Sumner reported a bill to establish a Bureau of
Emancipation.—A bill for the adjustment and satisfaction
of claims for spoliations committed by the French prior to
July 31, 1801, was reported. This bill provides satisfac-
tion to the amount of five millions of dollars for damages
through seizures, detentions, and captures made by the
French. It does not favor claims embraced in the Con-
vention of 1803, nor those in the treaty of 1819 between
the United States and Spain, nor those in the treaty of
1831 with France.—The House bill providing for the en-
listment of residents of one State into the regiments of
other States was taken up. Mr. Grimes opposed the bill.
Under it, he said, States unsuccessful in filling their quotas
could go into the States in rebellion and enlist colored men
who had been slaves to make up their deficiencies. To
this he had a decided objection, as it would make confusion
worse confounded and demoralize our army. Mr. Sher-
man also opposed the bill, and Mr. Trumbull believed its
passage would produce great mischief. Mr. Wilson argued
in its favor, on the ground that it would secure thousands
of men for our armies from the States partly under rebel
control. No vote was reached.—The joint resolution to
amend the Constitution so as to abolish slavery was taken
up, and Mr. Howe spoke in favor of the measure.—
April 5. A bill for the collection of taxes in the insurrec-
tionary districts, with amendments striking out the pro-
vision authorizing grants of forty-acre lots to soldiers, and
that empowering the Tax Commissioner to set aside sales
deemed to be unfairly made, was reported.—Mr. Anthony
submitted an amendment to the bill for the relief of the
Justices of the Supreme Court and District Courts at the
age of seventy, if they desire it; giving Justices of the
Supreme Court from $4000 to $6000, according to the
length of their official service, and three-fourths of their
salaries to Justices of the District Courts, provided such
salaries shall not be less than $2000 each in cases where
the service has exceeded fifteen years.—The joint resolu-
tion to amend the Constitution came up as the prior order.
Mr. Johnson spoke with great force and eloquence in favor
of the removal of slavery, which has produced so much
mischief. Mr. Davis's amendment, that “no negro per-
son whose mother or grandmother is or was a negro shall
be a citizen of the United States, or be eligible to any civil
or military office, or any place of trust or profit under the
United States,” was rejected, as were other amendments
offered by Messrs. Powell and Davis.


HouseMarch 30. The House went into Committee of
the Whole on the National Bank bill, and a number of
amendments to the thirtieth section, principally as to the
rate of interest, were adopted.—The House then proceed-
ed to consider the bill for the reconstruction of States sub-
jugated by the rebellion, Mr. Ashley advocating its pas-
sage.—March 31. Mr. Shannon reported the Senate bill,
which was passed, for the better organization of the De-
partment of Indian Affairs in California.—The House then
resumed the consideration of the bill, declaring the Rari-
tan and Delaware Bay Railroad to be a Post and Military
road. Mr. Garfield advocated the measure, when the sub-
ject was passed over, and the House went into Committee
on the National Bank bill. Mr. Stevens offered a substi-
tute for the thirtieth section, with a view to restore the 7
per centum interest on loans, accounts, etc., the Commit-
tee having the day before reduced it to six, which was
agreed to. The substitute, in effect, restores the original
thirtieth section, which provides that every association
may receive, charge, or retain on any loan or discount
made, or upon any note, bill of exchange, or other evidence
of debt, interest at the rate of 7 per centum per annum.
The knowingly taking, receiving, or charging a greater
rate of interest is to be held and adjudged as a forfeiture
of the entire interest. Those paying it may recover back
in an action of debt twice the amount of interest thus
paid. The section designating the places of redemption
was amended so as to include St. Louis, Louisville, Chica-
go, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Bos-
ton, New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Pittsburg, Albany,
Cleveland, Milwaukee, Portland, and Buffalo. Mr. Eld-
ridge moved an amendment, proposing that the notes be
redeemed in gold. No further action was taken on the
bill.—April 1. Mr. Wilson asked leave to introduce a
bill regulating commerce among the several States. It
declares that each and every railroad company is author-
ized to transport freight and passengers from one State to
another, any thing in the laws of any State to the con-
trary notwithstanding. Objection was raised.—Mr. Blaine
introduced a bill to provide for refunding to loyal States
certain sums of money expended by them in raising, organ-
izing, and equipping troops for the Union army. It pro-
vides for a Board of three Commissioners to hold sessions
in Washington, and report to Congress the ascertained
sums due the States, towns, cities, and counties. The bill
was referred.—Mr. Eliot reported a bill fixing the rules for
preventing collisions on the water, by signals, fog whistles,
etc. Mr. Eliot explained that the object of the bill was to
contribute toward a uniform international code of rules.
The importance of such a code had for a long time been
felt by the parties interested, but up to this time none had
been established by this Government. The bill was passed.
—A bill regulating the admeasurement and tonnage of
ships and vessels of the United States was passed.—A bill
was passed providing that the name of the Collection Dis-
trict of Presque Isle be changed to the District of Erie.—
Another bill was passed exempting from the payment of
tonnage duties after August 1 next, all canal-boats, freight-
barges, scows, and other crafts without masts, and con-
fined to tide-water or within certain bounds.—Mr. Ward
reported a joint resolution to give notice of terminating
the Reciprocity Treaty with Canada at the end of twelve
months from the expiration of ten years from the time the
treaty went into operation.—The House then went into
Committee of the Whole on the National Bank bill. The
Committee struck out, by a vote of 54 against 30, the
ninth section, which provided that no association shall
pay out or put in circulation the notes of any bank or
banking association not authorized by this act.—April
2. Mr. Pendleton called up his motion to reconsider the
vote by which the House disagreed to the Senate's amend-
ment to the Montano Territory bill, and asking a Commit-
tee of Conference. He said that the Senate's amendment
striking out the word “white” was to give negroes the
right to vote in the Territory. He therefore wanted the
House to adhere to its disagreement. Mr. Beaman moved
to lay Mr. Pendleton's motion to reconsider on the table.
Agreed to by yeas 63, nays 49.—The House then resumed
the consideration of the Raritan and Delaware Bay Rail-
road bill. Mr. Sweat spoke against the Bill, believing it
had no warrant in the Constitution of the United States
or laws of the country. The subject went over with the
expiration of the morning hour.—The House then went
into Committee of the Whole and resumed the considera-
tion of the National Bank bill, and acted upon several
amendments.—April 4. A resolution calling on the Sec-
retary of War to inform the House as to the amount of
money received as commutation for drafted men, and the
disposition made of the same, was laid on the table.—A
resolution calling for information as to the number of
negroes enlisted, the cost of their enlistment, etc., was
also laid on the table.—Mr. Davis, from the Committee
on Foreign Affairs, reported the following joint resolution,
which, after remarks from Messrs. Davis, Brooks, and Cox,
was unanimously adopted: “Resolved, That the Congress
of the United States are unwilling by silence to leave the
nations of the world under the impression that they are
indifferent spectators of the deplorable events now trans-
piring in the Republic of Mexico; therefore, they think it
fit to declare that it does not accord with the convictions
of the People of the United States to acknowledge a Mo-
narchical Government erected on the ruins of any Repub-
lican Government in America, under the auspices of any
European Power.”—The consideration of the National
Bank bill was resumed. Mr. Blaine offered a new section,
which was adopted, “That 7 per centum, as fixed under
the thirtieth section of this bill, shall be deemed the lawful
rate of interest in States where no rate is established; but
each bank shall be governed by the State law where it is
located.”—April 5. Mr. Arnold reported a bill, which
he explained to be a bill amendatory of the Post-Route act
of July, 1862, and providing for the construction of two
bridges over the Ohio River, to enable the railroads of
Indiana and Illinois to meet those on the banks of the
Ohio in Kentucky, and for the security of navigation by
directing the bridges to be built from 260 to 300 feet high.
The bill, after some debate, was recommitted.—A resolution
directing the Military Committee to report a bill increasing
the pay of privates of the army, was referred.—Mr. Rice
asked for the Committee on Naval Affairs leave of absence
for ten days from the 7th, in order to visit the West for the
purpose of examining several sites for a Navy-yard on the
Mississippi and its tributaries. The request was laid on
the table.—The House then went into the Committee of
the Whole on the National Banking bill. Several amend-
ments were adopted, when the Committee reported the
bill to the House. Mr. Stevens offered a substitute sub-
stantially the same as amended, but fixing the rate of in-
terest at 7 per centum, and omitting the clause giving to
the States the privilege to tax the capital stock.



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