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ACTION IN CONGRESS ON SLAVERY QUESTION.
sident, the next day, appointed a people, viz., the suppression of the re thanksgiving for the “signal victories bellion, and the restoration of the supre of the land and naval forces engaged in macy of the Constitution and laws of suppressing an internal rebellion," and the United States. called upon the people to “invoke reve- We shall not attempt to go into de . rently the Divine guidance for our tails; we have no room to quote from national counsels." Beauregard, on his the speeches of the members of Conpart, endeavoring to make the best of gress on the all-engrossing topics of the matters, issued an address to his sol- day; we can but sum up the chief re. diers, in which he spoke in exalted sults, and refer the reader, who is curiterms of their bravery and their great ous as to what was said, to the volumes
containing the debates in Congress dur. Halleck, directly after the news ing the present session. The republireached hiin of this important victory, cans, being largely in the majority, set out from St. Louis, and on his arri- never seem to have lost sight of the val at Pittsburg Landing, took com. anti-slavery portion of their avowed mand of the army. On the 22d of political principles. The members from April, Gen. Pope with his division, the border states, being slave holders numbering 25,000, arrived at the Land. themselves, and convinced of the law. ing, from New Madrid. The army was fulness of the institution and its necesthus increased to 108,000 men, and sity to the interests of the South, reTlalleck, placing Grant on the right sisted strenuously every movement wing, Buell in the centre, and Pope on looking towards interference with, or the left wing, made preparations for an extinction of slavery. Senator Trumimmediate advance upon Beauregard at bull's bill for the confiscation of rebel Corinth; the narrative of which, how- property, and giving freedom to their ever, we shall defer to a subsequent slaves, was a decided step forward; and chapter.
before the session closed, it was followMeanwhile, amid the din of war and ed by others still more significant. the terrible lessons of the battle field, A bill for the abolition of slavery in Congress (see p. 105) had been pursuing the District of Columbia was introduced its work with an earnest purpose rightly into the House, early in the session, and to fulfil its high mission in the existing having been referred to the committee
crisis. The war, of course, in its on the District, was reported favorably
various aspects and relations, upon, March 12th. The Senate also formed the main subject of discussion; took up the same subject, which was and Congress, as expressing the voice referred to the committee on the Dis. of the nation, gave clear evidence that, trict, who reported a bill with amendwhatever differences there might be on ments, in February. This was discussed minor, subsidary questions, whatever during the following month. The sacrifices there might be demanded, one usual arguments on both sides were result alone would be satisfactory to the gone over; the border state members
opposed it. vigorously ; efforts were render freedom national, and slavery
made to fasten on to the bill a sectional; and was taken up for discus- .
compulsory colonizing of the sion, May 9th, in the midst of exciting, negroes, but to no purpose; the major- encouraging news from New Orleans. ity were resolved upon their course, and Pro-slavery sympathizers, like Cox of would not agree to any such restriction.* Ohio, groaned over “ the whole negro The bill passed the Senate, April 3d, business. Heaven is sick,” he exclaim. by a vote of 29 to 14; in the House ed, “and earth is weary, of this damndiscussion was not protracted, and on able and dangerous iteration.” On the the 11th, it passed by a vote of 92 to 12th of May, the bill passed the House 38. As thus adopted by both Houses, by a vote of 85 to 50; the Senate the bill declared the immediate aboli- passed the bill, January 9th, tion of slavery in the District; provid. of 28 to 10. As finally adopted it was ed means for the colonization of the “ An act to secure freedom to all perfree blacks, if desired by them; and ap- sons within the territories of the United propriated $1,000,000 to compensate States." the owners of slaves, at a rate not ex- President Lincoln, feeling deeply the ceeding $300 for each.
pressure of the slavery question, and as On the 16th of April, President Lin- yet not being able to see bis way coln sent a brief message to Congress, out of the difficulty, was anxious to expressing his approval of the act or make trial of a system of compensated bill, and especially “ that the two prin- emancipation, especially in the border ciples of compensation and colonization states, in the hope that through them a are both recognized and practically ap- powerful influence might be brought to plied in this act.”+
bear upon the states further south. It Following upon emancipation in the was his hope also, that the war would District of Columbia, was the passage sooner come to a conclusion by adoptof an act removing slavery from the ing such a course. On the 6th of March, territories of the United States. It he sent a message to Congress, asking
was introduced into the House, the following resolution to be passed : March 24th, as a measure to “Resolved, That the United States ought
to co-operate with any state which may * For Senator Sumner's “Resoiations declaratory of the relations between the United States and the terri adopt a gradual abolishment of slavery, tory once occupied by certain states, and now usurped giving to such state pecuniary aid, to be by pretended governments, without constitutionalios used by such state ir its discretion, to legal right," offered, February 11th, see Appleton's “ American Annual Cyclopædia,” 1862, p. 345. compensate for the inconveniences, pub
+ Action was speedily taken for the benefit of the lic and private, produced by such change measures, especially primary schools, were organized, of system.” The resolution was ad. as soon as possible, there being more than 3,000 child. opted in the House, March 11th, in the ren to be provided for. Every thing which was proper was done, on a liberal scule, to secure them the advan Senate, April 2d, by large majorities. tages which the blacks had long enjoyed in the free At the close of the month of January, states. See McPherson's “ History of the Rebellion,” | the bill authorizing the president of the pn. 211-212.
negroes thus made fre
in the District. Educational
REBEL CONGRESS IN SESSION.
United States in certain cases to take all debts public and private, within the possession of railroads and telegraph United States, except duties on imports, lines, was taken up and debated. It and payments by the government of in was strongly urged, on the one hand, as terest on bonds and notes, which was a military necessity, essential in the pre- required to be paid in coin. This new sent juncture; on the other, it was re- “ circulation ” was to be received by the sisted, as giving the president a despotic government in payment for any loans power dangerous to place in any man's which might be negotiated hy the secre. hands. The bill, however, passed, tary of the treasury. To fund the debt January 31st, and became a law. thus created and enlarged, the issue of
On the 17th of January, the bill for coupon or registered bonds, to the the issue of treasury notes came up in amount of $500,000,000, bearing six the House. This was, and was felt to per cent. interest, and redeemable at the be, a very important measure, and it pleasure of the United States after five
was long and ardently discuss- years, and payable twenty years from
ed by some of the ablest mem- date, was authorized. All bonds, stocks, bers of the House. Many denied en- and other securities of the United tirely the power of Congress to make States, held within the country, were, paper money a legal tender, and much elo by the act, to be exempt from taxation quent declamation was bestowed upon by or under state authority. the unconstitutionality of giving the In connection with the proceedings treasury notes this character and value. of the national legislature, we may But the majority in the House thought briefly note here what the Confederato otherwise, and they argued, just as Congress, at Richmond, was doing at strongly, that the measure was a wise, this time. The ten states actually in judicious and excellent one; and, more. rebellion were represented ; there were over, as the government could not be also persons professing to represent carried on without money, it was a ne Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. cessity to give it the power sought for Vice-president Stephens presided in the in this bill. The bill was accordingly Senate; Mr. Bocock, of Virginia, passed by a vote of 93 to 59. In Feb. was elected speaker of the House. ruary, the Senate took up the bill. A All the important measures in this and motion was made to strike out the legal subsequent sessions of the Confederate tender clause, but it did not prevail; Congress were discussed and determin. and the bill finally passed, February ed on with closed doors, and no reports 25th, by a vote of 30 to 7.
of speeches or votes were made public, By this important financial measure, Occasionally, however, an open session there was authorized the issue of $150,- was held, and the views and opinions 000,000, of United States notes of de- of some of the members became more nominations not less than five dollars or less known. each, not bearing interest, and creating
Some members of the rebel congress the same a legal tender in payment of urged the “carrying the war into