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PROCEEDINGS OF CONGRESS CONTINUED.
TWELFTH WEEK. THE
VOLUNTEER BILL. EXCITING DEBATES. THE SEVEN STEAM
MEMBERS. GROWING FIRMNESS OF THE
The Voice of the
citizen and a punishment to traitors."
The Common Council of Boston also was
IN the Senate, Monday, all attempts to palm off upon the people a bogus Union, February 18th, a number by inserting amendments in the Constitution, foreign of petitions to and incompatible with the genuine spirit there of were pre-and to assert the Reality of the Existing Union by sented by Messrs. Sumner, Douglas, Bigler, Foster, and others. Mr. King, of New York, showing her powers to be a protection to the loyal presented a memorial, deprecating compromise, and urging adherence to the Constitution, signed by all the Delegates of the twenty-two wards of New York City, of the German Republicans, and also by the two German Presidential Electors. The memorial was accompanied by the resolutions unanimously adopted, as embodying the sense of the German Republicans of New York on the crisis. They are so significant and important as to merit repetition:
"Resolved, The Union, in the sense and meaniug of her founders, is built upon the Constitution as it was then made, and as it now is.
Resolved, The Constitution of the United States, according to the will of the Fathers of this Republic. tolerates Slavery as an existing practice, and does not recognize the same as a legitimate institution.
Resolved, The Union, as designed and made by the Fathers, can only be preserved inviolate by upholding the Constitution as it is, and by executing and enforcing the Federal laws. Every amendment to the Constitution, compassing or tending to the express recognition of Slavery in our fundamental law, is a deviation from the original spirit of this in strument, and tantamount to a dissolution of the Union, built upon this well-laid basis.
“Resolved, Supremacy of the law and unqualified obedience to its power are the only safeguards of
Liberty. Compromises and treaties made in compliance with the demands of rebellion and force are the death-blow to the Republic.
"Resolved, In this political crisis it is the duty of Congress, and the only true policy, firmly to resist
represented in a series of resolutions passed by that body, concurred in by the Board of Aldermen, and approved by the Mayor, asking for the adoption, by Congress, of the
The Post-route and the Morrill Tariff bill were up for consideration, and consumed the day. During the discussions on the latter, some interesting announcements were made by Mr. Simmons, from the Finance Committee, who said: "When the Buchanan Administration came into power, it had twenty-six millions of dollars on hand, and that its outgoings had exceeded all sources of income by over twenty millions annually, making over eighty-three millions of dollars of indebtedness to provide for. To meet that enormous debt the new Tariff bill was proposed.”
In the House, Monday, Stanton, from the. Committee on Military Affairs, reported a bill supplemental to the acts of 1795 [see page 6] and 1817, providing for the calling forth of the militia for the execution of the laws of the Union, the suppression of insurrection and repelling invasion, so as to extend their provisions to the case of insur rection against the authority of the United States, and authorize the President, in cases where it may be lawful, to use the militia in addition to the army and navy; to accept the services of volunteers as cavalry, infantry, and artillery, and officer the same. [See p. 431] Mr. Bocock said that if there is to be any
hope of peace, it must be by the rejection of the Peace Propositions fail here, he would forte bills. appeal to the justice and fraternity of the
Mr. Stanton said the bill merely supplied people of the North, believing they would an omission in the act of '95. patriotically respond, and disregard all party ties for the sake of the country.
Mr. Bocock objected to the second reading of the bill; the question therefore occurred, Shall the bill be rejected? The House decided in the negative--68 against 110.
In the course of remarks elicited in calling the vote, several Representatives expressed opinions upon the question of the use of force. Sickles, of New York, voted to reject, believing the bill to be a proposition for actual aggressions on the States.
Before any disposition was made of the bill, the morning hour had expired, when the Corwin Report, as the special order, came up, and Webster, (Am.,) of Maryland, expressed his views at length, consuming an hour in his speech. His views were adverse to the right of secession. He trusted the Peace Conference would recommend some measure of adjustment. It can do no more. The responsibility was still on Congress, which could not escape it. His great object was to preserve the Union, and the rights and liberties of all within the Union. He earnestly opposed the policy of force,
At the evening session speeches were made by Messrs. Morrill, Edwin R. Reynolds, Ely, and McKean—all firm and uncompromising in tone.
Whereas, Varied and conflicting opinions prevail among the members of this House in regard to the causes which have produced the unhappy disturb ances now afflicting our country, and in regard to the proper mode of quieting and adjusting these disturbances, and guarding against their future recurrence: Therefore,
Resolved, That, in the judgment of this House, the proper tribunal to which all the existing disturbing questions should be referred for deliberate consideration and final settlement is a Convention of Delegates from the several States of the Union, to be
called in the mode prescribed in the Constitution."
The regular order being resumed, Mr. Stanton's bill calling out the volunteer militia came up, when that gentleman made some explanations regarding the nature and He said there was a purposes of the bill. great deal of misapprehension existing in regard to the bill, and added:
'It was supposed that it was the intention of the Govern
which would drive the Southern States so
To the query of Sherman as to whether or not he was willing to defend the public property, Mr. Webster replied that, if precipitating measures in the defence of the public property would be more disastrous than a conciliatory course, he would not enforce the law; but he did not despair of the Republic. If
Stanton's Defence of his Bill.
raise an army, and to march into the Seceding States to subjugate them. It was not the case. It was a mere revision of the law of 1795, the first section of which provided for the calling out of the militia by the President, for the express purpose of suppress ing insurrection in any State against the authority of any State; the second section of which also provides for the calling out of the militia to aid in the execution of the law when resisted by combinations too powerful to be overcome by the ordinary civil process of law. In his judgment, that law of 17.5 covers the case of an insurrection against the authority of the United States and the right to call out the militia to put down insurrections. But it appeared that the late Attorney-General Black has expressed the opinion that it does not cover what is
Stanton's Defence of
MR. STANTON'S DEFENCE OF HIS BILL.
sought for by this bill; that the law of 1795 only authorizes the President to call out the militia when the officers of the Court, the Marshals, or others are resisted in the execution of process of law directed to them, by combinations which the officers could not otherwise overcome, and did not authorize calling out the militia to put down insurrection against the authority of the United States. In his judgment, the law was intended to go this far; but to remove all ambiguity on the subject, the Committee deemed it their duty to extend the provisions of the law, not only to cases of resistance to a specific law, but in all cases where resistance to the authority of the United States, in the execution of any of its laws, is contemplated."
Sickles interupted to know if any insurrection existed? Stanton replied affirmatively. Sickles said that the President expressed his conviction to the contrary. Stanton answered that he was acting in this matter for the public good, so far as his judgment led him to adopt these measures. The theory of the President was, that while a State might secede, that there was no constitutional right of secession, and the act of the Seceding States was a revolutionary right, which could be treated in no other way by any party than in the light of insurrection or revolution. Whether it requires the measure we provide for its prevention or not, is another question. But, as to the nature of the thing, there is no difference of opinion between the present Administration and those on this side of the House and the incoming Administration.
Sickles again interrupted, declaring that the acting Administration had asked for no such provisions; and, as the incoming Administration had not asked for it, the bill, he thought, should be abandoned. Stanton resumed:
"What the existing Administration would do, if it was to be continued in office for four years more, he did not know, in the face of existing difficulties; but the fact that the existing Administration, whose lease of power expires in two weeks, had not deemed it necessary in that short interval to call for additional powers, was no reason why no precautions should be taken to provide for an emergency which no patriotic man would say would not arise in the next four years. They were now within ten days of the expiration of the present Congress, and if this bill is to pass at all, no unnecessary delay should be allowed to hamper its passage here, until
Stanton's Defence of his Bill.
it reached the Senate, where no
Craige, of North Carolina, interrupted, saying the Southern Confederacy was a friendly power; that the States had exercised a constitutional right to secede, and ought not to be regarded or treated as a hostile power. Stanton answered:
"Secession might be looked upon as a constitutional right, but here they had the authority of the United States superseded, and its revenues and imposts could not be collected, without some mode aside from the ordinary mode of collection. One of two things must, therefore, be done. Either this right of secession must be recognized, and the laws of the United States abandoned; and the ports of these States must be treated as free ports, and thus all the commerce of the country would be diverted from Boston, New York, Baltimore and Philadelphhia; either this must be done, or else the duties on goods imported to those Southern ports must be collected, and these ports suspended as ports of entry, and their commerce made illegal. Some gentlemen opposed to them say that the authority of the United States over these States should be surrendered and abandoned, and the whole commerce of the country be thus allowed to be diverted, and the country to be supplied with imports through Southern channels. That is about the state of things. He had no doubt that it was the expectation of the incoming Administration either to collect the revenue at these ports by vessels of war stationed at their harbors, or by some measure, to
Stanton's Defence of his Bill.
be authorized by Congress, to close the ports, and not regard them as ports of entry. Then, if the Southern Confederacy treated this as a hostile
act, an act of war, and should organize an armed
force, and make an aggressive war upon any of the citizens of the United States, then the Government
| Whether the closing of spe-
sity to discuss that question. There was very
must be placed in a position to protect and defend itself. He did not look upon the position taken by parties in the Seceding States of sufficient practical importance to imperil the peace of the country by John Cochrane, (Dem.,) of New York, also attempting hostilities till all hopes of a peaceful ad- propounded a query. He did not question justment were abandoned. There was a necessity, the Constitutional power of Government to however, in the mean time, for stationing vessels in close the port of any State, but he was inthe Southern ports; but if that mode of executing formed it was the opinion of the gentleman the law be resisted, by seeking to capture the Cap-from Ohio that the Southern section was ital of the Republic, and the national archives, the in a state of revolt. Now, he would ask Administration must be placed in a position to pro-whether it was not the intent of the friends tect and defend itself against aggression. Supposing, by some untoward event, that Virginia and Maryland should be, within twenty or thirty days after the 4th of March, precipitated into an Ordinance or Act of Secession, they had not of the whole army of
the United States 18,000 men, when mustered to its maximum strength, and these troops were scattered over California, Oregon, New Mexico and Texas, and they could not in sixty days concentrate in the Capital 5,000 men belonging to the regular army. Under these circumstances, were they and the personnel of the Government to be exposed to capture as prisoners of war? Was the Capitol of the nation, the archives, the seal and symbols of sovereignty, all to be exposed to invasion and capture-a thing that might be done within twenty days after
the rising of the present Congress? Did gentlemen desire such a state of things? This bill was called for and desired for no other purpose than for purposes of defence and protection, and the exercise of such force as might be indispensable in collecting the revenue in the least possible offensive manner." Simms, (Dem.,) of Kentucky, asked Mr. Stanton how, under the clause of the Constitution" that no preference shall be given, by any regulation of commerce or revenue, to the ports of one State over those of another"--Congress had the right to close the ports in the Seceded States? Also, if such a closing would not be an acknowledgment that the States were out of the Union, since, in the Union, they could not be constitutionally closed?
Stanton said he was not prepared to say that the incoming Administration would resort to that mode of executing the laws.
of the bill, through its instrumentality, to precipitate an armed force upon the scene of secession, for the purpose of suppressing it?
Stanton replied that he apprehended no man contemplated, through the bill, putting a single hostile foot on the soil of any State of this Confederacy, until absolutely necessary, in self-defence, and until a Southern army is marched upon Northern soil-upon any soil of the Confederacy. He added further, that he considered the bill as simply and purely a defensive measure.
Cochrane said that, if it be only a measure of defence, he desired Mr. Stanton to explain how the powers conferred by the bill would be efficaciously directed to the defence of the country and against revolution, so as not to be used in subjugating the State where such existed.
Stanton supposed that any police which might be raised would be properly used by the Executive for this purpose. Under any circumstances, they must trust something to the intelligence and patriotism of those who have the control of the Government of the Republic.
Simms inquired whether, under the bill, there was any limit to the number of volunteers that may be called out? He would, in this respect, call attention to the difference be tween this bill and the Force bill of 1833. Might not the President, under this bill, call into requisition a million of men, and thus incur a debt of millions, not for the invasion of
Southern States, but merely as a power of defence and for the execution of the laws? Stanton replied: In that respect the bill did not change the law of 1795. It conferred precisely the same power for the purposes of suppressing insurrection against the authority of a -State in executing the laws; nothing more, and nothing less. He thought the House might as well dispose of the question, at this time as any other, and he would therefore call the previous question.
Bocock, (Dem.,) of Virginia, amid considerable excitement, inquired when members on his side were to obtain a hearing upon this declaration of war? It was the first time in the history of the country that they had been precipitated into a war under the action of the previous question, and he called upon the men who intend to stand up for the peace of the country to resist this bill, and resist it to the last. He moved to lay the bill upon the table. On this, Craige, of North Carolina, demanded the yeas and nays. Lost -69 to 105. During the call, and preceding it, the wildest excitement prevailed. The Southern side charged that the Republicans were putting everything through with a gag force, under the demand for the previous question. He claimed a right to discuss the bill. Boteler, (Am.,) of Virginia, said: "At every stage of the progress through the Committee on Military Affairs, of this most ill-timed, unwise, and iniquitous measure, I have warred against it; and, only this morning, I took occasion to warn the Chairman of the Committee that he could not devise a more efficient method by which to destroy the Union than to persist in pressing it, in this way, and at this particular time, through the House.
Cox, (Dem.,) of Ohio, voted "aye" on the motion to lay the bill on the table, considering the bill a disunion measure. Sickles (Dem.,) of New York, voted aye, saying that the North would regard the bill as substituting coercion for justice—as an abandonment of conciliation for war.
A regular guerrilla war of words followed the announcement of the vote to lay on the table. Corwin proposed to postpone the
special order (his Report) to allow discussion on the bill; but, time for its reading, and for consultation, was so evidently demanded that Stanton moved the bill be postponed until the succeeding day at one o'clock, then to be made the special order, with a view of having it discussed. This was resisted, and Winslow, (Dem.,) of North Carolina, objected, which left the bill in its previous shape, viz.: under the call for the previous question, to come up on the morrow, prior to one o'clock.
The Corwin Report, being the special order, then came up, when Stewart, (Rep.,) of Pennsylvania, addressed the House in a speech of an hour's length. He denied that either the States or the General Governments were "soverign," all being ruled by constitutions which stripped them of "sovereign" attributes. The National Government having vested powers, superior to and over the States, was superior to the States, and, therefore, must decide for the States in all questions involving nationality. In this light the step, already taken by some of the States, and threatened by others, was one which challenged the General Government to an exercise of its supremacy, for they were in revolution. As to the right of revolution, it could only be plead in cases of extreme disabilities and oppression. He said that such an assumption, on the part of the Seceded States, threw an onus on the dominant States which ought to be either proven or abandoned. He proceeded to demonstrate how utterly baseless were their alleged wrongs. The very agitation of the question of Slavery always was started by the South-never by the North; and if, on plain issues, created by questions which the South had started, the North had triumphed, it was the legitimate result of the Constitutional right of the majority. He cited the acts of 1792, 1795 and 1807, to show that a Congress, composed of many of the men who had helped to frame the Constitution; had deemed it right and necessary to delegate extraordinary powers to the President to sustain the power of the Government against its enemies. He therefore affirmed that, without the bill reported by Mr. Stanton, the powers of the President were ample