Harper's Weekly 02/03/1866


CONGRESS.

January 16:

In the Senate, Mr. Chandler's resolution to withdraw
our Minister from Great Britain, etc., was laid upon the
table, 25 to 12.—Speaking on the Negro Suffrage bill for
the District of Columbia, Mr. Davis indulged in his usual
abuse of the negro. “Cuvier,” he said, “had described
the African, but he ought to have added that a foul odor
exudes from his skin, and his heel makes a hole in the
ground.”


In the House, Mr. Conklin, one of the Committee of
Fifteen, offered a resolution, which was objected to, pro-
viding for the following conditions for the restoration of
the Southern States; first, renunciation of secession; sec-
ond, repudiation of rebel debts; third, the assurance of
human rights to all regardless of color; fourth, the impar-
tial distribution of political power among all sections of the
country, so that four millions of people shall not be repre-
sented in the interests of aggrandizement while at the
same time they are excluded from political rights and
privileges; and fifth, the election of truly loyal members
to Congress.—Mr. Deming, from the Committee on Mili-
tary Affairs, reported back the bill reviving the grade of
General in the army, which was recommitted.—The House
concurred in the Senate resolution authorizing Com-
mittee of Fifteen to send for persons or papers, 128 to 35.
—The bill on Negro Suffrage in the District of Columbia
was debated through the remainder of the session. The
black population of the District is about 20,000, or about
one-fourth the entire population of the District. The pro-
vision made by the bill is simply that there shall be no
restriction to suffrage based on distinction of color. Mr.
Julian claimed that suffrage was the natural right of the
negro. Mr. Randall, of Kentucky, would go with his State
in refusing negro suffrage. Mr. John L. Thomas, of Mary-
land, claimed to be a member of the Republican party, but
thought that the negro agitation should cease with eman-
cipation.


January 17:

In the Senate, a remonstrance of Mr. Sumner against
arming the militia of Alabama was referred to the Com-
mittee of Fifteen.—Mr. Howe's resolution to provide Pro-
visional Governors for the rebel States was taken up. Mr.
Doolittle addressed the Senate at length, claiming that
President Johnson had in his policy of restoration simply
followed in the footsteps of his predecessor. He supported
the President's policy, and claimed that to insure the very
Union for which we have been fighting we must have as
rapid a restoration of all the States to their nominal rela-
tions in Congress as is possible.


In the House, Mr. Blaine presented the credentials of
John N. Goodwin, delegate from Arizona, who was quali-
fied and took his seat.—The bill to incorporate the Na-
tional Protective Homestead Company, the object of which
is to encourage emigration to the South, was taken up.
Mr. Baker, of Illinois, objected to the bill as creating what
purported to be a charitable institution. The bill con-
ferred an immense and exclusive privilege on a small
number of persons, who might convey lands without limit-
ation. The bill was laid on the table, 120 to 32.—The Ne-
gro Suffrage bill for the District of Columbia was taken
up and debated. Mr. Darling, of New York, favored
qualified suffrage, the qualification to be one of education.
He thought it better not to disregard the voice of the Dis-
trict. He moved a postponement of the bill to the first
Tuesday in April. Mr. Hale advocated a restriction of
suffrage to all who could read the Constitution of the
United States. Mr. Thayer, of Pennsylvania, advocated
the bill on the ground of equal and impartial justice. Mr.
Van Horn, of New York, opposed the doctrine that this
was exclusively a white man's Government.


January 18:

In the Senate, a bill was passed to distribute 500 copies
of Mr. Madison's writings among the different State Li-
braries, departments, etc.—Mr. Wade, from the Commit-
tee on Territories, reported a bill for the admission of Col-
orado, ratifying the State government adopted by the peo-
ple.—Mr. Nesmith of Oregon spoke on Mr. Howe's resolu-
tion, supporting the President's policy. He did not think
any act of Congress necessary for the admission of the
Southern States. This was a white man's government,
etc. Mr. Wade followed in a reply to Mr. Doolittle's
speech of the day before. He claimed that we were not
to support a policy simply because Mr. Lincoln or Mr.
Johnson adopted it. Mr. Johnson had gone farther than
Mr. Lincoln, and had compelled the Southern States to
adopt the Constitutional amendment abolishing slavery.
Mr. Wade wanted to go still further and place all men,
white and black, on an equal footing. He thought it bad
faith, after tempting the negroes into the military service,
to abandon them to their enemies now that the fight is
over.—A bill was passed giving Mrs. Lincoln the franking
privilege.


In the House, the bill for negro suffrage in the District
of Columbia was taken up. Mr. Johnson, of Pennsylvania,
spoke against it. Mr. Boutwell, of Massachusetts, was op-
posed to postponement. He thought the right of suffrage
should follow emancipation. He thought the negroes
should have a share in the Government as well as in fight-
ing for it. A motion by Mr. Niblack to lay the bill on the
table was negatived, 46 yeas against 123 nays. Mr. Dar-
ling's motion to postpone was disagreed to, 34 to 134. A
motion to recommit the bill with Mr. Hale's amendment
was lost, 53 to 117. The bill was then passed, 116 to 54.
It reads as follows:


“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
tives of the United States of America in Congress assem-
bled, That from all laws and parts of laws, and prescribing
the qualifications of electors for any office in the District
of Columbia, the word `white' be and the same hereby is
stricken out; and that from and after the passage of this
Act no person shall be disqualified from voting at any
election held in the said District on account of color.


“And be it further enacted, That all Acts of Congress
and all laws of the State of Maryland in force in said Dis-
trict, and all ordinances of Washington and Georgetown
inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, are hereby
repealed and annulled.”


January 19:

In the Senate, Mr. Doolittle presented the credentials
of William Marvin, of Florida, which were ordered to be
laid on the table.


In the House, $105,000 were appropriated for the pur-
chase of Leavy's Island, Portsmouth Navy-yard.—Mrs.
Deming spoke on reconstruction, advocating that negroes
have every political right necessary to their liberty, that
the public credit should be insured, and rebel debts repu-
diated, and there should be a Constitutional Amendment
giving Congress power to make all laws necessary and
proper to secure to all persons of every State equal protec-
tion to life, liberty, and property. We might demand
more, but not a jot less can we receive.


January 20:

In the Senate, the bill for the enlargement of the pow-
ers of the Freedmen's Bureau was debated, but no action
was taken.


January 22:

In the Senate, Mr. Fessenden, from the Committee of
Fifteen, reported a joint resolution that representatives and
direct taxes should be apportioned among the States ac-
cording to their respective numbers, excluding from the
basis of representation all persons to whom the elective
franchise is denied.—The resolution to refer all papers
and documents relating to the representation of the rebel
States was adopted.—It was voted, 33 to 11, that Trum-
bull's bill to enlarge the powers of the Freedmen's Bureau
should not be restricted to the rebel States.


In the House, Mr. Stevens offered the same resolution
from the Committee of Fifteen which Mr. Fessenden of-
fered in the Senate. This was debated at some length, and
was finally made the special order for the next day.



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