Harper's Weekly 02/10/1866


January 23:

In the Senate, Mr. Sumner proposed an amendment ot
the bill for the admission of Colorado, providing that the
act should not go into operation except on the condition
that there shall be no restriction of suffrage on the basis
of color.—There was a long debate on Trumbull's bill to
enlarge the powers or the Freedmen's Bureau. Mr. Sauls-
bury, of Delaware, opposed the bill as a party measure, as
an expensive burden to the country and an unwarrantable
exercise of power, particularly in its application to States
which had not been in rebellion. Mr. Fessenden, of Maine,
favored the bill, and at the conclusion of his speech de-
clared that there was no collision between the President
and the Union party. Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, thought
the bill unconstitutional.

In the House, the session was mostly taken up in debate
on the Amendment to the Constitution proposed by the
Committee of Fifteen. Mr. Stevens was for pushing the
thing through without debate, but was not sustained by
his own adherents. The debate which followed is not note-

January 24:

In the Senate, Mr. Wilson proposed an amendment to
the Constitution to prevent any future compensation for
emancipated slaves, which was referred to the Judiciary
Committee.—The bill to enlarge the Freedmen's Bureau
was taken up. An amendment to strike out the section
giving the negroes three years' possession of the Sea Island
land was rejected, years 10, nays 32.

In the House, the proposed amendment to the Constitu-
tion was again debated. The debate covered minor points
and not the main principle involved in the bill.

January 25:

In the Senate, the bill to enlarge the Freedmen's Bureau
was passed, 37 to 10. The bill provides: 1st. That the
Freedmen's Bureau shall be maintained, giving the Presi-
dent power to divide the section of country included within
the provisions of the bill into twelve districts; 2d. That the
Commissioner may divide the districts into sub-districts,
and provide officers for the same, the salary of each not to
exceed $1500; 3d. That the Secretary of War may issue
supplies, medical stores, etc., and may provide for the
shelter of freedmen and refugees; 4th. That the President
may set apart for the freedmen unoccupied public lands
in Florida, Mississippi, and Arkansas, not exceeding three
millions of acres of good land, the occupants to pay a cer-
tain rental with the privilege of purchase; 5th. That the
occupants of the land under General Sherman's special
order shall be permitted to remain for three years; 6th.
That schools and asylums shall be built for the freedmen
at the expense of Government; 7th. That in any district
where any rights allowed to white men are denied to freed-
men, the freedmen thus discriminated against shall be
protected by the Bureau; and 8th. That any persons, where
there is such discrimination against the freedmen to the
shall under cover of any local law subject freedmen to the
deprivation of any civil right or to any punishment, other
than would in like case be inflicted on white men, shall be
liable to imprisonment for one year or to a fine not exceed-
ing $1000, or both, and that the Bureau shall have power
to try and adjudicate cases of this nature.

In the House, the debate on the Constitutional Amend-
ment was continued.

January 26:

In the Senate, the House bill, extending the time for the
withdrawal of certain goods from the Custom-house, was
passed.—Mr. Howe's resolution for the appointment of
Provisional Governors in the South was debated. Mr.
Howe replied to the speeches made by Messrs. Doolittle
and Johnson.

In the House, the debate on the Constitutional Amend-
ment was continued without result.

January 27:

The Senate was not in session.

In the House, Mr. Smith, Mr. Baker, and Mr. Broomall
spoke in Committee of the Whole on the subject of recon-
struction. Mr. Smith, of Kentucky, wanted member from
the South to take the test-oath. Mr. Baker wanted promi-
nent rebel officers excluded from any office under the Gov-
ernment. Mr. Broomall insisted upon it that the Southern
people had been conquered, and therefore had no rights
except what we chose to yield.

January 29:

In the Senate, Mr. Trumbull spoke at length on the bill
for the protection of civil rights.

In the House, Mr. Raymond spoke for two hours on re-
construction, the question before the House being the
adoption of a Constitutional Amendment to regulate the
taxation and representation of the Southern States. He
did not think it necessary to meddle with the organic law
of the country. He thought that it was proper to demand
certain guarantees of the South, but the Southern States
retained every right which ever belonged to them. We
had gained no new rights over them by our victory, but
had only freed them from the usurpation of a rebel gov-
ernment. The South had not been subjugated. We could
not hold them as provisional dependencies. Mr. Raymond
was in favor of accepting the status of the Southern States
as having resumed their functions of self-government in
the Union; of admitting Southern Representatives, in-
sisting upon loyalty as a condition to their admission; of
excluding from the Federal offices the leading actors in
the rebellion; of adopting such amendments to the Con-
stitution as may seem wise to Congress and to the States,
acting without coercion; and of taking such precautionary
measures as would prevent the overthrow of a republican
form of government in any State. Mr. Raymond thus
concluded: “I beg you to bear in mind this fact—that we
of the North and of the South are at war no longer. The
gigantic contest is at an end. The dead of the contending
hosts sleep at last beneath the soil of one common country
under their common flag. Their hostilities are hushed,
and they are the dead of the nation for evermore. The
victor may well exult in the victory he has achieved. Let
it be our task, as it will be our highest glory, to make the
vanquished and their posterity to the latest generation re-
joice in the end.”

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