Harper's Weekly 03/24/1866


CONGRESS.

March 6:

In the Senate, the bill to reimburse Missouri for her ex-
pense in calling out militia was passed.—A very lengthy
message from the President, in response to Mr. Sumner's
resolution of inquiry, in regard to the organization of gov-
ernments in the lately rebellious States, was received and
ordered to be printed; also the report of operations in the
Freedmen's Bureau; both of which were referred to the
Committee on Reconstruction.


In the House, the Military Academy bill was reconsid-
ered, and, on motion of Mr. Schenck, an amendment was
passed—89 to 39—that no part of the money appropriated
by this or any other act shall be applied to the pay or sub-
sistence of any cadet from any State declared to be in re-
bellion against the Government of the United States, ap-
pointed after the 1st day in January, 1866, until such State
shall have been returned to its original relations to the
Union, under and by virtue of an act or joint resolution
of Congress for that case made and provided.—The Reci-
procity Treaty bill came up for consideration. Mr. Mor-
rill addressed the House in support of the bill. It had be-
come necessary, he said, in consequence of the termination
of the Reciprocity Treaty on the 17th of the present month.
That treaty had been an ill-omened one from the start. It
had been first extorted from us by the armed raid made
upon our fishermen, in 1852, by the combined armaments
of the Provinces, led on by the Imperial Government, and
then won from us by the delusion that favors would beget
fraternity. We were too old to be again deluded, and be-
ing quite able to withstand a bite, unlikely to yield to a
growl. Henceforth we should treat the Provinces as
friends, unless they entitle themselves to be treated as
favorites or as enemies. By the present bill certain priv-
ileges were granted, provided ample equivalents were ob-
tained; but in the mean time the object was increased
revenue. To show that the Reciprocity Treaty was not
advantageous to us, it was testified to by the fishermen
of Maine, the lumbermen of New York, Pennsylvania,
Michigan, and Maine, the wool-growers of Ohio, Illinois,
Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont, the grain-grow-
ers of all the Western States, and the manufacturers
whose business with the Canadas had materially de-
creased; but when the Provincial officers had tacitly con-
fessed to the prosperous gale they had enjoyed, by the
tender of terms less onerous to us, if not less lucrative to
them than those of the treaty, they felt tat they could
afford to treat us better in regard to the fishing interests
involved. He remarked that it was true that if England
desired a conflict with us a pretext might, easily be ob-
tained through a collision among eager and exasperated
fishermen touching her absurd headland interpolation;
but there was no lack of heroic pretexts elsewhere, and
whenever the conflict came, whatever the alleged provo-
cation might be, or by whomsoever precipitated, England
knew that the Provinces would be gone forever, hook and
line, bob and sinker. But the terms offered in this bill in
relation to the fisheries did not invite a repulse. On the
contrary, it was believed, especially from the frank and
friendly exchange of views between the Committee of
Ways and Means and the Ministers representing the Prov-
inces, that the terms would be readily accepted by most,
if not all the Provinces, certainly by those most interested
in the trade. The rates of duty proposed in the bill would
afford revenue, and would not in any case prove prohib-
itory; in other words, he expected to take as much tim-
ber coal, and barley of them as heretofore; but before
the sale could be allowed alongside of American products
the privilege must be bought with a price equal at least to
our taxes, and often much greater. Even with those
terms, a commission sent to China or Peru would disclose
no other market so valuable. That part of the bill which
gave up the fishing bountes might be looked upon with
more distrust than any thing else. The pittance proposed
was small, not much more than the duty paid by them on
the salt used in curing their fish, and yet the determina-
tion in some quarters to regard that as a New England
question, and not a national one, had constrained even
New England men to repudiate the measure—obnoxious
because it had been misrepresented. Hereafter our sea-
men, unlooked after, must be entirely self-educated and
self-reliant.


March 7:

In the Senate, Mr. Sumner spoke for over two hours
against the Constitutional Amendment affecting repre-
sentation.


In the House, there was a protracted debate on the
Reciprocity Treaty.


March 8:

In the Senate, Mr. Morrill spoke in support of the Con-
stitutional Amendment.


In the House, the consideration of the Senate bill to
protect all persons in their civil rights was resumed. Mr.
Broomall spoke in favor of the bill. Mr. Bingham moved
to recommit, with instructions to amend, by removing
every thing penal in the bill, and substituting right of
action in the United States Court, with double costs in
cases of recovery. Mr. Raymond next addressed the
House in favor of the objects of the bill, and gave the
reasons which had induced him to offer a substitute. Mr.
Delano next spoke in approval of the bill, but questioned
the constitutional right of Congress to pass it. Mr. Kerr
opposed the measure on legal, constitutional, and practical
grounds.


March 9:

In the Senate, the Constitutional Amendment received
only 25 votes against 23. 35 votes being the necessary
two-thirds majority, the amendment was a failure. A
motion to reconsider prevailed, and an amendment was
offered by Mr. Doolittle.


In the House, the Civil Rights bill was next taken up,
and Mr. Bingham addressed the House in opposition to
it, as being in some of its features unconstitutional. Mr.
Shellabarger, after a short speech on the same side, was
followed by Mr. Wilson in a closing speech in support of
the measure. he bill was recommitted to the Judiciary
Committee—The Reciprocity Treaty bill was taken up
and debated by several members. Amendments concern-
ing the rate of duty on fish, bituminous coal, and lumber
were adopted.


March 10:

The Senate not in session.

In the House, the day was given up to speech-making.
Mr. Stevens created considerable amusement by pretend-
ing to consider the President's 22d of February speech as
a grand hoax, imposed upon the country by malicious Cop-
perheads.


March 12:

In the Senate, the bill for the division of Colorado was
taken up, and Mr. Sumner spoke against it and in favor
of an amendment to prohibit exclusion from the elective
franchise on account of color.


In the House, after an exhaustive debate, the new Re-
ciprocity Treaty bill was defeated by striking out the en-
acting clause by a vote of 68 to 37.



CHARLES SUMNER.—[Photographed by Black & Case, Boston, Mass.]




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